Off To A Good Start~

May 25, 2019 0 Comments


SewJo is back with a vengeance, thank the Gods! Been very busy in the sewing room lately and what a good feeling. I did just notice an older post where I complained a lot about feeling unwell…the AutoImmune stuff…and I’m assuming that for now, at least, it’s passed and I’m back to being me. Again, grateful thanks to the Gods! The rash is gone and my energy level has returned, I don’t feel like napping all day.


I’m on the piano every day. I belong to a music group that meets every Monday night. I stopped going when the autoimmune thing took over, now that I’m feeling more like myself, I would like to start going back again. I just have this one hesitation that the autoimmune will strike again and then I have to drop out again and they start thinking of me like a Whack-A-Mole where I pop in and out at random. Not so enjoyable, that. But the song they chose to work on this week is just the bomb and makes me want to get in there. Joe Bonamassa has quite the impressive Wikipedia profile. Imma start listening to him all the time.

Spring is here and the back garden is coming in spectacularly! It’s going to be a good year for the back garden, I can tell!!

~I’ve just deleted 3 paragraphs on the garden. I think that qualifies for a stand alone entry here in my digital diary, complete with pictures~ Soon. 

Now, the sewing…first up, the chemise. I’ve been wanting to sew one of these since I saw them and surprisingly, so very easy. I will make more. They are lovely to wear at night watching TV. 

So simple, so comfortable. This is in a very light handkerchief weight linen. Seriously, the most comfy thing I own. Practically idiot-proof in the making. It’s got underarm gussets, which I’ve never done before but easy-peasy. 

I did felled seams on all. Yeah…I thought about hand felling them down…like the wonderful, creative YouTube videos of period sewing I watch to no end. But then I remembered its 2019–not 1901– and I own 3 Bernina, 2 Singers and 1 Babylock sewing machines and went with that. I want at least 5 of these things, if not more. When it’s time to lock the doors and pull the shades down from the outside world, this is the thing to be wearing in the house. But I’d like to order some more of this handkerchief linen in pretty colors for some of them.

Next up, I cloned a little chambray Gap summer fling dress. (Sorry for the wrinkles on the original. I cloned it and it slipped into a pile under the cutting table where I promptly forgot about it until just now.)

The clone is  a really pretty quilting cotton, it’s a lighter quilting cotton, but quilting cotton all the same. For this project, I thought it would work out nicely. I will probably make it again in a shirting but for this design, I don’t mind that it has a stiffer body and will hang away from me. It’s for summer when the heat will make me miserable. 

Right. So…for construction. The error. I mistook the “Inseam Pocket” marking I made for the “Fold Line” marking and cut the back out on the side seam line instead of the center back line. It made for a gorgeous design and for a couple of hours, I had hoped that it would “just work out”. It didn’t. Of course it didn’t. The back tried to find a way to hang on the straight of grain and pulled the front towards the back and the side seam ended up several inches away from where a side seam is supposed to sit. But the slant of those stripes!! Sigh. I had to cut the back out again and sew it correctly. Which meant unpicking the yoke…I just unpicked the yoke from the back and then reattached it to the newly-cut-on-straight-of-grain-the-way-it- was-supposed-to-be-in-the-first-place in a reverse burrito method yoke attachment. Meh. It worked. I also went back to the pattern and came up with a new marking to indicate where the inseam pockets were to sit so I never do that again. I did notice, when cutting, that the straight grain line on the pattern was off, but I had made a few adjustments to that pattern piece and thought that maybe I hadn’t corrected for the grain line and just followed what I thought was the fold line. Live and learn, I say. 

The yoke is on the bias and to match the stripes to make a chevron, each of the 4-piece yoke was cut separately. There’s a good pic of this at the end to include the Gap Clone dress I’m working on now.

Iron the seams open, fold one back to meet the seam and iron that….

Trim the other seam down to 1/8”….

Hand fell into place before top stitching. Then the pockets. But first, an interlude:

My Ollie Bear, the World’s Most Happiest Dog Ever. Wherever I am…there he is also. He sleeps on the rug outside the shower when I’m in it, for instance. There are no pics of that, thank you.

I followed a YouTube video directions on making inseam pockets and almost got there. Almost. I thought they turned out pretty sloppy. In the next dress I made, they turned out much better but I made up my own technique. First, I did not serge the outline of the pockets before I sewed them in. 

The pre-serged edges of the pockets didn’t line up well. I fixed this by just going over the edges with a zigzag and then trimming it down by hand. The edges are much cleaner now.

You can see on the bottom how badly they did not line up. This little bit I was unable to  fix. I’ll have to live with it.

Now the placket:

I created a bias square with a contrasting fabric…

I cut out a rectangle to creat the placket…

And voila! There it is! I really love it! And once again, I did a baby hem facing in the neckline and sleeves. Now those, I do hand stitch down. The stitching will eventually blend better and I don’t run the risk of running off the hem facing leaving wide gaps where the machine missed it. I hate that!

I’m working on the 2nd Gap Clone dress in this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful cotton! It’s a quilting cotton, as well but incredibly soft. So soft, in fact, I really wanted it to be a chemise but there just wasn’t enough yardage for it. Same-same construction as the striped Gap Clone, but I did not hand fell the seams here. Again…it’s 2019 and I own modern sewing machines. A big difference is that in this lighter cotton, I could see the turned fell of the inside seam so I could just top stitch into place. Couldn’t really see that in the darker stripe and kept running off the seam, hence…hand stitching it down.

Did the same bias square for the placket…

Yoke is cut on the bias to create the chevron. It just means there were 4 yoke pieces instead of 2 and I had to remember to add a seam allowance on the center back. The latest one took only several hours to cut and sew. I could have finished it in one day but I started late. Today, I will get it finished by baby hem facing the neck and sleeves and hemming the bottom. Hand work. Which I dearly love to do. Put a good movie or documentary on the telly and hand stitch away. Heaven.

I will make this again. I wore the original Gap dress out and it’s fraying in several places. Also…it’s too short. That’s another modification I made here is I lengthened the pattern some. In my next making of this dress, I’m going to use a shirting for it’s drapey-ness and flowy-ness and add a box pleat in the back instead of a center back seam. I think the quilting cotton would be too stiff to allow for a nice box pleat at center back. But a flowy shirting will do it up nicely.

Did I mention that the only reason I bought the original Gap dress is to make a pattern from it??? I saw a lady my age wearing it at Walmart one day and asked where she got it. She told me she loved it and wore it every time it came out of the dryer. I found that I did the same. I wore it, washed it, dried it, put it back on.  It is the quintessential piece of summer clothing. Light, casual, comfy, go anywhere, do anything in dress. I think I will always have a Gap Clone dress in my wardrobe. 

I cloned the Original Gap dress 3 years ago, but for whatever reason, I can’t find the original pattern clone and had to do it again. This time, I made a version for just a top to go with shorts. The first time I cloned the Gap dress, it turned out shorter than the original dress so I cut it off and made a top out of it. That top has been a fave, too. Great pattern. 

Also, I’m finding I don’t have the patience to get a new pattern and then make up 7-10 muslins to get the fit right. I’m totally into TNTs now. 

Possum is sick again. I’m beginning to think that little dog is just not healthy and he is just unwell by nature. I’m not sure he will make it at this rate. Sigh. Poor little guy. I ran him into 2 emergency vet hospitals and spent over $1000 on him, to find nothing they could say was the problem. I can’t do that again so he will either get better or not. Up to him at this point. 


Jyps 🦋 

Jypsea Rose