Monthly Archives: December 2013

Albion Holiday Test

I tested the Albion (Colette Patterns) and I feel so proud to have made a coat!.  Oh, sure there are places for improvement but my man wore it to work today and he got ambushed at the door!  My goal was to do a sort of muslin but I did not think it wise to use thin material to test the fit so I decided to use all the coupons I could and broke down on a trip to the local fabric store in which I normally only buy notions and thread.  Since I needed to make an XXL…that is a lot of fabric to work with but I was able to get shell and lining for $50.

The pattern is incredibly easy to follow and actually the toughest part is cutting all the pieces of fabric out, once that is done you are home free and the fun begins.  There are only two areas to watch out for,  one is the pocket positioning.  Make sure you do not creep too close to CF like I did. I  was not as careful in marking my fabric as I should have been.  The result is that my fourth toggles had to be buried under the pocket!  The only other choice was to seam rip and move; it did not take long to decide to snuggle the togs under the pocket a bit; so watch out on the positioning.  The second item is that if you are using a heavy fabric for the shell, I would consider using the lining fabric for the under piece of the pocket flap.  It is less bulky and lies better overall.  That is it!  It was so smooth and easy!

Albion test coatalbion on chrisMy man, sporting the  coat in front of the tree.  Ya know, for a test coat, to have your loved one be so proud of your work–well, that makes it all worth it!

I want to talk toggles.  There was only one at the store and I decided then and there to buy it, deconstruct it and make my own.  I searched and searched for the three things needed:  Horn, Leather or suede background, leather or suede strings.

tog suppliestogHere are the three items needed.  A piece of leather or suede; I searched for over an hour and then stumbled upon suede patches!  Just enough suede to make eight plus half moons without breaking the bank and needing to buy a bigger piece!  Then in the jewelry section I found this nice suede 1/4″ cording in several colors, (Naturally Chic).  The last thing was the surprising selection of horns from Italy in Hancock Fabrics!!

So, I measured my test toggle and determined that the strings were six inches each and were glued to the back of the half moon. I set out cutting the suede strings and half moons:

horns and  stringsuedeI used a glue that is called Tear Mender that I also found at Hancock.  It works really well and here they are coming together:

finished togsThe backs of the toggles are shown above.  Pretty simple process, I set a glass jar on top of the glued strings for a couple of minutes until they dried.  So, here is a close up of the sewn tog…I like how they turned out.

albion toggleIf you do not want to buy a toggle for the pattern, just bring a piece of paper and pencil into your store and draw around the half moon shape to use as a stencil!  I hope that helps, just think of all the shapes and colors you have at your fingertips when you get to decide!

I did not show the lining!!!! Here it is, bit of an awkward photo, but I know you will understand.


Love and happiness to everyone and to those that may be challenged with pain, keep your spirits up and take a lot of time to rest this holiday season!



Filed under Threads

Sew, to catch up with my postings….

I deeply admire all of the seamstresses out there that can not only sew insanely talented pieces but can also crank out witty blogs with clear, professional photographs.  It is not easy and I get a tad envious I will admit.  I have however learned to appreciate what I am able to do and be happy about it.  Period.    I have sewn seven or eight pieces in the last few months so I did meet my goal of “sewing five pieces that I would wear”  so here we go!

Number One: was done while it was still warm but my daughter wants to wear it for the holidays with a sweater.  It is Colette’s Macaron and I think it is an adorable dress.  I challenged myself to match stripes which I was able to do at least down center front and a few inches on either side AND to use a very thin cotton voile for the bodice.  I was surprised at how delicate this fabric was to work with and attach to the heavier cotton pieces.  Sometimes I like to sketch out my idea first:

Macaron sketchI use a bit of sketching paper and colored pencils and cut a swatch of the material I want to use.  When I am working on it, I tape it on my wall and if I like it maybe it stays for good!

macaron oneThis photo really captures just how cute this dress is.  I did not make the waist band contrasting so that I could highlight the contours and pleats.

macaron sixMy daughter plans on wearing this with tights and a sweater for the holidays but you can see what a great summer dress this would be!

macaron threeThis is CF and I was able to line up using a bit of glue stick to help but I did realize that the pattern instruction shows that the bodice and waist are supposed to line up perfectly before you sew, but they are not.  If you follow the ‘matching notches’ it will be counter intuitive and will be sewing a curve to a flat piece but I checked with a very nice person at CP and they assured me that was the case!

Dress 2:  The “Do I like this dress”? Vogue 8918

I will not say too much about this other than the jury is still out….I used a wonderful Italian wool knit from Gorgeous Fabrics and I really want to like this.  I will say…the pictures do not do it justice but  it is just a tad awkward.  The sketch:

drawing of vogueSo far, so good.  Instructions are clear, material is to die for…it took just a couple of hours until I tried it on.  HMMMMMM!

V8918 oneMy daughter’s bewildered look says it all.  what is the neck supposed to do?  In all fairness, I have seen this work in two other posts but I still felt the same way…torn.  And I really like the idea and thought many, many times about trying it again but making the curve less dramatic but there are SO many other patterns I want to sew…so

Hold on, does this change your  mind?

V8918 twoOh good gravy I should not have posted that.  I do realize I can delete but you know what?  I am not sure if I have any readers so what the heck!!  OK, wait….I was able to get my daughter to stand just right…so if you are at that cocktail party stand by the wall and DO NOT move!

last oneSee, it does have potential to look like the pattern picture but you have to also be the sketched mannequin 🙂

Not to be deterred.  I have better pieces to come.  Like….

Number 3: Sewaholic Hollyburn

I really, really like her patterns.  They are so darn easy and fit so well.  This is a red wool crepe and I ended up doing a lining in silk georgette.  A bit bumpy on the pic but it is cute, trust me!

hollyburn 1So, two things on this skirt that I want to showcase.  Number one is the back zipper.  I used a fun striped number and since I have loved the way pick (or prick) stitches look, I wanted to try it for the first time…and you can tell.  But you know what?  Next time I know what I will do in order to have neat and even stitches, so I learned something!

hollyburn 2So there.  In addition, I really like having a wonderful silk lining to help the drape and it feels great!  I serged the seams of the lining using a rolled edge and silk thread AND in this next photo you can see that for the hem I used bias tape….WHAT?  I loved the way it worked.

hollyburn 3This is the inside of the skirt!!  First time for the rolled edge on the serger.  I changed the thread, removed the knife finger and one needle….all in one afternoon. 🙂

Moving on to Number 4:

This is a quick snap of a blouse that I am officially in love with!! the Sewaholic Alma.  Can you say options?????  It is easy;  I am getting used to that with Sewaholic patterns but the result is anything but simple!  I had yards of vintage material from a flea market and had washed it about twenty times to become usable. To muslin this pattern that material kept calling at me to be used and guess what?  My daughter snatched it up and by golly just look at her face…you would think she were in a trance from watching too much “New Girl”.

vintage almaThe only thing I did was add some bias tape to the sleeve to help balance the collar.  This fabric has been folded for about forty years so I do not know if I will ever get the cf crease out but note to everyone:  Alma is fantastic!!

Last but not least Number 5:

I will affectionately call this my pajama dress, aka Vogue 8665.  Great easy pattern and a HECK of a comfortable dress!!

V8665 oneI used two different ponte’s to create a bit of shaping.  This dress took a lot of material at this length so I will warn you about that, BUT it is easy, comfy and I think it looks pretty darn good! I skipped the zipper, what do I need it for if I can slip this easily over my head?

V8665 twoIf you can tell, I have not hemmed it yet but I am planning on doing the same thing to the hem as I did to the neckline.  Instead of the double fold method that Vogue calls for, I made my own bias tape out of silk charmeuse and voila,

V8665 threeI think it adds a nice touch!  I went a tad too narrow on this at 1 1/4 so next time I will do 1 1/2 so that there is no issue of catching it on the other side!

That’s it for now,  my five “wear-ables”.   I am working on a beautiful jersey cowl top with fabric from Sawyer Brooke and will post within the week.  Thanks for reading!!

1 Comment

Filed under Threads