Tanking the Otto Tank

I do like the Otto Tank as previously fit. It is to me the perfect, sleeveless, knit-top pattern. But during the dog days of summer, I like a little less coverage. Also, this pattern was titled as a “tank”.  In the magazine it looked like a “tank”. But my finished garment didn’t look like a tank.  Read the rest of the story here.

So Darn Cute

Read about this sheers project here.


Craftsy Course: Exciting World of Fabric Paints

It’s a well-known phenomenon amongst those that sew:  If you can’t sew — you shop.  I didn’t add to my stash last month, but I did buy a couple of Craftsy Courses.

I’ve been dabbling with adding color to my projects for a few years.  I feel like I’m alone in my efforts to use something other than dye. Yet puzzled. If I’m alone, why is there such a vast and varied amount of supplies readily available?  So I was quite pleased when this course popped up on Craftsy and completed it during my  er down time.

The instructor, Cindy Walter, is primarily a quilter but does some garment sewing and some multi-media art. She is calmer than the instructor of my previous class (reviewed yesterday). That along with her good organization and speaking skills made the class a delight.  If I have a complaint, it would be that she’s almost an@l at keeping her area clean and organized. Not only does she use a drop cloth, but also a stack of paper to set her paints upon, rolls of paper towels and despite the fact acrylic paints are non-toxic, she wears gloves.  I’m not really complaining. I’m more amused. She herself repeatedly says you don’t need the gloves. She wears them because paints get on her hands and then she will inadvertently transfer it to other items (clothes, completed projects, etc).

Why I like acrylic paints and have pretty much settled into using are the same things the Cindy points out as advantages. They are non-toxic. Other possibly toxic chemicals are not needed because acrylic paints set themselves.   They can be reliably mixed and thinned. In fact she recommends a 50/50 water/paint solution to create thin dye-consistency paints (about the thickness of milk). (Think Dy-Ne-flow other very thin paints).  Although Textile Medium can be added to artist grade acrylic paints, she recommends looking for paints that are intended for use on fabric or textiles. Also to determine consistency (thin or thick), shake the bottle. Thin paints will slop about rapidly and make a very “liquid” sound like shaking a carton of milk.  Thick paints have a consistency similar to Yogurt and will not slop around. They kind of clunk from end to end when shaken.  I also like the “clean up” with acrylic paints. Cindy cleans up in the sink and reuses brushes, sponges, everything with just a quick wash in the sink. In the final lessons, Cindy also introduces Inktense pencils/blocks, mica powders and PaintStiks. I’ve played with and love all of them. She does point out that the mica powders are toxic if you breathe them.  One thing she left out is that Inktense pencils can be set using Textile Medium which at the same times dissolves the Inktense pigment bringing out their saturated colors (that’s what I did here).  She discusses the limitation of metallic paints as well as demonstrating their beauty in multiple uses.

Cindy demonstrate many beautiful techniques for using acrylic paints. She adds water, salt; scrunches, brushes and dabs. Pulls out her stencils, stamps (not all stamps are commercially made) and rubbing plates. Explaining why as well as how she is getting the results that you see.  She shares an adaptive Shibori technique. She corrects mistakes and over-paints freely. In fact she recommends buying white on white, black and white or beige fabrics on sale and painting them for marvelous results. She shares 2 garments she painted and a series of miniature quilts in addition to completed quilts of various sizes and a host of painted fat quarters.

I took away from class a knowledge of when to use thick paint, thin paint or other media as well as a host of ideas for experimenting with paint. Definitely gets 5 STARS from me.

Craftsy Course: Big Embroidery With Small Hoop

I almost didn’t take this course. (Somehow Craftsy is preventing me from capturing a direct link or image.  It’s under the Embroidery category at Craftsy.com)  I’ve been machine embroidering for almost 25 years.  After 25 years, I think I know everything. But I still have a few minor issues. One being consistently lining up lace designs perfectly.  Oh I line them up. Most of the time perfectly, but I’m not spot on every single time. The instructor, Lisa Shaw, promised a different, reliable method of joining continuous free-standing, lace embroidery. So I signed up.

Having purchased the course, I watched all the lessons.  I’m cheap like that.  Also, sometimes it helps if I’m more familiar with how the instructor talks and gestures.  I think there is an issue with these classes in the lack of  interaction.  The instructors are good at responding if I ask a question. But they can’t see me and can’t say “Bev, you need to pay attention to this.”  I was fresh (it was morning when I took the course) and paid attention. I learned two different methods of aligning designs that I have not seen before. I’ll try both but one will be critical for aligning those lace motifs I have issues with.  So the course for me is a total success.

The instructor was well organized and professional. Her samples were easy to see and appropriate for  her easy to understand instructions.  I did think she was a bit overly enthusiastic.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course to the new embroideress after you know the basics.  This course isn’t going to show you how to thread your machine. She doesn’t discuss needles and threads at length. Or invest in long hooping demonstrations. You need to know these things first. The instructor concentrates her time and attention to the details of aligning your fabric in the hoop so that multiple embroideries will be stitched exactly where they are wanted.  She does address avoiding aligning by applique and aligning in software using both Brother’s PE Design and a new-to-me software Embrilliance Essentials.  In the course she states that Embrialliance is a free download with the class but I couldn’t find it.


If you want your clothes to look good…

wear the right undergarments.  In the photos below, the pic on the left is the original from my post on Aug17.   At its side on the right, is the pic taken when wearing a good bra.

I think the pics really show that if you want your clothes to look their best, you need to get the girls up where they belong.

Bulge at midsection is from my back brace. I got up with my back hurting and put the brace on immediately. I have both the typical support that warehouse workers are encouraged to wear and a sacro belt. Both are elastic and velcro constructions. The worker belt also contains some steel bars that set off alarms at the airport. (Learned to put that one in the check in bag.)  Both work.  DM needed 4 discs fused in her 50’s.  I’m over a decade older and still wearing just the belts.  Different  for me is that now I wear the belts most days. Eventually I expect to get up every morning and add the belt just like I do a bra. I have two belts,  one to wear and one to air. KWIM?

Perfecting The Otto Tank Top

Ottos 2/2007 #1 was the 3rd pattern I worked with this summer that hasn’t quite reached TNT status. The Camp Shirt pattern still needs work which I won’t get to until fall sewing. The Woven T is done.  I could tweak it. But right now I can sew with the Woven T and be happy with the result. So onto perfecting the Tank Top. Click here to read more.

Finished! Sleeveless Otto 2/2014 #5

Wow I think I’ve got the armscye just right.  2nd try detailed here.

Going Sleeveless

I’m converting the short sleeve Otto T  for woven fabrics into a sleeveless shell for summer. I love the HAF but don’t always want that particular styling. Otto’s T offers me a different look. Read more here


I haven’t been posting but I haven’t been sewing much either.  I’ve once again had a few health issues which  slowed me down.  Nothing horrendous. A summer cold which won’t go away. Pulled a knee muscle. Just as it got better, I pulled the other.  Then a failed jean project kinda of took the wind out of my sails.  I ve been reading, watching TV and shopping. Fortunately, I haven’t added to the stash but I ve got all kinds of new beauty stuff. When I finally came out of my funk, I’d lost track of what I was sewing and why. I have plenty of clothes. I sew for the pleasure and learning. So I read my own blog – sorry for all the mistakes. Promise, I run spell check and proof read but obviously don’t catch all. So I looked around and found I have 3 almost TNT’s.  Patterns that almost fit exactly like I want. But not close enough that I c an whip out a garment without thinking. So I started with LC 12269 Easy Ageless Cool Camp Shirt. The pants I’m not fond of but the shirt is the classic camp shirt, IMO.

When last used, I felt  the resulting shirt was a smidge too small. I loved the fit across the shoulders and probably could have simply added ease across the hip. Except I thought I could benefit from a bit more ease across the bust as well.  It’s usually easier for me to make a larger size and increase my NSA  to perfect the fit. The next size up added a lot of ease but I was fairly confident and selected a cotton homespun fabric and an elegant shoulder embroidery:

I trimmed one of the sprigs, repeated and joined it to form a hem border.

Yes it took some time but the payoff was 1 hooping to embroider the  hem front.  I used the multi-position hoop of my Brother PE 770. Which meant I had to stitch out half the design, move the hoop and stitch the other half. But I hooped stabilizer only once and used it for both halves of the front.


Despite my cherry smile below, I’m not satisfied with the fit.

With so much extra ease, I thought I would use this as an over blouse/light weight jacket. My first impression is that the sleeves are too long.

Then I looked again and realized that the shoulder is too long, even for a camp shirt. I’ve decided to ignore the wrinkles in the back–for now at least.  I’ve not added shoulder pads and with the shoulder drooping the back can’t look it’s best. At least, I do not have masses of horizontal wrinkles in the mid back.

I probably should just admit that I need a bust dart. It would take care of both the rising front hem and the side diagonals. But dang it, camp shirts aren’t supposed to fit like a tailored blouse and shouldn’t have bust darts.

I feel another couple of iterations will be needed before I’m totally satisfied. With the fit, the pattern I’m more than happy to have and sew. My maturing, rounding body needs a little more help to look it’s best.  In the meantime, this shirt will serve it’s intended purpose as a slouchy, easy to wear third layer.

A Knit Top that Fits

Ah finally. For the full story click here.