Thursday, December 12, 2019

Easy to Sew Maxi Cardi - Pattern 131 from BurdaStyle February 2016 Magazine

This is one of the quickest sewing projects ever! Because there are no unusual design details, it's the fabric that will make or break the look of this maxi-length cardigan.
Sharon wears BurdaStyle Magazine Maxi Cardi 131 from Feb. 2016 Issue
  Sharon Wears BurdaStyle Magazine Maxi Cardi 131 from Feb. 2016 Issue Back View
I choose a lightweight, semi-opaque, ribbed knit from Emma One Sock.The fabric has a soft feel and up close looks like tiny silver sequins.
Fabric Photo from Emma One Sock - which is where I purchased the fabric.
The pattern I used is from the February 2016 BurdaStyle magazine, cardi 131.  It's actually a plus size pattern, which is too large for me in the shoulder/neck area. However I knew this cardi could be loose fitting so I simply traced the smallest size and eliminated the seam allowances. 
One thing I like about this plus size cardi pattern is that it includes a dart. When you have a larger bust like I do, a dart (even in knits) helps provide a nicer fit.
BurdaStyle Magazine Maxi Cardi 131 from Feb. 2016 Issue Sharon wears the cardi
The pattern goes together so quickly! Just stitch the shoulder seams (which I stabilized with fusible stay tape), stitch the sleeves in flat, stitch the side seams, turn under the front edge, stitch in place, hem the sleeves, hem the bottom.
Sharon wears BurdaStyle Magazine Maxi Cardi 131 from Feb. 2016 Issue
I ended up with a 2" hem at the bottom, which is a little wider than what is allowed on the pattern design. I like the wider hem with the lighter fabric as it gives some weight to the bottom of the cardi.
Sharon wears BurdaStyle Magazine Maxi Cardi 131 from Feb. 2016 Issue
As I mentioned in the title, the fabric you choose will make or break this cardi. I'm really pleased with how this fabric worked in this design.
I stitched everything on my sewing machine using a narrow zig-zag stitch. Because I STILL have not taken my serger in for repair. I think that will be one of my 2020 goals. :-)

Now I just to need to quit sewing grey and black and get more color in my wardrobe!


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Monday, December 02, 2019

Simplicity 8982 | A Floral Print Knit Top with Lace Sleeves

When Simplicity 8982 was announced (on Instagram) as the November #SewYourView pattern, I immediately knew I was going to sew the top (view c) and probably the skirt (view d).  I even pinned an inspiration dress on my Pinterest board to use as a guideline for the sleeves.

I had a chance to stop at SR Harris when we were in Minnesota a few weeks ago. In preparation I  created a list of patterns I wanted to sew, along with the fabric needed for each.  This foil print knit was not even CLOSE to anything I was looking for! But I swear as I walked past it, the bolt JUMPED into my cart! And I'm glad I did.  I think the foil knit looks lovely made into this pullover top.
Sharon Sews wearing Simplicity 8982 pullover knit top
Before I go any further, here's the pattern I'm writing about.  I picked it up at Hobby Lobby during one of their pattern sales as it's a great basic knit pattern with a lot of design options.
Because I fell in love with the floral foil fabric and was determined to use it for the top, I had to make some modification. You see this fabric is almost like a stretch woven instead of a knit.  It had less than 1/2 of the stretch required for this design. Of course I didn't bother checking the little Pick-A-Knit rule on the back of the pattern envelope - or the recommended fabrics - until I had already cut out the pattern pieces.  In retrospect I probably should have chosen a different pattern. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 isn't it?

I knew I would need a full bust adjustment (FBA) no matter what knit I used. I began by adding 3" to the bustline using the pivot and slide method.  I basted the front and back together to check the fit. There was enough room but it was tighter than I like and I knew if I left it that way I'd never wear the top.  So I added a little more width which required a small side dart. I'm much happier with the way it feels.
Simplicity 8982 top with added side dart
If I had thought it through before cutting out my pattern pieces, I would have added a center back seam with a zipper.  Because both the front and back are cut on the fold, I needed to scoop the neckline to make sure I could get it over my head.  The scooped neckline is actually a better look on me versus a high round neck or turtleneck.
Simplicity 8982 in foil print knit worn by Sharon Sews
 I narrowed the neckband in addition to the scoop neckline. I used my edge-foot to help guide the stitches along the neckline.
Simplicity 8982 Scooped Neck and Neckband on Sharon Sews blog
I changed the sleeve also. I used the sleeve for view A, cutting it off at the elbow.  I took the pattern piece for the view C sleeve and traced it from the elbow to the hem.  I then slashed it and added an  additional 10" of width and 3" of length. I shortened the cuff by 2".  I used the foil knit for the top of the sleeve and the cuff, and the middle portion is black lace.
Even though I didn't choose a knit fabric recommended for the pattern, I'm really pleased with the top!  Of course knowing no one else has a top from this beautiful floral foil knit is an extra bonus.
I do plan on using the pattern again, this time with a stretchier knit :-)

By the way, I put a video on YouTube with my fabric purchases from SR Harris if you're curious what I found on my last trip.  (Here's the link:

Until next time - Blessings! Pin It

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Vogue 1643 Lined Jacket with Faux Leather Bands

My Vogue 1643 fully lined jacket with faux leather contrast bands.
The  pattern is intended to provide us with a replica of a Gucci grosgrain trimmed jacket, but I've never been a huge Gucci fan.  What?!? Yes, it's true. (And I feel as if I shouldn't even admit that to the sewing world.)

However, I did like the shape of the jacket and since the pattern was chosen for the September "Sew Your View" on Instagram I decided to join in on the fun.
The fabric I used was a polyester blend suiting fabric from SR Harris, that had a vague leather look. Since I wasn't going to use ribbon, I decided to make the contrast band in faux leather, and add faux leather piping to further emphasis the band.

Well you know the saying about best-laid plans. Sigh. I underestimated the difficulty of stitching the faux leather piping as well as the faux leather bands. I've worked with faux leather before so I was perplexed as to why I was having trouble this time. I tried my roller foot. I tried stabilizer. I tried tissue paper. Nothing seemed to work.  (I have since purchased a Teflon pressure foot which I've been told will work well on the faux leather next time).

I was frustrated enough to put the entire project aside for two weeks. But I have made a commitment to myself that I will not created any new WIPs (work in progress) so I reluctantly pulled it out and began work once again. 

I'm glad I persevered as I'm pleased with the final jacket. Even with the big boo-boo I made at the very end.
The pattern instructions do not include a few things that I think are key for the structure of this jacket.

I added interfacing to the hem edges of the sleeves and jacket bottom.  I also drafted an upper back interfacing piece, cut it out of a cotton voile scrap, basted it to the neck and armhole edges, and hand stitched it to the shoulder seam.  I also added sleeve heads from flannel fabric. The pattern does call for shoulder pads, which I happened to still have on hand from when they were popular years ago!
The hand stitches attaching the back interfacing piece to the shoulder seam.
The sleeve head, which is needed to help fill out the sleeve cap. I used a cotton flannel I purchased at Hobby Lobby. 
Here's the outside of the shoulder with the additional structure. I will say I did struggle a bit to ease this sleeve into the sleeve cap.  I'm not sure if it is the pattern, or the fabric I used.
The jacket is fully lined, and I wish I had bagged the lining. But instead I followed the pattern instructions which meant quite a bit of hand sewing.  I'm looking at the positive though, as the hand sewing is helping me to continue to improve the muscles and dexterity of my hands and fingers.

The very last step was to stitch the buttonholes. Knowing the difficulty I had with the faux leather earlier in the sewing process I was dreading this step!  I stitched a few test buttonholes and they looked good, so I took a deep breath and stitched the first one on the jacket.

Yes! Success!  Well, kind of.  I didn't notice until I was done that I had marked the bottom buttonhole incorrectly. It is not centered on the faux leather band.  You see, I didn't realize that my faux leather band was actually slighter narrower near the hem.  Because I had stitched the buttonholes from the back side, where the bands were even, I didn't realize the buttonhole was not centered. 

And that is why I will always wear the jacket unbuttoned :-)

By the way, the only way I could get hubby to snap pics for me was to let him take one pic in front of his beloved (and old) Goldwing motorcycle.
Even though I had a little error at the end, I'm pleased with my jacket.  I plan on sewing another. This time the longer view and with ribbon trim!

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Monday, October 14, 2019

A Simple Sweashirt with Sequin Sleeves - BurdaStyle 121 03-2019

I've been living in Texas for nearly six months now and to date have only experienced weather ranging from kinda hot, to hot, to unbearably hot (as well as a few power outages, which are not fun when it's nearly 100 degrees F outside).

I was told repeatedly that the weather would eventually cool down, but I must not have believed that because I kept sewing summer attire. Big mistake! The other day when we woke up we discovered it had dipped into the 40s. Sewing machine to the rescue!
In about two hours I stitched up this lightweight sweatshirt with sequin sleeves. The two hours didn't include time to trace the pattern, as I had traced it (along with about a dozen other patterns) a few months ago when I was suffering nightly from insomnia.

The pattern is from the March 2019 BurdaStyle magazine, sweatshirt number 121.  The pattern can also be purchased as a PDF at  Although you could easily replicate this with any sweatshirt pattern, or by starting with a purchased top.

I used a lightweight French terry knit and stretch sequin, both purchased from SR Harris Fabric outlet before we moved.

French seams were used to sew the sequin so it would not scratch against my skin. The seams are rather wide for French seams, but I didn't want to trim too much of the sequin fabric. It'll be our little secret :-)
On this version, I did not do a full bust adjustment (FBA) as there was plenty of ease to fit my bust (width wise).  I did a little "cheater" FBA, and added about 1-1/2" to the front hemline, curving back to the original seam at the side seam.  This was so the top wouldn't pull up in the front.
Since my surgery anything against my back neck really bothers me. So whenever possible I add my label to somewhere other than the back neckline. Here it is sewn to inside of the front hem.
I've chosen to wear this casual look by pairing it with jeans, white athletic shoes, a pink backpack, silver hoops, and a tiny silver cross necklace.
A short necklace with a little more "bling" would dress it up even more.
The back view really shows how boxy this sweatshirt is.
Now that I've worn it (twice so far) and looked at the photos, I'm going to take this in more to add some shape.
With sequins once again having their moment in the spotlight, this sweatshirt is an easy way to wear the trend while remaining casual.
This is one design I'll be sewing again. Next time I'm going to add a small FBA, with dart, to provide a better fit on me.

By the way, I'm starting to do YouTube videos. I enjoy watching other videos on sewing, and have wanted to create sewing videos for quite some time. Since I'm currently not working I have time to do so. The last video I posted includes this sweatshirt!

When it comes to sequins I'm in the "yes, I love this trend" camp. In fact, I have plans to sew myself a sequin bomber jacket within the next month or so.

Drop me a comment below and let me know if you are a fan of the sequin trend.

Have a blessed day!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Faux Leather/Lace Print Pants and a Peek-a-Boo Top: Vogue 1411 and McCall's 8003

"Wow! You look hot!"

My hubby is not one to toss around insincere compliments, so when his eyes lit up as I modeled this  outfit I knew I had a winner.  
McCalls 8003 top and Vogue 1411 Pants  on Sharon on Sharon Sews blog
I'm calling this a peek-a-boo top as I have no idea what the correct terminology would be.  Drop me a comment if you know and I'll update this post. The top pattern, McCall's 8003, is a close-fitting knit top with a cut out on the upper chest.  I choose to sew that portion in a stretch lace remnant I had purchased from SR Harris.
Boy, was that a poor choice of fabric for the contrast!  The instructions have you hem the lower portion of the contrast. Well, that looked crappy in lace. I ripped out the stitches and tried turning it under once stabilized with clear elastic. Well that looked even worse! I settled on using a purchased binding, and I think it's just right. I used the same binding for the neckline instead of using the pattern piece provided. Not my best work, but I'm okay with that because I sewed this black top to finesse the fit of the pattern. 
The top is described as close-fitting. If you've read my blog for any length of time you know I don't like to wear really tight clothing, so I cut the top out one size larger than I normally would.  I also did about a 1" FBA (full bust adjustment).  I basted the side and shoulder seams and discovered it was still tighter than I would like. I ended up increasing the FBA (resulting in a dart), adding some width to the back just below the armhole, and adding more width to the waist/hip area.  The fit in the bust/back is pretty good but the top pulls up in front around the bust which tells me I need a wee bit more on that FBA.  I will decrease some of the extra I added to the waist/hip area on the next top also.
McCalls 8003 top and Vogue 1411 Pants  on Sharon on Sharon Sews blog
I should have removed most of the seam allowance on the contrast lace piece when I finished the edge with the knit binding. Because I didn't the chest opening is smaller than depicted on the pattern envelope.
McCalls 8003 top and Vogue 1411 Pants  on Sharon on Sharon Sews blog
I'm okay with that, as I was a concerned the opening would be so large that I'd be uncomfortable wearing the top for anything but date night with hubby.
McCalls 8003 top and Vogue 1411 Pants  on Sharon on Sharon Sews blog
As is I'm comfortable wearing this just about anywhere.

Now, let's chat about the pants! The pattern is a Sandra Betzina design, Vogue 1411, issued in 2014.  It is currently out of print (OOP), but Vogue Patterns occasionally puts the OOP patterns on sale so sign up for their sale notifications if you're interested in purchasing the pattern.
Flat Photo of Vogue 1411 Stretch Pants with Faux Leather detail
I sewed these in 2015 using a stretch woven with a lace pattern, and used a faux leather contrast to show off the seams on the legs. I found the pants to be a bit short and never wore them as I intended to taper the legs to more of a legging design.

I'm glad I didn't as cropped pants have been in style for some time, and these now look to be the right length.
Side note: I tend to purchase a number of the Sandra Betzina Vogue patterns when they are on sale, as I've found she is sometimes slightly ahead of trends. There have been patterns I've passed on, and then a year or two later the design is all over the place. This pant pattern is one that I'm glad I hung onto as it fits me well, is still in style, and will fit my new lifestyle beautifully.
McCalls 8003 top and Vogue 1411 Pants  on Sharon on Sharon Sews blog
Here's a pic of both of the patterns I used.

Pattern Covers for Vogue 1411 and McCalls 8003
I'm curious, do you sew Sandra Betzina designs?

Let's stay connected. You can find me:
 Thanks for stopping by. Have a blessed day!

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