Floral blouse- McCall’s 7094

DSCI0030So after the Sew Small contest, I had worked on a pair of Ginger Jeans which look like a sewing fail because when I tried them on they were too tight in the waist. So instead of finishing the back pockets and button on those, I decide to cut out a top instead.


I already knew that this pattern was very, very loose-fitting. So I picked up a smaller size pattern than usual (usually I try to pick up patterns with size 16 included). I decided to use a medium as I fell in between the small and medium on the finished garment bust measurement given on the pattern envelope.


I did measure the back length (without the neckband) and it was right around 25.375 inches. For me, that there is borderline as to whether or not it is the length I like. I decided against lengthening the pattern an inch which for the medium length was the right choice for me. The top has a decent portion for the skinny jeans; it isn’t so long that you are looking like you are playing dress up and the fitted bottom the over-sized ness of it look better.

I used a rayon challis I had found off of an E-bay seller. For a rayon challis, this one has a thicker weight and is still draped well which is what is needed for this top.


For the back yoke, I did use the Grainline’s burrito yoke method from the Alder dress (which I included the link at the bottom). I really liked how simple this was and the clean finish I got using the method.

The neckline instructions are tricky to follow. I don’t think I actually did this correctly. My main problem was the squared overlap at the bottom of the placket.


I didn’t see this mentioned in any of the reviews I read. But just in case it wasn’t my error, double-check the bias piece for the arm scythe. My piece was small so it caused the arm area to be too high and small. I went ahead and redid it. I like the re-do better even if I ended up with a lower arm area than intended.

As for next project, I don’t think I am ready to re-try the Closet Case Files Ginger jeans again. The top project contenders look to be either a Queen Elite bra or the True Bias Sutton blouse.

 Burrito method (Grainline)

Sew Small Contest- Part 2

Back to the last of my Sew Small Contest entry.

First up is the top from Simplicity 1086.  I originally planned not to use any patterns I had previously used.  But after I got the grey wool flannel picked for the coat and the burgundy cotton for the skirt; this grey and blue floral quilting cotton just seemed to say it wanted to be the top for the outfit.  I decided the top had to be simple because I really wanted the coat to be the feature item of the outfit.  So a simple blouse was the perfect complement for the outfit; Simplicity 1086 top from view F fit perfect.


Since I had made this before in August, I knew that there didn’t need to be any pattern alterations.

I used this contest to sew one of the Liberty Jane coat patterns I have, the Piccadilly pea coat from the Euro Libby line.  If I could, I would probably wear this coat also as I adore the pleated detail in the back.

I didn’t do any pattern alterations.  I used a grey wool flannel for the outside and a silk crepe for the lining.  I will admit, the silk may not have been the best choice for lining.  It was very temperamental to cut.  It was picked mainly because I had it at home and needed to use it up.


The only part of the instructions I didn’t care for was the attaching the back facing to the back lining.  They have you stay stitch then iron that under so that you create a lap seam.  I did this but didn’t like the results I got.  There is just too much of a curve on the seam to be able to make a nice lap seam like that.  Instead I recut my back neck facing and put the two pieces together and stitched.  Then I clipped my curve and pressed it.  Finally I top-stitched the seam.  I think it came out more consistent.


My sewing machine didn’t care much for where the buttons were located. So I moved them in from the edge some and moved the buttons toward the edge some to make up for the difference. The quarter-inch buttons are just too small for my machine.  For Molly’s suit https://sewbeading.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/molly-waves-goodbye-lee-pearl-1943/, I used 3/8th inch buttons and didn’t have any problems with my machine making the buttonholes.


While on the topic of buttons, I thought the quarter-inch buttons were very hard for me to button.  I honestly think a child would get very frustrated at trying to button up the coat.  I understand that the quarter-inch buttons were picked because of scale.  The main buttons won’t look too large or the sleeve buttons too small.  However, in future makes, I will be using 3/8th inch buttons for the main coat buttons.


One thing I wish was clearer in the pattern pieces would have been to have a separate button/ buttonhole template piece.  In fact before I make this again, I will go ahead and make me a separate template for that.  As I was getting towards the end of the project, I did not pull the instructions up on my computer. I went ahead and pulled out the front pattern piece and marked the button and buttonhole placement. My pattern piece had x’s and blocks marking the buttons and buttonholes. I didn’t realize the mark are combined for the two different sides.  So a separate pattern piece with just one mark style on it would helped me realize that just buttons or just buttonholes are on that side.  I do not own a double-breasted front button coat; if I did I may have avoided my big mistake. I put three buttons and three buttonholes on each side.

This coat took a lot of time.  I probably spent about 24 hours working on this doll coat.  There is a little bit of everything in this coat such as hand sewing the lining, buttons, buttonholes, and top stitching.  What makes this coat special is all the detail work that goes into it.  This isn’t a coat to pick out of the pile for a simple fast easy project.

Just for a simple ready to wear doll clothing comparison,  a double-breasted trench coat is $28 at the American Girl store.  All in total for supplies, I spent about $10.75.

Cardiff Cowl

Here is the latest crochet projects.  Both cowls are the Cardiff Cowl from Lion Brand yarn.  The pattern is free.  It is about 4 rows repeated of different double crochet shell stitches.

Version one is what I made for the fall weather that may start coming in.  I used a cotton yarn and either an I or J sized crochet hook instead of an H (I can’t remember which one).  This took at least three tries for me to get it started correctly.  I felt like the lace pattern gets lost a bit in the color changes.


Version two is from Bernat yarn.  I used a size K hook.


There will probably be one more Cardiff cowl because I think my mom would like it.  So it may be a Christmas present from Lala.

Here is the link to the pattern (Cardiff Cowl).

Sew Small Contest Entry- Part 1

Here is the start of my Sew Small contest entry for Pattern Review. This particular blog post is going to cover the doll skirt, hat, and the purse that I chose for the contest.  The second post will cover the top and the pea coat when it is finished.


So let’s start with the purse first. I used the purse from Molly’s pretty clothes which was released by the Pleasant Company in the 1990s. You can get the pattern for free from AG Playthings . I used some of the navy cotton I had left over from the bodice of the dress I am making for my sister’s wedding.


I didn’t follow the instructions for the pattern. I decided to change and do a lined purse especially since I started this right after I had finished up my second purse for the Sew Powerful project. So for the lining I cut two 3.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles. I followed what I had done for the lining pieces in the Sew Powerful purse project; sew together with an opening at the bottom to turn through. My lining pieces were probably too big- then should have been about a quarter-inch smaller.


For the strap I folded the ends into the middle then zigzagged stitch down the center.

The skirt is the from Lee & Pearl. It is the slim skirts pattern number 1041. I actually ended up making a denim version and a pencil skirt version. The pencil skirt version is for my entry in Pattern Review’s Sew Small contest. The pattern rating of easy/intermediate is fairly accurate. The intermediate rating is mainly for the denim skirt’s pockets; however, if you have used the Liberty Jane jeans or Lee & Pearl’s Bonjour Paris, the pockets should be fairly easy to construct.


Molly is wearing the denim skirt I am not entering in the contest. I really just made it because it was so cute. I didn’t do all the top stitching since this was mainly for me only. I love that it had the pockets (I really should have put something in the pockets so everyone could see). As always noted, my Molly doll is from around 1993 to 1995. I didn’t do any alterations to the pattern and the skirt fits her very well. I didn’t add the belt loops as I wasn’t sure I really wanted to hand stitch those if my sewing machine didn’t like thick fiddly belt loops.


Now for the burgundy pencil skirt that Rebecca is modeling. I got Rebecca as a Christmas present in 2013 so she is a Mattel made doll. Again there were no pattern alterations. The skirt fits Rebecca fine. Based from what I see on the denim skirt, I don’t think older dolls will need any pattern adjustments. The back waist of the pencil skirt does have two darts for a little bit of shaping.




I hadn’t originally planned on doing a hat for the outfit. But last week when I wasn’t feeling well, I decided to cut out the Lee & Pearl Glengarry hat #2021. It was a lot fewer pieces to cut than the pea coat when I didn’t feel well. Over the weekend I finished up Rebecca’s Glengarry hat. I used the grey wool flannel I had in my stash for the outside and the blue floral quilting cotton for the lining. Since the wool flannel was mid weight I didn’t interface any pieces. I didn’t add any decoration to the outside of the hat since I didn’t have anything at home that would work but there are instructions on how to make a ribbon cockade included in the pattern.


This hat came together in the matter of a couple of hours. It was very easy to sew but not as easy to press the seams with a normal iron. With the small seam allowances, curves, and tight spaces this is hard to iron without burning oneself. In fact so much so that I would not recommend this pattern to a beginner. I feel that one needs great ironing skills to be able to do this pattern.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the hat and the pattern is well drafted. I like that it takes a minimal amount of fabric and I will probably make it again. But I may go and see about buying a smaller iron before I make it again.


Anne St. Clair’s Bra Workshop

So I have several projects done, but I really haven’t made time to get pictures lately.  Right now the stack of projects for pictures includes 2 scarves/cowls, one beaded bracelet, one skirt, one dress (which had been finished for quite a while), and a couple of tops from Maria Denmark.

But instead of working on blogging that pile, I decided to take time to blog about the sewing class I just took over the weekend.  I took the two-day Bra Workshop with Anne St. Clair.  It was two very intense days but the end results were great.

So Friday night was the fitting and lecture.  Beforehand, I had sent the requested measurement to Anne so she was able to pick out one of her fitting bras for me to try on.

The lecture went over part of the bra, how a well fitted bra components should look on the person, and the differences between ready to wear and making your own.

I don’t have any pictures from the actual class.  I was too busy sewing.  Anyways, I left my camera at home.

Saturday was completely dedicated to sewing the bra.  I was given the Queen Elite pattern.  I made a 37 F  in size.  The fit is very good.  I need to readjust the straps to be a bit shorter.  This was made using power bar fabric, tricot, elastics and under wires.  One of the hardest parts was to insert the channeling.  It needs to be stretched as it is going in so that took several tries.


The outside

I have enough fabric to make at least 4 more of the Queen Elite bras.  My only modification will be to add a little bit of batting to the cups.  It is more personal preference but I feel like two pieces of thin fabric is not enough for the cups.


The inside

I am currently working on my entry into Pattern Review’s sew small contest.  I decided to do an outfit for my dolls.  I tried to keep with patterns I haven’t used yet except for the top (that is Simplicity 1086).  My original plan is a purse, top, skirt, and coat.  Last night I cut out the Glengarry hat from Lee & Pearl so that got added too.

As for other fall/ winter sewing plans, I would like to follow along with the McCall’s pattern sew-along for Vogue 1467, Closet Case Files’ Ginger jeans and the Jalie jean pattern that is so popular, the Jasper dress, t-shirts, underwear and maybe Butterick 6018 (that 1912 coat).  I don’t think I am ready yet to tackle the Colette patterns Lady Grey coat.

2015 Sew Powerful Purse Project

DSCI0035 Sew Powerful started their 2015 purse drive back in July.  The drive runs until October 1, 2015 but purses will be accepted after that date.  In case you haven’t heard about the Sew Powerful purse drive, you make a purse using the pattern provided for free from the Sew Powerful website and mail it in to the address provided.  Ok, that is the case simplified.  But it is what happens after you mail in the purse that is the most important.  Those purses collected are sent to Lusaka, Zambia.  The purses are part of the menstration hygiene management program.  The purses get paired with  re-usable sanitary pads and distributed to girls needing the supplies.  Without these supplies the girls would miss school at those times of the month.  A simple purse is able to help a girl get a better education.


Here is the purse I made using 2015’s purse pattern.  I made view A (the purse on the pattern cover).  I used an olive-green cotton twill and pink quilting cotton.  This went together in about 4 evenings (probably about 2 hours each evening).


Being completely honest, there isn’t much difference in the pattern pieces from 2014 to 2015.  Main difference is the front flap pocket.


I think the biggest improvement over last year’s pattern was in the instructions.  While I was making the 2014’s purse, I felt lost and like the pictures didn’t really give me the detail I needed to follow the instructions.  This year I felt that the pictures complemented the instructions and clarified what was meant.  I think the greater contrast between pieces and some of the photos were closer up than before.  The instructions are also formatted better so that information isn’t lost in the instructions.


Please go check out   Sew Powerful.  The priority deadline is Thursday October 1, 2015.  They will still accept purses after that date.

Here is the second purse I made.




My friend Betsy from the KC Pinheads group (a bunch of Kansas City area sewing enthusiasts that get together for lunch and talk sewing) made a couple of purses also for this project.  So here is the picture of all four of the purses together before I mailed them off to Washington last week.


Cute 1950’s- Simplicity 1086


This is another one of the Keeper Dolly Duds for Simplicity patterns.  This is the second one I have used.  There are four out I think: one for Civil War era, one at early 1900s (aimed at Samantha and Rebecca dolls), one for the 1940s (Molly dolls), and this one is the newest aimed at the new American Girl doll  set in the 1950s (Mary Ellen) debuting at the end of this month.

As always, here is my reminder.  My Molly doll is from around 1993-ish so she is a little larger than the current dolls you can buy today.  I didn’t make any alterations for size on the patterns and it fits her fine.



The top is view F from the pattern which is a sleeveless button down top (which uses snaps to fasten).  I absolutely adore the top.  It went together so easily.  The arm is finished with a strip of bias (pattern piece is provided).  I used thin Velcro that I have for the fasten and left off the buttons and snaps.  I also lined the pockets so I wouldn’t have to try to fold under the seam allowance.  A quarter-inch is fairly small so lining worked better.



I actually finished the Capri pants last month.  Molly had to wait until last week for her top.  In the mean time she had her Capri pants on with another top I made.  I used an olive-green cotton twill for the pants.  There are darts on the front at the waist and elastic in the back of the pants.  They went together fairly easily.  I didn’t add the tie to the waist as the twill is a bit thick.  I didn’t notice that the hem was split so that is why she doesn’t have a split hem in her Capri.  I think the next time, I may make a little larger hem but that is personal preference.