Saturday, July 29, 2006
The first thing I did when I came home was to peel off my t-shirt and shorts and look for something loose fitting, comfortable (and preferably made from natural fibers) to put on. A cotton sundress would be perfect. That's when I realized I have absolutely no sundresses in my wardrobe.
I used to live in sundresses during the summer months. What happened? How did I slowly let them slip from my day to day wardrobe? I don't know the answers, but with temperatures predicted to remain in the upper 90s and possibly low 100s (extremely rare), the no sundress in the closet syndrome is changing tonight! Pin It
Friday, July 28, 2006
Joann's had Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.99 so I stopped by this evening to see if they had the new fall patterns out. I noticed they were up on their website the other day and a few really caught my eye.
There appears to be a "new" line of retro patterns and I had hoped to pick up 4044 and 4047. 4044 is a colletion of separates and I am drawn to the shape of the shoulder/yoke and sleeve cap on the jacket. I also like the waistline on the skirt and pant. Now that my exercise routine is starting to show results (very minor, but still results) I think I would be comfortable wearing a skirt with that waistline. 404 7 is another collection of separates. As much as I like the swing coat, I couldn't pull that style off. The skirt and pants appear to be a very basic, straight cut design. The shirt is what I would buy the pattern for.
I was also interested in a dolman sleeve top pattern (4020) and an outcoat pattern from the Threads collection (4033). Why I think I need an outercoat pattern when I have never had the slightest interest in making one it beyond me. I do know that I was intrigued by the detail on the collar of the version shown in pink.
While I wasn't able to pick up any of the new designs, I did pick up two patterns I had forgotten to purchase the last time they were one sale. One is a knit dress (4074) that has a number of different views - one of which is a wrap dress. However, I have so many wrap dress patterns that I probably won't sew that one. I purchased the pattern for the basic t-dress with the pleats at the shoulder line. I like the line of the dress, it appears to be fitted through the bust and waist with a slight flare beginning at the hipline.
I even have a knit in my stash that will be perfect for this dress. I just might put aside the summer sewing and whip up this as a fall/winter dress before the weather turns cold again. Pin It
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Maybe you don't have that problem, but I admit it, I am a packrat - kinda. I don't mean to be. It just kinda creeps up on me (and I am certain that sewing items multiply overnight when the sewing room door is closed...)
So this weekend was spent cleaning, purging and organizing. Of course that means opening boxes that haven't been opened in awhile, digging to the back of closets and pulling out paperwork from file cabinets. The best way to do this is with a blind fold on, because once you start looking into boxes, the memories begin and the resolve to "just get rid of it" begins to fade.
I came across one of my Barbie doll clothing patterns. This was one of the Barbie wardrobe patterns that I "designed" myself back in junior high. By this time I already had a thriving business of sewing and selling doll clothes and these items were modeled after some of my own favorite clothing items. I didn't date my pattern "envelope", but I'm guessing it to be from around 1973 to 1974. Notice the little ties that tie in the back on the "smock" top; the ruching at the bustline on the t-shirt; the applique on the long wrap skirt; the lace cami with lace trimmed jeans; the jumpers; and the short jumpsuit complete with contrast collar, pockets and tie belt. It screams seventies.
Next, onto the famous "Barbie Box". My nieces all knew that when they visited Aunt Sharon's house, they would be allowed to play with the items in the "Barbie Box." It was so cute when we would have family gatherings. They would wait as long as they possibly could - about five minutes - before asking if I would get down the "Barbie Box". I loved finding new items to tuck in there as a surprise for when they visited.
They have not touched the box in years so I decided it was time to clean it out. I found crayons, candy wrappers, and hair ribbons as well as Barbie and Ken dolls, clothing, furniture, shoes and accessories. At the very bottom was a poor broken Brooke Shields doll (who was wearing her oversized pink and gray long sweatshirt, but had somehow had both of her legs amputated!)
Among the many pieces of clothing were items that I had sewn for my younger sisters. What a riot to find these! From left: A fruit print caftan trimmed in pre-packaged bias tape; a terry cloth hooded bathrobe (that I couldn't keep in stock it was so popular); a strapless long dress out of the fabric from one of my favorite dresses; a long disco fuschia and black gown with slits along the upper sleeves trimmed in a black velvet ribbon; a velour animal print "hoodie" with back "jeans" complete with lace trim at the knees; a short jumpsuit out of a cotton floral print (with a pink collar that is sewn slightly askew); a mini-dress lace trimmed dress made from a bright yellow cotton with tiny Raggedy Ann dolls on it; and a long gown made from an acetate lining fabric (?!?).
My only excuse is that I had no one to teach me about sewing and fabric selection and I was barely into my teen years. On the other hand, these pieces of clothing have survived many little loving hands over the years, so they couldn't have been constructed that poorly.
I couldn't bear to part with these at this time; maybe the next time the urge to purge hits. For now they are back in their container waiting for the next generation of little ones wanting to explore the mysteries of the "Barbie Box". Pin It
Friday, July 21, 2006
I haven't actually seen anyone wearing this style dress. My only exposure to it has been in magazines photos and on the sewing boards. Hmmm, too soon in this part of the country? I'll have to wait and see. Pin It
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The fabric that jumped out at me (while I was falling asleep the other night - does that ever happen to you? Some of my best ideas come to me in dreams or as I am just beginning to fall asleep.) It is a stretch woven with a slight black and teal pattern in it that was purchased over a year ago from Fabric Mart Fabrics . Sometimes, when purchasing fabric online, what you think you are getting and what you actually get are two different things as was the case with this piece of fabric. I lovely folded it and placed it among the rest of fabric stash where it patiently sat waiting for the the perfect pattern to call out to it.
There aren't too many pattern pieces, which is great! I spent some time alterations the front bodice piece to adjust for an FBA. The front bodice has a side bust dart and an underbust dart. I cut a front bodice, back bodice and one sleeve and basted it all together. After getting assistance in pinning the back together (where the zipper will be) I ran to the mirror to check the fit. There is actually too much room in the bust! Hah! That never happens to me. I also need to make the curved sleeve piece about an 1" wider so that when it is complete it will cover my bra straps completely.
So, the next step in the sewing adventure will be to redo the bodice alterations and resew the top muslin. Hopefully all will fit like a dream and I can continue on with the rest of the dress! Pin It
Monday, July 17, 2006
I've been thinking I should make one of these tiered skirts at least before the trend is over. I loved, loved, loved them the last time around and that may have led to my reluctance to sew another one. However, the promise of a tiered skirt in two hours was too tempting to resist.
The first thing I did was to measure my hips and decide how much ease I wanted, how many tiers I wanted and the length of each one. I sketched out the four panels in a notebook, marking the width, height and seam allowance needed. I made a rough sketch of a fabric layout, noted how many would fit on a piece of 45" fabric, added the length of each panel together and divided by 36" (one yard) to determine how much fabric I needed. In this case it ended up to be 2-1/4 yards of 45" fabric.
Perfect! I had just picked up a lightweight piece of fabric from the local JoAnn's when they had their summer fabric clearance. It was from the India collection - a lightweight black cotton with fushia, purple, white and orange machine embroidered vertical lines. It had only been in my stash for two weeks and was just begging to be made into a tiered skirt.
With the fabric folded in half, I measured out the length of each panel and drew a chalk line indicating the cutting lines.
I marked each panel A,B,C and D with a different colored label so I wouldn't mix them up while sewing.
After sewing each of the tiers together forming a ring, I finished the long raw edges with a serger, since I wanted to have the seams exposed when the skirt was done. Using the longest stitch on my machine, I sewed two lines of gathering stitches along the top edge of each tier.
I then gathered each one and pinned it on top of the tier above it.
Tier B was gathered and pinned on top of tier A, tier C was gathered and pinned on top of tier b, and tier D was gathered and pinned on top of tier C. To assist with placement, I measured 1" from the bottom of each tier and marked it. I then sewed on the right side of the skirt, through all layers of fabric, securing the two tiers together.
Next, I pressed the casing edge 1/4" and then folded and pressed at 1". This finished the raw edge of the casing giving me a 1" casing.
I cut a piece of 3/4" piece of elastic to fit snugly around my waist and inserted it into the casings. I butted the edges of the elastic together and secured them by stitching them together with a piece of ribbon.
Since I had previously serged the bottom edge of all of the tiers, the skirt was now done. And yes, it can be completed in two hours or less!
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Instead I pulled out a stack of magazines and among them I found a recent Neiman Marcus mailer. I didn't find too much to get excited about. Lots of dark, somber colors and minimal details.
However, there were two things that really caught my eye. I really like the lines of this jacket. I will need to look at my pattern stash to see if there's something I could easily use to make one like it.
I immediately thought of a Byron Lars pattern that I have in my stash. It is pattern number 1420 from 1994 that has not yet been used.
View B is similar enough that I could use it to make this shirt (which is a Nieman Marcus exclusive for only $248! Aaah, the joys of sewing.) Now, I just need to find the right fabric - a cotton/lycra blend woven in a s a good shirt weight. Let the search begin.Pin It
Friday, July 14, 2006
Now I don't know about you, but when the weather is hot, hot, hot (mid 90s today) I don't feel like eating much for dinner. And I certainly don't want make anything that involves turning the oven on. And I want something that I can prepare quickly because I'm an impatient cook (and hungry when I get home from work.)
This is my all time favorite summer time salad. Using one of my grandmother's famous family sayings " it's yummy to the tummy!"
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp. chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger (dry will do if that's what you have on hand, but the fresh ginger really adds to the taste!)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- mixed salad greens (your choice)
- 2 oz. oil-butter blend (equal parts butter and oil)
- 8 oz. chicken breast strips (more or less depending on your personal preference)
- 12 - 15 strawberries, halved or sliced
Making the salad
- Blend all of the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
- Place the mixed salad greens on your serving plate and set aside.
- In a saute pan heat oil-butter blend
- Add chicken strips and saute until all sides are brown.
- Add the prepared strawberries and heat slightly (one minute or less or the strawberries will become mushy)
- Pour the chicken and strawberries over the mixed salad greens
- Sprinkle with walnuts
- Garnish with one or two fresh strawberries
- Serve to a chorus of ooohs and aaahs
A 30 minute meal that will allow you more time for sewing!Pin It
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
It appears I am not the only one who thinks that these expressive creative arts can overlap one another. About a month ago, I ordered an adorable stamp set called Pattern of Friendship from a co-worker who sells the Stampin' Up brand of stamps. Of course I promptly forgot all about the order. Until today that is! The stamp set arrived and it really is great! It looks like a vintage pattern envelop cover. I thought it would be a great addition on some scrapbook pages I am creating about all of my sewing projects through out the years.
Scrapbook Answers. I wanted to rip the plastic cover off and begin browsing the pages for new ideas, but I was a good girl and went to the gym with my hubby for a quick workout. Then we had to gas up the cars (ouch!) and buy groceries and make dinner and clean up dinner and wash dishes and .... well it was a few hours before I could find the time to look through the magazine.
Not only does this magazine give great page layout ideas and techniques but each issue includes an instructional DVD! I love that! So I leisurely browsed through the pages stopping to read a bit here and mark a page there, finally arriving at the very last page. Imagine my surprise to see the title "A Modern-Day Sewing Circle"! I did a double take as the word sewing jumped off the page at me. The short article was surrounded by photographs of thread and sewing machines. Turns out the editors of the magazine stopped by the Stitch Lounge which they described as a "hip, friendly sewing lounge to sew on fabric (instead of paper) for a change" and call it a "crop for the sewing community".
Score another one for sewing! Pin It
Monday, July 10, 2006
I actually missed the first season. In fact - gasp - I never even heard of the show until season 2 was ready to begin. I really must turn that television on more often, but it is so hard to pull myself away from my sewing machine (or this darn computer). I suspect I must have read about Project Runway 2 on the boards at PatternReview. Just think, if I didn't belong to that sewing community I might still be wondering what the heck everyone is talking about.
Anyway, I'm soooo excited! I am absolutely fascinated with the designer's ability to come up with a concept, a design and a finished product in the amount of time they are given. Heck, it can take me as much time to sew a blouse as it takes them to make a breath-taking dress complete with beautiful details (of course I am counting the time it takes me to make buttonholes so you do understand the length of time involved here includes major procrastination).
But wait! There's more! This season there is a designer from Minnesota - whoo! hoo! Again, I must have my head buried in the sand as I only heard about the Minnesota designer a few days ago on a local talk radio station. The hosts were interviewing a newspaper reporter who was writing a story on Project Runway 3, the Minnesota designer Katherine Gerdes and the Minneapolis fashion scene.
I wonder who will be this season's Santino Rice??? Pin It
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I will admit I liked the book better than the film, but I am more likely to read a book than to view a film, so my opinion is probably biased.
Ah, but the clothes. I could hardly wait to see this movie just to see the fashion. Wow! It was eye candy. In one scene I am positive I saw this coat in a store window - made up in a beautiful nubby red wool perhaps? I am so glad I picked up this Vogue Pattern at Hancock's pattern sale this weekend!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Isn't this a great dress?
I read about the dress via A Dress A Day on July 5 and only a day later it was reviewed on PatternReview. The dress is a creation by Rowena of Rostitchery (where the photograph came from) who provides step-by-step instructions to make the dress as well as a few views of the dress. I think it is adorable, but don't know if I'm brave enough to bear that much upper body skin! According to the review at PatternReview it is a simple, beginner level dress and can be sewn in an evening.
I'm very tempted to try one. I'm sure I have some knit in my stash that I could experiment with... Pin It
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I finished sewing the white eyelet jacket from the New Look pattern 6609 this morning before beginning preparations for the family Fourth of July cookout.
I don't typically sew this brand but the princess seams in the jacket combined with the slight flounce at the jacket and sleeve hemlines intrigued me. I like princess seams as I find them easy to do an FBA.
I cut the jacket out in a size 12, did an FBA and tapered out slightly at the hip. I choose to eliminate the lining as I wanted a lightweight summer jacket to toss on over camis and summer dresses.
After I had sewn the jacket fronts and backs together I tried it on to do a quick fit test before adding the sleeves. Much to my surprise there was way too much fabric at the bustline! I will admit that I didn't flat measure the pattern before cutting it out. I just did my typical FBA adjustment. I refit the front and then drew the new cutting and seam lines onto my adjusted pattern piece.
As you can see, I could have almost eliminated the entire adjustment completely. (The red line shows the new cutting line.) I'm not sure if this was this particular pattern, or if it is the New Look pattern line. I'll need to make a note of this the next time I try a New Look pattern.
The hem flounce was added after recutting and resewing the front bodice. I added the sleeves and was ready to add the facings to finish the jacket. At that point I realized that I didn't want to add a large back facing piece and that I didn't need the entire front facing piece that I had previously cut out. I choose to use a small bias facing around the entire jacket neckline and front. That is the finish I had used on my favorite eyelet jacket made from a Vogue pattern. This was a good finish for the lightweight, semi-sheer fabric.
I measured the length needed for the bias facing and cut out 2" wide strips of fabric. I did have to piece the bias strip as I didn't have much fabric left over.
Next, I folded the bias strip in half, wrong sides together, and steam pressed the strip. I now had a 1" double folded bias strip.
The bias strip was pinned to the jacket front edge wrong sides together and sewn with a 5/8" seam. Next, I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4" and pressed the narrow facing to the inside of the jacket.
The final step was to topstitch along the jacket edge securing the narrow bias facing to the inside of the jacket.
Final step - one last pressing, try on, admire, and hang in closet to be worn until the fabric falls apart.
I love having my birthday on the 4th of July (not that I had any choice in the matter). However, I didn't always think it was so great having a birthday on the same day that the rest of the U.S. was celebrating the birth of our great nation.
As a child I couldn't invite my friends over for a birthday party because they were all of out town or having cookouts with their own families. I couldn't bring treats to school in celebration of my birthday since it school wasn't in session. To make matters worse, I have an uncle who is eleven years older than I and his birthday was two days before mine. So the entire family would gather at my grandparents lake cabin and celebrate both of our birthdays together. Aaaaaagh! That's probably one reason I made such a big deal out of my children's birthdays while they were growing up. Heck, they are grown up and I still like to make a big deal out of their birthdays...I just don't bake Winnie the Pooh, Cookie Monster or Choo-Choo Train cakes and have little birthday hats anymore. Oh that's right, I did have birthday hats at my daughter's surprise 30th birthday...
Now, of course, I think having a birthday on July 4 is great. I always get my birthday off from work without having to ask for it. There's always a cookout or family gathering happening somewhere. I can invite everyone over under the pretense that it's a Fourth of July BBQ (hee, hee), and there's always a big fireworks display in the evening. What a great way to end your special day.
Happy Fourth of July! Pin It
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Sometimes a 30-year old pattern can look look as stylish today as it did when it was first released. I think that's the case with this one. It is pattern number 6530, a design by Betsey Johnson released by Butterick in the early or mid-70's. I purchased this one off of eBay a few years ago and put it away in my pattern collection. While I do enjoy building my pattern collection, I also actually sew some of them, so it doesn't matter to me if the pattern pieces have been cut. This pattern had been cut and the pattern envelope is pretty brittle, but all of the pattern pieces are there. I had a picked up a unique knit piece at a fabric warehouse that I thought would be perfect for this top and skirt, however, I decided to make a wearable muslin first out of a knit fabric that I didn't like as much. I hate it when I sew what I think it going to be the perfect pattern and fabric combination, only to not like the fit of the pattern! I especially wanted to check out the gathered sleeves on this pattern since I thought they might be too much for today's fashion.
I did do a slight FBA to the top, adding some additional fullness to the side seam. In hindsight, it probably wasn't needed since the white knit has so much give to it. I eliminated the back zipper also. The scoop neckline has a small key hole opening with a a small sewn-in casing with drawstring tie - the tie is more decorative than functional. The sleeves have an almost unnoticable design detail to them - they are shaped into points at the hem - the point sits about halfway over the back of my hand. Cool - kind of Renaissance detail.
I did sew the sleeves in exactly as designed and sure enough, there was too much gathers at the sleeve cap. Being the lazy sewer than I am (at times) rather than remove the sleeve and redraw the sleeve cap, I unstitched the upper part of the sleeve, cut off some of the sleeve cap, regathered it and resewed it on. The gathers are a little wonky because of that, but hey, it's a muslin right? Pin It