Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cleansing my palette...

For the last couple of years I've written an inspirational type post for my last post of the year. However, this year I want to talk about something that's a little more personal to me.  I've been blogging for six years and 2012 will make my seventh year.  For the most part, I've enjoyed blogging.  I've loved meeting new sewing friends, the fabric buying sprees, learning new techniques, and documenting my sewing journey.

However, earlier this year I almost gave up on blogging.  Why do you ask? Because for a minute blogging wasn't fun.  It was stressful and obligatory but mostly I felt like I was dodging a matter what I said or what I wrote, there were those who were critical and mean...and I couldn't understand why.

I write and maintain my blog for several reasons and I attempt to be honest about my sewing abilities (both good and bad), who I am and what I believe. I also try to keep my opinions strictly limited to my blog UNLESS I'm asked to provide an opinion elsewhere or it's a friend's blog who respects my opinion.  

Here are a few things I will admit to:
1.  I am a comment ho.
I love getting comments.  And right here and now I want to stop and thank each and every person who has left a comment on my blog.  I've loved reading them, laughing at some of them (Rachelle), shaking my head in disagreement with others, rethinking some things because of an interesting point of view and generally just being appreciative that you stopped and took the time to leave a comment...especially when I know that you've clicked out of Google Reader to do so.
 2.  I like visitors to my blog.
It's really encouraging that others like to come by and see what I'm making or talk to me about sewing.  However, I don't think of myself as a blogging superstar...I'm just a plus size chick that likes to sew and avidly wants to encourage others to pursue our artform.

3.  Yes, I do think that sewing is an artform.
An artform, a craft, a talent...yes, I do wholeheartedly believe that.  It's why I like the term "sewists" which is a mash up of the words sewing & artist.  I believe it encompasses all of what we are in the sewing world.

4. I do believe in experience...
Earlier this year I came under fire because I believe that experience is crucial to a new sewist's sewing journey.  To me experience isn't a dirty just shows that you are taking the time to invest in your craft.

5. I do believe in enthusiasm...
No enthusiasm, no conviction, no devotion, no exhilaration or passion equals no desire to continue to sew.  So enthusiasm is a must and I welcome enthusiasm for our craft from all sewists whether newbies, advanced beginners, intermediates or advanced sewists.

6. I would never deliberately do anything to hurt or defame another sewist.
We are all an important part of the sewing/blogging community.  We each have a point of view and a place to stand in that community and we all appeal to different sectors of it.  That's what makes us a community.  And our community is full of different stratas/layers with a little something for everyone.  I love that and see no need to denigrate another because they serve a different segment of our community.

7.  I'm a plus size chick and that ain't changing no time soon.  
I love my full breasts, big behind and bodacious arms.  However, I will admit that from time to time I struggle with the size of my abdomen and that my ankles seem to swell for no particular reason which bothers me...  But on the whole I love me and I blog from the prospective of a plus size chick who has to dress and go out and work in a professional workplace.  I can only be me.

8.  I'm a fabricaholic.
Buying fabric makes me happy, encourages my creative process and inspires me. I fully understand that others do not share my need to possess as much fabric as I can afford and squeeze into my sewing room and I respect that. I, however, will be leaving an enormous amount of unsewn fabric for my daughters to dispose of. I hope that they laugh, cry and curse me out as they have to deal with it but mostly I hope they remember fondly my love of my craft and how I adored collecting each piece. So if obvious fabric hoarding upsets you...maybe and I suggest this with great kindness you should stop reading my blog...*smile*...because I AM A FABRICAHOLIC.

9.  I'm opinionated
Especially about sewing...I want to encourage others to love sewing as much as I do.  I want others to find and enjoy the creative freedom that sewing provides me.  Yet on the other hand, there are times when an experience or an incident upsets or concerns me and HERE on my own blog, I want to discuss it.  I'm sure that this honesty is unappealing to some but here I'm allowed to have my say.  I think that with six years of posts, a multitude of garments and much money, time and effort spent promoting and creating in this artform, that I have provided a basis for my opinions.

10.  I'm not going anywhere...
I love to sew.  I love blogging.  I love encouraging others to sew.  I love sharing a new pattern, piece of fabric, sewing blogger, sewing book or magazine, sew-along, basically anything related to sewing.  And after finally getting over myself, I realize that what is most important to me is the sewing I will be documenting mine for some time to come.  

Now here is the important part...if you don't like my opinions, my use of the word "kewl" or "feening", my fabric addiction, my plus size figure, my experience, the fact that I'm a comment ho or that others like to follow along as I continue to grow in my's okay.  You don't have to don't have to like can even think that I'm a fool and's totally okay because I'm not going anywhere.  This is me, this is where I live and this is how I sew.

I've pondered long and hard about whether or not to write this post since everything stays in cyperspace forever...and I can actually say that it's been a long time coming.  I've waited until I was no longer emotional about the incidents that have occurred during the year to have my say because I wanted to address them from a point of view that was practical and encouraging...than from the viewpoint of being hurt and bitter.  

I am closing the comments section to this post and am humbly asking that you do not post comments/opinions/support to any of the other posts because I'm looking for none of those things.  In this instance, I have put my comment ho self in a drawer.  

Instead, I hope that you read this, smile and understand or disagree and walk away (even if you never visit again) realizing that I'm just having my say, cleansing my palette and moving into 2012 leaving this behind.  I hope that you will continue to journey with me into 2012 and if so... always, more later!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Wrap Up for 2011

It's nice to take a look back at what you've sewn because it gives you an idea of what you've made and helps you plan what to sew for the new year.  I had one specific goal this sew more garments from purchased patterns instead of using just my TNT patterns.  I think I successfully completed this goal since I used 12 new patterns this year.

However, there were two sew-alongs that I joined which I did not complete. The first was the Jacket a Month sew-along on Stitcher's Guild. The sew-along was to encourage you to construct one jacket a month.  I was pretty fired up to sew a jacket a month but stalled on my first one and only ended up with four completed. While not a total failure, I didn't complete the task.

The second sew-along that I entered was the 6pack Autumn wardrobe sew-along again on Stitcher's Guild...and again I did not finish it.  I picked out the patterns and fabrics, made up a great storyboard and even made a folder in my flickr account for the wardrobe...and then nuthin'.  Well that's not actually true, I came up with another idea and off I merrily went down another sewing path never looking back to start the 6pack wardrobe.

That did not stop me from completing 40.5 pieces of clothing this year.  This breaks down to 26.5 dresses, 9 skirts, 4 jackets and a pair of pants.  Until I tabulated this I didn't realize that I hadn't made a single top this year. Besides my TNT patterns, the pattern I used most this year was Vogue 1250.

I made this dress 6 times and I really would like to make a winter version with sleeves which was all the rage on PR.  Speaking of PR, there were 62 versions (and counting!) made and reviewed.  It was "The Dress of the Year" as far as I'm concerned because it fit and flattered so many different shapes!

I also did some sewing that wasn't for me, specifically The Christening Gown and the Christmas scarves.

There were three other projects that stood out this year...

1.  The Versace Inspired Dress

This was a project that enveloped most of the month of February.  I saw the original dress in InStyle Magazine on the way to the Dominican Republic and came home with a desire to make my own version that could be worn to work.  Everything clicked for me with this project and it was a journey but I was thrilled with the outcome. 

2.  The Rachel Skirt & Rachel Dress

These pieces were named after the designer Rachel Comey.  Originally I made the skirt from Vogue 1247 because I loved the hidden pockets.  The skirt coupled with a lace cardigan made a great work outfit.  So when I saw a woman wearing a dress that looked similar to my Rachel skirt, I realized that I could have a dress using the same kewl pockets.  

This was my second project of the year because it took some pattern work to get the dress I desired.  However, everything worked and I loved my much so that it is one of my Top 5 Favorite Dresses of 2011.

3.  The Designer Inspired Dresses Collection

For my September Sewcation, I got this idea to make several interpretations of the designer dresses I was seeing everywhere.  I made three during my sewcation and another shortly afterwards.  I still have two on my "to sew" list and hopefully they will make it off my list and into my closet in the near future!

I sewed quite a bit less than I usually do this year and I can chalk it up to one major life event, the move and new sewing room set up in October.  While it was a traumatic event (when isn't a move traumatic?), I did end up with a new sewing room/cave that I'm coming to adore.  It really is wonderful to have a room to sew in instead of sharing my bedroom with my sewing machines.

Looking towards 2012...
Sewing in 2012 will involve not only garments for myself...hey, I already have a list...but also sewing for grandchildren.  My oldest daughter is pregnant and hopefully will have a little girl to add to the other grandchildren.  So sewing for grandkids will be a major part of my 2012 sewing.

I also want to continue using more of my purchased patterns.  Not that I'm going to kick my TNT patterns to the curb (like so not happening! *LOL*) but I have a ton of patterns and I really want to take their journeys.  You never know, I might end up with another V1250!

Finally a few garments from the Colette Sewing book, maybe one or two of my  vintage 60s patterns and a coat...I really would like to make a coat this year...these are just a few of my sewing goals.

I hope that as we approach 2012, you too will enter it with the love and joy of sewing high on your list.  Hopefully you will stay tuned for whatever sewing adventures I have this year...because I will definitely be following along with other sewists in the sewing/blogging community. always, more later!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Interrrupting our regularly scheduled programming...

I'm sorry I need to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...because Fabric Mart is having an AWESOME Sale that is TODAY ONLY!!!

BTW, if anything is already 20 or 50% off, this discount applies on top of that!  So what are you waiting for?! You know you got a little Christmas cash...go, shop and spread the goodness around!

Now back to our regular programming....

26.5 Dresses in 2011 (Pic Heavy)

Do you remember the movie "27 Dresses" starring Katherine Heigl?  I kinda feel that way writing a title 26.5 dresses in 2011.  Yes, I made 26 dresses this year.  I do have a dress that just needs sleeves for it to be complete which is why I called it a half.  I truly believe that it will be finished soon...if not before the last day of the I've included it.

As sewists, we all have garments that we prefer not only sewing but wearing, mine happens to be a dress.  I'd rather wear a dress than anything else as proven by the fact that I've made 27 of them this year or a little more than two each month.  So without further ado, here they are in chronological order...

The first dress of 2011 was:

2.  Michael Kors Inspired Dress

I'd had this idea for a dress for quite some time and a lucky fabric buy brought it to fruition.  However, I just recently updated it by removing the sleeves.  They were a little tight and the dress wears fine as sleeveless with a cardigan.

3.  The Versace Inspired Dress

This one was inspired by a magazine picture that I saw on the way to my corporate retreat.  It was a pretty involved journey but such satisfying sewing and very rewarding.

4.  Vogue 1250 - Version 1

When I first made used this pattern, I wrote in my review on PR that I probably wouldn't make it again...I went on to make it 5 more times! *LOL*  This was the dress of the year for me!

5. Playing with a border print knit

This dress is made from my TNT dress pattern using a border print knit. It is the beginning of a lot of sewing with knits this year.

6.  The second version of Vogue 1250

I got the knit fabric sewing bug and I altered the pattern pieces to have side seams, so I made it again!

7.  3x the charm

That's what I titled this third version of V1250. It was made to wear to church on Mother's Day.

8.  A Knit Dress Palooza

Yeah I was on a roll...making knit dress after knit dress.  This one was totally inspired by the fabric from Elliot Berman and made from my TNT dress pattern.

9.  Butterick 5600

This dress was also inspired by a great piece of fabric from Elliot Berman.  And even though it was an easy sew the dress has been worn only once because of bad button placement.

10.  Christine Jonson's Princess Seam Dress

This was one of my top 5 dresses of 2011.  Like I said I've admired CJ's patterns but never really thought they would work for me...this one proved me wrong and I will make it again!

11. Vogue 1250 in a border print

This is version #4 of Vogue 1250.  I was seriously digging this pattern this year!

12.  Polka Dot Madness

This dress is a Connie Crawford pattern ~ Butterick 5620.  It didn't make up well and after two wearings it truly is a fail...but I love the polka dot border print fabric...*sigh*

13.  A Little Bias

I really wanted a woven version of my favorite knit dress (V1250) so I chose Butterick 3195 an out of print pattern to use with a silk crepe and came up with this dress.  It wore sooooooo well during the hot and humid days of summer.

14.  Another Donna Karan stunner...

...or Vogue 1179.  This is another knit dress that turned out to be a winner!

15.  The Rachel Dress

Another dress that makes my Top 5.  It is a mash-up of Vogue 1247 and my TNT dress pattern.  I loved having the pockets in my dress, a really kewl feature!

16.  A Linen Summer Shift

This is a casual summer shift from Butterick 5618 for summer weekend wear.

17.  A Wearable Muslin

This dress was made from an ITY knit using an out of print Vogue 9245.  I was on a roll making knit dresses.  The final dress was pretty but didn't wear well...but I think that next summer I will wear it with different foundation garments to change the wearing issues that bugged me.

18.  Vogue 1250 Maxi-mized 

Version #5 of Vogue 1250 was a maxi version with an enhanced cowl neckline, it was a fantastic dress worn several times to weekend events.

19.  Jason Wu Lace Inspired Dress

For my September Sewcation, I decided to sew Designer Inspired dresses.  This was the first one of the series.

20.  Heidi M. Inspired Dress

I saw this dress on The Selfish Seamstress's blog and immediately knew I wanted one.  This one made my Top 5 dresses list too because it was just so kewl to wear!

21.  Mixed Fabrications Dress inspired by Dries van Noten

Mixed Fabrications was big in Dries van Noten's Fall Collection for 2011.  I loved what he did but need to corporatize it to wear to my job.  This was my version of his mixed fabrications idea.

22.  Fabric Inspired Dress

I was and still am in love with Salvatore Ferragamo's Fall Collection for 2011. So this dress is from my TNT pattern and totally inspired by the herringbone fabric used in the Ferragamo collection.

23.  Another Vogue 9245

I made this up in a purple ponte knit and it just worked so well.  Will definitely be making this one again!

24.  Vogue 8764

I liked the empire waistline on this dress.  Again I used a ponte knit for this dress especially since ponte knits have become my new fabric obsession.

25.  A Vogue 1250 LBD

Yes, this was my 6th version of this dress pattern (and truly I want a 7th with long sleeves).  The dress just works.  It was the dress I wore to my job's Holiday Party!

26. Leather and Knit - McCalls 6395

Leather and fabric combinations were hot this fall.  I combined some faux leather with ponte knit to make this dress.  Another great transition dress!

Dress number 26.5:
Is McCalls 6460.  The body of the dress is finished, it just needs sleeves.  I need to finish it before the end of the year, I just don't know if I will.

So a recap:
~ I made quite a few dresses this year using knit fabrics.  This is definitely a first for me.

~ I made Vogue 1250 six a border print, maxi-mized, as a little black dress and I would like to make a 7th version in 2012.

~ I used ten new patterns from several different pattern companies including one independent pattern company.

~ Even though my TNT dress pattern was used in quite a few of these dresses, it wasn't used as much as in former years.

My top five dresses for this year are:
Vogue 1250, The Versace Inspired Dress, The CJ Princess Seam Dress, The Rachel Dress and the Heidi M. Inspiration Dress.

I know that dresses will feature predominantly in 2012 because there are three from McCalls Spring 2012 collection that I'm already drooling over.  They are, McCalls 6504, McCalls 6506 and McCalls 6518. always, more later!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before and After

I made this Michael Kors knock-off dress earlier this year.  It was scrimped out of 2 yards of fabric and I really believe that I shorted the sleeves because they were always tight.  However, when I went to put the dress on earlier this fall, the sleeves were just too dayum tight.  Part of the problem was definitely the trim that I added to the sleeve's hemline and I guess the other part would be that my biceps have gained in bodaciousness.

Anywhoo, I decided to remove the sleeves...I mean it's a perfectly good dress that can be worn sleeveless with a cardigan.  

So here is the before:

...and here is the after:

I simply removed the sleeves. Pressed down the 5/8" seam allowance, stitched it flat and then pressed it again.  It has only slightly changed the look of the dress especially since I'd styled the dress before with a cardigan. But it will still be wearable and that's what's most important.

Finally, one of my Christmas gifts was an American Express Gift Certificate which I promptly took to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a new Rowenta iron.

My old one was leaking and caused me much grief during the construction of the Christening Gown.  I'm glad that I bought it because there is a vast difference in the amount of steam the new one is putting out versus the older one...and I never even noticed it!

Finally, it's the last week of 2011 so the next couple of posts will be my yearly wrap-ups before we barrel into 2012. always, more later!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Day After Christmas

Several pics of Christmas Eve at my house:

The Little Prince opening a gift

My oldest daughter and my grandson

Ordered chaos in the gift giving

Christmas has come and gone.  Gifts have been opened, children have been amazed and adults are relieved. I've eaten more good food than on Thanksgiving since I've been eating ALL weekend!  I'm finally home in the sewing cave relaxing before I head back to work tomorrow.

I ended up making 10 scarves...and it's interesting...they were much better received at work than with my family.  I remembered yet again why I don't sew for people!  *LOL*

Anyway, here are several more versions of the scarves...

the brown velvet again with a purple & brown print

this one was passed from family member to family member before finding a home

After two days of Christmas festivities, I'm glad I'm off today relaxing in my sewing room.  Even though I have to work for the rest of the week, it's abbreviated I may get one more garment made before the end of the year or I may not! always, more later!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on earth, goodwill to men,
From heavens all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing...

Wishing you and your family
A Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Evening Musings

First, thanks for all of the compliments on the scarves.  I know I've been doing a lot of sewing that isn't fashion related lately but it's all encouraging me to get back into the sewing mode I was in prior to the move.  And truly I miss that...I really felt like I was firing on all of my creative cyclinders before I packed everything up and moved...

...and it hit me in the shower the other morning, I need to see my fabric. Part of my reluctance to unpack my fabric and put those closets together is that once again I won't be able to see my fabric. I know that I had it in a closet before but it was easy to open and purview the extent of my collection.  My fabric inspired me. It encouraged me. It pushed my boundaries. Not being able to see it makes me feel imprisoned and all bottled I've taken the closets back to Lowes.

Instead I'm buying shelves and I'm putting my fabric on them.  I want to be able to easily access it.  I want to know where it is when I think of it.  But most importantly I want to see it.  So somewhere in the next couple of months, I will be transferring the fabric from the bins to shelves and hanging a curtain system to cover them.  Now I say somewhere in the next couple of months because there is some sewing I want to do...

This is the fabric I pulled from the collection to make my version of the Lanvin top and skirt.  I picked this one because the black & white fits into my work environment and also because I liked the black fringe on the selvedge...

Now I won't have to make my own fringe, I can use the fringe from the fabric. This will be up right after the lilac and gray pieces...which have turned into a little wardrobe grouping because I now want to make a white shirt and a printed cardigan to go with the original pieces (jacket/skirt/dress/pants)...I know right! But wardrobe sewing is in my blood and I can't deny the process cause it's crying out to be made.

Finally I'm resurrecting a UFO.  I started this jacket last January as part of the Jacket a Month sew-along on Stitchers Guild (of which I woefully only made 3 or 4 pieces!) but as it has hung for months, I realized that I really like it as a vest.  So a vest it will become with a matching pair of pants and a bow-tie blouse.

These projects have me so energized now that I'm surprised I haven't tossed over the scarves in favor of one of them!  *LOL*  Actually I'm enjoying making the I will get them finished up because I will have some good sewing time in the next couple of weeks and I mean to take full advantage of it! always, more later!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The First of the Christmas Scarves

I needed a few gifts to add to my daughter's presents, and a few gifts for the office.  A couple of years ago, I gave scarves to friends and acquaintances that were well received.  So this year when Fabric Mart had velvet on sale, I bought quite a few yards just for this purpose.  After puttering around today, these are my first three:

I knew I wanted to make infinity scarves because I didn't want to deal with finishing the ends, adding fringe or beads like I've done in the past.  However, I had no idea how to proceed.  So I googled "sewing infinity scarves" and found this site.  Which lead me to this post on Lazy Saturdays and one more on Make it or Love it.

Since I want to make 7 or 8 scarves, having another option was thrilling to me.  I have to dig through the collection to find some flannel because I really want a couple of the scarf with the gathered insert.  Anyway, once I'd figured out the dimensions I needed and how to assemble them, it was just a matter of choosing which fabric to begin with.  

Here are the first three scarves:

This black one is using a fabric that I bought from Sawyer Brook.  I thought it was a faux leather and SB calls it that but it isn't very faux leather like to me.  I had no idea what to do with it but thought I would try it with a silky fabric (polka dot silk also from Sawyer Brook) back and I kinda like it.

The second one is from a blue tie-dyed velvet.  This one is made totally from velvet and is a little thick.  I won't be making a total velvet one again...

The third one is from a tan embossed velvet and some left over silk scraps.  Several years ago Fabric Mart had Anna Sui silks on sale and I bought alot of it to be used for linings.  This silk worked best with the velvet and is my favorite scarf so far.

So for dimensions...I used anything from 12 to 15 inches for width and 50 to 75 inches for length.  The fashion fabric was cut in 2 pieces and seamed.  Then the silk/lining fabric was cut to the same dimensions and seamed also.  Finally both pieces were pinned right sides together and sewn.  I pulled the tube right side out and pressed it.  Then with the ends right sides together I pinned the edges leaving a slit open.  On some of the scarves I added a sliver of fusible web and on others I hand stitched them closed.  

There are a few more I want to make during the week.  Now that I know what I'm doing and where I'm going, I will work on a few more of these during the week. I might even make one for myself! always, more later!


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