Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pattern Review - La Mia Boutique Cardigan

Pattern Review ~ La Mia Boutique Caridgan from 2/2010 issue #29

Pattern Description: Double ruffled collar ladies cardigan

Pattern Sizing: Italian sizes 40-46 - I made a 40, but my m'ments say I'm a 38 for tops. It's a little oversized, but for a cardigan I think that is okay, especially if you plan to wear something a little thicker under it. I might size it down to a 38 next time and see what I think. Also the fabric I used was a rayon/lycra jersey which is more drapy and relaxed than a cotton/lycra jersey so that will make a bit of a difference on the look you get.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much, they look like they used more of a sweater knit.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Well I followed Lynn's Instructions on Pattern Review so yes! I bought the March 2010 issue of Ma Boutique which is the French reprint of the Italian La Mia Boutique February 2010 issue. I don't read or speak either French of Italian so I would have have to muddle my way through if Lynn hadn't posted her instructions. If you've been sewing for any length of time I think you'd probably have no problems figuring it out on your own. I appreciated Lynn's efforts so I printed it out and read it before I started - thanks Lynn!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It's such a cute and unique cardigan - what's not to love and since I'm always cold, I'm sure I'll wear it often!

Fabric Used: I used matching rayon/lycra jersey and cotton/poly ribbing both from Joann's

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I omitted the button because I didn't anticpate ever using it. Also, I did make an error when ruffling and had to redo the lower ruffle which ended up shaving off a bit more than it should. It's not bad, but the under layer should stick out a bit more. Also my top layer of lettucing isn't as lettuce-y as it should be but I'm hoping the washer will fix that. This was my first go round and I'm very pleased with the outcome even tho it's far from perfect.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I'm sure I'll be sewing this again. It's a little tricky to find matching ribbing and knit, but Joann's actually had a decent selection when I went looking last week. I love purple, so it worked out perfect for me.

I'd definitely recommend trying the cardi if you have this issue in your collection.

Conclusion: Really cute cardi, I'm so glad this was brought to my attention on the PR message board. :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pattern Review - McCalls 5974

McCall's 5974 ~ Palmer/Pletsch The Perfect Knit Dress

Pattern Description: Ladies knit dresses with scoop neck or mock crossover with self-ties. Bodice has front pleats, self-faced midriff, pleated skirt front, back zipper, and three lengths of sleeves. I made view "C" - the mock wrapover with 3/4 sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: 8-24W - I made size 8 based on my chest m'ment which is also my typical size for tops. Since the dress is fuller through the hips, I didn't alter the waist and hips for my m'ments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were such great instructions. Having taking a Palmer/Pletsch fitting class from Marta in Fall 2008 and being a fan of the FFRP books by Pati & Marta, it was great to see the fitting addressed in the pattern sheets. The first sheet (both front and back) discussing tissue fitting, how to get the tissue ready for fitting, trying on the tissue, and common alterations you might have to make for this particular pattern. It is a mini FFRP course right in the pattern envelope! My only disappointment is they show how to make a FBA (full bust adjustment), but no SBA (small bust adjustment - they don't really discuss this to any length in the book either so I should be surprised).

Throughout the instructions there are helpful tips to guide the seamstress along so that the outcome is as professional as possible. The only thing I find utterly rediculous is that they don't have you put the sleeve in flat. This pattern is for knits only and they have you set in the sleeve - so dumb! One nice "tip" they offer is suggesting you try on the dress during the sewing process to see if you really need a zipper for your body shape. This is such great advice because putting a zipper in a knit dress is down right nuts (well unless you need it to be able to put it on).

One last interesting tidbit is that they give you 1" seam allowances in the sides to give you a little extra wiggle room when you're fitting.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? There are lots of positive reviews about this dress so I decided to give it a whirl. I really like the look of wrap dresses on my figure so I thought this might be a good on to have in my wardrobe. Beware, if you're making the mock wrap dress, it requires 2 5/8 yds - 3 5/8 yds depending on your pattern size ~ a hefty chunk of fabric.

Fabric Used: I used some poly/lycra knit I purchased at Joann's that was in my stash. I had almost 2.5 yds and was able to eek out the dress with no fabric to spare.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I altered the pattern tissue by giving myself a 1/2" broad back adjustment and a slight swayback tuck. I also shortened the dress by 1". I probably didn't need to shorten it, but when I pinned it up that is where I liked it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew the dress again. It was easy to sew (took me about half a day or so from start to finish). I decided Saturday morning I should have a new Easter dress for church and then had it done by 3pm. This included doing a little tissue fitting as well to make sure the bust fit. Unfortunately it ended up being too big so next time I will make a SBA on my tissue. I should have known better, but the tissue fit well (duh the tissue is not knit! LOL). Thankfully it doens't gape open, it's just a little bit fuller in the bust area (I'm a 32B for reference).

Yes, I'd receommend the dress.

Conclusion: Cute knit dress with great pattern instructions.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pattern Review - Jalie Jeans #2908

My finished product (photos lightened to show details better):

Pattern Description: Women's stretch jeans, slim fit through the hips and thigh with flared leg, back and side front pockets, zip fly with button closure. View A has low rise (2-3 inches below navel) and view B has a regular rise (at navel).

Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in 27 sizes F - FF for girls age 2 up to a womens 52 inch hip ~ I made a size S in the lower rise version.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Absolutely!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Absolutely! Jalie *always* has excellent instructions that give you RTW results.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Seriously, what is not to like about this pattern? Sorry to bore you all with another review, but I'm so happy with my jeans I just had to show them off! This is the best jeans pattern (IMO) that replicates RTW. If you want to make jeans at all, definitely give this one a try. I also like the huge range of sizes, however my DD is not at all interested in me sewing for her so I'm not sure if I'll use any other size than my own. I also love the cut of the leg. Bootcut is such a flattering style for just about anyone and this one does not disappoint.

Fabric Used: Stretch Denim from Joann's 98% cotton/2% spandex. This wasn't the suggested fabric on the pattern package, but my RTW jeans are all 99% cotton/1% spandex and I really like that type of denim best. I used a fun quilting cotton to line the pockets.

Notions used: I used Gutermann topstitching thread in a gold color to mimic the typical jeans topstitching, standard non-metal zipper, one button, and Palmer/Pletsch tailor interfacing for my waistband and light interfacing for the front fly zipper.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added a few inches to the length (I can't remember how much because I traced off the pattern several months ago). During construction I had to follow Emilie's gaposis fix for alter the back yoke and waistband for my swayback. I ended up taking out 3/4" in the yoke and then a 3/4" wedge in the waistband. It could still be a bit snugger, so I will work on tweaking the fit a little more.

I also cut the waistband on the cross grain instead of on the bias. I made my first pair back in Sept on the bias (and in a size bigger) and didn't see the reason for that except it wasted fabric. This time I cut it on the cross grain and interfaced for added stability and I liked the end result much better.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will definitely be sewing these again and again. I made a size "T" back in Sept and really like them, but they are a bit too big for me. I finally got around to making another pair in a size "S" and the fit is much better for me, but I think I have a smidge of tweaking still. After that, I'll have a perfect jeans pattern for me and will be able to whip out a new pair any time I want to!

Yes, I definitely recommend this pattern!

Conclusion: Seriously, I finally have pants/jeans I'm proud to wear outside of my house - thank you Jalie!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 04, 2010

bun in the oven

No not me silly, I made bread (after all I am Susie Homemaker, right?)! It's been rather dreary here in the Pacific NW, so I pulled out my Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day cookbook and made some bread today (actually I mixed the dough up last night - it took less than 5 minutes). I'm not kidding when I say this is easy peasy. You must try it even if you've never made bread before. The authors recently released a second book with all healthy recipes (aka made with whole grains).

The above bread is the boule from the "master" recipe in the original book. It's actually the only recipe I've made and I've had the book for over a year. I just love it so much and it's so darn tasty. And really, who doesn't like the smell of freshly baked bread all through the house?

Want to make your own? Grab the book (you might even check your local library) or use the basic recipe found here - the recipe starts on page 4.

I thought I'd show off my loaves in hopes of inspiring someone to try something new. Bread at the store can be so darn expensive and it's truly so simple and cheap to make.

Well it's back to sewing for me. I have two boys that need a few new pairs of pants, then maybe I'll get my turn for something new in my closet...fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Michelle from Some Day Crafts featured my M&M pj's on her blog so I thought I should share a picture of my kiddos in their pj's. Her blog has lots of neat crafts, so if you're the crafty type check it out!

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 Wrap Up

Well I had planned to put this up yesterday, but had trouble with my computer and then we lost power at 6:15 last night so it had to wait until this morning.

I was inspired by a few graphs I saw so I did a little tally of what I sewed in 2009. I have been keeping track of what I sew for a little over three years in a spiral notebook. It has come in handy so many times and it's also fun to look back and see what I've made.

In 2009, here is a breakdown of "who" I sewed for. As you can see, I wasn't in first place, instead it was all about the kids (go figure). The gifts were things I made for extended family members (ie not my own kiddos), mostly for Christmas gifts but some where birthday gifts and baby gifts too.

Here is the breakdown of pattern brand used. There are repeat patterns on here and KS is dominating because that is my go to PJ pattern. Also the "That Darn Kat" is the undies pattern I use for my youngest ~ you can see which ones in this post.

Another thing I notice is that I need to suck it up with my BWOF and Ottobre - seriously those magazines are expensive and if I'm not using them, then why the heck am I buying them? I have 5 years worth of BWOFs and 10 years worth of Ottobres - I should never be sewing anything else (or buying anything for that matter!). My Ottobre is up for renewal and I'm considering dropping it, but breaking up is so hard to do. I really look forward to getting the magazine, but with 10 years worth, can there really be something different and new making it worth the price each year? I still have a few weeks to ponder it. Have you had this struggle? If so, how did you decide?

Now on to my Christmas sewing. I sewed like crazy for the entire month of December and am so glad that is over. It was fun and a great idea, but it was so time consuming and overwhelming at times. A few of my favorite things I made are pictured below.

This is a pillow I made my sister. Why I like it so much is that she and my BIL acquired a business in 2008 called Acorn Uniforms in the Seattle area so it's rather fitting for them. It's a free pattern at YCMT if you want to make your own.

I also made three of these door hanging pillows to give as gifts. I wanted to make myself one, but ran out of time. I'm sure I'll make more of these, they are super easy and so cute. You can get this pattern free at YCMT too (can you see I have been using this site lately - it's really great!).

I always make the kids special pjs for Christmas Eve and really liked the prior year's matching snowman pjs. When I looked for matching fabric online this year, I didn't find anything that jumped out at me plus a lot of the Christmas knits were too girly. I really wanted to use fabric I had stashed and then it came to me - M&M pjs! My MIL collects all things M&M and all the kids have their "own" color so I decided to make them pjs in their M&M color! They were a hit and looked so cute IMO. I used this freezer paper stencil technique for the M's.

Up for 2010, not sure. I am not really a resolutions girl. I don't like making goals that I don't know if I'll keep. Heck, I have "to do" lists in my head each morning and most of the time I don't even get those all the way completed. I do know I really want to make myself a nice coat. I purchased some gorgeous wool coatings from Fabric.com in the fall so I have the supplies. I also want to make a trench with the Burberry fabric I purchased at PRW. Another pair or two of Jalie jeans are in order too. Lots of "wants" so I'll just keep plugging away and do my best while still enjoying my hobby. Oh and definitely using those BWOF (it will always be BWOF to me by the way) and Ottobre mags!

Wishing all my readers a healthy and happy 2010!