Category Archives: Metro Textile

Slow down, you move too fast


Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday’s poll and for sharing your great advice. A lot of the advice was to tell me to slow down and to go with the process. I will definitely do that. The overwhelming voting result was to interface. I put in an order with Pam Erny’s interfacing supply site. But I just found out it won’t arrive here until Thursday. I can’t wait that long people to work on my coat.

Coat update: I cut out the lining two nights ago using cans from my pantry as weights instead of pinning the silk. This method worked great until I realized that one of the cans had oil or grease at the bottom which stained through the pattern onto both layers of silk of the back pattern piece. Needless to say, I was pretty shredded about this.


Long story short: I braved the torrential rain and tornado warnings today to go uptown to Kashi’s Metro Textiles in the garment district for a little retail therapy. I went because I was on a mission for interfacing, but thought I could stop at Kashi’s too. I went to Kashi’s first actually and ended up staying there the entire time. I knew he sold muslin, so I asked him if sold interfacing. He answered what kind; I knew right then and there I wasn’t going anywhere else. He gave me a medium weight fusible interfacing that I think will be great for my jacket for $2/yd. Carolyn had put a bug in my ear about his double knits, so I bought the black and brick-red for my collection. I already had the dark charcoal from the NY Shopping day at the end of August. I also bought one yard of the silk charmeuse so I can recut the back lining without a grease stain, thank you very much! But the piece de resistance was the Ralph Lauren wool suiting in a lovely dark charcoal in a great medium weight with a great drape. Did I mention it was great? Lurve it! I bought 3 yds of that as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make with it. Mmm mmm good!

T to B: RL Wool, silk charmeuse lining, red d-knit, black d-knit, interfacing

FYI: Kashi will provide a swatching service every three months of all his new arrivals. Call him to sign up! Also, he has tons of new fabrics in right now. It was difficult to be focused while I was there today. ūüėČ

My plans for tonight? Testing my interfacing, recutting the back lining and whatever else I can get done. Wish me luck!

What are your plans for the evening?

Pattern Review: Burda 5-2010-105

I have a fire lit under me of late.¬† All I want to do is sew.¬† Did I mention that I’m obsessed?¬† Tonight I’m taking a little break to write the review for the¬†Burda 5-2010-105 dress.¬† Here’s what I just posted to…

Pattern Description:¬† From Burda: “Ute obviously looks happy in her all-round jersey dress! It is so easy-care and uncomplicated that she can easily play with Willi while wearing it.¬† The cleverly cascading bodice is gathered by elastic at the waist and the cool shade of blue make it suitable for evening as well.”¬† From Elizabeth: “Drapey jersey dress with elasticized waist and fitted skirt.”

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-44.  I made the size 38 with some modifications (see below).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  For the most part it did.  I think my bodice could have been longer and my neckline was definitely different.  Also, I shortened the skirt, and obviously my fabric choice was different as well.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, surprisingly for Burda.  But this was just a one dot difficulty, so I guess it would be hard to be inscrutable at this level. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I loved the simplicity of the pattern and the graceful folds in the bodice.   I did not like that the measurements for the skirt were for someone who has no hips or thighs whatsoever.   More on that later.

Fabric Used:  A gorgeous rayon-lycra knit in a blue ombre from Metro Textiles in NYC.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I changed the neckline a little as I don’t like a neckline that’s too high.¬† I feel as if I am being strangled if anything lies on my clavicles.¬† I just traced a curved line lower than the original neckline about an inch and half lower.¬†¬† I could have made it a little bit lower, but like it at this level now too.¬†

I made the skirt per the measurements given in the instructions for sz 38 (20 inches, which includes SA’s) and it was so tight you could see the outlines of my internal organs.¬† The vision I created in this tight skirt brought new meaning to the term camel toe.¬† Who knew camel toes were even possible in skirts?!?!¬† (Sadly no pictures survived from this stage of construction – must have been a freak accident.)¬† So, I added 1.5 inches to each panel, front and back and all is now right with the world and also g rated.¬† Oh and I shortened the skirt to above the knee as I think it looks more current.

I did not finish the neckline with a facing as directed.¬† Just lazy I guess.¬† I just turned over the edges and stitched it down with a narrow zigzag stitch.¬† Am I happy with it?¬† Not really.¬† The unfinished SA’s keep flipping out.¬†¬†¬† Am I going to redo it?¬† No.¬† My perfectionism only goes so far.¬† Ok, now that I’ve said that, my OCD might kick in and I might unpick those stitches and finish it differently somehow.¬† But it’s a 50/50 chance at this point.

As I do not have access to Burda’s much beloved Vilene Bias Tape, I used a knit interfacing that I cut myself using the sleeve pattern as a guide.¬† If you do this as well, please make sure that you cut it slimmer than the sleeve¬†hem allowance as I did not.¬† Why, you ask?¬† Well, because I didn’t do that, if one looks inside my sleeves, one can see said interfacing.¬† So, please don’t look inside my sleeves.¬†

Also, I did not twin needle anything.  My fabric did not like the twin needle I used.  Admittedly, it was not a stretch twin needle, but I could not purchase one on the fly and really wanted to finish my dress.

The most significant change I made was to add a lining to the skirt.¬† Per Trena’s advice in her review (she added a lining after the fact) so I added mine during construction.¬† All I did was baste the lining to the fashion fabric right sides together, graded the SA, sewed the skirt/lining to the bodice right sides together, pressed the SA up towards the bodice, and then finally sewing the SA to the bodice as a casing for the elastic.¬† This made for a very clean interior.¬† But adding the lining created a heavier skirt, so I highly recommend using a wider elastic than Burda recommends.¬† I used a 1/2 inch elastic.¬† It worked perfectly for the weight of the skirt.¬† Adding a lining to such a close fitting jersey skirt has a smoothing effect for lumps and bumps, not to mention your undergarments, so I would definitely not go without lining this skirt or wearing a slip.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? ¬†While I love my dress, I am not sure I will sew it again as it is such a distinctive silhouette.¬† Also, I am in a sewing for work phase and this dress is a little too MILF-like for a staid high finance office atmosphere.¬† I had hoped to be able to wear it to the office, but my arbiter of style (aka my sister) said it was too casual for the office (that’s code for, “the ASSets on your balance sheet are showing too much”).¬†

If I were to make this dress ever again, I would make only one more change to the pattern.¬† I would make the bodice about 1.5 to 2 inches longer as it appears that the Burda model has more drape over the elasticized waist¬†than I do.¬† I am still finding my bearings regarding what kinds of alterations I need to make on a regular basis.¬† Obviously I am long waisted as is evidenced by the last few patterns I’ve made.¬† I wish I was also long legged, but, alas, that is not the case.

I would definitely recommend this pattern to any level of sewist.  I think the pattern is easy enough for beginners, but that the resulting dress will appeal to advanced sewists as well.  I definitely suggest adding a lining and checking that the measurements work for you and your body. 

And now for some pictures of the dress on me.¬† I actually think the dress is much more pretty and flattering¬†in person.¬† The fabric and drapey-ness don’t come across well in these photos.

As a PS, I made lemonade out of the too tight skirt that I constructed originally following the Burda measurements (with a lining I might add indignantly).¬† I am making it into a skirt for my sister on whom it fits beautifully.¬† She and I have such different figures, i.e., she’s a lot thinner than I am.¬† I am so glad that this beautiful ombre fabric will not be wasted.¬† And I know she will love the skirt.

Conclusion:¬†¬† Great pattern, easy to sew, very current but classic.¬† Make this dress!¬† You won’t be sorry.¬† Great date night dress.¬† I hope I get a chance to wear it on a date really soon.¬†¬† ūüėČ


Ok.  I think I need help. 

Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am a sewing addict.¬† Seriously.¬† It’s all I think about ever.¬† Every minute of the day.¬† When I’m at work, I would rather be at home sewing.¬† Work is getting in the way of my sewing.¬† It’s really starting to bother me.¬† I’m almost beginning to wonder if I should make a career change.¬† But what would I do?¬† I’m not good enough at sewing to be paid for it and I’m really slow.¬† Hmmm….¬† Must think about this some more.

Anyway, I took a nap with Jack today and I dreamt about making a jersey skirt with a shirred¬†waist.¬† I had seen one earlier in the day and loved it.¬† After the nap, I thought about the Burda dress that’s been on my mind off and on for the last two months.¬† It’s 105 from May, 2010.¬†

I’ve had this beautiful ombre¬†knit from Metro Textiles in my stash for a few months that I have had no idea how to use.¬† It’s been killing me because I just adore this ombre¬†thing that’s been around for awhile.¬† Wouldn’t this dress look beautiful in an ombre????

Now I just need to decide how to place the ombre.  Should I have it start with the lighter blue at the shoulders going to the darker blue at the waist?  And if I do that how should I do the skirt?  I want the darker blue to make me look slimmer, but wonder if having light blue at the knees would look funny. 

What if I have the change of color go from left to right instead for the bodice only and then have it change from top to bottom on the skirt?  But then I still have to decide about the light blue at the knees issue.

Thoughts anyone?

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?¬† ūüôā

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.¬† ūüėȬ† 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!

Question of the day — Deadlines?

Simplicity 3678

Simplicity 3678

I find I work best under deadline, whether it be real or self-imposed (read imaginary).¬† So here’s what I’m going to do this weekend.¬† I am going to finish up the size 14 Simplicity 3678 to give away and work on the size 12 version with my nice fabric.¬† The goal is to wear it to work next week.¬†¬† Am I crazy?¬† LOL!

Here’s the¬†pretty pretty¬†fabric I am going to use for the size 12…¬†

Purple Rain knit from Metro Textile

Purple Rain knit from Metro Textile

It’s from my last trip to Kashi’s at Metro Textile with Karen I believe.¬†

So how do you work?  With real or imagined deadlines?  Or are you like Carolyn, Dawn and Cindy with an inspiring and naturally prolific output?

Happy sewing!

My 3 hour “20 minute” skirt

30 minute skirt 1

After the quilt, I needed a quick palate cleanser.  I saw a tutorial on Grosgrain for a 20 minute skirt.  I read through the directions and they seemed simple enough.  Then I went through my stash for a suitable fabric and selected this cotton beauty recently purchased from Kashi at Metro Textile.  I had 2.5 yds of this cotton print and had originally intended it to be a summer blouse, but decided to scrap that plan in favor of the skirt.  I pre-washed it along with the other cottons I recently bought and then I was ready to go.

The tutorial attracted me for several reasons:

  1. It was quick (supposedly)
  2. It only used 1 yd of fabric (I could have used a lot less – read on for dets)
  3. It was easy (it was!!!)

So why did it take 3 hours and why did I waste so much fabric?¬† Well brave reader, please continue reading…

Here’s my theory…¬† I’m a beginner.¬† I have no accumulated knowledge yet; I’m a tabula rasa.¬† When I am directed to sew a seam and finish the edges, immediately I come up with a torrent of questions:¬† Which do I do first and how?¬† Should I start at the bottom and end at the top?¬† Should I always backstitch?¬† If I use the serger to finish my SAs and sew the actual seam, how do the ends not fray?¬† What do you do with the serger tails?¬† Now multiply that by each direction and you can see how I might be flummoxed at every turn.¬† Let’s also factor in that I was trying to watch True Blood at the same time and was extremely tired by the early morning wakeup calls from Jack the last week straight (I’m talking 4:30 or 5am here folks!!!).¬† So following simple directions was a little challenging at times.¬† This is in NO way a criticism of the tutorial.¬† It was great!¬† Well written and with great pictures.¬† It’s just that I am a beginner who tends to second guess myself every step of the way.¬† I really need to keep taking classes and while they are readily available in NYC and not cost prohibitive themselves, I just can’t justify the cost of babysitting to take them as it triples the cost of the class.¬† But more on my thoughts about learning to sew in another post in the works…

Back to the skirt.¬† My fabric was 60″ wide, the fabric the tutorial used was 45″.¬† But I think that only affects the final length of the skirt not the width.¬† Grosgrain suggests using 3/4 yd to 1 yd.¬†¬† Uh oh… I just redid my math…¬† I used an 18 inch ruler assuming it was 12 inches.¬† ARGHHHH! @#$(@#&*(@#$)¬† No wonder it was so ginormous.¬† DUH!

Let me back up.¬† After 9pm¬†+ True Blood + exhausted = can’t do simple math = DON”T MEASURE ANYTHING, DON”T SEW!!!!!¬† I might have to put some visual reminders up to remind me not to sew when it’s late or when I’m tired.¬†

Ok moving on…¬† The actual sewing of the skirt is very simple.¬† Two side seams, a channel for the elastic and a hem if you don’t have a cute selvedge.¬† Very simple.¬† I changed one thing.¬† I added edge stitching to the top of the channel for the waist.¬† I recently read on someone’s blog (sorry can’t remember who, there are so many that I read now) that an additional line of stitching at the top of the channel prevents the elastic from twisting inside.¬† I’ll let you know how that goes after I wear it for a whole day.¬† ūüėȬ† I finished off my SAs on the serger, and therein is one of the time sucks for this project.¬† I had to rethread it, do some test runs, etc.¬† My attention wandered to True Blood again and again, etc.¬† I thought I would finish this on Sunday night, but then as I was serging the SA for the hem in preparation for hemming, my serger needle broke.¬† That’s when I took a big hint to quit for the night and take it up again the next day.¬† Wise, right?¬† Just a little too late to the realization is all.¬† Throughout, I kept trying on the skirt at each stage to see how it looked.¬† When it was 18 inches too wide, it looked hideous and I looked fat.¬† After I trimmed 16 inches of the width, it looked great.¬† In retrospect, I probably could have taken out maybe 2 or 4 more inches, but I like it as it is and I’m not going to rip out serged seams, thank you very much.¬† Also, I think I measured my elastic too large.¬† I will be more careful with this in the future too.¬† Right now, it’s pretty loose and a good tug from a certain toddler I know might bring about an embarrassing situation.¬†¬† So I resolve to only wear good underwear underneath this skirt!¬† ūüôā

Ok, I didn’t mean to make this another long post,¬† but I did want to explain a beginner’s thought process and mistakes for any of the other aspiring sewists out there.¬† Here are some additional pics of the innards!

Skirt laying flat

Skirt laying flat

Elasticized waist and serged side seam

Elasticized waist and serged side seam

Hem with serged seam allowance
Hem with serged seam allowance

Next project on the docket?¬†¬† A navy skirt with box pleats. It’s Simplicity, but I can’t remember the pattern number.¬† It has a new skill for me: interfaced waist band.¬† Can’t wait!

Happy sewing!

Pictures of projects past

As promised in my Backstory post, here are pictures of my past finshed objects (FOs)¬†and the quilt my Mom made for little Jack.¬† I forgot to take one picture though, but I’m sure you’ve all seen pillows before.¬† LOL.

First up is the quilt my Mom made in celebration of Jack’s birth.¬† I asked for blues and looked through various quilting sites for a pattern.¬† Of course I picked a really difficult one as I have absolutely no knowledge of quilting and how hard it is to do pointy piecework; now I know.¬† I think it’s really beautiful and Jack still asks for it to be laid down on the floor for him to play on like when he was an infant.¬† He has a memory like an elephant.quilt-1

Next up on the “slideshow”¬† are my own FOs.¬† So first is a picture of my now extremely dirty totebag that I made at the Purl sewing class.¬† I made longer straps than the pattern called for, much to my regret.¬† I should have left well enough alone.¬† ūüėȬ† I chose the fabrics from Purl and love the combo for the outside/lining if I do say so myself.¬† Construction details included fusible interfacing for the straps and the snap area, a snap, and an interior pocket.¬† I also completed a zipped pencil bag, but forgot to take a picture of that.

Tote Bag Exterior

Tote Bag Exterior

Lining w/ interior pocket
Lining w/ interior pocket
Detail of snap and interior pocket

Detail of snap and interior pocket

Now we have FOs from my class at Sew Fast Sew Easy.  First on the docket is the skirt.  Construction details are stretch woven from Kashi at Metro Textile, elasticized waist, handsewn hem with hemtape,  and skirt vent fused.   Here are some pics:black-skirt

Elasticized waist interior detail

Elasticized waist interior detail

Skirt hem handsewn with hemtape

Skirt hem handsewn with hemtape

Next up is the tshirt I made in the same class.¬† Please excuse the mysterious stain on the front; I have no idea what that is and it won’t come out in the wash.¬† The collar and seams were serged, but a sewing machine was used to hem the sleeves and hem.¬†¬† Not sure why since a straight sewing stitch has no give, but it’s still a great shirt to sleep in.¬†tshirt-1


As I mentioned earlier, I forgot to take a picture of the home dec pillow which has a most excellent invisible zipper installation.¬† We also completed a small tote bag, but I gave it to a friend of mine, Nikki, so I don’t have any pictures of it to show you all.¬† Maybe Nikki (hint hint if you’re reading this) will supply the picture in the near future.¬† Well, that’s it for today’s show and tell.¬†

In sewing machine news today, I am considering buying a new sewing machine.¬† Any suggestions?¬† I am interested in a machine that is great for garment sewing.¬† I’m not really interested in machine embroidery at this time, so that kind of functionality is not needed.¬† I want a machine I can grow into, but isn’t too much for my beginner level.¬† Most especially, I want a machine that allows me¬†to just sit down and sew without any troubleshooting for hours on end each and every time I use it.¬† The only caveat is I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars.¬† Is that asking too much???