Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer Sewing

"All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world."
—Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams
Oh, that Anne of Green Gable, her and that cheerful optimism and love for life.  I have just started watching the new Netflix version of those beloved books while working in my sewing space.  The new series is most likely more psychologically true to the real experiences of a young orphan although I still prefer my memories of reading the books and the mid-'80s TV series.  But any version of these novels is an antidote when the pain, hurt and anger in the world seem overwhelming.  I get to escape to my sewing room, to my books and to happy memories of the summer season almost ending now.  
Two months ago I promised a mini-travelogue on our bike and barge trip but haven't sat down for enough time at the computer to sort pictures and write it up (for my memory more than anything you might find interesting.) However, since I did complete some sewing projects this summer I do want to get them posted, once again primarily for my own record.  Most of these are repeats of some of my TNT patterns so I will post them altogether and call this summer season sewing officially closed.  Labor Day was yesterday here in the US and that holiday means back to school, back to work and now back to more structured and ambitious sewing projects...and maybe even back to more frequent blogging.  So here are the summer projects that kept me busy and happy in my sewing space:

McCalls 7357 tunic
This McCalls 7357 is one of my very favorite "new patterns...meaning yes, it is still available in the catalog.  This one is a lightweight poly with burnout flowers, Fabric Mart, of course and I was particularly flattered when a sewing friend thought it was RTW when I brought it to our sewing meeting last week.  I brought it because I am raving about the potential of this pattern...bust cup sizes, princess seams with that small Euro dart (what the heck is the name of that small dart on a princess seam?) and a three piece sleeve.  This is my third version and I see several more in my future.  There's a lot of ease to the pattern so this is a light and airy summer tunic but I would like to change up the neckline, take out some ease and use it for a knit as well as a woven.
Tabula Rasa Knit Tunic pattern

I could make this pattern up in my sleep.  Another one of my TNT patterns, Tabula Rasa Knit Tunic from Fit for Art  Rae Cumbie is a local friend of mine and I couldn't be happier that her patterns are succeeding in the marketplace.  This one is a fun Fabric Mart rayon knit, fairly lightweight so I don't know how many seasons of wear I will get.  But I wore it to attend a summer lecture on the upcoming solar eclipse (Maryland was in the 80% + path) and someone remarked that it looked like there were moons and planets in the print.  I tried something new for me after watching Marcy Tilton's video on her blog and laid the front pattern piece on the bias.  As she noted, knits don't have grain per se and I like the freedom I get to arrange the fabric as I like.  Seems just as stable as my normal method and gave me real flexibility.  
Vogue 8691
Vogue 8691

Another rayon knit, this one a little beefier and warmer, perfect for fall days.  Vogue 8691 is a Katherine Tilton for Vogue pattern and I love the princess seams, the flounce and mini-mermaid look in the back.  I never do a pretty job attaching those flounces but the gypsy boho fashion thing means not even my sewing friends examine that part up close.
Kwik Sew 3740
OMG, this TNT pattern is ancient in sewing fashion terms.  Kwik Sew 3740 was the buzz at least ten+ years ago for the unique way to managed a cowl neckline without the fear of exposure when you bent down the retrieve something.  I waited a year or two or three before I made one and still wear that one happily to this day.  I loved the summery watery colors in this fabric and it's a lighter than usual rayon blend that feels like slinky...cool and drape-y.  Seems like it was worth holding on to this pattern just to have a new summer top with truly a "quick sew."
Burda 6809
Staying in the same color wave, Burda 6809 has stolen my heart.  This is my second one done in a poly burnout but this time with the collar added, not just with the collar band.  Cute little neckline detail, a little different from so many tunics out there and a two piece sleeve make this one a real winner for me.  I think a linen dress version would be perfect for hot muggy days and once again, maybe even a knit version.

Vogue 8997
Now, in my mind and my mirror I'm as beautiful as the young woman in the catalog wearing Vogue 8997.  That's how much a twirly girly dress can affect your senses.  I made this pattern last summer in a bright pink and cherry red print and this summer I took ten inches out of the skirt circumference and did the water color wave version.  What an absolutely fun dress for dancing in and I highly recommend this very versatile pattern.  There's a two piece sleeve that I have to try and a sheath version and with bust cup sizing this could turn from fun and silly to great mother of the bride outfit.
Stitch and flip jacket

Last one in my turquoise summer love is another stitch and flip jacket.  This is my TNT princess seam jacket and I have raved before about my love for this technique taught on Patternreview by the late gifted and kind Shannon Gifford.  I had actually demonstrated this technique at my sewing meeting early last fall.  It's so easy to do, I exclaimed, as I stitched together the jacket back along with its lining in about thirty minutes....and then left the unfinished project in my sewing room for months!!!  In one of my mad, use or lose it cleaning frenzies I decided to actually finish it.  The trim is just more of the raw silk cut on the bias and zig zagged on the edges and I added pieces of a blue plastic zipper from the old PA Fabric Outlet (boy do I miss that place for its notions.)  I added the pocket trim by hand to curve the bias so you can see those stitches inside, if you are looking.  I add small shoulder pads as well which means that I have to hand sew the lining of the sleeve to the body of the jacket so there is a little hand work but not as much by far as doing the traditional "French jacket" version.  The jacket feels like wearing a sweatshirt and packs wonderfully and the colors make me so happy.
Jalie 3461 Elenore Jeans
Yes, summer is winding down so I squeezed in another pair of Jalie Elenore Pull on Jeans in a black and white Fabric Mart stretch woven transitional print.  I love this RTW lace top from Stein Mart and am always on the lookout for tiny print stretch woven to sew up for pants.  
Wow, that was an interesting retrospective for me.  I have so many other things going on that I feel as though I don't get enough sewing done but it's nice to see that I actually did accomplish some projects and have enjoyed wearing them.  No new big discoveries, just terrific TNT patterns that fit my life.  Here's hoping you have sewing goals and projects that do the same for you.


  1. So many great pieces that will work beyond the summer. It's always fun to try new patterns, but having a bunch of TNTs is fantastic, just a switch in fabric can completely change the look.

    1. Thank you, Allison. It took me a number of years to develop TNT patterns but now they are the backbone of my sewing projects and wardrobe. That said, I am planning on a new coat pattern this fall so yes, new is also fun and challenging.

  2. All of these projects look wonderful and you always have a great smile when you model them. Very inspiring!

    1. How nice of you to say that. I appreciate your smile comment more so because I currently am about half way through my invisalign braces experience. As a (obviously much younger) comedian remarked, braces on seniors are a sure sign of optimism.

  3. A wonderful collection of summer projects! I, too, sometimes feel as though I haven't accomplished much sewing at times, only to realize that yes, there are x-number of new garments hanging in the closet. Sometimes it just feels good to be able to see them as a "list" of accomplishments.

    1. That is one major reason I keep on blogging, less frequently but still so useful to have that visual and written record....and I end up searching my own blog for notes as well;-)

  4. As per usual you have made some beautiful pieces in delicious looking fabric. Thankyou so much for taking the time to blog your new items . I love seeing what others have made- it is very inspirational .

  5. The picture above of the turquoise princess seam jacket doesn't due justice to this stunning piece that Jane showed at our sewing meeting last week! The zipper trim is stunning and the fabric colors are vibrant. And, it is lovely on Her!


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