Pfaff sewing machine cover

Around New Year's 2011 I made covers for my sewing machine and serger.  They are a bit floppy but do the job as well as add some color.  Mostly they keep dust off the machines.

Serger cover

Wool skirt

skirt back
Also in Jan 2011 I finished altering a vintage homesewn wool skirt.  The original A-line skirt was too large and not curved enough for my shape.  I finished it just in time for spring so waits in my closet for autumn. 

Funny how wearing skirts concentrates my attention on my abdomen and reminds me that I should start jogging again!

In May I made some alterations to a RTW blouse.

The original sleeve cuffs were too wide so I took a tuck out of them.  I also added twill tape ties at the side seams, to tie in back.  The blouse is slightly oversized which makes it great for hot days.  I like having some waist definition though.

I also prick stitched the waist of a RTW skirt, to keep the lining in place (more here), while in the alteration mood.

In June 2011 I decided to finish a baby quilt for friends' new baby.  The quilt top was finished June 15, and as of mid-Aug I was still slogging through the machine quilting.  It was finally finished in October, and gifted to the happy parents at a Halloween party.

Posts detailing the process: 
Parts OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNine.

After finishing the Baby quilt I moved on to finish this Autumn Leaf quilt for myself.  I'd done some of the quilting already, it was left to outline the leaves and add any other decorative quilting.  I really like the result.

You can read more about it in this post.  The blocks were pieced and quilt top assembled before I had a blog.

The basting was in a starburst pattern, using water soluble thread, and inspired the leaf quilting design.

Some free motion quilting was done on the inner border to relieve all the straight lines.

A vintage Pendleton plaid skirt was an easy alteration in Dec 2011, and a very nice end product.  Such beautiful wool fabric!  It was just right to wear for the holidays.


In April 2012 I posted a tutorial for a knit skirt I'd sewn the summer before.  It's an easy project that makes a comfy summer skirt.  What could be better?

These four projects were done in 2006:

This camisole was one of the first pieces of clothing I sewed, and my first ready to wear copy.  It turned out pretty well in spite of my limited knowledge.  I raised the neckline on the reproduction, which had the unfortunate side effect of flattening the girls.  Makes a good pajama top, though.
Lesson: sometimes sluttier is better ;)

First skirt

The plaid skirt (R) was the first skirt I made.  I learned about matching plaids, trying to sew even darts, and inserting zips.  It was worn a few times and has since served as a skirt block.

My first blouse was a pattern muslin using cotton gauze.  Once I'd finished the muslin I decided not to make the blouse.  I am pleased with the job I did on this.

I had lost weight when I sewed this and its pattern now serves pretty well as a bodice block with no ease.  

My Pfaff presser feet were rattling around in the machine's storage box.  I sewed a folding pouch with pockets for each foot.  The bottom row holds standard sized feet, the top row holds the larger ones.  I left extra space for additional presser feet I may buy.

The case rolls up and fits in the machine's case or a drawer in my sewing desk.

Presser foot bag

Next were a pair of jeans, finished April 2008.  Many people on PatternReview were sewing Vogue 8202 and I thought I'd give it a try.  Using lighter weight navy cotton twill I sewed up a test pair.  

They're pretty good for a first pair, but not the fit I prefer.  The crotch pulls and there's too much material in the back thigh.  If I were to sew another pair of jeans I'd copy a pair of my favorites and definitely use heavier denim.

I'm pleased with the topstitching, for my first try.  I really should pull these out and wear them during warmer weather.

3/4 view in denim

I love this denim skirt and decided to reproduce it in Sept 2008.

I used 2mm dropcloth plastic over the skirt and a fine point Sharpie to trace the seams.  Then added seam allowances, cut fabric, and sewed it up.

I had a couple issues when I forgot to change to a side opening, but nothing that couldn't be fudged.

I realized I could pull the skirt on over my head so sewed down the waist overlap and that's that.
This skirt was started and finished in one day and I wore it out that night!  The fabric I used on the repro is thinner and shows lumps and bumps more than the original.  *sigh*

Sept 2008

At this point I'd done some pattern alterations and drafting.  I designed and sewed a fleece jacket with collar, with a view to remaking it in wool if I liked the result.

The fleece doesn't ravel so attaching the collar was easy.  My first original design was a success!

Jacket back

Fancy skirt ;)

Then the complicated skirt:
I found a neat stripe-print in poly georgette (that part not so great).  Then I found some coral poly satin to back it.  A couple years went by while I figured out what to do with them!

The stripes were too wide to be flattering so I cut them apart and seamed them back together creating a bias tube, tapered to the waist.

I used a narrow zig zag and matching thread to finish the edges.  The hem is zig zagged over perle cotton for strength.

The underskirt of poly satin is a simple straight skirt with a side zip.  The overskirt was left open to the hip and is basted shut to wear.  I tried attaching snaps but they gapped.

Inside I used a cotton waistband/waist stay to smooth everything under the satin and keep the skirt in place.  I used a straight strip of cotton gauze and inserted gussets somewhat randomly to allow room for my hips.  It works and I'm happy with it :)

This was completed in Aug 2009.

Plaid bag
Also in the summer of 2009 I made myself a shoulder bag.  Everything was from my stash: madras plaid, cotton strapping, bleached muslin for lining, and some awful poly woven for interlining.  The poly is durable and adds strength to the bag.

Two years later it's showing signs of wear.  I'm considering patching, with plaid or a contrasting fabric, or embroidering over the holes.

This bag is perfect for me: lightweight, holds a lot, easy to grab and go.  The double fold binding around the top edge has worn very well.

The skirt!
Buttons and buttonholes

Started in July 2009, a skirt of white cotton with black floral embroidery.  I bought a remnant, just enough for an A-line skirt.  I used black cotton-lycra from my stash for the waistband.  The buttonholes were the first I sewed with a vintage Singer Buttonholer.

Front pattern piece

I didn't have a skirt block at this point and was having trouble with commercial patterns.  So I covered myself in plastic wrap from waist to hip and wrapped masking tape over that.  I marked center front, center back and side seams.  Then cut it off down each side seam, and along the waist at the top edge.  The result is a perfect skirt block much faster and more accurately than I could have drafted.

The front masking tape piece needed a couple slits cut for it to lie flat.  These slits are combined into darts to make the pattern.  Just trace around the outside edges and add seam allowances.  The darts are marked by taping two slits shut, causing the remaining two slits to open wider, and those are traced for darts.  Easy!

Back pattern piece

The back pattern piece was a bit of shock: no wonder conventional skirt patterns don't fit me!  Between swayback, narrowish waist and prominent rear it's difficult for a contoured panel with darts to fit me.  This piece didn't need any darts--nice to know.

Knit wrap dress

This Missoni-inspired wrap dress was finished in Feb 2010.  I bought the fabric in 2005 with the idea of making a dress.  I picked a wrap dress pattern then started tissue fitting.  Life interrupted and I finished the pattern alterations and cut the fabric in Jan '10.  I think I overfit this, but it's still wearable.

This was pretty quick to sew up and is comfy  It's very very warm--watch out for poly knits!  I finished the seams with the serger, using the differential feed for the first time.  Sleeve hems are topstitched, the skirt hem is hand sewn.

Underlap sewn down

I sewed down the skirt underlap from hip to almost hem--see the photo at left.  I just topstitched close to the underlap's edge and the topstitching blends into the vertical grain of the fabric.
The fabric

First bikinis
Lacy undies
Improved bikinis
Cotton pair
In July 2009 I bought a bunch of lovely stretch lace to make pretty undies.  The first pair are on left.  They're a copy of my favorite fancy pants, but I've never seen the style again.

You can read about the other undies in this post, and more here.  These were all made in 2010.  I've been trying out different fabrics, adjusting my pattern depending whether the material has 2 or 4-way stretch, and learning a lot.

In Nov 2010 I finished a reversible duvet cover.  I started it during a fit of nesting in 2004/5 and finally had floor space to square off the corners and finish it!  

One side is brick red with gold fleur de lis, bordered in gold lamé with muslin underlining.  The other side is red and green striped ticking with a red twill border.  Red rayon boucle yarn was couched over the lamé and I plan to couch more rows in the future.  It is quite heavy and was perfect during the cold snap we had over Thanksgiving 2010, but difficult to wrestle at the sewing machine.

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