Friday, November 20, 2015

Burda Style 2015 Best of Blogging

Friends, did you hear?  I was nominated and chosen for the Burda Style 2015 Best of Blogging List!  I know some of you heard, because you had to be the one's to nominate me.

When a reader contacted me to say that I was being honored, I thought they must have been reading the list wrong or something.  So to all my readers I just want to say a huge

Thank You!!!!

I am truly honored that you all enjoy reading my ramblings enough to nominate me.  Sewing friends are the best!  

As a result of this honor, I was able to choose five Burda Style patterns of my liking.  I was thrilled since they have such variation of patterns, but also apprehensive since I have given them a hard time in the past about their boxy plus size offerings.  Alas, I was able to go through their offerings and find some patterns I think will sew up nicely.

I thought you all might want to see what I chose, so here goes (all photos below are from and should be linked back to their actual page):

Burda Style 11/2015 #129 Button Up Blouse

Burda Style Button Up Blouse 11/2015 #129

I chose this blouse because it looks like a nice starting point for a TNT button up blouse.  Blouses like this are easy to elongate to tunic length, and can look really nice over leggings.

Burda Style 08/2011  #139 Wrap Tunic Dress

Burda Style 08/2011 #139 Wrap Tunic Dress

I have been wanting to make this Wrap Tunic since last year when Andie at Sew Pretty in Pink sewed it up for the Curvy Sewing Collective's Wrapalong.  You can see her version here.  BTW- If you follow Andie on Instagram make sure to check out the sweet contest she is running!

Burda Style 02/2015 #134 Casual Blouse

Burda Style 02/2015 #134 Casual Top

This Casual Top spoke to me.  It's simple enough that if one wanted to play around with their sewing machine's fancy stitches and spruce it up a bit there is room for that, but it would still look great just the way it is.

Burda Style 02/2015 #133 Fold Blouse

Burda Style 02/2015 #133 Fold Blouse

This Fold Blouse is begging me to make it before Christmas arrives.  It would be beautiful in a Christmas Red, or Emerald Green, don't you think?  It screams comfortable elegance.

Burda Style 01/2012 #134AB Belted Kimono

Burda Style 01/2012  #134AB Belted Kimono

Last but not least, I have been in need of a house jacket for some time now.  When I came across this Belted Kimono, I knew it had potential to be just what I needed to make that house jacket.  Envision this made up in Titanium Silk Velvet with Amethyst Satin Trim!  I get giddy just considering it.  Oh the possibilities!

I haven't decided which of these patterns I am going to make first.  Which one would you all like to see?

Also, what are some good fabric substitutions for washed silk?  It is so hard to find, and WOW is it expensive when you do.  I was thinking about making wearable muslins in peach skin since I have quite a bit of it hiding in my stash.  

Friends, once again I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for nominating me for this honor.  You guys are great!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Two For One: Butterick 5997 and McCalls 7204

Friends, these are two projects that have been sewn for ages, but I just hadn't gotten around to photographing!

McCalls 7204 and Butterick 5997

Occasionally, I sew something that my husband just goes ga ga for.  This is one of those outfits!  When I downloaded the pictures, I realized that he had taken over 200 shots.  I can always tell how much he likes something I have sewn by the amount of photos he takes.

Butterick 5997 View B is actually quite long

As you can see here, McCalls 7204 (the cardigan) ended up being quite long.  I am five foot six inches tall.  This thing nearly drags the ground!  I did sew view B which is the longer of the two cardigans, but I was expecting mid thigh to knee, not mid shin!  I love it though.  I wish I remembered where I had purchased this Cerulean Blue knit fabric, because I would order more.  I just love it!

The tunic underneath is Butterick 5997.  This isn't the first Butterick 5997 that I have made.  I went sleeveless with this version though and it is so comfy.

Butterick 5997 Tunic in a Nani Iro Japanese Print

The fabric for this tunic is a double gauze that was purchased from a local quilt and fabric shop called Crimson Tate.  It is a Nani Iro print, and I love the combination of flowers and birds.  The color palette is just beautiful, too.  Unfortunately, it does not appear to still be available on the Crimson Tate website, but there are some other great Nani Iro prints still available.

I added three inch side slits to the shirt since I made it tunic length.  That just helps with some extra space for when you sit down.

Couldn't resist throwing in this photo taken during the golden hour!  Probably should have pressed the center line out before taking the photos, but I kind of forgot.

Would you believe that in August I cut almost 8 inches off my hair?

Yes, my Sperry's match.  The ground was much too soft for cute shoes.  In this photo you can see how the waist comes down at an angle on the cardigan.  You can also see just how long the cardigan really turned out.

One last photo for good measure!  The cardigan is so soft and lovely.  It will get plenty of use this Fall and Winter.

I won't go much in to the construction of Butterick 5997.  Aside from making the shirt sleeveless and using self binding to finish the armscye, I didn't make any changes from my previous version.  I keep saying I am going to make the pintuck version, and then I get lazy.

For McCalls 7204, I mostly followed the directions on the pattern.  I did add clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams and the waist seam.  I am really glad that I did this.  I think with this fabric the waist especially would have gone all wonky had I not.  I also cut the width of the front band/collar in half.  I didn't want it to fold back on itself.  I am glad that I made this change, and would continue it in to the next time I make McCalls 7204.  This was a really quick cut and sew.  Even with me hand rolling the hem (I also hand rolled the hem on Butterick 5997), the cardigan was made cut to finish in less than 3 hours.

I am really enjoying hand sewing lately.  Have any of you been doing much hand sewing?  I started my sewing career (ha) hand sewing at four years old.  I did a lot of embroidery and cross stitch back then.  I think now, I like the control that hand stitching gives me.  Sometimes I feel like my machine has a mind of it's own, and I am it's muse.

I think that I would like to next sew McCalls 7204 in a chunky sweater knit.  Let me know in the comments if you have seen any great sweater knits that I should have a look at.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Misty Pull-On Jeans Sewalong Parade of Jeans

Friends, here is the moment you all have been waiting for (maybe)!  The Misty Pull-On Jeans Link Party is open for business.

The Details:  You can begin posting at any time.  You are welcome to post as many pair of Misty Jeans as you are willing to make.  You can post pictures until the end of the day (EDT) on November 30th, 2015.  Then the voting begins.  Voting will continue until days end (EDT) December 10th, 2015.  The winner will receive a prize packet including a $50 gift certificate, and 3 patterns of your choice from Style Arc.  More prizes may be added as the contest continues.  Good luck, and let's see those jeans!

One more thing...please head over to the Curvy Sewing Collective and post your Misty Jean Photos on their flickr group.  Nothing would make me happier than seeing lots of jeans on the CSC, so that we can help other women overcome their fear of sewing pants!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Finished Product - Style Arc Misty Pull-On Jeans Sewalong

Friends, I am so glad to be finally posting this post!

Style Arc Misty Pull-On Jeans - Plus Size Edition

I want you all to know that I have not made any alterations to the pattern in these pictures.  This is how the jeans sewed up straight from the package (although I did size down 2 sizes).  You can see the wrinkling across the knees is still there.

Style Arc Misty Pull-On Jeans from the back

I feel pretty alright about the fit through the behind.  My sweet husband didn't notice that the building had left dust all over my back, so if you can, please ignore it.

Style Arc Misty Pull-On Jeans Knock Knee Adjustment Needed

I am not mad at the fit here in the front.  It is just as good as RTW if not a little better.  I knew going in that I need a knock-knee adjustment, but I really wanted to sew for the sewalong straight from the pattern.  I think it can be intimidating for beginners when we do a sewalong and then start making all kinds of adjustments.  I just wanted to show what you get (or should I say what I get?) without any changes.  I just want to be clear on that.

I didn't photograph the tummy area of the jeans.  Be mad at me if you want.  The fit there is pretty good.  I will be lengthening the front crotch curve a little in the future, but that is the only adjustment I will be making.  The elastic ended up coming in about an inch below my natural waist.

Style Arc Misty Pull-On Jeans Sway Back Adjustment Needed

Those smile lines at the bottom of my bum are the only issue with the fit of the back of the jeans for me.  This indicates that I need a pants swayback adjustment.  Just a minor one though.  Look at that pattern matching!  Not only did they match up from side to side, but the pattern continues on through the yoke.  Boy is my elbow sore from patting myself on the back!  My pockets have disappeared in to the fabric.

Now, with the pictures out of the way, let's just talk about these pants for a minute.  These pants are comfortable.  I imagine that these feel the way those pajama jeans from TV informercials felt.  Some of that may be the fabric I chose to use, but I have heard that same sentiment from other sewists as well.   What isn't comfortable about them is that exposed elastic waist, but in all fairness I have never liked the feel of elastic against my skin.  I will be going back and removing the elastic and encasing it with the jeans fabric.  When I make these in the future, I will only make them with encased elastic.  I do believe that I will make more of these in the future, but with all the necessary adjustments.

Let's talk about how you can get in on the fun of the Misty Jeans Sewalong.  If you search #mistyjeanssewalong on Instagram, you can see where some sewist are having discussions and posting pictures of their Misty Jeans.  Please feel free to join the conversation!

On Sunday, November 15th I am going to post a link party that you all can link your Misty Jeans to after you make them.  You will be able to post pictures of your Misty Jeans from any online picture posting source (flickr, Google Photos, etc.) as well as from your blog if you have one.  The link party will stay open for posts through November 30th.  Then, we will start live voting for the jeans on December 1st.  I can't quite tell you about the prize pack yet, but promise I will have all the details up in the link party.

So tell me friends, how are you doing on your Misty Jeans?  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sewing the Waist and Finishing Touches - Style Arc Misty Jeans Sewalong

You who!?!  Where'd ya go?

Sorry, Friends!  Halloween costume making got the better of me towards week's end.  Captain America was very happy with his costume though!

Captain America

I may do a post about his costume at a later date.  That star in the middle of his chest lights up!

Anyway, back to the Misty Jeans.

To attach the waist band, you have to decide on the size of your waistband.  I did not use the waistband guide for this step.  There are so many different types of elastic out that have varying stretch characteristics, that I felt it better to determine the elastic size myself.  I first put the elastic around my natural waist to my desired amount of tightness, then made sure that the elastic would stretch enough to go over my hips with relative ease.  I cut two pieces of the elastic to this length with about an inch of extra length added in for overlap where we will be sewing the elastic together to make a round waistband.

ZigZag Stitch 5.0 Width 1.0 Length

I set my sewing machine for a zigzag stitch (#5 on my machine) with a 5.0 stitch width and a 1.0 stitch length.  On a zigzag stitch, 1.0 is a tight stitch length that will place your stitches close together.

Joining the Ends of the Elastic

Next, I took one piece of my already cut to length elastic, brought it together like a belt would go together (a round loop, with no twisting of the elastic, just one round solid loop) and overlapped the elastic pieces by about 1/2 inch.  Then, I sewed the elastic together with my zigzag stitch.  I started about 1/4 inch from the top edge of the elastic.  Then I sewed to the bottom edge, reversed my stitch and sewed all the way back up to the top of the elastic, set my stitch back forward, and sewed to the bottom edge again.  This might be over kill, but it is what I always do when I am sewing elastic together.


This is what your seam on your elastic will look like once you are finished.  Just a nice solid line of stitching that will keep the elastic together, and keep it from fraying.

Trim the Elastic to Keep it Neat

Next, I trimmed away the extra elastic on both sides of the band, leaving a scant 1/4 inch outside the seam.  Now just repeat these steps to make a band out of your second piece of elastic.

ZigZag Stitch 5.0 Width 2.0 Length

Once both bands were joined it was time to sew the two bands together.  I will continue with a zigzag stitch with a 5.0 width, but I will change the stitch length to 2.0 so that there is space between the stitches.

Evenly Spaced Seams

In this step it is important to make sure that the areas you sewed to join your elastic to form bands are on opposite sides of the waistband.  If you put them together, it would cause problems with bulk, and the stress of those seams does not need to be in the same place.  Spread the love!

I only used two needles to hold the elastic together here.  You want to get your zigzag stitch as close to the edge of your elastic as you are comfortable with.  There is no reason to stretch the elastic as you are sewing at this point.  If you are the brave type and want to sew a straight stitch instead of a zigzag, you will have to stretch your elastic as you go, but I don't recommend trying that if you are a beginner.  You will get an opportunity to sew a stretched seam here in a few steps if you wish.

These Clips Rock

As I was sewing, the elastic bands were trying to move around a little on me, so every now and again I would throw one of these little clips on there in the interest of straightness.  It isn't necessary, but it helped.

Center Front Pinned in Place

Once you have joined your two pieces of elastic together, it is time to attach the elastic to the waistband.  Style Arc gives you directions that say to attach the waistband to the pants, because it gives you creative freedom to decide what method you want to use to join the two.  A really awesome thing about the double thickness of elastic is that you could use the two pieces of elastic to encase the top of the pants, and that would be a really awesome finish.  It is however a harder feat to achieve, so in the interest of keeping these pants beginner friendly, I am using the easiest method I am aware of.

Nancy Zieman goes in to this a bit on her website, except her tutorial that I found was for encasing the elastic with the pant fabric (I will encase the elastic on the next pair of Misty's that I make, but I won't be using this method).  With the Misty Jeans pattern, the elastic is actually part of the design element.  Still, her tutorial is a good one that will help with this step.  

You want to pin your elastic to the outside/right side of your pants.  I placed pins first at my two side seams, using the areas where I had sewn each elastic loop together as my quides.  Then I pinned my center front and center back.  After that, I placed a pin evenly between each of the pins that was already there for a total of eight pins.

 You can see from the picture above that my elastic is going to have to stretch to be the same width as my pant fabric.

This gives you a better idea of what this will look like once it is in your sewing machine and under the needle.  I am using the same zigzag stitch that I used to attach the two pieces of elastic to each other (5.0 wide, 2.0 length).  Once I have placed the needle in to the fabric, I will gently stretch the elastic to meet the pant material using my left hand to stretch behind the needle, and my right hand to stretch in front of the needle.  It is very important not to try to use the needle and one hand to stretch the elastic.  This can mess up the timing on your machine, break needles, and just wreak all kinds of havoc.

You could just stop at this step and be done with the waistband.  I wanted to run a row of topstitching along the top of the pant at the waist attachment to help keep the elastic neat and turned in the proper direction.  To do this, I turned my elastic up (how it would be when I wear the pants).  I set my machine for a straight stitch with a 3.0 length.  Then I stretched the elastic to it's maximum stretch and ran a stitch through the pant fabric, and the elastic that is on the inside of the pants (where we had attached the elastic to the pants).

Broken Needle #1

Over the course of this seam, I proceeded to break not one, but two needles.  This was completely my fault and not my machines.

Broken Needle #2

I have my machine set to stop with the needle down in the fabric.  When you are sewing through elastic that you are having to stretch by hand, you always want the machine to stop with the needle up.  Otherwise, when you let go of the fabric/elastic to readjust the area you are stretching the elastic will move and snap your needle.

If you have never snapped a needle before what kind of sewing sorcerer are you, there are some things that you will want to know here.  It is very important to make sure that the bottom of the needle does not drop down in to your machine as it is a PITA to try to retrieve and could do major damage to your machine if you tried to sew and forgot the needle piece was in there.  I generally go ahead and cut the thread with the fabric and presser foot still in place, remove the broken needle piece, and then go about changing my needle.  You will just want to start  your stitches about three stitches back from the point where you broke the needle.

Front of Style Arc Misty Jeans

Back of Style Arc Misty Jeans

Once you have finished the topstitching, the front and back of your jeans will look something like the pictures above.  See how the fabric puckers evenly between each stitch?  That is what we are going for.  I know that some of the more advanced sewist participating in the sewalong are using the harder method of encasing the pant fabric between the two elastic pieces.  I can't wait to see how those jeans turn out.

Our final step here is to sew the lower hem of the pants.

For this step you will need to employ a friend, spouse, or kiddo to pin the your hem.  Put your Misty Jeans on inside out and flip the lower hem up.  Have your helper get the hem even and pin it in place (then go check it in the mirror).

Notice my helper pinned the pins in the wrong direction

Once you are satisfied with the hem, take your pants off, and press the hem in place.  I like to do this around a tailor's ham, but have had equal success just pressing the hem flat.

Proper Pin Placement

After you have pressed your seam and then removed the pins, it is time to set up your sewing machine for this final step.

Insert a double needle, select the double needle setting if your machine has that function.  Select a straight stitch with a 3.0 stitch length.

If your machine has a removable free arm, take it off to reveal your perfect space for sewing pant hems.  If you don't have a removable free arm (why does that now sound right) then you can still sew this, the free arm just makes it a little easier is all.

Turn your pants right side out and remove your pins.  Your pressed edge will be your guide.  Line the pressed edge of your pants hem up with the one inch line on the throat plate of your machine.  If you don't have a one inch line, just put a piece of tape one inch out from the center point where your needle would align for a straight stitch.  Does that make sense?  I like to start hem stitching at my inseam.  Just sew a twin needle stitch all the way around the pant hem, and do the same for the other leg, making sure to overlap your stitches at the beginning/end for a few stitches.  Now press the hem to set the stitches, trim your excess fabric from the inside of the hem, and guess what?  WE ARE DONE!!!  Yay!

Neatly Trimmed Hem

Finished Hem

Friends, thank you so much for sticking with me through the ups and downs of October and making it to the end of this Sewalong.  You are real troopers!  Tomorrow (hopefully) I will have the reveal post up along with the details for entering your own Misty Jeans into the sewalong to win cool swag.  I can tell you today that I have decided to leave the entry open til November 30th.  If you guys are having half the craziness in your lives that I am having, I know that you will need the extra time.