Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

Clothesmaking mavens

Clothesmaking mavens
Listen to me on the clothes making mavens podcasts

About me

My photo
I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



Follow me on Instagram

Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Barbara's Useful SWAP part three

Some of you may remember my great success with Indygo Junction's London Jacket a while ago.

Since I am so in love with that pattern I do what I usually do when I find a winner and emailed the company with a link to my review. As the result of that exchange Indygo offered to send me a copy of the next pattern I reviewed to give away to my blog readers, on the agreement that my review would be exactly what I thought.

That pattern, and the next in my SWAP tops, is this one:

It is sort of zany (that's what I am calling it) and I completely, absolutely am crazy about it. This really is a well-drafted but simple pull-over top and just made for large bold prints - something I love but always have a hard time figuring out how to use.

Here is my version, on the quiet dummy until my whole SWAP is done and I do a photoshoot or what passes for one of those around here.

Now you might think this is pretty wild, but if you have ever met me in person you would know this is my personality - for better or worse. This is the only kind of floral I can wear:

On a hanger. This way you can see the pleat. After I made the pleat and hemmed the top I went back into the inside and edge-stitched close to the fold of each side of this box pleat, right down over the hem too, to help the pleat keep its shape as this is a cotton. The tunic view has you actually edge-stitch the pleat from the outside to set the pleat. 

You are supposed to notice I matched the print on the patch pockets. Really I had no choice with a print this obvious.

Crooked placement on a dress form. Oh well. Still a great top.

Having matched one pocket I had to do the other one. The skill level is amazing.

I am very taken with this pattern. How often do you get something that really is this easy to sew, a cotton around the house top even, that has some style? I think I look wonderful in it with slim pants or my Magic Straight skirt.

A few observations:

  • The collar in cut on the bias and not interfaced. I made the shorter version somewhat lengthened in this top and a single layer collar. If I did it again I would use the collar version for the tunic when is doubled and folded over.
  • The neckline is very early 60's and wide. Take advantage of the four raglan seams and the seam down the top of the sleeve to fine-tune this opening a bit. Baste first, try it on, and then commit.
I will definitely be making more of these (could be lengthened to a dress too) and the first person who emails me directly with a name and address can have a copy of this pattern sent out to her.

After two hits I am going to go back and look at a few more of patterns from this company - as a garment sewer I had never considered their line for someone who is not a quilter, which just goes to show, well something I am sure.

More than anything I am pleased to sew something so easy that doesn't compromise drafting quality.

Now onto cutting out the next few tops for my SWAP before I go back to work full-time.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Barbara's Useful SWAP part two

The second blouse I have made from the Jane over-shirt from StyleArc is this one with my Liberty cotton lawn:

There is not a lot to add about the construction, except that I added the split cuff treatment from the StyleArc Sasha shirt to finish the 3/4 sleeves. I have sort of given up totally on full length sleeves. My hands are always busy and the sleeves are always rolled up so it makes sense to just start out that way.

Also I never use any kind of back neck facing on a blouse. Those are just nuisance units in my opinion that never quite fit, always flip up, and look lumpy from the outside since they are usually interfaced. I even find a bound seam a little bulky.

This seems to me to be a big price to pay to finish the little bit of back neck seamline. So even though I try to do quality work every where else I always just serge this seam. I made this decision when I saw that the first shirt I did this on, a 20 year old camp shirt that I put on every summer and my family always says "Mom when are you going to stop wearing that shirt?", has a serged back neck seam and has aged better than I have.

I also find that serge finishing this curved seam keeps in some flexibility that doesn't fight the roll of the collar, which is good.

My other comment on this blouse is that the fabric is terrific. You don't get much real cotton lawn anymore - this quality stuff is much different from just cheap thin fabric - and I am astounded by the fact this blouse neither wrinkles or weighs much at all.

I did some scientific testing holding the blouse in one hand and various other objects in the other and my calculation is this blouse weighs about the same as a 1000 m spool of Gutermann thread. 

This would make an ideal travel piece for hot weather, you could pack it in a change purse, and would be perfect say if you were going on safari and needed something you could rinse in a camp sink and wear the next morning. 

Since I am unlikely to be going on safari this term I note it would also work well for trips to the garment district and meals in the East Village that leave the kinds of exotic stains you know you have to rinse out right away before they set.

Which is a lead in to my next top. 

I am really happy about this one which I am calling my Zany top for obvious reasons and because I am well past needing what looks like a maternity top.

The problem is I used a blue washable marker to mark the pocket placements and it didn't really come out. So of course I went on the www this morning and armed myself with all possible hints:

And it looks like the vinegar may have done the trick.

My husband once pointed out that 110% of all household hints involve either vinegar or baking soda which is true.

I am hopeful I can get this top done before next year.

While I sew I am going to be doing some thinking. 

Plans for next year (again person mentioned above says I don't really plan as much as scheme, which is actually fairly perceptive) and what to write about to respond to some much appreciated blog award nominations.

I have to write things no one knows about me and since I  a) am not that complicated b) think I have said it all here, I will have to think what those things are. Unless you have some questions I can answer.

Now off to hold this top front to the light at the window and see if I have to move onto rubbing alcohol and dishwasher detergent.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pattern correction

Donna has pointed out I made a mistake when I referred to the blouse pattern as Annie, in fact it is Jane (knew it was a basic name) and here is the link.