Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Upping My Game in 2012

I truly believe that there is always something new to learn...even with sewing, especially with sewing.  Times change and technology has invaded all aspects of our lives...including sewing...so there are new ways to learn things.  Because of that I recently signed up for Susan Khaljie's, "Couture Dress" class at Craftsy.  In full disclosure, I have yet to watch one of the classes but one of the reasons I signed up for them is because I can view them whenever I want and I can watch them over and over again.  I enjoyed her sewing show on the DIY network, so it's good to glean some knowledge from her again.  I'm sure that I will learn something new or see something in a different way that will enhance and take my sewing to another level.


In that same vein, I also signed up for Sandra Betzina's, Video Sewing Lessons.  I own every book that she's written, quite a few of her Vogue patterns and use to watch her faithfully on HGTV when she hosted a sewing show there.  She has definitely influenced my sewing in the past and I'm hopeful that she will help me up my sewing game in 2012.

I'm sure you're wondering why I need to take some video classes since I obviously know how to sew and have a pretty extensive sewing library...and the answer is simple...there is always something new to learn. I will report back on how the video classes are working for me...gotta carve some time out to sit and watch them...but I'm excited!

...as always, more later!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Do you press or smooth?

I was pulling out some pattern pieces to work on a garment last night and I had this thought..."Do you press your folded pattern pieces before laying them onto your fabric or do you just smooth them out and lay them down?"

See sometimes I press and sometimes I smooth.  It depends on how heavily creased the pattern pieces are.  If I can smooth them out, I do 'cause I'm really quite lazy.  All I really want is to get to the sewing...so how about you?  Do you always press your pattern pieces first?  Or are you a smoother?

This is the Question of the Day, so talk to me, okay?

...as always, more later!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Its Sunday and I've done nuthin...

...and I'm okay with that!  *LOL*  Yesterday I babysat my grandchildren so that day was lost...but not lost in a bad way...okay maybe when the almost 3 year old threw his juice box against my new vanilla walls, I wondered why the h*ll I was doing this.  But my DD and her husband do need a rest from children (my own mother did this for me) so I sacrificed sewing for them.  It was worth it.

However, today I'm slow getting started and am not sure just what I'm going to accomplish...especially since the Academy Awards are tonight and I really want to watch the Red Carpet shows.  But before I go any further, I want to thank everyone who left comments on The Whitney Dress and the McCalls 6460 posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to compliment both dresses, to leave some constructive criticism and to marvel over either of the dresses.  The positive reinforcement is appreciated.

I did wear both dresses to work this week...the good weather is still holding here on the East Coast...and I actually received more compliments on the M6460 dress. I think it's the print/color combination and it wore better than I thought it would. I think my dislike of the dress was directly related to the challenges I had with getting it completed. I will wear it again but I won't sew the pattern again. The Whitney Dress was a champ. But of course it would be because it's made from my TNT dress pattern...and it did receive a few compliments also.  

The May 2012 issue of Threads magazine showed up this weekend and there is an article, "One Pattern, Endless Options" by Patricia Keay in it that really caught my eye.  This article of course speaks to my way of sewing, however, the author also used her dress pattern to make a cute little fitted jacket. Whoa!  I've never done this before and never even thought of it. So now I have to add this to my sewing list.  Can you imagine?  Maybe my quest for the perfect jacket pattern is over!  Maybe I can get the jacket of my dreams from my TNT dress pattern...seriously I'm quivering with excitement peoples!  *LOL*

There are two dresses that I really want to make in the next couple of weeks...of course, The McQueen Dress and then my fall/winter version of The Rachel Dress.  I don't really have a great desire to sew today...maybe I'm still tired from watching those little people...or maybe I just need a breather...I've been sewing pretty steadily since the beginning of the year...11 garments made so far.

Speaking of dresses, I loved this Victoria Beckham that Viola Davis wore to the 5th Annual Essence Women in Hollywood Luncheon.

Ummm, this is like my Whitney Dress but with three quarter length sleeves...I need one of these!  *LOL*  Just have to decide what color I want mine in.  See another dress added to the list...but isn't it just lovely!!!

Okay, I'm off to figure out what I'm working on in the sewing cave today...

...as always, more later!

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Fabric Addiction has run amok...

...absolutely and totally run amok...

The Fabric Mart daily sales are killin' me.  Seriously, every day they put another fabrication on sale for a great price...for that day only!  So for the last few weeks, a box a week has been arriving at my home.  One box a week with 2 to 3 pieces in it...means I'm starting to accumulate quite a bit of fabric.  Fabric that is now sitting on top of several bins because I still haven't bought the shelves to take the fabric out of the bins.  Maybe I should make that a priority, huh?

Do you see the conundrum here?  I truly don't need another piece of fabric but my off switch just isn't working because a large box of beautiful pontes and knits arrived earlier this week from Sawyer Brook...and I know another package of pontes is coming from Marcy Tilton soon.  See what I mean?  Too much coming in...too much accumulating...

So you wanna see what I got?!  *LOL*

Magnolia knit

Pinky coral ponte

Border print linen
(its a border print people, of course I bought it!)

all of these pieces are from Sawyer Brook and 
they are Subscriber Exclusives which hopefully 
will be available to the general public soon

Just want you to know that I'm not really complaining about the fabric that I've purchased recently...I just need to make a public confession every now and then to keep myself honest.

Since it's the weekend, I'll be working on The McQueen Dress.  I was going to start working on it last Monday but I needed to think through the steps on how to construct the dress.  I even briefly considered making a muslin to work out my collar issues but you know how much I hate sewing muslins.  

So since I also have some dark navy wool crepe, my black one will be my wearable muslin, if necessary...but if everything works...I'll move onto my next project.  If it doesn't and I need to redo something, I'll use the navy blue wool crepe...either way, I'll end up with a wearable dress.  

The last thing I need to do is go through the pattern collection (one more time) and find a faux welt pocket to use on the left shoulder/breast area for the dress.  I'm starting to get excited about the dress because I think I've worked out the construction process for the collar and if it works it's gonna be fabu!  Finally, it's nice to have two days to work on this dress so that I can concentrate and not rush through the process.  Hopefully I will end up with a wonderful garment at the end of the weekend.

...as always, more later!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

McCalls 6460 - Final

Here is the dress completed:

McCalls 6460

2.5 yards wool/silk rayon floral print rayon from Vogue Fashion Fabrics 
.5 yards of navy blue ponte knit - Fabric Mart

22" blue invisible zipper
2 yards blue bemberg lining

I don't like the finished dress.  It doesn't fit as well as I thought it would.  I'm sure it's operator error but there's pulling at the raglan sleeves that I don't like and have no desire to fix.  I've already reworked the sleeves to make them bigger for my bodacious biceps and changed up the neckline so that it would lay closer to my chest and back...it's good enough...not perfect...not amazing...just good enough...and I'm okay with that.

A few more things...
  1. The pattern goes up to a size 22 and I added additional space by using my TNT pattern as the body for the dress.
  2. There is a dart in the top of the original raglan sleeve pattern that left a funny bump at the dart tip...that was one of the issues with the original sleeve pattern.
  3. I did have to add that dart back in but I did it by making a larger stitch in the seam allowance...the seam that I added to the sleeve pattern to add width for my biceps.
  4. I only used the side darts in the dress omitting the center front darts.
  5. The rayon fabric is underlined because it was light and sheer.  I wanted to build up the fabric a little and insure that it was no longer see thru.
  6. The sleeve and dress hems are machine stitched.  I honestly didn't care about quality by this point.  I just wanted to move this from the UFO category to being finished.
  7. My daughter and my Mom like the dress and I did sit around in it for about an hour so it was comfortable to wear...
...a few more pics...

Earrings:  Judith Ripka
Necklace:  Honora Pearls
Shoes:  Jessica London

Back View

I have to honestly say that I don't recommend this pattern.  I like the styling but the finished dress is just okay.

P.S. ~ Parting Shot - me and my oldest grandson!!!  He will be 11 at the end of the month.

...as always more later!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Whitney Dress - Final

Here is another version of my TNT dress pattern that I'm calling, "The Whitney Dress".

My initial post detailed the pattern alterations I made to my TNT dress pattern. Here are a few more details:

Fabric Prep:
Since I used a wool crepe for this dress, I used Pam Erny's method of using a wet (not slopping wet) white towel in the dryer with the fabric for 40 minutes.  Then I steamed the heck out of the fabric before taking it to my cutting table.

100% worsted wool crepe purchased from Fabric Mart

22" brown invisible zipper
2 yards of orange bemberg rayon lining purchased from Elegant Fabrics in NYC
3 yards brown lace hem tape

One of the predominant features of this dress is the topstitching.  It would have been attractive with tone-on-tone topstitching but I wanted something a little more intriguing so I went with a contrasting color, orange.  After making a sample, I really liked the way the brown and orange worked together especially since I have an orange cardi to wear over this sleeveless dress.

Back on October 1, 2009, I wrote a blog post on topstitching tips which has some great comments at the end of the post.  This is the way that I topstitch garments but I wanted to add a couple of additional points:
  • I used the triple stitch (No. 25) on my Janome 6600P sewing machine. This stitch goes back and forth three times, thereby producing the very pronounced stitching line.  I also lengthen my stitch length to a 4 to get a more attractive (to me) look.
  • Even though I've used scotch tape in the past as a guideline, I don't like to use it on wool crepe because when the tape is removed it leaves a fuzzy like appearance to the fabric.  So in this case to make sure that the topstitching was even on both sides of the seaming, I used the edge of the machine foot.  For this project, I used the basic zig zag foot.
  • The thread I used was the regular Gutterman thread that I purchase from Atlanta Thread and Supply.
  • Sewing slowly, paying attention and being concise are really important to me in getting a good topstitched seam.
  • Lastly can I stress that a sample should definitely be made.  You want to check to make sure the thread is laying down on the fabric well, that there is no pulling and that after ironing the sample that there isn't any shine.
Seaming Details 
After the topstitching I think the other star of this dress is the seaming detailing. Now there are many ways that you can add seaming to a dress pattern but I have to admit that the seaming in this dress is influenced by the Burda color blocked dress 117A in the February 2012 issue.

To insure that the all the seams met, I basted the seams together at the junction points before machine stitching them.  I wanted some control to insure that the seams met properly, the hand basting provided that.  

There is more seaming on the front of the dress than the back...and the back will probably be hidden by the cardigan but that's okay with me.  I wanted some detail in the back and even debated putting a double line of stitching down the back but scuttled that idea...deciding that simpler was best.

Other Details
This dress has a v-neckline.  Not something I typically do in the winter but its been such a mild one this year that I went with something atypical for me.  If it gets really cold in future winters, I won't wear a dress anyway, so the more open neckline doesn't faze me, however, it does add to the uniqueness of the dress.

I shortened the zipper because I didn't want the zipper to go through the seaming detail on the back.  I measured how long I needed the zipper to be and then added a thread stop.  After making the thread stop, I cut the zipper off about an inch from it.  This is how I handle shortening a zipper after watching one of the sales clerks at Steinlauf Stoeller cut a zipper and having him tell me that you could use a thread stop to do the same thing he was doing.

The dress is lined but I decided to be as bold with the lining as I was with the topstitching so I used some orange bemberg lining I had in the collection... even though only I will know that it's there...well and all of you too, *LOL*...I thought it just complimented the dress.

I didn't add lace to the lining hem.  I didn't have any orange lace and even if I had stashed some I probably wouldn't have used it.  A simple machine stitched hem seems to go better with the spirit of the dress.  

Other than those points, it was a regular sew.  A well-thought out and much pondered sew but a regular sew...so a few more pics!

Dress with vintage Sarah Coventry Pin,
Isaac Mizrahi bag & Aerosoles shoes

Dress with orange cardigan
from Jessica London

Showing the seaming & how
it works with the cardigan

Back view with seaming 
on dress back

The soundtrack of the weekend and last week has been tunes from Whitney Houston...I find that I'm gravitating to quite a few of the songs from her last album, "I Look to You" even though she doesn't have the range of her earlier songs, these seem especially poignant due to her untimely death...

...as always, more later!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The McQueen Interpretation - Pattern Alterations

While finishing up The Whitney Dress, I spent some time thinking about what pattern alterations I would need to make to my TNT dress pattern to make my idea work.  At first I thought I would just find a shawl collar from another pattern, trace the pattern pieces out and add it to the dress front.  Especially since I really want to preserve the zipper application in the front of the dress. 

Then Sheila left a comment about using a shawl collar on a dress that didn't work for her and it made me rethink my original idea.  It wouldn't work because the collar would be flat and it probably wouldn't lay right.  So I spent some time digging through my considerable pattern collection to find some jacket patterns with shawl collars.  I figured I could add the collar pieces to my TNT dress pattern.

By looking at the pattern pieces for the shawl collar it made me realize that I needed the under collar to be an extension of the dress front...this meant that some serious pattern alterations needed to be done to my dress front pattern.  It also meant that I would have to have a top collar facing piece for the dress.  This was turning into a much more complicated pattern alteration than I'd originally envisioned when I decided I had to have a version of this dress.

But I preservered because I really wanted the dress.  I finally found an out-of-print McCalls pattern that had a shawl collar on a coat dress that I could use to make my version of the McQueen dress.  And after looking at the pattern pieces and reading the pattern instructions, I was ready to work on the pattern alterations.

I started by making my pattern sandwich...my TNT pattern piece, then the shawl collar pattern piece and finally the pattern paper to use to trace a new pattern on top of it.  Here's what I came up with...

The back dress pattern piece didn't need any modifications except that I needed to make a new back facing piece.  All of these facing pieces will have to be added to my lining pieces...more alterations...*sigh*

Anyway, I've started working on The McQueen Dress and this is going to be a complicated kinda project...even though I didn't think it would be when I first saw the dress.  As always when making alterations to my TNT pattern, I'm worried that they won't work... 

...so stay tuned cause this is definitely going to be an adventure!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Image Patterns and a few other things

About two weeks ago I received an email from the marketing department of My Image Pattern Magazine.  They offered me the fall/winter and the spring/summer editions of their magazine, if I would do a review.  As you know I'm very selective about what products I will endorse but there has been a lot of positive buzz in the sewing world about the My Image pattern magazines so I thought for the cost of postage what could it hurt.

A few things about My Image ~
1.  They are published out of Europe and is a sewing/pattern magazine similar to Burda.
2.  The instructions are in 4 languages - English, Nederlands, German and French
3.  The patterns go up to a size 48...or a size 18US
4.  Which means there are no plus sizes because Burda says a 50 is a 20/22 and a 52 is a size 24.  (although Burda lists plus sizes as 44-52)
5.  The pattern sheets are included in the center of the magazine (just like Burda) but since they only do 16 patterns per magazine, the sheets look simple to trace.

So what's a plus size chick like me going to do with these patterns...why use them with my TNT patterns to get the garments I want!  I mean this will be an adventure and I really liked this dress...

Dress M1157

(I like the center panel!)

...so why not take the journey to experience something new!  You can get more information on these patterns, here.  And there are a couple of reviews of garments on PatternReview.

I know I should work on that this weekend but "The Whitney Dress" is calling my name.  That is what I will be working on during the funeral later today...I can mourn my girl in the comfort of my sewing cave doing what I do best.


This week was Fashion Week in NYC and since they are showing Fall 2012, I was kinda paying attention.  I haven't scoped out all of the details of my favorite designers shows but I have seen quite a few pieces from various lines because I've become addicted to the blog, Red Carpet Fashion Awards.  I'm sure quite a few of you already know about this blog but I stumbled onto it by following a link from a NYTimes article.  Did I say I was addicted?  Seriously totally and completely addicted...

There was a link to theoutnet.com where I found an amazing Alexander McQueen dress that I could "interpret" for work...

I really want to make it from my TNT dress pattern using a black wool crepe (which is conveniently out and easy to get to!)  I think I'm exhibiting a classic case of sewing ADD because this is NOT on my sewing list for this weekend, but I've just got to have it!  Of course, I'm going to make a few changes...I want a shawl collar instead of a notched collar...and seriously darts at the waistline...that just aren't happening! *LOL*  The description states that it has padded shoulders...I may or may not do that.  It will depend on my mood at the time!


It's a three day weekend here in the US (President's Day Weekend) and besides a trip to the supermarket later this morning, I have no plans except to sew, sew and sew some more.  Hopefully, I will have a couple of new dresses to wear to work next week...especially since the weather continues to be mild...thank goodness!

...as always, more later!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A little follow-up...

Boy did the Question of the Day generate some interesting answers...and I will get to them...but first I want to address a blogger issue.  I am aware of the fact that Blogger is doing something with their Open ID process and that it's affected the ability of some people to log in and leave comments.  I've even received some requests to go back to the open commenting which allows anonymous commenters to leave comments.

At the time I changed my blog settings (because once upon a time you could leave an anonymous comment here) it was because the harassment had become more than I could stand.  As I've stated time and again, I blog because it is a release from my very stressful day job.  This is part of my creative outlet so I've drawn a line in the sand here on how much b*llsh*t I'm willing to deal with...and yes, I'm aware that this is a very strong statement. 

But after the crap I had to deal with last year, I will not go there again.  As nice, informative and encouraging as the internet sewing community can be, there are trolls out there that get great pleasure in causing drama.  I'm a drama free kinda woman. I won't put up with it at work or in my personal life so I'm sure as h*ll not standing for it here.  So in the most adamant way that I can say it, I'm not turning on anonymous comments ever again.

I'm truly sorry that Blogger is making it hard to leave a comment but since I have no control over that, all I can do is once again say that I wish you could leave a comment but the anonymous setting will never be turned back on...NEXT!

First ~ thanks to everyone who left a comment.  They were all appreciated especially the ones espousing support for my blog.  Cause truth be told who doesn't like a compliment or two! *smile* I truly am humbled by the fact that quite a few of you stated that I've inspired you to continue sewing or to try different techniques...that just makes my heart sing because more than anything I want to encourage everyone to continue to grow in our artform!  

Next - if you author a product only blog, please realize that I am not belittling your choice.  The thing about a blog is that it's your own space and you get to occupy it anyway you want.  So please know that I respect your choice, it's just not my choice.

I think the most concise answer to the question goes to Faye, who simply wrote "Yea" ~ Faye you made me smile!

LauraSJ wrote:
"I wonder if some bloggers are getting tired of all the work involved with sharing the process because it must take an amazing amount of time to share the "how".
Thanks for sharing that viewpoint...because that hadn't occurred to me.

Linda wrote:
"Also I find myself shuttering when I see unpressed seams on sewn garments...but it sets my eye to twitchin' Oh yes and machine sewn hems on skirts with materials that should be hand sewn...I want to scream into a pillow for that one.  No negative comments ever though...
I appreciate your honesty and love your no negative comments stance...

Janice wrote about participating in Sew Weekly challenges:
I didn't know that if you participated in Sew Weekly challenges that you can't write about the construction process when you post your garment.  That's an  interesting thing to know.  Thanks for sharing it!

There was a question or two...

M&M asked how I had energy to sew after work...
I primarily sew on the weekends...when I'm well-rested and have left work in the dust! *LOL*

RomonaSewingJourney asked,"can you tell me your pattern you use for your twin sets?"
That would be out-of-print Burda 8869.  Here's a link to my flickr album so you can see all of the versions I've made of it.

Jeannettec wrote ~ "I think its time for you to do a sew along."
Ummmm yeah okay!  *LOL*  I've thought about it but I just don't know if I have the time to devote to one...

Finally since no post should be this long without a picture (especially since this did push a few buttons in the comments!) I present to you a hanging shot of the front of the Whitney Dress with the seaming topstitched:

It's looking like I'm going to be working on this during the 3-day weekend and   only one of the two dresses I originally planned on making will "hopefully" be finished.

...as always, more later!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Construction Details Yea or Nay

I've noticed a trend lately that sewing blogs have more pictures and less construction details.  Yes, there are still a few sewing blogs out there that detail the construction process...but it seems like so many more only post pictures of the finished garment with a brief paragraph or two regarding the sewing journey.

Is this the wave of the sewing blog future?  Is this what sewists want to see/read on a sewing blog now?  Are tutorials and construction details no longer relevant because there is so much information available on the internet now?  I'm curious because I'm feeling a little like a throwback...funny since I've only been blogging for six years.  However things move fast on the internet super highway.

So the question of the day is, "Construction Details ~ Yea or Nay?"  Do you look for techniques/descriptions/features about how a garment made it to the finish line?  Or are you just looking for pretty pictures with a brief synopsis?  Or is there some place in the middle? 

Okay talk amongst yourselves because I'm really interested in your responses...

...as always, more later!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Whitney Dress - Part One

So named because while I worked on it today, I listened to Whitney Houston videos and music from my iTunes account.  I was at a loss this morning because I knew I wanted to make a dress but none of the ones remaining on my fall/winter sewing list appealed to me.  Not because I don't want to make them, but two are scheduled to be sewn next weekend during the three-day weekend and the other two just didn't push any buttons for me today.

I knew that I didn't want a regular sheath dress from my TNT pattern.  I wanted something with some seams since I've been seeing a lot of them in the street, and the seaming is slimming.  Then while watching the Whitney videos, I was inspired by the one that she wears in the video for the song for, "Inspired by the Best."   


Now the dress that Whitney wears looks more like the Burda dress I made a couple of years ago and the dress I subsequently starting working on has seaming but not the same type.  Of course since I'm using an idea and no pattern, there needed to be some pattern alterations done to my TNT dress pattern.

the front with the first alterations 
made to the pattern

pattern pieces cut apart with
5/8" seam allowances added

front & back piece laying side by side
to make the back pattern alterations

Back pattern piece alterations

With 5/8" seam 
allowances added

After pre-treating a brown wool crepe to use for this version, I got down to cutting out and assembling the dress.  

The brown is pretty dark and you would only see the seaming detail if you were standing close to me, so I decided that I needed to emphasize the seaming with a bright color.  At first I was thinking about using a tan...then I decided that I wanted something bright and almost went with a spring green...but that was a little too avant for me.  

Next I decided to check the color wheel to see what color was opposite brown on the color wheel.  However, brown is not on the color wheel which I didn't realize.   Then I decided on a color that was bold but wearable to work and that I already owned a cardigan in...orange.  I think this works great...

I've already started to assemble it so the next post about this dress will be the reveal.  This is a dress made from my TNT pattern so besides the additional seaming and the extra stitching, this is a run-of-the mill sew for me.

...as always, more later!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

R.I.P Whitney

I think this passing has affected me just as much as Michael's did...just this one was expected.  *sigh*

Rest in Peace, Whitney 
May you harmonize with the Angels in Heaven!
August 9, 1963 - February 11, 2012

A Day of Reflection

This post has nuthin' to do with sewing so if you don't want to read about something other than sewing, I would click out now.

Today I went to my Uncle's funeral.  It was an Uncle (actually the brother of an aunt so he wasn't really my uncle) that I hadn't seen since I was a little girl but my mother really wanted her children to attend with her and who am I to refuse my mother.  It was an interesting funeral because even though he had five children and 25 grandchildren, very few of them attended...only three of his children and a handful of grandchildren...and it gave me pause.

The funeral was a nice one considering that my Uncle did not go to church and the Pastor really didn't know him.  Have you ever been to one of those - where the Pastor is basically vamping because he doesn't know the deceased?  This one wasn't like that because the Pastor spoke to the living, the ones who cared about the actual proceedings since my Uncle had long since passed from this world.

It also gave me an opportunity to spend time with my brother, sister and a few of my favorite cousins at the repast following the funeral.  To tell stories about each other and laugh at memories from when we were younger since we all grew up together.  Inevitably the question came up about whether I still sew...yes, I've been sewing for so long that ALL of my family realizes that it's an integral part of my life.

...and that's what caused the reflection...since sewing is such an integral part of my life...what will the stories be that my family shares when I've passed on?  Will they laugh about all the boxes of fabric that arrived?  Or the times I dragged my daughters to the fabric store?  Will they tell tales of garments I made for them and their children?  Will I get to share my gift with my grandchildren (at least one) before I pass on?

...and will my daughters remember to put one or two pieces in the casket with me before I'm cremated?  I know morbid right...but if someone can get buried in their car why can't a couple of pieces of fabric burn with me?

It's just reflections...things I'm thinking about as I sit in the sewing cave...realizing that we have a finite number of days and checking to make sure that I'm spending my time doing the things that I really want with my life.  The concern about what would happen to my enormous fabric collection never once entered my mind.  That is for my daughters to handle and dispose of as they see fit.  My collection is here now to inspire me to create, to encourage me to think of new ways to use it and garments to make, and to be a touchstone of my craft.

...as always, more later!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some Victoria for me...

What does this silhouette have in common with my own?  Why did I look at this dress and think I could make this and it would look good on me?  Seriously, I know you think I'm crazy but this would look amazing on me.  Why?  Because if I choose the right fabric, cut it right for my body so that it emphasizes my bustline, de-emphasizes my waist and hips by gently flowing over them and cut a side curve onto the dress, it would work on me...basically rework my TNT dress pattern.

It's from Victoria Beckham's Spring RTW 2012 line:


This dress just made it onto my spring/summer sewing list.  I think I have an amazing silk buried in the bins that I could use for this and have a pretty new spring dress.  Sometimes you just have to look at a silhouette more than the person in the dress to realize it would work for you.

...as always, more later!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Shoes and Jewelry

There were a couple of comments about my shoes from the "May I Present" blog post...so I thought I would discuss a few of my other obsessions, y'know besides fabric!

First I L-O-V-E shoes.  And I buy shoes from everywhere...if I like them, I buy them...from department stores, to online sources and a few favorite vendors that I always use because they always work for me.

The pair that generated the most interest were these:

I got these from Jessica London online.  The tips are gray and the body is tan. It has a 3" heel with a 1/2" platform.  These were purchased especially to go with the Lavender and Gray Skies wardrobe.

The other pair featured in the pictures was purchased from The Avenue last fall and are no longer available on their site.

Normally, though I don't shop for shoes online unless I've worn the brand before. My favorite brands are Bandolino, AK Anne Klein, Aerosoles, Nine West, and Sofft. I will admit that I have alot of shoes, not an Imelda Marcos amount but alot...*sigh*...I love shoes! MY latest obsession are these...

which I've purchased in two colors (blue 'n white & black 'n white)...yeah I know...but unlike someone asked...no I don't own a pattern for TNT shoes but I wish I did!  *LOL*

As for jewelry...I am mostly a pearl girl. I love pearls in all colors and shapes. Most of the pearl necklaces featured on my garments are Honora Pearls. I have a pretty extensive collection that my daughters have put their names on before I've even passed on! *LOL*  

reproduction from QVC

Other favorites are Judith Ripka sterling silver pieces, Joan Rivers pieces from QVC, vintage Sarah Coventry purchased from eBay, and Heidi Daus.

The necklace worn with the Lavender and Gray Skies collection was purchased from NY & Co.  I'd bought the black'n white and clear one (worn with The Rachel Dress) from them in the spring so when I was in the shop with my Mom during Christmas season and found the purple one, it had to come home with me too.

I'm trying to upgrade my jewelry so that it's something that can be left to my daughters and future granddaughters (btw, two are on the way and I'm more than excited!) and I get to wear it in the meantime!  *LOL*  I have a few pieces from my maternal grandmother that are treasured and my daughters each received a necklace so I would like to continue the tradition.

I like jewelry but not as much as fabric and shoes.  Almost as much though!  *LOL*  Anyway, hopefully this answered all the questions that were left about   the shoes and the necklaces.

...as always, more later!


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Blouse by Simplicity 2566

This is a version of the Khaliah Ali top in the Simplicity 2566 pattern.  By version I mean that my finished result is nuthin' and I mean nuthin' like the original pattern.  I had planned to make the top just like the pattern suggests but I made a serious error in sewing on the collar...like I sewed the collar onto the wrong side of the top and just couldn't fathom ripping it apart to correct the mistake.  Especially since I had already cut the slit to make the v-neckline.  So after angrily casting the top aside and saying a few choice cuss words, I decided the top was salvageable.

Taking a deep breathe I picked the top up and realized that I could just stitch the facing down to the front of the top and hide the facing edges under the collar since it's quite wide.  I followed the pattern instructions on finishing the collar by hand stitching it down... 

...although the hand stitching is on the right side of the garment but again the collar hides that.

My version is sleeveless because of opportunity.  See I had a limited amount of time to have pictures taken by my daughter...it was Super Bowl Sunday after all...and due to the challenge of getting the collar on the top, I hadn't finished it by the time she arrived.  So I just tucked it under the cardigan but after we took the pictures I realized that I really liked it like way.  Here's how it looks on Lulu now:

A few other things:
1.  The darts needed to be raised like big time on the top.  I guess I'm just not busty enough but those darts were so low it was ridiculous.  I moved them up two inches but will adjust the pattern so that I get my bust points correct.  Right now they are a little too close together.

2.  I started with a 22W for the shoulders and bust area and a size 28W for the abdomen and hip area.  The good thing about multi-size patterns is the ability to merge sizes.

3.  Even with this adjustment, the top is close-fitting.  And I really don't like close-fitting but thankfully this shirting has some lycra in it which helps.  However, for the next version, I will add a back seam for some additional fitting since the original is cut on the fold.

4.  The armholes are pressed under 1/2" and stitched down.

This is a wearable muslin.  My collar needs work and the facing is not equal on both sides...but it will work for my first version.  I have loads of shirting purchased from Fabric Mart last summer and I'm going to pull some of those out and make a couple more versions with and without sleeves.  I don't really like button front shirts and I think this one will work perfectly for my figure and my wardrobe needs.

...and yes I will make up the tie that came in the pattern to accompany the top especially since it's already cut out...

...as always, more later!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

May I Present...

"The Lavender and Gray Skies Collection" in pictures...

TNT Pants, Dress and Skirt Pattern
Burda 8869 Cardigan pattern
Butterick 3124 Cowlneck Top
Simplicity 2566 - sleeveless white shirt

100% tropical wool in gray
Lilac acrylic cable knit 
White cotton & lycra blend shirting
Lilac felted/fulled wool jersey

Gray lined sheath dress
Gray lined straight skirt
Gray lined pants
Lilac sleeveless cowlneck top
Lilac v-neck cardigan
White sleeveless top
Lilac felted/fulled wool jersey jacket

A couple of things:
**I like the jacket in the pictures...still not so sure about it in real life.  Will need to wear it to see how that goes before I pass final judgement.
**The Simplicity shirt is sleeveless - more on that in my next post when I review the pattern.
**Love the versatility of the wardrobe
**Added a RTW pink cardigan over the dress in one of the pictures, will use this so that I can wear all the pieces to work this week.
**Yes, I will finally be wearing these pieces.  I haven't worn any of them yet.
**I didn't make the white version of B3124.  Just didn't feel like looking for the white knit.  However,  I will be making this top again.

I'm thrilled that this collection is finally completed.  When my daughter showed up this afternoon to take pictures she couldn't believe that the twinset was made by me.  She thought I had bought it. That was a fantastic compliment especially since this is the daughter that sews and knows the quality of my work.  So look for a post on the white shirt...boy was that an adventure!  *LOL*  And my next piece after that will be a dress...y'all know how much I love a dress and I've got dress ideas running through my brain that need to be worked out!

Finally, a parting shot of "The Little Prince" - who will be 3 next month!  Boy does time fly!

Congratulations to the New York Giants
2012 Superbowl Champions!
Whoooo Hoooo!

...as always, more later!


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