Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Make Do Year...

I have only three goals for 2009.

1. To make do and spend less.

2. To use my vintage patterns more

3. To take my time

The make do and spend less is my most important goal for 2009. I have to admit that with NYC losing 1 million jobs this year (most in the last 4 months of the year!) and who knows what 2009 will bring, that I am hunkering down, saving money, stocking up the necessities (like food), and sewing from the collection.

Now I'm of two minds on this...I have way more than SABLE (Stash Beyond Life Expectancy) and could easily sew from the collection and not purchase for 2 years at least! But I am concerned that if we all stop spending what will become of our fabric resources? As we've all seen, independent brick and mortar fabric stores are few and far between. The chains carry more craft and crap than they do fabric - YES, I said it! So most of us are left with the online fabric stores...and even though it seems as if they don't have as much overhead as a brick and mortar is still their livelihood as well as the livelihoods of their employees.

So the compromise that I've settled upon for 2009 is to cut my fabric spending by at least 65-70%. The first stage of this will be a 60 day moratorium beginning January 1st and ending March 2nd...during which time I will attempt to restrain from purchasing fabric. Excluded from this will be my yearly stock-ups...though I think I can push most of them back to March...and I will mostly restock interfacings (my collection is starting to get thin!), lining fabrics (that I think I am going to purchase on the bolt - so it can be a one time deal) and thread (serger and basic colors in sewing machine thread).

As I waited for my sewing mojo to return, I realized that I have more than enough fabric and patterns (modern and vintage) to sew from now until. And even the projects that I've pulled to work on during the next few days are from the collection...just a few notions purchased to complete the design.

This "make do" goal is really important to me and one that I'm going to work diligently on because making do will hopefully make me more will allow me to use the fabric and patterns stashed in different ways than originally purchased or thought of...and help me to step outside my comfort zone, causing me to explore some new terroritories and create some jaw-dropping, bodacious garments. Well at least I can hope!

All of this brings me to my final goal ~ to take my time. I rush. I rush alot. Sometimes I enjoy the journey and sometimes I just wanna wear something new. I can do better. I can hand sew a lining in. I can re-stitch a seam. I can tackle more challenging projects where they won't be completed in a weekend. I have the ability. I already own an amazing wardrobe, therefore, I need to take my time.

So in the waning hours of 2008...I cautiously look forward to 2009, and I wish each and every one of you a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year. May your families be blessed, may you continue to be employed, may you have many wonderful sewing adventures and may you have peace and joy in your lives and your families lives!

Until 2009!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The last bits and pieces of 2008

I do have one more post for 2008...but I will share that tomorrow. In the meantime though, a few bits and pieces...

1. New Magazines in the mail

I was thumbing through my Vogue Pattern Magazine and there is an article called "City Safari" by Kathryn Brenne - where she leads the hunt for fabric in NYC. (LindseyT pay close attention, now!) and somehow she managed to leave out two of my favorite spots - Daytona Trimmings and Metro Textiles!!! I was two steps from the computer and writing an email to the editor when I glanced upon "Editor Picks" and saw both listed...shew! I also now understand why Vogue Patterns online are on sale for $4.75 today and tomorrow!

2. UFOs

I don't do UFO's. I hate UFO's. I will finish and/or rework a garment to avoid UFO's. So why are these two pieces still hanging around in unfinished form!?! Geeze, didn't I just say I hate UFO's!!! And there are two more in the drawers underneath my cutting table. Those are in the cut-out stages, fabric still attached to pattern pieces...ummm, I've gotta do something about these and quickly!

3. New Ideas

Yup, that quick little top jumpstarted my sewing mojo...I've got plans...boy do I have plans! And most of the garments came from fabrics that are already in the collection! Today, everyone left work at 3pm...I felt a little bad leaving behind them because I arrived mid-morning due to a drs. appt....but by 3:45pm it just seemed dumb to be sitting there...ALONE. So I traipsed off to the garment district and bought trimmings at Daytona Trims (*LOL*) and lining at Ebad Fabrics. That's what's pictured in the photo above...I've got ideas and five, count them five uninterrupted days to sew!!!! Wooooo Hoooo!!!!

4. Vintage Patterns

The last two for 2008 arrived in last night's I will begin the process of planning my next Jackie O. Retro project...I've got chills just thinking about it! *smile*

...and that's my last bits and pieces for 2008! Tomorrow I will share my sewing goals for 2009 - there are only three of them but they are soooooo important to me!

'Til tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 - A Retrospective

I've been thinking about my 2008 recap for the last couple of weeks...especially since LindseyT posted her amazing graphics filled retrospective! However, my review will be considerably lower tech! In 2008 there were five categories that I believe captured the essence of my sewing.

I started the year off making a dress and hopefully I will end the year making a dress. The fabric and pattern are laying on the cutting table waiting for me right now.

As I've stated previously, I LOVE a good dress! Dresses work so well in my professional life and make getting dressed in the morning a breeze. This year I made 15 dresses and even I'm amazed at this accomplishment!

I fell in love with 60's modern and Jackie Kennedy style vintage patterns this year. I fell in love with the details in the garments, the instruction sheets that were full of sewing information and techniques and with the sophisticated styling. I know I did a post a couple of days ago about my vintage pattern collection but after digging around some more I realize that I have over 80 patterns!!!

I managed to use them - two of my garments were inspired by vintage patterns. I captured the details of the pattern by using my TNT patterns for the construction. The two garments were my Easter Suit

and the pleated polka dot dress

I even made a dress using one of my vintage Simplicity patterns...a modern interpretation of a 60s style.

One of my goals for 2009 is to use more of them...especially since I've amassed a pretty respectable collection of plus size vintage patterns.

3. Completing the June Capsule Contest
Last spring Stitchers Guild sponsored a contest to make a mini wardrobe in 30 days. Now I've done SWAP contests before but what intrigued me about this contest was that you had to make the 4 pieces that worked together in 30 days...EXACTLY 30 days! Now there were prizes awarded but I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could actually plan, sew and put together a wearable mini-wardrobe that would fit into my corporate lifestyle. After a month of frantic sewing...I did meet the challenge and got some wonderful new pieces out of the deal!

Items 4 and 5 are very similar...

4. I used New Look patterns
Now this might not seem like a big deal but New Look's pattern line typically only goes up to a size 18. But last spring they issued several patterns in the plus size range. New Look has some very cute and trendy styles but I didn't look at them much because of their lack of size it was really kewl to get a dress and a pantsuit from these patterns.

5. Use more new patterns
My main goal for 2008 was to use more new patterns instead of relying so heavily upon my TNT patterns. This was a huge commitment for me because each new pattern pulled out of the envelope must have major alterations performed on it to fit my body! It is one of the main challenges of plus size sewing...and many times the deterrent to plus size women sewing more! It is also the reason why after a pattern becomes a TNT that I work it so hard!

The list of new patterns used:
Butterick ~ 5194, 5179, 5247, 5399 (OOP)
New Look ~ 6779, 6788
Simplicity ~ 8160 (vintage)
Vogue ~ 7433, 7994 (OOP) 8137, 8209, 9904 (OOP)

I think I met this goal handily!!!!

Finally, as of today, I've finished 47 garments and used 90 yards of fabric. I even managed not to purchase fabric during two 1-month spans...but I definitely stimulated the economy by purchasing 231 yards of add to my fabric collection.

Now there have been quite a few year end reviews written by other bloggers and it has been interesting to read about each sewist's progress, likes and dislikes and goals for 2009.

I will address my goals for 2009 in another post. However, I am crowning 2008 the "Year of the Dress" because that's what I sewed the most!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Butterick 5247

This is a pretty popular pattern. I've seen a few versions of it on the internet and there are several reviews for it on PatternReview. Just in case you don't know which pattern it is:

Some Stats:
Fabric: 2 yards of a 100% mohair/wool blend sweater knit from Casual Elegance (A stash fabric that has been stored for several years!)
Notions: Several yards of black foldover satin bias binding
Construction Techniques: First let me say that if this top was sewn straight out of the envelope, it would NOT fit me. The finished bottom width of 51" is too small for me to be comfortable in. So I used a pivot and slide technique to add width to the abdomen and hip area. I wanted to be able to sit comfortably and move about easily in the top.

The second change I made was that my version does not have a cowlneck on it. Not that I didn't want the cowlneck but my fabric was not stretchy enough and I was sold on the fabric after pulling it out of the fabric closet. So I omitted it on this version and added some black satin bias binding to the neckline instead.

Since the fabric has a "holey" appearance, I knew that I would wear a tank top, turtleneck or bodysuit under it with my jeans and I wanted to do something different than just pressing down and stitching the edges. The satin bias binding gives the top a beginning and end adding a little decoration to it also.

Also, my fabric wasn't very wide so my sleeves are bracelet length. I laid the pattern on the fabric and cut to the selvedge edge which gave me a great finish to the sleeves. So I didn't have to hem them and lose any additional fabric there.

Now I have to tell you that I don't like sewing casual clothing. I usually purchase them because I wear them so infrequently and can get whatever I need on sale. However, I really liked this pattern and as I've seen each rendition appear, wanted to make it more and more. It also fit my sewing needs. I wanted to sew badly, but knew that I didn't have the ummmph for a full blown "Carolyn" project. I needed to ease back into it and this top was the perfect project!

It's casual week at work ~ the skeleton staff are working only 2.5 days this week, so jeans are allowed. I've solved my casual work day attire challenge along with jumpstarting my sewing!

I will make this again with the cowlneck and out of a stretchier knit fabric. This pattern has great bones and can be manipulated to make quite a few garments!!! Anyway, I'm mostly glad that I'm sewing again because when I come home New Year's Eve, I'm not scheduled to go back to work until Tuesday, January I've got to have some sewing mojo!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vintage patterns and an upcoming project

I fell in love with vintage patterns this year and have spent the year collecting them. I've used most of my morning photographing, compiling and organizing the last of the recent purchases! I did not realize that I had managed to obtain 75 patterns!!! If you want to see the patterns in all of their glory, check out the "Vintage Patterns" folder on Flickr.

Now I don't randomly collect. I am really intrigued by 60's modern and Jackie Kennedy era patterns. There are a few early 70's patterns I like but it is a very narrow range of designs that I'm looking for and all of these must be able to work in corporate work wardrobe. This cuts down the field even more...

Since I'm STILL not sewing, *LOL*, I want to share a few special vintage patterns I've recently acquired:

Pattern Description:
Dress has slightly lowered neckline, 6 gore skirt and left side zipper. Right bodice front laps over left giving double breasted effect. Waistline of bodice front and back is gathered. Belt is self or purchased. V1 has short sleeves. V2 features braid trim/button detail, sleeveless. Misses size 20.

Simplicity 4987:

Pattern Description:
Dress has round neckline with a fitted neckband, and button trimmed front tabs. Back neckline is lower than front. Belt is self fabric or purchased. V1 has slim skirt and a back kick pleat. V2 is slightly flared with 6 gores. Front edges of jacket do not overlap. Misses size 20.

These were given to me by a friend, a new friend, who knew exactly what I liked and shared these with me! I am sooooo appreciative!!!

These two I purchased from Out of the Ashes:

Advance 8920:

This pattern reminds me of this outfit from the Jacqueline Kennedy Exhibit:

photo courtesy of The Metropolitian Museum

The original suit pictured above is a Coco Chanel purchased by Jackie from the 1956 fall winter collection ~ model number 04637. This suit was made from a black ribbed wool by Garrigue, with a blouse in ivory dot-embroidered silk satin. This information is from, "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years" book published in 2001.

This pattern will be the basis of my next Jackie Kennedy suit/project! I have about two more outfits that I want to "interpret" from the book...but now that I've found a pattern and of course, since I already own the fabric...this one is in the planning stages!

and Simplicity 2425:

Marji says that I really like the 60's Magazine Editor look and I guess this pattern would epitomize that look!

My last new pattern comes from Lanetz Living. Even though I already purchased a pattern to emulate another Michael Kors look (the dress from my Fall 2008 Top Ten List)...I really liked this one, so I added it to the collection:

Simplicity 6682
Pattern Description:

Misses coat in 2 lengths with slacks; the long or short double breasted, lined coat has patch pockets with flaps, pleat in center back seam, convertible notched collar, long set in sleeves with buttoned trim and optional front button closing and tie belt. Slacks without waistband have size zipper. Misses size 20 - circa 1968.

I will discuss more about my vintage pattern acquisition and sewing in my 2008 Look Back post which will appear here in the next few days!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sale - Did someone say sale?

Okay, y'all know that I love the word sale! And I have three wonderful instances of it that will set your heart to racing! Now for those of you that got "Christmas Cash" I have somewhere for you to use it:

On Blue Gardenia's Website:

It's time for our
End of Year Sale!!!
Buy 3 or more items, get 33% off!
Sale prices good now throughMidnight PST
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Payment must be received by4:00 p.m. PST Friday, January 9, 2009

If you like vintage patterns as much as I, don't walk on over and see what goodies Denise has!!!!

Need Fabric - :)

Melody at Fashionista Fabrics is having a 50% off - End of the Year sale from now until the ball drops in Time Square! I suggest if there was something you were thinking about that you head over right away...because I hesitated and the pieces I want are gone, gone, gone!!!!

Can you stand one more???

There is an awesome sale going on now at Sawyer Brook! They call it the Fabuless Sale - and they have some exquisite pieces on sale. You know those pieces that you looked at and thought they were just a little too expensive for you? Well they aren't head on over!

Okay enough enabling for one evening...and a note - I do consider Melody and Denise friends but that shouldn't stop you from shopping a good sale! *LOL*

Go forth and stimulate the economy!!!!

What did I get?

Happy day after Christmas!

I am surfing around blogland and seeing what's been posted between this morning and Christmas Eve...about when I dropped off the internet to spend serious family time exchanging gifts and eating some REALLY GOOD food!

This morning I read the post on Ann's blog and decided to follow suit...

So I got:

*an iTouch

*The Dressmaker's Technique Bible

*The West Wing DVD series (I love this tv show!)

*A supply of Mountain Dew (my sister thinks she's funny)

*Godiva chocolate (my favorite!)

*A watch

I had a great Christmas Eve and Day...during last week a few vintage patterns arrived (more about that later)...the Fabric Mart fabric showed up...and there is one more box on the way from need to do a recap of 2008...and make a pledge for 2009! *LOL*

Thanks everyone for the wonderful, sweet, thoughtful and funny comments left on my last post. I am feeling much better and even returned to work for a few days this week. I still don't feel much like sewing...but I have a few days off next week so maybe I will think up something!

Happy Holidays!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Today is Saturday and after a week of being bedridden...I am allowed to go outside. However, this last week has caused me a little anxiety because I had some minor surgery last Sunday. I was going to leave this off my blog because I am just NOT about too much personal stuff on my blog...but this morning I really got to thinking about what happened to me and I got a little scared...

See at any moment something can happen to you...I can step off the curb in NYC and a bus or taxi can come careening through the crowd and kill or maim me...the bus I ride home could hit another bus, car, truck, etc...or my heart could just give out and I would not get up...ohmy this is so morbid but so true...

Why the reflection? Because I looked around at all the fabric, patterns, sewing machines, and notions that I have so carefully collected and realized that when ~ not if, something happens to me, my daughters will have to get rid of it...*sigh* and I just ordered another 15 yards of fabric to add to this confusion...oh well I won't worry about that least I stimulated the economy as best I could!!!

As my children, family and friends waited around the hospital to make sure that I would be okay, my thoughts were not about sewing...and I've pretty much had to work hard all week long to think about sewing because my desire to sew is just gone...even though I visited pattern and fabric sites, even though I've read posts on sewing and left comments on other sewists heart hasn't been in it.

As Christmas draws near...and my family gathers together once more...I am TRULY glad to be in the midst of them. I am truly glad that I am now healthy. I am truly glad for my friends (and you know who you are!). I am even truly glad for a job that I don't always love - stop laughing - again you know who you are...

So at this time - I wish all of you who are reading, peace, love, joy and happiness. I wish you wonderful times with your loved ones and friends. I wish you good health and I wish you many, many more sewing adventures. I probably won't be posting again until after mostly I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Amazing...

I haven't been at work this week...have been home sick...and just yesterday started to feel like myself. I have spent a lot of time on the internet browsing ~ something I don't really get the chance to do during my normal overly busy days...especially since I discovered "following" on Blogger.

Before "following" I would have to surf through all the blogs I had saved to my favorites folder to check on what was happening with other bloggers...for some reason I just couldn't make bloglines work...another sad story...*LOL*. And I think because I actually visited more blogs, I read more of what was out there...

Now that I follow, I read whatever comes up as new posts and call it a day. But since Wednesday, when I finally started to feel semi-normal again, I've been surfing the internet and I've found quite a few new blogs. From all of this surfing, I've come away realizing something..."Sewing is not dead!" There are quite a few quilters and sewists out there toiling away making amazing items.

So I would like to encourage all of you new bloggers to keep it up! Keep showing your pictures...keep talking about your craft...keep posting tutorials...even if the comments seem relatively low, it doesn't mean that people aren't visiting! But most importantly keep updating your blogrolls...I have moved from blog to blog just from blogrolls! And have had a wonderful adventure seeing what others are sewing, quilting and making for Christmas! So, thank you, thank you very much for providing entertainment and inspiration to a bedridden soul!

BTW, Christmas sewing what's that! *LOL* Ummm, online shopping and QVC have just about filled out the last of the Christmas gifts...oh and I will be making a trip to ToysRus on Monday (when I'm released from house arrest!) to finish up the last of the Christmas gifting!!!

Thanks...thanks again so much to all the bloggers out there quilting and sewing, who take the time to put your thoughts down, share your pictures and dream your ARE NOT alone!

So today's "Question of the Day" is ~ "What new sewing/quilting/crafting blog have you recently discovered?" You know a blog that isn't on everyone's blogroll - something or someone who has just started blogging! And what about the blog's content, makes you want to continue to visit it? Please share the link, so that we all can go and visit the site too!

I have a new favorite that I will share with everyone talk to me people! Remember I'm housebound and waiting for new adventures!!! *LOL*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Corporate Art to Wear

Even though I work in a very corporate setting, I have always been more of an "artsy" type garment wearer. So I am constantly looking for a way to add a corporate slant to "Art to Wear" garments.

I was inspired to purchase the Swing Jackets pattern/book/DVD combo from Nancy's Notions after watching the first part of the series in the streaming videos. The jacket concept along with the ability to add embellishment to it, to make it reversible ~ my mind went gaga over an all silk crepe reversible jacket ~ to use some manipulated fabrics for it, really tickled my it is now on it's way to me!

I totally understand that "corporate" and "art to wear" are two terms that don't seem to be related to each other but again if you look in most plus size stores or in the plus size section of most pattern companies..."high fashion" and "plus-size" don't seem to go together either! Since I seem to have a knack for going against the grain, I am on a search for a jacket pattern that I can coalesce into a corporate look with an art to wear sensibility.

There are times we must travel new paths and explore new creative venues...trails that others don't venture upon or can't see their way down...or even have a vision for! Hopefully this series will assist me in trying something new that will come closer to a vision that I've been holding onto for a minute. Now of course, I have no idea when I will get to this pattern...there is just so much stuff rolling around in this brain trying to get out...but when I do get to it and figure out what I want it to become...I will share it here!

Until then the possibility of mixing two styles that shouldn't go together into one awesome outfit that works on all levels for me is a very intriguing thought...and one that I am actively seeking to create in 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sale - a 4 letter word for joy!

I have never been able to avoid the psychological effects of the word, "Sale!" especially when the word is used in the same breathe or sentence as fabric!

So of course, yesterday when I received an email from Fabric Mart stating that for two days only they were offering an additional 10% off the 30% off sale they were presently conducting on their site, I was helpless to resist! As I've shared previously, I've been on the site several times filling and unfilling a shopping cart...well, that cart has been filled and bought and paid for! *LOL*

Now you and I both know that I don't NEED another piece of fabric. This purchase was strictly about the psychological effects of the word - Sale! However, I did manage in my "sale induced haze" to restrict myself to only four classic pieces...pieces that can stand the test of time and remain on the shelves of my fabric closet for several years...yet emerge in the future still being relevant to fashion at that time!

And shouldn't a good fabric closet/collection contain relevant pieces at every stage of your creative process? This is how I have broken down/obtained/collected my closet ~ 75% are basic fabrics in solid colors and in my favorite to sew fabrics. 15% is in accent colors...things like bright red, purples and oranges...colors that aren't the mainstay of my wardrobe but can add a little spice to a creation. The last 10% would be prints.

Personally, I try not to purchase alot of prints especially if I'm not going to sew them right out of the box...and you know how rarely that occurs! In my opinion prints have a "use by" date. To me prints are closely tied to trends and specific fashion periods, which mean that they do not age my storage of them is limited.

Getting back to my sale induced haze, 40% off some really great quality fabrics was just too great a deal to pass up! And with the way the economy is going these days, I'm really starting to think of my fabric collection as an investment...something that will allow me to continue to turn out wonderful garments far into the future and at a time when my financial resources may not be as stable as they are now!

A few pieces of information about the is a 2 day sale that started yesterday and ends this evening at midnight EST. The coupon code is "CHEER". When you enter it into the coupon box the additional 10% comes off the total after you spend $75 and I'm sorry because my international readers can't participate in this sale...Fabric Mart only ships to the US and Canada.

Other than that there is NOOOOO sewing going on here! No pattern purchasing either...but a few choice pieces will soon start to make the journey to my home! Maybe I'll wrap them up and place them under the Christmas tree! *LOL* Cause a beautiful piece of quality fabric always is a balm to my weary soul!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nancy's Notions Streaming Videos

I am suppose to be cleaning up my room and getting ready to go out this evening for holiday festivities. Instead I'm surfing the internet and watching Nancy's Notions videos!

Now, I received an email when Nancy Ziemen first started posting her videos to the internet, watched one or two and promptly forgot about them! *shame, shame on me!* Today while reading something on Patternreview, I happened across this blog, "Eyelets in the Seams". And as usual when I'm visiting someone's blog for the first time, I check out their blog roll.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I happened upon the link to Nancy's Notions streaming videos...and probably my date's horror because I've been glued to my computer since! *LOL* But seriously, I do have a few hours left to get ready...and I've favorited the site and you should too!

So here it is: Sewing with Nancy TV. Of course, it's already done its job because I've ordered a book, pattern and DVD from the site! I am soooo excited because I really want to try this jacket idea out!

More later!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back and Forth

Several times I've sat down to the computer to write a post...and nuthin'...absolutely, positively nuthin'! I'm just not thinking about sewing...and I don't know why?!

I'm not fabric shopping ~ even though I've filled a cart several times on Fabric Mart's site because of the 30% off the entire website sale ~ but I end up just clicking out of the site. It seems such a waste to add more luscious fabrics to an already overstuffed fabric closet.

There are no new patterns out from the Big 4, BWOF was all about evening wear and I'm just not that glam, and I'm all vintaged out! I have been on all of my normal "go to" vintage sites but the patterns all look like something I already no purchasing!

It isn't time yet for the spring fashions to hit the stores, therefore no new catalogs to oooohhh and aaaahhhh over...

So without fabric or pattern inspiration, or some challenging blog post to stir me I sit uninspired to sew. Do you think it's the time of the year? Or do you think my creative muse is resting, knowing that I won't be working much at the end of the year, knowing that it has to be up, ready and willing to go for some serious marathon sewing?

I'm left with a kind of back and forth feeling...praying that my sewing mojo will return when I need it most!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Vogue 8137 - An Update

Two weekends and still no finished jacket! See that's why suit sewing is soooo hard for me! *LOL* Since the only progress I made in the Christmas sewing was to get everything out and prewashed, I thought I would give you an update on my jacket progress so far...

I made quite a few alterations to the jacket body that I will put into the review of the finished garment...but the main change that I made and that's reflected in my progress report is that the pattern front comes with the front facing attached to the pattern body. I cut this apart and added 5/8" seam allowances to both sides of the pattern pieces. This is just my personal quirk but I like putting a lining in with a sewn in facing versus a cut-on facing.

So picture time...first here is a picture of the lining and the facing on Lulu:

Here is one of where I left the jacket last night:

There is still alot of work to do on the jacket to make it wearable, but I am loving the hand-painted lining against the red fabric:

Now about that button choice...thanks for all of your votes and opinions but I'm going with #4 because I plan on making a dress (yes, a dress!) to go with this jacket and some smaller buttons in the #4 styling will work wonderfully on the dress...and yes, of course I have a master plan...which will be revealed some time in the future!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Sewing

I got up bright and early. I pushed, pulled and tugged my way through my fabric collection. I amassed a pile of flannel to be pre-washed. I pulled some pretty lovelies for doll dresses...and I pulled pj patterns and 18" doll clothes patterns from the formidable pattern stash...and I stalled! I just stalled!

Why do you ask? Because every year, I get to this point and then have to talk my way past it! You know the point I'm referring to...the question we all ask ourselves when we sew for family members and strangers..."Will they really appreciate my efforts?" "Will they really care that I've poured my heart and soul into these pieces?" or "Will they think I'm just being cheap because I didn't purchase something from the store?"

Some years I successfully make it past that point...and some years I just give into the lure of retail...last year I gave in! This year, I am trying to be more economically reasonable and make what I can...but again I can hear the questions...always the questions...asking me if my efforts will be appreciated!

Now I know I will have to give in and make one very limited trip to grandson loves pjs but he loves the latest new action figure so much more! My niece will love the doll clothes but my nephew will need something that whirls and makes noises to complete his gift! And that I totally understand ~ they are small children and Christmas is suppose to be about wrapping paper and gifts and all the things that you don't normally get during the year!

I know my mom will appreciate the silk organza apron I'm going to make her...especially because it will have the bracelet she's been lusting after stuck into the apron pocket...but it's those other gifts...the luscious cut velvet scarf, or the silk charmeuse nightgown...or the really funky lace and ribbon nightgown for my niece that I worry over...will they be appreciated?!

I've pulled out all my materials...patterns, fabrics and notions...they are all piled and ready to be used...and instead I'm working on my red jacket! Because hey, I know I'm gonna like it! *LOL*

So the "Question of the Day" is "Do you sew Christmas Gifts?" And if you do, who do you sew for? Are they appreciated or do your family members, friends, co-workers prefer gifts purchased from a retail outlet? Or do you not subject yourself to the fact oohh's and aahh's, instead guarding your precious sewing talent waiting for a better moment to share?

Do you sew gifts for Christmas?

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's Friday!

Oh my! Why does Friday evening always feel like I've been released from prison and I'm getting my first real taste of freedom! *LOL* I knew it was going to be a busy and hard week but I didn't think it would be so busy that I wouldn't think about sewing at ALL! Now you know the world shook a little as it tilted ever so slightly off its axis!

So my plan for the weekend is to prewash the flannel that I bought last December to get it ready for making pjs this Christmas...and maybe to actually start to make some of those pjs!

I also have an idea dancing around in my head that I think I can squeeze in, if I'm very industrious this weekend...that's if I'm very industrious! *smile*

Finally I did succumb to Fabric Mart's 50% off sale...BUT...only becuase I had been watching these two pieces on the site for like forever!

59" Wide
Suiting, jacket, skirt, pants..Light to medium weight
63% Polyester 34% Viscose 2% Elastin
Black with tiny dotted diamond pattern in natural

Italian Couture Gabardine
44% Wool and 54% Polyester 2% Lycra Blend
Light to Medium weight
Color: Chestnut brown and cream

Now, the website description calls this a brown and cream mix but it is more like a brown and silver mix to me. This fabric is awesome because either side of it could be used to create an amazing garment. I'm going to have to come up with an idea that will incorporate both sides of the fabric in the finished pieces.

One more fabric note and I'm off...I'm pretty proud of the fact that I didn't purchase any fabric during the month of 2 out of 12 months isn't that great but it's better than nothing and I KNOW that there will be more months of fabric out than in next year because something tells me that the economy is going to take most of 2009 to recover!

Definitely more later!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vogue 8137 - A Beginning

Today I started working on the red doubleknit - constructing the jacket from Vogue 8137:

I pulled this from Vogue's website...this pattern is now out of print...but I have to tell you that if this was the cover of the pattern envelope I probably wouldn't have bought it! *LOL* My envelope has a totally different colorway and model on it!  ETA:  The website now shows the same picture that I've replaced with a copy of the pattern I have on-hand.

Nevertheless, I got the shell sewn together and the lining all cut out! I'm loving the painted fabric!!!

A pic of the jacket shell on Lulu:

I have plans next weekend so I don't know if I will get back to this anytime soon...hopefully before Christmas...but who knows because I still have Christmas sewing to do!!!

Also I need a little help...below is a picture of the buttons that I'm auditioning...please take a moment and tell me which ones you prefer. Let's call them 1-4, left to right, okay!

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Painted Today...

A couple of months ago, I purchased this very pretty wool doubleknit from Metro Textiles. LindseyT purchased some of the same fabric and made this amazing military jacket from it. After reading about her jacket and viewing the pretty pictures, that red doubleknit came roaring back into my mind...proclaiming quite loudly that IT wanted to be used this weekend.

Now I had plans to use the $1 a yd. fabric from Fabric Mart...purchased to make that great vintage pattern and some components this weekend. That was my plan right up until I saw that jacket...*sigh* But the red doubleknit was all I could think of all day long I gave in. I know what pattern I want to use with the fabric...I just didn't have any red lining material.

I thought since I was leaving work around 3 pm that I could swing by the garment district and pick up a couple of yards for this outfit...however, after a couple of hours at work, I just didn't feel like going to the garment district! So what to do, what to do! I remembered that I had a beautiful black and white paisley printed silk charmeuse in the collection...maybe that would work.

Well I got home and looked at the silk with the doubleknit...nah, no good! But if it had just a little bit of red in the background, it would be fantastic! The wheels started to turn...I went to check my notions stash...and I found my painting supplies. I have an entire collection of fabric paints, fabric markers and stamps from the Dana Marie Design Co. formerly known as Purrfection.

So here is the fabric in its "before" state:

And here it is in it's "after" state, hanging over the shower rod curing for its 24 hours before pressing and cutting:

Now how did I accomplish this? First I covered my cutting table with an old twin sheet so that none of the ink would add any MORE stains to my cutting table!!!

Second, I used two types of red paint from Pelle's, Bright Red and Magenta, and a fine point red fabric marker.

Originally I was going to use a stamp in some of the white areas and actually stamped the fabric 2 or 3 times near one end

But I didn't really like the effect. Just filling in the design with the two paints and the fabric marker worked so much better. It took about five-six hours to complete...because I would paint an area, allow it to take (approximately an hour) and then move it and work on another area. After the second move, I got into a rhythm knowing which pieces to fill in first and which ones last. It was a very soothing and relaxing process.

So now I have custom made lining fabric specially designed to go with the red doubleknit. I will move onto cutting out the pattern pieces and working on the garments...but if I don't get a single item finished this weekend, I feel like I have achieved something great. I made my own lining!

To Collect or Not to Collect

Even though I had a jam-packed day at work yesterday...I did have time to read a few setting up conference calls! Elaray's blogpost was about "Too Much Fabric." It is an interesting opinion on what constitutes too much fabric for one person.

This, of course, is the line that intrigued me, "With all due respect to stashers, stashing is a practice I just don't get." I believe this is the integral discourse between a fabric collector and someone who has just enough fabric on-hand to construct the next few projects. Now apologies to Elaray, because I'm not aiming this comment directly at you, it's just an observation, but as a fabric collector and someone who enjoys owning as much fabric as I always seems like a belittlement of my collecting ways...and I always feel like I have to justify something that gives me joy....hmmmmm!

Then I began to painters have this discussion with fellow painters? Hey dude why do you have like 18 shades of red paint? Don't you know if you have one tube of red, some black, pink, white and blue you can make any shade of red you want? Or do cooks have this conversation, Why do you have 7 different size spatulas? Can't one or two spatulas handle your flipping needs? Or seriously Shamos, do you need ALL of those spices? I can get by with my basic 10 and make many appetizing meals! Do you think those conversations occur?

Or are we the only community of artists that think that owning sooo much fabric - our basic creative medium - is guilt inducing? And why do the materials of your craft, give you pressure? Shouldn't these materials that you took time to purchase and store, inspire you and encourage you to new creative challenges? Or are we back to that age old argument that since sewing is a "women's craft" somehow we shouldn't expend too much of the family's hard earned money on it?!

Now, before you start slinging those arrows...I understand that we are in a global recession and for some buying a whole lot of fabric is just unrealistic! Or even if you are not the primary breadwinner in your home and you want to be respectful of that fact, or if the economy has really kicked you & your family's budget in the pants. But and here's my but people, if you have the means to stimulate the economy and keep our fabric retailers both online and in bricks 'n mortar shops buzzing, if you have the storage space *LOL*, if it does not adversely affect your home budget...and most importantly if it gives you pleasure, why can't you collect, store, amass to your heart's content?! Why is there a need to justify this to a non-collector?

As I stated previously, this is a constant conversation between stitchers...whether to collect or not? And no, I don't call it a stash...never a stash! To be perfectly honest, have I ever felt overwhelmed and challenged by my collection - Yes! Have I ever wondered that I've created a monstrosity that my children will have to deal with upon my demise - Yes! Have I ever called a retreat, hesitated or wondered if I should add to or continue to add to my collection - YES! However, all of that is overshadowed by the feelings of joy, inspiration, peacefulness, the hopes and dreams that my collection affords me, the ability to share it with friends and family and most importantly the fact that on almost any occasion I can walk into the closet and pull a piece to use that day without a journey to the fabric store.

Now I've written about this pheonomena before, "Are you ashamed of your fabric collection?" and I guess that periodically this discussion reappears in sewing land...but I would like to put it to rest this saying this...some people are happy coloring with a box of 8 Crayola crayons, but even as a small child, I always wanted the 100 box set of Crayola crayons with the special crayon sharpener!

So today's "Question of the Day" is: Did you color with the box of 8 Crayola Crayons or did you have a larger box? And do you believe that the size of the box you owned reflects your attitude towards purchasing fabric today?!

Have at it people's...I'm off to dye some fabric and it's all LindseyT's fault?! More on that later!!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm still here...

...just had to work all day Wednesday and most of today! We have a really big meeting on Monday so I ended up in the office...

Hopefully I will get some sewing in this weekend...however, yesterday before I went out to celebrate Turkey Day with my family...I spent a quite pleasurable morning strolling through my pattern collection. Why you ask? Because I need to find some jackets that aren't "boring" Corporate Wear and long enough to cover my "assets," yet trendy and chic. Yeah, I had to do a lot of strolling! *LOL*

I did end up with three piles of patterns:

Suit pieces - great jackets that will go with a pair of pants and a skirt so that once the weather warms back up and before spring officially sets in I can get a "new" look from the jacket. I found a few candidates (that met all of my needs) and ended up with about 8 patterns in this pile.

Dress pieces - this pile is comprised of several dresses and dresses with jackets that I would like to make. This is my back-up pile - you know the pile I will refer to when I get bored with my original 8.

The last pile is of odds and ends - things that caught my attention that I just couldn't bear the thought of putting them back into their respective drawers without at least giving me the opportunity to fawn over them now and again. These patterns actually have the least chance of being made into a garment but I'm just not ready to return them to their homes.

Now the thought of having 8 wonderful suits - complete with jacket/pants/skirt or dress components is very thrilling to me...I don't know how many of them I will get completed before the season ends...or if I will even change my mind midway through the process...but this is where I am headed the land of sleeve heads, full body interfacing, linings and much, much slower sewing! But this is what I need most right it's where my sewing journey is taking me...

I'm a little tired tonight...maybe it's cause that day job keeps intruding! *smile* But tomorrow morning I will pull one pattern out of the pile and begin working on my next adventure.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

10,000 hours revisited...

Now you didn't think I was going to let this rest, did you?! I did promise to give you my number and the comments were so interesting that I thought I would share some of them with you too. The post also spawned a post by, Shannon and a mention by Kristy! So I guess it's something that all of us have an opinion on...

Okay my number was around 13,300 hours. And its probably a little on the low side...I have been sewing since I was 11 years old and have never stopped...not during any period of my life haven't I sewn...okay there was a six month stretch while I was getting divorced but this is a person who bought a sewing machine while she was in college and set it up in her dorm room. I remember having an argument on New Year's Eve with my significant other because the dress I had made to wear over my 6 month pregnant body was just a little too sexy for him...oh really now? *LOL*

I made my wedding suit. I made maternity clothing for 2 of my 3 pregnancies. I made my DD's church dresses and outfits for school, school dance dresses, costumes for school and church plays, dance outfits and prom dresses. A sewing machine has been a constant in my life since the Christmas of my 11th year...I don't know what it's like not to own one!

I've said all that to say that even though I've sewn like forever, I don't consider myself an expert. I think there's quite a few things that I could learn to do better and some things that I can't do at all. I can fit my body because I've had years to practice on it...but I would be hesitant to fit someone else. I know how to handle certain types of fabrics because I've handled them for some things practice does make perfect. However, I'm like a fish out of water using something like leather...can we say new adventure?! *LOL*

"Do I think 10,000 hours equals expert?"

No, *shaking head* no, not at all! The reason that I posed the questions that I did was because I truly believe you have to have a talent to sew. There has to be an innate gift that lets you know what fabric goes with what pattern. When something, be it pattern or fabric, can be used in an atypical fashion and still result in an amazing garment. There has to be this intuitiveness working that shows up in your finished pieces...hours and hours of sewing can make you an excellent technician but not an expert. Now of course you are free to disagree with know I love a great conversation...but that's my point of view!

So let's take it to the comments and see what others have to say...

Marji wrote:
"But my initial reaction is, there has to be an inclination and talent or all the hours in the world will never yield the best. Michael Phelps may put in the hours (and we know he did), but he's also got the physiognomy and the talent."

I loved this one by Mel J.:
"Something my Dad likes to tell me comes to mind: "you can have ten years experience OR one years experience ten times over". If all the thousands of hours spent sewing do not include advanced skill building, you CAN'T get to an advanced level."

And Claire was adamant:
"I don't agree with her theory. There has to be talent. I surf a LOT of sewing blogs. I see people who put in hours on end sewing and their work is mediocre and their clothing is unflattering. Then there are those who don't have a ton of hours to invest but the quality of their work when they do sew is impressive - what I'd call expert - and they really have that ability to put out fine craftsmanship. Perseverance, per se, is honorable, but it doesn't make someone a skilled seamstress or designer. There has to be an eye for details, construction, as well as composition and silhouette. I've been sewing for years, but I would never consider myself an expert."

Wendy wrote:
"Dressmaking is a craft that is definitely improved by technique...and technique can really only be mastered by practice, practice, practice, practice."

NancyK said:
"Sewing many hours certainly helps, but if you don't push your boundaries, no matter how many hours you sew isn't going to get you to that expert level, much less the best of the best."

That's definitely a consensus right! How about some other points of view:

Myra says:
"I think it is both. Time invested and increasing the skills as you invest time is one side, but you have to have an "eye" for it, too, so you enjoy it, appreciate it and visualize the finished product before you begin."

Sewsy contributed:
"So, where do I stand on this "work hours in equals a mastery of a particular endeavor?" Well, yes and no. There can be arguments offered up both ways. It depends on the person, I feel, more than the amount of hours."

Finally Athena added:
"It's never one end of the spectrum or the other. You need both experience and talent to be outstanding in any craft. As everyone who commented before has said. How do you add talent and a good eye to a math equation?"

Then there were two comments that I loved...just loved!

Linda said:
"Ah, the old quality time versus quantity time argument."

And Ann Rowley wrote:
"I’m a bit late to this party – but what an interesting topic, and what erudite replies!"

That is so Ann, but she goes on to say...
"I was brought up, by perfectionist parents, with the mantra “practice makes perfect” ringing in my ears. But not only do you need to practice; you need to love doing it, even be obsessive about it. Many times over the years I’ve sewn when I really should have been doing something else. And yes, I’ve done the hours – and some – but am rarely 100% satisfied with what I achieve; although I admit having considerable skills. I hope to go on learning, practicing and striving for that always elusive “best”."

Since Ann is one of my sewing sheros...I'm going to end there! But there were 31 well thought out and well expressed (erudite indeed!) comments. If you haven't had a chance to peruse them, scroll back a few posts and take a moment to read them!

To everyone who left a comment...thank you so much for being willing to share your opinions with all of us! It was greatly appreciated!

More later!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I bought it!

Yes, I won my eBay auction...and this pattern will begin it's journey to me sometime this week!

I saw this pattern on either Lanetz Living or Out of the Ashes several months ago but it was in a smaller size. I really like the v-neckline and the way the top wraps. I also like the seaming detail in the skirt. So I searched it out on eBay and saved the search when nothing came up. I am not sure if the waistline will work for me...heck, I need to make one of the vintage patterns that I already own with this type of waistline to make sure...but I liked the design and it came to a grand total of $2.74 with shipping & handling so I won't be out much...and I will have loads of design inspiration.

So the pledge is broken...however, I do plan on staying away from Big 4 pattern sales until after January 1, 2009. Those patterns have a longer shelf life than an eBay one does and to tell the truth, I've only seen a few that I've liked...and not enough to break the pledge.

Since I've had such great success with dresses this year, and I have a pretty deep and interesting plus size dress vintage pattern collection, I know that I want to make quite a few of them next spring and summer...cause there is nothing like a good dress!


Related Posts with Thumbnails