Wool jersey dress – Butterick 5313

I have been wanting a Chanel style knit dress with a flounce so I pulled out this oldie but goodie pattern. The charcoal grey wool jersey has been in my stash forever and I was so happy to delete it from my inventory!

I previously altered this pattern for a full bust but knew I’d need more circumference since the wool jersey has much less stretch than the knits I used previously. I added 1/2” to each seam tapering to nothing at the sleeve hem. I also added decorative bands at each seam and finished the neckline and sleeve with bands to tie it all together.

My original plan was to embellish tue dress with black pearls but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I really needed was a simple, basic dress so the bands were my way of taking it a bit beyond the pattern without making it too distinctive.

This pattern is pretty easy to pass over, I know, but I’ve made View B four times now and it’s a nice, simple dress that’s very flattering, goes together quickly and pairs well with various jacket styles.


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New Sewing Studio reveal

Yeah, I know, I’ve been absent. I honestly have no idea where the time has gone. Work has been extra busy and there has been little time for much else!

Anyway, a few months ago, we decided to play musical rooms here. B really wanted to take over the garage to avoid having to store Christmas stuff in the attic – going up there becomes more of a chore every year. I had just given up my exercise room for a much-needed proper office since I have been working partially from home for the past year and a half. So, how to make this work? How to merge two sewing spaces (2-car garage and a 14×14 bedroom) into one? My brilliant idea was to move B’s Man Cave to my office, move my office into my small sewing space and then combine the two sewing spaces into the old Man Cave. To make this work he had to give up a significant amount of space and I had to give up a significant amount of sewing stuff.

Moving my sewing rooms has taken months of daily work but I am thrilled with the end result. The purging was really hard and I still have an industrial machine to sell but I feel like I have gained so much. I’m right off the kitchen, have tons of light and have everything but my fabrics and books at my fingertips. It’s nice to sew a few seams while I’m cooking dinner or doing laundry! This should do wonders for my productivity.

Without further ado, let’s start the tour! Feel free to leave suggestions on how I can make better use of the space. I’m always open to new ideas!

Main sewing corner with two of my Berninas. It’s nice having a big TV!
Singer Rocketeer that I use as my buttonhole machine. The sturdy plywood counters were salvaged from my old sewing room and cut to fit the new space. They are not perfect – I have a few little cosmetic fixes to take care of – but they are far superior to any particle board counters that I could have purchased new.
Presses, specialty threads, zippers, rulers and some of my patterns
Serger and heat press on top of my pattern cabinet. Slat wall holds threads, scissors and baskets with miscellaneous supplies
Cutting table. The wood cabinets were already here and are super handy
View from the other side. My walking foot machine sits to the right of the cutting table with my blind stitch. I don’t use either all that often so it works.
My industrials. This was a bit like a puzzle getting everything to fit but it works well. The most used machine (Consew with the right-angle binder) is easiest to access but I have adequate space to use the other machines when i need to. I’ve already used the cover stitch three times and felt perfectly comfortable.
Cone thread on the wall and more slat wall holds longer rulers. I love slat wall because it’s so easy to change up as your needs change. I’m considering selling my Jiffy steamer but, for now, it’s out of the way. A 5-gallon bucket in the bathroom holds rolls of pattern paper and a spare cutting mat.
I did lose my large pressing area but I am doing perfectly fine with my Laurastar. If I need a larger pressing surface, I can put my big pressing board on top of the cutting table and wheel the boiler iron over.
Of course I made space for my supervisors, my childhood stuffed animals.


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Burda Style 09/2016 #115 Bomber Jacket – Part VI

It’s been slow going here. Still suffering with insomnia so I haven’t trusted myself to do too much sewing. I felt kind of energetic today so I thought I’d get the collar and cuffs attached, at least.

This is really nice, medium-heavy rib knit that I ordered from Pacific Trimming. It’s the perfect weight for a light jacket but not heavy enough for an outerwear jacket.

I am glad it’s starting to come together. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel up to attaching the waistband then I will have to set this aside for a bit, which I *hate* to do but I’m doing a sew along in the Hot Patterns FB group and our deadline is Thanksgiving! I don’t like starting something new before I finish but I’m so anxious to wear this jacket so I think it’ll be okay. 🙂

In the past when I’ve sewn with leather, I’ve used paper clips or binder clips to “pin” things together. I bought these cute little Clover clips on a whim awhile ago – I think they are for quilting – and they worked so perfectly here!


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Let there be light!

I am never satisfied with the amount of light I have for sewing. My newest sewing machine is a 1997 Bernina and, with the exception of a few industrials, all of my other machines are quite a bit older. Lighting on vintage machines pales compared to that of 21st century machines.

On Saturday, I saw an advertisement for quite pricey ($45 and up) LED light strips for sewing machines. Knowing that LED light strips are generally very inexpensive, I hopped over to Amazon and found very similar light strips for under $8.

They arrived today and I am just so excited about them! They are self-adhesive and dim-able (not sure why you’d want that…) and easily cut to fit. I ordered one for my Bernina 1530 and one for my 500A buttonhole machine. Wow, what a difference!

I’m generally not a fan of sticking things onto my machines but I’m less of a fan of sewing in the dark. Once I turn on my LED light to the left of the machine, I will be able to see so clearly!

Here’s the link for the strips that I ordered. At this price, you can buy one for every machine!


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Filed under Attachments, Uncategorized

Burda Style 09/2016 #115 Bomber Jacket – Part V

It’s been another busy week and I am still not sleeping. Consequently, I haven’t done much sewing until this weekend.

The zipper has been installed and the fronts and back have been joined.

I took the side seams in 1/4” and may take them in a bit more. This style has a lot of ease which can easily overwhelm me.

I am also toying with the idea of adding some random beading. This bead collection called ‘Natalie’s Mix’ from Alabama Channin goes very well with the colors of my jacket.

However, after making a small sample, I have decided that I really only like the bronze colored beads and maybe the occasional dark sequin. The light sequins and beads jump off the fabric and make it look too busy. What do you think?


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Burda Style 09/2016 #115 Bomber Jacket – Part IV

Not a lot has been happening in the sewing room this past week. Work has been really busy and I’ve been suffering with insomnia, ugh. I don’t like sewing when I’m tired because I just end up making mistakes that I have to fix later.

I did manage to stitch my sleeves to the back and fronts yesterday. I glued down the leather seam allowances and catchstitched the fabric seam allowances. It was nice doing a bit of hand work while watching Ratched on Netflix. I’m not removing the basting but you could if it bothers you.

Next up, I’ll be installing the zipper – as soon as I figure out where I put it.

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A short detour

I didn’t have much time to work on my jacket this weekend. I had breakfast with my DIL and my mini on Saturday and my DIL mentioned that the pool was getting cold and she thought the baby might need a wetsuit for her swim lessons. I remembered that I had a piece of neoprene left over from a Hot Patterns skirt I made a few years ago so, of course, I went right home and made a baby wetsuit. I really do not like sewing baby clothes *at all* but I had fun with this. I just hope it fits her.

On Sunday, I had to help my MIL with a couple of things but I did manage to reinforce all of the cut edges of my leather pieces. I started with cold tape but I found it too heavy for my lamb skin so I pulled it off and used fusible stay tape instead.

Finally, in follow up to my post about my boiler iron, Meredith commented that Wawak had steam hose covers (thank you!) so I ordered two 24” covers. So, why two, you ask?

Well, I have been wanting a small boiler iron for my little sewing room where the domestic machines and industrial serger live. But, honestly, I could not justify spending money on another iron when I have a 30 year old Naomoto gravity feed that still works perfectly. But, then I lucked into a one-year-old Reliable i300 for practically nothing and couldn’t pass it up. The iron has a few scratches on the side but everything works perfectly. I could tell by the hoses that it had barely been used. I did have to laugh because the seller surely paid way too much for shipping (free shipping for me) since he shipped it with a full tank of water. 🤣

Yes, I do feel sad retiring my trusty old Naomoto. 30 years ago I had to burn through several expensive Rowentas before my then-husband agreed that the $350 Naomoto was probably a good investment. I don’t know that I can bring myself to ever get rid of her! For now, she’ll be nearby.

So here is the new-to-me boiler iron with its new steam hose cover. The blue looks nice and matches the steam switch. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be able to make some progress on my jacket.


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Burda Style 09/2016 #115 Bomber Jacket – Part III

I took a day off from work today to work on my jacket. This year I find myself in the unusual situation of having a lot of PTO that I’m going to lose if I don’t use it. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat!

I decided to start by cutting out my leather sleeves and then work on my single welt pockets. Now, I can crank out single welt pockets all day long so I went into this feeling a bit over-confident. Big mistake.

My first mistake was thinking that I would use my usual welt pattern.

Here’s my disappointing result. Really, I should’ve guessed this would happen.

So then I just cut some rectangles and folded my seam allowances in on the sides and glued everything together. Very easy with a good result.

That wasn’t the end of my difficulty. Let me tell you, single welts are much more difficult to make when you are using leather. Yes, I should have made a sample first but I didn’t and once I cut into the first front there was no changing my mind.

Just for fun, I whipped up a double welt sample. I didn’t measure the welts, didn’t mark my stitching lines, used no interfacing, my stitching was wonky because I didn’t have my Teflon foot on and I didn’t press anything. It looked pretty good with zero effort and was much less bulky than my single welt. Lesson learned! The next time I want to use leather, I will make double welt pockets!

I did finish them so now I can move on. Can’t say that I’m 100% happy with them but that’s okay. You can’t learn from mistakes if you never try anything new.

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Boiler iron cleaning

I’m ashamed to say that it’s been several years since I’ve cleaned my boiler iron. Even worse, I haven’t used it in over a year and left water in the tank. I feel pretty bad about that because I was gifted this amazing piece of equipment and haven’t been caring for it as I should.

I decided that today was the day to empty the tank and deal with whatever horrible sediment might be in there. Well, to my great surprise, the water was perfectly clear – what a relief.

The manufacturer recommends cleaning the tank with a 1:1 water and white vinegar solution, allowing it to sit overnight. The iron should be removed for this step.

Then the solution should be swished around to dislodge any sediment, poured out and then rinsed with clean water several times. I lined my kitchen sink with paper towels and, to my surprise, there wasn’t anything too nasty lurking in the bottom of the tank. But, I will make sure I clean it out more often!

Another issue I have is with the cloth covering on the steam hose. The hose gets very hot in that spot. I’ve emailed Reliable to see if it’s possible to purchase a new set of hoses or whether I have to replace the entire iron. No response after two days – I hope this is due to them being short-handed right now and not customary. I may need to actually phone them (gasp). For now, I will wrap it with muslin strips so that I don’t burn myself.

The iron is reconnected and she works as good as new. I had a linen beach coverup waiting to be ironed which was a great first task with my clean new iron, although I don’t really like using this to iron laundry. Not that it doesn’t do a great job – it does – but I find the steam hose cumbersome plus it puts out so much steam that the water drips through the ironing board and onto your garment (or the floor).


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Burda Style 09/2016 #115 Bomber Jacket – Part II

I finally just took a deep breath and cut and I’m really happy with it so far. The back really *had* to be cut this way as I couldn’t imagine it cut any other way. (Sorry for the wonky photo – panoramic while standing tippy toe on a stool!)

Ordinarily, when I want to match a pattern across a center front I use the CF line as my guide. But the front of this jacket veers off-grain in the upper chest plus I’m using a zipper so there is no overlap. So, instead I cut one front, lining up the lower CF line with the center of the medallion, and then laid it face down on the fabric, matching the pattern, and cut my second front. It looks weird now but once the zipper is installed it will look better, I hope.

I chose a cotton batiste as the underlining for the body of the jacket. I love using an underlining because I can make very clear markings without worrying about show-through.

Before I hand basted the layers together, I fused a small piece of interfacing where my welt pockets will be. My fabric ravels pretty easily so I wanted that extra reinforcement. Again, I pinked the edges to avoid a hard line showing on the right side.

I also stabilized the bias edges with strips of fusible interfacing. If your fabric doesn’t want to be fused you can always fuse to your underlining – another bonus to using an underlining.

The last step before my favorite part – the welt pockets – basting the layers together. I use either silk or cotton basting thread but I definitely enjoy using the silk thread more as it glides through the layers so easily. I couldn’t locate my basting needles (hence the tiny stitches) so I just used a #9 hand needle and basted within the seam allowances. I really recommend basting needles as they are longer and make fast work of this somewhat tedious job.

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