Sunday, April 21, 2013

New Look 6910 ~ A Summery Fit-and-Flare Dress

I just finished the wearable muslin of New Look 6910.  It fits well, and I like that the skirt isn't too full.  This will be a great sundress for those hot summer days--and since it is in the 80s here today, it's perfect!
The front bodice has princess seams, and the back bodice has darts.   I've always been a fan of princess seams, and I was looking for a fit-and-flare pattern with this feature because I have a hankering to make a dress inspired by this one that I pinned from
Isn't this an adorable dress?  I thought I'd make it from strips of poly/cotton broadcloth.  I just need to decide what colors to use.  I do love this pale blue/white version, too.

So, for this muslin, I used a 20-year old piece of fabric.   Back in the 90s, I had purchased several bolts from Robert Kaufman to make girls' dresses; this muslin used all but a 1/2 yard from what was left from the bolt.   I used another piece from this purchase to make this dress.
For this dress, I used a size 12 rather than a 14 because it appeared there would be way too much ease in the 14.
I made quite a few changes, including adding 1/8" to the length of the bodice.  I added 1/4" total to the center back, and 1/8" to both sides.  Next time, I'll probably add an additional 1/8" to the bodice length, but take off the 1/4" I added to the center back seam.  The pattern includes an attached belt; I decided not to use it.
I also added 5" to the length of the skirt, made a 2" hem using the coverstitch.  I don't think I've coverstitched a hem on a woven fabric before, but it worked out perfectly:
The bodice is lined with the same fabric.  For the first time EVER, I machine sewed the lining in all the way around - including next to the zipper - except for the waist.  It turned out perfectly!  One thing that's not so "perfect" with this dress--well, it's a definite boo-boo--I somehow screwed up the pleats in front but didn't realize it until I was hand-sewing the lining at the waist seam.  So, I unpicked the stitching on the pertinent portion of the front, and gathered it instead.  That's why there are gathers in front and pleats in the back.  Blerg.  I can live with it on this version, and probably the non-sewers won't even notice ;)

On a much more serious note, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.  If only we could turn back time...

Here's wishing you peace--and happy sewing ~ Peggy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kohl's Discount for Peggy's Closet Readers!

I have a favorite belt--it is red patent and elastic--and I've featured it on this blog at least three times (and all on versions of Simplicity 2444, blogged about here, here, and here).  I purchased this belt at Kohl's and I've gotten loads of use out of it.  Thanks to the elastic, it fits whether I've gorged on a hot fudge sundae (yum) or kept to my low carb plan (meh).  My daughter has borrowed it, too!

With buckle in back
At any rate, in my last post (about the denim dress, above), someone associated with Kohl's wrote to me with an offer for my readers of an exclusive 10% off code for You can use code BLOGS10 through May 10, 2013. It can be used to stack savings with one other department level code as well.

Pretty cool, eh?  I know I'll be doing some online shopping!  Thank you, Kohl's, for this opportunity.  

Up next, I'm putting the finishing touches on the (hopefully) wearable muslin of New Look 6910.  Photos and a review coming soon!  

In the meantime, happy sewing! ~ Peggy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Simplicity 2444 ~ A Denim Dress

I've had a lot of fun making tops the last two weeks, thanks to Faye and her sew along, but after churning out a few new tops, I am ready to make some dresses.  When I got my mitts on this demin at Joann's, I knew I wanted to make a fit & flare dress.   Denim is  so versatile; I love that it can be accessorized with any number of colors and patterns.
I have used this pattern twice before, blogged about here and here.  The pattern is very well drafted. I like the four angled front bodice darts coupled with the soft pleats of the skirt.  I drafted my own facings--a one-piece arm and neckline facing for the front and one for the back.  The facings are interfaced poly-cotton broadcloth.  The hem was sewn by hand.
I also like that there are several style options with this pattern, but my favorite is the sleeveless bodice with the pleated skirt. 
I  used a size 12 and added 1/2” in length to the bodice, 1/4" to the side seams, 6-1/4 ” to the skirt length, and hemmed it to fall just below the knees. 
I love the classic silhouette of this dress pattern.  I didn't exactly succeed installing an exposed zipper.  It's semi-exposed.  Oh well.
In these photos, the dress is styled with my favorite red patent/elastic belt (from Kohl's) and shoes (Cole Haan), but I could see this dress with a heavy cardigan, scarf, and boots in the winter.

It's been in the 80s the last couple of days, so my mind has gone to new summer dresses!  This photo below is of my next project ~ a muslin of New Look 6910.
I have loads of Saturday chores to do, but I just want to sew!  How about you?  What do you have planned for today?

Until next time, happy sewing! ~ Peggy

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cowl-Necked Top for Spring

Kwik Sew 3740 is a great pattern.  I've been using it for several years to make sleeveless shells--perfect for layering under jackets and cardigans.  This time, I decided to add the cowl-neck.

The fabric was purchased ages ago from Fabrix--way back when there was a shop in Sausalito/Marin City.  It is a waffle knit with tiny white daisies with green centers on a turquoise background.  The fabric has a lot of stretch and body, and I thought it would work well with the collar. 

If you're a little iffy about sewing with knits, this is a great pattern to try.  The cowl neck is easy to sew and attach to the top, and it's one less binding with topstitching to do. 
Although the pattern instructions say this can be completely constructed on the serger, I sewed all seams and then finished them with the serger.  The stitches disappeared into the fabric, and I don't think you can tell from these pix that the sleeve bindings and hem were coverstitched; in fact, the topstitching is difficult to see unless you get up close and personal with the top.

The cowl neck certainly gives this top a lot more pizzazz than the bound neckline.  I love the look of this top.  I don't know how many more I'll make with this collar because I suspect it might get a little warm around the neck on hot days. 
I'm entering this top in Faye's "Essential Top" sew along which is linked here.  

What's new with you?  Anything on your sewing table?  I don't know what my next project will be, but I have a coupon for Stonemountain and Daughter burning a hole in my pocket, so I'm headed to Berkeley with coupon and credit card in hand!

Until next time, happy sewing! ~ Peggy

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Simplicity 2599 – A New Top from the Factory Floor

Things have been hopping on the Peggy’s Closet factory floor.  Management and labor factions have put aside their differences to create another top in (almost) record time.  I should probably point out that I am “Management.”  But, wait!  I’m also “Labor.”  Maybe that’s why I talk to myself so much when I sew; I’m constantly in negotiations.   Sometimes Labor threatens to strike, but then Management sweetens the benefits package by adding fabric treats to the stash.  And it works every time.

So today’s creation is a very simple one:  Simplicity 2599.  This pattern has been around for a bit, and was also selected as one of Pattern Review’s best patterns of 2010.   This is my fourth top for Faye's sew along.

I’ve been doing some snoop-shopping lately, and I’ve seen loads of these woven pullover tops, sleeveless or with cap sleeves.  I knew I should be able to whip up one of these, and I thought Simplicity 2599 would be a good pattern for the job.

For this muslin, I used a piece of challis from my stash to make View A.  (FYI, Management is more likely to provide Labor with new fabrics if Labor uses up stash fabrics.  It’s a never ending cycle.)   I’m not big on ruffles, although I like the way they look on other people, so I opted for a plain neckline.

The pattern is quick and easy: 2 darts in front, center back seam, neck facings, a button loop, and the sleeves.  Before construction, I stay-stitched the neckline, and I serged all edges so that they’d be finished after the seams were sewn and pressed.  As I am wont to do, I inserted the sleeves in flat.  The hems were top-stitched, and I tacked the facings down by hand.  I used a white button from my stash to finish the closure.

Gah!  This stuff wrinkles like nobody's business!
I made a size 14 with the “C” cup pattern piece.  It fits well in the shoulders but is plenty roomy in the body.  The next version will be slimmed down a bit and will be sleeveless, too.  Overall, I’m pleased with this top; it’ll be fine on its own, cinched with a belt, or layered.
By the way, if you have a chance, check out the Great British Sewing Bee,  In the U.S., it is on YouTube.  I just finished watching the first episode and really enjoyed it.  It focuses on actual sewing abilities and construction, and the contestants may use commercial patterns.  For the first episode, there were three challenges to complete before one contestant was eliminated:  an A-line skirt, a refashioned RTW top, and a custom-fitted/made dress for a customer.  Maybe the U.S. will follow suit and create a show like this.

Hope all is fantastic in your neck of the woods.  Until next time, happy sewing!
~ Peggy

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pamela’s Patterns ~ Banded Front Cardigan

I’ve finished my second top (and third, including the shell) for Faye’s sew along.  The outfit shown is all me-made (except for the belt).  The skirt is McCall’s 3830 in black gabardine (haven’t blogged about it yet), the shell is Kwik Sew 3740, and the cardi is Pamela’s Patterns #111 Cool Cardigans - Banded Front. I picked up the cardigan pattern the last time I was at Stonemountain and Daughter, and I'm really glad I did!

I wasn’t sure about sizing on this pattern, so I decided to make a muslin.  The black and white print is a poly lycra knit from that has been aging in my stash since September 2011.  This cardigan has great lines, and gives what Pamela calls, "essence of waist."  I shortened the sleeves to ¾ length and wound up taking several inches off the lower part of the sleeve seams to narrow them.  I used the sewing machine and serger on all seams, and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves with the coverstitch.

I added 5” to the length because I’m quite tall and I wanted the cardigan to completely cover my bottom.  It feels great on, and I got a number of compliments when I wore it yesterday.  Win!  This is really a very wearable muslin.  

Pamela’s Patterns has videos of some of the construction techniques used in the patterns.  I viewed this video about attaching the banded front piece.  

I love this cardigan and plan to make a lot more!

BTW, I’ve made the KS 3740 dozens of times.  This version is made from a remnant of fabric so old that I can’t remember where I got it.  The neck and armscyes are finished with self-binding and the coverstitch; the hem is also finished with the coverstitch.

I’m heading over to Faye’s blog now to look at all the tops made so far!  If you want to check it out, this link will take you to the collection of tops sewn for the sew along.

What are you working on now?  I’d love to see!!  In the meantime, happy sewing!
~ Peggy

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Top for the Sew Along

Here is my first top for Faye's sew along challenge.  It is Vogue 8323, View C, and I made it from a rayon double knit in "Barbie Pink" from Gorgeous Fabrics.  This is my third time sewing this pattern, but the other two (here and here) are View A with long sleeves.  The neck is too low to wear without a cami, but I like the way it looks over a crisp white shirt.  This is an easy sew, but although I love the feel and color of the fabric, it probably wasn't the right choice for this top.

I used the coverstitch to finish the sleeves, neckline, and hem.  All seams were sewn on my regular machine and the seam allowances were trimmed and finished on the serger.
I like the princess seaming on this top, but I prefer the neckline on View A.  This one is just a little too low for my comfort.

I hope all is well in your world!  Until next time, happy sewing!
~ Peggy

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I should have posted this last week so that I could take part in "Jungle January."  Oops!  
The top is New Look 6150 in a really yummy rayon knit from Stonemountain and Daughter.  This stuff is soooo soft.  It would be perfect for jammies.  The fabric was a little difficult to sew--it was very clingy as I worked with it, and it also grew and grew and grew!  In the end, I tamed it through sheer determination--and a lot of steam.  I made this pattern in double knit last November; it has been a favorite ever since, so I had to make it again.

Construction was the same as the last one I made.  I stabilized the shoulders with scraps of interfacing, sewed the sleeves in flat, sewed the seams and then trimmed/finished the allowances on the serger, and finished the hems and the neck with the coverstitch.  Super easy.  I have enough fabric left to make an infinity scarf; I'll do that one of these days.
The skirt was equally easy.  It is another McCall's 3830 with my usual changes (4 extra darts, added waistband, invisible zipper) in "Tribe Vibe" stretch moleskin from Joann's. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to make next.  I've finished the Barbie pink long-sleeved top mentioned here, but I haven't made the houndstooth skirt.  That's probably what I should make, but I'm a little tired of skirts.  Kind of funny, since I just bought some more RPL from Joann's to make camel and  black skirts.  The fabrics were on sale; how could I resist?  I might also work on fitting a Pamela's Patterns banded front cardigan, or I might work on a double knit dress.  Hmmmm.

How about you?  Do you know what your next project will be, or are you as indecisive as I seem to be?

Until next time,
Happy sewing! ~ Peggy

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Black Mini Skirt for Tripping the Light Fantastic

A week or so ago, my DD told me about "The Weekend of S..."  "S" being DD's very good friend and fellow college & professional volleyball player who would be celebrating a big birthday with a full weekend of activities.  One of the events will be an Irish-themed pub crawl, and since "S" is a native of Ireland, she has asked the guests to wear green.  I think most of the female guests will be 6'+ tall volleyball players, so I think they will be quite noticeable!  DD planned to wear her green RTW top (shown below), but what she really wanted--and asked if maybe mom could help--was a short black skirt that would be great for going out and dancing. 
I was tickled that I could make DD just what she wanted!  It's a McCall's 3830, size 12, in black double knit.  I underlined the skirt with black tricot for opacity and to give it a little more heft, and other than that, the only other change was to use an invisible zipper.

DD  came to my house tonight to try on the skirt before heading over to Berkeley for the first "Weekend of S..." event.   This outfit will be for tomorrow night's dinner, pub crawl, and dancing in San Francisco  Sounds fun, but exhausting to me!  (Et moi?  Oh, I think I'll be curled up on the couch with a good book!)

It only took a few hours (over the course of several nights) to make this skirt.  And best of all?  DD loves it!  

Here's a snap of "S" and DD at DD's birthday dinner at the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley (one of our favorite restaurants).  DD's wearing another mom-made dress (McCall's 5974).  

Next up?  I've finished two new tops and am almost done with a new skirt.  Pix soon, I hope.

Hope all is well with you!  Until next time, happy sewing!

~ Peggy


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sewing with a Plan? Kind of...

I’ve never participated in a SWAP before, but I do sew with something of a plan.  My plan is usually outfit by outfit, rather than a multi-piece wardrobe—as my DD would say, that’s just how I roll.  (I really like the idea of creating a multi-piece wardrobe, and I may just do that someday.)  My idea is to make sure I have the skirt, shoes, accessories, etc. to go with a piece I want to sew, and if I don’t, I start hunting for the necessary ingredients to make my sewn piece(s) part of a complete outfit. 
For instance, I saw this outfit on the Fifty, not Frumpy site:  
I love the pieces and the color combo, so I want to replicate the look.  I already have black slacks, a long camel cardigan, several black bags to choose from, and gold bangles, but I need to make a raspberry top, and I didn't have leopard boots (but now I do!).  I found these booties on sale for $40 on the 6 p.m. website and they arrived on Thursday:
In real life, the background of the print is a bit more golden than what this photo shows.  I chose these boots for the price and the heel height, not to mention that they had a size 11!

For the top, I'm still undecided on which pattern to use, although I might do another shawl-collared Vogue 8323.  I'm going to paw through my stash and see if I have a raspberry knit.  Once I make the top, I'll have a complete outfit ready to go!

I also want to make some more skirt and top sets.  The skirts will all be McCall's 3830 (with my modifications: extra darts at the waist and an added waistband).

First outfit:  an above-knee skirt in this black/white houndstooth double knit from Gorgeous Fabrics, paired with a scoop-necked Vogue 8323 in "Barbie Pink" knit, also from Gorgeous Fabrics.  This will be worn with black suede boots, black belt, and black tights.

 2nd outfit:  New Look 6150 top in caramel rayon knit from Stonemountain and Daughter paired with "Tribe Vibe" stretch moleskin animal print from Joann's.  This skirt will also be above the knee.  This will be worn with black tights and either black suede boots/belt or dark caramel equestrian boots/belt:

3rd outfit:  Another above-knee skirt in blue-on-blue corduroy print which was given to me ages ago by my friend, Cuyler.  With it, I have a blue sweater knit from, but I haven't decided which pattern to use for the top.  I'm envisioning a turtleneck, but those can get pretty hot.  This outfit will be worn with the equestrian boots and belt:

4th outfit:  A navy blue double knit McCall's 2401, with either long- or 3/4- length sleeves.  This will be worn with a scarf, gold chain belt, and camel suede pumps, or possibly with the equestrian boots and matching belt.

I might also do something with winter white and emerald green, but that's still percolating--and I don't have the fabrics in my stash.

So, this should keep me off the streets and out of trouble for a while!  How about you--what's on your cutting table?

Until next time, happy sewing!
~ Peggy