Threading Lightly

Adventures in amateur sewing

Gray mid-weight sweater


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Winter is…over

Patterns:

  • McCall’s M6796, View DMcCalls 6796
  • Vogue V8956, View C

Since it is now July, you would think that the fact it’s not winter any more would be obvious to me. It is, but I realized that with all the craziness in the last six months, I forgot to blog about some of my winter projects. I’m particularly proud of both of these garments, and not just because I actually completed them in the season they were intended for, but because they both came out really nice. The sweater I am most proud of, since I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it and was able to wear it quite a bit, even as winter was thawing out a bit.

Gray mid-weight sweaterI am especially proud of the purely decorative buttons on the collar – I definitely chose the right ones for top.

Close up of collar

The lines on this really look as close to perfect as ever. I think this lightweight sweater knit was really the perfect fabric for this project.

This garment got a lot of wear this past season, since it matched a lot of things and was also quite comfortable. Unfortunately, my other winter project did not get quite as much wear as I ended up Vogue V8956finishing it right as I was losing my job. The skirt is not especially uncomfortable, but not something I wanted to wear just bumming around the house.

I usually shy away from straight skirts, since my shape is not very flattering in them, but I decided to give this one a shot since the fabric was definitely not flowy enough for some of the other skirts pictured in this pattern. This is a true wrap-around skirt, with 2 hook and bar clips holding it on the waistband. I ended up adjusting it so that it was a slightly bigger size in the hips than the the waist. Usually I can’t get this to work right, but I think this skirt fits pretty well and I definitely don’t feel any tightness or weird bulges as I might have suspected.

Plaid textured skirt

The fabric was given to me by my aunt when I first started sewing. I had always envisioned a skirt to make with it, but had not gotten around to it until this year. The fabric started shredding the minute I cut into it, so I had to serge all the edges before I even started working with it.

Winter SkirtI definitely do not have a skirt like this and I almost can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can finally wear it.

Both of these projects were fast sews and the patterns were very easy to follow. This seems unusual with both of them being Big 4 patterns, but I guess they can get some things right.  Both are recommended for beginners – great wardrobe builders that can give you an outfit in no time.

This week has definitely been the hottest one this year-and looking at these pictures is really making me sweat! I have most of my summer projects cut out – although it’s getting a bit late to have them ready in time for the season. My spring just got away from me and will probably throw my fall off too. Well, I’m not doing too well with my goal of sewing ahead of season, but hopefully I will stay on top of my projects and my blogging in the not too distant future.

Stay cool!

Dog blouse with ties


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Top mistakes: My sporadic sewing

Patterns: 

  • Rhapsody Blouse (bishop sleeves) by Love Notions
  • Vogue V8670 (view D)

This year has been pretty crazy for me so far. It started with me losing my job unexpectedly, then moved on to a big move and a new co-habitation situation with my significant other. All of this occurring while I was training hard and accomplishing my major running goals and then finally shifted to me getting a new job and trying to find some normalcy and a regular schedule for my life. With all these changes taking place in a fairly short period of time, I saw my planned and unfinished sewing projects piling up. Whenever I found myself with a pocket of free time, I would try to hurriedly work on these. Unfortunately these rushed blocks of productivity lead to some large, unplanned mistakes.

Doggone it! It’s upside down!Rhapsody blouse

I had the perfect project in mind – a garment I really wanted ready for this spring. It was one of the Rhapsody Blouse options from Love Notions. The fabric I wanted to use was this very soft, almost gauzy, cotton that had this really cute dog print pattern on it. I bought it thinking it would be cute for some kids clothes, but since I don’t have any kids, I decided I liked the material too much to not keep it for myself. I cut the project out in between packing my stuff for my move. I even attempted to make a small amount of bias tape with the leftover fabric I had (it wasn’t much), but that didn’t seem to work right. I’m not sure if the material was too stretchy, but the shape wasn’t right when I tried to use this method.

Trying to make bias tape

Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on here either. This is what happens when you attempt a new trick at the end of a long evening.

This project was actually a quick sew, so one day post move I dusted off my serger and went to work. I worked fast putting all the pieces together. When I put it up on the dummy to see my progress, that is when I noticed it…

Dog Blouse

Such a rookie mistake! I didn’t pay attention when cutting this printed fabric.

I had cut the shirt completely upside down. All the dogs were on their head.

I couldn’t believe I had made such a big mistake, but I was trying too hard to get the blouse cut out before the big move. Since I hadn’t done a project with a real print in awhile, it didn’t even cross my mind to make sure this was right. I was concentrating too hard on making sure I could fit all the pattern pieces and that I had measured the right size for me. Oh well, at this point I was still going to finish the blouse. It would just be a bit quirky.

Sleeves on dog blouse

One good point is that because I chose the elastic sleeves, it tends to hide some imperfections that exist in the sleeve hem.

Luckily the rest of the construction went very well, even making the bias tape, which I was also a bit rusty at. In the end, I had a nice spring blouse…although it was now summer and too hot to wear it. It’s still light enough to wear on a cool summer evening…and there is always next year.

Dog Blouse

What the…buttons?

The next project I attempted was a solid color fabric so there Continue reading


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The Dress-for-Wedding Challenge: Part 3

Pattern: Vogue Patterns American Designer, Kay Unger New York #V1353….continued from part 2 and part 1 Phew!  It’s finally done.  Actually, I do still need to buy a belt, but all the sewing is finished! Where we left off...okay I put the invisible zipper in.  For those who don’t know, this is what an invisble zipper looks like.  The teeth are not exposed on the outside, like a regular zipper, so the material is sewed around the front of the zipper tape. Invisible zipper

Invisible zipper foot

Plastic invisible zipper foot – a great alternative to buying a whole new foot

It really wasn’t that complicated, but there were a few minor beginner hiccups that I will share.  I watched this video, which described the whole process perfectly.  I didn’t have a proper invisible zipper foot, so I just used the cheap plastic foot pieces you get at the fabric store and it worked just fine.  Pinning the zipperI also wasn’t going to take any chances screwing this one up, so I made a bright colored basting stitch where the zipper was going to go, and pinned one side as the video instructed me.  After I sewed the first side, it seemed right, but I had trouble zipping it up.  It seemed twisted.  Thinking I did the whole thing wrong, I un-did all the stitches and tried to figure out what the issue was.  I couldn’t see what I was doing wrong, so I attempted stitching it again.  It seemed right, until I tried zipping it up for the second time.  I finally figured it out – the bottom of the zipper had just flipped to the inside, so it only looked like I pinned it wrong.  Ooops!  Oh well, I know for next time. After sewing both sides, the zipper flipped in with the material and indeed became invisible within the back seam.  But all of a sudden I couldn’t zip the whole thing up to the top.  This puzzled me for a bit, but after some examination found that I had just sewed one section too close to the teeth and the zipper was getting stuck.  Minor fix – all set! Invisible zipper finished I think it just needs a press so that the material is a little flatter around the zipper, but otherwise you can barely see it.  Major learning: it is extremely important to sew as straight and close to the teeth as possible.  This is where that plastic foot comes in handy since it actually has a groove that allows the foot to glide easily over the zipper teeth, keeping everything straight and tidy. This dress has a full lining in it, which attached at the neckline.  The pattern also had me cut out a hem facing, which was to be sewn to the bottom of the dress.  As I completed this step, Continue reading


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The Dress-for-Wedding Challenge: Part 2

Pattern: Vogue Patterns American Designer, Kay Unger New York #V1353….continued from part 1

There is nothing like a slightly rainy holiday weekend to give you the motivation to sew!  Things have been so busy over the last couple weeks with work, random obligations, and my actual graduation from business school that I hadn’t gotten a chance to work on my new dress.  I was grateful for the 3-day weekend to get started.

But I first want to mention that my oldie New Home machine is now in semi-retirement.  I’m sad that I won’t be using it as I’ve gotten quite attached to it, quirks and all. It will be a good thing in the end because I have far less bobbin issues with my mom’s old (my new) Husqvarna machine.

New Home sewing machine

Okay back to the dress.  The pattern seems very straight forward, instead of cutting the front bodice on the fold it had me do a little flip-around thingy instead since there were really no other pieces to cut on the fold.

Bodice patternI was able to get it pretty even.

The front bodice has darts and pleats.  I hadn’t done darts in forever, so I had to try to remember how they worked.  I had to go online for a refresher video to remind me how to sew the triangles in and press them down.  Ah yes, it was all coming back to me.  They were so easy, I may start putting darts in everything now!

The pleats along the neckline were something I hadn’t done before so I watched a few online videos (like this one) and figured it out.  I had some trouble with this research because there were a lot of references to box pleats and knife pleats and I had no idea what type this was.  I still don’t actually know, but the video I found showed me a picture of a pattern that looked like mine.  Works for me!  The pattern markings Continue reading


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The Dress-for-Wedding Challenge: Part 1

Kay Under Pattern V1353Pattern: Vogue Patterns American Designer, Kay Unger New York #V1353

I almost put the title as The Wedding Dress Challenge, but changed it because I didn’t want people to think I was getting married, or worse yet attempting to make a wedding dress!  Eeeps!  A friend of mine is getting married on 4th of July weekend and I thought it would fun to wear something of my own creation.  I may be eating my words later.  But I feel like I have enough time to complete this task.  Plus I’ve had this pattern that I’ve been dying to try and some lovely material I bought many months ago that is just itching to be used.

Dress for wedding material

I think this is cotton, and it also has a little bit of stretch to it

I know, it looks pretty complicated.  But the rating says “easy” so I have some confidence in this project.

I had hoped to do some cutting on this today, but my day just got in the way.   So check back to see my progress as I attempt my first special occasion dress.

Something Old: This pattern has been sitting in my collection for about 9 months, which is not too old, but older than other patterns I have.

Something New: It calls for an invisible zipper!  I’ve never worked with one before and it looks like I need to use a special foot for it.

Something Borrowed: Technically I am borrowing my mom’s old sewing machine (only 10 years old), since she just bought a brand new one.

Something Blue:  I think there is some navy blue in there somewhere.

I also need to get about 2 yards of lining material, Continue reading