Monday, August 31, 2015

The Style Arc Misty Stretch Pull-On Jean Sewalong

Misty Stretch Pull-On Jeans from

Friends, I know that I have hinted about it but it is time to get down to the knitty gritty.  The Style Arc Misty Jeans Sewalong that I am hosting will be going down in October!  Those fantastic gals over at Style Arc have done something I feel like is truly wonderful for this Sewalong.  They graded the Misty Jean all the way out to a size 38 (72 inch hip ya'll)!!!  You read that right my fellow curvy divas...a size 38.

They are offering the pattern on the Style Arc's Etsy shop as a PDF in the following size packages: 22/24/26, 28/30/32, and 34/36/38.  Don't worry my not so curvy friends, this pattern is available in PDF on the Style Arc's Etsy shop all the way down to a size 4.  If you don't dig PDFs, head on over to and order the size you need in a paper pattern.  Allow plenty of time Western hemisphere friends, because these patterns are coming from Australia.  While you are there, check out the fabrics they are offering for this pattern, you might find something that you like.

So here's the what what, I plan to sew a denim-look knit pair in a size 30 primarily sewn on my serger, and a stretch denim pair in a size 34 primarily sewn on my straight stitch/regular machine.  Those are the sizes that will be best for my 64 inch hips.  Remember friends, if you are going to make this in a denim look knit that you can size down a couple sizes, because denim look knits are going to contain 25 to 30 percent stretch.

For fabric selection, here are a few of my favorite picks.

From Mood Fabrics:

For the knit version-

Theory Black Stretch Rayon Blend Novelty from

Imagine this great Theory Black Stretch Rayon Blend Novelty knit from Mood Fabrics peaking out from under your boots when the temperatures drop!  Love the texture in this fabric!!!

For the woven stretch version-

Marc Jacobs Dark Blue Cotton-Lycra Denim from

This Cotton-Lycra denim by Marc Jacobs would make a great basic pair of denim pull on jeans.  It has two way stretch, and would be wonderful for every day jeans.

Friends, the official start date for the Sewalong will be October 1st.  On that day I will post the button for this Sewalong, and the schedule.  You have a full month now to gather your pattern, materials, and notions, and get your pattern cut out.  Can't wait to see what we all make, so let's show Style Arc some curvy love and make this pattern!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Do More Of the Things You Love

Friends, do you know who Casey Neistat is?  If you are not familiar, without being too wordy I will just say that Casey is an inspirational guy who has risen from adversity to accomplish great things.  He really is living life in a big way.

The Engineer and I watch Casey's daily VLOG post on YouTube every night right before we head off to bed.  See Casey is a film maker, and because of this he has started publishing a daily VLOG on YouTube (though he has had a YouTube channel for quite a while).  In one of his recent posts, he explained why he does this.  Since film making is his craft, he makes himself publish a VLOG everyday to stay in practice and keep working at his craft.

I had a real light bulb moment as he was talking about that.  Sewing is my passion right now.  Though I don't make money doing it, I see some validity to just making yourself do something you are passionate about every day, even on days that you maybe think you aren't in the mood for it (que the bah chicky wah wah music).

Casey's mantra is DO MORE.  He even has those very words tatooed on his forearm.  Something about that has just really been resonating with me lately.

How does all this relate back to me?  You all already know that I love to sew.  I also am passionate about photography.  You don't really get to see that side of me on the blog, because I am not the one behind the camera.  I have been a shutter bug since I was four years old.  I can't even begin to tell you how many rolls of film were sent off in the mail to one of those mail order film developers before I was even out of elementary school.  Do you remember those places?  The third thing that I am passionate about is writing.  Honestly, the writing that do here on the blog doesn't come naturally to me.  It keeps me in practice with (almost) proper grammar and punctuation, but I LOVE to write fiction.  In high school I had so many stories, poems and other creative writings published.  Then college rolled around, and I stopped writing for pleasure.  I want to get back to writing fiction.  I have a ton of material floating around in my head.

As I approach the blog's 1st Anniversary next month, I am starting to analyze things.  There are many questions in my head.  Do I want to continue to do this?  What am I bringing to the conversation?  Am I being my authentic self?  What can I do to make a difference?  Should I change the blog to a new format?  Do I want to continue to sew my own clothes?  Maybe I should just be an InstaBlogger.  Chalk this up to soul searching.  Don't worry friends, it's not that I think that I am going anywhere, but I just don't feel like I am giving you all my best.  You take the time to read this little blog, and you deserve the best!

Friends, tell me what inspires you (be it related to sewing or any other aspect)!  Whose work do you always read?  Where do you get your daily giggle?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shopping Local - Meet Crimson Tate

Nani Iro Double Gauze En Garden in Cerulean Photo from
Ellen Baker Charms Double Gauze Plus Dots in Grey Photo from

Y'all, this morning I went down to my favorite local fabric store aka Crimson Tate.  These two beautiful fabrics came home with me, and are in the wash cycle right now, because they are begging to be made instead of stashed!

I wanted to tell you a little bit about Crimson Tate.  The proprietor of the store is Heather Givans.  Heather is one of those people that creativity just drips from their fingertips.  Just check out her logo, that is all Heather, no need for a graphic designer because she has a Fine Arts degree for Heaven's sake!  She is that cool funky chic that everyone wants to be friends with.

Heather designs fabric for Windham Fabrics.  Her first line was called Succulents (which is now mostly sold out), and she is currently working on her second line.  She is tight lipped about the theme and will only say that it won't be succulent related.  Boo!  She won't even give a hint, but I can't wait to see the designs.

Heather surrounds herself with other creative types.  Her store front is on Indianapolis's hippest street - Mass Ave (that is Indy speak for Massachusetts Avenue).  The second in command at the shop is David.  David knows his textiles, has an eye for color matching, and is such a happy person.  You know the type, right?  That kind of person that always has a smile on their face and something positive to say.  I don't know about you, but I need more of those type of people in my life!  

The best part is Heather and David both really are quilters.  They speak the language, they understand your needs, and even though I am a garment sewists, I can always find fabric at the shop that I MUST HAVE, and Heather and David can always talk sewing with me.  In other words, Crimson Tate isn't just a quilt shop.  It's a little piece of fabric Heaven.

There are other people that work in the shop too, and from what I have heard, they are all just as cool, sweet and happy as both Heather and David.

If you are in Indy, go check this place out!  If you aren't in Indy, hop on their website and find something awesome!

Friends, do you shop local?  Don't you just love little independent shops over big box stores?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fall Wardrobe Planning and Sewing List 2015

Photo found on Pinterest/Polyvore

Fall Look Found on Pinterest/Polyvore

Friends, I have been cruising pinterest and polyvore looking at Fall Fashion.  The two looks above are absolutely my style.  Fall makes me crave chunky sweater knits, boots, jeggings and a nice dash of leather for good measure.  Temperatures can vary greatly in the Fall, so layering is an absolute must.  I generally have camisoles and sleeveless tees under my waterfall or boyfriend cardigan.  In looking at these Fall looks and thinking about what is in my closet now, there are some things that need to be sewn...and some things that need to be purchased (don't worry I am not breaking my no RTW commitment for 2015).

First thing that I am in desperate need of sewing, are basic shells/camis/tanks.  It makes it hard to layer up a cute look when you are without the basic bottom layer!

I plan on making a cami pattern from a RTW cami that I already own.  It's knit and lace and I adore it, and the way it fits.  Beyond that I plan to make something similar to the popcorn tank in the first look using Simplicity 2409 from the Khalia Ali Collection.

Photo From Khaliah Ali Collection 2409

The waterfall cardigan in the first look looks to be made of suede.  I think I would try it in suede cloth first, and then if I loved it I would consider getting some real suede to make it out of.  There are so many waterfall cardigan patterns out there, but most are intended for stretchy knits, and since I intend to sew this in non-stretch I am struggling to find the right pattern.  Do any of you have recommendations pattern wise?  I don't mind grading if the pattern is intended for non-stretch fabrics.

I already have similar jeans to the one's in the first look, so there would be nothing to make there.  Although it is worth noting that jeans are on my Fall sewing list!

On to the sewing list for look two.  First let's talk Jeggings.  When I think of boot season, jeggings naturally are something that I know that I will need.  I am planning a sewalong featuring the Misty Stretch Pull-On Jeans from Style Arc, and those are perfect for accomplishing this look.  I promise there will be more coming on that endeavor in the near future.

I think that instead of the chunky knit waterfall cardigan in look two, I would  like to make a kimono style cardigan.  I like View D of Simplicity 1318 for this look, but with longer sleeves.

Line Drawings of 1318 from

I am anxiously awaiting a pair of black and tan Ros Hommerson wide calf boots that actually are the boots from look two, just in a different color.  These are their Chip Riding Boot.  I found them on Amazon here.  I have other Ros Hommerson wide calf boots, and I can tell you that they are fantastic.  These are what I will call investment boots.  You aren't going to wear them for a season and then donate them.  My original black pair I have had for five years now.  I wear them a lot through the Fall and Winter.  The soles of the boots are still in excellent shade, and despite all the snow and salt the past few years have brought, the leather still looks great.  If you have truly wide calves like I do (and some of those other wide calf boots don't even come close to zipping), this brand is worth a look.
Ros Hommerson Wide Calf Black and Tan Chip Riding Boots from
That is a good start to what I plan to sew this Fall.  There of course will be Halloween costumes, Green Style Centerfield Raglans (I just can't stop sewing this pattern), maybe a corduroy knee skirt for tights and boots, and of course there will need to be a jacket or cape thrown in for good measure.

Friends, are you planning your Fall sewing already?  Are you sewing for Fall already?  Tell me what is on your Fall must make list!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts - Plus Size Edition Rebooted

For all my new friends, back in April I made the Jennifer City Shorts from Style Arc.  I blogged about that experience here.  Let's just say the shorts weren't the size that they were supposed to be and if you want to know more, then you need to go back and read the original post.

I alerted Style Arc to the issue with the original pattern, and you can read about their response and customer service in relation to the issue here and here.  If you aren't interested in reading those posts, I will just say that Style Arc has amazing customer service!

In July I actually made two pair of Jennifer City Shorts.  One in a non-stretch twill, and one in a stretch twill.

I actually made the stretch twill pair first, because I needed shorts to go with one of my earlier makes, and I thought I would start with a stretch fabric, because I was a little cautious after the first experience that I had with this pattern.

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts Plus Size
Can you spot the Spanx in this photo?

Again, I have to say that I really love the side slit detail in these shorts.  I also like the longer length.  Sometimes, you just don't want to show off your knees, or am I the only one?  I sewed these when I was having tensioning problems with the machine, but the puckering you see here at the hem was remedied with a clapper and lots of steam!

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts Plus Size Side Vent
This little error has since been fixed.

As you can see, I flubbed and missed the mark by about an eighth of an inch.  I have since fixed this, because it was driving me bonanners!

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts Plus Size Yoke Waist
That little blip at the waist is gonna stay there, because I am not ripping the whole waist out to fix it.

I adore how I was able to get a mostly smooth fit in the rear.  Look how beautifully the yoke pieces lined up!  I did end up with a pucker at the waist line, but no one is ever going to see that, so I am going to leave it alone.  In the construction of these shorts, the waist facing goes in as one long piece.  There was no way I was ripping the whole thing out to deal with one little pucker!  Why do I snicker when I type little pucker??

I posted the second pair here, but will give a little recap.

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts Plus Size

Style Arc Jennifer City Shorts Plus Size from the Front

This pair was made in a non-stretchy twill.  For me at my size, the fit was a really good starting point.  Normally there are crotch curve disasters, blood, sweat and tears, and down right hissy fits when I am trying to sew pants.  I sewed this pattern EXACTLY as it was given to me.  No adjustments, and this is what I got.  For me, that is a win!!

So friends, lets talk about Style Arc for just a sec.  Sometimes Style Arc gets a bad reputation for their instructions.  Personally, I find their instructions refreshing.  You aren't going to get the hand holding that you get with Big 4 patterns.  But, if you have been sewing a minute, do you really need all those instructions?  Even with the zipper fly, I just didn't find this to be a challenging sew.  The instructions are basic, but for me basic is good.  Basic makes me use my brain.  If you are uncomfortable with directions like "sew the two yoke pieces together," or "sew the front pieces to the back pieces" then maybe you aren't ready for Style Arc.  Or then again, maybe you are.  Maybe you need that stretch, because in that stretch is where learning happens (at least in my experience).

I have to give Style Arc major kuddos for carrying all their patterns up to a size 30!  As a plus size sewist I find this so helpful.  To me pants are by far the hardest thing in the sewing world to grade.  Having pants patterns that actually fit your dimensions is a real help, and I want the ladies at Style Arc to know that I whole heartedly appreciate their effort in making patterns for all sizes.

Then there is the amazing customer service.  These ladies went above and beyond to make sure that I was a satisfied customer.  That in and of itself will make me a repeat customer!

To show the ladies at Style Arc some love, I have been considering hosting a sewalong with one of their patterns (plus size edition of course but not excluding anyone).  Would any of you be interested in such a sewalong?  I have been eyeing their pull on jeans/jegging pattern called the Misty Stretch Pull-On Jeans.  They seem a perfect wardrobe builder for boot and sweater season!

Photo from  Misty Stretch Pull-On Jeans.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Running a Little Behind...Construction of B5997

Hello, Friends!  I know I am running behind getting this post up.  I have been in back to school mode for the last two weeks, and it seems like everything has revolved around that.  Somewhere in the middle of all that, we took a long weekend to celebrate my husband's birthday!  It has all been kind of a whirlwind.

As for the construction of B5997, here goes!

After reading about Mary's trials and tribulations while making this shirt on Idle Fancy and the Curvy Sewing Collective, I formed a plan.  I decided to use the Hugh Jass sleeves aka View D, but removed 4 inches from the width of the sleeve to get rid of that hideous puff at the shoulder.

B5997 folded to remove 4 inches of sleeve width

Then to reshape the shoulder edge of the sleeve, I used the sleeve from View B, to round the sleeve off nicely.

B5997 Sleeve being reshaped

Then, I just trimmed off the excess, and my new sleeve shape was born.  I was worried that I may have messed up the size of the sleeve at the armcsye, but I have to say this was probably one of the easiest sleeves I have ever set in.  Did I mention that this shirt was constructed with French seams?

B5997 Trimmed Sleeve

The lower edge of the sleeve also needed reshaping and I just chose to do that by eye.

B5997 Freehand trimming the lower sleeve edge.

B5997 Trimmed Lower Sleeve Edge

After getting my sleeve situation worked out, it was time to move on to the body of the tunic.  I had decided to use View A for the body with the gathered yoke shoulder.  As much as I love the look of pintucks, with the way my machine has been acting up, I was not sure that sewing pintucks was a good idea.

I was working from the size 24, but needed to add 1.5 inches to the bust (I decided to add a total of 3 inches for ease) and 12 inches at the hips.  I did a sort of modified FBA, that included adding the hip width all in one step.

To begin with, I drew my cutting lines on the pattern.  Because I needed to keep the armscye shape the same, and I wanted to keep the upper width that would connect to the yoke the same, I decided to hinge my pattern right at the corners of the armscye.

B5997 Adjustment Lines

After cutting the pattern on these lines, I taped the pattern to the table with the adjustments of +.75 inches at the bust line, and and +3 inches at the hip.  Over 4 seams that results in 3 inches at the bust and 12 inches at the hips.

B5997 Adjusted and Taped

Once the adjustments were made, I laid my Swedish tracing paper over top of the pattern and traced the outer edges, adjusting the bottom of the pattern to the correct shape.

B5997 Getting traced/being redrawn

This is the finished front pattern piece adjusted for my dimensions, and then reshaped at the bottom. When you adjust a pattern it is very important to transfer all the pattern markings to the correct places.

B5997 Finished Front Pattern Piece

Next up, I adjusted the back pattern piece with the same procedure as was used for the front pattern piece.  You will note that on the back piece there was no overlap between the armscye triangle and the lower right section.  Back pieces are shaped slightly different that front pieces (obviously), and in truth I probably could have drawn one line from the top of the armscye to the lower hem and adjusted the piece that way.  It just felt a bit more consistent to do the adjustment this way.

B5997 Back Pattern Piece Adjustment

This is the finished back piece.  Again, very important to transfer all those pattern markings.  Sorry, I didn't take a picture of the full piece.

B5997 Back Pattern Piece Adjusted and Marked

So, those were the adjustments that I made to Butterick's B5997 to make it better fit my plus size shape.

I would like to make this pattern in a sleeveless version, but will probably wait til next warm sewing season to do that.  I do intend to make a few more versions of this for the Fall.  Maybe if my machine will behave I will even make the pintuck version.  Some changes I will make:  I would like to add a little more fullness to the sleeve at the bicep.  Only maybe a half inch, and I would also like to open the armscye up about .75 inches.  Two minor tweaks that I think will make for a bit better fit through the biceps.  I can also see banding the sleeve now that we have taken the puffiness out.  I put a rubber band around the bottom of the sleeve to see how it would look, and I think that this is just the right amount of fullness for banding.

As touched on earlier, I used French seam construction for the entire garment, and finished my sleeves and hem with machine rolling.  In future makes of this pattern, I will continue to use the French seams (they just worked beautifully for this, even the gathers at the yoke went in like a dream) but will hand turn my hems.  Even with careful attention, I still have a slight ripple effect on the hem.

Just like Mary mentioned in her review, make sure to stay stitch your collar and v-neck edges, they can easily stretch.  Really, do it as soon as you cut the fabric!

All in all, I really like this pattern and am happy that I took the time to make the necessary adjustments.  This is the epitome of my style and I know it will get plenty of use.

So tell me friends, how do you go about drawing your pattern adjustments?  Do you trace, or put the pattern on top and draw around it?  Maybe you just add more paper to the actual pattern?