I made my first business suit this year. I used Butterick 6142 for the jacket and Simplicity 8056 for the pants. I usually purchase McCall patterns and know what modifications I need to make to get those patterns to fit correctly. I made the same modifications on both the Simplicity and Butterick pattern and seemed to get the fit close – but not quite right.
I did make a muslin of the jacket and decided to go down a size based on the fit of that muslin. But, the jacket still doesn’t fit quite right in the shoulder area. I heard on one of my sewing podcast that a lot of people have fitting issues in the shoulder area due to our bad habit of hunching over our computers and phones. Good to know for future projects!
I didn’t make a muslin for the pants, but I did make my usual modifications and cut the size I normally wear for McCall patterns… and ended up with pants that are a size too small. I can still wear them, but at the end of the day I can’t wait to take them off! (I’m not one for tight fitting clothes).
I purchased the fabric for the suit at JoAnn Fabric… the good thing is I didn’t spend a lot on it, so I am considering this outfit my ‘wearable muslin’. This weekend I’ll be making a trip down to Portland with plans to stop in at a fabric store known for its large selection of fabrics. I’ll be on the look out for some nice suiting fabric for a fall/winter suit. Wish me luck!
I’ve been obsessed with finding patterns by indie clothing designers mainly because I want to see ‘what else’ is out there besides what the big patterns companies are offering. I stumbled upon Seamwork magazine and fell in love! They have a great online magazine, and if you subscribe, you get to choose 2 of their free patterns every month. Sign me up!!!
The first pattern I downloaded was the Oslo sweater pattern. To be honest once I downloaded it I was not looking forward to printing it off and taping all the sheets of paper together. So I thought I would take it to Kinkos to see if they could print it off on a larger printer (hoping that it wouldn’t cost a fortune) and lo and behold they had a printer on the floor – that I could use anytime – no special skills required … and didn’t cost an arm and a leg!!! I’m probably way behind the times here, but what a great surprise!! It opens up a world of e-pattern possibilities for me!!!
For fabric, I chose a gray wool blend sweater knit from Pacific Fabrics – it was a little on the spendy side, but I thought the Oslo would be simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up too bad – so I splurged!
I have absolutely no room in Athena to cut out patterns, so I loaded up 3-4 other patterns that I’ve been meaning to cut out and headed over to the KOA’s day room to use the big tables they have set up.
Side note – they keep the day room locked because the kids like to go in and trash the place. I had to ask them to unlock it for me and they made it clear that there were to be no kids in the room without their parents. No sooner did the KOA guy leave when I looked up and there were 3 little heads poking around the corner to see if the room was empty! And then 2 more kids would poke their head in, then 3 more, etc. etc. A few would walk in to see what I was doing, but for the most part they just hovered like vultures waiting for me to leave. Ahhh kids! Gotta love em!
Anyway, back to the Oslo! I ended up being able to use my serger on the whole thing and because of that it took me about an hour to finish it! It was SO simple! I’m glad I splurged on the fabric, it turned out nice enough to wear to work. (which is where I took the pictures – sorry they are so aweful) Had I bought a cheaper fabric it may have just ended up a ‘weekend wear.’
Next time I make it though I may try to make it a little longer. I find that it sits right at the widest part of my hips – which is not flattering for me at all!
Another option may be to add patch pockets to the front – and maybe a closure since I kinda like wearing it closed. I’d have to make it in a heavier weight fabric though if I were to do either of those, but I like this pattern because of all the possibilities – I like possibilities!
I like how the sleeves are done, I can either wear them rolled up, or down if I need them to be a little longer – again possibilities.
So that was one of my sewing project for the week! I also worked on Athena, I took out one side of the overhead storage in the back, which gives me more room to add a closet! No more fold lines in all my clothes – Yay! It has really opened up the back area! It doesn’t feel so cramped and now I’m thinking once I move out I’ll make that area the lounge area and put in a entertainment center…. the possibilities are endless, and I like possibilities.
This week I spent a LOT of time fixing up Athena! After our “storm” last week I discovered that moisture has been making its way into the trailer though a side hatch door. The storage area accessible by the hatch door is under one of the twin beds in the back Well, moisture had no where to go except up – into the mattress. (I discovered it looking for one of the dogs toys).
One of the renovations I’ve been wanting to do is pulling out one of the beds and adding in more storage – so that is what I did. I pulled that sucker right out of there and put in a portable closet so I have more room to hang my clothes and one of these days I’ll make it to Ikea or Target to see if I can find a dresser or some other storage unit that is tall enough (counter height) so I can cut out fabric. Right now if I want to cut out anything I either do it on the floor or go to the ‘TV room’.
Anyway, once I pulled everything out, I had enough energy left over to put in a new shower faucet. What a FIASCO!!!!! It took me forever to pull the old faucet out – I swear that thing was welded in! I ended up having to cut the plastic pipes and reassemble the whole thing with ‘up-to-date’ fixings. But, four hours and three trips to Home Depot later – I have a new shower faucet and shower head! BOOM!
So remember when I was telling you how I have been working on using up my fabric stash. Well, I had this knit fabric that was kinda heavy that I can’t remember what project I had in mind when I bought in. After weeks of thinking about it I decided to make slacks since I can always use work and weekend slacks. I used Kwik Sew pattern 3115 which I’ve made plenty of times before – so much so that I’ve already added length and widened the band. All I had to do was cut and sew.
Turns out that for years I thought this fabric was black when actually it’s a deep dark blue! Ha!! I normally wear either black or gray pants (minimalism technique) so adding blue gives me one more option – and it’s a deep enough blue that I won’t have to try and mix and match tops.
I am really happy with the way these slacks turned out. I widened the waist band so it sits a little higher on the waist… and work appropriate. I’m tempted now to find more of this fabric and make another pair… but I have so many OTHER projects I want to get to. More next week!!!
This week I managed to make quite a few things – because it pretty much rained all week! Last Friday the weather reports for the weekend said to expect the worse storm in 50 years! So I went home and battened down all the hatches on Athena, rolled up the awning, made sure the propane tanks were filled… And then waited and hoped that the storm wouldn’t blow all these trailers over like dominoes!
While I waited I made a sleeveless tunic for work. I’ve been trying to use up fabric that I have had for YEARS including this black with white polka dots- almost sheer knit fabric. I had to buy a lining fabric to line it with, because it was just a little too sheer!
(Once again I ask for forgiveness with the pictures! I recently took up running again and well – this is how I look afterwards.)
Because it is fully lined, I had to alter the pattern to compensate for a full lining instead of just a neck facing. So basically I made two tunics and sewed them together.
I like the asemetrical design, but next time I will make it all the same length so I don’t have to worry about it being ‘off trend’.
By the way- the storm of the century never did show up. It rained and the wind blew – but it was just another PNW day!
Sunday I rented time on a longarm and started quilting my Gypsy Wife quilt. After 3 hours of working on it – I am not even half way done. So needless to say I’ll be working on it again this coming weekend.
This past week I flew out to Minneapolis to celebrate my 50th birthday with my friends. I normally don’t care to celebrate my birthdays. Not that I’m against them, but they are a reminder to me that time flies way to fast…. and I’m kind of obsessed with the concept of time. (don’t get me started).
I wanted to celebrate this birthday because I was in a new city and I wanted to ward off those sad feelings of turning older and not celebrating in some way. I haven’t met too many people here – so, I flew to Minneapolis where I knew enough people who I knew would celebrate with me.
I stayed with my friend Jennifer and on Saturday Jennifer, her mom, and I spent the day in Stillwater, MN at their Fall Festival (which would not be a big deal were it not for the biggest pumpkin contest!)
We couldn’t have asked for a better crisp Fall day! We walked the vendor catwalk -I bought a pillow made with bamboo fibers and let me just say – YES!! We stopped in at Darn Knit Anyway and had lunch overlooking the St. Croix River. It was such an enjoyable day with two of my favorite people!
My party was held in a small Irish Pub near my old neighborhood. The party was small, but my friends who were there laughed and talked and had a good time…. and that’s all I ever want for my friends. I was amazed that friends who had never met – had other friends in common. Everyone sews or quilts so I guess that makes the connections even easier.
I want to thank my friend Jennifer for all that she did to make my day so enjoyable! I love you girlfriend!
Okay, onto what I’ve been working on. First, let me say, so sorry for the very poor lighting. I had no way to take pictures of myself outside so I bought a small tripod… and since I received it it’s been raining when I want to go out and take pictures.
Anyway, here is the jacket!
The pattern is McCalls 7199, I started out making version C with the toggle closure, but when I tried it on for toggle placement, I decided I liked it better without the toggle. The fabric is a sturdy ponte knit which I love, but the front is self facing so having 4 layers (6 if you count the pockets) makes it a little front heavy. I obviously don’t care – there’s so many other things I like about this jacket: it’s longer in the back and almost covers my bumm, it’s comfortable, it has pockets, and it’s versatile! I’ll definitely be making this jacket again.
It might look just like the bra I made before, but this one fits! I used the same fabric for the main part, but a different fabric for the lining.
And I used the lining fabric from the first bra for the back pieces on this second bra. Much better use for that fabric. I have way more stretch, which allows this bra to actually fit!
Lessons learned with this bra: 1. I should use different fabric for the main piece. The fabric that I used is a little stiff. Definitely not made for bras. 2. The wires need to be larger. I ended up ordering wires that were not the correct size or shape so I used the wires out of an old bra. Even those were a little short and moves around a bit in the casing. Not too much, but I’d rather they not move at all. 3. I definitely like the way this bra ‘perks’ up my silhouette – I’ve worn it all week just because it feels so much nicer to have everyone in their place!
Best part: it was a quick sew! I made this one in about 2 hours! Not bad, huh? I’ll definitely be making more!
I did it! Actually my sister and I did it! We hiked the Clackamas River trail from end to end – a full 8 miles and it was beautiful!
We decided to start on the end of the trail that had the highest elevation so that most of our hike was on a downhill slope. Not that it was easy, but there was one part in the trail that we both agreed would have been a bitch to hike up!
There is a beautiful waterfall right at the 4 mile mark where we decided to stop and have lunch. Besides the main waterfall there were 3-4 other smaller waterfalls – even one where you could walk behind.
And everything was SO green! It was just beautiful!
Grace found a nice mossy rock to scratch her chin on… until Leo showed up.
At the end of the trail there was a bench that had a bunch of trinkets imbedded in it. My guess is that the items were found on the trail at one point or another.
If you are ever in the Mt. Hood area and are looking for a beautiful hike to do, I highly recommend the Clackamas River trail. It’s beautiful and even though it was rated ‘difficult’ it wasn’t too difficult. We were exhausted afterwards, and pretty sore the next day – but still glad we did it!
Okay, now onto project news. As you know I have been working on three projects simultaneously: A bra, a fusion quilt and a shower curtain for Athena. Well, I finished the bra!
I knew going in that this was a practice bra so I allowed myself to make plenty of mistakes. I did ‘unsew’ some parts, but not too much – I didn’t want to waste too much time picking out stitches knowing this was just a practice piece.
Before I cut out the pieces, I took my measurements as instructed… and made the recommended size based off of those measurements even though it was MUCH larger than the ‘ready-to-wear’ size I normally wear. Turns out – it was too small. But now I know I can increase the band measurement AND the cup size for the next one.
I used some scrap fabric I had left over from a top I’m working on for the main fabric. I still have enough left over for another bra. I’m not too thrilled with the lining fabric and will probably try to find something with more substance to it.
and I really don’t like the ‘super mesh’ so think I’ll try to find something else to use. (the Super Mesh is used for the back piece – it’s hard to see in the picture because it’s so thin).
As you can see I didn’t get the elastic on right so the piece is a little large for the ‘hook & eyes’. Overall it was a good learning experience and I did print off the next size up so I can get started on the next bra right away. However, I’m not sure how much sewing I’ll get done this weekend. My goal is to try to paint Athena while the weather is still nice. Water somehow seeped in last winter and I want to make sure it doesn’t seep in again this winter. I did put some sealant on the seams, but I’m thinking a coat a paint can only help.
I can’t believe it’s September already! I see all these ‘first day of school’ photos on my Facebook feed and it makes me miss my boys! When we moved into our house in Minneapolis I would take a picture of them in the back yard on the first day of school! I look back at those pictures now and can’t believe how little they were! Time flies by so fast!
So other than looking at all the back to school photo’s on Facebook I have been sewing up a storm! (BTW – did you know September is National Sewing Month?) However, I haven’t finished anything! I suppose if I were working on just one project I might have – but this week had three going: a bra, a shower curtain, and the fusion quilt. I had to order the bra fixings on-line so I didn’t get started on that till Tuesday night – I cut out the pieces and have the cups sewn together. I can tell already that I ordered the wrong lining fabric, but I’m not worried about it. I am expecting to make lots of mistakes on this one – if it actually fits it will be a bonus. I’m counting on the next one to be perfect.
Before the bra I had been working on my shower curtain I had all the rows sewn, just had to join them. But I got so excited when the bra fixings came in that I set aside the shower curtain. I finally picked it up again tonight and got it all sewn together. All I need is to add grommets and hem it and then I’ll be done. As for the fusion quilt I’ve crocheted edges to all of the squares and have started to join them – which amazingly is going pretty fast.
My hope is that by this time next week I’ll be wearing a new bra, have a pretty shower curtain and a new lap quilt to take me into Fall!
Speaking of Fall, nothing like Pumpkin scones to transition from Summer to Fall! I made these one day last week when it was cool enough to turn on my oven! I thought I would be clever and try and make chocolate pumpkin scones , but I didn’t add enough chocolate powder so they ended up looking like dirt. But they tasted SO good! Just ask the guys I work with! Scones tend to be on the dry side which is why I added the glaze on top. So, so good!