Kwik Sew 3766, A Pattern Review

I’ve finally been successful in breaking my sewing slump! I did it with Kwik Sew 3766, a “Kwik Start, Learn-to-Sew” top pattern. The pattern description reads: “Close fitting pull-over tops have self fabric neckbands. View A has a round neckline and full length sleeves. View B has a scoop neckline and short sleeves. Tops are very easy to sew and have special easy-to-follow sewing instructions.” I made the size medium because Kwik Sew, unlike most other commercial sewing patterns, fits true to size. Continue reading


Fifty Shades of Grey Refashion (Minus Forty Seven)

No, I’ve never read “Fifty Shades of Grey”, and I don’t plan on seeing the movie when it opens in theaters on Valentine’s Day. But I’ve been asked so many times if I’ve read the book that the title stuck in my mind when I decided to refashion several pieces of grey clothing.

Perhaps because of my thrifty ways, I really enjoy refashioning clothing I no longer wear into something I will wear. And as a contributor to the Refashion Co-op blog, I’m required to post at least one refashion per month. Well, my latest refashion post was due a while ago and I have to admit that this is not the first time I’ve gotten a friendly email reminder from the Co-op editor saying my monthly post is overdue. So I needed to whip up a refashion pronto! Since I’ve been on a pullover top kick lately, I decided to stay with that theme.

This top refashion was created from two extremely old and unwearable clothing pieces: a nightgown, and a sleeveless tee. The sleeveless tee fit well, but I never wore it. Sleeveless is not usually a good look for me – my upper arms are rather large. But I’d wear the top if it had sleeves, so I cut away the finished edge at the armhole, and using the sleeve pattern from Kwik Sew 3766, I cut sleeves from my old “Not tonight dear, I have a headache” nightgown. My husband was so happy to see me cutting up that ugly nightgown. I guess in the future when I have a headache I’ll have to take aspirin!

Then I sewed the “nightgown” sleeves to the tee. But the two shades of grey didn’t match at all, and the top looked odd. So I searched my stash for anything else I had in grey and I found the leftover fabric from a pair of men’s pants I originally thrifted for my Pattern Review Handbag Contest Purse. But the pants didn’t match the grey of the tee or the nightgown. So now I had three completely different shades of grey. Sigh.

I put the men’s pants aside and decided to tie the grey from the nightgown arms to the tee color by making appliques from my nightgown scraps for the front of the top. But after adding the light grey circles to the top, it still looked weird. At this point all I had left to work with in grey were the men’s pants. So I cut out some circles from the pants and hoped that by adding another shade of grey I’d create a more interesting color palette on the tee. Well, I kind of like it now, and it certainly hides my arms. So I’m calling this a successful refashion. Mission accomplished!

Kwik Sew 3567, A Pattern Review

For my third sewing slump buster attempt I chose Kwik Sew 3567. I knew I would love this top! Its contrasting side panels and close fit are flattering for my body type – the close fit makes the most of my small bust and the contrasting side panels lengthen and optically slim my short torso. I was sure this pattern would be successful for me. I searched my fabric stash for two coordinating knits and I made sure to pick STRETCH knits this time! Okay, so what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Kitty’s January Threads Challenge

Originally I was quite excited about Jane’s “I Saw It In Threads Magazine” challenge idea. However, the January challenge proved quite difficult for me! As soon as the theme was announced I flipped through my stack of Threads, purchased from a public library out-of-date magazine sale years ago. With my love of all things vintage, I thought it wouldn’t matter that the projects within were not au courant. I assumed it’d be a no-brainer for me to find a project for the challenge, but no such luck. I did see several interesting ideas while perusing my outdated issues, but for one reason or another, I ended up scrapping all of those possibilities as unworkable. Continue reading

McCall’s 6796, A Pattern Review

For several weeks I’ve been in a terrible sewing slump. My sewing mojo’s been MIA and every project I’ve attempted has turned out badly. So I decided to make some quick and easy winter tops to try to turn the tide. I looked through my pattern stash and pulled out the top patterns that struck me as the easiest to sew. Continue reading

2014, My 3 Favorite Refashions And My 3 Least Favorite Garments

I love refashioning! There’s just something so satisfying about taking an unwearable garment and making it cute and wearable. And of course I’m super thrifty, so making something from nothing is a kick for me. In 2014 I had a lot of fun with refashioning, so I’ll definitely be doing more of it in 2015.

It was hard for me to pick just 3 favorite refashions from 2014. But since some of my favorite refashions were crafts or accessories, I decided to do a separate post yesterday on my 3 favorite non-garment projects. This post chronicles my 3 favorite garment refashions and they are: The “3 Shirts to Dress Refashion“, the “Craftsy Project Upcycle Reversible Wrap Skirt”, and the “Men’s Boxers to Women’s Skirt Refashion“.

What made these particular projects my top picks? I learned something new while making each of them! The 3 shirts to dress transformation taught me the trick of using a fitted top (trimmed to waist-length) as an easy bodice on which to build a dress. The reversible wrap skirt project taught me that narrow pieces from smaller deconstructed garments work perfectly as gores in a skirt, and that pre-packaged quilt binding makes a great tie closure. On the men’s boxers to skirt refashion I learned that I’m creative enough to come up an original and workable idea. While the first two projects listed here were inspired by others, a skirt made from boxer shorts was my own original idea, and something I’ve never seen anywhere else, perhaps for good reasons? Be that as it may, I’m already dreaming up more refashioning ideas for 2015.

Wow, it’s been really difficult to pare down my failed projects to just three! I had plenty of misses to sift through…

I finally chose the following three projects as my worst failures: “B is for Burda”, “G is for Grainline Studio”, and “L is for Leather”. Each failed to please for various reasons. I made my B garment, Burda 7739 in a size 14. I’ve subsequently figured out that although my measurements are size 14, the large amount of design ease added to most sewing patterns makes a 12 a much better fit for me. So my B project was unflattering because it was way too big. Even after taking it in, it still fit like a maternity dress.

My G project was the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. This was another project that was just not flattering on my figure. The Tee was too boxy for me, and really, what was I thinking when I decided I’d sew a head to toe look in bright orange? Like the Renfrew Top (another close contender for top 3 worst makes of 2014), it proved that orange is not my new black.

Lastly, L is for Leather. Ahh, there were multiple issues with this one. And I adored this fabric! But unfortunately it was a home dec fabric, and it had no drape at all. And that leather yoke! It wouldn’t machine sew, so I ended up hand stitching it – poorly. Some of the stitches popped through the leather, it was a hot mess. I felt bad for the pattern (Simplicity 2584) because it would have been cute in the correct fabric. I really botched that one!

Anyway, I’m pleased that I was able to sneak in a fourth failure, the Renfrew Top. With its unflattering band across one of the widest areas of my body, the bright orange color, and my poorly stitched neckline, it really deserved a spot here.

But truth be told, all the patterns I’ve included here have been made beautifully by others. It was just my own poor size, fabric, or color choices that landed these particular patterns here. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from all four of these least favorite projects. I definitely learn a lot from my mistakes!

2014, My 3 Favorite Garments And My 3 Favorite Crafts!

2014 was a banner year for me as far as completing sewing projects. One of the reasons I wanted to be part of a sewing blog was that I knew it would compel me to finish the projects I start. In the past I’ve been much more adept at starting than finishing my sewing projects. Having to post photos on DenverSews has kept me focused on the end result, although I will admit to stealthily pinning my hems in a few photos!

I decided to revisit the garments I made in 2014 and review my favorites and least favorites in order to help guide my sewing choices in 2015. During the search through my 2014 projects I found several garments that would have made my favorites list, but were ultimately ruled out due to poor finishing. So I’ll be attempting to add more finesse to the interiors of my garments in 2015!

The patterns that made the cut for my top three garments in 2014 are pictured above. They are: New Look 6036,  Kwik Sew 3533, and the Hibiscus Patterns Sheath Dress. The New Look Vest and the Hibiscus Sheath Dress are both fully lined, so the interiors present as well as the exteriors. The Kwik Sew dress was sewn on my serger, so it is also nicely finished on the inside.

The fabric color, fit, and the finishing techniques turned out to be the most important factors in how much I ultimately liked and wore the garments I made in 2014. I wore each of the above 3 patterns enough in 2014 to justify making them again in 2015.

I love craft sewing, mainly because it doesn’t involve any fitting! Sometimes a straightforward sew with a sure bet outcome is what I need to bolster my sewing confidence. Between difficult sewing projects in 2014 I relaxed with some fun craft projects. My 3 favorites, pictured above are: my Pattern Review Handbag from Kwik Sew 4093, Bag Refashions (my own design), and Animal Potholders from Kwik Sew 0188.

It didn’t win or even place in the PatternReview Handbag Contest, but I love my Kwik Sew purse! It’s a cross body messenger style with an interior pocket and it’s the perfect size to hold all my stuff. I made this purse pattern twice in 2014 and my red, black and grey winter version was made entirely from recycled wool clothing. I especially love that I repurposed the suit pants back pocket on the exterior of the bag.

I also love my bag refashions for their “green” recycling aspect. The bags were free giveaways with purchases and I just jazzed them up by adding thrift store needleworks to cover the advertising logos. These unique bags are super easy (and so much fun) to make. As I age and start to contemplate what will happen to all my creations after I’m gone, I feel really good about honoring and giving a second life to needleworks that originally took hours of effort but ended up discarded.

Aww, the Kwik Sew potholder. It’s so darn cute and works so well! I added Insul-Brite batting instead of regular batting to increase the heat resistance. These oven mitts would make wonderful housewarming gifts! My pig turned out so well that I’m planning to make the chicken and the cow potholders in 2015 when I need a break from garment sewing. There are definitely more crafts in my future!