Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MAGAM November project completed! Another Sweater Dress - Butterick 5247

My MAGAM November project is done! Yay! I used the tried and true Butterick 5147 knit dress pattern and made this Festive Sweater Dress really quickly.

I used size 12 because I used a more stretchy knit than the pattern calls for (the pattern calls for Moderate Stretch Knits). I had to narrow the arm holes and the waist quite a bit to get the right shape for me. So I probably would have been better off using a size 10.

I actually made the mistake of cutting the pattern at the tunic length instead of the dress length. Oh well! It will look fine with leggings and jeggings and skinny pants.

I love this pattern. It is easy and quick to sew and very versatile. Highly recommended! I debated whether I wanted to add some my own design elements into the dress but I think I'll just add my DIY jewelry, belts, etc to the dress instead.

I was too lazy to put on leggings for this photo but will definitely be wearing leggings/jeggings with this dress/tunic.
My review on is here.

UPDATE: 2014.11.20 -
I wore this dress the day after I made it with a long sleeves t-shirt and jeggings. This was how it looked as a tunic:

It's funny that the same garment looks so different as a tunic than a dress!

Friday, November 14, 2014

MAGAM November project: A Festive Sweater Dress! Butterick 5247

I have been addicted to Sweater Dresses for the cooler months for a few years now. Their benefits are almost endless: they look slightly dressy, versatile for all occasions, warm my poor thighs, go with all my skinny jeans/pants, jeggings, leggings, easy all in one dressing (no need to think too hard), etc. So for the November Make A Garment A Month Challenge, I'm making another sweater dress with stash fabrics and stash pattern.

I'm choosing Butterick 5247 because it's a tried and true pattern for me. I have this gorgeous burgundy wool blend sweater knit in my stash for a while. I think it will be perfect for a sweater dress. It's a nice, festive colour that I can easily wear for the holidays too. Now I need to figure out how to embellish this dress to make it more special!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Refashion: A purple Velvet Jacket for the Holidays

As the weather gets colder, I'm more and more inclined to sew/refashion winter holiday wear. I thrifted this Purple Cotton jacket from my local thrift store a couple of years ago. I love the colour but it's a tad too big for me. I thought I should fiddle with it and wear it for the coming X'mas/New year.

First I shortened the sleeves by 3cm. The back is also too big so I pinned up the back to see how much I need to take out from the centre back seam.

I separate the back lining from the fashion fabric at the hem and sewed a new centre back seam to make it fit my back more closely.

Then I thought I could embellish it a bit to make it look more 'tuxedo-esque'. I looked through my stash of trim to see what would work. I decided on some black satin binding and bounded the edge of the collar with it. I also changed the plain plastic purple button to a black satin button.

It doesn't look drastically different but I think it looks a bit more glam and fitted than before. I hope I'll not lose too much weight before the holiday season (yes I'm trying to eat better and exercise more to be more healthy). Otherwise I'll have to alter the fit again.  I can wear this long jacket with a short black dress to office parties, etc. It should look dressy enough without being overdone.

I find this deep purple and black very difficult to photograph well. It's easier to see the changes/embellishments in person than in a photograph. Too bad I only get to do these projects and take photos at night after the kiddies have gone to bed.

So have you started sewing for the holidays yet?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Refashion: Silk Tweed Chanel-esque skirt suit - Part 2

After doing the simple refashioning of the thrifted Silk Tweed jacket of the silk tweed skirt and the jacket suit, I tackled the skirt part. The skirt was fine except too long on my short body.

Since the skirt has inverted box pleats at the bottom, I couldn't just shorten the hem. Instead, I shortened the skirt just above the box pleats by 6cm. Of course I had to shorten the lining by 6cm as well.

I was going to embellish the skirt with the same navy velvet ribbon. However, I decided against it because I thought it would be too fussy and might draw attention to that seam where I shortened the skirt.

Here is how the whole suit look with the refashioned jacket and skirt. You can kinda see the seam line where I had shortened the skirt. I hope that if I don't point it out then no one would notice.

I don't intend to wear them together often because it's still a bit too formal and matronly on me. But for the office it may be necessary on some occasions. Otherwise I would much rather wear the jacket with jeans and the skirt with sweaters, cardis or a jean jacket.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MAGAM Oct Project Completed! Vogue 9574 Jacket

This 'ambitious' Fall/Winter jacket is done! I have made lots of changes to this pattern with the fit and the style. I was inspired by the current RTW trends of motocycle jacket styles, quilted jackets and contrast sleeves jackets.

Regarding the fit - It says 'Loose fitting' but I cut a size 14 anyways. I'm usually a size 14 for Vogue patterns. This is an OOP Very Easy Very Vogue pattern that I thrifted from my local thrift store months ago. It seems that the problems with the Very Easy Very Vogue patterns may be that their objective seems to concentrate solely on reducing the total number of pattern pieces. In doing so, they seem to be willing to sacrifice the fit and things like having proper pattern pieces for facings and linings. This jacket turned out to have a very loose fitting back - to the point that it looked ridiculous on me even though I have a broad back and broad shoulders. I didn't make a muslin (should have done so) and had to add a curved centre back seam to the jacket to minimize the width. I also did my usual short-waist adjustment and shortened the sleeves to suit me. Somehow the top front of the jacket doesn't sit flat on my chest when the jacket is zipped all the way up. The top front gapes and looks silly. I think the skewed front neckline resulted from the reduced width of the back neck piece. So I'll have to wear the jacket half-zipped.

(Note to self: need to snip those loose threads!)
Regarding the design changes - I eliminated the collar, added facings and lining pattern pieces. I also quilted the top front and back bodice, although it's not very visible due to the colour of the grey wool fabric. I used the remnant black stretch denim for the sleeves (there was only just enough fabrics for the sleeves). I read somewhere (sorry can't remember where) that the garment industry interfaced almost the whole jacket body routinely. So I interfaced the whole jacket front and the top back piece. Perhaps that's why there is even more gaping in the top front?

It looks okay to me (if half-zipped) and it is a jacket roomy enough for me to wear sweater and layers underneath. I'll test-wear it a few times and see how I feel about it. If I were to use this pattern again, I'll definitely do a muslin to fix the front gaping and other problems first.

I have also reviewed this pattern on

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

MAGAM Oct Project Plan - A Jacket

The weather has become much colder this month. My kids are wearing their winter coats already! I decided to make a Fall/Winter jacket using my stashes: Fabric (including remnants that is too small for a single garment) and an existing Pattern that I thrifted from my local thrift store. I have been inspired by a few RTW trends this season: Moto style zipped jackets, Quilted jackets and Jackets with contrast sleeves.

So I will be incorporating multiple trends and multiple sewing objectives into this 1 jacket. Not too ambitious at all!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Refashion: Silk Tweed Chanel-esque skirt suit - Part 1

I thrifted this gorgeous silk tweed Chanel-esque skirt suit from my local Thrift store last month. It's in really good condition and only $9.99! The jacket fits okay but the skirt is a bit long because I'm short. The whole look is a bit 'blah' and matronly on me:

I searched through my stash of notions and found a roll of navy velvet ribbon so I 'auditioned' it to the jacket:

It seemed to look okay so I decided to use the ribbon to trim the front opening, the pocket flaps and the sleeves. And this is how it turned out:

The effect is not dramatic but I think it gives the jacket a bit more 'life'. Here is how it looks on me after the simple refashion:
(Yes I'm kneeling on the ground because I can't find the tripod for the camera!)
I like quick refashioning like this. Just a bit of trim and an hour or sewing makes the jacket more attractive for me. It is still lady-like enough to wear to the office or I can wear jeans and boots with this on the weekend. I'm happy to have busted some ribbon stash too!

Stay tuned for Part 2 when I tackle the long and matronly silk tweed skirt!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MAGAM Sept project result - another pair of Jeggings

I actually finished my MAGAM Sept jeggings (McCall's 5273) a while ago. I had even worn them and laundered them. For some reason the fabric wasn't very colour fast. So now there are discoloured streaks on the pant legs. Oh well! I'm still wearing it. I added back pockets with my own design details, a faux front fly and topstitched the inseam for strength. It came together very quickly since this is probably the 10th time I had sewn with this pattern. I plan to wear them all Fall/Winter long with cardigans, sweaters, and sweater dresses. They tuck nicely into my knee high boots. A very useful piece of clothing indeed!

I think I'll be using this pattern again for more skinny pants/leggings for the coming Fall/Winter season. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My One Week One Pattern Pictures!

The One Week One Pattern 2014 challenge was fun! Thanks to Handmade Jane for organizing this. The weather in the past week had been variable (coolish to coldish) and my 3 linen blend bottoms were stretched to the limit in terms of the colder days. My 3 bottoms were all made with Butterick 5044 - 2 pairs of linen blend shorts and 1 pair of linen blend trousers:

And here the pictures of how I wore them during the OWOP week:

With Self stitched Black Linen Blend Jacket (McCall's 4928) 
and Self-made Silver pendant necklace

Self-Refashioned black silk tank top, 
and Self-made beaded necklace

Day 3:
With a thrifted embellished cotton voile tunic

Day 4:
With a refashioned thrifted cardigan

Day 5:
It's a lot colder today. I wore the linen trousers with 
a thrifted knit top 

Day 6:
It was pretty cold today and I was crazy enough to wear shorts! 
I wore these shorts with a thrifted knit top 
and a menswear vest that I have had since 1995!

Day 7:
It was 9 Celsius when I woke up. No more shorts!
I'm wearing these linen blend trousers with
a thrifted knit top,
and a thrifted belt.

I had really enjoyed this challenge! It challenged me to think more about the different combinations I can wear with my self-stitched clothes. I think I challenge myself to do something like this every month! Thanks again to Handmade Jane!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

MAGAM September plan - Fall/Winter sewing starts now

The weather just became much colder in the last couple of days - from low 20s C to low teens! I guess summer is officially over. Time to bring out the winter clothes and snow gear!

I looked in my closet for Fall/Winter clothes and realized that I need more jeggings/leggings/skinny jeans. I wore them daily last Fall/Winter, with my many sweater dresses, jackets and cardigans. I searched through my fabric stash and found this black blue stretch denim. I will be using my tried and true and tweaked McCall's 5273 pattern for this pair of jeggings. They should come together fairly quickly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have joined the 'One Week One Pattern 2014' challenge!


I read about this One Week One Pattern Challenge on 'So Zo...'s blog, organized by Handmade Jane. It sounds like a fun thing to join. Basically it is a group challenge where participants wear garments made from just one pattern of their choice, every day for a week. It is taking place from Sept 6-12, 2014.

 I have lots of Tried-and-True patterns that I kept going back to so I'll have to look at those clothing items in my closet to finalize which one I'll be using for this challenge.  For example, I made multiple bottoms with McCall's 5273 and Butterick 5044.

McCall's 5273:

Butterick 5044:

I suppose I`ll decide the day before the challenge to see what the weather will be like for that week. If it`s hot I`ll definitely be wearing my shorts and linen trousers. I`m hoping that I can style them to look sufficiently different for the whole week.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

MAGAM August Project Completed! Back to School Boys' trousers

I finished my MAGAM Back to School Boys' trousers! I actually made 2 pairs, one in a khaki green polyester cotton blend twill and the other in beige polyester cotton blend twill as well.

The stash pattern McCall's 5222 was bought for $0.99 in a local thrift store. The pants were meant as pajama pants so they were super wide in the leg. I had to trim the leg width a bit but they are still a bit wide. Otherwise, I made no other pattern changes. It was simple and straight forward to sew. I didn't even look at the instructions. The pattern pieces spoke for themselves.

The fabrics were remnants in my stash from the shorts I made my husband a couple of years ago.  I didn't have enough fabric for the whole length of the pant legs so I improvised and made the pant legs in 2 sections and top stitched the joining seam - I call that a design feature! ;-)

Yes my son wore the pants already and got grass stains on the knee....
I'm happy that my boy has 2 pairs of proper length trousers for the new school year. And I busted some of my fabric stash - YES!