Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot, hot, hot!

It's hot, hot, hot here on the East Coast.  We are in the midst of a heatwave so I'm hiding in my basement sewing room where it's nice and cool.  Yesterday we had a work function on the roof of a local hotel.  While there was a wonderful breeze blowing, it was still hot, hot, hot.  Then after I left the work function, I met up with the significant other for a late dinner.  All that to say that I'm going nowhere...and I mean nowhere during this heatwave! *LOL*

A few things came in the mail...patterns from Simplicity.  They were running an online pattern sale of $4.99 for their spring & summer patterns.  Since I don't live in Hobby Lobby or Hancock's territory and I don't visit the craft store masquerading as a fabric store, I usually wait for an online sale.  Simplicity just doesn't run pattern sales as frequently as BMV does, so I own fewer of them. However, this is what arrived...

Top left to right:  Simplicity 1812, Simplicity 1802
Bottom left to right:  Simplicity 1797, Simplicity 1796

Also a new issue of Threads...

...which has some great articles in it!  BTW, do you read the tips section?  I do and I found a great tip that I'm going to start incorporating in my sewing room. More about that later...

So you know how new patterns always inspire you to want to sew something new or use them right away? I pulled one to keep around because I want to see if I can work on it this week, I mean I do have an extra day off this weekend and I'm not an outside kinda girl! *LOL* As I was putting them away, I stumbled upon this HotPatterns pattern.

I've really wanted to make this dress since the pattern was issued. But in the  back of my creative mind, I've wanted it from a sueded fabric or a moleskin. I have one in my collection that is screaming to be used with this pattern so I didn't have a summer version in mind. But after looking at the pattern again today, I'm thinking I might own a printed linen that would work well with this pattern. Another dress idea added to the list!

Finally, I've started working on my Trendy Lace Dress and my plan for the weekend is to finish it up and maybe move onto the Simplicity pattern...not only is the weather hot, hot, hot but so is my sewing mojo! always, more later!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meet Peyton ~ Final Thoughts

This was a very interesting journey.  I got three wonderful new work dresses and I've crossed another inspiration/idea off my spring/summer sewing a few final thoughts...

Lining vs. Underlining ~
I underlined two of the three dresses because I've reached that stage in my life where my internal thermometer doesn't work like it use to.  I've noticed that in the summer heat that the rayon bemberg linings stick to me unpleasantly...and I mean STICK to me!  I've also had issues with the linings catching and bunching up around my hips from all the crap I lug in my too big handbags while racing to and from subway, the bus station and home.  I also noticed that the dresses I underlined wore better especially when I used a cotton batiste underlining.  So my choices are totally based upon ease of wear and not some sewing rule or pattern instruction.

Finishings ~
I'm sure that once upon a time my dress pattern came with facing pieces for the neckline and armholes.  I've long since ditched them.  If I don't insert a full lining into the dress, I always use bias binding to finish off the neckline and the armholes...and even when I do insert a full lining, I still add bias binding to the armholes.  I like this application because I like hand stitching the binding into the dress especially when I've underlined the garment.  Especially since I can hide those stitches in the underlining fabric.  This finishing technique has become part of my signature just like the lace that I add to the linings of most my dress and skirt hems.

Knock-offs ~
This is a really simple silhouette to knock off and it will work with most body types.  It can go from casual to dressy based upon your fabric choices...a really great option if you're looking for the one dress to add to your wardrobe.  So I used my TNT pattern to get these dresses and since that pattern is no longer available to help you knock-off my knock-off, I've found the following pattern:

Butterick 5706 is the perfect sheath dress if you want to make your own Peyton dress.  It comes with a scoop and's sleeveless, or with short sleeves and three-quarter length sleeves.  It's also sized 8-24 and would work for many of the design changes that I make to my TNT pattern.

Wearability Factor ~
Each Peyton was made from a different type of fabric so of course each one wore differently.  To me, the cotton pique and linen versions wore the best.  The silk developed quite a few wrinkles and held them more than the linen did.  However, all three were comfortable to wear without any wardrobe malfunctions.

In conclusion, I'm so glad that I took this journey.  The dresses are so me and this has been a really gratifying sew.  I would also like to thank everyone who left a comment, asked a question, or just stopped and admired the pieces.  The compliments of fellow sewists who understand the passion that drives me to create, is appreciated so much! Lastly, pictures of all the dresses are in my Flickr album. always, more later!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Embellished Peyton

My final version of Peyton was the most involved one because I just could not leave it alone.  I picked the black/white cotton pique fabric for the last version...

The first embellishment I planned was the white piping that I put at the neckline and armholes.

Then I realized when the dress was just a shell that it needed something down the front of it.  That's when I dug around and found this black and white ribbon for the front.  Now the ribbon was a little wider than I wanted but I folded and pressed it flat then stitched it down to the front of the dress.

Finally the ribbon tie was added because truthfully my piping at the v-neckline was woefully inadequate.  Don't know what I did but I couldn't stand the thought of removing all of that piping and redoing it.  Camouflaging it just seemed like a better way to go...and this short piece of ribbon was in the stash.  A piece that I found while digging around looking for the original black & white ribbon.

This dress was underlined with white rayon bemberg lining because I've found that cottons slide better with something silky next to them.  A few stats:

Fabric ~
Black & White cotton pique 

Notions ~
22" black invisible zipper
White piping
1" wide Black & White striped ribbon
1/2" wide black & white striped ribbon
Linen bias binding
White rayon seam binding

It was a pretty involved sew and took quite a bit longer than the first two.  It also involves a lot of hand stitching...first on the bias binding that I used at the neckline and the armholes.  Second at the slit in the dress front and finally on the hem.  The best thing about the interlining is that all of the hand stitches were stitched into the interlining and not the fashion fabric.

A few more pics...

Worn with the ivory B6002 jacket

I've cut out the purple ponte cardigan but it will have to wait to be sewn because I've moved onto my version of the Lace Dress.  Since I'm pretty far into the construction process, it will probably be next...or maybe not...the purple cardigan may yet show up...

A parting shot of all three Peyton dresses... always more later!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peyton One & Two

This is the first of the three dresses that I made from the Peyton collection...and the first in the "Ye Olde Familiar" series.  I easily duplicated this dress from my TNT pattern by making a simple alteration. Instead of cutting the dress front on the fold, I folded down a v-neckline in my pattern and cut out the front with a 5/8" seam allowance.

Some stats ~
TNT Dress Pattern
Linen floral print from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston purchased here with Cennetta & Patti
Notions ~
22" off white invisible zipper
3 yards of white cotton bias binding
2.5 yards white cotton/poly bastiste
off white rayon seam binding

Construction ~
*The fashion fabric was cut out and then underlined with the cotton batiste lining.
*The front was sewn together
*The invisible zipper was sewn into the back 3x - yes, 3x because I made a huge mistake...

...see even experienced sewists need to use their seam rippers from time to time because I sewed the back neckline to the back hemline!  Probably why I have three of seam rippers around at all times! *LOL*
*The back and fronts were sewn together and pressed flat.
*I added binding to the neckline and armholes because I underlined the dress.

*The binding was topstitched at the neckline and the armholes.
*Rayon seam binding was added to the hemline and hand hemmed.
**The dress was finished.

I leisurely sewed this together one Sunday.  I chose to make this version first because I want to make a purple ponte knit cardigan from Butterick 5760 (inspired by the one Pauline made) to wear with this dress and this dress from last summer.  So look for that soon, well right after I finish the next two Peyton dresses.

A few more pics...

Peyton #2:
This is dress number two of the Peyton Series and is the one that looks most like the inspiration dress. 

Some stats:
Fabric ~
silk tweed from the collection 

Notions ~
22" tan invisible zipper
bemberg rayon lining
tan rayon seam binding
linen bias binding

Construction ~
  • The difference between this version and the other two is that this one is lined and not underlined.  
  • Which of course means that there's more hand stitching in this version.  
  • Otherwise, ditto on all the construction information from the first floral Peyton dress.
  • Except that I also added bias binding to the sleeves instead of turning the lining and flipping.
  • And I handstitched the lining to the slit at the front.

A few more pics...

These were taken at my job

As I stated before these dresses were a breeze to put together primarily because they are made using my Tried and True (TNT) dress pattern.  So two down and one more to go... always, more later!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Diary Bits on the first day of Summer

Tonight I came home and this was waiting for me...

...yes, it's the first issue where "our" friend Robin Denning is the new Editor of Vogue Pattern Magazine.  If you've been under a rock and don't know the story, here is her last blog post discussing how this amazing opportunity came to be. So of course, I sat down to peruse this edition and what really caught my eye was The Creative Expression article.  

August/September 2012 Issue

Now y'all know I'm all about editing and interpreting a pattern to get the look that I want and this article really celebrates that.  One of the garments highlighted in this article is Vogue 8805.  You know Vogue 8805, the dress that I want to make based upon the Preen designer original. The same dress that I've been having the darndest time finding the orange ponte knit for the bottom of the dress. Can we just refer to yesterday's post here? *sigh*  

Anyway one of the editorial licenses they took with the dress was to add inseam pockets on the front of it.  I'd been thinking of doing the same and now I don't have to work it out myself because VPM has provided instructions...instructions that I plan on following!

But I have another dilemma...I have three shades of orange...

tangerine ponte, mango ponte, golden orange poly crepe
and these look better in the picture than IRL

...the first two don't work for me and the one that does is a totally different fabric (a poly crepe) instead of a ponte knit.  So I have to figure out if I can make the two different fabrics work or keep looking for another orange knit.  Or horrors of horrors give this project up...something I'm really not ready to do.

The last thing that's on my mind is this dress...

I found it in this month's Lucky magazine in one of the editorial articles.  This silhouette has been playing around the edges of my creative brain for a couple of months now...way before I saw this photo. It's not a silhouette that I've worn as a fuller figured woman but I want to see if I can make it work now...and that is my next "outside the box, can I make it work" moment.  There are two patterns that I'm thinking about for this challenge...

...but mostly I'm concerned that I'm gonna look like a hippo with a tutu...twirling around taking pictures and not realizing how poorly I look.  So to calm my fears or confirm them, I'm going to do something I nevah do...I'm going to make a muslin.  Yes, you heard it here...I'm going to sew a muslin.  I have to otherwise I won't know if this look will or will not work for me.  And I gotta know if it works so that I can get these ideas that are swirling around in my head out of it.

I guess you should stay tuned because it's about to get real interesting around here...*LOL*...and as always more later!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How do you do it?

I buy fabric by how much I like it.  I search fabric sites and brick and mortar stores for pieces that grab me and make me want to bring them or ship them home. When I'm thinking of a new garment or challenge I find it hard to look for the fabric first or even to shop for the fabric because I never find what I want.  I'm happiest when the fabric is already in my possession and I can "design" or sew the garment from something that I've already fallen in love with...

So how about you?  How do you do it?  Do you shop for the fabric first or do you have the idea/pattern and then look for the fabric?  Tell me because I'm interested, and, of course this is the Question of the Day.  Talk back to me because I really want to know how do you do it?

Speaking of fabric, I just got this email from Mood for 15% off the site...

So I'm headed over to the website and in honor of Swatch's Birthday, I'm going to see if any pretty fabrics jump out and make me want to bring them home!

Peyton update:
I have two of the three versions completed.  I've actually worn one to work.  The third version is hanging waiting to be completed and once it's done, I will have my daughter take some pictures, and of course share it here. always, more later...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The New Tea Dyed Fabric...

I decided to take pictures of the tea dyeing process so you could see how it turned out...and to maybe answer a few questions that have popped up in the comments.  First, a picture of my tools - a 24 quart pail (bought from the dollar store) and my broken yard stick used to stir the dye bath.

To mix the dyeing brew I use regular Lipton Tea.  

  • I filled the pail half full of hot water.  
  • Next, I filled two 2 gallon stockpots with water and placed them on the stove.  After the water reached a boil, I placed 20 packages of the tea in each pot and let them set for an hour.  
  • The very dark brew from each pot was then poured into the pail. 
  • The key here is to leave enough space for the fabric to get into the pail without overflowing AND to have a dark enough brew to get an effective dye coverage.

After submerging the fabric and swirling it around in the dye bath 
this was how it looked initially...

...and after a few hours...

I left the brew overnight and around noon removed it from the dye bath.  Here is how it looked when it first came out of the tea dye...

...then it was washed in the kitchen sink 
using cold water until the water ran clear.

Lastly it was placed in the dryer for 30 minutes on high.  
I added a white towel to catch any leftover dye water.

Fresh from the dryer it was ironed...

...and here is the finished product waiting to be cut out...

I will need to make a trip to Mood during the week to purchase some tan lining for the outfit but other than that it's dyed and waiting to be used.

I hope this step-by-step process will help you if you decide that you want to tea dye something... always more later!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prepping the Fabric for the next one...

Continuing on with the "Ye Olde Familiar" series, the next dress will be made from this lace fabric:

I've wanted a lace dress of my own since they started showing up in the designer collections and in the stores earlier this year.  I even did a post on it called, "Inspiration" and after looking at quite a few lace dresses, I realized that I didn't want a white one or an off-white one.  I desired an antiquey tan one and since the fabric I bought earlier this year isn't really the color I want... I've decided to tea dye it.  Now I've used this process before, on the fabric in this dress...

...and it's a simple yet time consuming process that I posted about here.  I will work on transforming the fabric this weekend, to get it ready to sew next weekend.  While I'm stirring the dye pot, I will continue sewing the last dress and a half of the Peyton series.

These Peyton dresses have been fun to sew since each dress is different due to the fabric selections, as well as, details such as lining or embellishments.  They will make great work dresses...even though I ended up not sewing during the last Thunder/Heat game.  Too busy screaming at the TV set in the fourth period...*sigh*

So you know where I've been today...finishing up the Peyton series...hopefully pictures of me in the finished garments soon! always more later!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another day, a new online fabric site...

...well at least to me!  So I've always wanted to shop the LA fabric district.  It's on my fabric stores I must visit and purchase from before I die list.  Or as my daughter calls it, the list Mommy made to torture us with when she dies!  *lol*  Gotta love that kid cause she thinks she's funny! 

Anywhooo...Michael Levine is one of those places I've gotta get to.  So when Elizabeth sent me an email a couple of weeks ago asking me about this new internet fabric place, Low Price Fabrics, I was intrigued.  I did go on the website and mosey around but I bought nuthin'.  Somehow last weekend I ended up on a link to their site, don't ask me how because I don't remember that my old age showing?

However, the link I followed took me to the Free Spirit collection where they had alot of the Van Gogh rayons in colors, prints and patterns that weren't available on's site.  Now I loved those rayons when they were at but I didn't love the price ($14.99 per yard).  Because of that I purchased just two pieces and only then with one of the site's discounts - like 20 or 25% off - but can I say again that those are two really vivid and amazing pieces of of which you will see in a finished garment soon!

Now if you've followed the link above (come back, come back, don't get lost in the fabric goodness over there!) you will have noticed that those beautiful and luscious rayons are $6 a yard!  Yes, let me repeat that, they are $6 a yard!!!  So you know I bought some...well I bought a few...but we won't discuss my fabric piggyness tendencies ~ oooookay! *LOL*  Let me just say that as long as there is fabric to be bought, I will never be depressed!

So what I really want to discuss besides the beautiful fabric, of course, is the wonderful buying experience that is LowPrice Fabrics.  Seriously peoples, they took my money so easily and then delivered the goods so well that I WILL be giving them more, money that is!  The website was uber easy to use.  The cart held my goods for over two hours because I had to get up from the computer to attend to something in the house and when I came back the fabric was just where I left it!  Two points/stars for that because I hate having to make a cart over because of fabricbuying interruptus! 

I received an email at every part of the process.  One when I checked out.  One when they shipped the fabric...and here is another place where they got gold stars - a UPS notification of when the fabric shipped and when it would arrive.  Be still my heart!  No worrying about when it or if it will show up. The anticipation factor was high because I knew when my fabric would arrive and I had the ability to track it cross country!  

Lastly here's what put them over the top and gave them the gold four star notification award...they have it set with UPS so that you also receive a notification when the fabric is delivered!  Peoples, do you know how wonderful it is to have that UPS notification pop into your email box in the midst of a long hard day and to know that a treat is waiting for you when you come trudging home!?!  Awesome...just awesome!

Now let's discuss, packaging.  Y'all know that I love me some Fabric them I do.  But their packaging leaves much to be desired.  Let's just say that there are two considerations you should always make when receiving a box of goodies from Fabric it going to rain or snow anytime during the time you think your goods will be delivered?  Because there is a chance your box could get wet and if it does, so does your fabric. Also you need to be very mindful when you're gleefully slicing that box open because you could inadvertently cut through your fabric, this is experience talking here people!

Here's how my package from Low Price Fabrics arrived:

The package as it was left by the garage door

The box without the plastic covering

Opening the box to see the goodies inside.
The fabric in a Michael Levine Store bag.

Finally the block of fabric encased in plastic

The Low Price fabric packing while not on the artistic level of say Emmaonesock, Farmhouse Fabrics (with its gingham bows) or Sawyer Brook Fabrics is so much better than Fabric Mart.  And of course the goods were spectacular!  

So what am I saying here?  I'm saying that if you live outside of the LA Garment District and you want to experience a little of it in your corner of the world...mosey on over to Low Price Fabrics and see what wants to come home with you.  Now to my International Sewing Sistahs, I'm going to leave you with a link to their shipping details (here) so you can figure out if they will ship to you. 

Finally, while I love these pieces, I will be adding them to the collective (get the Star Trek nod there! *LOL*).  They will be assimiliated and their special talents will be used in the future when they are called to active duty.  Gawd I'm really Trekking it aren't I?  But I did want to share this marvelous experience with you and if, like me, you have no fabric shame or "off" knob, surf on over and check out the fabric goodness that is Low Price Fabrics.  I'm sure that you will come away with something...even if it is only a contact fabric high... always, more later!


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