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!


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