Saturday, March 31, 2007

End of the Month Randomness

Well its the last day of March and I have just bits and pieces of thoughts....

1. SWAP News
SWAP is the predominant sewing thing on my mind because well its official end date is tomorrow, April 1st. Thankfully Julie of Timmel Fabrics has given us to April 15th to get pictures into her so I really have one more weekend besides this one to finish up. And I am going to need every minute of it! I will take my photos next weekend and then take them to work to PhotoShop them so that I can present the best five.

Actual sewing that remains is - the red dress needs to be hemmed (I never got to it last week!), the black dress needs buttons & buttonholes and to be hemmed, the reversible dress needs to be made - going to work on that this weekend and the Dana Silhouettes top needs to be made. All of this is doable this weekend and next and I will be done with SWAP!

I have to say that I will be glad to be finished....I have so much new Spring fabric waiting for me that I really want to sew which brings me to my next topic:

2. Fabric Accumulation
Fabric Mart and Metro Textiles really did me in this month! I got 44 yards of fabric from Fabric Mart - the wonderful pieces of linen and wool blends that I detailed earlier in the month and 12 yards of hot, trendy pieces from Metro Textiles. I also got a 2 yard knit piece from Gorgeous Things Fabrics (gotta support my friends!) and 2 yards of a black/white blend boucle from because I want to knock off this jacket from Barrie Pace:

3. Garment Totals
I just haven't thought about this because this month's sewing has been dedicated to SWAP sewing. My goal is just to get finished! *LOL* And move onto other things...preferably things that don't have to match with something else or the other 10 pieces...maybe just make a t-shirt because I can or a new skirt from a piece of fabric from my amazing fabric collection!

4. Last thoughts....
-Ann (Gorgeous Things) wrote about purchasing fabric and the fabric moratorium boards on a few of the sewing sites...I have been trying to reduce my fabric intake - only because I want to make a rather large furniture purchase - but I just have not been that successful...maybe because the siren song of fabric and its possibilities is just too sweet to my ears! Plus as you lay dying do you really think your last thought is going to I bought too much fabric during my life! *LOL* So that just about sums up my position on THAT!

-Another one of those little brown envelopes have turned up from Fabric Mart, but I think I am going to escape without a major fabric purchase this month - just a couple yards of a black linen blend and only because I am too lazy to cart some home from the garment district...

-I purchased this pattern from Simplicity-4074 yesterday thanks to Patti, a good sewing friend. I have been searching for a knit wrap type dress ala DVF that would look good on my plus size body. I really don't want to look like a sausage with a string tied around my waist, like so many plus-size women that I have seen in NYC wearing this look. I think this pattern will solve my challenge. I can wear a trendy new style but still look sleek and slim! So that along with the eyelet trench will be my next projects...well after those AG doll clothes!

Have a good weekend and enjoy the sewing journey!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I have figured something out

Okay this is probably going to be a brief post without pictures because I just had a thought and wanted to share....and its probably something that nobody else cares about, but so what its my blog! *LOL*

I have been visiting blogs today and noticed that other people have lives - small children that require well you know all the things they require (I remember those times!), other hobbies - they knit or scrapbook or something, husbands (well he's been gone for some time now) and generally full lives...I work and I sew.

Mmmmm, maybe that's why I create so much stuff! *LOL* My attention is not diverted to other things...I mean I have children but they are teenagers who basically can fend for themselves and go their own way....and I have friends but their children are all grown now so we do grown up activities which don't seem to take as much time as activities with children....

So I sew...and when I am working I am thinking of ways to get home as quickly as possible so I can sew! See a one track mind! *LOL* I am heading back to SWAP land....more soon!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

One down, two and 1/2 more to go

Switching to the Viking definitely helped with the pintucks and then a good cleaning of my regular (Janome 8000) sewing machine's bobbin case and it is back to purring like a baby....I still think I am going to take her in for a servicing but I don't think it's going to die before I finish SWAP - thank goodness!

I got the piece of fabric pintucked

and then decided that I liked the channeling effect better on the reverse side of the pintucks. So that is the side of the fabric that I used to create the dress.

The pintucking gave the fabric dimension and once the embellishment was completed the dress went together one, two, three. But then of course it should, it's a TNT pattern.

I am including a shot of me in the dress, well an off the cuff no fashion shoot shot and I hope you can see the ribbed effect all the pintucking gave the dress. It still needs a hem but I needed a break, will hem it before I go to bed. One more SWAP dress completed.

I have been dithering over the black wool crepe Tamotsu dress not because I don't want to finish it but because I really couldn't decide if I wanted the long sleeves on the dress as originally planned. I finally decided to go with a sleeveless version since I plan on wearing it under both of the SWAP jackets. I am going to keep the sleeves handy, just in case I change my mind next fall but right now it will be sleeveless.

This dress needs the collar added, a finishing treatment done to the armholes, buttons & buttonholes added and to be hemmed. And I am even reconsidering the length of the dress - I am thinking about making it knee-length instead of calf-length....decisions, decisions...I wonder if this is how the designers feel before they do a show in Bryant Park! *LOL*

I have one more dress finished, one almost finished (the half referred to in the title!), a top which I think will probably end up being the Silhouttes Dana top because I just can't imagine a turtleneck now and the reversible tank dress. I can see the finish line...I just hope I can keep sprinting towards it!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Staggering towards the finish line

The SWAP finish line that is....

Why is it that when you have a deadline everything seems to go wrong or you get these gradiose ideas which also causes everything to go wrong....

First - my sewing machine needs to go in the shop. It was making a knocking noise but sewing a straight stitch well enough and probably well enough for me to finish my SWAP pieces. But I got the great idea to embellish the red wool crepe so that my TNT short sleeve dress would have some umph...not heavy embellishment...just some double-needle pintucks. Okay, I admit that I am pintucking the entire piece of fabric but my machine should have held up through that....NOT!

Second - frustration set in last Sunday evening as I realized that an entire weekend was going to pass without me completing another garment on my SWAP and the deadline was looming. I was pretty moody at work on Monday because I would have much rather been at my sewing machine....

Third - inspiration from another source - Hotpatterns decides to put out a new collection. Now I have never purchased a Hotpatterns pattern - though the designs are inspiring I had been put off by the sewing challenges. However this pattern really started me thinking:

credits -

Then I make the mistake of informing my internet buddies that I "like" the pattern and the ideas start flowing hot and heavy. Does any of this idea sharing encourage me to continue my SWAP sewing....Noooooo! Instead I have to keep repeating over and over again that I still have SWAP sewing to do.

Fourth - a box of beautiful knit fabrics arrive from FabricMart, the weather is starting to turn warm and I am sewing fall items....need I say more!

So today I pulled out the old Viking, set it up and it is making pintucks like a whiz, and I am staggering towards the SWAP finish line.

Wish me luck! Because I still have SWAP sewing to do!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sewing Inspiration

I usually spend Saturday mornings trolling the internet - visiting blogs, looking at online fashion spots, etc. I happen to love the Dana Buchman line. Have loved it for years but in my last job I really didn't need to wear the kind of clothing she sold but loved her line for color and style inspiration! Well what a difference a year this is "my" type of clothing for business attire again!

So you know I just about flipped this morning when I clicked in and saw her new spring collection and this trench:

Do I not have the perfect fabric (compliments of Kashi) to make this trench! Won't it just be fabu ~ yeah, I know I am overusing the word but it's my new word of the moment! Don't I have several trench patterns in my pattern stash that could become this amazing coat!

Now to contain my excitement, finish my SWAP, make those doll clothes and move onto Spring Sewing! Yes!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007


There are 23 days left to SWAP according to Marji's blog and 16 days left according to Shannon's blog....but in my head there are four more weekends (including this one) to finish the last pieces of my "Corporate Chic" SWAP. Doing the dress SWAP has been considerably easier for me and really allowed me to just flow...

Last weekend I finished up the black/white plaid jumper - picture below.

So I still have two dresses - one of which will be reversible and one top left to make. I have already started one of the dresses, just need to be inspired to complete it. I definitely feel like I am going to finish the SWAP in plenty of time and even have enough time to do a photo shoot the way that I want. Last year I don't think that I properly displayed my garments or really gave a good description of how they worked in my wardrobe. These are definitely two areas I want to improve upon this year!
After I finish my SWAP - I am going to take a break from human clothes and make some clothes for my boss' daughter's American Girl doll. Her birthday is May 7th and I have planned a wardrobe of doll clothes for her 18" doll. I love sewing doll clothes especially since this is stress-free sewing. You plan, get creative & sew. The doll doesn't complain, doesn't worry about fit and I can usually make one or two outfits that just WOW! the little girl.

Finally two additional pictures - I posted about the Taginello purse that I bought from QVC last weekend...well it arrived and I have two shots of it for you Linda! The inside....

And the bag with the matching wallet...that was the part that really sold me. It is a little smaller than the huge tote I am presently lugging around but I notice that in the summer I carry less stuff so this should work out fine.

Gotta go to the sleet bangs against the is the middle of March, right? I mean Spring really is next Tuesday...'cause it sure feels like winter here in NJ!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Marfy Virgin

I have admired Marfy patterns for years....and for years I have faithfully purchased the catalogs from the newsstands in NYC - never thinking about purchasing a pattern - only using the catalogs for inspiration in my sewing.

However, there has been an explosion of Marfy pattern making on the sewing boards. All of it inspiring...all of it challenging...most of it intimidating! For several seasons I have had what I claimed was a legitimate reason not to accept the challenge of a Marfy pattern..."They don't come in my size." Now this is not to say Marfy doesn't make plus size patterns, but the really kewl patterns - like the one on the cover or in the first few pages of the catalogue - aren't in the plus size range. I like the detailing on the kewl skinny patterns, the slim fit, the play with color that is lacking in their plus size offerings. So I admired these patterns from the sidelines and just borrowed liberally from their amazing details for my own clothing.

Lately I have become enamoured with this Marfy pattern: F1313

I can just see this lovely dress made up in a pretty spring colored linen with some awesome RiRi zippers and then all of that pretty topstitching setting the dress off. I have drooled at this dress all over the internet - on blogs, at the Marfy website, at the Vogue Pattern website. I even wrote a blurb on Phyllis blog about how I loved the dress but it didn't come in a plus size. Over the weekend, as I was drooling over my catalogue yet again, and noticed something that I hadn't seen before...this pattern goes up to a size 54. I can work with that. I am sure I am going to have to do some alterations but I can work with this. So I took the plunge. I ordered the pattern from Vogue's pattern site. Usually when I order something from the internet I am anxiously awaiting the mailman. But mostly I just feel like a virgin on her wedding night, scared of the unknown, wondering if I can go through with it and yet eager to begin. So I will let you know when it arrives and I will walk you through my process.

But for now back to swapping....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's Show and Tell Time!

I usually don't start sewing on Saturdays until late Saturday afternoon or evening. And this is a new thing for me because before I started this new job I would get up early on Saturday morning, read some sewing things and head off to sew. Because of my new, more all-encompassing job, I rarely read blogs at work and it has to be a really slow day for me to head over to Stitcher's Guild and read. Which means that now I get up early on Saturdays and spend hours catching up on all the sewing blogs, fabric sites and Stitchers' Guild. So I am really amazed when I hear or get comments like I produce quite a few garments so quickly...because in my mind I always think I could be producing so much more....But that is all an aside...what I am posting about today are the lovely fabrics that I copped from Kashi & Metro Textile.

First a group shot:

Next up ~ the black 'n white cotton with the embroidered edge. I know exactly what I am doing with this one...Sewing Workshop Mission Tank! It will look so great with all the black linen pieces that I already have in my wardrobe.

This silky cotton print will become - Simplicity 9693.

A cute button front top to appear under the ubiquitous black summer suit that I will need for corporate meetings.

Now this is what I traveled to Metro Textiles for ~ eyelets! The HOT, HOT, HOT! fabric for this spring/summer season. Ann described the brown eyelet to me at lunch and of course I drooled...right there at the table, thank God napkins were handy! I picked up these two which of course coordinate...there are so many possibilities jumping out at me every time I handle these!

This tweedy blue with gold embroidery just took my breath Kashi wrapped it around my body and cut! This will become a skirt this weekend. It just can't linger around, it needs to be worn right away...and the weather is cooperating! The temperatures will be in the '50's and even the '60s by the middle of the week...skirt and dress weather, yes!

I have a little more sewing reading to do and to try to talk myself out of the *mumble-mumble* yards that I saw at Fashion Fabrics Club and want. Maybe I should stop clicking on those links in the emails.... But I might make it, well at least past the weekend, Thursday is pay day and the sale is on for two weeks....anyway the reason I made it past today is because I got this at QVC...I really like this line of bags...they work so well for all the things I need to cart daily to and from NYC and they have a classic kinda styling. I have two that I bought from a local handbag shop in NYC and can't believe that they are now on QVC.

Well I am off...gotta work on those two SWAP dresses that are so close to being finished that I can taste them...and this is a good dress wearing week so I am inspired to complete them! Never mind that the SWAP deadline is in 5 weeks!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lunch with friends, $120 and my Metro Pass...

Today was an eventful day for me. I had lunch with two wonderful sewing women, Ann of Gorgeous Things and Mardel of Sewdistracted. They were in the city to fabric shop and graciously met me near my job on the Upper Westside for lunch. It was a fantastic hour of gabbing about fabric, sewing, fitting and fabric, sewing, fitting and blogs! The hour went by much too quickly for me and I hated parting from them especially knowing that they were headed for Metro Textiles! I was a block away from my job when I realized that I had forgotten to get a picture of us to memorialize the luncheon....*duh!*

Then I get back to work and I have an email from a sewing diva, Marybeth from The Stitchery. Marybeth had previously emailed me that she was coming to New York, but she did it under her government name. I kindly replied to her inquiries about meeting up...hey I will meet anyone for fabric shopping and the Ralph Rucci exhibit but we weren't able to synch our calendars. It wasn't until I was reading Marybeth's blog this weekend that I put two and two together and then I was really disappointed that we hadn't been able to get together!

The third thing was that once Ann & Mardel arrived at Metro Textiles, Ann called me about the goodies Kashi had. Now I know that a sistah said she wasn't buying anymore fabric for several fortnights. Well a sistah lied! Down and dirty lied! Ann starts going on about the goodies and I have Kashi set a few pieces aside. Then the man did the unthinkable...he waited for me to get off work and come by. Now if that isn't customer service I don't know what is??? So in the cab over...notice I didn't even take the subway...I tell myself that I will only buy the two pieces that he is holding and nothing more...yeah right! I walked out of Kashi's spot 30 minutes later with a big bag containing five pieces of amazing fabric and I left behind three pieces because I do need to be able to eat lunch until I get paid again!!!! This is what I got:
1.5 yards of black cotton with white polka dots that has an embroidered border

2 yards of a black/white floral cotton that is so silky to the touch

2 yards of a tweedy teal fabric with an embroidered edge (ready to be made into a skirt!)

4 yards of a chocolate brown cotton eyelet

4 yards of this amazing floral print that is also an eyelet in magentas and browns

We are not even going to discuss how many more yards of fabric this adds to my collection! We are just going to rejoice in the how does that Mastercard commercial go:

Lunch with the girls - $40
Fabric from Metro Textiles - $120
Feeling unpacking the fabric and remembering the day - priceless!

And for the final part of my title, I am flashing my Metro Textiles Pass! Marybeth put a copy of Kashi's business card on her site so I am adding a copy of one to mine! And if you have one flash your Metro Pass!

The day was one of those memorable days ~ priceless, totally priceless!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I don't do it like the books say...

I don't know about you but I don't consider myself a sewing expert...a sewing enthusiast maybe...a fabricaholic definitely but a sewing way! To me sewing experts are, "The Sewing Divas" or Kathryn (fxzdoc on Stitchers Guild) or Liana (Sew Intriguing) or Ann Rowley on Stitchers Guild but not me. So when people ask for sewing advice I am a little leery about giving it. To me there are just sooo many others out there that do it better and IMHO should be giving advice.

I also think that I approach and solve sewing issues in non-traditional ways. Take for instance lining a sleeveless dress....conventional methods tell you to leave one of the shoulder seams open in the lining and turn the lining through that teeny tiny opening. Once the lining is turned you then press and handstitch the opening closed. I hate that method! Moving all of that fabric through that small opening and then wrestling it flat just drives me bananas.

So after several tries at doing that and wanting to tear my hair out I came up with my own method...this method is not on any pattern instruction sheet or in any sewing book but it works for me.

1. First I machine baste a 5/8" seam allowance on my armholes.
2. Then I press the 5/8" seam allowance down. I do this on both the dress and the lining.

3. Then I attach the lining to the dress at the neckline...clipping the seams and pressing the entire thing down...

4. Sometimes I edgestitch the inside of the lining seamline only and sometimes I edgestitch the neckline of the dress including the lining...sewing the entire front piece together.

5. Then I sew the side seams of the dress and the side seams of the lining separately.

6. Press the each set of seams open and turn the entire thing.

7. Next I take the pressed down armhole seams and give them one more press turning the lining seam allowance in just a little more.

8. Finally I edgestitch the armholes closed - sewing the lining and dress fabric together.

9. Press once more and I am done.

This is totally unconventional and works for me. I have been lining sleeveless dresses this way for so long that I forgot that its not traditional until today when I was working on a dress for my SWAP. And it got me to thinking....I can't be the only one who sews some part of the garment making process in my own manner.

So do you do have a sewing technique that isn't traditional? If so, what? Why did you deviate from the pattern instructions? And most importantly does it work for you? Tell me...I would really like to know that I am not alone in "personalizing" sewing techniques...

Finally here is a teaser picture of one of my SWAP dresses....

Talk to me people & enjoy the sewing journey!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

An Ode to Fabric Mart

"Oh Fabric Mart! Oh Fabric Mart!
I love your wonderful fabrics....
You fill my closet with ease and flair
You fill my heart so I don't have a care...
Oh Fabric Mart, Oh Fabric Mart
I love your wonderful bargains!!!!!"
(sung to Oh Christmas Tree!)

Thank God its March because I ordered fabric Monday evening and it had arrived when I walked in from a very exhausting day! Suddenly all seemed right with the world and I didn't have a care...okay, I know you won't get that last statement if you are not a "true" fabricaholic! As previously posted I bought 38 yards of fabric because Fabric Mart was having the mother of all sales....

So this is what I got:

5 yards of a rayon/linen in treebark
4 yards of a red linen
4 yards of a dark pumpkin linen
4 yards of a cornflower blue linen

5 yards of a rayon/poly/lycra (RPL) blend in dark taupe
which just happens to match the 2.5 yards of dark taupe pinstripe super 100 wool that I got from Fikret Fabrics last Saturday ~ woo hoooo!

6 yards of a poly/wool blend in a dark blue/periwinkle pinstripe and
2 yards of a periwinkle wool gabardine which coordinates with the pinstripe fabric

4 yards of a poly/rayon black crepe that is heavy and textured,
and finally 4 yards of a dark gray wool jersey

38 yards for the grand price of $ is amazing how spending a little money on fabric makes my whole day so much brighter! Ahhhh the possibilities that can come out of this box...ahhhhh the joy and pain that can spring forth...ahhhhh the outfits! Yes, I am one happy go lucky fabricaholic tonight!

I was gonna close with no more fabric for me for a fortnight but after looking it up on, I realize that a fortnight is only 14 days!!!! So I guess no more fabric for me for several fortnights! But I'm kewl and it's okay 'cause I got dreams in a box today!


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