Saturday, July 31, 2010

Plus Size Wars

That's the title of an article written by Gina Bellafante in The New York Times Magazine section this week.  No more than four people sent me a note about the article and there is a folder about it on the Plus Size board on Patternreview.

My first thought when I was reading the article was "Thank God I sew!"  My second thought was that designers and retail outlets that refuse to take the time to make this product are full of crap!  Seriously!  It is fat prejudice plain and simple.  It doesn't fit with their "ideal" of the perfect woman so they treat this customer like a stepchild.

However, this is the portion of the article that set my teeth to chattering:

"The most formidable obstacle lies in creating a prototype. If you already have a line of clothing and a set system of sizing, you cannot simply make bigger sizes. You need whole new systems of pattern-making. “The proportions of the body change as you gain weight, but for women within a certain range of size, there is a predictability to how much, born out by research dating to the 1560s,” explained Kathleen Fasanella, who has made patterns for women’s coats and jackets for three decades. “We know pretty well what a size 6 woman will look like if she edges up to a 10; her bustline might increase an inch,” Fasanella said. “But if a woman goes from a size 16 to a 20, you just can’t say with any certainty how her dimensions will change.”

Thin people are more like one another; heavier people are less like one another. With more weight comes more variation."

Seriously...THIN women are alike!  You have got to be effing kidding me!  If that was the case then ALL thin women would go into a store and put on a dress, pay for it and walk out with it.  But how many THIN women have to go from store to store...designer to designer...RTW label to RTW label to find an outfit that fits!  This is oversimplification in the worse way and another example of fat prejudice!

No...the most formidable obstacle lays in the fact that manufacturers and designers don't want to take the time to create the prototypes.  They don't want to take the time to work out the challenges.  They want to throw some scraps into the store...complain about the space that these larger garments take up...use a so-so presentation and then when it doesn't sell say, "Look it doesn't work.  Plus size women don't want to buy our garments so let's move on!"  Only one manufacturer of plus size garments was mentioned in the article for taking the time to overcome the challenges associated with clothing plus size women, Marina Rinaldi.

And don't get me started on the pattern companies...because they are not far behind their compatriots in the retail world.  Though I will give Simplicity Patterns a job well done because they at least have a fashionable line for plus size women...but Vogue, Butterick and especially McCalls...not so making the grade.

If I, who has limited patternmaking skills, can figure out how to reproduce a designer dress to fit my plus size body then it seems to me that with the resources a RTW company or designer has at their disposal they can do the same.  And if it was so horrible to make clothing for plus size women and be successful at it, then stores like Lane Bryant, The Avenue and Torrid wouldn't be doing such a booming business.

To me "Plus Size Wars" offers nothing new and insightful to this discussion.  It is just a rehash of why this market is underserved.  It was written to ride on the coattails of some of the recent European magazine articles and pictorals glorifying the plus size woman.

If you are plus size and sew like grateful!  Continue to work on learning to fit your body, figuring out what colors and styles work for you and be glad that you can make your own clothing because your plus size sisters that can't sew are settling...and you don't have too!

...more later!

p.s.  I am not upset/mad/angry with Kathleen point is that I was not impressed with the article and with manufacturers reasons for not servicing the plus size market.  I understand that she was just a contributor to the article.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July has been good to me!

My sewing mojo blew the roof off my sewing nook this month!  I finished eight, yes 8 garments this month!

The month started on a sew-sew note...cause that architectural dress kicked my *ss!  And honestly though it's done, I will probably never wear it out of the house in it's present just needs to be reworked.  However, that pleated front idea is still playing with my evidenced by the last garment I made this month:

the chevron stripes on the center front of the dress

So the breakdown for the month is as follows:

Five dresses:

The Architectural Dress

The Floral Linen Print Dress

The Red Silk Crepe Tank Dress

(I love wearing this dress - it's just fun!)

VW Gray Rayon Dress

named for the Vera Wang fabric I used to make it!

and the Gray & White Chevron Front Dress

and three quickie straight elastic waist skirts.  But even better than that...because even though I fell off the fabric wagon (why doesn't that thing drive straight and avoid the curves so that we are continually falling off the thing and climbing back on) buying 9 yards of fabric...I used 18 yards of fabric!  Isn't that fantastic!

Now I know my August totals aren't going to be that great because we have meetings at my job for the first two weeks that are all encompassing and I might be doing more sleeping on the weekends than sewing! 

However, Labor Day weekend kicks off my annual Sewing Staycation!  Nine days of all out sewing...what bliss!  It brings a smile to my face just to think about it!  I'm already creating a list of garments I want to sew...and as a reminder here is the Flickr Album of the items I made last year!

Parting Shot: 
I'm borrowing Summerset's parting shot while she's away...

Here's a picture of The Little Prince ~

He's had his first haircut, is into everything and is over 2 feet tall!  He's gonna be a big'un! always, more later!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Butterick 5147

I've had this pattern for years...and for the last couple of years it's made my to-sew list during both the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons...see how versatile this pattern is!  Yet somehow at the end of every season it remains unsewn.

Butterick 5147

It's not that I haven't been inspired by others versions to try it...Sheila's dresses come to mind...but it just never gets made. That is until this year!  Since Elizabeth is looking for "The Perfect Sheath Dress" pattern, I suggested that several of us sew along with her to give her an incentive to make up this dress and turn it into a TNT pattern...that way she will always have a great dress whenever she needs one.  And as you can see, she's already completed version one and is on to version two.

My journey will begin using View D, since I already have a TNT sheath-like dress pattern and I would like to make a more a-line version.  The sew-along lasts until August 13th.  We are loading our pics and have set up a discussion board on flickr.  Feel free to join us or just watch as we all make our own version of B5147.

Now you know I haven't started my dress yet...hey, I have until August 13th! *LOL*  But I will be working on it stay tuned! always, more later!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pattern Alterations

...or as a subtitle...How I cheat!

As you know, I've had a couple of meet-ups with other sewists recently.  At all of these meet-ups, conversations always end up being about what we sew and how we fit.

When Opal & Eugenia and I were in Metro (sorry Elizabeth but your dental appointment was over and you had headed back to work!) we were discussing alterations we make to our patterns to get a better fit.  That's when I told them that I cheat...because I don't believe that I "alter" patterns the way "the fitting experts" do.  I am forever folding tucks into my patterns necklines and taping them down to decrease the size of the neckline.

Or using the fabric's natural tendencies to give/add room to a garment...i.e. linen and it's relaxing fibers or the extra drapiness of silk...I also intuitively make some pattern changes now since I've been sewing so long (OMG just realized that it's 40 years this year!) that I actually have to take a minute to think about the "hows" and "whys" of what I did.

So Opal here is the "correct" way to do a "high round back" pattern alteration, courtesy of Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Maria Alto...which should be in every sewist's library, btw!

This alteration is found on page 122 of the book:

a.  about 1" below the neckline seam, draw a line across the back of  the pattern from center back to the armhole or shoulder seamline.

(all of these samples are from a fitting class I took with Colleen Jones)

b. cut to the seamline from the center back to the seamline, forming a hinge.

c.  raise the upper section at the center back about 1/4" - 3/8".  Insert tissue and tape down.

d.  the center back is now slightly curved at the top.

Then FFRP  goes on to tell you how to handle the now curved pattern piece.

1.  If placing the back piece on the fold, ignore the curve, the neckline will be slightly larger (usually 1/16" to 1/8")...ease the extra fullness into the collar or facing.

2.  OR add a center back seam so that you can maintain the curve
     (this is what I usually do!)

3.  OR add a neck dart...see FFRP for further instructions on this.

On the fitting front, I also regularly raise side seam darts...omit fisheye darts (that's more fabric for my past childbearing-into early menopause belly).  I will pivot and slide a pattern piece in a heartbeat, oh and my personal favorite slicing a pattern to add a seam to achieve the fit that I want.

Now for my disclaimer...I work to achieve a fit that I like.  I don't like close-fitting clothes.  I don't believe they flatter me and they are difficult for me to work and move around in.  But you may like a different type of fit and you as the sewist/designer should fit garments and make them for your lifestyle.

I'm sure that I'm not always using the proper techniques but my goal is to get garments that work within my fit parameters, out of flat fold fabric and onto my body as quickly as possible...because you know I love having a new outfit to wear on Monday mornings!

So what fitting shortcuts do you take?  What alterations to you make to your patterns instinctively?  Or do you make any?  Or are you scared to fit?  And do you have an idea of how you like garments to fit or are you just winging it?  Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day!

...more later!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

10 + 12 Equals...

...that's the number of hours I sewed this weekend...

10 hours on Saturday yielded this dress:

12 hours today yielded this dress:

Both are from my TNT dress pattern with a couple of different details to mix them up!

I have three days this week full of all-day, very important meetings so I needed two new dresses...

I promise to get back to you later this week with more details on the dresses...but it's getting late and I need to head off to bed... always, more later!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I have a winner!

Okay, the random generator has pulled a number...

Both my daughter and I have counted to make sure it's correct....

but first a disclaimer...the last three commentors were not entered into the giveaway because the rules stated that you must leave a comment by Friday, July 23rd...the last three comments were submitted after the deadline...

Now for the winner of the cool sewing book, The Sewing Answer Book...*drum roll please*

Jackie, who authors the blog, Jackie's Sewing!

Yeah....*throwing confetti*....Congratulations Jackie!  Contact me with your email address and I will send the book out this week!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today is your last chance!

Don't forget to enter the book giveaway!  Today is the last day that you can leave a comment on this post for a chance to win, "The Sewing Answer Book."

I will pick a winner bright and early tomorrow morning! Good luck! 

....more later!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Falling off the wagon

I was fine...really I was!  I mean I was even surfing the internet fabric sites and had NO and I mean NO desire to purchase anything.  I got tripped up by fellow blogger,'s Adrienne's fault!  *LOL* 

Y'all know I've been experiencing an extreme case of borderprintedness...and when Adrienne posted this piece, I just had to have it...especially when she made it so easy by sending me the link and telling me the cost $3.95 per yard.  But I was strong...I bought just this one piece:

Then I went to Metro Textiles and usually I can get out of there without purchasing anything when I'm with a group of people...but once again a fellow blogger got me caught out there!  This time it was AllisonC.  I've had two yards of that fabric for over a year.  I was just going to make a shift dress with it, with the black portion of it being the body and the border up at my bustline.  Then Allison used it the other way and it made think of a Sophie Theallet dress that Michelle Obama wore last year, and I needed more yardage.  So on Tuesday, I bought 3 additional yards:

Finally, by the time I made it back to Metro Textiles on Friday, there was no will power left and when I walked in and saw this lightweight stretch cotton by the door...I just had Kashi cut me three yards.  It's so darn hot here and another tank dress made from this with a orange cardi will be great.

So that's how I fell off the wagon.  I didn't buy a lot of yardage and still haven't seen anything on the internet fabric sites that I must buy yard upon yard of...but there are 9 additional yards here that need to become something and something fast!  *LOL*

Ladies, I would like to thank you for the inspiration and I do appreciate you sharing your finds with me! *smile* always, more later!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Vogue Fall Patterns

I know that everyone blogged about the new Vogue Fall patterns last week and they were pretty excited about the new designer offerings.  Vogue somehow managed to make several camps of home sewists happy with this offering...those that love the new designers Vogue is showcasing and those that love "arty" designers/gear like Issey Miyake.  I fall in neither of these camps and am plus size to boot so once again I felt deserted by Vogue.

But after thinking it over for a week and listening to some very sage advice from Sharon, I've decided that hopefully the next cycle of Vogue Patterns will offer something for my lifestyle.  But this is two pattern cycles that I really feel overlooked by Vogue...and I LOVE Vogue Patterns!  I'm not a BurdaStyle girl...tracing patterns blah!  McCalls Patterns are really aimed towards the younger set and I'm still waiting to see what the Early Fall Butterick collection will until my Vogue Pattern Magazine arrived late last week, I had pretty much written off the new Vogue fall patterns.

Now this isn't to say that I suddenly fell in love with this new fall offering, let's just say that with time and some patterns photographed on models I found a couple that I would like to own.

I totally overlooked this pattern on the website because the first pic is this drawing and it is totally uninspiring:

Vogue 8675

However, I saw this photo in the VPM and I totally want this topper now.  It will be great for crisp fall mornings but not too warm for the trip home from work.  Also, it will work over my fall dresses and give me a pulled together look for my office.  I'm thinking Vogue should have lead with this photo:

Vogue 8675 - what a difference!

I also really like this turtleneck pattern:

Vogue 8670

I love the variations and really would like to try my hand at making some turtlenecks for myself...btw, I live in turtlenecks from November to March ~ I can't stand my neck being cold ~ so I was excited to see this pattern.

There was even a dress I liked.  I don't know if I will be able to make this work for me with the waist seam but I really like the pleated skirt on this and may have to hybrid it...but I will pick this up during the next good Club BMV sale:

Vogue 8667

Otherwise...I'm still sitting here waiting...and if nothing appealing comes up in the next Vogue offering...I'm packing my tent up and decamping from the Vogue site.  I will just sew from the boatload of patterns I bought from Vogue last fall and realize that life is a cycle and if I wait long will circle back around to me.

...more later!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A skirt or two or three

Because of weekend activities, I didn't have a lot of time to sew this weekend...just a few hours tonight.  But I already knew what I wanted to make...a couple more of my easy-to-sew, elastic-waist straight skirt.

I decided to make one from the remaining 2 yards of the red sueded silk, to go with the white silk crepe tank top from my SWAP and the red floral silk jersey cardigan.

I also made one from one of my border prints.  I need to start using these up because the remaining weekends for summer sewing are starting to draw to a close...I think I have like 6 left...I bought 5 yards of this cotton/lycra stretch border print from Fabric Mart and it made a great little skirt:

There's still enough of it left for me to make the dress I originally purchased this piece it will be a two-fer with this fabric!  Yeah!


This skirt consists of one pattern piece that is from an OOP skirt pattern that is over a decade old and has been traced onto pattern paper to preserve it's life. 

1.  I cut the front piece with the pattern piece laid full out. 
2.  I cut the back piece with the pattern piece folded in half and a 5/8" seam allowance added to only one side. 
3.  After the fabric is cut out, I clean finish the edges on my serger.
4.  Then all the seams are pinned and sewn together.
5.  Press the seams flat then open.
6.  Measure 2" down for the top for an elastic casing.
7.  Cut a piece of 1" non-roll elastic exactly 37" (I was given a formula to get this number years ago, by Anne of  Needle Nook Fabrics...but I lost it in a computer crash)  However, this number works every time!
8.  Stitch the casing down leaving a 2" gap at the back seam.  Press.
9.  Insert elastic (I use a large safety pin on the edge of the elastic to pull it through the casing.) 
10. Stitch the two ends of the elastic together - some people butt these together with fabric but I just lay one piece on top of the other (about an 1" long) and stitch it together.
11. Stitch the casing closed.
12. Spread the elastic evenly through the waistband, then stitch in the ditch at the seamlines, through the elastic in the casing to insure that the elastic doesn't shift.
13.  Measure up the hem (my standard is usually 1").  Press.
14.  Machine stitch the hem and press.

The skirt is ready to wear!  This takes about 90 minutes from cut-out to try-on.

I've made three of them now...used some interesting summer I'm ready to move onto my Butterick 5147 Dress and the sew-along.

Closing shot of me wearing the skirt that started this journey with a twinset: always, more later!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A cool book and a giveaway

When I'm having a bad day at work, I either head for the fabric store or the bookstore.  Believe it or not, I can do less damage in the bookstore than I can at the fabric store, so that's where I went Thursday lunchtime.

I have a pretty large Borders near me (Time Warner Centre/Columbus Circle) which has a very decent craft section.  So this time while I looking at the new titles, I spot this one:

The Sewing Answer Book (Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face - Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask).  I flipped through it and thought that this was a marvelous little book for sewists.  The author is Barbara Weiland Talbert ~ I have a few of her earlier books ~ and it has great chapters like, "Needles and Thead", "Stitching Basics", "Working with Patterns" etc. 

What really drew my eye to this book were the questions on the back of the book.  "How do I select the best needle size for my project?"  "How do I use my body measurements to choose a pattern?"  "How do I finish the facing around the zipper on the inside of the garment?"  And it gives the page numbers underneath the question, so you can flip right there.  Kewl, right?  So I bought two of for a special friend...and one to give away!  

Here's the rules...there are none!  *LOL*  Just leave a comment on this post ONLY by Friday, July 23rd and I will pick the winner on Saturday, July 24th using the random generator.  This giveaway is open to everyone - International readers, as well as, North American ones.  So leave a comment and good luck!

...more later!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Afternoon Delight - Part Deux

Okay I knew Monday afternoon that I would be back at Kashi's this afternoon.  I'd been conversating with Omega about her trip to NJ/NY and we had agreed to meet there.  It was just coincidence that I ended up there twice in one week...

First the obligatory Kashi photo:

Kashi, me, Omega, Altheia and Sheila

I found out earlier this week that Sheila would be joining us too...and I'd had such a good time with her during PR Weekend that I was sooooo glad to see her again.  She was just as amazing a fabric shopper in Kashi's as she was in Jomars!

So when I got there...having come from my day job...Omega and Altheia already had made quite large piles! There was some serious fabric shopping going on here folks!  Remember I was just there on Monday and they found stuff that I hadn't seen then!  I know they took some pics of the fabric combinations that they put together and I hope Omega posts them because she bought the most fabulous orange silk crepe...wait I have to take a moment and catch my breathe because that piece was so damn fine!

Then we talked Sheila into this gorgeous silk...girl you better use that piece just like you imagined...hold onto it until you find the perfect lace for it!  So you would think that after all that fun that I would take myself back to work right?  Nope, I took them over to Daytona Trimmings (you know of Project Runway fame) and got them settled before I went back to work.

Altheia, me and Omega

Ladies, I had a fabulous time and almost called my job and told them I wasn't coming back!  *LOL*  Thank you for bringing a bright spot to a week that was ending badly!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


...that's what making the Blossom Dress was...

I sewed the Floral Skirt in an hour...seriously one hour from cut-out to hem.  Now I remember why my wardrobe had a disproportionate amount of skirts when my children were younger.  They sewed up quickly and with a blouse made me ready for work.

Somewhere in the handling of the floral fabric, it started speaking loudly about being something else...that it didn't want to go back into the fabric closet.  So listening carefully, I found the cornflower blue linen that coordinates with it...matching the blues in the flowers.  And then realizing that I needed just a little something else, I went into the closet and pulled out several shades of yellow linen (yeah, yeah, I know don't say anything about the number of yellow linens I have!) until one coordinated with the original two pieces...from there it was just effortless.

Seriously, I pulled dress pieces out of the TNT dress pattern folder, arranged some and starting cutting out.  I decided that I only wanted the top of the dress lined because its been hot as hades here lately, pulled some rayon bemberg lining and cut it out.  Then I just sat down at the sewing machine and sewed.  The "hardest" part was changing the serger thread!  *LOL*

So here is the Blossom Dress:

and with my yellow cardigan for the bus which is like riding in a meat locker:

Some stats:

1 yard of floral linen from Textile Studios
1.5 yards of cornflower blue linen from Fabric Mart
.25 yard of yellow linen (who knows where I got this from it's been in the closet so long!)

1 20" blue invisible zipper
3 yards of rayon seam binding

The interesting thing about slipping into the sewing zone for me is that I just automatically use techniques that make me smile when I look inside my finished garment...

Like these mitered corners at the back hem slit

I put a small piece of stitch witchery underneath the mitered corner,
then I press it flat - pronto instant corner!

Look, look the invisible zipper and the bands line up correctly at the back of the skirt.  Thank you Summerset because I used your tip ~ marking the zipper and then pinning it at the band first worked perfectly!

I did the joy, joy dance after this! 

When I tried the dress on it was a little snug around the middle and I almost went and let the seams out but then I remembered that this was a pure linen dress and I knew the fibers would start to relax during the day.

It's a little bright for work...but it's summer and there were no important meetings today so I wore it a double strand pearl necklace, little pearl studs and my nude slingbacks.  Conservative with a twist!

So what can we learn from this little adventure *LOL*  okay that just sounded too d*mn serious!  Anyway, my sewing shero Cynthia Guffey says to relax and enjoy the journey!  And I definitely did with this dress...I definitely did because making it was effortless! always, more later!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Afternoon Delight

That's Eugenia, Elizabeth and Opal in Metro Textiles this afternoon.

Now Elizabeth and I had planned to meet Eugenia for a lunchtime break at Metro...and while we were standing looking at the cotton/lycra prints someone looks at me and goes I know you.  I'm searching my memory banks trying not to call this beautifully dressed lady the wrong name...when it came to me that I was staring at Opal of Opals Passion.

The introductions were made, the conversation flowed and we were four sewists picking fabrics and discussing techniques!  Darn that day job, I hated leaving because I was having so much fun.

The obligatory picture with Kashi

Of course Eugenia made her skirt and Opal made her dress
which has quite a story behind or should I say in front of it!

On another note...I've decided to pull The Architectural Dress apart and make a new front...not the pleated one...a different one.  There is something about this dress that just doesn't work or fit right and I don't have the space to keep or look at garments that aren't look for the remodel soon.

Also, I might as well 'fess up now...I bought fabric...before today...and it's all Adrienne's fault.  That girl is one mighty enabler...and she sent me not only the price but a direct link to the brown circle cotton fabric she bought from FFC...I was a goner before I even clicked the link.

So it was really easy to buy 3 more yards at Metro today.  I originally bought 2 yards of this fabric 2 years ago, and since Allison used it to make this awesome dress, it's been playing round and round in my head ever since I saw hers.  I just needed a few more yards to make what I'm thinking about. always, more later!  

Monday, July 12, 2010

One More...

I finished this one at 9:49pm...and only because one of the daughters brought a seafood smorgasbord home tonight so I stopped and ate crab legs and seasoned cold shrimp with them.

Here is the final dress of the weekend:

Some stats:

2.5 yards of red sandwashed silk from Trebor Couture
(a 40th Street fabric store that closed over a decade ago)

.25 yard of white silk crepe

3 yards of red foldover bias binding


Butterick 6082 - OOP

I've made this pattern before...I showed you the black rayon/linen version of it a couple of days ago and here's a picture of the brown eyelet version I also made several years ago:

This version was inspired by the black rayon/linen version and a bathing suit I saw in a Newport News ad:

My original plan was to add a white line across my chest on the dress to wear under my floral silk jersey cardigan, but after watching the movie, The Women (2009 version) today, I realized that the dress would be more slimming if I placed the line down the front of the dress.  And that was actually the most challenging thing about making the dress...getting that front line cut from the silk crepe and then stitched down to the front of the dress.

Otherwise this is a very easy and basic dress to make.  What makes it so awesome IMHO is the fabric will be perfect for the 90 degree day that is forecasted for tomorrow. 

One more shot of it with the floral cardigan:

Not sure if I'm actually going to wear this combination...but we'll see.  So, I had a very fruitful sewing weekend...2 dresses, 1 skirt and 1 dress reworked...I'll share details about the other pieces later. 

BTW, I'm going to take your sage advice and hang The Architectural Dress in the closet and wait to see if it grows on me! always, more later!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Three the hard way

Here is what's come out of the sewing machine so far:

A straight skirt - unlined, unzipped, un-everything...a simple piece of fabric with an elastic waistline and a machine stitched hem

This dress kinda showed up because the fabric called it out...

...and a picture of me in The Architectural Dress...which I'm still not loving, btw...

...anyway, I want to finish this dress up too before I have to go back to work...

...more later!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Buckling Down

...I have this one weekend to buckle down and get a few things made.  Next weekend I have some social engagements so I will have a limited amount of time to sew.  However, this weekend the stars have's going to rain today...children are gone so the house is quiet...and I have a huge block of time to just I'm going for it!

Of course, The Architectural Dress will be hemmed this weekend.  I also want to make a quick straight floral skirt from a linen that's been sitting in the collection for a few years now. This will be one more thing to come off of my "A Few Things I want to sew for Spring" list...which probably should have been titled spring & summer, but oh well!  And by quick, I mean, no lining, no zipper, just an easy elastic waist pull-on skirt that can be worn with a tank top and a ltwt cardigan.  It is soooo hot here in the Northeast with the temperatures predicted not to go below 88 degrees F this week.  

Thankfully my wardrobe had four all-cotton work dresses that made an appearance this past week in the 100+ degree heat.  The other piece that was worn this week was this black rayon/linen tank dress that I sewed back in 2006:

Actually, the post that shows this dress, Fashion Shots, has several garments in it that I'm still wearing...AMAZING!  But I digress, the black tank dress was sooooo comfortable that I'm making another one this weekend in the red silk crepe that's been sitting on the cutting table for weeks now.  Haven't decided whether or not to line it...I'm thinking not...but I'll see during the construction process.

The final dress that I want to make this weekend is Simplicity 2958 - which is out of print now. 

I've had it in my collection for forever and I ran across the inspiration picture the other day so I moved it to the front of the line.  I'm going to use a cotton pique that I bought during the Philly PR Weekend with some pretty glass buttons. 

Hopefully since all of these are pretty easy sews...I will have them sewn up this weekend.  It will be an all sewing weekend here at Casa de Sewing Fanatic... always, more later!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Enough with the anonymous comments...

If you have something to say to me about any critique that I give on services provided to me by a company, please have the dignity to sign your comment.  Do not hide behind anonymous.  And if anyone is in doubt of my facts regarding the service received, I saved the email chain which I will be happy to reprint. 

I used no names of company employees.  I did not mis-state any of the facts.  But I was extremely unhappy with the service provided for the product I received.  Last I checked that was not a crime or an offense for which I can be sued.

There is a simple way to solve this...I can turn off anonymous comments and then the cowardly can either sign their names or go away.  YOU are making this a bigger issue than it needs to be...because I said what I had to say and I was moving on.  If you, "anonymous" thinks that So Vintage provides a great service, then write your own blog post about it...but as of now...there are no more anonymous commenters allowed on my blog! 

Say it proud, say it loud or don't say it at all!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

What I should be doing...

What I should be doing is working on finishing the hem on "The Dress"...

What I'm doing instead is thinking of my next project...*LOL*  It's Wednesday evening and even though its a shortened work week for me, these two days have been chock full of projects because the office was closed on Monday.  And since I'm not buying fabric now (30 days fabric free ~ and sorry Elizabeth that I keep enabling you!) I'm dreaming of new projects to make.  Saturday seems closer this week than in other weeks and I just want to dive back in and sew something new, different, and not as time consuming as The Architectural Dress.

Speaking of said dress, the hem on the dress has grown another inch...and it's puckering at the front side seams.  So I'm going to have to rip the seams out, cut the pleated piece off and stabilize the seams as I sew them back up.  Why I didn't remember this step from the last time I made a bias front dress, I don't know...maybe it was all those d*mn pleats getting in my way!  *LOL*!  But since these will be the last steps, I'm okay with that.

I did try the dress on again last see if I could see it's specialness...but I think I'm still too close to it.  Those pleats that took 3 bobbins of thread are still mocking me...causing me not to see the beauty in the dress.  But since I've experienced "Project Exhaustion" before, I know I will get over it.  I know that in time it will become a beloved garment, too!

I'm headed off to read a new book...just wanted to put a little space between this post and the last.  BTW, thank you for all of the support and for understanding that I try to be very tolerant of vendors who provide materials to sewists.  I really don't want any of them to fail...however, if you lie to me...and are mean to me...all whilst taking my money and treating me like I don't matter...then I must put you on BLAST!

The pictures sprinkled throughout the post are some "epic" dresses of the past...some that tried my patience...some that used similar pattern pieces...all from my TNT dress pattern. always, more later!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A pattern tale

I know you want pictures of the dress but the hem is still I would like to share with you a little pattern nightmare instead...

"Once upon a time a sewist (that's me) who loves vintage patterns spent all of her time on vintage pattern sites looking at and gazing adoringly at all of the beautiful vintage patterns...60's eras only!  Now occasionally she would part with her precious dollars (earned slaving away for the awful IB trolls) on a particularly wonderful pattern...a pattern that touched her heart!  A pattern that brought wonderous dreams of awesome new 60s era garments...and she would wait patiently for her local postal person to bring these dreams of awesomeness to her.

Most times before she wished hard, picked fabric out and dreamed a dream or two the pattern had arrived in her mailbox.  (Thank you Lanetz Living, Out of the Ashes & The Blue Gardenia for such wonderful service!)  Most times she was so overcome with joy when she opened that mailbox and found the most wonderous pattern...

But sunny Saturday afternoon...she went to a new pattern place...So Vintage Patterns...hoping to duplicate the same wonderous experience.  She carefully picked a of the most expensive she'd ever bought.  She was overcome with glee at the thought that such beautifulnest was coming to her house.  Coming to live with all of the other wonderful vintage patterns (60s era only) that she had bought before!  Oh the joy of it!  Oh the thrill of it!

And patiently she week...two weeks...then she finally sent the Dragonmaster of the So Vintage experience a kind, sweetly worded email...imploring where her beloved pattern might be.  And the big ole Dragonmaster huffed and puffed and lied to the poor little sewist!  She puffed out in bursts of fire that the pattern would be there in a week...that the website said that they shipped patterns in 3-10  BUSINESS days.  Now the poor little sewist knew this was a lie because she had read in the FAQS section where they ship patterns in 3 BUSINESS days...but what was the poor little sewist to do against the big bad Dragonmaster. 

So the poor little sewist she waited one more week, finally climbing up on the big desk at work taking a chance that the evil trolls might hear that she wasn't making a work-related call, and she called 3 different time zones to ask, would they please, please, please send her beloved pattern.  A pattern that all of her other little sewist friends told her that she should just cancel the order...but noooooo, the pattern was sooooo special and soooooo different from any other then she had seen and she wanted it with all her heart.  But the big, bad Dragonmaster, just keep repeating that they had been on the internet since 1999 and that they sent out thousands of patterns each week, and oh by the way we misfiled yours and her minion dragons had to search high and low before they finally found mine and sent it out.  

The poor little sewist asked in a timid voice if she could possibly at least get her shipping returned since it had taken so long to ship out?  The Dragonmaster bellowed at her nooooooo....and then well maybe it would think about doing something.  But by then the poor little sewist ears had been singed (straight through the phone!) and the IB trolls were gathering so she had to end the long distance call that was definitely not work related!

Gathering herself together and promising not to cry...she waited and the pattern finally showed up on Saturday...last Saturday...three weeks after the poor little sewist first plunked down her hard earned money on a little hope and a dream.

So the moral of this story, Don't shop at So Vintage Patterns.  Don't do business with liars.  Find other more deserving vintage pattern places (The Blue Gardenia, Lanetz Living or Out of the Ashes!) to give your hard earned money too!  And by the way, Dragonmaster, hear the poor little sewist ROAR!!!!" 

"Boycott So Vintage Patterns!!!!!!"

Don't shop there!

end of story....

The Architectural Dress - Part IV

The dress is finished except for the hem because several times today I noticed that the bias center piece has grown as its hung waiting for the next step to be completed.  So I've decided to let it hang for at least 24 hours to make sure that the bias piece has grown as much as possible.  Then I think I'm going to go in and reinforce the front seams with stay tape...and finally hem it.

However, this dress has been a journey and not always a pleasant one.  Am I upset or sad that I made the journey?  No.  Did I learn a thing or two from the journey?  Yes.  One of the main things that I learned is that no matter how much you plan, no matter how many times you go through the construction steps in your head, something is ALWAYS going to come up that you didn't think about or plan for so you should be prepared for it and have the ability to move past it! *LOL*

First some stats:

4 yards of 100% linen from
2 yards of china silk for the lining

1 22" invisible zipper
3 yards of nude lace
5 yards of rayon tape
1 large blue button (from Fabric Mart)

Instead of a whole lot of words...because you know the main design on the dress front is the pleats...I'm gonna share some pics.  But first, my dress front is different from the inspiration photo.  One because I think I was just too frazzled from a day of making pleats, so my pleats ending up not chevroning in the front of the dress.  And second I added a pleat and a button at the's my touch added after I tried the dress on...definitely making it my own.

after making the pleats, I thread traced the pattern pieces
and then cut around the thread tracings for the front panels

front pieces cut out waiting to be
assembled to the side dress front pieces

close up of the pleated front pieces sewn to the side front pieces
Notice that the pieced piece is just sewn on the bias and not chevroned

dress lining made from china silk

close up of the lace added to the hem
The lining feels like a wonderful piece of lingerie added to the dress.

Close up of the pleat and button added to the front of the dress

I will have more construction details and a picture of me wearing the dress once the hemline has settled.  I'm not at all upset that the dress isn't wearable tomorrow.  I would rather the hem "cure" than hem it and wear it...only to have to re-hem it again.  I do feel as if I accomplished my goal of making the dress this weekend.  I don't think that I made an exact copy of the inspiration photo, though I was aiming too.  But in actuality, it is very rare when my own creative impulses don't kick in and I end up adding something to the inspiration garment to make it uniquely me.

It's Monday night and I don't feel frustrated...I feel calm and ready to face my work week because my creative side has been challenged, nourished and refreshed. always, more later!


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