Stash Buster: Simplicity 1377

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Hi all …As most of you know, one of my goals for 2017 is to reduce the size of my huge (re: out -of-control) stash. To that end, I’ve produced my own Little Black Book, a three-ring binder that holds my catalog of fabrics.

Yes, it’s a bargain basement binder, but it holds the key to my heart…a record of my glorious, but soon to be significantly reduced, supply of fabrics. My method of recording is simple…I just take a snip of the fabric, note the amount I have and whether or not the fabric is woven or stretch, and what ‘bin’ it’s located in (big plastic containers I purchased at Target). I track all fabric that is at least a yard or more. Smaller pieces make it into the notebook if they are unique (sequins, silk, feathers, LACE….!).

Some fabrics stay in their bin for a long time….the longer the stay, the more special they become! This particular fabric lived in my stash for a couple of years before my mind could find something suitable for its vibrant turquoise.

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There were two barriers to making this fabric into something special – – It’s a substantial flannel, the sort of fabric that doesn’t know what the word ‘drape’ means and — – my piece was a yard and a quarter (11/4); not enough for the usual flannel styles like a button up shirt  or a style with long sleeves. (Side note: My stash is overflowing with small pieces like this…remnants from other projects, or small pieces I picked up on sale..too little for most things, but too much to toss!)

Simplicity 1377 was the solution.

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This simple pattern is one I’ve used before. It has a front and back bodice, two neck facings, and short sleeves with drop shoulders. Because I’m only 5’4″, I don’t need much length in the bodice, so I was able to cut this top as well as a pocket and sleeve tabs from my small piece of fabric.

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Pattern Modifications (Simplicity 1377:

  • My version uses the neckline of view D and the sleeves of View E.
  • The short sleeves in view E have been lengthened by 2 inches (roll-up length).
  • I added self drafted button-up sleeve tabs.

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  • I self drafted a 5 inch square pocket to the bodice front and trimmed it with fringe from the fabric selvage.

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  • I used extra fabric to draft a tie belt.
  • I added a side vent to the hem line.

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March is a chilly month here in Oregon, and I know I’ll enjoy this warm flannel shirt with tee under it for weeks to come, and then in a few weeks (I hope) without a tee under it. Unfortunately, cozy is still an important word here, and I’ll be wearing my heavier clothes off and on for the next few months.

I love my new top!

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It’s comfy and colorful with an added bonus – – it was a Stash-Buster. I  got to pull another swatch out of my Little Black Book!

How do you manage your stash? Do you catalog it formally, or are you more relaxed about the process? And what about my fascination with collecting (hoarding) small pieces of fabric? What do you do with your one-yard wonders?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

Butterick 6456- A Boho Top with Statement Sleeves

IMG_3187Do you ever get obsessed with a trend? I’ve been known to go overboard with a new look, and in my case, statement sleeves are my new ‘thing’. This Spring, it seems they are everywhere, and I am clearly jumping on the band wagon! Sure, I like the look (flow-y, care free, maybe even a bit boho), but I also like the challenge of a new sleeve shape. Each pattern is a new adventure in sleeve construction with new techniques to learn.

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I was attracted to Butterick 6456 because of the sleeve options but also because of the v-neck and front pleat, both a rarity in my wardrobe. I also like the flow-y boho look of this top, which is a little different from the structured statement sleeve tops/dresses I’ve made in the past.

I chose a printed rayon from the Mill End Store . I wanted a lightweight fabric with drape, and this fit the bill.

IMG_3248 2The pattern when together nicely. The v-neck, the front pleat, the bell sleeves were all explained well and fairly easy to execute. The challenge was in the fit (that is an understatement). I cut the smallest size, but the v-neck was still pretty large. I mean, we are talking cleavage exposure here folks, and that was just not where I wanted to go with this top (LOL). So, I did a bit of modifying. There is a back seam as you can see from the line art.

B6456So, my strategy was to take that seam in by about an inch. I also eliminated the neckline opening in the back and just sewed the seam closed. That seemed to do the trick.  The neck opening is large enough that the top just slips over my head!

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I love my new top, but wearing it will limit my activities. I cannot imagine cooking or performing cleaning duties of any kind while wearing it. Oh, darn. Hopefully, those sleeves will not get into my dinner, as this is clearly a Date Night top that will see a restaurant or two.  I’m glad I figured out how to modify the neck because I love the fabric. I’m sure this top will get lots of wear from early Spring through Summer. The flow-y rayon was a good choice for this pattern and I can imagine trying it again with silk. I’m not sure a crisp cotton would work well, although I do think a linen with soft hand would be good.

This was a fun make, but I don’t think I’m done with statement sleeves yet.  Next up, a McCall’s pattern from my stash that has five (!!) different sleeve options. So much to learn! Can’t wait to try that next. I’d love to know where you stand on statement sleeves? Also curious if any of you have run into problems with v-necks and fit and how you’ve modified them?

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

DIY: Philip Lim Inspired Top

 

img_2016Hi all! The inspiration for this stash-busting top was a Philip Lim creation I saw at the San Francisco Saks a couple of weeks ago. It’s so fun to wander around in that amazing store, a real treat for me since we don’t have a Saks here anymore (wah!). But when I saw this top it was instant ‘love’. The bold plaid, the color blocked side panels, the contrast trim and stitching, I wanted it all. But alas, the price tag….

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So, I set about making my own version. The good news? I used left over remnants from my recent Day Dress, and another plaid from a top I made years ago. So no new money was spent in the making of this top.

img_2040The pattern I used for this make is a tried and true: Vogue 9054.

It’s out-of-print but still available on their website and on Etsy. The design detail that makes this pattern the perfect choice for my Philip Lim top is that it has a front panel. So, that’s where I placed my cotton plaid. I used a contrasting off white knit for the side panels. Even though this pattern is designed for knits, my inspiration top combined knits and wovens, so I went out on a limb and did the same thing. I think the loose design of this top made that combination less risky than it otherwise would have been. The fit really didn’t change. I also added a contrast band to the collar and cuffs.

img_2020A detail I love on the inspiration top was the stitching on the front and back panel seams. To get that look, I top stitched those seams with a decorative stitch. I wanted to use the flat lock stitch on my serger, but alas, it just wouldn’t behave. My substitute stitch isn’t quite as stunning, but I still like it.

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I especially like the way Vogue designed the hemline of this top. There’s a bit of a high-low thing going on there that’s fun.

img_2002Well, I think my top will work as a reasonable substitute for the Philip Lim top, and wearing my DIY  version will save me from spending hundreds of dollars I don’t have. I rarely think that sewing saves money, but when it comes to designer fashions, it has a very strong edge. Thanks to Philip for the inspiration! The colors of this top make it a seasonal transition item, I think, and I feel almost Springy as we persevere through another ice storm with freezing rain. Ugh!

I’m glad I used some fabric from my stash here, because my goal this year is to reduce the size of  my stash (yes, I used bold font so I won’t forget, LOL). Lately, I’ve been feeling like I have to ‘sew to my stash’, if you know what I mean. I often buy fabric with a project in mind, but by the time I get to it, my enthusiasm for it has waned or the inspiration is gone. That means my stash is huge, and it means my sewing is often motivated by the guilt that comes with excess. It overwhelms and confuses my creative urges (yes, I’m a junkie). So, my goal is to sew some of it ASAP and give some to friends or charity so that it doesn’t weigh me down. What do you think, fellow fabric junkies? Will this strategy work? 

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Tie top and pleather skirt

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Hi All! This time, patience paid off! I was determined to take photos outside one more time before the leaves dropped, and finally, after surviving a week of rain, we’re enjoying a clear day. The temperature is mild too, and there’s very little wind. Moderate weather is perfect for pleather I think, because it isn’t the coziest fabric to wear. I paired my new pleather skirt with a tie top of azure and gold to celebrate the season.

Even though I wouldn’t call it cozy, I do love my new skirt, and, I’m pleased to say, this pleather project was a huge improvement over my last attempt.

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This pattern is Simplicity 1322, a mock wrap skirt in three lengths. I added a toggle closure on the mock wrap for fun (easy, you just machine stitch it in place). The skirt is a fun, easy sew. The challenge again was working with the stubborn fabric. Here are a few tricks I learned along the way.

  1. Use wonder tape liberally instead of pins when attaching things or holding seams in place.  Tape is great because you don’t have to use alot of pins.
  2. When I had to press the pleather, I used steam in my iron. It seemed to make pleather pliable quickly. I’m not sure if this would work with all pleather (there seems to be quite a variety of textures and thicknesses out there) so test before you steam. Who wants a melt down?
  3. Avoid hand sewing. I used wonder tape to hold the hem in place then machine stitched it. I tried to hand sew…it was a nightmare!  I just couldn’t get the needle through without injuring myself (Who knew sewing could be so dangerous, LOL?).

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The tie top pattern is a new one for me, Simplicity 8216. I have made other tie tops, but decided try this pattern because of the yoke and gathers that give it a softer look. I found this pattern on sale at Joann’s and I love it. simplicity-tops-vests-pattern-8216-envelope-front

There are several neck variations so you can modify it to get the look you want. It went together so easily, and the fit was spot on, first try! No adjustments at the shoulders for me.  I used a Cotton and Steel rayon (Fabric Depot), which is a lovely, silky fabric with an easy drape, so important for a pattern with gathers at the yoke and a tie.

I love this neckline! It’s fun all by itself, and it holds up well when paired with a cardigan or vest too. Here it is with the draped vest I made last winter.

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With the changing seasons, I’m contemplating a slight change in my color palate. I love the gold/mustard color in the cherries in this blouse, don’t you? I want more of that yummy color in my wardrobe. It almost matches the changing leaves in the tree behind me!

Have you ever tried to handsew with leather or pleather or suede? Have you ever used steam when pressing it? Pleather and Leather must be similar to sew with? I’m amazed at the pants and leggings some of you have made from the stuff. Would love to hear how you managed that :).

I hope your fall sewing is going well, and that you’re enjoying a bit of fall color where you are. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

New to Me: Kanerva Button Back Shirt

 

I just might be the last blogger in the world to sew the Kanerva top! And better late than never.  This top is truly unique with buttons down the back, a pleated waist, and a split peplum. And as you all know, I’m a sucker for a peplum! True love!

IMG_2348 I’ve wanted to sew something by Named clothing for awhile. I was prompted to finally do so by the Monthly Stitch. It’s Indie Pattern Month over there, and this week we’re sewing a pattern that’s New to Me. This is my first make of the Kanerva blouse, and I am so taken with the design details! Both versions are fitted with two sets of front darts, a pleated waist and a gentle peplum.

To accentuate the fabulous design details of this blouse, I decided to use two different fabrics; A embroidered cotton and a hankerchief linen. I used the cotton for the bodice, the self-drafted pockets and sleeve bands.  I used hankerchief linen for the sleeves and peplum.

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Yes, linen loves to wrinkle, but it wears like pajamas, so all is forgiven. It does tend to fray though, so I finished all the seams with my serger. Of course, the back is where it’s really happening on this shirt!

IMG_2279I used vintage pearl buttons. They’re fairly flat so they won’t poke me when I lean against a hard backed chair. The placket is easy, just a few folds that you stitch down, then you add your buttons and button holes. I added self drafted pockets to the front just because I thought they would look cool and finished the neck with binding.

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All in all, this was a fun, straightforward make. The scariest part for me was transferring the pattern markings. I tested both tracing paper and chalk on my white fabric and both stained, so I had to use thread and pins to mark. Ugh! Not sure what a better choice would be….Recommendations are appreciated! The instructions were easy to follow though and it was about a four hour sew from cut to finish. And, I think I finished this top just in time. It’s (finally!) heating up here, with temperatures expected to be in the high nineties tomorrow. IMG_2367Although I usually choose Big Four patterns (they’re so easy to find and always on sale), I do love the fact that there’s a month dedicated to some of the alternatives available through Indie companies. There are so many choices these days, that you can always find something fun to sew. If you haven’t checked out the Monthly Stitch collective, give it a try!

The trickiest part of this project was transferring the pattern markings. Have you had problems with staining of fabrics with tracing paper? Do you know products that work better for marking?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

DIY Jeans and a Burda Spring Top

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Hi all! Yes, I have FINALLY finished my first pair of jeans. My class at Modern Domestic here in Portland is over and I squeaked over the finish line with only five class minutes to spare! It feels sooooo good to have this project under my belt. I have wanted to sew a pair of jeans forever, but deep fear led to serious procrastination. But now I know. People, it is not that hard! Seriously, if I can, you can.  I’m already planning my next pair.

First, for those that don’t care about jeans, I’m going to give you a quick run down on this Burda top with a cool cutout in back.

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Pattern: Burda 114 from Issue 4/2016. Instructions were easy to follow (not always the case I have found with Burda) and you can make this top in about four hours or less. There’s also a dress length version. My fabric is a lightweight rayon that wanted to move around a lot, but after multiple tries, I did finally get the pattern pretty straight and centered on this wild print. Of course, the pattern doesn’t include seam allowances so don’t forget to add those :). One nice detail, the sleeves are short but finished with sleeve bands. I love the finished look this gives. It’s an easy pattern and the fit is very loose so I had no issues there.  I plan to make another one, maybe even a dress as I love anything with a bit of interest in the back.

The Jeans: There are so many tutorials in blog-land and on UTUBE that take you through the process of sewing jeans step by step so I will not bore you with that here. Since I’m generally impatient and easily frustrated, I took my first spin into Jeans Land under the Guidance of a Trained Professional, and I’m glad I did. My teacher was great and has made about 30 (?!?!) pairs of jeans. She has it down to a science and can whip out a pair in about four (4) hours. I think my pair took me only twelve (12) class hours. LOL

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Pattern: Jalie is the one we used in class because it has lots of sizes to play around with. The instructions are good, and the diagrams are clear. Yes, there are ALOT of steps, but they do a good job of holding your hand through them.I chose the low rise version and it was just right.

 

FIT: This is the part that scared me the most. The trick? Swedish Tracing Paper (I’m probably the last person to know about this great stuff?) It’s the same texture as interfacing so it doesn’t rip easily.  We traced our jeans pattern pieces onto it, then just basted those puppies together on the machine to check fit.

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Because this is durable paper, it doesn’t tear easily so you can try the paper jeans on then mark any necessary changes right onto the them before using them to cut out your jeans. HANDY! I hate making muslins (so much so that I never do which is not good) but this worked for me. BTW, the legs on this pattern are wide, so I straightened the cut of mine from the thighs down.

Interfacing: We used shape flex, which has a bit of give, a necessity on the waist of jeans. Tip…Cut it out with the grain (I forgot to do this first time through) so that you get a bit of stretch on the waistband when you need it.

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Topstitching: I used white thread (ARGH!!!). If I had to do it again, I would not. It made me crazy and my class got a good laugh as I took out things out over and over again. Pick a thread closer to your jeans color and save yourself some Grief. TIP; My Bernina isn’t fond of topstitching thread, so I used two spools of regular thread which could be pulled through the wider eye on a jeans needle. (don’t look too close at my white topstitching, LOL)

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Pockets: There are lots of templates on Pinterest for topstitching designs. Anything goes! I made up my own design and used a tracing pencil to mark it.

In summary, I like my jeans and will definitely make another pair using this pattern soon. The trickiest bits were the seams around the crouch and I didn’t love making bar tacks (not sure what that’s all about as it’s basically a tight zigzag stitch?), but I think those things will be much easier second time around. I also wish my knees weren’t so baggy. Not sure what to do about that?

What I will do differently next time. I will not topstitch with white. I will not topstitch with white. I will not topstitch with white. Ha, famous last words….

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Simplicity 1280: Crossover Top Times Two

I will admit. When it comes to sewing a top, I am a bit of a speed demon. I’m happiest when I’m sewing fast, and I will not stop until I’m done. Yes, I can leave a coat, jacket or dress on the sewing table to be completed another day, but a top? No way! Tops take ONE DAY, don’t you know?

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Enter Simplicity 1280: a cross-over top with a keyhole neckline. The top has a bit of a ‘ANTHRO’ vibe and it can be made in a day!

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I made two versions of this pattern, using a not-so-special rayon, and a fabric that I’d saved for just the right project (both from Fabric Depot). Wouldn’t you know it? The not-so-special fabric turned out to be the one with the best drape for the project. (Can you guess which one it is?)

I made view C with long sleeves and skipped the elastic on the sleeves as I wanted a bit more of a boho look.

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The top went together pretty well, and it was done in ONE DAY!!

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The pattern instructions are great. Here are some construction tips that I can offer after making two versions!

  • The neck is roomy. If you have narrow shoulders like me, you might want to do a muslin, or, at a minimum, baste the neck band on to make sure it doesn’t droop. I found the extra small to be a bit roomy and had to make it even smaller so that I wouldn’t have an ‘off-the-shoulder’look without intending to. Yes, it is trendy, but….
  • The construction of the front crossover pieces is interesting. The pattern instructions tell you to topstitch the two panels together before you have the back bodice attached to the front bodice. If you use a lightweight fabric like I did, you don’t really know if the drape is nice until the top is sewn together, so when you topstitch the two fronts, you can get some gathers and puckers that have to be corrected when the top is finally put together. Personally, I hate to unpick. So,  I’d take a pass on that topstitching step until after you’ve tried the top on and checked fit and drape. On my first version of this pattern, I had to unpick the topstitching and redo it after the back was sewn to the front because the drape was so different once the bodice was completed and there were so many strange puckers to fix!  Blah!!! Second version, I just basted the two front pieces together with a short stitch. Then, after I’d confirmed I had a good fit, I topstitched like I meant it.

The good news….Once you have these crossover pieces topstitched together, they will not gap or move as you wear the top! Yay!

  • The top really needs ‘drape’, so stiff fabrics will give a much different result. I used lightweight woven rayon, and could imagine it would have turned out even better if I had used silk. Next time….

Both fabrics were chosen in hopes that I could mix things up a bit by  wearing the  prints with my striped Morris Blazer. It’s a wardrobe challenge as only solid tee shirts seem to work with it. Alas, I’m not sure either of these prints works either..opinions welcome!

I keep hoping that I’m on the road to having a true capsule wardrobe, but, well, Hmmmmm. Maybe not today?

I hope your Spring sewing is going well. Me-Made-May, are you in or out? I might pledge one Me-Made a day, as Linda at Nice dress Thanks I made it, very wisely suggested. We’ll see.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!!

 

Thursday Top: Vogue 8815

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Well, here we are in February, the month that straddles the seasons.  The fabric stores are flaunting new lightweight cottons and linens. Yet, I’m still working through my stash of sweater knits.

At this point, it’s probably ridiculous to state the obvious – I am a fan of sweater knits. As I’ve confessed before, it’s not just because they’re cozy and comfortable. It’s because I can’t knit. Really. My brain gets ahead of my fingers and, well, chaos ensues. Sweater knits are the easy way out.

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And they are so comfortable! However, as you can see in the photo above, I’m discovering yet another cat hair on me. Knits do seem to attract fur of any sort, but doesn’t everything? Still, this particular sweater knit is wonderful, a thick cotton/lycra blend that’s textured and double faced. The result is a lush, thick fabric with a moderate amount of give that is so great to wear.

IMG_7739 I took a close up of the fabric so that you could see the texture. The pattern I used for this Thursday top is one of my TNT (tried and true) patterns, Vogue 8815.

I made it before Here. The pattern is designed for wovens, but when I found this knit, I could see it only one way – – as this top. Generally, when I decide to use a knit instead of a woven, I take the pattern down a full size. But I’ve discovered that each knit is so different, it’s hard to predict how they will behave.

This time, I tried a new method to allow for the stretch in the knit. I adjusted the seam allowances from 5/8″ to 6/8″. Because the stretch on this knit was so moderate, I didn’t want to cut out a smaller size, only to discover the knit wasn’t stretchy enough to warrant that large of an adjustment.

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In the end, I was glad I made the adjustment this way. The knit didn’t stretch enough across the shoulders to warrant any adjustment at all. Because I basted in the seams, it was easy to just let the back seam out where I needed to. Yahoo! So glad I didn’t screw up this great fabric 🙂

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Because the knit had moderate stretch, I used my Bernina’s overlock stitch rather than serging the seams. Here are my pattern modifications:

  • Because I used a knit, I didn’t insert a zipper. The neck slips over my head easily.
  • I added a solid band of knit at the neck (very stretchy so that it wouldn’t bind) in contrasting black.
  • I also added a solid black band of knit at the waist. To do this, I shortened the front and back bodice by two inches. Then I cut 2, two inch wide bands of solid knit fabric the same width as the bodice pieces.  I sewed the solid knit pieces to the shortened bodice pieces before sewing on the back and front peplum pieces.

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Done! One winter project down, and a few more to go. I’m getting antsy for Spring, though. I’ve been longing to work with linen again. I think my first spring project will be a shirt dress of some sort. Have you started sewing for Spring, or are you still working through winter projects?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

McCall’s 6708: An animal print cardigan

 

 

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Yes, it’s a jungle out there! A bit of a cliche’ perhaps, but what better way is there to describe what’s happening in the sewing blog world these days? Everywhere, fabulous makes are being crafted from jungle worthy fabrics as part of #Jungle January, a month long walk on the wild side.

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This photo is from “Pretty Grievances” and it captures the mood of the month. In my opinion, the timing for Jungle January could not be better, since it can be a bit dull around here. It’s so easy to stay stuck in a routine when it’s grimly gray outside. How nice to be inspired to do something adventuresome in the new year. What better way to shake off the glooms!

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The fabric for my leopard cardigan was purchased a couple of years ago at Fabric Depot. It’s a stable cotton knit that I bought without knowing what I’d make from it. (Yes, this is a scary habit of mine that has resulted in a large stash that is about to take over the world.) As the fabric languished in my stash for years, I expected it was a purchase whose time had run out because, surely, animal prints would soon go out of style. Ha! I was so, so wrong. Now, in 2016, they are making a splashy return on the runways of Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, and Dolce and Gabbana.

So inspiring! But to me, what’s even more inspiring are these classic fashion icons.

No one wore a leopard print hat quite as well as Audrey!

When I saw these classic styles, I decided my leopard print needed to be fashioned into something with a bit of a vintage look. Enter the cardigan. My pattern is McCalls 6708. It’s Out Of Print, but you could use Butterick 6062 to get the same look.   I made the shorter version, view D, so it would look like one of those boxy vintage cardigans.

The fabric I used for the bodice is a stable knit from my stash. The neck, pocket and sleeve bands are from a remnant of sweater knit. At first, I was a bit disappointed in the sweater knit trim, as it became so ‘furry’ as I worked with it. The floor under my sewing machine was covered with little fuzzy bits. But then I realized just how appropriate that was for Jungle January. My fabric was shedding! Do you think the floor of the Jungle is just covered with fur?

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This pattern is great because you can embellish with as many details as you would like. I added one set of pockets, trimming them with buttons and sweater knit, but you could add more. The project was easy to sew but a bit time consuming (lots of trim to put on :)). The trickiest part was the button holes on the front band. Even though I interfaced it, the fabric stretched a bit more than I’d hoped. I think a stiffer interfacing would have helped.

Under the cardigan ( just to make the Jungle theme perfectly clear), I’m wearing a leopard print tee I made awhile back.

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It’s one of my favorite tees, I have to admit. The fabric is so soft and yummy, and the leopard print is so dark, I imagine it’s a neutral! This means I’m allowed to wear it with everything, right?

I hope you’re enjoying January, a chance to return to routine after the hectic holidays.  To revitalize my sewing mojo and ready myself for a great 2016, I’m reorganizing my stash based on fabric content, but I’m not convinced my system is perfect. I also would like a way to keep track of my fabric inventory in a document that I could take with me when I look for patterns. Would love to know how you organize your stash!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Vogue 8831: A sweater knit top with zippers

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Since I don’t knit, I’ve become a huge fan of sweater knits. With only a few yards of the cozy stuff, you can cut and sew almost any style sweater you want. Here, in rainy Oregon, a person can NEVER have too many sweaters.

For this top, I used two coordinating sweater knits from my fabric stash (yay); a striped textured knit for the bodice, and a solid sweater knit for the arms and cowl. For fun, I also added a couple of pockets to the bodice, sewn from a untextured knit of solid black.

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I used the same fabric to add sleeve bands, and, because I’d fallen in love with a RTW top with zipper detail at the hem (it didn’t fit, rats), I added two seven inch zippers to the princess seams at the hem.

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The pattern I used is Vogue 8831,  a top with princess seams and a cowl neck. I’ve made it before here, and will likely do so again as I love the cowl neck and the princess seams in the bodice.

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Because this sweater knit was so loosely woven, I added stabilizer to the seams before stitching in the zippers. This gave the fabric enough body to support the weight of the zipper and also helped protect the seam from unraveling. I also finished all the seams with an overlock stitch. I love sweater knit, but when it’s loosely woven, it can be a bit….touchy.   I was really glad I chose a pattern that I knew well, because the stitches seemed to just disappear into the fabric. If I’d had to unpick any of those seams, it would have been a night mare!

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I learned a bit more about sweater knits as I worked on this project. The things I want to remember for my next project include:

  1. Always use the right needle. On this project, a jersey needle worked best.
  2. Finish the raw edges to keep the weave together.
  3. Stabilize seams and hems (especially if they have to carry the weight of a zipper ).
  4. Try not to pull the knit as you sew. It does stretch and can lose its shape (My hem isn’t as perfect as I’d like because I stretched it out when I put the zippers in.)
  5. Keep your cat out of the sewing room especially if he’s orange and his name is Dustin.IMG_7077

Putting in the zippers required a bit of thought and added some extra steps, but I’m glad I did. I like the look of the zippers and they make the top a bit unusual. To change up the look, I can wear it with the zippers open or closed. And if I eat too much, hey, all I have to do to get a bit of room is to unzip. Ha! Too bad I didn’t have this top to wear over the holidays!

I still have quite a bit of winter sewing to do, but the linens and cottons in my stash are calling me. Pretty soon, I’ll just have to give in and shift my focus. My spring plans are to make a couple of light weight dresses and tops that will travel well. And pants! I have to find a pants pattern that I love. Recommendations are appreciated!

I’d love to hear about your sweater knit experiences and if you’ve found any secrets to success. Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by…