Sewing Vloggers

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pattern Frustrations, Oh, My!

I've decided that my wardrobe really needs more pants and I have made several pair over the summer from my Sure Fit sloper. They give a great fit which I tweaked on the last pair as the sloper was made pre weight lost which I kept off. I have found I just needed a small tweak in the hip width and a definite raising of the rise all around, the sad loss of my round booty. Sigh,,,,,,,Anyhoo, winter is coming and I want to find a great trouser pattern, a classic with slanted pockets, deep pleats and an increase in volume. I love this look and owned pair of Calvin Klein trousers that I paid ever so dearly for and wore until they were no longer fit for public wear. I may barking up the wrong hill on Memory Lane but I thought I'd give it a try with some cheap chino twill I have hanging around. Rather than a whole new trouser pattern from my SF sloper, which would involve new tissue,drawing, cutting, etc. I decided to look into my resources for a trouser pattern and then use the sloper to refine the fit. After measuring pleat and leg widths on various patterns I decided View C of McCalls 5239 was just right. You can see this is a Palmer Pletch pattern for "the perfect fit".The measurements of size ten were very close to mine so that's what I will cut. I haven't flat pattern measured yet but will before cutting any fabric. I may go down a size if need be.

Like all good sewists I read through the pattern instructions first and then read through it again. . I cut out the pieces for a size 10 and while cutting looked closely at the tissues. I also read the reviews in Pattern Review on this pattern. It had rave reviews  except for one, single soul who saw and felt what I saw and felt. In a nutshell, not good. I have made a ton of pleated patterns over the years. This pattern,  sold in 2009 and very verbose in the instruction, was not good in the tissue and in the instructions. I know that when making a pleated garment that on the pattern tissue it is shown usually with a line and dots that are brought over and matched to another line and another dot or two. Arrows tell you in which direction  to bring your fold and match. There are also usually numbers on the lines for what sizes to match with what lines for the same size.  This is a multi size pattern with 4 sizes. Please tell me what you see here above. There are 4 sizes here and I have cut size ten. Are these pleat folds clear to you? Are they sewn twice like a double topstitch?  At this point I don't care because I will just do my own thing. I just feel for any newbie that got stuck on this and threw it in the trash. It is unclear on the pattern what to line up with what to correctly place the pleats and also there is no reference to any double stitching or topstitching so that is not the answer.  

Then there was the waistband. Those instructions start with telling you that you will have the most, IN BOLD PRINT,  wonderful waistband installation ever. What proceeded was this, I don't know, installation like I've never seen, that to me, added bulk to the waistband , never mind confusion. Again. a newbie would have played Toss the Tissue. You had to have a certain type of waistband interfacing,  one made of "monofilament nylon waistband interfacing" cut  one  inch wide.  That is stitched to the 5/8ths inch wide waistband SA. This interfacing that is added to the waistband SA is now stitched to the pant waist SA through the interfacing. It is all very weird and unnecessary, IMO. This is all then folded up, no under-stitching, pressing, trimming anywhere. Then these two little pieces of interfacing are folded over the ends and pressed in place to sort of glue things together. Gahhhhhhh......

I can't even go on. Just no, I'm sorry. I saw no reason for those interfacing wrap flaps. I just could not see any reason for all of this.  Long time followers know I am crazy about couturier Roberta Carr and her teachings, number one of which is reduce bulk whenever possible. Roberta would take a drag off her cigarette and roll over in her grave over this method. The illustrations of it all were confusing as well. Do you really want me to go on about the zipper instructions??? It's not good and I will leave it at that. 

I've put in a lot of fly zips in my time, a fair amount with various couture methods. I was so amazed by the illustration, teeny tiny, and all its confusing folds and parts which bore no resemblance to anything I was familiar with that I went through my box of couture and designer patterns to find a similar design. From the crotch up these Issey Miyake shorts were the same other than the turn of the pleats. The construction was so so much simpler. While the blouse would probably make you cry, the shorts were a classic trouser any  experienced sewist could handle, rather unusual for Issey. 

I've actually made these Anne Klein trousers, a bit too wide up top for today but very nice back then. Notice the bottom says Easy/Facile. Right on top it says Classification: Couture. This pattern has a classic fly front zip on those trousers that anyone who has done a fly could put in. The instructions are clear, simple and doable. So is the waistband.  They are not complicated at all like the Palmer Pletch pattern. 

Why am I so pissed off at this old pattern? Because if offers something we all want, Great Pant Fit, and then makes it ridiculously hard to make the garment when the actual making of pants is so very easy. Once a person has a pants pattern that fits, they have found the Holy Grail and can whip out a pair of pants in no time flat. Difficult patterns turn off beginners. Bigtime. This is so unnecessary. 

I will cut out these trousers, use my sloper to fit them and sew them like all the pants I make. I'll use Sandra Betzina's fly front zip technique more than likely, Hong Kong the seam edges and do a waist stay as I personally love those, all things out there on the web and that are not hard to do at all. I will not follow the Palmer Pletch directions in this silly pattern. There is just not enough time in my life. 

The Good News

The wonderful news from my Pattern Corner is that there are Pattern Angels out there. You may know them. They have helped me more than once over the years and I treasure and thank them from the bottom of my heart. Recently a pattern was in Threads magazine that seemed to have touched some sort of hippy, baby boomer nerve ending in my sewing soul. View A here just spoke to me. Maybe it was the lure of the tucks and their heirloom sewing connection. I don't know. I had recently purchased a crazy Telio rayon challis and when View A showed up in my Threads. I had to find it. No luck to Etsy, Ebay and anything Google. Then a Sewing Angel, Ada G, from the lovely island of Puerto Rico said she owned this for years, never made it and never would and would gladly pass it on. In honor of Ada G. I praise all you sewing angels and the sewing community who is constantly reaching out. Thank you, Ada, for your kindness. Let the sewing community help each other along as we witness these horrible acts of Mother Nature. Let's remember to reach out to those who have lost so much even in a small way. When you have lost everything a pack of needles is a huge deal. There is much on Face Book to send you in the right direction for giving with a little hanging out on some sewing pages. I pray you are all, everywhere, safe, and as protected from fires, hurricanes and the realities of our Covid life as much as you can be. I pray you can get back to sewing in the very near future. Bless you all...............Bunny

Friday, September 4, 2020

A Poncho Vest???


Winter sewing has begun. I find it to be a real challenge. I am going to continue the way I worked with my wardrobe this summer. I will make tops and bottoms that coordinate. Entire SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) plans are too large a commitment for me and just do not interest me at this time. However, if I can look in the closet and find a top and bottom and in winter a coordinating vest or jacket that all work together, they don't need to work any harder for me. 

You remember the little cropped poncho I made this summer to go with two other pieces, inspired by Silhouette Patterns? Well, while cruising another pattern website I came across something similar but with straps. It had buttons on the side for a closure and was really quite  cute.  I really thought I could knock off this designer's version and I proceeded. While Peggy Sagers offered her design to the public, this designer was selling hers so I will not mention her name. But you have to respect that many sewists have spent their lives knocking of designs made by others. This was no different so I proceeded. There were also differences so this is not an exact copy either. I guessed my way through the construction.  I have no idea if the other designer made her's this way. 


This was a really, really fun project and a great start to some winter sewing. I had forgotten how much I loved to sew with wool. I had also forgotten how great it is to sew really high quality fabric. I have often mentioned my dear friend Ima who bequeathed me most of her amazing stash before passing a couple years ago. As a degreed textile major as well as FIT grad she knew her fabrics. This piece of vintage Pendleton Black Watch plaid was among her gifts. When deciding what to make this poncho vest with I searched and searched the resources and this gorgeous vintage wool said "look no more". It was perfect and the one yard listed was more like one and a half yards. You'll notice the price is 16.00 per yard. I'd say that puts it back around the 60s or 70s knowing Ima. Today this exact same yardage, if you can find it new like this, runs 40-50 dollars a yard. It is heavenly to stitch with and so very classic. It felt perfect for my poncho project. I love having something I can throw over a top and pants in the winter that isn't the same old cardi or sweater. Pendleton has been making the same classic plaids for decades and actually had a mill and store about 35 minutes from where I live now in New Hampshire in a town called Guild. Alas, the mill closed and all the wools are now made in Oregon, I  believe. 


Here you can see I have the poncho laid out just like I did in the Silouette Patterns design but there are differences. 

*First, having a perfectly even plaid made matching and designing this poncho vest much simpler. All was on grain and lined up beautifully. I lined up the major green bars before any cutting or even design was played with and pinned center front bars to the center back bars. Unlike the original poncho, in this one I used a 38 inch square, not 36. I did not want a really cropped design, but a bit longer. 

In this pic above you can see where I drew in the shape for the armholes in the poncho and in the upper right I drew in the neckline. After doing this I basted it all together and put it on my dress form. I did not like the way it draped at all. I pulled out the basting and got out my big yellow head pins and started playing with the drape. I surprised myself with how fun that was. I pinned in a new shape for the sides and straps and later drew that in. I added a 3/8th inch seam allowance to that as well as the neckline I had cut. I used a dress pattern whose neckline I liked to cut the poncho neckline. 

I also made an executive decision to make the front of the poncho one inch longer than the back. I would add a one inch bias cut strip to the front only. Why? Well, as in all thing C cup and larger...a bosom lifts the front of any garment and when the poncho was properly placed at the shoulder area the front was lifted by the bust and was shorter than the back, lik   e any garment needing an FBA. So, I just made the front of the poncho longer by one inch and all fit fine. 


This was simple construction but took a while. That extra yardage was cut into 1 1/2 inch wide bias strips. I used them as a facing on all edges of the garment. Nothing was actually bound, but actually faced.  One of the wonderful things I learned from Claire Shaeffer is the amazing ability of 100% wool to be shaped. With that in mind I preshaped my strips a bit as I was ready to used them with steam and the iron but once sewn the got well steamed and conformed beautifully to all the edges you see here. There is not a ripple or bad edge any where and it all started with straight bias strips. 


When I first started sewing this fabric I had waves of glory reminding me how wonderful it was to sew with truly great fabric, which this wool was. I decided right then  and there to give this my best techniques. Some curve was first steamed into a strip. It was then basted with silk thread to the garment edge. I did the edges in this order: neckline, armholes, bottom hem edges, and finally side edges. After basting, the strip was stitched with cotton thread which I used throughout construction. The seam edges were graded and then pressed as sewn, pressed open, then pressed toward the facing strip. My  edge stitching foot was put on the machine and the facing strip was understitched. I used a ham and organza press cloth and steam to press the strip into place after the understitching. I then handbasted the strip into place with silk thread in preparation for top stitching.  All top stitching was done one inch from the edge with a triple stitch and the cotton thread. It's hard to see but looks really nice IRL and I like the way it came out. I love the triple stitch for top stitching. 

On the front side of the poncho you can see where I added the bias strip of hem. It is also topstitched with the triple stitch. A lot of these pics have been seriousl lightened/tampered with so you can see the details, etc. I always try to let you know when I use photoshop. The actual fabric is quite dark. The bottom hem bands also have mitered corners. 

To me, the really fun part of this vest/poncho combo is the draping that happens at the side. The weight of the fabric brings the drape down into nice points. Like the linen cropped poncho, I tied the sides together with soutache braid, black in this case. 

The soutache also came from Ima's legacy. Gotta love that price and how about that fiber content?  I tied the ends of the soutache in knots and coated them with Fray bloc. Once dry I stitched them to the back side of the facing in beween their "ridge". I love how that hides the stitching. I love this soutache. Do they even still make this type? I have such a bounty that I haven't ever shopped for it. 

Another side/undearm view. 

This is a very lightened photo to show you the inner bias strip facings and how they are finished. There is little bulk and all is solid and flat. There is no interfacing anywhere in this garment.

In Conclusion:

This was a simple project, one requiring some creative vision as well as the recall of pleasurable sewing skills. I thought of my dear friend often while sewing, how she love and knew quality fabric and sewing and how we shared that love. I hope this simple project honors her and her great skills. I thank her all the time for the legacy I was given and always try to honor that. It was such a delight to sew on this gorgeous fabric, to drape it's simple shape on my form to make it better than what my imagination came up with, to baste it's layers with silk thread and understitch and grade its fine wool. It is the start of winter sewing. I will probably wear it with a dark green or black turtleneck not this blouse I put under it for contrast only. I hope to make some warm non jean pants in the future, trousers, maybe corduroys, woolens, we shall see. I am just getting started................Bunny

Sunday, August 30, 2020

My first Vlog review!

I present to you our first Vlogger review and it is with Anita Morris of Anita by Design.  Until I get the knack of reviewing our vloggers I will follow the template I previously discussed. Let me know if I can do better. 


Anita's delivery is calm, articulate and what my mom would call "lady like". I think she has the makings of an anchor person and for all I know this may be her other job if she has one. Her smile is non stop, something I have found important in all the vlogs that I really enjoy. You not only end up with sewing knowledge from her videos, you finish watching them and you feel good. 

Anita is always dressed in lovely clothing she has made herself that fits well, something else I have found important in sewing videos. I have seen her make athleisure, jumpsuits, dresses, etc. You can't imagine how many vloggers are out there wearing awfully fitting clothing that they tell you they made, ugh. Not Anita. She walks the walk. Her skills show. I love her honesty. She will tell you right out she is not a fitting expert and does not try to teach you fit but she will let you see how she has worked through a fit issue for herself and even show the several tries and why they didn't work. That right there is informative, IMO. Her sewing skills are strong.

Something else I like about Anita is that she will show a technique and work it through with you and then she will back it up with a  quality sewing book, sometimes even telling you what page the technique is on. I like this reinforcement and the fact the she thinks it is a great idea to have a good reference book on hand and that she underscores that with her viewers.  

When Anita finishes a garment she models it and it is totally accessorized, bag, hat and shoes included! She loves hats! She often will then give you a different look to the same garment with all new accessories and you get the versatility of the look she just created.

Anita is full on digital with her own website where she does sell various sewing books, notions, etc. She is also on all the platforms, blogging, vlogging, insta, etc. I get the impression that she is very hardworking, focused and does not do anything unless she does it well.

 She has a special series called "Learn to sew" where she will take a beginner from zero through making six basic garments and learning to sew. I HIGHLY  recommend Anita for any new sewist. You will feel like she is holding your hand and has the patience of a saint and a voice made of velvet. Newbies, Anita is for you. She will inspire and teach you well. 

Technical issues:

At this point you think I am gushing but I've been watching a lot of these videos and I wanted to start with a really professional  quality vlogger for you. Anita's camera work is the best I have seen of any sewing vlog. I don't know how or who places her camera but she gets shots of sewing at the machine that are so much better than what I have seen on other vlogs. They are bright and so close up and open. She needs to give lessons on this. 

Another thing Anita has going for her that I am finding I really like in my vlogs for sewing is a bright white background punctuated with color. It just shows off the fabrics and garments so well. When the bright white is behind the machine it emphasizes the stitching even more and helps give the great camera work I just mentioned. 

Her programs are highly staged and don't miss a beat yet at the same time they feel genuine and real. She is just a warm, focused person. 

What did I learn?

From Anita I have learned that some people are natural born teachers and she is one of them. She has a genuine ability to relate to beginners and get her information across clearly. 

Recently Anita did a vlog called "Let's talk about it" in which she has a conversation about the current state of affairs and history of race relations in the U.S. I was curious and not quite sure what to expect.  It touched me deeply and enlightened me more than any other media presentations I have seen  on the subject. I highly recommend any of you click and watch.  It is deep and heartfelt. I learned much. 

Was it entertaining?

Anita by Design is definitely entertaining but in a soft, easy way, great to watch with your morning cup of coffee. For myself, I monitor her videos as many are beginner so those I don't particularly watch. She has great sew alongs and those are very well done but aren't my particular cup of tea either. She does take you through each and every step very clearly. So yes, her videos are entertaining and knowledgeable. For me the best ones are those that she makes for herself, discusses her fit issues and you then see all finished and accessorized. She models them well. The most important thing I can say about Anita Morris is that she is an excellent teacher for sewing beginners. Recommend her with confidence to anyone you know starting out to sew. I fit her into our Sewing Entrepreneur group. She is a pro!


I am finishing up a small vintage fabric project that I can't wait to show you! More to come with this gorgeous Pendleton Black Watch Plaid. This is the original price tag. If only it cost that much now!.....Bunny


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Mimi G Style S8889 and pants

As soon as I saw Simplicity 8889, a MimiG Style pattern, there was something about it that said "petite" to me. I loved the detail, the high collar buttoned shut, the interesting hem band. I even liked the high low bottom edge, not my usual taste in hem finishes. It all just seemed a bit downsized for a petite shape. I also thought it would be the perfect foil for the rayon print pants I just made.  It would go well with some pale green I had in the stash. It would also allow the full length of the cropped pants to show. The sizing would  require a bit of adjustment for petiting but that was nothing new.  I will review the top first here and then the pants. 

The top


This is made with a fabric that someone, can't remember who, gave to me. It looks like Brussels Washer Linen, or so I thought. Once I started working with it I realized it had a fair amount of Spandex fiber and that was all on the crossgrain. I DO NOT LIKE Spandex but it was in there and I was emotionally vested in the project so went with it. It was a pain to iron and at the end drove me nuts on the last horizontal collar stand buttonhole. ugh. I found it behaved like a linen blend on the straight of grain but had a springy bounce to itself as well. So, in the end it was OK but I would not have bought it. I thank whoever gifted it to me. The hemband, collar and placket were interfaced with sf 101. I bought a bolt of this for bag making and it was handy. It worked fine enough. If I did it again I would interface just behind the specific buttonholes as the three layers of cloth for the hidden placket plus the interfacing made for a lot of thickness. Add in the spandex spring and it was a bit thicker than I would have liked but it came out OK. 


This is where it got very interesting. This pattern has no darts. It is what I call a box top or box jacket style. If you are anyone who has a C cup bust or more you know a dartless woven top does something special. It hangs straight down from the peak of the boob as you see above. This extends the bodice out into space as you can also see on the dress form. Do you want to show skin? Wear a light cami as I will ? Does it flatter? Did you forget this style does this? Did you notice how this was hidden on the pattern cover photo?

 Here's my version:

See that skin peeking out?  You can also see the top trying to make a bit of a dart, extending out, and hanging straight down from my boobs. Do you see my flesh at the side slit? I brought that slit down an inch or so. It is what it is. I have a white chiffon cami I will wear with this next time. Don't get me wrong. I still really like the  top. What get's me is that I didn't follow my own often spoken advice to really read the pattern photo on the cover. Guilty.  I'm not sure I would recommend this pattern for a newer  sewist. The directions are excellent, very clear, nothing missing. It is a bit challenging on the step where the hidden placket meets the hem band but it is all laid out. The good thing is MimiG has a youtube video sew along and you can follow the entire construction if you like.


I flat pattern measured and actually decided not to petite the upper chest of this pattern. It worked out fine. 

* I did an FBA adding  1 1/4  inches to the bust. I take a C cup. 

* I shortened the back length by 2 inches. Why? The hem it came with would have put the hem edge right at a full part of my hips and shortened my "leg look length". By raising it, it ends up in a more flattering spot for me.  Five footers fight for all the leg length they can get!  It is still very hi-lo.

Remember, if you shorten the length of the top, do it in the area above the hem band and below the armscye. 

* The last fit issue I dealt with was adding more room in the hips. I found I wanted just a bit more ease in the back so the easiest way was to just make the pleat deeper. I added one inch to the depth of the back pleat and to the hem band in back at the same spot.  


This is a pattern where you really need to follow the directions. There were 26 steps. I liked the challenge of all the detail. I chose to topstitch most edges with the heinous "stretch stitch" , aka, triple stitch. It is great for topstitching,  giving a thicker look to this seam finish. For the less experienced sewist, the curved hem band meetings at side seam can get a bit futzy and there is always the fun of a traditional collar with stand in this pattern as well. That is the one place I veered from the pattern and did the Nancy Zieman method which you can find in my tutorials. It gave a nice crisp finish as it always does.

Once again I did my buttonholes without a buttonhole foot and they came out beautifully, except for the one on the collar stand. That part of the stand is on the bias. That and the stretch spandex insisted on a wavy BH. I ironed it away but it was definitely  not as nice as the ones hiding in the placket. I would use a lighter interfacing or just behind the BHs, next time I do a hidden placket like this. I cut down the pocket a 1/4 inch all around, the petite scaling thing. I didn't do the collar as I liked it as it was. The construction went smoothly, just following directions. They were well written. 

The Pants


The pants fabric is Telio Kahlo slub rayon in "seaweed" coloration. I was inspired by a pair of loose, cropped pants I saw Linda Lee wear on a video. Matching this print was a near impossibility. It would have worked just fine if I went the no match route. but my inspiration pant had a soft large print match around the knees and I wanted that. I found in this fabric a couple of large motifs matched but there were tons of random splotches that defied any sort of repeat. I went with the large motif I wanted to match and didn't worry about anything else.  Results below. 

This fabric, 100% rayon,  is quite lightweight, I believe in the low 4 ounce range. It is near sheer. Lee suggested lining these near sheer rayons with polyester mesh. I'd never heard of such but gave it a try. It worked out great and I will do that again. The lining is a relatively heavy fabric so hangs nicely, doesn't ride or stick to anything and does it's lining job well. There is a lot more information on the fabrics I used HERE.


For the pants I used my Sure Fit pants sloper to start. I did a simple gathered waist and cropped leg with a 1 1/4 inch deep machine hem, no pockets. I rarely do pockets in pants as they add bulk and width to my already wide hips. I love this style and it's soft folds on the hips and legs help even out my proportions. I do think a short top makes it work. 


These pants were very very easy to construct. They were classic  drop one leg into the other pants sewing. I have seen people on youtube making pants in such difficult other ways. Most patterns tell you to do the leg in leg method. It is so fast and easy. I don't get it. Oh, well, to each his own. 

For these pants the toughest part  was establishing the print layout. Once I had that done it was pretty easy. I made the lining in the exact same method. I dropped the lining into the pant and basted them together at the waistline, not the seam.  I attached non roll waist elastic, cut 2 inches smaller than my waist, to the top edge of the pant with a triple zigzag stitch. I turned it to the inside,covering up the top raw edge of the lining. I stitched the bottom edge again with a triple zigzag. Done and so easy. 

The hem was serged , then folded to the inside 1 1/4 inches and stitched down at the top edge. I liked this deeper hem on such thin fabric. The extra weight of a deeper hem helps it hang better. Oh, I let this rayon hang out for several days before hemming.  The mesh lining was simply cut with a rotary cutter about an inch and a half shorter. 

I love this outfit. I like MimiG's  pattern and it's clear directions.  While I wouldn't recommend this normally for a newbie sewist, if they want to sew along with MimiG's video on youtube, I think they can pull this off. I'm not crazy about my top fabric of these coordinates but I do have a lovely and short sleeveless top in olive green linen that I made a couple years back. It  goes really well with these pants.  I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I liked this fabric so much that I went right out and bought another few yards of a different print but still Telio Kahlo slub rayon. it will become a tunic. I recommend this pattern with the caveat about the fit of the bustline that happens to box type tops. I will live with it and wear  a cami underneath. 


My husband and I have been devoting nearly every spare minute lately to painting our home. I'll post before and afters when we are done. This is a 1962 ranch house that was painted  mint green with maroon trim. I can honestly say I lived in a very ugly house.  You can see we've gone whole different route. We love how darker homes look in wooded settings and it worked out well here. This cedar sunburst was black with mold and had never been cleaned or treated since the day it went up. My husband got off all the years of crud and will be sealing it tomorrow.That will bring out the beautiful cedar even more. My job will be painting the last side of the house on the left, yay!  Almost done!........Bunny

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sewing and Youtube

Covid has had an effect on all of us in so many varied ways. I am generally not a TV watcher but it has made me one. I haven't worked since March. During that time we purchased a new TV for our family room and while our other TV was a smart TV this had the casting built in and what seems like a thousand apps. We have really enjoyed it, particularly a lot of British and Australian programming as well as Youtube. It is great fun to watch youtube in high definition on a big screen. I've always known about sewing youtubers and would watch them now and then on my i-pad or desktop but it just wasn't the same as sitting in my nice comfy leather recliner with my favorite beverage. I tend to get up an hour or so earlier than my husband in these days of mass infection and staying home. It has been my secret indulgence to sit and enjoy sewing videos early in the AM. Wow, there are a lot and I find new ones every day. They are as different as apples and oranges and I really enjoy watching them. Eventually I came around to the idea of reviewing them for the blog and I hope you enjoy my thoughts about it all. 

I gave a lot of thought to this project. I put up a post on Pattern Review asking for suggestions and that was really helpful. So thank you, to all who helped me there. Youtube also starts sending me new videos to view as I watch more. The more you click, the more they send.You can't lose! In presenting them on the blog the challenge was how to fairly differentiate the types and discuss them. Here is what I came up with. 

I decided to break down the videos into several types. 

* The Passionate Entrepreneurs

    These are the sewists who have loved sewing all of their lives. They often have pursued degrees in design, or textiles or pattern making. This is a sign of their passion, not a requirement to be in this group. They may have apprenticed a couple years with a tailor or master seamstress and came out of that experience with great knowledge and a continued love of the craft. They have turned their love into a career. It is not a kitchen table pastime while they are home with the kids. They are vested and love it and work VERY hard at it. It is their career and for many they have been at it for quite some time. They inspire and know what they  are doing. They may not always do things your way or mine but they will teach you new ways now and then. Now, these sewists started out on their own and because of their skill and popularity may have been picked up by some corporate entity at a later date. They were just lucky that way, but, they started out on their own, worked hard, and share their passion through businesses that have now been around for years. They never relied on any corporate entity to enable their career. Corporations sought them out, at least some. Many have their own pattern lines, have written books, sell DVDs, etc. We all know many of them. They are business people as well as divine sewists so expect to be sold products. I don't have a problem with most of the selling as it keeps me up on the latest patterns and fabrics. Remember, sales is an exchange. They will present their or other's product for your perusal and in exchange you will get some top notch technique tutorials and sewing advice. 

*  The Corporate Sewists

  These are sewists who are affiliated strongly with particular corporate entities and did not have a video presence prior to that. They may have been bloggers or touring teachers for a sewing machine company but they weren't professional youtubers. They love sewing, are quite creative and are mostly good presenters. Their spots on the corporate TV programs, often PBS. are then edited out and presented on youtube individually. They do not make their videos or have an active  role in their production or ownership. They produce the project and present it from corporate studios.  Some of these are very good. Others tend to be fast, pressurized and leave out a lot of details. They probably wouldn't be on youtube without the corporate affiliation. They can inspire but are clearly under a time deadline so I find a lot can get missed by some presenters. Then again, some are more calm and prepared and leave you knowing how to perform the sewing task at hand. There is selling here as well, but indirect. The programs may be underwritten by a magazine, sewing machine company, etc and then put on PBS or eventually the Creative Channel, the home for all pre HD craft and food videos. 

The Girl Friend You Tubers

Joy Bernhardt is always so happy and it's contagious. 

     I think we all love the Girl Friend youtubers. These are the people we  visit with on sewing forums, facebook, instagram, etc. They love to chat sewing. Most are self taught and most continue to take lessons to improve their skills. Some are very opinionated and that is fun to hear as well, just like dishing with friends. Some are quite skilled and some are just plain not but are so dang funny or nice that is is fun to make them a part of your day. I am not comparing people here and that is why I have these divisions. So if I am telling you about a Girl Friend youtuber I am not going to expect her sewing to be that of the Sewing Entrepreneur and that is fine. It is all apples and oranges. I like watching the Girl Friends too and we will review these as well. I admire anyone who gets up and spends money on equipment and sits in front of a camera  day after day and lets it rip. I just can't imagine.

I have also tried to have a plan about how to actually review the youtubers. I've come up with a strategy. 

*Presentation:  Pretty much what it says. This also applies to presentation of the sewing. Is it sloppily done, done too quickly to even figure out what the person is doing, etc? Can you get what is happening and easily get it?  What are they presenting? Sew alongs, coffee talk, skilled technique, bad technique? Do they roll out of bed and webcast or are they wearing clothes they have made and are totally and professionally put together? What's their sewing room like? We are all curious about those. No compares here either. I'll just report. I would certainly flunk the sewing ambiance test with my current digs, but it functions wonderfully. Observations like that will be shared. 

* Technical observations: Is there a lot of aggravating background noise? Is the lighting awful? The camera work, etc. Is the dog always running across the camera begging for master's attention? Those sorts of issues. How are those great garments displayed? 

* What did I learn?  I think those who know me realize I've been sewing a while and know a fair amount about the subject. I can honestly say I have learned some new techniques and great information from some of these youtubers. It is one of the things that keeps me watching. So I will share this info as well. . It is such a great resource. I'll share what they inspired in me if they did. 

* Last of all, was it entertaining? We don't have to learn anything from these videos but I do say we have to be entertained to some degree or we won't watch. So, did they entertain us? 

I hope to put a tab up on my home page for "videos" and you can link to each review which will have a link to their channel. Any other suggestions greatly appreciated. Can't promise I will use them but I will listen. I am trying to keep this simple but fun for us all. I am waiting to hear if I will go back to work in a month. Lots is up in the air. In the meantime, I watch sewing videos................Bunny

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Rayon Slubs and Stretch Mesh

All my youtubing found me falling in love with a pair of cropped pants made from drapey rayon in a very soft but assertive print. I went on the search. The youtuber, Linda Lee, no longer had it in stock and it was no longer available. Left to my own devices and disappointment, I went on the search and decided it would be ok to just be a soft and assertive light weight rayon to make my vision materialize. It took a while but I eventually found this Telio rayon from, aka, Amazon, and put in my order. 

Above you can see the fabric spread out. At the corner that is cut there are big starbursts. While I think the pants would be just as lovely if this  fabric was not matched at all, I was determined to match it. It was near impossible. I found that I could match the two largest elements, the cutout star and the large green kaleidoscope design you see above, one or the other.All the other  bits and blobs were randomly floating on the fabric and would never match, a really interesting design. Up close it is a lot like a Rorschach test. 

If you click on the photo and look closely you will see why  it is called "slub rayon". I remember this fabric from way, way back in the day, albeit a bit heavier weight. You can see that some of the threads are thicker and give a bit of texture to this already interesting fabric. I liked that. Those are the slubs.  I am in love with this fabric but you have to admit this definitely looks like an hallucinogenic experience. I guess I'm channeling the Sixties......sigh....

This fabric did not give me much grief to sew. Before I started cutting, I pulled threads to get the straight of grain. I then cut along the pull. Once the straight of grain was established I went to the ironing board and sprayed the crossgrain edges I just cut with Niagara spray starch. I sprayed, let it soak in for a few minutes, patted down the bubbles, and then pressed, up and down. Don't iron this back and forth while there is starch on it. It will pull and wrinkle. Just do and up and down motion.  Once my pieces were cut out I went back to the ironing board and did this starch treatment on every edge of the rayon, iron with a dry iron and organza press cloth. Now all my edges were ready to be sewn.  I went to the serger and serged every edge. Seams would simply be pressed open with serged edges. 

Back to Linda Lee, who really knows her sewing, she suggested lining these wispy rayons with stretch mesh. Now she called it "power mesh". She described it and I did some searching  before buying. This is not the mesh one uses for compression in lingerie and swimsuits. That is power mesh according to my research. What you see above is stretch mesh. It is used in bridal gowns, dance and skating costumes, etc, to give the illusion of skin where there really is this fine layer of fabric. It can make a bride or a ballerina look like lace appliques are glued to their perfect bodies. Stretch mesh to use for lining a thin rayon? What the heck - I'll try it. I'm always up for something new in my sewing. I knew I had seen this fabric at the chains  in the bridal department. THIS IS NOT NYLON TULLE. This is made of 100% polyester and stretches every which way possible. It has weight. It is not floaty. It is drapey, just like the rayon and doesn't pouf. It is decently priced for a lining, ending up at 5.99 a yard in the end. 

Got the rayon slub fabric. Got the lining, Good to go. For a pattern I used my Sure Fit sloper once again and did a straight leg pant with it that has a gathered waist and cropped length, easy peasy. Now when Linda suggested her lining she said to just make another pant out of the mesh and drop it in, no other info. Easy

I did some reading on the fabric and went straight to the machine and uses a zigzag. I ended up with very lettuce crotch seams. I pressed out a lot of that but it was not good.I then walked away, came back and tried to maneuver that into a French seam, using paper underneath, This was a bit better and you can see the crotch seam to the left and inseam going horizontal above. It's full of paper.I was scared  to play with it too much. It could do but this just was not nice. 

I walked away again. Upon returning I decided to just takes some long scraps and serge them, no paper.  Above you can see perfection. There was no waviness and the seams were strong and pretty. I went with simply serging the seams. 

They look really nice from the right side, too.  Now I can "just drop in the lining" and attach the pants and the lining and proceed. 

These pants are near done.Once again, I've decided on a coordinated outfit.(Yes, that is paint on my thumb.) This will make three in a row. I am enjoying the concept of having coordinates. I still don't see myself doing a swap, however, and that's another story for another day. I will share both pieces of the ensemble with you when  they are complete.I am using a Mimi G pattern for the top and excited about that. It may be from one of these fabrics. The pants are lookin' good. I would like to add that I LOVE the lining.It feels divine and just floats with the pants so nicely. More to come............Bunny

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pants length and Petites and Talls

Simplicity 8922 is a great pattern. It is a straight legged pant with 4 cuff variations that are separate and sewn on to the pant leg. If you look like the model on the envelope, well, perfection in hem length ensues. If you are not that five foot six inch dream woman, this divided look could easily go awry. I just made the pants you see above and have already started a second pair. 

 I made it my business to come up with a formula for getting this proportion thing done right and done easy. I had spent way too much time on this part of the last construction and had to figure out a different way. This method is easy, didn't take me long and will work just as well for those who are taller than our dream woman on the pattern envelope. 

Before we start I would like to say this method could work on any pattern. You just have to establish where your knee is and where the knee is on the pattern. For other pants patterns you can fold the front pant leg in half connecting the edge of the finished hem on a full length pair of pants with the inseam crotch point. Keep your grain line arrows straight and in line with each other. Where the fold is is where the pattern has decided your knee is. This is your frame of reference for adjusting any pant length, whether you are short or tall. You then compare the pant leg with where your knee is and make the needed adjustments. With that all said, here is how I went about dealing with the proportions between the cuff and the pant leg on Simp 8922, particularly for petites. For Talls, just go in reveres. 

The first thing you need to do is to find a pair of pants that has the perfect length that you want to also have in your new pair of pants with the cuff. Look in your closet. Try them on. Are they the perfect length you are looking for? Get out the measuring tape.

Put the pants nice and flattened out on a table.  Hold the beginning of the measuring tape right at the seam where the waistband meets the pant. THE SIDE SEAM.  Press down and hold tight. Now measure the side seam to the fold of the hem edge. You are measuring the finished length of that side seam, no seam allowances or hem insides included. Write that down. 

For this pattern, hold the front leg pattern piece against your tummy making sure the SA matches you natural waist. Have someone mark a dot on the tissue where your knee is. Done that step! Make a dime sized circle with crosshairs in it to mark your "knee circle". You want it rather obvious as it will be your reference point. 

Lay this front pant leg pattern flat on the table. I was working on my back leg so that is what you see here but it is the same. You can see the red dot and that is my "knee circle".  Fold the seam allowance, or if using a sloper like I am, the hem allowance on the pant leg to the back of the pattern. Lay it out on the table nice and flat. 

Cut out the tissue for your cuff pattern. Fold the top seam allowance and the hem edge on that to the back of the tissue as well. This is all specific to S8922. 

Lay the cuff piece up to  the pant leg piece matching the top of the cuff band SA with the edge of the pant leg hem SA. The SAs have all been folded to the back. This will give you the view of the completed pant leg as per the pattern. Now we know you are a shorter person than our model on the envelope and this will be too long. Measure that side seam, not the cut edge. What is the difference to get you to where you need to be to match your perfect side seam length that you earlier wrote down?  Whatever you need to remove, take half of that and tuck it out of the cuff band. So if you need to reduce the pant leg 4 inches total, take  two out of the cuff band with a folded tuck. Match the seams again and look at your pant leg.  It is still too long and you have 2 more inches to remove so take that from the leg to get to your total of four.

 I found, at five feet tall, just taking two inches out of the cuff and sliding it up and down the pant leg until I got my exact side seam length I wanted worked out perfectly. So, next, slide your cuff band up until you have the exact length you need for your perfect side seam measurement and judge how it looks. Use your knee circle as a reference point. If it is good, and you have the right measurement for your side seam. mark your pant leg and fold out what your don't need.  So if you slid your cuff up 2 inches to make the four inches you needed to get to your perfect length AND it looks good to you and in relationship to where your knee is, tape things in place and proceed to cut your fabric. Double check your measurements again after you have folded out the unwanted length. We'll call this technique "Tuck and Slide". You tuck out  your cuff  based on your side seam measurement and slide up or down to get the perfect length. How's that? Once you've found your magic spot, just tape the tuck into place and cut or fold out your pant leg tissue as well. Make sure you've added back seam allowances to the pant leg.  Double check everything before you cut. Measure the side seam of the pieces, add up and see if you get your perfect side seam length from the original garment.  Also, remember to do the same to the back and any facings you may decide to mock up as I did. It really only took a few minutes compared to my first effort. The magic is the side seam measurement. Also, that knee circle is a priceless reference point and I implore all pattern companies to put it on their pants patterns. It is theoretically the halfway point between your inseam crotch point and the hem edge. We know we are all built differently and knowing where the knee circle is on the pattern allows us to adjust for our own unique shape. Short from knee to hip? Remove length there until your knee circle matches your own knee and vice versa. It is a great reference tool.  In short here is our petite or tall pant leg adjustment for styled cuffs:

* Find your ideal side seam measurement for the completed garment. 

* Find your knee circle on your pant leg. 

* Fold back the hem allowances on the cuff band and the top seam allowances on the cuff band. Fold out the seam allowance on the pant leg where it meets the cuff. 

* Match up the bottom of the pant leg and top of the cuff. 

* Fold out half of the measurement needed to reduce  length on the cuff. 

* Match the cuff top to the leg bottom . Slide up the cuff until you reach your ideal side seam length. 

*Mark your pant leg and fold and out a tuck there as well. 

* Fold all your tissue back out. Tape in your tucks and cut out your pieces. Measure twice, cut once! 

HAPPY SEWING!....................Bunny

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Tale of Two Simplicities!

Hello, sewing friends! I held off posting until both the pants and the top were complete for this outfit. While I fell in love with this rayon/lyocell blend for the top, little did I feel the Autumn vibe it would give off when I bought it. I had also planned and cut the long pants and later wished they were cropped but but hey, we can't avoid the change of the seasons and I am now one new outfit ahead of the seasonal game! 

Both patterns were fun to sew but provided challenges with my efforts to make them work for my petite frame, nothing related to the pattern itself. I liked the fresh look of the wrap scarf on the top and as for the pants, we are seeing those tulip hems all over Pinterest and I was brainwashed. I will review the top first and then move on to the pants. 

Top Pattern:

This is Simplicity 9143, a top that offers a simple, plain front bodice and mandarin collar.  View A is sleeveless with a breast pocket and View B, my choice, has elbow length sleeves with a one inch hem and a small slit. View B also sports a "wrap" that is inserted into the shoulder, armscye and side seam and has very long ties. The pattern shows it simply tied in front as you would a shawl, very pretty and quite unique. Here it is tied that way:

It is very pretty but on me it was an overwhelming bit of fabric volume, at least in my opinion.  We'll fix that later! But it is lovely this way too. 

Another issue with this pattern for petites are the sleeves. The shoulders are dropped on the model so I went with that and fell it contributes to the soft look. If you click on the link and look at the sleeves they are right at elbow length. I learned many years ago this is a very bad length for me--boobs and being short does not work well with sleeves that end at boob level. But, silly me, ever the hopeful one, thought, well, that model is tall and these patterns are made for much taller women so this will come past my short little elbows. Uh, no. We'll fix that later too. No way was that staying. But again, it is a lovely sleeve if you are not five feet tall with boobage and a volume type bodice. 

Other than those two issues I did my usual. I did an FBA for a C cup. I did my usual petiting of the pattern in the upper chest area and I looked at the details. I cut the mandarin collar down by a 1/4 of an inch. I love mandarin collars but again, many years ago I realized Big Four mandarin collars were really too high on my long neck and I cut out a quarter inch from the height of this collar. It is still the same length but not as deep and it worked out just right. 

These buttons are from my dear friends inheritance and vintage wooden balls. There have fine inscribed designs on them and were just perfect for the shirt. I am just concerned about washing. We shall see on that one. 

Top Fabric:

This is a rayon/lyocell blend. It is fairly lightweight and drapes beautifully. It was my first, out of covid visit to Joanns buy. They have really upped their game with their challis offerings. It's good to see something supplanting those shiny poly faux silks. I used SF 101 in the collar and that was about it for interfacing as the CF facing was folded in and the layers made for the needed stabilization. I washed this on gentle, warm wash and hung to dry. It did not shrink at all for me.  I have found the contribution of the lyocell to the rayon to have made it far less prone to wrinkling.

I did try something that Linda Lee of the Sewing Workshop swears by and that is sewing all wovens with cotton thread only. Not sure I am on that bandwagon but I am going to give it a try for a few garments and see what I think. It does make for a prettier topstitch,  and I often use cotton thread just that way.  I am learning lots of things from all these Vlogs I have been watching lately! My next garment will have a really interesting new technique as well. 

Fit Issues:

I will just bullet point these:

*Did an FBA for a Ccup

*I "petited" the area between bust and shoulder seam as you can see in this tutorial here.

*Removed a 1/4 inch from the height of the mandarin collar.

*Here's the biggy. I found the sleeves, as mentioned, at a visually bad length for my height. However, I had them completely made, slit, hem and all before I realized this. I added a 14x9 inch rectangle that I folded in half and seamed on the ends to get a finished "add-on"  to my sleeve. The short ends would provide the slit that would line up with the already hemmed and completed slit. Here's a pic that may make it more sense and it is very photoshopped for contrast so you can see it better. 

It put the sleeve hem in a much more flattering spot and I liked the look of the long double slit. I make almost all my sleeves 3/4 length when I can. 

Things I would do if I made this again:

* For petites only, I would cut the wrap height down a little bit. By this I mean the bottom edge from where it leaves the side seam to the point where it becomes a tie. It just has a lot of volume and this reduction in height/length I think would work better for a shorter frame. 

What I did that was not in the pattern:

I  SELF-FACED my "wrap" pieces. On this pattern you will see both sides of that wrap when you tie it so keep this in mind. By facing it with the same fabric, it worked out beautifully and I think gave the wrap a better weight and drape. This is a challis, so quite lightweight. I highly recommend this move. 

I also backed each side of the collar with interfacing. This fabric is just too slithery and ravel-ly to do otherwise. I used SF101 because in my covid stash it was all I pretty much had. I block fused the fabric BEFORE cutting and also double checked the pattern before sewing. Yes, it had stretched, interfacing fused and all, and I did have to remark and re-trim . 

All the seams are serged and the side seams were serged before sewing, important, due to hemming the corners. 

I recommend mitering your corners for a "better" look. It's easy enough and there is loads out there telling you how to do it. 

I love this design but I think there is a bit much volume in it for me as shown. I was playing with the ties in my mirror and discovered that I really like to wear it like you see above. The sashes crisscross in the front, so less volume, and then wrap to the back where I tie them at center back. It gives me a bit of my shape back and yet I still have the fun of this lovely  design. It's great that you can try and wear it either way. You also can get a good view of how the sleeves worked out in this pic as well. Now for the pants!


Simplicity 8922. This is an elastic waist pull  on pant with 4 different cuff(?) variations. I chose the "tulip" cuff which consisted of a section that had curves instead of corners and they overlapped each other at the bottom of the legs. The legs go straight down, making for a very comfortable pant.Again, my challenge was the petiting of this pattern and it was trial and trial again. How long should the cuff be? Where should the pant leg end and the cuff begin? 

Since I used my sloper for the upper pant shape as it matched the width of the pattern perfectly, it was a matter of figuring out the length of the cuff but before I got into that I got into my usual inspection of the pattern details and asking myself, "do these need to be made smaller for a smaller person?" and they did. 

First, I altered the shape of the "tulip". The pants I had seen online had very pronounced tulips and these, as you can tell from the pattern, are nearly straight down. I took my hip curve and shaped them to turn in more sharply. The front and back pieces were stacked so they would have matching seams when I cut. 

Then I lined up the pieces and took an inch off the top of the tulip. I planned to sew a 3/8th in seam there. 

I sew/basted the pants together and they were too long, not to long to wear, but too long to show off the tulip detail. These needed to be shorter but I  definitely did not want a real cropped pant either. I took the seam in another inch deeper and it worked. You can see how deep they are. I suggest you baste in your stitching before you decide how the length works for you. It took quite a bit of play to get it right. 

I have started another pair of pants from this pattern, View A. I have come up with a very specific and easy way to get the right length on the pant and cuff for any height person and will publish that on Sunday, in three days. I think it will be a big help to any making these pants and to get a good proportion on them. It will work for any one super tall or super short like me and even a lot of in between. So come back Sunday for the next post and there will lots more specifics on getting these cuff proportions to look their best without the hassle I had on the first go round. 


These pants are made with a rayon/linen blend. They are rather lightweight and despite their dark demeanor really nice on a hot summer's day. They are not lined but I DID face the tulips with self fabric. I am glad I did as I think that gives the nicest finish. The pattern recommends a tiny hem for the edge of the cuff. With the right fabric I think that would be OK but in this one I think it would have cheapened things. Also, by facing the cuff, weight was added and that helps the pants to hang better and not wrinkle as much. 


This was pretty straightforward pull on pants construction, no pockets, so it went together quite quickly. Getting the cuff to pant leg ratio worked out took the most time. After that it was quickly done. I also found one other issue with the tulip cuff. Those I have seen online have the overlap of the tulip happening so the high point of the overlap is at the center of the foot. In this pattern it actually turns toward the inseam. All notches and seams matched perfectly. I made sure it overlapped and those notches were correct as well.  So the tulip effect is not very obvious when you look at these dark pants. I am planning to make them out of a khaki twill and play with the cuff to get the overlap to land at center foot.  They still look great and I think the details will show better in a lighter fabric. I highly recommend this pattern. I have been working off my sloper and all the pants have been wide leg but I really think I need to do a new pants sloper. I did this one before I lost weight  and today I faced the fact that it is a bit large and I know where it is large. I am going to make one more pair of pants with some simple adjustments and see if that will do the deed before I start the whole pants sloper thing again. Fingers crossed that I may not need to do that. You know its all about that crotch situation. 

Sorry this project took so long but I did want these two items to go together for you. Again, little did I realize how Fall Forward they would look, but they are pretty, I think, and definitely comfortable. I do have a couple of summer projects still left in me and they won't take as long as this, I hope! Depends a lot on the weather. Hubs and I are in the throws of house repairs and painting the house exterior with the two of us doing 90% of the work. It's all good and looking so different and nice. We are calling it  the Retro Ranch with vibes of Chip and Joanna!  I am excited about my next project. I will be trying  a new and different technique, as suggested by one of the Vlog gurus. 

If I am looking a little piqued here, I am. A tummy sort of thing hit me today but I was determined to get the pictures taken and this post up for you all! Tomorrow will be a better day! 

This Japanese Painted Fern is on of my favorite ever plants. It is doing well here and quite hardy. Enjoy!.................................Bunny

Pattern Frustrations, Oh, My!

I've decided that my wardrobe really needs more pants and I have made several pair over the summer from my Sure Fit sloper. They give a ...