Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Look 6587

Well, I'm not so sure I'm thrilled with it, but it will be a good summer dress. Cool and comfortable. And since Fall doesn't seem to be anywhere in our near future here, I still need summer clothes. I'm OK with how this turned out, but there are a few things I don't like. First of all, I raised the waist, because I always have to raise the waist. Apparently not this time. Hmph!
I was also stupid when I did the layout and forgot to lay out the front bodice pieces. I would have had enough fabric had I paid attention, but nooooo... Of course the fabric store was sold out and I couldn't get more. sigh.
The fit is comfortable, but from the side I look like I'm about 300 pounds. Therefore, we're only getting a front picture here!
I do like the way the front of the bodice fits, but I hate the leisure-suite-style collar. It's a bit BIG. There is something I do like about this dress though, so I may make it again. It did have a lot of pieces and was a little time consuming, but most dresses are unless they are knits. Well, I really must get off the computer and go to bed :-)
You can read my review at PR here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's all Carolyn's Fault

That's right. OK, she didn't hold a gun to my head, but she's been going on about all of her great vintage patterns and we're seeing the great things she is making. Then... she goes and posts LINKS to the vintage sites so that we just HAVE to go and visit. Well, one visit was not enough. I have been going back to some of these vintage sites numerous times. Not only that, Carolyn ALSO mentioned that some of these sights have FREE shipping when you buy 3 or more. So of course, I had to buy 3!

OK, I can't totally blame it on Carolyn. About 10 years ago I made this dress from a vintage reproduction pattern. I love this dress. Now, mind you, I was AT LEAST 10 pounds thinner when I made this dress, so now it is way too tight. I'm also noticing that my arms are looking pretty chunky in this picture - that stress eating is beginning to show! Also, I don't think I had the slightest inkling about FBA when I made this, so it is also very tight in the bust. But, all in all, I do love this dress. I have kept it all these years and do wear it occasionally. Of course, I will be losing 10 pounds before I wear it again!

One of the things I love about this dress is the full, full skirt and longer length. I also like the fitted waist and detail at the collar and sleeves. THese are the same elements that attracted me to these vintage patterns

This was the first pattern I picked out. What I really like about it, aside from the overall silhouette, is the detail at the neck and sleeve. I love the little bands on the second view and those little dots are buttons. I would love to make this dress.

Again, I like the overall silhouette on this dress, but I also find the neckline interesting. It has a 4 gore skirt rather than 6 as above, so it will hang a little differently.

I really like both versions of this dress. I think the boat neckline on the second view, along with the "rock-a-billie" full skirt looks really cool. I can also totally see myself wearing the first version, also known as a "wiggle dress." I really like the look of the collar on this one and the raglan sleeves.

I've been so wanting to sew lately, but school has been overwhelming. Just too many meetings and things taking up our time - yet they keep giving us more to do! I was planning on doing some sewing this evening, but I was just so beat when I got home that all I could do is sit on the bed with my feet up (good thing I have a laptop :-) )

But I am working on a dress. It doesn't look like much at this stage, but I am making it from New Look 6587. Here is just a little teaser of what is to come. I am sewing several rows of ribbon around the bottom, so that's what I am working on now. I'm hoping that the contrast on the bodice is going to work out by tying it in with the same skirt fabric for the collar and sleeve cap. I was hoping on finishing this this weekend, but it looks like I'll probably be at school working on progress reports. I'm also still working on my 1945 jacket. I need to hand sew the sleeve and bottom hems and then cut out and assemble the lining. It won't be too long (I hope) before I can actually wear a jacket again. It's been kind of nice wearing little sweaters in the morning.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mrs. Hughes Live at the Ice House

Do you ever feel like Mrs. Hughs? I do, but I'm not as funny

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wear a Dress day 5

Today is the last day of wear a dress week. Surprisingly, I had a few different dresses I thought about wearing today. These were the deciding factors. My stomach was sticking out too far for the Madison Avenue dress. The orange dress was too tight. I thought the wrap dress would be too warm, so this is what I wore. This is only the third time I've worn this dress. I really don't like it. At all. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I don't like the way it looks. I love the fabric and I love the cut of the skirt. I love the way it flows and flutters when I walk. It does look better with heels, but I stand all day on cement floors or concrete, so heels are out for me for work. Part if the problem of this dress is the color. There is not enough contrast and the color is weak, so it makes me look washed out unless I wear bright lipstick. The second problem is that the bodice is too large and the shoulders want to slide off of mine. This dress is the Textile Studios Barcelona Dress. I gave the pattern away after I made it. I might have made it again, but I have so many dress patterns that I'd like to try, that this won't make it back to the queue. I think it looks OK with the belt, and I'm sure I'd like it better in a more vibrant or darker color, but it is what it is (the fabric was from a FM bundle) so it was kind of an experiment.
So, wear a dress week is over now, and I'm glad I accepted the challenge. I've learned a few things about my closet from this exercise and now I need to make some more dresses! Thanks to Erin for posting the challenge

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wear a Dress Day 4

Another day of wearing a dress to work. This has been a good exercise for me because it has really forced me to look at my closet - at least the dresses in my closet. I've known for a while (like since last summer - we're talking summer 07 here) that I need more dresses. But having to put together a week of dresses has made me look at not only style, but cut, length, color, and fabric. I can see that I have many gaps that need filled. And speaking of which, what am I wearing to work? It seems like I need pants, tops, skirts and dresses. Hmmm.... I do think I have more clothes for cooler weather, but sure enough when the cooler weather gets here I'll probably be saying I need more cool weather clothes!

Most of my dresses that are appropriate for work are looser fitting somewhat shapeless. I don't like this. I know I like looser fitting for work because of comfort and the heat factor in summer, but there's no excuse for shapeless. Well, maybe what I'm thinking is not enough details, or too casual. It's really made me stop and think about the patterns, fabrics, and plans I have for the future. I recently purchased the Hot Patterns ever-popular cosmopolitan dress pattern. but before that, I think I need to make the Indispensable Dress. I also have a few other dress patterns that I'd really like to make.

Anyway, I really do like this dress. It looks good with or without the belt and makes a great jumper as well. I used Simplicity 3539 and made it out of a washable wool blend. It is fully lined and very comfortable.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

First Quilted Quilt

I finally put the finishing handstitches on my quilt this evening and then threw it in the wash and dryer. It is finished. I did all of the quilting by machine, which took innumerable hours, but was very fun and enjoyable. I made this quilt very plain because it was to be used to learn and practice machine quilting. There are hundreds of mistakes, but I don't care. I really like the way it turned out. I put it in the wash and dryer because I really like the way quilts look after they've been washed. This one was created for the purpose of sitting in the family room! As soon as the weather gets the slightest bit chilly, I love to sit under a blanket and read or watch TV. THis one is the perfect size. DD came over this evening for a little while and I told her she had to test it out. She got all curled up in it (she is the blanket queen) and proclaimed, "This is a good one."

Wear a Dress Week day 3

I'm starting to realize I do not have enough dresses. As I looked through my closet last night I found that I had several (but not many) dresses, but none that are right for work for this time of year. They are either too dressy (no glitter at work), too revealing (uh, no cleavage either), white and lace just don't cut it in the classroom, and it's too dang hot for long sleeves! Anyway, this, I would wear to work. It's still going to be in the upper 90s today, and although I have a/c in my classroom, I spend a lot of time walking around campus since my room is on the opposite side of campus as the playground. Not that they get that much recess (15 min in the am and right after lunch) but there's also all that picking up and delivering kids. I also teach a computer lab, so walk over there once a day - not that far, but when it's around 100, 2 feet is far enough! Also, I'm choosing sandals today since my feet are tired and will hate me if I try to force them into anything with a heel or closed toe!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wear a Dress Day 2

Today I am wearing this summer dress. It is supposed to be (only) 93 today, but that's still pretty hot, and I want to be cool. Tonight is Family Reading Night at our school from 6-7:30, so I am just going to stay late and get some work done. sigh - no wonder I'm not getting much sewing done...

Last night's bible study was really good. It's a course called Precepts. Our leader is fantastic, and come to find out she is a (retired) home ec teacher. She gave me the name of a lady who knows a lot about treadles, so I may be able to hook up with her have her show me a few things. I also found some sites on the internet that helped me as well. My machine appears to be a model 127 made in 1910.
Oh, back to the dress. It is a BWOF June 2008. The fabric is cotton lawn that I got at Fabric Fabric on LA PR weekend. Well, that's me, coffee cup in hand, wet hair - just about the way I leave the house each mornining!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Thanks so much for everyone's comments this week. I am indebted to Rachel who is sending me some copies from her treadle sewing machine book. I am so excited! Also, Caity has sent me a link to a wonderful site about treadle machines that I can't wait to explore! Birgitta asked where I will keep the sewing machine. I have it in my living room and intend to keep it there! I told my husband it was such a good deal because even if it didn't work, we'd pay that much for an end table anyway :-)

Bonny asked about the meeting with the parent. The meeting went well, but I still don't get it. Here were there gripes
1. The little girl has a cast on her arm. She apparently sprayed perfume on her cast because she thought it smelled. She told her parents I told her never to do it again
I don't know where this came from. Never happened. In fact, I didn't even know she had sprayed perfume on her cast.

2. I told the little girl she could not have a Sharpie pen on the playground. True. It is against school rules to have permanent ink pens at school because of Grafitti problems. The principal had already explained this to them.

3. I let students bring a water bottle to class. I told the students they must be clear bottles. This girl was upset because she could not bring her thermos. Although I explained to the parents that they must have clear because some students try to sneak soda in, they weren't satisfied until the principal mentioned that at one school (not in our district) a student had actually put a knife iin his water bottle. OK, they were fine with that.

4. Apparently last year's teacher did not challenge their daughter to their satisfaction (probably true.) I assured them of my rigorous curriculum and differentiated instruction. They seemed OK after that.

Oh, well, you never know what conversations go on between families, but I think this had something to do with another little girl that was pulled out of my class because her parents didn't want me to teach her to hold her pencil correctly.
You can have 29 sets of parents that love you, but it only takes the one set that don't to potentially ruin your day. I did not let this ruin mine.

Wear a Dress Week

If you read Erin's Dress a Day, you know today is Wear a Dress to Work Day - part of wear a dress to work week. So today I am wearing this dress I made last year. It is a Kwik Sew pattern and I made it from some great red linen from Fabric-store.com. It is one of my favorites.

I worked on my quilt last night - not the red one, but the other, more plain one. It's almost finished so I wanted to get it done. I might finish it tonight if I don't get home too late from bible study. I am starting a new bible study group that is with the women from my church. I don't need one more thing to do right now, but I know this will be a good study and also a good opportunity to get to know some more women better. We get so busy sometimes that we don't take time to socialize, and it's a good thing to have other women to talk to outside of work!

Today I have a meeting with a disgruntled parent that I am not looking forward to. I really have no idea why this parent is upset, but they want to take their daughter out of my class. Sometimes it's nothing that the teacher has done, but just that the parent has a bee in their bonnet, but still, you can't help but take it personally. I'll find out more at 4:00 today.
Yesterday we went over to my brother's house and saw a great Beatles cover group on TV called Rain. They were excellent . My brother and I are Beatles fans - he moreso than I. I don't have time to be a fan :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am so excited. Look what I got today! I've been wanting a treadle sewing machine for some time, but never seriously looked. I've seen a few here and there in antique stores, but for some reason I really wanted to get a Singer. I really love the way their cabinets look and the machines are beautiful too. A few weeks ago I saw this at a local antique shop, but they were closed. I went by a few more times, but they were always closed. (apparently they are moving). Well, this weekend, I put a note under the door telling here I was interested and to call me.
As it turns out, this machine had been donated to the local rescue mission, so all the proceeds were to benifit the mission. That made the $150 price tag go down a little easier. I am told that the machine works, but it needs a new belt. I found an online source to order the belt, but I have no idea how to thread this machine or how to work the bobbin - or does it even use one? I have never used a treadle before, but really want to try it. Even if it didn't work, it is so beautiful that I think it is worth it.

This machine also came with some accessories, but I have no idea what any of them are. I have some more close up pix at my picassa site, so you can leave a mssg there too. I'm hoping that one of the ladies in my church will know how to work this thing and come over and show me! I'd love to make something on it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This poor thing has been cut out for over a month just waiting to be sewn together.  I finally did it today.  It is another version of Simplicity 4076.  I just did a review on PR, and was surprised to see that this pattern has been reviewed 116 times (well, 117 now)!  

When I made this once before, it was too tight across the bust.  With the shape of the front piece, I couldn't figure out how to do one.  Well, this time I really thought about how the pieces would be sewn together and where the bust point would be.  I knew I needed to add width to the side and length to the front.   This is how I did it.  I probably could have added just a little more width to the side, but this worked.  

I also used FOE (fold over elastic) on the neck edge.  This was my first time using FOE and I did have a little trouble keeping the fabric in the middle of it, but I got it to work.  I used a binding foot, but it might have been  just as easy with a regular foot.  It was still a little low, so I slip stitched the neck edges together to make it a little higher.  Because of the twist, I don't think you can actually alter the pattern to make it higher.

THis fabric is a lightweight knit that I got from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It's part acetate, so it has a little different feel to it, but I like it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do you have a good eye for color?

Apparently mine isn't as good as I thought (or maybe I should try this when I've been awake for more than 20 minutes.)
Here is a little color quiz that is quite fun (Maureen, this ones' for you!) My score was only 28 (zero is perfect) I guess I'll have to back and try again later!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I was so excited to come home yesterday and find this in the mail! It is a Kenmore 1060 zigzag sewing machine. I bought it on ebay. Cidell has raved about her sewing machine of this line, so I've been kind of keeping my eyes open for a similar model. I was surprised to see that this had been packed in a box (well, if you call putting it in a box "packing") with nothing but the vinyl carrying case. It does weigh only 15 pounds, so I was thinking this would be good for travel. When I took it out of the box, I noticed that the footpedal had been broken in transit. I think it is just cosmetic defect - nothing a little E6000 won't correct.

You can see that this came with a number of feet, a couple of bobbins, and even the instruction book. The item description stated that the book was "a little worn from normal use" Well, I think the book is more than " a little worn" as you can see in the picture. The zipper foot is also broken, but since these are low=shank feet, the one from my old sewing machine should fit it just fine.

Here's something I've never seen before. I had to look it up in the manual to see what it was. It is a blind stitch attachment and shank. I was thinking I would have to fool around with that and figure it out. I was getting very excited about this old machine.

The machine looked like it hadn't been cleaned in a while, so I started cleaning out the lint. There was a lot of lint. The light came on just fine and all the dials turned freely. then, when I went to turn the handwheel to move the needle, it wouldn't move! I tried everything I could think of, engaging the clutch, disengaging it, changing the stitch dial at the top, checking all buttons, dials, and gadgets. Nothing. I am so disappointed. I contacted the seller last night. This morning I got a reply that she had UPS package the item and that she would check to see what my options are. I think I want a full refund. The machine must have been dropped. I cannot believe that someone would stick a sewing machine in a box with no padding and send it off in the mail (UPS, or anything else)
I will keep you posted.

In the mean time, no sewing today. I have had meetings after school every day this week and then tonight DH and I went to the county fair. The fair is a big thing here. I haven't gone in a couple of years, so we decided to go this year. The home arts building was something to see. There were some of the most beautiful quilts there. They had a few fashion sewing entries, but mostly they were prom style dresses and not really anything spectacular. I guess they give prizes for table settings, scapbook pages, paper crafts and just about anything you can imagine. Some of it was interesting, some of it was like, "what?"
It was fun anyway, but it is not fun trying to navigate a blind man through a crowded place like the fair. I was glad to get out of there. But, the weather was amazingly nice this evening (only 83 degrees at 7pm) and there was a nice breeze.
Tomorrow is picture day at school. I wish I could skip it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I really need my photographer back!

I used to have my daughter take all of my photos. And even though she sometimes went crazy with the camera, who cares? It's digital anyway. Well, now that DD has her own apt, I have just my tripod and self-timer to take my pictures. They never look as good. Out of 11 pictures, I looked pregnant in about 8, my eyes were closed in about 6 and the rest looked just plain unflattering. Oh well, this is the best shot I could get at 6 am with my hair still wet and my face with the "I just got out of bed look" even though I got up at 5:15. I am planning on wearing the blouse today. I can already see that I think I would like to sew a button on the placket just to keep it closed with out looking like it's pulling. The arms are a little snug when you reach forward, and other reviewers noted the same thing. I guess I better not miss water aerobics today lest that problem increase!

Monday, September 08, 2008

McCalls 5664

I finished the blouse tonight. There were a couple of issues with this blouse, but they were easy enough to correct. The main thing was the hem problem that I

noted in my last post.

You can see the placket here, and I think it turned out pretty well. Again, the main thing here is to mark well.

The collar has a band, but mine didn't lie as well as I would like. I think it stretched a little out of shape. My fabric was so fine, that I probably could have used a light weight interfacing on the band and the facing instead of just interfacing one.

I really like the sleeves because not only is the bottom band a separate piece, it has a separate facing as well. This would be fun to do in a contrast color.

I'll try to get a picture of it on me tomorrow, since I plan to wear it to work.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Taking a Break

I'm taking a little break from working on my FSG 1945 jacket. It is coming along fine, but it's hard to be motivated to work on a jacket when it's been over 100 degrees every day. Here's my progress so far. I'm ready to cut out and sew the lining. That will also help the collar to roll more nicely than it looks here on the dress form.

I don't know what has happened to my dress form, but she is having a serious posture problem. This is a vintage dress form and you adjust the measurements from a series of bars with screws and wing nuts on the inside. I have all of the proportions right, but she is leaning forward and her butt is sticking out. It's kind of hard to tell how anything will fit or hang with her standing like this. I'm not really sure how to fix her. I've tried, but this seems to be the best I can get.

There are still so many things I want to make to wear NOW. I got some linen the other day from Fabric Store and decided to put it to use. I bought McCalls 5664 a while ago and it looked like it would be a good match for the fabric. I am doing it in all white (no colored bow) so that it will go with more colors. This also is taking a little longer than I thought it would.

This time I was smart and looked at the other reviews on Pattern review. Because of what I had read, I decided to go ahead and add an inch and a half to the front to make it longer. Well, when I got to the point to try that on, I realized that it was still a couple of inches shorter in the front than it was on the sides! There are wide gussets on the sides, so I used my curved ruler and took about 3" off the side seam, curving down to the hem at the front of the gusset. I also ended up taking another inch or so off the back, because since there are no darts in the front, added length is needed there, even if you just want it to hang evenly all around.

This blouse has a placket in the front and I am pleased with how mine turned out. I think the key to making a good placket is to mark carefully. This one didn't turn out perfectly, but unless you are examining it (which you will, when I put up a picture!) it looks just fine.

I've got the collar sewn on and just need to slip stitch the inside of the collar band. Hopefully I can get the sleeves and hem done tomorrow and I will be finished! I could get it finished tonight, but DH needs me to run a few errands with him. My back is protesting anyway from too much sewing today!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Underlining Question

LindsayT asked me a good question on my last jacket post. "How long did it take you to fuse the underlining?" Well, let's just say that I did it the longest way possible! It took hours. THis was my method
1. Cut all the pattern pieces
2. cut all the fusible underlining from the same pattern pieces
3. cut down all the fusible underlining pieces so that they don't extend over the edge and fuse to the ironing board.

Now, basically, I ended up cutting each pattern piece 3X! (actually 4 since the fashion fabric was cut single layer!) THere are several other options which I have considered
a. block fuse all of it. This would definitely be the fastest method, but would waste more underlining
b. make separate pattern pieces for the underlining so that I only have to cut it once.
c. Lay the underlining on the fashion fabric before cutting so that I am cutting both the fashion fabric and underlining at the same time. THen I would just have to cut down the underlining pieces afterward.
d. Since I plan on making this jacket a few more times, I could cut several layers of underlining at once and have them ready for future projects.

So, what do you do when you have a project that requires fusible (or regular) underlining?