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Danube Denim Skirt

Itch to Stitch’s latest release is the Danube Jean Skirt. It’s a great basic skirt with side slits. The instructions for the zipper insertion in this pattern are top notch! I pattern tested and here is my skirt with no modifications. I used a midweight denim.

These side slits are awesome! It looks slim from the front but was so easy to sit down or climb stairs wearing this skirt. Way better than a back slit!

Visby Striped Raglan Top

Itch to Stitch’s latest pattern is the Visby top. This is a super versatile pattern that has options for a quick-to-make raglan top, a henley, or a hooded henley.  Plus it’s on sale for launch week! As a pattern tester for Visby, I made View B the raglan top.

I have had this striped double knit fabric from Hart’s Fabric in my stash since the fall, but I hadn’t found the right project for it until Visby! This denim-y blue fabric has wide stripes one side and fine stripes on the other that are also toned due to the large stripes. So it was perfect to make a raglan top! I used the fine striped side for the body and neckline and the wide striped side for the sleeves and cuffs.

With just 4 pattern pieces, View B is a quick make. I think it was about 3 hours from when I clicked print to when I finished the hem. A few notes on this pattern… First check the sleeve length. It’s intentionally pretty long. I had limited fabric and I took about 4″ out of the sleeve length to fit it on my fabric and they hit me just above my wrists. I like raglans with 3/4 sleeves so I will mostly wear this with the sleeves pushed up. The body is also a bit longer than you might expect. I like the length though!  I really like the deep cuffs on this too.

I definitely think, for me, this is a superior pattern to the Hey June Lane Raglan. The poor grading on the larger sizes of the Lane result in a ridiculously big neckline. It practically falls off my shoulders! While I had thought about fixing it, I think I’ll just stick with making Visbys.

Once I find the right fabric, I’m definitely going to make the henley version as I love henley!  Someone also mentioned that this would be a great rashguard too! I could also see this in a technical fabric as layering piece for hiking or snowboarding. I love patterns with many uses.

Sewing Stuff Organizer

I made my sister Natalie a pretty sweet birthday gift – this Roadtrip case! The pattern is by Noodlehead and gives you instructions for customizing it for various purposes. I followed the sewing bag tips.  My sister does quilt retreats and I thought it would be handy. I also made her a coordinating ironing pad that fits inside this case. I thought I took photos of that but I can’t find them!

The fabric is all Cotton + Steel and is mostly the Rifle Paper Co Menagerie line with some blenders from other lines. The outside fabric is the linen canvas and all the other fabric is quilting cotton.

I put this tiger front and center! On the inside I used the smaller version of this print as the lining. Kam snaps were used to fasten the pockets.  You can fit a full sized rotary cutter in the larger ones.

I customized the pattern by embroidering my sister’s name on it. I also replaced the felt bits for pins with super magnets! Boom! Built in magnetic pincushions. Two of them!

The top pocket is made of vinyl so you can see all your stuff.  I ended up hand basting the binding on so I could sew it in one pass. On version I made myself I did not like how doing it in two steps turned out and once you sew it you have holes in the vinyl!

I brought my case to a workshop with Latifah Saafir and she admired it. It was definitely great to have my stuff more organized than just throwing it all in a bag. 🙂

Springfield Tank

Cashmerette has a new pattern out – the Springfield Top. It’s a woven tank pattern with options for a closer fitting princess seamed back or a looser back version.  I’ve been wanting some sleeveless tops to wear to work so I bought it as soon as I got the email.  This pattern got printed and assembled right away – I love trimless patterns! Then I just had to find some fabric.

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This pattern requires 2 yards + of fabric if you’re using 44″. That seems like a lot for a tank top.  Most of my stashed fabrics for tops are 1.5 yards and the rest are 3 yards for dresses. I ended up biting the bullet and pulling this Moda lawn I had purchased in January 2015. I figured if I was really going to make a dress out of it I would have done it by now!

I opted not to cut the bias binding for the neckline and armholes and use premade bias tape. Luckily earlier that day I had scored a massive bag of bias tape and seam binding at an estate sale for $4.  By not using my fabric for the bias tape, I managed to get this cut out of around 1.5 yards of fabric! So there is hope for using this for some of my stashed top fabrics.

I opted for the looser version and it went together very quickly.  I had some issues with my neckline sticking out but judicious ironing and clapper application got it to settle down. The only issue I had with the pattern is some gaping in the back neckline. I asked Jenny if this was intentional since I noticed the same thing in some of her own Springfield photos. She replied back that this pattern includes a forward shoulder adjustment and if you didn’t need it then your back might gape. Bingo!  If I slouch my shoulders forward then it sits flat. So I just need to remember to make this adjustment to the pattern. Who knew having good posture would cause such problems! 🙂

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My gripe is that $14 seems a little pricey for such a basic digital pattern. The version I made was literally 3 pattern pieces and could have been 2.  I get that Big 4 companies charge the same for every pattern, but that doesn’t matter when I can get them for $2. I would really like to see independent pattern makers adjust their pricing models to reflect the effort that went into creating a pattern.

Thalia’s Baptism Gown

One of my closest friends, Alexis,  has a daughter named Thalia.  I was honored when she asked her to be Thalia’s godmother and I offered to make little T’s baptism gown.   Fun fact – Alexis and I bonded over the fact that we are both half-Armenian, but we actually met volunteering at a snowboarding event for families of 9-11 firefighters.

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Thalia with her parents and godparents

I have never made anything like this but I dove right into. Luckily Alexis gave me free reign on the design of the dress and I wanted to do something really special! I picked up a used copy of Martha Pullen’s Grandmothers Hope Chest at Powells to get some ideas. This book is a great reference for a lot of heirloom sewing techniques! Sadly the copy I bought didn’t have the patterns in it.

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There are not tons of patterns for christening gowns available, so I bought Simplicity 2457. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it gave me a good starting point. I had the pattern and I knew I wanted to use a lot of heirloom sewing on this gown like insertion lace, pintucks and swiss embroidery.  I also had to find fabric. Heirloom batiste is incredibly expensive and I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on materials.  Luckily I live in Portland where fabric stores are plentiful!

My first stop was the Button & Ribbon Emporium in downtown Portland. They have a small selection of French insertion laces, Swiss embroideries and entredeux. I bought some floral insertion lace, but I wasn’t loving any of their Swiss embroideries.  So my next stop was Fabric Depot. The bridal/fancy fabrics department was extremely helpful in selecting fabrics. They didn’t have any fancy batiste but I was very happy with my fabrics. I bought Kaufman Radiance Cotton/Silk in Satin White for the dress and Kaufman Vanessa Silky Cotton for the slip.

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I also ventured over to the trims and found that Fabric Depot does carry a few heirloom sewing trims! They had a Swiss Embroidery that I liked so I bought it. Supplies – done!

I also wanted to get a pintuck foot for my Viking 350. I have secretly wanted one of these for years but I haven’t ever had a real reason to use it…but now I did! Lastly, in the 17 years I have owned my sewing machine I have never had it in for tuning, so I decided this was a good time.

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So with fabric, trims, pintuck foot, and freshly serviced sewing machine I was ready to sew.  This seems very complicated, but honestly it wasn’t that hard or long to make with some heirloom sewing tricks. The pintuck foot is awesome! You only need to mark one line and then that first pintuck is used as a guide for all of the other tucks. You just need a twin needle that works with your foot.

The lace was a little trickier, but I practiced piecing my laces together before I started on the dress. Using stitch in the ditch foot allows you to butt your laces or fabric together and get a nearly invisible join. The other key here is to use a fine needle and fine thread.

As you can see from the photos, I modified the pattern a bit. I changed the collar to a peter pan style. The pintucks and lace on the bodice and skirt are also my own design.  Because of the sheer, fine fabric I  French seamed the entire dress and slip. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t even think I could French seam the armscye until I tried it!

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French seams everywhere!!

The gown turned out beautifully and Alexis and her family loved it. Hopefully it’s an heirloom for their family for years to come! More photos below.

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A sweet little cap

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Bodice back details

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The simple slip