Sunday, August 06, 2006

No sewing today! Just lots of family fun complete with face painting and balloon animals

Usually I can sneak in at least 15 minutes in the sewing room but not today. We had a wonderful family get together with my husband's side of the family. Since that side celebrates many birthdays in the summer, we made this get together one big birthday cookout. Everyone from Dad, who is in his eighties, to an infants only 3 months old.

We couldn't have asked for better weather! Absolutely perfect, which was such a relief after that heat wave we all experienced. We were able to be outside on the patio with the adults enjoying each other's company and the kids playing in the plastic kiddie pool that was set up.

I did still have an opportunity to be creative. About 6 months ago, I had invested in face painting supplies so that I could offer face painting along with balloon animals when I clown. However, I haven't had much opportunity to actually paint on too many faces (other than my own). With a number of little ones around I figured it was time to break out the face paints and give it shot.



It was really good experience for me. I hadn't anticipated the little boys wanting to be skeletons and "dark vader" guys, but that was what they wanted. I also hadn't realized that they would all crowd around to see each other being painted.


The cutest was a niece who had a pink butterfly painted to match her pink outfit. It was a huge learning experience for me as she was just a little wiggle worm and every time I added another item with the brush she wanted to see herself in the mirror. To complete her look, I ended up sculpting her a balloon butterfly hat.

What a great day. Lots of family, lots of food and lots of fun. As much as I enjoy sewing, spending a quality day with family rates much, much higher.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sigh...It's time to put away summer sewing and begin fall projects

It seems that my incentive for summer sewing faded at the same time the heat wave broke. It doesn't make much sense to try and cram in sewing new summer projects when, realistically, I will only be able to wear them for another month or two. I emphasized new because I do have a few summer items that are cut and partially sewn that I will finish before packing away the light cottons and summer fashion patterns.

I have an adorable aqua cotton eyelet skirt that only awaits a lining and a hook and eye. I used Simplicity 4196 (c. 2006) and placed the eyelet edging along the hem. I've already sewn up a pink border print version (hmmm, just like the pattern envelope photo - imagine that!) and it was very simple skirt to sew together. I also have two summer tops cut out of this pattern and it would be nice to have those for the summer season. Although that style could easily be worn into the fall under a jacket.




Next in line is another skirt, this time from vogue 7643 (c. 2002). I have this one cut out from an embroidered linen. The linen is a natural color with small pink floral embroidery and I choose pink and natural color trims to coordinate with it. I'd really like to complete this one as it has gone through two entire summers just waiting it's turn to be sewn. Good grief - it might develop an an inferiority complex if I let it go one more year.




Next up is Simplicity 4699 (c. 2004) which is a great wardrobe pattern. There was quite a lot of positive reviews for the t-shirt in this pattern which is the main reason I had purchased the pattern. Now, two years later, I am finally getting around to actually sewing items from the pattern. The reviews were true, the t-shirt is great! I've made two with one more cut and ready to go (do you see a pattern here?). A white knit with black sparkly polka dots. It takes no more than an hour to complete this shirt so why, oh why do I not have this done? I also have the long jacket waiting to be finished - all it needs is the hem to be sewn. I made it from a fun cotton/lycra tropical two-tone blue print and I really must finish it so I can wear it before the summer is over.


Last, but not least, I have a partially sewn Sewing Workshop Elle pant and shirt in the pile. The pant, from a light pink linen, just needs the elastic waist sewn in and to be hemmed. It's only been in that state since last year. I know that these pants fit as I've made a few pairs from linen before. Why, oh why am I such a procrastinator when it comes to completing my sewing projects???

The shirt, out of a bright multi colored silk print, is more than halfway completed. I need to finish the collar, set in the sleeves, sew buttonholes (yuk) and buttons and hem it.

Perhaps I'll just tuck them all away yet again and start ahead of time on my fall and winter sewing. Maybe I'll plan ahead and start right now! (Yea, right). This afternoon I even purchased some red wool melton/nylon blend coating from Fabric Mart Fabrics. My plan is to begin sewing the coat I wrote about earlier - Vogue 8307 - that was seen in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.

So, what will it be - summer or fall? Stayed tuned as I haven't decided yet. Pin It

Friday, August 04, 2006

New patterns are out! Why do I continue to purchase more and more and more...

The marketing of the sewing pattern companies has definitely worked on me. Combine that with the ability to see the new pattern releases on the Internet almost as soon as they are released - well, the temptation is just too great. I eagerly await the new releases by the Big 4 - Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity, and Vogue - just to see what there is.

I certainly don't need anymore patterns as I already own hundreds and will never in my lifetime ever use all of them. And truth be told, most of the new releases are variations of patterns I already own. That's where the power of marketing gets to me. I love to see the latest pattern releases sewn up in the fabrics that make them look fresh and new (most of the time).

Last week Butterick released their new fall pattern collection and there are a few I must have. (Although if I had to pay the full price listed on the pattern I would certainly make do with what I already own.)


My absolute favorite is this skirt - Butterick 4859. I love the curves in the back of the skirt. I also like the detail of the contrast band that wraps around the entire skirt. I'm not sure I would make this in a tweed, but I do think it would be absolutely fabulous in velvet for the holidays.
Butterick finally hopped on the band wagon and released their version of the infamous Duro dress - Butterick 4849. I think I like this one the best out of all of the Big 4 versions. It is closer to the HotPatterns Hippie Chick dress which I was hesitant to sew because of potential fitting problems I had read about with other sewers who had tried the pattern line. The next pattern sale I will pick this one up and will sew it in the fabric I had purchased last winter to make the Hippie Chick dress as I would rather spend time tweaking a pattern line I've used extensively.
I like the sleeves and the plaid on this blouse - Butterick 4853 - but this isn't one I'll be making for two reasons. The silhouette isn't the best for me, and short sleeves won't be worn around here after a few more months. No reason to invest time in what I consider a spring/summer blouse right now.
This jacket -Butterick 4864 - has a very 80s feel to it. I actually like the yoke and shoulder design as it reminds me of a Vogue suit I sewed in the early 80s. I loved that suit. It was a Perry Ellis design. That jacket didn't button, but it had the same look with the bodice and sleeves gathered into the yoke. Come to think of it, that suit had gaucho pants also. Too bad I got rid of the pattern, but who knew it would be back 25 years later?
Another jacket I find interesting is Butterick 4863. The contrast lower band on the sleeve can go - I think that makes it look a bit costumey. However, I like the curved center front seam, gathered sleeve cap and belled sleeves. Probably because, once again, it reminds me of a Vogue suit I had made years ago.
I'm glad to see so many suits in the collection - I really enjoy wearing them. I'm not too fond of the collar on this suit - Butterick 4869 but I do like the back of the skirt.
Armed with the knowledge that new Butterick patterns had been released and my "wish list" I stopped into my local Hancock Fabrics store. I knew they had patterns on sale and was hoping it would be the Butterick. Alas, it was McCall's, which I had already told my self "no, no, no". But I broke down and came home with two new McCall's and a Kwik Sew.


The first is this skirt pattern. Did I need it? Nope. It's really a basic skirt when you look at it. It is just a straight skirt that has a faced waist treatment. The difference is the addition of three narrow, ruffled tiers added to the bottom of the skirt. Could I have made this with a pattern that currently exists in my pattern collection? Yep, sure could have. However, for 99 cents I get to enjoy the cover photographs, not mess with calculating the width and length of the tier pattern pieces, and I have the fabric requirements all calculated out for me.


The other McCall's pattern I purchased was 5179 - another "Sew News" dress pattern that I had seen when I glanced through the latest Sew News magazine at the library. It's actually a wrap dress and I certainly don't need another wrap dress pattern. However, I have a nice black rayon crepe that I will look great made into the version shown in blue with the wide contrast belt (upper right corner). I'm not sure what I will make the contrasting midriff and tie out of yet. Again, for 99 cents I don't have to bother figuring out fabric requirements or modifying pattern pieces from an existing pattern.


I also picked up an interesting knit top from Kwik Sew's new releases. It is pattern number 3434. The top has a draped front with tucks at the shoulder and gathers at the waistband. The waistband appears to sit at the hip and the front neckline is very deep and open. The top is designed to wear over another knit top. I have no idea what to make this one out of. I'll need to keep my eyes open for the right piece of fabric. I haven't sewn with Kwik Sew patterns in quite a few years, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the top comes together.


I wanted to purchase Butterick patterns on sale, but came home with McCall's and a Kwik Sew. I'll just wait for the next Butterick pattern sale to get that skirt pattern - who knows what else might be released to tempt me by then? Pin It

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