Alice & Olivia in Silk Georgette (Vogue 1245)

I celebrated every success with this top! My “sewcation” is over and I have two things left to blog – this blouse being one of them. Both items are redos of earlier failures.

Back in early 2018, I wrote about my attempt with two soft silks. In late June, I decided I wanted to finish a UFO- this time the teal silk georgette off the shoulder blouse from Alice & Olivia. The version I had started was wonky and stretched out. I thought I had enough fabric leftover, but I was a bit short. After a couple of hours, the teal was in the trash.

But some how, I got it in my head that I really wanted this blouse. I didn’t want to order new fabric; after a search through my stash, I found this stunning silk georgette in royal blue from Gorgeous Fabrics. I think I purchased it in 2016, but it wasn’t in my spreadsheet. A single layer layout later I was ready to start.

I noticed a difference immediately between this fabric and the teal (from a discount retailer). It felt more luxurious. It didn’t shed when I cut into it.

Still, I didn’t want to ruin the fabric so I researched the options for stabilizing the fabric. I finally settled on spray starch (I did each edge right before sewing). I tested before to see what would happen- staining while working with it, but not permanent as it washed out in cold water.

I still got a little rippling and distortion, it mostly pressed out. I did have some issues with very thick french seams under the arms and keeping the edge stitching even at the top. But in general, stabilization meant this was an easy and fast make.

I love it! And it has received compliments. I have paired it here with the pattern runway white shorts.

The Halloween Post.

This year. The little guy (3yo) is sound asleep.  He had a big day, what with Halloween at school, plus trick or treating with dad.  This morning he said he wanted to be a fireman, but surprised me when he decided to wear the bat costume he requested and I made for him.  (I told him he could wear last year’s costume if he wanted, but he chose the new one).

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I love doing Halloween costumes. It is what finally brought me back into sewing. Halloween is such fun, and if you make your own, you can be so much more creative and imaginative. The little guy selected the fabric, and I think he thought he had to have the same as the pattern envelop.  But whew – slick, shiny fabric, with glitter – a real challenge to sew and left my sewing room a mess.  The directions were okay – but if you followed them, the results weren’t going to be so great.  The set-in sleeves, especially with the slick fabric, were a real challenge.  But he LOVED it and was proud to wear it to school and tell all his friends.

Last year?  I didn’t make him his costume last year.  We were all going to a Halloween costume party wear the costumes were taken seriously.  He wanted to be a fireman – and wanted us to be firemen too. I didn’t have time to make three matching costumes (and couldn’t find adult versions), so I purchased them.  But when he was one, I went with the classic Simplicity 8814 dinosaur (copyright 1998):

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And previous Halloweens.  Where we used to live, we had a friend who threw serious Halloween parties and some of the costumes were pretty amazing.  The first year we went we didn’t know better so threw something together.  After that, we planned out our costumes.  By far, our two best costume sets were these:


I made both colonial costumes, using remnants from the local fabric store. I used Butterick 3072 for my husband, and Simplicity 4092 for me.  I had no idea how men’s sizing worked!  I bought something way too small and had to grade for the first time.  By the way, we were dressed as George Mason and his wife Ann. Mason was one of the “quiet” patriots for the revolution. At the time, we lived right next to the university that bears his name.  No matter.  Everyone said he was George Washington. And me?  Was I Marie Antoinette?  Couldn’t be Martha Washington, could you?

A couple of years later, we decided to go as TV characters – Jeanne and Major Nelson.  I ended up buying his costume from ebay, but making mine.  I had never drafted my own pattern before.  I used photos from the web,  a pattern for shorts and a jacket pattern as base, but basically draped muslin and went from there.  Just a couple days after the picture was taken, we found out I was pregnant with the little guy! So, in one sense, it was his first Halloween!

Trying to get back in the groove…

Tough but exciting last few days.  Totally swamped with work.  And spring is finally here, so I feel the call to work in the yard.  Dogwoods, bulbs, ferns, bleeding hearts… everything is coming to life.

Anyway, I’m trying to get back the project I was working on when I had to stop.  Ann, from Gorgeous Fabrics, challenged her blog readers to cut into a fabric that stymied them.

So, I cut out Vogue 8884, view C. The shell is a gunmetal grey coated cotton I picked up years ago from Marcy Tilton.  This fabric is a challenge – pin holes show, no mistakes, difficult to ease, careful with the basting please!  I did decide that I would not do all the top stitching – just edge stitching.   Fewer errors, better chance I get it right.  It’s also more sophisticated.  Still, I’m using the edge stitching foot, when a teflon foot might be better.  It seems it “sticks’ from time to time leading to very short stitches instead of long when top stitching.  I’m doing it in a matching silk thread, so it doesn’t show too much.

Other things going into the coat:  I using a very lightweight fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply (except the belt – I went heavier there), and a black silk twill for the lining.  The lining, shoulder pads and buttons all come from Gorgeous Fabrics.  The belt buckle is from Cleaners Supply.

Anyway, this is where I was when I had to stop:


Had some trouble turning the loops/belt carriers.  Finally just cut them over, pressed them with edges folded to foldline and edge stitched both sides.  So, next up, attach the carriers to the body and sleeves, finish and insert the sleeves.  Then to bag a lining.