Sunday, December 31, 2006

Its the Last Day of 2006!!!!

It's the last day of 2006 and I am spending it sewing! And this as Martha Stewart would say, "Is A Good Thing!"

I am suppose to be working on SWAP pieces but instead I am making a jacket from a brown poly blend that I used in last year's SWAP and a shell from this great silk paisley that I found in Fabric Garden (yes, it is really the name of the fabric store!) on 39th Street across from Daytona Trimmings.

I know that I am suppose to be working on SWAP pieces but the urge to have a new pantsuit to start the work week with was too strong...also the silk paisley jumped out at me at the fabric store and demanded to come home with me. I only purchased a yard and a half and it will look great with the jacket, pants, skirt combination. Another driving force is that the pants and skirt are already in my wardrobe, whereas, all the SWAP pieces will be new wardrobe additions.

The jacket pattern that I am using is Vogue 7944.

And the shell is from

Sewing Workshop Mission Jacket and Tank pattern. I have made this tank over and over because it just works so well under everything.

I will definitely have pics tomorrow since instead of going out with other adults I have a house full of teenage girls who are celebrating New Year's here this year! I guess it is my turn since they have been elsewhere the last two years. So I will usher in 2007 at my sewing machine, while Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve special plays, listening to the sound of my daughter and her friends. I am very blessed!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The next to last day of the year

It's the next to last day of the year and its time to review the sewing goals that I made for 2006. I am going to start with actual achievements because it is always better to go with the positive instead of the negative!

*I did complete and add to my wardrobe about 50 new garments.

*I did make a beautiful (if I must say so myself) prom dress for my daughter.

*I did make some absolutely amazing American Girl Doll Dresses for a friend. Need to do this again soon!

*And I did complete 54 items this year. If I run into my sewing area and add the buttons and hem to a cardigan before midnight tomorrow, that could be 56 items!

*I did spend a lot of quality time investing in my creative side this year! Major days, nights and weekends were spent in the company of my sewing machine.

But on the negative ~ I still have waaayyy to much fabric and at times this year I have been totally unrepentant about purchasing more. I guess that controlling my fabric collection is a ongoing goal that will roll into the New Year.

But all in all, 2006 was a good sewing year for me...I hope it was for you too! And if I get those buttons on the cardigan and it hemmed, I will get back at you. Otherwise, I am on to SWAP sewing as my first projects of 2007.

And I am wishing you and yours a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!! Keep on sewing...Keep on dreaming...Keep on creating!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And this is why I am NOT fabric shopping!

See this is my shame....I am sure that some of you are thinking what?! that is just one Rubbermaid bin of fabric. But what you are that it is one Rubbermaid bin full of fabric outside of a walk-in closet that is full to overflowing with some of the prettiest, most awesomish (okay maybe that's not a word! ~ but you know what I mean) fabric. Oh and that does not include the two piles that are laying on my cutting table with about six cuts of fabric apiece. Oops, forgot the pile of fabric that is laying by the side of my bookcase...see I got "fabric issues."

And why is it that every internet fabric site that I subscribe to is sending out these mailers where everything is 10/20/30% off, free shipping, extraordinary markdowns on pieces that at previous prices, I turned my nose up at! What is it about the word "SALE" that suddenly opens a floodgate of creativity and makes me want to run for my credit card. I mean really do I need another piece of fabric? Would I truly lose my mind if I didn't purchase that really awesome piece of fabric that is just screaming out my name?

No to all of the above! So I am resolved that until I start to produce more garments, I am NOT buying fabric. However, I am calling Fabric Mart and signing up for the Sample Cut Club of 2007. I need that monthly fix of those little brown envelopes bringing to me dreams and visions of wonderous and amazing garments to be made. That's not really fabric shopping is it?!

I am finally getting around to sharing some of the four items I have made in the last three months! Can you believe that?! Four items in three months...I use to construct that many garments in a three day weekend...something is truly wrong with this picture...and I must work to get my life back in focus! *smile*

A simple, lined straight skirt that took me two weekends to make! Two! But at least this fabric is not sitting in a is a wearable garment! So now that I have shared my shame with you and pledged not to purchase more until I sew you believe me?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here are my SWAP fabrics

Just wanted to share a picture of my SWAP fabrics. That's them just six pieces of fabric ~ granted there is some serious yardage to most of the pieces - the black wool crepe is 10 yards by itself! And the fabrics don't seem to be saying much just laying there on the table, but with a little imagination, a lot of trim options and some "keep it simple" pieces from TNT patterns for my Dress SWAP. I think this just might turn out to be a great "Get Dressed Early in the Morning Without Much Thought Wardrobe!"

Since Christmas and the New Year are rapidly approaching and there will be several three day weekends, I am planning on spending some quality time with my sewing machine and my SWAP list. I have to! One just for plain old sanity's sake and two because I think my sewing machine is giving me the evil eye every time I walk by it! I think it misses our quality time together! *smile*

And just for record keeping ~ here is the list of my SWAP fabrics:

10 yards of black wool crepe
2 yards of a black/white plaid
4.5 metres of red wool crepe (qualifying purchase from Timmel Fabrics)
3 yards of a white sandwashed sueded silk
3 yards of a black/white/red glen plaid
2.5 yards of a black wool/silk jersey

As a quick reminder a Dress SWAP consists of 4 dresses, two jackets, two bottoms, and three tops. I have a list of trims that I am looking for and will hit up Daytona Trims next week when its finally slow at work and then hopefully the sewing magic will begin!

Monday, December 11, 2006

My Qualifying Fabric has arrived!

Saturday the postman rang the door bright and early - too bright and early since I was still in my nightgown and there was no one else home - so nothing to do but pat my hair down and answer the door! In his hands was my package from Timmel Fabrics - holding the gorgeous red wool crepe that I bought as my entry fee into the contest. A fine piece of wool crepe that is mediumweight and will make great accent pieces!

Also included in the package was 2.5 metres of a polyester brown and pink pinstripe that I saw on Julie's website that I had her include in the bundle. And as always when a new package of fabric arrives - there is the allure of wanting to work with that piece! Does anyone else experience this? The new piece tumbles out of the package with all of its hopes and dreams attached to it and you can "hear" it speaking so clearly that you have to work hard to mentally focus on the task at hand and not to run off to your sewing room clutching the new piece frantically looking for a pattern to make the dream a reality! I didn't succumb this time but it's not to say that I haven't done so in the past! *smile*

So as soon as I get some more batteries for the digital camera I will take a photo of all of my fabrics and post it here. My fabrics consist only of black, white and red colors. As Julie posted on Stitchers Guild a couple of days ago, "keep it simple" and I have decided to follow her advice. Also, my new position requires a different type of clothing requirement than the previous one and you will definitely be able to see the difference in the two SWAPs.

I did work on the pants some this weekend...not much. The weather and the amount of time I am spending at work has conspired against me and much to my dismay, I am experiencing cold symptoms!

Last thing ~ thanks for the SWAP names....keep them coming! I like the "New York Times" suggestion. Just wondering how to work the black, red & white in or if I even need it?! Another thought was Black/White & Red Graphics? Again any and all suggestions will definitely be considered!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Little Swap Sewing

The SWAP contest's (sponsored by Julie of Timmel Fabrics) official start date was December 1st. However, due to work issues this is the first that I have actually thought about sewing any of my pieces. Since I have my plan set and most of my fabrics in hand, I am going to start on a piece or two this weekend. I will probably go with something easy like the lined wool crepe pants especially since they are being made from a TNT pattern and have been made from this fabric type before...but aren't those everyone's famous last words! *smile*

I am still looking for a catchy phrase for my SWAP ~ any and all suggestions are welcome! My color scheme is black, white and red in work separates and I am doing the dress SWAP. My only thought was, "Black/White and Red All Over" and it just is not doing it for me. So if you have a catchy or not so catchy phrase please share. I definitely am interested in your ideas!

I am doing all my SWAP updates on my blog so stay tuned to this blog network - for SWAP sewing all the time! *giggle!*

Sunday, December 03, 2006

10 Sewing Things I know to be True

I was reading an article by Nora Ephron and she wrote about things that she wished she had known when she was younger. A few of them I definitely agreed with and wished I had also known earlier in my life. Of course this got me to thinking about sewing I have listed below 10 sewing related things I know to be true. You may or may not agree with my list but they are true to me!

1. I will always need to rip something out in the middle of a matter how many times I have used a pattern.

2. Somewhere, someway, somehow, I will make a mistake either in measuring, cutting out the fabric or in my fabric choice...and I will need to make a change and/or be flexible to get a finished garment!

3. That in the middle of sewing a seam I will a. run out of bobbin thread; b. break a needle; c. run out of thread and not have any more on hand in that color!

4. That the minute I purchase a piece of fabric online that I have put off buying - it will be marked down or it will go on sale.

5. That the pattern that I traveled to *fill in the blank of a fabric chain store* to purchase in one of their extraordinary cheap pattern sales will not be in the pattern cabinet! Never fails!

6. That if I don't purchase five yards of a fabric I can guarantee you that is the one piece of fabric that I will then want to make multiple garments from ~ never fails!

7. I will never have the right zipper for a garment in the size or color I need if I don't think about it before I begin to sew the garment!

8. That if I try to sew on a deadline one of two things will happen - I will not get it finished in time or if I do I will hate it! Rare is the garment that works that is made in a hurry!

9. That I can't go one day without thinking about something sewing related.

And finally

10. That sewing is like breathing...I must do both to exist!

What sewing things do you know to be true?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

And life gets in the way...

I know that I haven't written much lately but that is because sewing has moved so far down on my list of things to do! This is by no means a reflection of my desire to sew or how important sewing is in defining who I am but it is more a reflection of how involved my life has become in other areas.

I use to wonder how people could let "life" prevent them from sewing. Guess if you wonder about something long enough, "life" provides you with an answer! *smile* So now that I have gained understanding, I am trying to fight my way back! I try to do a little something sewing most weekends, but when I compare what I do now to what I was producing just a few months ago, I have to fight hard against discouragement.

At the beginning of the month I received a new shipment of fabrics from my favorite fabric resource, Fabric Mart. I purchased these particular fabrics because they really called to me and I knew exactly what each piece should become. But four weekends later, I have only made a lined straight skirt from the smallest piece in the package. And it took two weeks to accomplish that...something that previously would have taken one Saturday afternoon. And even now after a long weekend, I have only managed to accomplish cutting out a cardigan and sleeveless dress combination. I guess I really shouldn't say only since it is something and getting anything started now is a big deal!

However, I have pledged to myself that I will try to do something sewing related every week because some progress is better than none!


I ordered my qualifying fabric purchase from Timmel Fabrics for the SWAP contest. Four metres of a very fine red wool crepe to give the "pop" of color to my black & white theme. Now I just need to come up with a name for my collection. The SWAP officially begins tomorrow!!!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Its a SWAP Thing!

If you have been reading along you will notice that I like to create garments in sets. I am really enamoured of matching and/or coordinating pieces. That said - It is SWAP time again at Artisan's Square! Every year for the last four years, Julie Timmel of Timmel Fabrics, sponsors a SWAP contest. The rules are listed on her website under SWAP 2007. Last year was the first time I officially participated, the year before I sewed along but did not join in.

Learning to SWAP - Sewing With A Plan is a very dynamic process. You actually learn to train your mind to think in coordinating garments and fabrics. You actually stop sewing or purchasing "orphans" garments that don't go with anything else in your closet. The combination of 11 garments if sewn correctly yields about 40 outfits...I think that's correct, but Julie's website has the definitive answer.

Every year Julie adds on a new requirement to make the SWAP contest a little different and more challenging - as if sewing 11 garments in a set time frame isn't challenging enough! *smile* One year it was an embellished or trimmed garment, last year two garments had to be made from the same pattern but with a totally different look and not by just changing the fabric, and this year the hook is that one of the garments must be reversible. I have to admit that the reversible thing really hung me up for a while and almost caused me not to participate this year. But I love SWAPping, and the camaderie & conversations that take place during the process, so as Tim Gunn would say, I made it work!

Finally, there are two types of SWAPs that you can create - a regular one (11 garments) or a dress SWAP - all of this information is detailed on Julie's website. Since I have completed two previous SWAPs - this year I decided to make a dress SWAP. A dress SWAP consists of four dresses, two jackets, two bottoms and three tops.

To begin my SWAP, I looked at patterns/looks/silhouttes. I have a few TNT dress patterns so I started there. The Tamatsou dress pattern -
Vogue OOP 2090 which I have previously made is the first piece in my collection. I have about ten yards of black wool crepe on hand and I have been dying for a lined, long sleeved dress from this fabric and pattern. The next dress is from another Vogue OOP dress pattern 2688. I just recently made this dress in a tobacco colored tropical wool and it is perfect for business wear. So I will make another version in black and white - wool crepe and a sandwashed silk with a special ribbon trim. My third dress will be from my TNT dress pattern using a red wool crepe. It took me a while to come up with my final dress but I have finally decided upon the new, trendy piece for this fall - a jumper! Which will be made from this fabric that was originally purchased to knock off a Dolce & Gabbana skirt - that I am just not feeling this fall!

Next up - jackets!

I have wanted to make Simplicity 4093 since I first saw it! I even went so far as to actually felt a piece of the black wool crepe for the jacket back at the end of the summer. I have a great floral silk that I want to use for the lining and this jacket will work with all of my dresses and bottoms.

My final jacket will be from the red wool crepe - Butterick 4871!

Bottoms were easy - one skirt and one pair of pants. The pants of course will be lined and made from my TNT pattern out of the black wool crepe. No need to mess with perfection, and who doesn't need an extra pair of black pants!? I am planning on making my skirt my reversible piece ~ one side being a light red silk broadcloth and one side a linen/silk blend glen plaid that has red/black/white threads for the plaid.

Finally - white sandwashed silk one from my TNT Sewing Workshop Mission Tank pattern. I have made this top so much that I could sew it with my eyes closed but it just works in my wardrobe! The second one will be a black wool/silk jersey Jalie sleeveless turtleneck made from the pattern I received for participating in last year's SWAP contest - appropo right!?! My last piece will be purchased since you are allowed to purchase one piece - and it will be a white shirt.

I really took my time and planned this year's SWAP out. I was not only looking for wearable pieces that would fit into my wardrobe and lifestyle but I was also looking for pieces that would present the look of a collection and photograph well. Since this will be a huge amount of my winter sewing, I will write about all changes, challenges, and triumphs here. And if you want to see last year's winners...check Julie's site under SWAP 2006!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Monday Morning Shoutout

I stopped doing shout-outs several months ago, but I went to the mailbox on Saturday and found my "Winter/Holiday Sewing Today" pattern magazine ~ that's what they are calling the "old" Butterick pattern magazine now! As I was flipping through the magazine, I came upon an article about/by Vonnevo from Patternreview. And the sad thing is that is how I have always thought of her as Vonnevo when she has a real name, Yvonne Andrews!

The article was about how Yvonne took McCalls Pattern 5007 and made four different jackets from it with at least two being designer knock-offs! So I want to do a big Monday morning shout-out to Yvonne for the magazine article and for making those wonderful jackets!

If you haven't received your copy of the pattern magazine yet, or if you don't subscribe, run right out and get a copy because we should do all that we can to support fellow sewists! When one is featured or mentioned in a magazine article, I think we all benefit and we all should be proud!

So my Monday Morning Shout-out is to Yvonne Andrews! Keep on doing what you do!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm ready!

It's been weeks and I haven't really felt like it but, deep breath, I am ready! Yes, I am ready to sew again! So maybe all of that fabric purchasing was a good thing! *Yeah, right!*

Seriously though, after a strenous week, I am so ready to go and dust off my sewing equipment, junk up my very clean cutting table, and put the ironing board back up. Now you know you haven't been sewing when your cutting table is clean and your iron is put away! My Fabric Mart box arrived yesterday and that along with the new fabrics that have come to visit have inspired me.

I have no idea what I am going to work on first...I just know that I am going to sew! Whatever the spirit moves me! I am going to sit in my sewing area and touch fabric and what sings the loudest will become something new.

So those are my plans for the weekend and I hope that you have a wonderful sewing weekend too!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It is disappearing...

I am sad today because yesterday I needed more fabric retail therapy and I thought that I would take a quick trip to the garment district to relieve some tension. One of the little fabric stores on 40th Street is now a hair & nail salon!!! A hair salon on fabric row!!!!! It wasn't a major fabric store that everyone targets to visit when they come to New York but it is next to Fikret Fabrics (a favorite of mine) and I am sure people would stop in because they had some interesting laces in the window.

So another store on 40th Street has bitten the dust because The New York Times decided that they needed a new building. Look, I understand about change. Change is a necessary thing in life but this change is heartrending to me. 40th Street use to be a fabric wonderland! You would walk down either side of the street and there would be store after store selling amazing fabric fantasies. Each storefront window would have a totally different yet beautiful piece of fabric...pure eye candy! And now it is all gone! 40th Street is starting to look like any other street in NYC and it all just makes me sad....

I am almost tempted to tell you that if you haven't visited the garment district lately that you should soon or you may lose your way...but I don't want to be that pessimistic! I mean B&J has a wonderful new spot on 7th Avenue as well as Rosen and Chadicks! Both stores moved on, changed and became even better! I guess it is just some of the smaller ones that were unable to go on that I am missing...

Let's just hope that the district may be changing its size and location but not going away! And if you get a chance, do your part by buying a piece or two from one of the stores that are left. We have to preserve our sewing/fabric heritage!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Buying Fabric

Why is it that when I am not sewing, I buy fabric?

If anyone knows the answer to that question, I sure would appreciate knowing the answer! It just seems that everytime my life gets the better of me and eliminates all of my opportunities to sew, I buy fabric! Now is this a knee jerk reaction to the fact that I am not sewing? Or is this the way that I keep my hobby alive and close to me? Because as you all know, well those that "know" me through reading this blog, that I have a very full and varied fabric closet! So why am I purchasing more?

And here is another question ~ why am I buying more when I already have a very large and varied clothing closet? Doesn't this just seem like an oxymoron?

Lots of clothes + lots of fabric = buy more fabric? It just doesn't equate! But buy more fabric I have, from my favorite fabric source - Fabric Mart. And it's not like I can even show you what I bought because I purchased things from the Sample Cut Club!

Now that is on top of the eight, yes eight pieces that I purchased at Metro Textiles with Ann (Gorgeous Things Blog), her friend Sandy and Barbara Bell (one of my Saturday morning shout-outs!) in the middle of October! Have I sewn anything from that haul - noooooo! Have I sewn anything at all ~ one lonely dress from OOP Vogue 2828.

So if you have the answer to the mystery of why I purchase fabric when I am not sewing - please feel free to share!

And BTW, I'm back...hopefully with newly sewn garments to share soon!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vacation Break

I have been away vegging, will be back soon with more observations, comments and just sewing stuff soon!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thank goodness I keep a blog!

I just breathed a huge sigh of relief! This has never happened to me before and thank God I keep this blog! Okay, this is what happened. I have a week off between the old job and the new one and I want to spend it sewing. So today I was making a list of some things I want to work on and added two UFOs to the list. I am sure that you all know that UFOs stand for "Unfinished Outfits" ~ well at least that's what it means to me!

At the end of the winter season, I feel in love with this Dana Buchman wool from
Fabric Mart.

It is a 92% Wool 6% Cashmere 2% Lycra Flannel ~ Light to medium weight, soft hand and absolutely gorgeous. I paid $12.99 per yard for it and they have it again this year for $15 a yard. But I would buy more at that price, if I hadn't already bought about 10 yards of it. I made several pieces from it ~ a cardigan with pinstripe band, a sleeveless lined shapeless dress (that I am going to alter for a better fit to wear this season) which I used in my SWAP. Later I made a lined 4 gore elastic waist skirt and had planned a jacket and lined pants from the fabric also. An entire little cluster of pieces that would work with each other.

Well, when I pulled the already cut out jacket pieces today, I couldn't remember what pattern I used for the jacket. No where did I mark what pattern was used but luckily I had blogged about the jacket back in March in an entry called, "Hate fitting but love to sew!" So my blog saved me! The jacket pattern is Butterick 3978. Now I will look through the pattern collection and find the instructions!

Sheeewww! That was a close one!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shoes, shoes and more shoes!

As you can tell from the title this is a non-sewing post. See, I love shoes...especially the sleek 2.5" to 3" ones with skinny heels and a pointed toe! I love how they make me feel tall and feminine. I love how they finish off the look of a dress or a great pantsuit. Ohmygosh do I love shoes...but here's the or well at least I can't make I have to buy them!

Usually, I can keep my shoe obsession in hand. Usually, I can remember that my children need to eat or I like being able to turn the lights on and have all of those electrical appliances work in my home...especially my sewing machine. But, I recently scored a new job with a much higher income and so shoes have been calling my name.

Now isn't that unusual for someone who has such a powerful fabric addiction? I thought so too but even though those wonderful emails announcing amazing fabric bargains keep popping into my email box, I have no desire to purchase more. Do you think its because I have a filled to the brim fabric closet with a rubbermaid 25 lb tub sitting right outside the closet door filled with fabric, also? Yeah, that's what I am thinking too!

So in the last two weeks I have purchased three pairs of the most amazingly, beautiful, sexy shoes. I need to pause here just for a minute because the thought of them took my breathe away! I walked past the Nine West store in Manhattan yesterday and this pair called to me:

A lovely 3" gray patent leather slingback that once on my feet made them look smaller, my legs slimmer and me tall and skinny. Yes, shoes have the power to do that! Well already they had worked their magic on me so when I saw the price ~ they were on sale ~ they had to come home with me! But as an aside, do you know how hard it is to find a good pair of gray shoes?! I have only one other pair that are a light gray suede that I managed to locate at Aerosoles a few years ago. Otherwise gray shoes ~ a rare breed indeed! So these were loving packed into the box, well okay boxes-plural, that I shipped home from my office. Boxes by the way that contained boxes and boxes of yes, shoes!

Now two weeks ago a pair of Anne Klein slingbacks in brown suede & brown patent leather followed me home from Macys. You can see them here. I originally bought these to use for interviews. I had these grand plans to make a beautiful brown glen plaid suit with a dark brown sueded silk Sewing Workshop mission tank to go under it...but that never happened! And somehow I managed to get a job without the suit and the gorgeous new shoes. But at least I own them and they will work with all the brown fabrics that I currently have which are dancing around in my head.

I bought a third pair but no where on the vast space that is called the internet, can I find a picture of them! I think its because they were reduced in price (isn't that a kewl way to say on sale!) and were being discontinued. So you will have to be satisfied with a description of them. First they are beige with a pattern and a hint of gold in the pattern, so that the gold sorta reflects in the light but let me stress these are not garish or dressy shoes. They are a 3" sling back with a pointy heel that can and have been worn with a work suit. Actually, I wore them this week with this outfit. I was wearing this outfit with the shoes at the interview that got me the job! The shoes gave me confidence ~ I am sure of it! *smile*

So now that I have written an ode to my shoes on a sewing blog, how about you? Do you love shoes? Do they make your heart go pitter patter? Do you drool over them when you walk past them or are they just shoes? And please feel free to share any good shoe stories because I truly believe that shoes like jewelry make an outfit complete!

Have a shoe shiny day!!!!!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I think I have the answer!!!

On blog after sewing blog, it is being discussed. And have you noticed, days go by on some blogs where there are no entries at all ~ we are simply not sewing. At first, I thought it was just me and the computer problems that I am still having! But no, it is affecting quite a few people. I have noticed that even on Patternreview, there are just not as many reviews being written.

So what is it? What has caused a slow down in sewing production? Why is everyone out doing just about anything else but sewing? I mean the fabric sites are doing their best to tempt us ~ I am receiving email after email of great fabric sales. Even my beloved
Fabric Mart is having a 20% off the entire website sale and I haven't ordered one yard of fabric! Can you believe?! Brother sewing machines is offering a rebate on some of their newest sewing machines and still no sewing!

So what is happening? I have heard and read a number of factors but it hit me when I was reading yet another entry about getting your sewing mojo back on Sharon's blog - Sharon Sews. It is something that hasn't been discussed or even whispered about...and I think this is truly the answer. Yes, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this is the answer....

ssshhhhh ~ I don't want them to know that I am telling you because it might cause an even bigger revolt ~ but I think, yes, I am pretty sure that.........

Our sewing machines are on strike! Yep I bet that's it. And I think they (the sewing machines) are emitting some kind of cloudless, vaporless odor that is affecting our ability to sew! C'mon think about it...all of us, all of a sudden being unable to sew? C'mon how common is that? How often does that happen? And now with the advent of blogs, digital cameras and great internet sewing boards, we are all actually compelled and inspired to create! Thus spending way more quality time with our sewing machines! I betcha they called a secret strike and as soon as they all get a good rest ~ suddenly we will all get the urge to sew again!

Think about it...don't just sit there laughing your hindparts off at me...again another trick of the sewing machine's machinations...why aren't we sewing? Before we were all making some pretty awesome garments! Have we stopped buying fabric, or patterns, or talking about sewing? Nooooo! We have just stopped using our machines! I am telling you they are on strike! And in a few weeks when they are all well rested...the urge to use them will come back! Watch! I will be proven right.

And until then, I think I am going into my sewing area and speaking nicely to my sewing machine. I think I am going to make a peace offering to it and remind it of how important it is to me. Even come up with some kind of offering, maybe a new foot that it needs to do its job better! Something, anything to let it know how important it is in my life! And then I am going to sit back and wait...

I bet if you do the same, the sewing machine strike will be over in no time! And we will all be back to creating those wonderful garments that inspire and encourage each other to create. Think about it! And if you believe there could be just an iota of truth to what I have said, go and hug your sewing machine today. Remind it of what an important function it plays in your life and watch...soon the sewing will start again!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We plan, God laughs

or something like that! Interesting way to start an entry right? But I am having a week! I don't know about anyone else but I seem to be incapable of sewing under pressure!!! This week I needed a garment immediately and made quickly in a very short time frame and I was just unable to produce it! Has that happened to anyone else?

I am okay if I have time to plan something out. I am even okay if I have time to take a day off and get something completed. But working full time and caring for my family does not leave alot of time for "emergency" sewing. And I faltered this week. So what did I need ~ a "real" business suit...a matchy matchy jacket and skirt combo that is worn for really important meetings or interview type situations. I started out well, I mean I had two evenings. I even left work early on the second day to get some quality sewing time in...but as the title states, we plan and God laughs.

Not only did I not leave the city at the time I planned (2 hours later which greatly affected my ability to get home quickly) but then traffic was bad. I was tired from a particularly emotionally draining week and my feet had started to swell. Yeah, I wasn't in the right frame of mind to be working near a sewing machine. But see, I needed the suit. I had to have that particular type of garment and I just don't know how to find this in a retail store anymore after years of creating what I need.

Plus I already had it cut out. It just needed to be sewn together. But have you ever noticed that when you are sewing under pressure the steps needed to complete something seem infinite as compared to when you are sewing for pleasure and you seem to just fly through the steps! Yeah, that's how my sewing was Thursday evening ~ like walking through heavy duty mud in too big combat boots. And you know what happened right? At 12:45 a.m. I admitted defeat and then I cried as I combed through my wardrobe trying to come up with an appropriate solution! How can a woman with as many pieces of clothing as I own have this problem? How did I never think to make a "matchy-matchy" suit and have it waiting in the back of my closet?

Well, I ended up wearing the brown suit featured in the post, "Snapshots from a Journey" and it worked out okay. I attended the meeting, was actually very professionally dressed and didn't see too many of the "matchy-matchy" suits that are just not in my lifestyle anymore. But it got me to thinking about sewing under pressure and why I can't do it?

Can you? Are you able to turn out a "quality" garment sewn in one or two evenings under pressure? Are you able to complete all of the steps necessary to have a wearable, finished garment or do you take shortcuts? And in taking shortcuts does some of the quality go missing in your garment?

My jacket is still hanging in my bedroom waiting for the necessary pieces to finish it. Which I will do this weekend...because besides learning that God laughs at our plans...I also learned that I have a hole in my closet that needs to be filled. So not only will I finish this outfit but I see a new black "matchy-matchy" suit in my future. And I also learned something new about myself, actually re-learned it...I don't sew well under pressure!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My sewing teacher

Today I watched an episode of Dateline NBC. It was called the "Education of Miss Graves." I don't know if they will repeat it but I do know that it touched me deeply and made me reflect on teachers that had influenced me.

Of course, you know it was my sewing teacher. I had the same sewing teacher all through high school ~ Mrs. Kenealy. I could already sew by the time I reached high school. I had been sewing since I was 11. But Mrs. Kenealy made me feel that my sewing talent was special ~ not just something that everyone else could do. And Mrs. Kenealy taught me that I could make anything ~ absolutely anything!

First, let me tell you a few things about Mrs. Kenealy...she was an older lady and had been teaching for over 30 years. She had bright white hair, a kindly smile and a real enthusiasm for sewing. She understood those who really wanted to sew and be in her class and those who were just using it as a way to get an "easy" grade to buff their GPA. But mostly she enjoyed sewing...when we were just working at the sewing machines on our garments and not learning a new technique, she sewed right along with us! I remember her making her grandchildren garments. I remember her making skirts and blouses that she would wear to school the very next day! But what I remember the most was that she thought I was special and had talent!

High school can be difficult for a lanky girl with long, nappy hair and no breasts....well not really developed ones...and a really strict mother who wouldn't let you date or go to parties. Add into that someone who is really intelligent and who doesn't have to work too hard at schoolwork and you get the picture. So to be told that you have a talent by someone who wasn't teaching a "smart" class meant the world to me!

So I just want to take this opportunity to thank my high school sewing teacher ~ Mrs. Kenealy ~ who let me skip gym in her class to sew...who encouraged me to try new things and looked the other way when my insecurities got the better of me...and who every day told me what a wonderful seamstress I was!

I had two wonderful women encourage my sewing - my grandmother who taught me and Mrs. Kenealy who encouraged me to keep it as a lifelong hobby! So do you have a favorite sewing teacher? And who was it? Your grandmother, your mother, your sister, your friend? Tell me, I would love to know and pay tribute to these wonderful people who brought such a wonderful gift into your life!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Fall Fever

Yeap, I have fall fever! But its not what you think...I mean I want to go outside and play. I don't want to be inside. I have no desire to hear the quiet hum of my sewing machine as it sews through an awesome piece of fabric. Instead I want to hear the wind rustling through the leaves as they gently fall to the ground. I want to be inspired by the beauty of nature in the changing colors of the leaves. I want to experience the first brisk breeze which makes me dream of turtlenecks. I have fall fever!

So since all I want to do is run outside and play, I am going to detail my sewing list here as a living testament to what I should be doing! Maybe it will encourage me to sew...or then again maybe not! *smile*

Here goes...these are the next four projects that I would like to construct:

1. "A Brown & Green Affair"

Brown lace from Lucy's with green/brown squiggle silk print from Fabric Mart

*TNT 4 gore skirt from brown lace with green silk as the lining
*Vogue 8118 blouse from green silk print
*Burda blouse pattern used as a cardigan from the brown lace

2. "The Lady in Red Dress"

Red Sueded Silk from Trebor Couture (which use to be a huge fabric store on 40th Street and has been out of business for about 5 or 6 years now) This is definitely stash fabric.

*Vogue 8118 blouse
*TNT straight skirt lined

3. "The Well Dressed Professional Woman"

Tan lightweight tropical wool from Fabric Mart & beige/black lace print in rayon/lycra knit from Ebad Fabrics in NYC

*Lined pants
*Burda Cardigan with black lace trim in front band and black satin ribbon ties
*V-neck Simplicity top
*Sleeveless lined dress from TNT pattern

4. "Advant garde in NYC"

Cotton scenic print from Wal-Mart with chocolate moleskin accents and brown sueded silk from Fabric Mart

*Calf length elastic waist straight skirt with moleskin hem and back bands.
*Sueded silk blouse and matching SW Mission Top ~ haven't decided on the blouse pattern yet.

Now if I can get motivated enough to spend some time at my sewing machine, I could turn out a couple of great outfits...true testiments to my sewing abilities. Okay, that last comment was written to encourage just me! Every once in a while you have to pat yourself on the back ~ y'know.

So that's my list. That's the direction that I am headed in. I don't really think I am moving in a very fashion forward direction. Just using the colors of the season but, and this is a very important but, these garments definitely fit into my lifestyle which makes them very wearable.

But truly, I just want to go out and play, y'know!

Friday, September 08, 2006

I am soooo frustrated!

Back in cave man days when we just sewed in isolated bliss, I didn't care whether or not I used or had a home computer. I didn't own a digital camera and I sewed for my own personal pleasure and for the oooohhhhs and aaaaahhhs of my significant other and the people who I came in contact with me daily!

So why am I so frustrated....because I can't show you the new top that I just made from the rayon scarf border print! And it is really, really, cute, and I did such a good job using the border print in the design of the shirt! I know this because I got quite a few compliments on it when I wore it!

Because I can't share with you the new fabric combination that is making my heart sing! The fabric combination that I found in my fabric closet! It was just sitting there waiting for me to add one piece plus another piece and get *wonza wonderful!* Because I have such great pictures on my digital camera that I can't get off the said computer! *wahhahahha!*

Now see this is just crazy?! I sewed just fine before I had a digital camera and went on the sewing boards. I was very happy with the oooohhhs and aaaahhhs of my fellow co-workers. I was happy when a stranger complimented me in the street. Now, *hanging head in shame* now I need the adoration of the masses to feel special! What is wrong with me!?! See I have now become a member of that "computer generation." I like sharing my creations with people from different countries and continents. I like hearing what others have to say about my ideas. I like the fact that you (the peoples) can appreciate my obsession and my possessions. I love the idea that you like the things that I saw in a flat piece of fabric and made into a three dimensional garment. I like that I really, really do! *said in my best Sally Field voice*

So what is the problem! H*ll if I know. Something about the software that is loaded is not talking to the ethernet card and so it in turn is making the internet connection falter! All I know is that I have a home computer that the operating system has been wiped clean because my wonderful teenage daughters managed to infect it with 404 - do you hear that - 404 viruses! Which reproduced, configurated and generally killed my computer. So I am coming to you via my work laptop which of course, I can not load my digital camera software to! So I got pictures and no way to share. Can we say F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D!!!!!!!

I think I should make a date with each and every one of you. You can meet me in front of the Project Runway window at Macy's and I can change clothes for you and model my newest creations. Then you could rush home and write heartwarming and complimentary things on my blog. Making the people who weren't able to meet us in NYC, pea green with envy. OR.....

I could get a grip. Realize that my computer woes are coming to an end shortly. And that I can post the pictures and tell my stories then....

In the meantime, I am just so FRUSTRATED!!!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm a fabric girl

On one of the sewing sites, Stitchers Guild, my avatar is a shot of several pieces of fabric that I used for a SWAP. I think this picture depicts the essence of my creative nature.

Since my computer was and still is ill, I spent one day last weekend reorganizing my fabric closet. Well let a true fabricaholic spend time with her fabric collection and a couple of emotions will emerge:
  • happiness - because the collection brings you such joy and some pieces are treasured "old" friends.
  • astonishment - because no matter how much you think you know what's in your collection, there is always more there than you remember!
  • inspiration - just being amongst such a wide variety of color, print, texture and fabrications definitely inspires you to want to create something really special.
  • and finally resolve - to stop adding new friends and to make some wonderful creations with the friends that are presently in your collection.

However, fabric can inspire me to create all on its own. Fabric triggers something in my creative psyche that catapults me into another creative dimension that a design idea alone doesn't quite do!

So I have pulled a few pieces from my fabric closet that I hadn't thought of recently. Then I mixed them with some other pieces in ways that I hadn't thought of before. Finally, I let them visit with each other for a few days. Occasionally, I would walk by and touch them. Sometimes I would just nod to them in passing but slowly and surely the fabric combinations were telling me what they wanted to become. And I came to the realization that as much as I study design and silhouttes, when I "play" with fabric combinations...when I really "listen" to what my fabric is saying, that is when I end up with my most spectacular garments!

Because.....I'm a fabric girl!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sewing Interrruptus!

Sorry for the interruption but my home computer has come down with a bad case of the "computer virus!" *Gawd* save me from teenagers! Anyway, the computer doctor is coming this weekend so my computer should be cured soon! And I will be back talking about and sharing my sewing adventures!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

You can always count on a skirt

You can always count on a skirt to help lift you out of the depths of sewing stagnation! And what's so great about this is that a skirt allows you to have a new garment that should fit well into your existing wardrobe, with the least amount of effort, especially if you are using a TNT pattern!

So I am back! I finished two skirts this weekend. One from the blue twill referenced in my "Randomness" post and the other from this really wild linen blend that I found in my fabric closet. Both of these skirts come from fabrics from the collection so that also makes them extra special. I mean besides the fact that I am actually sewing! Yes, the world has tilted back onto its axis and things are right again in my world! *LOL*

To the skirts:

The first one is from a blue rayon twill that I purchased from where else, Fabric Mart, several years ago. I bought this fabric because I had wanted to make a coat that I saw advertised in the September 2004 issue of W. The fabric looked similar to the coat fabric on the website but when it arrived it was considerably thinner. At first I thought about trying to beef the fabric up with some batting and then add a lining to it but it was one of those thoughts that never went anywhere, so the fabric languished in the fabric closet. Now the amazing thing about this fabric is the color - bright and beautiful and the price - 99 cents a yard. I bought three yards and I probably only used 1.5 yards for this skirt. The rest will go back into the fabric closet for another day!

I couldn't leave well enough alone and added small pearl beads to the center of the flowers. It gives it a different look and I really like it. A TNT pattern in a pretty fabric with an unusual twist.

The second skirt was made from a wild linen blend from that was purchased over five years ago and probably longer because the tag that was on the fabric says it was from "Phoenix Textiles" and its been some time since was called that!

When it fell on my head (yes the closet is just tooo stuffed!) while I was looking for something else, I realized that a skirt from this fabric would be hot. So, out of the closet, onto the table and wahlah! A great new skirt. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this fabric because I have four yards of it! Four yards...can you imagine!!!

But it was only $2.65 a yard and hopefully it was an order filler! C'mon you guys know all about order fillers....those pieces that are marginal but you buy because you need to hit a magic number to make the right amount to receive a discount, or to make the shipping and handling charge worth it! I know, I am not the only one who does this! *LOL*

So with two wonderful new skirts under my belt and two great new outfits to wear to work this week, I can work on something a little harder. So I have already cut out and just waiting to be sewn is Vogue 8118 - View B - the top with the tie.

I got the idea to try this one from Debra H. on Patternreview. She did a review of it a couple of weeks ago and I really liked the top. So it is cut out from this funky rayon border scarf print that I found at H&M Fabrics on 35th Street in NYC, for the grand price of $1 per panel! If it works and makes the really kewl top I hope for it will be worth it! And if it doesn't work and ends up just as a muslin for a new pattern I am trying then that's alright too because it was only $4 for the piece.

Pics of the fabric is below and more pics can be found in my Yahoo Photo Album.

So those are my weekend sewing adventures and I'm back! Yes!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Thread Notes

I think garment sewers break into two catagories when it comes to thread. We either collect basic colors and use them in all of our projects or we are obsessed with owning thread in every color under the sun and must change it for each and every project.

I know that there are people who are perfectly happy using shades of gray, black or white in their sergers when working on garments. I guess they believe that it is something that is not seen from the outside so it is not really necessary to change the thread or have the thread match every project exactly.

Then there are people like me...who are obsessive about the color of thread they are using in a project. Not only must the thread match, and only if necessary, coordinate with the base fabric but the serger thread must match too! Not only does this require more purchasing and storage solutions but it also means that before I can start any project I must find just the right thread color. Now how does this work with my "Just sew it!" philosophy, you ask? Well, it means that I buy a lot of thread! *LOL*

I am constantly on the lookout for thread and thread bargains. Let me assure you right now that I am not looking for cheap thread ~ my machines would turn their noses up at me and laugh if I tried to thread them with cheap thread ~ no, I mean great bargains on quality thread. And I have alot of it. I have to! I have to be ready to sew anything whenever I want to! And I absolutely abhor having to stop working on a project to pick up thread or a notion that I don't have in my collection.

That is one of the reasons why I plan so much. Planning affords me the opportunity to gather the necessary thread & notion choices ~ if not presently in my collection ~ and have the goods ready and at my disposal when I am ready to create.

So what brings up this topic today? The sewing gods are once again smiling on me and I am sewing. Please let's just stop here for a moment of reverence for the sewing gods mississippi (pause)

...two mississippi (pause)

...okay enough of that ~ back to the regularly scheduled sewing thoughts, and I have done the unthinkable. I didn't change my serger thread for the skirt I am making. I am too afraid that if I stop, I won't start again. And I hate to change serger thread! Ssshhh that was a secret! So for my bright blue printed skirt, the seams will be serged with black thread and stitched with black thread. Ah, the heresy of it, but there it is! And my reasoning ~ the skirt is lined and you will never see the thread.

So I guess sometimes I break my own rules too?! *LOL*
BTW, which are you? Are you or aren't you thread obsessed?

Friday, August 18, 2006

I would like you to meet

Hi, I would like you to meet Lulu. Lulu came to me about three years ago. I was looking for a used dressform and a friend of mine had one that she sold to me inexpensively. I had wanted a dressform for a while and after seeing how people were using them on the internet to show the beautiful garments they had made, I really wanted one.

I had to journey to pick Lulu up because she was living in a barn out of state. Lulu is from "The Uniquely You family" ~ the plus size branch. She had been residing out of state with several of her cousins from the Dressform Family but she had never been put to use. Since I was willing to take her "as she was" she seemed willing to take me too.

I spent a weekend getting to know her intimately. As in all of my measurements were taken and a moulange (well practically) of my body was performed on her cover. We were merged in a fitting ceremony and attempted to become one.

See, Lulu is still better endowed in some areas than I am and less endowed in others. I don't think I am as broad shouldered as she is and I know that she doesn't have my *ass*ets! No matter how we tried to pad her, it just wasn't getting as bouncy as I am...if you know what I mean! And then there is the matter of her bodacious bosum. It is a little pointer than mine and even with a nippleotomy and a good bra, she still doesn't quite resemble me in that area. A close second but not a perfect match.

So after the minor plastic surgery and a long awkward journey home...I mean she wouldn't fit in the trunk so she had to ride between some children in the backseat of the car. So we did get a few strange looks at the gas station but that is neither here nor there....Lulu came home. And for a while I tried to photograph garments on Lulu, and fit things on Lulu but Lulu is soooo still! I couldn't really see how garments flowed or how they reacted when I sat down or walked. So I noticed that over time Lulu became more of a holder of my latest fiber inspiration standing in the corner than an actual wearer of my newly made creations.

Then we moved. Now I am not quite sure that the movers knew what to make of Lulu. I mean once upon a time there was a Lulu in almost every household but when movers are amazed that you have over 50 boxes labeled "fabric" and for the "sewing area" I just knew they didn't get Lulu. I really knew it when after putting those same fabric boxes into their designated fabric closet - unopened - I happened upon Lulu buried behind those boxes shoeless. Okay, without her stand. I looked everywhere for her stand pieces, even calling the moving company but no stand. So that is why Lulu now leans in a corner of my sewing area. And why I had to take her picture on a rolling chair.

I have an idea to get Lulu standing tall again but I guess I just haven't gotten around to it because she is doing such a good job holding up the corner in my sewing area. Maybe while I wait for inspiration to strike me again, I should give Lulu a chance. Or then since she is not complaining and has obviously learned to live a very full life with her disability, maybe I should just enjoy her as she is....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


These are just some random thoughts I have been having during the day about my sewing and what I want to do. So I thought I would record them here:

~ I want to use my new Simplicity patterns, not just store them but actually make garments from them!

4014 - This one has a wing collar jacket with a matching dress that has princess seams and a flared bottom.

4093 - Raglan sleeve jacket with a v-neck dress and tank, pants and skirt (first thought to make it up in a blue double knit.

4050 - a Duro dress with princess seams and kimono sleeves - Khaliah Ali pattern

~ Topstitching ideas from the new Liz Claiborne ad - maybe flip the facings back onto the front of the jacket - maybe use this for the jacket in S4014

~ to try sewing a complete wardrobe from one wardrobe pattern, again S4093 comes to mind. I mean I keep buying these wardrobe patterns shouldn't I use them as they were intended at least once!

~ I hate lapped zippers - why???? I also hate zippers in side seams. Why would you just invest all of that time and effort in a garment and have it open at an inappropriate time!???

~ maybe I shouldn't sew from a list this season. Maybe I should be a little more sponteneous or maybe not!

~ I want to make a pledge to myself not to purchase any more fabric from
Fabric Mart for the next three months. I mean a box of fabric a month from them for the last eight months is a bit much isn't it?

~ Why can't there be another sewing show on TV like Sew Perfect was? I miss the daily inspiration.

~ I need to finish my "Cashmere Dreams" pieces and the maroon/navy twinset from last winter.

~ I need to buy a three subject notebook for Fall/Winter 2006-2007. All this online blogging has caused me to not keep a Spring/Summer journal. I need a piece of paper filled with ideas... one section to list ideas to sew; one section to tape inspirational pictures in; and the last section to make lists and keep fabric swatches. Because won't these be living testimonials to my art when I no longer exist? Won't my daughters treasure these later?

Possible Future Sewing Ideas:

  • a two piece dress and cardigan from the Eggplant knit from EOS using the my TNT burda cardigan and a burda t-shirt dress
  • a blue rayon twill from FM for a bias flare skirt to coordinate with the rust colored silk blouse in my closet
  • pink wool embroidered edge fabric for a flare skirt with a lining
  • print cotton twill fabric panel for a skirt with brown moleskin for accents and a vest.

Welcome to my randomness....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I got nothing...

I got nothing and I am as dry as a bone...well creatively that is! And I am annoyed! I hate when I have down periods and don't want to sew. Especially since sewing is the one thing that defines me without involving someone else. Yes, I am someone's mother, friend, significant other, daughter, etc. but sewing defines just me. It identifies me as a creative person, talented, gifted, artistic, and no I am not bragging, just stating a fact. A fact that too many of us shy away from but that is a topic for another day!

I just hate when the sewing inspiration lays dormant and I have to struggle through the black and white world without my sewing colored goggles on!

I got nothing. I am mad and struggling!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Before and After

There are certain times of the year when the seasons just seem to overlap. When you really should be wearing and sewing clothing for the season you are presently in but the lure of the next season has truly started to worm itself into your brain. It happens to me every year at two major junctions ~ winter into spring and summer into fall. I guess everything just changes so dramatically at the end of those seasons (winter and summer) that you naturally start looking out over the horizon to see what's next.

It doesn't help that RTW manufacturers, designers, stores, catalogues and magazines are all moving you in that direction by teasing you with the next season's offerings. And since I am such a huge consumer of fashion magazines and catalogues, my mind has already moved away from summer sewing and into fall sewing. On the one hand this is a good thing. I am getting a jump on my fall wardrobe by looking at and planning what new trends to incorporate into my fall/winter wardrobe. I am starting to go through my fall wardrobe and carefully examine the garments from last season. When you aren't wearing the garments every day, I think you have a much more objective eye about what you did and did not wear last winter and what needs to be auf'd!

You can also look objectively at what needs to be repaired, what didn't work for you and needs to be donated and what has just become outdated. Which brings me to the title of this post, "Before and After." Every season I sew several trendy garments ~ something that is highlighted in the fashion mags as the "it" garment. And inevitably, a year or two later the garment is now "out!" Sometimes the garment is donated to one of the charities seeking used clothing, sometimes the garment is stripped of all usable parts especially if the fabric is damaged or stained and the remaining piece thrown away. And sometimes, when I get really lucky, the piece can be altered, giving it a new life. So therefore, my sewing was not in vain.

This season that happened with two skirts that I made two years ago. I really liked wearing these skirts and they worked well in my fall wardrobe. So here are their befores:

The first fall skirt:

My "before" version of the Casual Corner Skirt with the ruffled hem.

The "after" version ~ which is a more classic and seasonless skirt.

The second fall skirt:

My "before" version of the Fringed Skirt.

And my "after" version of the same black plaid skirt ~ which makes it "trendy" for Fall 2006!

More pictures of "Before and Afters" can be seen in my Yahoo Photo Album.

I have to admit that this did satisfy some of my initial enthusiasm to sew "Fall Garments" and I can now go back and work on that blue silk crepe dress that I cut out prior to vacation. But even those pieces are transitional pieces ~ late summer into early fall.

So I guess I really am turning away from Summer sewing and heading into Fall. I know I can't be alone in this journey so how many of you have begun to think & plan Fall sewing?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Can't Believe It!

I'm back from vacation and I have to show you this picture:

What is this? What am I trying to show you? That I went on vacation and this is all I bought home sewing related...2.5 yards of a tapestry, 1 yard of a print, a Simplicity pattern and two tracing wheels...somehow after the teenager used them they mysteriously returned to my sewing area broken. But that is a post for another day!

So I haven't sewn in like 11 days and I only bring home 3.5 yards of fabric! What is going on here!?! I mean I had a list of fabric stores in the area, I had money, and I had transportation and somehow I only managed to pick these few things up in the local Wal-mart! Something is definitely wrong with this picture!

So that is my sad vacation tale. I go back to work on Monday and I have to catch up on my sewing and finish up my Burda Six!

BTW, it's good to be home!

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Vacation Break

Last night I cleaned up my sewing area....I put away some fabric that had been laying around. I put away sewing tools and organized several patterns that I was using in my last outfits. See I am going on vacation! Yeah, really going away this time and I need to spend the next few evenings doing some things to prepare my family to leave. So this will be my last blog entry for about a week and a half! But before I left I wanted to show you how far I got on the Burda Six!

I am opening with a picture of the button and the bead detailing. There was a conversation on Sewing World a few months ago about how to make the thread tails look better on the back of buttons. There were many suggestions given but the one I liked best came from Kathryn ~ where she suggested putting a small bead on the back of the button to hide the threads. This is becoming a signature piece for me now. On this jacket, I only put one single blue bead at the collar area because I never button my jacket up that far. And I have always worried about those "nasty" thread tails showing ~ this solves the problem and looks so kewl at the same time! That is what I like so much about the conversations at Sewing World (at the time) and now Artisans Square. It helps me to refine my sewing ~ adding those last little details that take my sewing to the next level!

Here is a picture of the jacket! I am especially proud of the buttons on the jacket because not only are they covered buttons but they also have an added gold rim to the button. I love that I made these custom buttons for this jacket. They look nothing like you would see in the store!

Here is how I wore the outfit today to work. Got a lot of compliments and it was great to wear this outfit on one of the hottest days of the year. It was well over 90 degrees and the jacket, top & city shorts were great in the office and outside, I just removed the jacket and had a cute outfit to walk to the bus stop.

This version is with a RTW tank top. I was surprised at how good it looks all together and I love the pants. The transitional wool has a bit of lycra stretch in it so I used a wider leg pants pattern when I cut the pants out because the fabric was very drapey. The pants feel great on and I think they look okay too!

The final version and I am going to pack this one to take with me on vacation ~ is the jacket, top and skirt. This will make a great outfit to wear to church service one day during the week. Cool and comfortable yet classic! Now that is my idea of a good outfit. If you want to see my Yahoo photo album with more pictures, just click on the highlighted link!

The blue silk crepe dress is all cut out and sitting on my cutting table waiting for me to come back from vacation and finish it up! I had enough time to complete it yesterday but started watching movies with my family and was having such a good time that I let it go! It will be here waiting for me when I come back from vacation and it is always nice to have a garment already cut out and the machines threaded just waiting to be used. It makes getting back into the sewing swing of things so easy!

Well that's it! My last sewing adventure for awhile! I have a list of fabric stores in the area that we are traveling to so I will let you know if anything follows me home! *smile*

Have a good week! Happy sewing and enjoy the journey! Peace!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stash Diving

Or as a subtitle, "Mining my fabric collection for gold!" And I struck pay dirt! I found a lightweight nutmeg wool ticotine that I purchased at Jomars like ages ago! As you can see from the picture below ~ it works really well with the two main fabrics.

I think it will work really well with the blue silk crepe piece too!

So this is just an update. I will not need to venture into the garment district the week before leaving for vacation. I won't have to stand in the fabric store adding and subtracting and hoping that I am not taking away too much money from the vacation fund because I found a few other pieces that I just had to have and would add so much to the collection! *smile* Nope ~ I have found a suitable piece in my fabric collection.

And today, my fabric collection is like gold! I have found a piece that has been aging for years that will work perfectly with some recently purchased fabrics. Also while I was on my hands and knees pulling pieces from the bottom shelf of the closet, I found two other pieces that will work well with my "All the Leaves Are Brown" Fall SWAP! Yeap, a fabric collection is well worth the time and effort ~ well at least in my case!

So I am off to sew now! I will add a pair of pants from the wool and this will really make these pieces transition from summer to late summer and into early fall! Yeah, it's a good day in the fabric closet!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Burda Six ~ so far...

Just thought I would give an update on how I am doing with "The Burda Six!" This concept is based upon 6 or 7 garments made in complimentary fabrics that can work as a mini wardrobe. I started with Burda's concept and came up with my own plan to make a jacket, a dress, 2 tank tops, a skirt and a pair of pants.

I was using a beige rayon/linen blend for the jacket and pants to have a basic pantsuit that could be dressed up or down using various tops in my wardrobe besides the ones that were part of the Burda Six. My first obstacle was that I did not have as much fabric as I thought I had ~ the pants became city shorts. Then even though I thought I had correctly measured the shoulder seam, I had to take the sleeves out and put them back in. Luckily, I had only hand basted them in! This is my personal "slow down and enjoy the journey" effort. Any sleeves that have to be put into a jacket or top without a flat application, must be hand basted in. This allows me to check how the sleeve looks in the garment, how it hangs, where the jacket falls on my shoulder without a major effort of getting the sleeve out if there is something I don't like!

The tank top was made using the SW Mission Tank out of the beige/blue swirly print rayon/linen blend. This is a favorite TNT pattern of mine that I have lengthened, changed the neckline on and even constructed it in a knit fabric although the pattern is designed to be used with wovens.

The TNT skirt with some extra flare in the panels was also made from the beige/blue swirly print rayon/linen blend. Using TNT patterns made this fast and easy sewing. Also its summer sewing so there are no linings, no hand stitched hems ~ machine stitched only, so the sewing is pretty quick!

I now have three of the six pieces completed. The jacket needs the shoulder pads covered and sewn in, a hem and buttons and buttonholes. But I feel like I am in the home stretch for finishing it. I still have to make the dress from McCalls 3197. View A ~ the sleeveless one with the ruffled hem. And another tank top from the blue silk crepe using this tank top pattern ~ another TNT.

I think I need to add a chocolate brown linen skirt or pair of pants. The garments just seem like they need one more bright pop of color. However, I don't have a chocolate brown linen in my fabric collection and I am a little loathe to go out looking for some. Who knows what might follow me home from the garment district!!!! Just one more shot of the wearing possibilities!

See how the brown necklace gives it that added pop of color! Yes, I definitely need a couple yards of brown linen to play off the print, the light solid beige and the silky blue. It will add the "finishing touch" to my version of the Burda Six! Will let you know what I find? And if only the chocolate brown fabric makes it home with me! *smile*

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Finishing Up Summer Sewing

Even though I took most of yesterday to dream and pull fall fabrics, I still have a list of garments that I want to finish for this summer season. The list has been edited from my overly ambitious one that couldn't possibly be done before next January, to a slightly more manageable one that I can finish and still wear by the end of September.

The first set of garments on my list is "The Burda Six":

The Burda Six is a reference to the Burda World of Fashion magazines. Y'know how lately every monthly issue highlights a group of 6 or 7 pieces that are made to work together? Well I have some great rayon/linen blend pieces that I thought would make an interesting Burda Six. So my pieces are made from 4 yards of a tan rayon/linen from FFC; 5 yds of a tan & shades of blue swirly print in rayon/linen also from FFC and 4 yds of a light blue silk crepe from Jomars in Philadelphia.

Using the Burda Six as a model, I am making:
~ an unlined jacket and a pair of city shorts (Vogue 8264) out of the tan rayon/linen,
~ a tank top and short flare skirt from TNT patterns from the printed rayon/linen
~ and a dress & tank using McCalls 3173 out of the blue silk crepe.

"Six pieces to make up a mix and match wardrobe."

Here is a picture of the jacket so far.

I still have a lot of work to do to it. Especially since I added binding to all the exposed seams in the garment and made piping for the collar. This is definitely not qualifying as a fast and easy jacket. I have close ups below of the jacket and the details inside the jacket.

Close up of the piped collar and back seam!

Close up of the collar stand and back seam

And as always, I will keep you updated on the progress of "The Burda Six!"


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