Here is a simple project that took a little thought to finalize.  In my design process, most often I draw up a design before I sew it up, in order to help me visualize the look before I use my fabrics in the final design.  If I come across a pattern that has a basic design, it becomes my canvas for designing what I want.  But let’s be clear, the design doesn’t take shape until I’ve had time to doodle around the line drawing while giving my creative juices a chance to birth something wonderful.  When I sew with a print, the print speaks to me and directs my thoughts to a design.  In the case of a wonderful solid, I am free to do whatever, or maybe even embellish. In the case of this dress pattern…it was ripe for any design I could imagine.  And this is what I imagined….
Newlook 6482, Simplicity 3503

The moment I laid eyes on this reversible fabric,  I bought from SM Fabric.com, it was destined that I would make something which would take full advantage and display both sides of the beauty it has to offer.  I just love these two sided knits.  My Mom got the red/black and I got this one and several others.  More on those later…sorry, you will have to just wait on that blog post.  But first, I had to test my design ideas.  That way if it didn’t work out, it was me who had to wear it and not disappoint her.

I love how the inset on the side is at a slight angle giving it a slight asymmetric look at the hem. As you may already realize, this is not the original pattern. It was the diving board for this design, my design process began with this pattern.  The plain front was not what got my attention for this pattern, it was the side inset.  At first I thought the inset was mirrored on the back, both being on the right side, but this one has the inset opposite on the back, with the matching inset being on the left side of the back.

how to catch stitch,
Construction Details:
Pattern- Newlook 6482

For the Neckline, I used the Simplicity 3503 (OOP) to get the shaping of the facing, it didn’t fit the original pattern, but I was able to copy the design detail enough to do a reverse facing which put the finished facing piece to the outside for me to invisibly hand stitch it down.
The hem was hand-stiched using the “catch stitch”.  You can see the tutorial I did here.  It was the best hem for this fabric and the look I wanted to achieve.  Now, please understand, if you don’t already know me, I laugh and joke all the time about hating hand stitching.  This is true, but one thing you may not know, is that whatever finish achieves the best look is the one I use, even if it means doing the “dreaded” hand stitching.  All the finishing on this dress were hand stitched.
Sizing:  I cut a size 16 in this pattern because it seems I didn’t want any negative ease, even though I know it looks like it at the hips.  I did add a full bust adjustment, FBA for added room across the front.  I did allow the resulting dart to alter the armhole so that it would curve and create a more finished look.  The base pattern just had the side seam ending under the arm as though the fabric just lays over toga style.  I made a slim “kimono” type sleeve affect by moving the resulting dart from the FBA into the armhole. 
As for the length, there were no changes made after I measured the pattern, it was just where I wanted it to fall.   If I was thinking, I would have finished the seam allowances so the entire dress could be totally reversible.  We shall see how the next colorblocked dress turns out.

Well, this dress was such a great success!  Now when I make it for Mom, I know she is going to love it knowing she is getting the original design in her black and red fabric. Besides, it was meant for her initially, right?  For now, I have more two-sided fabric to buy, and more colorblocked dresses to design.  What’s your design process? Are you creating any colorblocked wonders?

Okay, now I had to go and do this pattern for my daughter!  This pattern is producing some pretty decent garments.  I have made 2 knit tops, 4 pair of pants, and 2 cardigans thus far.  The pattern is a quick pair of elastic waist pants from newlook 6735, the wardrobe pattern I used, again, to make mine and my moms pants.

With this project, these pants, I have come to hate sewing with ITY!  It is so unstable and totally unpredictable.  It has over 150%-200% stretch!!! What fits me, fits you, what fits her, fits them.  A store, or clothing line’s best kept secret so they don’t need to worry about making clothes that fit.  All that needs to be done is to sew it in a range of sizes and sell to everybody and you got a total market covered.  So, why don’t I like ITY?  I should be happy at how well they turned out for my child.  She, looks great, you say?  Why then, am I not happy?

Let’s start out explaining the obvious— construction details.  The hem was a perfect lattice edge finish.  Done on my serger, by way of suggestion from Carol of “G-CAS! Sew Excited!  when she taught a few things about finishing knits on periscope last month. I have seen this done on many garments, but never thought to use it as a hem on pants.  Needless to say, it works very well for this style palazzo pant.  The settings she gave me to get this look did not work for my machine.  So, it wouldn’t help for me to give you all the details for my machine, except to say, I used the #7 stitch and followed the directions in my manual.  If you want to do the same, you will need to make sure you have a rolled hem stitch and possibly change the differential feed and stitch length.  Basically, play around with the stitch until you get this look by “Really” stretching the fabric as you sew.

For the waistline finish on these pants and all my knit palazzo versions, I use a multi-stitched elastic finish.  I sew the elastic in first, then fold over the elastic and topstitch as I stretch.  It takes some getting used to since its sewn in the round.  If you want a video tutorial, just let me know in the comments. I cut a size 16 for this pattern and increased the back rise to cover the rear to the waist.  For the inseam, I extended the crotch an inch inside the back leg at the curve.  The pants were completely sewn on the serger.

Excessive Stretch!!!….caused me to hate ITY knits.  These pants were to be mine!!!  ALL MINE!!!  Until, I had my child come and help out as a fit model for a Fit-Friday LIVE!™ Online class that I host every Friday night.    My students voted the pants should be hers after they saw how well they fit her compared to me.  Aaaaggh…?!!  What???,,….. why did I use her as a model.  I loved the colors of these pants, I cut the pants for myself.  The measurement were meant for my hips, 44″, not her hips, 56″ inches.   At this point I remembered that when something stretches that much….it also means the “ease” is there for any size above your base measurement multiplied by the percentage and added to the original measurement to tell you that those are the sizes the garment will “stretch” to fit.  i.e..  44×150%=66″  That means that these pants will stretch UP TO 66″inches.  So, if you are 44″, 50″, 55″, 60″, or 66″, then these pants will fit you.  Cool right? Well, that’s cool for my child, but not for me.

You can judge for yourself…but I lost the battle of the pants when my students saw her modeling them in our class.  They listened to me explain all the details of crotch fitting and length changes and then chimed in on who looks better in these pants.  She won!!  (the exclamation points express how I really feel.  LOL.)

Looks to me like she has the expression on her face that says::::  “I WoN!!!”  Please tell me you don’t love yourself some ITY knit?  Tell me I’m not alone in my contempt for that fabric, please.

Well I finally got a good picture wearing my new cardigan with the matching pants and original wrap top I made last year.  Admittedly, this is the second time wearing this ensemble since I finished the cardigan two weeks ago.   I first wore it to the movies and then again to a volunteer working meeting at the community center. It turned out to be very appropriate for each occasion, considering I actually thought it was too casual for the volunteer meeting and way to dressy for the movies.  Not to mention, I thought it would be too hot each time.  I wore it with the sleeves drawn up for the indoor activity, and for the movies it actually kept me warm.  Of course, when I got back outside, I had to remove the cardigan all together.  Turns out it handled pretty well since the fabric didn’t wrinkle like I thought it would.

The cardigan is part of a wardrobe pattern ensemble that I worked on during a recent wardrobe challenge with my online and IRL sewing groups.  I don’t know why I took so long to make the right topper for this outfit.  I knew I wanted to use this strip as compliment for these pants, I just couldn’t figure the right look.  I originally sketched up a look and sewed up a top that went south really fast….a sheer DUD!!!  PLEASE…LAUGH your head off.  I’m good with that, it looks good on the skinny super tall model.  Another reason to understand how your body relates to different looks.

I am totally in love now.  Now I need to work on the fit of the cardigan just a tad bit more.  

I started with my basic alterations:  (The tissue fitting video is here.)

  • 3/4″ Swayback
  • 1.5″ FBA using the pivot and slide on the front and also on the side seam.
  • 1.5″ large bicep for the sleeve using the pivot and slide method again.  (I just love some pivot and sliding.)
  • For the hip if increased in the center back as well as the sides and front.  I also lengthened the entire thing to balance. 
  • The shoulders were lowered by 1/4″ at the shoulder point and the sleeve cap ease was shimmied off about 3/8″.  I like the roomy sleeves and the fact there is not to much cap.
A note on the back folks…. After seeing the back and noticing that I am now “Curving” a little more than I used to…I went back and gave myself an “untested” change for the shoulder blades.  I will keep you posted on this new change.  I also changed to give it a center back seam, and thus, added a grain line based on the upper section of the back pattern piece so that my HBL (horizontal balance line) will hang correctly.  
Construction points:
I chose not to make the tie belt. Initially, I was going to add a third button, since that is what was called for in the pattern.  Instead, I settled for two buttons, because when I went to find another pack at Joanns, I couldn’t find a match.  The seaming was done using my Bernina 1300mdc serger set for the combination overlock and chainstitch.  The thread used was the Bulky nylon from Guttermann in both the serger loopers. 

The shoulders and side seams were done with the chainstitch and overlock combined in order to limit any over stretching for those seams.  Also, on the shoulders and sleeves I used the process that I demonstrate on my video here:

Youtube Video Tutorial:  How to sew in knit sleeves.

After my last cardigan, which I haven’t worn much since I made it, except on a cruise…I felt I would consider this length and see if it was something I would wear before making anymore.  The jury is in!!!  I WILL definitely be making more cardigans.  Will it be this version, I’m not really sure.  Although, I do like this style, I am more interested in having one with pockets.  I may redesign this one to add some of the details I would like.  That makes sense, especially after making all these adjustments.  What say you to other ideas for designing cardigans or “toppers?’  

When I first heard the comment you are twinsies or that making the same garment or maybe using the same fabric made bloggers refer to each other as twinsies, I had no clue how making this little outfit for myself would lead to the adult version of the mommy and me ensemble.

I try and make something for mom as often as I can. She is always thinking about sewing and I am always sewing. Shucks, truth be told everybody in my family is always thinking about what I could make them. If I just had it in me, I would be sewing a new item for every one of my loved ones daily. I would be pushing out a couple new items each week. I wish I had the time and the inclination to do that. It’s just how much I love sewing for my family. However, since I don’t have that kind of time, I must limit what and for whom I sew. You already know, Moms are the wind beneath our wings. The breath that helps us rise to greater heights.

The pattern is a quick pair of elastic waist pants and the tops are two different view from the same newlook pattern. I started the pants the day before for myself and quickly realized that I needed a matching top.  I purchased this nylon/spandex sale fabric at JoAnns.

My neckline finish is from the view D cowl neck.
Newlook 6648- View A with C sleeves

The pants are both the wardrobe builders pattern newlook 6735.  The tops are newlook 6648, which is out of print, however, I’m sure you will find it if you want.  Mine is view D and moms is view A with view C butterfly sleeves.  I did a quick tutorial on how to make the “french bound” armhole and neckline treatment while I was sewing my top.  That video tutorial will be up later in another post and on my channel.  To be notified, just make sure you are also subscribed to my youtube channel.

More to come…..

I wasn’t going to put this up on the blog, but, I just couldn’t rob you all of this beautiful dress.  You see, I don’t like to make muslins unless I really need to.  So most of my “first” are really wearable muslins.  You see, I can make wearable muslins anytime, because I have someone that will fit whatever I don’t like and love it.  You know that kid?  “Mikey” Well, that is my Mom and Sister… Although, they have their own peculiarities about fit, they are taller and shorter than me in the torso.  Both, wear the same size 14 as me.  However, one has a long torso and the other has a shorter torso.  One has a “B-butt” and a foxy figure and thin thighs, and the other has a “B-butt” and thick thighs.  I am a “DD-Butt” with thin thighs.  Thus, we can interchange outfits made from knit and they will look different, fit different, yet still “fit” each of us pretty well.

I previously made this dress, and I loved it!  However, the torso was a little long since I added the FBA using the pivot and slide method along with shortening the cross over and lengthening the skirt back.  However, for this one, along with using the straight skirt…I left the length in the bodice for mom.  She doesn’t like taking OOTD pics for the web…so I’m modeling the dress.  And it fits me much tighter than it fits Mom, since my “DD-Butt” takes up some of the circumference.

Now, one thing about the skirt I need to warn you of….it had pleats and darts!!!  WHAT???  Why?  That really didn’t make since.  I took all that out and made the skirt as simple as possible with their rayon jersey from SMFabric.com.  Mom loved it, needless to say.  
Construction details are on the original post….here.
Just so you know…she was extremely happy with the dress.  

You brought new life to an old concept.  Simplicity, are you there?  I think we can now be friends.  You are bringing new life into my low mojo sewing world, no frills, just plain and simple style without all the bells and whistles.  I’ve been having trouble sewing lately, which is why my friends have been encouraging me to go simple.  Something, I don’t really do very well.  The harder the better is my motto, however, that can be stifling at times and limits my creativity.  Which again, is why I say, thank you simplicity and newlook.

Oh, yes, and as I said before, wardrobe styling is not my thing, but I can put together some clothes on the machine.  You know that thing we all love…the sewing machine.  This fabric has been with me a while waiting to be added to the rotation and so here it is in all its glory.  And I love it!  Especially, with my basic “white button down shirt” presented in my fitting videos on youtube.

 This is a striped rayon knit, with white raised ribs running through it…lots and lots of stretch to boot, yet still slightly stable on the lengthwise grain so it won’t stretch out of shape.  I did secure the shoulder seams and the back neck seam with clear 1/4″ elastic.  The sleeves are great at the length on the pattern.  If I had made them any longer, my tendency would be to roll them up.  I think this will go well with any long sleeve ensemble.  So you may be seeing this quite often if you know me in real life.  Don’t hate.  (Oops, sorry I’m being a little sassy y’all.)  I think it’s the outfit.  What do you think?  HeHe.

 What a glorious day it is….I couldn’t help but just stand there and watch the cars pass.  I didn’t even realize I had snapped the camera.  (I use a tripod and a remote.)  So, I think this is one of my favorite pictures.

 Okay, I’ll spare you guys all the extra pictures…because I just love this look, but I know how hard it is to just keep on scrolling and see a zillion pictures of one person in the same outfit.

OH YEAH!!  Construction Notes:  
  • I cut a medium…the neck in the back can be made a tad smaller, it is wide.  
  • Also, for the center back seam, I made it curved from the blades into the waist and then our over the buttocks so it would hang straight and not get caught up at the hips, as my dusters do from the store. 
  • For the finishing around the edges, I just folded it over 3/8″ and stitched using a machine zig-zag. 
  • The sleeves were stitched on the serger using a technique I call blind stitching on a serger.  I made a low-grade video here…if you are inclined to watch.

 Let’s talk about stripe matching here y’all…. My OCD tendencies wanted to take this whole thing apart and redo it for “the blog”.  But, I needed to get this done. It made me feel really good!!!  I mean really good to finish something in 30 minuties.  I had to get out and gone to a meeting.  It’s not cold outside, yet quite breezy.  This is the Houston weather for November.  So, ugh!!! YEAH!! the lines don’t match… WWWWHAAT eva– y’all just gonna have to get over it this time.  I did!

Thanks so much for keeping up with this journey of mine.  I enjoy everyday I can share with you all. Your comments and questions always bring a smile to my face. 
 So until next time, keep sewing.

This dress sewed up so quick and easy that I feel bad I didn’t cut and make two while I was at it…!  I was in need of a really simple make that would give me a cute silhouette, and be easy to fit.  Fitting is a big deal for me.  Not on an OCD level, but one that requires me to always, and I mean always, make certain adjustments no matter how simple the pattern.

This pattern was just what I needed and didn’t fail.  No muslin, just flat pattern measurements, and knowing what stretch factor I was dealing with helped me to get this one just right the first time.  Woo!! Woo!!!  (Forgive the weird pics…it was storming outside, and I just had to get these photos done because I couldn’t wait to share with y’all.)
Ah man!! I really like the hem on this dress.  The a-line shape of the skirt makes it really comfortable and hangs really nicely from the derrière so gracefully.  The bodice is comfortable because I used a mid-weight single knit (ITY) that is not overly thin, which means I didn’t need to line it or worry about too much stretching on the neck band…a detail I really love. 
Construction Details:  
  • Pattern- NewLook 6301 (Mock wrap) Feels more like a t-shirt
  • The pattern pieces went together fairly simple.  However, I did change the order of construction so that all the back and front was finished together before closing the side seams.  This made the construction take less than an hour.  I did use a serger, but only as finishing. 
    • sewed the shoulder seams
    • check the fit of the bodice and make adjustments
    • install the neck binding
    • hem the sleeves
    • sew the sleeves on the flat, instead of as a set-in 
    • attach the skirt front to the bodice front, and separately the back as well.
    • sew on the tie ends to the back at the waist just above the seam
    • sew up the side seams and hem the skirt….. done!!
  • Cut Size 12 & 14
  • Alterations-  The pattern has two front pieces, a left and a right…. I used Front piece #1 for both left and right sides
    • 3/4″ Pivot & Slide FBA
    • lengthen bodice 1″
    • 3/4″ Pivot & Slide Bicep
    • 3/8″ Neckline Wedge to help the dress hug the decollate
  • NOTE— there is a real tendency for this pattern to be baggy under the arms if you try and use the finished size for your bust.  Stick to the pattern size as related to your upper bust and add the full bust adjustment.  Remember to make your adjustment where it is needed, not just depend on the “finished” measurements.  That is an “all around” measurement.
Ask me if I’m happy with this dress.  You will definitely be seeing more.

 

THIS IS SPARTA!!!

I dare you come to my home, take up my space, refuse to submit to my will, and manipulate my senses. You have the nerve to present your silken embossed face to me, carrying the seersucker’s banner of his calendared forces waving your stripes and feathers before me, while your forces are lined up six stripes and thirty-two inches deep– all the while laughing at the sheer gesture of my pleading for your submission beneath my needle.

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit

“This is my domain!! This is Sew-To-Fit, and I shall have the last laugh!!!  

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit

In this corner we have Andrea of Sew-To-Fit, using weapons of mass construction known only to fellow Spartan Sewcialites, and an arsenal of ammunition along with Newlook 6303 the Pattern of the day. Fighting with her, is a team of notions supporting her in this battle of wills and backing her every cut and stitch.

Over in the other corner, we have a seersucker impostor, a Silk embossed fabric foe which has the armor of a calendared finish giving it the appearance of a cotton picking seersucker.  The fabric could not be ironed hard…it could only be pressed ever so gently in order to avoid pressing out the nice little squares in the design of the fabric. I was aiming to win that war!

Battle and Constructions Notes:::

Alterations and design changes–

  • cut size 14
  • Lengthened the sleeves 2.5 inches.
  • 1 1/2″ FBA via Pivot & Slide method.
  • Add 3/8″ seam inside back and cut on bias to make the design lines continue from the front and disappear off the back hem.

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit

I cut only the right sleeve on the bias to get the stripe to go in the same direction as that of the front and back, making it a continuous stream.  In doing so I used most of my fabric and was not able to have both sides of the back on the bias.  I made sure to match the sleeve so the lines would meet at the notch point of the front and continue down around the sleeve to meet the lines on the back.

I tried to put the other sleeve only on white but I did not have enough room– I tried several layouts to determine the best look.  The second layout for the sleeve is to just allow the lower half or the lower 4 inches of the sleeve to have a horizontal stripe forming a band at the hem. I think I like this one better.

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit- constructions details

Blocking the pattern pieces when on the bias is important to maintain the size and shape of each section before stitching them together.  In order to keep the shapes the right size and stabilize each pattern piece, I used Design Plus Super Fine Bias fusible stay tape to support the edges after spraying Perfect Sew wash away fabric stabilizer on the fabric.  (I purchased the Design Plus from Lyla Messinger during an American Sewing Guild class.  As a Palmer/Pletsch Instructor, I get the Perfect Sew at wholesale, but you can find it on their website, here.) (Non-sponsored)

I blocked each piece against the pattern piece each time I moved it to a different position, by lightly taping and shifting the fabric back into place with the pattern as a guide, all the while making sure the edges matched up to the original pattern paper.

Cutting on the bias was more trial and error than science.

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit- constructions details

Constructions steps were changed up a little in order to allow for the side seams to be completely finished with no raw/serged edges.  (See photo.)

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit

The back right was also cut on the bias in order to have just a small section of the stripes finish off the tail of the back hem. Doing this meant I had to sacrifice the left back side and cut it straight to avoid having stripes run through that hem. I knew going into the process I would have a problem matching a bias seam to a straight seam which would cause some drag, yet I was willing to live with this problem. I’m really happy that I took the chance, because the positioning of the stripes are really nice.

Asymmetric white silk blouse by sewtofit

As it turns out, this top is really a terrific addition to my wardrobe.  At first I wasn’t feeling this design because of the extra fabric in the front–it is double over.  I would suggest you make sure to use a really lightweight fabric, or else it may be too heavy since the entire front is two layers.