Monday, November 14, 2016

Simplicity 8129 Pattern Review–Contest

Pattern Description: Misses Easy Waist Cincher Corsets

Pattern Sizing: 6-14. I used size 12 and 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Pretty Much. There were some slight differences since I did it a little differently.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The hardest part was making sure I matched the right pieces together.  It is definitely recommended to mark each piece of fabric with not only the marks on the pattern but also the numbers and which direction (up or down) they go.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  The view that I chose to do was D, with the zipper in front and ties in back. The zipper was very difficult to work with. I did not like working with the zipper. What I DO like about the pattern is how many different ways that a corset can be made. The sky's the limit. Also, I like how easy it was. I could put one together in one morning.

Fabric Used:  For the first one, I used 11 oz. dark denim (100% cotton). The second one, I used Fashion Bottomweight--Flock Black Denim (70% Cotton, 28% Poleyster, 2% Spandex). The third one, I used Sew Classics Suiting Dapple Fabric--Potting Soil (100% poly filament). I prewashed all of them and purchased all from Joann Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The directions called for bias tape around the top and bottom. The first corset I did (the denim one), I used the bias tape, but I didn't like it. For one, the bias tape should have been wider. It barely fit around the bulk of the two fabrics (outside and lining). Also, I didn't like stitching the front and lining together in individual pieces, as the directions called for. For one, it made the seams show really bad on the inside.  I used pinking sheers for the seams, but I didn’t get them close enough, so when I wear the corset, it gets tiny threads all over my shirt. Also, it wasn't as "neat" as I like.  It does make it easier to place the boning in the correct place, however, and if I trim the seams more, then it wouldn’t matter for the “neatness” factor.

For the second and third corsets that I did, I sewed a complete set of the front and a complete set of the lining, then stitched the zipper on, then stitched the front and lining together at the top and bottom, (right sides together) and flipped it right side out (See photos).  I edgestitched the top and bottom.  I really like how it turned out, and it fit better since I have a short torso.

Again, the zipper was very difficult because it calls for a 10-inch separating zipper while the corset is barely more than 10 inches. I then stitched-in-the-ditch in the front with long stitches in each seam where the boning would go so that I could flip it over to the inside (where the lining is) and stitch the boning on, with the stitches as my guide. I wouldn't have to do this if I stitched the lining pieces individually with each front piece as the directions called for.

Lastly, I stitched #7 on the front end (and left off the lining piece). #7 gets folded over, so it actually becomes double the fabric, so if it is the front and the lining, it is 4 layers thick, making it very difficult to punch holes for the eyelets.

For the first corset, I used size 12, accoring to my waist measurements. It seemed slightly too big, so the next one (the black one) I used size 10. It was a little snug and I had to pull the ties out quite a bit (which is why I LOVE corsets, so that you have this option.) The third one that I did (the brown one), I used size 10 but I stitched 1/2 inch seams rather than 5/8 inch. It was still a little snug. I think I will stick with the size 12 next time.

I sewed fashion buckles on the front of the brown one, for looks.  It was very difficult.  I used invisible thread on top, and black thread on bottom. I used #9 needles because I didn’t want big holes in the leather.  I broke two needles because the thin needles couldn’t take the pressure of the leather.  I then used a titanium #12 needle and it did not break; however, I self-turned the wheel to move the needle rather than using the pedal for most of it. I also used a zipper foot.

Would you sew it again?

Yes, but with some alterations. I need to figure out how to better insert the zipper (if I use view D again). The zippers that I used were "light" zippers. Next time I will get "heavy-duty" zippers. Also, I would like to use bias tape, but will need to make alterations to the height first. 

Would you recommend it to others? Yes! They are so fun to make!

Conclusion: Overall, I had a lot of fun making these.  My favorite is the brown one.  I think because it looks a little “steam-punked” and the fabric I used looks like suede (which is the look I was going for).  I wanted a variety but also wanted the corsets to easily go with several different tops that I have.  I have photos of the corsets with a white shirt, and also a blue/black shirt, both on me and on a mannequin.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Montana West Retailer

I am so excited to annouce that I am now an authorized retailer of Montana West merchandise.  I ordered my first batch of purses and wallets and am running an introductory sale of 30% off everything, limited to stock on hand while supplies last.

For more information and to get updates to new products and sales, go to my facebook group Diana’s Montana West Page.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Simplicity 4260 That’s So Raven Pattern Review and Outerwear Contest

simplicity 4260

Pattern Review Outerwear Contest

Pattern Description: Girls’ Top, Skirt, Cropped Pants, Jacket and Purse.  I made View B: the Vest.

Pattern Sizing: 8-16.  My daughter wears size 10-12 in RTW and I used size 12 for the pattern.  It fit her perfectly.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Pretty much, although I used a different fabric than what they used for the photo on the envelope.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, very easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved how it turned out.  I was really surprised at how cute it turned out.  When I was putting it together, I wasn’t sure how it would look.  I also liked that it was very simple.  I didn’t have much time to work on it, so I needed something simple.  I’m not sure there’s anything that I didn’t like about the pattern.

Fabric Used: Denim (two different shades, which created a unique look.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t make any alterations.  I really wanted to stay true to the pattern.  And I made this for my daughter, so I wanted her to be happy with how it turned out.  One thing I did differently, though, is I inserted the studs for the pocket in the first layer of fabric, then sewed it together so that the spikes wouldn’t poke my daughter.  Another thing I did that the instructions did not say to do, is edge-stitch 1/4” all around.  This was so that the facing would lay flat better and give it a more finished look.

Photos of pockets:
Using a ruler to mark where to place the studs.

Underside of studs.

Edge-stitched pockets.

Photo of edge-stitch.

The pattern called for light-weight interfacing.  Unfortunately I didn’t have enough, so some pieces I used were medium-weight.  I was afraid it would be too thick with the denim, but it ended up being just fine.  The back Tab also called for interfacing and I didn’t use any because I didn’t think it needed it.  I wish I had used interfacing.  It is a little too slack.

Would you sew it again? Definitely!  I can’t wait to try the other views.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes!  It is so simple.

Conclusion: Overall, this was a very easy project and my daughter was HAPPY with it.  That’s the important part.  The toughest part was lining up the Front with the Side Front.  I had to redo it several times because when I’d sew it together, it just wouldn’t line up.  The Front just seemed to always be too short—by about 2 inches!  Finally I was able to stretch the Front as I sewed it and it finally fit together right.

Photo of Front/Side Front pattern pieces:

Another thing that is important when making the collar, is to cut really close to the inner point.  Otherwise it will bunch up.

Photo of point.

I had a lot of fun with the studs (I even bought a Stone Setter.)  The denim was almost too thick for them, though.  I think next time I will use a little bit of glue on the studs to be sure that they don’t fall out.

Front Photo

Side Photo:



Friday, September 30, 2016

Colette Rue Pattern Review–Sewing Bee Round 3


For round 3, we were all given the same pattern to use—a dress with a weird bodice—the Colette Rue pattern.  Modifications to the pattern are allowed but it still has to be recognizable as the pattern.  We were given digital files to download.  I took one of the files to Staples to have it printed using their engineering prints.  It was sized way too small.  The sleeve fit on an 8.5x11” paper—a doll-size sleeve.  After being at Staples for over an hour trying to download the other files to see if they would print properly, it cost a small fortune.  I have never spent more than $10 on a pattern.  To print 3 pages, it cost over $21.  Since the pattern had two different versions, it was spread out over 5 pages.  Also, the pages had patterns for the lining, which I am not going to do.  So basically it cost over $21 to get one page worth of patterns.

Ok, done with my ranting . . . for now.

First off, I chose version 2, with the straighter skirt and no piping in the bodice.

Fabric used: 1 2/3 yard purple plaid, 1 yard gray.  Both are 100% cotton from the Plaiditudes line at Joann Fabrics.

Did you tweak the Rue Pattern for Fit or Design?


I wanted something different with the large neckline.  I could tell just by looking at the pattern that the neckline was going to need adjustments.  For one, there’s the modesty factor, and two, constantly pulling it up on the shoulders is annoying.  I don’t like having my bra straps show. Also, since the weather is getting colder, I wanted a dress I could wear for fall.  So not only did I modify the neckline to make it cover more, I also added a collar for style.  I have some tunics in my wardrobe that I love that have a unique collar.  Joann’s had a sale on Butterick patterns, so I decided to take a peak.  I found Butterick 6248.

Here’s what I wanted to make:

rue tunic2rue tunic

Once I got the dress finished, that particular collar just didn’t go well with it.  It was too big and distracted from the unique bodice.  So I went with a different style, cut on the bias, from Butterick 6243

My updated draft:

a6243 collar2-colette-patterns-1036-rue-instructions-46243collar2-colette-patterns-1036-rue-instructions-4

I loved how it actually turned out. I also wanted to make a matching hat. I found a free template online at Martha Stewart’s website, called Woolen Beret.

I also decided to omit the pockets.  I normally do not like pockets in dresses or shirts.  But after finishing this dress, I thought, “It needs some pockets.” I wish I had included them.

I also changed the location of the front pleats and put them to the side a little ways (see photos).  I wish I had also moved the side pleats because they stick out a little bit since they are directly on the side.

To make it look more like a tunic, first I shortened the skirt pattern by 7.5 inches (on the line on the pattern where it says to shorten or lengthen) but after I stitched the skirt on the bodice, I needed to shorten it a little more.  I ended up cutting off 2 inches in the back and 3 inches in the front (tapered, of course), then made a 1-inch hem using the blind hem stitch.

I omitted the lining.  The fabric I used is pretty heavy.  I didn’t feel it needed a lining, and I didn’t want it to be too hot to wear for autumn.

Now for the sizing factor … I normally wear store-bought clothing size 6-8.  I use Butterick and Simplicity patterns size 12-14.  Colette pattern sizes seam to line up with the store-bought clothing sizes.  I used the measurement of my waist because my bust is so tiny and my waist is not.  When I made the muslins, the sides were a bit too big, so I trimmed them down.  I cut pattern piece size 6, but trimmed the sides down to size 0.  I also enlarged the armscyes by about 1/4 inch.

Describe any trims, embellishments, linings, etc. used to construct your dress.
I used an invisible zipper for the back.  Since I used an 18-inch zipper for my last project, I did the same for this one and it worked fine.

Share your sewing process on this garment. Details please!
Ok, here’s my long story . . . When I first read the contest rules, I misread that knits were allowed.  I had some ideas for some fabric and really didn’t want to spend money buying more fabric when I have totes and totes of fabric in my shed.  But I decided to look at Joann’s to see if something might jump out at me.  Sure enough, a beautiful knit ombré burnt orange/red fabric screamed “Pick me!” and I loved it, so I bought it.  It was more expensive than what I normally spend on fabric, but I figured it was worth it if I get a beautiful new outfit out of it.

Since the fabric was pretty expensive, I wanted to make a muslin out of cheap fabric first, to make sure it would fit before cutting the good fabric.  I used knit fabric, with a few minor adjustments to the neckline (since the neckline is so large, it would literally be hanging off my shoulders). It fit perfectly.  I was so excited to get started.  Before cutting the fabric I decided to re-read over the rules just to make sure I didn’t misread the part about using knits.  Sure enough, it says “knits are not allowed.”  I wanted to cry.  So, back to square one and I had already used 4 days out of 7, just figuring out fabric and printing and modifying the pattern.  I thought about some fabric I had in the shed that I had bought to make a coat out of.  It is beautiful purple and gray plaid from the Joann’s Plaiditudes line.  I only spent about $3 a yard on it since I got it for a really good deal (and I bought all they had.)  I wanted a little contrast with it, so I found some matching gray fabric at Joann’s (again from the Plaiditudes line.)  I didn’t need much, and I again bought it all, so I got the remnant on it—only paid $6 for over a yard and a half.  I originally was only going to purchase 1/2 yard, but I am SO glad that I bought it all.  I messed up on some things and needed that little extra fabric.  I ended up using most of it.

Ok, so now for the second attempt at creating a muslin out of flannel.  I literally spent 7 hours drafting and redrafting, modifying this, modifying that, and it just didn’t fit right.  Many people had trouble with the sleeves and armscyes not fitting.  That was my problem, too.  Without the sleeves, it fit fine.  And even using stretch knit fabric, it fit fine.  But as soon as I placed the sleeves on it, it was too tight in the arm. I tried enlarging the sleeve and armscyes about 10 different times.  When I finally got them large enough, it looked terrible.  The sleeve was too big and the large armscyes made it gape in the front.  Finally I decided to do away with the sleeves altogether.

By day 5 of the contest, I was ready to start cutting the good fabric and creating my dress.  Since I was going sleeveless, I measured the armscyes, then cut a piece of the purple plaid fabric on the bias one inch longer than the armscyes.  I sewed the ends together with 1/2 inch seams and stitched it on like blanket binding.

I used the gray fabric for contrast for the bodice bottom (side) pieces, and the collar.

By day 6, I was finished sewing.  I am so happy and excited with how it turned out.  It is even better than how I pictured it in my head.  Day 7 will be picture and review day.   I literally spent every spare minute working on this.  I woke up, worked on it, went to work at my job, then when I got off work, I came home and worked on it until bedtime.

Did you use any "new to you" techniques or methods of construction?
Stay-stitching!!!  I have run across patterns that say to stay-stitch, but did I ever listen?  No.  This time I did and what an invaluable technique!  I created a muslin without stay-stitching, then one with stay-stitching.  What a difference!  Stay-stitching will be a technique that I will use from now on.

I had never made anything with a bodice such as this one.  It was a little confusing.  Thank goodness there were drawings in the directions, but still, the drawings were a little confusing for the step to put the lower part of the bodice onto the front.  After the second muslin, I had it down to a T. 

I haven’t used an invisible zipper for a while, so I had to look up how to insert it.  I love how it turned out and wish that all my zippers in my stash were invisible. Ha!

Tell us why this dress should get you to the final round.
With each round, I have stretched myself further than before.  This one has been the most challenging, and what a challenge it has been!  I figure if I successfully complete this round, I can do anything.  I have grown in each round that I have completed.  The first round I was rushed and just wanted to get it done.  I was actually surprised when I made it through to the second round.  For the second round, I was really excited about making a nice top to add to my wardrobe. Of course I hoped I’d win, but I was just as happy to have a beautiful top that I could actually wear.  I stretched myself to be creative and make something I’d be proud of and proud to wear.  For this third round, it has been a true challenge.  I felt like giving up at times when things didn’t go right, but was able to continue on and take this challenge by the reigns. I began to get excited about making yet another beautiful addition to my wardrobe and figuring out how to go around the obstacles.  I’ve only really been sewing for a few years and have made only a few garments—mostly for my kids.  This contest has stirred up a new excitement for me and has forced me to face the challenges that come with it, to learn more about sewing, and broaden my horizon.  I no longer see “making a garment.” Instead, I see “creating an awesome, amazing, beautiful garment.”  I feel that this dress is awesome, amazing, and beautiful.  It fits me perfectly and I love how it looks on me.  It has been a sucess.

Indicate here that you included the minimum of 3 photos required- no blog links please for this contest.
1. Front –
2. Back – Yes
4. Photo showing modifications
5. Collage of front, back, side, and close-ups of collar, armscye, and contrast bodice.

collagecollage2edit030edit079edit091front view

(Stupid bathrooms at the state park were locked, so I had to go to the portapotie to change.)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sewing Bee Contest–Round 2–Cut on the Bias

simplicity 3956

Pattern or style, and how it fits the criteria: I used Simplicity 3956 View A, an empire-waist cross-over top with sleeves and skirt cut on the bias.

Fabric used - material and yardage: Polyester Georgette - 2 yards. Lining (not sure what it's made of) - 1 yard

What other components did you use in your garment (closures, pockets, trim, etc): Instead of using ties cut from the same fabric as the pattern instructs to do, I used crocheted lace. I wrapped it completely around and sewed it at the back (by the zipper), top, and bottom of the lace. I used another piece of lace about 12" long and gathered it on the bottom to make a flower. I cut another piece about 14" long for the "ties" and sewed it on the front where the skirt pieces meet, sewed the flower on top of it, and then sewed a pearl button in the middle. I also made a matching hairclip the same way.

Describe how the bias grain was used in your entry, and why: The pieces cut on the bias were the sleeves, skirt front and back. By cutting on the bias, it made the pieces very "flowy" and graceful. When I wore the shirt outside, there was a slight breeze that really made the shirt sway.

Describe the fitting technique(s) you used to achieve shaping: The directions say to place darts for the breasts and back, and to stitch the pieces together in certain places. I had read through others' reviews and many people had trouble with the shirt gaping and showing too much cleavage. I omitted the darts altogether. I also ignored the places they say to stitch together and instead, basted the back pieces together, slipped it on like a vest, wrapped it around me to fit perfectly, then marked where the pieces meet. Then I stitched them together. It worked like a charm and the top fit me perfectly. For the zipper, with the back basted together, I layed the zipper where it's supposed to go, and basted it on. Then I took out the basting stitches for the back (not the zipper) and stitched the zipper again. This hides the zipper and makes it look very nice. I used an 18" zipper.

Have you included at least 3 pictures, including minimum one on a live model and one photo showing the bias grain?
Front 1
Front 2
Cut on the Bias

Describe what you like most about your entry: Where do I begin? I LOVE this shirt!!!! I have had this pattern in my stash for years and have been meaning to make it. I also have had this fabric in my stash for years. I finally got to use it, and I love it. I love how it fits. I love how it looks. I wore it to church and got many compliments. When I had my husband take photos of me wearing it, I liked how they turned out so well that I used the main picture as my profile picture and have received many compliments.
I am mostly happy about this entry because it is one that I will actually be adding to my wardrobe. I have made shirts similar to this and didn't really like how they turned out, or they didn't fit right. But I love this one.

Describe your biggest challenge in sewing this bias garment: The biggest challenge was hemming the edges. I tried many, many times and ripped out many seams. I used a 1/4" rolled hem foot for the sleeves, and it worked well, but when I tried to use the same technique on the skirt, it didn't work well. I re-did it about 5 times before trying something different. I also tried stitching the lining directly to the main fabric and it looked fine except the lining was a tad heavier than the Georgette, so it caused a lot of bunching up. It also didn't flow nicely. I looked up how to sew hems with Georgette, and finally ended up stitching 1/4" all around the hem, then folded it over and stitched again. It worked out. I was able to use the 1/4" rolled hem foot for the lining.

What other information would you like to share about this project and your process? I will definitely be making more of these shirts! If I work with Georgette fabric again, I will see if there are other techniques for sewing the hem. I may use embroidery stabilizer next time.

The pattern suggested using 100% silk thread, so I went to the store and bought some. I had never sewn with silk thread before and this worked great. I also used 10 and 11 size needles. The small needles in combination with the silk thread made sewing the Georgette very smooth. It didn't bunch up like I have experienced with sewing with sheers before.

The pattern didn't call for lining the skirt, but when I held up the skirt up to my abdomen, it was pretty sheer. I'm glad I made lining for it. I just stitched it to the skirt at the top then stitched them both to the bodice, as directed.
All in all, I love this pattern and this project. I'm so glad I did it. I just can't wait to find out what's next!