Category Archives: New Look

Pattern Review: New Look 6638

Pattern Description:  Toddler Nightgown and PajamasI made View B, the nightgown.

Pattern Sizing:  1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4.I made the size 4.  It’s a little on the big side in regards to width and little short in length for both the skirt and sleeves.   Again, therein lies the perils of making a gift and not having the luxury to fit as you go. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions were great.  I didn’t have any problems with them. Yeah me!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I loved the design of the nightgown.  The skirt is really full with the gathers and ruffles; Katie has a blast twirling in it.  😉   Dislikes were:

1. There was no instruction for finishing the join of the bodice to the skirt nicely; it just said to press the SA up.  It would have looked really messy, not to mention have felt uncomfortable and scratchy.  So I serged the SA and it looks much nicer now. 

2. I’m not fond of how the collar is attached and the use of bias tape to finish the exposed collar SA’s.  Next time I make this I will use self fabric bias tape.  It will be prettier and softer.  It would lie more nicely if there was a stand for the collar, but that would increase the construction time for the pattern. 

Any difficulties encountered?  Full disclosure here: I cut two left sleeves by accident but didn’t notice until I was setting in the second sleeve.  I just went with it as a “design detail”.  Honestly though, you can’t really tell and neither can Katie.   Also, my gathering foot, aka my ex-boyfriend, let me down.  This nightgown is an homage to ruffles and gathers and he really needed to be there for me, but he just up and quit on me instead.  I had to pull out all my tricks to get him to gather.  The experimentation added about an hour and a half to my construction time, no joke!  In all fairness to the ex though, it might have been due to the thick flannel was I sewing, but we still had to break up.  Now I am eyeing a ruffler as my next boyfriend.  😉 

Fabric Used:  Again, another gorgeous flannel which had a great hand, was soft and fluffy, nice and thick, and easy with which to work. I bought it from in November but it has long since sold out.  Sorry!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  My favorite detail that I added was to use a ruffly lace that I had in my lace stash on the collar.  The lace could not have been any more perfect for this project.  It is so cute and dainty and the ruffles go with all the gathers and ruffles elsewhere on the nightgown.  *pleased as punch* 

I used snaps instead of buttons on the bodice.  I think by this, the second set of flannel jammies I made, I was approaching sewing detail overwhelm, so snaps just seemed faster and easier.  I love how they look.  

And again, I finished the interior construction serging all exposed seams for a nice clean finish.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely sew it again. It’s a great nightgown. I do recommend it for any sewist. Beginner’s might find it a long and involved project though, but not out of reach skill-wise. Again, as with the other flannel jammie project,  it took me about 10-12 hours to complete this (thanks to the stupid ex-boyfriend!).  So it’s definitely not a quick project.

Conclusion: Super cute jammies! I am very proud of this project too.  Here is Katie in all her Rapunzel glory.  🙂 

Merry Christmas!

I meant to post this jammie picture yesterday, but, as you can imagine, the day was busy with opening presents, putting said presents together, and cooking. 

Jammipalooza 2010 was a great success.  The kids loved their pj’s and they looked so cute in them.  See for yourselves…

L: Jack in KS3510, M: Katie in NL6638, R: Thor in S3584

I will have reviews up for these pjs later today and tomorrow.  I hope you all had a great holiday.  I’ll be back later with the dets.

Pattern Review – New Look 6901

Pattern Description: Misses Six Sizes in One Just 4 Knits.  Includes one drape neck top and one mock wrap top plus skirt. I made the drape neck top as I have been coveting that kind of top for a long time.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 8-18, I made the size 12 with a cheater FBA from Debbie Cook’s blog after a disastrously ginormous muslin in a sz 16.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes I guess. It’s just an illustration, so you don’t get a real sense of how it fits.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were pretty easy to understand even for a beginner.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the drape neck but wonder if it really works for a c cup size or larger. I had difficulty making it work with my girls even after the FBA; it kept draping behind them. Hard to describe though.

Still a little tight at the bust, but acceptable

The pattern has a facing for the back neck which I found really hard to work with. Sewing it completely distorted the neckline on my muslin. So for my final version, I just folded the back neck over and sewed it done. Perfectly serviceable and minimal distortion.

Back neck

The sleeve cap ease is RIDICULOUS. My sewing teacher redrew the sleeve cap for me, but it was still too big when I made the final version. I still needed to ease it in.

Fabric Used: I used a cotton lycra knit from which I have made a dress in the past. I have so much left over that I am using it for knit muslins from now on. I bought it from Gorgeous Fabrics back in the beginning of my on-line fabric days when I didn’t know how much yardage I needed for any given project. Ahh learning curves, love ’em or hate ’em?

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: For my final iteration, I traced the sz 12 for the neck and torso but moved out 3 sizes at the armscye to a sz 18 for my cheater FBA on both the front and back pattern pieces. While this seemed to help the pulling at the bust in front, it didn’t quite eliminate it altogether.  The rest of the fit was much improved from the ginormous sz 16 muslin I made: much more fitted without being too hoochie mama. Although this top does require a fair amount of sucking in the tummy to maintain a good line.   😉 

front cheater FBA

I used a blind hem stitch on the sleeves (see picture above)  and should have done the same for the hem of the shirt, but instead tried out stitch witchery. What a mess that stuff is. Due to lack of planning, I had some SW scraps on my ironing board and accidentally adhered them to my iron. What a PITA!!!! Anyway, the hem is a little wavy, but seems secure. I don’t know if it will hold up in the wash though. Guess I will find out soon enough. I really need to get on the twin needle band wagon or see if I can find a used coverstitch machined on craigslist.

I already mentioned the sleeve cap alteration and the neck band change I made above.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? While I find my final version wearable, I don’t think I will make this again for myself. This drape top does not play well with c cups and above. I might try the mock wrap top version to see how that works though. I recommend this pattern to people with b cups or smaller and you will definitely need to go down 2 sizes from their printed measurement suggestions.  I don’t think this will become a TNT for me.  On to the next pattern…

Conclusion: Cute pattern for smaller busted women. Sizing is ginormous. But instructions are easy to read and understand.

Sneak Peek – Simplicity 2452 and New Look 6901

Full reviews coming tonight.  But until then, here’s a sneak peek at what I am wearing to work today.  I know…  I’m such a tease.

I know you’ve already seen the top before, but this is really how I want to style it.  I will be sucking in my stomach all day though.  😉 

Confession: I haven’t worn a skirt this short in a long time.  I know it’s not that short, but I don’t think my knees are my best bit, so I feel a little self-conscious.  But one must be fashionable, n’est ce pas?

P.S.  I lied in my last post about this skirt.  I said I wasn’t going to undo the vent.  Well, I did.  The perfectionist in me couldn’t leave it be.  *sigh*

NL 6901 Take Two

Never one to back down from a fight, I took another stab at New Look 6901.  Yes folks, we’re back to my search for TNTs.

NL 6901

I had read about the cheater FBA for knits on Debbie Cook’s blog and thought I had nothing to lose but some knit fabric as another muslin.  Since my first muslin was GINORMOUS…

1st NL 6901 muslin

Oh sorry, was that too loud?  I decided to go down two sizes from a 16 to a 12.  And since the size 16 was too small in the bust, I chose to go up to the 18 from the armscye and blend it into the waist line.

front cheater FBA

Cheater FBA Back


Shoot, I’m just now wondering if I should have altered the back too?  Well I did and this is where we stand now.

too much fabric at the armscye?

Still a little tight at the bust, but acceptable

I have mixed feelings about this second version.  I am very glad I made this again though.  Fitting is a process.  There is no skipping over steps — it just can’t be done that way.  I love the overall fit of the size 12.  It’s fitted, without being too clingy.  There is definitely more room for the girls this time, but still a few pulling wrinkles across the bust line.  And the drape still falls mostly behind the bust wrinkles; kind of annoying to me.  My gut feeling is that I did the best cheater FBA I could because my side seams are pretty straight.  But I also think that this pattern is just not working for me and I should find another pattern that does.  One more thing, I don’t think the drape neckline works with suit jackets at all.  I would have to wear this solo or maybe with a sweater.  I would feel very exposed without a suit jacket and have to suck in my stomach for 9 hours at work.  Talk about exhausting!

But let me ask all the more experienced fitters out there:  please give me your honest opinion about this top and any suggestions you might have to make it work, if possible. 

And in case you’re wondering, I will most likely finish this top and put it into my work wardrobe rotation.  But I will have to make a skirt to go with it first.    😉  

Happy sewing everyone!

New Look 6821 Complete!

So I finished Katie’s dress on Saturday during Jack’s nap.  Here’s the review I just put up on with some added bits:

This is my second time making up this pattern.  I thought it worthwhile to write another review as my skillset has dramatically improved in the last year, hopefully, thereby improving my reviewing abilities as well.  Also, the view I made up this time was so different from my first, almost like a completely new pattern.

Pattern Description: Kids!  Design your look with mix and match pattern pieces.  Girl’s tops, tunics and dresses. Six sizes in one.

Pattern Sizing: 3-8.  I made the size 4 but should have made the size 3 again.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for my fabric choices.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Easier than the first time I read and used them.  What a difference a year makes, right?  😉   I do have one problem with them though: for each bottom piece, the instructions tell you to make a hem, completely ignoring whether you are adding any more pieces, like a gathered ruffle or a contrast band.  Basically, they are giving you the finishing instructions for that piece.  So, if you are going to add other pieces on to skirt, DO NOT hem the skirt first.  You will add unnecessary bulk to the seam and stiffness to that seam, thereby ruining the drape. Maybe this is obvious to more experienced sewists, but to a beginner or advanced beginner, this could be a major trip up.

back of the dress

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the mix and match aspect of the different pieces.  Each look is a great little girl look and totally age appropriate.  If I had to complain, the sizing became less true the larger the size.  My size 4 bodice was ginormous on my size 4 niece.  She can grow into it, but I wasn’t expecting that kind of ease (vanity sizing?) for a little girl.

bodice too big

Fabric Used: I originally bought these fabrics for myself for summer tops, but never got around to making them, so they are not juvenile fabrics.  The floral print is a gorgeous cotton voile that has the most beautiful sheen, feel and drape, and is slightly sheer.  The solid purple cotton is batiste weight.  I used a cream ivory batiste to line the bodice. I thought I might use the purple to line the bodice, but when I layed it behind the print, it turned the cream sections of the print grey.  A subtle but important difference.  I love these fabrics and am thankful I have a lot leftover for myself.  They were a pleasure with which to work.

cotton batiste lining to create a finished look on the inside

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I changed a few things to the pattern namely how the bodice lining is finished, and how I treated the gathered ruffles.  For the bodice: the instructions tell you, after attaching the lining to the front bodice at the top, to baste the sides and bottom together.  Why? How are you supposed to create a finished look on the inside of the bodice/skirt seam?  So I completely ignored that instruction and left the lining open until I attached the skirt to the front bodice and inserted the zipper.  I then turned under the seam allowance of the lining, hand slip stitched it to the zipper and then stitched in the ditch on the outside of the skirt/bodice seam to attach it.  Does that make sense?  For the ruffles: If you have a ruffler or gathering foot people, USE IT!!!  This foot is my new boyfriend.  I want to gather everything now.  I might make this dress for myself (since the size 4 will probably fit me – see above notes on sizing).  No more basting two lines of stitches only to gather unevenly.  Nope!  Just strap on your new boyfriend and go to town gathering and ruffling to your heart’s content.  The major change I made to the gathered ruffles though is that I did not sew a narrow hem at the top of each ruffle so that it “sticks out” (fancy sewing technical term) at the top.  I thought that was just a little over the top.  I just gathered and attached each ruffle sans “sticky outy thingy” at the top.  One other note I’d like to make on construction: if you have a serger, remember, as I did not, to serge your seam allowances on the side seams before you attach the ruffles because you won’t be able to afterwards.  I ended up pinking those seam allowances awkwardly.  I did however serge the ruffle seams.

serged ruffle allowances

Any problems encountered?  Yes, unfortunately, but nothing having to do with the pattern itself.  I could not get my invisible zipper to match up in the back.  I tried four times and just accepted it as is because the fabrics I used were so delicate and were starting to look a little forlorn.  I tried all my tricks: pinning then basting (constantly checking the line up of the seams), marking the seam on both sides of the zipper, easing in one side, etc.  Nothing worked.  At least there was no puckering at the start of the zipper in the end. 

Inside back with slightly bumbled zipper insertion

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will sew it again and again, especially since my niece Haley’s birthday is coming up this summer.  Since I was making this as a gift, I really didn’t have a chance to fit it, but I highly recommend checking fit if you can.

perfect pintucks (the next best thing to pleats!)

Conclusion: This pattern really works it.  You can have so many different looks mixing up the different pieces and changing up the fabric choices that no one would know it’s the same pattern.  Really worth the money.

Gratuitous Katie shot (isn't she the cutest?)

Now I’m on to Thor’s camp shirt.

Happy sewing everyone!

Meet my new boyfriend

Here he is, my new boyfriend, the gathering foot.  Isn’t he cute?  So sleek and metallic.  He doesn’t argue with you or tell you to go make dinner.  He doesn’t stand you up at a fancy restaurant looking and feeling forlorn.  He just makes beautiful, elegant, evenly placed, sweet, little gathers.  Like these…

Aren’t those the cutest little gathers you ever saw?  Those were my two lines of test gathers.  Thea did show me how to use the gathering foot slit to attach a second piece of fabric to the gathered piece, but it’s a technique I will have to practice for quite a while before I trust my talents on a real garment right now.  But basically the key to using that function of the gathering foot (aka, my boyfriend), is holding both of pieces of fabric firmly, stitching slowly AND, most importantly, every two or three stitches, straighten out the fabric in the slit (as it has a tendency to move to the left).  Do you want to see my boyfriend in action?

I have no idea how my boyfriend works his magic.  None!  All I know is that I love the results and the fact that I don’t have to do two rows of stitching and then gather it evenly myself.  How cool is this????

So I bet you were all holding your breath until I told you which zipper I went with for the dress.  Thank you for all your opinions.  The overwhelming majority of you thought the beige zipper was the best.  A couple chose the pink and one chose the purple.  Most agreed that the bluish purple one was too blue.  And most agreed that as it was an invisible zipper, that the color didn’t really matter.  Thea thought the beige would be best.  I have to note, that Carolyn’s rule of thumb for choosing zippers is to choose a darker color and she thought the purple was the best.  I will admit to doubting Carolyn’s advice as I was worried the purple was too dark for the print part of the bodice and that you would see its shadow.  Well, I sewed the beige zipper in last night and….

I don’t like it.  Also my zipper insertion is not quite perfect.  So I think I will rip it out (not literally of course) and put in the purple one and hopefully the insertion this time will be perfect.  I just didn’t like how the beige would peek out occasional from the field of purple on the skirt section which runs the majority of the length of the zipper.

So before I leave you for the day, here’s a sneak peek of the dress ruffles with beautiful little gathers.  Did I mention my boyfriend made this?  😉  

I am almost done.  Just need to reinsert the magenta/purple zipper, hem the bottom ruffle, serge the seam allowances and finish the lining on the bodice.  I actually think that’s all doable in an evening, but I am known for having unreasonable expectations, so who knows if it will be finished tonight or not.  I hope so though — I have more SFO (Sewing For Others) to do. 

Happy sewing and gathering everyone!