Monthly Archives: July 2008

Mystery Top

Here’s what I worked on today – another work top. I had intended to finish TWO on Sunday but you know what they say about the best laid plans…. This one is almost finished, all that’s left are the sleeves and the hem, both of which I plan to do tomorrow. The fabric is from Georgous Fabrics but I don’t see it on the site any longer so it must be sold out. I love hot pink and brown together! Can you guess the pattern?



Filed under Fabric, Hot Patterns

I’m a winner!

It’s no secret that I love 70’s fashions – well, not *all* 70’s fashions but a great number of them! Well, when I saw Summerset’s vintage skirt I HAD to find the pattern right away! I am dating myself but I had so many skirts just like this in high school. Personally, I think it still looks very current so I was thrilled to find a copy!


Some of you may remember that I made a dress from a 1970-something pattern to wear to my son’s graduation back in 2006. I used to troll Ebay and the vintage sites every single day but I have so little self-control that I had to stop! It may be time to start up again but I have to try and stay away from those pricey 1950s patterns!


Filed under Patterns, vintage

Quick work top

I recently bought some really pretty printed jerseys from Gorgeous Fabrics for work tops. Since I’m up and out before dawn I like easy tops that look professional (obviously, in a casual way) and nice with the knee-length shorts I’m currently wearing. God, I love knee-length shorts! They are great for corporate casual and cool enough for hot Florida summers. I only have a handful of appropriate tops to wear so I really needed to crank out a few things.

Today (yeah, supposed to be Sunday but you know how that goes) I pulled out my TNT Jalie 2449 – which I love – and quickly cut out a top with a cap sleeve. I can make this top start to finish in under an hour and it’s so cute! I chose this Islands in the Stream jersey because I need a few tops to go with my off-white shorts.


I wanted to use the border for the neckbands but wasn’t really sure how long to cut them since they were printed on the lengthwise grain and have very little stretch. Then I had an idea: I put on one of my previously made tops and measured the length of the band while on the body and added my seam allowances – in this case 20.5″ total. That would have been very clever of me – had it worked. The band was too long and didn’t lay flat against my chest. So I went to Plan B: I serged the band on stretching it slightly (if you stretch too much the cut edges will curl). Success! I ended up with a finished length of 18.5″ – 2″ less than what I’d started with.

Since I had this pretty border to work with I wanted to incorporate it into some other part of the top. At first I thought of a tie belt but decided on a sleeve binding instead. ETA: After all was said and done I added a faux side tie as well and I’m glad I did – it finishes the top off nicely.

I wanted a 1/2″ finished binding so I cut my strips three times that (1.5″) plus 3/8″ allowance for securing the binding. I sewed the binding right sides together to the sleeve stretching the sleeve very slightly to ease the binding in a little because I did not want the edge to be tight.


Next, press the binding away from the body of the sleeve.


Then wrap the binding around the seam to the back (I serge-finished the raw edge first) and secure by stitching in the ditch or topstitching. Remember to “stretch and sew” to build some give into your topstitching and prevent popped stitches later.



Finishing up took mere minutes!



Filed under Fabric, Jalie Patterns

Kwik-Sew 2845 Perfection!

I made all of the changes to the pattern and it is now perfect and ready to be made into a permanent pattern. The fit is perfect (I fill it out a bit better on top than Ethel, lol) and it is such an adorable top to wear with jeans or shorts. This time I made a long sleeve which I really like for a little extra sun protection – a trick I learned when I was doing embroidery work for a fishing club. The fabric is a long sold-out rayon/lycra from Textile Studios, one of my handful of favorite internet sources.


Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be cutting out a new Hot Pattern and whipping up a quick work top from a TNT pattern before I get back to the leather bag I was working on before the studio overhaul. Sounds like I need to get up early!


Filed under Fabric, Hot Patterns, Kwik-Sew

Kwik-Sew 2845

Since I was unable to go away with DBF this weekend due to my less-than-speedy recovery from oral surgery (blech) I am working on getting things cleaned up and finishing up some UFOs.

I had this beautiful fabric leftover from my latest Cosmopolitan Dress and wanted to squeeze out a top before tossing the scraps. Kwik-Sew 2845 seemed perfect – a little bit bohemian – for the paisley print. This used to be one of my very favorite TNT patterns. However, when I lost weight a couple of years ago, the pattern no longer fit and it’s taken me this long to get around to retracing it. Lazy! My original pattern had been a small with a 1″ FBA so this time I decided to just start with a straight XS. Since my bust is much smaller I skipped the FBA but I did add 1″ in length because it seemed a wee bit short. Overall, I am pretty happy with the fit but I will do an FBA next time as the underbust seam is about 1/2″ too high and I’d like more gathers around the neckline. I’d also like a little more length so I’ll add another inch.

Other changes I made to the pattern was a 5/8″ forward shoulder adjustment and I eliminated the gathers under the bust. I think I like it better with the gathers so I’m adding them back in for the next one.



Instead of making buttonholes for the neckline cording I added a seam at the center front. I just think it’s easier and looks a lot neater. Yeah, I know my match is a wee bit off but I knew the cord would cover it so I just left it! No matter how carefully I measure and mark my buttonholes are always a tiny bit off and there is no room for error here. Instead of the ribbon the pattern calls for I made self-fabric cording.



The sleeves are from Kwik-Sew 2643, a long-discontinued pattern. I already knew from last time that they fit into the armscye perfectly so it was just a matter of tracing off a new size. Remember to remove 1/8″ from the armscye of 2845 because it has a 3/8″ hem allowance.

I think this jersey has really had a workout this weekend! First, there was Summerset’s Burda WOF top, Cidell’s maxi dress and now my humble little scrap top. Well, I’m off to make those alterations and trace the pattern onto oak tag!


Filed under Kwik-Sew

Sewer + Empty Closet = Mixed Blessing

So, my son hasn’t even finished picking up his junk moving out and I’m already eyeing his closet! I’ve been so busy over the past few months that my fabric purchases have been piling up in my Sewing Studio #2. Shamefully so, really. So, when I was forced to empty the room for painting I just piled everything in the exercise room. Then, this afternoon, I started thinking about how convenient it would be to hang all of that fabric in my son’s closet – just to get it out of the way for now, you understand. Unfortunately, I ran out of hangers! Well, before you start thinking about how clever I am to get everything tidied up and put away please realize that I’ve had to use this closet (the two sets of doors are small but it spans one wall):


because this closet (in my sewing room):


and this walk-in closet in my exercise room are FULL!


See? Mixed blessing. Or perhaps a curse because I’ve only used about 1/6th of the new closet. Instead of the Crazy Cat Lady I’ll be the Crazy Fabric Lady. Please don’t ask me about the former linen closet ’cause I’m not telling.

PS: You know what the really scary part is? The Boyfriend has seen The Fabric and he’s still here. Ha, if that doesn’t send them running for the hills, nothing will.


Filed under Fabric

Tada! The new sewing studio!

Well, I have a few paint touch ups and have to rehang the manilla paper on another wall since I changed my mind about the layout but here it is! I know there’s a lot going on in all the pictures but, what can I say?, I have a lot of stuff.

Here is the view from the door:


The two machines on the right side are my Singer 20U (zigzag) and my Consew 206RB (a walking foot machine). I had the two plain stands leftover from my embroidery shop – they were used as work tables and for hooping. Since I often work on really large projects on these two machines I put a plain stand behind each one to hold all the extra fabric. I really could have used this when I made the cover for my pool table!


On the left are my two coverstitch machines, back to back. I know I would have had more space in the center of the room had I put them against the wall but there is a method to my madness! Now that I live alone I wanted to be able to pull the attic ladder down without having to move any machines by myself – the coverstitch machines are especially heavy! I still have plenty of space to move around the cutting tables. Speaking of which, these are the cheapos you can purchase at JoAnn’s. I originally wanted the much more expensive Horn tables with the drawer but I’ve had these for a number of years and they are great! Of course, with the money you save you must buy the matching rotary mat.


I won’t be doing any construction pressing in this room (I have a Naomoto gravity feed in my other sewing room) but I’m thrilled to have the space to keep the ironing board up! I usually turn on the iron and press things as they come out of the dryer. Now I won’t have to set up in the kitchen!

Straight ahead is my 12-needle embroidery machine. I have pretty much decided to sell it as I don’t see myself using it all that much. After 10 years in business, the bloom is off the embroidered rose.

From the other side:




The Merrow machine sits in the corner to the left of the window since it’s not used very often. My manila paper roll will hang on the wall above it. That wall is concrete so I need to get the proper anchors before I can take care of that. To the right is the Jiffy steamer and on the table is the heat press (that’s the water heater enclosure next to it). Everyone is surprised that I didn’t sell the press when I closed my business. Are they nuts? With a 16×20 surface area I can fuse interfacing quickly and easily! Those paper dispensers on the hot water cabinet used to hold embroidery stabilizer, now they hold examining table paper.

Oh, and I just love my new floor! It’s epoxy garage floor paint and I sprinkled colored paint chips onto it while it was wet. The chips really help hide any imperfections and it was so easy! Since I couldn’t move everything out of the room I had to paint in two sections so the entire thing took nearly 10 days before I could move the machines back in. I had to let the concrete patch and then the bonding primer dry completely before I could even begin painting. The bonding primer drove me crazy because it stays tacky after it’s dry and my shoes kept sticking to it. I ended up wearing old socks instead which worked great.

The paint then requires 72 hours dry time before furniture can be moved back in. Of course, that is when The Boyfriend mentioned that the walls would look really nice painted a light tan (they were cold, stark white and looking a little dingy)… That set me back a few more days but it was so worth it! It drove me nuts to have my living room and bedroom piled with machines and stuff but now that it’s done it looks great! I can’t wait to get back to sewing. Unfortunately, I’m having oral surgery tomorrow and then going away for the weekend (provided I don’t swell up like a chipmunk!) so I’ll have to sit tight for a few more days.


Filed under Sewing Machines, Sewing Studio, This and that