Sunday, March 26, 2017

Jalie 3248 Drop Pocket Cardigan

I have had this pattern in my stash for a while now but just got around to sewing it in time for the Sudoku Wardrobe contest I am participating in. This is what I love about Jalie. There is no guessing game as far as sizing is concerned. Once I was able to determine the Jalie size that fit me, I was able to rely on that size for all other Jalie styles. So even though I have never sewn this particular style, I forged ahead without making a muslin.

This is my first version. I used a border print rayon jersey purchased from Emma One Sock. The spots you see make up the border of that fabric. 

I love how the drapey fabric works so well with the pocket feature.

My second version was made of a thicker sweater knit. I shortened the bodice and sleeves. 
I'm not very enamored with this version because the thicker fabric did not drape as well. It looked more like the classic cardigan that one usually pairs with a shell in twin sets.

My final version which was my entry to the Sudoku Wardrobe contest was made of linen knit. 
It was my first time with this fabric and now I understand why it is sought after. It has 15% widthwise stretch and none lengthwise. It drapes well and because it is a bit sheer, it is perfect for this pattern which calls for a double front layer. I also sewed it at the original length because I thought the longer style looked better. 
This pattern was a bit of a fabric hog because of the way the pocket construction was designed. So I had to find a way to make the pieces fit because I did not have enough of the linen knit. 

Hence I cut the back pieces as two instead of along the fold. 

See how nicely the pockets drape? 

Here's a close-up of the back neckline which was nicely finished with a strip of binding. I used the coverstitch to sew the binding in place.

This neckline from the sweater knit is finished with the looper thread of the coverstitch showing on the right side for an added decorative touch. 

Here are the three versions side by side. 

And below are three ways I've styled the linen knit version. 

A detailed review of this pattern can be found here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mezzaluna Bag

I haven't mentioned it here but I have actually joined the Sudoku Wardrobe contest hosted by Pattern Review. The challenge entails creating a grid consisting of 16 squares  populated by 4 tops, 4 bottoms, 4 accessories and 4 footwear. By combining the items horizontally, vertically and diagonally, one is expected come up with at least ten outfits. One is allowed some bonus items, that is six of the items do not necessarily have to be sewn. For me, that meant four pairs of shoes and two pairs of pants that I did not have to worry about. So far I have posted about the two tops I have finished. Today, I'm posting about one of the four accessories I have sewn which is a cute little bag.

I was inspired by the "Mezzaluna" bag created by Jenny Rolfe and published in her book "Fabulous Bags to Stitch and Make." The bag was so named because of the shape. I initially tried to post a picture of Rolfe's bags as shown in her book but I realized it might be a violation of copyright issues. 

To make this bag, I had to "create" the main fabric first by fusing strips of sheer fabric scraps. I used fusible fleece as my base to simplify things instead of using felt backing and fusible webbing as suggested in the book.

Since I did not have the skill to do free motion machine quilting, I just played around with the decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I used embroidery thread to add some sparkle. 

I traced the bag template on the wrong side of the quilted fabric. The template can be found in the book but I had to enlarge it by 200% to achieve the desired size of the finish bag.

Shown above are the front and back bag pieces.

I cut the lining pieces from some fabric leftovers.

For the bag base, I used leftover faux leather fabric that I used to sew my jacket (which I haven't reviewed yet).

Construction was pretty simple. I sewed the front and back pieces to the base piece before sewing the side seams.

To attach the lining, the two pieces were simply sewn together on the top edge using narrow zigzag stitches.

And comes the fun part! Making the handles and adding some embellishments.

Handle was made of a clear vinyl tube purchased from Lowes. Size of the tube is totally optional and depends on one's preference. I just had to make sure the wire and beads would easily fit inside the tube. 

I couched a piece of string to make the heart tag.

I really love how my bag turned out. It's a fun special occasion bag that I can use to carry my cell phone and a few other little accessories! Next time though, I might add a magnetic closure.

Here are some modeling shots featuring outfits created for my Sudoku wardrobe. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sewing with Scuba Knit

I have never sewn  with scuba knit and was never tempted to try it until I came across Kathryn Brenne's inspiring tutorial. I fell in love with the fabric she used that I immediately bought myself two yards from Emma One Sock even if I did not have a pattern in mind. I have auditioned several patterns that I thought would be suitable for the fabric. But in the end I reverted back to my truly tried and tested pattern Butterick 5450. I have created five dresses and two tops from this pattern in the past which just goes to show how reliable that pattern is for me!


As described in the Emma One Sock website, "this exquisite fabric from Carolina Herrera is beefy with body in the drape, about 15% widthwise stretch, and very stable. The print is a stunning lemony petal cascade with a 32" repeat in tones of lemon with some gray shadings and a creamy white background." Fabric is made of polyester/lycra. This scuba knit fabric behaves more like a woven fabric with minimal stretch. It is also thick like doubleknit.

To have more control of design placement and because the fabric was thick, I laid out my pattern pieces on a single layer of the fabric. I also made sure my rotary cutter had a sharp blade. 


Because of the nature of the fabric (thick and stable), I was able to do away with interfacing and lining. I followed Kathryn Brenne's method of using lapped seams and because the fabric did not ravel, the technique worked wonderfully! Per Kathryn's tutorial, raw edges are exposed on the right side of the garment. One seam overlaps the other and the two are sewn together. 

Here are some pictures showing the lapped seam construction:

1. Remove the seam allowance (in this case 5/8") from the overlapping piece. In this case, I removed it from the right overlapping piece. I used a sharp rotary blade cutter and a quilter's ruler for accuracy.

2. Instead of chalking the seam allowance on the underlying piece, I sewed a 5/8" seam guideline because I didn't want to use any colored marking tool on my predominantly white fabric. 

3. As shown by the three pictures above, the overlapping piece is pinned to the underlying piece following the sewn guideline. The two layers are then hand basted together. 

4. Final stitching involves edgestitching and topstitching.

5. On the wrong side, the excess fabric is trimmed away.

When it was time to sew the bodice to the skirt section, I overlapped the bodice seam.

*Tip:  What I have learned from my first experience with lapped seam construction is not to backstitch at the beginning and end. The reason is eventually, when it's time to overlap with another seam, 5/8 of the sewn seam will be cut off and it's better to leave a long tail of thread that can be pulled out before trimming the 5/8. Later, this long tail can be knotted off to secure the seam.  


I did not follow Kathryn's method for treating the dart because it involved cutting it open to the tip and overlapping. She warned that the tip could be a potential weak point and even though extra stitching was suggested to reinforce it, I did not want to risk it. 

So I sewed the darts as is. 

Then sliced off a sliver of fabric from the center so I could lay the dart sides open.

I basted the dart sides down to keep them flat.

                                    On the right side, I topstitched close to the dart center.


Since I skipped the bodice lining, I had to finish the neckline and armholes somehow so I followed Kathryn's method of binding. 

I cut lengthwise strips of scuba knit 1-1/4" wide and attached them 3/8" from the raw edge of the neckline and armhole on the right side of the fabric. 

I wrapped the binding around the edge, turned it over the wrong side and basted before stitching. 

I then trimmed the excess fabric from the binding on the wrong side. 


The pattern calls for a zipper on the left side seam but because I was using an exposed lace zipper, I transferred the zipper opening to the center back. 

View of the wrong side. 

I used zipper foot to sew zipper. 

My zipper was longer than the recommended one so I had to trim it from the bottom edge leaving about 1/2" extra so I could fold it in. 

Somehow sewing on the exposed zipper went out without a hitch. Any intersecting seams lined up perfectly right away!


For the bottom hem, I just folded the hem in and edgestitched then topstitched. I trimmed close to the topstitched edge on the inside. 

Additional Tips:

* I used universal size 70 needle and polyester thread for everything including topstitching. 

*I used a sharp rotary cutter to cut out my pattern pieces on a single layer of fabric. Aside from the fact that the scuba fabric would be two thick to cut as a double layer, sing a single layer allowed me to have control of design placement.

*I used a walking foot for all construction (except the zipper). 

*I used medium length stitches for construction (2.6 using Juki machine) and longer ones for topstitching (3 using Juki machine). During topstitching, I turned down the speed to ensure uniform stitching. 

*I used nylon setting with low steam and pressing cloth to press and set my stitches. 

So needless to say, this was such a pleasurable sewing experience, mostly because I had a great sewing tutorial to follow. 

I also posted a review of this pattern at Pattern