Made a joyful Joyful Top from Hot Patterns…

How did Mr. Lizard get in the first pic? Handsome little guy…

I’ve spent 3 days finding the joy in the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. And I’ve got it!

A preface: I love Indie pattern makers. So many new ideas and designs. I can spot a Koos or Tilton or Comey from a far distance. But the Indie designers are so much more fun.

Not always easy – their concepts might not match up with their patterns. But I appreciate the concepts. Which leads me into the Hot Patterns Joyful Top. It’s a free download from Trudy and Jeremy, right here in Florida (relocated from the UK). With a little plug for a lovely charity, what a great pattern.

I was drawn to the pattern because it’s such a fresh look. And I’ve been searching for new ideas for spring and summer tops.

Love it!
Fabric: Lightweight cotton jersey, Holly Lobby  Shoes: Kork Ease buffalo leather sandals, Sundance
and the back…
I know it’s black and hard to see – but here are pics of the front flounce and back gathers…

From concept to reality. When I laid out the pattern, which is a PDF, 32 pages taped together, I could see that things were not what I expected. The back is not 4 or so inches longer than the front. The flounce is not really very long.The back yoke is very narrow, side to side, and very very high on the back. 
I have to take a break here and bend at the waist with an acknowledgement to Emily at Fabric, Thread, Clothes? Her review and post on this top is the only one I’ve found! There are no pics on the Hot Patterns site of someone wearing this top. Emily’s muslin confirmed what I was seeing in the pattern layout. Thank you, Emily!
I made a lot of changes to the pattern, so I’ve just shown them on a copy of the pattern layout.
Edited to add a tip: just remembered! when you tape the pattern together, just butt the paper edges to one another. They aren’t meant to overlap. You have to ‘imagine’ the lines flowing across the edges. I found this tip on the Hot Patterns Facebook page…after pulling out my hair and reprinting the pattern a few hundred times.
 Such a cute top.
Other sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size 12.
  • My neckline is finished with a binding, rather than a narrow hem. 
  • And I added sleeves. My right upper arm is bandaged, elbow to shoulder, due to my scleroderma, for 8 months now. Which is why you see so many garments with sleeves lately on my blog. I wear sleeveless around the house, but enjoy having things I can wear outside without a cardi! I used the sleeve from the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress, which worked really well. My change to the top pattern was a simple 1/2″ extension of the outside shoulder with a little redrafting of the armscye.
So – I love my top. I’m sewing a white one tomorrow. I did put a lot of time into redrafting the pattern, but I enjoy this part of sewing. 
If you make one, you might consider widening and dropping the back yoke. And narrowing the flounce. I don’t think this pattern would work well in woven cottons, but lightweight knit and chiffon, voile, mesh knits…yes.
Parting shot. The Easter bunny came by. Hope he comes back.
Ciao! Coco

Indulging myself – but it’s my birthday!

Birthdays are special…

Mine is tomorrow. February 28 – and I’ll be 67! I was born in a Leap Year, at 9 o’clock in the evening. Were my parents worried that I might be a Leap Year baby? no! my brother, only 14 months old, was very sick with a cold. I think my Dad was a little put out that I pulled Mom away from nurse duty and left him in charge 🙂

Dad was in graduate school at Stanford University, just out of the Navy. He got called back in for the Korean War – we moved 10 times up and down the California coast before I was 6. And the baby count went up to 4 in that time!

Every year I have a private celebration. When I was working, I always took a vacation day on my birthday – it was nice to just fool around, hug myself,  and enjoy my day.

At the park, 2/28/2003

Of course my annual celebration includes a gift to me from me. This year it’s a new serger. Oh gosh, I need to say that again, a new serger!

Juki Pearl Line MO-654DE 2/3/4 Thread Serger w/ BONUS Package!

Includes Juki Instructional DVD Video, Juki Electronic Workbook, Juki 8 Foot Kit, 8 Cones of Thread, 50 Organ Needles, and Hemline Serger Tote Bag.
$499.99 / Free Shipping
Yes, a tote bag! I ordered online from Sewing Machines Plus (also where I purchased my Juki F600 – it came with a huge Bonus package as well, including a rolling tote bag). 
I take my machines to Ashley’s house all the time, having a case for the serger will be wonderful! Kitty Nikita might be disappointed. She considers the serger threads to be her domain.

I’ve never had extra feet for my serger ( a Janome 8002D). This will be fun!

But I didn’t get this serger for the feet. I’ve been a little unhappy with my Janome for a while. It’s tricky to thread, kind of fussy. And I change colors a lot now that I use knits so much. Last night I was working on a Hot Patterns Joyful T. But I simply could not get my serger threaded – I threw up my hands, and went to bed with the serger open, the loft a mess, and threads everywhere. I don’t like that feeling. 
This Juki has great reviews for its threading ease. I’ve read the users manual, researched the machine on the web, read reviews, etc., etc. Seems like a very well-priced little workhorse. I have to admit I love love that it really shows its insides – I can’t imagine cleaning and oiling a serger without this feature. 
Features – it has all I need, plus things I didn’t expect, like a needle threader, thread nets, and spare lower knife!
Birthdays get my vote! Bye for now – Coco
p.s. I’m 28 and holding.

Feeling Craftsy…

This popped up in my email on January 29th, and I admit that big 60% caught my eye. Normally I give sewing kit offers a pass. They’re expensive and often feature garments that are either very blah or very, well, irrational.

But I jumped over and took a look. This sale has some really cute things, and the prices are very good.

And I made a purchase – the Craftsy Exclusive Daytime Duo Knit Tank and Maxi Dress Kit for $19.99. It includes a downloadable pattern, a PDF instruction document, and fabric.

The pattern is designed by Meg McElwee, known to lots of us for her Craftsy class ‘Sewing With Knits: 5 Wardrobe Essentials’. I bought that class, it’s great, and I love the patterns from it.

This particular sewing kit was originally available in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, in a choice of 2 colors, emerald and pepper grey. The S/M comes with 3 yards of fabric, the L/XL with 5 yds.

And it’s Robert Kaufman 58″ wide Laguna Stretch cotton/spandex knit!

I jumped on the L/XL so fast. With $4.99 shipping, I paid an incredible $5/yard for this beautiful fabric. It arrived in a cute package, in a zippered bag,

And instead of 5.0 yards, the cut length is labelled 5.25 yards, i.e., it allows for shrinkage.

I have absolutely no idea what I’ll make with this. Maybe the tank dress, but that’s a lot of green.

Ciao! Coco

MOB Dress – A tale of two tops

Only three weeks left before the big day, and I’m working on my final MOB dresses. Yes. Dresses, plural. I’ve chosen two designs and two fabrics!

But I’m laughing right now, so all is OK.

The boutonnieres at left are for the gents in the wedding party. I love them. Ashley was so excited to find these, offered by a crafter in the Ukraine. They’re perfect for her latte/country pink color theme and reflect the ambiance that she and Darrin want to create.

I’ve actually completed all the fitting and muslins for the hardest part of the two dresses – the bodice. The skirts are easy! The two dress designs have a lot in common: a raised waist, rounded neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, and a long skirt gathered into the bodice. I tentatively plan a narrow sash-style band covering the bodice/skirt seam. Maybe even with a small bow and/or long ties in the back. For the skirt, well, either black or self-fabric.

Here’s a look at the ‘two tops’. This fabric is Floral/Aztec Print in a cotton/linen blend, from FabricMart. It’s mid-weight, doesn’t need a lining, and is the more casual of the two fabrics I’m considering.

First bodice, based on the Salme Pleated TShirt (the blue marks are chalk lines ):

My bodice has 3 pleats plus length for adding the skirt.The sleeves are extended with a band that will be hemmed to echo the pleats. The back is plain and has no darts.

And the second bodice, based on the one I used for my Tiered Maxi dress:

The front has side and vertical darts, and the back is plain. I redrafted the armscye using the Salme pattern and used the sleeves from that pattern as well, again with additional length.

Both tops have faced necklines, instead of binding.  I confess I’m always bothered by the raw edge of the hem on a facing, so I finish it first on the serger. Picky, but only takes a minute to do. It also makes the fold on the curved edge a lot easier! (yes, that’s very high-tech masking tape on my needle plate, marked at 5/8″ and 1″ with a fine-tip Sharpie. I keep a roll in the loft.)

Back to the sewing loft for the weekend. Tennis, football, old Oscar-winning movies on TCM – what could be better. Hope yours is nice as well.

Ciao! Coco

Last MOB dress muslin post – I promise!

I admit I’m having a blast doing muslins. Maybe I’ll just do muslins – all year long! It’s fun and there’s absolutely no pressure. 
Well, OK, there’s this MOB dress thing out there, but conceptually, there’s no pressure 🙂
Having spent hours looking at my first MOB dress muslin, I’ve decided I don’t particularly like v-necklines on myself. As my bustline and neck drop, v-necks appeal to me less and less. I need ‘up’!
This muslin has a round neck! and I like it better.
It also has both bust and vertical front darts. I’ve been thinking for a while that putting darts in my knit tops might also give me some of that ‘up’. 

It’s not so easy to find a darted pattern for knits, so I pulled out a bodice I drafted recently for my Jungle January dress (coming soon). It’s based on McCalls 6884 Fashion Star sundress, which is for woven fabric.

Basic changes for the Jungle January dress: I slit both bodice pieces just above the front side dart and dropped the bottom piece  by 1″. This took care of my FBA and vertical dart adjustments. To compensate, I removed that 1″ from the bottom edge. My other change was to tape some drafting paper inside the front neckline and redraw it. I didn’t sew the back darts or use a zipper, and I straightened the side seams just a tad.

For this knit bodice, I added the same sleeve and skirt elements I used on my first muslin: sleeves from Vogue 1315, skirt from New Look 6936.

At this point in my photo shoot, a mosquito buzzed my ear! Don’t they know they’re not allowed here?
More fabric arrived this week…Post-holiday sales have been my best friend. I’ve paid $5/yd or less for all the fabrics I’ve purchased this month. 
Tribal Stripe Cotton Lawn, Aztec Print Cotton/Linen Blend – Fabric Mart

I’ve already laundered the lawn. Gosh, it is so soft and not a wrinkle anywhere. The nicest lawn fabric I’ve ever had. It feels like very fine rayon challis. I plan to launder the cotton/linen blend twice before I lay it out for cutting.

The cotton/poly sweater knit from laundered beautifully. I was so afraid it would simply unravel! 

Bye for now, hope everyone is safe and near loved ones.