Saturday, February 28, 2015

Made a joyful Joyful Top from Hot Patterns...

How did Mr. Lizard get in the first pic? Handsome little guy...

I've spent 3 days finding the joy in the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. And I've got it!

A preface: I love Indie pattern makers. So many new ideas and designs. I can spot a Koos or Tilton or Comey from a far distance. But the Indie designers are so much more fun.

Not always easy - their concepts might not match up with their patterns. But I appreciate the concepts. Which leads me into the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. It's a free download from Trudy and Jeremy, right here in Florida (relocated from the UK). With a little plug for a lovely charity, what a great pattern.

I was drawn to the pattern because it's such a fresh look. And I've been searching for new ideas for spring and summer tops.

Love it!

Fabric: Lightweight cotton jersey, Holly Lobby  Shoes: Kork Ease buffalo leather sandals, Sundance

and the back...

I know it's black and hard to see - but here are pics of the front flounce and back gathers...

From concept to reality. When I laid out the pattern, which is a PDF, 32 pages taped together, I could see that things were not what I expected. The back is not 4 or so inches longer than the front. The flounce is not really very long.The back yoke is very narrow, side to side, and very very high on the back. 

I have to take a break here and bend at the waist with an acknowledgement to Emily at Fabric, Thread, Clothes? Her review and post on this top is the only one I've found! There are no pics on the Hot Patterns site of someone wearing this top. Emily's muslin confirmed what I was seeing in the pattern layout. Thank you, Emily!

I made a lot of changes to the pattern, so I've just shown them on a copy of the pattern layout.

Edited to add a tip: just remembered! when you tape the pattern together, just butt the paper edges to one another. They aren't meant to overlap. You have to 'imagine' the lines flowing across the edges. I found this tip on the Hot Patterns Facebook page...after pulling out my hair and reprinting the pattern a few hundred times.

 Such a cute top.

Other sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size 12.
  • My neckline is finished with a binding, rather than a narrow hem. 
  • And I added sleeves. My right upper arm is bandaged, elbow to shoulder, due to my scleroderma, for 8 months now. Which is why you see so many garments with sleeves lately on my blog. I wear sleeveless around the house, but enjoy having things I can wear outside without a cardi! I used the sleeve from the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress, which worked really well. My change to the top pattern was a simple 1/2" extension of the outside shoulder with a little redrafting of the armscye.

So - I love my top. I'm sewing a white one tomorrow. I did put a lot of time into redrafting the pattern, but I enjoy this part of sewing. 

If you make one, you might consider widening and dropping the back yoke. And narrowing the flounce. I don't think this pattern would work well in woven cottons, but lightweight knit and chiffon, voile, mesh knits...yes.

Parting shot. The Easter bunny came by. Hope he comes back.

Ciao! Coco

Friday, February 27, 2015

Indulging myself - but it's my birthday!

Birthdays are special...

Mine is tomorrow. February 28 - and I'll be 67! I was born in a Leap Year, at 9 o'clock in the evening. Were my parents worried that I might be a Leap Year baby? no! my brother, only 14 months old, was very sick with a cold. I think my Dad was a little put out that I pulled Mom away from nurse duty and left him in charge :-)

Dad was in graduate school at Stanford University, just out of the Navy. He got called back in for the Korean War - we moved 10 times up and down the California coast before I was 6. And the baby count went up to 4 in that time!

Every year I have a private celebration. When I was working, I always took a vacation day on my birthday - it was nice to just fool around, hug myself,  and enjoy my day.

At the park, 2/28/2003

Of course my annual celebration includes a gift to me from me. This year it's a new serger. Oh gosh, I need to say that again, a new serger!

Juki Pearl Line MO-654DE 2/3/4 Thread Serger w/ BONUS Package!

Includes Juki Instructional DVD Video, Juki Electronic Workbook, Juki 8 Foot Kit, 8 Cones of Thread, 50 Organ Needles, and Hemline Serger Tote Bag.

$499.99 / Free Shipping


Yes, a tote bag! I ordered online from Sewing Machines Plus (also where I purchased my Juki F600 - it came with a huge Bonus package as well, including a rolling tote bag). 

I take my machines to Ashley's house all the time, having a case for the serger will be wonderful! Kitty Nikita might be disappointed. She considers the serger threads to be her domain.

I've never had extra feet for my serger ( a Janome 8002D). This will be fun!

But I didn't get this serger for the feet. I've been a little unhappy with my Janome for a while. It's tricky to thread, kind of fussy. And I change colors a lot now that I use knits so much. Last night I was working on a Hot Patterns Joyful T. But I simply could not get my serger threaded - I threw up my hands, and went to bed with the serger open, the loft a mess, and threads everywhere. I don't like that feeling. 

This Juki has great reviews for its threading ease. I've read the users manual, researched the machine on the web, read reviews, etc., etc. Seems like a very well-priced little workhorse. I have to admit I love love that it really shows its insides - I can't imagine cleaning and oiling a serger without this feature. 

Features - it has all I need, plus things I didn't expect, like a needle threader, thread nets, and spare lower knife!

Birthdays get my vote! Bye for now - Coco

p.s. I'm 28 and holding.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Aeolian Tee - and more Laguna blue...

Before I get into the Laguna blue tee (I'm doing my best to use up this fabric), I'll share a pic from the wedding, walking in with my son... The photographer has sent a few teaser photos to Ashley, but it's only been a few days. This was taken by a guest.

I'm planning a post on my dress once I get more pics.

Inspiration - Anna at Blogless Anna and Lara at Thornberry have sewn some absolutely delightful versions of this tee! Theirs are beautiful prints, both knits and wovens. I've been really anxious to give this a go, but have been consumed by MOB dress stuff. Ah. It did feel good to tape 32 pages of paper together last night and sew up a muslin this morning :-)

Fabric: Emerald Robert Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey from Craftsy

The pattern is very simple. Boxy, with straight sides, wide raglan sleeves, and deep hems. Nice, and a very quick sew. Check out all the lengths!

There are some mysteries here. Like the size ranges:

S = 6 - 10   (10 bust is 35.5"/91cm)
M = 6 - 14  (14 bust is 37 5/6"/101cm)
L = 10 - 18

Finished bust measurements aren't given, but it's pretty easy to get them from the tissue. I sewed the short tee in size Medium - the finished bust measurement is 45.5". That's a lot of ease for me, knit or woven, but I went with the 'boxy' definition.

The length of the garment is given but it's from the highest point of the shoulder, 'HPS', where the shoulder and neck join. For the short tee in Medium, it's about 25"/63cm. For the traditionalists among us, I measured the finished length from the back neck edge, came in at 24"/61cm.

I love the deep hems on this tee and will borrow the technique on future makes. I decided to use a decorative topstitch just to break up some of this bluuuue. I serged the hem edge first, and topstitched right on top of the serging from the right side. 

Sewing Notes:
- I left off the back facing. Cannot figure a purpose for this, and it adds bulk to the back sleeve and neck seams.

- And did not use iron-on interfacing on the neckline. More bulk. I stay-stitched the neckline edges just inside the seam line.

- I used a neckline binding rather than a neckband. Just personal preference, because the inside stitching on neckbands irritates my skin.

Well, not much of this fabric left. This muslin is now in my PJ drawer, it really is nice and soft. The pattern? hmmm. I also have the Patterns for Pirates Raglan pattern - I have a suspicion it's really similar! Something is drawing me to these patterns, so I'll give this some think time and go through my stash for some fun fabrics to try.

Ciao! Coco

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wedding Bells!

At lunch with the Team Bride on Friday

Pinching myself...

I just got home, have a fresh pot of coffee, and I'm enjoying the pics I took leading up to the wedding. I only have one from the ceremony - I didn't take my camera in with me.

But I have lots of memories.

I went over on Thursday and spent the night with Ashley, Darrin and the kitties. The house was full of boxes, presents, wrappings, lists - I just listened, petted, and helped when I could.

I must say the kitties have really gotten into the spirit of gifting. They think the boxes are arriving for their pleasure...

On Friday morning, Ashley, the bridesmaids and I had mani/pedis, and I treated all to lunch. Lovely lovely time with the girls. Her 'Team Bride' are two amazing, beautiful women. They've taken really good care of her for two months, and believe me, like any bride, at times she's needed the support, love, and reassurance that only close girlfriends can give.

Friday afternoon, Ashley and I headed to the hotel with all the event items and her things, and got settled into our suites. A quick rehearsal with the wedding party Friday night, followed by great drinks and bocas at Shoeless Joe's. What a nice bunch of friends they have.

Saturday morning...I slipped into Ashley's room.

With nothing planned until 2 o'clock, we went shopping! I needed some things from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and she really needed Starbucks. It was perfect. When we got back, I remembered to take her gown out of the bag so it could 'relax', and her photographer arrived for their last run-through.

A text from my son, he had arrived, so a hug and I went off to meet him for lunch...

By the time I returned to the Bridal Suite, things were in full gear. Wow. Hair, Makeup. She and Team Bride had a practice session on all this a couple weeks ago, so they were fully on top of everything. I just praised and watched!

Last snap before I left to get dressed.

My son came for me a little before 6 o'clock. And he took this pic just before the procession.

My beautiful daughter. I could not be happier for her. The light in her face reflects all the joy in her heart. She and Darrin are so in love with one another and so happy to be married. He chose the final song for their reception - 'At Last' by Etta James.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pink for Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! And yes, my second post in two days. I just can't stand to look at all that bluish green on my blog from my last post. Just me...

I need pink!

This little dress is one of the muslins I did for my MOB dress. I've done 5 muslins from all sorts of pattern combos. Exhausted. But my MOB dress is in the closet and will be blogged post-wedding :-)

This version is basically my Jungle January dress,

BurdaStyle 05/2010 #113 with modified bodice

with  3/4 length sleeves, as in this muslin.

It's done in Tribal Stripe cotton lawn from So soft and easy to sew, it presses beautifully and doesn't wrinkle! 

Originally I thought I would line it because it's a very thin lawn. And I made a full lining, planning to connect it to the main dress with binding only at the neckline. I even added lining for the sleeves, but thought I might remove it.

I attached neckline facing using the main fabric, so that any peek-a-boo into the back or front bodice would be pretty and not afford a glimpse of lining. The facing was sewn on top of the lining, to prevent show-through of the print.

Maybe this will make a nice summer dress or nightie! because I didn't use it. The dress doesn't need it. In retrospect, I think the lining would defeat the coolness of the lawn fabric in our Florida heat and humidity.

Things learned...

So I removed that pretty facing, underlined it, and used it on the dress. I used every scrap of 5 yards of fabric. Planning, matching, and sewing the pattern of stripes was pretty challenging, particularly with the attachment of the skirt to the bodice. Additionally, the skirt has three tiers - I didn't want to end up with the same stripe where two tiers joined!

It's extraordinarily comfortable and breezy to wear. Love it.

I'm off to the market to show off. Bye for now! Coco