Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Who Inspires You?

Do you realize that tomorrow is the last day of October and that there are only two months to this year left? 2007 where did you go?

At the beginning of the year I was doing end of the month stats. Halfway through I abandoned those posts because the stats were holding me back and making me feel as if I wasn't accomplishing much. I mean I can only sew what I can sew and no matter how much I don't want to become "the house where the fabric lady lives", I will continue to purchase fabric. Afterall, I am an unrepentant fabricaholic...*LOL*

However, as the end of the year draws near, I am starting to review what I want to accomplish before December 31st. Am I going to share it with you? Probably sooner or later but not today...instead today I want to throw it back.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about women who sew that inspire me. I have decided to consolidate and update this list because some of the links are outdated, some of the blogs have been moved or changed, etc. So without further ado and in no particular order, my list:

Kathryn who logs in on Stitchers Guild as fzxdoc. Yesterday she posted the most amazing little black dress! This ain't your mama's little black dress and most designers would try to duplicate it. I can just see Allan B. Schwartz (you know the guy who knocks off the Golden Globe and Academy Award dresses) out there sketching his version of the dress for only $199. But it is not just the clothing she makes, it is how freely she shares her sewing knowledge, her ability to always be kind to everyone via cyberspace (harder to do than you think sometimes!), how she gets so excited and inspired over other's creations and she gets it! She understands the need to put fabric and thread together to come up with a delectable 3D creation!

Liana logs into Stitchers Guild as Liana. Liana knits, sews, gardens and has the coolest embellishing machine on the planet. Okay, I know others of you own the machine but Liana really works that thing! Just look at her photo albums and you can see how much she likes to play when she creates but it is all done with such quality! The other thing is that Liana is as obsessed as I am about fashion as evidenced by her fashion blog, aptly named Fashioned. I know that in the middle of the night when I am up watching Fashiontrance on the Style network that somewhere in the west, Liana is up watching it with me!

The next inspiring woman is one of the Sewing Divas...Gigi! I can't call Gigi a friend but I would like to! Gigi's spot is full of kewl clothes that women would wear everyday! I love how she takes a simple pattern and reinvents it four or five times using different materials and notions to get a different effect with each garment. Visit her site and see how she works a Loes Hinse pattern like nobody's business. Again someone who is kind and willing to share and has a love of what she does!

I called these next three women, my old school inspirations because I met all of them on a sewing list on Quiltropolis that was later spun off into an email list called Sewing Circle. I experienced some major fabric shopping trips with them and whenever I think of where I've come from sewing-wise...these names always fall from my lips.

Colleen Jones is one of my sheros! Many of you that have been members of Patternreview for several years will remember Colleen since she and her partner Lisa Tarunto taught the first internet sewing classes there. Colleen is a wonderful sewing teacher. She is patient and kind and has a true love of sewing that she wants to impart to everyone! She encourages you to continue sewing no matter what your sewing level, knowing that you will learn the techniques and get better and she just emanates joy when you are discussing sewing! Colleen was doing full bust adjustments with her pie example long before they became the rage. But mostly Collen encouraged me to collect beautiful fabrics! She shared unselfishly of her own fabric, pattern and sewing book collections with me at a time when my fabric stash had been taken from me. But mostly she was there for me ~ sewing and otherwise. To me, Colleen is the Goddess of Fit!

Lynn Cope Conroy...Lynn dyes, quilts and sews from a beautiful sewing room on the West Coast. Lynn exposed me to my first Sewing Workshop patterns, to felting wool jersey and to Christine Jonson patterns. She makes beautiful quilts that have been displayed in coffee shops in her local neighborhood. She was the first woman I met that collected fabric in a specific color and yardage to turn out wonderful wearable garments that were made just for her! She encouraged me to sew when my personal life was in great upheaval. She listened to me and loved my long rambling email posts about what I wanted to make and she encouraged me to capsule sew. Lynn, thank you for helping me through the drama and for taking me fabric shopping in San Francisco!

My friend, Lisa Kennedy! I met her on an internet sewing list and we became road dogs! Lisa will drive anywhere for fabric! Many of my excursions to Fabric Mart, Jomars in Philadelphia and GStreet in Maryland were done by Lisa's side! Her enthusiasm for sewing things, fabric and patterns knows no bounds. And she is the most generous person...when the Joann's near her closed down and all the patterns were 50 cents apiece she bought an entire cabinet worth of patterns and shared them with her friends! Bags and boxes of patterns were left in her living and dining rooms and you were allowed to go through and just pick what you wanted. It was one of my kewlest sewing experiences of my life ever!!!! Even to this day if you mention road trip, Lisa's eyes light up with a sparkle, she gets out her blackberry to put in the date and she starts to wax poetic about what we could possibly find! And thanks to Lisa, I now can put in a much better invisible zipper! Thanks Lisa for giving up your weekend to teach me what I was doing wrong!

I have had some of the best times in the company of my best friend sorting through fabrics, patterns and making sewing dreams come true! Since I am on a roll here, I would like to add just a few more names! Sandra Coleman, Christine Adams, Julie McFann, Dawn Earl and all the women of the Sewing Circle - thank you for all the good times, the information shared, the fabric bought and the inspiration!

This last grouping of women just inspire me...ohmygosh! When I open a patternreview digest and their names are listed, I automatically click on their review to see what they've created! Talk about eye candy for the sewist's soul, these women provide it in droves...

Debra H. is first...I noticed her reviews about two years ago on Patternreview. And the reason that I noticed them was that she used color! Lots of color and interesting fabrics! Wow! Those are two primary inspiration triggers for me! She sews out of North Carolina and makes the kewlest things. Here is a link to her reviews on patternreview. There are 142 of them! Get a cup of coffee, get comfortable and be amazed at some of the wonderful garments she has produced. Thank you for always providing inspiration through your use of color and fabrics which you use so amazingly to create some awesome garments!

Ann Smith is next, I am totally in awe at what Ann creates in beautiful California. She sews from all the pattern companies, making things that I think look like garbage on the pattern envelope and turning them into true works of art. I know that she has exhibited some of her garments at the Quilt Show and I understand why she was asked because her clothing is like candy for the eyes! I love her sense of adventure in her sewing and always get excited when her name appears next to a review at Patternreview. Ann now has a blog called, "Stitch Me Up" where you can see all of her work ~ past and present. And if you just want eye candy go to her Flickr Album and just browse. Ann also has pictures of her sewing room in her Flickr album. I could see myself sitting with Ann there talking about what makes her sew and why. Ann, thank you for always bringing joy to me when I see your reviews!

Barbara Elfman Bell ~ when I first got internet access I was surfing and looking at all of the websites and picture galleries. Barbara's is called Cat Fur Studio (http://mysite.verizon.net/Cat_Fur_Studio/). What made me really take notice of Barbara's garments were two things. One she worked in a corporate type setting, same as me, so her garments really spoke to the way I dress daily. But most importantly, she shops at one of my all time favorite fabric warehouses ~ Jomars! I will not turn this into a breathy salute to Jomars but suffice it to say that I know Barbara has access to some very kewl fabrics. And anyone who can have that much fabric inspiration and turn out such wonderful workwear deserves a shout out in my book. Barbara has quite a few reviews at Patternreview and she sews a lot of Christine Jonson patterns. I love how Barbara uses CJ's patterns with their clean, simple lines to create amazing workwear. And in the year that has passed, I have had the great honor to fabric shop with her and believe me her taste is amazing! Barbara ~ we are still going to get to Jomars together I promise! *LOL*

Finally, now there are even more women that inspire me and encourage me daily...many of you visit my blog on the regular. Please realize that if I didn't mention your name it isn't that you don't touch, inspire, or encourage me on a regular basis...I was just throwing it back to people who I called out last year.

Now if any of these women inspire you or if there is someone I haven't named and you would like to pay homage to, please feel free! I truly believe that we are all better by naming the people who came before us and showed us the way...so shout back at me!

Friday, October 26, 2007

More Fabric Dreams

Well it's finally Friday! And waiting for me when I got home was another box from FabricMart. That's right, I succumbed to the sale, yet again. Now over at Fabricaholics Anonymous ~ one of the twelve steps is to admit that you have a problem...

So I'm admitting that I have a big one...'cause I am gleefully and happily showing you what came today. However, I am now banned from the site. Yeap, can't visit it again until the sale is over! When the banner advertising the $4.99 a yard wool and the Anna Sui silks that are on sale comes down, will someone pleeeezzzee tell me! *LOL*

Here's what came:

The Anna Sui purple print wool challis followed me home because Barbara of Cat Fur Studio She wrote about it and then showed the picture from Anna's Fall 2006 show. Yeah, I needed that. Then I saw the seafoam green wool crepe...seafoam green, y'all for a great dress during the middle of the dreary and cold Northeast winter. At $4.99 a yard, I needed some of that too! *LOL* Finally the brown doubleknit was in the new arrivals section last week and I couldn't believe the price, $6.99 per yard. Yeap, needed some of that too...so 12 more yards of fabric bliss arrived today. But now, I must, I must sew something and stop buying....

This also came in the mail today:

More patterns from my people's...now how did I end up with so many McCall's patterns after ranting about them folks....

But I did find this great herringbone in the fabric closet that will work with McCall's 5479 or McCalls 5480...haven't decided yet which pattern. BTW, the fabric is a silk/wool blend from...yeap...Fabric Mart! Any thoughts, comments or suggestions on the pattern or fabric would be appreciated.

I only have one day to sew this weekend...(I have college stuff to do with my baby on Sunday! My baby who will be 18 next month...ohmygosh time is flying!) and I have to decide whether to keep working on the SWAP pieces or divert and work on another idea I have percolating... I will definitely let you know what I decide!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Instant Replay

This is one of my favorite posts and since Toya has highlighted it in the podcast...I decided to do an "Instant Replay." So for those of you who have just started to read my blog or if you have been reading it for awhile...here is an Instant Replay...enjoy!

Quality Sewing
January 10, 2006

I have just come in from my day job - you know the time I spend away from my sewing machine so that I can support the upkeep of my machine, my fabric collection, notions stash, etc! And for the last few days I have been musing on something my daughter kept saying to me ~ quality sewing.

Now, how did the daughter I taught to sew say "quality sewing" back to me.....well, I was working on my Pinstripe Magic Collection (otherwise known as SWAP sewing) and I was debating whether or not to add rayon seam binding to the bottom of a hem on my skirt. Now in my head I knew that this would give the garment a more finished look but I wanted to wear the skirt the next day. It was getting late in the evening and every extra step meant more time that I didn't necessarily have.

Having my daughter say "quality sewing" became like a mantra in my head. Of course, I added the rayon seam binding to the bottom hem, not just sewn on and hemmed down but folded in half, ironed, sewn by machine and then hand stitched. Lots of extra time but definitely worth it when I wore the skirt.

But the term quality sewing hasn't left my head since. So like Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex in the City" I want to ask a question. How long can you keep sewing without wanting to do quality sewing? And exactly what is quality sewing?

Well, to me, it is the fine little details that insure that your garment is made with the best construction techniques. You know all of those details that cause a garment's completion date to be pushed back!!!! *LOL* Underlining, putting more than one row of stitching in a hem, Hong Kong finishing seams and not just serger finishing them, hand stitching a lining instead of bagging it. Anything that takes time and shows a respect for the construction of the garment ~ quality sewing.

Now how many of us engage in quality sewing? How many of us take the time to enjoy the process? How many of us enjoy knowing that the garments we are wearing have those quality details in them that others can't sew or begin to guess at? And is it truly worth our time and effort?

I remember this article that was written in Threads. It showed a dress made straight out of the pattern following the pattern instructions and another version made that added all of those extra details (quality sewing). You could definitely tell that there was a difference in those two dresses. One just looked finer than the other.

So I guess that is what I am going for....the finer looking garment and why I will continue to succumb to the mantra of "quality sewing!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do you really wanna know how my mind works?

I'm starting with a picture tonight so that you can see what is hanging outside my fabric closet. This is my Coldwater Creek collection so far. Now why is it hanging? So that I can get a visual and turn what I see in my mind's eye into what everyone can see as I go about my day.

In almost all SWAP conversations, the storyboard is emphasized as the starting point. And it's used as a guide for the person sewing the SWAP. I, on the other hand have never used a storyboard. I don't know if its because I need the flexibility so that I can keep the concept fresh in my mind or if its because I can actually "see" the pieces so there is no need for drawings and fabric swatches on a piece of paper. I generally sew SWAP with a list of garments and a few digital pictures to keep track.

So that's what this opening picture is all about...the pieces I've created so far with additional pieces of fabric included to see if they work and if they will take me in the direction that I want to go. Now here is the lovely thing...those pieces will hang there and inspire me until I finish or wear something first! *LOL* No, seriously...the hanging garments inspire me and allow me to "see" where I need to go, if there are any holes in my plan and what garments and/or color schemes need to be added to round the collection out.

After I hung these pieces together, I realized two things...one, that I forgot to hang the brown sueded silk and two that I need a pop of color. I am now contemplating adding a shell from a blue silk crepe fabric that is hanging out in my fabric closet.

Here is where I'm at right now...

The jacket and skirt are finished. I am including the twinset in the collection but there is the possibility that I will shorten the jacket. The brown sueded silk will definitely become the shirt jacket and tank top. I don't know what the print will become but it definitely belongs in this grouping. The tank with the lace is done but I am wondering about its length...I've gotta see it with a few more pieces first to check its versatility and wearability...the TNT lined pants are in progress.

This is how my mind is presently wrapping itself around my collection...all of this is subject to change...

Carolyn Speaks

Last Tuesday I had the honor of spending a few hours chatting about sewing with Toya who authors the blog, "Life Happens be Positive". If you want to eavesdrop in on our conversation, click here. It was a lot of fun to talk about sewing, what inspires me, how I learned and who I want to be when I grow up! *LOL*

Thanks Toya for spending time with me and for asking such interesting questions!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It has been mentioned several times that some of my pictures don't click into the humogous size. This is due to the blog owner's ignorance in all things HTML! *LOL* It can also probably be chalked up to the fact that I am using a pretty big computer screen at home and can see the large pictures quite clearly in my posts.

Now since I probably won't be learning HTML any time soon ~ I will admit that I have limited time and even more limited interest ~ I am posting a link to my Flickr album. I have also included this link in my profile...most times when I post a picture in my blog, I also save it to my Flickr Album. Flickr is a lovely online photo site because it will let you view my pictures in the humogous size, thereby seeing every nick, thread, mistake, etc. in my outfits! *LOL*

I also post way more pictures of my sewing process there since Blogger does have a space limitation on photos. Oh and since I pay Flickr to keep my photos safe, you should drop by my photo albums, sit down with a cup of coffee or Mountain Dew and visit awhile...I've got quite a few sets there...

Finally if any poor soul wishes to explain HTML to me in easy, easier, easiest terms, please feel free to drop me a line at my email addy!

I'm out and thanks for coming by even though I am a lousy HTML writer! *smile* Hey, a girl can't be great in EVERYTHING!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Coldwater Creek Inspiration Wardrobe - Update #1

Okay, I am going to admit it right up front! I'm a SWAP girl. I can't help myself. It's in my blood and I've been indoctrinated...I am a card carrying, fabric collection buying, always matching my pieces together SWAP girl.

Now why am I making this admission? Because what started as a simple jacket/dress combo for my work wardrobe has morphed into a SWAP - 11 garments that work together to give you as much flexibilty when getting dressed as possible. How did this happen? Well one reason is because I am an U-N-R-E-P-E-N-T-E-N-T Fabricaholic...I loves me some fabric! The second reason is because being such a fabric addict (almost said ho! *LOL* and the good Rev. Al Sharpton says I shouldn't use that word no mo'...) I tend to purchase fabric in the same colorways. Which makes mixing and matching fabrics, a very easy thing to do!

Y'all know that I have recently acquired some new fabrics...and y'all know that there was some brown wool crepe in the mix. So enterprising seamstress that I am I held that piece up to my fabrics and woohoo they C-O-O-R-D-I-N-A-T-E-D! I mean these pieces looked GOOD together...so good, how good...so good that I decided I needed to make some more pieces! And then before you knew it I had a SWAP going. *LOL*

Yeap it kinda just happened to me....yeah right! I know I'm a SWAP girl...So here's a shot of the almost finished pieces...well actually ~ the dress, the jacket, and the top are done...complete...finito! The skirt needs to be hemmed and the elastic added to the waist and then it too moves to the finished side. Also pictured is a creamy vanilla wool/lycra sweater knit that I used to make a twinset several years ago. It works perfectly with these pieces and they make garments number 10 and a 11...a true SWAP complement!

I want to make 5 more pieces...from the brown wool crepe a pair of lined pants, from the dark chocolate sueded silk a tank top and v-neck shirt jacket, from the leftover (absolute last scraps) of the tan tropical wool ~ which started this journey off ~ a lined straight skirt...and the final piece a princess seamed jacket with collar from the brown wool crepe. I am going to be working with these fabrics just a little bit longer.

I think I may need to add another top. I'm not sure if it will be something that is already in my closet or if I will whip up another one, but you and I both know that I will definitely keep you informed.

However, I will slip the McCall's paisley print dress into the sewing rotation because it is still singing its siren song to me ~ very loudly! Well, that's my first update on the new Coldwater Creek Inspiration Wardrobe...and hey I am a SWAP girl!

Thank You!

To everyone who took the time to write such heartfelt and wonderful messages about your sewing inspiration(s), thank you! Thank you also to all the lurkers who shouted back at me with your location. I appreciated it and I appreciate you for always stopping by and checking out my ramblings. I still have no clue who's visiting from India, Singapore, Japan and South Africa but I am glad that you come on by. And I really hope that I continue to inspire, encourage and entertain you with my sewing projects! *smile*

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday Morning Shout-Out

When I first started this blog, over a series of weeks I did Saturday Morning Shout-Outs. They were based upon women who inspired my sewing both now and in the recent past.

However, this week I want to turn the tables. If you read my blog, I would like you to shout-out and tell me where you are located AND name one person who is inspirational to you, sewing-wise. It doesn't have to be someone famous or well-known, it can just be someone who inspires you to continue to sew or who taught you to sew or whom you would like your sewing to emulate.

So all of you lurkers out there, step up and talk to me! I will be away for a little this weekend, have some personal things to attend to but I sure would like to know who's reading my blog in India, South Africa, Japan and Europe! That's not to say that I don't want to know who's reading it in the good ole USA but sometimes seeing the World Map lit up on Sitemeter is amazing.

Okay, enough babbling, so shout back at me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fabric Therapy...

Today was a looong day at work...non-stop moving, lunch at 3 pm, didn't leave the office until 7:15 pm...got on a bus home at 8:00 pm and finally walked in the door at 9:15 pm.

So what kept me sane today during this extra hectic day...knowing that fabric was suppose to arrive today. It hit me about 1:00 pm when I was seriously thinking about doing some bodily harm to a co-worker, that fabric was coming, fabric was coming! And immediately those murderous thoughts left me and a peace descended upon me...thank God 'cause that girl was dead y'all! *LOL*

Here's what came:

From Fashionista Fabrics:
3 yards Paisley Wool Challis
3 yards Crochet Paisley

4.5 yards Chocolate Wool Crepe (I ordered 9 but the website's counter must have been off!)
3 yards Ivory wool/blend coat weight
4 yards of silk charmeuse (one of the Anna Sui's)
8 yards of Navy Wool Crepe

Now you would think I would be in heaven right??? Well sort of...Fabric Mart was sold out of the black/white wool blend which I really wanted. I was seriously thinking of a Stage 2 to my Timmel SWAP and this would have made a great jacket that would have played well with many of my original pieces...and a wrong piece was included instead of...and hopefully if its not sold out. I am sure that my peps at Fabric Mart will make it right.

However, I must tell you that the two pieces from Fashionista Fabrics were so much better than I imagined them to be. I am in love with the crocheted piece and that's not the one I was looking forward to receiving! *LOL* But fabric therapy did work today because my co-worker doesn't know how close she came to be vaporized! ROTFLOL!

Now two picture peeks and I'm off to bed...gotta get some sleep before I haul myself back to work tomorrow to make some more fabric money!

Me in the black jacket (I don't know why I didn't post this before!)

And a sneak peek of the CC Inspirational Jacket wardrobe. More details will be coming soon...I promise. I just thought you should actually see how far along I am since I keep "promising" to share something with you!

Oh, and swing by Cidell's blog, "Miss Cellie's Pants" and listen to her being interviewed on Toya's "Life Happens be positive" podcast!

I'm off to bed!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Assembling the Pieces

As many of you know, I am a planner. Many of my garments are planned out well in advance so that when I am ready to sew them, all I have to do is sit down and go for it.

I really want to make View D of McCalls 5555:

I think this will be a pretty fall dress that will work nicely in my corporate environment. So I have spent the week purchasing all of the pieces to make my "vision" of the dress work.

From Fashionista Fabrics, I got three yards of this beautiful paisley wool challis:

Then from Nancy's Notions, I ordered a crib size sheet of wool batting and a blue varigated silk thread because in my mind I see the yoked neckline and sleeves with a "trapunto" style embellishment. Nothing fancy or ornate just a little something to give it some zing. I have a silky blue lining fabric in my stash that I will use in this dress and several sparkly blue glass buttons that I will add to the back yoke.

I also want to try out a tip that I learned from Kathryn (fzxdoc on Stitchers Guild) - using elastic hair pieces as button loops. Note to self, need to get a pack of those from Duane Reade tomorrow!

So while I am finishing up the CC Inspiration Jacket and corresponding pieces, I am plotting my next project...something that won't take as long to emerge from my sewing machine but still be a vital part of my work wardrobe.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

UFO's or Unfinished Objects

Several years ago Threads (October/November 2003 issue) did an article on felting wool jersey. In response to that article and the buzz it generated almost every online fabric store carried yards and yards of wool jersey in a multitude of colors. Since I am particularly enamoured of fabric manipulation, felting wool jersey was right up my alley. I mean it was simple - the washing machine and dryer do all the work! All I had to do was purchase enough fabric and then move it from machine to machine.

The other thing that is so wonderful about working with felted wool jersey is that the color becomes even more vivid and you do not need to do any seam finishing on the resulting garments.

When I felted a medium weight wool jersey piece, I used the method described in the Threads article so the resulting piece of fabric was very heavy. The jackets made from the fabric are very, very warm and since the winter that I made them was an extremely cold winter the jackets worked well in my business casual wardrobe. You can see the collection of them here.

Today I was in my coat closet because yes, it is finally cooler here in the Northeast - I had to turn my heat on last night - and I moved some things around. I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before but pinned up against the side of the closet was this jacket.

This was one of the last felted jackets that I made. I used an OOP Butterick pattern - 6771. It has moleskin accents and it was made around March. Not a smart move if you want to wear it as an outerwear jacket. So I pulled it out and realized that it was unfinished. Now, I must stop here and tell you that I don't have a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects). If a garment isn't working for me, I usually ditch it. Or if it's hanging around, its because it needs something simple like a hem or I'm holding onto it because I want to take it in another direction. I have exactly 4 UFOs in my sewing area.

One is a wool jersey twinset that just needs buttons and buttonholes...Why is it still there?

Another is a jacket that I started and meant to finish last year but I wasn't sure that it would go with my corporate environment - it a beigey/tan cashmere/wool blend. I think I am going to finish it this year because it really is me. I just won't wear it on "big" meeting days!

The third is a thigh length cardigan that needs a lot of work - just the shell is made - and I have hung onto it because it is a beautiful piece of wool cut into a classic jacket pattern that I need to figure out a way to make it work.

The final piece is a dress that was cut out in a blue silk crepe to go with the Burda Six pieces that I made two summers ago. I am going to repurpose the fabric into a top and skirt to go with some wool pieces this fall.

Otherwise, I don't hold onto UFOs. These four pieces are neatly hanging waiting for their turn to come out of oblivion. I can see them when I'm in my sewing area and when I make new sewing lists, I always revisit them. So I was really surprised to find this piece in the coat closet and a little annoyed when I pulled it out and realized that it needs to be hemmed, the shoulder pads sewn in and a button or two attached. The only reason I can think of for forgetting it is that it was placed in the coat closet when I moved into this apartment and not into the closet by my sewing nook.

The coat has some very nice details - lots of topstitched seams, moleskin accents, ties on the sleeves and it is the perfect time in the season for a new topper.

Moleskin accents around the v-neckline....

Moleskin ties inserted into the seam and a button attached to the tie to secure it to the sleeve.

So I sat down to finish up what I thought was some quick sewing and discovered the real reason the jacket was a UFO. After all the work that went into making the jacket, I couldn't make regular buttonholes on the jacket fronts - the felted wool was too thick! I am sure that at the time I probably had a plan to do some kind of buttonhole treatment on the front of the jacket, but I have forgotten it since! *smile*

What to do? What to do? See I've already tried the jacket on and it fits still, *LOL* and its warm. I can already picture myself waiting at the bus stop in it with a brightly colored scarf around my neck. Mmmm, to the trimmings drawer I head and there I find buried in the bottom a plastic bag with several chinese frogs. Laying them down on the jacket, they work and give the jacket a different kinda feel...

Now when I say the felted wool jersey is thick...believe me it is. I had to hand baste the frogs onto the front of the jacket and then slowly zigzag stitch them down to the jacket fronts. The jacket also has side slits so as a finishing touch I added a button on either side at the top of the slit.

I covered the shoulder pads which was a small adventure in itself, since my serger decides that it wants to unthread itself then! Why does that happen? And isn't amazing that it always manages to happen right at the end of the project when you most want to finish it and move onto something else?! But with a little ingenuity (I am leaving the serger alone to rethread when I am not so pressed) I got the shoulder pads covered and inserted into the jacket.

Monday morning I will be standing at the bus stop in my new topper with a brightly colored scarf wearing my finished UFO.

Now back to working on the jacket...hopefully I will have an update tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sewing is a Talent

I knew that I wanted to say something today but I didn't know what until I got to Cidell's blog, "Miss Celie's Pants". Her post today is about her sewing history and it's very interesting, however, it was this sentence that caught my attention:

"I've said it before, and Erica B. agrees with me, 'If you can read. You can do anything.' "

I started to make a comment about this but realized that I had more to say than that little comment box would hold. Because in theory I agree with the statement, yes, if you can read you can do anything but and here is what I thought next, "Do you have a talent for it?"

As with many things sewing is a set of skills that can be mastered with practice and time but the true creators of amazing garments have a talent and an eye for not just sewing a garment but creating a unique piece. It comes from a series of decisions that are made that range from the color, fabric and texture, to the pattern and knowing what works for your body or anyone's body.

When talent is involved in sewing, you don't just have a functional garment you have a work of art. And it takes more than skills to achieve that. The garments that we truly admire and oooohhh and aaahhh over have a certain "it" factor to them that makes them rise above the ordinary. It can be the combination of "color and fabric" or "technique and fit" or a cumulation of everything but true sewists have a talent and are artisans in my eyes.

I found this quote on Faye's blog today:

"God has given each of us a unique gift (an idea, a passion, a burning desire). He did not leave one person out. It is up to us to find that gift and nourish it and water it. God expects us to bloom where ever he has planted us."

I think too many of us don't realize that the "sewing" we do is actually a talent - something that is a more than a skill...some of us are full fledged designers, some of us are amazing colorists, some of us have great interpretative skills and some of us are awesome teachers...we are all at different levels and as in all things in life not all of us can be at the top of the pyramid. But those of us who are turning out those jaw-dropping, make you wanna run for your sewing machine and copy that, inspiring garments ~ We are artists! We are talented! And I think that we should proclaim ourselves as such!

Now since I always end with a question, let me pose a few here. Think about them and comment or don't but really think about them, okay?! Do you have skills or do you have talent? Do you feel that there is something buried deep down inside of you and that you have to express it through your sewing? Do you believe sometimes that you have "created" something truly amazing when you put that final press on your garment and hang it to photograph? Or are you just slogging along? Does your sewing bring you joy and take you to new heights or does it just take up time? And you know what I mean...you have seen some of those reviews on PR.

You don't have to share your answers. But seriously take the time to think about it because some of you know that you are artists and have a talent or a gift and should stand up and proclaim it as so! Yes, if you can read you can do anything but does that mean you are gifted at it!?

Is it your talent?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Completed Item No. 37

I started this TNT 4 gore skirt during my September sewing vacay. Since I struggled to get the S3631 dress to fit and spent much quality time on the details and structure of the Jackie O Retro Suit, I thought this skirt would be a quick and easy sew...yeah right!

Two weeks later it was still hanging on the closet door waiting for a hem. Now time is wearing out on my ability to wear this skirt...whether it seems like it or not fall is coming! And this medium weight linen skirt is not going to be wearable too much longer!

Last night at 11:00 p.m. EST, I finally forced myself to press up the hem and add the 1/4" stitch witchery to the hem to finish it off. That's right! You heard me ~ there isn't any hand or machine stitching involved in the hem...AT ALL! It's fused! And it's fused because I didn't want to stitch through any of the border print.

Anyway, here is how I wore "Completed Item No. 37 ~ The Border Print Linen Skirt" today...

And one of the fused hem...

So has this ever happened to you? Has a really simple thing or technique caused you not to finish a garment? And if the technique is really so simple, what actually prevented you from finishing the piece? Or was it just not time for the garment? Finally the $25,000 question ~ how many garments do you have hanging around that just need one or two things finished on them to make them wearable?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sewing Randomness

I can't believe that it's been five days since I posted something to my blog and then again yes I can...because its been that kind of week!

Just a few things...all of it random...

1. I have decided not to enter the Timmel SWAP. I am just not sewing that way these days and since I don't have as much regular time due to job constraints or vacation time to devote to planning, sewing and photographing a collection, I am passing this year. And this is a major decision for me since I have participated in the SWAP for the last three years. *sigh*

2. It is still summer here in NJ! What's up with that!?! And it will continue to be warmish through the middle of next week...the upside of that is that I can take my time working on my new fall pieces without feeling the rush to complete them and wear them...'cause I can't - its too warm! *LOL*

3. However, it is so different sewing fall/winter clothing versus summer clothing. Making the transition and changing my expectations always bums me out a little during this time of the year. Especially since this year, I will be making more tailored lined pieces and all of the needed infrastructure is time consuming. I am moving away from sewing skirts and dresses (well I have a few new ones planned for fall! *smile*) and into more labor intensive jackets...which leads to point 4.

4. Thanks everyone for encouraging me to forge ahead in my new direction. I was pleasantly surprised at how the new look for the jacket came together and how it is really following the direction that I want to take my sewing in for fall/winter. Now I have to remove the piping from the jacket which was basted to the front and add the remaining intrastructure and lining. There are several more hours of work that need to be done to this jacket before it is ready for primetime wearing and viewing but I like the direction I am headed in.

5. I still have not hemmed the border print linen skirt that I made during my sewing vacay! I am definitely getting to that this weekend so that I can wear it on Monday - it may be the last chance I get before fall finally arrives! It is way past time that I got this puppy into my closet and not just hanging on top of the door!

6. Planning is moving forward for my new fall/winter pieces. I have been looking at sites and going through my fabric collection. I am determined to sew more of my fabric collection this year instead of just adding to it. There are some wonderful treasures in it, that I have spent time collecting and now they should see the light of day! I added a new bar to the side of my blog, "What I'm Sewing Now" so you can see the latest collection/pieces in progress.

7. I have become obsessed with this pattern ~ McCalls 5555 (one of the few that McCalls is offering in women's sizing!) ~ I want to make it in a wool challis paisley print that I have had in my collection for over 20 years. I am thinking of using View D without the belt and pockets and with a lining. That should make my version of the dress very corporate yet trendy.

That's it for today. I don't know if I will have any sewing pics to share with you this weekend since I will be doing more work on the jacket and enjoying the journey!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I've Changed My Mind

And it's my perogative...or so Bobby Brown says. Okay this is what happened...see I was working on the jacket and as I was putting it together, the ribbon started to look less and less like it would work! Dont'cha just hate that!

Since I have an embellishment problem I have plenty of braids, trims and pipings to choose from. So I rooted around in my trimmings drawer and found this awesome piping that I had purchased from Daytona Trimmings years ago. Purchased with just this kind of jacket in mind, actually.

Being a little weary, I constructed the jacket and then basted the trim down and taped the buttons on...

BTW, I have enough fabric that I am going to make a four gore lined skirt from the tan fabric to match the jacket as well as a top and straight skirt from a chocolate brown sueded silk. Today this dress and jacket outfit has morphed into a wardrobe!

So what do you think? Should I continue or should I go back to the original?


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