Saturday, March 29, 2014


These 17 pieces of fabric have shown up from Fabric Mart and in the last six weeks.  They are a mixture of ponte, wovens, maybe a knit piece or two, and denim.  Kristin asked about my fabric purchasing in a couple of posts back since I hadn't posted many fabric acquisitions lately.  So I thought I would share that I'm still addicted.

Oh and let's not forget these two pieces recently purchased from Metro Textiles...

I'm trying to make a conscious decision to buy less...skipping more of Fabric Mart's sales...though it's been hard lately since they've been running so many amazing sales. I try to tell myself that I already own some of whatever I'm looking at, because usually I do. But every once in awhile I'll find pieces that either call to me or are what I've been thinking about using and they aren't in the I buy them.

Mostly though I wrote this post for me. This week at work, I was handed our meeting schedule for April and May. Let's just say that I'm going to spend a lot of time at work during the next 8 weeks, which has caused me to cancel my vacation in May, and may mean that I will be sleeping more on the weekends instead of sewing. I even have to work tomorrow...*sigh* So I wrote this post to remind myself NOT to buy fabric since I won't be sewing. Hopefully being able to look at these photos will help me not to load my cart on my favorite fabric internet sites and pull the trigger...hopefully!

BTW, Fabric Mart is having a wonderful sale on linen 40% off and an additional 20% off their 50% off category.  Do me a favor?  Go over there and buy up the yardage so I won't be tempted to! *LOL* always more later!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Deer & Doe Plaintain Top Experiment

I don't purchase the new indie patterns.  There are several reasons for that. 

1.  Most of them don't grade up to plus size ranges thus eliminating my size group. Many times I just don't feel like spending the money to size up a pattern.

2.  Most of them are for a more casual lifestyle - I sew for my work life which is considerably more conservative and tailored than these styles.

3.  I've been sewing a long time so many times I already own a pattern that's similar to one of these styles.  Finally...

4.  I really don't believe that I'm their target audience. 

But I was intrigued about this Deer & Doe Plaintain t-shirt because a new to me plus size blogger, u & mii, that I've been following (stalking) made several very pretty versions of them, that got me thinking. I printed the pattern out at work and left it on my desk. One of my co-workers saw it and wondered if it would be hard for me to make it for I got this idea...make the pattern changes for her, myself and my boss. We are all different shapes and sizes and I thought it would be a really interesting exercise to see how it fits three different body types.

However, I have to tell you that after taping the pattern together it's going to be so much easier to make this top for my co-workers than for myself. I would have to totally hack this pattern apart to make it work for me...*sigh*...and I realized yet again why I don't use indie patterns.

Here are the pattern pieces taped together...

A full shot of the pattern pieces on my sewing table to show just how small these pieces are.  See all that stuff on the side?  It takes up a quarter of the table.  My pattern pieces usually take up the entire table...

Here are my co-workers who will benefit from this exercise because I've decided that there is just too much work involved in sizing this pattern up for me.

I now have even more admiration for T! I love her versions but I have absolutely no patience or time to mess with this pattern for me.  So I will make up two samples this weekend for my co-workers to try and then I'll work on the pink wool crepe dress for myself.

I'm disappointed but not very surprised that this pattern won't work for me. Whenever I see one of my plus size sistahs making one of these indie patterns work, I'm filled with awe and admiration! I'm looking at you Mary and Jenny!

So I will share the finished tees I make for my coworkers but for myself I'm moving on... always more later!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vogue 8343 Five Easy Pieces Pattern Dress

I've probably had this pattern in the pattern stash for seven years since the copyright date is 2006.  Of course it's now out of print, but the reason I purchased it was because it's one of the Five Easy Pieces patterns. You know the patterns that come with a complete set of wardrobe coordinates.  I bought it because I wanted to make the skirt, top, dress and jacket. It's a great pattern for the corporate type workplace I live in.

I started with the dress. The fabric I'm using has been in the collection for a minute.  How long though I can't tell you because its missing the information tag that I usually place on the fabric.  

Materials List ~
Medium weight brown knit

22" brown invisible zipper
lightweight fusible knit interfacing strips
3.5" black faux leather strips

Pattern Alterations ~  
First, I added an inch to the turtleneck portion of the dress. I wanted to insure that the dress had a true turtleneck not a mock one.

When tissue fitting, I realized that the dress was midi length on me so I cut 3" off the hemline of the dress.

All of the pattern pieces were laid on my TNT front and back dress pieces to insure that there was enough width to the pattern pieces. In various places a half inch or more was added in the waist or hip area so that the V8343 pieces would work on my body.

Construction Techniques ~
The main thing about this dress is that it's a knit dress with a good bit of stretch and I wanted to tame portions of that stretch so that it would play well with the non-stretchy fabric.  To do this I added 1" strips of fusible knit interfacing to the side seams and the center back seams of the knit fabric.  It stabilized the fabric and allowed me to insert the invisible zipper, as well as, add the leather bands without a problem.

My non-stretchy fabric was the 3.5" faux leather bands that I added to the sides of the dress and to the sleeve hems.  I was a little short on fabric after cutting out the main dress pieces. So when I cut the sleeves out, I knew I was going to add something to lengthen the sleeves. 

After stitching the princess seams together, I realized that the dress would fit but it would be really tight. Now I know that tighter fitting garments is the new norm but I'm not comfortable in too tight clothing, not only because I don't believe in sharing my rolls with other people but also because it's not a good look for a corporate office like mine. 

That's when I came up with the idea to add the 3.5" faux leather bands down the sides of the dress, as well as, the sleeves.  Of course when I first pinned and stitched the bands to the sides of the dress, I did a straight 3.5" from top to bottom, which made the top of the dress too loose.  So I went in and took the excess you can see in the picture below...

...this solved my problem with the fit in the top and the bottom of the dress. So you see those side gussets in the Olivia Pope top had its genesis in this dress.

One more thing about the sleeves is that I used the jacket sleeve pattern instead of the dress sleeve because I was to lazy to increase the bicep on the dress sleeve.  The jacket sleeve had enough room in the biceps but of course the sleeve cap was larger than the actual sleeve opening.  To solve this challenge, I added pleats to the sleeve caps. It worked but the shoulders are drooping down my arm.

At this point, I know that I need to take the sleeves out and reinsert them...but I'm about done with this dress especially since it fits like a tent. It's not working out the way that I envisioned so I'm trying to decide whether or not to finish and donate it or trash it.  Also, it's a reminder that winter just won't go away and I'm so ready for it to be gone.

A few pictures of the dress as it is now...

Full view of the dress with the princess seaming and leather bands

Neckline pinned with the elastics I was going to add as loops for buttons

I thought I would show a failure since my last make was such a success. Even I can produce a dog now and then! I think I'm going to let it sit through the summer and see if I want to finish it next winter because it will work with these pieces... always more later!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Inspired by Olivia Pope

Of course, I'm totally unable to make a simple garment.  I've made a few subtle changes to my version of the inspiration top which was highlighted in the last post.

After using the last week to think about the top, I decided that my version is too tight. I added side gussets to give myself 2.5 inches of ease and make the top fit more like a tunic. I also added black piping to the neckline. Finally I left the sleeves fitted...some because I was too lazy to take the sleeves out. They are perfectly inserted and I was loath to remove them. After trying the top on, I liked the slimmer sleeves, so they stayed.

A picture of me wearing the top with my little black dress...

TNT dress pattern shortened to tunic level

A satin finish silk/wool gazar lace print designed by Milly purchased from Elliot Berman

22" invisible zipper shortened to 18"
black piping
white bemberg lining
ivory rayon seam tape
white bias binding
(BTW, all of these items are from my notions stash!)

I thought I would share how I added the gussets to the sides of the top. I started by cutting a 17" x 2.5" wide strip. I made sure that the bottom of the strip was the same as the bottom of the top so that the print would match up. Pictures of the insertion are below...

I opened the side seams up to the bust dart

Added the 2.5" rectangle using 1/2" seam 
allowances ending in a triangle in the bust dart area

How it appears from the outside.

I can never leave a good thing alone so I added some black piping at the neckline. I just felt like the top needed an ending point for the lace pattern. The piping isn't on the designer's top. I just didn't like the neckline unadorned.

Black rayon piping from the top's right side

Bias binding used to finish the neckline

Inside of the finished garment

My final finishing touch ~ I covered the hemline seams (sleeves and top hem) with ivory rayon seam binding.

Adding seam binding pressed in half to one of the sleeves

Seam binding on the hem of the top prior to hemming

A few more pics:

Top worn with my little black dress

Side view of top with black pants from 
Crazy 8 Tunic & Pants outfit

Front view

Back view

Initially I thought this was a quick and easy top to sew. It wasn't. There was a lot of work to make this simple design look easy, so I'm understanding that costly price tag better now. However, it was worth my time and effort because the top works with most of my black bottoms.

I'd like to give a quick shout-out to my youngest daughter who was visiting and volunteered to take these pics. Just so that no one thinks I got these from my tripod/camera set up.

This has been a slow sewing month.  As usual I've had more plans than time to make them. I honestly don't know if I'm going to get to the red wool pieces now. I really want a pastel pink wool crepe dress and I have an idea for one that I'm aching to sew. Also, I downloaded the Deer & Doe Plaintain tee and I want to try that out. By the time I get these finished, it will be well into April and time to start spring sewing.

I know that I've made some great basics for fall/winter but I'm sad that I'm putting away my wools since I love sewing with them so much. always more later!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inspired by Olivia Pope - Part 1

When I saw these pictures of Olivia Pope wearing this top on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one...

Oliva/Kerry's top is from Dolce & Gabbana and it's selling for $1,775 on Net-A-Porter...

It looks similar to the black tunic top I made earlier this year...

I already own fabric purchased from Elliott Berman that resembles the Dolce & Gabbana fabric. There is only one yard of the black/white lace print left on the site but plenty of the green/black printed lace combination.

My thought was ~ Olivia Inspiration + Top from TNT pattern + Milly Fabric = Quick and Easy top that I could wear to work on Monday.  Well not so fast. I made a few miscalculations.  I put a 9" zipper in the back of the top - WRONG!  With the long sleeves the top is hard to get on and off, and I can't zip it up without assistance. So the zipper needs to come out and a longer one put in...I'm presently ripping the back apart.

I underlined this version instead of lining it.  

Also the pattern pieces were cut on the cross grain to take advantage of the border print.

The designer version of the top has wide/bell shaped sleeves.  I used a closer fitting 3/4 sleeve that I've used previously ~ again not such a great idea because the sleeve is kinda tight around my forearms...not my forearms!!! I'm trying to decide if I should recut the sleeves with a wider sleeve since I have more fabric...probably going to do that because the sleeves are just uncomfortable and I won't wear the top if it doesn't feel good.

So I didn't have a finished garment this weekend.  I guess it's okay since I only spent Sunday in the sewing cave but I was disappointed because it really should have been a simple sew.  There was just too much operator error. Those challenges along with the fact that the sleeves have to come out of the Vogue 8343 dress means that I haven't completed anything since February...*sigh*

I have no plans for next weekend so maybe I will be more least I hope so!

A few shots of the top on Lulu... always more later!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Oona Fat Quarter Challenge...

People, beware of sewists bearing gifts after having a few margaritas...because it can spell possible disaster...or a challenge that you've somehow agreed to that's mushroomed out of control.  A challenge that now has an end date, involves other sewists, some judging and a video.  *sigh* Somehow I've talked my way out of the video. 

Okay some details ~
Friday night I met up with some sewists to have dinner and welcome Lauren to town.  While at dinner seated next to Amity (Lolita Patterns), Devra and across from the awesome Marcy, a challenge was born. See we were discussing how fat quarters are usable for real people's clothing and Marcy disagreed, her argument is here!  So she challenged us to take some fat quarters she'd recently received and make a garment from them.

Here is my bundle ~

And the rules ~
  • It must be a garment.  
  • No accessories.  
  • No handbags.  
  • No childrens clothing.
  • The outfit must incorporate all of the 9 fat quarters included in the bundle
  • I got an exemption from this rule because I really want to be able to wear my garments to work!
  • It must be finished by April 30th.
  • We are allowed to use other fabrics to mix with the fat quarters.
I'm actually excited about this challenge!  I've been thinking hard about this since I received my allotment. I know I can make some fashionable work gear for my very professional workplace with my fat quarters combined with some choice pieces of fabric from the collection.

The other participants ~
Amity of Lolita Patterns 
Jennifer of Workroom Social

So stay tuned for more on my ideas and garments for "The Oona's Drunken Fat Quarter Challenge!" always more later!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Metro Textiles ~ Have you been lately?

I'll be honest.  I've been meaning to head to Metro Textiles for weeks.  I also meant to go on a day that wasn't sooooo cold outside but work, that cruel mistress that she is had me tied to my desk. So cold weather be dayumed, I bundled up and headed off to Metro to soothe my creative soul.

I haven't been to Metro in a minute so it was good to see Kashi again. There are loads of new goodies there as you can see below...

Some of the wonderful rolls of fabric waiting for you...

This burn out silk is $15 per yard

...and here are all the colors it comes in!

This silk panel is amazing and it's $20 per panel
Each panel is 1.25 yards long.

Loved this red cut out faux leather for $15 per yard

Kashi cutting my fabric...

I did purchase two pieces...a black textured ponte and a black silk floral embroidered lace.

Sorry that the black is washed out but I wanted
you to see the detail of the floral silk lace 

If you haven't been to Metro in awhile, head on over, Kashi's got a lot of great pieces of fabric in stock.  He's located at:

Metro Textiles

265 West 37th Street

Suite 908

New York, NY 10018

Monday through Friday 8am - 6pm
(closed on weekends)

He does take phone orders at 212.209.0004 but would much rather see you in person so he can share the best goodies with you.

I have to admit that the trip did make me feel better! Though I'm trying to figure out how I only ended up with black fabric!!! *LOL*  But a nice smile, some wonderful fabric and the fact that I showed restraint and only came home with two pieces turned my day around! always more later!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This is what's on my sewing table...

I did get a little sewing done this weekend.  Didn't get anything finished but I thought I would show you a few pictures of what I'm working on...the dress is from an out of print Vogue pattern 8343 using a brown knit and some black faux leather. 

Back zipper, turtleneck and seam tape on shoulder seams

Fusible interfacing on side seams

Close up of interfacing strips fused to side seam

Sleeve with faux leather added to it

It's almost completed...I only need to add some hems and tack the turtleneck part down.  I didn't include a hanger shot of the dress because it is just so unappealing on the looks like a brown robe with some leather. However, I've tried it on and it looks so much better on me so hopefully pics of me wearing the finished dress next weekend... always more later!


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