Friday, December 30, 2016

The First Few Days of my Christmas Vacation

I'm blessed that my company is closed during the week between Christmas and New Year's ~ this meant a 10 day break this year. Of course, I spent time with my family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Then I did something I haven't done in years, I left home during Christmas week instead of burrowing myself into the sewing cave and just sewing. I went to Intercourse, PA to spend a couple of days with Gaylen and her husband, at their new B&B - Carriage Corners

I hadn't seen Gaylen since she was on the east coast during the summer so it was good to see her and her husband again. However, it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to spend some downtime away from home in her wonderful B&B. Let's start my adventure at Carriage Corners with a few pictures!

This is the Lonestar Room where I stayed!

I wish I'd gotten a picture of the Gazebo at night because
 it was beautiful lit up with Christmas Lights

...and a few of the countryside. I couldn't get over how stunning it was and it is the dead of winter.  All of the crops had been harvested and the trees were bare but it was stunning...especially at night when there were no lights...just acres and acres of farmland stretching out into the horizon.

Monday evening we had dinner at Fireside Tavern in Lancaster County. Not only was the atmosphere beautiful but the food was delicious! 

Trip to Fabric Mart ~
Tuesday after Gaylen handled her Inn duties, we headed off to Fabric Mart which is located only 30 minutes from her B&B. I was especially excited to go because the last time I'd been to Fabric Mart was with Shams and Peggy in 2011! OMG ~ I thought it was just 3 years ago but here's the blog post to prove when it was! 
Entering Sinking Springs...

Gaylen in front of the Fabric Mart sign

Melanie was shopping in the store and reads my blog!

My haul - 32 yards

I was rather restrained even though one of my Christmas presents was gift certificates to Fabric Mart!

After lunch Gaylen and I headed back to the B&B because she had more guests checking in for the evening.

Strolling Around Kitchen Kettle Village ~
Since both Gaylen and I are fabric fanatics, I really only wanted to experience the fiber related stores this trip so on Wednesday afternoon we headed over to the Village to explore.

Yarn from Lancaster Yarn Shop
Pattern from The Old Country Store

Our first stop was at Lancaster Yarn Shop where of course Gaylen has already made friends with the owner, Wendy. It was a lovely shop and I did buy some hanks of yarn and a crochet hook. I thought I would start on an afghan that one of the daughters asked for, but of course, buying was as far as I got!

Then we stopped at Village Quilts. This store is a smorgasbord of handmade quilts. The artistry on display in that store was just awesome! Personally I don't understand cutting up fabric into small pieces and stitching it back together but I can truly appreciate the hard work and creativity that goes into each quilt. There were some beauties there that just took your breathe away. I bought one of the plaques below to add to the sewing cave - Gaylen gifted me the other!

Plaques for the Sewing Cave wall

We crossed the street to visit The Old Country Store which had an entire section of quilting fabrics and notions. I love quilting cottons because they are vibrant and when arranged well in a quilt store they are a visual feast. Gaylen purchased quite a few of the Christmas quilting fabrics especially since they were 30% off. However, I bought odds and ends, things that appealed to me because I was on vacation.

Rick Rack, a postcard and a fabric panel that appealed to me 
I'm sure because it was on sale!

After that it was back to the B&B. Dinner was pizza made by an Amish family running the local pizza parlor that was delicious. Couldn't tell the difference between it and local pizza ~ seriously!

I left Thursday afternoon after spending some more time with Gaylen and her wonderful family. It was a great four days away!

Sew In at Carriage Corner B&B ~
Now if you've made it to the end of the post, here is a scoop! 

Gaylen will be hosting a Sew-In at the B&B, March 24-26, 2017 and I will be there helping people with fitting challenges, working with your Tried 'n True pattern or anything you want to work on. There will also be a trip to and tour of Fabric Mart with time to shop. 

We just have dates now but follow the Carriage Corner Instagram and website for further information. Gaylen will post the registration information there!  I hope that you can come out and sew with me! always more later!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Simplicity Early Spring Collection 2017

I don't own a lot of Simplicity patterns. There are several reasons for that but the two main reasons are ~ their online pattern sales aren't as good as Club BMV's and I don't visit Joanns often. Even though I'm trying to get over the grudge, the bad blood runs deep!

So the few Simplicity patterns I own have come from an infrequent online purchase, a Patternreview pattern sale or a trip to the craft store. Because I've purchased online, I'm on their mailing list. 

This popped into my email last week on my 3 hour bus ride home from NYC. Thank goodness it was my last day coming out of the city before Christmas break so I spent quality time surfing the internet.

I was impressed with their offering and will need to make a trip to the craft store to purchase the ones below. I REALLY like these especially since they speak to the "Chicos Chic" style I'm sewing now.

I saw this one - Simplicity 8303 - first and was like "YES!" See my girl, Myra, who blogs at Simple Inspirations, made a version of this using a RTW inspiration, a couple of weeks ago. I was going to copy her version but now I will make one using this pattern!

Simplicity 8297 also spoke to me because I'm always looking to add a structured top/blouse to my collection. I'm still working out what's me where a top is concerned and I really like Version B. I can just see this made up in denim and lace ~ awesome right!?!

Since it's an early spring release, I allowed myself to look at the dress patterns. I like this dress because of it's simple shape and it will look great in a denim. I can add lace, pleather, suede, etc. as the insert. Also it has a great collared jacket included and I'm all about the jacket/topper now. I wear them from December through to May when the weather finally warms up around here. So I will be owning and sewing Simplicity 8302.

The final pattern I'll purchase is the one featured in the email - Simplicity 8295. I really like the grommets and the lacing on the front. I've been wanting something like this ~ just haven't gotten around to it. Hopefully having the pattern will spur me on.

I rarely do pattern reviews now. Other bloggers do them so much better than I do and sew up the patterns faster than I do - so you get a review in real time. Too often I buy patterns and they sit for months or years before I get inspired to sew with them. However, I was so impressed with this collection, (I even liked the MimiG maxidress but don't think or haven't figured out yet if I can make it work on my plus size body) versus the recent release from McCalls which I truly thought was meh.

Have you seen the new Simplicity Patterns? What did you think of them? Or did you like the new McCalls Pattern release better? always more later!  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 5 Hits of 2016

I've meant to write this post for a couple of weeks now, ever since Gillian, of Crafting A Rainbow blog, posted about it, but I've been dragging my feet.  Some of it is because I've been super busy with Christmas sewing. Some of it is because many times I think my sewing is just boring now. 

I can say that this year, I've been more engaged and have thought creatively about the pieces I've sewn but I still don't have the "love/obsession" thing I had when I was crafting a professional wardrobe. Changing my creative mindset is an on-going process. See, I'm still actually happiest sewing for spring/summer because I can create my beloved dresses.

When reviewing my makes for this year, it's definitely reflective of my changing lifestyle and my willingness to sew for others in my family. 

Without further ado my Top 5 of 2016 ~

The first garment on my list that I'm most proudest of because it's an accurate merge of my previous life and where I'm at McCalls 7385. The crazy thing is that this dress is made from fabric purchased from Joann's, one of my least favorite places to shop for fabric...but it's also what makes this maxi sing.

My second garment is also a maxi dress. It's Vogue 7271 an out of print pattern that I made earlier in the year with a panel print. I loved the dress so much that I maximized it. I really had a thing for long, flowy maxidresses last summer and this one fulfilled all of my desires.

I did a lot of unselfish sewing this year and totally enjoyed it. It started in March when I made several outfits for my granddaughters and my daughter to wear in my Mom's church's fashion show. And even though it didn't go as planned, I loved this matching mother/daughter outfit.

The Simplicity 1621 dress encompassed all of the things that I love so much about sewing ~ taking a basic design and upgrading it with fabric and embellishments. I know high/low dresses don't get a lot of love in some quarters but I love the swish and flow of them! I remember the joy I had while making this one and how great I felt when I wore it...that's why it's on this list!

My final entry for top 5 is my green tweedy version of the hacked Vogue 1247. This year I took the pattern from a dress to a topper and this was my second version. Even though I like my other versions, this is the one that successfully merges my past and my present AND just works. Again this one gives me joyful memories when I think about sewing it.   

Finally ~
I may have one more roundup post with misses and a recap of what I've actually sewn this year before the 31st. Even though I'm finished with work at 1pm on the 23rd and don't go back to work until Wednesday, January 4th, I won't be sewing the entire break. 

This year since Christmas is on a Sunday, I will be celebrating it for three days, in three different family homes. Then I'm going to hang with Gaylen for a few days before finally heading home and spending a few days in the sewing cave.

I haven't compiled a special list of things to sew, I'm just going to go with the flow and work from my present fall/winter list. January will bring new makes and more discussions, I hope you will continue to hang with me and follow my sewing journey. always more later!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

It's Christmas in the Sewing Cave

So until the day after Christmas, I'm primarily sewing Christmas gifts and buying fabric. Because even though I say I'm not buying another piece until 2017, somehow I manage to find one more piece I just need to have!  But that is not the topic of this post...

This post is just to let you know what's happening in The Sewing Cave. First up my daughter and I spent last Saturday working on pjs for the grand babies.

We have three pairs completed and nine more pairs cut out. More sewing will happen this week to get these finished up in time for Christmas. I'm so grateful that Christmas is on Sunday this year because it gives me another Saturday to sew.

I'm sewing velvet lined infinity scarves for friends this weekend. The first of them are pictured below. I have a few more to make...

Fabric is from Fabric Mart and Smugglers Daughter

So that's whats going on in the Sewing Cave! Next week I will share my Top 5 Sewing Hits and Top 5 Sewing Misses for 2016. I haven't decided if I'm going to write a goals post yet or not since I regularly review what and why I'm sewing what I'm sewing here.

I'm off the week between Christmas and New Years' so there will be some sewing going on. However, I do have plans to visit friends for a few days that week so I won't be sewing the entire vacation.

Before I started sewing for Christmas, I did cut out a few cardigans from Simplicity 8059, so those will be first up when I go back to sewing for me. always more later!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

I think I left some for you!

My fabric buying has been off the chain!  I don't know if it's because I didn't buy a lot earlier in the year or if the sales have been especially great this fall, but quite a few boxes of goodness have arrived. 

Some of it is my Christmas fabric buying - I always purchase flannel for kid's pjs and some fancy fabric for scarf gifts around this time of year - but there's a whole lot that arrived that's just for me.

I haven't done a fabric post in awhile so let me share some of what's new to the sewing cave.

Now while I know that some people abstain from the Black Friday sales, as someone who has worked in retail and understands how those sales fuel the entire Christmas season for some stores, I happily participate. However, all of my purchases were from small businesses, so there is that!

First up purchases from Fabric Mart ~ 
Yeah, yeah I know. I'm addicted to Fabric Mart and their sales. I have to admit that I don't even remember what the sale was, oh yeah Black Friday! I wanted velvet - so I bought a few pieces - and one more piece of shirting.

Grape velvet, black/brown animal print cotton velveteen 
and blue/white check shirting from Fabric Mart
The gray velvet (2nd from top) is from Chic Fabrics

Next up Michael Levine ~
I saw this amazing denim on their site about a week before the Black Friday sales and waited for the 20% off offer.

As you know I'm currently collecting denim and whenever I find something spectacular I'm purchasing a few yards of it. Three yards of this amazing fabric now lives with me!

The final Black Friday purchase was from The Smuggler's Daughter ~

2 yards of cut out blue/gray pleather & gold/black burn out velvet

Another weakness of mine is unusual pleather fabrics. I have quite a few of them in the collection - usually only a yard or two - because I want to primarily use them as accent pieces. You don't need 5 yards of accents ~ well I don't! *LOL*

So I bought these three pieces from ~

After my daughter and I decided we wanted to sew pjs for the grand babies (yes we're sewing together! kinda excited about that!) I pulled out the flannel supply and realized we needed to add a little to it. 

One more Fabric Mart purchase ~
My last purchase the one that I had to get permission from Miss Gaylen to buy was again from Fabric Mart. But I have a really good reason, they are having their pyramid sale and if you buy $100 worth of fabric you get 60% off. That means you only pay $40 for $100 worth of fabric - it was too good to pass up so I bought these ~

Rayon knit for t-shirts for the grandbabies

5 yards of midnight blue denim with spandex for my denim collection

Burnt out olive green velvet for Christmas Scarf gifts

Some discounts ~
As mentioned above The Fabric Mart pyramid sale is going on now. Check it out here. BTW, today - 12.9 - is the last day for the pyramid sale so if you're interested, check it out now!

Also Smuggler's Daughter is offering 30% off all regular priced fabrics until December 31st if you're a member of their email listing. The discount code you need to add at checkout is included in the email.

Conclusion ~
A couple of days ago I wrote on IG that I was done with fabric purchases for 2016 and hopefully that's true...cause there are 23 more days left to December and the Sewing Cave is bursting with fabric!

Thank goodness I will have 11 days off during Christmas with quality time to sew! I'm not making a list this year...I'm going to work from the very long one that I'm presently toting around. always more later!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Simplicity 8059 and some wool jersey

This is another one of those Simplicity patterns that was issued in spring/summer but I knew when I saw it that I wanted it for fall/winter.

So even though it has a cool summer vibe, I knew it would work paired with a sleeveless turtleneck for fall/winter.

Supply List ~
Dusty Blue/Navy Graduated Stripes Wool/Lycra Jersey Knit purchased from Fabric Mart during one of the recent sales.

Ltwt. Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply

It was the fabric that drew me in and called to be made into this cardigan. I knew I didn't want a plain/ordinary cardigan. It was all about pattern piece placement to bring out the beauty of this stripe...especially since everyone says that horizontal stripes don't work on plus size bodies.

Design and Construction Details ~
I chose how I wanted the stripes to work on the cardigan and then I cut each piece out separately. It was important that the main blue stripe was across the bustline.

Laying the cardigan front and facing out

After the pieces were cut out, I laid them next to each other to confirm 
that the stripes matched all the way across

Actual construction of the cardigan is simple. I even inserted the sleeves flat instead of in the round like the pattern suggests. Although there were a lot of pins involved so that the stripes would match when the cardigan was sewn together.

I omitted the elastic piece on the back of the cardigan. Not for any particular reason because I cut the piece out. It's just that when I tried the cardigan on I liked the flow of it and left it off. 

It's also closed with a pin from my pin collection. That will be changed. My daughter was here and I wanted some pictures taken during her visit.  So I quickly finished the cardigan and realized as I was hemming it that I'd omitted the ties. 

When I bought this fabric, I bought way more than I needed to match the stripes and to make a top to go under the cardigan. I haven't made the top yet so will add the ties to the cardigan before I shoot it with the matching top.

A few pictures of the cardigan ~ 

Conclusion ~
I'm thinking about making another one this winter, however, I will definitely make a spring/summer version in a lightweight knit. I really like that you can make this in a couple of lengths, that future versions could have the elasticized back so that each one is different, and that various fabrics can change the vibe of the look. If you made all four pieces, it would be a great weekend/vacay look for any season.

One more shot of the cardigan ~ always more later!


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