Saturday, February 28, 2009

February end of the month recap

Well it's the last day of the month and time for a recap. It will be short and sweet this month...not because I didn't get alot accomplished but because...well it is! *LOL*

During the month of February, I made four garments...three dresses and one jacket. All for my work wardrobe and all of the pieces worked in my "get dressed with ease in the mornings" frame of mind! I did go over my fabric quota for the month by three yards...but the yellow rib knit was calling my name so loudly at Paron's that I just couldn't leave it! And I already know how I want to use it...just have to find some time!!!

However, my four garments used quite a bit of yardage...14! I need to felt fabric more often!!! And since I have quite a few more yards out than in...I'm fine with this. I need to keep this pattern up...So to summarize - 4 garments made - 13 yards of fabric in and 14 yards of fabric out.


Since it is the weekend and I didn't sew at all last weekend...I have plans for some sewing this weekend. Not big plans and not elaborate plans because during the week...I faced a need. See this:

The bag is full of garments to go to the drycleaners. I have been dragging my feet in taking them and now two of my favorite suits are in here along with all four pairs of my black pants. I don't know how I allowed this to happen! So sewing will be practical this weekend...I'm making another pair of black pants...yes I know...boring, boring, boring...but much needed.

During the week I wore a pair of pants that I made about two years ago and even though they fit and weren't tight when I stood up and moved around...the legs were a little uncomfortable sitting. So this morning, I remembered this article called, "Design with Ease" from the Fall 2008 issue of Sew Stylish:

The article talks about adding ease to pants legs...and it solves the issue that I am having so I am going to put the information to good use this weekend:

I am also going to work on the jacket to "The Making of a Suit" outfit...I looked at it again this morning and realized that I am so close to the finish line that I need to just bite the bullet and get this completed. Especially since it is a pretty suit and the weather is turning chillier again...*sigh* I can tell it is the beginning of March because I am sooooooo ready for spring to arrive!

So basics and practicality will rule my sewing this weekend. I will take the dry cleaning to the cleaners on Monday morning, cause I have several dresses on my "To Sew" list that will be perfect for the transitional weather, that I really want to sew instead of basics...

More later!

Friday, February 27, 2009

And the winner is....

Okay really made me work for that one! *LOL* There were ALOT of you interested in that "2 year old issue" as my DD I had her pull 2 names! One lucky winner will get the May 2007 issue and the other lucky winner will get a copy of the brand new March 2009 issue!!!

Are you ready....

Drum roll please....

The winner of the May 2007 issue is:


and the winner of the March 2009 issue is:

"Neighborhood Gal"

Congrats to the winners and thank you to all who stopped by and left a message!

Celeste and Neighborhood Gal if you would drop me a note at my email addy (located in my profile) with your address, I will send it out next week! Also, if you would kindly let me know when you receive the issue, it would be appreciated.

More sewing later!!!

Going, going, going...

It is 4:00 p.m. EST...and when I get home approximately 4 hours...I will be pulling the name for the free Burda (that yes, I will ship internationally for free!) if you haven't put your name in the hat...time is running out!

Because that Burda is going...going...going...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Burda World of Fashion

I love Burda World of Fashion pattern magazines. Today I realized that I've been collecting them for a dozen years...yeap, that's right...I have 12 years full of BWOF magazines...and I've made maybe three things from them...*LOL* Because until lately I thought of them primarily as a fashion magazine...the patterns were just extra!

Now how did I finally realize that I have so many years and so many copies of BWOF? I've spent the day cleaning, organizing and painting...I've lived in my apartment for four years now and I've finally made some decisions about how I want some things to go...took long enough huh?! *LOL*

Anyway, the bookcase that broke a couple of months ago, was fixed by my very resourceful daughter...and I reloaded it with magazine cases full of BWOF:

So in honor of organization, I have a giveway. I found one extra copy of the May 2007 issue. If you want it, it's yours. Just leave a message in this post's comments section from now until Friday, February 27th. I will pick one name from the hat Friday evening and let you know who gets it.

Parting shot:

The new color of my kitchen. I now need new kitchen curtains but that is an easy task! So no sewing this weekend...I have an engagement tomorrow during the day and I will be stuck in front of my TV tomorrow evening watching the Red Carpet events before the Academy Awards show.

Sewing will resume next weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Making a list

Lately my thoughts have been turning towards's not hard to do. The spring clothes are arriving in the stores...the spring catalogues are arriving in the mail...and all of the fashion magazines have spreads on spring clothing...even Oprah!

But realistically speaking, it is still winter where I live...and no amount of floral fabrics, bright colors or summer fabrics is gonna make that go away or spring come faster. So what is a sewist to do? Make a list! *LOL* Now my list is not comprised of garments to sew for spring...but a few pieces that I could reasonably complete before the soft breezes of spring start to flow through my windows.

I've also decided that right now, at this particular moment, I am most comfortable in dresses and my list is primarily comprised of dresses. Dresses drawn from glossy magazine pictures...dresses drawn from my vintage collection (yes, I've been chomping at the bit for spring to come to use some of them!)...dresses drawn from something that I've imagined and would like to make and wear.

My list also has a few cardigans on it...I don't know if it's a nod to our new First Lady or not but in my day to day activities, I am more comfortable in a dress and cardigan or twinset and skirt. So I'm going to apply a little "Corporate Chic" to them, and take them up a notch so that they are above the norm and applicable for my workplace.

I have a list, some direction and plenty of fabric and patterns to play with...and I can't wait to get started!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Finished Story

I was going to title this post, "Tada" but decided that was just a little tooo...

However, this post is mostly pictures of the finished dress and the jacket or "The Lisa Outfit!" Since the dress is from my TNT pattern and I've made it several hundred times (okay that was an exaggeration!) but I've made it alot, there is just nothing new to say about it...except that I now want it in a navy blue wool crepe and a grey wool...both fabrics are in the collection and should be used. Almost every jacket that hangs in my closet would go with these dresses and would make it extremely easy for me to get dressed in the, do I make them or the other things on my list...*sigh* I guess you will have to stay tuned to see what comes out of the sewing machine next.

So without further ado, "The Lisa Outfit!"

The dress alone

The dress with jacket

My daughter had me laughing so hard while she was taking the pics - but this is a great shot of the jacket and dress.

The back of the dress.

Now I realize that this isn't the most corporate of outfits...but I own plenty of them for days that we have meetings...and this dress with one of those jackets just adds to the number of outfits for formal meeting days. However, this outfit speaks to my personality...a little artsy with a dash of pro-fess-iona-lism...or my version of 'Corporate Chic.'

I've had a wonderful three day weekend...calming and full of creativity. I finished a UFO, I made a new dress and I have a kewl new sweatery jacket. Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presenting Butterick 5187 - The Anna Sui Jacket

I am calling this 'The Anna Sui Jacket' which is part of the "Lisa Outfit" because of the fabric. The fabric is the jump off point in this jacket and it's provided all of the adventure and drama in getting the jacket completed. If you've been reading along, you know that this fabric started as a thin wool gauzy type of fabric that I washed & dried and ended up with a felted piece of fabric. This manipulated piece is the start of the journey...

So let's talk some stats:

Butterick 5187 is an unlined, very loose-fitting jacket that has front and back gathered or pleated to a yoke. The yoke can extend to ties, have a one button closing, a snap closing or collar with several button closing.

I made View C in a size 24 straight out of the pattern envelope. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to lengthen the jacket front and back by three inches.

8 - yes 8 yards of the Anna Sui fabric felted
1/2 yard of black lining

5 yards of black satin bias binding
1 Size 10 black sew on snap
1 2" floral button from M&J Trimmings

Construction Changes:
I did follow the instructions sheets - well pretty much - since this was the first time working with this pattern.

► I did have some issues cutting out the pieces because the felted material had a border print that I wanted to use and the edges of the fabric felted with a ripply texture. To resolve the problem, I cut the pattern pieces out with some allowance around them. I steam pressed the cut out piece and repinned the pattern piece to the fabric. Then I recut the pattern piece. This solved most of the ripply, too wide pattern piece issues.

► The pattern calls for interfacing. I omitted this since I wanted a softer, sweatery type jacket and thought that even a light fusible interfacing might change the fabric's hand.

► The facing pieces were cut from lining fabric to eliminate bulk in the jacket yoke fronts and backs.

► The sleeves were sewn in using a flat insertion instead of the normal "in the round" method. Again the fabric is a little bulky and I wasn't sure that I could get a clean insertion so using the flat method insured that there were no puckers, gathers or other issues with sewing the sleeves into the jacket.

► The instructions tell you to baste the facings to the yoke fronts and backs and then insert the sleeves. Since I did not use this method, I ended up machine stitching these pieces down after the sleeves were inserted. I hand stitched the front and back yoke facings to the fashion fabric for a clean finish inside the jacket. I also omitted all of the edge stitching the instruction sheets tell you to do. I used a lot of steam and my clapper to get the lining and jacket fabrics to lay flat instead.

► I added black satin bias binding to the sleeve hems, finishing them off using a Hong Kong application. This was done prior to sewing the sleeves closed, so I tucked the additional bias binding underneath the seam and took a few stitches to clean finish the ends.

► The hem was also bound with the black satin bias binding for two reasons. To give the hem a little weight. I wanted to make the jacket back swing a little, and to give a more stable edge to add a hand stitched hem.

► Since the fabric was felted, I did not finish the edges of the fabric...knowing that the edges wouldn't ravel.
Some final thoughts on this jacket:

I was able to make the felted fabric work and achieve the sweatery look that I was aiming for. And I did manage to make the border print work in the jacket. Even though the border is primarily featured on the back yoke and the hemline of the jacket.

The sleeves did end up a little lighter than the rest of the jacket but since it is an artsy type of jacket...I am going to call it a design feature. I mean after the issue of not having enough fabric, I was making this work!

Finally, I will make this jacket again in a more "Corporate Chic" type fabric.

I am now working on the LBD dress that accompanies this more later!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A UFO Finished - Butterick 5247

I started this dress after Christmas during my Holiday Sewing Break. I overestimated when adding inches to the skirt of the dress and was kinda bummed about how it turned out, so I set it aside...

Yesterday morning while I was moving some pieces around, I noticed it hanging there and realized that it only needed a little work to finish it. Now isn't that always the case with a UFO?

So I completed it:

This dress/tunic pattern has been reviewed alot on PatternReview and I don't really have anything new and/or earth shattering to add to the construction of it. It is a very easy to sew dress that will fit quite a few body types. However, I did make a few changes just for me.

First fabric:
2 yards of a wool jersey
2 yards of a silk charmeuse print given to me by a friend

1. After adding so many inches to the abdomen and hip area, the dress looked like a big ole gray housedress my grandmama would have worn. So to remove most of what I added (I think in my mind I was having a 'fat' day) I made a center back seam.

2. I also added a lining because the wool jersey I chose to make this dress from was clingy...let me say that again...clingy - like sticking two pieces of bread together with some peanut butter - clingy. This just was not attractive. So I added a lining to prevent the dress from sticking together and to me!

3. There are no sewn hem allowances in this dress. I did a small serged edge finish on both the dress hem and the sleeve hems and let it be. I probably should have added some inches to the dress during the cutting stage to make it fall a little below my knees...but I didn' no hem. I also didn't hem the sleeve edges, there was no need. It wears fine as it is.

4. In the pictures, I am wearing the dress with a sleeveless turtleneck under it. This is how I will wear it because the neckline is very, very wide. The neckline was fine for my top but was unattractive on the dress.

When I finished this dress yesterday I was still on the fence about it. My middle daughter, however, loved it and said that once I was dressed, it would prove to be a better looking dress than I thought. I took her advice on the jewelry and hair, then my youngest daughter took pictures and I have to admit that it does look better than I imagined it would. I will definitely wear this to work on "Fashion Fridays" or days when we don't have meetings.

I'm already about halfway through the construction of the "Anna Sui" Jacket from "The Lisa Outfit" so more later!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Every morning when I get off the A Train at the Time Warner Centre, I walk past the Universal newsstand. Now let me explain, this is a store full of magazines, papers and tables where you can sit, read, drink a cup of coffee or hook up to the internet, not one of those little exposed stands on the street corners in NYC.

Several times during the month, I stop in and the morning manager always greets me and tells me what's in. Well, I guess I would greet me too if some mornings I slid up to the register with 3 or 4 copies of the Burda World of Fashion magazine...or when I pick up one of the Collections magazines...or let's not forget the day after the election when I picked up several papers and a couple of magazines...for my family! *LOL*

So this morning I roll in and he says the Marfys are in. Be still my heart! I love the Marfy catalogue as much as I love least years ago I did make something from my BWOF addiction...the same can not be said for the Marfys!!! Sick chick that I am, I pick it up, the People and Oprah (no subscription cause I buy her on a cover by cover basis) and my copy of the Vogue Magazine with the First Lady on the cover.

I hand him my debit card and he says $68 and something cents! WTF?! The Marfy catalogue is $ do I hand it back and say that will be I put it back and think maybe another day...Heck no! I bought the dayum thing with a big ole cheesy grin on my face! Just doing my part to stimulate the economy! *LOL* But to justify this purchase, Marfy is only published once a year now...and he only had 5 copies (Wendy if you're listening there were only 4 left this morning!!!)

So I am now the happy owner of a bunch of magazines, a few days off to sew, read and be inspired...and oh a list...yeah...after Marji posted about "the curse of the list" reminding me of what I said...I've decided to only share the two items I plan on making this weekend...

1. The Lisa Outfit
Felted Anna Sui fabric from Butterick 5187
Black wool crepe sheath from my TNT dress pattern with black piping

2. The First Lady Dress
From a royal blue wool crepe with a black wool crepe band in the center made from my TNT dress pattern. I am still deciding if I am going to put seams in the skirt and if I am going to add piping.

I have a few more items on the list...I don't know if they will make an appearance this weekend or in the future and to safeguard their actual construction...cause really how many projects have I discussed here and then they've never come to fruition...I'm gonna guard that list like KFC guards their fried chicken recipe...okay maybe not that closely! *LOL*

I'm off to relax with my new Marfy catalogue and get ready for three days of sewing...oh joy!!!

More later!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Braving the 50+ mile an hour winds...clutching my bag and concentrating on every step I survived the elements to do a lunchtime kamakazi run to Daytona Trimmings, Steinlauf & Stoller and Paron Fabrics.

A few pics of the haul:

25 yards of black satin piping from Daytona Trimmings

Zippers and a seam ripper (for the cutting table drawers) from Steinlauf & Stoller. I really wanted to get a few more hangers but I just didn't want to carry to much stuff in the elements.

Lining in three colors from Paron Fabrics - ruby red, off white and black

...and yes, this is a piece of fabric but it is so awesome! It was located on top of the shelves holding the lining and it was calling, calling, calling my loudly that I had a hard time concentrating on the lining fabrics until I pulled it down. There is 5 yards here but I only paid for 3...because there is a black mark on one side which I believe will come out in the wash. But who am I to tell the gentlemen cutting my fabric that he shouldn't give me additional yardage at a discounted price! *smile* Anyway...I am at my material limit for this month...thank God its a short month!!! But I had to have this yellowish cotton tubular knit. All I really want is a cardigan from it but will keep the extra on hand...cause who knows what needs will turn up!

There was another treat in the mailbox tonight...two patterns that I ordered from Your Pattern Shop. Now you don't think I recommended them and didn't purchase something from them, did you?! *LOL*

Here are the two patterns I purchased:

Butterick 4702 and...

Simplicity 6985

...and I know I said that I would share my sewing list for the weekend with you but...tomorrow...I promise!

More later!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's Here!

I got off the bus this evening tired and longing for the weekend. In my purse is a supply list...I need to make a quick trip to Daytona Trimmings tomorrow to pick up some supplies. But mostly I was just annoyed because it took longer than usual for me to get home.

I trudged up to the mailbox and opened it...then the skies parted...the darkness lifted and Hallelujah...*sigh*...all my troubles were gone! Because the fabric is here! The fabric is here! With a bounce in my step and a renewed quickness, I double-timed it into my apartment...threw my coat off, snapped open the envelope, did a quick measure (Lisa - it's 3 yards!) and tossed it into the washing machine.

Thirty minutes later it went into the dryer...Twenty minutes after that I pulled it out of the dryer...ummm Houston, we have a problem. This piece did not felt as tightly as the original piece did. At first, I thought I would just leave it...but the color difference between the body of the jacket and the sleeves would be too great. Back into the washer it went...

After a trip through the washer that seemed to take forever this time and then a ten minute trip through the dryer...I had a piece that was the right consistency...but just a little bit lighter than my piece. No worries, I will deal with it! Okay, I know you want to know how much was left right?

1 3/4 yards...22" wide...I laid the sleeve pattern down on the fabric...and, yes, I will have sleeves - the right length, too! OMG!!!! I am soooo thrilled and my new outfit will be called, "The Lisa Outfit!"

Lisa, thank you, thank you, thank you for sending me your piece! Thank you, thank you, thank you for saving my outfit and a special thank you to all the others who emailed and/or left a comment volunteering your pieces!

I will cut the sleeves this weekend and finish the jacket and dress up! Tomorrow, I will tell you what I'm planning on working on this weekend...I've got a list and I'm dangerous! *LOL*

More later...

Monday, February 09, 2009


Did you hear that giant sigh of relief? Yes, that was me...because the fabric I need is in the trusty hands of the U.S. Postal Service journeying towards me this very minute!!!

But what's really sad is that I just shut down yesterday. No, maybe I should cut out the black LBD, no threading the machines...nuthin'...I literally went to bed. Okay, I took a nap! *LOL* But my reaction was extreme...even to a confessed obsessed sewaholic! I have several projects that I could have worked on but at the time, I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't have enough of that particular fabric to proceed with the jacket.

Anyway, the fabric should arrive in my hot little hands by the weekend...and since it's a holiday the U.S. it will be President's Day weekend - a combination of Lincoln's Birthday and George Washington's Birthday...I will have three days to work on both pieces and now I'm looking forward with joy instead of dread to having that time!

On another renewal notice came in the mail for Burda Plus. I subscribe because this particular issue takes forever to arrive on the newsstands and I want to see it before the next season's patterns are available! Now I'm wondering if I should subscribe to the monthly issue of BWOF. I mean I purchase every issue anyway, maybe I should just subscribe. What do you think?

Lastly my beloved Fabric Mart is having a 20% off the entire website sale...and nope I'm not purchasing anything! Just in case you are not on the mailing list, I thought you would like to know! And to my readers overseas, I'm sorry but FM only ships to the US and Canada...bummer right!

More later...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Equals Nothing...


"I just so happens that I have approximate 2 yards that fabric aging in my stash that I recieved in a mystery bundle from FabricMart and it is yours for shipping. Let me know."

Lisa can you contact me via my email - located in my profile - so that I can make arrangements to get this piece from you! And THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! You are a lifesaver!!!


Plus these scraps:

Plus these cut out pieces:

Equals nothing...

So if anyone has a piece of that particular Anna Sui fabric that they would like to sell me...*sigh*...I'm listening...and yes, I've already gone through the gyrations of figuring out if another piece might work...I have nuthin'...please don't hurt me any more than I already am by suggesting that...

Otherwise, I'm finishing the new John Grisham novel today...I have walked away from my sewing machine...*sigh*

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fabric Manipulator

I've had this piece of fabric for about a year:

It was purchased on the recommendation of a friend. Bought from my favorite internet fabric source, Fabric Mart. It was part of last year's Anna Sui pieces and I thought it was a challis-type fabric. Instead when it arrived it had a very loose weave...and although I liked the border print...I'm not sure about the color.

So this went into the bowels of the fabric closet...unloved. Fast forward to this week and a conversation that I had with several friends who also purchased this piece of fabric. Yeah, we were kinda like lemmings when we saw the first friend's piece! *smile* A member of this 'elite' group, had washed her piece. When she showed the end result to the other members of the group, I wasn't around...but I did hear about it...and her end results intrigued me.

Of course, this meant that my piece had to be retrieved and manipulated. Let me say here and not that I love manipulating fabric. I love how it can become something entirely different from the original piece. Sometimes its something better...sometimes its something unusual...but it is never the same piece that you started with.

Personally, I've never manipulated a piece and had something go horribly wrong...but then that might be because I'm open to any possibility. Manipulation is about experimentation and risk. If you're scared of the risk, don't manipulate. Me, I find it exhilarating to learn what a fabric can become with a little handling!

In its original form, this piece measured 5 yards by 44" wide. After one round in the washing machine on hot water with a small amount of detergent, this is it how it looked:

After a short trip through the dryer and a steam press, it measured 3 yards by 23". It also felted unevenly throughout the piece...some areas of the piece are wider by an inch or two and not as tightly felted. My piece became softer and more sweater-like. The color is denser and the fabric edges ruffle, also the pattern is tighter, less distinct.

Will I use it now? Yes, of course. It will make a great, trendy little sweater jacket over my black wool crepe LBD. It has already sent me looking for a pattern, one I've wanted to make for a minute now, Butterick 5187:

Friday evening and Saturday morning has been spent pretreating and manipulating fabric. I'm a fabric manipulator, are you?

More later...

Two Saturday Morning Quickies...

If you've been following along on Summerset's journey, "The Making of the Bluebird of Happiness"'s finished and photo shots are up! Please go by and check out this amazing outfit!!!

...and two if you are a costumer, Butterick patterns has a $3.00 sale on some great costuming patterns...and if you are a Club BMV member they are $2.70 a piece. There are a few garment patterns for women and kids thrown in too, but check it out!

Those are my bits and pieces for this morning...enjoy your day!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A LBD and some updates...

I have a little black dress "LBD" for spring/summer in a lightweight rayon linen blend, for the transitional times it's in a wool blend double knit but I don't own one for fall/winter. Now I've always wanted one but you know about that little issue I've had with cold weather! However, now that I've resolved that dilemmia...and after wearing this black/white jumper from my 2007 SWAP collection today, I really want a black wool crepe version of this:

...lined of course, with one of my Fabric Mart silk charmeuse purchases and with the same thin black piping at the neckline and armholes. In my wardrobe are several cardigans and jackets that will work wonderfully with this new dress...I will keep you updated on its progress!


Major Project #1...I basted the sleeves into the jacket and tried it on. It's a little tight when buttoned so I'm gonna have to let the side seams out a smidge. But I am still plugging away on it. I will do another post on its progress soon.

This is major project #2. Which I haven't given much thought to lately...although it is within viewing distance so that I can't forget about it. I know what I want the dress to be and I need to just handstitch the hems on the jacket as well as adding buttons and buttonholes. *sigh* I need to get re-energized about this project!

I've found my fabric for my Easter Outfit and of course it's not in my collection! *LOL* Fabric Mart has this great Sarah Campbell fabric on its site and since yellow is the Pantone color for 2009 ~ you know I'm now the proud owner of three yards. I used the "Friends of PR" discount to get 30% off the order (said discount expires February 8th!). I knew the fabric wouldn't last until the end of March when I would seriously start thinking about making a new Easter outfit...well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

~New Vintage Pattern Site
I "found" this new (to me) vintage pattern site - "Your Pattern Shop" - enuf said!

And finally, I love the blog, Michelle Obama Fashion and Style! The other day she posted a link to a dress that our First Lady wore to a prayer breakfast with The President. You can see it here...not only do I LOVE the dress but I LOVE the fact that The President of the United States is holding out the chair for his wife! *ahhhhhh* But back to the dress...I.Must.Make.This.Dress!!!

It is very similar to this Ann Taylor dress from last fall that I also fell in love with!

I have the fabric and I can use my TNT dress pattern...I have to make this dress!

Well I'm off to steam press my black wool crepe...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Did you or didn't you?

Kai Jones wrote:
"...we don't see the prep time. You say you sewed the outfit in the weekend, but how many days did you spend doing 10 minutes worth of prep here and a half hour there? Pretreating fabric (whether washing or steam-iron shrinking); cutting out; collecting zippers, buttons, facing, thread; all that stuff is part of the time it took to make the garment, but it isn't obvious when you present the finished item as "I sewed this over the weekend."

This is a very valid point of view, but then again, I could say that most of my free time is spent in preparation to sew! *smile* Since my life revolves around the pursuit of the perfect pattern, the best quality fabric for the cheapest price ~ I spend quite a bit of time, checking the fabric sites, watching the prices, and waiting for the best sale ~ sorta like watching the stock market for the best time to swoop in and get a stock at a bargain basement price! I know this makes it seem like I have a one track mind...Well I do! *LOL*

Although with this particular dress all the decisions except picking the fabrics were actually made during last weekend. The fabric was pre-treated, the pattern was cut out and the zipper pulled from the stash during the weekend. It helped tremendously that I had previously made the dress and had the notes and a blog post to guide me through the process quicker than if I was starting from scratch. It's also an easy dress to sew.

So while maybe some weekends it could be stretching it to say, "Sewn in a Weekend" this dress actually was!

Now the point of prep work is to allow you to sew something in a weekend, if you desire. There are sooooo many decisions associated with making a garment...some of which could tank the garment...some of which could cause the garment to never be made...some of which could cause the garment to be amazing! You need time to do the prep work. You need time to think things imagine what could and could not be. You need that time. But prep work is not least not in my book. Because if prep work counted, I would have an awesome amount of garments made...I am ALWAYS thinking of a new garment...a new technique...a new way to do something. I am constantly inspired to sew and create. So no...prep work does not equate sewing, at least to me!

Sewing is the actual process of creating the garment...handling the fabric...adjusting the pattern...cutting it out...sewing and pressing...fitting and finishing the piece. Now that part, can take one afternoon, one day, one weekend or a series of weekends or months. It depends on you...but I can guarantee you...I would never say that I sewed something in a weekend, if I actually didn't! Especially since I am a walking, breathing prep factory!!!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sew Focused

Diana wrote:
I can't even fathom how you sew so quickly. I'm such a meanderer (is that a word I wonder?).

Lately it's been mentioned several times about how fast I sew...y'know I don't really think I sew fast...I think I 'Sew Focused.' I see you scratching your head, so let me explain.

My first rule of sewing focused is that I set aside dedicated time to sew. That means I don't plan other things on a weekend I want to sew. I don't venture out much...which is real easy to do in the winter! I don't run errands and I don't meander over to the craft store that masquerades as a fabric store to pick up things.

My second rule is that I plan, plan, plan! All items that I need to make a garment are pulled from their respective closet, shelf or bin prior to the actual weekend I sew it. If I am missing a notion or need something additional, it is purchased before I sit down to sew. ALL things are together, in place and waiting for me, so that when I sit down I can just sew.

My fabric collection, pattern collection, notion & button stash as well as thread collection has been set up so that when it's time to sew, I can just sit down and sew!

Do you sense a theme here? *LOL*

Seriously, I have a limited amount of time to sew...primarily the weekends and/or when I can get an extra day or two my sewing time is focused. If it wasn't I would never complete a garment! If there was one piece of advice that I could pass onto you, plan out your garment, assemble your supplies and then set aside time to sew! You would be surprised at how fast you could complete a garment.

Now of course there are amendments/disclaimers to everything! I did meander this weekend. That particular dress could have been finished by 2:30 pm instead of 9:30 pm...but I read some of a book, watched a movie, my oldest daughter came by to visit so I stopped to talk to her...and then there is all that internet blog reading! *smile* Technically, I could have finished two garments this weekend...I just wasn't pressing. I was enjoying the journey...

To reiterate, my sewing focused rules are:

1. Set aside dedicated time - don't use it for anything else but to sew.
2. Plan, plan, plan! Make sure that all of your supplies are on hand when you sit down to sew.

3. Pretreat as much as possible before sitting down to sew.

4. Stay focused - you can accomplish much if you dedicate yourself to the task!

Hope this helps all of those who are wondering how I sew so fast! And here is the original post that I wrote back in 2007 about "Sewing Fast". I would like to pose these questions from that post again:

Do you do everything possible before you sit down to sew? If so, why? I mean have you ever thought about why you put something that gives you so much enjoyment in last place? And if you do give sewing priority, do you ever analyze why you sew slowly? Do you enjoy the journey and want to savor every minute of it? Or are you paralyzed by choices which makes it hard to make progress?

Read some of the answers to the original questions. They really make you think! And finally, "Do you sew focused?"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Butterick 5179 ~ Winterized

I was digging through the fabric closet last week looking for what else ~ a piece of fabric! My hand fell upon this piece:

It is 4 yards of a wool/silk blend that I bought several years ago from Originally it was purchased to make a pair of pants and a vest. But upon touching it this time, it said that it wanted to become a dress.

I wasn't sure which dress to make. I had some vague ideas but nothing concrete. As I was going through my sewn pattern folders, I spied the Butterick one. Remembering that I wanted to make it again and realizing that I had a great contrast fabric for the yoke, sleeve and hem bands, I pulled it out.

Finding my notes from the spring/summer version of this dress, rereading them and my blog post brought the construction details back to my mind. There were two changes that I wanted to make to this winterized version:

1. Block fuse the contrast fabric prior to cutting out the yoke pieces
2. Make sure that I lengthened the back yoke pieces to avoid this:

I added a black polyester lining to the entire dress...sleeves included. Finally here is a picture of me wearing the finished dress:

The jury is still out on this dress. The neckline is really wide which is great on a spring/summer dress...not so great on a fall/winter dress. The dress is loose-fitting without any darts...and even though quite a few of my dresses are unstructured...they do have darts or princess seams to give the appearance of shape. This could have easily looked like a housedress!

One last pic of both the summer & winter versions:

It's done...and I'll probably wear it...but it's not a hall of fame dress...if you want to see more construction and interior shots, they are in my flickr album. It's done and all I can think of is..."NEXT!"


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