Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simplicity 2313

I enjoyed the opening sentence to this morning's article in the NYT..."The most psychologically correct holiday of the year is upon us."  A Serving of Gratitude Brings Healthy Dividends   Sort of explains my good mood this week.  There's so very much to be thankful for in my life....friends, family, health and well-being.  Not that I couldn't find plenty to gripe about but why bother when I can focus on what's awfully darn terrific today.  One of those things is my finished jacket.  Hooray, I'm really enjoying how this one looks.  A little too warm and humid to be wearing it yet in SW Florida but that will change in month or less.  Here's my official review:

Pattern Description
Pattern Sizing:  6-24, a versatile wide range of sizes
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? Quite easy to follow directions, especially for the princess seam pocket and separating zipper, my very first.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like the collar with drawstring and the in seam pockets.  It’s a sporty but nicely finished jacket.   
Fabric Used:  This was a “free” jacket…everything came from my voluminous stash.  The fashion fabric is a poly rayon home dec fabric.  I bought it because it looked rather Chicos-like.  I didn’t have enough for the collar or front facing so I used a damask black rayon from Fabric Mart for those parts.  The cord is some navy flat cording that I had purchased at the PA Fabric Outlet when I was on a small purse making binge about 10 years ago.  The plastic navy 22” zipper came from the same store when I must have purchased a handful of zippers for a few dollars.    
I’ve been interested in making this pattern ever since I saw the other three finished PR reviews for this jacket.  Each review was flattering and so different that even sewers would not guess that came from the same envelope.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had a friend help fit my muslin for me.  Ended up removing some swayback fabric and back princess seams and also raising the neck ¾” by adding shoulder darts to avoid a center back seam on this fabric.  Did a D cup FBA on the front and added about 2” more to front full tummy area.  That area still needs tweaking but for my first 2313 jacket I’m pretty thrilled.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, this pattern is going to enter my TNT list.  I’ll try a fully lined version and a very lightweight linen one.  The pattern says it’s suitable for fleece but I think you’d still have to be careful about the weight or bulk of the fleece you select.  I do like the idea of making a fleece vest with those pockets and cute collar.
Conclusion: Versatile pattern with clever design details.   A winner in my pattern library
Clever collar ties

Sam and Lucky admiring the inseam pockets

I've been cleaning out my closets this week which is also a good exercise for feeling "lighter" about life.  I'm getting rid of a number of capri pants which I bought when we first moved to Fl 8 years ago.  Yes, they're worn by many other middle-aged women like me but they are not a flattering look on my body.  For public occasions I'm better with a full length look in pants or a skirt or a knee length skirt.  So I've spent a day cutting out some more pencil skirts in colored stretch wovens from my stash.  I'll wear them with knit tops, just like I did with those capris, but the proportions are much more feminine and flattering for me.  Since Mr. Lucky is painting my sewing room next week, these skirts will be easily portable to sew on any sewing table surface.  Looks like my next jacket project won't be until December.
In the meantime, I hope my USA friends enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  It's just the two of us this year which is fine by me since we've been quite social already this past week.  I will be cooking for us with some yummy sounding Cooks Illustrated recipes....butterflied turkey with maple apple sauce, for one.  Watching the Macy's parade, the smell of roasting turkey, a tryptophan induced nap during football and maybe even a beach sunset that evening, sounds heavenly.  Hope your holiday is as blessed.
Sew grateful,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jeans Waistband Alterations

The Simplicity jacket needs to have the sleeves added so no new pictures today.  Since I plan on wearing this upcoming jacket with jeans, I though I'd share how I just adjusted a few of my favorite jeans waistbands.  
If a jeans waistband is anywhere near my waist, then I get that large gap at the center back of my jeans.  I never tuck in a top so it's not very obvious to a casual observer but annoys the heck out of me.   I've tried several alteration techniques but have never been totally satisfied until I made this adjustment.  In a nutshell, it involves turning the back portion of that waistband into an elasticized version.  Here are the pics of how I did it:
I removed the very back center belt loop.  For me belt loops are entirely unnecessary....but your mileage may vary.
Using my nice, sharp seam ripper I gently sliced open a 1+" slit on the back inside of the waistband, about 4"-5" to the left and right of center back.  Note:  this is not a hole through the entire 2 layers of the waistband.  You are merely creating a starting point to slide elastic into the waistband casing.  No slit would be visible from the outside of the waistband.

I used a safety pin attached to 1" elastic (mine is from Pamela's Patterns  Fantastic Elastic and is elastic that can be cut to any width without unraveling) and fed it through the first slit down to the second one.  
Safety pin both ends in place and try on the jeans.  Pull the elastic snugly, repin and keep trying them on until the back waistband hugs your back waist comfortably.
Still needed more snugging for my back.

Once you are comfortable with the back elastic, zig zag over both ends of the elastic.  The zig zag stitches are not highly visible on denim twill fabric and will never be seen by the general public.

There's elastic in the back but when I am wearing these, it merely curves closely to my back waist without that previous gap.  Off my body you can see that I had to pull in a good amount of fabric to make this waistband customized for my body.

Should I be sewing my own jeans?  Maybe.  In the meantime, this alteration makes RTW jeans (which I can thankfully buy in longs) work just fine for me.  Hope it's useful for some of you who want to tweak the fit on your RTW jeans also.

In more local news, Debbie and Andrea, you asked where we live in SWFL.  We're in the north end of the Naples area, right on the Collier County northern border.  My American Sewing Guild chapter is in Fort Myers and I also participate in a local neighborhood group.  This past week I traveled to Fort Myers to participate in my first Community Sew Day.  Once a month the chapter gathers together to sew for local charities.  I went up with an ulterior motive....to bring some of my fabric stash to them.  The ladies were thrilled to see me carry in a large supply of children's flannels.  It was fabric that a local friend had gifted me but it had to leave me to free up some space in my closets  Among the charity sewing projects, these ladies make burp cloths and receiving blankets so flannel was divvied up immediately.  They also make children's clothing, walker bags, cool ties for troops, dog beds etc.  I was expecting maybe a dozen women to show up but there were over three dozen people sewing and serging and cutting and organizing.  Turned out to be an enjoyable and energizing day for me and a great way to start up my sewing mojo here in Florida.
Now, back to finishing up that jacket project.  Wishing you all a terrific weekend and time to work on a project dear to your heart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Simple Start to Simplicity 2313

A few of you got a giggle that it would be a pin shortage that got me inspired to sew rather than dawdle, cut out patterns or spend hours on my blog reader or Pinterest.  Well, the inspiration for this next jacket came from two reviews and bloggers.  I had already purchased Simplicity 2313...how could I not when I'm sure it was only $.99?  But these two beautiful and dramatically different versions were all it took for me to follow suit.  I wanted a new jacket pattern or two to round out my 2011 JAM plan and Simplicity 2313 seems perfect....casual but some feminine details.

Before I left Baltimore my dear sewing friend Michele tweaked my muslin for me and I cut out the jacket and fused interfacing to the facings.   Here are the pattern alterations I had to do to make this one work for my body.
Yes, here's how much extra width I needed

Taking in back princess seams and pulling up for swayback and erect posture

Removing too much hip curve and doing front abdomen adjustment instead

The lower front of this zippered jacket needed a full abdomen alteration.  Michele cut up the front section, avoiding that cut side section pocket area, and pinned the extra width I needed, about 1 1/2 inches per side.  

On my pattern I made the same slash with a tiny side hinge to keep the pattern paper flat.  Center front stays straight on grain and I get the extra width (not length) I need in this area.  

Small side seam "hinge"

If you have the book, The Perfect Fit, from Singer, this is almost exactly the alteration for a very prominent abdomen.  (This isn't exactly what I hoped for when I aspired to be "very prominent" in life:-)

It was a delight yesterday to pull out a plastic 2 gallon project bag and start sewing for about an hour.   There's still cleaning and errand running to do here but I'm getting to enjoy a new sewing project and that makes it all worthwhile.  
Two fronts sewn so far...here's one to show you.  I'm making version B in a poly rayon lightweight home dec fabric.  Very easy princess seam pocket technique that I might use on some other jackets.

And now for something new.  Mr. Lucky made dinner last night, a new to us yummy recipe.  Easy and delicious and very seasonal since it uses acorn squash.  We made half the recipe and enjoyed it tremendously.


  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut lengthwise in half, seeded
  • 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Hot Pork Sausage Roll
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1½ cups soft bread crumbs
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk


1. Place squash, cut-sides down, in 13x9-inch microwaveable dish; cover. Microwave on HIGH 10-12 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, cook sausage and onion in large skillet over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently; drain. Return to skillet. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

3. Turn squash halves over; fill with sausage mixture. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes to heat through.

Cook’s Tip: Prepare using 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Sage or Regular Flavor Pork Sausage Roll.


Makes: 4 Servings

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finish, Then Leave

There are many reasons I'm a lucky sew and sew.  Just one of them is that I've been a "snowbird" for the last 8 years meaning that I head to a sunnier, warmer climate for the winter months.  That's the terrific part of this life.  The slightly majorly hectic part of this relatively new lifestyle is that I end up rushing around in the last two weeks at each location madly trying to visit with friends who I won't see again for months as well as finishing up indoor and outdoor projects I swore I would complete and then packing up the car while making strange final meals of whatever is left in the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets.   I'm not the most Zen-like person in these times....nor am I at any other time but these frequent moves do exhaust me.   So here's one project that I was glad to finish before our departure this past Thursday.
Catherine Valence pattern from Pate-Meadows

It was little more complicated to sew and install than a simple home dec pattern from the Big 4 companies.  Here's my original post with the details.
first Pate Meadows blog post
Thanks to Mr. Lucky we got these put up before we left town.

So it's back home to Florida once again. We had a wonderful visit with family in South Carolina along the way and a long but easy drive down the Gulf Coast.  The dogs were thrilled to return to the dogpark yesterday morning where they reacquainted themselves with four legged friends while we hugged our two legged ones.    I ran into two local sewing friends while grocery shopping yesterday as well.  It's such a comfort to have a hobby that brings together so many interesting and creative people.  I miss my northern friends already but am getting ready to re-enter my southern life.  Yes, it's a life with some divided loyalties and I don't think we'll keep it up for too many more years but the common thread all the time is a love for sewing and fashion.  What a joy to have that in my life no matter where I live.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


What motivates you to begin or complete a sewing project?  Sometimes I'm motivated by a deadline.  That was one of the reasons I entered one of the Patternreview contests in 2010.  Sometimes I'm excited about a class that I took and want to finish or make more of a new design.  That's happened when I've had Sarah Veblen fit some muslins for me and I was suddenly eager to try my adjustments on real fabric.  Sometimes I just run out of pins...
I've mentioned before  Susan Khalje pins and needles that I love my Japanese pins and needles.  When my supply was running low this week I had to go and tackle the projects that had used up those pins.  Some of those were muslins for some jackets that I am considering for this year's JAM project.  I took all three jacket muslins to visit a sewing friend this week and she helped me make some decisions and finalize the fit.  Two of them made the cut to become real garments and one of them was abandoned entirely.  I abandoned another one on my own, a Simplicity tunic.  I wanted a lightweight summer tunic topic but realized that I seldom wear the one RTW one that I do have.  If I decide I still want one, I'll buy one next summer at H&M and wear it for a season or two.  Sometimes the best use of my sewing time is to quit an idea and move along.
More pins were located in the three more pencil skirts that I had already cut out.  I'm lucky enough to have a short sewcation this weekend and yesterday sewed up all three of those skirts.  We leave for Florida this week so the two lace ones will head south with me and the green moleskin one will stay in the north since it coordinates wonderfully with the heather green merino draped cardigan from a few months ago.

And what about those muslins?  It felt good to empty some closet space, put my sewing time towards projects that do work for me and my lifestyle....and regain my pin supply.
Full speed ahead for the next project....