03 April 2014

MAGAM Challenge : April Plans McCall's 3830

I've been wanting a brocade pencil skirt for a while. So this month for my challenge garment, I'm finally going to get one. I like this fabric so much, I accidentally bought it twice. So I probably have a total of 5-6 yards of this. Not sure what I'll do with the rest of it.

I'm going to line it using this "European Turned Underlining Technique" I first read about here.  I had never heard of this technique before so I did a Google search and basically every one of the few resources I found all called it something different. Anyways it underlines the garment and produces a hong kong looking finish on the seams. Seems very promising so I'm looking forward to trying that.

But first I need to make a muslin as I made a slight alteration to the pattern. I've made this pattern up before but ended up tapering it in at the bottom to produce more of a pencil look. Well I finally found the magic just the other day. I read someplace (sorry I don't remember exactly where. I'm always reading) that the bottom of a pencil skirt should be 4 inches smaller than the hip. So I took an inch off of the side seams on both the front and back pattern pieces. I'll be making a test garment before cutting my fabulous brocade. Stay tuned for pics of the test garment.

Happy sewing!

25 March 2014

MAGAM Challenge: March 2014 Completed Garment + Pattern Review

Here is my completed garment for March for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge. I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago but hadn't worn it until a few days ago.

Back View:

This is one of those patterns where you literally get a lot of bang for your buck. In addition to that, the fabric was a steal on clearance at Joann for $6/yard. There was just under 2 yards left. I have a scrap left I'm going to try to squeeze a tank or shell out of it. I hate to throw it away.

I actually used my twin needle for the very first time to hem the bottom and sleeves. I never used it before because I just couldn't be bothered to change the needle and set up an extra spool of thread. I'm kicking myself for not having done it sooner. I've used it twice since finishing this top. I'll show you those other projects very soon.

Here is my review for fellow sewers:

Simplicity Sew Simple A1523
Pattern Description:
Cowl-neck top

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 14 for my muslin but went down a size for my final garment.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
At the risk of sounding arrogant I think it looked better. This is one of those instances where the pattern pic doesn't do it justice.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes the instructions are very straight-forward. This top goes together very quickly and easily.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
What's not to like? I especially like that the neckline is not too plunging which is often a problem with this style of top.

Fabric Used:
An ITY I got on clearance at Joann.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
the only adjustment needed was a sway back adjustment. I pinched out about at inch at the center back grading out to nothing at the side seam.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes. This will definitely be my go-to for a cowl-neck top. Definitely recommend it.


This is a pattern I would have overlooked had I not seen MrsCharisma's review. So glad I picked it up.

11 March 2014

MAGAM Challenge : March Plans + Fabric Challenge

So I have this pile of fabric on my sewing table. It's on my table not because I'm too lazy or too busy to put it away. It's on my table because I literally have no place else to put it. My fabric shelves are filled to overflowing. SO! I need to do some major sewing so I can get this pile off my table. It's very stressful in my sewing room right now because I have stuff all over the place. I don't operate well in chaos. So this is my current challenge.

Last night I had a bout of insomnia so I actually knocked out one piece of fabric and made a circle skirt. I didn't think it all the way through before cutting. I neglected to reserve a piece of fabric for my waistband so I had to piece some scraps together. The waist turned out a little too big because of the thickness of the fabric. It didn't really fold well so the turn of fabric added an extra inch or so. I simply ran an easing stitch along the waistband to take out the slack and that seemed to correct the issue without too much puckering/gathering. So there she hangs fully complete except for the hem. I'll leave it hang for at least 24 hours before hemming it.

Now back to sewing down that pile of fabric. That brings me to my next project - my MAGAM Challenge garment for the month of March. I'm using Simplicity Sew Simple A1523. I saw a very cute version of this by MrsCharisma on patternreview.com a couple of months ago and immediately added this pattern to my shopping list.

I have just under 2 yards of this fabric purchased at Joann from the red tag fabrics. It was an end of bolt so I just took what was left. I knew I wanted to make something drapey with this fabric so I looked through my pattern stash and this is what I came up with. I really wanted to make McCall's 6841 but I don't have quite enough fabric - even for the sleeveless version.
Besides, since God insists on continuing to impress us with the splendor of His wonder we call Winter, I figure I can squeeze out a couple more cold weather garments before starting to focus on spring/summer wardrobe.
So that's what I'm up to.

04 March 2014

MAGAM Challenge : February Completed Garment

I'm a little late posting my completed garment for February. I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago - not in time to wear it when I intended but completed nonetheless. This skirt went together fairly easy. I added about 4 inches to both the bottom and the top section. Both fabrics were pieces I had in my stash. The fuchsia was a small remnant so I just made that section long enough to use up the piece that I had. I added the rest of the length to the top portion to acquire the length I wanted. Not sure if you can tell from the pics but I went all out with the color blocking and made the waistband white.

A couple of bloopers. I managed to put the waistband on backwards so I have to wear the skirt with the zipper on the right side instead of the left so that the overlap goes in the right direction. I also got some stains on it with my wax chalk. It's not highly visible as it was a yellow chalk. I'm going to treat the stains and launder it and hope it comes out. I've never had that happen before. The markings usually come right off with a warm iron.

The top is McCall's 6839.  I entered a sew-along on a Facebook group. So I decided to make it red to coordinate with my Valentine's Day skirt (which I did not get a chance to wear on Valentine's Day LOL)

Back view. Forgot to do that sway back adjustment. I'll remember next time.

Stay tuned for my March MAGAM plans. I have a couple of things in mind. Happy sewing!

10 February 2014

MAGAM Challenge : February Plans

A little late with my February plans. I haven't found much time in the sewing room in the last couple of weeks. In honor of Valentine's Day I searched thru my fabric stash and looked for something that fit the occasion. I found this fuschia poly shantung left over from a previous project. I have just under 1 yard. The powder pink is also a poly shantung. I bought this on clearance for I think $2/yard. There are several yards here. Obviously I won't use it all for this project.

At the time I took the pic, I was undecided betwen M6706 & B5285 but by now I've decided on the McCall's pattern - View A. I don't know if I will have time to finish it by Valentine's Day but if not, it will be a cute skirt for spring/summer.

17 January 2014

MAGAM Challenge Completed Garment + Pattern Review: McCall's 5929

Finally I'm done with my challenge garment for January. I haven't had a lot of sewing mojo the last couple of weeks so it's taken me a bit to finish it.

Overall I think it turned out okay. I have a couple of tweaks to make before I will wear it again.

I challenged myself to work on learning pattern alterations this year. Ironically, I decided not to make any alterations to this pattern. I did make a muslin but I only attached the front and back. I didn't make the sleeve. And I was a little confused as to how the button placket and all of that would effect the fit as I've never made anything like this before. So I concluded that this wouldn't be the best garment to use for my first alterations attempt. Also, after reading some reviews on PatternReview.com, one reviewer stated that she didn't need to make her usual full bust and sway back alterations so I took my chances.

The front is okay without the FBA because the pattern has quite a bit of wearing ease included. PLUS the poplin has some stretch.

However, I do have some gaping at the back. So if I make this pattern again, I will definitely need to do a sway back adjustment. For this version, I will simply increase the back darts.

Even though I have a couple of fitting issues, I'm still calling this a success. I stayed up to finish it last night so I could wear it to work today. I think this would also be cute belted with a cardigan.

Pattern review for fellow sewers...

McCall's 5929 (OOP)
Pattern Description:
MISSES' SHIRTS: Fitted shirts A, B have darted front and back, front band, front ruffles and shaped hemline; shirt A has stand-up collar, below elbow length sleeves with sleeve band; shirt B has collar and collar band, full length sleeves with placket opening and cuffs; dresses A, B have sleeves gathered at cap and lower edge.

Pattern Sizing:
6-14. I cut the 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?
I thought the instructions were pretty clear.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the ruffles and the length of the shirt. It's long enough without needing to be altered.

Fabric Used:
White poplin from Joann.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
After reading other reviews I decided not to do any fitting alterations. The pattern has quite a bit of shaping already. In hindsight I could have used a sway back adjustment. For this one I will increase the back darts to take out some of the slack.

Previous reviewers also mentioned the sleeve bands being small. The band as drafted probably works fine for the long sleeve version but for the short sleeve version, it does not fit well for a girl who has an occasional cheeseburger and French fries. I added 1 inch to the band length and they still are quite uncomfortable. I actually created a pseudo vent at the seam just so I could wear the blouse today and it is still quite snug on my arms. I will need to replace the band before I can wear this one again. Luckily I still have quite a bit of fabric left.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I plan to make View B (sans the ruffles).

This was a pattern I purchased about 3 years ago when I was first getting into sewing. I didn't attempt it right away because I was so intimidated by the ruffles...and sleeves....and buttons LOL. But now I'm happy to say that even though I have a couple of fitting issues, I tackled this pattern with no fear or hesitation. With a couple of minor tweaks, it will be a great addition to my wardrobe.

Top of Form


02 January 2014

MAGAM Challenge - January 2014 Plans

2013 has been quite an exciting year. Unlike previous years I've managed to complete quite a few garments for myself of which I am quite proud. Outside of a Sewing 101 class taken about 3 years ago, I have pretty much been self-taught and I am always challenging myself to improve my sewing skills and looking to learn new techniques.

This past year I challenged myself to do a better job of finishing the insides of my garments. And I've done pretty well in that area. I haven't mastered every technique available and I will continue to work on that. But I no longer produce garments that I'm ashamed to take to the dry cleaners.

In the past I've had some struggles with fitting and I think this year I've finally figured out why. I've had some moments when I've scratched my head and said I THOUGHT I cut out the right size. What I've discovered is that I need to learn to do some pattern alterations. Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and Sway Back Adjustment are two that I've identified. So my challenge for 2014 will be two-fold (1) getting a better fit in my garments (2) sewing some wardrobe staples. Most of the items I've made are dresses to wear to church. Which is fine but I'm only at church once a week. I want to build a wardrobe of clothes for every day wear. So these are my challenges for myself for the upcoming year.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn to sew was because I had a hard time finding ready-to-wear clothes that fit properly. The one thing I remember always complaining about is finding shirts that are long enough to stay tucked in. I guess I have a long torso. With that in mind, McCalls 5929 was one of the very first patterns I ever bought. And I've never made it. I will be making View A.

Initially I was intimidated by the ruffles. And the sleeves lol. It was one of those patterns that I bought and said ONE DAY I'M GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THIS. So now I'm going back to the beginning. This will be my garment for the MAGAM Challenge for January. This will be my first button-up shirt so I'm looking forward to the process. I'm no longer intimidated by ruffles or sleeves. :)

I have several yards of white poplin that I purchased a while ago with the intent of making some white tops. I'm of the opinion that one can never have enough white tops.

What challenges have you set for yourself for the upcoming year?

P.S. I'm hoping to complete this garment very early in the month and then put my machine in the shop for overdue maintenance. I've never had my machine maintenanced since I bought it 4 years ago. Shame, shame!

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