Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Hot Patterns Urban Gypsy Top in an Embroidered Border Denim

"It's too cold to wear that outside!" My hubby's words of wisdom as I donned this off-the-shoulder tunic for an outdoor photo shoot. With temps hovering around 30 degrees F,  I figured I could brave it for five minutes. Which I did - barely.
Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse Embroidered Denim

It's not sunny out, but I had Lasik surgery a few days ago and am not allowed to wear eye makeup yet, thus the sunglasses!  Yea, I know, I'm vain, LOL. 
Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse Embroidered Denim
That's it for pics of the top on me! It was too cold for more, so you'll get to enjoy the pics I took on GiGi, my dress form,  a few weeks ago.
The fabric is a gorgeous denim with an embroidered border that I purchased this past June from Emma One Sock.
Photo from
I knew the fabric needed a simple design to let the beauty of the embroidery shine, so I sewed the Hot Patterns Urban Gypsy Blouse.  This was the second time I had sewn this top and I was able to sew it in just a few hours.  I blogged about my first one here.

This one I sewed slightly smaller, and made the elastic in the back tighter. 
The tiny hem on the sleeve ties were easy to sew on this lightweight denim.  I probably should have cut the blouse hem straight across and then match the scallop at the side seams, but I didn't think of that until I had already followed the pattern piece and cut the curves.  Sigh.
I like how the front is flat, and the sides and back have elastic.  I debated about adding straps so I could wear a regular bra but ultimately decided against doing so. However, I did save some fabric scraps if I change my mind.
I sewed the top with the intent of wearing it to the outdoor Santana concert held in July.  After all, an evening in July in Minnesota should be warm enough for an off-the-shoulder look, right?  Ha!  Nope. It was unseasonably cold the day of the concert and I ended up wearing long sleeves and a jean jacket.
 I only had a chance to wear it once this past summer, but I'm sure it will see plenty of wear next year!  Whether I sew myself another remains to be seen.

The pattern is HP 1196, and can be purchased online. (No affiliation with Hot Patterns, just want to make it easy for you to find the pattern.)

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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Floral Appliqued Bomber Jacket That Only Took A Year to Complete: McCall's 7100

What?!?  A year to sew a bomber jacket?  Okay, true confession.  It didn't really take a year to sew this bomber jacket. I only worked on it for seven months. But it did take me a year to blog about it!

Let me back up and start at the beginning.

When McCall's announced a bomber jacket sew-a-long on their blog in August 2016, I decided to join.  Right away I was behind schedule as I wanted to wait for a sale to purchase the pattern (McCall's 7100).

Next, I couldn't make up my mind what fabric to use to sew my bomber. I purchased a couple different pieces locally from SR Harris: a pretty brocade, a border print suiting, and a faux leather. But after bringing them home they just didn't say "make me into a bomber jacket".  (Your fabric speaks to you too, right?)

Then it hit me!  I remembered this gorgeous piece of fabric I had purchased from Emma One Sock in 2010.   It was described as "Milly faux leather applique border taffeta in a honey mustard with a scallop edge, sequins, and faux leather leaves and flowers".
Photo from Emma One Sock 

Like I said, gorgeous!  The problem is I can't wear this color as it's quite unflattering to my skin tone.  I realized that as soon as the fabric arrived. Rather than return it (because it is so gorgeous!) I tucked it away in my fabric stash until it let me know what it wanted to become.  Last year it let me know it wanted to became my McCall's 7100 bomber jacket.
I knew I would have to find  a knit for the bands that 1) coordinated with the fabric and 2) would flatter my skin tone.  Back to SR Harris where I was able to find a ponte knit that matched the leaves pretty darn close!

By now I had given up trying to do the sew-along as they were on week seven and preparing to do their reveals, while I still needed to alter and cut out my pattern pieces.

I choose to do an FBA, adding a small dart and more width all the way down (which I needed). If you look closely you'll see the outline of flowers on the pattern piece. I drew them on the pattern piece to make sure I wouldn't have an appliqued flower or leave right at the apex of my bust!
I carefully laid out the pattern pieces making sure to showcase as much of the appliques and embroidery as possible.  I was limited on fabric and only had scraps left by the time I was done!
 While construction of the jacket is pretty straightforward, every seam required a few extra steps because of the appliques.  At times I had to remove some of the appliques completely, stitch the seam, and re-attach the applique.
 At other times I could move the applique out of the way as I stitched the seams.
 I like how the leaf floats over the pocket of the jacket. 
After I had the jacket partially constructed I hit another road block.  I couldn't find a zipper that matched or coordinated!  If you follow me on Facebook (Sharon Sews) or on Instagram (@sharonmads) I posted a pic in search of opinions on one of three zipper options.
Honestly, I didn't really like any of the three, but I was so eager to finish the jacket that if there had been a clear winner (from all the opinions I solicited) I would have used that zipper!  Fortunately the vote was split and I kept searching for a zipper.

I finally ordered one from  Did you know they'll match a zipper for you? I didn't!  I placed an order for six different zippers, all close in color, hoping one would match my jacket.  When they received my order, they contacted me to ask if I was trying to match something specific.  Why, yes I was, I replied. And that's how I discovered they'd match a zipper.  This one is much nicer that what I was trying to make work! 
By now it was January and this jacket had been underway for five months.  I was getting so close to being done! Just needed to add a lining.

But first a vacation!  In February we went to Bonita Springs, FL and I switched gears from sewing this jacket to sewing some fun vacation clothes.  After enjoying a week break from the cold and snow, I returned home and began working on the jacket again.

I lined it using a polyester print purchased as a pre-cut from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  I love the bold, colorful print, which coordinates quite nicely!
At this point I returned to the McCall's Bomber Jacket sew-a-long blog post and followed the instructions for bagging the lining.  It looked messy, but it worked.

Here's the back of the jacket.

Whew, I was done!  It was now spring 2017 and I realized I had nothing I could wear with my new jacket!  So the jacket went into my closet and waited.  I would bring it with me on shopping trips to boutiques, department stores, and fabric stores, but I couldn't find a top that worked.

Then I remembered I still had some of the ponte knit I had used for the bands on the jacket and quickly stitched myself a sleeveless pullover dress. I'd prefer to wear this bomber with a tee and jeans, but at least I have something that coordinates.

As I mentioned the pattern is McCall's 7100.
After all the work I put into this jacket, I'm not sure I like how it looks on me.  Which is why you're only seeing it photographed on GiGi, my dress form.
Even so, it was a fun project and a nice break from all of the easy pieces I whipped up in between.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

The Cape-Like Sleeve Top: Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Artemis Knit Top

This top technically doesn't have an attached cape (like my recent ones: the "Wonder Woman"cape top, and the Black Silk Cape top), but when I wear it, the sleeves feel like I have on a mini-cape!

The pattern is HP 1165, Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Artemis Knit Dress & Top, c. 2014.  I don't believe it's available for purchase from Hot Patterns any longer. I'm a member of their Facebook group and when the pattern was offered for sale earlier this year, I jumped on it.
I planned on sewing the dress from a panel knit purchased from Emma One Sock, but wanted to test the fit first since I haven't sewn many of the Hot Patterns designs.

The fabric is a sparkly medium-weight knit purchased locally at SR Harris Fabric Warehouse.  It was the perfect weight for this design. Any heavier and I think the sleeves wouldn't sit properly and the neck and hem band would be difficult to sew. The sleeves hang nicely with just enough drape and movement.  Something to keep in mind when choosing your fabric is that the wrong side of the fabric will show on the inside of the sleeves
The front neckband is top-stitched very close to the seamline. I had a little trouble keeping it straight where there is excess bulk (where the sleeve bands are attached to the neck).  Even though I used a very narrow zig-zag, a few of my stitches popped.  Next time I think I'll try the new Eloflex stretch thread from Coats and Clark.
I had one heck of a time trying to understand how to attach the sleeves!  I finally ditched the instructions, pinned how I thought the sleeves should be assembled, and stitched. 
The bottom is finished with a wide hem band. I'll eliminate that next time, as I'd rather have a regular hem.  The back is cut on the fold of the fabric.
There is a center front seam, which is difficult to see in my fabric. I believe the seam is there to make adding the "forward tulip wrapped"sleeve easier, as the front seam is sewn after the sleeves are added.  I think the front could be cut on the fold if you wanted to eliminate that seam, just be aware adding the sleeves will be trickier.

The only alteration I did on this one was a small FBA (full bust adjustment). Next time I'll increase the FBA slightly and do a small forward shoulder adjustment.

Conclusion?  It's a fairly easy pattern to sew, and a fun and stylish top to wear. 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

The Rayon Velvet Duster Length Kimono Jacket: New Look 6467

As I sit wearing a big, comfy - and most importantly - warm sweatshirt watching the cold rain soak the ground, I wonder if Sept. 18 is too early to turn the heat on in the house.  Never mind that three days ago we had the a/c on due to the heat and humidity!  Ah yes, our unpredictable Minnesota weather. Last week I wanted to continue sewing summer garments and today I just want to sew something warm!

It reminded me of this velvet kimono I sewed last winter.  I only wore it to take photographs for the blog, but never wrote the blog post.  And can we just pause for a moment while I reminisce about how much fun I had achieving my winter sun-kissed Florida vacation tan!  (Sadly, the place we stayed in at Bonita Springs had some damage from Hurricane Irma, not too much but any damage is too much, right?)
Anyway.  I'm not sure why I never wore this!  I like the colors. I like the velvet. I like the 70s boho vibe. So you'd think I would have tossed it on for a date night now and then. But nope, not even once. 
Let's talk about the pattern. It's New Look 6476, an easy-to-sew kimono jacket with sleeve and length variations. As soon as a I saw the pattern cover I knew I wanted to sew myself one.
I especially liked the two fabric version and set off for my favorite local fabric store (SR Harris) in search of some fabric. I settled on two velvet pieces that went well together. One was unusual with small "holes"and the other was a burnout. Neither was cheap! Even at the SR Harris discounted prices I paid almost $20 per yard.  But I was enamored with both fabrics and was sure they'd make a stunning jacket!
Although the kimono is loose-fitting I choose to do a small FBA (full bust adjustment) as I wanted it to fit across the bust as designed.

Construction consists of simply sewing the center back seam, the shoulder seams, the side seams, and adding the sleeves. The bottom band is constructed separately and added after the kimono is sewn together and hemmed with a narrow hem.

I used a LOT of pins to hold the narrow hem in place on the burnout velvet.
The front and neck edges are finished with single fold bias tape.  I made my own using scraps of a brown silk that I had used to sew a blouse from a vintage 70s Vogue pattern.  (Hmm, I don't think I've blogged that one yet either!)
As you can see, there is a generous amount of fabric in the kimono and it flows nicely when you walk.
I used a serger to finish the seam edges of the body, and used a french seam to attach the bottom band to the body.
There's not much else to say about the kimono.  Like I mentioned earlier, I like the fabric, I like the style, and I like the idea of wearing it, I just haven't worn it yet!  As I'm looking at the photos I'm posting, I'm wondering if it's the length that's throwing me off. I'm going to try shortening it and see if I like it better.
 I still think it's a great pattern and a beautiful, velvet kimono jacket. 

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Split Sleeves: Another New Look 6467 Dress

I never used to be a TNT pattern kind of gal.  I've always enjoyed purchasing new patterns and dreaming of how they'll look when completed. But over the past year or so, as my spare time (aka sewing time) has dwindled, I've found myself using patterns I've already altered and sewn more and more. That's the case with this pattern, New Look 6467. 
This is the third version I've sewn. The first was view A in a printed ponte (yet to be reviewed) that I wore frequently last winter. The second sewn is the one I'm reviewing today. It's view C in a rayon challis purchased at SR Harris.  The third was view B (minus the sleeves) in a floral scuba knit that I blogged about here.  
This view has a few fun details.  Like this random strip of fabric across the v-neckline. I didn't measure it before stitching it in place and, as you can see, it was too long.  I had to remove the facing, adjust the strip, and resew the facing.
I do like these slits in the sleeves!
It's a great transitional sleeve. You get the coverage of a long sleeve, but the slit keeps it from getting too warm. That being said I've only worn this work once as it feels too casual.
The sleeve is gathered into a narrow binding at the wrist.  I will cut the binding about 1/2" wider next time just to make it easier to stitch to the sleeve.
I didn't need a zipper in my ponte and scuba knit versions, but I did this time. I added an invisible zipper.
When I put the dress on to wear to work, I was concerned about the v-neck being too deep. You know. Cleavage.  So I stitched on a tiny piece of lace.
Nothing special about the back.  Love that it skims the body. Just enough room to be comfortable, but not so much it looks sloppy. 
I sewed this one last spring (as witnessed by the photos before the grass had turned green) and didn't get nearly as much wear out of it as I had thought I would.  Rayon challis was not a recommended fabric, and I have to agree. I think the reason I don't wear it much is because it's too lightweight for this dress. But, I do like the dress.  Enough that I have yet *another* version cut and ready to sew!

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