McCall’s 7194: Velvet and Satin for the New Year

 

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I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! Santa was quite good to us and he did his best to please, showering me with lovely treats; jewels, gold…You can imagine his surprise when I revealed which gift was my favorite.

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My June Tailor thread rack!!! I could hardly wait to take my new friend to my sewing room.

The holiday schedule leaves little time for sewing, but I managed to sneak in a short session. The results? This velvet and satin top.

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I’ve always been a big fan of velvet and my stash reflects this fact (as do my recent sewing projects). I had this piece of stretch velvet in my stash and loved the color (Marsala!) so much, I could hardly bear to cut into it. It took a pattern as special as McCalls 7194 to inspire me.

It’s a fun pattern with hemline and neckline variations. I used the hemline variation of view C, but the neckline of view D. View C had a cowl collar, which I really like, but it seemed too casual for the velvet.

The pattern was easy to put together. The lower band looks challenging, but it’s just a band of fabric with a slit in it…nothing to tough about that. My velvet is stretchy so I used the overlock stitch on my Bernina when stitching the seams, but a zigzag stitch would do. I used a stretch satin jersey for the sleeves and the lower band, in a contrasting silvery gray.

I paired the top with a pencil skirt I made some time ago, Simplicity 1283, a Mimi G design.

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The skirt fabric is a stretch jersey in a shimmery gray that has a leathery sheen to it. Not much to say about it except that it’s an easy pattern for knits – – and it’s designed to make your curves look even better. Can’t help but love that!

 

I love this top pattern and will have to make it again. It will be one of my favorites, I think, because the style is a bit unusual, but comfortable too. The asymmetrical hem makes it feel sophisticated, yet I think I could easily wear it with jeans.

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My next project? To review my hits and misses for 2015 as I think about my sewing goals for 2016 (probably long after the bubbly is popped and we ring in the New Year).

Are you managing to find time to sew in the midst of the holiday frenzy? What kinds of projects are you taking on? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Linen and velvet all wrapped up!

Yes, it’s a busy time of year, far too busy to take on a sewing project, right?  Of course, but if you’re like me, inspiration often strikes when you have the least time to do anything about it!

Here’s my story: I was cleaning out my messy fabric bins, making room for the purchases I’m destined to make in 2016, when I found a treasure…a bit of  crinkled velvet in winter white that I’d completely forgotten existed. Suddenly, I absolutely had to have a winter white top, NOW.

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To keep the project’s fun quotient up and the frustration element low, I chose a tried and true pattern, Vogue 8815. For fun, I mixed things up a bit by combining a few of my favorite things; velvet for the bodice, linen for the skirt, and dotted mesh lace for the sleeves. There isn’t much to say about the construction of this top. (I reviewed it before here). I’m pleased with how it turned out, but it is a bit light- weight to wear in the winter.

Still, I was determined, so….enter a new idea… a quick wrap to keep me warm.

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Perhaps you’ve seen a wrap like this before at one of your favorite RTW retailers. It’s called a five-way wrap, and I tried one on at Nordstrom’s awhile back. It’s really a clever concept. You take a big circle of fabric and, by placing the armholes strategically, the wrap becomes amazingly versatile.

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It looked cozy and easy, so I decided to make my own. The fabric is plaid (love!) wool from Fabric Depot. I used a pattern from Indygo Junction, and the layout they show you is quite clever. You fold the fabric into quarters then lay your pattern piece on top of the four layers of fabric before cutting. When you unfold the cut fabric, your circle is symmetrical and perfect. Then, you cut the armholes, and voila! You have a wrap that you can wear several different ways.

Here it is, pinned at the neck….

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By putting it on with the armholes low, you have a short, cape-like version. Cozy!

You can belt it.

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Or wear it open, a long on-trend vest!

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I like the long vest look the best, but the coziest way to wear it may be the short  cape-like version. So warm and fun!

Truthfully though, I like the concept better than my finish version. While I was trying to take photos, I became frustrated with the way the folds in the front have to be constantly rearranged. I think this is a function of my fabric choice, not the pattern. Because I chose to use a  wool blend, the wrap is a bit stiff. Also, I bound the wrap’s edges to keep it from unraveling,  but I think this made the front from cascading in nice easy folds. If you choose a softer fabric, or serge the edges rather than bind them, it will hang nicely. Even though it isn’t perfect, still, I’m sure this wrap will come in handy, especially with my linen top.  (Now that I see how easy this wrap is, I wish I’d made a five way wrap for each of my girlfriends, but alas, it’s too late now…isn’t it?)

Are you finding time to sew during the holiday rush? Do you pick easy projects or do challenges appeal when you’re busy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A DIY vintage ornament

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In these days of responsible consumption, it’s always great to find a project that uses things we’d otherwise discard. This project uses Christmas cast-offs. When you make these ornaments, not only  are you ‘reusing’ and recycling, you’re adding a bit of nostalgia to the season too.

The best part of this project? These vintage-inspired ornaments are so easy! All you need is a glue gun, a free hour, and some thrift store items such as old candy molds, scraps of fabric, discarded vintage Christmas corsages, even tree ornaments that have seen better days.

IMG_6741Tools needed:

  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Straight-edge
  • Marking pen or Tailor’s Chalk

Materials needed:

  • Old candy molds/tart molds/jello molds (small). If you can’t find these in a junk store, you can find them Amazon for cheap:).IMG_6745
  • Assorted castoffs: tinsel, small, old christmas balls, scraps of fabric or burlap, vintage christmas corsages, assorted tree trims

    Steps:

  • Figure out how you will hang your ornament. You can glue a ornament hanger on the back, or you can drill a hole in the top and insert some looped wire.

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  • Trace the mold’s shape onto your burlap or fabric. Then, cut the fabric and glue it into the mold.
  •  Inside the mold, place some colorful bits and pieces of junk from your vintage Christmas stash. This is the fun part! Remember to add some sparkle here and there. Those glittery bits are eye catching and will reflect the lights on your tree.

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  • When you have the look you want, use your trusty glue gun to secure it all.IMG_6752

Next add some trim. Small dollops of glue work best here to hold the trim in place.

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That’s it.  You’re done and you can take your ornament to its new home.

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Here, it will make some new friends.

These ornaments make great gifts or package toppers too.

December is one of the best times to visit sewing and craft blogs because there are so many great ideas out there. Do you have a favorite Christmas sewing or craft that reuses old items? Please share!

I hope you’re enjoying these twelve days of Christmas and are finding time to do a bit of creating in spite of the many competing priorities the season brings. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A lacy designer-inspired top

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Well, it’s time to deck the halls and ourselves too! It’s December, a month so cold and gray, we’d probably all go crazy if we didn’t have a few parties to attend.Today, the party I’m thinking about is here, in the blogging world, Designin’ December, a sewing initiative created by Linda of ‘Nice Dress, Thanks I made it’. The idea is to find an inspiring frock from a Designer then create your own version.

My lacy top was inspired by a Alberta Ferretti design that I first noticed in a Vogue magazine article.

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When I saw the lace detailing, it was instant love. I had to have that look in my closet. After studying the photo a bit, I realized the elements of the basic sweater were simple. It was really the lace embellishment that made it unique.  So, I found some red and black herringbone sweater knit in my stash and decided to embellish it with black lace, a combination that would work well for holiday dressing.

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The pattern I used is McCalls 6614, a simple, close fitting pullover top with princess seams and a narrow hem, but any basic knit top pattern would do as well. Of course, I wanted to use this pattern because I’m obsessed with princess seams, but they aren’t critical to the design. I opted to color block the side panels and the neck band for contrast.

The biggest challenge? Finding the right lace – – it had to be wide enough to be the focal point of the sweater. Needless to say, I became obsessed. After driving all over town in the rain, I finally found the perfect lace at Fabric Depot. To add the embellishment to the top, I simply marked the bodice pieces and the sleeve pieces with tailor’s chalk, then basted the lace to the fabric at my markings. Then, I finished assembling the bodice, adding the side panels and inserting the raglan sleeves. The raw ends of the lace were hidden in the side and sleeve seams.

This is an easy pattern but the placement of the lace was challenging, and it was hard to keep the fabric under it smooth as I based it on. The process was a bit time consuming, but I like the end result. This top will be easy to dress up or down, and it’s cozy too, a plus at this time of year.

After studying Alberta Ferretti’s designs, I’ve become a fan.

The fabrics are rich looking (brocades and velvets, among them) and her color combinations are inspiring. If only we could find anything close to those brocades in the stores….but I digress :).

I can’t wait to see everyone’s creations during Designin’ December. The fashion runways are full of inspiration, especially at this time of year, so who knows? There may be another designer inspired ‘make’ from me before this month is done.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

McCall’s 7243 – A holiday look that shimmers

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There’s nothing like a little glitter and glamour to deliver a festive mood when you need one! Holiday parties are just around the corner…a needed diversion from the cold and gray days of December, and they provide a great opportunity to dress up. Ready to wear offers a host of options of course, but most all of them are sleeveless. Hello? ‘Baby, it’s cold out there!’

This is another reason I’m glad I love to sew. With a bit of glitzy fabric and a favorite sewing pattern, we aren’t limited to those goose-bumpy options, are we? When I needed a dressy long sleeve top to conquer a wintery holiday event, my fabric stash came to the rescue.

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I chose McCall’s 7243 for this shimmering top.  It’s a close-fitting pullover top/dress with an interesting collar and a deep v-neck. There’s something glamorous about a v-neck, don’t you think? Very vintage Hollywood!

The reason I chose this particular pattern is that it had an unusual neckline for a knit top, a v-neck with a wide wrapped collar that gave it a bit of drama.

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I wondered if that would make this top a sewing nightmare, but the only difficulty I encountered was in the attachment of the collar and the mock wrap of the bodice. The diagrams were pretty limited. I had to study them and re-read the instructions several times to get it right (no, I was not watching Game of Thrones). The key for me was paying extra attention to the right and wrong sides of the fabric as marked on the diagrams as well as keeping the tissue pattern pieces close at hand for reference.

The fabric I used for this top is a glittery, furry moderate stretch knit that I found at Mill End (By the way, choosing a moderate stretch is the key to the fit of this top I think. Also,if your fabric has too much stretch, the collar might be limp). Although it’s hard to see the sparkle and color in the photos, it’s a deep aubergine, one of my favorite colors this fall.

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The collar is great and it adds a bit of interest to the back too. I especially like the way the collar fans out over the shoulders, giving the top a bit of drama. If you want to make the sleeveless version, the collar provides a cap to the shoulder, which could be really flattering. I plan to try that version when the weather improves.

Now that December is here, are you readying your wardrobe for festive events? I really love reading everyone’s blog posts at this time of year since there are so many sources of inspiration. I’ve seen a few velvet dresses this year – -might have to try my hand at one soon!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.