Monthly Archives: July 2009

Nothing like a sewing lesson to jolt you…

back into the land of sewing.  I have nothing to show for it, but hopefully I will after this evening.  Thea, my sewing guru/teacher was over last night, but all we really did was talk about sewing.  We looked at all my new patterns (oh my, I have a lot of patterns now) and talked about what I wanted to accomplish.  A lot of my sewing angst is derived from my life long love/hate of “process” and my current figure (or lack thereof).   Process is how you get from point A to point B.  I’m not a big fan of process, but I do want to get to a lot of point B’s and expect it to happen instantaneously and magically through little effort of my own.  Is that asking too much?  😉

We’re going to work on my pant sloper (again!).  *sigh*  Hopefully something will come of it this time.   For some reason, one side is missing a half inch that the other side has.  How on this green earth that happened I have no idea.  So tonight we are going to hunt for the missing half inch. 

For now, I will leave you with this beautiful boy.   I believe I’ve introduced him before…  His name is Jack and he’s my very own torture device.  🙂  Please note the red socks he’s wearing when his outfit has nary a red theme in it.  He is obsessed by red socks, which he calls blue socks.  He does know his colors, but still calls his red socks blue.  He will not wear any other color socks, which forced me to buy 5 pairs so there is always a clean pair at hand.

photo 2

I only say he’s my torture device because we (and I do mean we!) have been sleep challenged this week.   Hey, do you recognize that skirt?  That’s the 3 hour “20 minute” skirt that I recently altered to be more “fitted”.    What do you think???

Sneak preview:  Next post will be about my Burberry raincoat.

Happy sewing!

Not resting on my laurels…

I seem to have lost my sewing mojo.  It started with a busy week, and then life got in the way and now I’m on night two of nothing but time, but not a mojo in sight.  What does sewing mojo look like anyway?

Not sure what this means…

Part of it is I am bummed that it’s taking so long to work my pant sloper into capri pants.  It’s not as simple as I thought it would be.  Another reason is the fan/gingko black and white print knit I wanted to use for the DVF wrap dress needs to be lined and that’s just not practical with a wrap dress.  So I have to use a different fabric, but I had my heart set on that one.  Then I thought I would make up the simplicity dress again, but I”m just not feeling it.  argh!!!

Anyway, that’s why I’ve disappeared.  I hope it returns soon.  If anyone has any to spare, send some mojo over here please! 

I hope others have happy sewing.

Which dress?

I went through my patterns and found three that might work with the fabric Tanya gifted this weekend.  Thanks again Tanya!  See the pretty fabric again:

floral stretch cotton

 

Tanya and I are doing a mini sew along using the same fabric.  I thought I would use this floral stretch cotton for an easy breezy unlined summer sheath dress. 

So here are the pattern contenders.  The only self-limiting factors were 1. a sheath dress, and 2. the pattern already has to be in the stash.

  1. Simplicity 2648

    Simplicity 2648

    Simplicity 2648

  2. Vogue 8146V8146
  3. Butterick 5314B5314

 

So which do you like best for this fabric?  Leave me a comment to let me know.

Happy sewing!

Mini Sew Along

Saturday surprises and a rare weekend posting from me!  Well, not exactly surprises since I was expecting them; I received two fabrics today.  One in the mail, and another from a friend and fellow sewist.  First the mailed fabric:  I bought some cotton shirting from Reprodepot the other day.  It’s a cowboy theme to go along with the indian buttons I bought off Etsy the other day too.  I think they’ll look cute together.  Now I just need to find a simple little boy shirt pattern.  Hmmm…

cowboy cotton shirting

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack

 

The other fabric is for a mini sew along with my friend Tanya.  She emailed me the other day asking if I wanted her fabric.  It was a stretch cotton and I think she wanted a plain cotton, no stretch.  She had 6 yds of it!  I don’t know what she was planning to make with it, but I told her I would be happy to take 3 yds off her hands.  Tanya suggested that we have a sew along using the same fabric and see what we both come up with the 3 yds each. I thought that was a fun idea. 

So what should I do with this?

floral stretch cotton

I’m thinking a simple summer unlined sheath dress.  Pattern suggestions?

Happy sewing!

NYC Sewing Meetup and Stash Confessional

Wendy of W 38th organized a sewing meetup to shop in the garment district yesterday after work.  We visited Spandex House, Pacific Trimming, and Paron’s.  While I’m not officially on a fabric diet, I have a lot of fabric for a newbie sewist and I feel like I should work with what I have before going all crazy in the fabric department.  Plus, I want to shop with a plan in the future.  Meaning, have swatches and patterns with me when I go shopping so I won’t buy crazy plastic dot fabric again. 

I had already been to Spandex House before with Trena and Cidell.  Boy, there is a lot of neon in that house of spandex.  They have great supplies for bra and panty making.  I found a fabric scrap that I liked for a bathing suit, but they didn’t have the bolt anymore.   I was thinking of making my own bathing suits as they are ridiculously expensive.  I don’t understand why they have to be so expensive.  I bet swim suits are a cash cow for clothing manufacturers since there is so little fabric to the cost; the mark up must be astronomical.  Anyway,  nothing jumped out at me so I held firm and didn’t buy anything there.

Next on the tour was Pacific Trimming, which I visited with Karen.  That’s where I bought the coconut buttons.  I drooled over the ribbons and buttons, but again did not buy anything as I did not plan ahead and bring anything with me to match colors.  Incidentally, Wendy mentioned that she had a great color memory and rarely brings swatches with her because it’s so reliable.  I definitely did not get that gene, but I have pretty good relative pitch.  But that doesn’t do much for my sewing.  I could, however, hum the note my Viking sings when winding a bobbin for you if you ever ask.

I have not been to Paron’s before however and they have a whole room devoted to 50% bolts and remainders.  Wow!  There was a lot of fabric at great prices there.  I walked out with one of the same pieces as Mica, a black lt wt t-shirting with a kind of floral design within the fabric.  Not quite a jacquard.  As you can see below, the floral pattern looks white, but it’s actually see through.  I just put a white bag behind it so you could see the pattern.  Maybe Mica can describe it better than my feeble attempt. 

black "floral" t-shirting

black "floral" t-shirting

In other sewing news, I bought a stash of buttons off Etsy (still mourning the loss of my Grandma’s button collection), some cute indian head buttons (so cute!!!)  for a shirt for Jack, reddish linen from P&S fabrics, and probably more worth mentioning but not foremost in my mind right now.  Here are some pics…

bag o buttons

brown & floral border print for a skirt

brown & floral border print for a skirt

Batik/tie die style cotton (navy and white)

Batik/tie die style cotton (navy and white)

 

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack

 

pink and taupe t-shirt knit for me and my mom

pink and taupe t-shirt knit for me and my mom

turquoise and brown knit

turquoise and brown knit

 

red linen from P&S fabrics

red linen from P&S fabrics

Coconut buttons

Coconut buttons

 

And my next project will probably use this black and white fan print knit.  I am thinking a DVF style wrap dress.  What do you think?  I am going to consult with Karen on which pattern tonight and start tracing the pattern.  🙂

fan knit

 

On Monday, Thea and I will return to the pant sloper and tweak the pattern into capris. 

Happy sewing!

The big reveal

Ta-da!  Here’s my finished Simplicity 3678 in the pretty fabric I’ve named Purple Rain.

final front dress

I wore it to work today and am so proud.  My co-workers love it.  I love this dress and feel pretty wearing it.  *big grin*

Here’s the review (a la PatternReview — Thank you Deepika!):

Pattern Description:  Misses knit dresses with bodice and sleeve variations

Pattern Sizing:  Sizes 8-16.  I tried it in a knit I didn’t like with size 14 and it was ginormous on me.  I wear size 8 in RTW.  For the final dress I used the size 12 pattern and it fits much better, if a little snug in the bodice.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, I think so.  *blushing with pride*

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes and no.  I am a beginner, so I over thought and double guessed the meaning of different directions.  Like “stitch/serge”:  does that mean stitch then serge, or stitch or serge, or stitch and serge at the same time???

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern?  LIKES: I thought it was drafted well and came together easily.  DISLIKES: I’m not so sure the empire waist is a great style on me.  I am not convinced the gathering on the back skirt is necessary, and I do not like the pleats sewed down as they suggest.  Looks great on the inside and terrible on the outside.  These pics are from the muslin.  I also don’t like how low the cross over bodice is; I am constantly adjusting it to cover the “girls”.

Bodice pleats inside

Bodice pleats inside

 

 

 

 

 

Bodice pleats outside

Bodice pleats outside

 

 

 

Fabric Used:  Rayon/lycra knit from Metro Textile in NYC.  I call it Purple Rain.  😉

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:  1.  I slavishly followed the directions for the muslin, but ended up not liking the stitched down pleats on the bodice.  So I didn’t do that on the final dress.  2. I used a woven blind hem stitch on the hem because on my machine (Viking Emerald 183), that stitch looked better from the right side than the knit blind hem stitch.  Go figure!

I used a woven rather than knit blind hem stitch

I used a woven rather than knit blind hem stitch

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?   I may sew it again, using a slightly larger back bodice piece to make it less snug and eliminating the back skirt gathers.  However, I have so many patterns that I want to try, being a beginner and all, that I would like to do something else next.  I would definitely recommend it to others, but advise making a muslin first as the sizing is quite a bit off.

Conclusion:  I am not sure this will be a TNT for me as I am not sold on the empire look on me.  That all being said, I love my dress and am so proud to be wearing it to work today. 

Techniques learned from this pattern take 2 (the first list is in this post):

  • pleating
  • gathering
  • when to use the serger and/or sewing machine on a knit
  • why basting is a good thing!
  • how to use the blind hem stitch

I know I’m repeating myself here, but I am so excited to be wearing my dress at work today.  Here are some more views:

Final back dress

final dress side

waistband finishing

waistband finishing

 

freedom pleats (not sewn down)

freedom pleats (not sewn down)

Inside sleeve finish

Inside sleeve finish

 Many thanks to Thea for helping me muddle through the pattern instructions and giving me such good instruction.  While I flew solo on most of the final dress (she was there with me only for the sleeves and hem of the final dress), her previous sessions with me while working on the muslin really show up in the final garment.  Now we’re going back to work on my capris from my pant sloper.

Happy sewing!

Because I can’t keep a secret…

I was up until 2am last night working on Simplicity 3678 with my good fabric.  I just couldn’t let it go.  I had to get it to a point where I could try it on and see how it fit and looked on me.  I didn’t insert the sleeves or do the hem yet, but here’s how it looks!

final fabric full view wo sleeves or hem

It’s actually a bit snug in the bodice (how could going only 1 size down make such a difference???), but still a little big in the skirt part.  I can definitely live with the bodice, and if I ever lose the baby weight (like that will ever happen!), it will be perfect. 

I have another sewing lesson tonight with Thea, so I’ll ask her how to address the skirt.  We’ll finish up the sleeves and hem tonight too!  I just might make my “deadline” of wearing it to work this week.  I am so excited.  I’m going to call this my Purple Rain dress.  Other people in the sewing blogosphere are naming their wardrobes, so I’m jumping on the band wagon.  I know 1 dress does not a wardrobe make, but cut a newbie some slack here.  😉

I will post a more substantial review of Simplicity 3678 later this week.  I had my doubts that this dress would look good on me, especially in the too large size, but I am quite please with how it’s turning out.  It’s amazing what the right size will do. 

Happy sewing!