Sunday, December 17, 2017

Vogue 9980 - A Cardigan from the 90s

I pulled this pattern out of the stash a couple of months ago. It's a Koko Beall pattern. I collected a lot of these when they were in the pattern books back in the 1990s. 

At the time I wanted to make a lightweight summer throw on type jacket - you know something that will keep you warm against the artic chill of office air conditioning. 

As with all good intentions, I didn't get to it this summer.  However, it was still sitting out when this sweater knit arrived from StyleMaker Fabrics, and it caught my eye.

Last weekend the East Coast experienced our first snowfall and the bitter cold also swooped in. Even though I was in the midst of making dresses for my daughter, I took some time out to make a quick sweater coat for myself. I was looking for a little warmth against the cold.

First a little about the fabric ~
It's a heavier and more stable fabric than I thought it would be when I ordered it. So I knew the light cardigan I was thinking of wouldn't work. I've been wanting more sweater coats to go over jeans and tops, especially since Chicos & JJill have some amazing ones in their assortment. Upon touching the fabric I knew it would work for this kind of sweater coat.

Construction ~
Since this is a 90s pattern, the shoulder seam was quite long. I did alter the shoulder seam to my standard length so that it would fit better.

Then I had to complicate the construction by adding some black piping to the neckline and sleeve hems. But the pattern on the fabric would have been overwhelming without some stopping or resting point for the eyes.

After I stitched the side sleeves and tried the sweatercoat on, the sleeve openings seemed really wide. Since I'd cut the hemline off before adding the piping, I had a 1.5" hem after adding it back to the sleeve. It made the perfect casing for adding elastic to the sleeve hem. I love how the piped and ruffled hemline gives an artistic touch to the sleeve.   

Also the pattern calls for one buttonhole at the neckline. Since the fabric is a little thick and patterned, I thought a regular buttonhole would get lost.  So my first choice was to add a "Spanish Snap Buttonhole" using black ponte/pleather. That was my intent. In reality, I wanted to wear the sweater coat to my company Holiday Luncheon and used a pin instead because I ran out of time.

BTW, the pin is old. Back from my corporate days...glad to find a use for it now. Hopefully I will be able to repurpose some of my other pins too.  After wearing the sweater coat, I liked it so much that I decided to leave the buttonhole off. 

The facings were cut from a black ponte scrap from the collection. I wanted the facings to be smooth and flat so I didn't use the sweater fabric for them. I also turned the edges under 1/2" inch and stitched them flat because I wanted a cleaner finish on the inside fronts.

The sweater coat hem is machine stitched. Because the fabric is pattern, after stitching it in and giving it a good press, the stitching disappeared into the fabric.

Otherwise this pattern was easy to construct. The instruction sheet has great pictures and to me the construction process made sense, especially since they had you insert the sleeves using the flat method. Sleeves that btw, I didn't need to make any pattern alterations too. 

A few pictures ~

This is what happens when you take your own pictures
The sweater is caught on my butt - but it was too cold to retake!

...and a pic of me wearing it with a black RTW mockneck and black skinny jeans at the Holiday Luncheon.

Conclusion ~
I really liked how easy this piece was to sew and I will be making it again. However, I will add the buttons and buttonholes to the jacket in future renditions. I'm sure that some of the heavier sweater fabrics I own will match up perfectly with this pattern (and clear some shelf space in the cave) this pattern will be showing up again during 2018.

If you're interested in owning a copy, there were a few of these patterns available on Etsy and even Amazon when I googled the pattern. This is part of my plan for 2018 to sew from my pattern stash and fabric collection, so I'm ending 2017 on a high sewing note. always more later!

Friday, December 15, 2017

NY Sewcialist Soiree - January 6, 2018

The NYSewcialists Team who sponsor the monthly meet-up on the last Tuesday of the month, have gotten together and put together an after the holidays party!

The NY Sewcial Hour team invites you to a Sewing Soiree in Tribeca, celebrating six months of wonderful meetups!

On Saturday, January 6th, spend an afternoon with old friends and new.  We'll chat about all things sewing over tasty treats and sparkling drinks.  Come early so you don't miss out on the amazing giveaways donated by our generous sewing community.

Speaking of giveaways, feel free to "give away" a few of your patterns at our pattern swap table.

Dress Code:
"No Sequins Left Behind."  Wear your favorite handmade holiday outfit - the more festive the better.  Then, prepare to strike a pose in front of our selfie wall. We can't wait to see you there!

Space is Limited. Here's the link to buy your ticket!

Hope to see you there! always more later!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Confessions of A Fabricaholic

If you've been reading along for any length of time, you know that I LOVE fabric.  To some it's an aspirational goal, to others I'm obviously using my funds wrong and to some people it's a headscratcher. Then to those who love fabric as much as I do, my fabric collection is a lovesong.

I haven't talked about fabric purchases much on the blog lately. Some of it's because I haven't felt like it...though I've still been buying. But it's the end of the year and alongwith recapping my Top 5's (those will be coming up soon), I wanted to talk a little about my fabric collection. Especially since my fabric collection means as much to me as the sewing does. 

In September I shared some new online fabric resources for National Sewing Month. There were several new to me online fabric sites and I have spent time pursuing their sites then purchasing from them. So I thought I would show some of the new pieces that have come to visit Casa de Sewing Fanatico. 

Now I know I work in the midst of the NYC Garment District and I do purchase local too. However, for many of you visiting the District is a special trip, but you can sit at home and thumb through online internet sites. Truthfully, I sit at home and thumb through internet sites too!

So here are a few purchases I've made recently especially after the amazing Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales:

LaFinch Fabrics ~
A Liverpool knit (used in the Rivermont Dress, a dotted chambray for a shirt
and a polyester crepe for a bow-tie blouse)

Blackbird Fabrics ~
A floral rayon poplin and a dark floral sweaterknit

Smugglers Daughter ~
A dark denim cause I'm always buying denim now!

District Fabrics ~
Love the packaging from District Fabric

An embroidered velvet

I have to admit to finding this one on Instagram and purchasing it by calling the store.  They were so helpful and sent it out quickly! I highly recommend following their Instagram account and seeing their lovelies.

Emmaonesock ~
A rayon printed twill

I also bought a few pieces of fabric from Stylemaker Fabrics ~

and 5 yards of white cotton interlock from Organic Cotton PlusThe Stylemaker Fabrics and the cotton interlock were purchased during the Black Friday sale.

There have been a few purchases from Chic Fabrics and Metro Textiles, in the Garment District too, but I've officially made my last fabric purchases for 2017. It's time to stop gathering and to start sewing. I don't know about you but at the beginning of every season, I need to do a gathering or a hunt of fabric for that season. I need to add a few new pieces to the collection to get the creative juices flowing. These pieces may or not be used during this winter season but they do encourage my sewing mojo and inspire me to start new sewing adventures.

So how about you?  Do you need fabric to kickstart your sewing mojo?  Or do you have a lean fabric collection? Maybe you're like me and believe that you should own as much fabric as you are capable of storing? Finally, did you indulge in the Black Friday sales? I know different strokes for different folks but as I said at the beginning of this post I love fabric and it makes me happy!

I may have another outfit post before the Christmas Break but I'm not sure. I am sewing but due to the holidays and everything going on, I may not have a photographer until the New Year. 

As I mentioned above, I will be discussing my Top 5's in another post soon and maybe a wrap-up post of this year and my goals for next year. always more later! 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Crazy 8 Wardrobe - Casual Style

In the past, I've loved sewing wardrobes.  I've made several SWAPs and even started a business wear Crazy 8 Wardrobe back in December 2013.  I made a few pieces but never finished that wardrobe. Since I've figured out what I want to sew and acclimated to wearing jeans as part of my work wardrobe, I've really wanted to do another wardrobe.

So to recap, a traditional Crazy 8 Wardrobe consists of:

1. A jacket
2. A cardigan
3. Two tops
4. One blouse
5. One pair of pants
6. One skirt
7. One dress

Imma change it up to better reflect my current work wardrobe. Here is what I'd like to make alongwith pattern suggestions.

1. A jacket - McCalls 7481
2. A cardigan - Heidi Cardigan by StyleArc Patterns
3. Two shirts that button down - TNT pattern
4. A blouse - Vogue 8772 
5. A topper - Vogue 9286 
6. A pair of jeans - Ames jeans by Cashmerette Patterns
7. A pair of pants - TNT pants pattern or the Eleanore Jeans by Jalie Patterns
8. A bonus piece - a vest from Vogue 9273

I need more bottoms than I need a skirt or dress now so I've replaced them. To me the wardrobe should be practical for my needs and these changes work for me. Featured fabrics will be denim and shirting but specific ones from the collection haven't been chosen yet. The bonus is that nothing needs to be purchased to sew these 8 pieces. I already own everything for the wardrobe, including notions.

Since I'm off the week between Christmas and New Years, I have some dedicated time to spend on creating this wardrobe. And even though all of these pieces will probably work together, the upside is that they will also work with most everything else in my wardrobe which really makes me happy. Also, I like the idea of working on a group of pieces that will work with the pieces I'm currently sewing.

This is the plan. Now you know I will either add/change or substitute pieces as the creative spirit moves me. However, the goal is to have these pieces completed by January 31, 2018 so I can wear them during the winter. I really don't want this plan to drag on especially since these are much needed items. always more later!


Saturday, December 02, 2017

A Tunic Version of New Look 6340

I made another version of New Look 6340 and it was featured on the Sewcialist blog for the TNT series.

However, when I write a blog post for another blog I leave out a lot of the construction information and some of my motivation for why I did what I did.  That's what this blog post is about.  So if you've seen this garment on the Sewcialist blog, here is the "Behind the Seams" post about it.

Let's Talk Materials ~
2.5 yards of a printed wool flannel purchased from Emmaonesock several seasons ago
3 yards of yellow rayon bemberg from NY Elegant Fabrics
12" invisible zipper from Pacific Trimmings
Yellow rayon seam binding

A Few Design & Construction Details ~
First I really wanted a winter version of this dress but as it's gotten colder, I've realized that I'm in jeans and leggings for the foreseeable future. So a tunic version seemed a more realistic and wearable version than a dress.

I made a few design changes to this version. I added an invisible zipper to my denim version but it was in the back of the dress. For the tunic I moved the zipper to the front of the tunic. I was inspired by this photo that I found online from Heidi Daus (one of my favorite jewelry spots) this summer...

When I decided to go with the invisible zipper in the front of the garment, I went through the zipper stash and I had nothing I wanted. Since I now work in the midst of the garment district, a quick trip to Pacific Trimmings during lunchtime and I found a couple of contenders. 

The black zipper was shortened to 12" like the taupe/gray one

What I liked best about these choices is that the zipper tape was made from a heavier twill tape and was 5/8" wide. Because of the way the zipper was made, I didn't need to interface that front seam.

Since it's winter, I made the sleeves longer for warmth but of course that brought it's own challenges. I had to draft a sleeve using the short sleeve from the pattern and a sleeve I'm presently using for other patterns. It ends at my wristbone and could have been longer but I'm going with it.

The body of the tunic is lined in a yellow rayon bemberg but not the sleeves. Originally I lined them but they were tight and uncomfortable (guess I didn't have enough width in the biceps of the sleeve) so I removed the lining. I also had to lower the underarm seam by 3/4" to give me a better range of motion. Those are the only construction changes I made from my original versions.

A Few Pictures ~

Conclusion ~
As with any TNT pattern after I've worked out fit issues, I start messing with the design and construction of the garment. To me, that's the fun of a TNT pattern, that it can be anything I want it to be. However, that also means that I lose the quick and easy factor that sewing with a TNT provides. I can't say that I won't use this pattern again...but I am putting it away for now.

I made this top to wear to a work function so it's why the outfit is a little dressier than what I've been wearing. Will probably also end up wearing it to one of my Christmas parties this season too.

I do have some Christmas sewing I want to do, as well as start working on my winter sewing list. I need to get myself together because it will be Christmas and time for my winter sewing break. I have no plans to go away this Christmas break and hope to spend some quality time in the sewing cave.

Finally ~ here's a pic of the grandbabies and me always more later!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A Pair of Black Pants

As you know I wear a lot of jeans and leggings to work now. Also, my TNT pants pattern wasn't working after I lost 45 lbs. Well that was three years ago and in the last year I've gained back 15-20 lbs depending on what week it is. Before we get into a weight loss/gain discussion, I really just want to talk about the pants.

One of the byproducts of gaining some weight back is that my original TNT pants pattern now fits. Not the altered one that I was using when I started to lose weight (and was at my heaviest) but one of the in-between stage pants patterns - yes, that's how many times I've altered that pattern!

Anyway, when I made the Rivermont Top, I cut a pair of my TNT pants from the black ponte too. My goal was to wear the two pieces together but I ran out of time for the blog post for the Curvy Sewing Collective. However, a black pair of pants is always a good thing, so I finished them this weekend.

Materials ~
black ponte from Metro Textiles
Dritz pull elastic (I found some at SIL Threads)
black rayon seam tape

I have no new construction techniques info to add because I've made these pants too many times to count!

So here are some pictures of the pants in action worn with some of my recent makes ~

With my Vogue 8772 bow-tie blouse

With my Rivermont Top

and with a yet to be blogged top ~

Conclusion ~
I'm glad I added this pair of pants to my closet. When I need to be just a little dresser, these will work. Also I'm so happy to have my TNT pants pattern back!

The girls were here this afternoon with their Mother while she took these here is a picture of me with Miss Aleena and Miss Samantha! always more later!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Rivermont Top

The Rivermont Pattern by Cashmerette has a top and a dress in it. 

After I started working on the dress, I got this great idea for a top and went off on a lark. See I've been inspired by a number of peplum tops that I've been saving from the Internet and Instagram. I thought this was the perfect pattern to make my creative imaginings come to fruition.

Let's start at the beginning with some inspiration photos ~

As you know, I made a test version of the dress. When I first thought of making a top, I considered tearing my tester version apart and trying to make it work. I checked but I didn't have enough of the original fabric left over to make the peplum probably because I'd fussy cut it to get the border to fit the dress.

So my next thought was to use the original top with an insert on the sides and use a black ponte for the peplum.  After picking up some black ponte, I changed directions again. 

A Supply List ~
Black Ponte from Metro Textiles
Black 'n White Houndstooth Poly by Maggie London from Fabric Mart (via the collection)
9" black invisible zipper
Rose applique from Joyce Trimmings

Pattern Alterations ~
These are the alterations I made to the pattern to make it mine.

Peplum Alterations first:
I lengthened and expanded the peplum to give it some flare. Since the peplum piece is used for the front and the back piece, I had to make two separate pieces to get the look I wanted.

1. I cut and spread the pattern so that hemline was widened by 2.5" next the front piece was lengthened by 3".  

2. The back piece was copied from the front piece.

3. Then it was lengthened 10" at the back hemline.

4. Using my curved ruler I curved the hemline up to meet the side seam.

5. Next I cut two inserts into the peplum pattern. I picked an area near the back and one closer to the side seam. There was no formula for this. I eyeballed it thinking about how I wanted the peplum to hang over my behind.

6. Spreading the inserts, the one closest to the back fold was widened to 3.5" at the hemline.

7. The second insert closest to the side seam was widened to 2" at the hemline.

Final back pattern piece made from the cut & marked up original piece

Additional alterations made to the top ~
I raised the neckline by 1/2". I did this based upon my test dress version. It had a higher neckline than my pattern. I liked the original neckline better for me so I altered my front pattern also making sure to alter the front facing pattern piece too.

Construction Information ~
It's important to note that I got another idea as I was cutting the pattern out.  One of the things that is challenging to me about my Rivermont Dress is that I have to pull it over my head. People I'm an older woman who hates to exercise so my dexterity isn't as good as it was when I was a younger woman who didn't exercise. So I love a zipper!  And I realized that in a stable knit like a ponte that a zipper is a good thing, so I added a 9" invisible to the back seam.

This meant that the back neck facing had to be changed too. So instead of placing it on the fold I added a 3/8" seam allowance and cut it out as 2 separate pieces.

I added a lining to the peplum by cutting a second set of the peplum pieces from the silky poly fabric. First I stitched the silky lining to the ponte at the hemline. After the two pieces were sewn together, the seams were pressed open and flat. I added a line of stitching to the hemline of the peplum. The two pieces of fabric were then basted together at the waistline. I clipped it to a pants hanger and let the lined peplum hang for a day so I could see if the two fabrics worked against each other.  

Because I chose to add a lining to the peplum and a zipper to the back of the top, I changed the way I constructed the garment. As stated above the peplum was made first. The bodice was made second and I sewed it together as a single piece ~ however I did sew the sleeves into the bodice and then sewed the side seams together. The last step was to sew the bodice to the waistline and hem the sleeves.

Design Change ~
Besides giving the top's peplum more space and lengthening it in the back, I also appliqued a rose to the shoulder area. In the center of the rose, I placed a covered button made from some of the poly herringbone fabric. I thought it was a cute touch to draw all of the elements of the top together.

A few pictures of the Top ~

Giving the top a little twirl

Conclusion ~
This top first appeared on the Curvy Sewing Collective about a week ago. However, I didn't include the instructions on how to lengthen and enlarge the peplum...that information is included in this blog post. Also, this top pattern was included in the free pattern that I received from Cashmerette - yet again all opinions are mine.

Honestly between the dress and the top, I prefer the top. I will definitely make the top again using the regular peplum pieces instead of my altered pattern pieces. It's a great top that's very versatile, open to design inspiration, and will function well in my casual work wardrobe. 

This is an easy to sew and great wardrobe builder pattern. May I also say that I love that the pattern pieces all go together without any challenges adding to the ease of sewability for this pattern.  If you're looking for a great top pattern as a plus-size, curvy woman, definitely purchase the Rivermont pattern! always more later!



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