Simplicity 1036 – Batgirl!

My office had a Halloween contest this year, and I chose to be Batgirl!  (cue music!)


How fun is that?!  I’ve never made a costume before, so this was a fun, new experience and I really enjoyed the whole process.  I’m already thinking about what I want to be for next year’s Halloween.

Here are some pics of the different pieces.

20161024_164742        20161024_16470420161024_164725

I worked on this here and there over the course of a week or so.  One of the adjustments I made was to the cape.  I knew I wanted it to be longer.  Here’s a shot of the pattern piece as is, and one of how I adjusted it.  You can see that my fabric wasn’t wide enough for it as designed, so I also had to skinny it up a bit as well as lengthen it.  It turned out just as I envisioned it.

20161023_120544        20161023_122858

For the gloves, the pattern told you to buy a pair, slit the seam and insert the claws.  I wasn’t going to try to hunt down yellow gloves, so I looked in my pattern stash and found a few glove patterns.  3 in fact.  One was vogue, I think one was butterick and one was Kwik Sew 3404.  I looked a instructions and Kwik Sew was definitely the least fiddly, so that was the winner.   It worked out fine…but they were still fiddly to make.  I think my next pair would go much more smoothly…but I was glad that they matched the rest of my costume exactly!

If I were doing it again, the only part I’d change is that I’d skip the boot cover.  I didn’t like they looked and decided to go with just a pair of black boots that I had in my closet.  When I make costumes again, I will likely skip them all together.  I do like the bat shape at the top though.


I did change the belt up a bit.  Per the pattern, your center “buckle” was to be a yellow bat.  I didn’t feel that was vibrant enough, so I tried stitching around the outer edges with a zig zag, but that was really messy.  So then, I took a sharpie to it to fill in the border. I wasn’t happy with that either, so I decided to just make one in plain yellow the same size as the chest emblem, but to over lay it with a black bat with the smaller size that was intended for the belt.  I much preferred this look.  Here’ the side by side.  This was made entirely out of felt.  I used two layers for the cartridges so they’d stay rounded.

20161024_164725    20161029_094421

For the body, I didn’t use the pattern, but used a Kwik Sew 3052.  I don’t seem to have any photos of just the body suit, but it turned out perfectly.  I moved the zip from the front to the back.

All in all, I had a blast making this.  I didn’t win the contest (the Pope, a baseball bat, and a ghostbuster won), but that’s ok.  My costume was still awesome!

Here it is in action in the office, on the dress form, and on me at home so you can see what the boot covers looked like.

emily-batgirl-1    20161029_101110     20161027_201247

Right now, I’m in the midst of working on my next project, the Hotpatterns Fast and Fabulous Four Seasons Kimono Jacket in a mustard wool.  Mine is not so fast b/c I have chosen to underline it and use the seam binding method to finish the seams.  It’s looking great though!  I will hopefully get it done this weekend, but no guarantees.  Here’s the pattern and a teaser.

screenshot_20161015-192934      20161106_111027

Happy Sewing!!

Posted in Costumes, Kwik Sew, Simplicity | Leave a comment

Another HotPatterns Cosmopolitan Dress and HotPatterns Plain and Simple Shift Top

Yes, I’m on a bit of a HotPatterns spree, and it will likely continue for a little bit.  With the last few things I’ve made, fit has been my  priority.  Once I have a good fit, I like to make the item a couple of times because I may as well get double the benefits for the work!

Here is the Cosmo dress in red:


This turned out better than I had hoped!  I took my time on the fitting and went through a muslin or two to get it right.  For the blue previous make, I relied a lot on the stretch of the fabric to and I knew this fabric didn’t have nearly the stretch.  As I was working through this, I realized that my adjustments are almost standard for hotpatterns.  That’s a breakthrough for me! It will likely lead to even more hotpatterns being made (which is good since I’ve spent alot of money on them over the years and have a lot that need to be made up!)   I need to widen the shoulders, make a forward shoulder adjustment, do a high round back adjustment and a small bust adjustment.  If I do that, the pattern is pretty good.  Here’s my cosmo scoop muslin with all of those made.


Not bad!  I like to look at the muslin to final garment transition…there’s usually one or two small tweaks that I’m making to the final version.

For the neckline on this dress, I knew that I wanted to up my game on finishing the edges.  I planned to use the a facing, but I also wanted it to look nice and neat.  In the past, I have had moderate success just following the instructions, but I never felt it made it quite perfect.  I went out to the web to find some recommendations and came across this tutorial:  Sew Maris Tutorial for Knit Neck Finishing.  I followed it, except for adding on my facing it turned out beautifully!  It is without a doubt, the nicest neckline I’ve ever made on a knit and I plan to use that on all my knits from now on.

Once I was finished with the dress, I decided to put that pattern away for now and go back to the Plain and Simple Shift Top/Dress.


I worked on this a little last fall, but my muslin was all sorts of messed up so I shoved it back in the envelope for later. This time, I decided to start out with most of my adjustments and see where I was.  Before I could really begin though, I realized that the shoulder seams weren’t lining up right and my pattern was missing about 1/2  of width.  I posted on the HP facebook webpage and some really helpful ladies gave me a couple of suggestions.  After sleeping on it, I decided to just add on to the front, then make my adjustments from there.   In this pic, the innermost green was the original pattern, the red is the amount added to get the front to match the back, then the outermost green was what I added for my broad shoulders.


While doing this, I also found that the front facing wasn’t drafted to match the curve of the front top.  Facings are easy to make, so not a big deal to fix…but if you’re ever sewing pattern, it’s a really good idea to walk the seams and check that kind of thing.

So, for my top, I made these adjustments:

  • High Round Back (Which created the need for a small dart at the neckline which I darted out in the pattern)
  • Broad Shoulder
  • Forward shoulder
  • Small Bust (removed 5/8 inch on the front pattern piece)
  • Raised the front dart by 1/2 inch, and reduced it’s length by about an inch
  • Added two inches to the sleeves (an inch in two spots.)

And here’s my shirt…


It’s FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   This is the best fitting woven shirt I’ve ever made.  To be fair, that haven’t been that many…but I have made a few over the years.    I’m suspecting that I probably need to make a  lot of those same adjustments on the big 4 patterns too.

Here are the detail shots.

20161008_125148-1 20161008_124644 20161008_124726 20161008_124717

Overall, I love this top.  I’m going to make a red one like it next out of some faux suede.  This green faux suede was the “crinkled” kind for Joanns.  The red isn’t crinkled and I can’t remember where I bought it.  Perhaps Fabricmart Fabrics. Here’s a preview.


I plan to work on it later today and tomorrow.  This pattern went together really quickly once I got through the fitting part.

Happy Sewing!


Posted in HotPatterns | Leave a comment

HotPatterns Cosmopolitan Dress

Finally!!!  There were a lot of things that got in the way of me finishing this dress, but it is DONE!

For awhile, I’ve been thinking about making a teal wrap dress…but let’s be real here.  I live in Kansas.  It’s windy and wrap dresses aren’t the smartest. So then I decided to make a faux wrap dress.  As I was going through the dress stash, I remembered that I had traced off the cosmopolitan MANY years ago.












I traced it off, then read some of reviews of people having issues with hot patterns…and I put it away without making it up.  Now….my skills are much better and I know that with a few muslins and the help of nice people on the internet, I can generally tackle most problems.  I pulled it out and saw that I had traced an 8.  Given my most recent experience with a couple of other hot patterns lately, I decided to scrap that and trace off a 6.

I wanted to make the crossover version and I ultimately decided on the scarf sleeve even though I debated a lot on that one. I had this teal fabric in the stash and I had a lot of it, so I decided that it would be perfect.


I still have enough left for possibly 2 dresses. And…here’s the dress!

Overall, I’m happy with it.  I like how it turned out.  I did a serge and turn treatment on the neckline, which I’m reasonably happy with.  I topstitched the belt, but I used a zigzag so I didn’t have popped stitches all the time.  here’s a close up of the belt.


For the sleeves, I hemmed them with mitered corners as discussed on The Sewing Diva’s blog post here: worked out well, although I could use some practice doing it.  Here’s a close up of my one sleeve point.


The front was a little low (despite me raising it an inch and a half or so, so I have sewed a little tack on to keep it closed.  I’d sooner have a tack than be worked about my bra showing!  I did end up doing some pretty big alterations and adjustments on the fly at the end.  At the pattern stage, I removed a healthy dart from the center front of the crossover. Then, as I was testing the fit as I was putting it together, I realized that the center front was still too long and a droop was being created, so I removed more length there. Then, once it was all put together, I removed about 4 inches total from the waist to the underarms.   My fabric was very stretchy, so I think this contributed to so much needing to be removed.  But…all’s well that ends well.  :) I’m pleased with it!

I have a thick red textured knit in the stash and I was contemplating making the other version from it while I have the pattern pulled out.  This dress would go together REALLY quickly now that I’ve made one and have the pattern adjusted.  I may mess around with fitting the bodice of the scoop neck version tomorrow.  :)

Happy Sewing!



Posted in HotPatterns, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Kwik Sew 1335, Kwik Sew 2908 and Simplicity 8228

The lingerie sewing continues!

Last week I put together Kwik Sew 1335.  This is an out of print pattern that I picked up from Ebay awhile back.


I loved this cover illustration and just had to have it.  The pattern calls for a tricot, but I used an ITY that I picked up from the fabric flea market when I was in San Diego last year.  The ITY was gorgeous, but there was only about a yard of it.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it but decided that it would be a good match for this pattern with some complimentary yellow  stretch lace from the stash..

I think it’s perfect…I love that I can get something like this out of a few hours worth of sewing.  The pattern worked out perfectly, and some day, I would love to try the long version with the right fabric.

There was just a teeny tiny bit of nicely colored fabric left, so I made a matching pair of undies from Kwik Sew 2908.  This is my go to undie pattern and I’ve made it many times before.  For this round, I didn’t have enough fabric to do the full vertical pantie.  I removed about 1.5 inches from the top of the pattern, cut as usual and then added some of the yellow stretch lace to the top.   In this case, I serged the stretch lace on and then zigzagged over top of the seam allowance.  For applying the leg elastic, I did my usual one to one application on the front, and then stretch what is left around the back. This makes the panties cup well and they don’t ride up.


This weekend, I worked on Simplicity 8228.  This is a newly released pattern and is from Madalynne.  I’ve read her blog here and here over the years and knew she had recently gotten into bra making.  This is a little bralette pattern, designed for comfort rather than support.


I really liked the halter version, but decided to start with the racerback version.  On Friday (after picking the pattern up on sale from Joanns), I cut a test version and sewed it up.

As you can see, I used bits of laces from the stash.  :)  I love having the stash.  I 100% ignored the sizing recommendation and made a 32C, my normal bra size more or less.  Had I followed their instructions, I would have made a 34A. For reference…my underbust is about 29 and my full bust is about 33. The instructions also tell you to use fabric glue to put stretch mesh on the back of your stretch lace and then cut as one.  I totally ignored that too.  It just seemed like way to much work for a little bralette…but if you wanted your bra to have more support, you might want to try that.  Since the you were supposed to use the stretch mesh, they then told you to use 1/4 inch elastic at a one to one ratio to cover up the stretch mesh edge.  I totally ignored that too.  With all that, did I follow any of the instructions?  For the test, I used their order, but for real one I did my own thing from start to end pretty much.

Based on the test, the size was good. Yesterday morning, I went to Needle Nook Fabrics to buy some longer lengths of stretch lace.  Generally, I buy stretch lace in 2 yard increments, so what I had in my stash wasn’t quite long enough.  I think I ended up using about 2.5 yards for this version.  Here is the first finished product.

It turned out exactly as I wanted and it’s super comfortable.  Also for sewing it, I streamlined the process and threaded my serger and machine with matching thread.  I used the serger to put the pieces together, than I top stitched the seams down with my sewing machine.  It worked out great and was much easier than constantly adjusting sewing machine settings.  This is one of those patterns where it takes longer to cut it out than it does to sew it together.

Since I had such success with this racerback, I wanted to try the halter too.

While I thought I’d really like the halter, it’s just not as functional as the racerback, although it is sooooo pretty in this fabric.  I don’t feel like there’s quite enough fabric on the side and to fix it, I’d have to probably go up a couple of cup sizes.  I could do that and it’s easy enough to adjust….but I just don’t see the point when I really like the racerback.  Here’s the side shot on my dressform…you can see how the side bust just isn’t covered that much.


For this view, I did use apply the elastic on the sides because I thought it’d help with support.  I would do this again if I were to make this version.  Oh, and that’s 3/8″ picot rather than the 1/4″ called for.  I don’t have 1/4″ elastic in the stash.


Overall, I LOVE the racerback.  I plan to use the nude fabric for another one of those and then my bralette sewing will be done for awhile.  I found both of those to be fun little projects.

Next up will probably be the nude bralette, then I plan to work on Hot Patterns Lounging Pyjamas.  I have the pattern traced off and some muslin fabric picked out.  I’m going to start with the pants.


One thing that’s been rolling around in my mind is that I need a good fall coat in a color I like.  I want a trench coat…but it needs to be adequately warm.  I need to start doing some research on this one!

Happy Sewing

Posted in Kwik Sew, lingerie, Simplicity | 2 Comments

Vogue 9218 and Kwik Sew 2075

Earlier this week, I decided that lingerie might be the best thing for me to sew right now.  I spotted the new Vogue 9218 and was smitten.   Here’s the pattern:


Usually I don’t ask my husband’s opinion on what to make…but I did ask him on this one. Of the two nighties, he preferred the top one.   The picture might be little on your screen, but the nightie has a bra like top and the bottom part is only attached at the center front.  Here’s the line art from the back of the envelope. I will say it is tastefully sexy.🙂


The bra part closes with little buttons.  How cute is that??!!!  I don’t normally go for “cute” in my wear outside the house wardrobe…but cute is just fine in lingerie.  :)

The pattern is designed to be bias cut charmuese or something like that with stretch lace.  I went into Needle Nook Fabrics earlier this week to find some stretch lace and Anne suggested that I use a red stretch satin.  That was the perfect suggestion and I think it make the whole pattern much easier to work with.  I traced the pattern one evening this week and then cut it another.  Yesterday was sewing day.

But first…I had to clean up the sewing room.  It was atrocious from the previous muslin making.  Here are the before and afters.

Whew…so much better once it was cleaned up!  I still could stand to do some organizing…but at least I found the table…AND could work on it!

Enough’s the finished product.

20160813_221653  20160813_221729

Red and black…of course.  :)

I really enjoyed making this…but then of course, I do love to make lingerie.   I like the tactile feel of working with lace and soft fabric.  The nice thing about this pattern is that you can treat the bra and the skirt basically like two separate pieces.  I first basted the skirt, then tried it on.  This skirt is a size 12.  Per the measurements on the envelope, I should be a 14…but I figured with the knit and based on the finished measurements a 12 would be fine and it was.  For bra part, I think I traced a 10 cup, but then I had to take some off the center back to make it small enough.  This was a super simple adjustment, I just safety pinned the back top together and pulled it on over my head to check the fit.

I chose to put lace around the bottom just because I could.  I bought 5 yards of stretch lace and used all but about 7 inches.

Other than that, this was a pretty easy sew.  I used knit sewing techniques rather than those described in the pattern.  I did have some issues with the instructions and recommend that you read ahead to make sure you understand what you’re doing.  Watch out for step 4 and a set of similar instructions a few steps later.


In that last sentence of #4, they say to stitch close to lower edge across front..I think instead of front they should say “center front only.”  It’s confusing what “Front” they’re referring to…and the pic shows stitching at both sides of the lace the whole way across.  If you do that, the step later where they show you to trim wouldn’t work right.  Also, I think the illustration where they show the buttons is also incorrect.  They show sewing the buttons on top of the facing, but at that stage the facing is on the inside and you’re really sewing them right on top of the back band.  Here’s a close up of my buttons.


To construct this, I found two items to be essential.  The first is washable wonder tape.  I love this stuff and it’s very helpful for positioning of things. Here are the action shots:

The first pic shows the right bra cup attached, and the 2nd one was going where the tape is. You just overlapped then stitched.  The 2nd pic are my little elastic loops.  I just eyeballed it to make sure they were mostly even (although the pattern does give you markings.)

The 2nd tool is a pair of duckbill scissors.


These are used to trim the back behind the lace and they’re designed so that you don’t accidentally snip through your lace too.  They help a lot although you do need to be a cautious still.

Here is the inside of the top part of the nightie so you can see how I trimmed things.  I thought the instructions were a little confusing…and I’m not sure I did exactly what they wanted…but it works.


One thing to be aware of with this one is that it provides coverage…but not that much.  My bust point hits right around where the lace and fabric cross…and I think that’s per design because that’s about where they show the bust point on the pattern. The dart was more or less in the right spot for me.

Overall, I had a blast making this.  Vogue presented an interesting design and it was fun to sew (especially since I used the stretch satin.)

To go with it, I made a little pair of panties from Kwik Sew 2075, View D.


They took about 30 minutes max to make.


My black stretch lace was all used on the nightie, so I substituted with red. It works well enough.  The pattern was simple and I highly recommend if you just want something small and coordinated.

I’m not sure what’s next on the to sew list…Maybe later today I’ll settle on something.

Happy Sewing!





Posted in Kwik Sew, lingerie, Uncategorized, Vogue | 2 Comments

Down for the count…but rising again!

Rising again…hopefully!  The doc diagnosed with me with pneumonia in mid July and I’ve been trying to recuperate.  No sewing has been going on…only dreaming and a little bit of blog reading/facebook participation (If you didn’t know…McCalls started a private facebook page!).   I feel like I’m on the mend (and I’m on my third antibiotic) and I get about a percentage point or two better each day.  It’s frustratingly slow, but I’ve been trying to listen to my body and not do too much.   I just had pneumonia last year in Sept and I think it took a good 4 months to fully recover, but this time, I was on it and recognized the symptoms much earlier, so I hope it won’t take that long.

But I am getting better and I may venture into the sewing room later today.  I’m not sure what to make though!  I want to make something though!  Any suggestions??


Posted in Life, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, Hot Patterns Tummy Tamer and Bootstrap Patterns

I have been sewing a lot lately!  Over the last week or so, I’ve made two Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, plus one pair of Hot Pattern Tummy Tamers and I’m in the middle of testing Bootstrap Patterns.

So, first up, the Sewaholic leggings.  I’m a pear shaped gal…there’s no mistaking it, so I love the concept of Sewaholic.  I hope the new owners continue on the path Tasia set them on, but regardless, I have the Thurlow – which in my opinion is an indispensible pant pattern for pears.  In fact, I’m wearing a pair of my denim Thurlows as I type.  I have several other of the Sewholic patterns, and even a few that I haven’t tried yet.  I recently bought some active wear from Fabric Mart and decided to make some workout clothes.  (I do yoga in the comfort of my basement with gaia online.  I LOVE gaia online and I love the fact that I can have a class with a different yoga instructor everyday if I want. )  Anyway, I wanted to try a legging pattern, and I considered the Jalie Cora…but with my recent disappointing experience with the eleonore, I decided to try the Sewaholic Pacific Legging.  In short, I LOVE them!!!!    The first pair I made, I actually had the stretch on my fabric going the wrong way!  Ughhhhhh.  So, I quickly remade a pair and they’re so much better.

I am soooo impressed with this pattern!   On most pants like this, the thighs aren’t big enough and the crotch just ends up pulling down and driving me insane.  These are a size 6 which matches the measurements I was to use.  And these pictures are actually of the first pair where the stretch wasn’t  right.  This green fabric was the first up because it was a little thin and I figured that if I didn’t like the end result, it didn’t matter that much.  The other athletic fabrics are nicer (thicker) than this. I may consider sizing up the next pair a size or two in the legs just for a little added  comfort. The waist is perfect as is.  With something that fits this close, a slight difference in the stretch of your fabric can make a big difference.  I made the first pair on my sewing machine and serger.  My serger hated this fabric though, so I made the 2nd pair entirely on my sewing machine with a zig zag stitch.  I like that I can use the machine if I wanted.  I think my serger likely just needed a smaller needle, but I didn’t think of that until later.  There will be many more of these in my future.   In fact, I would say if you’re a pair, you need this pattern in your stash. They’re easy to sew…and it sure beats buying some from the store that don’t fit right.

Next up was the Hot Patterns Tummy Tamer.  This is a pant that I’ve wanted to try for awhile.  I needed a smart pant to wear occasionally during the summer (and I really wish I had these made in time for the office picnic….but I missed that.) I still don’t have good pics of these yet.  Here’s the finished pair:

This is a high waisted pant…Generally, I don’t mind that, but I think I need to lower it just maybe half an inch or maybe a full inch on the next one.  You can see wrinkles on my hip and I think that’s from the side being too long. I adjusted the crotch curve on these and probably should have done a little more, but I needed to move on.  I would recommend if you know what your crotch curve should look like, just make that adjustment to start.  My other tip is to change the order of construction around so that you sew the crotch seam last for easy adjusting. Overall, I like them.  They’re a sophisticated pant and I like how smooth the tummy is.  I hate it when my belt pokes out beneath my shirts, but it’s often unavoidable if I need a belt.

Last up is what I’ve been working on the last few days.  I found this Reiss dress that I REALLY liked and wanted to make my own.  Reiss Dress  After looking all over, and even sending out a request for help on PR, I decided to make a Bootstrap Patterns style, #41569.

Bootstrap Pattern 41569

I’ve never used Bootstrap (or it’s sister Lekala before) so this was all new to me.  I carefully took my measurements and entered them.  I added the pattern to my cart and within a few minutes (10 maybe?), my pattern was ready to go.   I printed it off and made a muslin today.

Overall, I am TOTALLY impressed.  After running this test, I retook some measurements and have ordered another reducing my bust and waist by .5 inches.  On the version in the picture, I had also selected the option of slight “tummy protuberance.”  (I think there were 7 or so “tummy Protuberances” that you could choose from.  My muslin showed that was unnecessary, so I also removed that from my 2nd version.  I plan to cut the dress out start sewing tomorrow.  I thought I’d like the collar, but I don’t so I’m just going to leave that off of the final version.   I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I am with this.  I don’t think it decreases the need for a quick muslin, but wow…it makes it sooooo easy.  The bust basically fit, and the hips basically fit.  I didn’t need to order another, but I wanted to test out the system.  I suspect you’re going to see a lot of bootstrap in the future.  I also bought a couple of other patterns tonight too.  One is a simple cami, one was a pair of sleep shorts and I think the other was a dress.   I haven’t decided on fabric yet for the dress. I’ll figure that one out tomorrow.  :)

Happy Sewing!

Posted in Bootstrap Patterns, HotPatterns, Sewaholic, Uncategorized | 2 Comments