Thursday, November 08, 2018

Animal Instinct

Prints of the animal variety continue to reign supreme.  Dorcas, Brand Ambassador for Sew Much Fabric, is the cat's meow in her new knit top. The pattern is a quick make and with the print, she has a top with a whole lot of style!  Thanks, Dorcas!


I don't know about you but I was over the year of the sleeve a year ago! To me, nothing is more interesting on a garment than the collar. Burda 6990 has long been a favorite of mine and yet this is the first time I've made View E that has the giant funnel collar. 

Originally, when I received this great knit from Roz at Sew Much Fabric, the Khaki Green Animal Print Rayon Jersey, I had in mind making a dress. However, after living with it a few days it announced that it wanted to be this top. (Yes, my fabric speaks to me!)

The collar of this top is just a big, long funnel. To give it some drape I lined it with Sew Much Fabric's Tricot lining:

To prevent the lining from showing I pulled it up about a half inch prior to attaching it to the neckline. 

I also lined the body of my shirt and love the feel of the Tricot: The lining in the collar really makes a nice drape:

I made the top tunic length and know I'll really enjoy wearing it as the weather cools down.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Burda Style 11/2018

To purchase, go to smfabric.com

All Styles at a Glance


Line Drawings



Pant Suits-A trend going into Spring 2019
Jacket # 119- Spruce Green Ponte Knit
(Sold Out)

Easy Elegance

Downtown Cool
Knit Top #113- Cobalt Rayon Jersey Knit

Cozy and Stylish

Plus Size
Weekend Getaway
Top#124 -Navy/Daffodil Yellow Viscose Poplin

Faux Wrap Dress
Dress #121A- Black/White Houndstooth Double Knit

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Western-Inspired!

If you keep up with the fall trends, you know that Western Wear is on the fashion radar and will continue into spring 2019.  Kasey made this skirt using faux suede that was in stock a few years ago.  She gave so many great tips that I wanted to post it so it would help others that have this fabric.  You can check out other faux leathers on the website here.  Thanks, Kasey!


I’ve finally used my faux suede! I don’t remember what the original project idea was, or if I’ve always planned on a skirt, but when I got my sashiko machine, I thought it’d be a fun fabric to try. The suede was very easy to cut with a rotary cutter, I recommend that over scissors. It also took to ironing and steaming well, but I used a pressing cloth just to be safe when working the outside of the skirt.

What is sashiko? It’s a traditional style of Japanese quilting – I’m sure we’ve all seen it, usually white stitching on indigo fabric – and this machine imitates the look of hand stitching, wonderful news for my hands! And suede lends itself so well to hand stitching/ topstitching details, I was eager to try.


 Hint: I basted the skirt closed for the final fitting, so I could take the seam back out and do all the topstitching flat instead of trying to do it with the skirt in the round.

I also got to use some traditional leather techniques; that’s one of the great things about faux leathers and suedes, you can use regular sewing or specialty leather techniques. I chose lapped seams in conjunction with “hand stitching” to highlight the details of the pattern.

Another great thing about faux suede is you can wash it! How wonderful is that? And it does pretty well getting “half dry” in the dryer too. In fact, the more you wash faux suede, the softer it gets. Vogue Sewing recommends using fine needles with short stitches; this seemed counter-intuitive as the suede was rather thick, so I tested it; Vogue recommends finer needles and smaller stitches for a reason! I used a number 80 universal, as well as a 2.4 mm stitch length. When I used a topstitching, jeans or leather needle with longer stitches, I kept getting machine jams and skipped stitches.
Another great product for suede – wonder clips. Pinning with regular pins was difficult at times; I’m not sure what it was, but sometimes the pins would slip through just fine, other times I met with a lot of resistance, to the point I was bending pins.

When you make lapped seams with leather, you don’t actually have to sew it, you can glue or fuse the layers together. Since I was adding the sashiko machine stitches, I didn’t have any qualms, but I tested my preferred double-sided fusible tape, and it held pretty well. Yes, if I tried to actually pull apart the layers, they did come undone, but I think as long as there’s no undue stress on the seam it would hold just fine.


So what pattern did I use? Good ol’ V7910, view C. There’s a side yoke that gave me the impression of chaps, and also made a great place for embroidery! 





I used a cutaway mesh stabilizer on the underside, and a wash away stabilizer on top so the stitches wouldn’t sink in (if you think you see plastic in the embroidery in the picture, you do – I haven’t yet given the skirt its final rinse to remove the rest of the wash away.)
As for the final details, I did much more machine stitching than I usually would because I was finding the fabric to be very firm; too firm for me to hand sew well. I machine stitched the waistband instead of hand stitching; 

I turned up a small hem for the bottom, and then hand stitched the lining down. 



I also used my button-sewing foot to attach the hook and eye; I thought the three neat little knobs of thread showing on the outside were worth saving my hands for the needed handwork – the lining hem and zipper. I did try to sew in the zipper by machine, but alas, it didn’t turn out well. I promise Fashionistas, one day I’ll master the machine zipper! The good news is taking stitches out of the faux suede was super easy, a little steam and the holes disappeared.

Speaking of, I used a metal zipper for the skirt as I felt it matched the project better; but you know a metal zipper means a zipper underlay to save our delicates from snagging. Normally I would have used self-fabric to make the underlay, but was dreading hand-sewing the faux suede. By luck, as I was flipping through Vogue Sewing I saw where they used a length of petersham instead of fabric – ah ha! I knew that would be much easier to stitch in. And further luck produced 2” wide double-faced satin ribbon in my stash, left over from another project that was nearly the same shade of aubergine as my charmeuse silk lining. 

Now I have a skirt that's beautiful inside and out! If you'd like to read more about the sashiko stitching or embroidery, read about it on my blog

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Luxe Sportswear

Who says you can’t be comfortable and fabulous?!  Dorcas, Brand Ambassador for Sew Much Fabric, has sewn up an outfit that is lounge-worthy for hanging out at home but also ready to run errands at the chicest of boutiques!  Thanks, Dorcas!!

It's hard for me to imagine now but years ago when I first started sewing I was deathly afraid of knits! Oh, I would turn that pattern envelope over so fast to see the suggested fabrics and automatically rule out anything that called for a knit. Now, no fabric takes me to my happy place faster than a great knit. 



This outfit is comprised of two of my favorite knits, rayon jersey and ponte. The teal/animal print jersey  (Sold Out) from Sew Much Fabric is so cool! I love this unusual combination of a geometric pattern  over an animal print:

The pattern I used is my favorite knit tunic Vogue 8952. I've made this pattern so many times and never tire of it.  As for the pants, now here is some real love! This is my first make of the Style Arc Sailor Sue Palazzo Pants and I LOVE them! 


This pair is made from a wonderful Blue Jean/ Saffron Reversible Knit (Sold Out but in this colorway) from Sew Much Fabric that I've had for a while. Perfect weight for these pants:

I absolutely love this outfit! So comfortable and made with these fabulous knits from Roz it makes me now want to rule out using any patterns made for wovens!


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fall 2018 Must- Have Trends


Fall 2018 Must-Haves are pieces with trendy silhouettes that you can fit into your wardrobe to update it for the cold season. And have fun doing it!  Look at these great fabric choices from Sew Much Fabric!  Let’s explore three of these many exciting trends!




Trend #1 – Plaids 
Plaids are everywhere in many bright colors and patterns.  Think outside the box. Plaids are not just for jackets. 



A classic style that will take you to work easily and turn heads when you make it in Black/Ivory Wool Plaid Suiting or Black/Red Plaid Wool Plaid.  
Use Vogue 9209 for a classic look or McCalls 7813 for the trendy, flirty look to wear for drinks after work or a dinner date with that special person.












Trend #2 Menswear Blazers

Who would think that this boxy menswear-inspired jacket would be back in so many different versions? Well, here it is! 


Oversize and comfortable, this style is great to wear to a football game or a fall festival! Make this blazer in the season's trending color, Peacock Blue Stretch Wool using McCalls 7818. Pair with your favorite pair of jeans.








Use the Navy/Pearl Grey Pinstripe Double Faced Wool for the classic blazer with Butterick 5926. Kick it up a notch with black faux leather trim and wear it to a dinner party with a flirty black dress!








Trend #3 Animal Prints
They’re back. Actually, they never left. The animal prints are always around. And whether you like them a little or a lot, you can incorporate them into your wardrobe in various ways. Growl!!!


Go to movie night in style wearing this top made from
Teal/Brown Animal Print Jersey Knit (Sold Out) from Vogue 9335. 


Try this flirty dress in Shades of Brown Animal Print Viscose Jersey Knit in Butterick 6585.  Great to wear to a weekend jazz concert! 
Whatever your choices are from this great selection of fabrics, have fun sewing!  Remember to be creative and understand that the traditional uses for fabrics have evolved.  Have a great October!

Fabric ideas posted by Beverly Gatterson, who teaches fashion design at the Art Institute of Houston.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

It's A Wrap!

Wrap dresses are so versatile and figure flattering!  Kasey added this fashion classic to her closet using a 16oz Ponte Knit in Grey with pretty machine embroidery for a personal touch. You can follow Kasey at Kasey Sasser Embroidery and Gifts.  Thanks, Kasey!




Butterick 5030



I’ve just finished my first wrap dress, Butterick 5030. The pattern calls for wovens, as well as “matted jersey”; I used the 16oz ponté in grey. As I have previously said about this ponté, the fabric is lovely to work with, well behaved, and I had no problems with it. I even used a heavy embroidery design and the fabric is holding it well.




This pattern has a variety of sleeve and collar options, including facings, but I chose to do a simple turned edge to finish the neck and hemline. 

The ponté doesn’t ravel so I didn’t bother to overcast the raw edge, though of course, you could to keep things tidy. I serged the major construction seams and chose a topstitch to finish the neckline, hem and sleeves.

I did add in-seam pockets to the skirt, and to help support them in the dress I added twill stay tape at the waistline.

 I used a lighter weight stay tape along the rest of the waistline as well as the pocket edges.


I also added the twill tape to the shoulders; the ponté is a bit heavy, and since much of the weight will be hanging from the shoulders I wanted to support the dress. (I used a doubled-sided positioning tape to keep the twill in place, but I didn’t care for the product much, was a bit gummy on my needles and pins.)


The pattern calls for “hook and eye” for the closure, but otherwise only uses the belt to close it. I used the sturdier “trouser” hook and eye and placed one on each side (don’t forget to use the stitches Eileen taught us!)

I chose the sash belt for this dress, mostly so I’d have room for embroidery! I used topstitching again to finish the turned edge, but when I tried on the dress a couple of stitches popped in the belt; I haven’t found them yet but when I do I will repair them with a knit stitch. I think the straight stitch will be OK on the main body of the dress, but since the fabric stretches and the belt will be pulled tight, topstitching with the knit stitch (the lightning stitch) would probably have been better. If I find any stitches popping on the dress, I’ll repair them the same way.





As for stabilizing the neckline, I used a double-sided fusible stay tape; since it’s a knit, and on the bias to boot so I didn’t want any sagging. It’s a permanent adhesive, not a piece of fabric, so it moves with the knit but allows it to keep its shape.  I did use a regular knit stay tape along the front edges of the skirt, just because they were long and free-hanging.

So why the peacock embroidery? To match my little jacket from last fall! I used the remaining fabric for this dress and decided to have it match. Perhaps not the chicest of travel outfits, but I think it’s comfy and will serve me well on long flights and car rides. If you’d like details on how I did the embroidery, visit my blog here.