Monday, March 30, 2015

March MAGAM project: Butterick 6101

For my March MAGAM (Make A Garment A Month) project I decided to step into Spring with a new to me pattern. I wanted a transitional top that could be warm enough to wear under a light jacket and to be comfortable during damp and chilly spring days.

This garment fits the bill! It is also something out of my normal box and got my creative spring juices flowing. I have worn this twice since making it and it is very comfy and has fun pockets and great draping.

Butterick 6101 by Katherine Tilton

I was honestly very worried about this looking a bit like a potato sack... Due to the very nature of the garment and the nature of my bigger hips and butt I knew that the chest and arm portions would need to be more fitted. I did ALOT of flat pattern measurements and actually went down 2 sizes from the pattern recommendations for my measurements. This pattern has tons of design ease that would have just overwhelmed me and looked like a potato sack! 

The pattern recommends either a soft woven or a stable knit. I was going more for a big sweatshirty type of feel without the bulk so I used a maroon ponte knit from Fabric Mart and the print knit was leftover pieces from a light sweater knit from JoAnn's that I used for a dress a couple years ago. YAY!!! Finally used up some of those darn scraps I seem to hold onto forever!
I did not have enough of the patterned knit left to cut an entire sleeve so I had to be creative and piece a sleeve together. Hence the 2 inch strip down the center of that sleeve. 
I also changed up the collar a little bit. In my knit the wider collar band just looked funny so a made a narrower band for the neckline.

I really like this top! It's a bit quirky and different. I have some nice flowy rayon lengths in my fabric stash and may make the sleeveless version for the summer.

There are a couple fit issues that I may or may not try to figure out and do a second version of this knit top. It looks like there needs to be a bust dart or something. If you look right above the boob there is a triangle of extra fabric that folds out. It either needs a dart OR It may just be bunching because I need a little extra room over my bust to let the fabric fall better. 
The back armhole area also has some bunching... I will have to look in my fitting books to see if I can figure out why.
I also think that the sleeves could be taken in a smidge to have a closer fit, as you can see I made them into 3/4 length because at this time of the year I find myself pushing them up all the time anyway. 

This top goes well with skinny jeans or black leggings would be never better. 

All in all I think this March project was a hit! 

Happy Sewing :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 International Quilt Festival-Chicago

Yesterday I spent several hours at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. I'm not sure how long this show has been coming to Chicago.... It has been on my list of shows to check out for quite a few years! 

I am primarily a garment sewer however I do dabble in quilting now and then and I am of course a tried and true textile junkie!! There is also the shopping area to entice a textile junkie to part with their money :) So with a Saturday with no plans I paid my $11 online and printed out my ticket! 

I really had no plan once I got to the show, never having been before I did not really know what to expect. Well, I was NOT disappointed! Check out this amazing display as you walk into the expo area.
Simply stunning!!! I have been collecting red and white quilting cottons for a couple of years now. I really want to make a red and white quilt for my daughter and her husband one of these days. The artistry and the talent displayed here was just amazing. A feast for the eyes!

I worked my way up one side of the exhibit hall, through hundreds of displayed quilts and then into the shopping, and then back down the other side. More shopping stalls and more displayed quilts. 

In total, I spent almost 4 hours there. Any longer and I would have gotten to the overload stage and given myself a headache! As it was I am fighting of a sinus cold so as my meds where wearing off it was time to go. 

I did make a couple of purchases. A new giant cutting mat!!!!!! YAY!! It completely covers my work table and is just beautiful. My old one is 15 years old and just beat to hell. I got the last mat at the Olga booth and got a great deal on it. I also got some 
I also visited the Kai scissors dealer and purchased my 11inch dressmakers shears, these have been on my wish list for several years! Always exciting to me when I get to purchase high quality crafted tools. 
I also purchased 3 new feet for my Evolution serger, the curve foot, the open toe foot and the Teflon foot, these will be shipped to me. At 25% off and free shipping I was happy to oblige. Yay for no more tape on the bottom of my feet when sewing on 'sticky' fabrics!

Now back to the actual quilt show... There were 15 different special quilt exhibits. My favorites were the Ruby Jubilee (the red and white quilts), the Tactile Architecure and Midwest Marvels. Here is a selection of photos of my favorites! Unfortunately.... I didn't even think of taking photos of the artist names to place with the quilts :( my bad. Photos were allowed of all the quilts except for one section that were from a selection from the book '500 Traditional Quilts' the work in these quilts was exceptional!

On to my favorites!

From Ruby Jubilee:
Also all the ones hanging in the first picture up top!

From Tactile Architecure:

Various others:

Color I the close up is closer to the true color!

This beautiful log cabin quilt done all in silk!

Now I'm off to my studio to finish up some of my own works of art ;)

Happy sewing!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mixing business travel and sewing

As some of you may know I travel on a regular basis for week. Normally, I am on a plane every week and can be gone anywhere from 1 to 3 nights and several times a year can be gone longer for industry trade shows and sales meetings. 

This can make it challenging to get a lot of time in the sewing room! I have to make sure and have a nice balance of family time and sewing time...

In order for this to work for me I try to take 'sewing' on the road with me. 

I bring sewing books: 

I bring my sketch book and pencils. Although, I'm really not so good at the drawing/sketching at what I see in my mind.... Things somehow never ever even come close to looking like they do in my mind! It is usually enough to jog my memory and get my point across to myself.
I also bring my Crafsty classes with me. I use the app in my iPad and love the download feature that lets me watch my downloaded classes on the airplane. Also quite nice to have when nothing to watch on the TV in hotel rooms!

If I'm going to be on the road for a couple of days and don't have any evening dinners to attend then I will also bring patterns to cut out and do flat pattern adjustments to and sometimes I will even pack my fabric and good scissors to cut out my fashion fabric or muslin.

All of these things let me take sewing with me and lallows for studio sewing time for when I am at home! 

If I'm in a major city for a couple of days I always check out what fabric shops are around and even if the local museums are having any fashion exhibits! I've gotten to shop and some great palaces this way and having a time constraint means I don't spend hours wandering through the shops with my brain in the clouds dreaming of all the grand things I could make and probably helps keep me on budget!!

How do you take sewing with you when traveling? 

Had a wonderful weekend, even got to finish up the turtles for my granddaughter;)

She was having fun playing with the naked turtle before I put the shell on!

Waiting for me in my studio...

Infinity scarves to be finished

And I need to finish the neckline on this top, the sleeves are in but finished to a 3/4 length, the hems are completed and just need to finish the neckline! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Silhouette Lana Jeans pattern strikes again! New jeans and Capri pants

I've made a new pair of skinny (well, sort of skinny!) jeans and a pair of Capri pants.

Once again I've used Silhouette's Lana jeans pattern. This is definitely my go to jeans and casual pants pattern. I have made these multiple times, in fact I believe this is my most used pattern ever! As of now I have used this 9 times with 3 of these being Capri pants or long shorts, 2 pairs of skinny jeans, 2 pairs of boot cut, 1 pair of courdoroys and 1 pair straight leg jeans.

The thing I find most interesting about making jeans is the sheer variety of the denim available, the varying qualities of these denims, the varying fiber makeup and the biggest is the varying fit of all of these different textiles. In fact the last 2 pairs of skinny jeans I have made have both been made with exactly the same measurements and with denim of the exact same fiber count but from different producers and the fit is different in both. The latest pair I made have a slightly roomier fit through the seat and thighs. I always baste the side seams after sewing the inseams to check any changes in fit.

I recently purchased a very high quality 100% cotton grey denim. I am thinking of making these with some tone on tone embroidery on the pockets and possible at the lower outside leg. This will be a fun project and tone on tone embroidery will be interesting without being crazy looking!

The jeans I always make with the coin pocket, embroidered back pockets and of course belt loops. The embroidery on these back pockets are from an Anita Goodesign quilting design. Totally fun!

Eek... Sorry for the bad call phone in the mirror pics!!!

The capris/shorts/clam diggers I leave off the coin pocket, back pockets and belt loops. These have all been made out of stretch wovens, not actual denim so I wanted them to be different. I have also cut the legs slightly narrower in these.

In all of my casual pants I always have fun with the pocket linings! The jeans have a traveler theme with antique map and compass cotton print. The purple capri's have a bright stylized butterfly cotton print.
These fun prints make me happy and I use all kinds of fabric for them. This time is cotton prints but I have used silk and poly prints as well.

I know the pictures of me in the garments are not the best.... However, hopefully with daylight savings and with hopefuly spring on its way it will be easier for me to set up the tripod outside on nice days! 

Happy sewing!
My granddaughter at the Chicago Art Insitute enjoying a Monet!

Me holding her on the metra train into the city. I'm so in LOVE!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cruise Wear for a 5 day Disney Caribbean wedding Cruise AND I hugged a PENGUIN :)

January and early February had me sewing like gangbusters for a wedding cruise followed by a weekend spent in Orlando visiting Universal Studios and Sea World. If you just want to see me with the penguins scroll down to the bottom ;)

The 8 days away from Chicago was a welcome respite to the bitter winter weather, which just does not  want to end!! 

The weather was nice while we were away, not as hot as I would have liked it! Last January when my hubby and I went to Costa Rica it was so gloriously warm (hot if you ask him!) and I spent the week letting the 90 plus degree temperature warm my bones.... This trip was not quite like that.

While out on the cruise we had lovely weather ranging from the mid to high 70s during the day. It was quite lovely but a bit too cool for me to want to spend much time in my bathing suit. The weekend following the cruise was actually a bit chilly for Orlando. We had temps in the 50- 60's during the day. Perfect for traipsing around the theme parks. No worrying about being hot and sticky!! We stayed at at the Renaissance Sea World resort that had beautiful pool area that I did not even set eyes on! Instead we had on our fall/spring jackets to keep warm. 

I'm hoping to get my fill of warmth next month when I head to Puerto Rico for a girls mini vacation with my sister, mom and daughter. Can't wait!!! 

Anyhow, back to my cruise sewing.

I made 3 new dresses, a shawl and one new maxi skirt to wear on the cruise. Unfortunately I really did not get pictures of me in any of the clothes! :( very disappointing I must say. I would have thought it would have been easy to get my hubby to snap some great photos of me in my creations but it just wasn't to be. Hopefully on my next trip I can get some good photos!

Dress one: Simplicity 0646
Shawl: a large rectangle, aprox 72" x 25" with rolled edges
Rayon crinkle by JamBerries. I could not pass up this fabric!!! The overall color is not one that I would normally pick, I think it washes me out and doesn't go the best with my coloring. I usually stick with more jewel tone types and darker/bolder prints. However,I think this isn't too bad. The print is of a cruise ship, a couple dancing, lavender roses, and the word 'cruise' printed on it. It was a dream to cut, press and sew! 
The bride and I! It was such a pleasure to be one of only 26 guests invited to celebrate this wedding of one of my best friends :) 
I was a bit worried about the big brown bow of the cruise ship and used up six yards of my 45" wide fabric getting this cut out appropriately. If I could have done it all over again I would have had 7 yards on not have that brown ship on my left bust. Oh well! 
One detail I really loved was all of the godets! Each one sewed in beautifully, whew!
The inside details are quite pretty. I lined the entire bodice, used a bias strip for finishing the armholes and sewed a tiny plastic snap to the bodice to make sure I didn't flash anyone... Wouldn't want that happening, especially at a wedding!!!
I also made a basic wrap shawl with serged rolled edges. Was the perfect addition to the dress and certainly needed in the cool evening air.

Dress Two: McCall's 6700
A maxi knit dress from one of the 'Fashion Star' patterns. 
I wore this the first night in the cruise when we did a bachelorette party at a champagne bar on board. 
The fit was great and super comfortable. The only change I will make is to add a small plastic snap to the front bodice. After having several glasses of champagne and slouching on a couch giggling with a bunch of ladies meant that I was showing the side/tops of my bra a couple times. However, at that point who really cares!!!
Super easy construction. Has some elastic sewn into the shoulders for gathering and a tie that goes across the back neck. I ended up using a black stretch belt from my closet rather than the long obi-like tie that they included in the pattern. For my shape I need/like a little more waist definition that is not bulky.

Dress three: Simplicity 1801 (previously made this at shorter length out of a knit)
A woven maxi dress with elbow length sleeves made from another JamBerry rayon from fabric mart. I am seriously in love using these JamBerry rayons. They are so very nice to use! 
This was my husbands favorite dress of the three. I really like this print it was fun and the color was great. My only issue with it is that with the bodice and short sleeves I'm not sure I like the long length.... I keep thinking it makes it look a bit old fashioned and would be better suited to be a midi or knee length dress. I'll have to have my daughter take some pictures of me in it the next week or two and decide. 
I wore this dress to a very nice adult only dinner on the cruise.
The lapped zipper I put in came out great!! I was a bit worried about it but just went for it and it looks super. I even sewed a little pocket for the zipper pull to sit in at the top. See above photo left side. The middle picture shows the lap going to the back. I promise it is straight.... Looks wonky on the dress form in this pic! With the sleeve down you don't even notice there is a zipper there! And so much nicer to use across the waist band then an invisible zipper.

The maxi skirt: McCall's 6966
This was a fun maxi skirt to make. It is the same pattern that I used last summer to make the white/black striped skirt. Which I also wore on this trip.
This fabric is slightly sheer so I also drafted and sewed up a simple skort or split slip to wear beneath. 
The top I wore it with is one that I made for our Costa Rica trip last year. I paired this with a light denim jacket that I wore in the cool breeze on the upper deck of the ship.
A fun and easy garment that will definitely get lots of use in the summer months!

Now for some fun pictures!!!
I got to go behind the scenes at the new SeaWorld Antarctica penguins attraction!!!! So awesome!!!
Me petting a baby, 3 month old, Rockhopper penguin. He was so soft, it was amazing to feel.

King penguins, and me actually hugging Leon, the King penguin!! He was so smooth and very curious and it was so cool. I doubt I will ever make the trip to Antartica to see penguins in the wild so this was the next best thing :) I couldn't stop smiling all day!!
Samu and company!

Sea turtle mania! Heyyyy duuude!

Seal and sea lion enclosure. 

The prettiest Pelicans.

And last but not least a very cool bird that is native to Florida and NOT a resident of Sea World.... Just a scavenger. A Wood Stork. I found the texture of his head to be quite interesting.

Happy sewing :)