Friday, October 9, 2015

craftsy class reviews - october 9, 2015

I purchased the Craftsy all access pass for the month of October, so each Friday, throughout the month, I will be reviewing various Craftsy classes.  If you have any classes you would like me to watch and review, please leave a comment on this post, and I will try to add the class to next week's review :)  I included the current class prices in the review, but the classes regularly go on sale if you feel the regular price is too high.

*** This post contains affiliate links.  If you prefer not to click through affiliate links, then just search for the class name in Craftsy.  But please remember that there is fabric out there calling my name!  It doesn't cost you anything to click on the link, and it will bring me happiness, or fabric, which is pretty much the same thing ;) ***

Sewing Designer Jeans with Angela Wolf - $24.99 on sale, regularly $49.99
  • Very nice finishing techniques
  • Includes a fairly basic resource list for purchasing patterns and denim sewing supplies
  • Complete jeans construction including altering patterns for fit, step by step sewing instructions, and professional finishes
  • Adaptable to any jeans pattern
  • Techniques for distressing jeans, including how to test the denim before distressing 
  • Rated as an intermediate class by Craftsy, although I believe a confident beginner could follow along without a problem.  It's very thorough and loaded with tips specific to denim

Patternmaking Basics: The Bodice Sloper with Suzy Furrer - $69.99
  • This is my favorite Craftsy class - I will be purchasing it once my all access pass expires at the end of October
  • Materials included: supply list, both a blank and a sample completed measurement chart, reference charts for drafting, a sample moulage, and a sample sloper
  • Directions on how to measure a real person and draft a moulage (no ease bodice) and a basic bodice sloper for both wovens and knits.  The sloper does not include sleeves
  • Even if you don't plan to make your own patterns, personalized slopers serve a purpose.  If you use your sloper and compare it to a pattern you wish to sew, you can often make many fitting changes before sewing the first muslin
  • There is some math involved, and the drafting is somewhat complicated, so patience may be required
  • This is listed as an advanced class, and I believe that is accurate.  Having some existing knowledge of the purpose of specific pattern components such as darts would be helpful

Patternmaking + Design: Creative Sleeves with Suzy Furrer - $34.99 on sale, regularly $69.99
  • This class in an extension of the bodice sloper class
  • Materials included: supply list, measurement chart (includes tips on how to measure,) sleeve diagram, blank pattern record chart, information about ease for different garments, complete written instruction for the entire class to use as a reference.  This alone is worth the price of the class
  • Includes step by step instructions for drafting a sleeve from body measurements
  • Includes basic fitting variations for tops, jackets and coats and how to adjust a bodice sloper for a sleeve
  • Requires a basic bodice sloper
  • Includes the following sleeves - basic, tailored, two-piece, sleeve with vent, short & 3/4 length, puffed, mutton leg, bell, cap, petal, sleeve with placket and cuff, sleeve linings, and knit sleeves
  • Advanced class just like the bodice sloper class

Patternmaking + Design: Creative Darts and Seam Lines with Suzy Furrer - $44.99 on sale, regularly $69.99
  • This class is also an extension of the bodice sloper class 
  • Materials included: supply list, written directions for the basics of both front and back dart manipulation
  • An entire class about dart manipulation - I don't think people give darts the credit they deserve.  A perfectly fitted dart will give a pattern a professional finish
  • Includes instructions for drafting the following darts: center front, armhole, french, diamond, y-dart, neckline gathers, horizontal waist gathers, bust gathers, curved shoulder darts, cowl neck
  • Includes the following seam lines: princess seams, empire line, babydoll line, a-line, swing line, double breasted line
  • Includes instructions for manipulating back darts as well
  • Requires a basic bodice sloper
  • Advanced class
  • With this class, you can create pretty much any bodice style you desire
  • Even if you don't plan to make a bodice sloper, this information in this class could be used for altering the darts (or adding if they don't already exist) on existing patterns for a better, personalized fit

Plus-Size Pattern Fitting and Design with Barbara Deckert - $24.99 on sale, regularly $49.99
  • Although I'm not technically plus sized, I always have to make full bicep and full bust adjustments on patterns, so I took this class anyway and found many of the tips and techniques useful for any size 
  • Materials included: blank measurement chart, ease chart, blank size adjustment charts, five different shape fashion figures, written construction tips and techniques for reference, fabric recommendations, supply list and resources, tool list, reference book list 
  • Includes a sewing pattern - Vogue 8815
  • This class is geared toward modifying the fit on an existing pattern, not drafting from scratch
  • Addresses the basics of designing such as proportion and line
  • Has instructions for a couple of options for making your own custom dress form
  • Discusses measurements, ease and choosing the appropriate pattern size
  • Addresses the changes needed for adjusting a flat pattern to fit a plus sized woman
  • Includes: adjusting for length and width, bust adjustments, and figure variations such as a rounded back, full arms, and a rounded abdomen or backside.  In other words, the figure variations that most women have!
  • Goes through basting a garment and fitting a garment on a dress form and/or person
  • Lesson 11 includes variations of the pattern included with the class (Vogue 8815) showing how once the pattern modifications are finished, the pattern can be used for several garments
  • Craftsy lists the class as intermediate which seems accurate

Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Techniques with Janet Pray - $29.99 on sale, regularly $59.99
  • Includes many tips for making sewing faster with professional results
  • Materials included: supply list and resources, seam allowance reference
  • Janet Pray is extremely knowledgeable and you can tell as you watch her sew throughout the class 
  • Includes a nice resource list for the items used in the class
  • Includes pattern cutting and preservation, sewing without pins, tips about interfacing, zipper insertion, waistbands, machine and bound button holes, seams, and hems
  • I love the bound buttonhole method.  I will use it from now on
  • The rest of the information was not new to me, but would be very useful to someone who is comfortable sewing but is not familiar with more advance techniques
  • Rated as intermediate by Craftsy, although the knowledge in this class would be useful to a beginner too

Fast Track Fitting with Joi Mahon - $29.99 on sale, regularly $44.99
  • Another class addressing modifying a flat pattern for fit using body measurements before making a muslin
  • Materials included: supply list, blank measurement worksheets
  • Includes fit pattern - Vogue 1004
  • Addresses vertical and horizontal adjustments for both upper and lower body
  • Also includes instructions for modifying sleeve fit
  • Labeled as a beginner class, although it doesn't really seem any different than the intermediate classes, with the exception of being less thorough
  • This class is really focused on using measurement to modify a pattern, but doesn't address fitting issues.  For example, if you make changes, but something is still off, there is not any information to help you figure out what changes need to be made next.  I don't think the beginner that this class is for would have the knowledge to get a perfect fitting pattern after taking this class

Sew Smarter: 30 Professional Techniques with Katrina Walker - $59.99
  • Materials included: supply and resource list, basic capelet pattern with instructions, 28 page fabric guide and swatch notebook
  • Love, love, love the interfaced facing technique in lesson 5! 
  • Some of the techniques seem somewhat cumbersome, especially for a beginner who is not comfortable handling various fabrics, but are great for someone who is comfortable with basic sewing and looking to improve skills and finishes.  On the flip side, the techniques are not exactly ground breaking, so this class might not be a good fit for someone who has been sewing for a while and has been exposed to more advanced sewing in the past.  I would consider it to be an intermediate class, which agrees with Craftsy's rating
  • Covers zippers, various seams, darts, gathers, sewing corners and curves, facings, ironing/pressing, choosing fabrics/patterns, topstitching, and hemming
  • Not a fan of the fact that she sews from both sides of the fabric when topstitching.  I know not every machine is like mine, but my top thread and bobbin thread look different when sewn, so I always topstitch from the right side
  • I had to watch at 1.5x speed because she talks quite slowly, but that's just personal preference

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

another capsule sudoku ... this time for me

I finally finished figuring out my fall capsule wardrobe sudoku!  When I say finally, I mean finally ... I started working on it in August, but it kept getting pushed aside for other things.  And I technically shouldn't use the word finished since I still don't know what patterns I am using for two of the tops and a couple of the others may change.  But if I wait until I'm truly finished, no one would get to see it until January ;)  And I probably wouldn't get around to sewing it until next fall!

Pattern Links (left to right starting on top row):

 Things I still need to purchase:
  • Patterns - SBCC Gibson Blouse, Simplicity 2150, Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers, Burda Blazer (I'm not 100% sure on any of these)
  • Fabric - black pinstripe, black wide wale corduroy, B&W buffalo plaid, Coral knit
  • Shoes - Ankle boots (both pairs or something similar); I hate shopping for shoes because I have odd feet and it's really hard to find stuff that fits, so I've been putting this off.

Patterns I'm still considering (or alternate patterns):
  • Floral top - StyleArc Tiffany Blouse, StyleArc Suzie's Sister Top, Burda v-neck blouse, Burda satin blouse
  • B&W buffalo plaid top - StyleArc Camilla Blouse, Sewaholic Granville, Grainline Archer, Liesl & Co Gallery Tunic (with a few modifications to the placket and back)
  • Simplicity 2150 -I'm looking at View A, but first I need to figure out if it will work with my fabric choice.  I also like McCall's 7199, so there is another option.
  • SBCC Gibson Blouse - Although I like the look of this blouse, it's not something I would normally wear, so I'm still on the fence about it.
  • Sewaholid Thurlow Trousers - I haven't looked for anything else yet because I'm not sure exactly what pants style I want.  I'll probably wait until a make a few of the other pieces
  • Burda Blazer - This is a plus sized pattern, and although a few parts of me are plus sized (specifically arms and hips) my shoulders and ribcage most definitely are not.  So I'm not sure if this pattern will work for me.  I might have better luck adding width the the appropriate parts of a different pattern.

Obviously, I still have a lot to do!  And I've barely even started sewing ... so far all I've done is cut out the Waffle Marmalade pattern and finished sewing the Closet Case Ginger jeans in denim which I shared here.  I still have to write an official review post, but I love them and wear them almost every single day.  Quite possibly because they are the only pants I own that fit and are comfortable ;)  I really need to start sewing!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mae's fall capsule sudoku (with pattern links)

While I was taking a short break from sewing for myself, I decided to spend a few minutes working on something a little more fun (i.e. requires less fitting and pattern alterations!)  Here's my sudoku for Mae's capsule wardrobe.  She honestly has enough clothes this year thanks to hand-me-downs, but I love sewing for her, so too bad, she getting more clothes ;)

Pattern Links (left to right starting on top row):
 - Ottobre 4/2013 No.20, LouBee Hosh Pants, Ottobre 4/2015 No.11
 - Puperita Dragon Vest, Made Kid Shorts, Ottobre 4/2015 No.7
 - Jennuine Designs Dressage Leggings, CTW Izzy Top, Hey June Greenpoint Cardigan
 - Cropped sweatshirt (self drafted), Sis Boom Ethan, Ottobre 4/2015 No.9

I tried to use mostly fabrics and patterns that I already own, combined with shoes that Mae already has, to keep as a low cost capsule.  The only things I need to purchase are the plaid for the Ethan shirt, the fur for the Puperita vest, and the black boots which I was planning to purchase anyway.  I have no idea when I will actually get around to sewing everything, but hopefully I will be able to get started next week.  And since Mae doesn't truly need any of it, I'm not too worried about finishing within any particular time frame.  It's nice sometimes to just be able to sew for fun!

Sudoku resources if you want to make your own:
  • Free Notion - Printable Sudoku with some info on how to fill it in (this was my inspiration for creating both my own and Mae's sudoku)
  • Sue Sews (So-So) - This was the inspiration for the Free Notion printable.  It is geared towards fashion and not sewing, but it's still helpful
  • Melly Sews - Another printable with slightly different categories.  It was developed for the Pattern Anthology Unbiased collection, but it could be modified for any patterns. As I was reading the post, I realized you have to sign up for an email list to get the free printable, so that may not appeal to everyone (i.e. me! I don't sign up for newsletters that I don't want just for a freebie)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

not quite a momiform ... just focusing on the basics

The last thing I shared in yesterday's post was a list of patterns I would like to sew for myself this fall.  The only problem with the list is that I really didn't bother to see if any of those patterns actually go together well enough to make an outfit!  So today I'm here with what I can only call a beginning beginner post on combining patterns.  Just to be clear, I don't in any way believe that the people who read this blog are beginners at combining patterns, but I absolutely know that I am ;)  I am the queen of sewing individual items without ever taking the time to determine if any of them actually go together.  And since I tend to sew with busy prints, they rarely, if ever, do ;)

A special thanks to Lauren Dahl for putting together the Momiform Makeover series :)  And before you go, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the fantastic giveaways!  One of them is for a Janome sewing machine!!!

For those of you who don't know me (which is pretty much everyone!) I am a mom to six kids.  I've been a stay at home mom for over 17 years, and in that time, I've had very little use for fashion.  After all, I spent many, many years pregnant and nursing, when practicality was the overwhelming factor used to choose clothing, especially for a mom who didn't need to leave the house on a regular basis.  Now that I'm done with the pregnancy thing and the kids are starting to get older (my oldest is graduating high school this year!!!) I really need to focus on myself a little more.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time reconciling my 38 year old, post babies body with my pre-baby, 20 year old self, and I seem to have lost the ability to dress myself with any style whatsoever.  The clothes in this post are an attempt to find myself I guess, for the lack of a better way to phrase it.  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure that I'm feeling up to the task, so I started small with a few basics.  And I ask that if you choose to leave a comment, please be nice :)  Honest of course, but nice.

Please ignore the poor lighting and, as a result, slightly out of focus pictures.  In true mom fashion, in order to get pictures without 729 interruptions, I hid myself in my room.  Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best lighting, especially at dusk when I took these pictures.  And just to be clear, I still had interruptions, but it was a much more manageable fifteen or so ;)

I started with perhaps the most basic outfit there is - jeans and a white shirt.  Baby steps. I'm just not a jump in to the deep end kind of person.  Actually, that's a lie.  I totally jump in the deep end when we go swimming.  Anyway ... I wanted a basic white shirt that wasn't a button down.  I actually didn't have a pattern in mind, but when I started looking at the Colette Dahlia, which I was originally going to make as a dress, I realized it would work equally well as a top.  Actually, it will probably work way better as a top since I never, and I mean never, wear a dress.  I'm mostly happy with the result, although it was not an easy process getting there!  I will do a thorough pattern review another time, but for now I will just say that this pattern was not drafted for someone built like me.  The second half of the outfit is the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files, which I absolutely love!  Seriously, I haven't taken them off since these pictures except to sleep.  And I'm pretty sure I could sleep in them too if I wanted.  They are that comfortable.

Patterns - Dahlia Dress by Colette Patterns; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files
Fabric - White shirting from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from

The next basic (at least for me, I know some people don't wear blazers, like ever) is the Morris Blazer from Grainline.  I stuck with charcoal and white - avoiding prints that I would normally use - so it would potentially match more tops and bottoms.  Of course, I don't really own anything that matches it, but that will come soon ;)  For now I paired it with a somewhat coordinating store bought top and the Ginger Jeans.  And I totally forgot to change my shoes between pictures, so they don't really go.  But you will find me barefoot about 98% of the time when it's not the middle of winter, so I'm lucky I remembered to put on shoes at all! Sorry, no pictures of the back of the blazer.  There just wasn't enough light to get a good pictures of dark jeans with a dark top.  You'll just have to trust me that the back is solid charcoal.

Patterns - Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files
Fabric - Ivory Ponte (affiliate link for 320 ponte - ivory is out of stock) from, Charcoal ponte from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from
Blouse - purchased from Kohl's

This third top is the Tonic Tee from SBCC with the sleeves from the Tonic 2.  I modified the top slightly so the back side seams wraps around the front a little, and I added a slight high low hem.  I didn't exactly achieve the look I was going for (it's rather shapeless) but it's comfortable and will work as a hanging around the house tee.

Patterns - Tonic Tee by SBCC; Ginger Jeans by Closet Case
Fabric - Navajo jersey from Jumping June Textiles, Charcoal ponte from Joann's; Italian Stretch Denim (affiliate link) from

I figured I would add these pictures, because who doesn't want to see a close-up of my butt ;)  Honestly, I'm thrilled with the fit of these, but I'll probably angle the pockets out slightly more the next time I make them.  And there will be a next time!  For those of you that noticed the lack of belt loops (anyone? Bueller? Bueller?) I never wear anything tucked in to my jeans, and this way I can avoid any unsightly bumps from the belt loops.

Momiform MAKEover
REMEMBER: Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the two separate Rafflecopters! 50+ winners will be selected! Get 10% off your fabric order from now through October 1 at Michael Levine/ with code: Makeover10
Get 20% off your pattern order now through October 1 at UpCraft Club with code: MOMIFORM Are you MAKE-ing over your Momiform? Join the fun on Instagram with hashtag #momiformmakeover

Be sure to check out all the awesome series participants to get lots of momiform inspiration!

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Special thanks to these major sponsors who generously donated the following items for the giveaway:
(There will a different winner for each line item so we can spread the love around!)
Janome - One Skyline S5 Sewing Machine* Indiesew - Four $50 gift certificates (four separate winners) Michael Levine / Low Price Fabric - Four $25 gift certificates (four separate winners) and 10% discount for readers through October 1 - code: Makeover10 UpCraft Club - Two $25 gift certificates (two separate winners) and 20% discount on patterns through October 1 - code: MOMIFORM
And the following pattern designers who graciously provided patterns for the series participants and/or contributed the following items for the giveaway:
Grainline Studio - Two patterns of your choice True Bias - Hudson Pants & Southport Dress patterns Colette -Two patterns of your choice Closet Case Files -Two patterns of your choice Sew Much Ado -Two patterns of your choice Sew Straight & Gather - Three patterns of your choice Golden Rippy - Two patterns of your choice 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook Patterns for Pirates - Two patterns of your choice Itch to Stitch - Two patterns of your choice Mouse House Creations - Two patterns of your choice Hey June Handmade -Two patterns of your choice Peekaboo Pattern Shop - Three patterns of your choice Go-to Patterns - One women's pattern of your choice GreenStyleCreations -Two patterns of your choice Puperita - One pattern of your choice Sofilantjes - Two patterns of your choice Charlotte Kan - One pattern of your choice So Sew Easy - Two patterns or one bundle of your choice OUSM Designs - Women's Thumbs-Up Tee pattern E-Beth Designs - Two patterns of your choice Muffin Head Patterns - Any pattern of your choice up to $10 GrayDay Patterns - Sandpoint Top or Athena Top pattern (your choice) Scientific Seamstress - One pattern of your choice Stitch Upon a Time - $20 gift card 5 out of 4 - Two patterns of your choice Frianki Patterns - Two patterns of your choice KZ Jo Studio - Two patterns of your choice Straight Stitch Designs - Full collection of patterns Sewing Patterns by Aivilo Charlotte - Two patterns of your choice Striped Swallow Designs - Two patterns of your choice Rose and Lee Designs - Two patterns of your choice Sewing Geek Patterns - One pattern of your choice Filles a Maman - One pattern of your choice Bella Sunshine Designs - One pattern of your choice Liola Designs - One pattern of your choice Cali Faye Collection - One pattern of your choice Tinman Patterns - Orbit Skirt pattern Felicity Sewing Patterns - Two patterns of your choice Winter Wear Designs - Two patterns of your choice Ellie Inspired - Three patterns of your choice Love Notions - One pattern of your choice a Sparkly Baby - Two patterns of your choice Terra's Treasures Designs - Two patterns of your choice

*Janome giveaway winner must be located in U.S.A. and is therefore on a separate Rafflecopter below. Machine must be picked up at a local dealer; it cannot be shipped.
This second Rafflecopter includes all the other sponsor items since they can be awarded internationally! You must enter both Rafflecopters in order to be entered to win both the sewing machine and the rest of the giveaway items. All patterns awarded will be in PDF format. Enjoy!