Monday, July 28, 2008

New Look 6788 - The Jacket

No, I didn't finish it yet! *LOL* But I wanted to do an update on the jacket progress while it's still fresh in my mind...and I'm going to be really busy at work for the next week so I probably won't blog again until the weekend...

This is where is where I stopped on the jacket:

The buttons aren't on yet...just doing a button check to see which ones I like the best. I did add a few things to the jacket that the pattern doesn't call for...all the seams are bound instead of just serge finished. I also added a center back seam to the provided more opportunities for fit and I like the way a jacket hangs on me better with a center back seam.

I used the saddle stitch on my sewing machine for topstitching...and I topstitched everything including the darts. Hey it's a gray jacket and it is a little boring looking...

Also I decided to add patch pockets to the front like the JJill inspiration jacket after taking pics of the jacket front because it just looked toooo basic!

Finally I thought that I would share my topstitching tip with you. So how do I get perfect topstitching? 3/4" transparent scotch tape and directional stitching...I lay the tape right down the center of the seam and I stitch on either side of the tape...making sure that I stitch from the top of the garment to the bottom on both sides of the rippling of the fabric that way.

Like I said before I won't be posting much this I hope you have a good one and I will see you on the weekend!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Grayed Affair

This is the title of my next sewing project. Actually it's a wardrobe based around the gray fabric from this set of fabrics. I have worked my way through the other three pieces and I am finally onto the last one...of course none of these coordinate, which wasn't my intent in the first place but this next set of fabrics will work together to make a I'm calling the wardrobe pieces, "A Grayed Affair"

The core garments in the wardrobe will be a jacket, a pair of pants and a straight skirt constructed from the gray mediumweight linen. I am planning this as a late summer/early fall transitional wardrobe, where the pieces can be worn singularly or layered as it becomes a little cooler.

First up, the was inspired by this JJill jacket, called "The Poet Jacket."

To achieve a similar look, I am using New Look 6788:

The other two garments will be constructed from my TNT patterns.

The second stage of garments will consist of a dress, McCalls 5620 made from the gray/coral cotton print that was used as the accent in "The Fumble Around Dress."

A gold/grey/creme rayon knit will be used to make my TNT Burda cardigan with a matching top that will resemble this Donna Karan draped neck tank:

My trusted Sewing Workshop Tank made from a gray/black/white printed silk purchased from Emmaonesock this spring will be the next piece. This top will work with the base garments for a more corporate look.

And the last pieces will be made from a red printed rayon/lycra knit purchased from, for another Burda cardigan and a bow-tie tank. The knit pieces will work with the bottoms for more laid back corporate garments.

This wardrobe will have a total of nine garments. I am constructing the base garments first and mixing the tops and the dress in as I go along. I have a three-day weekend coming up and I am inspired to sew skirts...probably the last of my summer pieces!

However, I am slowly turning towards fall sewing...well this is late summer/early fall transitional garments and that is really where my head is...looking at fall looks and interpreting them for the transitional period before I have to get into really heavy wools. I still want to make a few more dresses but they won't be from summer fabrics again I'm transitioning...just having a hard time saying good-bye to all of those wonderful spring/summer fabrics that I didn't get a chance to play with this year.

I've already started work on the my next post will be about it! And did you notice that there are two new patterns in this wardrobe...I'm pretty proud of myself that I didn't just reach for all of my TNT favorites!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can you take one more Metro Textiles post?

See Karen, Elaray, Elizabeth and I actually had this trip to Metro Textiles planned before the Fabu Ms. EricaB blew into I hope I don't bore you with one more Metro Textiles trip...

Suffice it to say that Kashi was wonderful as usual...and I was usual! Elizabeth and Karen were already there making piles by the time I arrived...sorry to say that Elaray had to work and couldn't make it...and I almost didn't make it...that darn job! *LOL* But since it pays my fabric bills and the financial industry is on its knees in NYC, I should be very grateful I have a job...

Okay enough of that...I walk through the door and my dear Kashi is all smiles. But off to the side I hear this, "ohmygosh, it can't be you!" Excuse me? Karen knows me sooooo what's that all about?! It's Lorraine from San Antonio, TX. She just happened to be visiting NYC with her parents & sister and was in Metro at the same time as Karen & Elizabeth. Here is a pic of the four of us:

Lorraine, Elizabeth, Karen (in her swim dress), me & Kashi

I had to leave before Elizabeth and Karen were done shopping...that darn job again...but a few pics of us together and with Kashi, the wonder man!

By the way Erica, he said that your video has caused quite a stir! He has had more calls from people saying they saw your video on the internet...

Oh and this time I didn't make it out empty handed...this followed me home!

Brown/black print cotton, black eyelet & blue/green border print

Please, please, please don't call me Marji...I KNOW!!!!! *LOL* And Renee, the black seersucker should show up at your house by the weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Have Pattern Issues...

Yes, I got that email from Vogue Patterns that all patterns on their website will be $6.99 today and tomorrow. And yes, I had a cart full of patterns because a new magazine just came out with the pre-fall patterns. And yes, I bought some...well 5 to be I need these patterns....ummm no! But since when has that ever stopped me from indulging in a pattern sale! *LOL* Well, actually I've skipped the last few pattern I guess it's time!

So here's what I got:

Vogue 1056 - a Tom and Linda Platt pattern

I love the twist on this one...and it's high enough that it's different from those Burda & Big 4 twist top dresses.

Vogue 1057 - A DKNY 2pc dress and jacket combo

I have wanted this pattern ever since I snoop shopped it in Macy's last of course I also own the summer version of this pattern but the economy needs stimulating, and I really like the u-neckline on this I bought it too!

Vogue 1058 - Sandra Betzina sweater and tank
I like the insert around the waist. It will nip me in and make me look like I actually have a waist! And I already have fabric in mind for it...

Vogue 8509 - a Dress

C'mon you knew I was buying this's a dress and a pretty one with distinctive details! Not another one of those sacks that they've been selling a lot of lately! I will stitch the pleats down a little further and in a rayon challis will have an amazing dress for fall!

Vogue 8503
I actually see this as a dress...lengthen the tunic, keep it a little close-fitting so that I don't get that "when is the baby due" stare and it should be a really kewl fall dress!

As a member of ClubBMV - I did get them for $6.29 per pattern and I know, I know about your J and Hancock sales but the first place I just don't patronize and the second chain is not in my I have to settle for online sales. But my size is always in stock, they arrive quickly and settle down nicely into my pattern collection to wait their turn in the sunlight!

So can you tell that I didn't sew this weekend?! *LOL* I am reduced to sharing patterns with you...seriously though after about six weeks of non-stop sewing I just needed a minute to recharge my batteries...more finished garments soon! And just in case you didn't get the email...patterns are $6.99 today and tomorrow...the sale ends midnight tomorrow CST! Happy hunting!

Monday, July 21, 2008

When Vintage Ain't Vintage - Part 2

So you know I was soooo excited when I found out that Simplicity had re-issued one of their 60's mod shift dresses...and you know that I bought it with a quickness. You also know that when it arrived and I read the instructions for the newly reissued pattern, I was disappointed. Boy has this been one up and down roller coaster ride for a pattern!

Well last week, the original Simplicity pattern landed in my mailbox thanks to Lanetz Living!

I am now the proud owner of Simplicity 7250, the original version of Simplicity 3559. And I was right, the double-sided one page instruction sheet has a different construction sequence than the re-issue.

Original instruction sheet

Re-issue instruction sheet

I'm going to make my version using the re-issued pattern but working from the original instruction sheet! Yes!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An afternoon with like minded women!

This blogging is a funny thing...because by sharing my projects and love of sewing, I have been interviewed for a newspaper article, met some amazing women, developed friendships with women all over the globe and now met a few in my backyard! New Jersey! *smile*

Today I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the "New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals" (originally known as PACC). The President of the NJ Chapter, typed four little words into a google search "sewing in New Jersey" and my blog was one of the things listed. After visiting my blog and flickr album, she sent me an email and invited me to a meeting. Now you know I am never one to miss a gathering of people discussing sewing so I agreed to attend.

I had an amazing time! There was wonderful conversation, food (of course), show and tell and even gifts...well, it was fabric that another member was sharing with everyone in attendance but hey it was a gift to me!

I knew about the PACC organization, having heard about it when I was a home-based sewing professional but I thought they only accepted members who ran sewing businesses. Today I found out differently, so I'm paying the membership dues and joining. It will be nice to go to monthly meetings and share with people other than my many internet friends because you can never have enough people to talk sewing with!!!

So thank you to Virginia (for getting me to the meeting), Maggie for inviting me and all the other wonderful women that I met and had an opportunity to share with...they welcomed me with open arms...exchanged email addresses and website information! I know this is another wonderful chapter in my sewing life and I'm embracing the opportunity with both hands...

Here is a show and tell picture snapped with my cellphone's camera because yet again I managed to leave my digital camera home....

Maggie - the Chapter President was sharing her version of Vogue 8229 made from denim and linen.

And here is what I brought home with me...

Several yards of a wool blend knit and 5 yards of waistband stay because you should never be an ungrateful guest and not accept the party favors...*LOL*

It was a wonderful afternoon despite the fact that I'm not an outdoors kinda girl!!!

Sewing with Linen

Yesterday's post drew some interesting comments so I decided that I would write a little something about my love of linen.

I have two fabrics that will always be in my fabric collection, wool crepe and linen...guess that covers the seasons! *smile* But I love linen for several reasons:

1. It can make an amazing tailored garment or it can make an amazing relaxed fun weekend outfit.

2. The fabric takes dye well so you can get linen in brilliant and bright colors or soft and shaded pastels. It is also available in prints, plaids and embroidered.

3. It is cool to wear, doesn't hold body heat and is absorbent.

4. The only downside to linen is that it wrinkles...horribly...if underlinings and/or linings are not added to it to support the fabric.

I have used linen in both tailored garments and in more relaxed wear. Pretreatment of the fabric depends on what the end garment will be. If I am making a tailored suit, I will typically wash & dry the fabric once, removing the fabric from the dryer slightly damp, so that the pressing process is not as onerous.

If I am making a more relaxed, casual outfit the linen will be washed and dried at least 3x...yes 3 times! This is to remove all sizing from the fabric and to totally relax the fibers so that the wrinkle factor will be minimal in the finished garment. All of this washing also changes the hand of the fabric so a fabric that once was stiff and unyielding now becomes pliable and drapable.

Now why don't I wash linen 3x for a tailored garment...well that's because I add more support and understructure to the garment, so the initial wash and dry is to remove extra sizing and to prevent shrinkage.

When making a garment from linen I realize that the linen is going to wrinkle...I just decide how much wrinkling I can live with...i.e. Do I want to underline a pair of pants with silk organza and then line them or can I deal with the wrinkle factor? Do I want the arms to crease in a jacket from my movements or do I want to underline and line? Is the dress or skirt for a more relaxed casual occasion? If so, then I pretreat the heck out of it, construct it without the underpinnings and wear it knowing that some wrinkling may occur but not much. These are decisions that you need to make when you are deciding what to do with the linen you have purchased.

Now I know many people can't stand linen's wrinkling properties...I personally think that's what gives it character...but if you don't like the wrinkles there are blends available. However, to minimize the wrinkling pick a piece with a synthetic blend rather than another natural fiber. A linen/cotton blend wrinkles and shrinks...a linen/rayon blend wrinkles just not as much as an 100% linen, and a linen/silk blend while it has a wonderful sheen and doesn't shrink as much will wrinkle without underpinnings.

During construction of a linen garment there are several things to consider...

Linen fibers relax from your body's natural this should be taken into consideration when making a garment. There are several areas that can be extremely affected by this...the neckline and shoulder seams in a top/dress/jacket...the seat in pants, skirt, dress...the knees in pants...and the waistline in any bottom piece.

If you are making an unlined garment you can solve some of "the growing issues" by taping the seams, adding twill tape or stay tape to shoulder seams and waistbands...necklines can get a bias binding and stay stitching....and to prevent saggy butts and knees you can add a full or half lining to the pieces. To prevent deep arm creases in long sleeves, a lining and/or silk organza underlining will need to be included during the construction process.

I always use a new sewing machine needle, a shorter stitch length and a better quality thread when sewing linen. And even though linen can take some heat, I make sure to use my silk organza pressing cloth when pressing seams open.

There are three fantastic books on sewing with linen fabric:

1. Linen and Cotton Classic Sewing Techniques for Great Results
by Susan Khalje - published by Taunton Press
This book tells you how to sew each garment type, how to get the best results and decorative tips. It is a wonderful step-by-step guide that I believe should be in every sewist's library.

2. Fabric Savvy - The Essential Guide for Every Sewer
by Sandra Betzina - published by Taunton Press


3. More Fabric Savvy - A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric
by Sandra Betzina - published by Taunton Press
Both of these books are fabric encyclopedias telling you what needle to use, what stitch size, sewing machine foot and pretreatment method for almost every fabric/fiber under the sun. Again must haves for your sewing library!

Finally Threads has a couple of articles that I think you would find useful:

*Issue #65 (June/July 1996) has an article by Susan Khalje called "Easy & Elegant Linen"

*Issue #52 (April/May 1994) has an article by Patricia Moyes called "The Working Woman's Linen Jacket."

I love working with linen because it can be made into a variety of can fit your lifestyle no matter what it is...and because it is easy to work with...sews up like a dream...and can make your finished garment look like a million bucks.

Again, this is what I know...but if anyone has anything to share or if I've left anything out, please feel free to comment on it! And I hope that everyone will look at linen in a different light and be willing to sew with it a little more often!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Wearability Factor and other ramblings

I've been sewing a lot lately and my wearing hasn't exactly caught up with my sewing...for example I just got around to wearing the 60s Mod Border Print Dress yesterday. It was a casual week in the office...the quiet before the storm which officially kicked off yesterday, too...but I digress!

So the Wearability Factor is how a garment actually "wears" when you spend a day in it. How is it for getting in and out of the car? Or on or off the bus, subway, train, etc. Does the fabric wrinkle a lot when you sit down? Does the garment pull or twist in some funny way? You know things that you can't tell when you sew it up, try it on, accessorize it and take some pretty pictures of it on you or your dressform.

Now you would think that in handling the fabric and knowing it's properties, that you would be able to pretty much estimate how a garment will handle...but then you take it out for a test drive and you come home thinking something totally different...that's what happened yesterday with this dress.

Have you ever noticed that linen has a tendency to relax? As the body's heat warms it up, the fibers loosen up...and everything gets a little looser. Have you ever noticed that? Normally it doesn't phase me but today I realized that all of those seams that I painstakingly unpicked and then sewed again, almost could have been left alone....almost.

What I actually decided about the dress is that the next time I make it, I will leave the 5/8" seams alone in the back and just do the 3/8" seams in the front...because by the end of the day it was pretty loose-fitting...not that it looked bad but I think that's because the fabric saved it. Your eye traveled to the border print and the piping...but the next incarnation won't have that so I need to fix this up quickly!

Today I have a I sew a quick long, flowing dress for a barbeque I'm attending tomorrow or do I continue working on my summer wardrobe. I don't have much relaxation gear...lately I've been wearing all the business casual from my last job since I rarely wear it to this job anymore...and it usually works in most situations. A nice pair of pants and a twinset works for a date to dinner and the movies...a long flare floral skirt and a t-shirt works to go to Wal-Mart with my mom...but tomorrow is suppose to be 98 degrees, hot and humid!!! Ummmm, I'm not usually outdoors in that type of weather...that's what air conditioning is for! *LOL* So I need something cool and kewl to wear...but do I want to take precious sewing time to make something that I will probably only wear once?

So since I have no idea what to do...I've been visiting fabric sites, vintage pattern sites, blogs, sewing boards...just about anything but sitting my behind down and sewing...and now I feel a nap coming on! *LOL*

Guess I will figure it out...later!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Housekeeping

This post is about exactly what it's titled, "Some Housekeeping." I need to take care of a few things on the blog so if it doesn't pertain to you, just ignore it...sewing posts will be back this weekend...

1. If you've sent me an email and I haven't responded it means I probably didn't get it. I checked my spam folder the other day and found one from 6 weeks ago or thereabouts (Lisa did you get my message!). So no I'm not ignoring you, *smile* I just didn't receive resend it, please. I am generally pretty good about answering email and if you haven't received a reply in a week, please resend! Thanks!

2. Questions in the comments section...I am gonna be honest...I read my blog at I don't have a lot of time to reply to questions...I have good intentions I think that I will when I get home...but then social obligations, work functions or plain ole work has me dragging in the house so late that I forget about it. If you have a question that you really want an answer to...send me an email...and don't forget response #1! *smile*

3. I know alot of bloggers reply to each and every comment that's left on their's really kewl and I know that I like getting the emails from my fellow bloggers when I've left some amazing fount of wisdom on their blog...but and it's a big one...I don't have time to do this! It's not that I don't like receiving comments and I really do appreciate them, however, I don't have enough hours in the day to reply to everyone...*hanging head in shame* I know that I should but then when would I have time to sew!?! And believe me, my family members don't like it when I don't have time to sew...I'm not a nice person!!! ROTFLOL!

4. I am going to try to acknowledge first time commenters...I so appreciate it when you come out of lurkerdom to say I can't guarantee when I'm gonna start and how long it's gonna last, *LOL* but I am gonna try!

5. This is the most important thing and it is aimed at everyone...Thank You! Thank you for coming by so often to read my ramblings...thank you for coming by and ooohhh and aaahhh over the latest garment...I'm starting to be like a junkie needing my comment fix! *LOL* So those oooohhhs and aaaahhhs are so appreciated. And even if you don't ooooohhhh and aaaahhh but come by and drop me a line via email, it is appreciated! But mostly thank you for taking some of your precious time and stopping don't know how often it makes my day...

Okay that's it...I walked in the door at 9:37, ripped my clothes off, sat down and wrote out this's 9:56 so I will make it in time to see Project Runway!!!! *yes*

*edited to add*
Project Runway is on at 11:00 est! Are you kidding me?!

Until the weekend when hopefully I will have more sewing to share...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Before and After

I am determined to make my way through my closet and change or refashion most of the ankle-length skirts that I made about 5 years ago. They are obviously dated and won't be worn at this length but the fabric is still in good enough condition...

So here's the next candidate to go through the it's before state:

The fabric was bought during the same trip to JoMars as the last refashioned skirt was. It is a cotton pique, too. I bought six pieces of those piques and I'm surprised I stopped there because there was this huge table piled high with them. Three were quickly made up into skirts, one was made into a dress, and two are still visiting with their friends in my fabric closet.

And this is what the skirt looks like now...

I added a white 4" bias binding to the bottom of the skirt. Now this bias binding is part of a box of bias bindings that I bought from Fabric Mart almost seven years ago. (Does anyone else remember the white sheets that came with the sample swatches that had the really great deals on them? The box of bias bindings was on that sheet!)

I keep looking for opportunities to use up this stash and this was a perfect opportunity. The refashioning took about a half hour. The newly refashioned skirt was perfect to wear to work today with a white tank top and sweater...because its one of those days when most of the staff is out of the office, there are no meetings scheduled and I don't have to look ultra-professional!

Two down and about six more to go! Now to come up with a different idea for remaking them...*smile*

Sunday, July 13, 2008

60's Mod Border Print Dress

Ohmygosh I've taken to naming my dresses...but I've made quite a few this summer and have several more to make so this is the only way I can keep them straight!!!

You know that I've been on a real vintage kick lately...purchasing vintage "60's mod" and "Jackie Kennedy look" patterns. Mostly I have been using the details or sewing techniques from the patterns on my TNT patterns but this dress is the first made from an actual vintage pattern. The fact that it could be worn today is very kewl and that I got a wonderful garment that works so well in my professional wardrobe is just astounding!

Simplicity 8160 - copyright 1969
Dress with three necklines in half sizes. The princess seamed dress with back zipper may be worn with a purchased belt (why???). Since this is a single size pattern, I purchased the 22.5.

Linen blend border print from Fashions Fabrics Club

22" zipper, 1/4 yd fusible interfacing, 3 yards of white piping

Construction Details:
~ I used a cross-wise layout of the pattern pieces (instead of the straight grain/lengthwise layout) to get the perfect match for the border print.

~ I made my standard bicep alteration to the sleeve.

~ I also used smaller seam allowances (3/8") through the abdomen/hip and hem areas when stitching the dress. The 5/8" seam allowance was used for the bust area.

~ White piping was added to the neckline and sleeve hems to bring a pop of color to the top of the dress.

This pattern was very straight forward and easy to construct. There were no surprises or special techniques included in the instruction sheet. I just like the fact that the dress had three neckline variations, sleeveless or short sleeves and a slight flare to the dress hem. The border print fabric I used for this dress is what sets it apart and makes it different from the other dresses I've made this summer. Yet it is that very detail that makes it work in my "Summer of Sophisticated Dressing" theme.

I love this pattern and will use it again. I actually had to stop myself from finding a second piece of linen and making up the v-neck version this afternoon. However, another edition of this dress will find its way into my fall wardrobe. It will make a wonderful addition to my TNT pattern collection as well as become a workhorse in my professional wardrobe.

A Piping How To

I love piping! To me it is the perfect embellishment because it adds an interesting detail to the garment but in a very subtle way. It was one of the first "difficult" techniques I learned when starting to sew because I loved the look so much. It has always appeared in my garments and over the years I have developed a sure-fire method for inserting it.

Now I have to admit that during my "fast, faster, fastest" sewing days, piping was omitted or slapped in haphazardly...but as I grew in my art I realized that I needed to have a structure so that each application would be perfect.

So this is how I add piping to a garment - emphasis on the "I"!

First a list of items you need:
1. Piping (of course) either purchased or made by yourself. My favorite source for pre-made piping is Daytona Trimmings (featured on Project Runway) in NYC...though M&J Trims has an amazing assortment too.

2. Three different feet for your sewing machine. I use a piping foot, a zipper foot and the regular zigzag foot. I mention this because you get a better application when you change the feet on your machine and when you change your needle position.

3. A hand needle and thread. Again it seems simple but I found once I used a little hand basting my applications went much smoother.

How I do it:

A. First I take the piping and pin it onto the garment exactly 5/8" from the garment edge or exactly on the seam allowance.

B. Then I hand baste the piping down. I usually use a contrasting color thread for this basting. This is the most important step to me because it stabilizes the piping preventing it from shifting around when you sew the band or facing on.

C. Next I pin the facing or band over the piped edge. If I want a finished look inside the garment, I ALWAYS add a facing, a band or a binding piece. Something that will cover the seam that's used to secure the binding to the garment.

D. Using the piping foot on my sewing machine, I sew the facing/band/binding with the piping inserted to the garment. I set my needle position so that I am sewing as close to the piping as I can without actually stitching through it. Another thing that I do to insure that I have a clear stitching line is to use my wooden pointer. I mark a line down the top of the facing, right next to the piping. I usually mark it for a couple of inches and repeat it several times so that there is a clear indentation in the fabric. Then I stitch the fabric sandwich (garment, piping, facing/band/binding) together. Following these steps usually results in a tightly piped seam.

E. Once the seam is completed, I either clip the curves and edgestitch OR I switch machine feet to my zipper foot so that I can run a line of stitching as close to the piped edge as possible. This does two secures and stabilizes the clipped piped seam and it gives it a perfect finish.

F. Finally the seam is pressed flat, always with a silk organza pressing cloth because this allows me to run the tip of my iron right next to the piping without actually pressing and possibly flattening the piping.

A few more tips:

~ When starting and stopping a seam, I always use the overlap method. One piece of piping laps over another and both are folded down into the facing/band/binding piece. Summerset has described another method on her blog that she uses and it is slightly different from this method.

~ When the piping ends at the back of a neckline facing, I make sure that the piping folds back into the facing seam for a clean finish...otherwise the piping ends will be exposed and will start to fray looking very messy.

~ I only use my piping foot when inserting the piping into the seam. I use one of the other two recommended feet at different times during the insertion process. I know that other books and magazine articles recommend using the zipper or edging foot for the entire process but I've gotten my best results using this method.

~ When adding piping to a sleeve hem or dress/skirt hem, I always make a band to enclose the piping. The end result is a cleaner finish.

Some book resources on piping how-tos:

**Embellishments A to Z - authored by Stephanie Valley, published by Taunton Press
This book devotes an entire chapter to piping.

**Vogue & Butterick's Designer Sewing Techniques
Has a short blurb about designers using piping

**Fine Embellishment Techniques - by Jane Conlon, published by Taunton Press
This book has a chapter devoted to bindings and pipings and some of the best how to instructions on how to make and apply piping

Threads also has quite a series of articles on making and applying results are here.

If you haven't given piping a try because you thought it was difficult, I hope that I have inspired you to try it by adding this technique to one of your garments. It is a wonderful embellishment that adds a richness and difference to your finished pieces. I know that I love it on mine!

Also, I realize that no one does a sewing technique absolutely the same way so if you have a different way to add piping to a garment, please leave a comment. I am always interesting in learning something new or refining a technique I already use!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Walk to Remember

Lately I have been opening the fabric closet door more and more as different pieces come to mind and urge me to seek them out and use them. Since the closet is color coordinated, I usually can just open the door, look at the shelf, pull the piece I'm looking for without spending any real time listening to the siren's song of the other fabrics stored there.

However, last night I went in to cut some duppioni swatches for my boss...long story and no I'm not sewing anything for is for her daughter's doll house. After closing the doors, I had a really good look around my living room and decided that it was time to put some fabric away! If I had to shovel it in with a forklift, it was going into the closet!

This morning I started working on the task...and it has been such a walk of remembrance...this will definitely help me during those weak, stressed-filled moments when I surf into a fabric site and a piece starts speaking loudly to me...because I already own some very lovely pieces.

I had forgotten how much I think in coordinates...and since I recently completed the JCC...I'm thinking that I need to employ the sewing system I used to get those four pieces completed going forward! Just one piece a weekend nets me a four piece capsule at the end of the month...and since I'm finally at a good place in my working wardrobe, I can spend a little more time making some quality garments.

I even touched a few pieces that I had totally forgotten purchasing...thank God for those little white tags either from the fabric retailer or that I added myself. I know quite a few of you love fabric as much as I do and collect or stash it also...this post from Gigi and Shannon's last two posts lets me know that I'm not alone.

There are some cute pieces in the wash, going through the pretreatment program so that they will be ready for their moment in the sun. There are now two less boxes of fabric in the living room. The fabrics from those boxes have taken their rightful places of honor in the fabric closet...and I have an even greater desire to sew!

So if someone could please purchase this silk border print from SawyerBrook Fabrics....

I think I could last at least for a fortnight without purchasing more fabric...and I'm going to try to take it a fortnight at a time remembering what amazing pieces I already own and how they deserve their time in the spotlight, too!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's almost the weekend...

It's a funny thing, when I have time to sew and concentrate on sewing, it's all I think about...but when I have to go back to "the real world" lately sewing thoughts have seriously taken a back seat...see I had so much that I wanted to share with you...thinking that I would write a post here and there during the week...but as usual my dayjob is so overwhelming that after arriving home late a few nights...there went those sewing posts!

However I have started to work on my 60's mod dress:

And here is a sneak peek at it so far:

Okay it wasn't much of a peek but I'm loving it and I'm loving working with the pattern. I will definitely make this again in the fall in a lovely bold colored wool crepe. I can tell that this pattern will probably move into TNT land with a quickness.

I do have to tell you that a "one size" pattern is fantastic when you flat measure...the seam lines are defined so it is easy to overlap and get a correct measurement. I'm loving that about the pattern too.

The instruction sheet wasn't as chock full of information as some have been in the past but I think its because the pattern companies had already started to move towards the "fast, faster, fastest" sewing method.

I will definitely finish this dress this weekend especially since I'm not adding a has gotten sticky hot here lately and the fabric has enough heft to it that I don't think it needs a lining. I do, however, want a little white jacket to go with it and the Vintage Pleated after diving back into the fabric closet I've found a white jacquard that I think will work up well in Butterick 5147...

And Marji - don't yell at me, but I bought 6 yards of a black cotton pique from Fabric Mart

I would love to make the dress from this pattern from the black pique to also wear with the white jacket! Wow, that's a lot of dresses under that one jacket! *LOL* I still haven't made the dress yet since I've been sewing by the whatever moves me method...

Last but not least some more vintage patterns showed up in the mailbox - all of these are plus I'm thinking I'm gonna use them right out of the envelope!

My weekend plans are to sew, sew, and sew some more! I have to squeeze as much sewing as I can in this month because next month will be really busy at work and I have quite a few weekend plans, sewing time will be limited! Then it will be September and my mind will be turning to fall sewing...but right now...I'm still thinking and dreaming, hoping and wishing about summer dresses and skirts!

Monday, July 07, 2008

What's Next

Last week Lanetz Living had a bunch of 60's mod patterns in plus you know a few of them followed me home! *smile* I have got to put in a plug here for Lanetz you know I've been trolling a lot of sites on Ebay and websites looking at vintage 60's patterns and I have to say that I have had the best experience with them! I am so thrilled with the prompt service, the variety of style and size available and the returning discount that whenever I am looking for vintage I head there first! Okay testimonial over...

This is what I'm working on now...

Yeah, straight from the vintage pattern! And I'm using the gray border print for the dress.

I have an idea for a couple of garments from this fabric combination...but as you can clearly see I'm on a dress kick! If I could, I probably would wear a dress or skirt all the time but the seasonal changes here on the East Coast doesn't always permit that's why I love spring/summer sewing so much. I can indulge my love of dresses and make as many as I want.

Speaking of is a finished photo of the Vintage Pleated Dress, with and without a jacket...

Boy, that little white "muslin" jacket is coming in handy! But I think I want to make another one from a different pattern so that I won't wear this jacket out! *smile*

Finally, the JCC pictures are up. You can see them here. There are some really talented and accomplished sewists featured here so surf on over and take a look!

I have to go back to work tomorrow...but I have several new pieces to wear for the next two weeks especially since this week is suppose to be sticky, hot and humid, with temps in the 90s!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Vogue 7433 - A Vintage Inspired Dress

In my quest to use more "new" patterns and not just TNT ones, as well as to incorporate vintage details into my garments, I have begun yet another adventure with a pattern. There have been so many twists and turns with this dress, that I have nicknamed it, "The Fumble Around Dress." If there was something that could have been done easily and straight to the point, I managed to avoid it and take the long way without further ado...

"The Fumble Around Dress"

During my vintage pattern forays I noticed this silhouette in several different pattern lines.

Continuing in my quest to add vintage details to my current patterns I knew this Vogue pattern could work as a base to achieve the look.

A cotton/linen blend purchased from Cloth World approximately 15 years ago (I am really digging deep into the collection lately!) and a 1/2 yard of cotton sateen purchased from Metro Textiles was used for the insert and sleeve trim.

Vogue 7433 - a very loose fitting pullover top, has a collar, slightly extended shoulders, front neck slit and above elbow or long sleeves. This is an OOP Very Easy Vogue Pattern circa 2001. I started with a size 24.

22" zipper, 1/2" shoulder pads

Construction Changes:
1. The first and most important was to convert this from a tunic length top to a dress. I did this by adding 13" to the front and back pieces.

2. I also cut the front and back pieces from the waistline to the hemline and inserted 1 7/8 inches to the pattern. I did this because I thought that the finished measurements of the dress would make it too tight. Of course, I ended up taking almost all of it out of the seams after the first try on...can we say fumble number 1, 2 & 3 ~ since on subsequent fittings I continued to take almost every inch added into the dress out of it!

3. The most important change was to add a center back seam and a zipper to the dress. I didn't want to pull the dress over my head so it was necessary to add a closure that would allow me to step into the dress.

4. This addition meant that not only did I have to alter the collar piece but I also had to alter the facing piece. Both pattern pieces were split in half, seam allowances added and then added to the dress.

5. To correct the extended shoulders issue, I added and sewed down 2" wide darts in both the front and back pieces. Not only did this solve the too large shoulder concerns but it added a "vintage detail" to the dress.

6. I made my normal adjustment to the sleeves - enlarging the bicep area. Then I went onto to make the fugliest sleeve possible by adding a piping insert into the sleeve and a band beneath it:

Fugly, fugly, fugly when added to the the sleeve had to be ripped out and re-worked!

7. The most challenging change to the dress was adding the v-insert. The pattern originally had you make a tank top to wear under the dress. I didn't want that and initially was just going to make a v-insert and tack it to the dress. Then I saw the insert that Summerset made in her daughter's Hannah Montana dress and I was off and fumbling around!

I started by cutting out just the front half of the tank top that is included in the pattern...after working on a couple of options and tacking the insert down and ripping it out...I finally ended up with what is in the dress now and pictured above. However, it took a great deal of fumbling around to get it to lay flat in the dress.

8. There are alot of little construction details to this dress - all of the topstitching on the collar, the handwork on the inside to hold the insert to the dress and all of the finishing details that make the inside of the dress look as clean as possible.

My finished dress does have a slight a-line flair to it...probably from all of the inches I inserted...but I do like the way the fabric falls and the dress moves so I won't complain. The silhouette is slimming yet a little different from my TNT dress pattern and all of its variations...also the dress is in a great, bright color which makes it new and trendy since color is "in" for summer. It also has some of the details that has attracted me to vintage patterns and it will work in my corporate workplace on a hot, humid day when a suit isn't necessary.

However, it took me two long days to complete a simple basic dress because I definitely fumbled my way through the construction process. So the next time you are looking at one of my creations and wondering how I did it? In this instance...I fumbled my way through!

Finally, I am borrowing Summerset's Parting Shot:

My new Bose iPod docking was invaluable to me during the last two days as I fumbled around with my new dress! *smile*


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