Monday, May 13, 2019

Beach Pajamas?? Yes Please!

Beach Pajamas

Beach season is fast approaching in my part of the world. Are you looking for inspiration for a new beach outfit this year, one you can sew yourself?

 If you are ready for something  totally Glam, yet super comfortable and providing sun protection consider....Beach Pajamas!!

First worn in the 1920's, Beach Pajamas were just wide leg pants and a cute top, perhaps with a daring open back.

 Below are some pictures and quotes from an article about this 'new' outfit.
( to read the whole article click here Glamour of the Beach Pajama )

"Before the bikini, fashionable ladies donned “beach pyjamas” all along the world’s most stylish coastal towns. The swishy palazzo-like pants and jumpsuit styles shocked the public in the interwar years, while we, on the other side of the second millennium, find some serious inspiration".

Now we have our inspiration, let me introduce you to the Samara Pant pattern by Itch to Stitch .  With this pattern you will be able to begin creating your very own Beach Pajamas, that can be worn on their own or over a swimsuit as a cover-up.

Samara Pants Features
-Wide Legs that flare from the hip down
-Straight Waistband sits at narrowest part of waist ( high waisted)
-Side Invisible Zipper closure

For Beach Pajamas it is a good idea to  choose a breathable fabric like rayon, or even silk if so inclined.  Just be sure whatever fabric you choose has beautiful fluid drape to it.

Chose the length you prefer; full, ankle, 3/4.

The feel of the Samara Pants on is utterly divine...lighter than a whisper, elegantly feminine, immensely comfortable!

Striped Samara Pants aka Beach Pajamas

So go ahead.. Sew up a pair of Samara Pants this season and be Glamourous in your Beach Pajamas!!!  And as a bonus sew up a Fabulous Pair for that night out as well or for any other occasion!
Evening Elegance

Coffee Meet Up Flair

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lisbon Cardigan-The Inside Story

Beautiful Inside of my Lisbon Cardigan
 Awhile back I sewed up this Coral Lisbon Cardigan ..what I didn't tell you about is the beautiful inside of it!

This Classic Beauty from Itch to Stitch
patterns can be as beautiful Inside as Out with just a little investment of your time.

And lets face it, the Inside of Cardigans are often seen when worn unbuttoned or when slung over a chair or such.

I love the various Cardigans I have sewn but sometimes the Inside can look 'homemade'.

They all have lovely serged seam finishes...the problem is the color of thread used to serge does not always look as nice as it could.

Of course, one can buy serger thread in every color under the sun but it is not always realistic for the home sewist to buy lots of colors.

There is another option though....
Now, isn't this Inside Fabulous!

I was thrilled to read about how one could do the Hong Kong seam finish on knits in the Lisbon Cardigan Pattern instructions!

The Hong Kong seam finish is not difficult to do.  It just takes a bit more time.

Now I could create Cardigans that looked like 'high end' fashion!

The secret is in what fabric is used to create the Hong Kong finish on knits.  It needs to be a very lightweight knit.

Love this slightly deeper Coral on the Seams

Well, I happened to have the Perfect Color of very lightweight knit fabric for the Lisbon Cardigan I was planning to make.  Time to try this out on knit fabric!  ( I have done the Hong Kong seam finish on woven garments)

It was Love... no problem at fact I found it slightly easier to do in knit fabric.

The only place I found a bit too much bulk in the seams to be an issue was where the side seams meet the bottom band.
Smooth Soft Hong Kong Seam Finish

In future makes I will try ending the Hong Kong finish on the side seam bottoms about 5/8" from the end.  That should eliminate the bulk where the side seam meets the bottom band.  Once the bottom band seam, with its Hong Kong finish, is pressed upward and tacked down no raw edges should be visible.

Look at all those Beautiful Seams
Now my mind is whirling with possibilities for interesting fabrics to use for Hong Kong seam finishes on knits....I have some Gorgeous Soft Stretch Lace ...hmmm...could be interesting!

So when you see this Lisbon Cardigan, remember, it is just as Beautiful Inside as Out!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Mad for Plaid - A Sewing Adventure

A Sewing Adventure!  Are you up for one? 

Using a plaid fabric to sew up the latest Itch to Stitch pattern, the Envigado Vest, turned it into a personal Creative Challenge!  What an Adventure to discover the extent of my sewing skills!

Now, before I go any further, let me reassure you that when sewn in a solid fabric, or simple print, the Envigado Vest is a project well within the capabilities of the intermediate sewist.

Quite an interesting project as well, with princess seams, optional hong kong seam finish, hardware, zipper, drawstring and more.

Check out all the fabric choices the pattern testers used for inspiration to sew your own version HERE

However, using plaid fabric like I did raises the skill level to advanced  

It requires patience and calmness but mostly a joyous upbeat approach...this is all about enjoying using the sewing skills one has acquired for a fabulously satisfying experience!

This Plaid Fabric is a very lightweight wool blend.  Lightweight fabric is a key to ease of sewing this pattern.  Many layers to sew through in some places, like the front flap.

Back View
With princess seams, the plaid cannot be matched on the entire seam because of the curve.
I chose to start matching from the bottom up until it became impossible to match any further.
The back shows the plaid matching best, as the front has pockets over alot of it.

Front Flap - the Plaid Matches!!!

One of the most challenging parts for me was matching the plaid on the front flap piece to the body of the vest.

It required lots of reviewing of the construction and application method of the flap to get the placement of the plaid just right.

Even then, I did make a minor booboo.  Interfaced the wrong piece...should have been the top piece but I did the bottom piece. Oh well, at least it stills functions that way.

Bias Cut Accents Add Interest

Plaid prints cut on the bias add very interesting visual interest to a garment.

I chose to use bias cut plaid on the Drawstring Cover and Pockets. 

Since bias cut fabric can be easily pulled out of shape during handling, I made sure to interface all bias cut pieces even if  interfacing them was not called for in the pattern.

Great care was taken while interfacing these pieces to make sure they were not being distorted, by comparing the original pattern piece with the bias cut piece before the first touch of the iron to adhere the interfacing!

Thus interfaced, the bias pieces are a breeze to use.

The addition of flat piping to the Drawstring Cover gives a restful pause for the eyes between the regular and bias cut pieces, thus highlighting the different directions of the plaid.

Adding bias binding to the pocket flaps does this as well.

Making Hole and Inserting Snap
Adding Back of Snap and Securing it

Hardware such as Eyelets and no sew Snaps add such a professional touch to home sewn garments! 

They are not difficult to install.  Just do a practice run or two.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Tanacros Cardi: Fun and Stylish

My Cozy Tanacross Cardi
Picture this: 
 You are snuggled up on the sofa reading on a winter evening.  You are perfectly warm and cozy because you are wearing your Tanacross Cardi with its crossover front forming a flattering cowl neck. 
 The Doorbell rings but you are not fretting over how you will look....your Tanacross Cardi has you dressed in Style Too...featuring that lovely fringe!

That is exactly one way I wear my Tanacross Cardi by New Horizons

I also plan on wearing it as a spring coat once the weather warms up!

The Tanacross features a waterfall front with that can be crossed over and closed with buttons.  I love this feature since it makes the Cardi more wearable in my opinion,  as on open front cardi can be just a little chilly at times.  Especially, outside on windy days!
Worn open

The pattern suggests a fringe on just one side but I liked the idea of a fringe on both edges so I added it to both.  Mine was a fringe cut from the main fabric....the instructions tell you how to add this if you choose.  Of course a pre-made fringe can also be used...with instructions on adding it too.

I cut my fringe before moving my fronts from the cutting table for ease and convenience.  First I cut the strips with my rotary cutter and then just snipped the final bit with my scissors.
Cutting the Self-Fabric Fringe

The Fabric I used was a 2 Faced Fleece, so the back side is Black.  This makes the self-fringe very interesting!

Fringe Almost Complete
Back View-Hip Length

Mine is Hip Length, which is good for wearing sitting lots.  The other Option if Knee Length.  Of course, one can customize the length as well, to in between the two lengths.  Here is the back of mine.

 Since my fabric was wide enough I also eliminated the backneck seam by placing it on the fold...just remember mark and  fold under the 3/8" seam allowance first!!!! 
Marking the 3/8" Back Neck Seam Allowance

Elastic in place of Buttonholes
Instead of making buttonholes I sewed a strip of elastic to the hem in the area the buttonhole was to be.  This looks much nicer when the Cardi is worn open in my opionion. 

Twill Tape Button-closed and open
 For the inside button I attached a piece of twill tape to the seam allowance and sewed the button onto that. The length of the twill tape was determined by bring the button down to the area where it is suggested to be sewn. This way there was no hassle having stitching showing on the right side of the cardi. 

My Tanacross Cardi is getting lots of wear around the house now, during the winter, and I can't wait to wear it out as a Spring Jacket while running errands and such!

This pattern would also be terrific in lighter weight knits for cool summer evenings...even in stretch lace for a fancy edition!  

Oh, and there is a girls Tanacross Cardi  pattern as well... Mommy and Me Cardis anyone?

Which way will you Stitch one up? In a cozy edition or a lightweight one?  Fancy or everyday?

Happy Sewing.......

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Sew Flattering: Yoga Style Knit Pants

Back Looks Great Too!
Love How These Pants Look!
Comfy yet Flattering Knit Pants:  Is there such a thing?

In my search for pants that fit this criteria, I have sewn quite a few knit pull-on style pants.

None were very flattering.  Comfy yes....

When I saw the Sunset Lounge Pants by Sinclair Patterns  I really liked the look of them. They have a yoga style waistband, a style I had never sewn before.  So decided to give them a try....nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

Large Scale Paisley Print with Black Contrast

The fabric chosen from my Stash was a polyester lycra.  Very drapery. A contrast rib knit was used for the yoga waistband.

Usually, I need to do a flat seat adjustment on pants and instructions on how to do this on these pants is right in the pattern.  I did a flat seat adjustment of 5/8"on the back pattern piece.

In my typical style I did things out of order from the pattern instructions.  I began with sewing the yoga waistband.

Love that touch of Hardware: Eyelets for the Drawstring

This was very interesting. If a drawstring will be used buttonholes or eyelets are added.  I love the added touch of hardware that the eyelets give my Pants.

Adding the Optional Elastic to the Yoga Style Waistband

Optional elastic can be added to help to keep the pants up.  Soft braided elastic is recommended to keep that comfy factor. This was what I chose since my rib knit was on the less than robust side.

There are also optional pockets but on this first pair I kept things simple.

And boy are these pants simple to sew...just 4 main seams.

Yoga Style Waistband lets these Pants Hang from the Hips
I couldn't wait to try them on to see if they were flattering or not.....

I was truly amazed at how these pants looked.

I believe they are so flattering because they hang from the hips really.  That is where the elastic sits...the rest of the yoga waistband rises above to the waist.

In the photos I have paired them with the Macy Cowl Neck Knit Top also by Sinclair Patterns, one of my favorite tops to sew!  It always looks Fabulous no matter what fabric it is sewn in.

This design also makes them perfect pregnant fact the pattern includes a maternity rise cut with ruched waistband.

There is also a ruched waistband option for the regular rise too.

Two length options included as well...regular and below knee.

For just relaxing around home, to running errands, and even for work wear in appropriate fabrics, these pants are a hit.

Now, I am off to sew up a half dozen more of these Comfy and Flattering knit pants.

Maybe you should too!

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stream-lining the Sequoia Cargos into 'Chinos'

Everyone can use a great pair of in-between pants.

You know, something between jeans and dress pants.

Pants you can put on and feel you have dressed up just a bit more than usual but still be supremely comfortable in.

I think of these type of pants as 'Chinos'.

For me that means the Sequoia Cargos , in a stream-lined edition.

By leaving off the side pocket cargos are known for, the beautiful design lines of these pants shines.

They have a relaxed, straight leg silhouette that feels almost graceful on and looks terrific.

The front patch pockets have a slanted opening that adds a dash of interest.  

There is a functional fly front zipper with snap closure too.

The waistband is partial ribbing/elastic, which one might think would not exactly look right for the  dressy casual look, but in reality isn't an issue.

 I also stream-lined the back by eliminating the back pocket flap.

Here is how they look on!  I have paired them with the Irena Top   layered over the Lago Tank

  They also look great dressed up just a touch with Fab Boots and the Bellavista Top

So the morale of this story is...look past the first details you might focus on in a sewing pattern...look for the design lines of the item.  You may be looking at that 'perfect pattern' you have been searching  for all along.

Happy Sewing....

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Adding the Wow Factor: With Bits and Pieces

Mock up of Contrast Shoulder Panel: Carey Top
There's a reason I save small bits of interesting fabrics.

They have the potential to take a sewing project from "Nice" to "Wow"!

Sometimes it's a quiet "Wow" that lovely.  Other times it's a "Wow" that wonderful.

Let me show you what I mean....

Currently, I am sewing a set of PJ's for myself, and I want them to be just a bit special.

The Fabric from my stash is very lovely. but the top needed just a little more something to move it from nice to special.

I am using the Carey Top pattern by Itch to Stitch for my PJ top.  It is really easy to add the Wow factor to this top on the shoulder panels.  Lots of scope for contrast play here.

A solid can be nice on the shoulder panels, but I chose this black and white stripe fabric that was left over from previous projects.

See what I mean about saving small bits of interesting fabric?

Here are more examples of this:

Lace Insert Adds a Lovely Touch

This is the Arenal Top by Itch to Stitch.

The Lace Shoulder Insert adds a soft, lovely touch don't you think?

This Stretch Lace Fabric was actually from a top I came across in my local Thrift Shop.  I bought it purposely to reuse the fabric. 

Contrasting Binding Adds Interest

Now here is the Lago Tank also by Itch to Stitch and offered as a Free Pattern.

The Retro Daisy Fabric benefits from a touch of solid color in the contrast bindings.

The binding fabric was actually a green and white stripe fabric. The stripe was wide enough to isolate just one color for the binding.

See, you never know how those bits of fabric could be used!

Lots of Contrasts Here

This final example is a study in Combining Prints.

This is the Visby Henley once again by Itch to Stitch.(can you tell this is my favorite pattern

3 Different Fabrics are used here.  The Pink and White Stripe fabric left after making my Arenal Top above.  A Black Floral fabric.  And more of that Stretch Lace fabric is lining the hood!

It came out Fabulous, if I do say so myself....

I hope this has inspired you with ideas of how to add the "wow" factor to your sewing projects.

Save those bits and pieces of fabrics you love and they can be just what is needed in future projects.

Happy Sewing.....