Some old and new.

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First things first. This blog left off with an unfinished garment and without sew along closure (literally). My lined Salamanca jacket from ITS has sat on my Singer 301 waiting for buttonholes since whatever the date is on my last blog post. I don’t know. Sometime back in the spring I think. In that time period I went from being very part time employed to 30+ hours of just trying to keep up in a busy busy tailoring shop; and from being a homeschool Mom to an empty nester. Wow. It has been a wild ride these past few months. And there are other neglected things besides this blog, like the wonderful sewing community on this fb page that has been cared for by Crystal and Jewel.

Finally, after some serious on the job training, catching my breathe and doing some heavy duty mourning for my kiddo who is in the Navy, I feel like I can resume some normal living and there was no time like a nice long three day weekend to get some sewing mojo going.

So, Salamanca jacket from ITS is complete! Honestly, after everything was dusted off and I started threading my machine needle correctly, it took me all of 10 minutes to make buttonholes. I had already sewed on the buttons so boom…done! Now there is a UFO lesson. 10 lousy minutes and something that has been gnawing at the back of my sewing brain complete!

The jacket was sewn with stretch twill and lined with a beautiful gray lining (which this pictures does not do justice).

salainside

 

I added this braid
5 Yards 1/2" Black Gimp Braided Trim, Gimp Braid, Braided Cord, Braided Gimp Trim, Scroll Braid Trim, Black braided trim, Black Trim, black

to the front placket edges and all around the bottom of the jacket. It turned out nice. The jacket was sewn for my daughter but if she doesn’t like it, I will keep it for myself.

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Next up, another UFO, albeit this one a bit fresher but also for the daughter! This McCall’s dress in tissue knit.

Here’s where working at a tailoring shop really paid some home sewing dividends for me.

madiswingdress

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In the past, I would not have even attempted a bias dress in tissue knits, especially one with long seam lines. NO WAY. But, at work we sew on every type of material, doing all sorts of unimaginable sewing techniques. I have never heard my boss say “that won’t work”. What she says is “try this” or “hmmm…how about doing it this way”.  There is no fabric or technique I fear in sewing. Thus far I have found nothing impossible. So the McCall’s dress was just sewed up la de da la, all casual like. This swing dress is my first item for my daughter’s Seasonal Sew Wardrobe: Working 9-5. If you join the Sew Along and Sew Contest fb page, you can read all about the SSW here.

But, still more sewing! How about a new pattern?? I was a tester for the new Bonn pattern from Kennis at ITS. I sewed up the shirtdress with long sleeves adding contrast at the collar, cuffs and sash.

As usual, Kennis did a fabulous job with pattern drafting and instructions. She makes things so easy.

The pattern has many different sleeve options and can be sewn up shirt or dress length. I have been wanting a good shirtdress pattern for a while so this fit the bill.

For the dress, I used a midweight linen blend which turned out to be a bad choice for this dress. Not near enough drape to get the desired effect I was wanting.  When I sew this again, it will definitely be with a rayon.

For the next couple of days, Kennis is offering a store sale to celebrate the release of Bonn. You can get 20% off (normal price $12 and after the 20% off, it’s $9.6). Also, she is offering 15% off the cart if purchasing any 2 or more patterns.

It was so nice to just sew this long weekend and to get 2 UFO’s out of the way. Still have some catching up to do but things are off on the right track!!

bybysummer

 

 

Salamanca Post 7 (early!) Sleeves and Collars

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Note: Step 36 has you hand tack/hand stitch some areas of the lining to the outer shell. I slipstitched my hem facing to the outer layer before I basted the top closed. I have now slipstitched two jackets, one at the end of construction and one before I closed the top. Honestly, I have found little difference between them as far as one way making things easier.

This is the home stretch Salamanca sew alongers! Today we are looking at the final construction steps of our jackets. Last week’s post was a day late but I am making up for it by posting this week two days early! This weekend I am attending this awesome sewing event so thought I would get a head start to the weekend.

Okay, so let’s look at our sleeves. I am in love with the way the lining is sewn in our jackets including how these lined sleeves come together. I have to admit when I took my first look I was “huh?” But, it all comes together quite nicely and effortlessly!

There are just a couple issues in which to be aware. Things can get a bit confusing so it is best to work with one side at a time keeping the other sleeve and lining tucked in and out of the way. Also, it is important the sleeves do not become twisted during the process. Keep the sleeve seams facing each other as you organize and prepare to sew and you can avoid this problem. (Click then hover over photo to see text!)

Pin. Pin. Pin with right sides together (sleeves will be facing each other at this point as illustrated in line drawing number 24). I am not a big pinner anymore after taking this Craftsy class and I became aware of how pinning was slowing me down, but here, they are absolutely essential. Don’t be pin shy, load the sleeve up.

sleevespinned

Line up seams and pin all around, right sides together.

Now baste in place! It only takes a moment and is well worth the little bit of extra effort.

bastingthesleeve

After basting take a look and make sure all is in order and your sleeve is not twisted and then go back and sew the seam. I removed my sewing table to have more room and kept checking to make sure everything underneath was out of the way.

allinplace

Go slow. It is okay to sew slow! Slow is good here. If everything is correct, when you turn the sleeve right side out, the hem will fold up to the lining inside. It looks sooo purrrrty and such a nice clean finish.

completedsleeve

Repeat for the other side and ta-da! your sleeves are complete!

Now time to attach our collars. Baste your lining and shell together at the top. Here is where I made a design choice other than what the pattern calls for. I am not a huge fan of gathers on raglan sleeves. I have larger arms and nice full shoulders. Gathers draw attention and make things seem larger in my opinion. The only time I like to use gathers is at a waistline to draw it in as on this dress or to enhance my bustline. They are marvelous for that!

I decided to use an inverted pleat instead that sits right at the shoulder point. This is a simple adjustment.

Prepare your yokes as instructed.

yokes

Make sure the circles are marked on your uninterfaced yoke.

collarmarked

Line these circles up with your raglan sleeve seams as instructed in step 30 as you are pinning your collar. Now begin to push all your fabric in toward the collar seam that sits in the middle of the raglan sleeve when complete. The middle of your inverted pleat will sit right at the seam. Pin on both sides of the seam to hold your pleat in place.

raglaninvertedpleat

 

pleatpinned

Now sew the collar as instructed in steps 30-32. I did not understitch the collar. I just pulled my inside yoke a bit further over to give that top seam a gentle nudge to the inside. I kind of have gone off of understitching after a few ugly disasters. I basted my collar in place to avoid pulls and then hand stitched it down with a fell stitch.

That is all for this week! Next week we will put on our closures!  I would love to see your progress on the Itch to Stitch fb page!

A reminder: Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To be eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

March 16th – Introductory Post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues Post

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew Post

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell Post

April 1st (2nd) – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell Post

April 8th (6th) – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 20th  – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

See you on Friday!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together quarterly to sew seasonal wardrobe pieces! Oh, and there are prizes!

P.S.S. I am destashing! Lots of fabrics, notions, books, magazines! You are welcome to post sewing items for sale as well! Judy’s Destash.

 

 

Salamanca Continues…post 6

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Salamanca-Cropped-Jacket-Product-Hero-509x756

Hello and welcome to post 6 of the Itch to Stitch Salamanca sew along.  In this post we are looking at steps 15 through 22 in our pattern instructions.  I stayed up late Thursday night to get caught up on my lined version and to be able to post on Friday. But I ended up judging a mock trial and having to do some things for our college girl most of the day, had to work earlier today and so have only been able to put the final editing on this post in the last couple hours! So sorry for the delay but you had an extra day to catch up!

Mid week last week I actually started completely from scratch on my lined version because I got to thinking about when and where I would use the jacket and determined it would most likely be in to the fall. That being said, I am trying really hard to shed some unwanted pounds right now (5 down, woohoo!!) and know that a size 12 is right where I need to be currently so…. I decided to sew a size 10. It is a gamble folks but one I am willing to take because if you are aware of my fabric stash, you know I have LOTS of choices should I need to remake the jacket due to sizing. But I won’t need to as I am feeling particularly determined.🙂🙂

But on to the sew along. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to start thinking about your front closures.  My lined version will be my third Salamanca but the first one I plan to have button closures. Truth.  I struggle with buttonholes. I have a wonderful machine that makes beautiful button holes…on the practice fabric, but I have yet to make a single buttonhole on a real garment that I have been satisfied with or did not have to unpick. I know I am not alone in my woes (Crystal). So frankly, I am terrified.

Over spring break my daughter traveled to New York City. Before she left I told her “if you happen across a big button with a needle coming out of it, give me a call”.

At 6:30 pm on a Saturday night she texts me a picture of the big button and they are standing in front of Pacific Trimming!

What else is there for her to do but go in! 15 minutes and $50 later she texts me “SCORE!” and brings home various buttons and 5 yards of the most beautiful red Petersham.  It’s the little things you know.  So I have no excuse, my lined Salamanca must have buttons. I plan only one large top button for the unlined version.

Step 15 has us sewing our facings together and 16 applying them to our lining. Make sure you match up notches correctly in these steps.

hemfacingattached

From there move to the front centers and with right sides together pin your lining to your main panel. Again, match your notches. Here you will find excess fabric. That is correct. This type of lining is called a jump lining and allows for movement when wearing. I wish I had known about jump linings when I sewed my daughter’s wool coat last year. It is my humble opinion all coat linings should have this excess.

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This is what it looks like after pinning. 

Sew the front edges together starting from the bottom and sew to the top.

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Fold back the front edges at the fold lines. Now sew the main jacket and lining right sides together at the hem edge. Turn your jacket right side out. Understitch as directed in step 22. Kennis has a nice picture tutorial on page 13 of understitching.

fronttoback

Front edge has been turned back on fold line. Main and lining pieces pinned at bottom edge. 

And that is it for today! Now you have a whole week to catch up. Next Friday, we will sew sleeves and attach our yoke.

Here’s mine so far.

shellliningtogether

A reminder: Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To be eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

March 16th – Introductory Post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues Post

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew Post

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell Post

April 1st (2nd) – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 8th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 20th  – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

See you on Friday!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together quarterly to sew seasonal wardrobe pieces! Oh, and there are prizes!

 

Salamanca Jacket Sew Along- post 5

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Hello Sew Lovelies! Today we begin to sew our jackets!!

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See end of post for a great coupon Kennis has generously supplied!

In this post we will be completing steps 5 through 13 of the pattern instructions, assembling both our outer jacket and lining shell. These steps actually go pretty quick if you don’t do like I did and make mistakes or change your mind about things midsew!

Because my fabric had a bit of stretch and this version of the jacket is unlined I began by staystitching about ¼” inside the 3/8” seam allowance on both my front and back neckline prior to putting in the pleat to avoid any stretching of my fabric.

staystitchingstaystitchingback

Actually, further along in the project I realized it would have been easier to just serge all around my pieces as I ended up doing that anyway! However, I had started out with one plan on finishing my seams (Hong Kong finish) but ended up doing something different (serge finish) which caused me to take some unnecessary sewing steps along the way and to skip ones I needed later.

Lesson learned: decide on a seam finish up front, have what you need to complete that finish and stick with it!

I also considered a double welt (I have always called these jetted pockets) pocket and did a little practice using this great tutorial by Kennis. Also, here and here are videos on constructing a welt that are quite good.

weltpocket

My practice pocket. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I decided against the jetted pocket because I plan for the jacket to be free of closures except for one button at the very top and my jacket will hang open. I did not want the interfacing and pocket bag to show so in the end I skipped it. After I had constructed my shell I actually thought of a cute way to include the pocket with pretty design details on the inside. I guess that is for a later jacket!! Sigh.

Next, the front self facing edge was serge finished and the finished edge turned under a scant ¼”. The edge was then topstitched down.

frontfacingsew

The pins are holding my pleat in place. I re-basted them down over the top edge of the facing once the facing was secure.

At this point, I realized my pleats were very uneven. Not sure how that happened, but take a moment to double check your front pleat placement and adjust as necessary. I decided to unpick a few basting stitches holding the pleats so the facing would lie underneath the pleat versus on top.

Now on to the sleeves which were easy peasy. The sleeve hem was serge finished and the sleeve turned up and topstitched just as the front facing had been. I have discovered an affinity for deep hems, don’t know why but I love them.

sleevefacingandhem

Now I was on step 8 where we start sewing all the pieces together. That part went pretty quick. If you are sewing the lined version complete both the shell and lining.

My unlined version is ready for the yoke (now to catch up with the lined version):

completedshell

All done for today. On Friday, we will our add facings and sew the lining to the shell. After Friday, things slow down a bit so if you are just getting started or need to catch up there will be some time!

A reminder: Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To be eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

March 16th – Introductory Post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues Post

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew Post

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 8th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 20th  – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

See you on Friday!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together quarterly to sew seasonal wardrobe pieces! Oh, and there are prizes!

Cutting out our Salamanca Jacket – Post 4

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Hello and welcome back to the Salamanca Jacket sew along! Today we are cutting our fashion fabric and applying interfacing (steps 1 -4 of the instructions).

I am cutting out my unlined version first using a lighter weight denim with the slightest stretch. Last year, I sewed up this suit for my daughter with the same fabric.

madisuit

The fabric sews and wears beautifully. After sewing her suit I purchased the remaining yard of fabric from the local Joann’s and that with about 1 1/4 yards left from the suit was enough to cut out my jacket pieces.

If you are sewing up an unlined version you can skip cutting any lining pieces, still cut out all the facing pieces and corresponding interfacing though. When I cut my lined version, I will cut all the pieces again including the lining pieces.

I use a rotary cutter and mat to cut out my fashion fabric keeping all the pattern, fabric and interfacing pieces together. One of the things on my to buy list is a large continuous cutting mat so I do not have to move my pieces around when cutting.

After cutting I then lay out my pieces with wrong sides up and using a press cloth, I apply any interfacing.

frontsreadytofuse

Applying the interfacing this time was super quick and easy as I used my new Reliable Steam iron which I won!! I registered early for this sewing event and earned an extra entry for a $500 prize from Reliable! With the $500 I ordered this iron and a work light. So cool. I had unpacked the iron about two weeks ago and have just been waiting to use it. This was the first time I did and it was amazing. It made very short work of fusing interfacing!

newsteamiron

After applying the interfacing to the appropriate fabric pieces, which this is the fist time in my sewing life I wished there was more to fuse🙂, I went back and snipped all notches, my pleat lines on the back piece and marked all pattern markings with a Frixion erasable pen. (They are on sale right now at Joann’s.) This way, I will not lose any snips or markings when they are covered by interfacing or erased by the heat of the iron. Remember, the notches and pattern markings are essential for later construction so take the time to get this part right!

Next week we will begin construction so thread up your sewing machines or sergers, wind your bobbins, pick out your buttons, and tidy up your area if need be! And, if you get the chance, please post pictures of your work in progress over on the Itch to Stitch fb page.

See you next week!

A reminder: Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To be eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

March 16th – Introductory Post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues Post

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 8th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 20th  – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

See you on Friday!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together quarterly to sew seasonal wardrobe pieces! Oh, and there are prizes!

 

 

Making our test Salamanca Jacket – post 3

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Important note: The notches and gathering dots on this pattern are very important for construction. If you make alterations do not forget to make the appropriate changes or edits to your pattern markings.

Salamanca-Cropped-Jacket-Product-Hero-509x756 Happy Wednesday and welcome back to the Salamanca Jacket sew along!

Today we will begin sewing up our muslin and checking fit. I am using my tester version as my muslin with a possible minimal change; reducing a bit of the curve at top center front of my jacket yoke.

For your test version, it is good if you can use a fabric that is similar in weight and drape to your fashion fabric but that is not always possible. If you can not get close, take that in to consideration when you are assessing your muslin fit. Also, remember your muslin will not be lined and in your final version that lining will take up some space.

You will need the following pattern pieces for your test (number in parentheses denotes the pattern piece number): Front (1) in your cup size, Back (2), Front Yoke (3), Back yoke (4), Sleeve (5),

The jacket is pretty straight forward except for the gathered raglan sleeves which can present a bit of a fitting problem. An issue you may experience is bunching of fabric at the front or back of the sleeve. (See many tester versions in this ITS post  and check out their sleeve fit). Overall, my sleeve fit was pretty good.

cropjacket1

However, you might find you need or want to take out some excess fabric or reshape the front or back of the raglan. To get an idea of how to do this, page 19 of this Linda Lee pdf provides some general information.

http://sewingworkshop.com/files/Fitting_Shoulders-April.pdf

Here is an in depth look at fba adjustment with raglan sleeves from Colette.

Also, some information on excess fabric at front of sleeve can be found here:

If you plan on changing the shape of the collar here and here are some general ideas and fit concepts.

On Friday, we will be begin cutting our fashion fabric and lining and apply interfacing so make sure you have some interfacing available. I try to prepare all the notions I will need and have my fabrics preshrink, pressed and ready to go the day before I actually want to start sewing.

A reminder: Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To be eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

Last, please note the change of the sew along schedule. I have started a part time job and need to slow things down a bit.

March 16th – Introductory Post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 8th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 20th  – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

See you on Friday!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together monthly and/or quarterly to sew all types of garments and stuff! Oh, and there are prizes!

 

 

Salamanca Sew Along – sizing, pattern and fabric

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Hello and welcome back to the Salamanca Jacket sew along! If you are just joining us, here a link to the introductory post. Today, we are looking at sizing, preparing our pattern and selecting fabric.

Salamanca Size Chart:

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My general experience with Itch to Stitch (ITS) patterns is they run a bit larger than I am use to in comparison to ready to wear and definitely in comparison with other independent designers. I almost always can size down. I am a solid 14 bodice, sometimes 16 with other patterns but I regularly sew a size 12 ITS pattern. Kennis does provide the finished garment measurements which is what I go by when choosing my size.

The pattern also has different pattern pieces for different cup sizes so you will need to measure your cup size which is explained thoroughly in the pattern instructions. Here and here are some additional links if you need additional instructions.  Again, I was right on the edge of being able to go up to the D cup but here I went with my ready to wear sizing in bras which is a C cup since this is not a form fitted garment.

I do encourage you to take a look at other completions here and assess those body types and the Salamanca fit against what you know about your own. When determining my size, according to Kennis’ size chart and finished garment measurements, I was solidly a size 14 but looking at two things, the sleeve design and the collar height including the way it laid, I knew those two areas would be problems for me in the larger size. I did not want to have to do a shoulder alteration on a raglan sleeve (more on that later). As far as sleeve length,  I could just shorten the sleeve if need be. I could have actually measured the pattern pieces to confirm (this is a little tricky when gathering is involved) everything but being familiar with Kennis’ sizing, I felt I was solid ground just by looking at the way the sleeve fit other testers.

I only printed the pages I needed, again Kennis provides a chart in the instructions which explain which pieces to print. I always, always, always have problems printing a pdf pattern. For many months I was using an old version of Acrobat which I did not realize and it was printing things funky and with chopped edges or off center.  Make sure you have the current version! I still have things print weird but it is never anything major and I make sure to measure the test box. For some reason this pattern printed with no margin on one side and a big margin on the other. Why? No idea, but my test box was good so I just proceeded with taping the pattern.

You also only have to print out your size which is explained in the directions. This is such a super cool feature of pdf patterns if you need to grade between sizes. I am to the point now where if the single size feature is not available on a pattern I consider a different pattern because otherwise I am tracing and taking up precious sewing time.

Now the fun part. Fabric, fabric, fabric!! The sew along allows time for  a quick unlined muslin version so grab some fabric for that then start thinking about fashion fabric if you have not already. In my tester version I used a very stable lightweight cotton twill/home décor type fabric. It was like sewing butter, no stretching or shifting – very stable under the needle, loved the iron, just perfect. I am not 100% sure but believe my lining on the test version is a rayon or a polyester blend. Both were thrown in the washing machine and they both came out fine. Due to the color of my main fabric – mainly white, it will requiring washing, so I needed to make sure both fabrics were washable. I did not dry my lining fabric though, just put in out in the sun a bit. Both washed and dried beautifully.

Above are my fabrics for the sew along – a nice mid-weight denim with slight stretch on the left for the unlined version and for the lined version a medium weight twill with the slightest stretch and a bemberg lining. Both are washable. I plan on a hong kong seam finish for the unlined version in red or something similar.

If you get the chance please head over to the ITS fb page and post pictures of your fabric choices. Questions can be posted here or at the fb page or both!

Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along. Also, she is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

See you next week!

The schedule will be as follows (please note schedule is subject to change based on the needs of a husband, college student and 17 year old soon to graduate):

March 16th – Introductory Post, Schedule

March 18th – This Post

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 6th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 15th – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

 

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together monthly and/or quarterly to sew all types of garments and stuff! Oh, and there are prizes!

 

Salamanca Sew Along

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Recently I had the privilege to test a new pattern for Kennis at Itch to Stitch. I have done quite a bit of testing for different designers over the past couple of years but I always particularly love to test for Kennis because, in my opinion, she has a knack for making sewing simple. Techniques in which sewist shy away, like jeans fly or button plackets, are made to seem like beginners’ work with the explanations and drawings that are presented in an Itch to Stitch pattern.

Although she has never expressed it that I am aware of, I believe Kennis has a good amount of sewing knowledge in her sewing repertoire just waiting to be released in her patterns. In brief, with some good motivation and patience, it seems any level of sewer could enjoy and sew her patterns due to her knowledge and ability to teach. I promise she is not paying me to say these things. Everything in this post and future sew along posts is strictly my opinion.

Kennis does have a few knit fabric patterns but has also delved in to the woven pattern world which is somewhat dangerous due to the continual issues people experience with fit. Reason number 2 on why I appreciate her patterns. They fit me pretty well and I have minimal fit issues. This, I find surprising because it is no surprise that designers mostly design for themselves and then grade up or down. I am solidly in the curvy lady pattern category and Kennis is not. I don’t have an explanation for this but am happy it works for me!

So back to pattern testing. I tested the Salamanca Jacket and fell in love. The pattern looks medium level complicated but it is not largely due to good pattern drafting and easy to understand instructions. There are a few tricky parts but with patience and determination I think can be overcome. It is a cropped style which is my favorite jacket style because I am a shorty but it works equally well on those taller. It can be lined or unlined (I think – we will find out). One can fancy it up or dress it down and add closures or not. But whatever design or fitting tweeks the pattern is given, when all is said and done one will have a solid wardrobe stable.

You can read Kennis’ blog post announcing the pattern release here as well as see many more examples of finished Salamanca Jackets. In the testing phase, my biggest regret is not spending more time carefully selecting fabric. It wasn’t very far in to my testing, and after I knew I had good fit, that I regretted not bringing out the “good fabric”. While I absolutely loved the comfort level of my main fabric and the vibrant blue of my lining, it is somewhat limited due to the print and definitely falls in to the more casual category. Also, my print is a bit, shall we say, dated?

Well, the only way to remedy my fabric choice was to make more! And, after deciding I would be sewing up at least one, maybe two more, it was a small leap to decide on a sew along.

Over the next month I would love for you to join me in sewing this great little jacket. I will be sewing two versions over the course of the month, lined and unlined (fingers crossed).

Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes  from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along.

Also, Kennis is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

The schedule will be as follows (please note schedule is subject to change based on the needs of a husband, college student and 17 year old soon to graduate):

March 16th – This post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 6th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 15th – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

Hope to see you on the 18th!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together monthly and/or quarterly to sew all types of garments and stuff! Oh, and there are prizes!

 

 

 

Testing, testing, testing!

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This past week was a bit busy with pattern testing.

I was chosen to test two patterns for Kennis over at Itch to Stitch. I have tested for Kennis on several occasions as well as purchased and sewn several of her patterns. Kennis has a knack for taking more advanced sewing techniques and making them quite simple. So if you have ever wanted to sew a button placket or a jeans fly, play with gathering or attach a collar I suggest you give her patterns a try!

This week she is releasing  4 patterns together and offering a great discount at her shop. The two patterns I tested are the Salamanca Jacket and the Zamora blouse.

As soon as I started sewing up the Zamora blouse I had a bit of déjà vu. I have a vintage pattern that has so many of the same features. I asked Kennis if her blouse was styled after a vintage blouse and she said yes, it was. The blouse has many design elements that give it a real feminine flare; pin tucks, gathers, back darts and a sweet bow all work together to make a sweet breezy blouse for spring and summer. Of course it would also make a beautiful holiday blouse in black or red silk or satin.  A sheer would be well worth the effort!

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The instructions and illustrations are very clear; however this is not a blouse one should try to blow out in a day. There are a lot of steps to get all of those wonderful feminine features and they should be gone about methodically. IMO anyway. I used a semi sheer lightweight linen blend for my test. It was easy to work with and I highly recommend if you are not confident in the shirt making business to use a friendly fabric your first go round.

This was the first Itch to Stitch design in which I had to make some pretty serious pattern alterations and with more time would probably have made even more. For example, I am short waisted and would definitely want to bring up the v neck in future additions. This gets a bit tricky with the pin tucks and tie though so I did not attempt it under the time constraints of testing.

The second pattern I tested was the Salamanca jacket.

I love, love, love this jacket. It looks way more complicated than it is and has cool features like a jump lining (never had sewn one of those – a fancy name for a lining that has some give and allows for movement) and gathered raglan sleeves.

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I was a little unsure about the high low hem but in the end I quite liked the look. I chose to forgo the closures knowing that this was going to be a casual wear with jeans type jacket. In retrospect I wish I had spent a bit more time on fabric choice but plan to make more with different fabrics such as a quality denim with a tad bit of stretch or a nice midweight linen. I think one of the testers did a plaid version which was outstanding!

If you have ever feared the jacket, the Salamanca would be an excellent pattern to start you off. Once again, Kennis makes sewing easy peasy with clear directions and illustrations.  And she is always available to help with questions on her fb page.

Overall, I am glad I tested but doing two intermediate type patterns in one week was a bit stressful. But, I am happy with my two new additions! Thanks Kennis for having me test!

 

Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together monthly and/or quarterly to sew all types of garments and stuff! Oh, and there are prizes!

“If you aim at nothing…

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…you will hit it every time” Zig Ziglar.

This is part 4 in a series on organizing your sewing and was published on the Stashbusting Sew A Long fb page in January 2016. Click to read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Now that you have organized and counted your fabric, found homes for your books, magazines and patterns, and tidied up your sewing area; it is time to put pencil to paper and write out some sewing related goals for the upcoming year.

For some this may be the hardest part, for others, the easiest. Just like I love the promise a new year brings, I love setting goals and making my plan.

A quick way to greatly improve your sewing is by implementing two simple ideas: set some goals and have a plan. Following are some ideas to think about prior to setting out in your goal setting.

Give yourself an honest evaluation. If you have trouble sticking to your goals only set a few the first time around. Make them short term and very easy to achieve! Once you have succeeded with those goals, set new ones a little more aggressive and more difficult. Keep inching your way toward your big goals.

Don’t set goals you absolutely know you will/can not attain or that you don’t really care about.  Don’t treat yourself in a haphazard fashion! You and your goals are important and treat them as such!

When setting goals taking a look at the big picture is important. I find the Zig Ziglar quote at the top of this post to be especially true. It is important to know what you are aiming at, or at least have a very good idea before setting out. For example, now that I know how much stash I have and what is in my stash is documented, keeping my fabric purchases to a minimum is an immediate and long term goal for me.  (A little brag here, I haven’t purchased fabric since Dec. 20, 2015!)

Be a bit flexible until you have things nailed down.  Initially as I counted my stash I had the idea of not purchasing any fabric through out the entire year. While that is possible, it may conflict with another goal and that is to replace my wardrobe with one that fits, is sewn well and lasts! I also have a business idea in mind and it will require some fabric purchases. I don’t want to set my “no fabric purchase” goal so rigid it prevents me from pursuing other well defined goals or feel like I have abandoned the goal. I find there is nothing so demoralizing as regularly giving up or walking away from goals I have set.

Set short term and long term goals with firm deadlines.  As the month of January winds down I want to finish up some projects before I begin new ones – short term. In February, I plan to participate in a sew a long on the Sew A Long and Sewing Contest fb page for a table runner and place mats. It has a “hard” end, February 29th. But I also will be participating in another sew a long for a 8 piece wardrobe with a deadline in May – deadline further away. All the while, working toward even longer term goals such as building my business or reducing stash which don’t have a specific end date but instead more benchmarks.

Plan your goals in detail. All of the above is great but if I have not planned out some details such as what fabric I plan on using, times I can sew, the who, what, where details of starting my business the goals don’t really mean much. Write down all the details where it is convenient for you find and review them.

Allow yourself some mistakes and adjust as necessary. A big problem for me has been taking on too many sewing projects or trying to branch out in too many areas, not getting anywhere and then feeling like a failure. In the past I have had to give on some things to make others work. Now that I am more in tune with where I am going and what I personally hope to gain from my sewing it happens less but it is still a danger! It is okay to miss the mark occasionally, the bigger issue is understanding why you did and adjusting your behavior accordingly.

If you go off the rails, hit the reset button. Even if you stray far from your goal, you can always come back! Look at what went wrong and why, maybe that was the wrong goal or something has changed which you had no control over. Just acknowledge and move on.

Check in on yourself. You went through the trouble of setting, planning and writing down your goal now make sure you check in with yourself. I try to do this weekly. While it is nice to have an accountability partner, that is not always practical. Look at what you wrote down, contemplate on what you have finished.

Document your achievement. Keep a diary or log all that you have done! When you are feeling overwhelmed go take a look. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we are capable. Use your log to motivate you to go further!

I think it was Anthony Robbins who said, people over estimate what they can do in one year but underestimate what they can do in five years! Just imagine what you can do in the next several months, years or five years! The possibilities are limitless!

Now go set those sewing goals in your beautiful tidy sewing area and give yourself a big pat on the back for a great month of organizing and goal setting!!

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