Sunday, February 19, 2017

February MAGAM Decided - A Very Delayed Post!

Well - here it is, half-way thru February and I realized I haven't posted my February MAGAM project yet.  I have been working on this dress for the last few weeks - in between life's crazy moments - evacuations due to potential flooding, plumbing issues, septic pumping and the numerous alterations people have been bringing to me!  This winter has brought parched California lots of very much needed rain, but I have to say, a few days of sunshine would be very welcome at this point.  So what better project to work on then a summery dress to bring a little brightness and warmth to this cold weather!  Another doozy of a storm is moving in at the moment so I had better get this posted before the power goes out.

Here's the project for the month - Vogue 9077 - View C.

The print was purchased at last year's sewing garage sale and I am actually making the project that I originally intended for this lovely rayon piece.

The main dress is cut from the printed material.  I am using the purple for the front placket, the collar tabs and the accent strips on the fronts.  I'm stitching the green ribbon down the center of the accent pieces and will use pink buttons for the front.  I've extended the front placket all the way to the bottom too.  Oh, and as luck would have it, I have a belt from other dress that matches the purple perfectly!

Wish me luck that I finish this in February!

Happy sewing everyone!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

January MAGAM Challenge finished!

I'm a little late in posting my January MAGAM Challenge, but it's finally finished and I think I'm fairly happy with it.  My first official "wearing of the garment" will determine it's ultimate fate though - do I keep it the current length, or shorten it?

The length question was part of the reason it took me so long to finish it - along with not being able to find hem tape this color.  I added 3 inches to the length of the pattern because - well - I just thought it was a good idea I guess.  This additional length caused the almost finished skirt to hang on my dress form for at least two weeks with one side pinned up to a shorter length and the other side hanging as I had cut it.  Everyday I would look at the skirt and scratch my head because I couldn't decide which length I liked better.  I even resorted to asking the DH's opinion, and he couldn't decide either.   I really liked the way the longer version hung in it's soft, flowing waves - but I didn't like where it hit my calf.  If I cut it shorter, I was afraid it wouldn't hang as nice as it does in the longer version.  So - the compromise is to wear it the longer length for awhile and if I really don't like it that length, I can always shorten it later.  Problem solved!

As I'm still pondering the length question in this picture, I'll explain a little of the construction process.

The skirt consists of 6 pieces - 3 for the upper yoke and 3 for the skirt portion.  I labeled each piece as I cut it out - clearly marking the right side and which piece it was - this was extremely helpful.  As you cut the pieces out, thread tack all of the markings of where the yoke "waves" meet the skirt "waves".  Cutting little slits like I normally due for marking notches won't work for this skirt as the seam allowance for joining the yoke to the skirt is only 3/8 instead of 5/8 so the thread tacks are necessary.

Once you have the yoke pieces and the skirt pieces sewn together, now sew a basting line 3/8" along the yoke and skirt pieces.

Next, you place the yoke portion on top of the skirt portion, right sides up, and hand sew the pieces together along the stitching line.  It won't look very nice at this point - at least mine didn't.  Here it is after the hand sewing has been done:

One thing that seemed to stick out oddly were the pointy portions of the waves.

Side view of the front wave:

And back view of the waves.  Come on now, who really wants these things poking out like that, especially on your backside!  At this point, I almost gave up over the frustration with the poking waves, but I decided to trudge on.

The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but since my fabric is a wool and wool will itch me to death without a lining, I had to make one.  Well - the lining held all of the answers for the poking waves.  After realizing I had cut out the left yoke piece incorrectly (as my waves were pointing the wrong way), I cut out a new piece and sewed everything together.  This time, I just sewed them the normal way (right sides together using a 3/8" seam allowance).  When I held up the lining, low and behold, the poking pieces draped to the back and weren't poking out!  Ta da!  That must be how they are supposed to go!

After trimming the yoke seam allowance and giving the skirt a good pressing, the poking waves were a little less pokey, but still didn't look right.

After yet another round of persuading the fabric with vast amounts of steam, I finally got them to fall correctly (and a little hand tacking on the inside helped too!)

Doesn't it just hang beautifully?!?!!?  Would you shorten it?

And it twirls good too!

One last little tidbit here.  The waistline is finished using grosgrain ribbon.  Instead of just ending the ribbon at the zipper, I like to extend one side of it about 3 inches, fold it back 1.5 inches and stitch it together making a little tab.  Then sew a button hole in the tab and add a button to the other side of the ribbon.  This helps to pull the skirt together at the top and makes it much easier to zip.  And, there is no need to sew on a hook and eye because the ribbon does the same thing as the hook and eye.
January MAGAM is now done!  And as a bonus, all of these fabrics were from the stash so we are counting them in my new stashbustin' amount for 2017.

Total for skirt outer fabric = 2.25 yards
Total for lining = 2.25 yards
Total for skirt = 4.5 yards
Total YTD yardage = 7.125 yards

I'm off to a slow start this year it seems, but I have alot of things in the sewing queue so stay tuned! More garments to come!

Happy sewing everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 2017 MAGAM Determined

So I've dilly dallied a bit in posting my January MAGAM Challenge.  It's going to be this skirt:

From this book:

Out of these two fabrics:

The fabric on the left is a nice teal colored wool and the fabric on the right is a polyester I'll use for the lining.  The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but since it's wool - I'll need one because me and wool just don't get along in close proximity to each other so a lining is a must.

I've already cut out the pieces and marked them with tailors tacks and pinned on notes to each piece telling me what it is.  I can see this could get very confusing in the construction process without those notes.  Here's the front:

And here are the two back pieces:

I actually purchased this book just for this pattern so I'm hoping it will be a winner.  I'm a huge fan of asymmetrical clothing and usually the stranger the pattern, the more I like it.  This one kinda looks like ocean waves so far.  Now - it's time to get sewing on it!  Wish me luck everyone!

Happy sewing!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Simplicity Retro Style dress

I have always loved the style lines of the 1940's.  I've purchased numerous patterns from the era, but have yet to stitch any of them up - until now - and I'm lovin' this new dress.  This is Simplicity 1587 - a 1940's retro style dress with a shaped yoke at the waistline, slight gathering at the waist and bust with a front v-neck with pleats covered by a tab and button.  There are two sleeve styles in the pattern - a shorter gathered style, or the 3/4 length one that I selected.

The fabric I used was a rayon purchased at the ASG Sewing Garage sale last year.  I had just enough yardage to make this dress - even after adding 3 inches to the skirt length.  I sewed my normal size 12 thru the bust and shoulder area, tapering to a size 14 thru the waist and hip.  I could have just sewn a straight 12 throughout and it would have fit just fine.  It's a tiny bit roomy in the waist and hip, that I don't think it's enough to worry about.

Here's a view of the front v-neck with the tab and button.  The pattern calls for two buttons on the tab, but I liked the look of this single one, that didn't have a matching second partner anyways.

The back neck has a slit with a loop and button.  I opted to use black elastic for the loop instead of making a small tube out of the same fabric.

The back yoke at the hip is pretty much a straight piece.

The front yoke has a nice inverted v-shape to it where the skirt portion joins it with gathers.

I used a longer 22" invisible zipper for the dress too.  The pattern calls for a 16" zipper, but I figured it's hard enough to put on a dress with a side zipper so why not make it a little longer.

Total yardage for this dress came to 2.625 yards thus starting my new stashbustin' total for 2017.

Happy sewing everyone!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

December MAGAM Travel PJ's completed and a strange phenomenon in my sewing closet.....

December MAGAM Completed 

My December MAGAM challenge of some new travel pj's is complete - and in record time!  Using my favorite 2-hour turtleneck pattern for the top (minus the turtleneck portion) and McCall's 3017 for the bottoms, I sewed both of them almost entirely on the serger.   Aren't they cute!

The serger has since taken a trip to the sewing hospital as it was making a terrible squeeking noise towards the end - it didn't want anything to do with sewing on the elastic for the waistband.  I wonder if the color of the pj's caused it to become sick?  They are a similar shade to hospital gowns.....I didn't read anything in the owner's manual about the machine having an aversion to sewing certain colors.  Hmm, I'll never know.  Anyways, I'm not sure what the visiting hours are in the serger ward, but they tell me it should be back to normal in about a week or two.  Whew!

I used some bird print ribbon that I had in the stash to embellish the bottoms of the sleeves and the pant legs.  And, using the ribbon as a guide, I drew a bird to use to embellish the bottom of the top front.  Don't laugh at my bird - I'm not the best artist in the world, but I think it looks pretty close to the one on the ribbon.

Using some quilting scraps, I traced the bird onto some double sided fusible and fused him to the front and then used the blanket stitch on the sewing machine to stitch him down.  I found the perfect black ball button in the stash to use for the eyeball.

Here's a close-up of the ribbon on the sleeve.

Adding the 3 yards for these pj's to my stashbustin total for the year brings me to a grand total of:

106 yards for 2016!!

Since I started tracking my sewn yardage back in July of 2014, here's where I am so far:

2014 = 48.75 yards
2015 = 68.875 yards
2016 = 106 yards

For a grand total of 223.625 yards!  Holy Cow!  That's alot of stitchin!  Which now leads me onto....

The strange phenomenon in my sewing closet...

Can you see what has happened here?  I think that is actually some empty shelf space in my sewing room closet stash!!!!  Yes - there is a wall behind all of the fabric - I can verify it because I actually touched it to be sure!  After keeping track of the stash sewing over the last few years and trying to focus mainly on reducing it, I can actually see some progress starting to happen with the stash!  I no longer have pieces hidden in other rooms, or piled on the floor in my sewing room, or stacked up on my cutting board (well - there are two pieces at the moment waiting to be cut out).  There is actually some room in the closet!  Are you reading this DH? - That trip to New York is now a "very faint" light at the end of the stash tunnel!  It's faint, but I can see it!!!!

Now before I run out to the store and buy some more fabric thinking I have some extra space that needs to be filled, I'm going to move my 11 shoe boxes of zippers (yes, you read that correctly - 11 shoe boxes of zippers) from the guest room closet into the closet in the sewing room. And with the Sewing Garage Sale coming up in April, I will have to practice some self control there too knowing my goal of a shopping trip in New York is getting closer.  It's going to be tough, but by actually seeing a little progress (finally), I think it might actually happen now!  Whoop!  Whoop!

That's it for me now - I need to cut out those two things on the cutting board and start a new yardage total for 2017.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Sewing Year!


Monday, December 26, 2016

December MAGAM project, a funky giraffeneck top finished, and my sewing finds from vacation

December MAGAM project

I am delayed in determining and posting my December MAGAM Challenge, but finally - here it is.  With a theme of "December Dreaming" I couldn't let this opportunity pass me up to make yet another pair of pajamas.  These however, will become my new traveling pajamas.  After our recent trip to the UK, I discovered that the pair of knit pajamas that I took with me took way, way too long to dry in the dryer.  I think it was because of the facings, collars, and pockets on my pj's that were adding extra fabric layers and causing them to take forever to dry.  So - I decided that a pair of travel pajamas were in my future and with only a few days left to cut out and finish the project, this should fit quite nicely into the last few days of December.

I'll be using this really crappy knit that has been in my stash for quite awhile.  I really can't remember where I purchased the knit, but it has no spandex or lycra in it, so I'm sure my pj's will stretch out while I'm wearing them, but I really don't care.  The "hospital tunic color" might cause me to add some embellishments to the front somehow so I am not accidentally mistaken for a patient in case I'm seen taking out the trash or something.

I'll be using my usual McCall's 3017 for the pj bottoms, but I'm going to use my 2-hour turtleneck pattern (minus the turtleneck portion and the cuffs) to make the top.  Remember, I'm aiming for as few of layers as possible in order to speed up the drying time - so that means no pockets, no facings, no cuffs - actually, this is going to really be quite a boring garment for me!  With that said, I'll show you a recent top I made from the same 2-hour turtleneck pattern that is far from boring!

How do you like my Giraffe impression??

Yes, if I were really cold, the turtleneck portion of this top could double as a balaclava - if only I had put eyeholes in it!  Does this shirt make my neck look long?

Both of the fabrics in this top were leftover from other projects.  The turtleneck and sleeve portions of the top are cut from a nubby knit and the polka dot portion for the front and back are polar fleece. Rather than doubling the turtleneck piece, I only sewed one side to the neckline, leaving the other side to drape nicely around the neckline.  I added some beaded trim to the neckline as well that was left in my stash from yet another project.

Much better here when I'm not trying to impersonate a giraffe.

Back view.  Nothing to exciting here. 

As you can tell, most of these pics were snapped while I was still on vacation in the UK.  Oh - how I miss being there!  

While on vacation, I seek out fabric store and magazines too.  Here I am at Truro Fabrics.

And look at the goodies I purchased:

A black and gray knit, two viscose prints and a new Christmas stocking panel.....completed just in time for Santa to fill it with - of all things - an inversion table!  Just how Santa fit that in the stocking, I will never know - but it's being delivered on Thursday!  Stay tuned for posts while I'm hanging upside down practicing to be a bat!  

I also picked up 6 sewing/crafting magazines.  Why is it that UK craft magazines always come packaged with an extra goodie inside like a free pattern or kit?  Do other countries do that too?  Our US magazines don't have goodies in them!  Who can I complain to about that? 

I collected 4 free patterns and two kits in these magazines.  I make a point of not opening the magazine packages until I get home so as to try to "prolong" the vacation feel a little bit longer.  And, these are fun to curl up next to the fire and have a read.  

Time to add to the stashbustin total. 

Yardage for the Giraffeneck top = 1.5 yards
Yardage for the lining of the stocking = .75 yards (notice, I'm not including the outside of the stocking, just the lining fabric that was from the stash.
Total for both projects = 2.25 yards
Total YTD = 103 yards!  

That's it for now!

Happy sewing everyone!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

November MAGAM Completed and lots of other good stuff!

It's been over a month since I last posted, but lots of good things have happened since then.

- Finished the November MAGAM

- Completed our Vow Renewal Ceremony

- Met a blogging sewing sister in person!

First - I've finally finished my November MAGAM - Simplicity 1320.

In comparison to my Pinterest inspiration garment, I think it turned out quite nice.

There are outside pockets on each side of the front.

All of the fabrics were from my stash - the black wool, the swirly wool and the polyester lining.

It's a little big thru the waist and hips, but as I plan on wearing a bulky sweater underneath it, I think that will be just fine.  I should have worn it on picture day as it was freezing outside when I snapped these pics.

The jacket has an asymmetrical front with three buttons.  You can see the pockets better in this picture.  I changed the fronts to a curved bottom rather than a straight bottom as the pattern calls for. 

Here is the asymmetrical collar.

The buttons are actually two buttons stacked together.  The tan square button on the bottom, with a different colored circular button on top.

I used elastic loops that wrap around the buttons to hold the jacket closed.

The jacket doesn't call for a lining, but I added one and didn't notice until I was sewing the buttons on how well the lining matches my buttons - that was a total coincidence.

As all of these fabrics were from the stash, this will bring my stashbustin' YTD total past the 100 yard line!

Total yardage for this jacket = 4.625 yards
Total YTD total = 100.75 yards!  Whoop!  Whoop!

Our Vow Renewal Ceremony

On November 23rd, in a tiny church built in the 13th century in Cornwall, England, we completed our 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony.  

After traveling over 5,000 miles, I'm surprised at how well my vow renewal garment actually held up. Here we are after the ceremony and after I had dried my tears!  

Meeting my "Sewing Sister by the Sea!"

And last, but not least, during our trip to the UK, I finally had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger and sewing friend from across the sea in person.  Everyone meet Dawn - aka The Winter Queen.

Dawn and I have been corresponding via e-mail for the last two years.  Both Dawn and myself and our husbands have so much in common, it is hard to believe - we are even dressed similarly below!

We met over drinks and lunch and both us and our husbands got to know each other better in person.  It was fantastic!  I am so happy we had the opportunity to finally meet face-to-face.  Here's to Dawn - my Sewing Sister by the Sea!

Until next time!
Happy sewing everyone!