A Skirt and a New Machine

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I know it’s been awhile, and for good reason.  The really awesome sewing machine my mother-in-law gave me broke.  Apparently, the bobbin gear is plastic and stripped, which is a common issue for the model.  I was super bummed and was going to have to take it to a Singer store, which was no where near my neighborhood.  Long story short, my really wonderful husband bought me a new machine (with metal gears)!  It’s a Husqvarna and is really great so far.

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Front View

I was really excited to sew again, so I picked up some fabric (actually, the husband picked the fabric) and I whipped up this skirt on Sunday.  The pattern is M5591.  This is view A, but I left off the bottom band, lengthened the front and back panels to make up for not having the band, and then ended up generously hemming to get the right length.  There’s only 8 pattern pieces, and it’s a pretty quick sew.  It took my probably a lot longer to sew the skirt than necessary, but in my defense I was getting used to a new machine.


My Sewing Assistant

I was really impressed by the fit of this pattern, so I’m already thinking of ways to alter this and make it again.  The original pattern has pleats and a back zipper, and I’m thinking about altering it to a gather skirt with a side zipper.  Stay tuned!


Spring was here for one day, so I wore this dress I made


Yesterday was 70 degrees!  Today it’s 40 degrees.  Ugh.  But at least I was able to wear this dress yesterday to the theater.

I’ve been working on this dress since right after I finished the plaid button down.  The pattern is M6557, and is really pretty simple with only a few pieces and really not that much sewing.  The top is lined, and the back is cut-out (my favorite part of this dress).  Because the button down was such a challenge, I thought this would be a quick and easy project to building the confidence back up.


But here’s the thing.  The bust darts were more than a little outrageous.  I’ve had this problem on the last few McCall’s patterns I’ve used.  Is it just me, or does McCall’s think my breasts are at my shoulders?  And not only are the bust darts REALLY high, but they’re extreme in width, too.  Unfortunately, this left me with the pointiest darn bust darts, a la Anne Hathaway.

I shortened and reworked the darts, and sewed and re-sewed, and pressed the crap out of the bust, and I was still left with pointy bust darts.  Luckily, my professional-designer-aunt-in-law visited and told me to just take out a seam of the lining and extend the dart with the slightest curve at the end.  So I did.

The bust darts are still a little wonky, but it’s wearable now.  Anyone else have issues with the newer McCall’s patterns bust darts lately?

Sorry it’s been so long, but here’s a shirt I made


Apologies to the (probably only three) people who read my blog!  I know it’s been a long time since I last posted, but life gets in the way of crafting, knitting, sewing, etc.  My creativity has not actually been suppressed by stress or work or what not.  I’ve finished a few projects over my silent period but never got around to posting.  In any case, here’s a shirt I made!

My awesome mother-in-law  “traded” sewing machines with me, so now I have a sewing machine with a button-hole foot (along with several other features)!!  OMG.  I cannot believe I was doing button holes by hand.  My next project requires an invisible zipper, so I will test out the zipper foot next (also a foot I didn’t have with my previous machine).

Back to the project at hand.  The pattern is V8772, and you might remember this from a previous project and post.  I wasn’t particularly happy with the results of the polka dot shirt, so I decided to try again.  I cut out a size 6, because the size 8 in the polka dot shirt was pretty roomy.  I spent a long, long time carefully laying and cutting out the pattern to make sure the plaids matched.  Now that I kind of know what I’m doing, matching the pattern of a fabric is getting to be a pet peeve.

Something I’m pretty proud of: I used french seams, even on the armscye (photo in slide show)!  I probably didn’t use proper technique or whatever, but I’m really happy with the results.  The armscye is absolutely my biggest sewing challenge, so the fact that I even attempted french seaming, I think, deserves some note.

I’m almost done with my next project, though I ran into some snags that might take some time and ingenuity to address.  I hope it won’t take me another 4 months to post again!

Festive Baby Cardi

A co-worker “commissioned” a baby cardigan – but there was pressure!  The baby was already here – must…knit…quickly!

This cardigan is based off of this DROPS design (free pattern on Ravelry).  Clearly, I played a little more with color, but otherwise mostly followed the directions and gauge.  I followed measurements for the 1-3mo size.  I think there may be an error in the charts for the yoke – I followed the directions exactly, but the chart pattern didn’t fit correctly on the remaining stitches (yes, I re-did this like three times, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t user error).  I just kept on knitting through the frustration accepting the fact that the pattern would just be cut off on one side.  But then!  Suddenly!  The pattern lined up again on it’s own???  Crazy, but true.

In any case, I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I hope it keeps the new baby warm this winter!

Fall Dress


I went to an outdoor wedding this past weekend, and made this (fully-lined) dress to try to stay warm!  The pattern is V8701.  I read several reviews on sewing.patternreview.com, so entered this project with caution.

First, the fabric! The main fabric was on the sales table of “assorted fabrics,” so I’m not positive what the fiber content is, but it’s heavy, which is what I was looking for.  The lining was the end of another bolt on the sales table, but has a bit of a sheen on the right side.

Because the reviews were not all raves, I made a muslin in a size smaller than I normally make.  It sews up pretty quickly, but it was just a bit on the small size.  So then I made a muslin in the next size up and it was ridiculously large!  I ended up cutting out the smaller size in my fabric and adjusting the seam allowances slightly to give just enough ease.

Somehow, despite making two muslins, the dress turned out to be SO BIG.  I really have no idea how this happened.  I pretreated the material, and it’s is not elastic so did not stretch. At this point, the dress was practically completely sewn (except the zipper), so I ended up taking the bodice off the skirt and reworking several things:

1.  The darts that attach to the waist on the front are crazy high.  They end at the wrong place on the chest…not flattering. I let out the darts and repositioned them lower so they ended below the bust.

2.  I shaped the side seams with the dress on my dress form.  I ended up taking in nearly and inch on each side – again, I have no idea how it ended up so large!

3.  I took about an inch off the bottom of the bodice when reattaching the skirt to try to get it to fall more closely to my natural waist.

4.  I added the zipper further in than the normal 5/8″ seam allowance.

Another thing to be mindful of is attaching the lining.  This was not as easy as some of the reviews led me to believe.  I ended up having to attach the lining three times because it wasn’t lining up (haha, pun) correctly.  The sleeve lining is also a bit tricky – it’s a little hard to describe in writing on a blog post, so if you’re working on this pattern and need help with the sleeves, just let me know and I’d be happy to help.

I don’t know that I would necessarily sew this again.  I had to reconstruct a lot of it, and doing it in a patterned fabric would be a nightmare.  I’m pretty happy, though, with how it turned out.

A New Muslin




***I need your advice again!  Please let me know which muslin I should use as my base for the actual jacket!***

Thanks to those who commented on my last post about the muslin that didn’t really turn out that great.  I drafted a new muslin of Eva from burdastyle.


I few warnings before I delve deeper: this muslin is really rough.  Obviously, I only put in one sleeve (which by the way, that sleeve is supposed to be the left sleeve – I wasn’t paying attention).  I also sewed the dart on the right side instead of the inside, but hey, this is why we make muslins, right?  I also practiced french seams for the first time, which is a brain bender at times.  I just had a hard time sewing the wrong sides facing.

Anyway, I downloaded Eva, printed it out my printer, and pieced it together with tape.  Phew!  Only then did I realize that the smallest size in the patter was a 38, and my measurements put me right in the middle of a 32-34.  So…before cutting, I kind of just estimated new pattern lines based on the given pattern and used my measuring tape to try to get the right finished measurements.

Amazingly, it didn’t turn out too bad.  I cut all my pieces and was getting ready to assemble when i realized I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!  Has anyone else made this jacket?  If so, can you translate the instructions for me?

I finally gave up on the instructions and put everything together in a way that seemed logical.  I pretty much guessed how to attach the front facing (piece 8) and I still have no idea where the back facing (piece 9) goes.  I guess it’s not that important.  I didn’t add the pockets/flaps partly because this is just a muslin, but also because I couldn’t decipher the steps.  I also think the front darts are a little funky, so if I make this for real, I may just make up the jacket and then fit it to my dress form to get better shaped darts.

The fit of Eva is sooooo much better than my previous muslin.  I haven’t redrafted the last pattern yet, but I’m leaning toward making Eva since I’ve already altered the pattern and the muslin turned out okay.  If only I could understand the directions, or at least figure out where piece 9 goes…

So what do you think?  Should I make Eva (top) or B5568 (bottom)?




A Failed “Muslin”

**I need advice!  Please read on and comment below if you can help!**


Yay, for finally catching up on my blogging.  Boo, for not being very pleased with my newest project.


This is a muslin of view A of Butterick 5568.  Hey, I made a muslin!  Actually it’s a polyester cause it was on sale and I’m really cheap.

Anyway…the “muslin” is pretty rough.  I basically used all baste stitches, didn’t hem, etc., etc.  I just wanted to get a better idea of things before I cut into my nice suiting fabric, which by the way, I’m not too sure about.  It’s a beige/black plaid type pattern, but it’s dry clean only.  I knew this when I bought it, but decided to go with it.  I like the fabric, but I just HATE to dry clean.  First, dry cleaning can be expensive.  Second, I never seem to actually go to the dry cleaners, so my clothes just sit there for a long time waiting to get cleaned and I don’t actually get to wear them.  Third, I’m kind of freaked out by the chemicals used by dry cleaners, even the “eco-friendly” ones.  So I’m still on the fence on how to pre-treat the fabric and then later clean the garment.  I tried hand washing a swatch, and things seem fine, but I’m still nervous to destroy three yards of nice fabric.

But I digress.  Muslin.  This polyester is a very different fabric from the actual suiting material, so I have to give some leeway.  However, fit is fit, and here’s my biggest issue.  I cut a size smaller than I would normally because everything has been large on me lately.  The waist fits pretty well, but the bust and underarms are ridiculously baggy.  You can’t really tell from the picture, but the arm hole allowance is unnecessarily large, which requires that the diameter of the sleeves be large, which makes the whole thing look baggy and sloppy.  Not a fan.

IMG_0417So, is there an easy fix to this?  It seems to me that I would need to redraft the pattern and draw new arm hole allowances above the current pieces in the pattern.  And maybe take in the sides around the ribcage a bit.  Is this correct?

I also don’t like the collar  – it’s two pieces seamed in the back (back view is to the right).  WHA???  I double-check my RTW jackets just to make sure I wasn’t being hypercritical, and none have a seam in the back of the collar.  I looked over the pattern again, and from what I can tell without making a muslin first is that views C and D are not seamed in the back, so maybe I’ll switch to one of those.

Worse case scenario, I was thinking about changing patterns entirely and making Eva from burdastyle.  Anyone make that one before?

If you have any suggestions how to fix the arm allowance/bagginess problem, please comment!  I’m stuck!

Oh, and by the way, I made a duct tape dress form!  That’s kind of a funny story…maybe I’ll get around to blogging about that…