Reviving my maxi

Pattern Description:
McCall’s 6073 Misses’ and Women’s dress in three lengths: Pullover.
Pattern Sizing:
8-16 18w-24w. I made a 20w.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made version C, the maxi dress. For the most part it did look like the version on the envelope. I made a few minor changes to my version and that is why it is not exact.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were. I originally used this pattern a couple of years ago to make version A for a friend and had to refer back to the instructions a couple of times, but they were very easy to follow.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the ease and quickness that this pattern goes together. It is a great pattern to use to build your summer or vacation wardrobe in a short time.
Fabric Used:
I used 3.5yds of a spandex/tricot/4 way stretch fabric of some variety. I am not sure of the exact contents as it is one I got for free. The fabric has this great green, white and black geometric print with silver foil sequins on it.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made only a handful of minor changes. First, I eliminated the elastic in the shoulder seams. I eliminated the neck binding in favor of a narrow hem. To still get that “V” in the center back with the narrow hem, I did a .5″ dart at the center of the neck. I changed the band from the same print to a solid black tricot to break up the print and add a little more visual focus. I also used 3/8″ elastic around the waist instead of the recommended 1/4″. As a bigger girl I wanted a little more security for my elastic.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Absolutely! I am actually thinking that I may do version D, with the contrasting bodice, skirt and midriff, next for a great color blocked look.
After all of the initial problems I had with this dress, through no fault of the actual pattern, I am beyond pleased with how it turned out! I even made a matching hair bow for it.  I am planning on wearing a lot of dresses this summer and this is a great way to start out that collection. I have also decided that I now need to take a vacation just so I can show off this dress, and hopefully
some more, to their full summer potential!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , | 5 Comments

The Maxi That Wasn’t

 Remember when I said I wanted to sew a maxi out of this fabric?  So, that didn’t work out so well for me.  I figured that this dress should have taken me 4 hours, 5 at most with my procrastination, to finish.  About 30 minutes in I had to call it quits.  Why?  Well both my sewing machine and serger decided they absolutely hate something that is in this fabric.  Surprisingly it is not the foil sequins!  For some reason when I serged it, all the stretch was removed and the serging was incredibly tight.  I thought this was just my tension.  No matter how I set the tension it did nothing to help, but when I serged on other knits it worked great!  Finally, I decided I could live with the serging on the shoulders and moved on to finishing the neckline.  Both my stretch stitches and regular straight stitch started skipping stitches and rippling the fabric like crazy.  Once again I tried it on another stretch fabric and it worked fine.  I even tried quite a few different needles in various sizes and what nots.  Nothing made it any better.  My final determination was that it was something in the fabric because I remembered the yellow knit jacket I tried making where the fabric had the same issues.  Unfortunately,  I don’t know what was in either fabric that I can pinpoint as being the problem.  Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated by it. This went on for about a day before I came up with what I hope will be a solution.  I spoke with my previous employer and he agreed to let me come into the shop sometime this week so I could use the industrial machines there.  I am not sure when I will get out there, probably near the end of the week though.

Posted in Sewing | 3 Comments

Fabric Flower Brooch

As promised here is my new tutorial for a Tudor rose inspired fabric flower brooch.  I have made a few of these so far and really like them.  They will make a great accent to your everyday wardrobe as well as your faire or festival costumes.

Materials needed:
thread and needle
fabric glue
Fray check (optional)
1 – felt circle about 1.5″ in diameter
1 – button or rhinestone 7/8″
1 – pin clasp
5 – 3″x3″ fabric squares
5 – 2″x2″ fabric squares


1. Fold and press each fabric square in half along the diagonal.  You will end up with five triangles of each size.

2.  With a generously long piece of thread and needle, hand stitch a gathering stitch along the two open edges of one of the larger triangles.

3. Pull the thread to gather the edges.  This will create your first petal.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each of the five large triangles adding each one to the same piece of thread.

4.  Once all five petals have been gathered connect the first and last petals together with a few hand stitches near the raw edges to form your flower.

5.  Still using the same thread repeat steps 2 through 4 for each of the five smaller petals as well.  You can either align the petals so the smaller ones are directly on top of the larger ones or you can keep with the Tudor rose and offset them.  Along the center of the flower stitch a few times to secure both layers together.  Once I had both layers together I did Fray Check the centers of each circle to prevent fraying. This is optional though depending on preferences.

6.  Next stitch your button/rhinestone to center of flower.  For this one I used a metal shank button.  For the one above I used a rhinestone that had two holes in it so I could stitch it securely.  You can also use any type of button for this depending on how you want it to look.

7.  After applying the button you will want to put a dot of glue on the backside in the center gap.  This will help secure the button a little more and give the center some more stability. While that is drying apply the pin clasp to the felt circle.  Glue your felt circle on top of the center back. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  The possibilities are endless when it comes to how you can make your flower look.  The one at the beginning of this tutorial has both layers made from the same plaid with the rhinestone center.  I love the idea of adding this to a Celtic costume for the ren faire, but it would also look great on a dress for holiday parties.  The pink and green one is very spring like and I think will be cute on a trench coat or other springtime jacket.  As always I would love to see pictures of your version!  If you have any questions about this tutorial and its’ instructions please feel free to email me.

Posted in Sewing | Leave a comment

How-to make a fascinator

 I am excited to share my new tutorial with everyone.  This is one of the headpieces I made for my friend in the Miss Ethnic World Pageant.  It was a lot of fun to design and make this piece.  I am glad to say it was pretty easy too!

Materials needed:
1 satin covered headband with fabric loop
1 9×12 felt sheet in coordinating color
4″ wide piece or scrap of organza
scrap of netting or tulle
feathers 7-12″ long
hot glue or fabric glue depending on preferance
toothpicks for spreading glue
spray starch (optional)
fray check (optional)


1.  Cut a 2.5-3″ circle from felt. Take netting or tulle an fold it making an almost square/circle shape.  Glue this to the felt circle.

 2.  Glue onto the headband, backside of felt circle to the fabric loop of headband.  Play around with different positioning before gluing down to get the best placement for you.

 3.  Next arrange your feathers behind the fabric loop and glue into place.  Again, play around with these and try it on to make sure you like where the feathers are at before gluing/

 4.  Before I cut out my organza petals I spray starched the fabric.  This added a little extra stiffness to the organza.  This is optional depending on your preferences for your fascinator.  After the starch dried I cut out 10 petals and Fray Checked the edges of each petal to help prevent the organza from shredding apart.

5.  Once all dried arrange the petals of your flower and glue them together one at a time.  Take the organza flower and glue it to the felt circle on top of the netting/tulle.

6.  To help hid the glue in the center and give it more of a flower look, glue rhinestones on top. You can also attach the rhinestones to the flower petals.  Since my organza has sparkles and gold on it already I didn’t feel this was necessary this time.

And voile,  you have your very own facisnator but at a fraction of the cost.  Overall it cost me $15.00 to make this.  The feathers I did order on Ebay from a fantastic seller in China.  At first I was a little hesitant to purchase from a foreign country because I like to try to practice buying local and handmade when possible.  But I was unable to find feathers like I wanted anywhere here.  The seller I bought from is beautifulli528, and she has a store full of any colored feather or feather embellishment you could possible need.  I have actually bought a couple additional items as well.  She reasonable shipping too, which is nice since they are coming from China.

I wish I had done this project before the Royal Wedding.  It would have been way fun to dress up for the day. 🙂

Posted in Sewing | 1 Comment

Burda Style 7359

Pattern Description:
Fitted Shirt
Pattern Sizing:
38-50. I made a 42.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
The design of the shirt was exactly the same. I made view B with the tabs.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
This was my first Burda Style pattern and the instructions were okay. The way they had me attach the collar (see below) was new and it took me reading it several times before I even wanted to attempt it. In the end everything went together without any major issues.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the design of this pattern. There is not a thing I dislike about it. My only issue with this version is all the ripples from topstitching. 

I think it was because of the fabric since the black did not ripple at all once topstitched.
Fabric Used:
2.5 yards of green cotton left over from a dress I made myself and 1 yard of black cotton left over from a ren faire costume.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn’t make any pattern alterations but I did change the color scheme. I did the main portion of the shirt in the green. The yoke, underside of the collar, and pocket are all in black. I also did the tabs to have one side green and one side black.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would sew this again. This is a pretty casual shirt for my husband so he is not able to wear it to work. I want to make a dressier version that he will be able to wear. I also want to make this in a solid color.
I am quite surprised that I am the first review of this pattern. I really didn’t like this shirt when I started due to my husbands color choices. It started out feeling like something Charlie Sheen character would wear on Two and Half Men. But once I finished it that changed. I actually really liked it once DH put it on.

The  Collar

There are two pieces, upper collar (6)  and lower collar (7).  as you can tell they are shaped completely different.  There is also no neckband to attach the collar to the rest of the shirt. To make the collar you attach the under collar first.  Then you hem the bottom curve of the upper collar. then you sew the upper and lower collars right sides together. Fold the collar, right sides out and slip stitch it.  Then you stitch the lower edge of the upper collar to the shirt center front edge that was folded previously.  I hope that all makes sense.  I had to read it a few times first and it didn’t really make sense till I actually started going through the steps.  Personally, I am not a fan of this collar.  I think that it is what gives the shirt a casual look since it cannot be buttoned all the way up.  I may try to attach a more traditional collar next time I make this shirt. 

On a side note… 
I, Sarah C of Musings of a Seamstress, sign up as a participant of my very first Self-Stitched-Sept ’11. I endeavor to wear at least 1 self-stitched garment each day for the duration of September 2011.  I hope you will follow along and join me in this journey!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Simplicity 2223

Pattern Description:
Misses jacket in two lengths with trim variations.
Pattern Sizing:
6-24, I made a 14.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
No! Just like the other reviews say, the instructions jump around. Now, no one else has reviewed the view I made though. But the instructions had me start with the top of the jacket then sew the pockets on to the bottom section, then go back and sew the tabs on the top of the jacket and finish the center fronts and neck of the top only. Then I went back to sewing the bottom front pieces to the bottom back and attaching it to the top. I was not a fan. I chose to ignore the finishing of the center front seams until everything was sewn together and I did a narrow hem all around instead of seam binding on top and a narrow hem on bottom. My way worked just fine. The instructions for doing the tabs on the sleeves also didn’t make any sense to me. As a result my sleeves do not have the cuffs. I read the instructions at least 4 times for this part going step by step through sewing on those tabs and it did not work the way the pictures and instructions are laid out.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I hate the instructions. Other than that the pattern is great! I love the design.
Fabric Used:
1.5 yds Olive green cotton twill
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I do not have the cuffs on my sleeves. After reading the other reviews I decided to add 2″ in length to the top pieces. I am glad I did otherwise it would have put that seam on my bust. I do think that I could probably have gotten away with only adding 1″ though.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I do want to make some of the other views. I really like the over design of the jacket.
I wore this to work today and received a lot of compliments. I even had one co-worker ask if it was DKNY!!! They were quite surprised when I told them I made it.  Overall this jacket cost me $5.50, which was for the gold buttons.  The fabric was given to me by a friend and has been in my stash for about a year now.

I hope to have some pictures of the McCall’s tops I made tomorrow.
Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Yarn Ball Wreath How-to

Here is one of the items I made for a Christmas present. My friend, Bri, is a knitter. She is actually the one who taught me to knit. I gave her this easy to make yarn ball wreath. The needles do come out so that she can use them as well. While I chose to make this wreath Christmas themed, you can really use any colors of yarn and ribbon.
Materials needed:
10- 3″ Styrofoam balls
yarn (I used 3 mini skeins)
10 toothpicks
15 craft/Popsicle stick
1 spool of ribbon
knitting needles (any size)
hot glue gun
1. To start tape one end of the yarn to a Styrofoam ball.
2. Wrap yarn tightly around the Styrofoam ball trying to cover as much as possible with the first layer.

3. Once done with first layer, start wrapping randomly.
4. Keep wrapping until all the white is covered like the above picture. Repeat steps 1-4 until you have 10 yarn balls.
5. To secure each end yarn end put a dot of hot glue. Before the glue dries, insert a toothpick and connect to second yarn ball. Continue this step until all 10 yarn balls are connected, making a circle.

6. Once the yarn balls are connected the wreath will be a little flimsy. To secure the wreath use the hot glue gun to secure the craft/Popsicle sticks to the backs of the yarn balls as pictured above. This will also give you a base to hang the wreath from.

7. Next secure your ribbon bow with another dot of hot glue. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step.
8. The final step is to insert the knitting needles behind the ribbon. I slide these in so that they would be removable, so as to knit with them. You most certainly can glue these as well but they will stay put without the glue if you have wrapped the yarn balls tightly enough.

This project was very simple and took a total of about 2 hours to finish. I really enjoyed this and plan on making one for myself that has a spring color scheme to it. I hope you enjoy this project.
Posted in Sewing | 3 Comments