Thursday, May 24, 2018

An Easy-to-Sew Mermaid Maxi from Tie Dye Diva

One hour + knit fabric + Mermaid Maxi pattern = A fabulous maxi skirt!
Last weekend I found myself with an extra hour on hand. (What a blessing that was! Does anyone else find their life over scheduled at times?!?)  Of course I filled that time with sewing, and was able to cut out and sew this maxi skirt in just over an hour.

The pattern is the Mermaid Maxi  and it includes a slim, straight view (the one I sewed) as well as a "Mermaid" flared view, with options of gathered pockets, flat pockets, or no pockets at all. The pattern comes in 14 sizes to fit 34" to 55" hips.
 I especially like that this skirt has front and side panels as I think it makes for a very flattering skirt. I choose to sew the straight maxi with the side front walking slit and gathered pockets.
I love this fabric!  It's a double brushed knit I purchased from Sly Fox Fabrics.  It feels wonderful, drapes beautifully, and was a dream to sew.  Unfortunately I forgot how difficult black fabric is to photograph. 

It fits nicely in the back (where I carry much of my excess weight, especially in my high hip area).
 Here's a better shot of the gathered pocket. And yes that is my puppy pictured on my iPhone peeking out of the pocket :-) 

It's important to make sure you mark all of the pattern markings on your fabric!  The first time I sewed this skirt I stitched the pockets on wrong because I hadn't been careful enough with my markings. You can be sure I double checked this time around that the pockets were sewn on correctly.
The skirt can be sewn in about an hour. Of course that will depend on your own sewing ability.  I found the instructions to be well written, and the elastic application results in a nice clean edge with no casing.

My serger is out of commission at the moment, so I stitched all of my seams on my regular machine using a very narrow zigzag stitch.  I ran out of Coats and Clark Eloflex thread or I would have used that.
The skirt can easily be worn dressed up or down depending on top, shoes and accessories.   I can see myself sewing another half dozen of these (including the "swishy" Mermaid version!) as they'll be perfect for wearing with a tee and sandals when running errands this summer.

The pattern is 20% off this week (Here:

Jen also has a giveaway on her blog this week (where you could win  $250 in prizes) (Here:

In addition, Simply By Ti is offering readers 20% off at with code MERMAIDTOUR at checkout (good through May 28).

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour as you'll see how great the skirt looks on everyone!

Monday, May 21

Tie Dye Diva Patterns - Mermaid Maxi Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Skirt Fixation - Mermaid Maxi Skirt Review
Wednesday, May 23

Sew Altered Style - Mermaid Maxi Blog Tour

sewsewilse - Mermaid Maxi Skirt Blog Tour

Chook n Duck
Thursday, May 24

Penny Sew Vintage - Mermaid Maxi Blog Tour

TipStitched - Mermaid Maxi TDD Blog Tour

Sharon Sews
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Sunday, May 06, 2018

A Floral Beauty: Vogue 9257 Off-The-Shoulder Top

Spring has arrived! Many of you may agree that it was one loooong winter. In fact, where I live we had a major snowfall just three weeks ago!  However, the warmth of the spring sun has rapidly melted the remaining signs of winter and I'm enjoying being able to finally wear something other than sweaters, jeans and boots.
I sewed this pink floral beauty the beginning of April with plans to wear it for our anniversary dinner, which is near the end of April. I was at an out-of-town work conference the date of our anniversary and had convinced my hubby to come along with me so we could have dinner together to celebrate. Lucky me, he agreed. (But only because he able to ski while I was working.) And wouldn't you know it?  The day of our anniversary it was cold and snowy in Denver! Way too cold for this off-the-shoulder top.
 When we returned home, the sun was shining so I asked hubby if he'd take a few pics for me for the blog.  With an eyeroll and groan, he agreed. (Note to self: invest in a remote control and tripod to prevent future eyerolls.)  He says he doesn't like doing it, but then he usually has me laughing so hard I can't pose for a pic, as evidenced by this outtake.

The top is Vogue 9257, an easy-to-sew off-the-shoulder ruffle top, with lovely statement sleeves.
The pattern shows the neck and sleeve ruffles sewn out of lace, but I had this fabulous semi-sheer floral print that I wanted to use for the entire top.  If you look closely you'll see it also has some texture. I purchased the fabric a few years ago at SR Harris Fabric Warehouse. At the time I intended to sew a summer dress, but am glad I decided against that as I think it worked beautifully for this top.

The statement sleeves are fun, and not overly dramatic.
I don't typically wear off-the-shoulder tops, and debated about adding straps to this, but decided to leave it as designed.  I used French Seams and hemmed the ruffles with a narrow hem.
I'm really happy with how this turned out and hope to find many occasions to wear it this summer.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Tassel Trim Top: BurdaStyle 05/2018 - 113

Guess what?  I sewed something from the May BurdaStyle magazine and it's not even May yet! I'm quite pleased with myself as I still have patterns bookmarked to sew from 2013 issues.  Granted this one was a simple sew, but for once I'm sewing the trend - tassel trim - before it ends.
This is a simple pullover knit top number 113, from the May 2018 BurdaStyle magazine. I don't see the pattern on the BurdaStyle website yet.   Here's the picture from the magazine.
I used a soft gray knit, purchased as a pre-cut from Fabric Mart Fabrics (appears to be sold out).  The multi-colored tassel trim I found in the home dec section at Hobby Lobby (looks like it can be found online too).  I washed and dried it first to see how it would look before using it on my top.
I fused a narrow strip of interfacing to the back side of the bottom edge of the upper front yoke. I wasn't sure if the trim would need the additional support or not since I was using a lighter weight knit than what was recommended. (Sweatshirt fabric is the recommended fabric.)

To add the trim to the front, I placed the trim along the upper front yoke edge right sides together. I used a zipper foot to baste the trim in place, making sure my basting line was right at the 5/8" seam allowance. I then used that basting as my guideline when stitching the yoke and front together.  
The edge of the trim shows, which I like as it really pops against the gray fabric.
The back also has a diagonal yoke, and the two seams match up at the dropped shoulder seam.
 The side seams are sewn before the sleeve band is added.  I found that I needed to clip the side seams inside after adding the bands to keep the underarm flat.  

This top is very loose-fitting so I did not do a full bust adjustment (FBA) except to add about 1-1/2" to the center front. I just eyeballed it and curved the bottom edge back to the side seams.

If I were to sew this again (who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to sew another!) I would go down a size in the hip area. There is a bottom band on the top, but it does not fit snug against my hips as I think is intended.
Did I mention the great tool I have for tracing seam allowances for my Burda patterns? It's the SA Curve Pattern Drafter ruler.  I purchased mine (the 5/8" size) on Amazon about nine months ago and it's been such a time saver!  (Link here - no affiliate, just love the product.)  I plan on purchasing the other sizes also.
Time to sew this top was minimal. I would guess it took me about two hours, including cutting out the fabric.  I had to stitch it completely on my sewing machine as I managed to break the lower looper on my serger a month ago and I haven't brought it in yet for repair.

Fingers crossed the snow has finally left for the season, which means I can get back into nature for my photos (we had more than a foot of snow fall in one day only two weeks ago!)

This top is my participation in Faye's Sewing Adventure 2018 Tops That Pop! Pin It

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Beautiful Spring Skirt: The Belle Skirt from Wardrobe by Me

Spring. Warmth. Sunshine. Flowers. Are you awaiting the signs of spring as eagerly as I am? Like many other areas of the country, winter is refusing to leave this year.  I've been waiting for a beautiful spring day to photograph my beautiful new Belle Skirt, but I may be waiting a long time! 
I want it to warm up so I can wear this lovely Belle Skirt from Wardrobe by Me, a new to me designer/pattern company.  As soon as I finished sewing this lovely skirt, I had my hubby take a few pics. I may be smiling and wearing a sleeveless top but I was f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! The temps were below freezing, the cold wind was blowing, and you can't see the snow around me as I'm standing on a patch of our sidewalk we had cleared.

The fabric is a silky polyester from the $4/yard bin at my favorite local fabric store, SR Harris.  It is lovely made up, but was a bugger to stitch together. It was so slippery and frayed terribly!

But the colors are so vibrant! And the movement of this skirt is divine.  There are three tiers, with the back longer than the front.
The skirt takes almost four yards of fabric at least 55"  wide.  The graceful sweep is created by the tiers being cut in the round.  It adds fullness without gathers which I really like.  That bottom skirt tier is BIG, which is one reason this skirt uses a lot of fabric.

Also, the front of the waistband is flat, but the back has wide elastic.  Notice how you can't really see any gathers in the back?  Another great design feature in my opinion!
The belt loops are stitched into the waistband and they hold the tie belt in place nicely. I did add extra length to my tie end, and will add more on my next skirt,.
By the way, did you notice my shoes? I was flipping through the May 2018 Threads magazine, and there on page 38 were my shoes modeled with jeans :-)
(The shoes are Dafadil Bootie by Betsey Johnson that I purchased online at DSW.)

Here's a line drawing of the PDF Bell Skirt pattern so you can see the design details more clearly.
I did struggle with stitching the curves of the tiers together, but that was due to my fabric, not the design.  Like I said, my fabric was slippery and raveled a lot, so I had to stay stitch and clip.

You can really see the fullness of the skirt in this picture. Instead of stitching a narrow hem on my sewing machine, I used the narrow hem stitch on my serger.

I'm really liking this skirt!  I haven't decided on the fabric for my next one, but I need to decide quickly.  With winter lingering as long as it is, I suspect our spring/summer season is going to be rather short ... and I want to make sure I get another Belle Skirt sewn.
Disclaimer:  I've recently discovered the world of PDF patterns and some very talented designers through groups on Facebook.  I was given a test copy of the pattern when I applied to test this pattern.  The skirt pattern comes in sizes 0-24 and can be purchased at Wardrobe by Me.

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Monday, March 05, 2018

The Indu Wrap Pants from Designer Stitch

I'm a yoga pants gal when it comes to my casual wear, especially around the house. Oh, I'll toss on some jeans and a nice top when I need to run errands, but as soon as I return home those yoga pants are back on.  What can I say? I like to be comfy.   But when I saw a pattern tester call for this amazing pair of knit pants I quickly filled out that app and crossed my fingers I'd be lucky enough to test.
The pattern is the Indu Wrap Pants by Designer Stitch*.  And I was lucky enough to be a tester. Sadly as soon as I was selected I caught that dreaded virus that has been making the rounds and ended up missing the deadline to submit my photos.

These knit pants are amazingly comfy - as comfy as my beloved yoga pants -  yet quite stylish!  They're different, but not so different that my hubby will say "you're not wearing those are you?" (He's done it before, just check out my post here.) 

The pants are described as an easy wearing jersey pant with two different styles. You can make them with the wings - as I did -  or without. You can also make one leg with a wing and one without. On the Designer Stitch blog you can see dozens of versions of these pants on a variety of women sewn in a wide range of fabrics. I think you'll agree that each version looks fantastic.

Of course I had to test the version with the two wings! After all, that's what attracted me to the pants.  In these pics I have one wing wrapped to the front.  There is a buttonhole at the tip of the wing and a button sewn to the bottom of the yoke.  I will likely wear them with both wings down and tucked in on the side as shown on the one leg as I really like that look.

Here's the back view. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@sharonmads) I posted a Boomerang video showing the fullness of the wings).

Look at the size of the "wings"!
The pattern is a PDF available for sale on the Designer Stitch website. After completing the Burda Style Teaching Certification Course a few months ago, I'm now a convert to PDF patterns. I used to hate those babies! 

When you sew these, you'll need to make sure you have a knit that drapes nicely with some recovery.  The knit fabric I used I had purchased online at Mood Fabrics about four or five years ago. It worked perfectly for these pants.  The knit waist band has elastic at the very top to help make sure the pants stay up nicely.

Total time from printing the PDF pattern to stitching the last seam on the pants was about four hours. These pants are that simple to sew.
Line Drawing of Designer Stitch Indu Wrap Pants

I see myself sewing these in black and pairing with a lace trimmed short white knit top, a pair of killer heels and statement necklace. Stay tuned as I'll post pics when I'm done!

* I was given the PDF pattern to test; material and notions were from my stash
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