Sunday, January 31, 2010

KS 3740 - Cowl-neck Top - I *heart* you.

How much are you in love with this top?? I saw this thread on gushing about this cowl neck top from KwikSew and just had to try it out. And she's right, this is a fantastic pattern. The cowl lays very nicely, the shoulders fit great, the neck/cowl seam can't be seen no matter what I'm doing, and it's a stripe! Okay, it doesn't have to be a stripe but I'm a sucker for knit stripes. I got this thin, thin (see my pink bra?) knit from our local fabric boutique, Seams Like Home. It barely has enough stretch compared to the stretch indicator on the back of the envelope but it works great I think. From reading the reviews, it seems to run large. In KwikSew patterns I usually make a S or XS. I made this one the XS with a little room in the hips and it's perfect.
My husband just bought a new camera and these photos have not been touched up at all. I usually bump up the contrast and saturation just a bit on my photos. Otherwise, they look so grey and bland. I didn't realize my lipstick was so pink. I made two changes to the pattern. The first was to make a 1/4" tuck above the bust. This shortens the length between shoulder and bust and also makes the armhole a little smaller. I also added ribknit cuffs. The length would have been just a titch on the short side and I love thick cuffs like this. The ribknit is from Seams Like Home too. Next time, I'll add an inch or so to the sleeve pattern piece.
I love how the cowl neck chevrons in the back. There is an upper and undercollar for this pattern. There is plenty of room for "turn of cloth" There is no way that under collar is peaking out.
Here it is "unfurled." If you look closely, you can see the seam of the upper and under collar meet.
I'll make lots of these. I know I told you that the KwikSew dress would be my next venture but I had to trace out the pattern and treat the suiting. While it was washing and drying, I had to do something sewing related. This knit top is a quicky. I forgot to mention that put the cowl neck on backwards (under collar up) twice. Yes people, twice. I have a lot of serger thread debris on my floor.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

You guys had a great idea!

You guys have such good ideas. I hadn't thought about pairing the dress pattern and that silk suiting. I was thinking it would be nice with some black piping around the waist belt and the neck band. I sketched up a little mock-up with Granted the scale is off (the stripes would be much smaller) but I think this could be a fantastic dress. The fabric is only 45" wide but I have plenty to make this dress out of it.

This might need to be my next project!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun Fabrics!

Our local fabric boutique, Seams Like Home, is having a great sale. She's trying to clear out some of the older stuff to make way for the new stuff. I stopped by on my way to work and bought this stuff.

Silk suiting. It's so pretty. I bought 3 yards and I'm not sure what I'll make with it.

Here's a close-up of the weave. Too bad I don't like jackets because this one would be kick ass.

This is a cotton knit with a large scale print. It's grey, black, and red on a heathered grey. Maybe another Jalie Cardigan?

This is a wool/mohair knit. It's a very open weave. If you look closely, you can see my hand underneath. I'm not sure what to do with this one. Another Simplicity cardi??

I also bought some random buttons. They were 10 packs for a $1. I picked out several metal ones and some pink and yellow ones for my girls.

And, last but not least, I bought this KwikSew pattern. This dress is so me. I can see myself in the orange and green one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jalie 2919 - Pleated Cardigan

Can you tell I'm feeling better? I cut this out last night and sewed it up this evening. It's a super easy pattern and easy to whip out quickly. I used the
Sophia Stretch Double Knit Black
* rom that I've been stashing for a while. It is black and therefore impossible to photograph well. I paired it with my pencil skirt from this post and my red leather obi belt from this post. Personally, I think everyone needs a red leather obi belt (Karen, I am talking to you). They kick ass. Back to the cardigan. I can see this being a great winter staple here in Alaska. I love the shoulder pleating (that you can't see) and the large pseudo-lapels (that you can't see *cough, cough*). I will probably wear it with a belt. This might force me to make a few more leather belts. Oh, and I'm wearing this Burda wool tank underneath.

I'll wear it unbelted too.

The back and sides are straight cut and skim the hips nicely. Of course you can't see that in this photo because of the obi belt but squint your eyes, cock your head, and pretend.

Here's a lightened shot of the shoulder/bust pleats.

Here it is on the floor. You can see the pleating and the double-layer lapel. It makes a very nice thick edge to your cardigan.

Let's see; other tidbits. I made my normal Jalie size which is a Q. That corresponds to a size 34 in BWOF. The sleeves/shoulder on this are snug. I will wear this with a very thin knit top or a tank underneath. My Sophia doubleknit barely passes the "does this have enough stretch" test so that is probably part of it. But, even if it were stretchier, it would be snug. I will not go up a size because I like how it fits but you have been warned.

Hmmmm, what next? I don't know either. I'm thinking of some jeans or trousers. But, a wool coat has also been calling me. Decisions, decisions . . .

*Remember they are my sponsor!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jalie 2921 - Scarf Collar Top - Finally!

I've been meaning to make this top for a couple of weeks now. I was waiting to buy it locally but it seems that our local boutique wasn't going to put in an order for quite a while. So, I ended up buying at Then I was in Hawaii (photos coming soon!). I got back Monday at 6:30am, hopped off the plane, took a shower, and headed to work. Needless to say that Monday was grueling. Tuesday I woke up with double pink-eye (yea!) and headed to school again. I would have stayed home but I had already missed a week of school and I had a herd of administrators in my room for some observation-thing. They weren't observing me, per se, they were watching a hands-on science class, or whatever. I was volunteered by my principal ("You'd love to do it, right Dawn?") so I kinda had to be there.
Any-whooz-its, I finally made it up and it's another winner. Here's the pattern cover for the fifteen of you who don't already own the pattern.
Here's the "I have pink-eye and feel like shit" picture. Have you guys noticed that my shoulders seem wider or something lately? Remember this dress? It seems just a bit narrow for me too. It may be that I just have it pulled funny but it's odd to have this same thing happen twice like this. I'm pretty sure that my shoulders have not widened by an inch in the last month. I'm not lifting right now and have been running quite a bit. That makes me thinner not thicker. Weird. Anyway, it's another Jalie winner. This is left-over fabric from this other Jalie top.
Here's a close-up of the buckle I used. This is actually a plastic backpacking buckle. Funny, eh? I quite like it though. I'll make more of these. I like the buckle version. I need to make it in a solid next.

Next up? I have the Jalie cardigan all traced off and I have the perfect fabric. I may try to cut it out tonight and sew it up tomorrow.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hawaii Fabric

I ended up going to Fabric Mart a couple of days ago. What fun! I've never been to a nice big *garment* fabric store. I've been to lots of large fabric stores but most of them sold quilt fabrics. This place had lots of everything. I ended up buying some very Hawaiin fabrics for kid pillowcases. I also bought some knit prints for kid jammies and a fun purple/gold georgette for me. More later. We are still in Hawaii but fly back to the frigid north tomorrow night. I'm posting via my iPhone so the formatting will be all wonky. I'll fix it when I get back to town but I just wanted to check in with y'all. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010


Here's the Kwik Sew swimsuit in action. I'm glad I added that extra inch in torso length. Aloha!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kwik Sew 3578 - Pleated Knit Dress Again

Ya'll know I'm headed to Hawaii tomorrow right?? So my BFF and I were talking Thursday night. She's my nanny and she is coming with us too. We are meeting another couple there.
BFF: So, what are you wearing to the wedding?
Me: Wedding? What wedding?
BFF: J (the other couple) said we are going to some wedding on Thursday night.
Me: What kind of wedding? Casual? Beachy? Shorts? Formal? WHAT KIND??
BFF: Well I'm wearing this. (BFF pulls out these totally hot, chic knit halter dresses)
Me (panic mode): I don't have anything to wear! All of my dresses and skirts are WOOL! Wool, dammit! I have nothing cute to wear to a Hawaii wedding!!!!
So, I pulled out my favorite Kwik Sew knit dress pattern and whipped out a cute (short) dress last night. It has pleats at the neckline which hints at a bust I don't own and it shows off my toned arms. My husband likes my (short) dress but isn't happy that I'll be at a wedding without him in this (short) dress. This is one of those cotton/spandex knits I bought the other day. I've made this pattern once before. That dress fits well and I love the design but I disliked the BRIGHT turquoise color. I have still worn it to a few casual get-togethers and a wedding, I think. Neither of these dresses are formal by any means but I've heard through the grapevine that the wedding is more casual than formal.
I adore the keyhole opening. My husband is less than thrilled about the length. If he gripes much more I'll add a knit band to the bottom and give it a few more inches. I don't have a chest but I do have legs and I say, flaunt it if you got it. Apparently, my husband and I disagree on this point.
I love this bright button at the back. And this time, I'm actually happy with the button loop. I looked in my ancient copy of the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing and they sew you how to make the blanket stitches. I think it looks very nice.
I doubt there will be another post before we leave tomorrow. When I get back I'll show you all the pictures and maybe some fabric (???) purchases. We are headed to Oahu this time. Anybody know of any fabric stores there I need to check out? Keep sewing you guys! I'll be keeping up with my blogrolls from afar but I may not be commenting much.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Skirts Done!

All four of the skirts are done. The first one is in my previous post. Here are the other three. They are all the same length. Don't they look super short? They aren't really. They are just above my knees like the picture here.

This one was a remant from this vest. The fabric was bought by my husband and bought back from Houston on one of his business trips.

This is a plaid suiting I bought at JoAnns. I made this dress with the majority of it.

Most of you will remember this boucle from my Chanel jacket. Now I could have a suit if I wanted. Go ahead, ask. Have I ever worn the jacket? Nooooope. I think I'm just not a jacket sorta girl. Love the fabric though.

Next up: One of the Jalie patterns I just got. It will either be the scarf top or the cardigan. I really want to make both but leave for Hawaii on Sunday. I probably should pack before then . . .
ETA: I have enabled comment moderation on my posts because I seem to be getting a massive amount of SPAM comments lately. It used to just be on old posts but now it's on recent posts too. So, while I'm trying to figure out this whole moderation thing, bear with me. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Questions and Answers

Sorry guys, it's been a looong time since I answered questions. Sheesh.

UmaPreve has left a new comment on your post "Buy Local! Or Not . . .":
Hi, the pattern looks amazing. I was wondering how would you sew stretchy fabric. I made a pants recently and it was a complete diseaster. I used the straight stitch machine.
Your advise pls. Why I ask this is because I would like to sew this pattern too but the fabric recommended is Jersey.

If you are going to use a straight stitch machine with knits you need to use a "stretchy" stitch. The zig zag works okay but my favorite is the three step zig zag. You also want to have a supply of several different knids of needles on hand. I like the Stretch needles in 70 or 80. I would buy a few different kinds and experiment.

Kelly has left a new comment on your post "KS 3167 Undies for Me":
Would love to know where you got the lace. Thanks!

My local fabric boutique, Seams Like Home, has a pretty good selection of stretch lace and microfiber for undergarments.

Kat has left a new comment on your post "Burda 07-2009 #140 Swim trunks and some cussing":
Cute swim trunks! And where oh where did you get those green eyelets? Do tell!

I inherited a bunch of random stuff from my husband's grandmother. I have lots of random eyelets, snaps, pieces, and parts.

Debbie Cook has left a new comment on your post "Burda 05-2009 #103 Knit Dress":
I agree with the masses - great dress, fabulous print!
Gotta ask, being a Florida girl ... what do you wear over the dress, and especially your legs, when you travel from home to the party? I'm imagining a REALLY long, warm coat. Or do you just brave it for the few minutes to and from the house/car with a regular coat? Maybe a blanket in the car?

We do several different things. We wear long coats and sometimes we do have blankets in the car. Most cars up here have heated leather seats so your butt, legs, and lower back stay warm. My truck does not have heated seats (Honey?? Are you hearing this???) and so it's pretty cold.

JoanneM has left a new comment on your post "Burda skirt on the hoof . . .":
Do you still run in those temps? My limit is 1 degree,no windchill. I will do snow,but ice can be tricky. Any windchill and I renegotiate at the front door,no matter what winter gear I have!

I run in almost any temperature. When I lived in Fairbanks -20 was my cut off temperature. As long as you keep your face covered and keep moving, you are okay. Anchorage is balmy compared to Fairbanks. It gets down to zero sometimes but it averages 10-20 degrees most months.

Marji has left a new comment on your post "Let's talk embroidery, shall we?":
ohh, I love all of these. You're making me want to explore my embroidery option. What kind of embroidery machine are you working with? Mine is not so user friendly, and I've just resisted learning it.

I have a Janome 350e and it has been fantastic. I love it. I have had no problems with it and use it often.

Laura Lynn Marschel has left a new comment on your post "Kid Jammies":
Great PJs! Quick question, for the sleeve ends, do you just use regular fabric or is that matching wide ribbing? It just looks like it stays in that shape better than just regular fabric would so I was curious, no rush! Have a great weekend!

I use both self-fabric ribbing and stretch ribbing. If I use self-fabric ribbing, I always cut it a little bit longer so that it has enough give to get it over my kids' melon heads.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Burda 09-2008

Several of you asked for pattern information from the last skirt post. I am making this simple pencil skirt. It's from the 09/2008 Burda magazine. Here's a link to the pattern information.

On the left is the original skirt I wear a bunch and on the right is one of the new skirts I just made. The other three will be sewn up next. I haven't been as quick as I thought I would because my mom was here for the weekend and my uncle was here for lots of that time too. I also had a dinner party-girl thing to go to. I think I'll wear my new tartan skirt tomorrow. This was one of those materials I was gifted by someone who "just wasn't even going to use it". It's a very nice piece of wool.

I recieved my Jalie patterns in the mail yesterday and I'm having a hard time finishing these skirts because I want to sew them so badly.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Butterick 4910 - Kids Pajamas

My BFF, Kristine of Just Keep Sewing, sent me this pattern a while ago. I finally made it up for my kiddos last week but didn't review it yet. Is it not the cutest??? It's a simple raglan sleeve dress. There are several variations in the envelope including dress with no ruffle, short-sleeved top with shorts, long-sleeved top with pants, and long dress with ruffles. I opted for full ruff-lage because my girls are very girly. The little girl on the left is So Sad because her sister is wearing the pink one which is Her Favorite Color. The one on the left is also the dramatic one. The white dress is a cotton interlock with not much stretch. I added elastic to the sleeves for some sleeve ruffles and I added a pink bow to the front. The bottom is finished with lace. I have never used lace to finish a hem before but it's so freaking easy. I may do that on all hems for the girls. The dress on the right is microfleece with a lace hem and sleeve hems. It also has a decorative "patch" on the front with a little embroidery.

Awwwww. :( She even looks sad in this picture. Pouty lips . . .

Here you can see the embroidery a bit better. This is made from my Font Engine software by Embird. Again, I removed the fill stitches and used the Redwork option on the border.

I used the font Jellodings from

Tonight: zippers in skirts! Must refuel with Earl Grey!

Buy Local! Or Not . . .

I'm horrible. I tried. I really did. I wanted to buy these patterns at my local boutique. I think it's important to buy local. I think it's good to support your local stores. **siiiigh** I've been waiting for the boutique to get these patterns and I just heard that the boutique won't be ordering them for quite a while. So, I just ordered these from Thanks Deepika!

I'm really into cardigans lately.

I loved this top the moment I saw it.

And who doesn't love a nice cowl-neck sweater for the winter? This is KwikSew 3740.

My skirts are darted and interfaced. Tonight I'll put in the zippers. Hopefully I'll get in all four invisible zips without any problems.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Too Much Earl Grey

I suddenly have this thing for Earl Grey tea. I used to drink it in college. Yum. That citrus-y bergamot oil is like a drug for me. I should tell you that my mom's side of the family is very sensitive to drugs, especially caffeine. I drank full-strength Earl Grey in college but then wondered why I would sweat so much at -30 and why I had a hard time modulating my volume. "Hey Kate, WHAT CLASS do you have NEXT??!?!?" I realized, after a while, that I had the same issue my mom and her father have with caffeine. It works quickly and ferociously on us. I'll burn through all my caffeine in about 20 minutes and it will leave me cranky, sweaty, and irritated. I have the same issue with Novocaine, Sudafed, and Valium. When I go to the dentist, whole face is numb for several hours. Sudafed makes me feel like I'm floating 300 miles above my body and Valium hypes me up to the point where I'm almost screaming. Fun times for the doctor. But, where the hell was I going with this?? Oh yea, so I have been drinking DECAF Earl Grey tea for the last few nights. Even decaf seems to have enough zing to hype up. In that vein, I've decided to make four pencil skirts. I am using the same pattern I used before which is 09-2008-120. I realized, when I was doing my best of 2009 post, that I wear that skirt all the time. A pencil skirt doesn't take that much fabric and I had several small pieces that just needed to be used up. Tonight I cut them all out. Tomorrow, I'll interface and perhaps sew darts.

HOW DO YOU LIKE them apples?? Heee heee, it's not to the point where I'm yelling and sweating . . . yet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Burda 07-2009 #113 Shorts and Jalie Tops

Remember that fabric I ordered the other day? Well, it's here already and I've made two shirts with it. This is Jalie 2215 and I've made multiple copies of this pattern, especially the top. Here's a close-up of the cropped raglan sleeve and the sleeve and neck bindings.

The color is closer to the above photo for the print.

Here is the top with my new BWOF shorts. They are from July 2009. My hair seems to be channeling Drew Barrymore here.

When I was cutting this out I forgot that I needed a waistband and didn't have enough fabric. I had a denim that was similar and I think, in the end, it looks okay. The button is an old one I had in my stash. I love it.

I did my typical swayback tuck which makes the back V a little bit.

And if you look closely at the front photo (I know! I know, they're pretty dark) you can see the hint of pockets. Guess who was a jackass and cut out the pockets incorrectly? I switched the pocket and pocket facing pieces and cut them out of the wrong fabric. Oops. It just means that I had to cut two new denim pieces. Alas, I didn't have enough to cut out the whole piece so I just cut out what I needed and made faux pockets.

Why all the warm summer clothes? Well, my fantastic husband bought us tickets to Hawaii again. This time we are taking the kiddos so it should be interesting.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of 2009

Here's another year in review. I have a few favorite pieces from 2009 and several that just aren't, um, me.

The Good:
Jalie Jeans!!!! I have made four pairs now and this is by far my favorite pattern for 2009. The jeans pictures below are straight out of the envelope except for a small swayback tuck. Here's the black pair, the griffin pair, first pair, and the star pair (no pictures??).

This BWOF pencil skirt. I wear this all the time.

This Kwik Sew vest. I wear it all the time over my work clothes.

This BWOF dress. I love it. It's the perfect "put it on and know you look great" dress.

This BWOF jacket. I wear this quite often in the spring and fall.

The Bad:
I didn't mess up too many patterns this year. I did make some bad decisions as far as fabric and pattern goes. I like this Simplicity 2922 pattern but this color and fabric just reminds me too much of scrubs or something.

This Burda top was annoying and didn't fit well in the bust. The facing was always coming out and the side view looked a bit like a pregnancy top.

The Ugly:
A hat that was just bad all around . . .

. . . and this skirt. I actually like this skirt but the second time I sat down with it, two of the sewn down pleats tore. It happened at school. It wasn't so much that you would notice the tears but I could feel them getting larger. It's too bad though.

I have several things to review and I can't say I haven't had the time. I'm on Winter Break but I go back to school tomorrow. There has just been a lot going on around here.