Sunday, May 8, 2016

A New Spring Dress, B5522

Well I'm back ! I really think having to get pictures taken will do me in as a blogger! I got enough pics taken however  today for three blog posts, I hope.

Spring weather is finally here so it was a good day for my new spring dress. I used B5522  (OOP) but simplified the sleeves and that was not easy to do !! I had to lay all those individual pieces one on top of the other keeping in mind the seam allowances and they turned out a little on the small size.

 The fabric is a poly/lycra bought at Fabricville.

I also changed the neckline for my dress to utilize part of the fabric's border print but I can't say I love the result. I think I should have lowered the neckline some but it's OK I guess.

I used a different part of the border for  the sleeves.

I really like the freedom of this A-line silhouette and the way it glides over the figure. It's so much easier to wear than a sheath dress although  I love  the slim fit of  a sheath. I had used this pattern for the body of this dress a couple of years ago and I've pulled it out of my closet many times. I don't love this one as much, I have to admit,  but both are really comfortable to wear.

It's very windy today so the dress is billowing out a bit.


What am I working on now? I'm agonizing over the collar of Sandra Betzina's V1494. I tell you, that collar makes no sense! Has anyone else made this coat?

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mums out there. I'm a happy one because each of my three children have called me today! They always do but I have this fear that one of them will forget me which is silly because they never do!!

More later from,

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Vogue 1493 , My Way or A Relaxed Denim Jacket

I loved Vogue 1493    as soon as I saw it.Then I watched this  irritating video on the McCall's website and loved it even more. But I knew that to justify buying the pattern and making the jacket , it would have to be something I would wear more than once or twice. I shopped my fabric stash and came up  with the beautiful shirt weight  denim in a watermark print that had been waiting for years to be used.

I never really entertained the idea of the bias strip trim shown on the pattern, however. My idea was to instead quilt the front and  sleeve bands. I tried , using cotton flannel  between the fabric layers but that proved too stiff. Instead , I sewed multiple rows of top stitching and decided, for whatever reason, to use matching thread which doesn't show up at all.

As you can see, I opted for patch pockets after sewing the  inseam pockets  and not liking the result.
I was trying to copy these pockets which I had pinned to my pockets board  on Pinterest.

When that didn't work ( I really missed the mark there, didn't I ! )  and I had no  fabric left, I turned them upside down because I liked them better that way and they seem to mimic the sleeve bands.

This garment is very different for me. I like it a lot but every time I catch a glimpse of myself in it , I think choir  or graduation gown and hubby thought artist smock !

Now about the pattern. It has a princess seam and when I tried it on the seam was way below my bust. As a matter of fact , everything was too low including the waist and pockets. I ended up  raising the whole thing by another 3/4" at the the shoulders and then cutting the extra small sleeves.I had cut a size Medium and that was way too big.  ( I'm 5'4 1/2'' tall and weigh 135 lbs if that helps anybody on what size to make for this one. ).A lot of draping was necessary to get this thing to look right.
The side seams were curved at the waist and that didn't seem to jive with the design of the jacket so I straightened that out.

This was a very time consuming project because of the extra fitting issues, the weird sleeves which each took one hour to construct and also because I added Hong Kong finishing to most of the seams
before I put the jacket together. That's why you see such wide seams in there. I didn't trim away excess after taking everything in to a smaller size.

How weird  is this part!!!

I've worn my jacket to good reviews and I regard it as a fun and casual piece. It will take the place of cardigans  this spring and summer. I can see it with white jeans , or with a simple tank dress too. I'm glad I got this one out of my system and can now go on to simpler things. However, I've run out of hangers and will have to give some things away first !!

I do hope you had time to sew this weekend and that you all have a good week filled with lovely spring weather.

More later from

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Easter Outfit and Surefit Designs

I hope everyone had a great Easter, I know I did.  And yesterday I spent the whole afternoon with Ann of  Ann's Fashion Studio now called Ann Made . We have become very good friends and enjoyed lunch and fabric shopping together. Spending time with sewing friends is always so special, I think.

I didn't get my Easter outfit finished on time but it didn't matter because Winter had made its appearance again last week but I have it ready now to show you.

 It consists of three pieces. The first two are a funnel neck top  made entirely from my SFD sloper and by following Glenda's instructions on a funnel neckline in the Dress Kit book on page . I admit I didn't lower my neckline enough and it fits rather tightly but is still wearable.


The skirt is yet another Rachel Cowlan  ( V1247 ). Look here to see the changes I make to the pattern.. the fabric is a textured polyester knit from  Fabricville but not available online.

The jacket is made with a quilted look textured knit also from Fabricville. This jacket was a real challenge because the fabric is spongy which resulted in bulky seams and it easily snags  but I love the result.

I designed it by first using Sally Silhouette from Surefit Designs which is a great tool and is free. I use it a lot when planning my seasonal pieces and when I get overwhelmed by all the fabric I have and continue to buy ! Lol.

I used my SFD sloper, Burda 6988 and Silhouette Patterns 1825  to draft my pattern. I used the shoulder  armscye , back and sleeve  of my  SFD sloper, the French dart and side  from 6988 and the neckline, collar  and front opening of the Silhouette Pattern,

Do you like my buttons? I couldn't find large navy buttons so I covered two mismatched ones I had on hand. First I padded them and then I used a rayon knit from my stash that matched the navy of the jacket perfectly. I didn't add  a shank to the buttons but merely sewed them to the jacket . I wanted them to lie flat. The real closures are snaps.

I lined the jacket with poly charmeuse.

I had lots of fun coming up with this outfit and designing the jacket using Surefit Designs as my starting point and I can't wait to do more.

Ooh ! The princess lines aren't attractive in the photo and I think it looks better in real life.

The spot you see on the jacket is the snap which I didn't get in the right place so I left it unsnapped.
I never get the snaps right! Never!

My outfit isn't perfect but I like it and will wear it to church first chance I get. I'm making a navy rayon knit top to go with the skirt and I'll wear the jacket with white pants later in the spring. As for the funnel neck top, it will probably only get worn as this outfit.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Answering Some Questions and a Surefit Designs Update

Happy Sunday everyone. I don't have a lot to show you today but I did want to address a couple of questions left for me in the comments section. I can't seem to get the version where you can reply to comments although I have it at Diana's Sewing Lessons. ???  And of course ,thank you to all who visit my little blog and a big thank you to you who leave comments. I love hearing what you think.

First of all, Andsoforth asked what pattern I used for last week's cardigan. It was loosely based on McCall's 6844. If you'd like to know what changes I made, please leave me your email and I'll be glad to explain how I achieved my look.

Judith Burgess wanted to know what pattern I had used for This jacket.


It's Silhouette Patterns 1825 and I would advise you to read my post concerning this pattern before buying it as I had issues with it.

And lastly, someone asked me ( I can't find the comment ) a while back for advice concerning starting up a Sewing Group and as that is something that I'm very happy to have done about 6 or 7 years ago and it is still going strong and is  very enjoyable, I'd be glad to  talk to you about this . If you leave me an message with your email address , I'll get back to you pronto.

Now about Surefit Designs. 

I've spent every chance I got in the last three weeks working on my body blueprint (sloper ), and testing for fit. My well fitting sloper has not come easily ! It certainly didn't fit me right out of the envelope.But I want to stress that Glenda Sparling is wonderful in helping with any issue in addition to providing a whole library of help videos and articles. I also want to thank Joy of Joyful Expressions (have you seen her videos? She's such a riot!! ) . Joy has been so kind in giving me help and advice. Thank you , again Joy, so much!

 Now to be fair, I've developed many fitting issues as I've gotten older. Long gone are the days when a size 10 fit me right out of my Vogue pattern envelopes (I've always loved Vogue ). If you're young, or not so young , or old like me and are slim and fit, you probably could plot that thing from the master pattern and get a great fit.

My issues are: sloping ,narrow  ,forward thrusting shoulders (Yeah, I know)
                        sway back
                        DD bust but narrow midriff and short waisted  (that one is hard) Surefit Designs                                                                 include a bust dart template which makes FBA's unnecessary.) 
                        rounded upper back ( due to many years as a teacher and just as many years                                       obsessed  with sewing)

Most of my challenges were in the back bodice and in my shaping the armscye to my narrow ,sloping shoulders. I think I'm happy with what I've developed and I do have a funnel neck top finished that is part of my Easter outfit. I'll show you on my dressform , which I've padded to my shape, and next week, I'll highlight how it looks on me.

My incentive to buy the system was because of my increasing interest in pattern drafting and designing what is in my head.I'm not ready yet to advise anyone to buy the Surefit Design system. I need to see if I can achieve that and if my sloper  actually makes it easier to achieve a good fit with the Big Four patterns Once I do, I'll be glad to give an opinion .

Tomorrow , I'm going to work on a jacket that is part of my Easter outfit and I want to use my sloper as a starting point. We shall see !!!

I'd really appreciate hearing more from other users of SFD, so pretty  please, leave me your thoughts.

More later from

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sewing in Outfits....Three Green Pieces

This weeks outfit has taken a while to put together. Two years to be exact.

I bought the beautiful green wool challis print and the green stretch denim from Vogue The jeans got made quite quickly using my TNT jeans pattern. The shirt took a lot longer because I  guess I've gotten so use to wearing knits ,that a tailored shirt hasn't been on the top of my list of garments to sew until lately. I'll tell you about the cardigan later.

First the shirt. Isn't it gorgeous?

I love paisley and the colours in this fabric are so pretty.
The pattern is B6026 which I muslined and showed you a couple of weeks ago.
I have nothing new to add. Of course I had my three alterations done , (FBA, Sway Back and Rounded Upper Back ) so this was a quick sew.Here's a closer look at the "darts" detail details

For the skinny jeans, I have developed a well fitting pattern by combining the fit of Sandra Betzina's
V1034 with the dimensions of the lower portion of an OOp McCall's pattern.
The denim is two sided and I think the "right side" is the brighter green, but I preferred the darker side. I used a quilting cotton from my stash for pockets , facings, etc.
I'm really happy to finally be able to wear these. They've been waiting in my dresser all this time to be worn. Well, you know, I have a lot of clothes so....

I did all the top stitching in black and I like that effect.

Now about the cardigan. I love it !! And look! It's reversible!!!

The wool/cotton knit was bought at Sacre Coupons Saint Pierre  in Montmartre when I was in Paris in September .Isn't it fun?

The blue/grey side is wool and the green/cream is cotton. This was an excellent quality fabric . By matching each green stripe , pinning and hand basting the green side , the navy stripes automatically matched up perfectly

.As for the hem and all the flat felled seams , I spent hours separating the two layers of fabric which is stitched every half inch.. I cut away the navy side close to the stitching and then used Steam-a-Seam to fold the green side and then top stitched.  For the hem, I separated 2 1/2 " of the two sides , then folded in and  hand stitched the edge.

.It was quite a challenge to achieve facings and pockets that matched each side but that's just the kind of thing I love about sewing.

The pockets were great fun to create. I love the result .
 I had planned on having the zippered pockets on the navy side open into the green side but I chickened out and they are just deep enough for keys or a debit card.I love the effect though.

I do love pockets to put my hands into though and I love the ones on the green side.

For the facing, I serged the edge with matching thread and top stitched in place.

 I love all three pieces of this outfit. I can't wait to wear the green pieces..

The cardigan is perfect for March weather here, at least this year.

I've already worn the navy version like this and it was  agreat hit with my Sewing Group.

Which one do you prefer?  My husband couldn't decide when I asked him and I can't either.
This has been such a long picture heavy post that I'm pooped and I need a nap so , more later from

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Coat for Tamara.....Simplicity 2311

I'm finally back after an absence of three weeks . Where was I you might ask ? Agonizing over Tamara's coat , that's where !

First about the fabric.You know, after 50 some years of sewing,  you'd think I'd know what fabric works for a specific project. Well, not always ! This was  a heavy wool double knit bought in Paris five years ago . The "vendeur" told me it was from Valentino's workshop !! I'm not sure I believe that but it was a beauty. The heavy was  the problem part although that never occurred to me at all before starting on this arduous sewing journey..

The pattern is Simplicity 2311, which I made before here and it turned out wonderfully.

At Christmas, my DD tried my coat on and I knew I had to remove the FBA, but otherwise my coat was a good fit on her so I thought I had it made . Oh, I was so wrong !

I decided that I'd use Fusi Knit on the whole coat except the sleeves to offset the knit factor. At first , everything went very well. I carefully used all my pressing tools to press all my seams so they wouldn't show on the outside and the outside layer was beautiful.

I sewed the kasha  lining to the wide facing piece and that looked beautiful too.

Next I sewed the lining and outer layers together and that's where all hell broke loose. I could not get the front of the coat to hang properly. That wide facing together with the front of the coat was just too heavy. I wish I had taken photos of the problem but I was too frustrated to think of that.

I'm not going to bore you with all the things I tried before that front was hanging as it should .Suffice it to say that it took me a whole week of  trial and error before I finally tamed that beast.

In the end it took me 3 1/2 weeks to finally be able to wrap that thing and send it to Tamara via Canada Post.

Here it is but the photos don't do it justice.

The collar is beautiful in this pattern.

I found the perfect buttons to dress up an otherwise plain garment. I made bound buttonholes which I wasn't satisfied with so I didn't photograph them.

I supported the buttons with smaller ones on the inside of the coat

The sleeves turned out beautifully. I added self made shoulder pads and  sleeve heads made with lambswool.

The back featured a yoke and a center back seam.

I fused grosgrain ribbon over the seam joining the facing to the lining with Steam-a-Seam. I actually removed it to see if it was causing the problem of the not hanging properly but that wasn't it so I refused it back on.

I added my self made monogram  ( my initials are  all D's ) which my daughter really likes. 

And that's all I'll say about what I think will be the last long  winter coat I'll ever make. Life is just too short for that much aggravation !

In the end, Tamara loves her coat. She sent me pictures of her wearing it at work. (Thank you daughter ).I've always thought my girl looks so pretty in red.

I only hope this coat is warm enough for those cold Ottawa winters. If not, I made it big enough for DD to wear over cardigans or blazers, etc.

I've since been busy with my Sewing Group and a three piece ensemble that is so fun to make. I also have received my Surefit Designs Dress kit and I've drafted my basic pattern . Next I have to sew my muslin and perfect the fit before I can start designing all the things that are in my head or on my Pinterest boards , Lol.

Wishing all of you lots of time to sew.