Sunday, October 11, 2015

Polo Shirts and Yoga Pants


I started working on these polo shirts back on Sept 14th but then left them to work on other things. Way back in Nov 2013 when I had a wadder of a Polo Dress (Burda pattern) and wanted to revisit it.  The fabric  for the dress was a Lacoste knit with hardly any stretch and the dress had drag lines all over it.  This time I retraced the pattern to a top and sewed up a muslin with red cotton lycra fabric. As you can see from the pictures below, the fit was still terrible.  The placket instructions were equally horrid. 




So I scrapped this red one and went to work on another Polo shirt, same pattern, with more adjustments in a Black Cotton Lycra. I used the instructions from my Reader’s Digest Complete Sewing Guide for the placket; It did not turn out well.  The placket was terrible and the fit was bad.  I didn’t even bother to capture pictures of it.  I gave up on the Burda pattern, I even threw out my traced pattern, but I still wanted a polo shirt. 

I settled on Jalie 2562.  They always have such great instructions.  I cut a size “V” for everything except the hips which I cut to a size “Z”.  I made a 1/2” swayback adjustment, 1/2” square shoulder adjustment, and 1/2” forward shoulder adjustment (all of these are usual for me).

The first go at the pattern I sewed a beautiful placket, all perfect. Then realized I attached it to the BACK!!! omg.  So I lined up the front pattern piece to the back messed up piece of fabric and adjusted the back to be a front - only with a shorter placket, and then cut out a new back.  The placket is tiny on it but I still love it. 


There are a few drag lines still, but I can live with them.  If you can’t see, that is Pac-Man fabric on my collar Open-mouthed smile I used 3 black snaps on this placket.


Fabric: 1.5 yards purchased the day before I sewed it.  Blue Cotton Lycra from Wal-Mart. $8.96 total.  Pac man fabric is a woven from Timeless Treasures, now out of print. The placket and collar are interfaced.


The shirt has a nice collar stand, I’ve popped it up here.


Happy with the fit, I wanted to perfect my placket making skill just a tad more so I cut out and sewed a second polo shirt.  I like this one even more. Still with Jalie 2562, same everything as the blue one.


4 white snaps were used on the placket of this shirt. This placket is the correct size ;-)


Fabric: 1 and 3/8 yard of Black/White Floral Jersey Knit purchased July 2015 from Fashionfabricsclub for $5 total. 97% Cotton, 3% Lycra.  I used scraps of White Cotton Lycra for the placket and collar, both are interfaced as well.



I am satisfied with my placket making to move on to my fall sewing list, my henley is already cut out and waiting to be sewn! 


And those pants I’m wearing?  They are my latest Jalie 3022 Yoga pants.  Size: waist “X” and my hip “BB” – these are each 2 sizes above my real measurements as Jalie runs slim.  I used a bit of the black/white fabric for the band at the waist.  These are such comfortable pants, I spend many days wearing these and my other teal pair.  Sadly, this fabric is not good quality and has pilled after one wash.  So I must re-make these again! Ugh!



These pants do not sew up that fast because there is so much topstitching involved, yet I reach for them all the time so I am pushed to make more.  These were on my Fall Sewing List.

Fabric: 2 yards Black Cotton Lycra, Purchased August 2015 for $13 total.  This fabric is toted to be great quality, medium weight from Girl Charlee.  Sadly they are thin and pill right away, therefore not great quality.  Plus, it took 2 weeks to get to me!  I will no longer buy from there but will return to getting my good cotton lycra from Purpleseamstress who ships to me within 3 days.
Sewing Time for pants: 2 hours

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Recap 2015

This was a much slower month for me on the sewing front.  I took a break at the beginning, not wanting to burn myself out before the Fabricista Fashion Challenge started.  Plus, I’ve been so focused on the challenge that I haven’t blogged about much else!   Here is a quick recap of the 3 things I made this month.  (I have 6 other makes that are still unblogged)

3 items, 10.5 yards of fabric. Total fabric cost $23.72 (I didn’t count the price of the skirt to remake to dress because I counted it already when I made the original skirt)   
How did I do for September with my resolutions?
1 new pattern: yes, 2
1 new Burda/Otto pattern for me: sadly not this month
1 fabric stash used: 3 yards
1 me make each month in 2015: yes, 2!

Actual Sewing Time spent on these September makes: 10.5 hours

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tips for Sewing with Chiffon


Chiffon has a bad reputation as being one of the most difficult fabrics to sew with.  Chiffon is a lightweight, sheer fabric made from polyester, cotton, or silk. It is slippery, shifty, and frays very easily.  However, I have some tips for you so that sewing with chiffon is no longer a challenge.  If this is your first time sewing with chiffon I suggest using an easy pattern with few curves and minimal seams.

The following topics will be covered in this tutorial:

  • Prepping
  • Cutting
  • Sewing
  • Hemming


Supplies needed:
  • Chiffon Fabric
  • Small universal needle - size 9(65)
  • Plain Gelatin (enough for ¼ cup)
  • Bucket or tub large enough to cover fabric with water
  • Thread for fine fabrics (polyester, silk, or mercerized cotton; sometimes sold as lingerie thread)
  • Rotary Cutter and mat OR scissors and tissue paper
  • Pattern, iron and pressing cloth, sewing machine, and/or serger
  • Wonder Clips or Fine Pins
Tips for Prepping Chiffon:
The single most important tip I have to make Chiffon less challenging to sew is to first give the fabric a gelatin bath. This makes the fabric stiffer to sew with, resulting in less shifting. Once the project is finished, a quick hand wash removes the gelatin and the fabric returns to its normal drape and texture.
To give the fabric a gelatin bath, fill a bucket or tub with warm water and add ¼ cup gelatin.


Stir for 2 minutes so gelatin dissolves.


Add fabric and make sure to submerge.  Then push out any large air bubbles, and stir the fabric around for a minute to ensure the gelatin is being distributed in the fabric.


Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes (I let mine sit an hour just to be safe). After the soak time has ended remove the fabric and place on a bathroom towel. Roll the towel up carefully to remove some of the moisture from the fabric.


Do not twist or squeeze the fabric because it will remove the gelatin; we just want to remove some of the moisture. Then place fabric to dry on as flat a surface as can be found.


When the fabric is dry it is ready to be cut.

Tips for Cutting Chiffon:
  • Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter
  • Use pattern weights instead of pins (I use tuna cans). If you must use pins, use pins for fine fabrics and pin only in the selvage.
  • Cut pattern pieces as a single layer, cut nothing on a fold.
  • If using scissors, place tissue paper under the fabric as well as the pattern tissue paper on top to create a sandwich (as seen below, however you will want to cut through all three layers at the same time). This helps stabilize the fabric while cutting.

Tips for Sewing Chiffon:
Set the needle stitch length to 2mm or 12 stitches per inch. This is a short stitch length that should be used for lightweight fabrics.

Use wonder clips instead of pins to hold fabric together


Instead of sewing a reverse stitch, hold the ends of the loose thread toward the back of your machine when starting to sew.  Then tie the ends of the string in a knot to lock the first and last stitch.


If the machine tries to eat the fabric, slip a strip of tissue paper under the fabric while sewing. It can be torn or washed away when finished and keeps the fabric from getting pulled into the needle plate. Also, if you have a straight stitch needle plate and/or straight stitch foot, use them. 

Sew seams with French seams because serged seams can be seen from the outside of the garment.


Press from wrong side of fabric, use a pressing cloth and no steam. The temperature should be a low setting such as for synthetics.

Tips for Hemming Chiffon:
Before marking hems, let garment hang for 24-48 hours in case the fabric grows. 

There are a few different ways to hem this light fabric.  My favorite way is to sew a rolled hem with my serger.  I strongly suggest using textured nylon (or wooly nylon) in the upper looper because as you can see here it makes a much nicer hem. 


A narrow hem  can be achieved by hand sewing, using a narrow hem foot with a regular sewing machine, or using Ban-rol. 

Ban-rol can be used to achieve a flawless narrow hem with a regular machine.  Recently I found a tutorial by Oliver + S that explains this technique.  In the most simple of terms, sew a frayed edge of the ban-rol to the bottom of the fabric, flip it away from fabric, sew, flip to wrong side and sew again, remove the ban-rol by pulling out the frayed edge and what is left is a beautiful narrow hem.
When finished with your project, a quick warm hand wash with a little detergent will remove the gelatin and return the fabric to original. Chiffon garments should always be hand washed and laid flat to dry.


Chiffon can be used to make a wide variety of garments such as lingerie, infinity scarves, blouses, and breezy jackets.  Do not be discouraged by this lovely fabric, follow these tips and sewing with chiffon can be relatively pain free!

For my project I used View D from McCall's 7200.  I made the size XS and modified it to fit my 9 year old.  After a quick tissue fit, I found I had to remove 1.5" from the height between shoulder and waist (over the bust area).  I also shortened it to the cutting line for views A,B,C. Perfect fit. It took 1 yard of Chiffon.

 I also combined the back panel with the side panels before cutting so the back is 2 pieces (yoke and bottom) instead of 4 pieces (yoke, 2 side panels, and center back panel).  I tried my best to match up lines where seams met.  Can you see the top yoke below? :)

Here is the inside view.  French seams make the insides look just as nice as the outsides.

Thanks for taking the time to read through my tutorial.  I hope you find some helpful tips for your next project.  This is my entry into Week 3 of FabricMart's Fabricista Fashion Challenge.  Head over to the FabricMart blog and see everyone's entries (during the day sometime on Wednesday, September 30th).  Don't forget to vote for your favorite!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fabricista Fashion Challenge Week #2!

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who voted for me last week!! I was so excited, and surprised to win for the week!!  Thank you!!

This week we were to take a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress as our inspiration, and make a wrap dress.  This challenge was difficult for me because it was so hard to pick which era I wanted to go with for an inspiration dress! In the end I choose to make my dress inspired by her recent line.
Here is my inspiration dress:
challenge2 inspiration dress

I chose Vogue 8379 as my pattern and made some adjustments for my body type.
*1/2” swayback
*1/4” forward shoulder adjustment
*1/2” square shoulder adjustment
*Size 14 for shoulder, 16 for bust/waist, and 20 for hip (all 1 size lower than my measurements for less ease)


I’ll be honest, I’ve never made a wrap dress and never worn one either. However, the pattern instructions are great and walk you through each step with helpful pictures. I made a test dress first, it fit well and only minor tweaking was needed so I moved on to the final dress.


I love that there is an opening in the bottom of the bodice on the right side to allow one of the straps to go through when wrapping around. I don’t love that there is a ton of ease in the sleeves. Yuk.  I used my serger for most of the seams, only using the regular sewing machine to baste when instructed.


I was inspired by the current line of DVF dresses because I love a great color blocked outfit. Sometimes dresses look awkward on my body (due to my pear shape) so the solid on top with print on the bottom helps keep a separation between my top and bottom halves. I wanted to keep the iconic ¾ length sleeves with the flared cuffs but left off the collar to keep it more modern looking. Can you believe I actually put the cuffs on the wrong way at first? Ugh! I had to sit and unpick the serging from each one and then re-attach the correct way. 


I blind stitched the hem by hand and tacked down the facing on both the bodice and skirt in selective places to keep them from flipping out. I disliked the idea of a center back seam on the skirt, but understood after cutting my material that this is the only way to save on fabric. I was very careful to match the print on the center back seam to try and hide the fact that a seam is there.



I’m very pleased with my dress and happy to have made something out of my comfort zone that I’ll actually wear.


Fabric:  2 yards of “Regal Blue Poly ITY” from Hancocks; I had to pick this up on Friday specifically for this challenge.  $12.74.  2 yards of “Watercolor Floral Print ITY” from FabricMart, purchased July 2015, $9.00.  I absolutely love this fabric and will hoard my last 2 yards as long as I can!

Total for the dress: $21.74
Total time spent sewing the dress: 4 hours


This week’s entries are all in and posted so head over to FabricMart’s blog to see them and vote for your favorite!!