Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I've been stalking Fabric Mart

Okay, I'll admit it!  I have been stalking Fabric Mart...and everytime I find something I send it to a friend to buy some...

...but this find is so awesomely amazing that I have to share it with you all...

This 100% cotton black allover lace is a crochet-look lace from Calvin Klein. It is 36 inches wide with very nicely finishes selvage edges. Use it as an overlay for skirts, tops, dresses, or lingerie. It would also make a unique shawl or cover-up.

And it is selling for the grand price of $8.99 per yard!!! 

How can you resist it?  Remember that I made the awesome navy blue lace cardigan from a similar surf right over there and buy it okay...please save me from myself...I want to make 30 days fabric free!  *LOL*

...more later!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A little bit of this...

Tomorrow is June 30th and I realize that my sewing has really slowed down alot this year...I've only made 17 garments so far...I know to some that sounds like alot but my output has definitely decreased this year.  And I can't figure out if it's because I've been out and about more...or if I just have such a full closet now that the need to sew non-stop has faded...

Probably the full-closet syndrome because I wake up most mornings knowing I have the appropriate thing to wear to work...btw, I wore the navy silk dress to work today with the white Butterick 4980 jacket.  Not sure it was a good combination to wait out in the hot sun for the bus today...I was sweating like a pig!  I think it's because I'm not use to taking the bus at 10:30 in the's still relatively cool at 6:30am.

BTW the dress did wear well other than that...but it took a minute to get use to all of the fabric swirling around my normal TNT dress is more straight than a-line.

I haven't worn the silk jersey bright floral cardigan yet, because I have this awesome sandwashed red silk crepe sitting on the cutting table waiting it's turn to be made into one more TNT dress. I've noticed that I'm working with more of my silks instead of the linen that I normally turn to at this time of the year. 

Speaking of fabric...I have to tell you that I haven't bought a single piece since the Elliott Berman run (and even used most of it!).  I'm trying to make it until September...but we'll see...August might be tough!  *LOL*  The pile of fabric from PR Weekend Philly is still laying on the suitcase in the living room...*sigh*  It's been commented on more than once by the SO so I guess it's time to move it.

I'm looking forward to this weekend...I think I want to sleep late more than has been intense lately.

I never found a copy of the June BurdaStyle magazine...I think I'm going to have to break down and subscribe...I'm a little bummed by this...but I'm tired of searching for the magazine lately.  Speaking of patterns did anyone else get the email from both Butterick and McCalls where they are featuring one different pattern each week for $2.99?  I think it's a kewl idea but if you buy only one and add the $4 shipping/handling charge I don't know how great the deal is...y'know what I mean?!!

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your very kind comments on the Museum Inspired dress...and that's it for me tonight...I'm off to bed...

as always, more later!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

So instead of throwing things, crying and setting fire to the pattern in my kitchen....I immediately kicked into Plan B.  See I knew that I had enough fabric left to recut a front pattern from my TNT dress pattern so I did.  I did a pivot and slide to add some to the waistline and flare the skirt out a little  ~ cut that sucker out and now may I present to you a v-neckline, a-line version of my TNT dress pattern.

This is a whispering piece, not a shouting my last dress. 

I lined the dress and added piping to the neckline.  The dress has my signature lace on the lining hem and the armholes are bound with black bias binding. It has a 20" invisible zipper in the back. 

It will be a workhorse in my professional work wardrobe...cause I can always use a navy blue silk dress...the Vogue 9666 pattern will be given a quiet burial...tossed into the garbage.  It does not deserve a large ceremonial affair since the promise of the pattern envelope never materialized.

Next up are the black linen pants.  They are a wardrobe necessity...and then I will figure out what I'm going to make during the 4th of July weekend.  I have a barbecue to attend (don't we all here in the States?) but most of my time will be my own...since the SO has to work. always, more later...

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Since a picture is worth a thousand words...


One more try

This navy blue sueded silk faille:

(purchased at JoMars during PR Philly Weekend)

and this pattern:

will become my second attempt at creating this dress.  Now I know all of you who love to make a muslin are asking why don't I just muslin it first, but what would be the fun in that?!  I've made the alterations to the pattern. I've cut the fabric out.  I've figured out how to add a lining and a different type of embellishment that will give this dress a totally different look from the first one.  However, on this version I will baste the dress together first to check for fit before adding any of the special touches...if it works I'll move on.  If it doesn't then I will let it go.

I have more fabric and patterns but not a lot more time before summer runs out and since there are many more garments clamoring to be made before summer's will be time to move on!  NEXT!  *LOL*  

So this is what I will be doing this weekend.  What about you, what are you up to?

...and as always, more later!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Museum Inspired

This knit dress is inspired by one I saw at The Metropolitian of Art Museum's exhibit, "American Woman Fashioning A National Identity" which I saw friday evening with some friends.  The piece that inspired me was in the first segment of the exhibit called, "Heiresses".  It was a pink Worth dress that is just briefly shown in the You Tube video on the museum's site.  The feature that caught my attention on this dress was the feathery flower-like embroidery that was on the skirt and the train.

Coming home friday evening, that piece played over and over in my head.  So much so that I started to run through my fabric collection to see if I had something on hand that might "work" with what I saw.  Then I remembered a knit piece that was two floral panels that I'd purchased from Fabric Mart earlier this year...bought to make something for vacation...but stored away when we decided not to do an island but instead go to Vegas.

This morning while mulling things over I thought it would be interesting to use my TNT dress pattern as the basis of this dress.  I've never used it for a stretchy knit fabric but thought it would be an interesting combination if handled properly.

So here's the finished dress:

Some stats:

2 panels of 60" polyester knit from Fabric Mart
2 yards of tricot beige lining from

1 - 9" black invisible zipper
stay tape
fusible knit interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

Cutting Techniques:
The success of this dress is based upon the placement of the design since it's so prominent.  Normally this dress is cut on the fold...but for this instance I used a center front seam believing that it would help me manipulate the design better. 

I also changed the neckline ~ making it a v-neckline instead of the u-neck that the dress usually has.  This was also inspired by my trip uptown to the museum.  I took the bus up Madison Avenue and spent the trip looking at all of the goods displayed in the designer store windows.  There are alot of v-necklines being this is reflected in the neckline choice for this dress.

The other consideration that needed to be made during the cutting process were the white bands in the fabric separating the panels, I did not want them to interfere with the look of the dress.  So while I incorporated the white band into the front of the dress to carry the design across the front, it was omitted in the back pieces for more of a dramatic & slimming effect.

Construction Techniques:
Since I was working with a knit, I had to determine how I would handle the seams.  I really wanted them to lay flat without bulk so I opted to finish the fabric edges by serging them in their flat state and then stitch the dress together on the sewing machine.

I also opted to put a lining in this dress...well you know how I feel about unlined knit dresses on plus size women so this dress is lined with a tricot lining fabric that I've used in my last two knit dresses.

There is a 9" invisible zipper in this dress.  I wasn't sure how stretchy the dress would be once it was lined and I thought that adding a small zipper to give me a bigger opening for my head wasn't a bad thing! *LOL*  So I used a lightweight knit fusible interfacing cut 1" wide and 1" longer than the zipper (1" wide x 10" long).

This was done to stabilize the zipper opening and made the insertion of the invisible zipper a breeze.

I also added the darts that are in the original dress pattern.  To insure that the darts didn't stretch out, I used stay tape when sewing them down.  This will guarantee that the darts don't grow in any direction and affect the fit of the dress.  It also means that the top of the dress conforms to my body and gives me a great fit.

The last piece that makes this dress a success is the lining.  It was applied to the neckline of the dress and flipped inside.  At one point I thought about applying stay tape to the neckline when sewing the lining and the fashion fabric together.  However, after handling the lining, I decided that adding stay tape would be overkill...the lining would be enough to stabilize it.  I made sure to double stitch the neckline and carefully clip the seamline in that area.

The armholes have the lining and the fashion fabric serged together and  turned under then machine stitched down.  Add a machine stitched hem (that does have a little stitch witchery in it for stability) and the dress is done.

The great thing about this dress is that it can be worn with several of the cardigans in my wardrobe as well as a couple of cute little jackets. 

Next up is the Vogue 9666 dress which I've cut out...but this knit dress got pushed in front of it because I was just so excited to see if I could make the idea work.  I'm thinking it's working just fine!

As an aside, as you are seeing/reading my blog now...this is how it will stay!  I'm loving this new background...I can see the design just fine on my netbook, my iTouch and of course my freestanding home computer.  Plus I've had a few friends test drive the text color and size of the print and all can read it. always, more later!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Do not adjust your tv sets

...just trying sumthin' new.  Blogger came out with these new I'm gonna test drive this one for a week or two and see if I really like it.  Because right now I'm lovin' it ~ cause I'm all about the black and white ~ and I love how it makes my pictures pop!  Well on my home computer and netbook that is.  So I will check it on my work computer and see if I STILL love it...

...but don't be alarmed and don't adjust your tv sets (okay computer monitors *LOL*) it's just me fiddling around...

I'll be back later to share some new photos and hopefully a new garment or two...have a wonderful weekend...and more later!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I currently have three projects going:

Butterick 5460 - the jacket

Vogue 9666
another crack at this dress. 
I will NOT be defeated! *LOL*

and a skirt project.

Normally this would scare the bejesus out of me because I would be worried about ending up with a UFO.  I'm the kinda girl that plans a project, gathers up the notions, fabric & pattern, and makes it.  Then I move onto the next pattern.  Lately, I've enjoyed moving from project to project.  Sewing a little on one here, a little on another one and seeing each of them come to life.  I have so many projects on my summer list and I just need to feel as if I'm making progress on finishing up most of this list.

Maybe I'm slowing down some more...maybe I don't feel the need to rush since the closet is pretty well stocked...or maybe I need a new way to bring a challenge to my sewing...make my creative burners all flare at once.  I don't really know.  But I do know that I'm enjoying this right now...the flexibility...the ability to change it I'm gonna go with it.

How about you are you a plodder or a flitter?  Do you make one project at a time or do you flit from project to project?  Talk to me because this is the question of the day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You have some questions...

Let's start with the questions that Bunny and Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth asked:

1.  Does this adjustment add more to the neckline? Is that OK?
2.  If you add width to a bodice in a part that includes the neckline, won't it be too wide at the neck and hang of your shoulders exposing your bra?

These are both really good and valid questions.  And I decided that a picture would fully explain what I'm attempting to do:

The alteration occurs center front and will spread the front of the dress to the side lengthening the extension and giving me some more room...some much needed room.  This alteration will not affect the shoulder or the neckline extensively.  Please don't forget that there is an underpiece that helps to form the v-neckline and those two pieces are sewn together to form the dress front.  Did I share too much?  Do you understand the alteration or will you need to see the finished dress to understand?

There were a few questions from the "A Trio of Cardigans" blog post:

Animat asked, "Please how did you sew the lace on your machine?"
It was really simple.  I used a small stitch and sewed it together.  This lace is pretty dense and didn't have a lot of holes or open spaces without stitching and I think that's the key to using a lace for a piece like this.

Melissapedsrn asked, "tell me more about the application of stitch witchery before hemming the cardigans,was that too stabilize the fabric first before hemming?  "
I measure up the hem, press it flat and then open the hem and place the stitch witchery between the two a sandwich...then I press it flat.  I like stitch witchery (now know as "sw") because it gives it a real solid finish...some sewists think of this as hard, not flexible and that's why they prefer steam-a-seam over sw.  Oh and I use a 5/8" wide sw that I buy on a 50 yard roll because my hems are typically 1" wide and the sw sandwiches well into the hemline...and yes it does stabilize the hem.  It also reduces the tunneling effect that you can sometimes get when you use a twin needle stitch finish.

elizabethe asked, "Why do you stitch and then serge just to finish the seams? Why not use the serger to construct the garment?"
That is a perfectly good question and I think I have constructed the cardigan this way once just using the serger but I prefer to use this sewing sequence.  Probably because I'm not an advanced serger user and primarily use my serger for finishing seams...the same way that I use my microwave just to heat things up in. *LOL*

Bunny asked, "Can you talk more about they dyeing?"
I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear.  I did not dye the fabric.  I was speaking about the actual manufacturing process of the fabric.  It is a printed on design and you can tell that the fibers reacted to the process differently when the varied colors of dye were applied.

Finally, thanks for taking the time to ask for clarification...a good question never hurt anyone! *smile*  And thank you for all of your kind compliments on both the cardis and the V9666 are too kind especially regarding that dress! *LOL* always, more later!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Altering the pattern

Here is a pic of the last pattern alteration for Vogue 9666:

I've thought about it and thought about it and decided that I would like the fit of this dress so much better if it has just had two more inches in it.  Two more inches to gracefully fall over my abdomen...two more inches to determine the difference between sausage casing and well fitted garment!

Now I know you muslin fanciers are shaking your head and thinking, well if you had just made a muslin in the first place, you wouldn't be doing this now.  And I will admit that you are right...HOWEVER, I did learn a few things about making the garment in real fabric versus muslin.  I learned that I want a drapier fabric not such a stable one.  I learned that when thinking and working outside of your comfort zone you have to appreciate the pattern and and the new look that you are going for...and most importantly I learned that I STILL wouldn't make a muslin.  It's just not me! *LOL* I cut the pattern on the center front line and added a full two inches from top to bottom on the front pattern piece.  I added two inches near the bottom of the pattern for length so that the dress won't be so short.  That was something that was irking me too.  I made the same two inch change to the back pattern piece as well as adding a 1/2" to the waist and hipline down to the hemline on the side of the pattern.  The same two inch alteration that was done to the main front piece was done to the left front pattern piece.

So that's where I'm at with the pattern alterations.  I originally pulled two linens from the fabric closet to try this version in, but I've since decided to use a rayon.  One ~ because a rayon is drapier than linen and two ~ because I just can't figure out how to line this dress.  It's that extra front piece that's throwing me off.  Without a lining this dress needs to hold up to daytime wearings and I think a rayon fabric will work better with a half slip under it than the linens would.

I will pretreat the fabric during the week and hopefully next weekend will find me once again fighting with this pattern.  But I will end up the on it!  *LOL*

And as an aside, is anyone else watching The Tudors?  I can't believe the final episode is next Sunday?!! always, more later!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Trio of Cardigans

I spend alot of time in manufactured air ~ aka air conditioning...and it's always blowing way colder than I like.  In fact, most women who ride the bus with me either carry a pashima shawl or a lightweight jacket in their totes to cover up with because it is so cold.

So when I saw the silk jerseys at Elliott Berman, they reminded me of the ltwt little cardigans that I've been seeing all over the internet this summer and lusting after...because I always need something on my arms to keep me warm during the summer.

For these I used my TNT cardigan pattern - Burda 8869 - to make two more versions.  Now even though these are basically the same fabrication, adding the dye & printing on the fabric definitely changed the hand of it.  What do I mean?  The bright floral was a stretchier piece of fabric than the black/grey/white version and I didn't realize it until after the pattern pieces had been cut out and I was assembling them.  So I made slight adjustments in how I handled them. 

Otherwise the construction is the same as always.

~stitch on the sewing machine and then finish the seam on the serger
~reinforce the shoulder seam with tape
~insert the sleeves in a flat insertion instead of in the round
~use stitch witchery for the hems and then stitch down

The only modification I made to these were for length...they are a little shorter than the navy blue cotton one.

1.  A floral garden
This one is pictured on Lulu with no buttons.  I have some picked out just haven't decided whether or not I'm going to add them.

2.  Black/white & gray all over
This cardigan is a little tighter fitting because the fabric doesn't seem to have as much stretch

and I added black mother of pearl buttons to the front.

3.  The blue cotton lace cardigan from the SWAP
I noticed in the comments that someone asked about it.  Yes, it was made so quickly during the final days of the SWAP that I didn't blog about it.  I just didn't have time!

For this version, I omitted the bands and added the navy blue piping that appears at the neckline of the beaded dress to tie the two pieces together.  I did not add any additional inches to the front or back piece because I knew that I was going to use the vintage pin as the closure.  So the two front pieces only had to meet, not overlap.

This cardigan has a center back seam where the first two do not.  Sometimes I make it with the center back seam and sometimes I don't.  I purposely didn't with the first two because I didn't want to break up the pattern on the fabric.  Even though it's made from lace it's actually heavier in weight than the first two cardis.

These are the first of the basic pieces that I'm adding to my wardrobe after The Great Closet Clean-Out.  I've pulled the fabric for the black linen pants and for a navy blue straight skirt.  There wasn't enough of the navy blue fabric for pants and I'm not sure its suitable for pants...and right now I just don't want to purchase any more.  I know what you are thinking...but I did say, right now! *LOL* always, more later!

p.s.  Go Celtics!  Go Celtics!  3-2 Wahooooooo!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Closet Tale

A couple of weeks ago I said that I was going to clean out the closet by boxing up the winter stuff and moving it to another location.  At the time it seemed like a good idea...but I do live in an apartment with limited closet space.  Even though it really does have good closet space, I'm maxing it out by using the largest one as my fabric closet.  So my overstuffed closet sat.

This afternoon when I went to hang up the clothing I wore to work this week, as well as put away the laundry, I decided enough was enough.  I mercilessly went through the closet and removed anything that hadn't been worn in a year, was too tight, too faded or just out of style.  This is the result:

These bags of clothing will be donated to the Salvation Army this week, along with some baby stuff from The Little Prince.  After that exercise, there is more space in the closet...not alot...but enough so that I can add a few new garments, as well as, a few more hangers to hold those new pieces.  I'm also thinking that I need to hang some things a little differently, i.e. those hangers that hold multiple skirts and pants.  I see a trip to Wal-Mart is in my future...

I also found a skirt that was way too long and cut it off so it appears more on trend.  This will make an appearance in my work wardrobe this week:

And I found a dress that I made years ago, never hemmed and never wore.  I will put it on with a cute little white sweater and although bright it will be perfect for a Friday outfit!

I also realized that I have a few holes in my can that be with all the clothes I make, right?  But my black linen pants, alongwith my natural linen pants are worn and need to be replaced.  I also think that I need a pair of navy blue linen pants to match that awesome navy cotton cardigan that I made for my SWAP. I believe that I can find all of these fabrics in my collection.  Although I need some basic colored sheath dresses, too.  I have loads of pretty floral and print dresses but very few solid colored or tweedy colored work dresses.  These will also need to go on my sewing list.

Finally, the black/white Vogue 9666 dress has been haunting me.  I won't fix that one, I just believe it is beyond repairing, however, I have to make it again.  I've pulled some fabric candidates and will work on altering the pattern yet again to make another dress this weekend. *sigh*  I just can't let this pattern get the best of me! always, more later!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Missing in Action

I don't know what's going on with me and my sewing but I lost this last weekend due to coming down with the cold from hell!  I was laid low for four days...just going back to work today.  So there are no completed pieces to show...though I did manage to cut out two cardigans from the new silk jerseys...and after trying on the black & white dress again...I've decided that I just don't like it on me.  I hate looking like a stuffed Gay if you want it, I will send it to you.

See sewing outside your comfort zone equals wadders...well sewn wadders but wadders nevertheless.  I should have stuck with my original plans for the fabric...*sigh*

Just a quick update...hopefully my sewing mojo and my health will be in tune with each other this weekend and I can finally begin to move some of my ideas from my mind to my closet. always more later!

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Fabric Lunch

Today, we (Elizabeth, LindsayT and I) met AllisonC in the Garment District for a fabric lunch.  Thanks Elizabeth that's a really cute title! *LOL*  As usual I was the last one to arrive because getting out of my office is always a challenge...*sigh* but I made it!

I was so proud of myself because I bought nuthin'...actually Allison was the only one who purchased a piece and it's probably because the three of us coaxed her into it by telling her that she couldn't come to NYC and not buy something from Mood!

She bought this beautiful cotton that was rolled out on the table!

Then Lindsay, who if you think was a garment district guru before, is really now "The Master of the Garment District Universe" since she starting working near there, took us to Elliott Berman's showroom.  See this is the difference between Lindsay and me...she seeks out the strange and unfamiliar and in the process she finds some amazing places to fabric shop - read her review here.  Whereas I am comfortable with the places I know and frequent them exclusively!

Allison, Matthew (proprietor of Elliott Berman) and LindsayT.

But since she changed my mind about Mood and since I've seen some of the awesome pieces that Liana has purchased from them online, I decided to go without any reservations.  And to think that I had the audacity to say something like, "I was sick of fabric and not buying anymore until the fall fabrics showed up"...of course, they all laughed at me...loudly!

Because when we got to Elliott Berman's it was like walking through the looking glass...beautiful high-end designer fabrics with extremely affordable prices...we were like kids in a candy store.  Even the Stashless Lindsay bought an awesome piece without us having to twist her arm!

Allison, Lindsay (with the piece she bought) and Elizabeth

So these are the beauties that came home with me:

Floral silk jersey, black 'n white silk jersey, navy blue embroidered wool knit

It was a wonderful fabric lunch!  And if you should hear about a woman's apartment falling down from the second floor and crushing her neighbors because of the fabric loaded into it...don't be alarmed, it's just my apartment which is reaching the tipping point with fabric goodness.

I'm planning to sew this more later!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Happiness in a box...

...or my order from Fabric Mart was waiting for me when I got home tonight!  Can I just tell you how much a box of fabric lifts my spirits and smoothes out all the rough edges of a bad feels so good it must be illegal!  *LOL*

So what did I get...why the border prints of course!  And they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  If you bought the navy/white floral print (pictured to the left), you are going to be one happy sewist!  The website's description said that it was a lightweight cotton and I thought it would be kinda sheer but it has a nice hand to it.  Not too light, not too heavy, it will make a great summer dress.

I know it was a good box because I opened it when the DDs were in the living room and some tugging and tussling followed as claims were made to goods they had not purchased.  When do grown children stop believing that everything their parents purchase is for them?

Now I can't wait for the weekend...I must make up for the time I lost last weekend...and the Significant Other is traveling for work so I don't have to leave the house...I can sew, sew, sew!

One more thing...many of you tell me that I inspire you with my sewing.  Would you like to know who inspires me?  Kathryn, the author of the blog, I Made This! created this awesome dress for her daughter inspired by one in the latest Sew Stylish magazine.  Go by and check it out!

...and as always, more later!

Outside my comfort zone

Lately, I've been attempting to use some "new" or newly purchased patterns to vary up my look.  I'm trying to work outside my comfort try something different from my expand my horizons and learn some new skills.  So in the upcoming months there will be some things made up and shared here that may not be what you've come to expect from me. 

I'm feeling a little restless and a need to shake things up.  Yes, there will still be dresses made from my TNT (tried and true) pattern but besides some fabric manipulation, I feel a need to try a variety of silhouettes.  So bear with me as I make this journey because I'm sure there are going to be some awesome and amazing winners and then at other times there will be some be gentle with your criticisms! *LOL*

Just warning you up front because I'm working outside my comfort zone!


Related Posts with Thumbnails