Subversive Sewer

{April 21, 2011}   Mccalls 6284



This was to be my Easter top, but I learned the hard way that this pattern is not for women with big books. Or women who lie about their waist measurement. 

Other than that, I do like the pattern.


{March 20, 2011}   McCalls 5050


Not much to say about a basic peasant blouse… I will say that this pattern runs way big and it you make this you should go down a size.

{September 27, 2010}   I am really behind on posting

Haven’t felt like blogging much lately.  But here are my latests:

Vogue 8628

They call these clutch bags.  I really should have looked at the bag’s measurements before I blindly assumed that clutch meant you could actually <i>clutch</i> it easily.  This mofo is huge!!  It’s 9×15″!!  This is why there’s a strap added to it.  I needed that just to comfortably carry the bag.  I used my last piece of leather to make it, so I skipped the recommended interfacing.  I think it’s fine without it.  The pattern calls for 2 magnetic zippers, but you only need one.  It’s what holds that tab in place that keeps the bag closed.

No costs on this one since I bought that leather so long ago that I don’t remember how much I paid.  The lining, thread and snap were stash, and the pattern was $4.

Here’s Simplicity 2998 again, now out of print.  My red one got a stain in the wash, but I like this one better because the fabric is thinner.  I like this pattern a lot; too bad it’s out of print.  I tried lining up the stripes to no avail.

Cost: pattern, used before so doesn’t count, thread- stash, fabric: $6

That’s all I have pics of for now.  I did buy a tripod, so once I figure out how to make it go taller, I’ll have some more and better pics to share.

{August 19, 2010}   I’m back!

Sorry about the long absence.  Life handed me a little bit of the unexpected.  If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve been trying to buy one house or another for months.  Well, yet another one didn’t work out, but I took it as a sign to wait till next year and buy in a neighboring county that I like a lot better than the one I live in now.  I’ve also given up some of my available sewing time (weekends) because, after 2 1/2 years of singledom, I met a really great guy.  It’s still pretty new- about 5 weeks- but it’s going surprisingly well.  He lives an hour away, so I’ve been staying at his apartment all weekend while our respective kids are with their other parents.

Now it’s time to show you what I’ve sewn during my absence:

New Look 6969, view D:

Here’s the envelope pic:

I finished this one today, and boy did I need a skirt!  I’m between the 2 sizes in my closet, so not much is fitting right now.  This is cotton twill, which I bought to make a trench coat, but since I still haven’t solved my fitting problems, I decided to use this fabric for stuff I can wear now instead.  (I’m not a stasher.)  Despite my nervousness, putting in an invisible zipper is apparently like riding a bike; you don’t forget how.  I used that Waist-Former waistband interfacing stuff for the first time, and I love the results.  This thing actually looks professional!  I didn’t feel like setting up my camera and the timer, so you get a crappy camera phone in the mirror pic.  🙂  Cost: $9

Next up is Butterick 5495.  I think I picked the wrong fabric.  It sticks out like a maternity top, but I think it’d lay flat just fine if it was a drapier fabric.  I like it enough that I’ll try it again.  Cost: $10   Any ideas on how to salvage this?

And here’s the envelope pic:

Last month, I decided to make another swimsuit!  This one I didn’t morph into something completely different like last time.  This time I used Kwik Sew, 3696:

I’m probably going to wear this this weekend, so if I do, I’ll get a pic of me wearing it, since this isn’t the best pic.  Once again, it was insanely easy to make.  After I finished it and tried it on, I became convinced that the swimwear industry is just one big racket.  This thing cost about $10 to make, people!  And I’m thinking it was about 2 hours to make, start to finish.  And it actually fits me!  I cut a small on top and the bottom was a medium and back to small at the hips, if I remember correctly.  One warning- if you’re busty, the girls are gonna be a focal point when you’re wearing this!!  cost: $15

And the envelope pic:

Finally, here’s a dress I made awhile ago, just never got around to getting a picture of.  This pic is horrible, so hopefully next time I wear this I’ll remember to get a decent picture for you.  This is McCall’s 6118:

Cost: $11.  I also made the zipper flower pin that you can barely see.  Here’s the pattern pic:

Well, that’s it for now!  Not sure what I’ll be making up next.  I ordered several cuts of that rayon/Lycra that was on sale recently at, so I might make something from that.

{July 13, 2010}   Simplicity 2903, halter top

This is my third go-round with this pattern.  One was a wadder that I never posted (my fault, not the pattern’s), and the other is right here. I decided to go with a theme and make another top from this pattern with another Harajuku Lovers print from the Fabric Fairy.

Here’s the envelope:

This top only cost me $7 to make!  That’s good stuff!  This fabric is SO soft, and the print is just adorable.  The top looks a little short in the pic, but it’s long enough on me.  Really looking forward to wearing this tomorrow!

{July 13, 2010}   Burda 7866, knit top

I’m kinda iffy about this one.  As soon as I got this fabric in the mail, I started having second thoughts about it.  I decided to use it for this top, since I never made it before and thus didn’t know if it would work for me or not.  Here it is-

I still don’t know if I like this print.  As for the the pattern (Burda 7866), it turned out OK, but the neck facing was straight up weird.  I wish I’d taken a picture of it.  There’s gotta be a better way to do it.  I do like the extra long tie belt.  I’ve worn this once, but not out of the house.  What do you think of it?

I keep forgetting to post my project costs!  Here it is: fabric: $7.87, pattern: $5.37.  Expensive for a potential wadder!

{July 11, 2010}   Vogue 8390

Wow, am I behind on posting!   I have a week off work coming up, so I need to post all these projects before I start creating new ones.

Here is the fab Vogue 8390:

And the pattern envelope for reference:

I have gotten so many compliments on this top just from posting it on Facebook!  I did wear it once, and other than some accidental bra visibility, it’s great.  Using a walking foot was a lifesaver in terms of keeping the fabric from stretching out from all that topstitching on the v-neck.  The fabric is a Vera Wang poly/Lycra knit from Fabric Mart, and was about 3 bucks a yard.  I have plans to make the short sleeve version next.

And now is the time I think about getting out of bed and showering….

ETA: Costs: pattern: $4, fabric: about $8, thread: $1.75

Hi there!  I’m a little behind on posting finished projects!  Here is what I finished last weekend:

I made this to wear with leggings, which are great when you’ve gained weight and your pants don’t fit.  The pattern is Simplicity 2365:

I made view C, the middle right one rendered in the red and white print.  I made mine from magenta stretch poplin, which I’d bought at Hancock Fabrics a year or 2 ago for another shirt that I quickly decided was too dowdy.  Since then, the fabric sat on the shelf, taunting me to find a use for it.  This turned out perfectly because it was just the right amount!  The hard part was finding matching thread and buttons.  Only Joann’s had the right shade of thread and buttons, which my daughter found for me!  They are a perfect match!

I don’t sew woven tops often due to the fit issues I have with them, but I was careful and tried it on as I sewed it.  It didn’t need a FBA, luckily.  It had tons of details, which are fun to do once in a while:

And I actually made the inside of a garment look nice!  I’m so envious of those bloggers who show off the insides of their garments.  Mine ain’t couture, but I’m proud nonetheless:

The only problem I had didn’t have anything to do with the pattern.  The top is a cotton, and my leggings are a cotton blend knit, so the top tends to “stick” to the leggings instead of hanging nicely.  I found myself tugging at it all day.  I made a miniskirt (Jalie 2920) from a shiny knit which I plan to wear over the leggings to see if that helps.  I’ll post more on that after I get a picture of it.

I also made a hanging organizer from the OOP Simplicity 5124:

It’s nothing special, so it’s not getting its own post.  I made it from scraps of stretch poplin and Amy Butler quilting cotton.  It’s going to go in my coat closet (in my future house) to hold all my gadgets and stuff that normally go on a tabletop and clutter things up.  It’s identical on both sides, so it’ll hold lots of junk.

{May 13, 2010}   Halter FAIL

And I wasted cool fabric on this one.


This is McCall’s 6031, which I previously had success with.  That was a different view though.  This one  only shares the elasticized midriff piece.  On the envelope, the front looks all nicely gathered, but on me it’s not at all.  That might be because my bust is larger than the pattern standard.  There’s more!  Notice how the neckline gapes really bad on one side.  And the back sags, even though I used the correct length of elastic.

So now I shall try another halter top, now that I finally have a bra that converts to a halter.

PS- I just checked, and this is my 200th post!  How cool is that!  My poor, single parent, social worker ass has no giveaways for you, so I’ll just say thank you for reading about my trials and tribulations and offering your help along the way.  Hopefully I’ll be a better sewer by my 300th post!

{April 21, 2010}   fruitful weekend

Well, I was right- putting the sewing machines in the living room DID help me sew more!  I completed a total of 5 garments: 3 tops and a dress on Saturday, and a top on Sunday.  All knits, because I already need a break from fitting hassles!  Here are 2 of the tops:

Simplicity 2364:

I don’t know how some of you write novels about all your projects.  This tee took about an hour to sew, so there’s not a whole lot to say about it.  It did take 4 tries to get the shrug thing right.  I’m not wild about the cowl because it’s not that drapey and thus looks sloppy to me.  I wonder how I could modify the neckline on future versions.

Cost: fabric: $7.87, pattern: $1, thread: stash

Jalie 2806:

LOVE this one.  The hem band hides my gut, the sleeves are cute and original, and the instructions were helpful.  Not only do they remind you to be careful so you don’t end up with 2 identical sleeves, but they also tell you how to NOT have a gapping neckline!!  This is my third Jalie pattern, and I can tell you they so live up to the hype!  Can’t wait to make the jeans!  I’m also working on the underwear, which kick Kwik Sew 2908’s ass!

Cost: fabric: $7.21, pattern: $13ish, thread: stash

I traced Kwik Sew 3300, the bra pattern.  I’ve been having fun making items I swore I’d never be able to make: underwear, bras, swimwear, and jeans.  Speaking of swimwear, I made a swimsuit for my daughter where I lined the whole thing.  Except it’s too tight to wear.  Should I cut a bigger size if I’m lining it?

{March 10, 2010}   Simplicity 2998

Sorry for the absence.  I’ve been busy choosing and making an offer on a house!  Actually, it’s a villa, but who’s keeping score?  It’s also a short sale.  Since I’ve encountered many people who don’t know what this means, I’ll explain:  a short sale means a home is being sold for less than what the owner owes the bank for it, hence the word short.  It does not refer to the amount of time it takes to close!  Owners will do this to avoid foreclosure.  It can result in a home that’s a great price.  It’s listed for $75,000, so if the bank accepts that price, I’ll be getting a huge deal!  It needs a facelift, but that’s what I wanted to do so I can put my own stamp on it.  I hate traditional anything, which is usually the style of homes around here.  So, in addition to the bank accepting my offer, I also have to hope there’s nothing major wrong with it.  I looked online and found that the roof is new, and the AC unit looked newer as well.  So let’s hope there’s no bad mold, termites, etc.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of the house, but I’ll post them when I find out I’m really getting the house.

Wow, I feel like an adult now!!! LOL

On to the tunic.  When I made this, I wasn’t sure if it would look right on me.  In fact, when I got to work the day I wore it, I sought out one of my honest friends for an opinion.  She confirmed that it was cute and did not look too Peg Bundy like I feared.  In fact, I was standing at the copier when another (female) coworker walked by and said it was sexy!  It took a second before I realized she was talking about me!

Here it is:

{March 3, 2010}   Kicking Ass!

Yesterday was my last day off, so I made it count!  I made 2 tops, 1 dress, 2 headbands, a pair of underwear and cut out one of the tops, plus a fitting shell!  That’s what I’m talkin bout!

Here are pics of a few things.  I’ll get a pic of the other top later.  The underwear were a muslin (a Jalie pattern whose number I can’t recall at the moment) so I won’t take a pic of those.  I will say that everyone was right- underwear are super easy to make!  I wore them for the day and not a single wedgie!  Much better than Kwik Sew 2908 (how can I remember the pattern number for the one I don’t like?), which had an absurdly wide crotch.

This is my third rendition of New Look 6429.

Here is McCall’s 6031, which I LOVE.  I wore it today.  I made it from fabric I bought in Miami over the weekend.  Whole top cost me $5!  You can also (sorta) see one of 2 identical headbands I made as well,  using this tutorial.

Sadly, the last Wal Mart in my city to carry fabrics has decided to close the department.  Who knows what’s going there in its place.  I got the last yard and a quarter of a knit print I’d previously bought and liked, but that was it for usable fabric.  It was very sad.  Luckily, I still have a Joann’s and Hancock Fabrics 10 minutes from my house, which I realize makes me quite lucky.

{January 3, 2010}   Last Project of 2009

I’m glad that I ended 2009 on a high note, because I love this top!  It helped that I’d made it before.  This time I made the long sleeved one.  The gathering is a pain in the ass, but I like the result.

Photo courtesy of my 5 year old daughter. 🙂

The pattern is Vogue 8581.  It’s so comfortable, yet nice looking too.  And I needed more long sleeve shirts, since Florida is  having a cold spell right now.  Total cost of this top: $11- $8 for the fabric, $2 for thread and $1 for the bottom elastic.  Didn’t count the pattern because I’ve already used it.

{October 28, 2009}   Cloning

My coworker Missy has this really awesome top that I’m just in love with.  Since I’ve never seen a pattern like it, I asked her if I could borrow it and attempt to clone it.  She’s really cool so she said yes.  I’ve never actually tried to copy a RTW garment before, but feel like I know enough to have a chance of success.  I put my cardboard cutting mat on my coffee table, laid out a piece of flipchart paper, and carefully pinned the top to it.  So far I’ve done the back, lower front, upper front pieces and the collar.  I just have to figure out the sleeves, measure the ties and ruffles on the upper front.

Here’s the top in question, modeled by Saffron:


Of course I couldn’t pick a simple garment to clone, right?  There are gathers all over the front of this thing!  Here’s a closeup of the upper front:


And while we’re at it, I’ll show you the sleeve and the back too:


Anyone got any advice for me?

Also- thanks to all of you who offered advice on my pink dress.  I felt a lot better after reading them, since many of you felt that the pattern shared some of the blame for the wonky fit!

I finally did some sewing for myself!  Actually, I made these pants a few weeks ago, but kept forgetting to get a picture.  I  made the top last nite at midnite.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  I was on my way to bed and decided it was a quick project, so I should just make it.  Indeed, it was done in a half hour, except for the seam finishing.


Neither pattern was without issues.  I’ll start with the pants.  This is Simplicity 2665.  It’s a juniors pattern that I can’t remember why I bought.  I think it was for the pants.  Anyway, they have this ridiculous front, exposed zipper.  Maybe that’d be cute if I were 16, but not at 32.  So instead I did an invisible zipper in the back.  Man, I love invisible zippers.  I’m so glad I figured them out.  Here’s the issue: the sizing.  They run ridiculously big!!  According to the size chart, I’m a 14 in the hips and an 18 in the waist.  Knowing that the pattern companies seemingly expect us to lie about our waist measurement, I cut a 14 throughout.  I actually remembered to try them on before finishing them, and a good thing I did.  They were enormous!  I sewed 5/8″ in from the existing seam allowances at each side, which worked.  However, I should have continued all the way down, because these things are so loose and dumpy.  Oh well, they’ll do till I lose 10 pounds and my “regular” pants fit again.

The top is a Hot Patterns free download, called Cool, Calm and Cowl-necked Top.  It’s exclusive to  I’ll pretty much make any knit top if it’s free, so I printed it out, taped together (very easy), cut the fabric and sewed it.  The sizing seems to be accurate.  The problem?  Look at the illustration, then look at mine.  I made no alterations.  The cowl on mine is pretty much nonexistent.  Makes it pretty dull.  Won’t be making this one again.

et cetera