Category Archives: SilhouettePatterns

Burn-out Velvet

I’ve had this beautiful burn-out velvet for years. Years, I tell you.  I bought it after I first moved to Wyoming but the purchase was made in the Fort Collins, Colorado Hobby Lobby.  (Wyoming fabric sources dried up just before I got there and I was forced to shop elsewhere).  I can tell you it is a minimum of 13 years old. In the same time  period, I purchased another velvet in the same colorway.  I made that velvet into a kimono jacket which I still wear to this day even though there is much more padding on my hips and it positively cannot be tied over my middle. Kimono jackets are nothing if not forgiving of the changes in a woman’s life.

My burnout, however, sat on my shelves year after year because I couldn’t decide how to use it.  It was transparent and obviously needed a lining. It was too close in color way to the other fabric mentioned to make another 3rd layer. Top? Blouse? Certainly not pants. I don’t wear transparent pants which because of it is a burnout there are large areas through which my flesh will show. I loved it and refused to donate it. Finally I was a watching Peggy Sager’s  a “Let’s Sew” video and watched as she created an inner top attached to the outer top only at the neckline. Bingo! Sorry, I don’t have the link handy which wouldn’t be pertinent anyway because Peggy created 2 tops with the out-layer shorter than the inner thus the inner layer shows too.  I did just the opposite. So while Peggy’s top is interesting and dramatic, you hardly know that I’ve done something similar.

Continuing with my blouse, I decide that with only 30% stretch the burnout needed my regular i.e. not the slinky version of 195. I pulled that out and invested not more than 15 minutes converting it from french dart to armscye dart.  So glad I did this, but I think I may not have placed or maybe angled the dart correctly.

I chose to use an embroidered, very light-yellow,  transparent Tricot for the inner layer/lining. I cut only the front and back pieces without further changes.  Then, as always intended, I set up my Brother Serger ( the 1034 purchased because I needed a serger right now) for a 3-thread wide seam. This took longer than expected because I also needed to rearrange the table a little. Sigh, it will need a little more rearranging which will involve removing the machines completely.  Eager to work on my new top, I did the best I could with the arrangement of machines.  Oh what a good choice. I serged every seam, including the bust dart and  hem, on this inner layer/lining in about 15 minutes. WOW…. and it’s beautiful.  The seams rolled because I increased the looper tensions. I didn’t increase the needle (I’m using the left needle for a wide seam) tension because during testing it caused the seam to gather. (Note Remember to increase needle tension for future gathering projects.) After set up, which in the future is reduced to changing thread and maybe the needle, this is absolutely the fastest, most elegant rolled hem I’ve ever created and the nicest lining ever .

Know you can’t see too well because this is something I’m not going to model (in my generation we thought showing it all was a bad idea) and I”m showing the back. Front looks much the same.   I truly wish I’d invested $200 in that little beast (the 1034 Brother serger) long ago.  In one project he proved himself well worth the time and expense.

So onto the upper layer. After remaining inner garment fabric was trimmed of strings, folded, labeled and placed back in the stash, I smoothed out the burn out fabric and cut the 3 major pieces. I used my normal sewing order but skipped finishing the neck. When the shell/outer layer, was complete, I put shell and lining right sides together at the neck and serged.  I understitched, some times I want a little insurance that the inside will stay inside. Then I top stitched 1/4″ away from the turned neck edge. The armscye of the lining is tacked to the armscye of the shell in about 4 places. Just enough to keep it in place as I slip my arms in and out.

Unfortunately, I stretched the neck during construction which I didn’t notice until the first try on.  I used my normal cheat, elastic. This time I used a long length of shirring elastic. Doubled with the fold threaded through the eye. The tails are then pulled through the loop coming out of the eye and that makes a secure join that won’t come out of the needle. I ran the elastic in the channel between top stitching and neck edge and tied it in the back.  I was going to adjust at the next try-on, but it was fine.

So I put a drop of Frey-check on the knot and trimmed the ends.  Done.


314: Sweater Knit

Definitely into winter sewing, I pulled out the next ‘real’ sweater knit and paired it with 314 Abby’s top and Silhouette Patterns Raglan pattern.  I do like how this pattern goes together except I’m not sure how easy it is going to be to change necklines and hems. Those are the two easiest changes, usually, to make the same pattern look different. I have altered the pieces to include hems.  In this version, I cut separate bands for the sleeves by simply folding on the line I indicated on my traced copy of the pattern.

Because I’ve sewn it several times and worked out the fitting issues, it was a quick sew. actually mostly it was serged and coverstitched. No darts! But I did need to serge the right side a little deeper than the left and I still haven’t figured out exactly which shoulder pads and need and where they need to be.

Had a little problem with the neck-band. ..

didn’t cut it short enough. Dang I basted it in too but didn’t catch how floppy it is before serging it permanently.  So I used my easy fix which is cutting a small vertical slit in the inside back and  running clear elastic in the channel opened.

It is a very plain top relieved only by the cables and rib.  But I think I will mostly be wearing it underneath a vest and it will look wonderful

None of us are really enthused about making such plain garments. But they are so useful. That’s why it is best when making a simple garment to use a pattern already fit.  Honestly it goes together so quickly when you aren’t stopping to address fit issues or construction questions.   Even pants can be quick if those details are already worked out.


PS after these photos were taking, I top stitched the neck ribbing below the serged seam to make the ribbing lay down flat during wear.

195 Sweater Knit

When I make changes to the tissue, as I did for the Slinky Version of 195 shared yesterday, I want to check it immediately. I didn’t get to it until after we returned from Sioux Falls.  It is getting colder. Snow is predicted. Winter is definitely here. It’s not a matter of whether I need long sleeves, it’s how warm the long-sleeve tops need to be. The blouses are phased out of rotation and I’m leaning heavily upon my rayon, cotton and ITY knit for everyday year. It will be sweater weather before too long and so my eyes turned to the pile of knits which were sold as “sweater knits”.  Because I’m pattern checking, I decided to use a blue variaged sweater knit that really is a sweater knit it is just not worsted weight. By now, I had my new serger set up (which I have posted but have bragged about on SG) and put it to work.  This was a quick sew.  I needed only make my ASA (asymmetrical shoulder alteration) at the sewing machine. All the other seams were either serged or cover stitched.

(Although I’m hunched) the back is now looking like it should i.e. no drag lines from the shoulder blades

I am disappointed that the stripes didn’t match better.  Not sure if this is due to the curve introduced by my RBA, fabric mismatch or slip when in the Serger. The new Imagine needs a little help with thick fabrics and I may have had the differential slightly misset. I’ve deicded to be happy that I’m not seeing those dreadful back drag lines.

I’m showing the front next because I want you to see that with a mere physical turn, my shoulders have settled into place and no longer look badly asymmetrical. They still are. I did do my ASA i.e. made my right shoulder seam 1/2″. Curiously the sleeves look short. I don’t recall them looking short in the two previous garments that I made using this Slinky Version of the pattern. Hoping it is just the fabric which will relax during wear.

The bust dart, now 5/8″ deep instead of 1/2″, did what I wanted in so far as eliminated the side wrinkles but curiously

I stitched it in the wrong place. I recall clearly that I marked with the purple pen and had problems reading the purple pen when I got to the sewing machine.

Bottom line: my alterations to the tissue were successful. My dart marking needs to be a little more careful.

SP 195, Armscye Dart

I’m always grumbling about the french dart which Peggy Sager’s seems to love. Finally decided I needed to do something about it. About 2 years ago, I spent quite some time playing with rotating darts. Loved the results and consider myself at least competent. But I hesitated. Why? Well in the back of my mind I was thinking that the french dart may very well have been helping to control wrinkles which occurred below the bust.  After confronting my fear (that removing the french dart would remove the good fit of 195), I decided I needed to try at least once and be sure.

I won’t share pics of the dart rotation process but will tell you it was maybe a 15 minute job. I copied the front and on it  slashed where I wanted the new dart, then closed the old dart. Done.

I pulled out a fabric that tested at 70% stretch. Yeah, a lot. Decided to use my “Slinky” version of 195 which is reduced horizontally and vertically by small increments (1/8 and 1/4) through the armscye, midriff and vertically down the entire pattern piece. By the way, it was the front of the ‘Slinky’ version that I copied and altered the dart.

I laid out my pattern pieces, then decided I didn’t want just a plan T-shirt.  I trimmed 2.5″ from the hems and cut a V neck. Also cut were 2.5″ strips from selvage to selvage.  I stitched the armscye dart first

The stitched shoulders and finished the neckline with an interesting FOE

The FOE looks like someone has randomly applied bleach to it which results in lovely ombre colors. FOE is difficult to apply to a Vneck. So I chose to apply as if I had cut a scooped neck. Then I folded the neck right sides together and put a tack in the center front which nicely restores the V.  Actually, I could have cut a scoop neck instead of the V and done the same trick but Oh Well.

Since this pattern has been used a dozen times, although not in the Slinky Version, I zipped through the rest of constructions and applied ruffles at the hems.

These are the simplest ruffles ever.  I joined my 2.5″ strips. Roughly estimated the length of the circumferences; multiplied by 1.5.  I cut at the 1.5 mark. Folded the strips in half putting long edges together and set my serger differential at 2, stitch length 4.  Then serged the ruffle to the hem. Oh, forgot to mention, I had only stitched one side seam up to this point. When the ruffle was attached, I stitched the second side closed.  The sleeve ruffles were applied before the sleeves were inserted because I prefer to wrestle the least amount of fabric at any given time.  Oh and finally, the garment is finished at my normal length.  The 2.5″ trimmed from the bottom of the back, front and sleeves included my 1.25″ hem which I wouldn’t need. Actually I only needed to cut my strips 1.25″ wide. I made them 2.5 because folding the strips in half is a neater finish that requires no additional effort.

Boom blouse done:

Ah but something is wrong with my dart because I have drag lines from the bust,most easily seen in the side view

Think that my bust dart should be deeper i.e. 5/8″ instead of 1/2″. Am I going to change this one? No, I serged everything. I hate unserging. I quickly decided it doesn’t look any worse than what everyone else is wearing and said “better luck neck time”.

I also discovered the back has lost the depth it needs

It is absolutely too late to fix this.  An RBA has to be made before the fabric is even cut. So I pulled the pattern out and discovered that I had applied a 1/2″ “Slinky adjustment” i.e. a 1/4″ tuck across the back.  I changed that to 1/8″ for the next iteration.  Absolutely my patterns need to be shortened and narrowed when I’m using very stretch fabrics like Slinky and Sweater Knit. The alteration was not wrong, but the amount taken was.

I finished this just before my short vacation to Sioux Falls, but you know, I just felt it was missing something.

It still seemed too plain.  The fabric shopping in Sioux Falls is totally lacking. Not worth my time and gas. But several places carry a variety of trims and ephemera.  I found this Tulip iron Bling in Walmart

Oh sorry that pic turned out so poorly. I did a quick search of Google and didn’t find it either. Took 30 seconds to apply and then I felt like the garment was done!

This I love.

Not intended for Holiday Dressing but

Seriously, I was thinking ‘pretty’ when I bought the lace.

I was shopping Ebay for lace to hem the Up Cycles when I saw this lace yoke. I know these are all done by machine now but it took me back to my younger years when they were done by hand by little old ladies in Prague. Back then they were horribly expensive and I could only drool over such beauties.

My Ebay vendor is apparently also a Etsy vendor located in the US and so my laces arrived quickly. After finishing  Up Cycles, I pulled out an ink blue slinky fabric and SP195, Peggy Sagers Sweater Set.

I don’t buy into the advice to ‘just stitch the seams deeper’ that is  often given when someone wants to make a knit garment with a woven pattern and again when someone wants to use a normal-knit pattern with slinky fabric.  I don’t go there because I’ve already been bitten.  One of my first experiences with Slinky was a lovely Copenhagen blue that fit modestly at the neck when I set off for work.  By noon time, I was pushing back the shoulders and grabbing the neckline every time I needed to bend forward. By quitting time I was wearing my reserved-for-the-computer-room cardigan to preserve some of my modesty. The slinky top was in the trash as soon as I arrived at home.  Over the years, I’ve heard of people leaving Slinky to hang for a week before hemming; and wearing it twice at home before wearing in public; or just flat avoiding any  fabric with 100% stretch. Fortunately the manufactures have worked on this issue and recovery has been  much improved. But I still want to start with a pattern fit for a well-behaved Slinky.

I copied my now very-nicely fitting SP195 (do you see me glowing with pride?)  and made a few pattern changes on  front , back and sleeve.

    • 1/8″ tuck across the upper bodice though the armscye.
    • 1/4″ tuck across the abdomen
    • 1/4″ vertically bisecting the neck and leaving the shoulder unchanged.
    • 1/2″ horizontal tuck across the sleeve

That is only part of the reason this top took 3 sewing sessions.  The lace was the other factor.  I cut the front and carefully pinned the lace to the upper bodice.  Then I stitched following the lace design.  Often, I broke the stitching because not doing so would have been obvious. I stitched slowly, lifting the foot often to allow the slinky to recover and to turn around those curves.  Across the bottom of the lace (and bodice), I made 2 horizontal bands of stitching which attached the lace to the bodice. Then I took the front to the bathroom mirror to see how much of the upper bodice I could cut away. I was a little surprised but not unhappy that all but the lower triangles/scallops (which were stitched to the Slinky) could be cut away.

I tackled the back next. I keep the CB seam because it is truly easy to just serge it instead of converting and stitching back darts.  For this blouse I was even more pleased because I wanted a back opening

I serged from bottom to with 3″ of the top. Pressed the remaining unserged edges to the sides and top stitched them in place.  I added a hair elastic cut in half for my button elastic before proceeding to stitch the shoulders.

Shoulders of the lace are pretty square. Mine are not. Between my natural slope and round back, mine are 5/8″ lower at the sleeve edge.  I carefully aligned the back over the front with the sleeve edge of the lace sticking up above; and then stitched using the back for my guide. Once done, I serged the back neck, turned it to the inside and top stitched.  The shoulder was folded towards the back and my top stitching caught the shoulder and held it at the neck edge. Once that was done, I turned to the sleeves.

Well, I forgot to mention that while I was working on the pattern and attaching the lace to the front bodice, I had my PE770 running in the back ground producing two motifs for the sleeves

I aligned these center and 4.5″ above the cut sleeve-hem edge; then zig zagged around the outside edge. Unlike the Lace Insets done in March, I did not trim away any of the sleeve fabric. I hemmed the sleeves at the cover stitch; then serged them to the bodice catching the lace armscye and securing it to the sleeve.

I thought for a bit here and decided to serge the side seams before checking fit. A good decision.  I found that the bodice length, was almost too short and that was before hemming. Sleeve circumference and length is fine.  I’m not sure about bodice circumference.  I thought I would need follow-up the 1/4″  serged side seam with a stitched 1/2″ seam (reducing circumference by 1″) . As of the fitting, it looks fine. Question is what will this look like after it’s worn for an hour? Or more?

On the pattern I ripped out the bodice tuck (front and back) over the abdomen area. That will give me enough length for a hem in future garments. This hem I had to think a sec before deciding to finish with wooly nylon— for now (DH’s famous last words)

It gives me a finished hem now and later should I decide my blouse needs to be hemmed shorter, I have a finished edge for a turned up hem.

My only other criticism is that the front hem is rising like a hot air balloon.

OK not that bad but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen the upward tilt of the front hem.  I decided to fix the pattern and added 1″ length  at CF tapering to 0 at the sides for the next iteration. (Did the same to the  base fitted pattern.)

When finished I said “Holy Crap! This is not just pretty, it is dressy!” . So it too gets added to the Holiday Dressing even though  I didn’t start with that intention.



Holiday Dressing SP 314

So the objective was making a coordinating top for yesterday’s skirt.  Already had my fabric picked out and ITY knit in a lovely red, blue purple color way.  Next was pattern and I opted for a now TNT Silhouette Patterns Abbey’s Top # 314. I was also inspired by a recent Let’s Sew Broadcast The Weekender Peggy  started with #127 and a stripe knit. She moved those stripes around which would look good up close but from this end I wondered why she went to all the effort to cut apart and sew  fabric back together.  I know, I know it’s another of those you have to see it in person to fully appreciate. I especially like the fringe, but I didn’t want to fringe the sleeves. That would only make my arms cold and I planned to wear this top when temps hover in the ‘teens.  But I liked the inspiration of it all.

I mean this was a flash to cut and sew.  I added 6″ length when cutting out and I did it just like Peggy. Can’t believe I copied her!  I placed my 6″ wide ruller below the hem and cut across there. So much easier than making more pattern pieces.  I opted to leave the neck, sleeve and hem  ribbing off also extending sleeve to full length (but not more since I didn’t plan on fringe.)  Stitching together as directed (skipping bands) and adding FOE to the neckline.  Course at this point, it really looks too long

But I had planned for fringe. I also wanted to repeat the angle of the skirt fringe

I carefully pinned the edges of the blouse hem together, laid it on my cutting table and smoothed out the folds. Then I placed a line of tape 6″ above the hem.  Using my rotary cutting I trimmed the hem at an angle so below the tape it was 3″ long on the left side 6″ on the right. Then, again using the rotary cutting, I sliced upward  to the tape (and maybe even nipping the tape) creating 1/2″ wide fringe. quick easy done. But I’m not so sure best choice.

Love the  side views


and the front is sweet

But if anything the back looks like a mistake

I’m not sure why. Did I need to make the angle greater? The 3:6 ratio bigger? I may trim the fringe later. This kind of stuff bothers me.

OK final shots, but I must tell you this is not complete dressing.  I will have my hair done professionally. Wear necklace, earrings and heels in a complimentary color.


Umm should work on a complimentary wrap too, donchatink?

Holiday Dressing: Skirt

I checked my closet for 6PAC needs and came up with nothing. Yes, at this time starting Winter, I have  nicely put together 6PAC’s in my neutrals Navy Blue, Chocolate Brown and Black. What I did note though, is a lack of dressier clothing and holiday attire. First thing I put together:

Summers end of 2016,  I purchased this from HSN, QVC or Evine.  I was watching one of them because as usual nothing else cable offered was of interest, when they showed this gorgeous skirt on sale for an incredible price.  I think I paid $7 including shipping. It was beautiful! and the Host so enthusiastic. They said it had so much ease you shouldn’t worry about size, choose for your height. So I did. In fact I ended up purchasing 2. Because the one received was the correct length, but counting-hairs tight. (How does a skirt get that tight?)  Sending it back would have cost me more than keeping it. (How does that happen?  Well skirt costs $7. Return shipping $8.95. You do the math.)

I figured, no big deal. I’d just buy another in my size same color and up cycle the one on-hand to a vest or tank. Make a matching set. Right? WRONG. Right sized skirt is definitely not the same color as wrong sized skirt. Besides the new skirt which fit nicely around hips tummy etcetera, was 6″ too long.  disheartened, enthusiasm down and that  undiagnosed adult ADHD kicking in, I put the skirt away for summer 2017.  Which came and left without addressing the skirt. BUT it so happens that I ordered fabric in the fall and one of the ITY’s was a beautiful matching color way. Whoop! Whoop! Couldn’t believe my luck.

I cut the waistband off at the top which is when I discovered that the front was an overlapping panel

Stitched into one side seam but left free on the other.  It makes for lots of fabulous, whooshing, fringe. I trimmed another 1″ length from the top then turned down 1.75″ to make a channel for the 1.5″ elastic I inserted. Stitch back together and skirt is ready.

I love this skirt. I actually hope I wear it more often that just this holiday.


Umm, let’s continue this discussion tomorrow.