Knockoff #3 or my dedication astounds even me…

So after finishing my last knockoff, I started to tackle this one:

I originally planned to make this in a cream colored rayon knit, but when I finished my hot pink muslin monstrosity I discovered that I didn’t have nearly enough for this project. Which is probably for the best anyway, because mom+white shirt is sure to equal disaster. So I picked up a slubby tissue knit at the big green J, and hoped for the best.

For once, I had zero issues. Well, I take that back. I struggled with the neck band one night, picking it out and restitching it two or three times and still not “getting it”. But the next morning it all became much clearer, and I got it sewed on the first try–must learn to quit when I’m tired!

Sadly though, this blouse shrunk after washing, so now it’s nearly a belly shirt. And believe me, no one needs/wants to see the belly on this mama. It also got some little holes, so I’ll probably just wear it around the house until the holes get to the point of being really noticeable. Also, it’s got some wrinkles on the sleeves that I’m not too keen on–it’s like the sleeve is twisting, but I’m not sure why.

Regardless, I’m going to pat myself on the back a little bit. I managed to get through three (THREE!!) of my knockoffs! Usually, when I set up some sort of sewing “plan” for myself, it immediately gets dumped in favor of something else (no one tells me what to sew–not even me!). So I’m glad to see that I can stick to a plan, and glad that I have some new shirts to wear, because my closet was getting to be kind of pitiful. I did ultimately change my mind on the last one, I’m not going to make it, or at least not right now. I’m ready to start sewing up stuff for spring/summer, or at least stuff with shorter sleeves.

Here’s to making more plans and sticking to them in the future! πŸ™‚

Seasonally appropriate? What’s that?

So I finally sewed up something that wasn’t a wadder. Granted, it’s taken me forever (seriously, over a week!) to sew up a simple loose-fitting blouse that should have only taken a couple of hours, but it’s a finished blouse, so I’ll take it. πŸ™‚

Except! It’s really more suited for summer heat than the current freezing temps. So while it’s exceptionally cute, it’s going to languish in the closet for a few months. Not even my high tolerance for cold is going to let me wear a backless blouse made of some sort of polyester gauze (actual fabric type is unknown, but it came from the big green J, so I’m confident it’s poly). But instead of being “late” for summer, I’m totally claiming it as “early” for next year. I’m so on the ball, eh? πŸ˜‰

So what is this garment of seasonal inappropriateness, you ask? Why it’s Simplicity 1614, of course! I made up view D in a size 16. I thought about making it in the 18 to match my full bust measurement, but I figured it surely had enough ease to cover and not be too ginormous everywhere else with the 16. And I was right. And since it didn’t have to fit my narrow shoulders, I didn’t need to use the smaller sizes either (I usually need the shoulders of a 10 or a 12). As is, it’s nearly perfect size-wise, or at least it is what I was aiming for. πŸ™‚

Business in the front

Business in the front

For the most part, this was a fairly easy sew. My problems stemmed from using the most fray-tastic, shifty fabric in the history of fray-tastic, shifty fabrics that snagged on everything, including itself! Gah! Seriously, poly charmeuse ain’t got* nothin’ on this stuff! I suppose I should also point out that two other things gave me grief: 1) I’ve never made bias tubes out of such a lightweight fabric before–it looked like a drunk monkey sewed those tubes up! and 2) My bias tape application still needs some practice. This time it was made worse by the fabric choice. 😦 No matter though; it’s cute, and I like it. πŸ™‚ Besides, who can resist this rear view? πŸ˜‰

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

Party in the back!! Love me a cute (and possibly tacky) back detail!

And if you’re wondering what happened to the knock-offs, well, one has been sitting in my sewing room in the exact same stage (aka nearly done, but with minor fixes needed) for over a month now. I finally worked up the willpower last night to pick out the side seams and the sleeves so that I can basically recut the front because it got distorted by some seaming. No one needs wrinkles in front of their armpits that look like…well, use your imagination, I’d as soon not get creepy pervs finding me. πŸ˜› Of course, I managed to lose the front pattern piece, so I’ll have to retrace it, which means it may take even more time as I really don’t love tracing…

*Why yes, I did just use the phrase “ain’t got”…my English teachers would all be properly horrified, not to mention reconsidering those A’s they gave me all those years ago. πŸ˜‰

First of the Knockoffs

So after finishing the stuff for the kiddo, I cleaned up my sewing room and started to work on one of the knockoff’s in my post from Thursday. And um, it’s not exactly as I had envisioned. For starters, I tend to carry all my essentials on my person. I keep trying to use a purse, but they’re just so damn inconvenient and in the way, I seriously can’t figure out how other women do it. I hang my phone on my hip with a clip holster, my keys from a belt loop (or sometimes in my pocket if I’m feeling sneaky), and my wallet sits in my back pocket. This shirt though, was WAY too long and so I had to hike it WAY up to get it over my phone clip. Seriously, I’ve seen mini-dresses that are shorter. The other issue was the neckline that is so low it makes Burda seem modest–and adding a neckband didn’t seem to fix that, sadly. I wish I would have taken the time to measure and then shorten the neckband instead of just trusting the pattern, but I didn’t (usually they end up too short to sew in, so I didn’t even think about it) and once it was serged on, I wasn’t about to unpick it. So I went all in and topstitched it so that it would stay semi-flat and just decided to deal.

In fact, this shirt was kind of doomed from the start. I snapped 3 needles, one of them in the first inch of the first seam! My thread kept snagging on the spool (even with a thread net and a cone holder!) and would pull tight enough to either snap the thread or snap the needle, so I ended up throwing the whole cone away. 😦 I’ve tried several methods to get that stupid cone to work for me, and I’m glad to have finally been able to say “enough!” I really thought that the tape over the notch that it kept snagging on was the cure though, it seemed to work for a while, but I must have just been lucky. It’s OK, I’m glad to have finally been fed up enough to just toss it and quit wondering if there’s something else I can try to keep it from snagging. It’s not worth ruining my serger over.



Pink Swirl

Closeups of the details.

As you can see from the details pic, I did make a few changes, as well as changes to get the look I was trying to copy.

  • The original pattern has a gathered or pleated section in the center front. I took this out, but left as much of the volume as I could to achieve the look from the inspiration.
  • The original pattern has a neckline that is simply faced with a thin strip. I needed a bit more coverage, so I made a neckband by doubling the width of the pattern’s neckband facing piece. If only I would have shortened it while I was at it…
  • The pattern was REALLLY long. I hacked off about 5 inches to make it hit just below my hip and added side slits to go over my phone and just because I think it’s kindΒ  of a cute detail.
  • I skipped the twin needle this time and opted to try out what I *think* is the lightning bolt stitch that I hear so much about. I think this turned out OK, it’s not quite as stretchy as the twin needle, but this shirt has enough ease that it won’t matter.

So here is the final result. I think I got pretty close, close enough that I’m happy with it. I’m on the fence about how much it will get worn with the neckline being so big though, any way you dice it my bra is going to show. Hubby thinks it’s cute though, so maybe it’s not as bad as it feels to me.

Pink Swirl2So there it is. What are you working on?



I’ve been making a Pinterest board for all my casual shirt inspiration, and surprise! It looks like I should be able to make a few of them with patterns I already have with a few minor tweaks. Here’s a few of my picks for the near future (hopefully, they’ll be quick and easy!).

KO1Edit KO2 KO4 KO5

I’m not going for exact replicas, but I think I can get close enough with these to be pretty happy. And since I live in t-shirts, they should fit right in to my wardrobe. Add in a couple of my trusty V8670’s, and I should have a really good start. πŸ™‚

And while I know that many of you are WAYYYY better at this image editing thing than I am, can I just say that I’m super pumped that I managed to make these little collages? They took a freakin’ age, but they’re so useful, no?

Now I need to round up my patterns, inspiration is kind of messy. πŸ˜‰

Sewing plan

I need a sewing plan, one that I can stick to. So many basics haven’t fit correctly since Scotch came into my life, so I’ve worn old t-shirts or my JJ blouse (whenever it’s clean and sometimes when it isn’t! 😳 ) pretty much constantly for the last 6 months (the prior 2 I still wore my maternity shirts–don’t judge). I had a pair of Anne Taylor slacks that fit me a couple of years ago that are so big now that they get all wadded up under the belt, so those need replaced. I’m still wearing unmentionables that I sewed before the pregnancy and wore during it, so you can imagine how stretched out those are…

So yeah, my wardrobe is SAD. Heaven help me if I have to dress nice for a couple of days in a row (especially if I’m seeing the same people), because I literally don’t have anything like that anymore.

So here’s my plan for the short (oh who am I kidding?!) term:

  • Slacks. I have several nice fabrics that would be perfect for this in the stash, and I also have several patterns that should work.
  • Unmentionables. Top and bottom–I need them all, but I’m probably only going to sew the bottoms, the tops need more work than I can dedicate in the near future. I’ve got fabrics galore, and a couple of pattern options to choose from.
  • Dressy tees/blouses. Simple, quick, and cute is what I’m going for on this. Again, I have plenty of fabric in my stash to make this work, I just need to get on it.
  • PJ’s for the baby. Scotch is tall and somewhat chubby; RTW baby clothes are short and super chubby…I can buy bigger onesies and they work OK–PJ’s though, the feet need to be snug so they stay put and RTW just isn’t delivering. Plus they’re all so heavy, and Scotch is as hot-blooded as they come.

I’m terrible at sticking to plans, but this time I’m hoping I can do it. Do you stick to a plan? Or do you not even bother with them?

Spring Sewing Swap

I got my sewing swap package in the mail on Tuesday I think, but haven’t been feeling quite up to par, so I haven’t posted it yet. I’m still feeling a bit crappy, but I decided to suck it up and get it on here.

You might remember that Kestrel set up a Spring Sewing Swap a few weeks back, and I signed up for it. My swap partner was Judy of Sew Blessed Maw, and it was neat to peek through her blog and try to figure out what she likes/collects/different hobbies/etc. I felt like a detective ninja or something. πŸ˜‰ So anyway, she snooped through my blog too, and here’s what I received!

Goodies for me!

Goodies for me!

Closeup of trims

Closeup of trims

The red cat print is a medium cotton, so I’m thinking some sort of bag maybe? The trim in the pink package is sort of a crocheted lace with an upside down ^^^^^ pattern. The green package has little beaded snowflakes on it. And I love the little white cotton trim with the purple accents, will have to think of something super special to use it on because I don’t have very much.

Anyway, sewing swaps are kind of fun, I’m glad I tried it. I don’t know if I’d do them all the time (they’re kind of nerve-wracking!), but a once a year or something could be pretty cool. πŸ™‚ In the meantime, go check out Judy’s blog, she sews up some cute stuff for her grandchildren and her dolls. πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend!

Mid-SWAP Roundup

I was looking through and seeing what all items I have for my SWAP so far, and I’m actually a bit embarrassed by the fact that little, if any, of my original SWAP plans are being followed. Funny how that happens, eh?

Currently, I’m adding in my Burda blouse from my FIL’s acceptance (and there’s another slightly different version in the works right now) as well as my two variations of my racerback tanks. Oddly enough, I didn’t like the second version of the tank very much when it was finished, but I actually really like wearing it–it’s super comfortable, sort of like not wearing a shirt at all……or wait–is that a bad thing?! ??? And I’ve worn the ruffled one probably 4 times already too. I think they’ll really get a lot of wear once the weather warms up for good. πŸ™‚

I currently have no “bottoms” for the SWAP, since both of my attempts were fails. I think it’s time to retake my measurements, and sit down and take the time to measure each of the pieces (and triple check my math!) before cutting anything out again. I’m going to stick with the Vogue dress pants for them, though I’m rethinking one of my fabric choices. I have some khaki stuff that I purchased for some pants for the hubby, but it would need to be ironed which doesn’t seem like a good idea for daily wear-type pants. Ya’ll might not know this, but I do try to make his life easier whenever possible. I fail at it most of the time, but the point is I still try. And seriously, making him pants that he has to iron every time he wants to wear them isn’t making his life easier…

So, 3 out of 11 with a month and a half to go before the deadline…’ll be tough, but I tend to thrive under pressure for some reason, so maybe it’ll work itself out.

Fabric changes everything

Just when you think you’ve got the pattern worked out, fabric choice comes along and throws a wrench in the works. I bought the most awesome ITY fabric ever, and then proceeded to waste it by trying to make another racerback tank. Oh, I’ll wear this shirt, but I already know it’s not going to be a favorite. Which is sad, because I thought it would be, since the other one fits so well.

Isn’t that the coolest fabric? I made some panties out of the scraps today too, which I think turned out fairly cute for as big as they are….

Speaking of panties, I did some scrap-bustin’ today! I cut out 6 pairs of panties and got rid of several scraps of fabric in the stash. There was one scrap of purple fabric that I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to be done cutting pieces out of it. I think it made 3 pairs, and it was a 1/2 yard piece that had already been cut into….yeesh! So no, I’m not wearing the same pair of underwear three days in a row, I just happen to have 3 pairs of the same print. I also noticed that I’m a bit rusty at putting on FOE…I had to pick out some stitches to get the fabric sandwiched in there properly. I’m still working on the best setup for “mass producing” these things.

Anyway, I’m not feeling terribly chatty tonight, so I’m gonna call it good. Oh! Karin, if you are reading this, I seem to have lost your email and I couldn’t comment on your blog earlier, but your shirt is fabulous, and I highly recommend the collar with stand tutorial on the behindtheseams blog here on wordpress somewhere….

Ruffle-licious Racerback

OK, for the first time ever, WordPress ate my post. I sure hope it was tasty. 😑 😦 Hopefully this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. So, I’ll do my best to recreate the tasty snack of a post.

So when does a pattern become your own design? At what point could I say that I essentially drafted it myself? Here’s my finished garment, front and back:

But I used View C of this pattern to make it:

My version is a far cry from the original after all the changes I made to it.

  • Added significant FBA
  • Chevroned (is that a word?) the center front
  • Loosened the overall fit
  • Added a bottom band
  • V neckline
  • Racerback
  • Facings made of interfacing using this tutorial for front & back to make a clean finish.

If someone were to ask me where I bought the pattern, what would I tell them? I can’t say “oh it’s just view C of KS 3497”, because it doesn’t even look like that anymore. So anyway, that’s just something I was pondering this morning.

If you decide to work with ruffled fabric, I even have some handy tips for you courtesy of the lovely Janet from Needle Nook Fabrics. I seem to have misplaced the actual sheet she gave me, so I’ll just go by memory and hope that I don’t leave out something important.

  • Do NOT put you ruffle fabric in the dryer–apparently the tumbling action is hard on it.
  • Use WASHABLE SCHOOL GLUE (I had excellent luck with the liquid school glue vs. a glue stick) to glue down each ruffle. Don’t use the “glue-all” type, it’s NOT the same thing!
  • Do NOT iron the fabric after it’s been glued–you’ll have to wash the glue out first (got that from Elmer’s website, I’m taking their word as gospel truth.)
  • Use a cool iron setting, silk or wool is your best bet, but test it on a scrap first, just in case.
  • Soak it when you’re done to get the glue out, then wash it (I’m planning to do gentle cycle inside a sweater bag–I don’t hand wash).
  • I found it was easier to use a rotary cutter instead of scissors, but I wouldn’t buy one just to use it for this one project.

I’m actually planning to do another version in a normal fabric that’s a bit outside my comfort zone color-wise. We’ll see how quickly I get that done, since I have to clean the sewing room first.

I hope ya’ll have a great weekend!

Burda 12/2011 Completed

OK, so I’ve spent nearly an hour trying to catch up on blog posts for everyone, so I was lazy and didn’t comment. Sorry. 😳

But, I wanted to take some time to review this pattern, because I really liked how it turned out, though I would suggest some changes to anyone else making this up. I wore it yesterday for my FIL’s acceptance, and it got lots of compliments. πŸ™‚

Here’s my review:

Pattern Description: Quietly Sensual. Pair an utterly feminine blouse with plunging neckline and black contrasting band with a skirt of delicate silk crepe. Oh it’s “plunging” alright–clear down to your freakin’ belly button!

Pattern Sizing: 38-46, I made up the 42, which corresponds to approximately a US size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Well, if you take my changes into account it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? There were instructions?!? I kid, I kid. No. They suck, as always. But, you’ll be pretty well able to figure it out if you’ve ever made a blouse before.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The style just really tripped my trigger. I love the shape of the band, and I find it to be EXTREMELY flattering to my particular shape (inverted-triangular-apple-ish……oh hell, I don’t know, whatever shape I am!) I also love the tucks–I hated putting them in there–but I love the end result.

I HATE the side zipper. Nothing ruins a floaty fabric quite like a zipper, so I’d recommend putting the zip in the center back next time. I may let out the side seams a smidge and remove the zipper on this version altogether, since I can get the blouse on/off (with some care) without the zipper.

I’m not comfortable with the sheer amount of boobage that would have been on display if I’d have made it as-is. So, to raise the neckline from OMG! to slightly scandalous, I overlapped the portion with the pintucks instead of just meeting them in the middle. I think it looks OK like this, but would probably look weird if you tried to overlap it any farther. I still ended up wearing a cami underneath, but I actually liked the way it looked with a cami under it since the fabric is pretty sheer anyway.

After some head scratching, I figured out the band. You’ll have to read the instructions a couple of times, but you’ll figure it out. TIP: I used wash-away wonder-tape to get that sucker stuck in place to topstitch it down.

Fabric Used: I’ll be honest here. I’m not really sure what this floral fabric is–it’s polyester, and it feels a bit like a textured crepe de chine. It’s surprisingly breathable, and not too bad to wear. The black band is a stretch moleskin, which I did NOT interface because it was already significantly heavier than the floaty floral stuff.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used the longer layer of sleeves from the 107 dress (which is exactly the same pattern with different sleeves, so this is an easy change) and took all of the ease out them so that they would basically go in flat. I’m not totally sold on the sleeves, they’re kind of froufy for my taste, but I’ll probably get over that in time. Other than that, I raised the neckline as much as I could get away with.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Actually, I’m already scheming to make it again, probably in a blue plaid silk dupioni with the same moleskin for the band. And yes, I’d absolutely recommend it.

Conclusion: You won’t regret making this blouse, the end result is beautiful and feminine. It made my waist look positively TINY, and that is a miracle in itself. πŸ˜‰

Whatcha think?