Category Archives: New Look

Zipper Dilemma and Some Excitement

I don’t want to jinx anything but I have to tell you how excited I am about the dress (NL6821) I am making for Katie.  I am using some cotton voile that feels so luxurious as I sew.  Who knew that cotton could feel luxurious?!  It looks so special already and I have only completed the bodice.  This was going to be just an ordinary little girl’s twirly dress, but it might just turn out to be a special occasion dress.  It’s so cool how a fabric can make or break a garment.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this turns out.  See pictures below of the bodice thus far.  Did I mention I was excited????

BUT, I have a zipper dilemma.  When I went to P&S Fabrics last night to get the thread and zipper, I thought I had purchased the right color, at least under their flourescent lights.  But when I was home, the zipper looked magenta rather than purple and was a lot more saturated in color than the print or solid fabric is.  What to do????  So, I thought I would turn to you, gentle readers, for your wonderful suggestions. 

I have lined up several different colors of zippers below.  Let me know which works if any or if I should go back to the store to find another one.  In order of appearance: ivory, pink, beige, magenta, blue/purple.  I have three different light settings in the photos so you can see how it looks in different lights. 

So what’s the verdict?  Which zipper should I use?  Or should I go back to the zipper drawing board?

In other sewing store news, P&S Fabrics is moving across the street from their current store in 6 days.  The new store is beautiful (or so said someone I bumped into at the current store).

Happy sewing everyone!


On the cutting room floor, literally…

I’m back!  So as I have mentioned previously, I have a lot of sewing for others to do:

  1. Birthday gift for my sister (knit top, pattern TBD)
  2. Dress for my niece Katie (New L00k 6821)
  3. Camp Shirt for my nephew Thor (Kwik Sew 3146)
  4. Dress for my niece Haley (New L00k 6821)

As you can probably tell, I love New Look 6821.  It has several different variations as dresses and tops.  I’ve made it before as a top for Katie last year.  Remember?

This time, I am going to make the dress on the top left with the straps and gathered ruffle bits at the skirt.  I have the prettiest purple fabrics which I originally bought for myself for summer tops, but just couldn’t resist using for Katie.  Last night I cut out the fabric.  Today after work, I have to run to my neighborhood sewing store, P&S Fabrics on Broadway, and buy some matching thread and a zipper.  Here the’s fabric all ready to go…

Isn’t it pretty???  I can’t wait to work on it tonight.  Thank goodness my sewing mojo has reappeared.  I was beginning to worry!  The floral print is going to be the bodice and then I’ll alternate between the solid and floral for the skirt and ruffles.  She’s going to be the belle of the ball, especially when she twirls which she loves to do.

Last week, when Jack and I went shopping at, you guessed it, P&S Fabrics, I found a cotton blue check fabric for Thor’s camp shirt.  So cute and utterly classic BOY.  I am using Kwik Sew 3146 for the pattern, View B (it’s unisex, obviously).

Haley’s birthday isn’t until June, so I have some time to figure out which combo of NL6821 I will use and find the fabric.

Anyway, happy sewing everyone!

Sizing – Argh!

Last night I sewed up another muslin of another New Look pattern, #6807, in “my” size (16).  This sucker was 3 maybe 4 sizes too big!!!!  How can New Look’s sizing be that kind of variable from pattern to pattern.  That is just insane!  Thank the gods I didn’t use any good fabric.  I used the really icky dots fabric as my knit muslin. 

This is what it’s supposed to look like:

New Look 6807

And this is what it looks like on me:


YUCKORAMA!!!  Apologies for the blurry bathroom pic.

I am stepping away from my work wardrobe TNT project and sewing some birthday presents (don’t get mad at me Selfish Seamstress) for my nieces and nephew.  I need a break from crappy pattern sizing.

Hoping you have a better sewing weekend than me!

Thea saves the day

I am a little late in writing this post about my lesson last week, but better late than never.  And a warning – this is a long post.

If you will recall I had made two muslins recently that required either a trash can or resuscitation,  The grandma skirt and the knit top from hell.  That post generated the most comments I have ever received for any one post.  I was overwhelmed by all of the kind words and moral support you provided as well as for all of the good ideas.  Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for putting up with my whining about my weight and pattern sizes.  I’d like to highlight some of the comments:

Faye shared: “I am in the SAME boat … I still need clothes so I sew for where I am now, and will when I do lose the weight, I’ll sew for where I am then.”  I know you’re right, that I should sew for the body I have now, but I don’t want to.  *stamping foot like a toddler in the middle of a temper tantrum*  My urge to sew is negatively correlated to how out of shape I am, unfortunately.  Ugh! 

Sue suggested: “… none of us are going to fit into any clothing/pattern without some tweaking.”  As I shared with Karen on the phone the other night, I stupidly assumed that, after the sz 14 turned out to be too small, of course the sz 16 would be just right and would require no tweaking at all.  WRONG!

Robin mentioned: “I have TNT patterns that I use over and over.  When I want a new style, I work out a frankenpattern, rather than try to sew a muslin from a commercial pattern.”  I haven’t been sewing (i.e., producing) long enough to have any TNT patterns yet.  In fact, muslining the Simplicity skirt was my first attempt to find a TNT pencil skirt (post on TNT’s still in the works).  Read on further in this post, however, for more progress on this front.

Hatty pointed out: “Oh and another thing — what’s in your construction queue — that Burda cardi/jacket thing — that’s a definite no-no unless you are feeling devastatingly attractive and tall and willowy.”  OMG!  You’re right!  I am taking that out of the queue pronto.  Thanks for saving me from some more frumpy angst!

Helen bravely brought up: “You know, underneath all the stuff about your size there is that disturbing comment about ‘not expecting to date’ for some time, which we are all politely ignoring because it is so worrying.”  You are right too Helen, I should not feel that I have to be skinny to date, but while I understand that, I still can’t feel motivation to date when I don’t feel good about myself.  It’s a little bit of a catch 22.  But hopefully, after somehow working in working out again, I will feel better about myself and feel the urge to get out into the fray again.  The problem is, though, as a single parent, it’s hard to find time to work out without having to pay a babysitter to do so.  I can do it, but it’s a tricky business, can be expensive and you have to be extremely motivated work it into your schedule.

JC asked: “Did you enjoy your sew fast sew easy class?  Yes, I did.  I wrote a couple of posts about the projects I worked on in that class where I detail what I learned.  Check them out!  I highly recommend their classes.  However, one of the reasons I have Thea as my teacher now is that she comes to my apartment so I don’t have to pay babysitting on top of the class fee.

Now back to my muslin disasters…  I showed them to Thea and we went to work on them.  For the skirt, Simplicity 2452, I just needed to nip in at the hips and down the sides of the skirt a 1/4 inch on each side seam as the waist was fine.  When it was pinned to the correct size, the skirt looked exactly the way I wanted it to look: fitted but not too fitted.  It was the pencil skirt I have been searching for; the grandma skirt had disappeared.  Yeah!  I used the french curve ruler to redraw the pattern taking it in a 1/4 inch.  It was pretty easy actually.  See my adjusted pattern below.  So this could be my TNT pencil skirt pattern.  I am going to finish up this skirt even though the more I work with the fabric, the more I dislike it and I’m going to add a lining.  I want to see how it looks all finished to be sure I like this skirt pattern before I cut into any of my nice suiting fabrics.  I don’t want to make any more “muslins” for this pattern if I can help it.  🙂

2452 pencil skirt hip alteration

I haven’t finished the skirt so no pictures yet.  Be patient dear readers. 

Next I tried on the knit top for Thea and she thought it looked just fine on me.  She thought the pulling/wrinkles on the bust were part of the drape and didn’t bother her at all.  She liked the top.  I looked at it again with kinder eyes and just may agree.  Although I am waffling on it since I still feel self conscious about my thick middle section.  Thea said we could add a little more to the side seams on the front pattern piece under the arms for more room for the bust and see what happens.  I think I may try that in my ugly dots knit fabric.  Again, I don’t want to waste any of my nice knits on another muslin.  While Thea was there, I sewed on one of the sleeves and I had my first experience of too much sleeve cap ease.  New Look requires you to gather the sleeve cap before inserting the sleeve.  Ridiculous!  It’s a pattern for a knit fabric people!  How about just drafting a knit sleeve cap that fits into the armscye?  Brilliant idea.  Now let’s do that from now on.  I asked Thea to redraw the sleeve cap as I hadn’t a clue as to how to do that.  I’ll try it out the new sleeve along with the new front pattern piece on my next iteration of this top. 

6901 altered sleeve pattern piece

crappy sleeve insertion due to excess sleeve cap

lovely drape front -- best feature of the top

I thought I could salvage this top by removing the back neck facing and finishing it in another fashion, but I can’t remove the facing for the life of me.  It’s on there but good.  I could only get two inches unattached.  I am admitting defeat with this iteration.

the gosh durned stubborn back facing

The reason why I am working so hard to make this top and skirt work is simple.  TNT’s people.  I need ’em.  I want ’em.  They’re worth the effort, the tweaking.  Once I get these two patterns working for me for how I look now, (*sigh*) I can start ramping up the wardrobe factory production because I need a lot more work clothes.  A lot.  I am sick and tired of what’s in the rotation. I want some variety and more of it.  And I want it NOW!!!  And to be truthful, it isn’t hard to make these patterns work for me and my body.  The changes are simple and easy, so it’s not like I am redrafting the pattern.  I just became easily discouraged at first.  I was focusing on the wrong thing, my body, not the fit of the pattern.  Not that I shouldn’t get in shape or anything, but I can and will sew for the body I have now.  It will take time and much effort to get back to where I want to be, shape-wise, and I am going to need to clothe myself in the interim.  So I better get cracking!

So I am going to do a little poll with New Look 6901.  I will show you a picture of me wearing the top and you let me know via the poll what you think.  Deal?

Oh and I almost forgot!  Thea also looked at my alhambra clover fabric that was printed off-grain.  She thinks it just needs a  better pressing than I gave it previously and it should be fine.  Wow!  I can’t tell you how relieved I was.  However, I think I need a little time off from this fabric for a while before I reattempt cutting it again.  We need a break from each other. 

Happy tweaking everyone!

Muslin Hell

I am in muslin hell.  I made muslins for Simplicity 2452 and New Look 6901 over the last two weeks.  I hate them.  And no I don’t have pictures.  I would die of shame if you saw pictures.  Not flattering is the kindest term I can come up with to describe the awfulness that is the state of these muslins. 

Simplicity 2452

Let’s start the discussion with Simplicity 2452.  I first made this skirt in a size 14 in true muslin.  Choosing the size 14 was an exercise in futility wishful thinking.  I know sizes are just numbers, but folks, I really have a hard time swallowing the fact that I am a size 16.  Ok, so moving on, I choked back the tears accepted my “true” size and did another test run of this skirt in size 16 with some fabric of which I am not enamored.  I originally bought this stretch cotton for my Sew Fast Sew Easy class to make an elasticized waist skirt.  It’s a heavier weight (read: stiff — could stand up on it’s on) with Jacquard like stripes in an irregular pattern.  It’s easy to work with but the hand is not pleasant, think 70’s polyester blend.  Of course it doesn’t even enter my mind at this point that the size 16 wouldn’t fit, so I didn’t baste the side seams, I just sewed them at the regular stitch length (2.5 on my machine).  I hand basted the zipper in and tried it on. 

All I needed to complete the picture was a cane; I looked like I was at least 20 yrs older than I am.  What the?!?!??!?  It fit fine at the waist, but from the hips and down past the thighs, it was poufy (for lack of a better word).  Now I have to fit this size 16 to my apparently rectangular fat shape.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Have I done it yet?  NO!  Do I feel inclined to do it?  NO!  Will it be done? Maybe.  I don’t know.  We’ll see if and when I feel less bitter about this skirt. 

New Look 6901

Now for the New Look 6901 muslin…  I made view A the drape neck top in the pretty purple rain dress remnant as my muslin.  This time I “knew” to make the size 16.  First let me say that the New Look directions are great!  I understood every one of the steps.  The drafting is great too.  So let me tell you how I managed to screw up this simple top royally.  I got all fancy and decided to use my serger for the construction (not just the seam finishing).  The serger was not a good choice for attaching the back neckband facing.  Ask me how I know.  Then I proceeded to completely stretch the back neck out of all recognition by topstitching the facing after serging it.  It looks like hell.  The drape on the front, however, is beautiful.  After serging the side seams closed, I tried on my top.  Let me point out first though, before putting the top on, it looked ginormous in my hands.  Like triple XL ginormous.  I was scared it would be too big.  However, I didn’t realize how scared I should have been, because it fit.  For the most part.  It fit in the waist and shoulders.  Where it did not fit was in the bust.  Now, I am not of the opinion that I am overly well endowed in that region.  I would say that I am a little bigger than average.  I wear a C cup.  That’s it.  No FFF cups here.  Well that top was straining in the bust area with no less than three bust wrinkles.  And the drape?  The drape was draped BEHIND the bust wrinkles.   BEHIND!!!!  What the hell is up with that??  How is that even physically possible?  I can’t wrap my head around it.  And in case you’re wondering, the overall look of the top on me?  Reminiscent of women who wear clothes that are too young for their age.  I’m not that old people!!!!  

I knew I had gained some weight the last two years, but I must be suffering from some sort of delusion major body dysmorphia where I think I’m thinner than I actually am.  I have this picture in my mind of how I looked in 1997 and I’ve kind of frozen myself there in that year.  OMG, that’s thirteen years ago!  I thought it was only 5 yrs ago.  Time just flies after you turn 30 I guess.  Since I’ve had Jack, I’ve had this thought paradigm floating around my head that I can’t date right now.  Who wants to date a woman with a toddler, or who hasn’t lost the baby weight or gained more weight as if she had another baby but didn’t have another?  I can’t afford the babysitting costs required by having a social life.  So in my mind why should I bother losing weight or getting into shape again if I have no social life anyway.  What I hadn’t realized was just how much weight I have gained.  It’s shocking to me.  I guess these last two muslins have really made me look at myself in the mirror.  You know how you can look, but not really see?  That’s what I have been doing with mirrors since Jack was born, looking but not seeing.  Looking enough to put my make up on in the morning or do my hair, but not seeing the additional weight in all its glory.  

The funny thing is, I think back to when I was thin and dating and I distinctly remember thinking I was not thin.  Not fat, but not thin either.  It’s amazing how one’s perspective can be so skewed.  Now I know that I was thin then.  And now I see that I am not thin now.  *sigh*  

I have to start working out.  There’s just no hiding that fact anymore.  Even if dating is not in my near future, I still need to feel good about myself.  *double sigh*  Ok, I will stop writing TMI and get back to sewing.  I am not trying to be all self pitying right now, I am just sharing my sewing journey and a major part of sewing is being realistic about your measurements and sewing for the body you have now, not what you wish you had.  Am I making sense? 

Not sure what I am going to work on next, but probably New Look 6807. 

New Look 6807

Hope everyone else has a better sewing week than me.

Knit Top Patterns

In my last post, Drunk Printing, I mentioned that I was searching for a good knit top pattern to make some tops for my work wardrobe.  One sure way to punch up the volume in your work wardrobe is to have a variety of tops to wear with suits.  Confession time: for each suit I own, I really only have one dedicated top to wear with that suit.  So if you’ve seen me wear my brown suit, you’ve seen me wear my ice blue top from Ann Taylor with it pretty much all the time.  It’s time to change things up a bit, don’t you think?

I did some research on today to find out what different people thought about some of the Simplicity/New Look/Jalie knit top patterns.  I started with those pattern companies for the following reasons…

  1. Because Victoria told me to use Simplicity patterns no less that 3,456,217 times and in bold capital letters no less. (And also, they do tend to have really good directions.)
  2. New Look: because, darn! they’re cheap.
  3. Jalie: because Dawn loves them and I keep hearing how great they are with knit patterns.

After completing my research I came up with the following choices and purchased them from PatternReview because they were cheaper there:

New Look 6807

I like the top the model is wearing the best for under suits.  Super cute.  Second runner-up would be view B or E, but to be honest with you I can’t tell what the difference is between the two.  This pattern is my favorite. 

New Look 6901

Next up is this little cowl neck number.  I loves me a cowl neck.  But as Trena pointed out in the comments of the last post, they sometimes don’t work well under suits.  I’ll have to mull that one over for a while. 

New Look 6940

And the final New Look pattern is this cute knot top.  Love it.

Jalie 2806

I looked at all of Jalie’s offerings and really liked this one.  I have never used Jalie before, so I bought only one pattern to try them out.  Dawn likes them and she’s made some really cute clothes with their patterns, so I thought I’d give them a whirl. 

Of course, after I made this purchase, I saw all the suggestions made in the comments to my last post.  Robin suggested Simplicity 4095 but I am just not feeling crossover tops right now.  Still it’s a pretty top and a good suggestion.  Sue suggested Butterick 5354 which I loved and will definitely buy sometime soon.  Trena suggested Butterick 5283 and Burda 7866.  I liked both of them, so they’re going on my sometime soon list too.

And Marie-Christine wanted to be sure to warn me against making the badly printed fabric into curtains.  Apparently she spoke from experience.  Marie-Christine, I consider myself warned and will not do so!   😉

I am very happy with my pattern choices (current and future) and already feel the warm glow of a great wardrobe descending onto my being.  I can’t wait to receive my new patterns and start the work wardrobe manufacturing pronto. 

Happy sewing everyone!

$&*(%$#$%$ Zipper!!!

zipperattemptsAs you can probably tell from the title of this post, my FOZ was amply justified.  And as you can see from my picture, the zipper is still not finished.   ARGH!!!

There were several unsuccessful attempts with this zipper.  The first attempt was great, except for the teeny tiny problem of it being sewn on backwards (with the pull on the inside of the top).  Of course I had sewn back and forth on both ends of both sides of the zipper which made my stitch ripping oh so delightful.  My second attempt was even more laughable.  Keep in mind, I am using an invisible zipper.  I sewed the zipper so that the stitches showed on the outside of the dress, thereby making my invisible zipper visible.  Very visible.  The third attempt, shoot, I can’t even remember the third attempt anymore.  The fourth attempt is what you see above except I already ripped out the right side of the zipper.  On the left side, as you can see, the stitches aren’t close enough to the zipper teeth or the edge of the f/f.  On the right side, before I ripped them out, the stitches were soooo close to the teeth that it was extremely difficult to zip and unzip the zipper. 

I am so over this zipper.  I want this top done gosh darn it (I don’t normally talk like this but I’ve decided this is a PG rated blog).   I usually use more colorful language but don’t tell my Dad. 

And it’s not like I haven’t put in an invisible zipper before; I have… on a pillow.  And it’s gorgeous.  And I didn’t have much trouble putting it in at all.  I think my FOZ got in the way this time. 

Ok, enough ranting and onto some good info…  My invisible zipper contraption worked!  Very happy about that.  And I used this link from Simplicity for a tutorial on installing an invisible zipper.  Here’s a zipper tutorial video from Threadbangers.  And a google list of other videos as well…

My zipper disclaimer:  I was very tired last night.  I probably shouldn’t have even attempted sewing in the zipper last night, but I really wanted to finish my niece’s birthday present before she turned 21 (she’s 3 for those of you who don’t personally know her).  I wisely stopped after the fourth attempt.  I will start anew tonight.  Hopefully I will be daisy fresh and free of frustration, and hopefully the fifth time is the charm.  Wish me luck please and happy sewing.