Thursday, April 30, 2009

April's End of the Month Recap

Honestly, I don't know what happened to me this month...I was just unproductive. I guess my sewing machine and my sewing mojo needed a rest! Only two garments were finished this month...using 4 yards of fabric. I did however, make 6 bibs for The Little Prince...but really that is not very productive at all!

Of course, I was much better at bringing fabric into the house...29 more yards showed up...less than last month but I need to do a little better. Truth be told, I'm looking forward to May. Less social engagements, more time to sew...hopefully more garments made.

I'm keeping this short and sweet...cause there isn't much to say...except I need to sew more and shop less! *LOL*

That's my end of the month round-up...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

True Confessions

When I got home last night there was a package waiting for order from Textile Studios. Usually I rip into a fabric box with joy and glee...but a feeling of sorrow overtook me because this is the very last time I will open anything from Marsha...

I had no idea what was inside since the amount charged to my credit card was vastly different from the amount on the order I submitted...and I held my breathe a little...because this was the last time that I would experience fabric euphoria from Textile Studios.

Here's what came:

Now to be honest there was a second box waiting alongside the Textile Studios package but I had to wait a few minutes before I could open it...because I hoped that this box would fill me with joy and I really wanted to give Textile Studios its moment...before I moved along...

The other box was from "Le Fabric Mart" and when I tell you that it filled me with joy, I would be underestimating its effect. At first when I placed that order, I felt a little guilty...I mean who am I kidding, I have lots of fabric joy right here, living with me...but once the realization hit me that Textile Studios would be no more...I was glad that I was still supporting my sweet addiction.

You wanna know what came don't you...I'm not sure I should show you! *LOL* I was a bit of a fabric piggy...but need to twist my arm!

An ITY Jersey (wants to make another version of V1091)

A silk/cotton blend...the hand is so silky soft! Lovely!

A printed black & white broadcloth

This piece is AWESOME! It is an embroidered cotton broadcloth with organza bits sewn to the flowers so they are three dimensional!

This linen is sooooo soft, I'm tempted not to wash it! But check out the border...ohlalala!

And have you noticed that I am partial to Vogue and Butterick patterns. I've made quite a few garments from both pattern lines. It hit me the other night when I was searching for something...I have a few Simplicity Patterns but I'm not really feeling the plus size patterns since Khaliah Ali lost weight. They both seemed more committed to the line before...not to say that she shouldn't have lost weight, just noting that the attention started to wane on the plus size line about that time...and I have hardly any New Look patterns! I think I sewed the only ones I own last year!

McCalls well you know they are on probation with that leaves the independents. Yeah, not much love happening between them and me either...except for the Sewing Workshop Mission Tank...I don't know if it's cause I'm plus size or because they don't think plus size women are fashionable? But that is a post for another day... and Vogue and Butterick...a match made in heaven! I know there have been some issues about pattern instructions and labelling on patterns but seriously, they have some awesome designers...Ralph Rucci, Donna Karan, Tom & Linda Platt...and then there is Sandra Betzina holding it down for the average woman. I think I've had my best successes with both pattern companies and that's why I always turn to them.

Well that was my True Confessions for the evening...I really want a few days off to sew the wonderful fiberly lovelies that just arrived but it ain't happening...

As always, more later!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Notes from the cutting table...

I don't know about you but when I'm sewing my mind is racing...just racing! Sometimes with creative thoughts and some times with just stuff...

Anyway, here are a few thoughts that tripped through my mind while I was making my latest dress...

1. Picking a print for a pattern...
Here's a tip...lay one major piece of the pattern down onto the fabric and look at it. Is it appealing? Does it look like you imagined it would? Not sure...let it sit for a few hours and walk away. When you come back, if you are still unsure...move on it's not meant to be. However, if you lay the pattern piece down and you get really excited about the's a keeper!

2. Cutting Large...
I would rather cut a pattern with a little extra ease than exact or close to the measurements. To me, it is easier to remove excess fabric than to add more in if you've cut it too short...y'know what I mean.

3. Matching prints...
This has become my newest obsession! Since there are now so many prints and patterns in both wovens and knits available to the home sewist, I think it's really important that prints are matched correctly in our garments. It may take a little more time. It may take changing the cutting layout but in the end it will be soooo worth the effort. I am now trying to remember to treat these prints with the same care and effort that I treat plaids.

4. Buying too much fabric...
Since I tend to purchase fabric when I'm not always sure about what the end result will be...sometimes I tend to buy too much! Or, I may have an idea for it when I first buy it but don't use it for *mumble, mumble* years later and change my mind about the final garment. Thus 3 out of 4 times I end up with fabric left what am I suppose to do with all those scraps? A question that is constantly being asked by sewists!

5. I love the sound of the swish that my scissors make when they are cutting out fabric. I don't understand how people use rotary cutters for this...or am I just old fashioned?

6. Finally...I HATE to cut out! Period...end of story!!!! *LOL*

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vogue 1091 ~ Tom & Linda Platt Dress

I picked this dress to make today because it's a simple dress with an interesting neckline that shouldn't be too hot to wear to work tomorrow.

Vogue 1091 - Tom & Linda Platt Designer Dress
Loose-fitting, above knee pullover dress has elasticized front and back neckline, short sleeves and top-stitched hems.

2 yards Rayon/lycra knit from Ebads Fabrics (from the collection)

7/8 yd of 1" elastic
2 yards of tricot lining from

Construction Changes:
*I added one inch to the hem of the dress - making the finished length 39.5"
*I added a lining - cut from the dress front and back pieces
*I used a 5/8" seam allowance at the top of the sleeve cap and tapered down to a 3/8" seam in the bicep area.

Those were my construction changes...not many because this is a simple dress.

The tricot lining pieces were added to each piece when the elastic was inserted and then basted to the sides of the front and back pieces.

I did follow the instructions very carefully because the way you make the shoulder seam and attach the sleeve is different. Not something that I would have thought of but a very kewl designery technique.

You baste the sleeve to the dress from the elasticized neckline down to the side seam. Then you sew on the interfaced sleeve facing...which finishes the shoulder/sleeve and encloses the seam. I am simplifying the process but it isn't difficult. If you mark the notches carefully on the sleeve, and follow the pattern directions you will be fine.

The thing I really liked about this dress was the elasticized neckline:

A few tips and things I would do differently:

1. Make sure you choose an interesting fabric. This dress could very easily look like a house dress on a plus size woman. A large print/pattern or a very vivid solid color will prevent this from happening.

2. Make sure that you mark your front and back pieces during construction. They look exactly alike so I marked them early and had no problems.

3. Finally, I cut this too big. There is a discrepancy between the pattern envelope and the pattern pieces. The pattern envelope says that the finished hem length is 61.5" The pattern says its 60.5". I flat measured the pieces and found that they were 60.5" So I added a 1/2" using the pivot and slide technique for both the front and back pieces, which I ended up taking out in the side seams because it is a knit and has more than enough ease. When I make this again, and I will make it again, I will cut the pattern exactly as it is or a little closer.

I wanted a new dress to wear at the beginning of the week during the heatwave especially since "The Dreaming of Spring" dress is made from a ltwt wool crepe and would probably be too warm for Monday and Tuesday, here on the East Coast. The temperature drops back to normal spring-like temps in the middle of the week and the following I will probably finish that dress next weekend.

I highly recommend Vogue 1091 for plus size sewists. The pattern goes up to a size 24 and is easily altered for larger sizes. If you are looking for a simple dress with a lot of bang for the buck, this is a great pattern to start with! Okay, okay, it's even a great pattern if you're not plus size! *LOL*

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Missing you...missing you!

Yes, I know I've been MIA this week but work was slightly more than overwhelming and for my sanity's sake...I was concentrating on just that! So I have no sewing news, no fabric or patterns to share...

*sigh* It has been that kinda week. However, I am thankful that I still have a job to take up all my time and the opportunity to purchase new sewing supplies if I so desire! BTW, has anyone seen the fabric in "The New Arrivals" section of Fabric Mart lately!?! Ohmygosh, there are some amazing pieces there! And a little birdie told me that Ann at Gorgeous Things is having a fabulous sale too!

It's suppose to be a summer-like weekend and beginning of the work week here on the East instead of following the masses outside to enjoy the weather...I mean summer is coming and it's going to be like this almost every weekend right? I am going to hunker down in my sewing area, enjoying the luscious sunshine from beside my sewing machine, creating some wonderful new dresses to be worn to work next week while the temperatures are still hot, hot, hot!

As always...more later!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Sad Farewell...

The thing I worried about is starting to happen. Another wonderfully amazing online fabric retailer is going away...Textile Studios...and while I don't purchase from this site alot...I do have several awesome pieces from her...and will miss her "voice" in the online fabric community...

Here is what I received in my email this evening:

Textile Studio's Sew Long Sale

I'm very sad to announce that due to the economic downturn, I find it necessary to close out the fabric side of my business. I need to clear my inventory, as I will be vacating my studio shortly. So EVERY FABRIC on my site is 25% to 60% Off with many marked down well below my wholesale costs. This inventory clearance sale will run through Sunday, April 26th.

Unfortunately, a few ground rules are necessary for this sale. I usually send out emails if I'm unable to fill your order in any way. As I will be servicing this sale by myself, I will not send them this time. So, if you are purchasing fabrics to go together, please let me know in the comments/suggestion box on the order form. Also, if you are ordering several yards of one fabric, please let me know the minimum you will accept in the comments box. All orders will be processed on a first come first served basis. And since this IS a clearance sale all sales are final.

So Click Here to visit my "SEW LONG SALE".

And, as always, Keep on Sewing!

I hate when good fabric places go away...*sigh*...just needed to share!

Friday, April 17, 2009

TNT Dress Pattern - Part III

This is a wrap up post. I wanted to list the changes I made to my TNT dress pattern as a quick summary without all the verbiage. Here goes:

1. Adjusted the shoulder seams of the sleeveless dress so that short sleeves could be added to it.

2. Used the short sleeves from the jacket pattern ~ altered the sleeve cap to fit the newly adjusted shoulder seam.

3. Shortened the pattern from calf-length to knee length.

4. Changed the side vent openings to a center back vent.

5. Eliminated the bodice and skirt seam making a single front and back pattern pieces.

6. Added a little waist and hip definition by adding some flare to the skirt portion of the dress.

7. Added a lining to the dress.

Once more...I've used this pattern with the changes listed above for about 4-5 years. All of the changes that I've made to the pattern in the last three years has been documented here on my blog. There is quite a lot of them because you know I love a dress *smile*...and "The Dreaming of Spring Dress" is just the latest version.

As each version has been made - new pattern pieces have been traced and placed into the folder that contains my TNT dress pattern. There are now quite a few pattern pieces and "views" available for constructing this dress. So Sandra and Barb I hope I answered most of your questions...

Finally ~ a few questions and answers from the TNT posts...

Anonymous wrote:
"Where can I get a copy of this pattern?"
I honestly don't know. My first impulse would be to search eBay and if one is not available to save the search. It is amazing what turns up months later! I guess you could troll the vintage pattern sites also...again you just never know what will show up!

NancyK asked:
"Do you own any of the Cynthia Guffey DVDs?"
Nope. I took a weekend worth of classes and purchased two of her pamphlets...between them and the extensive notes I took during the classes...I've managed to make her theories work.

Thanks everyone who took the time to read the posts, click to the links and read some of the older posts as well as look at the pretty pictures. My life is finally settling down - no social obligations for a couple of weekends, so I plan on turning my sewing machine on this weekend and letting it work itself out! *LOL*

More later!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tried 'n True (TNT) Pattern - Part II

As previously mentioned, Butterick 5932 an out of print pattern is my number one favorite, take anywhere, use anytime TNT dress pattern. I started working with this pattern ten years ago when my two youngest daughers were 9 & 10 years old. I was married at the time, worked a full-time job, volunteered at my church, did afterschool activities with my daughters and only had 6-8 hours per week to sew.

It could take me an entire month to complete a complicated project and at least two weekends to make one dress or top. And at the end of that time, the garment might not fit or work well for me. To address this situation, I went looking for a couple of patterns that I could make over and over with a little diversity so that my limited sewing time would yield better results. That's how I stumbled upon Butterick 5932.

Now I originally made this dress and jacket combo exactly as it appears on the envelope. It was a perfect work and church dress and I really liked the fit on it. So my first alteration was to change it from a sleeveless dress to a short sleeve dress, thereby making it more versatile and less likely to need a jacket to complete it.

I really wasn't sure how to accomplish this task but during that time I was on an internet sewing list and I asked the question there and got an answer. It took a couple of attempts but I finally got the shoulder to fit, the sleeve to fit into the sleeve cap and the two to work together as a cohesive unit. I didn't draft a new sleeve pattern - had no clue how! I took the sleeve from the jacket pattern and played with it until the cap fit into the newly adapted shoulder seam of the dress. I definitely used the trial and error method for this and I'm sure that I wore some dresses that weren't perfect...but I was learning! *LOL*

The first instance of using this pattern repeatedly was when I made a series of linen summer dresses that I called, "The Necklace Dresses" so named because there were four dresses and each one had a different type of embellishment at the neckline. For this series of dresses I changed the side vents to a back vent but besides color, embellishment and a simple design change, the dress still looked remarkably like the pattern envelope. Sadly, I have no pictures of these dresses because the affordable digital camera had not yet arrived!

I worked the pattern in this condition for about a year, using color, fabric, border prints to make each new dress distinctive from the others. It became a go-to pattern when I needed a dress without a lot of effort. Then I was inspired to remove the empire seaming detail. This was another simple change. I laid the bodice on top of the skirt (both front and back pieces) overlapped the 5/8" seam allowance and traced off a new piece. It was during this transformation that the dress went from long to short. Here is one of my first attempts at this dress using a distinctive fabric and a little piping to make it work:

...and this dress is still in my closet today! Just ran it through the wash to wear next week!!!

Each change to this pattern was accomplished by adjusting the pattern, making several dresses and with each wearing...adjusting...adjusting...adjusting!

One more from that time period - Lulu wearing it in wool crepe again with a piping - this time the piping is suede and the dress is lined:

I've always taken details from other garments I like. I've continued this and it was this practice that elevated my TNT dress pattern into it's greatest and most imaginative phase. It started with The Chanel Knock-off Dress. *sigh* The Chanel Knock-off Dress is one of the milestone markers of my sewing because it changed everything about what I thought I could do to or with a pattern and it's really the godmother of all the dresses you seen here since. Even though I'd shortened and made a few changes to my TNT pattern, I'd never really had the courage to cut a pattern apart to reproduce a look I wanted...normally I would just look for and buy a pattern to achieve the look.

Making that dress was my "Aha Moment!" I fearlessly cut and rearranged the pattern, used some sewing techniques that I had learned from years of sewing, screwed up my courage and went for it. Constructing that dress opened my eyes and showed me that there are unlimited horizons and that I can make anything I want from a picture, a tv show, something I saw on the street or dreamed up.

It's funny because several dresses into my new world view, Summerset called my TNT dress pattern a sloper and maybe it is. Especially since I've used it so much to interpret looks as well as a vintage pattern - Vogue 5265. Now it's become a roadmark, a place where I begin my creative journey and where anything can happen.

Let me stress again that getting a well-used, well-fitted TNT pattern is a process. My pattern has been in the making for ten years and has seen many incarnations as well as many wearable muslins! Along the way there have been some wadders, a few "What was I Thinking!" dresses and some that failed the wearability test spectacularly!

Another thing that Cynthia Guffey said directly to me in one of those fitting classes was that, "Sewing is your hobby, it should not be rushed. It is a journey. Enjoy the journey!" She gave me those sage words after I asked a question about why she invested so much time in sewing a hem. At the time they were delivered, I was embarrassed and a little humilated because if you've ever taken a class with Cynthia you know that her delivery is crisp and to the point!

However, after internalizing those words, they have become my sewing mantra. So now I'm passing them along to you...if you really want a well-fitted, lay it down on the fabric, cut and sew it TNT pattern...enjoy the journey! Don't skip any steps! Don't go to fast! Because you must see the adventure in the process and you have to make the journey to get a TNT pattern...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My TNT Dress Pattern

I received this email from Sandra...

"You frequently discuss your use of TNT patterns. Could you do an entry on your blog about the process you go through to make a TNT pattern and then use it in a variety of ways (for those of us out there who are a bit vague about the process). Do you make the TNT pattern by adjusting the paper pattern or do you make a muslin with all the adjustments and then use the final shape of the muslin as the basis for your TNT pattern, either copying it onto paper or using it as is? Hope that makes sense. When you make variations of your TNT do you do up another pattern with the variations or are you spectacularly clever and skilled enough to just use the pattern and make adjustments as you go? I'm really interested to know as I'm working on having a basic set of TNT patterns (pants, skirt, dress, top/s and some kind of jacket/overshirt) and am a bit bemused about which path to follow. Would so appreciate some of your wisdom."

...and Barb asked...
"So these vintage patterns when you alter them, how many muslins or fittings do you have to have to get them to fit correctly?"

Since these questions are similar in nature, I decided to use them as the basis for the next two blog posts. If you are interested in how I work with my TNT patterns, stay tuned. However, if this isn't interesting to you, please feel free to check back in a few days!

Okay so I have two TNT dress patterns. The first one is Butterick 5932 which is out-of-print (OOP) and it's the main one I reach for when I have a new idea or I want a basic sheath dress. This is the pattern that I've made the most renditions from and the one that I would grab if the house was burning and I could only take a few things!

This pattern has been in my collection for about 10 years...and I've used it so much and so often that it is now a lay it down on the fabric, cut it out and sew it pattern. However, Sandra is asking how I get them to this point.

First a little background...

I don't muslin. I know that this is the prevailing wisdom and I'm not saying that you shouldn't muslin...I'm just saying that I don't. I understand that this is opening up a can of worms but before a heated discussion takes place based upon which side you are on...please understand this is what I do. And I firmly believe that each and every sewist should make their own decisions about how they want to sew based upon their individual needs and their sewing experience or lack thereof.

I am sure you are wondering why I don't muslin. It is because I took a series of fit classes with Cynthia Guffey where she taught a method of flat pattern measurements that changed my world. I mean that weekend with her rocked my sewing world...and I took these classes...almost every one she offered at a sewing expo that were so full of information and from a totally different perspective that I had been exposed to. Also she explained it in such a simple way that I grasped the concepts from the beginning...

I went to the expo with a really good friend and when we came home we took the extensive measurements that Cynthia recommended for each other. Periodically, I have my daughter redo them for me so that I am always working with the latest ones. The measurements are in her book, "Cynthia's Precision Measuring & Pattern Alterations." I even wrote a blog post about it in February 2008 called, "How I take Measurements."

If you are interested in learning another method of flat pattern measuring for fit, I strongly urge you to try Cynthia's method. As I said before, it changed the way I sewed. So, I don't muslin and the next uncommon fitting camp I'm in is the wearable muslin camp. I know, I know...again I'm flailing against the prevailing tides...but let me state my case, okay?!

To me the first time you wear any garment you've made, it is a wearable muslin because even if you've fitted it perfectly and you've chosen the right fabric, lining and interfacing, you can't always predict "The Wearability Factor." Again I stress that to me, you don't know how that garment is going to behave under normal conditions until you've spent several hours in it. What works on the dressform, while you are trying it on and taking a few pics in it or for that matter in the dressing room, does not necessarily work during your normal day's activities. And you have a choice to make at the end of the day if it doesn't meet the wearability factor...make it again and improve upon the things that bothered you...or let that pattern and garment go. But either way, it was a wearable muslin...

That was a lot right?! Can I add one more thing before I get specific on the changes I made to my TNT dress pattern? Every pattern I use doesn't become a TNT. Sometimes it's because the vision I saw and the garment that was constructed don't jive. Sometimes it's because the garment I make is soooo distinctive that to make additional outfits would be too repetitious. And mostly I try to make TNT patterns out of basics...a skirt, a pair of pants, a dress, a jacket and a top or two. Those are the basic cornerstones of a good wardrobe and will take you far when attempting to construct an entire sewn-by-you wardrobe.

Also my TNT's go through alot of fitting smidges...smidges because I'm always adjusting a little here or a little there to get "the perfect fit." But I have to caution you, the best TNT patterns are the ones where you are willing to keep working at it, to keep changing it, to continue to "see" new things with it and the pattern doesn't bore you. TNT patterns in my book are not for the fickle or faint of heart or someone that likes change and new challenges...but again these are my opinions only and shouldn't be taken as gospel...they are just my gospel! *smile*

My next post will be about the journey of how Butterick 5932 changed from a calf-length empire waist dress into what it is today!

More later...

p.s. All the dresses pictured in this post are from B5932 - my TNT dress pattern

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Planning Weekend

I had all intents of spending my entire weekend sewing...but something happned between Thursday night and Friday morning. Even though I had several pieces that needed to be finished I was more in a planning and organizing state of mind.

So instead of sewing all day Friday, I took an inventory of my summer fabrics so that I would know what I had on hand to work with...and no I'm not sharing that inventory with you, so don't ask! *smile* Also by spending some time touching, organizing and refolding some pieces, I remembered some forgotten dreams, thought of some new projects and saw some fabrics that I hadn't seen since last spring/summer.

It was like opening the windows and letting the spring sun and warmth into my sewing area! So all of this inventorying along with some new Vogue and vintage patterns have inspired new dress ideas for my spring/summer sewing.

This is just a precurser to a series of posts that I will be sharing on how I work with my TNT dress pattern. It's kind of long and needs to be shared in two posts but I heard you Sandra and Barb! Oh and the person who was at Metro did contact me ~ so thanks for letting me know that I inspired you and that you had a great time with the infamous Kashi!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Finally Finished...

It's been a long journey with many stops and starts, and a few changes of direction but the pantsuit is finally finished. I had to get this one out of the way. It was hanging in my direct view every day taunting me with its incompleteness and my inability to find a way to make the sleeves in the end...I turned the idea on it's head and went in a different direction. A way that is unexpected yet totally satisfying.

First let me warn you that I have no shots of the finished outfit on me...those will come later, I promise! I just have a busy day today and wanted to get this post look for those candid shots at a future date. As an aside...three years later I'm still chanting that I really need to get my dress form some new feet. I need to make that a priority this year!!! *LOL*

So the original project was to make a pantsuit using this pattern:

Vogue 7944

A TNT pattern that I've made several times before along with my TNT pants pattern.

Of course the easiest part of this pantsuit was the pants...which have been completed for several months...just hanging around and waiting for this problem child jacket to have its issues worked out! I finally broke down and wore just the pants with the twinset as pictured here:

So the problem with the jacket was the sleeves. No matter what I tried, they just did not insert into this jacket well. Which stymied me because I've made the jacket three times before and never had a problem inserting the I let it sit. Periodically, I would pick it up and rip the sleeves out and try something else...still no good. Here is how they fit the last time I inserted them:

This was bad, really bad and I had resigned myself to the fact that this jacket was just not going to happen...which hurt me greatly because I loved the lining that I had installed...especially the back facing piece:

Last week when I was cleaning out magazines (way too many of them come to my house) and sending them out to the recycle bin, I spied an article in Lucky called "Sleeveless Jackets" and I had an Oprah "Aha Moment!" I decided to just get rid of those pesky sleeves. Once I made that decision it was like being released from prison. I knew exactly what steps to take to get this baby finished and onto my back.

So even though I had planned to work on "The Dreaming of Spring Dress" this weekend, instead I cleaned up this niggling project. Okay, how about a peek at the finished pantsuit:


Button closed

The stash I will never, ever complain about is my notion/trim stash...because quietly residing in that stash was a roll of bias cut linen in a complimentary shade of olive green. With that roll, my bias tape maker, a little steam and time, I had bias binding that coordinated with the vest which I used to finish the armholes.

I also added the lime green piping to the armholes to tie the trim all together.

The buttons blended so perfectly with the fabric.

Now I am completed thrilled with this outfit. I will wear it to work this week and it will reside safely in my closet no longer taunting me with its incompleteness. If I could just do something about that red doubleknit jacket and dress....*sigh*

Finally a few stats:

Jacket ~ Vogue 7944
Pants ~ TNT pattern - used wider leg version

5 yards of a striped worsted wool crepe from Fabric Mart
5 yards of bronzed brown lining from Paron Fabrics

4 yards lime green piping purchased from Daytona Trimmings
3 yards olive green linen bias binding
5 olive green soutache shank buttons from Sawyer Brooks Fabrics

This is my first completed piece in April. I have a 4-gore skirt that's cut out and laying on my sewing table that I would like to work on tonight after the guests go home...trying to prolong that three day weekend as long as possible! *LOL*

As always...more later!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baby Sewing

My grandson is a little bit. Even though he is 3.5 weeks old, I don't know if he's reached 8 lbs yet. So my daughter has had a bit of a problem finding bibs that would fit closely around his little neck especially since he is just a small baby not a preemie.

Grammie to the rescue! I asked her if she had received any cloth diapers from the baby shower or baby gifts after he was born. Someone had given her with a dozen cloth diapers which are like the coolest baby gift ever in my book. Even though she is using disposable diapers...cloth diapers have a myriad uses for a newborn/small baby.

I took just two of the diapers and after a trial bib or two ended up with the six pictured below:

These are really easy to make. I used a crystal bowl that I had to get the shape that I wanted and made sure that I cut them on the center of the diaper...the most absorbent section.

Then I used prepackaged bias tape - 1" wide - and ironed the strip together. After pinning the strip onto the bib, I chose a fancy stitch from my sewing machine and sewed them down. For the final bib, I even used a green graduated rayon thread.

Once I got my first bib made, it was fast and easy. I've made her six and will make more if she needs them. However, I doubt she will since she did receive a slew of the larger sized bibs...but I have made my first items for The Little Prince! Hopefully the first of many more items!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm an enabler

So I'm in Metro Textiles yesterday with a co-worker and my dear friend Kashi tells me that someone came in carrying a picture of me holding this fabric and bought some! Okay, tell who was it?! I'm dying to know! *LOL* If you don't want to let the whole world know, you can drop me a line via email.

Cause now Kashi wants me to post every single piece I buy from he crazy! Do I really want y'all to know how much fabric is coming into my apartment and how bad my addiction really is? I think not!

And no I didn't make it out of Kashi's without a piece of fabric - several managed to follow me home but it's all Cidell's fault! No ifs, no ands, no buts, about it! Definitely her fault!!!

I don't have to work tomorrow so I have a day of serious sewing planned...more later!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It came in the mail

I have already confessed to the fact that I have a real addiction to Sybil Connolly patterns...and the last time I mentioned this...they flew off of Ebay causing me to lose a few auctions. So this time I'm mentioning it only after I have the patterns firmly in my hot little hands! *LOL*

These showed up today...

I have coveted Vogue 2399, ever since I saw it on Christina's blog...and now it's mine! The construction details on the instruction sheet are amazing...I thought it was a simple dress with some scallops on the sides and at the hems...WRONG! The sleeve is gusseted and the skirt and bodice are separate pieces...and the entire dress is underlined as well as lined!!!! If I ever get a block of time, I would like to use my TNT dress as the basis to rework this pattern to fit me...because I bought it in a size 12...but it was worth really was!

I also succumbed to the new Vogue patterns...which got here ridiculously fast! Phyllis I bought the DKNY pattern and now that it's here...I believe your assessment of the pattern is correct. Thank goodness I got it on sale because this one will probably never, ever come out of the pattern envelope.

The other three were dress patterns and even though I did stop and think really hard about Vogue 1116, I didn't buy it. However, I'm still loving the details of the coat even though this pattern is getting a hard rap all over the internet!

The mail also had the new Spiegel catalog in it. The thing I love the most about this catalog is that they have entire wardrobes of a specific fabric type. As a sewist, it gives you a great idea of how to plan a wardrobe. And the section they do on "Reality Dressing" or "Dressing for any Age" is very kewl. Here's a link to their site, great inspirational dressing! Check it out! I love mail...I really, really do!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bits and Pieces

First thank you for the outpouring of messages on the fabric was emotionally stirring...and please understand that as a menopausal woman...too much kindness can cause me to melt into a puddle!

Seriously though, there were a few comments that I want to acknowledge...

SewJune ~ out of all the comments written...and there were quite a few...yours touched me the most! There are sooooo many people just like you right now in America...but the hope and the ability to withstand came through in your words! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and I will be true to them!

Claudine ~ I love your honesty. It is refreshing. Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts here because I know that they are shared with a generousity of spirit without a shred of ill will.

Julie Ann ~ Your comment brought a smile to my face as I remembered some of our shopping trips to Jomars with Lisa, Dawn, Colleen & you and I. Do you remember the time that Dawn kept sneaking her bags down to her car whilst the rest of us looked like little fabric piggies trying to buy everything in the store?! Good times! Times that make me miss you all the more now that you are living all the way over there on the West Coast!

Rose ~ I am going to extend to you the same offer that I made Lindsey T. You can come over anytime you want...okay I'm gonna need a little notice first *LOL*...and rummage through my fabric closet. You can even take a piece or two home with you! *smile*

Barb ~ I would hate to be the reason you spent money on that evil don't worry you can get your vicarious thrills through me! *LOL*

Neighborhood Gal ~ I stand corrected! However, I really do believe that sewing is an art or I wouldn't forever be comparing the process to painting!

MaryBeth ~ there's absolutely no reason to lose sleep over a blog post of mine! But and there's always one of those with me...when someone whom I truly respect writes something deep and thoughtful, I do tend to stop and take stock of the situation. Obviously there are some pearls of wisdom to be gleaned and I need to grasp hold of them!

Again thank you everyone who commented on the posts with such wonderful words of affirmation!


Can I have Michelle Obama's closet for just one week! I just want to take a few hundred pictures of the good stuff, get a good look at the interior construction, feel of the fabric in the garments...and touch and play with the combinations!

photo credit: The Huffington Post

It's been a loooooonnng time since I've coveted someone else's lifestyle but right now I'm drooling, simply drooling over the awesomeness of the clothing she has worn on this European trip as well as the historicalness (is that a word?) of it! Do you think she and the President go back to their hotel room every night and pinch themselves? C'mon being hugged by the Queen of England...visiting the synagogues and graveyards in Prague...visiting Germany with the Chancellor...cause I'm in awe of how momentous this is and that it happened in MY lifetime!

It gives me such HOPE for my grandchildren's generation...


Since Good Friday is a stock market holiday and my job is closed...Carolyn no has to worky! Yippee! I have plans on finishing up some pieces this weekend...The "Dreaming of Spring" dress is definitely included in those plans. I am also having Easter Dinner at my house this the h*ll did that happen? So my three day weekend will be cut a little short since I will have to clean as well as cook...*sigh*

As always...more later!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Just a few repairs

Yesterday was a busy day...I attended a function at my mom's church, came home changed my clothes and then went out to dinner with friends...sewing didn't cross my mind once.

This morning, I slept late...I think I needed that, visited with the baby, watched a movie and repaired my youngest daughter's jeans.

She has the same problem with thigh rub that I have so I cut a piece of denim that would fit the area and pinned it to the wrong side of the jeans. Then I used a very large, tight satin stitch and stitched the patch on. Finally, I cut the piece of patched denim close to the stitching lines. The repair will save this pair of jeans for a for more weeks.

For me - I hemmed one of the last of my too long summer skirts. I reworked several of these last summer and I was holding out on the black one because I wasn't sure if I just wanted to cut and hem it...or if I wanted to cut, hem and add a trim.

Today I went for it. Cutting about 4-5 inches off the skirt and adding the black & white ribbon trim because I have several twinsets and a lacey sweater and tank top combination that will work with the "new" skirt. This skirt is cut on the bias and made from a heavyweight denim so it's perfect now for those days that start out a little chilly in the morning but are warmer in the afternoon and early evenings.

...and that's the extent of my sewing this weekend! Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend and as always I will have more later!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

To share or not to share

Nancyk posted this in the comments a few days ago:

"Are you going to share these 54 yards with us? I know that the spring dress has some of it, but If I remember correctly, only 1.5 yd. I need some vicarious buying pleasure, having been good at only 2 yards."

My first thought was to gather the fabric up and take a picture of it all. I mean there are some very pretty pieces in there. However, my very next thought was "oh gosh, the backlash!" Who would the post offend because they are either out of a job, thinks it being ostentatious, tired of fabric posts, etc...and it made me stop and think...and of course come up with some more questions.

Do posts of fabric purchases really offend readers? Or another way, do you think pics of fabric purchased in these troubled economic times is offensive? Why isn't fabric and patterns treated with the same accord as the paint and canvas that artists use - since we can't make anything without these tools? Why is the purchase of such items almost denigrated?

It's almost like a folder I was reading a few weeks ago on PR, where the author questioned if she should take up sewing because it was turning into a costly venture. I never posted to the folder. I read the responses and closed it out shaking my head, thinking that if you are questioning the cost, this is just not the hobby for you!

But here is the most important question for me? Do I care? Obviously not because Nancy in response to your inquiry...below is the shot of the fabrics purchased during the month of March:

(most of it purchased from Fabric Mart but there are a few pieces here from EOS, and FFC)

And here is my postscript...I understand that not everyone wants to read about yet another fabric or pattern purchase. I understand that at times people are searching for a technique or to learn something new. Well sometimes I have that and sometimes I don't - *LOL*

In the last couple of weeks I have finally come to acknowledge that sewing keeps me sane. That sometimes during a hard day, slipping into a fabric site and picking up a few yards helps keep me from ripping someone's head off, verbally or otherwise! *LOL*

But most importantly, this is my spot...where I can talk about the thing that excites me most...share the love, the joy and the pitfalls of my if you're not digging the fabric or pattern talk...come by later...I'll be talking about something else then!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Movie Inspiration

The Sex and the City movie has finally found its way onto cable I spent Saturday evening watching it twice!

After the initial flurry of SATC's arrival in the movie theatre, there was a book published that detailed all of the clothing worn by the ladies and the actual sets. I bought the book for my oldest daughter for Christmas. However, after oogling her copy, I bought my own and I came to love this Alessandro Dell'Acqua dress:

Of course, having limited time, I did a very cursory search on and the internet for it because I didn't remember seeing it in the movie.

Wonders of wonders...last Saturday night not only did I see it in the movie but I got front:

and back shots of it

I've had the fabrics I wanted to use and a pattern picked out to make an interpretation of this dress since I got the book:

Suffice it to say that this dress has moved somewhere near the top of my spring/summer sewing list! I think it will make an excellent work dress because it has enough individuality in it to be me and enough structure to work in a corporate environment.

So tell me...has a movie inspired you to make or want to make a garment? I know that there were quite a few garments "interpreted" from "The Devil Wears Prada" but have any other movie...old or new...inspired your own version of a garment? And if so, what garment and what movie?

This my question of the day so talk to me!


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