Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It's a local company so I don't know if the story has hit the national news or not, but think about it. Fifty percent!
Granted it's temporary and it's a way to keep your job. But could you survive on a 50% paycut for the next three months? I personally know many families that simply could not do it. They are barely making ends meet as it is.
We've cut back on spending in my household, as I know many of you have, including cutting back on food, trips to run errands and almost eliminating purchases for my sewing hobby. But in some of my cutbacks almost appear frivolous when I think about the sacrifices these employees and their families will be making.
So tell me, what would you do if you found out today that in one week your paycheck would be reduced by 50%? Pin It
Monday, September 29, 2008
I stopped in over the weekend to pick up wool for a pencil skirt and ended up with a few adorable Michael Miller prints that will be used for gifts.
Of course as I was walking out the door I noticed that all Amy Butler fabrics are 20% off. Since I was parked in the 15-minute parking zone I didn't dare risk a ticket by spending more time shopping.
The store is located at 1338 Grand Avenue in St. Paul. They do not have a website or blog but here is a link to mapquest if you're in the area and want to check them out. Pin It
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The top you read about a few weeks ago when I blogged about it. Now it's time to tell you about the skirt.
It's a simple-to-sew skirt as there are only four main pieces - the front, the back and the side panels. The waist is finished with grosgrain ribbon and the skirt is fully lined.
It did need to hang over night because of the side panels, which is not mentioned in the instructions. The sides grew a bit and needed to be straightened before hemming.
Speaking of hemming. I know I've talked before about how much I dislike hand sewing. Well this puppy has a 5/8" hand sewn hem - all 142" of it. I sat at my cutting table, put some tunes on the iPod and just started stitching. After a few inches I had found the rhythm and the heming actually went fairly quickly.
While the fabric, a wool blend crepe, appears bright red in the photo it's more of a rich cranberry red. I lined it with bright red because I had red lining on hand and then added a red and white striped grosgrain ribbon for the facing. Just a little something that will make me smile when I step into the skirt on a dark and dreary winter morning.
The full pattern review can be read here. Pin It
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
So that year, for sleepover/sewing weekend, she decided she wanted to sew herself a prairie girl costume. She had recently completed the Little House on the Prairie books and was fascinated by the main character. But then who wasn't fascinated by Laura when they visited her world through the magic of storytelling?
Kait sewed this calico prairie dress and bonnet by herself with just a bit of guidance and assistance from Auntie Sharon. Pretty impressive for a pre-teen.
I hope Kait tucked that costume away so she can look it over in future years and marvel at how much she has learned about sewing as well as how much she was willing to learn as a pre-teen. Pin It
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Good news - received the coolest wedding invite in the mail. Second eldest son of my BFF is marrying his best friend next month. Isn't this a great wedding invite? I love that the invite is a postcard and that the front is a photo collage of the bride and groom-to-be while the back provides the details on where to show up and what time.
Bad news - I have no idea what to wear! It's been so long since I've been invited to a wedding that I really don't know what to wear. And I'm now in the generation where I'm the parent's friend, not the bride or groom's friend. Well, in this case maybe more like an adopted aunt since I've known him since he was hanging out in his mommy's tummy waiting to enter the world.
Good news - the wedding and reception will be held at "the caves" - a part of St. Paul history that I have never visited but is supposed to be fabulous. I can hardly wait for the "feast and merriment" that is to follow the wedding ceremony!
Bad news - I don't know what to wear.
Good news - I have at least four weeks to plan and sew a dress to wear. And I'm very open to suggestions regarding patterns. In fact, I probably already own what ever pattern you're going to suggest!
Weird news - was in a meeting today and had a younger manager call women over 50 "old women"! That felt really weird - to be called an old woman. Actually it felt a little bit like a slap in the face. What a wake up call for me to really think about how the words that come out of my mouth - even when I think I'm being funny - can hurt another person. In this case, I *think* it was meant as a joke, as three of the women in the room were age 50 and over.
Back to sewing news - seriously, if you have suggestions on what to sew for to wear to a wedding let me hear them. I'm always excited for an opportunity to sew something besides career attire.
And speaking of sewing career attire, I'm in the midst of sewing a mini-SWAP wardrobe and I didn't even realize it.
- Using Vogue 2925, I recently completed the knit top in a gray floral knit print.
- I have cut out and waiting to be sewn is another top in red.
- Currently on GiGi, my dress dummy, is the partially sewnfull skirt in a cranberry wool blend.
- My plans are to sew the jacket out of a gray wool and the pants out of black wool.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
When you read it, keep in mind that the author not only has undergone a kidney transplant due to juvenile diabetes, but has been blind since her teens. Yet her focus and her heart is on helping others. Is it any wonder I consider myself fortunate to know her?
Click here to see a local news station talk to Stacey about organ donations as well as her book Rudy Gets a Transplant. Pin It
Friday, September 19, 2008
The school was junior high school. The best friend was my dear friend Alice. The dog was a cute little stuffed dog.
I've posted about Alice before, mostly related to costumes. The woman in a very talented artist and costume designer. I've blogged about her before. Remember the the unicorn and mermaid costume post and the ride on the elephant at the Ren Faire? Oh, and while I'm on the subject of the Ren Faire, who could forget the goat pants ?
Friends since the age of 10, we only fought once - in junior high.
Now I bet you think I'm going to tell you this photo was taken during our one argument. But you'd be wrong.
Why would I risk the wrath of BFF by taking a photo while she was yelling at me? I'm no fool. I just listened and nodded my head and then ticked her off some more by calmly asking "Are you done yet? I have to get to class?"
Nope, she has this expression on her face because she did not want her photo taken. Oops! Too late! Captured on film for all of eternity, hee!hee!
Now let's get this back on the topic of sewing. The cute little stuffed dog she's holding was a birthday gift I sewed for her. It was sewn from a gold tone cotton plaid with felt eyes, ears, nose and tongue. The pattern was a Simplicity pattern and I made gazillions of them during that time period. Well, maybe not gazillions, but I sewed one for just about everyone I knew.
The dog is long gone and probably forgotten. School days are behind us. But BFF hearts have a special connection that bonds them together forever, no matter what comes between them.Pin It
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Stacy is a talented writer with a gift for telling stories from Rudy's point of view. Rudy is one of her beloved dogs - the cute little black poodle. He even has his own website - http://www.rudyslittleworld.com/. What a lucky dog!
She's been writing short stories for quite some time and her Rudy's Little World series are stories for kids each with an educational theme.
Stacy, who had a kidney transplant a few years ago wrote Rudy Get a Transplant with the hope that it will help kids undergoing a kidney transplant. By learning what happens to Rudy when he gets his kidney transplant it will take away a child's fear of not knowing what to expect if they need a transplant.
The 26-page, paperback book, tells the story of how Rudy found out he needed a transplant, how it felt to get a transplant and ends with how happy he is to have had a transplant.
Each page of the book is beautifully illustrated with the original drawings by Ali Gratz, a 7th grader who underwent a kidney transplant herself.
Be sure to click on the photo of the back of the book and read the bios of both the author and the illustrator.
I purchased two copies - one for me and one to give away to you! If you're interested just leave a comment on this post I'll randomly choose a number on Sunday morning.
If you're interested in purchase your own copy, they cost $10 (plus shipping and handling) and can be purchased on Rudy's website. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go toward buying books for Children's Hospitals.
(more Dogs on Thursday posts here) Pin It
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Am I the last person in sewing blogland to sew this dress?
What dress you ask? Why the oh-so-popular Vogue 8379 wrap dress pattern. The wrap dress that now has 31 reviews over at PatternReview.
Do you recognize the fabric I used? Maybe you do, maybe you don't.
The fabric is from the Kwik Sew wrap dress I sewed in March of 2007. That dress ended up with too much ease so I tucked it away planning to rip it apart and resew it another day.
Well, I recently rediscovered the dress while clearing out old UFOs. Many of the UFOs ended up being tossed (gasp! yes, it's true, but many of the UFOs were too large, especially in the bust, and sometimes it doesn't make sense to rework an item). This one I just couldn't toss - it may be an ugly dress but it was made from gorgeous fabric.
This seemed like the perfect time to try out the Vogue pattern that every sewer I know is raving about. I took the Kwik Sew dress apart and recut the dress using the Vogue pattern pieces.
Because fabric was so limited I had to made some adjustments.
1) The bodice center back required a seam.
2) The bodice pieces could not be lengthened so it hits me almost 2 inches above my natural waistline.
3) The skirt had a front curved hemline that could not be recut.
4) No extra fabric for the tie belt - it is in a contrasting black fabric
5) Sleeves were not recut - so they are full length not 3/4 as designed
I really like the look of this fabric, but when I wear the dress I keep wanting to pull the tie down. It sits too high and feels strange.
The all-day-at-work wearability factor will be tested when I wear it to church this weekend. Does anyone else do that? I test out the comfort of clothing I'm not sure about by wearing it to church. I figure if I'm comfortable in it for two hours I'll likely be comfortable for a day at the office.
Full pattern review is here.
And yes, there will be another version of this dress soon, very soon. Pin It
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
And now I'm happy to introduce to you our latest contributor - Julie! She's fairly new to sewing and really has a talent for it. She has a good eye for color and design and with just a bit of guidance I'm certain she'll soon be sewing anything and everything.
Soon she'll tell you in her own words about her adventures in sewing, but in the meantime I'm too excited to wait. So here is she is with her latest sewing project - the completed Amy Butler Madison bag.
Be sure to stop back when she posts and welcome her to the fabulous world of sewing!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
What can I say? I like the versatility of skirts - I can wear them with a sweater set, or with a blouse, or even with a tee and toss a jacket on to complete the look.
And this one is divine. I'm loving the asymmetrical shaped yoke combined with the inverted pleat and the tapered silhouette. Then of course there is the raised back waistline that ends in a peak at the center back above the waistline.
At this point, I'm undecided on that design element of this skirt. Personally, I rarely wear tops tucked into my skirts any longer, and when I do I almost always have a jacket or cardigan sweater on also. However, I figured I'd sew it as designed, wear it and then decide whether or not to redo the waistline.
This particular skirt is still in progress. You'll see why I put it aside soon enough. In the meantime I'm eager to share the the pattern with you as I think it's a keeper.
The pattern, Vogue 8518, is for three tapered, lined skirts. They have an asymmetrical shaped yoke at the front with princess seams on the back yoke, with a raised back and back zipper closing. A and B have a front inverted pleat on the left side and C has a center back slit.
Fabric, yardage and size
I had a lovely gray wool blend with a tiny pinstripe in my stash that I have held on to for years and years and years knowing it would eventually return to the forefront of fashion.
I cut out view B, originally in a 14 tapering to a 16. I used less than the 1-3/8 yards of 60" wide fabric that is called for. That even took into account that I needed to be conscious of matching the stripes.
The yoke is constructed separately from the bottom portion of the skirt. The yoke is shaped in front with two darts while the shaping in the back is provided by the princess seaming. The front portion consists of three pieces - a left front, a right front and a separate piece for the inverted pleat.
In order to ensure a nice sharp point where the skirt and yoke meet, as well as match the stripes, I pinned the yoke and skirt together and then hand basted in place. After checking the stripes I machine basted over my hand stitches. It took just a fraction of additional time, but was worth it.
At this point I tried the skirt on and realized it was too large. I've mentioned before that I've dropped a few pounds over the past five months. I guess I just don't trust the numbers on the tape measure because I keep cutting out the size I used to use rather than the one that coincides with my measurements.
And that's what I get for not making a muslin ... you'd think I'd know better by now.
Since I had no helper in the sewing studio - and Sophia and Abby don't count as they mostly chew up patterns and take naps - I haphazardly pinned the skirt together along the back side and chalk marked how much I needed to remove.
Next, I removed the yoke from the skirt so I could take the center back in along the princess seams. Perhaps I should have distributed evenly through out, but that front point looked so good that I didn't want to mess with it.
After resewing the back yoke to the skirt I sewed in the back zipper. But, I should have waited and moved onto the lining portion. That's because of the raised center back. I had to remove the zipper and sew it again once the lining had been added.
I admit it, I like a pattern that includes the lining pieces and instructions. That way I don't have to bother figuring it out for myself.
Now if this skirt had been unlined I would have added the lining differently the directions. I would have sewn the lining yoke and lower skirt pieces together then added it in as one piece to the inside of the skirt.
But that is not how you're instructed to add the lining for this skirt. The bottom portion of the lining is sewn to the skirt portion of the yoke. So essentially you have the bottom skirt as well as the lining attached to the skirt yoke. Then the yoke lining is sewn along the waistline and slip stitched in place.
After finishing the waistline with the lining, the zipper is added. Since I had no idea how to add my usual invisible zipper with this back yoke construction, I went ahead and sewed in a regular zipper.
I didn't bother to check the length of the skirt before I cut it out. Instead, I looked at the pretty fashion drawings on the cover. Deciding that I wanted something at my knee, not above it, I choose view B ( the red one on the envelope). Silly me, relying on drawings for accuracy. Now, at 5'5" I'm not exactly tall, but I'm not considered short either - just one of those boring in the middle average types. I'll need to remove about 4" from my skirt to get the look I was going for.
Now that I've sewn one of these skirts, I'm definitely going to sew more - probably minus the raised back waistline. Perhaps with piping to accent the design lines, perhaps with a contrast fabric in pleat. It's got a nice shape with enough design detail to keep it from being boringly simply.
I was wondering - how does Vogue decide upon their pattern ratings? I wouldn't have rated this Easy. Not that it wasn't easy, because in a sense it was. There are few pattern pieces to work with and not a lot of difficult fitting challenges. But when I think Easy, I think of new sewers and I suspect some of them might have difficulty with both the yoke points, the center back points and the zipper insertion.
And one final word, let me warn you that you might want to mark the right and wrong sides of your lining or you could end up with a lining that looks like this - the reason I put the skirt away for the day.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
You see, I have this knit I purchased from Emma One Sock that I really like and I don't want to use it until I've tested the pattern to make sure I'm going to love what I make. I don't know about you, but when I spend a bit more on a piece of fabric, I want to make sure I'm not going to be disappointed in what I sew before I actually make it ... you know what I mean?
Anyway, with the Vogue pieces cut and ready to go, I pulled a lightweight sweater knit from my stash. It is a lovely shade of gray with a subdued floral print and I thought it would work perfectly as a fall transition piece.
Alas! When I unfolded the yardage I discovered I only had two large remnants! I had forgotten that I had used this a few years ago to sew the TeaGarden Tee from Sewing Workshop.
Rather than toss the large remnants, I searched the pattern stash for something that would allow me to use up this tiny bit of fabric.
As I was looking through the patterns, I remembered the tee from Vogue 2925. It had received rave reviews over at PatternReview and it required less than one yard of fabric. Perfect!
An hour later and the top was done. (The pinstripe skirt is Vogue 8518 - in progress - more on that tomorrow)
This tee definitely deserves the positive reviews it has received. It is only two pattern pieces, has a nice shape as well as a few small details that set it apart from a simple tank top or cap sleeve tee.
First, the back shoulder seam wraps around to the front. Two pleats are added before the seam is sewn. Next time I'll change the pleats to gathers.
Secondly, there is a small section gathered at the side seam just below the armhole. I ended up moving the gathers down by 1" so the fullness is released at the bustline, not above it. I also brought the back neckline up 2-1/2" as I don't care for low backs, especially on something that will be worn at work.
I have to admit that I'm happy I didn't have enough yardage to sew the wrap dress because I might not have discovered this fabulous little tee in time to wear yet this season.
Now if I only had kept all of my one yard or less pieces of knit fabric... Pin It
Monday, September 08, 2008
Truth be told, when I photographed the dress yesterday I was too lazy - yep, too lazy - to take the time to put the dress on and figure out how to use the self-timer on our new camera.
But on occasion I give in easily to peer pressure so here's the dress on a real, live person. Obviously I'll be wearing a cami underneath this, but I need to do that with all of the wrap dresses and tops that I wear.
Actually, now that I see it on, I like it better than I thought. I think this dress pattern just moved up from "like" to "Like a lot" with a capital L. Pin It
Sunday, September 07, 2008
This pattern is rated average but I would call it "quick and easy". The most time consuming part was cutting and sewing the binding to the dress and belt. Other than that this is super-duper easy.
So what can I say about this pattern other than it's super easy?
It's your basic wrap bodice knit dress. The binding is very simple add. With the raw edges together, just sew the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the dress edges, press the seam towards the binding, turn the binding over onto the right side of the dress encasing the seam and raw edges, and stitch in place from the right side of the fabric.
Couple of things to note.
- This calls for a side seam zipper. Why? I don't know as I doubt anyone would need it unless the knit you choose didn't have much stretch and you wanted a really tight fit at the waistline.
- If you eliminate the zipper, there is no need to sew the sleeves in after the bodice side seams are sewn. Go ahead and set the sleeves in flat and then sew your side seam. Much easier.
- Even though it isn't called for, I added bias binding at the sleeve hems. Mainly because I was on a roll binding all those raw edges and I didn't notice that the pattern design didn't call for that. I don't think it matters one way or the other.
- This is one long belt, and you need to wrap carefully in the back to keep the nice look in the front. The pattern instructions have you sew the top edge of the belt in place on the front of the bodice. I did this, but I think I'm going to remove it and see how the belt holds up without that structure.
- I sewed a size 12 with no FBA in the neck/bust/waist area and tapered to a 14 at the hips. It might run large, but I'm not sure if it's the pattern or the fact that I've dropped a few pounds. I'm thinking it's the pattern.
Do I love it? Nah, but I like it. I have other wrap dresses that I like the fit of more than this one. But I do like the extra detail of the contrast binding and the deep purple.
Now if the weather would just warm back up to the 70s I might get be able to get a few wearings out of this before it gets tucked away for the season. Pin It
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Well, except for me and Angela of RiAnge Creations who is temporarily experiencing that all too familiar loss of the sewing mojo. We've all been there haven't we?
What do you do when it happens to you?
I do what she did. I visit sewing blogs, browse the online fabric shops, read the reviews and the boards at PatternReview, and of course ask you to tell me what you're sewing when you leave me a comment, LOL!
Actually, when Angela mentioned deep purple as one of her inspiration colors, it reminded me of a deep purple knit I had purchased from Fabric Mart last spring.
And it just so happens that a disappointing knit purchase from Fabric Club Fabrics worked quite well with the deep purple. Suddenly I had my own inspiration for my next sewing project!
Another knit wrap dress, Butterick 5206, with contrasting binding, which I knew I wanted to sew after seeing Kasizzle's version. Perfect as a transition piece from summer to fall.
Monday, September 01, 2008
If there's more than one of you interested I'll draw a number and post it on Wednesday evening. You won't be hearing from me tomorrow as hubby and I have plans.
The one on the left is Simplicity 7129, a "Simple-to-Sew" Jiffy dress pattern from 1967 in a size 16, bust 36. The a-line dress with back zipper and collar has slightly lowered round neckline in front tapering to a "V" neckline in back. V. 1 has short set-in sleeves. Sleeveless V. 2 has tie collar. It has been cut and I checked - all the pieces are there.
The one on the right is McCall's 7469, a 1964 skirt pattern in a size waist 30, hip 40. The three-piece, lightly flared skirt is wrapped and buttoned at front. Right front and waistband are interfaced. Right front of three-piece slim skirt is faced with contrast fabric, lapped over left front and stitched leaving vent at lower edge. Skirt has interfaced waistband, left side zipper. Back of six-piece flared skirt is faced with contrast fabric, lapped over right side back and stitched leaving vent at lower edge. Skirt has interfaced waistband, left side zipper. This also has been cut, but I didn't check the completeness. The word "complete" is written on the backside in pencil so I'm assuming a previous owner checked that all of the pieces are included.
So why am I giving these away? Because I want to. They're destined for either my Etsy shop or Pattern Rescue so if you're interested I'll just ship them to you. Pin It