Friday, March 30, 2012

Starting at the Top Challenge: Spring/Summer Creations

Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure is hosting a Top Challenge from April 1s1 - 15th. I'm joining in as I don't have enough top to wear that's spring/summer friendly!

What I need to do for the challenge are:
• Choose my fabrics,
• Choose my top or blouse patterns,
- add a new twist to a TNT pattern,
- refashion,
- or maybe even self draft a new design

There are no quotas & no limits!
And that's what I like best about it! I aim to make 3 but if I can only make 1 I won't beat myself up about that... (coz i am usually super slowww).

Tomorrow (March 31st) is the last day to sign up for the challenge. If you would like to join us or to see what kind of tops the participants come out with, visit Faye's page for instructions and link.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bean's Fisherman Hat

Last night I started a small and quick project for the Bean (my 19.5 m.o. son) and finished it this morning in time for a trip downtown - playground, sun, noise, wind, babies. Fun.

The pattern for this fisherman hat is from the book Sewing for Boys: 24 Projects to Create a Handmade Wardrobe from which I made Bean's Choo-choo pyjama top - blogged here.

Materials used for this hat are: old toddler flannel shirt, hubby's old cotton twill pants, thrifted pellon interfacing and threads from stash. I also used 2 thrifted novelty buttons for decoration :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not one, not two but three!

This is my 3rd version of the same pattern McCall's M6513 (view D) made one after another in the same month at that - I am that boring.

The first version I used this very soft trendy knit which is a dream to wear but extremely roomy and comfy. For the second version I used a stabler knit, a ponte knit. I like it very much and it fits great, but realized that it's kinda thick and warm for spring/summer. For this 3rd version I am using an ITY knit, leopard print I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics. The fabric is slinky-ish but stabler than the first version, but lesser so than the second version. The suggested fabric is "moderate stretch knits only". Since I'm a novice I have no idea what that means exactly. All 3 fabrics I used have different feel, stretch amount and so on.

The instructions were easy enough to follow IMO. However I remember making one thing specifically different. I hand-stitched down the back neck facing inside rather than machine stitch it from the right side, and it's much neater (I did as instructed for the first version, but ends up unpicking the seams because it looks too wonky for me). Perhaps others can make it neater that way, but not me...

Here are the pics:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cherry Wine Faux Wrap Top

This is my version 2 of McCall's M6513. Version one was too loose but thanks to the fabric, ohhh sooo comfy. But alas, I see it's gonna be an at-home lounging top now but it's okay. (Project post here.)

The photos are horrendous - I took the pics using camera phone in a too bright room...

Version 3 is being hemmed as we speak (what I meant is in-between chores and chasing after the Bean).

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Early this morning I was up sewing when the machine suddenly went berserk. Usually when such thing happens I will clean the bobbin case and so on, but somehow after doing so and switching it on and off, walking away and trying again a few times it still refused to cooperate.

I was feeling slightly depressed (errmm whiny) by the situation and woke the hubby up to tell him what happened. After a few attempts to get him to be more sympathetic (hehe) he finally came over and checked the machine out. He shooed us out of the room (so that the baby will not be in the way) and took the machine apart. Showed me that there was dust in there but even cleaning the gunk out it was still problematic. I was thinking that we should oil the machine, (because I read Male Pattern Boldness blog quite a bit) although I have no idea where to start After consulting the internet and so on, hubby said okay on trying to oil the machine or else if that doesn't work we'll have to replace the belt. ... Horror. After a day out with a stop at the local Joann's (where I also stock up on some threads and fine fabric pins) I got the sewing machine oil, and hubby works on it when we got home...

The machine now works wonderfully (I supposed I've been ignoring some tell-tale signs of wear before) and I am sooo relieved. I can't imagine me not sewing for a few days...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I thought I should note that I am happy with how my version 2 of the faux wrap top from McCall's M6513 pattern is turning out! I made adjustments to the sizing (make it smaller). In fact I am so pleased that I am starting on version 3 even before hemming version 2. It's now gonna be a TNT :) More later.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Faux wrap knit top, version #1

I got the "trendy knit rose florette" fabric on sale from Fabric Mart some time last year and finally found a pattern that I wanted to try out: McCall's M6513, View D (In picture of pattern sleeve is the light blue top but with long sleeves).

The pattern being by Palmer/Pletsch includes tutorials on fitting, which I of course have a problem with... Even with pictorial instructions I still managed to end up with a bigger top which doesn't fit well :) I cut a size 16 for shoulders and then to 22 towards my hips (AND ON TOP OF THAT ADDED AN INCH THROUGH THE MIDDLE TOO!!!). I don't have a size 22 hips, but I was imagining that this will better fit my mommy tummy... (I always seem to approach fit more like an experiment... and then forget about the ingredients afterwards...)

While on paper pattern I felt that this might be okay, upon basting the fabrics together realized that it was too big, so I sew a 1.5" seam. And it is still fitting poorly IMO. It was a bit big on the shoulder for my liking, and then loose under the armpits and on my back (like butterfly). Oh, and of course I knew this beforehand but somehow still manage to miss it: pattern placement on print fabrics... As you can see, a huge rose florette is highlighting my worse area: tummy! Uggh! In this picture it is not that terrible, but it is cringe-worthy in other pics.

It wasn't loose around the bust area simply because the front pieces crossed each other giving a nice snug look in the area.

I am not sure what material this fabric is, maybe rayon polyester, or rayon jersey? It is very very soft and very comfortable to wear. However I think this is a 4 way stretch type fabric, so eventhough I added stabilizers (as recommended) on the shoulders and at the side gathers, I feel that this top will expand even more over time. And that since the front part are 2 pieces of fabric crossed and sewn together on the sides (faux wrap) and the sewn to a 1 piece back fabric, the front is heavier and so it pulls the top to the front (because this fabric is so soft and maybe less stable?). The pattern does recommend stabler knits.

This top is not a home run for me because of the too loose fit and the type of stretch of the fabric I used (but I still love the fabric, sooo silky soft, but it is already pilling after wearing it out to the mall with a handbag across my body...) I am not about to ditch the pattern - the neckline and the look I love. I think rather than move on to the other stuff, I will make more of this top to get the best fit for me. I've already made adjustments on the pattern, and planning to make it with a cherry wine colored ponte knit fabric I have (pic below, on the left, from Fabric Mart).

If and only if I get a satisfying fit, I will make another version using the leopard print ITY jersey pictured above (bought from Gorgeous Fabrics)...

Friday, March 16, 2012

2012 Sewing Plan

Lately my brain has been going on an overdrive. Extra overdrive! I found myself thinking of future projects while working on something else more and more. This (among others) really drag on my working time because I would go to my fabric stash closet and rummage through my pattern drawer, or go on Pinterest rather than concentrate on the task at hand. Free time for me with an active 18-m-o toddler is scarce, and my inability to "tunnel-vision" myself onto current project means that something that should have been done in a few days/a week gets stretched to 2 weeks (the usual timeline for me :( )

I know I can't stop myself from thinking and dreaming up all these things. But it's important for me to have some sort of focus... so here's my 2012 sewing plan that was made earlier in February (just found my scribbled note so I better record this on my blog so that it won't get lost again):

1) Date dress (very late Valentine's dress) - (status is done in February 2012)

2) April wedding anniversary outfit - either a circle skirt or a dress (not sure which pattern yet) using my Marc Jacobs silk brocade fabric on sale from FabricMart. I'm having the hubby help me if I am going to make a circle skirt...

3) May birthday dress - An ankle length version of the pattern below, using the Kelly green bamboo knit bought from FabricMart. The midriff band I'll use my leftover black ponte knit from FabricMart too.

4) My red outfit for brother's wedding in Malaysia (July) - out of a deep red crepe-finish silk chiffon fabric I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics

5) Ponte pants - I have more of the black ponte knit and also a wine colored one

6) Workout tops - will have to figure out the pattern, probably will refashion older clothes for this

7) Circle skirt (if not making it for wedding anniversary)

8) Pencil skirt

9) Cardigan/wrap

10) Jacket/coat

So the above were what I jotted down early in February and now it's mid March. They are the "MUST DO LIST of 2012". I have all the other things I wanna make before finalizing what I am going to make for my anniversary out of that pretty fabric. And I'm pretty sure there will be a lot more other things that are not on the must do list being made... but the must dos must be done!

Yesterday while walking around downtown with the Bean, I walked into the same store that I went to a sewing class back in November and walked out with 6 yards of cotton fabrics... One is by Anthology and the other is from Amy Butler's Lark Collection. And today while on the net looking for red silk charmeuse (for lining the red silk chiffon mentioned above: project #4) I also succumbed to other lovely fabrics....

One of the bloggers I follow mentioned before that stashing up on fabrics has a correlation with the insufficient time for sewing. Hmm, if I remember correctly she said that the less time she has for sewing, the more fabric she buys - something like that. For me it seems like I can't catch up fast enough.. From choosing which pattern from my stash to make or to adjust the pattern to what I think will fit me, then making muslin (most of the time) or pattern fitting, then cutting fabric, then pin and baste then sewing then adjust, etc etc.. each step is so slowwww... But I guess most of the time I'm happy with the end result.. But I seem to procure fabric even faster than sewing them up. But I do have every intention to sew them all up into lovely clothes for me and I do dedicate most of my time to this... And also, sometimes I think more time for practice is definitely needed before I cut into certain fabric that I hoard...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Asymmetrical top : Nein! Nein! Nein!

This is the story of an asymmetrical tunic top using the pattern M6204 (tunic A.)

The pattern was very straightforward and simple to sew up. However, I doubt that I will be making it again in the future, at least as-is. It is not the pattern, it's me. Somehow my body type (and my brain) rejects this shape.

I used a purple stretched poly-charmeuse. It was also shiny. :( You don't need a stretchy shiny fabric to sew up this type of top, you know. I just wasn't thinking. It made the stitches pucker up because I didn't use a stretch fabric friendly stitch. My bad. And the shine highlight this fact... This fabric was also very annoying to iron. But that's just because I threw out our ironing board before moving into this apartment and have been ironing on the dining table. So the result of this are wrinkly photos...

Tunic before beading.

I sewed shell beading around the neckline.


I also sewed the beads around the back...

I raised the neckline a bit and made it less wide, but it's still too wide than I would've liked. Perhaps this also contributed to my not-so-enthralled feeling with this effort. The shell beads around it made it nicer thankfully. (Shell beads are from my stash, contributed by my MIL from my GMIL's stash) So as usual I will still be wearing it, but also as usual under a jacket! :)


I have not been liking any of my photos (of me) taken by my hubby :) Plus the lighting in our apartment as you can see in all the photos so far is horrible. With a toddler, we hardly remember taking the camera (DSLR) when we go out. Too huge to lug out you see. My point and shoot sucks. I do wish I will learn to take better pics. Maybe a tripod in the future? That still won't help with the bad indoor lighting :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

White Band @ Bottom

WARNING: Extremely lengthy post

Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure asked about the white band on the bottom of my recent variation of the Sorbetto. :)

Here are some pics of what I did:

1) Front view of white band attached to main Sorbetto top

2) Back view of the attached white band

3) Inside view - pinked seam

4) Inside view of the attached white band to the main Sorbetto
Because my fabric is a heavily fraying type, I used my machine's stitch that look like serging to hold it in - in my attempt to prevent future fraying.

5) Inside view of the attached white tab
Press the seam up towards the main Sorbetto.

My situation was that I've sewn the Sorbetto top portion back in August 2011 but left it unfinished (a. I can't find my scraps/remainder of the dress to make self fabric bind because I cut them August of 2010! b. I can't find in my stash any coordinating fabric back when I sew this Sorbetto so it's been put on the shelf in favor of other projects).

I did not want to unpick the seams of this Sorbetto before attaching the white band (delicate fabric), so what I did were a bit of a hack job:

A) Preparing the white band
I measured the circumference of the bottom of my unhemmed Sorbetto.

Cut a rectangle of the white band:
Width = circumference + 2 inch(just my preference/approx.) + seam allowance.
Length = (desired band length + seam allowance) x2.
[however, since my white fabric was not wide enough, I pieced 2 equal squares on both sides of the rectangle to make it as wide as I need it to be (the above measurement) and press the seams flat]

B) Sewing the band to the Sorbetto
So, let's say that the white band is the red fabric in pic below, and my main Sorbetto is illustrated by the white and blue fabric below:

I pinned the right side of my white band rectangle to the right side of the bottom of my Sorbetto from the middle of the white band and the Sorbetto (there will be extra fabric at the end of course since I added the 2 inches and seam allowance but let it hang there for now). I machine-stitched the band around the bottom of the Sorbetto - I do not have a pic for where the extra fabric on both ends will meet, but I stitched pretty close at this seams.

Pressed the seam up towards the Sorbetto fabric.

On the wrong side again, I folded the white band up to meet the earlier seam (thus this makes the white band now folded into 2).

I flipped my Sorbetto so that it's right side is facing the right side of my white band (like in pic below) and pin the sandwich of the bottom folded part of the white band and the previously machine stitched seam of step #2 from the middle front of the Sorbetto. The pinning and then stitching this part is also tricky a bit. Because:
My Sorbetto flare out a lot, so my white band at the bottom also needed to flare out accordingly. This was why I added the extra 2 inches. After pinning from the middle of the front Sorbetto (I also did a lot of basting at each tricky step actually), and having the adequate flaring out at the bottom and marking where the extra fabric will meet by creasing, I machine-stitched the sandwich but left maybe about 5 inches off at the middle of the back unstitched just yet. Just so that I can stitch down the creased line where the white band meet in the middle back like my picture number 5 of my inside view of the finished Sorbetto. After that is stitched down, I then stitched close the last 5 inches of the sandwich. (wordy ehh)

Pressed all the seams. Now the band is attached.

So that was just how I came up with my hacked version, since I already have my Sorbetto all made up and only then added the band. Hackjob or not, I try to keep it neat... A little.

Now, in the future if I am making something like this again, I would have attached the band to the front and back pieces of the Sorbetto, before sewing the sides up....

Or, to make it easier (but maybe not as pretty), like the mock-up pattern above, I will cut 2 pieces of the contrasting band panel for each front and back. Then first sew the curved hem of the bottom part (right side face each 0ther). Turn out to the right side and press. Then maybe stay stitch the upper part of the band together and then stitch it to the main Sorbetto front. And do this again for the back. AND THEN only sew the front and the back together....

My brain is tired. Can you believe that after thinking spring is upon us it started to snow heavily and hasn't stopped since morning! Not cold enough to stick probably. Am going to sew something spring-y now in defiance!