Monthly Archives: July 2010

Muslin Success!

Butterick 5147

Last night I cut out and sewed up my muslin for Butterick 5147.  Obviously I didn’t include a lining for just a muslin.  And I have to say I count this muslin as a success!!!  Sorry, I don’t have pictures yet.  I just did a hasty (read sloppy) zipper insertion, so I need to clean that up before getting a real assessment of the fit.  But…  I think…  All I need is a slight swayback adjustment and maybe some adjustment for the back neck gaping I saw.  Although I will start with the swayback and see if that takes care of the neck gaping, which it could, who knows!

I was so excited at how well this muslin fit that I booked my teacher Thea tonight to help me with the fitting issues.  I will take pictures of before and after so you can see the muslin.

For reference purposes, I am making view C, the black sheath dress in the picture above.  Here’s the line drawing:

B5147 Line Drawing

It has bust darts and fish eye darts at the waist in front and back.  I’ve never sewn fish eye darts before and did not have an easy time sewing them last night.  It was hard to start them off at the right point precisely.  Anyone have any tips? 

So far my verdict on this dress is that it’s a real winner.  I love the neckline (not too high or too low), the shaping is excellent, the ease is spot on (I tried sitting in the dress – no problems), and I think it’s very flattering (even for this post-partum body).  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  I really thought fitting this dress would be a nightmare.  I thought I was going to have a nasty surprise on the sizing since I just had the 6 inch debacle last week.  I cut out a sz 14 and don’t need to add any inches anywhere; just take some out of the back for the swayback adjustment.  How cool is that???

I have no idea yet what fabric I am going to use.   I will have to shop my stash.  

I will most likely make my version with a hem above the knees to look more current with how people are wearing skirts/dresses these days.  I have to confess, I feel funny about my knit dresses with hem lengths below the knees now.  I am so excited about this sew along.  If this dress can make a post partum chick look good I think it will make anyone look good.  You have to try it out.  Join us!  The Butterick 5147 Dress Sew Along

Oh and one more thing…  I think this dress is definitely TNT material for me.  This will be a great dress for my work wardrobe.  And it’s soooo easy; only 2 pattern pieces (4 including the lining). 

Happy sewing everyone!


News and a New Sew Along

First, let me tell you what I have been super excited about for a few days now.  I had been thinking about getting a coverstitch machine lately, but they’re crazy expensive and to be honest, I don’t know how much I would really use it.  Also, everyone I have talked to about it has said that you can hem knits using a twin needle.  Even the owner of Sew Fast Sew Easy said that very same thing when I called in asking her about coverstitch machines.  So I guess I am going to table that idea for a while.

But over the last couple of weeks I have been searching Craigslist for sewing machines.  Again, originally for a coverstitch machine, but then I got it into my head that I wanted a Singer Featherweight machine.  They’re portable, they have a great reputation and you can find them used pretty easily.  I found one in the New York area, but they wanted about $275 for it if I remember correctly.  I pestered consulted with Cidell whom I know to love Featherweights.  She said I could definitely find one cheaper and to wait for it.  Cidell also suggested expanding my search to cities where other family members live to see if there were any there.  SHEER GENIUS!!! 

I found one right away where my parents live for just $125.  My mom (Thank you Mom!) checked it out, proclaimed it worthy and got it for me for just $100!!!  The tension was a little tight so good ole mom even took it in for a tune up.  I should have this lovely little machine in my hands in September when Mom and I meet up in the midwest for a family wedding.  I CAN’T WAIT!!!  Do you want to see my cute little Featherweight???  Here she is…

My Brand New Used Singer Featherweight

Isn’t she a beaut?!  She comes with a huge assortment of attachments including a ruffler and a buttonholer.  Mom wasn’t sure what the others were, so that will be fun to investigate when I have them in hot sweaty hands.  Could I possibly use these feet on my Viking machine?????  Does anyone know?  Remember, I have a wish list to fulfill.  She (the machine, not my mom) comes with the original manual and the original registration too.  Can you believe it???!!!  I seriously don’t know how I am going to wait almost two months for her.  *big sigh*


Butterick 5147

In other sewing news, Carolyn emailed today with a fantastic suggestion, a Butterick 5147 Dress Sew Along!!!!!  How cool is that?  She said she had that pattern in her stash already and wanted to make it too.  I’ve already set up a flickr group for the sew along.  I’m so excited.  I would love for you to join us and to see all the beautiful dresses we make together.  Do you want to join us? 

Here’s how it will work:

That’s it.  How simple is that?  I’m cutting out my pattern tonight!  Hopefully I’ll have the muslin done by this weekend and see what changes I need to make.  Hopefully the changes won’t include the need to add 6 freaking inches to the side seams!!!

Join our Butterick 5147 Dress Sew Along!!!!  Do it!  🙂

My light bulb moment

Or how Carolyn made me come to Jesus.  Carolyn and I were trading emails today about work wardrobes.  I told her that the nude dress she made in recent months was a light bulb moment for me in sewing.  Here I was trying all these patterns with some sort of bling in the details.  Remember my first Burda pattern, the skirt with the drape pleat?  How about my attempt at the Knip Mode skirt (or what Thea called my Crazy Skirt)?  And then Carolyn sews this simple yet elegant and beautiful nude dress.  She looked fantastic, svelte, and so classy.  And oh so perfect for the environment in which we both work, finance.  It was then that I realized I was on the wrong track.  I was being mesmerized by kitschy details when I should be learning how to sew simple and classic things that will work with my real life. 

Then we met up for a fabric lunch at Kashi’s (Metro Textiles) to meet the fabulous Eugenia of Eugenia’s (Fabulous) World of Fashion.  Eugenia is a lovely fellow sewist whose sewing pursuits I have read about for quite a while now.  It was such a treat to meet her since she lives in London, and really, how often does one get to London?  And then a random woman in the store stopped Carolyn (who was wearing her amazing red dress with the racing stripe today!) and it was Opal of Opal’s Passions.  Now I confess, I hadn’t yet come across her blog before, but I am definitely putting it on my google reader list now!  She was wearing that amazing McCalls dress that everyone’s been making lately, M6069.  Now I have to make it too!!!

Here’s one picture, courtesy of Carolyn, documenting our visit (Carolyn is not pictured as she was the one who took the picture.  DUH!).  And yes, apparently I do look that dumpy in person.  Sheesh.  Never wearing that suit again, I can tell you.

The lunch was too short but it was fun.  And productive!  Although I didn’t buy a stitch of fabric (shocking I know!), I left there having been “come to Jesus-ed” by the best of them, Carolyn.  She asked me why I haven’t made any woven dresses and I told her I was scared of fitting them.  And then they all ganged up on me and told me I should get over it and start working on some dresses.  Carolyn and Opal pointed out the obvious that when you make a dress, you have a complete outfit; there’s no need for any other item.  Whereas, if you make a skirt, you have to make a top to go with it. 

Well, I came home all fired up.  I went through all my copious patterns and narrowed it down to three contenders, B5147, B5314, and V8146.

Butterick 5147

Butterick 5314

Vogue 8146


I’d do a poll, but I am already leaning towards B5147 right now.  I think it has all the features I’m looking for: darts for fitting, open collar, but not too daring, and simplicity (the fabric will shine here).  Understated elegance.  And the bonus???  IT’S A LINED PATTERN!!!!  I don’t have to “figure” crap out.  Love. That!

I have some more news, but that will have to wait for another post.  Hahaha!  I’m such a tease.

Happy sewing everyone!  I am about to enter the muslin zone.

Wish List

First of all, thank you all for putting up with my pity party yesterday.  I appreciate all of your support.  It was just shocking to find out, after adding significant width to a skirt, that it was still too small.  *big sigh*  But I am putting on my big girl pants and putting all that nastiness behind me. 

Yesterday, I fantasized about feet.  No, I am not a fetishist.  I was daydreaming about sewing machine feet.  I have a Husqvarna Emerald 183 machine which actually came with several feet, but I have been envious of other people’s feet of late.  You know…  like narrow hem feet.

image from Viking Husqvarna

If money were no object, here’s the list I’ve come up with to buy.  Check them out here:

  • 1/2 in bias binder
  • 1/4 in bias binder
  • Piping foot
  • Spanish hemstitch foot
  • 5 or 7 groove pin tuck foot
  • Edge stitching foot (actually, I might have this one already, but have to check when I get home)
  • 3mm shell rolled hem foot (love this one!)
  • 5mm narrow hem foot
  • 2mm narrow hem foot

I have no idea how much any of these feet cost, nor do I know if they will work on my machine, because in their infinite wisdom, Viking does not make all of their accessories compatible with all of their machines.  Go figure!  So I guess my next step is to call my dealership and find out all that information and then decide which I will really get.

Do you have any of these feet?  If so, which do you love and cannot live without?  I love the gathering foot (aka my boyfriend) which came with my machine.  LOVE IT!  It beats the heck out of sewing two lines of stitches and then trying to pull them into even gathers. 

Happy feet people!

Does this blog make me look fat?

WARNING:  Possible expletives contained in this post and no pictures (at least of me).

Remember that pleated skirt I was going to muslin?  You know, Simplicity 2698?

Well I cut it out last night and started to sew it up tonight.  I got as far as the yoke.  THE YOKE ONLY!!!!  But first, let me back up a little.

Remember how I stupendously stupidly bought the smaller sizes envelope which only goes to a size 12?  Remember how I boasted that I have calmly accepted, with my new-found sewing maturity, that I am inbetween a size 14 and 16 in Simplicity?  Well, I added an 1 inch to the side seam on all my pattern pieces (all cut on the fold mind you), thusly adding a total of 4 (F.O.U.R!!!!) inches to the entire circumference of this skirt, thinking that this addition would be more than enough for my real size. 


Ok, I feel a little better after venting.  But sheesh!  Do I really have body dismorphia this bad?  I know I am still 20 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, but does 20 lbs really equate to needing to add a total of 6 inches to a skirt?  COME ON PEOPLE!!!  That is ridiculous. 

It is humiliating.  It is infuriating. 

And I no longer want to make this skirt. 

Yes, I’m sulking.  Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself.  But darn it, I’m working out people!  I’m running.  I’ve gone running 5 days out of the last seven days.  I hit a huge milestone yesterday of running a 10 minute mile.  Doesn’t that deserve a break in the stupid god forsaken land of pattern sizing?

I think I’m going to go order some ice cream on to self medicate.

Take that you stupid skirt!

What’s next on the docket?

Jack and I had a wonderful time at my friend Kate’s house in Long Island this weekend.  Very relaxing and fun.  Jack had a blast in the pool and playing with the older kids.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend as well. 

I have started work on my next project, which I will tell you about in a sec, but I wanted to let you know (at the risk of being TMI) that my sewing will slow down significantly over the next few months as I am dipping my toes into the dating pool again and will have less time to devote to sewing.  I consider the first few months of dating like a second job in terms of the time commitment it requires.  Lots of interviewing candidates before you find someone remotely interesting.  Sound like fun?  NOT!  But I have come to the realization that a) I am ready to get back into the game again, and b) I ain’t getting any younger.  Now’s the time!  Carpe diem and all that.  Do I sound enthused?  😉   

My next project is a pleated skirt, Simplicity 2698, the shorter red print version on the left. 

I have had a certain fabric burning a hole in my stash from Fabricmart and I have to use it pronto.  Incidentally, Carolyn made a gorgeous jacket using this fabric.  Check it out!

Orange Chrysanthemum silk twill from Fabric Mart

When I originally bought the pattern, I still was in denial about my “number”.  You know what I mean…  What pattern size I am.  No way was I buying the pattern envelope with all the large sizes in it.  Now I am older, wiser and have calmly accepted the fact that I am a larger size.  Are you laughing at me yet?  The largest size in this envelope is 12.  I think realistically I’m inbetween a size 14 and 16.  I think it’s fairly simple to grade this pattern up and asked Thea how I might do so.  She wrote that I could take some inches out of the pleats or I could just add extra to the sides.  I think I am just going to add to the sides as I like how big the pleats are.  I just realized though that the back of the skirt is not pleated and I think I want it to be.  Thoughts people?  Do I want pleats in the back?  If so, would I just use the front pattern piece for the front and back?  Am I being stupid?

Last night I traced the pattern to make my muslin.  Tonight I will cut and sew it up.  Wish me luck.

By the way, here’s my sewing plan for the next couple of months:

  1. Churn out some pleated skirts using the chrysanthemum fabric, the navy stretch cotton from my first pair of pants (capris) and the khaki cotton I bought from Metro Textiles ages ago to make more pants.
  2. Audition/muslin several sheath dresses for my TNT project and for the family wedding in September.
  3. Work on my fall coat for the Trench Sew Along II.

With my new “second job”, this plan seems a little ambitious, but I think it can be doable.  The second job also threatens my 2010 goals, but I will try to keep my eye on the ball.  Life happens I guess; you can’t plan for everything. 

Happy sewing everyone!

Nothing is ever simple

I made my garment for Thea’s challenge!  It was not as simple to execute as it was to think of it.  ;0   But I am really happy with it and will wear it a lot this summer, I can already tell.  The most time was spent figuring out how wide to cut the rectangles for the front and back of the skirt.  It was hard for me to know how much fabric would hang around my thighs/legs after the shirring on the waist was done.  In the end I just guesstimated at 26 inches (my hips are 39 and shirring decreases the width by half), so that meant that my finished skirt circumference ended up being 52 inches.  And I loved the fullness of the skirt or the lack of it actually; the extra 13 inches do not add bulk to my figure, especially in this swishy knit fabric. 

The second time suck was testing the rolled hem stitch of my serger on my fabric.  It took F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  And then testing the shirring.  The actual construction of the skirt took only about an hour.  But all the prep increased that time by about 3.5 hours for a total of 4.5.  I guess the point of the challenge was about sewing creatively and not how fast you can churn something out, but I was still annoyed at how long it took and that I went to bed way past my already late bedtime.  *sigh*

But I have a new skirt to wear!  The only negative about this skirt is that the shirring is not a taut as I thought it would be. So one hard yank from a toddler running berserk my darling son asking for my attention and you will be able to London AND France.  *wink wink*

Anyhoo, without too much further ado, the reveal (for some reason I can’t take decent pictures of myself anymore.  Can’t figure it out)…

shirred waist with rolled hem edge

rolled hem courtesy of my serger

slightly blurry and unflattering picture of me wearing my skirt

Please let me know in the comments if any of you have finished your challenge sewing yet and I will set up the shutterfly page.

This weekend is the long July 4th weekend here in the states.  Jack and I have been invited to a friends house in the “country” (aka the suburbs).  I am very excited to have the distraction for him and me during a long weekend especially since my sister is out of town.  But this means I will probably get no sewing done this weekend because of it.  But I’m ok with that.  I am a mother first and sewist after that.  Not vice versa.  My friend even went so far as to mention she didn’t have a sewing machine!!!  So funny.

I hope you all have great weekends and that some of you get to sew!  Can’t wait to see what you’re all up to.