Sunday, November 27, 2011


Yesterday after I pulled myself out of the Colette Sewing Book, I went back to working on the McCalls dress. I did a fitting when I got the base of the dress together...everything was looking good.  Then I put the sleeves and the band onto the dress neckline and got this:

Now don't these two fabrics look fantastic together!  I was psyched!  I put the almost finished dress (no hems) on and *sigh* knew I was going to spend some quality time with my seam ripper.  The sleeves are too small and it's causing the dress front to pull...actually the sleeves are just wrong and need to be redone.  But here is the heartbreaking part - I have no more silk left.  Or if there is a remnant around, I have no idea where it is (don't get me started on those dayum fabric bins!)

After casting around for another idea, I remembered that I had some navy ponte knit.   Which I did have enough sense to put in a separate bin, so it was easy to find.  Here's a pic of this combination:

Not as pretty as the original one, right?  However, it will work...but at this point I was pretty well done for the night, so I turned everything off and headed upstairs to watch 9:30pm!  

This morning with the sun shining bright and a renewed fervor, I pulled out my seam ripper and started ripping the neckband and sleeves apart.  I will redraft the sleeve pattern. I will make a two-part sleeve with a seam down the center instead of a single sleeve with a dart at the sleeve cap.  I will finish the dress.

Of course this journey is taking a little longer than I thought.  But since I'm making a conscientious effort to slow my sewing down, as well as, trying to use more new patterns (hey I buy them, I should use them!) making this dress will probably consume my entire Thanksgiving recess.  And in the morning light, even that's okay.  It's not like I don't have anything else to wear! *smile* always, more later!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Colette Sewing Handbook

I've been aware of the Colette pattern line since it first came to market and even though I've admired some of the garments made from the patterns, the line didn't really fit my lifestyle.  I was also aware that Sarai was writing a book and I have to admit that I really had no plans on purchasing it. 

Then I saw my first Meringue skirt and I wanted one.  I really wanted one after I saw a few more versions and Sarai posted instructions on her blog on how to add a waistband to the skirt.  I don't know about my fellow plus size sistahs but I NEED a waistband on a straight skirt that has a zipper!  The hunt was on to find the pattern...and that's when I realized that the only way to get the pattern was to buy the book.  Since I needed a few Christmas gifts from Amazon, I threw it in the cart for me.

The book arrived this morning and instead of finishing up my McCalls dress, I've been sitting here engrossed in the book.  Why do you ask?  Because even though this book is geared to the beginning sewist, Sarai said a few things in her introduction that had me shaking my head "yes" along with her.  These three sentences sealed the deal for me:

"There's only one trait that I think every sewer should possess: curiosity.  Learning to sew is an ongoing process; in fact, the learning never really stops.  Each project has the potential to teach you something new."

Those are such awesome and wise words.  It's the reason I call myself an intermediate sewist 'cause I believe that there is ALWAYS something new to learn about my craft.  

Then Sarai sealed the deal when she discussed wearable muslins positively.  Now anyone who has read my ramblings for any amount of time knows that I don't make a muslin and that I believe in wearable muslins.  This can be such a divisive subject in the sewing community so to read that she actually understands that there is a place for the wearable muslin, made my heart sing.  Especially because many times I'm the one standing alone or in the midst of the minority on this technique.

The final selling point (the one that made me write this blog post) was that I learned a new fitting technique.  My  AHA! moment occurred when I was reviewing the pivot alteration that she wrote for adding width to the hip line in a skirt and in a bodice pattern piece.  I've always added space/width at the center front of the pattern piece but Sarai shows how to add it by slashing and spreading, then pivoting the pattern piece.  Now I can't wait to use this technique on a new pattern!

So look for a new Meringue skirt here soon and if you've been wondering if you need a copy of this book in your sewing library, YES you do!  To help you along I'm including a link to Sarai's bundle special, buy the book and get 2 patterns for $50.  Since it's Shop a Small Business Saturday, place an order today to support this small sewing business.

I'm off to finish my latest dress which is turning out better than I expected.  Love when that happens!  I still have tomorrow to sew and I just might dig out the piece of fabric that I'm thinking about and make my very own version of the Meringue skirt... always, more later!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Next up - McCalls 6460

This dress pattern caught my eye as soon as it was issued, probably because of it's raglan sleeves - my latest design feature crush.  And even though all of the pictures and drawings show the dress in evening fabrics, I could actually see a work dress in View B.  So first a pic of the pattern:

Then I was flipping through the December 2011 issue of Marie Claire and this fabric combination caught my eye.  The inspiration dress is by Jason Wu from his Resort 2012 collection:

...and I knew what fabrics I wanted to use for my version of the M6460 dress.  Best of all I had these fabrics in my "current fabrics" bin so no digging through bins to find fabrics.  The floral print wool challis was purchased from Vogue Fabrics Fall 2011 swatch club mailing.  The blue silk crepe was re-purposed from this UFO that I made back in May.  It will be used for the sleeves with the base of the dress from the floral print.

I want to make a few more dresses to wear while the weather is still warm enough to wear them.  So this is the first project I'm working on during the Thanksgiving recess.  This is a little different from my normal "work dress" choices but since I now own a closet full of "professional" clothing, I'm attempting to make some outfits that are a little edgier and better reflect my personality! always, more later!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Right Tool for the Job

Do you ever think about why a sewist needs so many tools?  Do you really need 3 or 4 pairs of scissors when a single pair should do the job?  Why do you need several pieces of pressing equipment to press open a seam?  Several different types of pins?

I used several different types of sewing paraphernalia to get the faux leather accents to work just right on my recent dress.  First up was my silk organza pressing cloth.  This allowed me to press with steam the leather without ruining the fabric...yet I was able to add enough steam to mold the leather around the dresses neckline and the sleeve hems.

My duckbill scissors were also very helpful with insuring that I cut only the excess fabric from the seam line.  I didn't want to cut away any of the underlying fabric or cut too closely to the seam line.  I love these scissors whenever I need to clip or cut in close quarters.

So when you're sewing your next fabulous outfit, think about how many tools you use to get that outfit to look just so...and remember that using the right tool for the job is what really makes it easy to achieve that look! always, more later!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You can now have my TNT dress pattern too!

I've made 51 dresses from an OOP dress pattern that I've been using for at least a dozen years.  When the new Butterick patterns came out, I realized that if  you're a plus size woman (or even if you aren't) you can now own a pattern that is very similar to the pattern that I've been using forever.

It's Butterick 5706:

...and except for that weird extra long back view, this pattern is pretty close to mine.  The u-neckline is a little deeper, but the pattern includes a v-neckline version, cap and elbow length sleeves.  What really makes this dress a winner in my book is that it only has side bust darts on the dress front piece.  If you're supporting a little extra abdomen like I am, this really is a flattering look.  

For those who don't have the booty issues that I do, there are even back darts for some additional fitting, so you won't feel like you're wearing a great big ole tent.  Now even though I have my well used TNT pattern, I bought this pattern.  I really want to make a version and see how this pattern sooner or later a dress from this pattern will be showcased here...

While purchasing patterns during the last Club BMV sale (well actually the sale before this last one!), I also bought Butterick 5719.

Not only did the princess seamed jacket appeal to me but the princess seamed dress did too.  I'm sure that if I dug around in my extensive pattern collection, I probably have a princess seamed dress like this but honestly, I was just too lazy to look...especially since this look wasn't in the set of patterns that I've just recently organized.  Anyway, this is the pattern that I want to use for the purple sheath dress I'm feening for.

I still have no idea what I'll be making this weekend...just that I will be sewing! Yeahhhhh!!! always, more later!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

McCalls 6395 - Final

McCalls 6395 - A Dress that's semi-fitted through bust and hip with a loose-fitting waist.

Black ponte knit from Fabric Mart
Gray ponte knit from Fabric Mart
Patchwork Faux Leather from Fabric Mart

9" black invisible zipper

The Construction Journey:
**I detailed my pattern alterations in this post.
**However, I ended up removing the two inches that I added to the lengthen/shorten lines because the skirt was hanging a little too low.

**I decided to omit the lining I was going to add...the ponte knit is firm enough without it.

**I was going to omit the center back zipper but after adding the leather trim to the neckline, I decided I needed to make sure that I could get the dress over my I added the 9" invisible zipper.

**I also added leather pieces to the hip line and the sleeve hems.

A few more shots:

The leather at the neckline

The hand on the hip pose

Final Notes:
This dress is very comfortable to wear and even though it has a little more "Casual Friday-ish" feel to it, it will get worn to work.  Sometimes, I just need a little something different, y'know!  But I have to tell you that I have a serious fabric crush on ponte knit!  Gawd is this some awesome stuff to sew and wear!

I'm also crushing on McCalls 6460 - View B with the raglan sleeves.  Have I told you lately how much I love raglan sleeves?

So I think this will be up next...I also really want a purple sheath dress...don't know if I will have time to make both next weekend but that's what I'll be working on unless I give in and make a few more skirts, or maybe finish up the UFO jacket from earlier this get the drift.  *LOL*

Parting Shot:
The Little Prince and his mother came to visit this afternoon and she took these pictures for this post...(Sharon, I know a tripod)  He's getting so big these days, that I wanted to share a picture of the little man with you: always, more later! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I sewed in the middle of the week!

I can't remember the last time I did that!  But I actually sewed quite a bit yesterday evening...and I have photographic proof!  Bad photographic proof but proof nonetheless.

So tonight I came home and tried on the basted together dress and while I got the width right, the length is a little wonky.  I will be removing the length I added, cause it ain't working.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the weekend!  I'm looking forward to sewing all weekend long!  It's mojo is back from vacation and I can't wait to take it out for a spin...thank goodness 'cause I was beginning to be worried that it was never coming back...silly I know but sadly true.

I have a list of garments that I want to an aside, I'm pinching myself because I have a list again!  And I'm off for four days next week for Thanksgiving and all of my children, their spouses and my grandchildren are coming no traveling, extra hands to help cook and clean-up which means I will have a good three days to sew.  I'm sooooo excited! 

As an aside, Elaray asked if this was the first sewing room that I've had.  No, it isn't.  When I was married I lived in a townhouse and we converted the basement into my sewing room and the girls playroom.  I spent many wonderful weekends there, sewing and listening to my daughters play...learning my craft, teaching others to sew and inspiring others to love this gift as much as I do.  So yes, I've had several sewing rooms in different incarnations...I've been sewing since I was 11 and it's been an integral part of my life since then.

Finally I'm slowly but surely getting used to my new room.  I'm working out the kinks but it's time to sew...and I'm planning on doing just that!  So look for the finished version of McCalls 6395 this weekend. always, more later!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another side effect of moving

I have no desire to fabric shop.  *sigh* desire!  I think it has something to do with touching each and every piece of fabric in my collection during the move.  So Fabric Mart is having their awesome Pyramid of Savings sale.  You know the one where you get 15% off a $25 purchase, 20% off a $75 purchase, and 30% off a $125 purchase...and even though I've gone to the site several times, I'm just uninspired.

Nuthin' and I mean nuthin' made me want to place it in the shopping cart, type in my credit card numbers and wait for the box of wonders to arrive.  I think I finally understand the feeling people have when they say their fabric stash overwhelms them.  Now before you start writing in suggestions on how I can destash...think about it!  Do you really think I want to part with any pieces of my most amazing and wonderous fabric collection?  I mean really, I don't!  And once the fabric closets arrive and the fabric is safely tucked inside, I will probably go back to my fabricaholic ways.  Or maybe, it will still take me a minute before I blithely return to fabric shopping...since I will once again be touching each and every piece I own to get it into the new fabric closets.

However, if you are still fabric shopping, please head on over to Fabric Mart and pick up a piece or two in my honor.  

Now onto sewing in the new sewing's still not intuitive yet.  I'm still rearranging as I go.  Sew a seam and something doesn't feel right so I move something else around.  I have to remember that I lived in my apartment for 6.5 years before I moved so there was a lot of time to get used to sewing there and I KNOW that I didn't sew as much at the beginning as I did at the end of my time there.  So I will keep plugging away at it, moving a piece here and reworking something there.

I would like to thank everyone for their very kind comments about my move, before, during and after.  Your encouragement and good wishes were very dear to me as I plowed ahead and got a new sewing room up and running.  Now to answer a few questions...

Michelle Jadaa asked, "Did you discover anything you forgot you had?"
Yes, there were definitely some fabric finds!  Some that I've added to the current fabric piles and you may see soon in some new patterns!  There was also a certain amount of awe at the amount of sewing paraphernalia I've accumulated.  You know when you just keep tucking things away without taking everything out and looking at it, you just don't realize how much you actually have...or maybe you do and you just don't want to take your head out of the sand!  *LOL*

CaCoyote, Las Vegas asked, "Did you find the zippers?"
Nope.  I headed over to Daytona Trimmings last week and bought a small supply of 20/22" and 9" zippers to tide me over.

janis asked, "Where did I get the boxes holding my sewing library?"
I ordered all of my moving supplies from U-Line online.  We use them as a resource for work and they ship quickly.  So yes, I paid for boxes but I was able to get just what I needed for a discounted price.  Those particular boxes can be found here.

...and the best question of all...A Sewn Wardrobe asked, "if it will stay clean and organized for long?"
*LOL*  That's my plan!  But you know how that next year when I'm all settled in and sewing regularly in my room, I guess I should take pictures and post and you can be the judge!  *LOL* always, more later!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's finished for now

I've opened and put away the last box.  I've cleaned off the sewing table top...which had become the drop off station for anything I wasn't sure where to put it.  I've marked almost everything...still need to bring my label-maker home from work to add a few labels to things.  And my inspiration board still needs to be tacked up...but other than that my sewing room is finished and waiting to be used.

Here are a few pics:
 My button & closing shelves
(This use to reside in the armoire in my bedroom)

The first bookshelf
(holds patterns, tv & computer equipment
plus the books my parents had)

 The second bookshelf that is currently 
holding my sewing library in bins, 
as well as my thread collection.
The books will be taken out of the bins later.

Cutting table (side view)

Ikea piece - this use to hold clothing in my
bedroom closet - now it holds all of the
items that use to reside in my armoire.

I haven't tried the room out yet and I still have to find a place to put my ironing board permanently, so as of now it will have to be taken up and down for every use.  However, I believe I will gain some space once the new fabric closets arrive. This is what I ordered from Lowes:

After these are assembled and placed against the wall where the fabric bins now reside, I will gain some space and a place for the ironing board.  For right now I will improvise.  I did manage to keep all of the pieces of McCalls 6395 together during the move so I'm going to see if I can finish that dress up today.  My mojo isn't all the way back, but I think I need to jump start it with a little sewing.  Hopefully I will have some actual sewing to share with you soon! always, more later!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


This is the longest I've gone without sewing in a very long time without being sick or swamped at work.  Since neither of those things are going on in my life right now...I'm a little lost.

I've unpacked most of my boxes, and of course I've found something else box of zippers.  I was pretty devastated when I realized they were gone...which makes no dayum sense since I tripped down to the garment district and bought quite a few more...  I think it was just the left over packing/moving/unpacking fever that caused me to overreact.  I know I can't replace what was in the box but I've bought more and that hurdle has been crossed...but still no desire to sew.

Another thing I knew but just wasn't facing was how many patterns I own.  Now I have to figure out a storage solution for them 'cause the one I was using (haphazardly placing them anywhere) didn't translate well to my new sewing room - *LOL*  You would think sorting through vintage and newly released patterns would jumpstart my sewing mojo...NOPE!  Its still vacaying...

Okay, so enough moaning about that...I'm sure you all read Cidell's blog, Miss Cellie's Pants...and if you don't you really should, because she makes the most interesting pieces - presently she's working on a cape for a bike ride!  Anyway, Cidell has been nominated for the Mobbies Awards and she needs our help.  It's the last three days of voting but if you go to this link, and complete the simple log in process (really it's easy, I did it in 30 seconds or less!), you can vote for Cidell in three categories:

Best DIY Blog
Best Lifestyle Blog
Best Personal Blog

But the real important vote is for Best Overall Cidell says, wouldn't it be fantastic if a sewing blog won for Best Overall Blog!  So if you have a few minutes, would you mind following the link and voting for Cidell!

Thanks and I'm out...hopefully some sewing will be going on here again soon!


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Still Slowly Unpacking

I thought I would update everyone so that you would know that I hadn't fallen off the face of the earth!  Because I am sooooooo much better at packing than has been going rather slowly.  Like one box a night slowly!

Because there is so much to unpack and I'm a little overwhelmed by seeing/touching/feeling all of what I own...y'know ignorance really is bliss...that I end up stopping and contemplating the contents of each box.  Whereas when I packed the box it was more like throw it in, make it safe and keep it moving, y'know?!  Anyway the sewing machines and of course the computer are set up now.

sewing machine & serger on table

my beloved HP computer
and 2nd sewing machine

My mojo has fled...probably because it doesn't want to be involved in unpacking any boxes! *LOL*  I'm sure it will be back once everything is settled.  Just wanted to give an update... always, more later!


Related Posts with Thumbnails