The Athena Top

IMG_0218This week I’d like to share with you one of my favorite tops for Spring, the Athena Top by Helena of GrayAllDayPatterns. What a creative designer! I volunteered to test the pattern through the design period before it’s official release. After working through all of the feedback from her team, she has recently released the final version.

IMG_0211I must say that I am in love with this top. I’ve worn it more than any other top I own! It’s easy to make too. There are only three pieces to the pattern, plus the neck and arm bindings. The bindings are measured out for you so there is no guessing as to the amount of stretch and ease you must account for. This top has a unique drape at the sides, which is a clever design. It floats effortlessly over your body in a very becoming way.

IMG_0213I made this first Athena Top, out of some lightweight sweater knit fabric, that I have had in my stash for awhile. I had no idea what to do with it until the Athena Pattern appeared. It’s  a perfect stash buster! The pattern is also designed for lightweight woven fabrics too. I think it would look great in a lace fabric worn over a camisole. That may be my next sewing project.

IMG_0215And here is where I make it eligible for the “Inside Out” theme for March over on the Monthly Stitch. I made the whole top with just the serger and the coverstitch machine. Is it neat inside? You betcha! Head on over to GrayAllDayPatterns and support our friend, Helena. She’s doing such a creative job!IMG_0217

IMG_0219Happy Sewing!

 

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Sewing in Seattle!

IMG_0111My husband and I took a little trip to Seattle a few weeks ago. We attended the Sewing and Stitchery Expo at the Washington State Fairgrounds. I have never been to a  sewing/quilting expo in my life so this was incredibly exciting! Some of my sewing Facebook friends were also attending and we planned to meet up, but amidst the 1000’s of people and our schedules, we unfortunately didn’t have the pleasure. Maybe next time!

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I was completely mesmerized by the rows and rows of vendors, classes, and the throngs of shoppers. While there I took a business class, and a bra-making class. Both were great, but short and too the point with no time for questions and answers. I found some lovely fabrics at the Vogue Fabric vendor and from the Simplicity site and attended an inspiring fashion show MC’d by Melissa Watson.

ebfd5f1164442106c462f3f28a88270cI paid close attention to the types of fabrics that were used, because I really need to focus on using the suggested fabrics instead of pretty quilting fabric, which is ok, but just doesn’t look or feel as nice. 

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We stayed in airbnb’s for the first time ever. Both were exactly as described and we were not disappointed. We visited Tacoma, Mt. Rainer, the EMP Museum, Pikes Market, Volunteer Park, Bainbridge Island and walked around the quaint little neighborhood of our BnB in Capital Hill. While we were at Volunteer Park, we snapped a few shots of my new dress that I made for the trip.

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It is made from Ponte Knit purchased from Fabric.com. I used the Itch to Stitch pattern that I had previously made up in a muslin to check the fit. It turned out to be a great travel outfit. I wore it with blue leggings and the colorful belt that I got while in Peru.

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So, what did I buy at the expo? I bought rayons, knits, and only one cotton. Here are the treasures. Now I just have to imagine what I will make with them! Do you have any suggestions for me?

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Little Maya the Mermaid

IMG_0261 I’m throwing my hat in the ring over at Sew Mama Sew’s Contest “Spectacular Softies Contest” This adorable little mermaid is made from Abby Glassenburg’s pattern at While She Naps.

IMG_0266This is a well designed pattern, with excellent easy to follow directions. She suggests using fleece for all of the parts, so that it is a child-friendly toy that can even be thrown in the washing machine.

IMG_0264My version is different in several ways. I choose to reduce the pattern size by 80% and make it out of natural materials. Everything is 100% cotton, except for the safety eyes, which I also purchased from Abby.

IMG_0262I cut the front tail and back tail in half vertically, then using some tear-away tissue paper for the patterns. I cut narrow strips of coordinating fabrics and sewed them at an angle to each of the 4 sections. This took the most time, but I think the result is more than worth it

IMG_0264I used coordinating fabrics for the fin and the bikini top and wool/rayon felt for the hair. The safety eyes just snap right on and make the little mermaid face so cute!

IMG_0263This is the second mermaid that I have made. My first was made, just before the cut off date for the contest, so she wouldn’t have been elegible. She is also just as adorable! You can read more about how I constructed the tail, midway through that post.

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Little Maya with her sister

 

IMG_0265 Thumbs up for Little Maya the Mermaid! Wish her luck in the contest!

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The inside story: Cotton and Steel Dress

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“Come March, we’re asking you to show us your guts, and make your inside as pretty as the outside!” The Monthly Stitch.

This month for The Monthly Stitch theme we are challenged to show off the inside of our sewing project with lovely finishes and techniques. I am a bit of a perfectionist so the insides of my garments are usually finished very neatly.  I selected  Butterick Pattern #6090  for my example and took a few pictures of how I routinely finish the “guts” of my outfits.

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There is a bit of a back-story about this dress and fabric. First of all, I bought a kit from Craftsy which contained 3 yards of Cotton and Steel luxurious cotton fabric and a pattern from Green Bee for a dress cut totally on the bias. While working through the muslin, I realized that I really didn’t care for the style of the dress, even after modifying it to fit me. I didn’t even bother with the skirt part.

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Green Bee bias cut dress. Too frumpy!

I switched to the Butterick pattern that buttons down the front, has a pleated skirt, side pockets, and a neckline design element. I cut the neckline design element from a blue silk (too small) dress. I did not use the neck facings as I wanted it to be light and scarf-like. I roll-hemmed the outer edge of the silk instead. I did line up the fabric design so that the dandelions would match, but I forgot about the overlap of the front, and so they didn’t match up after all. But I think the pattern is so busy that it doesn’t bother the eye.IMG_0196

The side seams are serged and then press open. Where seams cannot be serged, I use pinking sheers. The silk is serged neatly to the bodice, and the waist is sewn, then serged, and press up. The front bands are faced with a woven 100% fusible cotton interfacing. The inside edge is serged together with the interfacing for a neatly finished edge. I pressed the seam allowance toward the bands and then under-stitched close to the sewn edge. This helps the facing turn to the inside very neatly.

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I marked all of the buttonholes when I was cutting out the pattern, so I knew just where to put them. The buttons are from my stash. I was surprised to find 10 buttons that all matched, but several looked worn around the edges. I flipped the buttons over and found that they were all a nice dark blue color. I used that side.

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My buttonholes turned out beautifully and uniformly. I sewed the buttons on very carefully with my machine, first diagonally into two holes and then again diagonally into the other two holes. Finally, I serged the bottom of the dress and then machine hemmed the dress with the blind stitch!

IMG_0191During the final fitting, I lengthened the back darts to take in the extra fabric that appeared. I made bias tape for the armholes and sewed it so the outside edge would frame the silk.

IMG_0189I really like how it turned out and I am so thrilled to be wearing something made with Cotton and Steel fabric. When I make this pattern again, I’m going to cut a size smaller through the bodice and blend out to the next size through the waist. The roomy armholes and the extra fabric through the back may be resolved by doing that.

IMG_0209Happy Sewing, Friends!

 

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Cascading Cardigan

IMG_0039This week I finished up all of my customer alterations in a timely manner, and took some personal time to make this (1 hour cardigan). Ha ha! It takes more than an hour to cut, sew, and topstitch, etc. But it is easily finished in an afternoon.

IMG_0040I read quite a few reviews on this particular cardigan, most of which said that it runs quite large. I took that under consideration when I cut it out. I would normally wear a “large” according to the size chart, but I decided to cut between the small and the medium lines of the tiled pattern. I could have just cut the small. It does run big! You also have to take into account that this pattern allows for 5/8 inch seam, so if you are using a serger, you cut off quite a bit from the seam allowance.

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I ordered this kit with pattern and fabric from Craftsy.com. They sell sewing kits, as well as knitting, crochet and other craft kits. I like the fact that they have selected the fabric that works well with the particular pattern. That way, I don’t have to make a decision. :)

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Don’t get me wrong, I love fabric shopping, but I usually buy fabric for the beauty of the fabric and patterns just because I like them. It’s down the road, that I choose a pattern from my stash and then try to find suitable fabric also from my stash. I think I do this because I live so far away from brick and mortar fabric stores.

IMG_0043Besides all those excuses, the kits are fun and reasonably priced, especially when they are on sale. I’ve found the fabrics to be top quality so far. This cardigan is a beautiful solid plum color (from the pink family) that suits Miss Bossy, I hope. My last name starts with C and C is for Pink! Yeah!

IMG_0046My granddaughter took several nice pictures of me in her backyard in front of the tulip tree. I’m also wearing a blouse I made a few years ago from an upcycled curtain. The fabric is some sort of synthetic, so I only wear it when the weather isn’t too warm. Today was the perfect day. Its been in the mid 70’s lately!

Thanks for looking and happy sewing!

See more of my sewing adventures at Zibergirl.com

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Perfectly Pink!

Happy V Day

Hello Sewing friends and Happy Valentines Day!

My most recent make is McCall’s 6850. Misses/Men’s Vest and Jackets.

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I used a pink sweatshirt knit fabric from my stash. I purchased it some time last year at my favorite thrift store. It was at least 54 inches wide and 3 yards long. I’m glad there was plenty of fabric because I had to cut around some faded parts which happened to be on the folded edges of the fabric. It probably sat folded somewhere and the sun or light affected the edges.

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I knew that I would have to order the right color and length of zipper so I sewed everything together as much as I could while I waited for my zipper to arrive. I use Wawak.com for almost all of my sewing needs. If you don’t know about it, you should check it out. Their prices and variety of notions are incredible! They are located in Nevada and ship Fed Ex to CA where I live. That means I don’t have to pay tax and shipping is very low. What I like more than anything, is how fast it arrives – usually between 1 and 3 days!

IMG_0017When my pink zipper arrived, I finished jacket.

IMG_0016I thought the hood was a little big and floppy, so I unpicked the seam at the front edge just enough to squeeze a grommet in there. I have a little grommet kit that had a few grommets in the box, so I pounded those babies in with the special little tools. I haven’t found the right cord to go in the hood. I’m hoping I can upcycle one from the thrift store. I added cuffs to the jacket using the reverse side of the fabric which has a rib knit pattern.

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This solid pink jacket fits the February theme on The Monthly Stitch. This month it’s all about solids. The extra feature is to use a color that starts with your initial. My last name starts with C and pink was the selected color for that letter. I’m glad because the only other color that matched my initials was brown! I’m not into brown right now.

In just a few weeks I’ll be going to the Sewing Expo in Washington! I hope to meet up with some fellow sewers and bloggers. Will you be there?

Happy Sewing!

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More Rag Doll Adventures page 3 and 4

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After making two rag dolls from the Jess Brown book, I found that their skinny little legs and arms were very hard to turn right side out and stuff, not impossible, but time consuming. IMG_9929They are as cute as can be though. Even my husband says that they have an artistic look rather than a toy look.

That being said, I’m not much on making any one thing too many times. I like the variety and challenge of new projects. So, for my next doll, I decided to enlarge the Jess Brown Pattern 5/8 of an inch everywhere. This one was much easier to stuff!

I gave her a little up-do instead of the pigtails. She is made just like the little ones , but just a bit larger. I used upcycled and vintage cotton and wool fabrics, and polyfil. I really am please with how she turned out.

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I also tried the Maya the Mermaid pattern by Abby Glassenberg who is a professional toy pattern designer, among other things, and blogs at Whileshenaps.com. She is an artistic and knowledgeable  business woman who also hosts informative and interesting podcasts with guests that work in the field of textiles, sewing, blogging, business, crafts, etc. I never miss a podcast. I have learned so much from the different guests that she has hosted. I think you will too, and so I highly recommend checking out her blog, patterns, and podcasts.

On to Maya the Mermaid. For my version of the doll, I decreased the size of the pdf pattern to 80%. to make it just a little smaller. She recommends using fleece for the toy doll, so that it can be played with, and even washed. My version is made with cotton, wool, and organic cotton stuffing. I used a charm pack  60 5″ Luscious Freckles Tonals Charm Pack Sold by: Material Maven. I selected the pink to purple tones and used 4 squares of each for my version of the tail.

IMG_9959IMG_9960I cut the tail pattern in half and added seam allowance. Then I cut two fronts and two backs out of tissue paper.

IMG_9963The squares were cut into random widths except for two of the purple squares which I used for the fin.

IMG_9962IMG_9964I sewed the strips to the paper patterns, making sure that the pieces extended a little on each side so that when they were pressed down, they covered the pattern.

Towards the narrow bottom, I was able to cut off the extra, and use the pieces to finish the tail.IMG_9965

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I followed Abby’s instructions exactly and the doll went together very easily. I even ordered the safety eyes from her too.

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I’m glad I did because non of the local fabric/craft stores in my area had them. They were easy to apply too.

IMG_9987 I’m very happy with how she turned out. The only thing that I notice is that the felted wool hair, tends to shed a little and the tiny fibers cling to the muslin. However, she can be quickly cleaned up with a lint brush. I like the sticky kind that you get at the dollar store.

Happy Sewing!

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