Wednesday, March 29, 2006
This installment is all about working with a new pattern. I mean I really should use some of the "new" patterns I have purchased? I shouldn't just use the TNT patterns over and over again, right? I should be adventurous and take the journey or nightmare trip (whoops excuse me, I really only have enthusiasm for what I sew! *lol*) explore new territory, learn a new technique, pull some different tissue paper out of new pattern envelopes!
Anyway.......I have started working on my new jacket from Butterick 3978 which the pattern envelope describes as a semi-fitted, unlined jacket has collar, shoulder pads, princess seams and long sleeves. I am using an 18, 20, 22 pattern and of course, my pattern pieces now look nothing like the pieces that came out of the envelope.
First, the finished back length of the jacket is 23 1/4 inches. Well, that's a no-no! Not if I don't want the jacket to end right in the middle of my butt ~ not a pretty sight! So I lengthen all the jacket pieces three inches. Then since I haven't worked with this pattern before, I add an additional one inch to all the side seam allowances.
Next shoulder seams ~ 5 inches as a finished shoulder seam fits me best. So I cut down the shoulder seam by using Cynthia Guffey's method of slicing down the middle of the shoulder pattern and then overlapping the pieces and taping it closed. I remember to overlap the pieces so that the shoulder seam measures six inches unfinished! Because believe me I have cut it down to five inches before and wondered what the heck was going on!
Okay, those were the easy adjustments. Next up is the bicep adjustment to the sleeve. I hate the fact that almost all patterns made in larger sizes unless they are women's sizes have small biceps! What's that about! Come on people admit it! We plus size women have fat in some unusual places. Mine happens to be in my arms! Can the pattern companies work with me here so that I don't have to totally redraft a sleeve pattern?! I usually like a slash and cut method that I learned from Cynthia Guffey but I have to admit that I have been influenced by the patternreview women and the Palmer & Pletsch book, Fit for Real People, has been residing on my bedside nightstand. So after reviewing the P&P way and checking out CG's method in her booklet, Precision Measuring & Pattern Alterations, I use a little from both! Hey, I am an equal opportunity fitter!
This is one of those times where a fitting challenge turned into a design opportunity. As I was working with the fabric ~ it's kinda plain ~ I knew I would need some detailing or embellishment that would make the pieces sing. I didn't really want to do a distinctive embellishment because then the pieces would lose their functionality or mix and match ability. So I was thinking of a subtle embellishment. I have decided to use a topstitching stitch that I have used before that gives a garment distinction but still makes it able to mix and match well. I will use stitch pattern number117 on my Janome 8000 for the topstitching. But I digress...this was about the sleeves.
I did add two inches to my bicep measurement by using CG's method but then after reading about adding a seam to the sleeve to add even more width without enlarging the wrist measurement ~ a lightbulb moment occurred! Or what Oprah refers to as "Aha moments!" I decided to add the seam and then add a topstitching detail to the sleeve. Wow, a fitting challenge that has become a successful design opportunity! That's what I love about sewing! That's when I feel that I am accomplishing something different, making the garment mine! Yeah, that's the thrill!
So I now take my totally disfigured pattern pieces and lay them onto my fabric and cut! Yeap, cut that sucker out. No wearable muslin. No muslin at all. Just cut out my good fabric with the 1" side seams. Did I hear a gasp? Did someone go, "ohmygosh!" And did someone even think, boy did she mess that one up! Well, maybe I did and maybe I didn't. I do have two additional yards of this fabric ~ after cutting out my TNT pants and skirt patterns. So I do have the ability to mess up and recut. But what is the fun of sewing if you just muslin? And how do you know how your fabric is going to react if you only muslin? And here is the $100,000 question, why are you afraid to cut your more expensive fabric? I mean its only fabric! Granted, I only paid $12.99 p/yd for this (which by the way is a lot for me!) But how will I ever learn if I don't just do it!
So, here is the question of the wee hours of the morn....Are you afraid to cut into your "real" or "expensive" fabric? Why? Are you afraid of losing "the investment"? But how much is it really worth if it just sits on your shelves, in your totes, or in your fabric closets unmade? Can you learn to be fearless in your sewing? Are you willing to engage in the adventure and learn something new, make a mistake, or end up with a great new garment? You know the opposite of a wadder is a wonderful, wearable garment!
Let's make a pledge together, right now, this very minute!
Let's learn to enjoy the sewing journey!
Let's lead new sewing adventures and remember, that there is more fabric where that original piece came from!
Anybody with me?
In a nutshell, the host has pulled the plug on the forum because the membership exceeded 100 people.
DragonLady is in negotiations with that host and is also searching for another host site to move us all to. So sit tight and keep working on those sewing projects, so you'll have a lot to post about when the site comes back up!
Keep checking in here on this 'blog or at SewingWorld in the SW Feedback section, SW Refuge Announcement topic for further updates.
Monday, March 27, 2006
I am home from work today nursing this very nasty cold and since I have not sewn for several days now, I am suffering from withdrawal. My wool/cashmere fabric is on the cutting table with several pieces pinned to it to be cut out but the temperatures predicted by the weatherman is playing with my mind. Also when I look out my kitchen window, the tree facing the parking lot is starting to bud and the surrounding trees have a green hue to them. Spring is coming!
So I grabbed my notebook to check out my Spring Sewing List that had been compiled earlier to see if maybe I shouldn't unpin the wool/cashmere and fold it away for fall. But after going over my list, I realize that the pieces I have picked to work on will be fine for the beginning of spring. Even if I only wear them once before it gets really warm, they will make great early fall pieces. So I am going to continue on and finish these pieces.
Now that I have a digital camera and will be taking pictures of my finished garments in real time, I have named all of my "collections" for spring/summer. Naming them has also made it really easy to keep track of my projects. The wool/cashmere pieces are being called, "Cashmere Dreams" and will consist of:
- A jacket from Butterick 3978
- My TNT short flare skirt. I have retraced the pattern and added just a little more flare to the skirt panels so the bottom hem will be a little more flippy.
- a pair of lined straight leg pants from my TNT pattern
I will use the emmaonesock circle rayon/lycra blend fabric for a t-shirt. I debated whether or not to make a tank but decided for the time of the year that I want to wear these pieces that a t-shirt will provide more coverage & warmth.
I know many of you think of this as mini-SWAP sewing but since reading a book by Judith Rasband, I have always tried to capsule sew. By sewing in SWAPs or capsules, you end up with mix and match pieces that are wearable with each other and hopefully other things in your closet. Over the years I have found that I usually purchase the same type of colors in both RTW as well as fabrics. So I sew in color families. Mix and match pieces also work for my lifestyle. I don't have much time in the morning so I need for my clothing to come out of my closet in pieces that work together without much thought. And since I sew 99% of my work wardrobe, I solve this issue in the planning phase.
So I am off to take a dose of cough medicine so that I don't cough all over my fabric and then I will pin and cut out my pieces. Hopefully, I will have time later this week to work on the construction of these garments.
But first, can I ask a question or two? How much planning do you put into your sewing? Do you make sure that the piece or pieces that you are considering making work with the other pieces in your wardrobe? Or do you have a closet full of orphans?
Monday, March 20, 2006
Dear Sewing World Friend,
Kathryn (fzxdoc) and I have been among the ever-widening circle of Sewing World’s users who are worried that it seems to be teetering ever closer to the brink of disappearance. I don’t know how familiar you are with the history of SW, but we have been concerned that there is an increasing likelihood that SW will just grind to a halt. Threads can now only go 1/3 of their former length, they disappear without warning, many features, such as Search, no longer work at all, and many of us have gotten the dreaded white screen more and more often.
Since we have come to cherish SW and the Sharing, Inspiration and Project Photos (SIPP) thread especially, we put our heads together to come up with somewhere to go in case of a crash or just a continuing spiral down. As you know, we looked at the PatternReview and FabricMart boards as well as exploring some other avenues.
We are very pleased that a SW poster called DragonLady has come to our rescue! Perhaps you remember her from SW; she did not post on SIPP. During one of the flurries of posts on the Feedback topic (which is supposed to get action by Scott and Krista) people were lamenting the many problems besetting SW. She has run and runs several boards, and explained a little about why SW was unstable, etc. and offered to do or help do an upgrade on the SW board. No response from those in charge and nothing happened.
DragonLady has now put up a board we can use if needed and anytime, actually. For the time being, SWRefuge. (The name will probably change eventually, and suggestions are being solicited on the site.) Kathryn and I have been helping to test it, and we like what we see. It has wonderful, modern features, and we hope you will like it.
We hope you will bookmark this site’s address, and check it out at your leisure. There will also be links to the SWRefuge site on the sidebars of Liana, Mardel, and Carolyn’s blogs, in case you need the address later, and so that everyone can move seamlessly to the new site should it become necessary.
We hope you will not think that we have been precipitate, or that we or DragonLady are trying to usurp SW. It is simply our wish not to lose all of our wonderful friends and relationships that have been forged on SIPP that has galvanized us to take action.
I hope you will register at the new board.
Here is the link: http://wickenburgarea.com/sw/index.php
Hopefully I will have a click link on my blog soon!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Here is a very tired me modeling them:
And here they are on the hanger. I think I like this view best! I made them with my tried 'n true pants pattern and I wasted a lot of time this weekend or they definitely could have been finished faster!
Just wanted to show you that not all fabric lounges in my fabric closet. Some of it never even makes it there! Along with making these pants, I put the hem in my SWAP dress and sewed in the shoulder pads. I am just too tired to get gussied up and take a picture in the outfit, but I will soon. And I will post pictures here, first!
The other thing I did this weekend was update my sewing list so I would know where I am going next. I mean now that I am done swapping and even though I know what I want my next project to be, you see that I made a pair of pants this weekend instead! That's why I need a sewing list, it helps keep me on track of what I want to make so that I don't go off on sewing tangents. Not like that hasn't happened! Okay, does it sound like I'm rambling. Sounds like that to me. So it's off to bed so that I can go to work in the morning to make more money to spend on kewl fabric!
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Lately I have been very impressed by two young women who post to Pattern Review. I love their sense of style and how sewing is an adventure for them! They are fabricaholics ~ which make them wonderful people in my book! And they are game for a sewing challenge ~ another sewing trait that I really admire.
So my first Saturday Morning Shout Out is to Cambric Tea. She sews out of Pennsylvania and only has 16 reviews so far on Pattern Review:
But the patterns she has chosen to use work so well for her figure. It is obvious that she is developing a love affair with fabric and she is stretching her creative wings! If only I could borrow her husband and his photographing skills for a weekend! So here is a shout out to you! Keep doing what you are doing and I will be here watching and cheering you on!
My next Saturday Morning Shout Out is to Stacy from www.stacysews.com. Stacy came to my attention during the Hot Patterns craze. I was amazed and in awe of the fact that she muslined and muslined and muslined until she got a working pattern. And when it worked, boy, did it work! I know that I wouldn't put that much effort into a pattern! *smile* Stacy has 55 reviews at Pattern Review. Reviews of not only clothing for herself but for her children too! You can see them here:
So my next Saturday Morning Shout Out is to you Stacy! I can't wait to see where your next sewing adventure will take you!
My final Saturday Morning Shout Out goes to the Women on Sewing World who are participating in Julie Timmel's 2006 SWAP Contest! Ohmygosh, are you just wonderful, talented and gifted women! First to Julie Timmel, who has run this contest for three years and encouraged all of us to go beyond ourselves with our sewing. To think things through and plan, to spend quality time with our sewing machines and fabric and to build the camaderie she has built through sewing. Julie, you are truly a gift and I so appreciate your efforts!
To all the women who are participating in the SWAP, you are truly an inspiring group of women. My first thought was to name each and every one of you and then I was horrified that I might leave someone out! So know that if you began and gave up, if you are somewhere stuck in the middle, if life's issues have forced you to quit before you finished, if you are racing to the finish line, or if you have finished and moved on to other projects ~ I so admire your attitude, your willingness to try something new, your love of sewing and most definitely, your dedication to sewing!
As some of you know my beloved father died last summer and I had a really hard time picking my sewing back up. SWAP really helped me find my first love again and for that and all of you beautiful women presently SWAPing I say a much heartfelt thank you!
This will be my last Saturday Morning Shout Out. Not because there aren't many more wonderful women sewing out there who encourage me daily but because it is time to move on! However, I want to take the time to compliment and encourage any women who puts thread and needle together to create something! If no one has said it to you today ~ you are a joy! A wonder! An absolutely amazing person who is creative and has an ability that not every one can do! Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a hug and know that you are truly admired for your uniqueness!
Friday, March 17, 2006
This is what I am telling myself as I cross 40th Street that I can't stay long. I still need to make a stop at the Duane Reade (area drug store) and I need to be in line for the bus 10 minutes before it leaves so that I could get a seat and not have to wait another half hour for a bus! Okay, this is what my rational mind is saying. Now that greedy fabric area of my mind is going, new fabric, new fabric, we are going to see more fabric. Fabric that can make things, fabric that make dreams come true...new fabric, new fabric, we are going to see new fabric.
To make a long story short, in just 10 short minutes I found and committed myself to these pieces.
2.5 yards of a beautiful menswear 100% brown wool with a light green stripe for $4.99 per yard. How could I leave this! I have a twinset in the same green that is in the stripe. I have some brown ambience lining just waiting to go with this. If I make these into pants this weekend, I will have a new outfit for work on Monday! Yeap, had to buy this!
I had originally only wanted 4 yards of this 100% worsted wool grey/blue windowpane plaid but since there was 4.5 yards left, I got it for 4 yards. Again for the grand price of $4.99 per yard. This will be a short, flare lined skirt and of course a pair of lined pants. I am in love with this new short flared skirt pattern that I have and want to make several hundred of them. They look good on me and work well in my work wardrobe. So of course since it already knew what it wanted to be, it had to come home with me too! And since arriving at home, it has announced that it believes that there is just enough to make vest fronts and did I know that I had a really kewl grey lining remnant in the lining bin that would make backs. Three coordinated pieces, yes! But when will I get time to sew them! Oh well, they can join the sewing ideas list. *sigh*
And finally, yes, there is more.....
This is a lovely home dec brocade in winter white. Please pardon the picture taking skills ~ I am definitely a newbie. I had seen this in the store before when Fikret's starting carrying home dec goods at a price of $25 per yard. I quickly scooped up 4 yards at the grand price of $5 per yard. It was just too beautiful to leave in the store. You know how you have to always buy a fantasy piece ~ well this is my fantasy piece. I dreamt about what it could become all the way home!
And finally there was some Elmo flannel for $2 a yard that came home and is already in the washing machine so that it can become Elmo PJs for the youngest DD. Right after Dora, Elmo is her bestest friend!
Now, I know you are wondering did she make her bus? Did she stop at Duane Reade's? Or did she just give in and catch the next one? I made the bus. I was in the store a total of 13 minutes! Can you believe that! 13 minutes! I was walking in the door of Duane Reade 2 minutes later and was standing on line for the bus 7 minutes before it loaded. See I was suppose to have this fabric! And here is the absolutely, amazing part.........are you ready?! All of this fabric, plus tax only cost me $58 dollars and 89 cents.
So I am off now. Off to sew. Off to dream. Off to be looking good on Monday! *LOL*
Oh and by the way, it isn't my fault! It's Threads' and I am sticking with my story!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
For this year's birthday - I was inspired by an 18"doll outfit that I saw on the Simplicity Patterns website. So here is my version of a Chanel suit for an 18" doll. Ssshhh! We know its for an American Girl doll!
The skirt and jacket are made from Simplicity pattern 4416 from a tweed boucle that was just recently on Fabric Mart's website. I added a small white binding that was in my stash to the jacket, skirt and hat. The shoes, handbag and hat were purchased from Newark Dressmaker's Supply/Home Sew's Catalog. They are located in Bethlehem, PA. (phone: 800-344-4739).
Here is a shot of the linen dress that I made to go with the suit. The linen is left over from an outfit I made for me. I buy most of my linen from Habib Fabrics in NYC. They are located on 8th Avenue and are the best. If you get a chance to fabric shop in NYC, you should stop by!
I am sure that my friend and her niece will be happy with this gift! At least I hope so! I have a few other pictures of some Bitty Baby Doll Clothes in my Yahoo Photo Album.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
What would I do? Does anyone else worry about this? I mean I am a relatively healthy 46 year old woman and technically I should have loads of sewing time left on this earth! But what if I get old and I don't want to sew any more? Could this happen? Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh, noooooo!
Could I not want to spend quality time with my sewing machine? Or planning wonderful outfits to wear out of the house? Creating cute doll clothes that my friends' little girl's adore playing with? Even inspiring my own child to go to her room and make her sewing machine hum in conjunction with mine? And maybe even continue to sew and teach her child to sew, too?
What if I am physically unable to sew when I get older? Will I try to learn new techniques or will I abandon my habit? God, this sounds so morbid but all of these things flashed through my head this afternoon.
I really, really, really want to be planning an outfit as I am headed out of this world and into the next. But is that a realistic assumption. Will I get to old to sew?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
I love my fabric collection. I have taken the time to carefully store it and categorize it. I have lovingly purchased each piece. I have hopes and dreams of wonderful garments to be made from these pieces. And I get so much joy each time I open the door of my closet and stand inside it. I can actually hear it singing lovely songs to me. Am I crazy? Maybe...definitely crazy about fabric.
I love the color and feel of the textures. I love how it handles. I love sewing it and I love owning it. It is one of the best parts of sewing ~ turning a flat piece of fabric into an awesome three-dimensional garment.
I have likened owning fabric to the paintbrushes and paint that an artist uses to paint an amazing picture or portrait. Or the gardening tools that a gardener uses to till and grow a beautiful garden. Or even the pages and computer that an author uses to create an imaginery world that we all want to journey to. I mean we all create things, right?! So why wouldn't you have many different pieces of fabric, thread, notions and patterns to use to fashion your own wearable fantasies!
Okay, I admit that owning a lot of anything can be overwhelming. But how have you stored your precious treasures? Are they just out and laying about shouting to you and interrupting your creative flow? Are they stored in a dark and dingy place and treated like second class citizens? Or are they treated like the precious tools that they are?
So are you ashamed of your collection? Or are you invigorated, challenged and deliriously happy about it?
And here is a peek at mine! Just a little peek but if you want to see more detailed pictures, please feel free to check them out at my yahoo album.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Then to emulate the pinstripe that is in several of the other pieces, I ran three lines of triple stitching in brown thread down the front of the dress. On top of the three lines of machine stitching, I hand stitched beige pearls down the first and third rows. In the center row I hand stitched gold seed beads. I really like how the finished embellishment turned out. It will definitely give the dress a distinctive look but still be in style especially since beading and embellishment are still big looks this spring in RTW.
Here is a close-up picture of the embellishment. Now all I have left to do is add some fusible interfacing to the hem so that I can do the three rows of hemming that Cynthia Guffey recommends. I really like using this hemming technique on garments that I am putting a lot of work into. The hem lays flat and provides an anchor for the dress. A really kewl technique. After this is done then I am moving onto other pieces.
I just got more of this wool/cashmere blend from Fabric Mart and I am going to make a pair of lined pants with a very straight leg, a jacket (Butterick 3978), and I want to modify my flare skirt just by adding a little more flare to the skirt pattern so it will have a nice swirl to the skirt.
Butterick Pattern 3978 ~ photo courtesy of www.voguepatterns.com
Here are my fabrics together.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Here are pictures of my last two garments. The cardigan has been lengthened to dress length and is made from Burda OOP 8869. I love this pattern and have made so many pieces from it. The tie dyed knit was found this summer at H&M Fabrics on 35th Street in NYC. The paprika rayon knit was purchased from Timmel Fabrics at the end of January 2006. I love how two pieces of fabric purchased at different times can come together and make a great outfit. What you can't see in the picture of this cardigan is that I got the great idea to line it with a brown ambiance rayon lining because I want to wear it as just a dress with either the t-shirt under it or a tank top. I can see some of you wincing, as you should. It was a bear to sew a woven to a stretch fabric. So why didn't I just buy a stretch lining....to lazy! And boy did I pay for that mistake! It took forever and several attempts to get the lining and the knit to play nicely with each other. But I am satisfied with the final results. Note that I said satisfied and not happy! It is not warm enough here in the lovely NY metro area to wear this outfit as just a dress and top yet but I will be sporting the three pieces shown above soon.
Here is a close up of the t-shirt:
I love the color of the t-shirt and this is my favorite t-shirt pattern. I have another one, a v-neck version from a discontinued Sandra Betzina pattern, that I make a lot of but primarily in the summer. This is such a quick and easy sew, especially in this fabric. And these tops add so much versatility to my wardrobe.
Finally here is a shot of all the pieces I have made so far without the dress. It is still laying on my sewing table waiting to get embellished.
From left to right:
1. Sewing Workshop Mission Tank in beige cashmere wool blend from Fabric Mart.
2. Brown pinstripe wool/linen blend from FM in a modified skirt pattern of a TNT skirt pattern.
3. Brown herringbone wool/poly blend from collection in the same modified skirt pattern.
4. The cardigan and t-shirt
5. Brown herringbone wool/poly blend in TNT pants pattern.
6. Burda OOP 8869 cardigan from beige cashmere blend lined in beige silk print.
7. Beige silk print Sewing Workshop Mission Tank lined with nude stretch lining.
8. Brown pinstripe wool/linen pants in TNT pants pattern.
9. Brown/rust sweater print from EOS (emmaonesock) in Burda cardigan pattern.
10. Beige rayon sweatery fabric from Fabric Fixx in t-shirt pattern from Burda pattern.
11. Kwik Sew jacket 3334 in the brown pinstripe. This still needs finishing details but I really love the suede piping on the collar that matches the color of the pinstripe.
The final piece is the dress that I am working on. It is a morph of the Burda t-shirt pattern. It has been lengthened, a back zipper added, back fisheye darts and front armhole darts added. There has also been a pleat added in the front of the dress to remove some of the fullness. The pleat has been stitched down with 3 rows of stitching to reiterate the pinstripe found in several of the other garments. I am adding rows of small beige pearls and golden seed beads to the front of the pinstripe stitching. The dress is presently a little longer than calf length but I am going to cut it off today....just don't know how short! I will most likely end up swapping the rayon t-shirt out of the collection so that I have just 11 garments to enter into the competition.
I am glad that I did this. These garments add a lot to my wardrobe and since I have more of the beige cashmere/wool blend coming from Fabric Mart, I plan on adding another pair of pants, skirt and top to the mix. That will finish up this round of sewing for me and I will move onto something else. Hopefully the Dolce & Gabbana knock-off skirt pictured in my post ~ "The Art of Creation." Not like I don't have a list of 10 or 12 other things to make up, too!
Friday, March 03, 2006
Vogue Pattern Magazine - April/May 2006 edition