Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Summer of Wow Sewing Recap

I think I've finally found my groove and my summer sewing reflects that. Here are my makes for Summer 2017 - which I've included in "The Summer of Wow Sewing!" tag. I really wanted my sewing this spring/summer season to have a Punch or Wow factor to it. I think I achieved that with these garments!

I only made seven garments during the months of July & August but they are some of my favorites. 

Flowy Shirtdress ~

New Look 6340 Dresses ~
Made in a floral linen, a printed linen and a border print

Red Cashmerette Concord Tee Maxi ~

Style Arc Marilyn Dress ~

Cashmerette Tee & Wide Legged Pants

Conclusion ~
I've tagged everything under "The Summer of Wow Sewing" if you click on the link, I think you will get a more comprehensive view of my sewing and the spring/summer wardrobe I created this year. I may add another piece or two to this collection because it's still quite warm in September in these parts. However, I'm pivoting to fall sewing. I'm ready. always more later!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Quick Note...

I've been thinking about this for awhile and was spurred to write this post after a comment left about giving out sites for assistance with Hurricane Harvey. To whomever left the comment, please don't be offended because I'm not upset that you left the comment.  It actually moved me to post something on Instagram and to start a series of my own donations.

However, almost all of us have some other social media outlets, be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that keeps us updated or bombarded daily with the news of the world. And lately the news within my own country honestly scares the shit out of me.

Many readers who come here daily don't share my political views or even understand how my race affects how I process what's happening around me. AND I've come to the conclusion, that there doesn't to seem to be much changing of opinions seems we are living in a "us" or "them" society, a "morally right" or "morally wrong" society...that there is a great divide in this country that I really don't know how it will be breached.

So I'm saying this to say, that this is my last post about politics, current events, or anything much besides sewing on my blog. I need a safe place from the craziness of my country and the world. I need a place where I don't have to know if you voted for 45 and if you hate black/brown/muslim/LGBT people. I don't want to have to look at you cockeyed as you excuse the "craziness" and the moral ineptitude of the leader of the United States. I don't wanna...

I'm also closing the comments because I just don't want to discuss this and I would appreciate you not leaving comments about such on any other posts because they will be deleted.  My blog/my home so my rules. For once I will even be monitoring bloglovin.  Comments there will also be deleted. There just seems to be very little respect for one another in America now and it saddens me greatly.

Because lets face it, we all seem to come together in times of crisis, but the flood waters will recede from Houston. The rest of the country will move on and Houstonians will continue to deal with the effect of the Hurricane for months and years to come, think Katrina and the people in Louisiana who still deal with it. We Americans will move on to whatever happens next still a very divided nation.

Now I know this sounds cynical but until you have to worry about your children being stopped by the police and killed for driving while black.  Or until you have to listen to your baby cry because he or she has been called names or told to go back to Mexico at school.  Until you have to worry if your gay or transgendered child will be kicked out of the Armed Services, or if your friends will have health care because the Affordable Care Act is being destroyed...let's not even talk about clean air or global warming...or the many other programs that are being dismantled by this administration...until the madness stops...this is a sewing site only.

September is National Sewing Month, so I will be kicking off a month of celebrating sewing...the one thing that binds all of us who visit here together. So sewing will be the focus going forward and I hope you will swing back by to celebrate it and our artform then. always more later!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sewing for Fall

The September Fall Fashion Issues have arrived and I've pawed through them. The fall patterns are in the pattern catalogs and the calendar is ticking towards September. It's time to start thinking about sewing for fall.

In the last couple of years, I've planned what I NEEDED to sew for my work wardrobe due to my current situation. However, this year I'm thinking about what I WANT to sew. How I can get creative with some patterns that I've already used, as well as sewing some new patterns.

Last September I sewed for the grandbabies. I'm skipping that this year, though I will be making them some jean jackets for fall. I'm concentrating on upgrading my fall/winter wardrobe. I've discovered that I love sewing blouses/shirts. I've added some more shirting fabrics to the collection to use for new versions of my TNT pattern mashup. I'm also on the hunt for some fabulous white shirting for a couple of white shirts. 

Planned are more denim dresses and a few shirtdresses made from fall fabrics, worn with tights or leggings and shoe booties or sneakers. I've finally broken the "corporate dress look" block in my head and I can see casual dresses in fabrics that fit better in my current work atmosphere. So I have a few ideas that I'm very excited to sew up.

I collected quite a few interesting fabrics for jackets & toppers last year. I didn't get around to using them but I definitely want to sew some of them this fall/winter. I used McCalls 7481 this spring and I want to work on a couple versions this fall. There was another Tamarack Jacket on my early spring list that needs to get made this season too. It will work for fall so that's on the list too. Especially since I wear my Kantha Quilt version ALOT in the deep winter on Monday mornings because our office is so cold.

Here's a look at the patterns I'm thinking about using for my fall sewing...

I've made a short list of items I want to sew because those short lists seem to be working for me. I think I only left three unsewn items on my summer list of 16 - not bad.

So it's the last week of August and Labor Day weekend is approaching. I have 3.5 days off to sew this weekend, plus the 3.5 days I had last week, so I've started working on my fall list. How about you? Are you thinking about fall sewing?  Have you started planning yet or are you riding out summer and waiting until you have to start wearing fall clothing? Cause it will be fall and cold before you know it!

It's gonna be a minute before finished garments show up here because I'm burrowing in and sewing! always more later! 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Do You Fit As You Sew?

I've made quite a few garments lately using new patterns.  I made alterations to some of them before cutting them out based upon my measurements. Cause I'm not a muslin/toile kinda woman. Not to say that you shouldn't use them if that's your thing...I just know that if I made a muslin, I would never sew the final garment.

I've always tried garments on my body as I sewed them. Sometimes sitting in my undies waiting to sew that last seam to throw it on my body for a quick fit.

Lately though, I've been using the timer on my iPad to take pics.  I can see length better...get an overall feel for fit and take pictures of problem areas to look at and analyze.  Many times while constructing the garment I send pictures and video to Gaylen asking her opinion.

Also, I can step away from my machine and the garment. Pour over the pictures to make sure that not only am I solving my fit issues but also if any design decisions I've made are working.

So my Question of the Day is, "Do you Fit as you Sew?" Or do you rely on the changes you've made to your muslin/toile? Or your flat pattern measurements? Or are you really brave and construct the entire garment and then try it on? Also, how do you figure out what length works for you?

Talk back to me because I'm really interested in what your process is and if pictures are involved. Because since taking pictures and videos, I feel like my fitting and sewing process is improving.

BTW, I know quite a few of you read blogs on readers like bloglovin' and feedly. However, may I remind you once again that I don't flip into either reader very often so if you leave comments or questions there, they are basically going unread. I usually stumble upon them days or weeks later...just so you know! always more later!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fabric Shopping in Jackson Heights, Queens

I know we all know about "The Garment District" in midtown Manhattan but fabric shopping spots exist in other places in New York too. I know Sheila, who authors the blog, Sheilaz-CTK, regularly shops in Brooklyn for fabric. There also use to be quite a few fabric stores in downtown Manhattan. I honestly don't know how many of those still exist so if someone knows please feel free to drop a note in the comments section.

The trip to Jackson Heights came about through a discussion at the first Sewcialists Last Tuesday of Every Month Meet-up. Kristen (blog: JinxandGunner and IG: jinxandgunner) and I were sitting next to each other and she told me that she buys most of her fabric locally in Queens. I was intrigued as she described several stores in a 4-5 block radius that she walks to and purchases beautiful fabric.

So Syreeta (IG: Syreeta Briana) and I begged her to take us fabric shopping in Queens and the #jacksonheightsfabriccrawl was born.

I have to tell you fabric shopping in Queens was something I really wanted to do because it was a 3 hour trip each way on public transportation! But it was a beautiful day and there were some amazing sewists who turned out to shop.

L-R:  Syreeta, Grace, Amanda, Carol and Kristen our amazing hostess!

Our Itinerary ~

First we visited two Sari shops. The fabric offerings in both shops were vivid, colorful pieces purchased in either matched sets or 6 yard pieces similar to the lengths offered in the African fabric stores. I will admit that I was overwhelmed with color and choice in both of these stores. I think you have to go into these stores with something specific in mind because there is a little of everything. However, I will remember it for the next trip (yes I'm going again) and be better prepared.

Next up was M&J Fabrics ~
7917 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.426.2181

In my mind, this was Kristen's favorite store. This is also where I bought the majority of my fabric because the proprietor 

had amazing rolls of challis fabric and some great rayon crepes.  I also bought a couple of border prints from him and now I'm regretting now buying the black floral border print...*sigh* The rayon challis were $4 a yard. Yeah, $4 a yard. I bought one lone rayon crepe for $2 a yard.

This is where we spent the most time. I would have dropped alot more money than I did at this store because the selection was that good. BTW, I had a few guidelines for this trip ~ I couldn't spend more than a set amount of money and I had to be able to cart it home on public transportation. It really helped rein in my inner fabric piggy.

Since I checked out first, I had time to take pictures, so a few shots of my fabric shopping sistahs...

Liz Discount Fabrics was the second fabric shop stop ~
8323 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Phone:  718.426.2121

This shop is tiny and crammed to the brim with fabrics, laces and sewing supplies. I loved that you could find everything you needed to complete a garment in one place. Thread - check. Lining fabric - check. Sewing notions - check...all stuffed into a small space.

Syreeta and Carol sporting her Morgan Jeans

Loved the laces hanging from the ceiling reminded me of some of the trim stores that have disappeared from The Garment District

I bought this fabric here.

It's a navy & white striped ponte with a bonded (interfaced) back. I love to collect these types of fabrics and this one already has an idea attached to it. So it will probably not stay in the collection long, cause Fall is coming!

Value Fabrics third on the fabric store tour ~
8413 37th Avenue 
(but it's moving so check the store window for new location)
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.457.9488

This one was as small as the prior store and while I didn't buy anything here, Grace and Kristen found some cute pieces. Again beautiful pieces of fabric, sewing notions and sewing laces, another wonderful neighborhood resource. 

I took no pictures at this stop or the next one probably because I was shopped out at this point!

Jackson Fabrics NY Inc was the last stop.
84-30 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.424.6989

We kinda breezed in and out of this one.  Our fabric bags were heavy and we were ready to sit, eat and talk. Well talk more!!! I don't even have a good impression of this store, which is sad, but it is another local resource so that's a good thing.

The great thing about neighborhood fabric shopping is that the restaurant was one block down the street. I am not a foodie and when Kristen first said "Peruvian" I was like what? She was like give it a try you will like it and she was right.  It was the perfect stop after a long day.

8620 37th Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY  11372
Phone:  718.672.2224

photo credit:

The food was fantastic.  The conversation was great and as the group shot below shows, we had a wonderful day together.

We headed back to the subway after that and three hours later I walked into my home...tired but very satisfied from an amazing day. It was worth the trip and I will definitely do it again!

Here is the rest of my fabric haul ~

Black 'n White Midweight Rayon Crepe 
$2 a yard - bought 4 yards

Ltwt. Rayon Challis - $4 a yard - bought 4 yards

Large rayon sateen border print
$4 a yard bought 4 yards

Floral rayon challis - $4 a yard bought 4 yards
When I got home I realized that I have a rayon crepe knit 
in this exact print from Fabric Mart

Ltwt. rayon challis border print
This was the first thing I touched & it started the rayon challis spree
$4 a yard - 3 yards

Conclusion ~
Most of what I added to the fabric collection was rayon challis. I don't have much on hand and loved what I found. They will be great for next summer's garments and are worth stashing because they were purchased at an amazing price!

I just want to give one more shout out to Kristen for arranging the day. It was well thought out and fun! I'm sure she will announce the next one on Instagram, so look for it there if you're interested in attending. always more later!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wide Legged Challis Pants + A Concord Tee

I've wanted a pair of wide legged challis pants for quite some time. Because every once in awhile during the summer, I want to wear a pair of pants. In my former life, I would make a pair of linen pants every summer but they seem a little too formal for where I am now, well the way I use to make them. I've had so many clothing needs since changing jobs that I'm just getting around to thinking about pants.

Now I don't wear a lot of pants in the summer. Just every once in awhile I wake up and don't want to wear a dress or skirt and jeans just don't cut it for me when it's really hot.

Materials ~
The pattern is my TNT pants pattern. I've made some adjustments to my pants pattern and I've got a muslin made but nothing wearable yet. However, I thought I would start with it this time because I'm not looking for a fitted garment.

The fabric is a rayon challis from Fabric Mart purchased for these pants. The elastic is the remaining bit of Dritz Stretch elastic that I've been hoarding since it's no longer being made.

Construction ~
I knew that I only wanted the extra width in the leg area so I added width from the hip area down on my pattern.  I freehanded the addition of the extra space, adding it to both the front and back pattern pieces. Since they were going to be wide I knew I didn't have to worry about being precise and just went for it.

Now this is definitely a don't do as I do moment! *LOL* You should measure and add the proper amount to both sides.  However, this worked for me since I was only trying to get a quickie pair of pants.

The legs were serge finished and construction was quick.  I've made this pattern quite a few times now so there were no issues. After a quick try on to make sure the legs were wide enough, I added the elastic to the waistline.

Then the pants were tried on for hem length. Now while I know that I should hem them a little higher I really like the extra length on these especially with heels.

I'm wearing them with my black concord t-shirt from this post. I decided to just remove the ruffle and hem it especially since it works so well with these pants. I'm loving this look because its just what I wanted...relaxed...comfortable and casual...yet sophisticated.

A few more pictures ~

However, I do need to adjust the waistline so that I can make these as a pair of elastic waist pants...but that's for another day!

If you're interested in making a pair of your own...this pattern is on my "to buy" list...

...or a pattern for a pair in a knit fabric...

Next up on the cutting table is The Marilyn Dress from StyleArc Patterns using a Telio Denim Border Print.

Parting Shot ~ always more later!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Look 6340 in a Border Print

After I made my first version, I knew I was going to make another one right away.  This summer my policy has become "If I like it make it again as soon as possible!" Because when you change up the fabric and add an embellishment, non-sewists don't realize you're wearing the same dress/pattern!

I chose this border print for the dress because I wanted something different from the first two versions. Then I flipped the script by using the border print at the neckline instead of at the bottom of the dress.  It looks like I wanted it to in my head but it didn't occur without challenges.

Materials ~
For this one I used a cotton sateen border print from the collection.  The fabric wasn't tagged so who knows where it came from...though I think Fashion Fabrics Club...but I'm not sure. The notions are a little interfacing for the facings and the purchased white piping from Daytona Trimmings also by way of the collection. 

Pattern & Construction Information ~
As you may have noticed I added sleeves to this one which meant a few pattern changes. 

Let's start with the sleeves...
To make sure I added back the space that was removed from the sleeveless dress pattern pieces, I measured the two back & front pieces against each other. Using that as a measurement, I drew the extra space back, right onto the fabric. I probably should have made new pattern pieces but I don't believe I will make this version again...and if I do I have my notes here to remind me of what I did.

That settled ~ the next challenge became how to match the border print across the top of the dress. I wanted it to work from the sleeves all the way across the front and back of the dress. I ended up making and inserting three sleeves to determine which one would work best.

Option One ~
The sleeve cap had too much of the brown in the top which made the border print look really disjointed across the front and back.

Second Option ~
This one had less brown in the sleeve cap but was too long and looked matronly. That was something I could correct though by cutting off some of the extra at the sleeve hem.

Third option ~
Then I decided to try a total floral sleeve adding a piece of the border as a band at the sleeve hem. But the sleeve was too long and heavy looking so I rejected it.

As you can see from the pictures of the finished dress, I went with the second option.

Though honestly, the border print doesn't work as well as I would like across the front of the dress. I wanted it to match completedly around the dress and it doesn't. I'm acknowledging that upfront but I'm still wearing it!

I went back and forth over whether or not I liked the dress. My disappointment in how the border print works across the sleeves, how it looks like a house dress on the hanger...helped to let it hang for a few days before I finished it. When I did, I decided to add some white piping to the neckline and sleeve hems to give it some punch.

I'm so glad that I added the piping. It gives it a little more upscale look yet delivers the comfort I want.

A few pictures of the dress ~

Conclusion ~
Since I used a cotton sateen for this one, it hangs differently than my linen versions do. Also, this dress would have benefitted from a back opening because while it's not so hard to get on, it's a little challenging to get off because of the sleeves. Yet again, not enough to make me not wear it.

Parting Shot ~
My other parting shot pics have featured the girls but the boys were here too. Now while The Little Prince, Danny, never left the comfort of the airconditioning, the Littlest Prince, Joshie, did venture out with his sisters.

This is my last version of this pattern.  I'm putting it away. There are other projects that I want to work on. It's August so summer will be gone soon and I really want to make a few other garments from my summer sewing list. always more later!


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