Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Eureka Skirt

I purchased the pattern from The Sewing Workshop for the unique lines of the skirt and the endless possibilities for the top, which can be made with knits and drapey wovens.  The skirt has no side seams except for the yoke.  The lower portion is placed on the bias.  I'm not sure what impact this has on knits, but the results are wonderful.  Here are the line drawings for the pattern:

The front is identical to the front, and the centers hang beautifully.  I forgot to shorten the pattern prior to cutting it out, so I took off 1 1/2 inches at the yoke, and 2 1/2 inches at the bottom for my 5'2 inch frame.  Next time I make it, I'll take the same amount off the yoke and use the line on the pattern for shortening so it will be slightly fuller at the bottom.  My fabric was a black ponte knit.

I was pleased with the results:

I can see this in a linen/rayon for summer or pretty cotton.  There will certainly be more in a ponte knit in my future.

Credit also goes to my trusty boxer, Sammi, who stood by me all the way in making this skirt.  I'm wearing it with the e-shrug from The Sewing Workshop and fabric from Marcy Tilton.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ready for Halloween!

When I saw the candy corn smocking pattern from Creations by Michie in Sew Beautiful, I knew I had to make a new dress for Lydia.  Instead of the black in the magazine, I chose a black and white gingham.  I had to change the border colors some to make the colors standout from the gingham.  I used Pattern #132 from Michie Mooney: 

I eliminated the panel, smocking the skirt just below the yoke.  It was a fun item to smock, and the first picture smocking I have done since my daughter was small.

Lydia models it well, and selected wonderful accessories for the outfit.  I think she's ready for Halloween.  Her Grandma will be in Houston to celebrate it with her.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Sure Fit Designs

I have been wanting a skirt out of eyelet for the longest time.  Add to that my fascination with orange this summer and the result is this skirt.  I purchased the fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics and just love. it.   The eyelet is out of cotton, and the orange lining is also out of cotton and has a slight sheen to it.

Because I am currently losing weight at the moment (15 pounds and counting), I'm not ever sure how to cut it out.  I'm a couple of pounds lighter than when I made my Sure Fit Designs blue print.  So I used it as a starting point, and originally drafted an a-line skirt.  I didn't like the a-line style for this skirt, so cut it back to just a straight skirt.  Because of the fabric, it needed very little ease, so I eventually took in two inches total at the sides (1/2 inch seam allowances).

If you are new to my blog, you'll find out very soon that I am a major fan of Sure Fit Designs.  It is a system that allows you to draft your own sloper, or as the system calls it, Blue Print, from which you can draft your own patterns.  I've used it for over a year with great success.  You can learn more about the system at Sure Fit Designs

I cut out the design of the eyelet on the bottom, and finished the top with a facing.  Zipper is on the side.  I wish I had placed the zipper in the back, but wasn't thinking when I cut it out.  It will be more challenging to take in as I continue to lose weight.  Oh well....

The next challenge was deciding what to wear with my new skirt.  I made the t-shirt below for it, but it was just too bland together.  So I went on the hunt for something and lucked out with this orange bolero/ cardigan at T J Max.  That was a miracle since I never find anything at T J Max.  I paid only $9.00  (Yay!)  After some trial and error, I decided the shell from the Loes Hinse sweater set was the perfect addition to the ensemble.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One More Dress for Lydia

As I wait to go to Houston to meet my new granddaughter, I have made another smocked dress.  This one is from the Children's Corner and is their Bishop's Dress, Gwen view.  A coworker gave me her pattern.  (Thanks Wendy!)  I really like this pattern and know I will use it over and over.  It is multisized, so I hope I can use it until Lydia is at least three or four years old.

This was the first Bishop's dress I have made and it wasn't as hard to pleat as I thought it would be.  I held my breath but that fabric went through my Amanda Jane Pleater like butter.  That is, until I got to the seams. I only broke two needles!  Next time, I will trim the seams more and use a zig zag stitch.  Hopefully, there will be no more broken needles.

The smocking was a lot of fun.  This was a free design in this month's Sew Beautiful Magazine.  I love that magazine and am proud that Martha Pullen is from Alabama.

Hopefully, I can get one more dress made before I leave for Houston in a week and a half.  This one will not be pleated, so I should have plenty of time to complete it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maxi #2

I had so much fun making the maxi dress for my daughter, I decided to make one for me.  Someone on Stitcher's Guild suggested that the CJ Pleat Front dress might make a good maxi.  I had just made this pattern in a short version, sleeveless.  Unlike the previous dress, I remembered to raise the armhole 1 inch.  I also lengthened it 15 inches.

The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I loooove this fabric!  It's a jersey knit that drapes beautifully and has some weight to it.  Last I looked, Ann had more of this fabric in three different colors.

This will be a great dress to have in Houston as I visit with my daughter, son-in-law, and my precious granddaughter, Lydia.  My daughter's due date is tomorrow, so we are all on pins and needles waiting for the new arrival.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What To Wear on Maternity Leave

My granddaughter is due any day now and I have been very busy smocking dresses and making a baby quilt.  But I must not forget Mom.  When we were shopping, Stefanie admired several maxi dresses, many of the striped and waaay over priced ($85 - $100).  I found this wonderful striped fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics and incredibly soft.  I think it is not only beautiful, but very comfortable.

I can't wait to get to Houston to see that precious granddaughter and my wonderful daughter, who I am so proud of!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Adventures in Color Blocking

I have been wanting to make a color blocked dress for quite some time.  I had purchased the light green and orange ponte from Sawyer Brook several months ago, trying to decide what to do.  I decided it needed something more, so purchased the fuchsia knit a couple of weeks ago.  This knit was lighter weight than the others, even though it was also a ponte.  So I doubled it at the bottom to make a band, eliminating the hem.

I used my Sure Fit Designs dress kit/ knit top with a dart and the leaflet instructions for making dolman sleeves.  The idea of the curved lines came from a new Vogue pattern.

Here I am on a very humid day.  The picture, along with the angle isn't great, but you get the idea.
I had enough fuchsia left over and some black and white knit stripe from Marcy Tilton to make a top.
These were a lot of fun and quick to make.  The drafting took less time than I anticipated.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I decided tops and blouses were the next thing for me as I lose weight.  First up was the Luna Top from The Sewing Workshop.  I had made the Stella top from the same pattern in a knit.  A few months ago, I found this fabric from Sawyer Brook and thought it would be perfect for this pattern.  It's a rayon, crepey fabric, that looks like patchwork in different floral prints.

The alterations I made were my usual - sloping, narrow shoulders and a high rounded back.  I did not need an FBA because it's fairly loose fitting.  I omitted the zipper when I realized it would fit easily over my head.  The bottom is buttoned, but I decided to sew the diagonal lines at the bottom and attached the buttons.  As I lose weight, I can take it up at the side seams.

The challenge was in the bias seams on the cowl front with slippery fabric.  It took lots of pinning, which I don't really enjoy.  After that, it came together like a breeze.

Here's a picture of me in it with a pair of white jeans I bought about four weeks ago and couldn't zip up at the time.  (Hurray for me for getting them on, and now they aren't even too tight.)  Pardon the expression on my face.  It's already 90 degrees in Alabama and the sun was in my eyes.

I wore it  on a road trip to Florida today to spend Memorial Day with my husband's Aunt Janie.  She was a surrogate mother to him and is still quite feisty at age 90.  I hope to be just like her.  Here's Aunt Janie and my stepson.  Can you believe how tall he is at age 16?  It was a wonderful day.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sewing While Losing Weight

I am determined to lose weight with the help of Weight Watchers.  I'm at the heaviest I have ever been, and my eating was out of control.  Therefore, I took control by joining Weight Watchers at Work.  I am a Lifetime member, but what does that mean when you need to lose 30 pounds?  So much for Maintenance!

I decided to make my weight loss public through this blog to make myself more accountable.  I have a couple of partners in this endeavor - a coworker, and my stepson.  It's so much easier to do this with someone.  So far, I have lost 7 pounds, and have 27 more pounds to go.  I am confident I can do it.

While losing weight, I still want to sew, so I've been focusing on clothes I can alter while losing weight, starting with pants.  I made a pair of capris with my Sure Fit Designs pants kit, and loved the style, so I decided to make them full length in khaki and navy blue. The pocket design is from the new booklet from Sure Fit Designs.

I chose this design because it will be easy to alter during the weight loss without losing the pocket.  I can just take it up at the sides.  Also, I sewed the waistband with a 3.0 length stitch so it would be easy to remove and did not top stitch.  Here's a picture of the pants with a top tucked in.

This is how I will actually wear them.

And here they are in Navy.  I love these pants.  They are a cotton lycra, so very comfy.  I narrowed the pant leg and like the width.
As I lose weight, and alter, I plan to post more pictures.  When I get to my goal weight, I plan to take a picture and compare it side by side with these.  How fun will that be?  Something to work toward, and fun to see the results.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Every Baby Girl Needs a Pink Dress

I am traveling to Houston on Friday for one last mother-daughter weekend before Lydia arrives in June.  It was great timing that we could do this on Mother's Day.  It was miraculous that I could find an organist to fill in for me at church this weekend.

I was able to finish another smocked dress before I go.  This one is by Michie Mooney.  I love her patterns and her blog.  Creations by Michie  I found the material at a wonderful heirloom shop in Louisville, KY when I was at a meeting of the Southern Health Association in March.  The smocking plate was perfect to echo the print of pink flowers and green leaves.

The actual plate was for a bishop dress, so I altered it, omitting some of the design toward the end and repeating the border from the top.  I can't wait to take a picture of this dress on Lydia.

I will be taking the sundress, the quilt, and the daygown with me on Friday.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.   I know I will.  I  am blessed to have such a wonderful daughter, who is already becoming a wonderful Mom.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Pleat Front Dress

This is my second Pleat Front Dress form Christine Johnson.  Like all CJ Patterns, it goes together well, fits well, and looks RTW.  This time, I made it sleeveless, which was very easy to do.  The bodice is lined, so I left one shoulder seam unsewn, turned it right side out, then completed the shoulder seam.  This dress will be great for a conference I'm going to next week.  I will wear it with a white draped cardigan.  After the conference, I have to catch a plane to go see my daughter.  It think it will be very comfortable on the plane.

The fabric is from Sawyer Brook and is a french knit.  It has a vintage feel to it and was a dream to sew on.  

Below is my first pleat front dress.  The fabric is from Textile Studios (I miss them!) and is one of my favorite fabrics I ever purchased.  I have warn this dress over and over again!  I think the pattern would look great sleeveless in a black knit.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Blouse Perfected

This is Louise Cutting's new Blouse pattern.  It is updated from a previous pattern and has many options - collar and band, just the band, darts in front or back, straight hem with vent, curved hem, straight sleeve, or with a cuff and placket.

I have a wonderful pattern drafted with my Sure Fit Designs Dress kit, but wanted this pattern for Louise's excellent instructions and the collar and placket that come with the pattern.

I especially love the front band.  It is folded three times, and on the last third fold, is stitched and turned toward the front. That detail alone was worth the pattern.  I also like her collars, which are stitched in the center back and folded at the center front to alleviate bulk

I made a couple of alterations.  One was for a rounded back. The other was to alter the sides some.  The pattern has the sides going inward by about a half inch on the sides.  With my hips, they need to go out about a half inch!  So I just swung the sides out about an inch.

The fabric is a cotton/silk Ikat print from Dana Buchman that I purchased at Fabric Mart.

I'm sure I will use this pattern over and over again.

A Day Gown for Lydia

Every precious child coming into this world needs a sweet day gown.  My granddaughter is no exception.  this was the first dress I have pleated on my new Mary Jane Pleater and love how easy it was to use.
It took awhile for the smocking mojo to kick in, but with the help of the A to Z Smocking Book, I was able to get it done.  This is the first dress I have smocked in about 20 years.

The pattern is the The Tucked Infant Gown by Michie Mooney.  I love her patterns and have bought two more to work on for Lydia this summer. Here's a closer view of the front.

And here's a view of the hem with the tucks, lace, beading, and entredeux.  The #16 gathering foot for my Bernina came in handy for the lace on the neckline, sleeves, and hem.

As I was making this dress, I kept thinking about the fact that little Lydia will be wearing this in just a few weeks.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Quilt For Lydia

My precious granddaughter, Lydia will be arriving in mid June.  This is my first completed project for her, a quilt.  This is the first quilt I have quilted by machine with my Bernina Stitch Regulator, and I'm hooked!  It was so much fun and I loved the colors.  Thanks to Kudzu Quilts in Montgomery, AL for helping me pick out the colors.  The picture doesn't due it justice.  The colors are much more vivid.
It is wonderful sewing for a little girl again.  Currently, I'm working on a day gown that has been smocked with pale pink thread.  I hope to have it completed this weekend.  My goal is to make one more dress for Lydia before I go to Houston next month to see my daughter on her first Mother's Day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Trio of T-Shirts

For some reason, I had a large amount of brown knit fabric in my stash.  Some of it was a piece of ITY knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  The other was a rayon jersey.  I decided to try out my Sure Fit Designs dress kit to make a series of T shirts - long sleeve, short sleeve, and a tank; all with a different neckline.  Here are the results.

 This T-shirt has a fold over neckline.  I used the idea from a Jalie pattern.  To accomplish this, I transferred the front dart to the top and used, added a tab, gathered, and folded over.  Neckline finish is a bound edge with the same fabric.  Here is a close up of the front.
 For this T, I used an idea from a new Linda Rholfing booklet and used a ruched edging for the neckline.  You just cut out a strip, gather and sew.  There is no hemming.  I first turned down the neckline edge before adding the ruching.  This was actually the first shirt I made from my Sure Fit Designs blue print, and felt it should be longer.  I added a lace edge to the bottom, which I think gave it a little more styling and added the length I wanted.  It does have the darts from the dress kit.  Initially, I only went down one dot on my blue print, but because this ITY fabric is so stretchy, I took it in 1/2 inch on both sides and liked the results.

 Here's a close up of the ruched edging.  

Last but not least is a tank top using Glenda Sparling's instructions from the booklet she offered in February for free to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Sure Fit Designs.  The booklet will be a saleable item soon on the new Learning Center from Sure Fit Designs.  I highly recommend it.

I have several other T-shirts cut out, but certainly not in brown.  I believe I have four ready to sew plus a pair of capri length pajama pants ready to sew!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friendship, Community, and Love

This post will have nothing to do with sewing.  My mind has been elsewhere the past couple of days.  Monday morning, I woke up to the sad news that a dear friend died suddenly of a heart attack at 49 years of age.  Lee was a fun loving, happy go lucky guy, who always lit up the room when he arrived.  He was gifted in so many ways.  He was an artist - creating the most beautiful flower arrangements I have ever seen.  My daughter was fortunate to have him work his magic at her wedding.  He could also make a house into a home by his designing and decorating skills.

I have been reminded of some important lessons this week.  Lee lived 2 1/2 hours away, in the town I lived until moving to Montgomery.  He was a part of a faith community that loved everyone, no matter the size, age, political affiliation, race, or sexual orientation.  We all have one thing in common in this faith community - we are all children of God.  This week has brought so many of us together, and has healed my heart in some ways that are too long to explain here.  However, I am honored to know, love, and be loved by some of the most remarkable people I have ever met.  I am truly blessed to call them my friends.

Lee was part of the choir, as I was.  Many of us who have moved away are coming back tomorrow to celebrate his life, and to celebrate the miracle of God's love and how he shows it through this community.  I will be blessed to see Christ in all those around me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sheath Dress the Sure Fit Designs Way

I have been thinking about all the garments I have made with Sure Fit Designs and realized I had not included my sheath dresses in my blog. They became a staple in my wardrobe last summer, and I'm sure will be a repeat this summer. Hopefully, with weight loss, I'll need to take them in. This was my favorite dress. I loved the fabric from Sawyer Brooks. It was my first order from them, and I hate to admit how many times I have ordered since. I used the dress kit from Sure Fit Designs with the instructions to make it into a princess seam design without sleeves. The instructions that Glenda provides for drafting designs alone is worth the amount paid for the kit. The fit for everything I have drafted has come out perfect.
Here is the second dress I made. Again the fabric was from Sawyer Brook. This looked great under a black jacket. If you want to know more about Sure Fit Designs, you can find their website here: Sure Fit Designs

Yoga Pants - The Most Comfortable Pants on Earth!

I have made 5 pairs of yoga pants since fall. These have to be the most comfortable pair of pants I've worn since maternity pants 28 years ago! They can be worn for work or dressy occasions as well as for running errands, or just hanging out around the house. It just depends on how you style them. Four of my pairs have been from ponte knit fabrics, a type of double knit. Some have complained that the fabric wears out to soon, but I have not found that to be the case. Below, you can see my gray pair. The fabric is from Fabricmart. I normally would not wear these tucked in, but wanted you to get a better idea about the band. Can you tell that my sewing assistant, Sammi is just as proud of the pants as I am?I had made some yoga pants last year, but didn't care for the snug fit. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get rid of that dreaded panty line. So this year, I pulled out my Sure Fit Designs blue print along with the wonderful new book Glenda has written on pants. Her last pant in the book is a yoga pant. Not only does she give you directions for drafting your own, she provides ways to vary the styles. You can find Sure fit Designs at this link: Sure Fit Designs

As always, they came out perfect!

I am now trying to lose weight (3 down and 26 to go!) I didn't want to invest in a new pair of jeans or take the time to make a pair that would become too big soon (keep your fingers crossed!) Peggy Sagers from Silhouette patterns provided the idea of making a pair of yoga pants out of stretch denim. So using the yoga pants pattern I drafted from Sure Fit Designs, I proceeded. I made the fit more snug because of the fabric, but lengthened the waistband a little because the stretch isn't as great as the ponte knit. I included pockets that were topstitched to give it a jeans appearance as well as topstitched the inner seam. I loved them! Here's the back side of the jeans, along with my sewing assistant again. Click on the picture for a better view.
Here's a detailed picture of the front. I used 2" elastic in the band. These jeans took about 2 hours to make, including redrafting the front to include pockets. Again, click on the picture for a full view.

And last but not least, the front of the jeans. I am wearing them with a cardigan made from a beautiful knit I purchased from Emma One Sock. The pattern is a combination of Pamela's perfect T'shirt changed into a cardigan, with the side dart moved to a french dart, and the front redrawn from the Loes Hinse Cardigan. I love the shape of the front of that pattern.