Monday, April 25, 2011

I've never been more inspired...

The last Club BMV pattern sale was that all Vogues were $3.49 each and McCalls & Buttericks were $1.88 each for club members - but here's the kicker...if you purchased $25 worth of patterns, you got free shipping!  So all of those pattern numbers that I'd been writing down after seeing reviews on blogs and purchased in this go round.

First up is Vogue 1247.  When this pattern first came out I totally dismissed it...too short...too young...too trendy.  Then Elmo from Adonising Dressing for Dinner made her version and she lengthened it!  And the possibilities exploded in my this one came home with will look great in a solid color for the skirt, a tank top and a cardigan.

Next one is this Vena Cava dress - Vogue 1228.  Again I thought this one would look like a sack and that I would look like I was wearing a housecoat...but then I saw Kim's version on Sew Silly...and I was done!  Kim has a flatter tummy than I do but I think I can alter it so that it doesn't look too shapeless. I'll use one of my amazing silks for my version...

The final dress is the Tracy Reese that everyone is making...Vogue 1224.  I am guilty of looking at the pattern envelope and thinking no way is this gonna be attractive on my bodacious body...but somehow in looking at all of the renditions that have appeared on blogs...I've decided that I should at least give it a try.  I mean it's only fabric, right?  And I may learn a thing or two in the process.  So thank you Erica (and truly this is a first...I love the things Erica sews but her style is soooooo different from mine...I mean I'm soooooo corporate and she's so designer kewl) and once again Kim.

The other thing about all of these pieces is that they should all be quick sews...and I need some quick sews for the next couple of weeks!  *LOL*  Also, they look nuthin' like the pieces that are presently in my wardrobe and that's cool too.  I will just make them up in corporate colors and/or prints so that I'm not standing out like a strange bird at my job!

Of course, that's not all that came...but the ones that I haven't highlighted are the back up players to the supa stars...y'know what I mean!

...more later!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Late on Easter Sunday...

It's been a really packed weekend!  My oldest daughter celebrated her 30th Birthday on Saturday evening at a local restuarant. 

My mom, brother & sister and their families were in attendance, as well as, a few local friends of my daughter since she doesn't live in NJ anymore.  All of my grandchildren were present too.  It was a fun evening that lasted late...then we (my daughters, their friends or significant others and grandchildren) came back to my apartment, and had me laughing with their jokes and antics until quite early in the morning...

Nevermind that we had Easter Service to attend at my Mom's church and then a family dinner afterwards at her home.  It was a wonderful weekend full of family, love, silliness and the amazing things that grandchildren say...we shoulda made a you-tube video!  *LOL*

Anyway, I did finish the shell of the Butterick 5600 dress on Saturday afternoon.  I am at the "sleeve step" for anyone who has the pattern.  I'm really liking the dress so far but won't be able to finish it until next weekend...and even then I won't get to work on it until next Sunday since I have a baby shower on Saturday.  Thank goodness I've made loads of pretty summer dresses that I can wear this week, especially since the weather is suppose to be hot and humid later this week. always, more later!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Butterick 5600 - Pattern Alterations

Once I decided to use my TNT dress pattern as the basis for my pattern alterations, fit became a non-issue in getting the dress started.  It was so easy once that step was even though I will show you the pattern alteration pictures...I think the thing that should be taken away from this exercise is that everyone should have a TNT pattern or sloper that they can use to make alterations to their patterns.  If you have alot of alterations to make, using a sloper/TNT pattern definitely makes the job alot easier.

Pattern Alterations:
That being said...I made a pattern sandwich for the dress front - my TNT dress pattern, the Butterick 5600 dress front piece and a piece of my lovely Dick Blick tracing paper.  (I love that stuff, btw!)  Once you lay the three pieces together its so easy to see where to trace to get the necessary width for the dress. 

The only tricky part is to remember to add the front yoke piece so you have an accurate reading of how the dress lands.  I did change the dart on the dress based upon my TNT dress's a little lower on the Butterick piece.  So I added width, length and altered the dart for the front piece.

Since the back has a yoke, I laid the TNT dress back pattern, the back yoke and the back lower piece and then the tracing paper to form my pattern sandwich.  Again, adding the necessary width was a breeze with the TNT pattern beneath the Butterick pattern.

I also adjusted the short sleeve pattern for my bodacious biceps.  I'm using View C with the tabbed sleeves for my rendition.

Cutting out was interesting because I had to make sure that the front and back pieces ended at the exact same spot. To insure that I had a continuous border print, the front and back pieces were laid side by side...I even measured from the selvedge to make sure they were equal.  Then how to use the darker areas of the border print to highlight the fabric was another choice to be made...but it's all cut out as evidenced below:

And that's where I left it last night when I went to bed...this morning though I woke up thinking that this dress needs a lining.  My linen is a little lightweight and you know I hate see-through...and I think I dreamed how to add a lining to the construction process...

Anyway, I'm off to sew for a few hours...

...more later!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mental Sewing...or why I ain't got nuthin new to show!

Somewhere a few posts back, I mentioned that my next project was going to be Butterick 5600...and nuthin' right!  Instead I use a kewl piece of fabric to make a knit version of my TNT dress (which garnered quite a few complimentss at work, btw!)  I know I shared that I came home from being a fabric piggy with a horrible cold...and I made the mistake of taking the pattern pieces out of the envelope while I was medicated and not of course I was overwhelmed...seriously overwhelmed with the amount of pattern alterations that I would have to make so that the dress would fit my body.

I put those pieces back in the envelope and moved on.  Well I've been going to work these last couple of days and those pattern pieces have been haunting me.  Seriously taking up way too much of my thoughts on the way to work and on the way home...when it finally hit me that I should use my TNT dress pattern with B5600 so that I don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Well I was so very proud of myself for coming up with this revelation...and today I shared my heavy revy with Elizabeth (SEWN) who goes...well dayum I thought that was what you were going to do anyway.  Seriously deflated my bubble...but okay I'm gonna let her have that one because I'm busting her bubbles on the she was due for one! *LOL*  Y'know what I mean!

Anyway, I don't have to work tomorrow...thank heavens for Jesus!  We have Good Friday off and I plan on using my day to celebrate by working on this dress.  I mean I have a packed weekend full of celebratory events and I'm just stealing a little me time to work on this dress...I really think Jesus will understand...don't you!?!

So here is a picture of the fabric, pattern and the buttons I scored from GStreet in Rockville, MD.

The buttons are a little larger than the ones recommended on the pattern envelope but we decided that since there is a little bit more of will be fine to use them.  Tho' I wish you could have seen me and the woman working behind the button counter at GStreet with my iPad checking to make sure that the buttons worked with the fabric.

Hopefully the next post will be about a finished dress...or at least something about the process!

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE especially the silent majority (that's what I'm gonna call y'all now instead of lurkers...sounds better dontcha think!) who left a comment on the last couple of posts!  Gosh, y'all make a gurl feel worthy...truly you do!  But seriously, I read each and every comment and want to thank you for taking the time to write...your comments were so appreciated!!!  There were a few questions and I will address them this weekend, promise! 

...okay...more later!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Fabric Piggy Tale

I've been waiting for Sharon (Communing with Fabric) to get home before talking about the trip we took to Fabric Mart last weekend.  Sharon tells it best on her blog post, "My Pilgrimmage to Fabric Mart". 

Me, I've been to Fabric Mart before so I knew the treasures that were waiting for us to behold! Still I didn't take into account that we would be dragging luscious fabrics that had just come off the truck to the cutting table...or taking a trip into "The Basement" that housed wholesale heaven...or even that everything on their website would be a touch I went a little B-I-T  C-R-A-Z-Y!

Yeap, that was me standing in the middle of Fabric Mart transferring money from my savings to my checking account on my iPad as my friends cheered me on!!!  So do you wanna see what the fabric piggy bought home with her???


(l-r:  silk blk/grey/white voile, white sheer silk crepe, beige striped silk faile
brown woven silk, beige floral woven silk, brown sandwashed nylon
and a chambray silk shantung)


(a grey wool sateen, a silk/wool herringbone, a black wool sateen
a salt & pepper wool blend boucle)

and of course the linen jerseys:

Most of my silks were purchased from the table that was in the front of the store for $4 a yard...yeah, I know, right?  Most of my wools are from the Jones NY offerings that Fabric Mart has an abundance of...but what struck me the most was the friendliness of the staff at Fabric Mart.  From the owner, Robert coming out and taking a picture with Sharon (notice the glee on her face!)...

to Jenna who matches thread to fabric (so if you check that box that says you want matching thread, know that someone is carefully making sure that it matches your fabric exactly!)  Seriously I was much impressed by this! 

To everyone who stopped to say hi, get their picture taken with Sharon or who asked us, "What we could do to make shopping with Fabric Mart even better?!"  This was a fabricaholic's dream trip!

Sharon and I started calling each other Sister Wife because we both were saying how much we L-O-V-E Fabric Mart!  And tho' she says that she loves them more...just know that I've loved them longer and deeper than she could evah imagine!  *LOL*

It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon!  Great fabric in a great fabric store with a great fabric store staff and most of all GREAT was the perfect MasterCard moment!  I know cause mine caught fire shortly after we left the store! *LOL*

...more later!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Knit Dress...

I've been on vacation all you would think that I'd have some amazing treasures to share with you, right?  Well you  would be wrong!  I spent the beginning of my vacation week fabric shopping with friends in wonderous places but when I got home Tuesday evening, I was sick as a dog!  Tell me who goes away for their dream vacation and catches the cold from hell...that would be me friends!

I managed to get the Donna Karan dress made and that was it.  Basically I've spent the last few days trying to cough up my lungs and watching alot of television.  On Thursday when I pulled the pattern pieces for Butterick 5600 out of it's envelope I wanted to cry.  Can we just say A-L-O-T of pattern alterations will be needed to make this dress work on my plus size body...*sigh*...just too much work for me to contemplate in my weakened state.

So today when I could finally lift my head off the pillow, I resorted to my TNT dress pattern so that I would at least have two new things to show for the nine days I've been home from work...and two new things to wear to work this week...the only good thing about this whole sickness debaucle is that this Friday is Good Friday and I won't have to work!

I did, however, use one of my new fabrics...purchased from GStreet in Rockville, MD last weekend.  When I picked the fabric up I knew I wanted to use it with my TNT pattern.  I'd been looking for a border print that I could run down the front and back of a dress...

The front of the dress...

The back of the dress...

Some stats:

TNT dress pattern

Pique border print knit

22" invisible zipper
3 yards knit bias binding

I can make this dress in my sleep, I've made it so many times.  It was perfect to highlight the fabric...which I cut out with the border running down the front side and in two different directions in the back to look like color blocking. 

I used a knit bias binding from my notions collection to finish off the neckline and the armholes.  After sewing the binding down and flipping it to the wrong side of the dress, I understitched it.  Finally cutting the bias binding close to the stitching line. 

A one inch hem was ironed up using some stitch witchery so that I wouldn't have to worry about a hemline showing through...and this dress was done.  It actually was just as easy to sew as the DKNY knit dress.   So I have two new dresses for work this week. 

I've picked apart the pieces of the Butterick 5598 dress that I was working on before vacation and will pick it back up this Friday since I already have my Easter outfit ready. always, more later!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Value of a Good Comment - Part II

Oh My, did that post draw out quite a few lurkers and ALOT of comments!  First thank you to everyone who took the time to post.  I really do appreciate it because it answered quite a few questions.  Second, thank you to all the first time posters.  Although you all listed a variety of reasons why you don't post, there are a few I would like to discuss.

1.  Everyone has already said what I wanted to say so why should I leave a comment.
Think of it this way, don't you like a compliment.  Even if you've heard that same compliment 50x that day!  Doesn't it make you feel good...well share the love!  I can't think of one of my blogger friends that doesn't like to hear a well done, I agree or disagree (when written politely of course), or a "dayum didn't you blow that one out of the park" comment...even if it's said 114 times!  *LOL*

2.  I didn't know you read every comment, so thought why leave an additional one.
Seriously, I don't know where this erroneous thought came from that bloggers posted things out into the blogosphere and didn't expect people to reply or wouldn't read their comments left on the posts. 

To me blogging has always been about having a conversation with the people who read your writings.  Okay, maybe I'm wrong...maybe I've misconstrued it.  But let's start with, I like hearing what you have to say...good or bad.  Now do I follow your advice?  Some times because sometimes you see things in a different light that is appealing to me.  And if I don't follow your advice it is because it isn't in line with what I'm envisioning for my garment or what I was thinking.  But I would never put you down for it. 

So for the record, I do read each and every comment ~ so comment away!  And not only here but on all the blogs that you encourages the blogger to continue to blog!

Finally, when you start to leave a few comments I do remember you!  And you are already a member of the club because you show up every day to read the leave a comment every now and then...ask a question...or tell me I'm plum out of my mind! *LOL*  It's not like the blogging police is going to show up at your house and take away your computer! *smile*

The other really important thing that I learned from that post was how many of you read blogs through Google Reader.  Wow!  I guess since I log into blogger and read blogs from my follower's list than ramble through other people's blog lists (btw, thank you everyone for posting those on your sidebar) I didn't realize how many people used Google Reader.  I also read blogs on my iPad coming home from work which does give me the ability to comment and doesn't have one of those small screens so I was totally unaware of the steps.

Lastly a few comments really touched me:

Natasha wrote:
"But there's another thing (and maybe this is just an excuse) -- even if I were to leave a brief positive comment on someone's blog, I guess I figure it won't matter that much to them. I'm not much of an online sewing presence -- I don't have a blog and I am not a PatternReview powerhouse. So without any context on who I am, it seems like a generic "good job" comment from me isn't much more meaningful than just reading your visitor stats. We all do leave our traces on your blog and you must know that there are so many more of us out there than the comments you get."

Wow!  Okay I want to disavow this thinking right now.  To me...especially to me...everyone who leaves a comment is important!  You do not have to be a PR Powerhouse, a well known blogger, etc. for your comment to matter.  If you take the time to read my ramblings, look at my garments and even put up with my opinions than you are important to me!  So join the conversation by commenting I said previously after a few comments I will start to "know" who you are!

Danielle wrote:
"I feel like I've been peeping through someone's window and they just opened the blinds! BUSTED! LOL!"

Okay this one did make me laugh out loud but you know there is some truth to it!  I can see the numbers of people visiting my blog every day and where in the world you are coming from.  Blogger makes stats available, as well as, the sitemeter counter that's on my blog...however, this is just numbers. 

It doesn't take into account the uniqueness of people from all over the world who stop by and peek in my window *smile* on a daily or weekly basis.  I guess me and the friends that were discussing this, just want to know you all better.  So the next time you approach us at an event, when you say,  "Oh I know you and read you every day," we can say,  "Oh yes thank you!  Love the comments or suggestions that you leave on my blog"  instead of the generic, thank you for reading my blog!

Amy W. wrote:
"I didn't know a comment really mattered....or that the blogger made time to read all of her comments! But've shed a huge flood light on the subject that it does with this...I'll take it into the next blog and be sure I leave a "calling card" of a the ladies of ole did in the Victorian times!!!!"

Amy can I tell you that I remember the first comment you left on my blog.  I was impressed that you dressed the same way I did and that I was reaching someone like me.  Love the Victorian calling card reference btw.  So yes, comments do matter to me and my fellow bloggers!

Dharma wrote:
"I guess I am one of those who does not always leave a message. Why? I think that I feel like I have not "put time" into my blog posts and I don't sew as much as others, so I think" who wants to hear from me". I know it is silly, but I am just being real with my thoughts.  I am glad you posted your thoughts on comments"

As I stated above this was repeated quite frequently throughout the 114 comments that were left on this post. (Can you tell the amount of responses surprised even me!)  However, this is so far from the truth.  We all make up a sewing community and if you were invited to my actual home, you would have the opportunity to say something.  Since you can't all visit me in NJ, you visit me virtually here at my blog home and I want you all to feel free to say or not say anything!  See I am letting you off the hook here! *LOL*

Finally, I blog because I am passionate about sewing.  My kids have a joke that if the house was on fire, I would be running around grabbing my sewing machine and as much fabric as I possibly could hold yelling for them to get out of the house...not actually grabbing them.  I don't personally believe this is true...I mean I would have my sewing machine under my arm but I would be pushing them towards the door too!  ROTFLOL! 

All this is to say that I appreciate everyone who stops by my virtual home.  I love when you leave a calling card or a comment (thanks AmyW.) and if you just need to stop and window shop (which is sooooo much nicer than peeping in the windows!) I understand!  I'm just happy you stop by!

...more later!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vogue 1250 - Donna Karan NY Dress

This is the fastest dress I've ever made!  It took longer to make the pattern alterations than it did to construct the dress.

Some stats:

Vogue 1250 - started with a size 20

black/white abstract print ponte knit from

1 yard stay tape

Pattern Alterations:
First you should know that this pattern consists of 3 pattern pieces:  1 front/back piece, 1 top back piece and a back neck facing piece.  That's it.  So all of my alterations had to be made to the front piece.  After checking the finished garment measurements on the pattern piece, I determined that a combination of pivot & slide and adding some inches to the back would give me enough inches to fit my pear shaped bottom. 

I laid the pattern on the fabric fold and pivoted out an inch at the waistline and 3" at the hemline.  I also added 4" to the back seam and 3" to the hemline.  For the top back piece, I also did a pivot and slide to add 1.5" to the center back area.

I also squared off the curved top back piece which added another 1.5" to the side seam.

Again, this dress goes together 1, 2, 3.  Before you realize it you have a fully assembled dress. 

Construction Techniques:
The one construction tip that I would offer would be to add stay tape to the shoulder seams and I also added a small square of stay tape to either side of the side seam where the dart is formed. 

I serged the edge of the draped facing so that it would be finished and I also serged the hemline of the dress.  Turning up a one inch hem allowance, I used a double needle to stitch the hem down.  A good press and the dress was done! 

This dress can be made by a beginner sewist especially if you fall within the size range because you wouldn't need to make any alterations to the pattern.  Just make sure that you use a knit with enough stretch and you will be fine. 

Here's a pic of me trying to pose like the pattern cover:

And here is a pic of how I will probably wear it to work ~ with a black doubleknit cardigan that I've had it in my closet for forever.

I'm thinking about changing the pattern up a bit, so that there are side seams, and using my TNT dress pattern to make it happen.  I thought about making that version today but I have alot of patterns that I want to make and sooooooo much fabric to use that I'm not sure if will happen this season.  But who knows, I may yet stumble upon a great knit in the fabric closet and be inspired.

So this is the first garment I've completed during my 5 day up is Butterick 5600 and Toya I'm copying you because your version of this dress was so awesome!

Parting Shot:
Spring really is here in my corner of the world...the windows are open to let the spring breezes in and the trees are budding.  Saw a group of robins in the tree outside my kitchen window and I snapped a quick picture...look carefully he's in there! *LOL* always, more later!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Value of a Good Comment

So I was with some friends this weekend and we were talking about blog reading, I mean when we weren't talking about patterns or fabrics, or trims, etc.! *LOL*  You know what I mean, right?!  The conversation was all sewing all the time...anyway one of the topics that came up was blogs, blogging and leaving comments.

Now as I explained to them and I've said numerous times here...I am a comment ho.  I may not respond to all of them, but I do read each and every one of them and appreciate the time a person takes to leave a comment.  And the discussion turned to what makes a good comment...this was a pretty interesting discussion to me.

I don't know about you but I like not only to receive comments but to give them too...because to me visiting a person's blog is like visiting their home.  You always acknowledge the person for allowing you into their home and you should thank them for taking the time to host you.  If you are really into the social do's and don'ts, you even try to bring a small gift to show your gratitude or appreciation for them hosting you.  That's what comments are like to way of saying thanks for taking the time to share your "whatever" with me.

So what about you?  Do you or don't you comment?  Is there a reason that you don't?  I mean I totally get the don't say something at all if you ain't got nuthin' nice to say rule...but it was perplexing to me and my friends why so many people read blogs and don't say anything...nuthin, nada, zip! 

It's sort of like ghostly appearances...anyway, I know sometimes people read at work and don't have the ability to comment (totally get that one!) I mean your day job is soooooo much more important than leaving a comment...and some people don't have a Google ID or an Open ID so when anonymous comments have been turned off...then you can't leave a comment. 

But what about the rest of you?  Is there a reason you don't comment?  Now please don't feel like you have to leave a comment...*LOL*  This was just a post wondering what was what based upon a conversation with friends.  Or maybe I'm just delirious from all the cold medicine I'm taking because I've managed to catch the cold from hell...probably shared with me by the germ catcher himself - The Little Prince!

So comment or don't...I was just pondering...

...more later!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Mythological Beast

Saturday evening I was talking with a friend and we were discussing fabrics - of course!  But mainly we were discussing trying to locate the urban legend ~ linen jersey.  Now we knew it had to exist since Eileen Fisher routinely uses it in her garments...but finding it available for retail sewists to use...the sightings were few and far between.

There was a sighting on a website of a fabric store based out of California ~ the price was $26 a yard.  At that price, you need to take a breathe and truly evaluate if you need that fabric in your life before loading up the cart and pressing the submit button.

But peoples I'm here to tell you that the mythological beast lives!  Yes...yes it does.  I've seen it.  I've held it in my hand and I now own 8 yards of it.  Where?  Right...I know you're wondering where I found it at?  But first let me tell you what Linen Jersey is so you know what fiber you are hunting...

"A jersey fabric has a fair amount of stretch and curls to the right side when stretched on the crossgrain.  Single knits do not have quite the recovery power of a double knit.  Right side of the fabric show a knit stitch and the wrong side shows a purl stitch."
from  More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina

A linen jersey uses linen fibers to weave the fabric.  Here are two garments made using linen jersey fabric from Eileen Fisher's spring 2011 line:

So where did I find this mythological beast?  Why Fabric Mart of course!  Yeap, my most favoritest fabric store in the entire internet universe has some of this amazing fabric in it's store.  But here's the catch, I don't know if it will be loaded onto the website.  So if you really want to own some of this urban legend fabric, please give a call directly to Fabric Mart and see if  1) they still have some and 2) what price they are selling it for and 3) what colors are available.  I honestly can't tell you what they are selling for or even if the colors I saw are still available, but call and ask to speak to Jennifer or Sue at 800-242-3695 (8am - 5pm EST) and see if there's any left

Edited to add:  That Fabric Mart has indeed listed the linen jersey on their site.  It is in the New Arrivals section and is selling for $11.99 per yard!  Peoples that is a steal!  Because the other website was selling it for $26 a yard.  Run...yes, I did say run right over and purchase some because this is the kewlest lightweight summer knit evah!

Don't believe I have some of the mythological beast in my possession - here's proof:

Yes, that's 4 yards of an orangy red and 4 yards of black laying on MY MY possession.  I can testify that the mythological beast lives and can come reside with you for the cost of a phone call! (Well okay price per yard plus shipping, too)  If you've always wanted to own some of this fabric...get to calling peoples...get to calling! always, more later!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stitches Magazine

Years ago when the magazine stand in the Pan Am/MetLife Building in NYC used to carry every sewing magazine under the sun ~ my special treat was to walk there at lunch time and peer through them all.  Then I would carefully select a few to take home with me.  One of those that regularly came home with me was Stitches magazine.

I loved the articles and how they developed wardrobes.  I loved how the editors interpreted the styles for their followers.  It was a different magazine than the American pattern companies' produced.  Back then all of the pattern companies published one (Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls & Vogue) as well as the Burda line (Easy Sewing, Blouses/Tops, Petites, Plus and the monthly Burda World of Fashion) or Threads and Sew News so I really enjoyed Stitches Magazines unique point of view.  As with how the world changes, the newsstand changed hands and stopped carrying as many sewing publications and I could no longer find Stitches Magazine.

After Audrey showed her latest copy of Stitches on her blog and so willing gave up the subscription information, I purchased a subscription for the magazine.  Just this week two new editions arrived in my mailbox.  And now I'm wondering if I was just feeling nostalgic for this magazine or if I was in a different learning curve when I use to buy it.  Because it is a good sewing magazine and it has interesting articles in it, but it didn't move me creatively like I thought it would.

It could just be these two issues - I mean I have 13 more to go! But I was wondering if anyone else subscribes to it and what do you think?  Help me out I missing something?  Did I let my sentimental feelings for the magazine color my reality?  Or do I just need to settle into the groove?

Thanks in advance for any opinions...and as always, more later!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Pile of Patterns

It's official - spring really is here!  The trees are budding, the birds are singing and it's light in the mornings when I head to the bus stop...and on Monday it will be 80 degrees F. in NYC.  Since spring is really here, it's time to turn my mind to spring sewing...

I mean I had a great trip to the fabric store to pick up some new beauties and there have been a few boxes showing up at my front door...gotta keep the UPS man employed!  *LOL*  So the next step was to go through my pattern collection and pick out some patterns to use for spring & summer sewing.

Now I can tell you that my sewing will primarily consist of dresses.  I love a dress especially in warmer weather even though I think my sewing was a little more well-rounded last fall/winter - definitely count on seeing quite a few dresses.  I'm also incorporating at least one vintage pattern and one BS (that's Burda Style) pattern. 

The way I usually sew is that I pick a fabric from the collection or purchase it and then pick a pattern or maybe I was inspired by a pattern to create a new garment or series of garments.  This year I'm changing it up a little.  I'm sewing from this pile of patterns primarily because I pledged to sew the new plus size patterns that Butterick/McCalls & Vogue presented this season. 

We will see how this goes! *LOL*  I haven't been a pattern girl in years.  I mostly go by what moves me or I'm inspired I will definitely have to stay off and out of the magazines, off the clothing sites on the internet...hey I'm changing up my entire creative process for this challenge!  *LOL*  So like I said we'll see how this goes...

Anyway, there are 24 patterns in the pile and I have 22-24 weeks before fall/winter sewing begins.  I will have a few days off at the end of next week for a mini-sewcation, a couple of three day weekends, and my annual sewcation in September to pull this all off...if I can.

There will probably be much moaning and complaining, much pattern alterating and quite a few desperate longings for my TNT patterns but I'm gonna try my hardest to stick to this pattern challenge and see what develops.  I may end up with some new patterns to add to the TNT collection...or this whole experiment may be too much for me and I'll go flying back into "The Land of TNT" never to emerge again!  *LOL* always more later!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

New Members of the Family

I love Elliott Berman!  I've only visited them a few times but everytime I leave, I leave with the most amazing treasures.  So Meg and I met there for lunch earlier this week and of course a few beauties followed me home.

But before I share them with you, I want to remind you of a few unique garments made with fabrics from Elliott Berman...

The Versace Inspired Dress...

Several cardigans from Burda 8869...

and these new members of my fabric family...

(left to right:  a tie-dyed border print blue linen, a brown/blk/gray
ltwt. cotton sateen, a blk/white circle knit w/a stripe border)

Fabrics from EB don't linger long in my collection...probably because they are so distinctive and so wonderful to work fact I only had 2 pieces left before these new pieces were added. I can guarantee that these won't last long either especially since I already have patterns with 2 of the 3 fabrics.

If you need more information on Elliott Berman, check out Meg's blog, "Shop the Garment District"  where her post today highlights all of the goodies that can be found there!

Adrienne this is for you and as always, more later!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A pinch here and a smidge there

Tanya's new dress wasn't the only good thing to come from the Butterick dress construction post.  Irene, who author's the blog, "Irene's Studio" left this suggestion:

"The style is wonderful. (Are daughters allowed opinions?) What if you made the tuck itself smaller? would that help the back to fall straight? Or ... stitching down the tuck further, to make it "open" further down???"

After reading this, I wanted to smack myself up side the head!  Because the pattern instructions clearly tells you to stitch those pleats down...but me in my infinite wisdom decided to skip this part...Why???  Can someone please tell me why???

Monday night I stitched the pleats down and then I let the side seams out a little bit so now I have this:

So thanks Irene...your suggestion was timely and just what I needed!

...more later!

Monday, April 04, 2011

This is why I do it...

Yesterday Tanya left this comment on my Butterick construction post:

"Thanks so much for sharing your sewing adventures in your blog. Seeing your fabulous creations for a plus size body have really inspired me to stop waiting around for my shape to change before I make my own clothing. Tonight, I finished (aside from hemming) a simple's the first garment other than PJ pants that I've made for myself in years, and I'm looking forward to doing more."

I have to tell you that this comment made my day!  I know that sometimes I come across as self assured and confident...but there are times when I'm posting pictures and gritting my teeth hoping and praying that people will be kind!

That was definitely the case with last night's post.  Although I don't know how I can encourage other plus size sewists if I'm not willing to share my unflattering fit pictures.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one that posts them, but somehow in my mind my pics look worse than others...but isn't that always the case! *smile* So I just want to thank Tanya for her wonderful words and for all of the sincere and helpful comments that came afterwards.

I fully realize that I could have just put up a "review" of the finished dress...stating my challenges without pics.  But I'm hoping that as I move through the challenge of making garments from the new plus size patterns that I can at least provide a guiding light for other plus size sewists to follow...because the real goal is to sew flattering fashionable garments so that others will want to purchase the patterns to make their own versions.  I promise to post reviews (both good and bad) on PR for prosperity.

And Tanya...once again thanks for your very kind words...they are sooooo appreciated!  But mostly, I'm so thrilled that you are sewing again for yourself!  That is the real prize!!!  And please check out Tanya's pretty new sundress here!!! always, more later!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Butterick 5598 - Construction Pt. 1

This dress is definitely a different look for me and when I put on the dress shell to check for fit, my daughter called it my Maid's Uniform...which definitely wasn't encouraging...*sigh*  However, I was right the only real alteration needed was to change where the waistline fell...but...

...believe me when I tell you that this is not a pattern for a beginner or an advanced beginner.  Inserting the side fronts and backs with the pleats is challenging.  I almost chucked the dress twice this afternoon because of those pleats...and I was following the darn pattern instructions... 

See the pattern has you mark the pleats, make the pleats finally clipping to the mark and then stitching the side front or back in.  Well I clipped just like the instructions said and ended up with a hole.  A hole that I had to figure out a way to hide and no matter what I did in the beginning, there was this small hole from the clipped fabric on my dress front piece...yeah NOT happy!  I finally figured out a way to stitch it close and then reinforce the small seam so that it wouldn't pull loose but can I say again...NOT happy!

So for the second one, not only did I NOT clip the darn thing but I hand basted the piece in to insure that I got it in properly and then machine stitched it flat.  This was the procedure I did for the back piece too but I circled around that back piece quite a few times before I finally sat down at the sewing machine to sew it.

I basted the sides together added the cap sleeves...minus lining...and tried it on for fit purposes.  Thats when I got the maid comment...*sigh*

I'm having an issue with the pleats pulling in the I'm going to take some out of both side seams before I resort to going in and taking the back sides out..."Please God don't make me have to take those back side panels out"...said in a soft prayerful voice! 

Anyway, this dress is far from finished.  I still have to make a lining...and I've pretty much decided that I'm going to cut the lining pieces from the finished dress pieces...again the thought of making those side pieces in the lining is enough to make me just put the dress away...and I'm not going there...not yet!  Because I can "see" the finished dress in my head...and I think it will be pretty...a silhouette that's different from one I normally wear...but not one that I haven't worn before...

Okay this is where I'm leaving the dress shell... I said before I have alot of work left to finish this and I won't get to work on it again until a week and half from now since I'm going away next weekend... always, more later...


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