Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This and That

This is one daring kitty. Not only does he curl up in the sink, he curls up in a blind man's sink (who actually did turn on the water shortly after this picture was taken!)
This cat is my sewing companion. He especially likes to be involved whenever I am laying out fabric or cutting. His other favorite passtime (when he's not harassing the other two cats) is to play fetch - with a hair rubberband - at 2:00 am! But, we love our kitty. The little weirdo.

I wore my gray skirt to school today, but this morning I let out the side seams a bit. I only had about 1/8-3/16" that I could take out on each side, but multiplied by 4, it was amazing what a difference it made. Now I love the fit of it - but still hate the lining. This "lining" clings like crazy. I guess I'll have to rub it with some dryer sheets or something before I wear it again.

We had a great Thanksgiving at my house. Here's a picture of my dad, my kids, and me.

Last night was the LAST class meeting of my LAST class for my master's degree. YAY!!!! Of course, now I have no excuse to not be writing my thesis.

And... when I got home, look what I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics.

After I ordered these fabrics, I decided to go back online and order some more of their silk charmeuses to use as linings. At less than $5.00 per yard, you can't beat it. The anti-cling poly at Joann's is $4.99 and the cheapest price on Ambiance is still around $8.00/yard. So why not have a little fun and luxury with those linings?

In the picture above, the two fabrics on the left are poly knit blends, the ivory paisly on the bottom is a wool knit, the ivory floral on top is silk charmeuse and the other three are poly charmeuse. I should get another package with about 4 more cuts of silk soon.

I haven't been sewing or knitting for the past few days because I have been having a lot of pain in my shoulder and am going to Physical Therapy. I hope this stops soon. I did buy some black moleskin to make a vest for my brother - who is a rock star. Well, not exactly, but he is a star to me and all the fans who follow their band. I am making it for him for Christmas. I'm going to make a dress for my daughter and a couple of pair of PJ pants for my son. Now I know why the SWAP isn't starting until January!

And PR weekend west coast is coming up in March. I'm so excited. Even though I live in California, I rarely go to LA and I've never shopped in the garment district. It will be so fun to meet a lot of the people that I "talk" to online. There is a thread about it on the message boards on PR

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Upside down skirt

OK, well, my skirt isn't really upside down, but the fabric is. I don't know how many times I've done this and I don't know why it never occurs to me to check the direction of the nap before I cut. I always make sure that the pieces are all going the same direction, but not the right direction

OH, well, only my dear readers will know!

I lined this skirt, but another mistake here. I cut the lining on the cross grain because I did not have enough fabric. Not a good idea. There is NO give in the thigh area of this skirt - at all. Actually, the skirt is fine, but the lining is too tight. I will have to take out the side seams a little but I only made 3/8" seams to begin with. Oh well, a little more incentive to get to the gym more often!

And another problem. I started making this top and I love the hand of the fabrics. I like the style. I hate whatever it is I did to the front. I'm not sure I can even fix it. I'm going to look at it again today and see if there is a way to either fix or cover this . I have an idea of using a little "patch" with some buttons for embellishment. Today is my dad's 85th birthday, so I'll be gone this afternoon and have homework tonight - but I still want to finish this top!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Collection

The Collection by Gioia diliberto takes place in post-WW1 France. Isabel Varlet learns to sew as a young girl and a series of circumstances leads her to Paris, where she becomes a main in the couture workroom of Chanel. The Collection brings the reader into the world of haute couture, 12 hour days, hard work, difficult clients, war-time France, love, jealousies, theft, determination, and all the elements of a good read. Although a work of fiction, much of The Collection is based in historical fact. We learn of the personality and work ethic of Coco Chanel, as well as several of her contemporaries. This book is a pleasure for anyone and a true delight for those with an affinity to fashion, fabric, design, or the world of couture. I definitely recommend this book.

I was gifted this book by Simon & Schuster about a month ago and FINALLY got to sit down and finish it. (My job keeps getting in the way of my personal life!)This is a great book and it is available on Amazon.com

Now, if you would like to read this book, I would like to pass it on for someone else to enjoy. Either leave a post on my blog or email me. I will draw a name on Friday and send it to the winner.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Simplicity 3539

I love this dress! I bought this pattern at the $1.99 sale at Hancock's last week. I've always liked this style of dress, but have never made one because all I could think of was "maternity" and once you've actually worn maternity dresses, you don't want to look like you're wearing one if you're not! Anyway, this style is so popular that I thought I would give it a try. If found this wool blend at Hancocks also, and I love the way it feels. It has the feel and drape of rayon challis, with just a little bit more body. It was perfect for this dress.

I didn't really follow the directions too much because I decided to line the whole thing. The pattern has you face the yoke, which in essence is a lining of that part. But then they want you to use bias tape to finish the armholes. I just made another skirt section out of lining fabric and put the two "dresses" together to line it following the guide line in Connie Long's book Easy Guide to Sewing Linings.

I have posted a tutorial on how to do the lining here. So, dear readers, if you get a chance, will you take a look at the tutorial and see if it makes sense and let me know? Of course, it makes perfect sense to me, but I know what I'm trying to say! LOL!

Again, I just love this dress, and even my daughter thought it was cute and wants me to make one for her with sleeves for her work. I can see a lot of summer dresses coming from this pattern as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Simplicity and Project Runway

If you listened to Episonde 12 of the Podcast Sew Forth Now, you heard the news that Simplicity has teamed up with Project Runway. Yesterday, I purchased one of the PR patterns. What's different about these patterns?

Each pattern comes with the basic pieces and then variations of sleeves, necklines, etc. just like most patterns. The difference is that the layouts and the yardages are give for each design element separately. So, if you want to make a short sleeve dress with a yoke, you add the yardage for the dress + sleeves + yoke. The problem with this is that you can end up buying a lot of extra fabric that you don't need. I plan on laying out my pieces first before deciding on the yardage.

Another thing different about these patterns is that they come with a croquis. A croquis is basically a line drawing of a body that you can use to see how the design elements of a garment will look together. They also come with line drawings of each garment piece, so you can trace them and put them all together if you have no drawing skills. I think this is a neat feature and will make it easier to play around with pattern ideas. The pattern sheet has suggestions for embellishments and how to use the croquis.

Now ideally, you want your croquis to look like you, so I will have to "pad" this woman up a bit! There are lots of good articles out there on how to use a croquis, in fact, I believe there was one in a past issue of Threads, but I don't remember which one. Here is a link to some premade croquis's. I recently saw on one of the boards at PR that someone had their husband take pictures of her in her underwear. I believe she then used the "sketch" feature in her photo software to make a customized croquis. I think this is a fabulous idea. It really will show if a style will look good on your particular body shape.

Fantastic Fit for Every Body by Gale Grigg Hazen begins her book with a whole chapter on how to make a custom croquis and why you need one.

Yesterday I was at Hancock's in Fresno and found one wool and 2 wool blends that were superfine and beautiful. The wool is about the weight of broadcloth and has a wonderful hand. It only came in one color, kind of a light brown, so whatever I make from it I will trim with some dark brown. The two blends are dark gray and deep violet. The violet is so dark that it looks almost navy or black. I plan on making this sleeveless dress from the dark gray. I am going to add a lining. I think this will be my next project. I really need some dresses.

Friday, November 16, 2007

SEWN ezine

Have you read it yet? If not, give it a try. This is a new online magazine for those of us interested in sewing and fashion. Congratulations to Lisette and all involved on a job well-done.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Just Can't Get to the Sewing Machine

I finally finished my last report card this evening. Now I will have conferences for the rest of this week. Today was spent doing a lot of driving - I had to pick up my dad and bring him back down here for appts. and then back up "the hill." Tomorrow I have conferences until about 7:00, Wednesday is my brother's birthday dinner, Thursday after school, more appointments for Dad, and Friday is bible study. I hope I get to sew next weekend.
I did go to Hancock's in Fresno and bought some blue stretch suede to make this cute dress. I also bought a pretty red stretch velvet to make the same dress for Christmas time. I think it will be just festive enough without being too "fancy."

I am also making some progress on my knitting, but am finding that knitting may be what has been causing the pain in my shoulder.

In November's issue of Lucky Magazine, they ran this spread. This really inspired me.

I decided to really look at the pieces and see which ones I could substitute with things I already have or are in my SWAP. I also looked at other fabrics I have in my stash and patterns that would give a similar look.

So, this is what I played with after I finished my report cards earlier. I don't know that I will ever pull all of this together. but it has given me some new ideas on combos from my swap and things I already have (or am planning on making!)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Inspiration Wednesday

I feel like a celebrity - Toya graciously asked me to be on her Podcast, Inspiration Wednesday. It was so fun getting interviewed - she is really a kick. And, I love her blog and podcast, so I feel very flattered that she asked me to be on it. You can check it out at Inspiration Wednesday.

Instead of sewing this week - I'm doing REPORT CARDS (very sad face) I will probably be spending every night this week working on these report cards. :-(

BUT - when I finish, I think I'm going to cut out a pair of pants and this blouse.
So - thanks, again, Toy - it was a real treat.:-)

Monday, November 05, 2007


I did wear my jacket the other night, and I did like it. DH and I went out to dinner at Cafe 225 and got to sit at the window and watch everyone walking up and down Main Street. The Symphony was going on at the Fox right across the street, so there were a lot of people down town. After that, we went to The Cellar Door and watched my brother's band play their first set. We had a nice evening.

I decided to make this Simplicity 4176 blouse. I had seen one that Cindy Lou made and I really liked it. I love this fabric - it is some kind of crinkle chiffon - polyester I think. It really drapes nicely and wasn't too difficult to work with once I starched the living daylights out of it! Using starch is great because it gives you just enough stiffness, and then you can wash it out and everything is back to its soft self again.

I've decided I want to try my hand at knitting again. My mother was a fabulous knitter. I just want to be able to make simple things. I'm going to try this little cropped sweater.

I really want to make a bolero like one I got at Old Navy last year, but haven't found a pattern that's exactly what I want yet. I did find a couple of cut cropped patterns, but they may be a little too advanced for me. I'm a novice at both knitting and crochet, so either one will be a challenge. I had picked out some yarn, but DD convinced me to buy the darker one while we were at Walmart, and take back the lighter. Had I seen the darker one at JoAnns, I probably would have bought it in the first place.