Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fun with Raglan a.k.a. Jalie 3245

Still part of my "spring cleaning," these three tops were all created using one pattern. Jalie 3245 is a pattern for raglan top with several design options. I already sewed a racerback tank two years ago and if you'd like to revisit my post on that, it can be found here.

The middle one probably looks familiar. I used some leftover fabric from my recent project, the Christine Jonson princess wrap top. I just love the combination of the black and white print with yellow.

The pattern only had four pieces (front, back, raglan sleeves and neck binding). These made for fun print combinations and colorblocking. 

 To break the solid monotony of the back, I accented with piping along the back raglan seam. 

Creating the piping. 
I decided to finish the sleeve hems with binding cut from the printed fabric to mimic the neck binding shown here.

Isn't this the perfect top for a sunny spring day?

These other two tops were created using fabrics purchased from Emma One Sock.

Soft, supple, high quality rayon jersey from EOS is just a pleasure to sew and wear!

The necklines, sleeves and hems were all finished according to pattern instructions.

To make the process of sewing the narrow neck binding easier, I basted the binding over the seam allowance after sewing it around the neckline. 

I can't choose a favorite! If you haven't tried this pattern or any Jalie pattern for that matter, what are you waiting for? 

Spring Cleaning a.k.a. Stash Busting

We have been blessed with wonderful weather these past few days. The temperature outside made me think of spring cleaning. What better way to kick it off than by going through my boxes of fabric stashes and whipping up some tops for the forthcoming warmer season. 

So I started with my box labeled "knitwear" and took out this ten-year old printed jersey. I have been saving this for a DVF style wrap dress but all the patterns I checked required more yardage than I had. So I settled for a top and used Christine Jonson #426 pattern.

I made a muslin out of some leftover rayon jersey and decided I needed to do the following pattern changes:

1) The neckline was too deep for my taste so I raised it up by grading from XS (the size I used) to Medium along both right and left front necklines.

2) The fit was also too snug at the back. So I graded from XS to S at the side and back seams. 

The pattern provided for two options, a shirred top and a princess wrap top. I opted for the latter. The print is quite busy so it's hard to see the shirring on the left side. 

Once fitting issues were resolved, this pattern was a quick and easy project. Just be careful though when laying out pieces #12 and 13 (right and left front pieces). Make sure to lay the printed side of the pattern facing up over the right side of the fabric otherwise you will end up with a pair of wrongly oriented pieces!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My New Moto (Kwik Sew 3764)

It all started with this Talbots moto style sweater jacket.
I was smitten by the unique style but I was not willing to pay $140 for it. So I started browsing online for sewing patterns that mimic this style and eventually stumbled upon Kwik Sew 3764.  
This multi-sized pattern (XS-XL) is designed for medium weight woven fabrics.

I decided to go outside my comfort zone and pair the pattern with a faux-leather fabric I found at This is the most gorgeous, supple faux leather I have ever seen, not plasticky like vinyl. It is fused to a 100% rayon backing and has a degree of mechanical stretch. It is marketed as "Perfection Fused Leather" and had the best price. There was a hitch though with the first shipment as my two yards of fabric arrived folded and stuffed in a very small box. The faux-leather was all wrinkly and since I could not iron it out, that was an issue. Thankfully, the customer service was great and I was sent an immediate replacement and this time the fabric arrived rolled in a tube. 
My fabric color was called "Champagne." It is hard to describe the actual color. In certain lightings, it looks silver but under low light, it's more gold tone or beige. It has a low sheen.

The Preparation

 I sewed a muslin for each view and decided I liked view A better. Just a word of caution, though. If you're like me when sewing a muslin and only include the essential parts that affect the fit (which means skipping parts like facings, collars, etc), do not skip the  waistband on view A. I found out it affects how the back looks. Without the waistband, it looks boxy and it's tempting to take in more than needed at the side seams or center back seam. 

After fitting the muslin, here are the alterations I made. Keep in mind I am petite with short torso and arms:
1) Took in shoulder by 1".
2) Shortened sleeves by 1-3/4" along the alteration lines on the pattern.
3) For view B, I found I needed to shorten the body by 1" but for view A, the length was fine. One with longer torso might find this too short. 

Although this faux-leather was not as tough as real leather or vinyl, there were still some techniques I used specific to this type of fabric:

I did not pin the pattern pieces to the fabric as I did not want permanent pin holes on the faux-leather. Instead I traced the pattern to the rayon backing. 

After all the pieces were cut, I carefully lay them on my big cutting mat without folding them flat to avoid any folding lines. Since I sew in the dining room, this set-up also made it easy for me to clean up at the end of the day.

The Sewing Process:

*I invested on a box of Clover Wonder clips to use in place of pins. I found mine at 


*Tracing paper which I used under the sewing foot when sewing over the faux leather side. I found
that using nonstick foot did not help at all as my fabric refused to budge. It was not hard at all to         peel off the paper. In fact it was even fun pretty much like popping the bubbles in a bubble wrap.

Masking tape to hold down fabric in areas where it was impossible to use the clips.

   *Sew-in interfacing instead of fusible as heat and faux-leather do not get along well.

Here are some pictures of the sewing process:

Sewing the zipper to the front. I used brass metal zippers to bring out the gold tone of my fabric.

Since I was not able to iron my seams open or flat, I decided to topstitch them.
I used longer straight stitches and played around with the tension to make sure the stitches looked nice even when sewn from the wrong side. 

 I added a stay tape to stabilize the shoulder seams.

Sewing the zippered pockets. I used masking tape to hold down the pocket lining in place.

When sewing the sleeve gussets and zippers, I found that using very fine sewing needles for basting did not leave any unsightly pinhole marks.

In my opinion, it was worth to invest in good quality zippers. 

Although I've seen versions of this pattern with self-drafted linings, I decided to leave it as is.

Without further ado, here is my first moto jacket.

I have my eyes on the Style Arc Ziggi jacket but have read about the scarcity of instructions. This Kwik Sew pattern is chock full of clear instructions and illustrations and is a good way to learn how to sew a moto jacket. I highly recommend it. Just be aware that this is not for a fitted snug motorcycle jacket and is roomy enough to accommodate medium weight long-sleeved tops underneath.