Friday, July 31, 2009

July End of the Month Wrap-up

It's hard to believe that it's the end of July already...August and Fall are just right around the corner! So it's time to do another monthly recap. The month of July is always good to me sewing-wise. I don't know if it's because the days are longer so I have more energy or because there is a holiday at the beginning of the month, or what? But my productivity is always a little better around this time of the year.

This month I completed four garments and started two others. I purchased some fabric during the latter days of June that arrived in July but it wasn't an exorbitant amount for me! *LOL* So I'm okay on that front.

However, to me July was about finishing the Gelato collection and adding some much needed color to my work wardrobe - a goal I successfully completed. And this year it was about fall too! You can tell there is a recession going on because retailers seem to be pushing Autumn earlier this year...or is that just me?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to fall/autumn sewing...I've got a plan and 9 days off from work in September so I'm ready.

A parting shot...The Little Prince is now 4.5 months old!

As always....more later!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Sewists Thursdays - Invisible Zippers

Before I get to this week's question, I would like to thank everyone who has submitted a question(s) to me either via email or left in the comments section here. I have to tell you that the ones submitted to me via email work best...especially when you put "New Sewist Question" in the subject line.

Okay so onto this week's question which is regarding the insertion of invisible zippers...something near and dear to my own heart!

Fran asks:
"I have recently put in two invisible zippers and, while I am happy with the concept, I am less happy with the result. The middle of the zipper looks great! I have the usual problem of trying to clean up the bottom of the piece below the zipper but I am pretty confident that with practice and trying a couple of different variations, I can make that part okay. I did print off a tutorial from Sewing Divas as well that looks helpful.

But, what I really struggle with is that both times I put one into a dress, the top of the dress where the zipper ended seemed to stand away stiffly and gape a bit as if the zipper was too heavy. The back didn't sit nicely close to the body at the top. The material was a lighter weight, but I wouldn't think that would make all that much difference. I wonder what I'm doing wrong.

I do put the zipper tape right up to the top of the cloth so the closed zipper comes to the top once the facings are added. Should I start it lower? Should I trim off the piece above the zipper pull that gets encased in the facing? Would interfacing help and, if so, how far in from the cut edge to you interface?

Any suggestions would be helpful. I'd really like to perfect this."

Fran ~ I can point you to a resource that's been very helpful to me. Stitcher's Guild has two folders on inserting invisible zippers with suggestions and helpful hints. First folder and in the second folder you will need to scroll down to Marji's second post where she shares several links on how to insert invisible and regular zippers.

Then for those of you that haven't read the awesome post by Els on how to insert an invisible zipper into a closed seam - here it is.

Now as for answers to Fran's specific questions...since I'm learning how to "perfect" this technique the same as you...the floor is now open. Please offer both of us and the other newbies advice on how to successfully complete this task!

Thanks so much everyone for talking back to us and Fran thank you for asking your question! I am sure that ALL of us will either learn something new or will have our methods reinforced! always, more later!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Evening Sewing

When Vogue debuted the new Fall/Winter 2009 patterns last week, this one caught my eye. Not because it will make a great top or tunic but because I saw a great summer work dress. You know one of those dresses that are light and airy, not to tight to ward off the summer heat but still professional enough for work...

Then I was surfing on one of the online fabric sites...great stress buster at work! And I found an amazing silk twill that I thought would be awesome for the dress. However, it was $24 a yard and even though I would probably only need 2.5 yards, I knew there was something in the fabric closet that would work. So this is the combination I came up with...

Now the dress isn't don't go scrolling to the bottom of the post looking for pictures! *LOL* I've just made the pattern alterations and gotten the dress and lining cut out. I didn't much feel like sewing today...probably because after spending the day with Lindsay, I came home took a nap and then went back out with a friend. So today started a little later than most...and I just wanted to take it easy!

But when I went digging through the notions/trim/button armoire, I realized that many times I just buy or accept things from friends with no particular idea in mind. Then in the course of gathering supplies for a garment, that something I bought or took is suddenly right for that particular project. Such is the case of the yellow bow in the upper corner of the picture.

A friend that I use to work with had two aunts that died. They had worked with fabric...don't really remember the entire story that a sign I'm aging? *smile* Anyway, my friend brought me several shopping bags of fabric that the family was getting rid of. Most of it I donated to the local high school's drama department, but I did keep a few things. That bow material and the fabric from this skirt, as well as, a few other pieces that are still residing in the fabric closet and haven't chosen to make an appearance yet.

So it got me to others do this too? Do you accept fabric/trim/buttons etc. from friends and family members because they don't know what to do with them yet they know that you sew? And if you do, how much do you keep and how much do you give away?

I will probably finish this dress up during the weekend...and after that start on one of the Pumpkin Seed outfits. Don't forget to send in questions for "New Sewists Thursdays!" because we want to continue to encourage new sewists so that they too can share our passion! And as always...more later!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I cried today...

This was not the original title for this was suppose to be something about how I spent my day. But when I got home this afternoon...I called my mother to tell her about a portion of my day and instead spent time telling her about why I cried...and she understood and I cried again! *LOL*

Okay so my day started this way...out to the corner at 9:15am to catch the bus to NYC.

Arrive in NYC and head off to Elegant Fabrics to pick up some lining fabric for Vogue 8596 which I'm planning on working on tomorrow. Then I'm walking down Seventh Avenue past Madison Square Garden headed for FIT when I feel this tap on my shoulder...yeap, the wonderous LindseyT has shown up! We are off to see the Isabel Toledo exhibit...

Can I just tell you that IF you are coming into the city before September 26th you MUST see the exhibit! Isabel has such an interesting way of looking at garment construction, fabric manipulation and use of embellishment. There were three things that I took away from the exhibit that you will probably see in future garments! I love that when a designer's view point can inspire me to create something of my own...not just copy it but to put into my own voice...anyway, go see the exhibit! It is exhilarating!

So I have to tell you this is when I cried...when you enter the exhibit Michelle Obama's Inaugural Outfit is the first thing you see in the lobby. Unlike all of the other garments, this is totally encased in glass. As I stood there and looked at it...the momentousness of the Obamas in the White House hit me again and I started to cry...this in my mother's lifetime! It is just amazing...and like I said I cried again when I shared it with my mother...whose own grandparents where freed slaves from South Carolina...just like Michelle Obama's...*sigh*

Next Lindsay and I headed over to the DVF store because we had both read the NYTimes Article about her company and wanted to see the we walked over to 14th Street and Washington Avenue. It was a great afternoon for walking...lovely weather...a good friend...great conversation...and a desire to see more fashion!

Before we got to DVF, we stopped at a few other stores Moschino primary amongst them. I think this is where we both found some new creative ideas for our sewing...and yes, Lindsey I'm ordering horsehair braid off the internet this week! The Michelle Obama white bowtie blouse was there so we got to see it upclose and personal as well as some other kewl pieces.

Lunch...more conversation and then a cab ride up to Mood. Okay...this is where I apologize. See I've been hating on Mood for years. Didn't care that Project Runway filmed there and that others loved it...I'd just had several bad experiences in the store so I haven't been back! Lindsay was determined to change all of that! And I have to say that the Mood I experienced today was very different from the Mood of yesteryear! It is an amazing, brightly lit store that is well-organized with signage and loads of helpful (yes I said helpful) salespeople.

We hit two floors and for someone who moans everytime I post pictures of more fabric...Lindsay was more than willing to encourage me to buy some! For a time I carried around a bolt of silk that was a muted green/blue/ivory print that would work sooooo well in my corporate lifestyle...that fabric made my heart sing. But Lindsay was looking for coating fabric so we headed to the second floor and there we found an amazing wool that made my heart stop! Since I would only commit to one new piece of fabric (hey, I've been digging around in that fabric closet alot lately and well I just don't NEED a whole lot more! *LOL*) this wool piece was the one to come home with me! But did Lindsay buy anything! Just encouraged me to purchase everything in sight! ROTFLOL!

Next up was Pacific I've been to Pacific several times but I have to tell you that everytime I go there...I have to take a minute and reorient myself...there is just sooooo much to see and touch there! My standby trim joint is Daytona Trimmings and I know where everything is...I can go, make a decision, purchase and be out of there in 30 minutes. PT is a whole nuther story! I bought some buttons and some lace to add to the bottom of the lining of the Vogue dress...wandered around and reaquainted myself with the store and watch Lindsay buy TWO yards of cording! Yeap that's it folks the "Queen of Enabling" bought two yards and stuffed it into her purse...whilst I'm carrying a shopping bag of stuff...

We separated shortly thereafter but I have to tell you that I had a wonderful time with my the exhibit...snoop shopping...and buying fabric! It was a very good day!

p.s. The Simplicity Pattern 2522 is an exact replica of the First Lady's dress...I mean if you want to make one of your own!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Sewists Questions...

Sewingmama wrote this a few days ago:
"I think these things are made for people like myself who can't cut a straight line. I am thinking of giving up sewing because I made a wadder that should not have been a wadder (it was a basic shell). The neckline was completely out of shape and I could not figure out what to do. I am becoming frustrated with fashion sewing."

Okay this saddens me because I want everyone to love my artform...however, I have a few questions.

1. Did the pattern give you any indication of some things that you should do to the neckline prior to sewing it together? Things like ease stitching or adding interfacing or fusible strips? Did you follow them or did you skip them?

2. When you got lost did you ask for help? Either on this blog or another person's blog or on one of the internet sewing boards - Stitchers Guild or Patternreview? Both have great beginner sections where you can ask any question and get a pretty quick response.

3. Do you have any sewing books that you can use as resources? Because even I get lost at times and need a reference book to tell me what to do next!

4. Do you have a sewing buddy or mentor? Can you ask them questions? This buddy doesn't necessarily have to be local...they can be someone you can correspond with via email. However, having one will go a long way to helping you when you feel like you are totally lost!

And finally...and most you want to sew more than you want to eat? Do you want to make what you see in your head but can't find anywhere else? Does fabric sing to you and make you see visions? If so...I hate to tell you this but you have it...the thing that makes you want to take a piece of flat fabric and turn it into a three dimensional object.

So here's what I'm gonna do...well at least I'm gonna try?! *LOL* Every week, let's say Thursdays we will have "New Sewists Questions Day!" Submit your questions to me via the blog or my email address which can be found in my profile and I will post one or more if they are related, to the blog. I will give my opinion based upon my experience and I will also open the question up to the public. We will attempt to answer any challenge or solve any sewing conundrum you find yourself in. I will also accept pictures if you think that will help us understand and post them so that we can better comprehend your issue.

Now here is the codacil...please do not get upset with me if you get some information or advice that you don't want to hear. I'm just the faciliator. Please only submit your work and not the work of anyone else. If your question(s) do not appear right away, please do not constantly email me about when it will appear. Questions will be taken on a first come, first serve basis.

Finally let's keep this fun people and remember that it's meant to encourage new sewists so that they can gain confidence and revel in the joy of wearing a garment that they have made themselves!

Now the floor is open...any more suggestions for Sewingmama? And Sewingmama, thanks for being my first new sewist and email me, okay?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Buying Fabric Online - Part III

I know, I's been a minute since I wrote about this...but I did promise a final piece to the series so here it is...

I ended my last post with these words:

"I am going to do one final post about buying online where I will deal with color/monitor issues, whether or not you should be on online retailers email lists, and give you a listing of a few good books to own to assist you with knowing your fabrics better"

1. Color/Monitor Issues
I have to tell you that I think the online retailers do a much better job now of capturing color and texture of fabrics than they did in the beginning. Of course, handling a piece of fiber is best but with the advent of better cameras and monitors with higher resolustions that allow you to see colors clearer, I believe that you can get a pretty true idea of what a fabric looks like. Finally the retailers that are using Pantone numbers to assist with your color choices are probably giving you the best information and I would definitely look for that to assist with purchasing...and don't forget you can ALWAYS ask for a swatch to be sent to you!

2. Email Lists
First let me state that I am solidly on the side of receiving email notifications from online vendors...because if you are "watching" a particular fabric you will know when it goes on sale...making it a great buy! I have scored countless bargains this way! It also gives me an idea of the types of fabrics that online retailers are carrying in their store. It lets me know if they are paying attention to what's happening in the sewing market or fashion by what they purchase and advertise. In my book those email notifications are a valuable resource for the home sewist...not just purely temptation dropped into your mailbox to entice you out of your hard earned dollars! If you look at them as a resource and not simply enticement, you will find that they really do have some value!

3. Book List
A. Taunton Publishing did a series of books called, "Focus on Fabric" - I have two books in the series,

~Sewing with Knits by Connie Long
~Linen and Cotton by Susan Khalje

Both books explain the characteristics of the fabrics as well as how to handle it and sew with it. Both are great additions to a sewing library.

B. Fabric Savvy and More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina
Both of these books are ABSOLUTE MUSTS for a sewing library in my opinion! What I love best about them is that Sandra tells you exactly how to handle the fabric the moment it enters your sewing area right through to the finished garment...and every fabric under the sun is listed in these books!

C. Finally there is Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide. It's a big book, chock full of information on fabrics. If Sandra's book is brief and to the point, Claire's book gives you not only historical references but in-depth details about fabrics.

Any or all of these books would be a wonderful addition to your sewing library...and I encourage you to check them out!

My hope is that for those of you who have yet to dive into the pool of online shopping that you will give it a try. Let me emphasize that I'm not encouraging you to stop shopping at your bricks 'n mortar store this is just another option...especially if you only have the craft store masquerading as a fabric store as your only resource. And as someone who has one of the best resources around, the NYC Garment District, I still spend alot of time purchasing from online retailers...gotta keep those UPS drivers in business! *LOL* always...more later!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Fabric Collection

Please take note of the fact that I am NOT calling my prized and most precious fabric collection a stash! I've written about stash mentality before...and I just don't possess it. I have a collection! *LOL*

Lately there have been some questions regarding the size of my fabric collection. Now I can tell you that it is only a closet full - not a barn full (I had a friend who once had a barn FULL) or a room full (I know someone with a specially designed room FULL of fabric) and my fabric is folded flat...not rolled to get more space in the closet.

I will admit that part of the reason that I moved here was because of the closet and that I did buy special shelves and have them nailed to the floor to insure that they would be sturdy enough to hold my collection.

I will also admit that I have worked very hard these last few years to purchase every type of fabric that I like to several colors! *LOL* I make no apologies for my collection except to my daughters who may one day have to get rid of it! Ever since I was a little girl, shortly after learning to sew...I've dreamed of owning my own fabric collection...and now that dream has come to fruition.

So for all of those who have asked are two shots of the closet as it appears now.

It is slightly disorganized...and needs to be reworked...but it's all mine and I love it! Especially when I can spend a lovely Saturday afternoon in it pulling out treasures to make some wonderful new outfits.

Okay breathe Lindsay! *LOL* And for all of you others out there who can't abide more than 10 or 20 pieces of fabric waiting on you at a time! I've finally come around to understand that this is what fuels your creative please understand that the closet fuels mine...
...oh and this doesn't include the two Rubbermaid bins outside the closet door or the one in my bedroom! *LOL*

Monday, July 20, 2009

Question of the Day...

Do we as garment sewists really need this?

Or have we become so willing to use a gadget instead of learning a skill? Seriously, unless you are a quilter and needs hundreds of yards of bias binding, why would you invest in that machine or this one?

Do we need to purchase every new tool, every new make it faster, quicker, easier accessory to sew with instead of just learning the time tested techniques that have made our art great and long lasting?

Seriously, how hard or time-consuming is it to learn to cut bias tape and then make bias binding or am I missing something here? So today's Question of the Day is, "Do we as garment sewists need these tools to sew better? If yes, why? If no, why not?"

Talk to me people because in these economic times I just can't see spending $79.99 for the cutter or $99.99 for the bias tape maker. If I'm wrong educate me...because I just don't get it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

No sewing here

...but a whole lot of planning! And a little pre-washing of the next set of fabrics...

I didn't really feel like sewing this weekend...and at some point I realized that the last two garments for the Gelato collection were add-ons and not in the original plan. So if I get to them, I get to them...if not, that's good too!

Besides working out the plan for the start of my fall sewing...I also pulled and prewashed all of the fabrics for "The Pumpkin Seed" collection which I will start making next weekend!

Here's a little intro to the collection:

"The Pumpkin Seed Collection is a set of garments under one banner portending the seeds of change. The collection looks forward to gentler days and cooler nights...the shedding of leaves and the first touch of's for that transitional period where its summer one day and fall the next. The colors and the pieces will work for anything the weather may throw at me..."

The garments are:

1. Pumpkin Orange Linen - McCalls 5007 jacket with brown topstitching, TNT lined sheath dress and lined straight skirt.

2. Blue/Orange floral linen from 4 gore TNT bias cut skirt

3. Corally orange & beige polka dot silk in a vintage Simplicity dress pattern

4. Liz Claiborne orange print with pumpkin linen accents in McCalls 5620 dress pattern

5. Orange/green multi print dress using Simplicity Pattern 2958

I know the plan is heavy on dresses but this is perfect dress wearing weather and I plan to make use of every minute of it! always, more later!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shopping the Collection for Fall

I'm kind of proud of myself...okay...I'm very proud of myself! *LOL* I've managed not to buy anything from the Fabric Mart sale (which is ending soon!) or from any of the other online vendors this week. And now after shopping my fabric closet for combos for my newly purchased Vogue patterns...I see no need to load a shopping cart basket! *Shew* But it was a close one there for a minute.

Since I'm sooooo anal and list-oriented with my sewing, I've already named the collection of garments that I will sew for fall. I'm calling them "An Elegant Fall"...isn't that kewl? And if you don't mind, I would like to show you a few of the combos that I will start with...

This Badgley Mischka Dress ~ Vogue 1121:

With this painted brown herringbone from the now defunct Textile Studios:

Vogue 1127 ~ Badgley Mischka Jacket & Skirt:

With these fabrics - Burgundy wool crepe, brown silk print & burgundy tweed:

This Michelle Obama knock-off dress ~ Vogue 8593:

With this navy blue doubleknit from the Vera Wang Lavendar Collection (

Finally this Rachel Roy dress worn by Michelle Obama:

In these fabrics - blk/wht/gray silk blend, cranberry silk, cranberry paisley knit:

And I also bought these Vogue patterns:

Vogue 8607

Vogue 8606

Vogue 8605

Vogue 8600

Vogue 8596

Now I'm all ready for fall sewing in the middle of July! *LOL* Just have to finish up those last two pieces of the Gelato collection and make up the pieces in "The Pumpkin Seeds" collection (the newly renamed Orangina Collection). But I'm good...not antsy about sewing up these beauties at all because I will take my first sewing vacation of the year, during Labor Day week. I have a plan...well several...and I'm ready!!!

As always...more later!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you Club BMV?

If are missing out today!!! Vogue Patterns sent an email last night that all Vogue, Butterick and McCalls patterns are $4.75 - that's $4.27 for you club members! Now normally this would just be a regular sale - partake or don't! But if you are jonesing for the new fall Vogue patterns...load your carts people 'cause they are on sale today and tomorrow ONLY at that fantastic price!

I know, I know you are thinking the craft store that masquerades as a fabric store will have a better sale sometime soon...and you are probably right. But why not order from the source?! The place that will have every size and send it right to your mailbox!

I've already ordered mine...even have some fabric choices from "The Fabric Collection" ready to go with them...

Remember today and tomorrow ONLY! Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Workings of a Fanatical Mind

So I'm on my iTouch perusing the Resort 2010 collection of Chado Ralph Rucci on really like this dress by the way:

...and I come across these words...

"The MO at Chado is the careful refining and evolution of Ralph Rucci's now signature techniques like suspension and slot seams. His customers like it that way (and so, apparently, do aficionados of Vogue Patterns. Rucci's are the number one seller in all categories—who knew?). Loyal clients and sew-it-yourself types won't be disappointed with Rucci's Resort collection, but he might win some new fans with his uncharacteristically sunny palette."

Isn't that like the kewlest! It's been going round in round in my head since I read it!

Then I made this to keep from buying a piece of fabric:

I have one more dress to add to the pic...but I'm feeling good about this entire Gelato collection now that's it almost done...and Nan to answer your is up next! I already have two orange pieces in my summer wardrobe but orange is a good transition color for summer into fall. I don't plan on making as many pieces for the "Orangina Collection" as I've made for the Gelato Collection. I'm also still playing with some of the fabric and pattern choices in my I don't have anything on paper yet...I don't want to torture myself because I need to finish the last pieces of Gelato.

Finally, after a rough day yesterday...I came home to find these in the mailbox:

These are from my wonderful sewing friend Sharon...who must know where to find any vintage pattern on earth! This is what really sent me whirling...

I've always wanted a Vogue American Designer pattern and even though I search religiously I've never found an affordable plus size one. The awesomely amazing Sharon found me this Oscar de la Renta pattern in a size 20.5!!! Somehow I will have to incorporate this into my fall sewing! Thanks Sharon!

Lastly, I've spent today struggling with my fabric demons...they want me to place an order for more of the silk/cotton blends from Fabric Mart...that's down to two pages worth, btw...but I held strong and resisted...for now *sigh*

More later!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gelato Collection - Number 7

...that's garment number 7...which is the yellow silk/cotton paisley print 4 gore skirt. Can I just say that this is the softest, drapiest fabric...and wonderful to work with! There are still 3 pages of it on Fabric Mart's site and it is marked off 30% during the entire website sale!

Commercial break over...some stats:

2 yards Silk/cotton yellow paisley print
2 yards yellow ambiance rayon lining

1 yard 1" wide non-roll elastic

As I said previously, this is a simple sew. I've made so many of these skirts that I can sew it on autopilot. However, I did make a change to the way I applied the lining in this particular skirt. Normally, I place the lining's wrong side to the skirt's wrong side and baste the two pieces together. Then I fold the casing for the elastic over into the interior of the skirt and stitch it down.

For this skirt, I placed the wrong side of the lining to the right side of the skirt. I then stitched the two together....pressed the seam open and flipped the lining inside the skirt.

Pressed the lining and fashion fabric flat to make a finished edge for the elastic casing. It makes for a much cleaner application. I will probably use this finish more in the future than the quicky way I've been doing it. After inserting the elastic and stitching the casing closed, I did a simple machine stitched hem and the skirt was finished.

I'm glad that I found a way to use this piece of fabric especially since this is my last yellow piece and garment for the season. I think I've worn the color yellow out! *LOL*

Here's a photo of how I wore the lime green & white herringbone skirt to work yesterday: always...more later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Update

As I was putting clothes back into the closet yesterday, I realized that I have barely worn any of my summer skirts. I use to make loads of skirts in all kinds of lengths and widths because my work wardrobe staple was a twinset and skirt. Since that has changed, I don't wear skirts as much anymore unless a jacket is involved.

So I'm always thrilled when July and August rolls around...the temperatures get hotter and the dress code gets a little looser. In honor of that occurrence...this week will be skirt week for me! To celebrate I made these two new skirts:

Both are made from my TNT 4 gore skirt pattern...which is an evolution of or bastardized version of this OOP McCall's pattern:

The first one is lined and made from the yellow silk/cotton paisley print and works really well in the Gelato Wardrobe.

The second is unlined and made from a home dec linen print purchased from a couple of months ago.

These are simple sew garments but will add some punch to my work wardrobe. I still have 2 more items to make to finish up the Gelato collection. I'm starting to get a little antsy now. I'm ready to move on...however, I really want this last dress/jacket combination so I will stay the course until they are finished.

As always...more later!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The August/Sept. Vogue Pattern Magazine

ETA: They're up! The new patterns are up! And they have some that aren't even in the magazine!!!

I received the August/September issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine and since I was amongst the last to receive my copy, I just knew that the new patterns would be posted by now! I mean they just had a sale on patterns...selling off the last of the spring/summer you would think they would be posted now...right? But alas...there are no new patterns in sight...I know because I've clicked into the site several times in the last couple of days!!!

Okay...I'm obsessing! I know this! I admit this! But you would be obsessing too, if you saw this:

The dress and the suit are by Badgley Mischka - I want both patterns!

This is a new Tracy Reese - love the detail on the jacket back!

I am soooooo loving this Anne Klein coat! I may actually break down and sew one this Fall!

This Five Easy Pieces pattern...I can see sewing an entire wardrobe from this one pattern!

Okay...I'm even drooling over this Marcy Tilton top! I have the perfect piece of black painted shantung to make this up in! No fabric purchase required and that's a good thing!!!

This Vogue Woman topper would work in any lifestyle...

So I guess I will continue to stalk the website for the new patterns...hoping, praying...that they will show up soon and you too can share my joy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Notes from the Edge

...not the edge of my seat but the edge of my mind! *LOL* It's been a long week at work...really late hours...and lots and lots of I'm just very tired. So this is just a compilation of odds and ends thoughts from the week...

If you noticed there wasn't a June recap, it's not because I'm giving up on them but I do think I'm not going to bother to record how much fabric is coming in. I am engaged in a hopeless battle that I am losing each and every month! So I'm conceding defeat and crying uncle! I am a fabricaholic...there is no changing that fact!

I'm sure by now that most of you know that the entire website has been marked 30% off...even the box stuffers and Sample Cut Club fabrics! Now I know you are all wondering exactly what is coming to my a-p-t. Ummmmm, nuthin'. I'm just not interested in adding anything right now...probably because I've been opening that fabric closet door alot lately! But please go enjoy! Buy a yard or two in my is a fabulous sale!

Yellow Dresses
Did you see this?

picture courtesy of Getty Images

Michelle Obama arrived in Rome wearing a yellow sheath dress! I can't believe it but we are both channeling yellow...and with a fabu pin too! However, I wore so much yellow to work this week, that the head of the company noticed and commented. Nothing negative but he basically confirmed the fact that I've got three yellow dresses now and three is enough! And no...I DID NOT wear all three this week! *LOL*

Hot Mess
That's the striped skirt...

This is a pic of it after a long day at work...and I do mean long...14 hours worth...and it is a hot mess! Wrinkled, out of shape and just wrong...this skirt has totally flunked the wearability test! So much so that I think I'm going to recut it into a straight skirt and add a lining. I looked like I had rolled around in a bed and chased a ball down the street by the end of the it just can't stay the way it is!

Questions and Answers...

"Several of you have remarked that I must be the best dressed person in my office."

Actually, I stick out like a sore thumb. All of that color in the midst of a sea of black! Even on major meeting days, I'm usually in a brown or gray suit ANYTHING but all black! And I don't know if I'm considered best or well-dressed especially since I'm still getting those pretty and professional comments!

Sherril asked, "Did you actually use the pattern and alter or did you take the pleat design detail and draft it onto your TNT pattern?"

It never occurred to me to try and draft that piece onto my TNT dress pattern. I used the Butterick pattern and made a simple alteration to the hip area. I think changing the dress from a pegged skirt to a fuller skirt took about 15 minutes. I'm not sure that it wouldn't have taken me considerably more time to merge the two patterns...and you know's all about getting it finished and getting it onto my body! *LOL* Plus I keep buying new patterns so I really should use some of them now and again!

Marie Sews asked, "what does a "pegged hem" mean? Why would it be more slimming?"

I found a great website that describes how it works on a this! And this description, "The pegged skirt is a straight skirt narrowed a bit at the hem, sometimes known as a pencil skirt. The default length is to the knee." came from this website called, "The Complete Clothier."

Well it's Friday evening...and I know that I want to make the yellow paisley skirt this weekend...I don't know if I will do any other sewing...I have some things to do this you will just have to stay tuned to see what emerges from the sewing machine!

As always...more later!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Butterick 5347

...or why I hate invisible zippers!

No seriously, I like the dress! The hardest part was inserting the blankety-blank zipper and I know that was entirely operator error!

When this dress first appeared on Butterick's website, I knew I wanted to make it. I liked the clean simple lines...the fact that it would work well for summer yet be professional enough for my office...and being a girl who likes a little bling...just a little...I could see one amazing button at the neckline of the dress.

I decided to use View A for this version because I preferred the rounded neckline over the v-neckline. I also think this dress will make a great jumper for fall. Construct it out of a tropical wool or a wool crepe, add a lining and wear it with a turtleneck and boots and it will be awesome! So even though it is a little too distinctive to make again for a summer dress...I will try to fit a version of it into my fall/winter sewing.

Now originally I planned to make the dress from this yellow paisley print. And that was my plan until I laid the fabric on the cutting table and realized that I had purchased just 2 yards of 45" wide fabric...ummmm, it wasn't happening. I CAN NOT get a dress out of 2 yards of 45" fabric. 2 yards of 60" fabric - YES! The way! So what to do? Since I had abandoned the idea of a third B4980 jacket in the yellow linen...I used that instead.

Some stats:

2.5 yards of yellow linen
2 yards of Ambience lining

3 yards of beige hem tape
22" invisible zipper

Construction Changes:

*The hem on the original dress is pegged. While this is a very slimming look, I know that I look better in an A-line skirt. So I extended the side seams from the waistline adding 2" to both the front and back pattern pieces.

*I also added a lining. It was added after I tried the dress on and realized that I could see through the linen. I made new pattern pieces for the lining and sewed it to the facings and then hand stitched it down to the zipper.

*Added an invisible zipper instead of a center back zipper like the instructions say to do.

That was it. This is a pretty easy sew. When I looked up this pattern on PR, I found several examples but what struck me was that someone said they didn't add a button, they left it alone and wore the top of the dress with different pins. That really stuck with me because I love pins and have quite a few of them. I loved them pre-Michelle Obama...especially love them now!

So a few examples of the different pins that I can wear with this dress:

Pearl view

Green floral

More pics of other choices are in my Flickr album!

This weekend I finished up two more pieces of the Gelato Collection. I still have three more to go. I just refuse to not use the yellow paisley it will become a straight lined skirt. To me it seems to be taking forever to finish this collection especially since I know what I want to work on next!

As always...more later!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

More on Butterick 4980

I realized that yesterday's post was all about the construction of the jackets and that there were no photos of the finished jackets. So today's post will rectify that...

Green linen jacket alone:

White silk/linen jacket:

A close-up of the piping and button finish on the white jacket:

The white and green jacket together:

The white jacket and striped skirt together:

There were a few questions...

NancyK asked:
How big is your button stash? I have a very small button stash, because I never can make up my mind about how many to buy. Do you buy for a project or rely on stash buttons? If stash, how do you decide how many to buy?

Somewhere buried deep within three years of postings, *smile* is the fact that for many years I worked in the garment district...switched over to the financial industry when I got divorced. My last gig in the garment district was for a button company...hence the accumulation. I worked there for 2.5 years so I rarely buy buttons now. I rumble through my collection until I find something that works...if by chance I don't have anything...and I can't make a covered button...then and only then do I hit the district looking for a button...but I guarantee you that is an extremely rare incidence and I'm a little annoyed that I have to do it!

Now the question of how many buttons to buy is always an intriguing one. Because technically you should buy for the number of buttons you are going to put on your garment plus one. I always add one because in this instance RTW is correct when they sew an additional button into a garment. However, since many of us buy the fabric and/or pattern before we decide upon its use...this can be tricky! Especially if you are out and about and just see a great button but don't know when or how you will use it. If I find myself in that predicament, I usually buy anywhere between 6-10 buttons.

Since my collection was amassed during my button company gig and there we ordered sample buttons by the gross - I probably have a dozen or two of each style...some more than that. But I think a purchase of 6-10 buttons would make an allowance for any type of garment!

Elizabeth asked:
But you didn't tell us how you resolved the closing issue.

Sorry...when I'm writing up these posts I think I'm being methodical and concise and sometimes it's only in my mind! *LOL* To answer your question though, I resolved the issue by adding an additional 2.5" to the front of the jacket, the yokes overlap better allowing me to add a button and buttonhole. And although the jacket front still swings open, there is less space between the jacket fronts...thus giving me a slimmer silhouette.

Finally, thanks for all of your wonderful compliments and comments on the new pieces...and yes, Claudine, I think I have finally stopped sewing like the wind and am concentrating more on the construction details. I believe it's because I finally have a wardrobe that while it still has a few "holes" in can now stand up to almost any occasion that occurs in my life...especially work related! And Joanne M., in your honor I have renamed my collection from the bulky "Sunshine Yellow Dress and Jacket Collection" to the simpler and more refined "Gelato Collection". Thanks for the inspiration!!!

Tomorrow...Butterick 5347!


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