Life Sew Beautiful

my little handmade corner of the world

Jenny Blouse June 6, 2013

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 2:41 pm

A couple of months ago I admired a blouse my friend Jenny was wearing. She knows me too well and offered to let me borrow it to see how it was constructed. It was a Target brand (Merona) blouse, and I loved the little sleeves and the flattering shape of the blouse. I ended up tracing it and making my own pattern. I finished the blouse yesterday and am really excited about how it turned out! I used a Anna Maria Horner voile from her Little Folks Voile line. I love the lightweight, dressy feeling of voile.


It has ties on the sides which make it a flattering blouse for many different kinds of body types.


Here is Jenny and me with our twin blouses.



Embellished T-shirt From Scratch May 2, 2012

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 6:37 pm

I’ve been wanting to tackle knits for a while, and, specifically, I’ve wanted to try to make some of my own t-shirts. I’ve seen so many cute tutorials for t-shirt embellishments that require buying two shirts, and I wanted to see if I could just do the whole thing from scratch. Found out: I can! 🙂

First of all, I took a Target t-shirt that fits me well and traced it. Then I added 1/4″ seam allowances and bigger allowances for hemming the bottom and the sleeves.

(Sorry. I can’t get some of these pictures to rotate properly. Grrr……) I tried making a t-shirt last summer, but the under-arms were too tight, and I finally realized why. Notice how the sleeve needs to extend beyond the armpit. This is key to making a shirt that fits properly.

I made bias tape out of the same fabric and put that around the neck to form a neckband.

The embellishment I was trying to do was this one from Make It And Love It. I used less flowers than she did since it was something new I was trying and I didn’t want to overdo it on something brand new and untried. At first, I tried using my darning foot and sewing the swirls with a free motion, but the thick fabric would not move, and I kept getting error messages and knotted-up thread. Finally, I tried using a regular foot and just pivoting every few stitches to make the swirl. That worked, but I had a hard time keeping the points of the flower in the center. After I finished each one, there was an empty space in the middle of each flower where the points were supposed to meet, and that looked kind of stupid. I’ve taught my kids that whenever an art project goes sour, we just need to take what we’ve got and make it work, rather than giving up and getting frustrated. So…that’s what I tried to do. I needed to think of something to put in the center of each flower to cover that bare spot. Then I thought of Sachiko’s embellished t-shirt, and I took one circle for each flower, folded it into thirds, and then, while holding the point, tried to kind of open it up and tack it down on the center of each of the flowers. I think it worked. It’s a totally different look that I was originally going for, but I think it turned out pretty well, considering the frustrations I faced.

The verdict on making my own t-shirt: Win! Remember to use a ball point needle and a longer stitch length. If your machine has a stretch stitch, use that on the inner seams.

The verdict on Ashley’s flower embellishment: Don’t try this embellishment at home unless you’re a tough cookie who handles stress well. 🙂


The Sorbetto Top April 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized,women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 12:51 am

I recently made two tops using the easy, free pattern for the Sorbetto top. If you are afraid of sewing clothing, then you really must try this top, because it’s super-easy, and you just can’t go wrong, as long as you follow a few tips I learned from some seamstresses who made it before I did.

(I used an embroidered cotton I found at JoAnn’s for the white top, and the second one is an Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile. I used packaged bias tape for the white top and made my own with the second top.)

Colette’s pattern is well-written and easy to follow, even if you’re a beginner. The pattern is designed to be very tailored, and I like that. When I measured myself, I figured I needed to cut out a size 2. (Thanks for the flattery, Colette! ;)) That size ended up being perfect. A few reviewers, however, had mentioned that the darts are too high, so I ended up using the largest size darts, which was size 18. Other reviewers mentioned that they wanted the blouse to be longer, so I cut out a size 12 in length, but I actually wish I would’ve just cut out the 18 in the length as well.

And, of course, I didn’t forget to sew an adorable label into each of my new blouses.

What are you waiting for? Go find some cute fabric and start printing the Sorbetto pattern! 🙂


Simplicity 2892 April 3, 2012

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 8:34 pm

I finished up a blouse this afternoon. It’s Simplicity 2892 view D. The fabric is Anna Maria Horner’s Baby Bouquet Dusk from her Little Folks Voile line.I love the fabric and I am really happy with how the blouse turned out!

And, of course, I didn’t forget to stick a label inside. (In hind’s sight, I should’ve put it a little lower, but hey! This was my first label!)


Simplicity Skirt 2226 January 29, 2012

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 9:13 pm

Back in November one of my favorite sewing bloggers hosted a skirt sew-along. She raved about the easy pattern, and the finished product did look really cute. So, I bought some fabric and the pattern, but I had to wait until after Christmas to make it, because I was busy making Christmas presents.

A few weeks ago I finally made my skirt. I did really like the easy pattern, and I hope to try it again, but my first attempt just didn’t work out.

First of all, I used wool. I did wonder whether wool would be a bad choice for a skirt that has gathers, since wool gathers would add a lot of bulk, but the pattern envelope mentioned wool as one of the recommended fabrics, and I really wanted a winter skirt, so I went for it. It was probably a bad move, because it did create some extra bulk. In the front it doesn’t look too bad, but…..

I measured myself carefully, but, as always, the skirt was going to be too big without some modifications. I wear an 8 in store-bought clothes, and when I measured myself I figured I would need to cut out a size 14 in the pattern. Next time I’ll try a 12 or maybe even a 10. (What am I doing wrong? I used to make everything too small, and now I tend to make everything too big.) Instead of taking off the whole waistband and bringing in the sides, I decided it would be much easier to bring it in at the very back before putting in the zipper. I was able to pinch about 2 inches of fabric, so, allowing for the seam, I took the back in about 1 1/2 extra inches. It seemed like a great solution, and when I tried it on, it fit really comfortably.

But when I went to show it to my husband, he said something along the lines of, “You’ve made a lot of really cool things, Honey, but that’s just not going to work.” He used the word “bulbous” to describe the poofy rear end of the skirt. It was hard for me to see the problem. I kept turning around, looking in the mirror, doubting that it was really that bad. I told my friend about it, and I tried it on for her, and as soon as I walked out of the bathroom and turned around, she burst out laughing and said something along the lines of, “Dan’s right. That’s just awful!”

Even when I look at these pictures (the second one is probably the worst), it doesn’t look all that terrible to me, but I trust my dear husband and my dear friend who won’t let me leave the house looking silly. So, thanks, Dan and Kelley, for keeping me from embarrassing myself. I’ll try this pattern again, probably in the summer with a lighter weight fabric, and two sizes smaller. I’ll be sure to report how it goes!


Shirred Knit Scarf January 4, 2012

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 7:00 pm

Ashley from Make It and Love It is one of my favorite sewing bloggers. Her tutorials are well-written and her ideas are spectacular. A few days ago she posted a tutorial on how to make a shirred knit scarf, and I knew I had to do it right away with some knit in my stash. This would be a great project for a beginner, Easy peasy. Thanks again, Ashley!


My Totally Copied Blouse August 14, 2011

Filed under: women's clothes — faithandfamily @ 1:20 am

I follow several sewing blogs, and normally when I see something I like, I use the example as a starting point and then I make the project my own by using different fabrics, embellishments, or whatever. Well….this time I totally, 100% copied one of my favorite seamstresses, Anna from Noodlehead.

Back in June (during a .99 pattern sale at Hobby Lobby) I was browsing the Simplicity patterns book, and I came across #2448. When I saw it, I thought, “Hey, I think this is the pattern for that gorgeous blouse Anna made a while back!” So, I bought the pattern, came home and checked her blog, and it was the same one! Yay for me! Then I went on a search to find the perfect fabric. But nothing quite compared to the gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile that Anna of Noodlehead had used. So, finally, I decided that I just had to copy Anna and used the same fabric. So….I bought 2 yards of Little Folks voile- Baby Bouquet.

I bought it for $11/yard (more than I usually spend on fabric, but it was so worth it, especially since I had enough fabric left over to make my daughter a blouse! I’ll, hopefully, post about that tomorrow!) This fabric is normally $15/yard, but I got my good deal from an Etsy shop called Lily Rose. So, you might want to check them out sometime. Well, without further ado, here is the blouse on me!

Now, about the pattern: I would not recommend it to a beginner. I had a bunch of headaches over this pattern. The yoke part is particularly frustrating. (Hint, when you are putting on the first yoke piece, instead of curving with the neckline on the main shirt pieces, the necklinee is going to curve in the opposite direction (up instead of down), making the facing of the collar part to stand up. Pay attention to the notches, and if they aren’t lining up, you don’t have your pieces on correctly.

And, a note on voile: I love it! I think I’m going to make a habit out of sewing blouses with voile!