Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ease in Sleeves

I am currently working on this pattern, Butterick 5616.

I am using a very fine pinwale corduroy. And to beef up the fabric, I have lined the jacket using a quilting cotton. Everything is from my stash, and I didn't want to buy anything for this project. However, I will have to go and buy 14 buttons as I don't have 14 buttons that will work for this.

One thing I have noticed in the last couple of jackets that I have made and I am wondering if anyone else has found this too. Since it has happened on at least four jackets, I am thinking this is not just me, but must be something in the pattern draft.

In the past, I have always found the back of a sleeve to have more ease than the front of the sleeve. This makes sense, since it is the back that needs the extra fabric as you move your arms forward. But in the past several jackets that I have made, all of the sleeves had no ease in the back but they have ease in the front. This means that you are trying to ease in fullness on the front of the garment, not a place that I would expect to do this.

My solution was to ease stitch the sleeve twice in order to shrink it up, then I set in the sleeve matching notches, underarm seam. I eased as much sleeve to the front as I could, but then let the notch at the top of the sleeve fall where it would. This ended up with the top of the sleeve falling slightly (about 3/4") towards the back of the garment. This didn't affect the fit at all, and allowed me to set in the sleeve without puckers. I would surely have had puckers in the front sleeve if I hadn't moved that point.

If you have found this, I would be interested to know. It seems definitely wrong to me. Why do we need ease in the front of a sleeve, between the single notch and the shoulder?  Surely that ease should be placed in the back. Is this a new styling (I doubt) or is it poor drafting (I suspect). Let me know if you have found this too. Surely I can't be the only one.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Second Knit Top

This is the second top from the Marcy Tilton pattern, this time in a rayon/lycra knit. This knit almost feels like slinky knit, it has that kind of drape and feel to it.

This is a close up of the neckline to show the little darts over each raglan seam, but they are hard to see on this print. I might sew some buttons on the front seams of the neckline as shown in the pattern, but none of my enormous button collection seemed suitable.

There will be a trip to the fabric store in the near future.
So I have kept to my resolution and made up two items from stash fabrics, which means that I can purchase one fabric length. We shall see, I have another project planned with another fabric that I bought with this knit, intending for the two to go together. It's good to whittle down that stash.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Aaahhh, sewing again!

A blissful three hours of cutting and sewing have restored my mental health!  I can't believe how good I feel for having spent the afternoon sewing.

Last night, I went to our monthly guild meeting and we were treated to a mini fashion show. Two months ago, members were invited to pick up a package of two fabrics, donated by guild members, and they were to make one garment (or more), using both fabrics. The entries were great. And I was obviously inspired to get sewing today.

First, a picture of the coat that I finished prior to the surgery that has kept me relatively inactive for a month or more.  I still don't have the buttons or snaps sewn on, but I needed the dress form and the coat had to come off. So the picture is sans closures.

This is Vogue 8548, an out-of-print pattern. I saw this pattern made up by Tany of
and also by Erica of

So I ordered the pattern from Vogue and it was well worth the wait. I really really like this pattern. And hopefully I will get to wear the coat a couple of times this year before spring comes for sure.
Actually today we have freezing rain, so there are still a few weeks of real winter left in store for us.

Prior to my surgery, I had washed some lengths of knit fabrics and put them with patterns I wanted to sew, thinking that these would be easy to do. So today, I took one of these fabrics downstairs to cut out and used Vogue 8636 by Marcy Tilton.

I confess I cut this out on the wrong grain (I wasn't looking carefully) but as Marcy says, with knits that have two-way stretch, it really doesn't matter which way the stretch goes. This fabric has enough lycra in it to recover and keep its shape.

There is no one here to take photos of this on me, so the dress form will have to do. I followed Marcy's instructions to the letter, since she knows knit tops so well. I had read her book on Sewing Knit Tops several years ago.

The neckline is interesting, it is a wider neckband that is brought into the neck by four little darts sewn just above the raglan seams. This gives an opportunity for using other fabrics and one of Marcy's versions shows that neckband in sheer lace, which is a pretty option.

I was just so happy to have sewn and actually finished something in one afternoon, that I have another length of knit in the wash right now. And hope to make a second version of this top tomorrow. I will pay more attention as I cut out, as the second fabric is a nice rayon knit that I bought from Fabrics in Vogue last fall and I want to do it right.

Boy, there is just nothing like sewing and finishing something up that you are pleased with to get your creative urges flowing once again.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Patterns on Order

Gosh, you get a BMV membership and it is just so easy to order patterns.  But then I was always someone who was easy to enable!

Today's email offer from McCalls was too good to resist at $2.99.

This is a cute blouse, McCalls 6512, from Melissa Watson, Pati Palmer's daughter who is now designing for McCalls along with her mom. It is the short sleeve version that caught my eye, and especially the neckline that I like most.

The second pattern is McCalls 6405, a pattern for slim pants. This pattern has two features that I want to try:  first, the contour waistband which I have found is so comfortable to wear; and second, the seam in the centre back leg which allows you to remove excess fabric in the back thigh. That is a problem many of us sew-ers have with our sewn pants, that bagginess in the back leg. What really sold me on this pattern was seeing it on Pati Palmer in their newsletter. Pati has a mature figure and, if she can make these pants look flattering, well why not me?

And the third pattern I ordered was 6294, a jacket pattern again by Melissa Watson. the seaming details caught my attention on this. The back view has many seams and one section is cut on the bias, making for interest depending on your fabric. A mini plaid would look wonderful cut on several grains, and even denim with topstitched seams to highlight the design would be great.

I'm going to have lots to sew once these patterns arrive. No shortage of fabric though. I won't tell you how many boxes of fabric I have in my stash. When we moved into this house 16 years ago, I had no stash whatsoever. Since that time, and largely due to running an online fabric business, I accumulated many fabrics. I think everyone can understand how that happens. Some are small pieces, the ends of bolts, but others are quite large, 5 metres for instance, as I knew they were just too good to pass by.

I particularly like sewing spring and summer clothes, so this morning I am going to go and look at the stash to see what will work with these patterns soon to arrive.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Patterns

After four weeks of being on crutches and a walker, I am anxious to get back into my sewing room. But I have a few more weeks of recovery yet.  I could sew, but it is just too difficult to get all the other things organized, such as the ironing board and manoevring a walker around that. Plus cutting out would be tricky when you have to stand on one leg only. 

But I have noticed a few patterns lately that are very attractive and this morning I thought why not order them and they will be here in a few weeks, just as I am ready to start sewing again.

One pattern is a cardigan that I noticed on Carolyn's blog at
It is Butterick 5760

Carolyn makes many sweater sets, and she used this pattern to make a different neckline than her usual V-neck.  The pattern looks great to me, and I have some knits just waiting to be made up into cardigans.  I have noticed many dresses lately that seem to just call out for a light cardigan to be worn over them.

And speaking of dresses, I have been wanting to make a couple of new dresses. And there are some nice patterns out there.  The first one I ordered is Butterick 5382.

I really like the neckline on this, with the pleats adding interest to an otherwise straight sheath dress.

Then I also ordered Vogue 8786 because this is another simple sheath, but with the interest of a yoke. And with two sleeve variations, this can be made up for either warm or cool weather.

and the fourth pattern I ordered was McCalls 6433. I had seen this last year in the catalogue and I really liked it but thought that this would not work for my figure type.  But then I read the newsletter put out by Palmer/Pletsch and read that Marta Alto made this up as a top and skirt, rather than a dress. Then she could lengthen the top and straighten out the side seams, rather than make a dress with a defined waistline, something that doesn't work for either her or me.  I will also raise that neck opening, as that is definitely for a younger body than mine.  If you haven't checked out their website, it is worth reading the newsletter. You can download it for free at  - click on the left for Free On-line Fashion Magazine. I read with interest Pati's experience with a new pant pattern with a contour waistband. As she says, cotton/lycra pants just don't look that great because the fabric doesn't drape. Her fitting tips are well worth reading.
Now, I will anxiously await these new patterns and, in the meantime, think of which fabrics from the stash I can use for them. Because I am going to keep the New Year's resolution of sewing two stash fabrics for every one new purchase. 

I am still working on the Aran baby blanket. It is going slowly, as there are 171 stitches in each row, and I am making it with baby weight wool, rather than worsted weight. I find the lighter wool easier to knit with these fingers that get stiff holding heavier yarn.

It is good to feel keen to sew once again. It has been a while since I felt inspired to make something new. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blog Award

Ann from gave me the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks, Ann, I have to confess I was surprised as I only have a few readers. But it's kind of fun to participate in this so here goes.

Now let's see. I am supposed to do some things here, in order to spread this around.
First I have to mention seven random things about myself.  Hmmm.....

1.  I have been married to the same man for 38 years.

2.  We have 3 daughters and 8 grandchildren, with another on the way.

3.  Our youngest daughter broke the mold, wears a habit, and is a Franciscan nun.

4.  I began sewing at age 12 and am self-taught for the most part.

5.  For years, I crocheted endlessly; for the most part, I made lace shawls that I sold through craft stores.

6.  I love dogs and have had a dog almost all of my life.

7.  I would love to live in the country on an acreage, not a farm (too much work) but with a fair chunk of land around me.

Now I am to list the rules of the award and will now proceed to pass it along to 15 other bloggers. 
So here are the rules:

- Add the award to your blog.
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
-  Mention 7 random things about yourself.
-  List the rules.
-  Give the award to 15 bloggers.
-  Inform each of those bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.