Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fabric and a Movie...

After it took me three days to sew a dress...*sigh*  I knew I needed some quality time out of the sewing cave to get a new perspective.  So the Little Prince's mother, commonly known as my middle daughter, and I headed to NYC to pick up a few things on my sewing restocking list.  I really wanted to do this while I was on vacation so I didn't have to rush around the garment district on my lunch hour.

We hit up Mood Fabrics, SIL Thread, and Daytona Trimmings. Of course we took pics of both of us amongst the fabric at Mood...

...and this is my haul...

Hug Snug, thread & stitch witchery from SIL Thread

Tracing paper from SIL Thread

Invisible Zipper from Daytona Trimmings

10 yards of brown wool crepe from Mood 

2.5 yards of forest green double 
wool crepe from Mood

Then because I missed her birthday last week while vacationing, we took in an afternoon showing of the movie, Sparkle.  

Now I know the movie has been bashed by the critics, but the original Sparkle starring Irene Cara and Lonette McKee was one of my teenage years' favorite movies.  I own it in both VHS and DVD.  If anyone has seen the original, you know it was a cheesy story badly filmed with really poor acting.  But Irene Cara sang her butt off, Loretta McKee was such a convincing drug addict and Philip Michael Thomas was in his prime and sooooooo good looking...this was way before his Miami Vice days.

So Sparkle is an integral part of my childhood as well as my daughters...we were anticipating the remix even before Whitney Houston died.  I know Whitney's participation in the movie and passing hyped up the anticipation for the movie even more...and can I say first that the remix is so much better than the original. However, before I get to that, I have to say that I was annoyed to read a review about the movie saying that it was the poor man's Dreamgirls.  Ummmm, excuse me!  If the critic had taken the time to learn the history of Sparkle they would have realized that it was written and shot way before Dreamgirls even appeared on Broadway!  It actually was the black people's version of what was happening in their neighborhoods, versus the sanitized Broadway version of the music business with a black girl group.  There are some rough scenes in the original version of Sparkle that are totally gone from this remake.

On that note, I like what the director and producers did with the remake.  I like how they concentrated on Sparkle and her desire to sing more.  I like that the sisters are so much more well developed characters and I love the church aspect of the movie. To that end, I lost it in the movie theatre when Whitney Houston sang, His Eye is on the Sparrow. To realize that she was singing about being free and wrapped up in Jesus' arms after she had passed away, did me in.  I can't believe how much her death affects me even now... 

Anyway, if you haven't seen the movie you should. Jordin Sparks is adorable.  Mike Epps as Satin Struthers is just awesome, the music is great...especially since I never liked the Aretha Franklin soundtrack - what can I say I'm a purist! I thought Irene Cara and Lonette McKee did a great job of singing in the original movie. Finally the clothes from the 60s are just fantastic! If you only go for the clothes, the music and seeing Whitney sing her last song, EVAH, it is worth it!

So, I'm back home in the sewing cave...refreshed...renewed and with a whole lot of new supplies.  My next dress is a designer interpretation that if you follow me on Instagram you've already seen the components.  BTW, why aren't you following me on Instagram? I'm diaryofasewingfanatic and it's all about my sewing...

Now I know that you're looking for pictures of the finished V8799 dress but since I no longer live with my photographer and just can't get the hang of taking my own pictures, they will be taken at the end of the week...

Let me leave you with a Sparkle clip...

and the closing song with the cast... always more later!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Here is what the dress should look like...

This is why I'm discouraged....

The dress is way too tight...even after I've taken out every seam and sewn them with only 1/8" seams.

The neckline is too low unless I take up 2" from the shoulder which of course changes the armhole so that the sleeve won't go in it...and the square of the neckline is too wide.  Linda, now I understand why you had issues with the neckline on your dress.

All I can think is thank goodness I didn't add piping to all the seams or I would be ready to kill now.  So my choices are do I trash it and kiss two days worth of work goodbye?  Or do I find a way to make it work?  

My first thought was to cut a new center front piece which will give me some additional room. Then after further thought, I realized that if I give up the jacket idea...which doesn't feel like such a bad idea right now...I could not only recut the front piece but I also could recut the center back pieces. That's a lot of work especially since I've already cut out the lining pieces and the invisible zipper would have to be removed & reinserted!  Dayum, dayum, dayum!

Now I know why there are no reviews on this dress on PR because it is a beyotch to sew. I'm going to give the jacket up.  There is too much hand work from putting the piping in the dress for me to toss it...*sigh*  Now to see if this solution will work...but I'm only giving it the rest of this evening...if it doesn't shake out by then...I'm moving on.  

This is why I sew TNTs... of 1:22am, I think I've resolved the issues...there will be no jacket.  The fabric for it went to saving the dress...which isn't done.  There are still several hours worth of work to be done to it before it will be finished but as Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day!" always, more later!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top 10 Things for Fall 2012

I took several of the September issues with me on vacation. I knew I would have a lot of downtime and I could take my time and read through them slowly.  One of the magazines I took (besides the Vogue & InStyle) was the People Style Watch September 2012 issue.

Besides the fact that it had a lot of pictures, and I love the pretty pictures, this magazine had one of the best Top 10 Fall Must Have Lists...well actually Top 15.  

So I'm sharing the list with you...

Number One:
The color hunter green ~ This rich color makes a statement on clothing, shoes and bags!  Pair it with bold hues like purple and royal blue for an eye-catching look or neutrals for a more subtle take.
I love this color and plan to purchase some fabric (yes, I know you would think I would have some in my collection, but I don't!) greens yes but not a solid hunter or emerald green.

Number Two:
Ankle Strap heels ~ Updated with pointy toes, this leg-lengthening style is having a major moment! Skinny straps are easiest to pull off - wider ones feel edgier.
This one will not go on my list since ankle strap heels aren't flattering on me.

Number Three:
Military Details ~ Embossed buttons, epaulets and sharp tailoring are everywhere! Look or them in muted colors on classic sheaths, little jackets, skinnies and more
This one is definitely on my list.  I already have plans to make a jacket and adding a dress with some military details is high on my list also.

Number Four:
Trumpet Hems ~ The flouncy shape is a fun twist on spring's peplum trend!  On dresses and skirts in classic or standout styles, it's feminine and figure-flattering.
I may add a version of this to my wardrobe. The skirts pictured in the article remind me of Simplicity 5914. I've made this skirt 2 or 3 times and actually had plans to make another this fall.

Number Five:
Dome Bags ~ Rounded top-handle carryalls are sophisticated and functional! Suede, leather and other luxe textures add a special feel
I'm really into the hobo bag and structured bags this fall so I won't be adding one of these to my wardrobe.

Number Six:
Brocade ~ This ornate fabric is perfect for dressing up, but on more casual pieces or paired with jeans and flats, it's chic and unexpected.
Definitely want to add a brocade piece to my wardrobe this fall/winter...just have to figure out which one.

Number Seven:
Jeweled Necklaces ~ These dramatic styles punch up any outfit, day or night! Go for understated neutral stones or vibrant colored gems
I have a few statement necklaces like this already, just need to pull them out and wear them!

Number Eight:
Shift Dresses ~ In graphic patterns, bright colors and more, this loose silhouette is both stylish and easy to wear! For maximum flattery, choose above-the-knee styles and pair with heels.
I definitely have plans to make one or more of these! I even have my pattern and fabric picked out. Now I just have to make time to get to it! *smile*

Number Nine:
Voluminous Coats ~ The roomy look is so fashion forward! Wear these trendy styles anytime - opt for fitted clothes t create a cool contrast.
I already own a voluminous coat...bought last season and it wore so well last winter. My coat will definitely be in the rotation this year!

Number Ten:
Patent Leather ~ On clothing or accessories, this texture is striking - real or faux! Try just a hint on pumps or a shirt collar, or go all out in a head-turning piece of clothing.
I love patent leather shoes!  Love, love, love them! These are a staple in my shoe collection, and the shoe pictured below is joining the collection soon!

...and the additional five are Gold pieces, Faux Fur, Paisley printed garments, loafer pumps and animal motifs.

The descriptions in italic type are straight from the People Style Watch article and I would highly recommend that you pick one up. So, how about you? Which one of the trends will you be adding to your fall/winter wardrobe? Some, all, or none at all? Do the trends even matter to you? Talk back to me because this is the Question of the Day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vogue 8799 - Dress Pattern Alterations

Even though this pattern is graded up to a 22, I knew that I would have to do some alterations to the pattern to get it to fit me.  Because don't we all have to tweak patterns to get them to fit our bodies?  So I started with the dress front alterations.

Dress Front Alterations ~
First I placed the front dress piece of my TNT dress pattern on my cutting table.

Then I added the dress front pieces to one side of the full pattern pieces, pinning the center front of the V8799 center front piece to the center front of my TNT dress pattern. Making sure to match the pattern piece at the TNT dress pattern's neckline.  Next I added the side front top and bottom pieces, matching the notches and circles on the pattern pieces to get the right pattern placement.

After the pieces were added I realized that they were a few inches discrepancy at the waistline and hip areas. I simply drew in the additional space by following the cutting/sewing line on my TNT pattern.  I also added 2" to the hemline.  I'm not sure I will need it and it can always be removed later.

I added an extra line seam line in the top front piece by adding a line through the center of the mid-bustline notch to the end of the pattern piece...matching the seamline of the bottom dress front piece.  This seam line will be used to add additional piping to simulate the inspiration garment.

Original pattern piece 

Pattern piece with additional seam placed & cut

5/8" seam allowances added to new seam lines
to form two new pattern pieces

Dress Back Alterations ~
I followed the same process for the dress back as the front by laying the V8799 back pieces onto my TNT dress back piece.  I added additional inches to the side back piece to make the V8799 pattern pieces match my TNT dress back piece.

Center back piece pinned to dress back

All pieces pinned to the back with seams added

Sleeve Alterations ~
Of course it was necessary to alter the sleeve pattern to fit my bodacious biceps. This was accomplished by laying the TNT sleeve pattern down and then adding the V8799 sleeve pattern on top. I sliced the V8799 sleeve pattern from the center of the pattern bottom to within a 1/2 inch at the top of the sleeve cap. Then I spread the two sides of the pattern until they matched the sides of the TNT sleeve.  This will not change the width of the sleeve cap.  I added some pattern paper to the center and taped it flat. Finally I adjusted the hemline of the sleeve so that it would be similar to the TNT sleeve pattern.

Next up is cutting out the fabric and assembling the dress.  Unless something unusual and different comes up during the construction, the next post about this dress will be the reveal. always more later!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What's Next - Vogue 8799

Can I just say that I'm excited?!  O-M-G!  Nine, yes nine days of sewing fun begins now!  And my first project is the dress and jacket from Vogue 8799.

Using this purple/plum linen from Mood Fabrics which I actually purchased online because I was too overwhelmed at work before vacation to head to the garment district...

(plum linen on the left)

I've wanted to use this pattern since it showed up in the spring offerings.  There were several garments online and in-stores this spring/summer season which inspired me...

I will be adding navy blue piping to the dress in various places and a navy blue lining.  The good thing about this make is that except for the plum fabric, all of the other notions are from my stash.  So the linen is in the dryer, next up the ironing board and then alterations to the pattern.  Hopefully, I will be waist deep into this project today and tomorrow with some photos of the finished garment later this week. always more later!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Home Again...home again...

Well I'm home again after a week on the high seas.  First some pictures...

The Lady of the Harbour, on the way 
out, at the beginning of the cruise

Second night at sea 
on the promenade deck

Arriving back to the ship in Orlando

Back of the ship & it's wake
 during my daily early morning walk

Leaving the ship in Nassau

On the dock in Nassau

Towel Monkey in stateroom

Last night at sea - from the stateroom balcony

Self portrait on the day I sat on the balcony 
in my stateroom & just read a book

Now some observations...
  1. I'm fat.  I don't feel fat in my real life.  However, at sea I felt fat.  Not because there were a lot of skinny people there but because the cruise ship has the most unflattering mirrors EVAH.  And because the onboard photographers don't understand the magic of photography illusion. Seriously who shoots a fat girl right on, up close...fat I tell you fat!
  2. Whenever I travel, I never over pack.  I am the mistress of getting a lot of outfits into a small carry on.  I listened to some others, over packed and lived to regret it when we disembarked the ship because I shopped ALOT when we were in Nassau and none of it was fabric...can you believe?  So I had too many shoes, too many outfits and too many souvenirs which meant too heavy suitcases to cart too far to get on the chartered bus!
  3. Which brings me to the point that I don't really like to travel.  The best days on the ship were when everyone including their children had gone ashore and the ship was quiet and everything was convenient and easily accessible. Which makes me the grouchy old lady, that everyone avoids! *LOL*
Finally, I'm thrilled to be home and ready for the rest of my vacation (meaning the real part *LOL*) starting now with sewing! In the days leading up to my vacation, I made a list of some projects I'd like to work on.  I'm going to sew from the list because even though it's robust, I won't be able to complete everything on it this week!  That's fine...I really just want to enjoy the process...indulge myself and get fat with sewing creativity...tap into my inner Creative Zen self and sew ALOT.

So stay tuned for some serious creative endeavors...and thanks for hanging out and waiting for me to show back up! always, more later!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

While I'm gone...

...sitting on the ship, reading a book or taking an island excursion...may I encourage you, well those of you who are missing read some of the older posts.  Many times I'm asked a question in the comments section that's been explained in a previous post and not all of the good stuff is mentioned in the "My Popular Posts" tab.  

There are also some book reviews on older sewing books that after reading the review, you might want to own.  Finally I won't be gone long...and when I come back I have a list, the fabric, notions and the time to create a couple of new there will be goodies I promise!  That's my souvenir to you...*LOL*

Oh and if there are any thieves or robbers out there waiting to pounce on my fabric collection...someone is house sitting for don't waste your time...mmmmkay!

See ya soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Purple Pontedness

This really is just a picture post because I made this purple ponte dress last summer as a quickie.

It's Vogue 9245 and it was the second one I made from the pattern.  It wasn't a perfect dress but it wore well and believe it or not I received quite a few compliments when I wore it.  After making it, I had about two yards of fabric left over which I used earlier this summer to make a cardigan, Butterick 5760.

It's been so hot here lately that neither have been worn...but I did take pictures of the dress and cardigan (in the air conditioning) together with a scarf I made with some leftover trendy rayon fabric that I used for a wadder this summer.  Yeah okay don't ask about that, this is about the pictures, remember! *LOL*

Back view

Side view

My daughter says that I shouldn't wear my purple shoes with this outfit because it's too much purpleness...that I should wear the shoes in the pictures above. I was definitely getting a "you look like Barney vibe" from her but she denies it. Ummm yeah right, I've been her mother for 24 years, I KNOW when she's lying! So I won't be wearing this outfit with the shoes and I'm thinking I will need another necklace or scarf for it too.  Barney is just not a good look...y'know what I mean!

Two other quick notes ~
I can't believe that The Closer's final episode was tonight!  I loved this series and Kyra Sedgwick in it.  I even loved the way it ended...but I'm gonna miss this show. Now to wait for a boxed set of the series to show up on Amazon so that I can own it...*sigh*

A Wearability Update for the Mosaic Vogue 1250.  This is one of the lightest, coolest dresses I've worn and it's all about the fabric. I love the silk jersey! However, one of the qualities of silk jersey is that it has a wonderful drapiness and boy was my drape in evidence! *LOL* I don't ever remember having to adjust the front drape on this dress as much as I did. That aside the dress wore wonderfully and received quite a few compliments.

Next - I still haven't worn the green rayon dress...probably will this week.  Also the Valentino Panel Dress hasn't been worn yet either and that is on purpose. It's been so danged hot here that the subway is a sauna. Be down there two minutes and everyone around you is five minutes everyone is mopping sweat off of them and let's not talk about 15 minutes. This dress is important to me and I don't want the silk ruined by it won't get worn until it gets a little cooler.

Well that's it for now...I'm counting down days now until I leave.  Did I say that I was so excited!  *LOL*

...more later!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Around the web...

Denise, who authors, The Blue Gardenia blog has posted an interview with me.  You can surf on over and read all about it, here.  But don't just stop there, after you've read her scintillating questions and hopefully my thoughtful answers, take some time and visit her vintage pattern site, The Blue Gardenia Vintage Patterns.  The awesome goodness of not only her vintage pattern collection but the vintage jewelry is enough to make you swoon.  Now don't blame me if you learn some new obscure fact about me, as well as, end up with some vintage goodness winging it's way to you! always more later!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two More Vogue 1250s

Since the McCalls Maxi didn't work for me the stack of knits that I had assembled to make them sat and stared at me.  The pressure of the knits mocking me was too much pressure.  So I grabbed this tulip one, pulled out my Vogue 1250 pattern and made it up again.  

I know that I've made this dress several times now but this pattern never fails me. It's so easy to wear. It looks professional with or without a topper. I feel pretty and work appropriately sexy in it. Finally, it doesn't matter if my internal thermometer isn't working well, I'm always cool in these dresses.  

Have I sung it's praises enough...*LOL* In between putting my fabric in its place, I'm also packing for vacation. I just needed to spend a little quality time in my favorite room before I leave it for a minute!

Here are the dresses:
The first one is made from an ITY knit from Fabric Mart....

The only change I've made to this version and the next is that I didn't add the back neck facing included in the pattern.  I simply pressed the back neck  seam down and then serged some stitch witchery into the seam edge.  

Then I pressed it flat.  

and voila a clean finished neckline...

I was at Stein Mart (a local chain) yesterday and noticed some draped neck dresses in the plus size section. The back neckline was just stitched flat and I thought that application would look great in the V1250 dresses. So I used it for these dresses.  

Here are a couple more photos of what I'm calling the Tulip Version of Vogue 1250...

The second one is made from a silk jersey from Mood...I picked this print up from the NY store a couple of weeks ago because I loved the uniqueness of the fabric. Since this is my 9th version of this dress...yes, 9th was truly a figure out how I wanted the print to lay on the dress, cut it out and sew.  So here is what I'm calling the Mosaic Vogue 1250...

Finally, as I said before I've made NINE of these.  My first one followed the pattern exactly and no longer resides with me.  My oldest daughter took it home with her a couple of weeks ago because I only wore it once. After I altered the pattern to fit me better, I've used border prints here and here, made a little black dress version, maximized it, the first summer print, a fall/winter print, then finally this summer I used three great prints for additional versions.  You can see 7 of the 9 Vogue 1250 versions in the group shot below or you can see all 9 of the dresses in my Flicker Album here.

I love this dress!  I assure you that I won't be making any more this summer but if this drape neck silhouette is still hot next spring/summer, who knows?! *LOL* 

I've made a few alterations to some pieces that I'm packing for my vacation which begins at 3pm on Friday!  OMG, I can barely wait!  I have another post or two to put up before I go and then I will be radio silent for a minute...but I'm sure you'll be sick of me by the end of the month because the second part of my vacation is a sewcation and you know I'll be sharing every gory detail! always more later!


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