Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Update

Well I finished the dress and I will have pics as soon as someone gets more on that later!

Today, I'm working on a UFO.  Now I'm not a believer in UFOs.  I either fix them, finish them or toss them!  I have way too much fabric, patterns and ideas to hold onto things that don't work.  So if a UFO exists in my collection, it's because I've put alot of work into it and don't want to lose it or I've just not given up on the piece yet.

This jacket just has way too much work in it to toss it.  So it sat waiting for me to come back to it...and it took me some time.  I hadn't realized that I started working on this jacket in November 2008.  It's been hanging on my closet door since then...WOW!  Anyway, here are the posts on it.  Of course since the jacket is almost 2 years old, I am now searching through my project notebooks looking for the construction details...*sigh*  I've had three project notebooks since then! *double sigh*

But I've charged ahead...the inital challenge that annoyed me and caused me to ignore the jacket is that the lining is too short. 

I think I've figured out a plan to fix that and after trying the jacket on, I now realize that it's also too big.  Gawd, how did I do that?  So right now I'm taking out the side seams on the jacket body and lining and will attempt to reduce some of the extra space there.  Why there?  Because the other seams are all topstitched down and I'm just not biting that bullet!

Originally I was going to make a dress to go under the jacket but I've fallen in love with the bowtie blouse from Vogue much so that I want to make one for my SWAP...yes, I'm still swapping though you wouldn't be able to tell that from what I'm sewing now, right? *LOL*  I believe that I have enough of the painted silk (which started this adventure) to make the trial top from...and there is enough of the red doubleknit to make a straight skirt to wear with the jacket and top.  So that's what I will be working on today.

As far as my SWAP plan...I still have one pair of pants, a vest, and 5 tops to make.  I really think that I can get all of this done by the April 30th deadline.  That's 8 more weekends and I don't think I've picked really complicated tops...I also have another 3 day weekend in there so hopefully that will help me finish it up.

Okay, back to my sewing machine.  I had to take a break to put away the groceries that were delivered and eat some lunch...and I've been listening to my iPod as I've been sewing this weekend...

The soundtrak of the weekend has been, Mary J. Blige's "Stronger with each tear"; Maxwell's "BLACKsummers'night"; Melanie Fiona's, "The Bridge" and Michael Jackson's, "Greatest Hits".

as always...more later!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Simple Pattern + Me = Complicated

Yes, that's right!  I took a very easy pattern and turned it into a complicated situation.  How did I do that you ask?  First I used a woven for a pattern that requires a stable knit...yeah, noticed that little fact after I cut the dress out!  Second, I added a lining to a pattern that doesn't require one...and then I botched the way the facing is supposed to be added...

Butterick 5415 isn't ruined but it isn't finished either...because I complicated it!  Here's where it stands right now...

I'm taking a break...reading some blogs...getting myself together and generally enjoying the quiet that is my apt right now.  Then I will go back in and make it work!  *LOL*

...more later!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Favorite Things...

Like Oprah, I have a few favorite things...things that I've probably shared with you but want to share again...these are all sewing related and in no special order...

1.  Fabric Mart
I know I haven't discussed my fabric addiction much here lately but if you've been reading along for any period of time you know that I absolutely love fabric...and I own ALOT of it!  Fabric Mart is my favorite go to place whenever I need a fix!  And can I tell you that I've been hitting off FM alot these past few weeks.  They have the best stuff!  I wholeheartedly endorse them and even though I don't get a kickback (and I should - I really should! *LOL*) they are one of my ALL TIME favorite things!

2.  Club BMV
Seriously, I don't understand how anyone is not a member of Club BMV unless you live right down the street from one of the sewing stores!  If you wait for just the right sale, you can get any pattern in any size, all the time...for a minimal shipping charge...from Butterick, McCalls or Vogue patterns.  Nothing in my book beats Club BMV.

3.  Atlanta Thread & Supply
I know that there are other companies out there selling thread but seriously, these are my go to people.  Every color, every weight, both sewing machine and serger threads, as well as other sewing world is not complete without them!

4.  Vintage Pattern Spots
I have three of them in no particular order that I surf all the time looking for goodies and then convincing myself not to buy them!  *LOL*

Lanetz Living, Out of the Ashes and The Blue Gardenia

I have found some amazing treasures there and even though you haven't seen them all made up yet, don't worry they are coming!

5.  Sewing Magazines
My three favorite sewing magazines are Threads, BWOF (now known as Burda Style) and Vogue Pattern Magazine.  I have admitted this more than once but I must have 13 years of BWOF magazines and only recently made a garment.  But I love them as a fashion magazine ~ on some things they are so far ahead that 2 or 3 years later you can still make a wonderfully fashionable garment!

To me, Threads is the go to magazine especially the first issues because they had so many interesting topics in them.  Now that they are offering the entire collection on DVD, I highly recommend that you own it...even if you are a beginner because you won't be one forever! 

For years I collected VPM but I have to admit that for a time I fell out of love with them but they are back with a hotness!  If you don't subscribe, you definitely should...the last few issues have been packed full of sewing information as well as really kewl patterns!

6. Stitchers Guild
Even though I don't participate like I use go to sewing board is Stitchers Guild.  I love the expertise of the people who sew there...and the sense of sharing that is the essence of the board.  I've made some amazing friends there and learned so many sewing techniques that have elevated my sewing to higher heights.  So even though I don't post like I use to...I'm still slipping in and reading!

Those are a few of my favorite what are yours?  Leave a comment and tell me a few of your favorite sewing things, okay?

The weekend is upon us and I have plans...big sewing plans! *LOL*  Hopefully, I'm going to finish up the dress I cut out last weekend and work on a UFO.  I don't have many of them because I can't stand to have them hanging around but this one is now ready to become a real garment in my wardrobe...

as always...more later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Guts and the Glory

...or the construction details of Butterick  5546...I know I promised this yesterday but sadly it was not to be! 

First up, pattern alterations:

1.  As with any pattern I need to add some width to the finished garment.  Luckily I didn't need to add much to this one.  To the front piece, I sliced, diced and spread so that the bottom had a 1.5" increase.

2. To the back piece, I did a pivot and slide and added 2".  These two simple alterations provided enough space to smoothly flow over my protruding parts.

3.  The sleeves (I wish I had taken a  picture of the original pattern piece) were very large and bell shaped.  I knew I didn't want Sister Bertrille sleeves so I trimmed the side seams by 2" on either side.  Then I straightened out the hemline removing the flared shape so that I ended up with a more traditional looking sleeve.  I know that in my original post, I said that I was going to add elastic to the seam hem but when I tried the jacket on, I was fine with how it looked and let it stand.


*I pinned and then basted the front yoke to the front piece.  I was concerned about getting a proper fit and felt that a little basting would eliminate any shifting during the trip through the sewing machine.

*All of the exposed seams were finished with black rayon seam binding.  Since the jacket is unlined, I didn't want unfinished seams showing. 

*I added black piping to the collar to give it some definition...without the black framing the collar I feel like it fades into the background because the print on the fabric is very overpowering.

*The back yoke is an interesting detail to the jacket, this piece was also basted down with a bold colored thread so that I could see it on the right side when I machine stitched it down.

*I trimmed the sleeve hems with the black rayon seam binding preparing to turn them under to hem.  However, when I tried the jacket on, I felt that the binding provided an ending to the patterned material, so I left it.

Otherwise, I followed the pattern instructions.  The jacket is not terribly difficult to sew and I realize that the fabric choice is what really makes the jacket sing.  I'm almost afraid that it sings too loudly to wear to work!  And I won't be wearing it with the pants as shown, I'm going to wear it over my little black dress and hopefully I won't look like I'm going out for a night on the town!

I do want to make this with some short sleeves for a spring/summer look...I think it will work great with either a straight skirt or a sheath dress.  So you will probably see it again!

One final view of the outfit:

...more later!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I've had a Productive Day

Today was a good sewing day!  I finished the jacket, made a new pair of black pants and cut out Butterick 5415.  A very good sewing day, indeed!

First a pic:
Me wearing Butterick 5446 plus
the black stretch wool SWAP pants

A close-up of the buttons and the collar

It's late so I will share construction details on the jacket tomorrow. 

The Butterick 5415 dress:
photo courtesy of

from the wool that I bought with Elizabeth from Mood Fabrics...

The wool has been pretreated...the pattern pieces altered and everything cut out...I will finish this up next weekend.  I feel a little calmer now because I have plans to make a dress! *LOL* always more later!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Looking forward to spring...

It's the middle of winter.  There is still at least 8" of snow on the ground here.  It's cold and more snow/sleet is predicted for Monday night into Tuesday what am I thinking about...SPRING!  Yeap spring...spring dresses to be precise.  See the March magazines are falling into my mailbox and they are all touting spring clothes.

Beautiful, lovely, amazingly pretty spring dresses are in magazine ad after magazine ad.   Making me long for soft gentle breezes, sundrenched days...and dresses and skirts.  Yes, I want to sew a dress so bad I can taste it!  And who wouldn't after seeing some of these lovelies:

Calvin Klein Gray Dress

Close-up of the detailing

Anne Klein white dress with lace neckline

Calvin Klein tucked sheath dress

Embroidered cotton dress from Macy's Inc. line

...and these are just the dresses that I had to tear the pages out of the magazines and hang up on my bulletin board.  I want ALL of these.  My TNT dress pattern, a little creative cutting to the pattern with a little fabric manipulation, and I, too, can have one of these designer dresses!  Now all I need is for spring to arrive!

And one quick note ~ work is getting frantically busy (which is a good thing!) but I will be around sparingly in the next couple of weeks.  

As always...more later!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Butterick 5546 - Part Deux

They say a pictures can say a thousand I'm gonna let them speak:

The front

The back

The collar

The buttons

No, it's not finished yet.  I'm having an issue with one sleeve so I want to take it out and put it back in.  It needs buttons and buttonholes and the jacket needs to be hemmed.  Otherwise its almost done, however, so am I for the night!

I'll put all the gory pattern alteration and construction details in the finishing post...and I'll probably finish it next weekend.  Oh and one more thing...I will definitely make this again during the spring/summer in a linen...I just have to figure out how to line it! always, more later!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Next Up is Butterick 5446

Lately I've been feening for jackets.  I mean really wanting new and different styles to put together with pants, skirts and dresses to wear to work.  As you know I work in a very professional workplace which requires a lot of suit outfits.  Now I have no problems coming up with outfits from late March to early December when the temperatures aren't in the single digits or there isn't so much snow on the ground.  However, from late December through the beginning of March I tend to live in pants.

I know there are many women who are fans of pants...and I believe they have their purpose in my wardrobe, but they are not my most favorite article of clothing to wear.  So now that I'm deep into the coldest part of the year there is just no escaping the fact that I wear pants more than skirts or dresses.  Of course to me, this is the area of my wardrobe with the biggest holes because I need quite a few jackets to balance out the pants and have a "proper" suit type look.

However, I HATE notched collar quite uncomfortable in them...and just don't wear them.  It has taken me a minute to acquire enough patterns and inspiration looks to come up with some different jacket now I'm feening for new jackets.

Butterick 5446 is one of the new spring pattern offerings from Butterick.  The description on the back of the pattern envelope is:

"Misses' Jacket:  Loose-fitting, unlined jackets, slightly below waist length have collar, double breasted front button closures and stitched hems.  View A has short sleeves with button and button loop closures.  View B has elbow length sleeves."

Butterick 5446
photo courtesy of

I like this pattern because it reminds me of the yellow version of the Michael Kors suit that Michelle Obama has worn:

You know just to continue my ongoing fascination with her wardrobe! *LOL*

As usual I'm using the bones of the pattern with some slight alterations.  After reading through the instruction sheet, I realize that the only closures on this jacket are at the top neckline and I'm wondering if wearing it through the day will cause it to flap open unattractively.  So I'm going to add a side tie at the waistline to help with keeping it closed.  If that doesn't work I will try some snaps but the tie will be my first choice. 

My second change will be to the sleeves.  Okay, those large bell shaped sleeves are quite trendy...just a little too trendy for me.  I will shave a little of the width off below the elbow and add elastic to a casing at the sleeve hem.  Still trendy but a little more office appropriate, to me.

My fabric is in the dryer...its some of that blue/black polyester brocade from the Vera Lavendar collection from  It was one of the few $1.95 per yard purchases I made...I mean I've bought so much of it during the previous sales that there was very little left that I wanted when the last few pieces were reduced to $1.95 a yard. 

I don't have many pattern alterations to make and I'm also planning on making a pair of black lined pants to go with the jacket.  The black pants will be one of the bottoms in my SWAP collection so even though I am making something new...I am pairing it with something from the SWAP and killing two birds with one stone!

Well I'm off to sew and I'm sure that I will have more to share later!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Back!

Vacation was amazing!!!  We ate good food, rested, relaxed and generally had a wonderful time!

However, I went from this wonderful warm spring-like temperatures:

To this ~ 20 inches of snow:

Taken from my balcony this morning

Yes, I missed the white stuff...didn't mind missing it one bit...but it was a little overwhelming to come home to mounds of this stuff with the forecast of 4 or more additional inches to come this week...

Is it spring yet!?!  *LOL*  After I get unpacked, I will be spending some quality time with my sewing machine.  I haven't decided if I'm going to make more SWAP pieces or work on something different.  I will keep you apprised though...

...and as always, more later!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Dashing off a quick note...

I'm sitting here waiting for the snow.  I know it's coming and I know I'm going to dread it but still here I sit in anticipation of it...*sigh*  I should be packing...I leave Tuesday afternoon.  Or I should be sewing...some killer fabric from Fabric Mart turned up this week.  Or maybe just perusing one of those new Vogue patterns that showed up...but no I sit and wait for snow...something I can't stand...there is no justice in this!

Anyway...I'm signing off for a few days.  I have mucho things to do to get ready to leave.  Work has been overwhelming and totally uncooperative with my "real" once the streets are plowed tomorrow...I'm headed off to do some things to get me ready for some fun!

I will be back online next Saturday...just in time for a 3-day weekend (President's Day here in the US)...and a little sewing before I head back to work!  Now you really didn't think I wasn't going to find a way to work some sewing in there, didn'tcha?!  *LOL* always, more later!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Thank you!

If you don't know by now, Gertie did an interview with me on her blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, today regarding my musings on the plus size sewist.  As I reread it now, I could have been a little more succinct *LOL* and obviously from the comments there have been two plus size women who have won contests on PR.  Rachelle, who authors the blog, Smoking Needles and Marie Claude, who authors the blog, Blue Lilly's Sewing Page.

I definitely want to point this out, since I adamantly and wrongly said that no plus size woman had won a sewing contest!

Second, I want to thank everyone who left a comment and continued the discussion.  It was very interesting and I was especially moved by some of comments left.  I also want to thank those of you who sent me email messages, it was great to get your point of view too.

But mostly I want to thank Gertie.  Who took a passing comment on my blog, wrote some amazing questions and then let me go full bear ahead.  It was a gracious and awesome thing to do.  Today I've been humbled, in awe and downright amazed at the wonderousness of the sewing community.  I know there were some who didn't agree with my views but I so appreciate the fact that the discussion was held in a very civil tone.  However, these are my views and as in all things regarding opinions belong to me alone!

So thank you Gertie!  Thank you to my regular readers!  And thanks to my friends...and you know who you are!

I'm off to watch Lost...can I just say thank God it's back!!! always more later!


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