The Contest Entry

Sandra Betzina, designer of Today’s Fit patterns for Vogue recently held a contest.  Sandra also has a website, Power Sewing.  The contest was called “Inspire and Layer Yourself”.  Here is a description of the contest and prize.

ENJOY! IT’S WINTERTIME OR GET A JUMP ON SPRING
Because there are so many creative people using Today’s Fit patterns, Power Sewing would like you to share your creativity with us. Since this season is all about warm, fun and classic layering, Power Sewing is having a contest. Make one of the 4 Today’s Fit Patterns (V1574, V1569, V1564, V1540) and send us photos of anything you would like to enter.

The coat/jacket/topper/tabard will be judged on (1) overall impression, (2) creativity, (3) use of fabric and detailing, (4) execution.

And the prizes for the winner:

1 Lucky winner will receive the grand prize of:
1 signed copy of Sandra Betzina’s All New Fabric Savvy book
• 1 Ron Collins Vogue Men’s Pattern, V9290
• 2 Power Sewing Skill Series DVDs: DVD#6-Pocket Particulars and DVD#3 Pillows With A Punch
• 1 Fast Fit book by Sandra Betzina
• 2 Mystery Sandra Betzina Out-of-Print patterns
• Nifty Notions Brass Seam Ripper
• Collins Wash Away Wonder Tape
• Trio of Schmetz needles
• Buttons from Sandra’s special stash
• Mystery bag of sewing notions
• 1 copy of book 111 Places in San Francisco That You Must Not Miss
                         Grand Prize Valued at $250

So, I entered my latest version of Vogue 1540.

 

Vogue 15410 on form

The main fabric is from a gray, quilted polyester knit fabric. The quilting was done with silver metallic threads. I did not quilt the fabric; this was in my resource center and has aged quite well. The reverse of this fabric is black with silver thread stripes – quite gaudy for me. The solid is a lightweight rayon/spandex gray knit that matches exactly.  I applied a whisper weight interfacing to the band to make it have the same body as the quilted fabric.  I did not make any fitting changes to this version, but I did shorten the front pattern piece and band about 3 inches.  I am happier with this length than the front length of my previous version.  The trim was purchased from JoAnn Fabrics with the help of my hubby.  It is a polyester organza fabric sewn to a piece of mesh in such a way that it looks like fur.  Here is a close-up on the jacket.

trim close_up

And the backside of the trim so you can see how it is sewn to the mesh.

back of trim

I did not have enough quilted fabric for the sleeves, so I got creative.  There is an insert in the sleeve, so I decided to cut the insert and the top portion of the sleeve (just above where the insert ends) from the quilted fabric; and cut the rest of the sleeve from the solid fabric.  I did not interface the solid fabric on the sleeve.  Hard to describe but here is how the sleeve looks.

Jarvis Details

So, how did I do in the contest?  I received a honorable mention!  This was really the first contest I entered, so it was exciting.  Sandra sent a very kind email to me complimenting my work and creativity.   She also sent a small gift; one of her patterns and a piece of trim.  I have been thinking about making that coat, so now that I have the pattern I will add it to my very long list of things I want to make.

Contest gift

Update:  A post is on Sandra Betzina’s blog showing the winner and honorable mentions.

As Sandra’s note said ..”Happy Sewing”!

See you next time.

Catching up – part two

Catching up on a few items from 2017.

There were a couple of other items I completed in 2017.  The first item I mentioned in the last post – a top that I wore during the holidays.  This was the 4th version I made from this pattern.  The pattern is a download from Lekala Patterns.    I made  pattern number 4284.  Here is a picture of it.

Lekala 4284

This is a knits-only pattern and is definitely a “business in the front, party in the back” top.  You can create a bow effect with the back yoke.  I have made 2 versions like that, and 2 versions with the back closed up.

You can order ‘made to measure’ patterns from Lekala.  You enter your measurements on the site and you can also add optional measurements or body type items (high bust, narrow shoulders, etc) to get a better fit.  It takes a couple of trials so they do offer a few free patterns.  You can do a test with the free one; it helps you to know how the software calculates.  I have gotten a pretty good fit from these.  The only caveat is ease.  Their patterns don’t have a lot of ease, and their knit patterns have negative ease (meaning the pattern will be smaller than your measurements).  I have increased my tummy and hip measurement to get more ease there.

The reason I like this pattern is because of the set-in sleeve.  Most patterns for knits with a front yoke have a cut-on or dolman sleeve.  I have tried that look and I don’t like it on me.  A set-in sleeve is a much better look for me.

My latest version was made with a sequin fabric for the front and back yokes, and sleeves.  I used a lighter weight ponte for the lower front and back.

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Back of top, with the yoke attached to the lower back.

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Lekala sparkly top

My first version was from a denim knit and a navy cotton knit fabric.  (Sorry for the wrinkles; the top was in summer storage and I brought it out for these photos).  The front:

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The back

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My second was a ‘winter version’.  I used a sweater knit remnant given to me by a friend for the yokes.  I used a ponte knit for the lower front, back and sleeves.  The back is not ‘open’ since this a cooler weather version.  Not sure why the color is off – the lower front, back and sleeves are a caramel color.

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My third version has the open back and I used a poly spandex knit (with glued-on sequins) I picked up at a sewing retreat for the front and back yokes, and sleeves.  I used the black ponte for the lower front and back.

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(I know…black is not my color).

These tops are pretty easy and once you have made one, they can be made up quickly.

Second Catch-up Item:

When I was at the Mulberry Silks retreat with Sandra Betzina, I did a muslin for Vogue 1385.

V1385

Line Drawing:

V1385 Line Drawing

I had a couple of reasons for making this. I like the neckline and I wanted to test out the raglan sleeve.  I have had good luck with Today’s Fit patterns so was hoping the raglan would work and it did.  Adjustments were minimal.  Normal round back adjustment and that was it.  This is a comfortable shirt.  I tested it with a quilting cotton so this is definitely a wearable muslin. I did wash the fabric in advance and it is very soft and comfortable.  I plan to make at least one more of these.  Then I might try to figure out how to use the raglan feature but change the neckline.  But that won’t be for a while I’m sure.

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Lastly, we went to a New Year’s Eve neighborhood party.  I love making dessert and when I saw these on line, I had to have them.

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Candy cups you can fill with stuff, that are wearing tuxedos!  How cute is that?  So here is what I made.

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I made red velvet mousse and cheesecake mousse.  I used a pastry bag with tip and piped in the red velvet mousse first, then topped it with the cheesecake mousse and some graham cracker crumbs.  Everyone loved them and I had fun making them.

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This is the last of the 2017 items.

 

 

 

Catching up

I have a few things I made last year but never blogged.  So this will be a catch-up post and hopefully I will stay on track better this year.  Warning – this is a bit long so grab a snack and enjoy!

One task that took up my sewing time throughout last year was making glitter vests for a group of senior dancers.  The group is called “Encore Dancers” and a friend is in the group.  The group dances at assisted living locations in the area and they have a different theme every month.  Therefore they need multiple vests.  The leader of the group made “one size fits nobody” vests for everyone sometime ago.  The vest my friend showed me was not lined, pretty tired and falling apart.  So my friend asked if I would make her a new vest.  A new vest for her led to multiple vests for her and 5 of the dancers.  Now they each have their own pattern and I can make one of those vests in my sleep.  Here is a sample of the “March” green.  It reverses to silver.  They wear white button-down cotton blouses under the vests, with jeans or black pants, depending on the month.

Dancing Ladies Vest

I enjoyed doing the vests for them, and watched one of their performances.  The leader is 81 and moves like someone half her age.  The rest are mostly in their 70’s.  They are a great inspiration to stay healthy and keep moving!

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My Talbots Knock-off using Vogue 1451.

When I do buy RTW, generally I shop at Talbots.  I wait for sales, can find items that fit and their clothes last.  Their pants fit me well and are comfortable (unlike almost all the pant patterns I have tried).  I saw this shirt, was not willing to pay full price nor wait for it to be on sale.  The fabric was a little thin for my taste and the fabric I had was a nice cotton.  Of course I wanted to play with embroidery on clothing.  Here is the top I wanted to knock off.

Talbots catalog

I had the blue striped seersucker in my resource center from Hancock’s (remember them?).  I was looking at my patterns and this one from Sandra Betzina was fairly new.

Pattern

I decided to make the shirt, with sleeves and without the banded bottom.  On my version, I used a chambray for the contrast.  I made a few other changes as well.  My version:

V1541 full

I shortened the shirt a few inches, and shortened the front placket about 6 inches.  I thought the placement of the end of the placket was ‘odd’ on the pattern envelope.  And on me, it would end up in an awkward spot.  I also gathered the sleeves like the Talbots version.  One note:  The neckline in the pattern picture is misleading.  It looks like an open Vee, but in fact it is not.  I would like to make this again, but will make a few more changes.  I will shorten it even more, and removed some of the volume in the hips.  Also will open the neckline a bit, more like the pattern photo looks like it should be.  (That is why we sew, right?).

And for the embroidery; I spent a lot of time looking on line and through my library of designs for something similar to the inspiration picture. I didn’t necessarily want a design inside a box like the inspiration, but needed one that was a bit rectangular.  So, I made a muslin of the shirt, and on that muslin tried out the embroidery design.  It is actually two designs combined from the Amazing Designs embroidery disk called Sweetheart Scrolls.

Emb design

I did put a design on both sides of the muslin and it just seemed like too much.  So I chose to only embroider one side.  Besides, if you do both sides they have to match exactly!  More stress!

A close-up of the embroidery:

V1541 Close

Next up:  A scarf for the ASG Annual meeting challenge.  The challenge was to take 1 yd of white cotton fabric and make something.  You could do anything to the fabric that you wanted, but could not add any other fabric to it.  Trims, embellishments, dyeing, embroidery, beads, etc were all OK.  Since there is no way I can get an entire garment out of 1 yard of fabric, I decided to make a scarf.  This is the “Spiral Scarf” from the Sewing with Nancy Sensational Scarves booklet by Nancy Zieman.  I have made a few of these scarves; they are good for me because I have a short neck and scarves with a lot of fabric are not good for me.  This is basically a straight grain piece of fabric sewn into a spiral.  I often take a RTW scarf and cut it up to make a couple of scarves just to reduce the amount of fabric that would end up around my neck.

Image of the book.

Spiral Scarf 09_2018

I dyed the white fabric & cut the strip for the scarf (there is a formula in the book depending on the length you want your scarf).  My first experience with dyeing fabric.  Then used fabric paint and a flower & leaf stencil to add the painted designs.  The final touch was a few embroidered leaves using variegated thread.  I didn’t win a prize, but enjoyed the process.  The cotton fabric makes this scarf a little stiff – lighter weight and fabrics with drape are better for the spiral scarf, but it is wearable in a color that suits me.

Stenciled scarf 1

A close-up of the stencil and embroidered leaf.  The seams of the scarf that make the spiral are less noticeable in a soft print fabric.

Stenciled scarf 2

On the Home Dec front, there were a few things going on as well.  Most of my house is decorated in a pretty neutral manner.  Lots of earth tones, few bright colors.  I accessorize with color in holiday/seasonal decorating.  I feel that the powder room (guest bathroom) is a place to be a little wild with the decorating.  You don’t spend a lot of time in there generally and it gives you something to look at when you are in there.  So, in my powder room I have a black, white and red décor, with zebra wall paper on all 4 walls.  I wanted some sort of art piece on the wall that grabs your eye when you walk in.  I couldn’t find anything I liked and I don’t have the time nor patience to go 100 places to find the right thing.

Enter my sewing skills.  I made a wall-hanging in a crazy quilt pattern using fabrics in guess what?  Black, red and white, along with gold because I always need some bling!  In my embarrassingly large Craftsy class library I have Crazy Quilts with Allie Aller.  I used the simple straight edges pattern for the blocks.  After I put them together, I added some embroidery of roses in the corners.  After that I was paralyzed.  I didn’t want it to have stitching in every seam like more vintage crazy quilts.  I wanted to keep it simple.  I agonized over it for a year; then finally just decided to do a little stitching, add some bling and call it done.  (During 2017 I was trying to finish UFOs and not create new ones). I bought a plan black frame, put it together and hung it on the wall.

View from the doorway.

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Close-up of 1 block.

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That’s it for now.  I have a few more items, but I have to gather the photos and info so that will be another post.

 

 

My Hot Mess Coat aka Vogue 1060.

At least that is what I have been calling it.  And as I go through the saga you may see why I chose that name.  Continuing with my Sandra Betzina patterns (Today’s Fit Vogue), I made an out of print coat pattern – V1060.

Pattern photo

I chose this pattern for a number of reasons.  My goal was to have a lightweight, longer ‘coat’ to wear over the longer jackets and vests I am wearing; that was a little dressier than the coats I have.  This pattern has a dolman sleeve.  I am working on having a variety of styles I can go to when I want to make something without starting over with fitting every time.  I was trying to figure out if I could work out a dolman sleeve to use going forward and I know Sandra drafts her dolman with a higher cut under the arm than most patterns.  And I have become familiar with how to adjust her patterns for me without a lot of changes.  (As a side note – it seems her older patterns are a little more close fitting than the newer ones.)

Fabric:  A lightweight, slight stretch wool blend and was intended to be my muslin fabric.  This has been in my resource center for a v.e.r.y long time.   The color is a sort-of dusty purple-ish tone.  Very drab.  In response I used a bright purple lining.

Lining:  A silk charmeuse I picked up at a sewing retreat.  This is meant to be an unlined coat (meaning no lining pattern pieces, nor instructions related to lining).  Why did I decide to line this?  Because when I sewed the main pieces together and tried it on, the wool stuck to my clothing (I call it the “velcro-effect”) and I knew that would never work for regular wearing.

I drafted a lining using one of the videos in Sandra’s Power Sewing list.  She and Ron Collins provide step by step information on drafting the lining.  Unfortunately their instructions are for a standard tailored jacket; including notched collar, a back facing and set-in sleeve.  First step in making this complicated – need to draft a back facing & take the shawl collar and dolman sleeve into account.  There were some challenges that cropped up later because of this and I had to adapt.

How else can I make this more difficult?  Let’s add embroidery!  I have been looking for ways to incorporate embroidery into my garments and the collar of this coat seemed like a perfect place!  Anyone who does embroidery knows how time consuming it is to choose the right design, position it, adjust it in software, stitch out samples, put it on the finished project and pray it all works out the way you envision it.  Luckily this part went very well and I am happy with the embroidery designs and placement.

To choose embroidery threads I laid a bunch of threads on the fabrics until I found some that I thought were pleasing.

Right side of the shawl collar below.  The scrunched fabric is an extra piece of the lining stuffed into the neck for the photo.

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The embroidery designs came from a book called Contemporary Machine-Embroidered Fashions.  I have had this book for many years and never used any of the designs until now.

Embroidery designs

My decision process consisted of looking at literally every embroidery design I have – there are many and they are in a variety of places (on the computer, separate disks, a few books that came with disks, etc). I ruled out the  specific types – flowers, animals, insects, holiday motifs etc.  I was looking for the more abstract designs.  The designs I chose proved to work out well.  I did some combining in my software so I could stitch the facings in 1 hooping.

Other changes to the pattern design:  There are 3 waist darts for the front – I didn’t use any of them.  I need to add more circumference if I am going to use those (see previous comment about ease in the older patterns); I did use 1 of the 3 back waist darts. I used a snap closure, with a decorative, covered button instead of the ties; and made bands for the sleeves instead of facings.

For the button, I was able to use one of the motifs.

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The final coat:

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On me: (My outfit for lunch with DH at the swanky, beautifully decorated Jefferson Hotel).  I’ll blog the top next.

Coat full view

Close-up of the sleeve bands:

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Will I make this pattern again?  Not sure.  It needs a number of changes.  The sleeves are very wide at the hem and are supposed to be shaped.  I removed several inches and they are still too wide.  I need to make a shoulder adjustment – Sandra’s fleshy shoulder adjustment.  Basically I need move the shoulder seams forward. They don’t hit me in the right place.  And the bottom needs to be tapered a bit.  It is very A-line.

And I think I am over lining things….I invested much more time in this than I ever expected.  But once I got going I felt like I needed to finish it; one issue led to another.  But I vowed it would not become a UFO.  It is wearable.  I love the neckline and collar.  That is my favorite type of collar and flattering on me.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures from The Jefferson.

Hotel Lobby decorations:

The lobby

The TREE:

Central Tree

Standing under the tree:

Tree ornaments

The gingerbread airplane:

Gingerbread airplane

Close-up of Santa in the gingerbread airplane:

Gingerbread santa

And finally, the ingredient list for the gingerbread airplane:

Recipe for gingerbread airplane

Happy Holidays to All!

 

 

Vogue 1540

Still catching up on blogging items previously made.  Earlier this year I made Vogue 1540.  Another Sandra Betzina Vogue pattern.  This one was quite easy.  I did not make any changes, other than my usual size at the shoulders, then gradually moving 1 size larger at bust and hips.  I made the shorter version.

Pattern photo and line drawing:

V1540 line drawing

I used a burgundy wool double knit and a floral print acrylic sweater knit  from my resource center.  I did not add any piping as mentioned in the pattern and did not add pockets.

On me, worn with a brown t-shirt and brown ponte skinny pants (both purchased).  Picture was take in the early spring.

Vogue 1540

My critique:  When I first put this one, it felt like I was wearing a bathrobe.  That isn’t all bad because it is comfortable.  However, I wasn’t sure if it looked like I was wearing a bathrobe.  It is a new style for me and takes getting used to.

Will I make this again?  Yes.  Will I make changes?  Yes.  I plan to take about 4 inches off the length in front, tapering to 0 at the side seam.  I may not do the sleeve insert in the next one either – that will depend on fabric.  I may also make the smaller size in the whole garment to remove some of the volume.  That will also depend on fabric choice.