Monthly Archives: September 2009

Hat’s off to you!

Haha.  I finished Jack’s winter hat last night.  It’s pretty cute.  I thought it might be a little big and tried it on Jack this morning.  And…

I was right.  😦  Not by much.  And not enough to do over, but a little big.  I did something new this year.  For the topper, I made a six stitch I-cord about 3 inches long and then tied it into a knot.  I think it looks pretty cute (if I do say so myself).  Again, the pattern was from Ann Budd’s book, “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.”

Now without further ado… the finished project…

Jacks 2009 hat

Jacks hat being worn

The mittens are next on the list, but I may not get to them until next week.  I have to keep working on my trench coat at the Trench Sew Along.

Happy knitting and sewing!

And now for something completely different

It’s almost October.  And that means it’s time for me to start knitting Jack’s winter scarf, hat and mittens, not to mention his yearly sweater.  I dragged Jack to Purl yesterday to buy some yarn for these endeavors.  He was pretty good natured about it, especially in light of the fact that he woke up at 4:30am and didn’t take a nap at all yesterday.  So as reward for a completely sleepless day, I decided to walk to Soho and fondle buy some yarn. 

Here’s what I picked up…

Jacks yarn 2009


For Jack’s scarf, I am using a pattern I found on Liesl’s blog, Disdressed.  I made it last year and it was great!  I love how you thread one end of the scarf through the other end so it doesn’t come undone and kids can’t pull them off.  Ingenious!  I started the scarf last night and should be done tonight.  I am using the multi-colored yarn for the scarf, hat and mittens.  Here’s the progress thus far…

Jack scarf 2009


The burgundy and blue yarn is for Jack’s sweater.  I am going to use the same sweater vest pattern as last year as it was really easy and fast.  I bought a book called The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patternsby Ann Budd and it’s very clever.  You can use whatever yarn you want, whatever size needles to get the guage of any of the projects in the book.  Very cool. 

Here are some shots of Jack’s last two Christmas sweaters:

Jack xmas 1a


jacks 2008 sweater


While I do have a picture of the scarf I made last year, I don’t have any of the hat or mittens though.  😦



Ok, it was a marathon day and I finished the scarf before I finished this post, if you can believe it?!?!  Because I scarcely can.   Here’s the finished scarf in all it’s glory.   The second picture shows my finger inside the hole made by splitting the 22 stitches onto two different needles (dpn’s) and knitting them separately (you have to cut the yarn after knitting one side to pick up the stitches on the second needle).  Then when both sides are equal in length, you knit them onto a single needle again and thereby closing off the hole or slit.  Ingenious!  The third photo shows one scarf end threaded through the hole or slit of the second end.

 Jacks 2009 scarf finished

Jacks 2009 scarf slot

Jacks 2009 scarf tied

I have already cast on for the hat now.  Using Ann Budd’s book (referenced above).  Just a simple hat knit in the round.  The yarn will give the interest.

Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Trench update and new skill

I had another lesson with Thea last night…  We completed the muslin for my trench coat (Burda 03/09 #115) and I learned a new skill.  Click on over to the Trench Sew Along for my post on the trench muslin

My new skill?  Hemming pants.  Sounds simple right?  Well it is.  But I wanted to be sure I was doing it correctly.  So before I butchered my suit pants on my own, I waited until Thea came over and we went through the process together.  

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Measure both legs:  One hip can be higher than the other, so just measuring one leg might give you uneven results even if you are exacting in your measurements.   Mine had different measurements, so I’m glad that I waited to do this with Thea. 
  2.  Not all thread is created equally:  On the RTW pants I was altering, the overlocked (serged) hem allowance was thin in thickness, meaning the threads didn’t create a bulky edge.  The thread I bought for my serger, Maxilock, was thick thread and was definitely bulky when I finished trimming down the hem allowance.  Now I will have to be careful when I press these pants so that the ridge from the overlocked edge won’t show through the pant leg.
  3. I don’t like my blind hem stitch on my Emerald 183:  Well at least for fine garments like suits.  I can see the tiny stitches on the outside pant and it bothers me.  No one else would probably notice, but it would bother me to the point of never wearing the pants.  Solution: hand sew the hems.  Which is fine with me, since I enjoy hand sewing.
  4. That there’s always something to learn or a little trick of the trade with even the simplest sewing task: I’m so glad I waited for Thea to hem these pants.

 For the next couple of weeks, I will be working on my trench coat pretty exclusively.  There are a lot of great projects to watch unfold on the Trench Sew Along, so please check in on us.

Happy sewing everyone!

Fear of Trenches

Check out my latest sewing phobia on the Trench Sew Along….

What a fun evening!

Just what I needed to recharge…  I met Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic for the first time for dinner last night and it was a blast.  I have been reading Carolyn’s blog for over a year now and am always impressed with her tremendous output and bottomless creativity.

We had a lovely dinner at a restaurant in Rockefeller Center and just talked and talked.  Carolyn shared more of her sewing history with me.  We commiserated on parenting and work.  We talked about Fabricmart, Gorgeous Fabrics and Kashi at Metro Textiles.  Time just flew. 

As we were walking to the subway/Port Authority after dinner, we continued our conversation.  Carolyn kindly offered to pre-approve my future online fabric purchases as I am still not an experienced fabric buyer in person, much less online.  Remember the dot fiasco???  This afternoon I needed to rest my eyes at work and took a little trip to Fabricmart online.  I found all of their prices to be ridiculously reasonable.  I especially liked the silk chiffons but I know to stay away from those until my sewing chops are a little better.  However, I did find the following fabric (click the picture for a link to the site so you can buy some yourself!)…

Fabricmart imperial purple wool coating

Isn’t that a gorgeous eggplant purple?!?!?  If you haven’t already noticed, purple is my favorite color.  I asked Carolyn if she thought the wool would be a good fabric for the following unlined coat, Vogue 1060…


Carolyn said it would be great for that pattern, so I “accidentally” bought 4 yards of it.  Can’t wait to feel it in my own two hands.  I definitely need a fall coat.  Don’t you?  🙂

Now I know what you’re thinking, “What’s she doing buying fabric for a fall coat when she hasn’t even started the trench coat yet???”  Well, I am about to post my trench coat progress on the Trench Sew Along, so check it out at after 9pm ET today (Sept 18). 

Needless to say, I am feeling better now after my too small muslin for Butterick 5314.  Thank you to all who were supportive with my perhaps TMI post about it (hey, at least I didn’t post a picture of my post-baby belly!).  And a special thanks to Karen for politely saying I didn’t look pregnant.  😉  Actually, I am going to meet Karen for some textile shopping tomorrow and she’s going to meet my little guy for the first time.  Can’t wait.

Happy sewing and muslining!

Woe is me

WARNING: This post contains extremes of self-pity and no pictures. 

Until today, I haven’t sewn anything in three weeks.  My new job, along with ennui, lack of motivation and fear of woven garments have all combined to make my apartment the center of a sewing black hole. 

When I confessed to not “feeling” Butterick 5314, I left out one big secret.  One of the main reasons I didn’t want to make the sheath dress was because of my post baby body (read 5 month pregnant looking belly and 30 extra pounds) and I couldn’t see how I could squeeze all that into a sheath dress attractively (no matter how much the % of lycra in the stretch cotton).  I was imagining how the dress would look on me (ridiculous was the kindest descriptor with which I could come up).  To be even more baldly honest, I have been thinking about buying a corset.  Not spanx, but a real corset.  One with stays and ties that I could use to cinch all that belly fat in.  I have been watching Mad Men and just drowning myself in the fashions of that era and noticing that you have to wear the proper undergarments to really look good in those clothes.  I suspect, even if I don’t sew up a vintage pattern, I still need to wear a corset for modern sheath dress.  Then I wondered why we don’t wear corsets anymore.  Don’t people want to look like they have tiny waists anymore?  Sucking in my stomach only decreases my “pregnancy” to about 4 months along. 

Long story short, my suspicions were proven tonight.  In anticipation of my lesson with Thea tomorrow, I sewed up the muslin for B5314, sz 12, tonight.  I first sewed all the darts and then the side seams of the bodice and skirt.  I skipped the collar and lining.  I did not stitch the bodice to the skirt however. 

Well…  It was at least a good 2 inches too small all around for both the bodice and skirt.  A corset would not have aided me as much as I needed it to do.  I must admit to myself now, truly and without denial, that I have reached the tipping point with my weight.  Jack will be three in June.  I can no longer rest the blame on a pregnancy that is two plus years in the past.  I can no longer blame single parent-ness for not being able to exercise.  I must become accountable for my atrocious eating habits.  Don’t get me wrong, I eat pretty healthfully (except for this week’s ice cream), it’s just the amounts that are embarrassing. 

And I must admit that I have to buy this pattern in a more appropriate size for my current body’s state of affairs.  I knew going into the muslin process for this dress that the pattern range I bought was too small after I checked the finished measurements.  I kept hoping there was the mysterious ease of which everyone always speaks.  But no ease for me.  I had negative ease and then some. 

So my fellow sewing friends, my name is Elizabeth and I need to lose some weight and get back into shape.  Not sure how I will do it because last time I checked, I am still a single parent, making exercise difficult to do.  And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have no, I mean NO, will power to speak of.  When they were handing it out people, they gave me the exact opposite of will power. 

I’d show you a picture of the B5314 muslin, but I might get arrested for indecency.  And not the good kind of indecency.

Tomorrow I will be working on tracing and cutting out my first Burda pattern, the trench coat for the Trench Sew Along, Burda 03/09 #115.  There’s still time to join the sew along if you’re interested.  Let me know in the comments.

Confession time


Remember when I said that I had a lesson with Thea on Wednesday and that I would be starting the muslin for Butterick 5314?  Yeah, I remember that too.  Well, Thea ended up not coming that day (we had a scheduling  miscommunication), and, even though Jack went to bed nicely and by 7:30pm, I didn’t work on the dress.  I procrastinated instead.  Do you know how I know that I procrastinated?  I did the dishes.  I hate housework.  The fact that I willingly did the dishes when I could have spent quality time on my dress is proof that I was indeed procrastinating. 

I’ve been wondering why I am avoiding my newly beloved craft and realized it was the project itself that was causing me to turn to housework.  Butterick 5314 is a “don’t make one mistake” woven fabric pattern, not a forgiving “don’t worry, I’ll hide all your mistakes” knit pattern.  I’m scared I’m going to screw it up with wonky seams and/or clumsy finishing and that it will look at best: “loving hands at home” or at worst: an unwearable wadder.  Is unwearable wadder an oxymoron?

And let’s not even mention the trench sew along.  Ooops, just did.  Why did I think I could make a complicated thing like a trench coat? 

I’m having a crisis of faith here folks.  I hope I get out of this cycle of negativity soon.

Did you watch Project Runway tonight?  Did you like the suit that won???  I thought it had shoddy workmanship (remember the back?).  I can’t believe it won.  I did agree that Qristal should go home though. 

I hope someone is having a happy sewing day.  Carolyn?

Life interrupts

jack in the hospital Sept 09

So this is why I have been absent the last few days.  Jack landed in the hospital when he started to have trouble breathing on Sunday.  We were at the hospital until Tuesday afternoon.  He’s all better now though, so all’s well with the world.  The picture above is Jack sleeping in the hospital crib with Elmo.  So cute (if I do say so myself).  And in case you were wondering, yes, an adult can fit in the hospital crib with a child.  It’s not incredibly comfortable but doable if there is a need, i.e., child demands you to sleep with him.

I am behind now with my plans to make Butterick 5314 and my Burda trench coat.  But I have a lesson tonight with Thea and hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track.  I am trying not to let deadlines bring me down.  The most important part is making something, not when it is completed, right? 

Anyway, I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and were able to get some sewing in.

Happy sewing!

Question of the Day: Pattern Review vs Stitcher’s Guild


I just joined Stitcher’s Guild today.  Now, full disclosure here, I haven’t really checked it out yet, so this is not a review per se on Stitcher’s Guild.  As you know I am enthusiastic user of Pattern Review.  But I have noticed right away that different sewists use Pattern Review than those that use Stitcher’s Guild.

There are similarities between the two, both have boards, a beginner sewist section, contests, and a techniques section.  The one thing I don’t see on Stitcher’s Guild is class offerings, but maybe I missed it my cursory glance.  I will definitely take more time in the coming weeks to see what Stitcher’s Guild has to offer.

So my question of the day for you all is which do you prefer and why?


I have an update on how my first pair of pants wore on their first day of use.  First, let me say that they needed to have a little more structure for the lightweight fabric from which they were made.  The waistband seemed flimsy.  I am not a fan of the invisible zipper in front.  They wrinkled like crazy and pilled at the inner thighs.  PILLED!!!  What’s up with that?  The fit is still fabulous for my first pair of pants though.  One thing I will change next time  is the length for capris; they were too short.  When I sat down, they tended to hike above my knees which was weird and uncomfortable.  I compared them to some RTW capris I like from Ann Taylor and they were about an inch to an inch and a half too short.  Not sure how that happened.   One question I have is with a stretch fabric, should you automatically draft a pattern more fitted than you would for a non-stretch woven?  Let me know if you have thoughts on this.  Sorry, no pictures of the pants in action.


Jack and I have been back from San Diego a few days now and are settled back into our routines.  We had some tough times out there with the time change and new environment, but I think when we go back in December for Christmas, he might be a better little traveler.  Here’s a picture of one of the good times…



Happy sewing everyone!