Thursday, May 31, 2007

May's End of the Month Randomness

It is the last day of May. The calendar slides into June tomorrow but since I have been home all week it doesn't really feel like the month is changing ~ more like its just Thursday and I only have three more days of furlough! *LOL*

First let me thank everyone for the birthday wishes both on my blog and through personal emails. All of your kind wishes made the day very, very special! So thanks again!

Next, I have no pics to share. I am working on the chocolate eyelet fabric that I bought from Metro Textiles. This was originally slated to become a trench coat but since I also have a really nice black eyelet, I decided to make something else from this piece.

I am making the jacket from Butterick 4980.

The fabric is cut out but I have been debating how to finish the seams. I think I am going to bind them but need to make a sample before I proceed with the jacket. I liked how the black tank dress looked with the wearable muslin jacket so I cut the remaining eyelet fabric out in that tank dress style. This sewing vaca has definitely been all about the dress.

Speaking of dresses, the blue cotton paisley from SewMamaSew arrived today. It is now in the washing machine being prewashed. I would hate for the back of the dress to shrink at a different rate than the rest of the dress! So as soon as I finish up the chocolate eyelet pieces I will probably pick this up and finish it off especially since all of the pieces are cut out and just waiting to be sewn together. I even have a great blue summer sweater knit that I got from Textile Studios last year that would work with this dress. That would give me 4 new dresses to wear next week.

Some stats:
I constructed six garments this month and that is primarily because of this week's sewing vaca! Otherwise, I only made a dress earlier this month (pictures to come soon) and this lack of productivity was definitely due to the sewing machine problems I was experiencing.

I bought another 34.5 yards of fabric and I used 18 yards in the pieces that I have made. I am no where near using as much fabric as I am buying. And after a week at home, I realize that I stress buy fabric - but that is for another post!

A few thoughts that I had while I was sewing this week:
~Prewashing sucks! Primarily because when I get an idea and the time to sew - prewashing and the subsequent time spent pressing the fabric out seems to drain such a large amount of time from the actual act of sewing. I realized this week that normally I do prewashing of fabric during the week so that it seems like I am sewing and that I reserve weekends for strictly cutting out and sewing. So to spend an entire day pretreating the cottons from SewMamaSew was eye-opening.

~I am always amazed at the number of pattern alterations that I perform. Whenever I pull a pattern out of folder that I haven't used in awhile, it is interesting to note the changes I have made to the pattern. Gone are the days when I could pull a new pattern from the envelope, plop it down on the fabric, cut it out, sew it up and have a good-fitting outfit. Or maybe my perspective has changed...maybe good is just not good enough anymore! *smile*
More the sewing vaca winds down!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Butterick 4980 ~ The Wearable Muslin

Pattern Description:
Misses/Misses' Petite Jacket, Dress and tie belt. Loose-fitting, waist length jacket has neckband and three-quarter length raglan sleeves. View B: button loop closure

Jacquard linen tablecloth purchased at an estate sale

Construction Details:
This pattern goes up to a size 20 and I typically use a size 22 or 24 pattern. Here are a few stats from the pattern: the finished lower jacket edge is 46.5 inches. The finished sleeve (bicep) width is 19.5 and the finished bust measurement is also 46.5 inches. The back length of the jacket is 19.25 inches.

All of these measurements (except for the sleeve/bicep one) are just a few inches short of what I like in wearing ease in a garment. So the first alteration I performed was to lengthen the jacket by 2 inches. This made the jacket hit my actual waistline.

The next pattern alteration was to add one inch to the hemline of the jacket front. I did this by slicing the pattern piece from the bust point (which was clearly marked on the pattern piece) and spreading the pattern pieces so that I ended up with an additional inch at the hem. I also added one inch to the center back seam of the pattern and changed the back neckband piece to reflect this change.

Then I sewed the jacket together. Here it is hemmed and over a black tank dress that I made last year:

It is wearable but after reviewing the fit I need to make a few more alterations to the pattern. First the pattern envelope shows the jacket meeting at the front when buttoned and hanging straight down from there. I don't know if this is the artist's rendering or how the jacket is suppose to hang but I don't like the amount of space over my abdomen area. So I think I need to add another inch or two to the front piece. I also don't like the way the fabric pools in the back. It is the victim of the "place on fold" pattern piece. The next version will have a center back seam which will eliminate the pooled fabric look and the jacket will not only fit better but have a sleeker look. I am also debating whether or not to add another 2 inches to the length.

The directions for the pattern were pretty easy to follow. I deliberately made myself read them and not just follow along with the pictures. There was only one place where I thought a better explanation could be given and that was when you applied the neckband to the jacket. Otherwise, the construction sequence made sense and the jacket went together easily.

I originally choose this pattern because I was inspired by a Liz Claiborne jacket that I saw in an ad. Of course, I can't find the ad now but in my mind, I remember the jacket being longer than this. Even though the short 3/4 length sleeve jacket is in and I like the way it looks, I must remember what works for my body. And I think another 2 inches would give the appearance of a short jacket but provide just a little more body coverage. My other concern is that the jacket won't work for all garment pieces equally. I like my jackets to work not only with dresses and skirts but with pants too. I am not a huge fan of the v-spot showing on my pants...maybe if I had a flat tummy that wouldn't be a problem but I just don't like to call attention to extra plump areas on my body. My other concern is that I don't want to overfit the jacket.

I tried the jacket on with another version of the Sewing Workshop Mission Tank that I constructed from the remnants of the linen jacquard tablecloth and a pair of black linen pants from my closet. I am going to make up another pair of black pants from the herringbone linen that I scored from Ebads Fabrics last friday and wear with this outfit.

I need to make some decisions before I cut into my brown eyelet. Any comments or suggestions?

And has anyone else noticed that all the pieces that have come from my sewing room are black & white!? I need to find some color up in here! *smile* You can see more pics in my Yahoo album here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Two for the Price of One

I am a huge proponent of tried 'n true (TNT) patterns. As a believer, I think that once you have resolved your fitting issues with a pattern, you can then become creative with it. Color, print & pattern, and embellishments all become interesting design features. I would like to note upfront that all of the outfits are going to be photographed flat first. I will model the completed garments at the end of the week ~ this way I don't have to get out of my pjs! *smile*

I completed two items yesterday from my TNT dress pattern:
Version One

This is my free dress. This dress is made from fabric that was used in outfits that I made last summer. A Dillards ad was the inspiration for this dress. The ad prompted me to go scrounging through my fabric collection for these remaining pieces. As I fiddled with the fabric, I realized that I could create a dress that would work well with pieces that were already in my wardrobe.

leftover black/creme linen circle print from last year's Fabric Mart Sample Cut Club
leftover black rayon/linen from Fashion Fabrics Club

22" black zipper
3 yards of foldover black satin bias binding
Construction Details:
~ The alterations for this pattern was done 2 years ago. I used the pattern only once - to make a black linen dress for my father's funeral. I thought it was time to use the pattern again so that I could associate some different memories with it.

~ 5/8 inch seam allowances were machine basted around the neck and armhole edges. Then the seam allowances were cut off up to the basting. The seam binding was folded over and stitched down close to the open edges of the binding.

Version Two - The V-Neck Version

This dress inspired the "fairy tale" that I posted yesterday. The shades of blue paisley cotton print from SewMamaSew was originally going to be used for this dress. And since I really wanted to make this dress, I cut out my black 'n white cotton fabric.

I redrafted the bodice of my TNT dress and I am really proud that the pattern pieces work. Pattern drafting is not my strength so to get the v-neck portion to work is a very big deal to me. Below are pictures of the original bodice piece and my new revised piece. The most important part of drafting the piece was measuring from the hollow of my neck to the point on my chest where I wanted the top to criss-cross. I placed a notched mark on the pattern to indicate where the pieces should overlap and it made up successfully!

Black Dandy Damask - 100% cotton by Michael Miller from ~ and I got the last two pieces that Kristin had!

3 yards white piping, 3 yards 1.5 wide white ribbon, 3 yards 3/8" black/white striped ribbon, 22" zipper (that's navy instead of black but don't tell anyone!), 5 yards of black cotton bias binding.

Construction Details:

~White piping was aded to each front bodice piece.

~After the dress was constructed, I was dismayed to realize that I looked like a tablecloth. So I had to come up with a way to make this second version work. Searching through my trim drawer, I found a 1.5" wide white ribbon. I placed that around the empire waist of the dress but the look was too stark. So back to the trim drawer and I found a 3/8" black 'n white striped ribbon. This ribbon was basted down the center of the white ribbon and placed back around the dress. The enhanced ribbon trim gives the dress an illusion of a waist and the starkness of the plain white ribbon vanished.

~The black cotton bias binding was used as facings for the armholes and as a hem facing. I hate those 3" armhole facings that the pattern companies provide for sleeveless garments. I like the sleeker look from RTW of the small bias facings so that was the look I went for by adding the bias binding to the armhole edges. I sewed them down using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, notched the curves and pressed with a lot of steam and a clapper to get a clean folded edge.

~A hem facing was made using the black bias binding because when I tried the dress on I liked the hem length as it was. By sewing the binding on using a 3/8" seam allowance, pressing and using the clapper again, I was able to maintain the dress length that I liked. The hem was finished by hand stitching the facing to the dress.

~The dress was topstitched a 1/4" around the neckline and armhole openings. At the point where the bodice points intersect there is a small triangle sewed in for a little distinction. Of course you can't see this unless you are right up on the dress but I know that it is there!

~Finally two shallow back neckline darts were added. Because I redrafted the bodice fronts, the bodice back neckline was loose. The darts removed the fullness and caused the back to lay flat.

I will make this dress again from the blue cotton paisley when the extra fabric arrives. Of course, I will change the embellishment on the dress to make it distinct from its sister but both dresses will work wonderfully for my spring/summer work wardrobe.

Next up is the jacket from Butterick 4980. For this I am using the brown eyelet purchased from Metro Textiles earlier this year, but first I am making a wearable muslin from a tablecloth that I got from an estate sale several years ago.

I will leave you with a pic of both dresses together!

Shew! I was worried there for a minute that nothing was going to come out of my sewing machine...which is purring like a baby as she sews along! And the sewing adventure continues!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Adventures of the Fiber Fanatic - Day One

Once upon a time in a small suburban city of New Jersey, there lived a fiber fanatic who loved to sew. She surfed the internet constantly talking to other sewing friends and visiting fantastic fiber spots. She even shopped for lucious fabrics from the internet and knew the UPS man intimately because he delivered all of her treasures to her.

One week when she was off to enjoy the pleasure of sewing with no interruptions she began her sewing adventures with a beautiful paisley cotton that she had just received in the mail. The cotton sang beautiful songs to her and enticed her into believing that it would become the most beautifulest dress in her wardrobe.

So the fiber fanatic took the time to draft a new dress front onto a TNT dress pattern, all the time listening to the sweet song of the fabric. Then she cut the fabric out so thrilled because not only did she make the pattern alterations work (not one of her strong suits) but also because she could actually "see" the new dress. The fabric's song was that strong but then disaster struck...

As she lovingly laid the cut out fabric pieces on her sewing table, the fiber fanatic realized that horrors of horrors, the top back piece was missing. As she gazed at the scraps - just teeny, tiny scraps of fabric remaining in the garbage can, her heart sank. The beautiful dress had no back! Now why when the fabric was singing did it not share this with her? And why when it sang so lovingly of how beautiful she would look, did it not remind her? Or why as she dug through her notions drawer and found the perfect white piping buried at the bottom of said drawer, did the song not warn her of the heartbreak to come?

At the realization of her mistake, she sank to the floor in despair...What to do? What to do? And then the thought of 8 more days of sewing and the possibilities of more mistakes and doomed outfits caused her to sob...what a way to begin a sewing vacation! The fiber fanatic had dreamed of this sewing vacation for weeks. It had kept her calm through some dicey situations at work. She had dreamed about it as she sat in traffic coming home after a long, hard day and was this how it was to begin? And more horrors, was this how it would continue? Everything she attempted to make 'causing her heartbreak!? Her world seemed bleak indeed.

And then in the background, she heard that darn fabric's song again! Can you believe it still had the nerve to sing? But it quietly helped her stand up and make her way to her trusty computer. It had her type a quick note to the owner of the internet fabric store and order more fabric. Now another 1/2 yard of fabric is winging its way to the fiber fanatic.

Will the day be saved? Will the fiber fanatic make a wearable dress? Or will the fiber fanatic be disappointed yet again? Stay tuned for more adventures of the fiber fanatic's sewing vacation!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

First Day of my Sewing Vaca

Y'know how you wake up on the first day of vacation - stretch and smile because you realize that you have a number of days ahead of you that aren't filled with schedules and plans? That was me this morning! I woke up with a smile on my face knowing that I won't have to set my alarm clock for the next week and that I can do whatever I want!

So now that it is afternoon, the washing machine is going with cotton pieces that need to be prewashed before sewing...and you don't know what a struggle that was! I really just wanted to plop the fabric down onto the cutting table and cut, however, I knew that I would regret that the very first time I spilled something down the front of one of my lovely new dresses. While I wait for the washer and dryer to finish their cycles, I thought I would share a prelude of what is circling around in my brain.

This will definitely be a week of sewing dresses...that is what is really popping inspirationally for me right now. The new Simplicity patterns have moved dresses to the forefront of my brain! So first up, I will show you what I was working on when my sewing machine went kaput:

This is a free dress made from my TNT dress pattern. All from leftover scraps from other projects. The circle linen print is from last year as is the black linen rayon. This dress was inspired by a magazine ad and the rest is history. I still have to decide on a neck and armhole finish ~ the dress will be sleeveless. It coordinates with the short sleeve circle print jacket that I made last year. You can see the jacket here in my "Fashion Shots" post. So the moral here is to hold onto large fabric scraps - you just never know when they can become something else wonderful!

As I posted yesterday, I received my first order from SewMamaSew and this piece is just stuck in a loop in my head. So after this is prewashed, I am going to work on it first. It will be a sleeveless dress and the top in the photo will be the jacket for the dress. I am using a version of my TNT pattern along with a piece of a Peggy Sagers pattern to make the dress I am envisioning. And that's all folks, no more will just have to wait and see what emerges from my sewing machine.

Speaking of that, my baby is home! I went and picked her up last night. She was ready and the store was open until 9 p.m. - so my friend and I carried her home. She is set up and ready to be used. I am soooooo thrilled!

Linda - just for you a picture of the fabrics that I am using for Simplicity 3477. This will be second in the sewing cue. As you can see I am not straying far from the version shown on Simplicity's website because it works for me but I do have ideas for additional versions of this pattern. I so love that in a pattern ~ that it can be used to make a wardrobe of outfits with ~ making the time you spend on fitting the pattern so worth the effort! And I am sooooo happy that you ordered from Kristin. I plan on visiting her again and acquiring more but I have to thank Linda of "Whatever is on My Mind Today" for pointing her out to me!

And finally, here is a pic of the "epic project" for the sewing vaca. This is the blue/white tweedy knit (from EOS) that I referenced in an earlier post. It will be a suit and I am doing a Ralph Rucci inspired embellishment to it. Again, you will have to wait and see but I can't wait to work on this! Just gotta get those other projects that are jumping up and down like little puppies in my mind finished first!

Okay that is my update for today...I got a large glass of Mountain Dew...TBS is playing some really good movies (gotta sew with the TV - who else would keep me company?) and it is getting near time to fire up the iron and press out those cottons!
Update you tomorrow! Ohmygosh - that made me think of that Beyonce song, "Upgrade You" and now I can't get the tune out of my head!!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm free!

Well at least for the next 9 days! *LOL* I am sitting in front of my computer at 6:45 pm on a Friday afternoon...that in itself is a big deal since I don't normally arrive home until well after 8 p.m.

My office closed at 3 p.m. today and even though I didn't leave at 3, I was out a 1/2 hour later. Took the subway down to the garment district to pick up some lining and some zippers - didn't accomplish the zipper part, Steinlauf and Stoeller were closed but did visit my friends at Ebad Fabrics (if you are ever in NYC fabric shopping, stop by and tell Nabil hello - they have the best price on beautiful linens!). He also talked me into a beautiful a 3 yard piece of black herringbone twill linen. This will make a great pair of pants!

And now I am home, taking some time to surf the web, open my mail and rest up! My order from SewMamaSew was in the mailbox and I am thrilled at the pieces. Tomorrow I will pick my baby up from the sewing machine store - she is ready! There was a message that my machine is at Sears but I am a little leery...we will see! No matter what, I am sewing tomorrow. Picking out my first pattern and going for it!

I will post my all about my sewing vaca here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I've got people

The mail was good to me yesterday because I've got people! My pattern connection (who shall remain nameless but you know who you are!) graciously went to the Hancock's sale last week and scored the following patterns for me:

I got Simplicity 3744 - The Threads dress! You know the one that you can't buy off the website anymore because its so popular! Yeap its in my hot little hands and I have the perfect fabric for it. So it has made its way onto my sewing list for next week!

I got Simplicity 3777 - Now I know you are wondering what I am going to do with this one because it is a little young-looking but I have a vision. So this one has made its way onto the list for next week, too! I can't wait to sew this one up!

Simplicity 4076 - Erica, I think you have inspired a run on this pattern! It looks so much like the t-shirts that I see in The Gap that I walk by every morning on the way to work that I want one too! I am not planning a white one like yours ~ I see it more as a top with a matching skirt! An easy-peasy fashion forward outfit for those hot summer days!

Simplicity 4118 - Another Threads dress! I wanted this one because it will make up in so many different summer fabrics for my work environment. I have quite a few ideas for this one!

Simplicity 4503 - this is an oldie but goodie. It has been in the pattern book for a minute but I just got around to purchasing it. I have some rayon/polyester knit that I got in San Francisco last year that is screaming to be made into this twin set.

Oh and the new Canon Powershot is home. I just need to get home at a decent hour to load the software onto the computer! The new camera doesn't work with the old software - but of course, so hopefully I will get that done this weekend!

I also bought a few buttons from Fabric Mart - that will go fabulously with the blue/white tweedy knit suit that is also on my sewing list for next week. However, no word yet from Sears. I might be making my way to the SM store to find another model. But I am not worrying about that yet because it will soon be Thursday. And it was announced today that we are closing at 3:00 pm on Friday! I will be released sooner than I expected!!!! Yes!

I am sooooo looking forward to sleeping late and sewing as much as I want!!!

And as a total aside - Yeah Jordan! The new American Idol!!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What to do when you can't sew ~ why make a list of course!

Yesterday was bad...I was extremely disappointed and near tears when I left the Sears store. I kicked around on the internet for a bit, found some inspiration but ended up in bed with the tv on vegging.

This morning I woke up and vowed to make it a better day. I mean I only get two days of furlough from my job and already one was gone! The upside of that is that I only have five more days to work and then I am free, free for nine!

After reading a few blogs, I went to to see what everyone was raving about. And bought these two pieces:

Cindy Blue Mod Girls

and Black Dandy Damask.

Now I know fabric shopping is not the cure-all for everything but it did lift this girl's spirits out of the doldrums! And they do go quite nicely with some pieces I already have in the collection. I will add this purchase to the mostly black pieces I got from Metro Textiles this week and I think I am set fabric wise for this month!

Here's a listing of fabrics that I got from Metro:
5 yards of a medium weight black linen
5 yards of the softest black cotton batiste
3 yards of a black/white polka dot
3 yards of a black/white chain link rayon knit
2 yards of a black/white/grey/gold medallion print cotton batiste
2 yards of a multi-colored print rayon knit
5 yards of beige rayon lining (for my eyelet trench)
4 yards of an amazing soft blue silk lining

Did anyone else besides me notice the preponderance of black fabrics here! I think my job is getting to me...I never buy this much black fabric!

And finally I am making a list of the things I want to work on during my sewing vaca from my spring/summer sewing list. I am only going to pick five items so that I can concentrate on them and do them justice...but I am preparing shopping lists, picking buttons and trims and making sure that I have everything on hand to just sew.

I am calmer today. Five more days to vaca. The sewing machine hopefully will arrive on Tuesday ~ if not I am cancelling the order and heading to the sewing machine store and purchasing something else! Hopefully my baby will be ready to be picked up the week I am on vacation and I AM BUYING the new camera tomorrow!
If I click my heel three times and keep chanting, "it will be okay, I will sew again" I just might make it through the day without killing someone or having to pick up knitting needles - yeah right Marji! *LOL*

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Okay, I am trying not to complain here but...

Seriously, I am really trying not to complain but I am starting to wonder what I did to the sewing gods that I am being treated this way...

Complaint #1
I HATE, HATE, HATE the Fuji digital camera. Can I say it again...'cause I need to! I HATE this camera. What I loved about my Powershot was that I pointed and clicked and got great pictures. Ummmm that's about all the technology I want from a digital camera. Oh and the software loaded easily onto the computer and was quick and easy to use. Not so with this it is being boxed back up and sent back to QVC. I am walking across 57th Street on Monday to the Radio Shack and buying a Canon Powershot. I give.

Complaint #2
A new sewing machine - how hard is it to order a machine and have it show up on time? I have a confirmation number ~ why wasn't it at Sears! I mean really how can I get to Sears and there be no sewing machine!!!! I was trying really hard not to be the irate b*t&y customer but I almost lost it there. So short story, the machine is expected this Tuesday and I can pick it up after that but this leads to complaint #3

Complaint #3
I haven't sewn in weeks...okay my equilibrium is off. I am shouting at my children, kicking things and generally losing my mind. I need to be able to sew and the little receiving people at Sears didn't understand that fact! They were more concerned about someone's vacuum cleaner! Vacuum cleaner - you can buy one of those anywhere but back to this complaint. I am a creative person I need an outlet. After a trying week of dealing with people and circumstances, I need to be swallowed up by my creative side and it is just not happening! I am truly starting to wonder what is going to go wrong next!

This is why I haven't posted lately or described the wonderful trip that I had to Metro Textiles with Karla Kaiser (Karla from PR & Stitchers Guild)...or the amazing goodies that I got from Kashi (trying to photograph the fabrics is how I decided that I HATE the Fuji digital camera!)...amazing in the sense that I bought almost all black pieces. This from a person who LOVES color!

Hopefully the storm clouds will pass, I will get a new Canon, the new sewing machine will finally arrive in one piece and working then all will be right in my world again. Or at least we can only pray for that - otherwise I am going to implode!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is why its so hard to be a fat girl!

I had a great evening, hung out with a new friend and went fabric shopping (more about that in another post!). Got home and decided that I would quickly check my email. I mean its late, I have to get up at the godawful hour of 5:15 am tomorrow morning and I didn't want to spend any real quality time with the computer.

There is an email from McCalls Patterns - the new Summer '07 designs are now available. I am a little excited, I will admit it! I flip into the site and peruse the offerings. Okay can you please explain to me why the "skinny" girls get this kewl and funky top:

and this easy to wear in very hot weather dress:

and this interesting detail on the dress:

but the fat girls get this! Now this is the least of the offenders but c'mon isn't this the most awful color scheme you have ever seen. And really haven't you seen this pattern done so much better than this intrepretation...geeze louise...those outfits are U-G-L-Y!

and this - do the proportions on this look off to anyone but me? What were the pattern makers at McCalls thinking, "yeah you know those fat girls will wear anything if they think its trendy - NOT!

and this - ummm yeah this is a real flattering look! It looks so good on a pleasantly plump women that they used a skinny girl to model it! Let that be your first clue that this is going to make you look like a fat potato in this sack!

Is there something wrong with this picture! I say that if you wear an 18W or larger please boycott these McCalls patterns! Please I am begging you. Only if we stop purchasing this garbage will they finally see the light and design something more figure flattering and appealing than this trite. unflattering...stuff!!!!! And I am one of the few that actually purchase my patterns from McCalls website instead of at the 99 cent sales at Joann's and/or Hancocks! Well they won't be seeing my dollars, not with this junky offering!

Okay I am stepping away from the keyboard - rant over! But never let it be said that I didn't step up for my people!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Check these ladies out!

I love blogs ~ especially sewing blogs. And on Saturday mornings I visit a lot of them but during the week, I normally only hit up the ones on my sidebar. I visit these blogs daily or twice weekly or thrice weekly (okay I am just being silly here! *smile*) because the work of these women inspire me. I also have a policy to only include the blogs of people that I really want to encourage you to visit - not all of them are sewing, some are knitting or crocheting but the work that these women produce is awe-inspiring to me.

Today I added several new blogs to my sidebar and I wanted to give a shout out to the owners of the blogs and to publicly thank you for adding another layer of inspiration to my creative self! Oh and this listing is done alphabetically...just so y'know!

Couture et Tricot
This is Tany's blog ~ many of you might know her from Patternreview. I, however, found her blog from Ann's (
Gorgeous Things) blog. What I like about Tany is that this girl can sew! I mean couture Burda outfits that she takes her time on (hey that is a big thing to me who tries to sew like the wind!) and uses awesome sewing techniques. I always feel like I have learned something really important after I've visited her blog! And the coolest thing is that it's in English and Spanish...I feel so worldly when I leave a comment amongst her Spanish speaking friends! *smile* But seriously if you haven't checked her blog out it is a must read!

Fiber Arts Afloat
My girl Marji is the Chanel jacket queen or at least that's the way I think of her. I started reading Marji's blog during the Timmel SWAP which she participated in also. And then Marji and I started talking off-line and it is just fascinating to "chat" with someone who loves fabric and color as much as I do. But I decided that I had lost the Timmel SWAP after I saw Marji's Chanel jacket ~ 60 hours of work for a jacket for a SWAP! It was amazing! And it had all of the real Chanel construction techniques. *shaking head* now you know this woman likes to sew to spend that much time on a jacket! But here's the thing, the girl can knit too! Amazing...I am sure most of you have been there but go again. Her blog is a keeper.

Miss Cellie's Pants
First, I just love the name of Cidell's blog! You have to be a true "Color Purple" fan to name your blog after Cellie's shop! So already I am digging her blog but what makes me return again and again is her enthusiasm. I know Cidell isn't a really young girl but I think of her as one of "The Younguns" one of the next generation who is finding joy in sewing and sharing it with others. I love her fabric and pattern choices and I cheer everytime she models something new that she has created! Cidell I will be right here watching you as you grow and develop your art!

sewl sista #1
stay on the seam (get on up), like a sewing machine! - I hear James Brown everytime I read it! - is the tag beneath her blog's name. Another member of "The Younguns" whose work makes me smile when I read her blog. I can see where I've been through her work and hopefully I inspire her to see where she can go! The joy and enthusiasm that emanates from her posts makes me visit at least twice a week and I always leave with a smile! Thanks for adding flavor to my day!

Sheilaz Crochets
I honestly don't remember how I found Sheila's blog - probably chasing links one Saturday afternoon when I was spending way too much time on the internet - but boy am I glad I found her blog! Sheila crochets. Sheila crochets anything and everything. I can crochet but not like Sheila! Let's see I have seen a bikini, a vest, this kewl jacket...all from a crochet hook. I know that Sheila sews sometimes but the reason I am drawn repeatedly to her blog is that she makes the most amazing garments with some yarn and a crochet hook. Crocheting just ain't granny squares and Sheila proves it!

These are my latest blog obsessions and if you haven't already visited their spots, please surf by and check them out. They are all producing amazing works of art and inspiring others to create ~ two wonderful traits that I have no problems celebrating!

And a few shout-outs to some old favorites...
Shannon (Hungry Zombie Couture) I know you're sewing...c'mon share something with us already! I am going through withdrawal...c'mon baby hit me up with something, anything, even a picture of your new sewing machine in action...I need a fix!

EricaB (EricaB's DIY Style) - I am so proud of you sewing your first SWAP. I can't wait to see what finally emerges from your sewing area! I can only hope & dream that maybe somehow I inspired you to try this!

Liana - the Marfy Queen (Sew Intriguing) - okay this is insider information so you will just have to flow with me here - I can't wait to see if you pull off that Burda skirt! Coming to her blog in the near future...

And Barbara (The Furry Mind Musings at Cat Fur Studio) loves the new suit take...boy does that have my mind how to make that look work for a "fat girl!" Oh and I am seeing Kashi next Tuesday with an old/new friend! I will try not to come home with as large a haul as before...okay who am I kidding! Let's just hope I can get it all home! *LOL*

Maybe I'll sew tomorrow...or maybe I will spend my morning with a big glass of Mountain Dew (the drink of sewing champions!) touring the sewing blogland. Maybe I will see you there! *smile*

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's Here...

My DD called me at work this afternoon to tell me that the camera was delivered! So as soon as the same DD who is now the computer tech uploads the new software and plays with the camera a bit, I will be back in business! Woohoo! I love QVC! Speaking of digital cameras - I am going to end up giving this one to her. I am asking for another Canon Powershot for Christmas. I just loved my camera and I am now thinking that having two in the house is better than one...sorta like the computer situation...when there is more than one and they break theirs ~ oh well! *LOL*

I also picked up the June issue of Lucky and I have to tell you inspiration abounds...I think I am going to spend a weekend printing some fabric with fabric paint. I have loads of textile paint that I have never done anything with and there was a picture of a skirt in this issue of Lucky that has a really kewl 3 layer print. Now you know I am not going to find that fabric this season. And since I am currently sewing on a back-up machine, which means I am barely sewing at all, a weekend of making a new piece of fabric sounds like a very kewl idea!

Has anyone ever done this? I want to make one layer of the print using a cut up painting roller or patterned roller...maybe a trip to Home Depot would help? I was thinking that the second layer could be block printed from stencils and the final row would be a small border print using a fabric pen and a stencil. I am working this out in my head and don't know how it will translate but I am definitely going to try it. And if it works then I will have a new piece of fabric ~ designed and made by me!

The other piece that really inspired me was a white Forth & Towne jacket with black embroidery on the hem of the jacket and the hem of the this can be easily replicated with a good piece of embroidered lace from Daytona Trimmings. I was going to skip over to the district later this week for some lining material so I will stop by DT and look at lace too!

So even though I haven't sewn anything lately...I have ideas perculating!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spring/Summer Sewing List

Most of you have been reading my sewing thoughts for a minute and know that I love lists! This year I am a little late in making up my sewing list for Spring and Summer. Some of that...okay, a lot of that is because I was so focused (crazy, retardedly, stupidly focused) on my SWAP collection well into the middle of April...

"And let me take a moment here and thank each of you who left such wonderful comments on my blog and the personal notes that you sent me after the winners were announced. I was disappointed that my collection did not place in the top five 'cause I really wanted to win one for fat girls everywhere! I think it is really difficult to make an appealing plus size collection and show that we plus-size women can be as stylish and fashionable as the "skinny" girls..."

But back to what I was originally "chatting" about..another reason for the late spring/summer list is the sewing decompression I experienced immediately following the completion of the SWAP.

However, my sewing vacation is fast approaching and I want to have a plan for my nine, count them nine, days off! Gathering the patterns I want to use was the easiest part. The list is made up of a combination of TNT, new (Marfy & Hotpatterns), some that have been around for awhile but never used, a couple of new issues, an independent and of course some Big 4 patterns - see the sidebar for a listing of the patterns. The fabric list, though is still evolving, even after several trips to the fabric closet.

As of this morning, I want to make 19 outfits. The outfits consist of a combination of dresses, suits, a trench, a couple of sweaters and a multitude of colors. All of the items on the list will work with my new dressing goals...Corporate Chic with a burst of color!

Now I know you are wondering if I am going to share my list? Nooooooooo! I'm not! As each garment is completed, I will share it and any interesting construction tips here. Now remember this list is a flexible guideline because at any moment "Inspiration" might strike and I may make a detour from it! But it does contain garments that I would love to add to my wardrobe and I am sooooo looking forward to constructing.

So as the days count down to my sewing vacation (and they are not counting fast enough *smile*), I am doing my prep work in advance so that when my new sewing machine arrives (whichever one I finally decide on but I don't have a lot of time to be futzing around here!) and my baby hopefully makes it back from the sewing machine hospital....!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What Inspires You?

Okay so I'm not sewing...well not like I usually do! I can't not sew and since I have designated this the spring and summer of the dress...I was inspired to create a new dress from a photo in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. This process got me to thinking about where I find inspiration to sew.

Glossy magazine ads are a huge inspiration trigger for me. But I think the building blocks of inspiration come from all of the internet snoop shopping that I do. By spending quality time carefully looking at the details and silhouettes of garments and then letting it sink into my subconcious, the inspiration seeds are planted.

Then as previously stated magazine and catalog pictures trigger and stimulate my creative process. I do, however, pay attention to the fashion trends and colors of the season...and magic happens.

So what stimulates you? What causes you to run to your fabric collection, or to your favorite bricks 'n mortar store or internet fabric spot? What triggers your creative sense? I read an article about Lois Ericson, where she stated that inspiration is everywhere. So please share with me where you find it! And when my new digital camera arrives, I will take pictures of and do a write-up on my two newest dresses!

Enjoy your sewing journeys!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

On the hunt...

Well I have solved my digital camera issue...I bought a new Fuji one that the production guys I work with thought was a really good one for the value. I guess I should be thankful that its right before Mother's Day because all of these types of electronics are on sale. I bought the camera from QVC and it will be here next week. One problem solved now to solve the major and most pressing one.

My baby is in the shop, arrived there today but it will be at least 2 weeks before I can get her back! And, it was $140 for them just to take her in...never mind if she needs any parts or additional labor which I am sure that she will because her bobbin winder has been broken for over two years and the touch screen is a little wonky. All of this scares me because what if she needs a new computer board?

So I am on the hunt for a new machine. I have been longing for a Brother NX450:

but that was back in the days when I wanted it as a second machine. Now I want another Janome and the dealer in my area is a little unscrupulous. And I KNOW I don't want to deal with him!!! So I went to Sears website to look at machines and I actually like this one:

a Kenmore 19606 with 765 stitch functions which is manufactured by Janome. This looks so much like my baby which is probably what attracted me to it. Also, Sears is just 10 minutes from my apartment so it is convenient to go look at. I am also going to run over to Sew Fast, Sew Easy on 35th Street in NYC and see what they have. I really just want another Janome. I love my machine! I miss my machine and I am worried that it is going to be quite costly for it to come home...*sigh*

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My Baby is sick...

Well it finally happened...right in the middle of sewing the American Girl doll sewing machine quit! Now I know that I should have taken it to the shop before now (maybe back when it was groaning about making all those pintucks!) but I just didn't want to part with my baby. Thank God I have a spare but its not the same as sewing on my Janome. So now what to do...what to do...well I mean besides getting my baby to the sewing hospital, ASAP! This is seriously going to impact my sewing and can you spell G-R-O-U-C-H-Y!!!! Yeah, that's gonna be me until my baby comes home!

I am seriously thinking about looking for a "new" used TOL machine because even though my spare, Viking, is good in a pinch ~ it is missing too many of the features that I have grown accustomed to with my Janome.

First the digital camera and now my sewing machine...guess I am gonna sit on these couches a little longer - 'cause I gotta sew!


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