Sewing a Cowl Blouse

    31 Days of Sewing: Day 8 I am finally back on track with things here. The miscellaneous trials of this last week have come and gone, and I am glad to be back to sewing. This project is truly a one hour accomplishment. This is Vogue Pattern #9771. It’s only two pieces, you sure can’t get any easier than that. I chose a blue poly knit for this one, it is one of my favorite fabrics to work with. The knit has a wonderful drape, washes easily and is easy to sew. This blouse is cut on the bias which gives it a great fit. The pattern calls for a facing around the armhole and back neck. I personally hate facings. Why would someone want to have a wad of extra fabric and stiff interfacing under their armpit? This will always be a mystery to me. There is an easier way. Most garments today aren’t made with armhole facings, but are finished with bias binding. It’s easier, faster, and is much less bulky. This is how it looks on the finished garment. To make your own bias binding, find the true bias of the fabric by folding the selvedges at a 90 degree angle (as in the top of this photo). Cut along the folded edge to separate the fabric layers. Cut 3 strips of fabric along the cut edge, mine were 2 1/4″ wide. I mark them with pins, but you may prefer to draw it out with a ruler. Fold the bias in half lengthwise. Pin…
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How to Sew a Fitted Blouse: Part 2

31 Days of Sewing: Day 7   My first blouse is finally finished. I am not quite sure I would make another one with this Vogue pattern #8747. This blouse pattern has it’s good points, I love the gathers at the bust line. The pattern is a custom fit using your bra cup size, and offers several different collar and sleeve choices. It does fit very nicely over the bust and didn’t require a lot of alterations. I chose to make the shorter sleeve version with the mandarin collar. My main problem is that I just don’t care for the curved facing at the neckline. Most blouse facings are on the straight grain and are therefore easy to sew, this one is curved and I just don’t care for it. It looks rather straight in the sketch on the envelope, but is quite curved on the finished blouse. I don’t think it’s any more flattering than a straight neckline would be, and is therefore not worth the sewing hassle in my opinion. It was rather confusing to construct stretching and being on the bias, and I don’t think most sewers would consider this blouse an easy project because of it. I do like the way the blouse fits through the body, flattering without being too tight.  Plus, the sleeves fit the upper arms nicely and aren’t too snug under the armhole. I generally don’t have a lot of prints in my wardrobe, but I loved this teal and navy paisley the moment I saw it (from JoAnn Fabrics). I can…
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Sewing a Fitted Blouse: Part 1

31 Days of Sewing: Day 6 This week has been an unprecedented disaster. We have had a family crisis, an electrical outage and a plumbing problem. This little one hour blouse has taken me 4 days to make with all the distractions. My week started off okay, I realized that I probably should have planned better for this series and had a stash of fabric and patterns to pull from for my projects. Have I mentioned that organization is not my thing? I don’t have a fabric stash, so I spent far too many hours this week roaming the fabric stores. Found a fabric I liked at store A. Forgot the coupon for 40% off at home. Bought the fabric anyway. Found a better fabric at store B. Signed up for the store B discount texts, only to realize I left my phone at home and couldn’t use them. Bought fabric anyway. Returned fabric A to store A. Found an even BETTER fabric for the next project. Forgot phone and coupons once again. Returned to store B to buy buttons and interfacing for project A, remembered the phone and coupons, but buttons were only $1.00 so it didn’t really save me anything. Went home to wash fabric, washed it all, put it in the dryer. Dryer didn’t work. Checked fuse box, fuses were melted and wires fried, box smelled hot. Called landlord who in turn called electrician. Roamed fabric stores again to pass the time, totally confused as to why I was there, and what dang coupons I was supposed to use.…
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Sewing a Fleece Robe

Sewing this fuzzy fleece robe doesn’t take long. I used the same easy Vogue pattern V8888, but I cut it a size larger to compensate for the heavier fabric.   How to Sew A Fleece Robe Fleece robes are loose fitting which makes them an easy item to sew. There aren’t really any fit problems by nature, but you may need to make some pattern adjustments depending on what type of fleece fabric you choose. If you use regular robe fleece you won’t even have to finish the seams in this project. Fast and easy! This particular furry fleece robe print sheds like crazy so I had to finish the seam allowances as I went along. I do recommend a different sewing process for this robe, contrary to the pattern directions. I like to speed things up a bit whenever possible. It should take less than an hour to make this garment, assuming you have it all cut out and ready to go.You will be cozy by the fire in your new robe in record time, I promise. Here’s my quick assembly method: •Sew the shoulder seams together. Finish raw edges. •Don’t worry about clipping threads.  You can do that later. •Don’t worry about pressing your seams, this thick furry fabric doesn’t show pressed seams anyway. •Hem the sleeves using a 1/4″ narrow hem, stitch in place. •Turn the sleeve hem over again, and stitch 1″ away from folded edge. •Assemble the sleeve and the robe body, just match the notch ( I use notches instead of circles) at the top of the sleeve…
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Sewing Camisoles

31 Days of Sewing Day 3 Back to the drawing board today, finishing the last piece in this sassy little lingerie collection from easy Vogue pattern #V8888. I don’t think this pattern is as easy as they said it was. It’s cut on the bias, which is notoriously stretchy and hard to handle. It makes cutting and sewing harder because no matter how hard you try, the fabric always moves. A few extra pins help, be sure your needles are sharp. You may need to baste here and there to make sure it all comes together the way you want. One more thing, I used a slightly bigger stitch length and looser tension than on the other pieces I made (this will also keep your seams from puckering). Most of the time when I sew, I use a small 2.5 stitch. For the satin camisole, try a stitch length of 3 or 3.5. If you do need to rip the seams out, it will be easier and won’t stretch the fabric as much. This little camisole has contrasting lace on the bodice and yoke. I also added some extra lace trim at the hem since I had it left over from yesterday’s pj pants project. I must admit I changed the sewing process a bit on this garment. Have I mentioned that I consider the pattern directions to be more like guidelines? Many times there is an easier way to sew things. I don’t know why they make things so complicated when they can be simpler. I think more people…
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Sewing PJ Pants

  31 Days of Sewing: Day 2 Day 1 of sewing went great, no real issues. Day two on the other hand was a different story. Nothing went the way it was supposed to. Some days are like that I guess. My issues started with cutting today’s garment, a cut little pair of satin pj pants. Okay, technically they are panties, but I won’t call them that because it might direct the wrong type of traffic to my blog. Anyway, I skimped on buying the yardage for this project, trying to save a buck, only to realize when cutting it that everything was supposed to be on the bias and I didn’t have quite enough fabric. Of course, I crammed it in anyway. I cut the back on the straight grain instead. Life will go on. No way was I going back to the store in the rain today. This is easy Vogue Pattern #V8888. I made the satin robe yesterday, today it’s the panties, tomorrow will be the camisole top. Sewing the pants is really easy, if you are having a good sewing day. Today was not my day. I sewed the side seams together, and added the lace at the leg hem. Then it was time for the elastic. After stitching the center front seam together and measuring the elastic, I set about making the waistband. First, stretch the elastic the length of the waist (from center back, across side seam, center front, and to the other center back), single needle stitch with a basting stitch stretching the…
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How to Sew a Satin Robe

  This satin robe features a shawl collar, lace trimmed sleeves, matching belt and can be made in two different lengths.   Welcome back to my 31 Day Sewing Series! The goal for me this month is to sew 31 garments, in 31 days. Sounds crazy right? Not at all. I am choosing super easy Vogue patterns that anyone can whip up in about an hour. With a few designer sewing tips, of course. I love Vogue patterns for their unique style, but also for their Figure Flattery System. Here’s how it works: Each pattern is labeled with a graphic symbol that helps you decided what style is best suited to your figure. How smart! Here’s the explanation I borrowed from the Vogue website: Figure Flattery Determine your body shape from the explanations below and use our KEY TO FIGURE FLATTERY diagram to select styles that are particularly flattering to your figure. Choosing styles suited to your body shape can also eliminate the need for most pattern adjustments. Look for the figure symbol that indicates your body shape, then proceed with confidence, knowing that your pattern adjustments will be minimal and your finished garment will be pure figure flattery. Inverted Triange THE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips. Triangle THE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs. Rectangle THE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition. Hourglass THE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist. After you decided which pattern is…
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31 Days of Sewing

    It’s finally October. I say that because I have been anticipating cool days, leaves changing color and taking on a new 31 Day Blogging Series. I have done a several of these series in the past, inspired by the Nester linkup. Last year there were more than 1200 bloggers participating! Wow! The 31 Day Series now has their own Facebook page, and website! Be sure to follow my inspiration board on Pintrest and instant daily updates on Instagram! This time around I have decided on 31 Days of Sewing. I was going to name my series Sew 31 Garments in 31 Days, but I decided I was backing myself into a corner by committing to this number. I am confident that I can do it, but sometimes life has other plans, but 31 garments is my optimal goal for this month. Today was the perfect day to begin, we cranked up the fireplace for the first time this year. Something about having a fire always inspires me. I spent the afternoon in front of the toasty flames whipping up my first garment in this series. This outdoor porch is currently my design “studio”. It’s rather drafty. Actually it’s VERY drafty.  That means that come winter, I won’t be able to be out here at all, it will be too cold. Time is of the essence. I must create all I can before the snow flies. 31 Days and counting….. My rules for this 31 Day Series: 1. I plan to only use easy patterns, almost exclusively Very Easy Vogue.…
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DIY Makeup Bag

    I confess that organization is not my strong suit. I should have a cute little way of organizing all of my personal items around the house. Except I don’t. It should be easy for me, since I am the only female member of this household. But it’s not. What’s even worse, is that is dead last on my priority list. Dead last. I confess that the last makeup bag I bought was for our honey moon in 1996. It just never seemed like I needed one. Even IF I could find one that I liked. How sad is that? How gross is that? Don’t answer the above questions. Recently, I got an email from Spoonflower for a free fabric sample. OOOHHHH, I love free fabric samples! I could spend major dough on their website. I ordered my fabric and it came in the mail last week. I love it. This pattern is called Rosettes Blue on Graphite by Ravynka.  My 8″ square sample came printed on Eco Canvas, which is a great story weight without being too stiff and heavy. I immediately decided a Makeup Bag was in my future. I raced across the street to pick up a few more supplies at the craft store. I came home with a 9″ grey zipper and 1/4 yard of contrasting teal calico. This project took me less than 30 minutes to make. It’s easy enough for the beginning sewer. Follow these steps: 1. Trim away selvages on contrasting fabric. Cut a piece 9″ wide and 13″ long. 2. Using…
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Vintage Wall Decor

I have been looking forward to finishing our Mid-Century bathroom project. I chose to start with the bathroom because I thought it would be easy. After all, there is really just one wall to decorate, and it’s one of the smallest rooms in the house. It shouldn’t take long, right? Wrong! It’s taking FOREVER! My first idea was to find some vintage pictures to use on the walls. This is easier said than done. I spent several days wandering antique shops to find just the right thing. I finally settled on these vintage shoe ads. I just love them! They have beautiful graphics and are so very 1950’s. They were only a few dollars each which made them all the more enticing. They are a rather odd size, so finding frames to fit wasn’t very easy. I wandered the stores for a few more days looking for something that would work to frame them with. In the end, I settled on these large poster frames from Walmart. They were very inexpensive and I liked their modern simplicity. I love the look of simple frames, it helps the vintage wall decor to stand out even more. I used pieces of colorful chevron craft paper to set off the posters and add a bit of pattern. I found a few smaller black frames from the Dollar Store and framed some coordinating floral craft paper to mix things up a bit. I am not really much for florals, but a little bit here and there keeps things from being too starkly modern in…
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