Layers and Layers

This is a sheers project. See my full post here.

Embroidered 0456

I gave serious thought as to what I could use as a top with my straight inseam PP113’s

It’s muted tone threw me off and had me wondering if this comfy pair of pants would be winter pj’s.  In my stash I found a peach cotton poly fabric that was previously a table cloth.  It’s color just seemed to glow up next to the pants.  I had made the decision to use embroidery in hand sized amounts. Any large embellishments would be done with paint, ink, felting, couching or some other method. So, I was surprised to find myself upstairs planning an extensive embroidery.  But I couldn’t help myself. When I had seen the fabric next to the pants, I had a flash of inspiration (with a dash of compulsion?).   Of course, I couldn’t find the embroidery design I imagined.  It’s the curse of having such an embarrassingly large collection of designs.  You know you have something but you can’t find it.  I finally started copying designs that were close to what I “saw” into a working directory.  Many of my designs were free.  A large number were digitized by enthusiastic, talented but non-embroiderers. So I never just use a design.  I never just hoop up and go for it.  I always test first in Embird.  I look for density and watch the way a design stitches out. I discarded some possibilities because I didn’t want to do the work that would reduce the number of colors. (I’m envisioning a tone-on-tone garment.)  I discarded a few more because of the large number of jumps.  I tested two. Printed templates and made an arrangement.  Until I settled on my arrangement, I was planning to use my PE700.  10 hoopings. TEN.

Or TWO.  Two if I used my Ruby.   I don’t use my Ruby often for embroidery.  It makes beautiful embroideries.  But I like to be sewing while my machine is embroidering.  To use Ruby, I had to keep myself busy doing something else.    It became a question of Ruby or PE700.  I decided upon Ruby because I needed to do laundry.  Laundry for me includes washing folding and ironing clothes.  To my surprise and delight, Ruby was able to complete both hoopings, 84,000+ stitches  during the time it took me to do my laundry.

The next day, I cut and stitched together 0456. I’m really pleased with the final blouse and how it looks with pants:

This is something I’m proud to wear.


5863: View B

I’ve had this knits pattern for several weeks but would not attempt it until I pretty sure of the alterations I would need.  Even, then I’m making the one that should be most straight forward first:  View B ( The black and white print).

I traced the XL and immediately made my BWL.  I’m so happy Connie marks the L/S just above the waist (also marked).  While I’m tracing, I also mark a line 1″ above the LS so that my BWL is just a quick fold.  I whipped out 1204 and quickly compared for ease and length. So then I added 1.25″ to achieve my preferred length.  Next, I aligned the center of 1204 with the center of 5863 and slid 1204 slowly upward until the shoulders just touched.  I traced the shoulder slope from 1204 onto 5863.  I retrieved my curve and aligned it with the armscye curve.  Noting the number at top and bottom, I traced a new curve which started at the new shoulder.    I can’t make the shoulder adjustment in one step. But this is the most elegant solution I’ve found so far.  After marking the new shoulder line and armscye, I trim the excess tissue.

My fabric is a cotton jersey purchased here recently when announced a clear out of their remnants.  I didn’t even know they had remnants.  Often, when I’ve ordered almost all that’s on the bolt, they just give me the rest.  Remnants are so named because they are the remainder of the bolt. Supposedly.  Also in that category are cuts that customers returned and cuts that customers refused due to flaws.  (Sometimes customers returns are due to buyer remorse. More often it is due to flaws.)  I believe this remnant was due to flaw.  Either it was printed off-grain or stretch off-grain.  Either way, I didn’t notice the flaw until I was trying to smooth out the fabric to place the pattern pieces on top.  I almost threw it in the rag drawer right then. I decided since I had reservations about that neckline, I would go ahead and use the fabric as a muslin.

Reservations about the neckline?  Well I think that deep wide neckline would be best supported by the very pigeon breasted. Except the only people I know who are that well endowed will never wear this type neckline. I am not generously endowed and am afraid that the neckline will flop about and be too revealing.  I don’t trust pattern companies to honestly show how their patterns will “work up”.

No until I sat down at the serger did I realize the pattern comes with 5/8″ seam allowances.  I should have known.  The Big4 insist upon 5/8 seam allowances. I should have known that Butterick would have incorporated 5/8″.  What that means for me is that as I serged at 5/8 along the shoulder, I cut off the bias tape that I carefully fused to stabilize the shoulder.    I don’t know if there  are facing pattern pieces.  Originally I intended to finish neckline and armscyes using FOE. I looked at the sharp corners of the neckline and decided there was no way I was going to attempt to force FOE into 90 or sharper angles. I can barely sew FOE decently on straight and gently curved edges. I had enough fabric to cut self-facings, but I didn’t want the print to shadow through.I cut neckline facings from a white poly jersey. Not wanting to make a lot of effort for a “muslin” fabric, I did not interface the facings.  Then I thought better  and both under-stitched and top- stitched the facings.  You know me, I made big facings instead of 1″ fiddly pieces. So now I had this big neckline facing flopping around.  I fused it into place and top-stitched with one of my decorative stitches. Being I used white thread, the decorative stitch just sort of blended in and disappeared.

I serge finished the edges of the IMO really cute cap sleeve. Turned up once and top-stitched.   Next I serged the side seams and boldly (probably foolishly) serged finished and turned the hem up 3/4″.

My concern about the neckline was well founded:

It did indeed flop around, exposing underwear and girly parts.  I’d already nailed everything into place and was disgusted with my lack of patience.  I knew this could be a problem.  Why didn’t I baste at least a few seams and try it on first?  My after-the-fact fix is a dead-center  2″ inverted pleat

Which not only works well, but the extra weight at CF causes the neck to dip into a beautiful point.   I haven’t worn this top more than a few minutes for pics.  I’m concerned that the neckline may be heavy enough to continue dropping at the center front. Already, I’m contemplating adding a 1-1.5″ elastic lace across the front.

I think this turned out really cute.  I’m actually hoping that the fabric flaw will not cause me heartache.  I will work on View B pattern pieces to take out neckline width and depth. Otherwise, I’m extremely pleased. My alterations BWL, hem length, shoulder slope and armscye worked perfectly!

I’d love to move onto View A or C but I’m not sure how to change their shoulder slopes.  It’s not as easy as slapping 1204 on top and tracing.  For View A  the front between shoulder and neckline has been trimmed and attached to the back.  The View C neckline has been altered to add the cowl. I was hoping the cowl was a separate piece and View A was a decorative finish.  I’ll have to think about these for a while.


Ascona V3

Bank Line View:

Read the detailed post HERE.

The Finished Frankenpant (PP113/TJ906)

Where is my happy face?

Full post here.



Read full post here.

Yellow Stripes Camp Shirt

which happens to work really well with the piece of art I posted yesterday:

OK that wasn’t “real” art just a very satisfying sewing project with lots of artful embroidery. But the camp shirt is the focus of my post today. The shirting I bought from Fabricmart earlier this year.  I’ve been dying to cut it but didn’t want to ruin what was to me a beautiful fabric.  It is cotton with a pinch of poly. That’s one of my favorite combinations because I have all the comfort and ease  cotton provides along with the wrinkle resistance polyester provides.  The background is really small squares, maybe 2mm x 2mm?? I’m not sure if the back ground is black, navy or charcoal on white but it contrasts beautifully with the yellow woven stripes. The stripes undulate between intensities through at least 3 different weaves. I looked carefully before deciding on front and back fabric sides and I marked them immediately.

Ignore grumpy face. I’m really very happy with this blouse.

I’m using my Connie Crawford Camp Shirt pattern 5047 with few changes.  For the first time, I stitched both front and back darts.  Changed to a contrast (white cotton batiste) collar and lapel. I did not make the popular contrasting cuffs.  My rear is wide enough without flashing white lozenges drawing further attention.  The cuff and sleeve were my only changes to the pattern and were really non-changes.  I cut 2.5 x 14″ rectangles for the cuffs and folded the sleeve hem up 1″ to offset the length of the cuff.  The pattern remains the same; ready for the next use.   I used my favorite of all time cuff applications Loes Hinse Tunic Blouse cuff  #5202.  I won’t try to duplicate her instructions.  I love having the effect of the cuff without having to add buttons/buttonholes or tabs or any of the other things we do to be able to fit the blouse tightly at our wrists.

This is a soft shirting, not crisp like most men’s shirts.  I also wanted my camp shirt  a little roomy so that I could wear it as a 3rd layer.  Still I wish the back fit a little nicer, especially the sleeves. Is there some mystery to lengthening sleeves? I extended the straight of grain the total length I wanted the blouse + 1.25″ hem.  Then decided how wide I wanted the “cuff” (the basic is just a turned up hem at the cuff line) and marked out 8″ on either side of the SOG.  Next I drew a diagonal line connecting the underarm point to the cuff (less the 1.25″ length added for hem).  My sleeve looks baggy even front the front view. Yeah it could be fabric.  But I wonder if there is more to sleeves than connecting underarm to hem.

I always like a side view too

and now I really do think I have some fabric issues.  Maybe this is why the bolt ended up at Fabricmart available for the home sewist.  This is the first time those drag lines from the bust have been so prominent. Well since I discovered that the armscye needed to drop when I dropped the shoulder. My hem looks level (Yippee!!) but is fluting a bit in front. I thought a soft fabric would cling closer to the body. Don’t care. The blouse and fabric look 1000% better IRL. I love this and I’m wearing it with pride.

Sewing I love To Do

No foolin, this is the kind of sewing which is immensely and personally rewarding to me:

I purchased this Silk Matka about 2 years ago.  During the pre-treatment, my 2 yard cut shrunk both width and lengthwise leaving me with 42″ x 1.5 yards.  Still enough for short sleeve.  It has not exactly languished. I’ve thought of it often and I couldn’t decide how to use it.  Now full into summer I wanted to test my go to woven/non-stretch tank top pattern, 59269 My Hearts A Flutter. This silk should be perfect with a little left over for another small project.

I have 2 HAF tanks already in rotation. Both are comfortable and look good from the front; OK from the back.  I’ve got  a little mid-back bunching and side views shows the back hem is sloping upwards.  Definitely a sign to me that I don’t quite have enough hip ease.  I did take time to compare one of my HAF’s to my traced pattern. I decided I would add 1/4″ to the side seams and 3/8″ to the center back to create a center back seam for more possible shaping.

Next I lopped off blocks from the fabric that would be sufficient for backs and front and began the real creative work: choosing an embroidery.   I considered several (about 30) and tested 5.   Silk Matka has a distinctive hand.  What I had in mind would finish fairly large.  I didn’t want to ruin the hand of the silk. Nor did I want the embroidery to fail during the garments lifetime.  Hence, test 5. I wanted tone-on-tone but wanted it noticeable. I mean why go to all that effort if the stitches just disappear? Which design looks good in multiples? Which design doesn’t harm the fabric or change the hand?  I don’t really know the answers to these questions or how the design really will stitch out before I test. Also, I was focused on maintaining the silk’s hand  and opted to use sticky, water-soluble stabilizer and with a water-soluble topper. (The water-soluble topper lifts the thread above the fabric surface, my preferred finish.)   44,000 stitches, two 14×8-hoop  hoopings and 2 days later: the fabric was embellished to my satisfaction.

I cut the fabric using the slightly modified HAF pattern. Taped shoulders, armscyes, and necklines then serged center back and shoulder seams. I basted the side seams; slipped the garment over my head and took initial pictures.  I decided not to increase any of the SA’s.  Using the 1/4″ added to the side seams added enough ease to skip the hem vents drafted onto the HAF.  I like the hem vents. They are a very nice detail. But I also like having the option to close the side seam all the way to through the hem.

I ripped out the basted side seams and finished the neckline and armscyes with 1/2″ single-fold bias tape.  Those of you with sharp eyes will see a pucker along the front neckline and that the neckline seems to “stand proud” in the front.  I think the “proud” issue is due to taping the neckline and then later finishing with bias tape. The neckline just lacked a lot of give which I normally see on a bias edge.  I’d press the pucker. Think it was gone and it would reappear.  I may need to rip a few stitches, press and stitch again to fix that issue.

I also finished the hem with a 1″ bias tape facing.  I liked the length during fitting and wanted to keep it that long.  A facing was IMO the easiest option for finishing that edge.

You know, I’ve been experimenting with chain and washers, right?  Attempting to add weight to avoid velcro-butt?  I didn’t add either to this shell. I didn’t want the risk of an experiment damaging the silk.  So the back might hang better with a little weight.  It might also be better if I added a slope to those 2.5″ shoulders or even adjusted the armscye depth which is pretty high and tight. It’s even possible that taping and then finishing the neckline and armscyes had a negative effect on the back. But I don’t see my back much and have decided to not worry about it this time.

I love the embroidery and wanted you to see it up close:

This is just so me.


I painted shoes again. I started with a tan pair which I love but never wear and a white canvas which I got dirty in only a few wearings.

I had the bright idea to cover the soles with masking tape so I wouldn’t accidentally paint the soles.  I mixed up my paint colors because I don’t use color as it comes in the Jacquard bottle and got to work with my fan brush. Using the masking tape allowed me to paint freely. But I’ve used masking tape for other projects and was concerned about possible, um, side effects.  I wanted to be sure I could correct unexpected issues. When you mix colors, there is no guarantee that you can mix them exactly the same the next time. When you need the exact same color, the best choice is keeping the paint for possible use. How do you keep acrylic paint, famed for its fast drying time, from drying overnight?  I texted my sister who is something of an artist and followed her recommendation:

I spritzed the paint with water, put the whole pallet (a recycled bit of plastic) into a large zip lock bag along with a wet rag. Worked perfectly!

The masking tape did it’s job too. Unfortunately, little bits of the Jacquard paint peeled off with the masking tape…

… justifying my keeping the paint usable.  I touched up where needed. Let dry another 24 hours. Then added a coat of floor polish for sealer.

The brown canvas shoes:

are the better of the two. I did have issues avoiding the white elastic inserts. But the worst problem is they are now too small.  No one warned me that shoes might shrink when you paint them!

I ended up with small smudges of paint where I didn’t want any. But these are at least wearable and more likely to be worn now that they are blue.

I count the exercise a success.  I learned something new (how to preserve acrylic paints) and I enjoy doing this sort of thing. Plus I feel fearless. I can buy any color shoe as long as it fits and make it the color I want.  Just got to be careful about shrinkage.


A Book Cover

As I’m sewing, I keep notes on the choices and changes I make. I like to use sketch books for that purpose because sometimes you can pack more information in a quick sketch than a thousand words. By the time I fill up the book with notes, sketches and fabric samples, the cover is usually in pretty bad shape.  I don’t keep these forever, just a year or two. These aren’t real sketch books where your art takes shape, changes and matures. They are sewing notes that I need/want for a brief period of time.  But  I need to know the period they covered.   Plus this is a great time to  play around with machine embroidery.

I seem to have been very productive recently. This on contains only 3 months of sewing projects!