Monday, April 30, 2007

A Side Trip Before I Even Begin

DD has a new job. She must wear black. Specifically a black dress or suit. She owns one black jacket (we went shopping after she got the job.) Same black jacket every day? When it's 95 degrees outside? She wants a dress. Dress can't be sleeveless. Mom can make her a dress. A pretty dress. A lined dress. A lined chiffon dress. What am I thinking????? Oh - and a new jacket.
OK, I'm making at least one thing for the contest first!

One more day

One more day until the contest begins. I'm already changing things. Instead of the white skirt, I am going to make this Marfy dress and jacket. It has been calling me ever since I got the catalog. I already have the white eyelet and lace to make it. Also, I found two BWOF patterns for capris and shorts that I like better, so I will post those later. Right now I have to do some reading for my night class.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Plan

I re-did my story board for the swap and this is better for me. I hate, hate hate Word. So I did it in Publisher and saved it as a JPG. much better...
You can click on the picture for a better view.

My old machine was giving me fits yesterday. I finally became the queen of hearts and shouted "Off with her head!" and grabbed a screwdriver. Amazing what a little oil will do. No more crazy zig zagging - yay!

I was on the ball today I must say. Finished NL 6382 capris and did a photo tutorial for installing a lapped zipper. I have it listed in my sidebar. Am wearing the capris right now, but they are too big. I cut them down 2 sizes while making them, but they are still loose at the top. Hmmmm

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wardrobe Contest

Since Pattern review has posted their guidelines, I've made up my wardrobe design. I did it on a mac in "pages" but am not sure how to load the doc to my blog. So I took a picture of it and saved it as a jpg so that I could load it up tht way. Hope you can read the text. If you click on the picture, then click on "slideshow" in the menu bar on the right, you'll be able to read it better. I tried loading the pictures larger, and although it looked good in the preview window, it cut half of it off when I published it. Hope this works ok.

I'm excited because I have almost everything I need in my stash. I still need some white fabric for the skirt and capris (I have some white linen for a jacket later)and I want to get more of the inspiration print for a skirt. It won't work for this part of the swap, but the swap I linked to earlier has you use the same print in one top and bottom. This makes sense to me, even though every top won't go with every bottom. The "stitches' swap has all tops work with the solids. I like that.
I will take pix of the fabrics and post them later.

BTW, my good friend aka meg,has posted a new blog. She is a wonderful photographer and witty writer, so I've posted a link to her blog here and in my links bar.

An oldie but goodie

I really wanted to sew today, but I had to take my machine in for repair. I won't get it back until some time next week. Of course, they do not provide loaners. Hmmph! Well, I pulled out my old machine that was my grandmothers and decided to give it a try. It worked wonderfully. There were a few drawbacks though. First I had to fix it because it was falling out of the cabinet. I'm glad my doctor wasn't here because I'm sure that machine weighs a lot more than a carton of milk (my weight limit for lifting) but I was very careful. After I got it so it would stand up, I had to remember how to thread it and where all the functions were. This machine needle threads left to right and the threading pattern is almost opposite of my other machine. It has one speed - super FAST, so I had to learn to work with that. And of course, I was making a blouse with button holes and this machine does not have automatic buttonholes. It took me a few practices, but I finally worked it out by changing the zigzag width back and forth and raising and lowering the feed dog. They actually came out OK. Not great, just OK. I think I will leave my other buttoned projects until after I get back my machine. I guess I'll have to cut out and make that lavender top after all. This is a picture of MCCalls 2646 which is out of print

I am so excited that PR is starting a SWAP. I'm already picking out my fabrics, most of which I have in my stash. The rules are a little bit different than the Timmel swap, so some of the pre-planning I did will be changed. This one calls for 1 jacket, 4 bottoms, and 6 tops. All of the tops have to go with all of the bottoms. I think I will still stick with black, white, and turquoise with accents of purple. I'm going to make up a story board and I'll post it as soon as I get it finished. I would like to go on and do the other phases of the SWAP as outlined in this article. Anyone interested in a sew-along? I go back to work in a week, so I'll be lucky to complete the 11 garments in 13 weeks, Of course, the rest of the swap will have no time limit.

My machine is going to the hospital

I guess I've overworked the poor thing and it's going to have to go in to the repair shop. It sounds like the needle is hitting the bobbin casing, so maybe the timing is off. I'm going to ask if they can give me a loaner.

Well, I got almost everything cut out except the lavender top, but I forgot that there was another top that I did cut out. Also, I'm going to wait on the black and white top for the swap if theyy have it.
Yesterday I finished the skirt and the KS top that I didn't post before. Both were quick and easy. I'm glad I got them done, because I don't know how long I'll be without a machine. I also added the chain weight to my jacket. I'll post pictures of a couple of other things I've made this week as well. I only have about a week left of sewing and then I have to go back to work. I finally get this cervical collar off on May 7!

This is the capri jacket by Loes Hinse for Textile Studios. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it. I'd like to do it again in a drapier suiting.

I also made this little purse from the same pattern as the orange dress. I really like it, but it doesn't open far enough. I will have to take down the side seams a bit to make it open more. This one is going to my daughter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm doing something different today

Although I am ADD in most areas of my life, in sewing, I like to do a project from beginning to end. OK, the ADD part is that I leave everything out everywhere and keep looking for whatever it was I JUST had in my hand. But, I never cut out the next thing until I'm finished with the one I'm working on (unless I'm cutting more than one thing from the same fabric)

Well, today I am going to cut out at least 4 things, and more if I have time. Maybe this will help contain my messes and keep me from running from my sewing room to the dining room. I'm sure my family wonders what our dining room table looks like - it's been so long since they've seen it!

These things don't really go together, but they go with other things I have. In keeping with the pattern stash reduction theme on PR, I'm using older patterns from my stash that I haven't tried yet.

The Simplicity pattern will be made of the yellow and white tulip fabric. I am making the skirt the model is wearing. I bought this pattern many years ago and I can't believe it, but, it is still in the current book! Do people still wear elastic waist pants and shorts? Anyway, the skirt will be an easy to wear addition for my hot summer wardrobe.

From the NL 6382 I am making the off the shoulder top in the lavender knit. Funny thing about that fabric. I had ordered a purple and white dupioni from Fashion Fabrics Club last summer and lavender interlock is what I got! I double checked the order numbers and found that they had two fabrics with the same code, but different letters. I called them to ask them to exchange it (their error, not mine) and they couldn't get what I was explaining and insisted that this is what I had ordered. They must have had a broken link on their site because I never even looked at the knits. They told me that I would have to pay return shipping and a restocking fee! I was furious, but figured it would be cheaper to just keep the darn stuff and so now I will make this out of it.

I have some cute black and white cotton (in the wash for its second prewash right now) to make the other New Look blouse. I will be making the sleeveless scoop neck. And I also have some other white on white fabric to make the McCall's blouse. I want to make the sleeveless one, but I haven't decided how I will change it up yet.

Right now I have white thread on my serger,so I'm trying to cut everything that will go with white! I also have some black linen that I would like to cut a jacket and city shorts out of. Also, stretch twill in navy and another cut in teal to make either capris or pants. We'll see how much I get done (or distracted) today.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It finally fits.

Well, I tackled the beast and am so glad I did. Now I have a jacket I know I will love and wear. I didn't quite know what I needed to do until I tore it apart.

The first thing I did was remove the seambinding from the under part of the armscye. this opened up the arm by almost 1/2 inch! The sleeves were too tight, so since I had started and ended the braid in the back arm seam, this is the seam I took apart. I had left a generous seam allowance here so I was able to go with a 1/4" seam there and that opened up the arm by about 1" I was able to loosen up some of the stitching in the armscye, so I didn't need to lower or cut it at all. Now the sleeve and the armscye fit nicely, but the lining was too tight.

I opened up the underarm seam on the sleeve all the way from armscye to sleeve hem. I cut a 1-1/2 strip of lining fabric about 2" longer than I needed and sewed it in with 1/4" seams. This added 1" to the sleeve. I left the additional 2" at the armscye because I figured I would have to make a gusset or something to accomodate the new sleeve side. I took out the armscye seam for about 2" on either side of the sleeve seam I had just increased. Surprisingly, by releasing some of the stitching on that curve, I was able to "stretch" the body so that it all fit together without adding anything! I got it all sewed back together and re-hemmed the bottom and finished the sleeve hems. I worked for about an hour or more on the beading and got about half way done.
This afternoon I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons. I plan to finish the beading tonight, take a picture, and post my finished jacket tomorrow!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Simplicity 4118 Dress

I needed a diversion from my jacket so I made this dress yesterday. I have a full review atPattern Review I bought the fabric for this dress months ago, but had a hard time finding a ring for the belt front. I think there are a lot of fun things you can do with the belt. I have seen this style of bow several times in the curren Marfy catalog, and might try something like it on this dress. I really like the collar on this Marfy pattern and may have to order it.
I also have some navy fabric with white polka dots that I would like to make this dress out of. I lined the orange one with broadcloth, and since the fabric itself is a little heavy for cotton, the broadcloth makes kind of a heavy dress. It feels pretty comfortable on though, so I guess it was a good choice. I did cut the lining away at the neckline under the facings.
**You can click on any of the pix to get a better view.

The dress was a little short, so I also added a hem facing made from the lining fabric.

I finally figured out how to sew the lining to the zipper without having to do it by hand.
So, I have to say I am pleased with the finished product. I know I will wear this dress to work often.

Thanks so much for all of your comments and messages regarding my jacket. I plan to "tackle the beast" later on this evening. I'll keep my progress posted.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Now what?

Well, the shell and lining are finished - and now I will have to tear them apart. The armscye is too high. I'm afraid that lowering it might make the sleeve too tight. I will have to do something. Even though it looks like it fits really well (more pix later - it's hard to figure out fit wearing this big collar - only a few more weeks) it is just too tight in the arscye. I know I won't wear it because it is not comfortable. The arms are also tight around the lower edge, but I can live with that. Any expert advice out there? I don't want to put in the button holes or finish the beading until I fix this problem.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Trim and Pockets

Well, I spent a good part of my day working on trim and pockets. I went to JoAnns this morning to look for more trim, but couldn't find anything that inspired me. I had a couple of trims in my basket, but ended up putting them back. I've decided to use the taupe trim, but not run it along the hem because I don't have enough. I picked up some seed beads to spice up the trim a little, and I'm happy with the results. How long will it take me to bead all that trim????
First I tried ivory thread but it was too noticible. Then I tried monofilament thread, which looked perfect and I could really stitch down the trim at the same time as beading it, but it's too hard to see and gets tangled easily. I discovered that I have some thread that matches the trim very closely, so that is what I'm using now. I'm trying to make a knot after every bead so that if a thread breaks I don't end up losing all my hard work.
I tried a couple of different sized pockets and finally think I have the right size. Then of course its the question "Where do I put them?" I pinned them a couple of different places and tried on the jacket. I finally settled with a position close to the hem. All I really have left to do is sew in the lining - - oh, and all that beading

We All Have Bad Sewing Days

This beautiful handwork is from the site Sharon B's In a Minute Ago I have a link to her "100 details" in my links bar.

Yesterday was NOT a good sewing day. It seems like everything I sewed, went in backward. Lesson 1: Don't try to sew when you're fighting a headache

I finally finished the lining (after ripping out at least 4 seams)and am almost ready to sew it on. I love the feel of ambiance, but it is not the easiest fabric to work with. Another problem I encountered was that many of my pattern markings did not match up. This could be due to any one of the following reasons
1. The pattern itself was not marked correctly (this is the least likely cause IMO)
2. I didn't transfer the markings correctly when I traced the pattern (likely)
3. I didn't transfer the pattern markings to the fabric correctly (nope, I double checked that)
4. I didn't get the markings right when I altered the front pattern pieces for FBA - this is probably the cause.
I will need to go back to the original pattern and check all of my markings before I make this again.

I'm still mulling over the trim issue. I think the taupe will probably be best, but it's a little blah and doesn't provide enough contrast. I became inspired by 100 details (what awesome work she does) and thought I could add some embellishment to the trim. That would be a great idea, EXCEPT I discovered late last night that I do not have enough trim! Yikes! A friend helped me estimate how much I would need, thinking 3 yards would be plenty. First of all, I did not figure in trimming the sleeves (or pockets if you add them.) I would have enough to go around the neck and front,but not around the hem. arghh. I don't have enough of ANY of the trims either. From now on, if I see a trim I like, I will buy 5 yards of it.
I've also decided to add patch pockets to the lower front of the jacket. Nancy Erickson has some templates in her book Do You Love What You Sew? that I think I will use.
I have to say I am enjoying making this more than many of the garments I have made lately. I am not a "speed sewer"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Burda Jacket Shell

I cut out the shell last night and sewed it together today. This fabric needs to be handled very carefully because it unravels itself every time you move it! I think the fit is right now; I let out the side and CB seams 1/4" ea. I found that I MUST use a press cloth every time I touch the iron to this fabric because it wants to stick to the iron. Must be the metallic thread.

Thanks to those of you who have given me your opinion on the trim and buttons. I think I probably will go with the taupe after all and the gold and ivory buttons. Love that green trim but will save it for another project.
I've been consulting three books in the making of this jacket. First, Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing. Since it seems so much simpler to create the lining by lining to the edge, I opted for this method. I've been reading Connie Long's Easy Guide to Linings as well. She has some great ideas and techniques in that book. The other book that has been most helpful is Nancy Erickson's jacket workbook available at

Underlining: I decided to fuse the front and side fronts of the jacket with fusiknit. This has really helped keep all the little strings fron falling out and keeps the shape of the garment pieces. I also added another layer of so-soft interfacing where the back and front facings would be if I had not cut them off. The back and side backs I underlined with silk organza. I chose to use the silk organzaa here becuase I think it will be cooler. I didn't have enough to do the whole jacket, or I probably would have done the front that way. Personally, I find S.O. difficult to work with because it shifts all over the place. I decided to hand baste the organza to the jacket fabric by hand and did this at the cutting table using the paper pattern pieces as templates to make sure I did not distort the shapes. (click on the picture to get a better view) I probably did anyway, but it will work. I didn't use any underlining in the sleeves.

Setting in the sleeve I really like this method much more than running two rows of gathering stitches to ease the head of the sleeve. I cut two 2" wide strips of stretch fleece about 12" long on the cross grain so that they would stretch. You can also use wool or linen cut on the bias, but this was handy and works well. Starting at one notch, I laid it on the edge of the seam and stitched a couple of stitches on the seam line. Then I stretched the fleece as much as I could while stitching to the other notch. This gathers up the sleeve head nicely. I then pinned and basted the sleeve in place. I basted by hand since this was such fiddly fabric, and I'm glad I did. It only took a few minutes and was well worth it. After checking everything, I stitched the arm in. Then, I pressed the seam toward the sleeve and hand basted all the layers together but did not trim them. I would have trimmed them in a more stable fabric. The fleece acts as a sleeve head and gives a really nicely shaped sleeve cap. I still need to go back and add some seam binding to the underarm to reinforce the seam.

Lining: The inside of this jacket is very "stringy" right now. I think I will sew seam binding along the edge of the hem to stabilize that for later hemming. I have the lining cut out and am ready to assemble that. Probably won't get to that part until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Burda 8949 Jacket

I've been wanting to make this jacket for a while, but knew that I would turn it into an ordeal, so have been putting it off - well, no longer! Last week I played with the pattern pieces and worked on the fit. Yesterday I did a muslin (from all kinds of scraps) and it seems to fit... except that I'm getting these horizontal wrinkles across the lower back. I've got some fit problems to think about there.

I am very pleased with this tweed that I got from Fashion Fabrics
(and to think, I got it in a reasonable amount of time - a first for them for me) It is an ivory cotten, silk, acetate blend and has a gold thread running through it. The fabric is actually lighter than it looks in the photos. If you look at the last photo in this post, that is more like the true color.

I orignally picked out this taupe trim and these gold and ivory buttons. But then I received some trims that I ordered from
Trim Fabric and really like this coral trim. I don't really think I have much to use with the coral, so I'll probably use that on something else.
I absolutely love this green trim and think that is probably what I will go with. I have some olive plaid cotton that I thought would make a cute dress or capris and top, so they would look good with this green trim. What do you think?

Buttons. I never can decide on the buttons. I really like the gold and ivory ones, but they kind of get lost in the fabric. I had originally wanted to use some horn buttons that I have, but I"m afraid they overpower the trim. I like the squarish ivory colored buttons - or maybe the gold? I have two sizes of each for front and sleeves, but the gold buttons are only about 3/4 inch and the others are 7/8 to 1"

I'm planning on lining the jacket with Ambiance. I originally was going to line to the edge, but in reading Connie Longs Easy Guide to Lining, she recommends using the facings so that the lining holds up better. I'm not sure which method I will use, but I better figure it out before I start cutting.

If you're reading my blog, please leave me a note (or a vote!) I love knowing who's out there :-)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Simplicity 4076 gathered neck knit top

What a fun little top I whipped up this afternoon. After making the robe and PJ bottoms, I wanted something a little more fun. This top was definitely it. I fiddled around with the pattern pieces for a while trying to figure out what to do for the fit and finially decided on a 10 at the shoulders tapering to a 14 at the bust and down to the hip in the front, and the a 10 in the shoulder in the back tapering to a 12 from the armscye down. I paid $5.00 for one yard of this fabric at JoAnns, so that was a steal. I think I will cut out the sleeveless twist view from some leftover fabric I have from Textile Studios patterns when I made the Madison Avenue dress.

Fitting tops is always a challenge for me.
My bust measurement is a 36 = size 14
Upper bust is 34 = size 12
underbust is 30" = size 10
since my shoulders are narrow and so is my back, I decided to cut a 10 in the shoulders, do a pivot and slide FBA to size 14 and trace it out to a 14 at the hip. For the back I cut a 10 in the shoulders and adjusted out to 12 at the bust and hip. This gave me the perfect fit for a "semi-fitted" top. the neckline and shoulders are perfect. I think if I make it again I would like more fullness in the front, so maybe I will add 1/2" to the CF seam, but keep the neckband the same size. I really want to feel confident about how to cut a pattern with alterations so that I don't have to rehthink it every time. According to all the "experts" I should cut a 12 with a FBA, but then often the back is too big or the front gaps. I think in wovens I need to add a bigger dart as well as doing a FBA to avoid the pulling up in front and arm gaposis. Anyone have similar problems?

I'm so excited because I received the Summer 2007 Vogue big catalog in the mail today. I've never ordered one before but I may find that it is worth the $30.00. I'd really like to order the Burda catalog, but haven't found a place to do it. Does anyone know where I can find that? I haven't found our local JoAnns to be very cooperative about selling their old books - no, they'd rather throw them away. Go figure.
Oh, here is a picture of the robe and PJ pants. Working on that cotton terrycloth was not fun - and it was messy. I'll probably be cleaning up terry crumbs for weeks.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hong Kong finish tutorial- vogue 8208 jacket

I finished my jacket, which is the last piece in my "core" travel wardrobe. I am liking the linen more now and finding that it looks better after being washed a few times. I have a complete review at Pattern Review
I also completed my first attempt at doing a photo tutorial and used my photo album at Picassa to do this. Tutorial

There is an arrow at the top of each picture and directions below. Click on the arrow to go to the next step. I haven[t yeat figured out how to move this to my blog directly without copy and pasting each step. For some reason, blogger is not letting me add pictures right now, so I'll have to try again later.

Textile Studios Marseilles Top

Here is another TS pattern I had sitting in my stash that I wanted to make. I actually wanted to make the long sleeve, but it is too hot. I decided to use the neckline from the long sleeved version and use the short sleeves. I like the collar, but until I get out of this neck brace, I need somethings without collars. I had some left over linen from an earlier project and since it was nice and drapey, thought it would be great for this shirt. I will definitely make more of these - quick and easy, but nice looking. I took the picture with the recommended shoulder pads, but took them out afterwards. Will add a pix when I can get one.see pattern here

Textile Studios Barcelona

Well, the Barcelona Dress was quite an adventure. The first part was cutting the fabric. Last summer I had received some sheer rayons from a FMF bundle and had ordeed the Barcelona pattern specifically to make of this fabric. Since it was so Spring-like, it got put on the back burner until now. The fabric wasn't difficult to sew, but it was a pain to cut. I couldn't get the grain straight and therefore I think my pattern pieces were off. Fortunately this is a very forgiving pattern, so it worked out. The problem was, when it was finished, it looked very dumpy on me and all of the fullness was at the sides. Thanks to all my friends at PatternREview, I realized I had sewn the skirt on wrong! It only has two seams, and they are front and back, not side seams! This made a huge difference. The first pix shows before I fixed the skirt, and the second one after I removed it and put it on correctly!
The other problem was the sheerness of the fabric made it look very washed out on me. Wearing a white slip underneath helped quite a bit, but it still looked blah. I added lace to the neckline but I don't really like the lace I had. I should rip it off and put something else on - maybe someday.
The other thing that was not flattering on me was the cut of the sleeves. I ended up cutting off the shoulderseam (didn't want to rip out all of that serging on this thin fabric) and adding a triangular shaped godet. This worked great in giivng the sleeve more fulless and not making the shoulders look so droopy.
I doubt I'll ever make this again, but I do really like the drape of the skirt- now that I've done it correctly!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

KwikSew 3050

My latest creation is this red dress from Kwik Sew 3050 I had been looking for a button front dress, so was thrilled when I found this one. I am pleased with the results.

Since I had bought the large rolls of seam binding from , I used it to stabilize the waist in this dress.

I especially like the easy fit and side seam pockets. I bought the fabric from and am very pleased with it. They have a good selection of linen and linen blends, which is perfect for our California valley heat. Their fabric is selected by weight and I used the 5.3 oz. for this dress. I might go the next weight down for a lighter weight dress, but this is perfect for this one.

The race is over

I was participating in PRs pattern stash contest, but have decided that contests aren't for me. I don't want to have to try to complete projects that I can get done quickly rather than taking my time. I did get a few things done, though, and that was the main reason I entered the contest. Since my last post, I did finish my daughter's dress.

I wanted a nice summer skirt, so I looked through my Burda WOF cataloges and found this skirt in the February 2007 issue

. The fabric was a cotton from the quilting section at JoAnns. Oh, how I wish for a better fabric store here. I guess I will have to make a trip to Los Angeles and try to find some good ones there. If only I had a sewing buddy who would like to go with me.