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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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fancy Flouncy Striped Pants - McCall's 7786

These pants were one of the first items I sewed when I returned to sewing this past June after my major surgery. At the time I was still suffering from severe joint pain (which had not yet been diagnosed) and the sewing was very therapeutic for me. It took me a long time to sew things, but it helped me feel "normal".

I choose the pattern because I thought the flounces along the lower sides and hem were fun, but the main reason was because they had a flat front with an elastic waist back. At the time I still didn't have enough strength or dexterity to use zippers or buttons. In fact, even pulling up the partial elastic waist pants was more of a struggle than I anticipated.
This is one of those items that attracts attention when worn. They're just so different, and I think you either love them or hate them. No middle ground here. Obviously, I'm on the love side. In fact I plan to sew a pair out of a lightweight denim for fall. (Because temperatures are still in the 90s here in east Texas, a fact I'm still getting used to but find that I am enjoying.)
The pattern is McCall's 7786, which features four different looks. Each view has side pockets, a flat front, elastic waist back, and wide legs.
Fabric suggestions are cotton blends, linen, crepe, and stable knits. Personally I wouldn't use a cotton blend unless it was very soft with a lot of drape. I used a striped fabric that was purchased as a pre-cut from Fabric Mart Fabrics about a year or two ago. I don't recall for sure. Do any of you remember when Fabric Mart Fabrics bought out a lot of the Craftsy fabric stock and had deep discounts on the pre-cuts? This was one of those fabrics. I believe it's a crepe and it has a wonderful drape. Perfect for these pants.
The construction is very simple as it's just a pull-on pant design. Be aware that there is a LOT of ease in these pants. I went up a size and ended up cutting it back to my usual size, and it's still quite loose-fitting. The only reason I went up a size is because of the weight gain I've had over the past two years. My body was fighting the ailment that I eventually had surgery for as well as an undiagnosed inflammatory arthritis, and part of that included unexplained weight gain.  I just didn't know it at the time and kept asking my doctor to check my thyroid.

As sewers we tend to get a bit excited when pockets are included in the designs we sew. If you're one of them you'll be pleased to know there are pockets included. I was even able to match the stripe.
The flounces go past the knee, which results in the swishiness of the pant legs when walking.  It is a little difficult to cross your legs as your leg ends up exposed.

I took this photo soon after sewing the pants.
The flounce is finished with a narrow hem, and attaching the flounce was rather easy. 
When I first sewed these I had enough fabric left over to sew an Ogden Cami thinking I would wear them together.  Yeah, no. It looks like fancy prison outfit with those black and cream stripes, LOL. And trust me when I tell you it looks 100 times better on my dress form than on me.
The finished length was shorter than I anticipated. Granted I never bothered to look at the side length from waist measurement provided on the back of the pattern envelope, which is provided for view A and B (this is view D). Keep that in mind if you're taller than I am (5' 5").

I wore these to church this past Sunday with wedge heels! I'm excited about that because it is the first time I wore a heel or wedge for more than just taking a photo for this blog!  I am all about celebrating my small successes in my healing process, and this is one of them.

As I mentioned earlier, I like these enough that I plan on sewing a lightweight denim pair that I can wear as we transition into cooler fall temps.

Thanks for stopping by! Let's stay connected. You can find me on Instagram (@thesharonsews) or follow my blog on Bloglovin to get updates when I post.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fringe Trimmed Kimono Style Silk Jacket - BurdaStyle 04-2019-107

Do you ever purchase fabric not knowing exactly how it will be used?  I used to do that, jokingly explaining that I had more time to buy fabric than I did to sew. But our move from Minnesota to Texas forced me us to downsize, and that included my fabric stash. A lot of gorgeous fabrics ended up at the thrift store simply because I no longer had room to store them.

However, this floral black silk was one I just could not give up and it made the move across country. I purchased it as two separate silk remnants from SR Harris about three years ago not sure what I wanted to make. But when Meg, the online editor for BurdaStyle, sewed a beautiful fringed kimono jacket I knew this fabric had found its destiny.
The pattern is from the April 2019 BurdaStyle magazine, jacket number 107.  It can also be purchased online as a downloadable PDF.
This is one of those projects that you sew when you want to create something really fast! There are only five pattern pieces - a front, a back, sleeves, and front and back facings. I eliminated the facings and finished the front and neck edge with self-made bias binding.
The silk fabric was a border print, with wide floral on along one selvage and the narrow floral along the other selvage. Because this pattern had straight edges it was easy to showcase the floral design.
I can't really say much about the construction as it's simply stitching a  few straight seams. I did sew French seams so the inside would look nice.  The sleeves are hemmed with a narrow hem.
The fringe was re-purposed from a thrifted skirt that I purchased specifically for the fringe. (Hmmmm, I was so eager to take a picture that I did so before realizing I need to remove that hem and restitch.)
Even though the floral design speaks more of spring and summer, I believe I can wear this as a transitional piece here in Texas, simply because it's still quite warm here. 
Fortunately the two silk remnants had enough fabric that I was able to center the floral border perfectly on the back!
As I was sewing this jacket, I happened across a fun topper challenge on YouTube, co-hosted by Vivmom Sews and Joy Bernhardt. Basically you just sew a topper, post it on Instagram by Sept. 15, with the hashtag #joyvivtopper and you are entered into a drawing for a gift card to Target! Well who doesn't love Target?  So I posted this topper and we'll see if my name gets drawn :-)

Have a blessed day!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Vogue 8817 Color Blocked Tunic Versions Three, Four, and Five

"How many more tunics do you want me to sew for you?" I eagerly asked my daughter after sewing three. I mean, the kid never wanted me to sew for her once she reached her teen years, so I have years of catching up to do!

"Um, Mom, I think I have enough now," she replied with a laugh.  
Three versions of Vogue 8817 Knit Tunic on Sharon Sews Blog
I first sewed myself a version of this color blocked tunic in January 2013, soon after the pattern was released. (Blog post here). My daughter liked it and asked for one, so naturally I obliged. (Blog post here).

Every time she wore her tunic she received compliments and recently asked me to sew her more. I might have jumped up and down and did a happy dance after we ended our call. There's no video, so you have no proof :-). But I was excited to sew for her again.

The fabrics for the black and purple tunics were purchased from Cali Fabrics. I've never been disappointed by any of my purchases from this company. The quality is good and the orders ship fast.

The middle one is fabric from Emma One Sock. The main body is a gorgeous Dutch digital cotton/lycra print.The other fabrics were from an Emma One Sock bundle order of remnants. (I did a reveal video on my Instagram TV channel if you're curious what's inside an EOS bundle. I do believe you can only access that via a mobile device, not on a laptop computer.)

The black tunic I completed before my daughter came to visit us this past July. She *hates* having her photo taken, but humored me. I, of course, think she looks darling!
We flew her down to help me out, as this was during the time period when I still hadn't received a diagnosis as to what was causing my disabling joint pain.  She was a huge help in getting things organized in our new home, and I was happy that I'd been able to sew at least one tunic she could bring home with her. The other tunics are on their way to her via USPS.

Here's the back of the black one.
Vogue 8817 Back View of Black Tunic on Sharon Sews sewing blog
I was quite pleased with the stripe matching at the side seams. I know it's not really noticeable, but it makes me happy.
Stripe matching of side seam on tunic on sharon sews blog
Here's a quick sewing tip. When I stitch my neckbands, I pay more attention to the left side of my sewing foot making sure the width of the band is even. After all, the excess seam allowance to the right will be trimmed off, so if it's a little off it doesn't matter.
Sewing Tip Watch the Left Side of the Neck Band to Make Sure Width is Even on Sharon Sews blog
That way I know my band will be even.
Can't forget the label!
Here's two more sewing tips
The contrast fabrics on these tunics are edge stitched, which helps hold the seam allowances in place. When I edge stitch I like to use my knit-edge/piping/beading foot. This specialty foot is for my Pfaff Performance 2056 machine.
The foot sits nicely against the edge of the seam making for perfectly spaced edge stitching. 
On some of my knits, such as this purple knit, I cut off the selvage edge so the knit will be flat making it easier to cut out the pattern pieces. 
Sewing Tip: cut off selvage on knit fabrics on Sharon Sews blog
The purple knits were fairly lightweight, and the body of the tunic flows nicely. 
Vogue 8817 Knit Tunic with Purple Cali Fabrics materials on Sharon Sews blog
The main fabric of the pink tunic, the dreamcatcher feathers, is a rather beefy cotton/lycra. You can see how it looks different from the purple one just on the dress form. I wasn't able to capture the true beauty of the fabric, so you'll just have to trust me.
Vogue 8817 Pink Dreamcatcher Feather Fabric from Emma One Sock
The contrast fabrics were in that bundle I mentioned. I didn't have enough of the peachy pink for the back, so I used a pinky pink instead. 
Vogue 8817 Pink Dreamcatcher Feather Fabric from Emma One Sock Back View
And of course the final touch is the labels. 
You Are Worthy, You Are Beautiful: Sharon Madsen Handmade labels
By the way, the pattern is Vogue 8817, released in 2012.
Vogue 8817 Pattern Cover
So tell me.
1) Do you sew for your family members?
2) And how many is too many of the same garment from the same pattern?

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