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 bellies...in 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 means....so lovely.  Other times it's a "Wow" that means...so 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 designer...lol)

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.....

Monday, October 8, 2018

Crafting a Corduroy Cloche: Tips and Tricks

Corduroy Cloche is Perfect for Cold Rainy Days
 I Love my Daily Walks....in any kind of weather.

The trick is to dress appropriately.

Last year my Wool Houndstooth Cloche was perfect for our Pacific North West Coast Winter Weather.....Cold and Rainy usually!

This year I decided to make another one for variety, in a lovely Turquoise Corduroy Fabric.

Turquoise Corduroy Cloche

Rosabelle Cloche by Elsewhen  Millinery

 Read on for my Tips and Trick for working with Corduroy in the Making of this Cloche!

The pattern is from Elsewhen Millinery.

Keep the nap running in same direction for all pieces
Microtex Needle
Firstly, when working with corduroy, when cutting out the pieces, always make sure the nap is running the same way!

Next, I like to use a Microtex Needle, it makes getting through thicker fabrics easier.

Patching Interfacing on Brim Pieces
2 Layers of Interfacing on Crown Pieces
I used 2 Layers of interfacing on the Crown Pieces to stiffen the corduroy.  This makes for a nicely shaped hat.   I used Fusible Woven Interfacing.

When interfacing the Brim, I needed to patch the interfacing to get the required length. I was careful not to patch in the same areas on each brim piece.

Handcranking Stitches through Extra Thick Areas

 Now this is a major tip:

When stitching through very thick areas, such as the last joining seam on the Crown or Topstitching , make stitches by turning the handcrank and lifting the pressor foot if necessary to move fabric ahead a stitch length at a time.

Once past this extra thick area, once again resume stitching regularly.

Using Wonder Clips in place of Pins

A Terrific Tool to use in place of pins are Wonder Clips!  Pins bend so easily when working with thicker fabrics.

Topstitching the Brim

Here is a Trick I like to use for Topstitching.

I place the edge of the area to topstitch against the inside edge of my pressor foot, using it as a guide.

Then I Move my Needle Position over the amount needed , in this case about 3/8

This makes it very easy to keep the Topstitching Uniform in Width.

There you have it, my few tips and tricks for making a Corduroy Cloche.

Try not to be intimidated about trying new to you sewing projects!

Even if it dosen't turn out exactly as planned you will have gained experience in sewing that you can apply to future projects....this is how I learned these tips and tricks above....by going ahead and sewing previous items.

Happy Sewing.....

Loving my Newest Cloche

Friday, October 5, 2018

Metamorphosis: Crafting Butterfly Wings

Shimmery 'Butterfly Wings'

Do you know a little girl who is captivated by Butterflies?

Fuel her imaginary flights of fancy with a pair of shimmering butterfly wings!

A few raw materials can 'Metamorph' into a pretty pair of wings.

Lightweight flowy fabric, elastic and ribbon...

Raw Materials for Crafting Butterfly Wings

Thrift shops can be great places to look for fabric for this project, which is where I found this Shimmery, Multi-Colored, Flowy Polyester Fabric.  Polyester is hard wearing which is a terrific quality for dress up clothes!

To add more fun color to the Butterfly Wings I chose to use a Bright Pink Foldover Elastic. This type of elastic is also very soft!

The light turquoise ribbon chosen brings out the hint of blue in the fabric.

This is the Tutorial I used as a guide to create "Butterfly Wings" http://catonalimb.blogspot.com/2011/10/homemade-silky-fairy-wings-christmas.html

I made a few changes from the tutorial in crafting the 'Butterfly Wings' .

1. The size of the fabric piece I started with was 45" wide by 31" long.  Two sides of this piece were the selvedge edges,  which I left as is...and hemmed the other 2 sides with a narrow hem.

Pressed line as a guide for Gathering Stitches

2. To mark the middle of the fabric piece I just folded it in half and ironed the center folded edge.

This created a visible line I could follow as a guide while stitching the gathering stitches.

Sewing the Ribbon over Gathered Area
I lined that pressed line up with the edge of my presser foot, and sewed first along one side of the pressed line and then along the oppposite side of the pressed line. This created a 1" wide gathering channel.

Center Ribbon and Elastic
Corner Ribbon and Elastic

3. When stitching the ribbon over the elastic onto fabric, I stitched a X design to add strength to the area. 

This area will now take lots of tension without coming undone!

Light Illuminating the Butterfly Wings

Purple Spotted Swallowtail

To add to the Fun, I crafted 3 Butterfly Wings like this. 

Now 3 Little Girls can be Butterflies Together.

Oh to have the Wings of a Butterfly, to flit and float on the breeze....

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Finding Time to Sew: Take a Fun Quiz

Image result for love sewing cartoon images

For those of us who Love to Sew, finding Time for it is a priority.
So, how do You find time to sew?

Here is a Quiz for a Little Fun....

Which would You Prefer to Free up Time to Sew?

 A.  Get 8 hrs Sleep Regularly                                       B.  Have Your House Clean Itself

Image result for house cleaning cartoon imagesImage result for cartoon sleep images

C. Have Supper Made for You each Day                     D. Have Someone Else Run Your Errands

Image result for errand cartoon images
Image result for meal cartoon images

All joking aside, it can be a real Challenge finding that elusive time to sew;

Some may have young children still at home, with all the time challenges this creates.

Others may work full time jobs.

Chronic health issues is my challenge....

Whatever the challenge, if one loves to sew time is found for it.

Here is how I find time to sew.....

Since my energy is limited at all times, deciding where and how my energy is 'spent' is always a concern.

Personally, I find that sewing a little each day suits me.  I am blessed to have a room I can devote just to sewing. So projects can be left just as is until I am able to get at them again.

At times the evening is a good time to sew...other priorities have been taken care of and this is my chance to relax with an activity that soothes me.

Another time that works for me quite often is once supper is in the oven and no one else has gotten home yet.  I can sew for about 30-45min.  Alot can be accomplish in that time frame!

And less frequently, I sew in the early afternoon for an hour or so.

Rarely do I sew in the morning.  That time is reserved for my daily walk.  But sometimes once home from my walk I will sew just a bit.

Sewing is a kind of therapy for me. It is one thing I can be productive at despite limited energy.  And it helps ward off the depression that can arise when dealing with my health issues.

So What Works for You with Your personal Challenges?

How do You Find Time to Sew?....