Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Review

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my sewing lately, and how I want to change it for next year. That will come in another post. I'm looking back and the things I've made this year and recounted them to find that I've made 45 things! Now, one of them was a quilt, a couple were handbags, a couple were gifts, and most of them were garments for myself. You would think that I have an endless supply of clothes, and though I don't regret making any of them, there is a lot that either don't fit right or really aren't "me". Next year I will do things a little differently, and I have already started making a list. But for now, here are some of my favorites:

At the left - black wool skirt. I like it because of the fabric and the style. I used the Nancy Erickson pattern, but I also have anther pencil skirt pattern that I really like too.

This blue, gray and black top. This is a New Look pattern and I love the neckline. The fabric also drapes really nicely on this one and it goes great with skirts or jeans. This is the other skirt pattern and actually, I made this skirt in 2007, but it is still a favorite.

This BWOF blouse is probably my favorite thing that I made all year. It is really comfortable fabric and I love the style and the details. I really should make another one of these. I like the fabric in these pants, but they are too tight in the waist so I never wear them. I think I am tending to "over-fit" some of my garments.

There are a few other things that made my favorites list because they are most worn/used. They include
Metropolitan handbag
My Quilt
Marcy Tilton Pants, and
the Little Brown Jacket

And of course, my new coat. I wore it today and I love it!

Now for the not so good.

This BWOF blouse was a lot of work and has a lot of details. I only wore it once or twice and it was a little tight and uncomfortable in the sleeves. Also, the cuffs were heavy with all the big buttons. I eventually gave it away.

These pants went straight into the trash. They were just too big and baggy.

This is a beautiful BWOF blouse, but I rarely wear it because the fabric is a poly chiffon and it is not that soft. Also, I always have to remember to wear a cami underneath it. I do wear it occassionally, but it's not something I would wear to work on on the weekends, so I don't wear it that much

This cardigan I have never liked. THe main thing I don't like about it is the fabric. It is not soft at all and the first time I washed it it pilled terribly. It was not inexpensive fabric either. Oh well, win some, lose some. Also, this, like several other tops I have tends to slide down in the back at the neck. I think this means I need a forward shoulder, or rounded back adjustment.

So, as I stated before, I'm hoping to sew "smarter" next year and have more things that I totally love. If you'd like to see a quick review of all that I made this year, here is the link to the photo album.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A New Coat

I am absolutely in love with my new coat. I took some pictures this morning to show my progress, but I ended up working on it all day long and finishing it! Except for the collar/ neckline, this was a super simple coat. Raglan sleeves - so no set in sleeves or fussy fitting there. In seam pockets, so no welts or even patch pockets to worry about. The directions for bagging the lining are very clear, so the only hand sewing is hemming the sleeves and bottom hem and a tiny bit of catch stitching here and there. This is a Sandra Betzina pattern from Vogue, number 1024. I used a great wool coating from Gorgeous Fabrics, and the collar is "Veloba" which is a fairly flat faux fur. The lining is polyester crepe backed satin. I'll need to get a picture of that tomorrow and post it, because it is a beautiful lining.

As I said, the coat was very easy EXCEPT for the collar. I don't know if I didn't get may marking or cutting right, but I had the hardest time lining everything up at the neck edge to attach the collar to the edge. I had the same problem with the lining. I made it work, but it doesn't look as perfect as it should. Fortunately, I'm not turning this in anywhere to be examined by the sewing police! I did mark my notches and dots and squares with tailor's tacks, so I'm not sure what went wrong. There is one small error in the pattern, and that is that the notches on the upper sleeve do not line up. Mine were about 1.5" off, so I walked the pattern and found that they were mis-marked, so I fixed that on the pattern. I don't know why I had so much trouble with the neck.

The collar is interfaced on this jacket and so are the hems of the sleeves and the bottom hem. I used Patti Palmer's Perfect Fuse Medium for this and I really like the way it worked out. I had used the lighter weight Perfect Fuse before, but this is the first time I used the Medium. The facing is cut on grain and the strips for the hems are cut on the bias.

If you have never made a coat before, this is a good one to try. She gives very clear directions, and even gives you tips on hemming and hand stitching.

I would like to make this again in a shorter version, and I recently purchased some brushed wool melton from Fabric.com that I would like to use. Either that, or I have some really nice looking woven suede that I picked up at Hancocks that would give it a totally different look.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The making of a (new) quilt

Well, wouldn't you know that I would start this one week before Christmas! Will I finish it in time? No. I think I better move on to another project and come back to this after Christmas. I am making this quilt for my daughter, and I picked the easiest, fastest pattern I could find. But even still, once I started it, I realized I would not finish it in time. this pattern is from the book Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! which we used when I took the quilting class. It is a great book with a wealth of information. For the quilt I am making, everything is cut into 2" strips. I'm making the twin size, and for the version I am making, you need twice as many dark as light strips. I ended up buying almost all of the fabric for this quilt, but I bought some of it from the clearance rack at Beverly's and the rest I got from a quilt shop in the town where I work. As a rule, I don't really like the quilting fabric at JoAnns, because it just doesn't feel as good. I always pre wash all my fabrics, although most quilters do not.
The first evening I worked on this, I cut all the fabric into strips.
Then I pulled darks and lights that I thought would go together and put them in piles. Now I am working on sewing all of those strips into strip sets.

After the strip sets are made, you cut each into a 5" square. I'm doing this as I go. Right now I only have about half of the strip sets made. maybe not even that much. Why did I start this project right now? I really want to make my coat instead. DH and I are leaving for San Francisco the day after Christmas and I really wanted to have my coat to take with me. Looking at my schedule, I really only have one day I can sew between now and Christmas, so it doesn't look like the quilt will get done, nor will the coat make it to SF. I also had planned on making DD a clutch purse, so maybe I can get that done in time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Videos and Coat

Many of you may know about Smart flix, but it is new to me. They have tons of "how to" videos available for rent. Also, they have something called "universities" where you pay a flat monthly fee, they send you 3 videos and you can keep them as long, or short as you want. When you return one, two, or all three of them, they send you new ones. And yes, they have a sewing university with videos from names like Nancy Zieman, Sandra Betzina, Margaret Islander, Peggy Sagers, Marta Alto, and others. I thought I'd give it a shot. The list of titles sounds interesting. You can check out the universities here.

No sewing yesterday or today, but I did make a trip to the local JoAnns and got some great things. Wool in a khaki color to make another pair of the Marcy Tilton pants, a black brocade to make a clutch for DD for Christmas, thread, and fabric for lining and collar for a coat. Last week I got this Sandra Betzina pattern(in addition to the clutch pattern)
in the mail from club BMV.

I don't know if I'll renew the club BMV because I can get the great $3.99 sales on Vogue from JoAnns, but the problem is that they usually do not have the latest patterns in stock when they have their sales. They also are often missing at least 1 or 2 patterns on my list when ever they have their great sales, no matter what the pattern company. So, I may or may not keep it. This is the first time I've ordered from Club BMV.

I'm using the wool coating shown here from Gorgeous Fabrics, the crepe back satin for the lining, and the veloba "fur" for the collar facing. I'm excited to make this coat, and hope I can get it done before Christmas. There is not a lot of fitting to the pattern, and I'm basically going to make it just like the directions in the envelope. I recently saw this pattern featured in one of the magazines, but I can't remember which one. Can any of you help me out? I looked in the last 3 issues of VoguePatterns, but it wasn't there. I know I saw a 2 or 3 page spread on variations of this coat. I saw the pictures on the Sandra Betzina website under "Sandra's Closet", but I'd like find the article again.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gingerbread and Crochet

Last week DD Grace made an unprecedented trip with me to JoAnns. Now, I can never get this girl anywhere near a fabric store, but for some reason, she went with me that day. Of course, when she saw the kit for the gingerbread house, she wanted to try it! We bought the kit and brought it home.

That evening, her friend came over and they worked and put the whole thing together. (Grace is the one on the right.) We've had it on our table all week. In fact, when Grace came over the day before yesterday, we noticed that there was a big LICK MARK off the frosting on the roof.

Apparently, Dobby (more frequently called "Dobbo" has penchant for sugar... He also loves our new kitten, Romeo. He loves him so much, he's kind of like Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

"I'm innocent!"

I've been working on some black wool pants, but I'm afraid they may be a big snug. The fabric has enough give/ stretch, but I am lining them. Today I managed to accidentally cut the lining in the middle of the leg with my serger, so I figured today was NOT a good sewing day. Also, I had to cut 60 pieces of fabric for a sewing project I am going to do with my students. Last year we made stuffed birds, and it looks like I'm going to do it again this year. The kids got so much out of it.

I've been kind of sick this week, so haven't felt like doing much. I've been trying to do some crochet. I really like the bolero pattern in the Happy Hooker crochet book and I got the whole back finished. Then I realized I wasn't supposed to finish the whole back, but only the first 10 rows, go back and work on the front, and then join the 2 before finishing the back. I had to rip out a couple of evenings worth of work. This is the first thing I've ever tried to crochet from a pattern other than a hat. I like how it's coming out, but I'm worried that it may be a little tight in the armhole. I'm making this out of Lion Brand Wool Ease, which is a wool blend yarn. It's pretty easy to work with, but what do I know? I haven't really done this before! My mother was a fabulous knitter when she was alive. I just don't have the patience for it. For some reason, I like crochet better.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

G is for

Gloves. For 2 years now, I have been coveting some long (opera length) leather gloves in black. I never see them in stores, but a recent internet search took me to this cool web site, Shop Style. I found quite an array of gloves at all pricepoints and styles. I may finally have to get some long leather gloves!

This pair of gloves is for sale at Bluefly.com for $87.00.  

I also purchased this pattern last year, but have yet to make it. I did buy some stretch microsuede fabric, which I think will be perfect for the gloves. I have it in a dark jade green and also a silvery gray.   I want the ones that go all the way to the elbow.  Great fabric, great pattern, still no gloves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Endless Combinations

I'm still working on the Endless Combinations, but this is what I have so far. I'm still hoping to complete the following items before the end of the month, but we'll see. I still have some Christmas sewing to do. (I'm thinking of making those cute pjs in this months BWOF for DD.)

black wool pants
eggplant colored twin set
taupe dress -OR
gray pants and jacket.

Hi hopes, low time. We'll see what happens