Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dress, top, or shorts?

So I went to Hancock Fabrics today with the idea to look at the dress patterns. Found both of the dresses I mentioned yesterday and found another pattern with the exact jacket that I wanted. But, after much careful thought, I decided not to get any of them. Finances, really. I just spent close to $800 on my eyes (contacts, glasses, eye exam, etc.) and I need to be careful about unnecessary expenditures right now. I also want to save $$ to go to Mary Jo's Cloth store in a couple of weeks. Besides, I have so many patterns...

The other reason why I deferred the purchase of the new patterns is that I'm planning on buying a dress form at the end of the month and I want to wait until that purchase before starting on a dress. I have some serious fit issues through my shoulders/upper back and I think a dress form will really help me figure out a solution.

So I've got a nice weekend ahead of me in which I have not much planned, on purpose. I'm in a sewing mood but I'm not sure what I want to make...the dress? A mom's fabrics that she bought while she was visiting are calling out to me. Or those Bermuda shorts that I was working on before Mom came? The top will be quick and easy...very gratifying project. I think I'll do that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Giving up the ghost, PR meetup in NC, dresses??

Okay, so since Mom came for a visit last month, my sewing has taken a turn. I have given up the ghost on the baggy-butt problem (happens every time!). This is after realizing I had the same wrinkle across my butt in my favorite pair of pants. (The Essential Trouser from Old Navy, if you must know :). If I can live with wrinkled butt in my fave pants (which happens to give me a butt!), then I deal with it in my very own hand made pants. Enough aggravation already. Until I decide to tackle the problem 2 years. I will still make the Bermuda shorts...prolly start this wekend.

There is a NC PR meetup in Gastonia...a bit SW of Charlotte...and about 5 hours from where I live. I can crash at a friend's place in Chapel Hill (she knows who she is if she's reading this...:). Can I afford this? Maybe...if I stick to a budget. Anyway, the meetup is the last Saturday this month...and since there's not going to be a PR meeting in November (boohoo), I really, really want to do this. Well...I just really want to do this! I've been wanting to go to Mary Jo's Cloth store (in Gastonia) for ages but since it's such a long way even from Chapel Hill (about 2 1/2 hours), I've never been. meet fellow sewing enthusiasts...worth it.

I recently saw a woman in my choir wear the CUTEST mock-wrap dress. And now I'm all about the mock-wrap dress. I don't usually go for any kind of a wrap dress as the bodice tends to be very low...too low to be appropriate for work wear. And I make most of my clothes for work, honestly. But since my social life is picking up (sigh, I am a bit of a hermit), and I just want a new, cute, freakin' dress...I'm going to make one. There's a cute pattern by Vogue that's doable, and another Vogue mock-wrap dress that I'm eyeing. There also happens to be a sale on Vogue patterns this weekend at Hancock Fabrics. How convenient. I may also just make something from the pattern stash...depends on how, ahem, frugal, I need to be! I'll give an update tomorrow...

Friday, August 1, 2008

WBP, part IV

Okay, last night I looked through Pants for Real People again. I noticed that when they took a vertical tuck in the back of the pants, that additional fabric was needed in the side seam, usually in the hip/waist area. So I'll try taking out a vertical tuck and see what it does to the side seam. It might even straighten out the lower side seam.

I also took a look at my crotch curve. I have a flexible ruler that I bought for an online tailoring class years ago. I don't think I ever finished the tailoring class but I kept the ruler around just in case. So I molded the ruler to my crotch (Yeah, like that. I was wearing pajamas.) and compared it to the crotch curve on the pattern. It actually matches pretty well to commercial pattern, except perhaps in the crotch curves in more than the pattern but the pattern also looks like it has a dart rotated to the center back seam.... The muslin CB seam is just a touch loose so I might just shave a bit more off of the CB in effect deepens the dart to match my curve. It's counter-intuitive.

I'll experiment in fabric tomorrow...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye, July, and WBP Part III

July is was a good month. I started it at the beach and ended it with a blackout in my apartment. (Well, clearly the power is back on now...) I got inspiration for a shirt that I'm working on and I'm almost done with my very first quilt. We're now on the homestretch for fall...

I ripped out the inseam on my shorts muslin and re-sewed it using a larger SA for the back inseam only, just for the first 5-6 inches and then gradually trued it up to the original 5/8" SA to the hem. WBP still exist, but now in a variation...the back thighs are now too full. But only below the butt. And strangely enough, the lower side seam still swings forward. I re-sewed the lower part of the side seam with a huge SA on the back leg only, and the SA still swung forward (and yes, I still had too much fabric in the back.) Clearly, not the issue. I took that SA back out and will let it cogitate in my unconscious and see if my brain comes up with a solution.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Project Runway Online Challenge

I lurve Project Runway, although this is the first season I've been able to watch it. I didn't have cable the first four seasons so I had to live vicariously. My favorite part of the show is watching how the designers transform their materials into! I always think, hmmm, how would I have done that.'s my chance. No, I'm not auditioning for next season's PR (I like my day job). There's an online challenge where viewers can submit outfits/sketches of their creations in response to that weeks challenge. This week is about NYC icons. I'm going to skip this week because I'm getting ready for a visit from my mom (cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!). But what would I do?

First, which icon would I pick..Broadway of course! I love, love, LOVE musicals. (Have I discussed that here yet? I should.) Of course, how does that get translated into a garment? I would make a dress. Dresses make statements. And what concepts what I pick...(okay, I SAW you roll your eyes. Don't deny it. :) Broadway is all about drama and fantasy. So prolly a dress with volume...and color. I'm thinking a ballroom gown as a jumpstart but nothing quite so...predictable. A peacock green that is irridescent and somehow incorporate accents of color...blues, a touch of gold/yellow, dark greens, light greens. Hell yeah. Oh, and figure out a way to incorporate an unusual trim...not feathers (not with peacock green, too predictable)...rhinestones would work, possibly sequins? I just had a mental picture of the Scarlet in her "drapery dress." It was a beautiful dress but I can't evoke that...too trite. Maybe stay away from the peacock green :) Oh, how I wish I could draw! I would totally do a fashion sketch. It would be so much fun to enter!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wrinkly Butt Problem (WBP), Part Two

(For some reason, I usually get the bug to update my blog late at night...what's up with that?)

So to continue, I got the bright idea to let out the entire inseam by 5/8" and see if I just can't take a vertical tuck down the entire back length of the shorts. The crazy theory here is to remove the back waist darts. Well, did that...and not only did it not really work, it threw off the lower end of the side seam...made it swing forward. This means that there's too much fabric in the calf. The other reason why it didn't work..and I could have thought of this before I went whole hog on this that the shorts fit perfectly over the fullest part of my rear. If I make a full length vertical tuck, the pants would be too tight over my bum. Oh well, it was worth a shot. So tomorrow I rip out the inseam up to the knee (not a big deal as it was only basted anyway) and re-sew using the original seam allowance. I'll figure out a way to get those darn darts out of the picture....

One last thought before I say good night...I'll probably need to take about an inch off the length. Even with a two inch hem (which is what the pattern says to use), the shorts will come to the top of my knee. This is what's shown in the pattern picture but I think I want them slightly above the knee. I think that will be more flattering for my leg length, and plus, it takes some emphasis off of my knees...I think they look a little "knobby."


Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm back!

I've been away from the blog but I have been sewing! I whipped up McCall's 5425 super quick for a beach's perfect for a coverup. I made it in a swirly blue knit I bought in NYC last fall...made me think of the water. Perfect! I don't have a picture of the dress...I may or may not snap one and write up a review on've already moved on to my next project. Which is...fixing the darn wrinkle that I see under my bottom when I wear pants.

Now, every other year or so, I get all determined to fix this issue. I usually work on it for about a week, throw up my hands and say, "good enough." So the bug is back. I'm currently using Simplicity 4135 as my guinea pig pattern, since I pretty much destroyed the Vogue pants pattern I had been using. The Simplicity pattern is a Threads pattern...and honestly, I don't know how this particular pattern is so special or even different from the regular Simplicity patterns. There are no special notes, no pearls of sewing wisdom, and the pattern isn't even graded any differently from other Simplicity patterns. I have the same gripe about other Simplicity-Threads patterns that I've made. I think it's mostly a marketing gimmick. But back to the topic. So I'm making a muslin of view C, the city shorts. I got a yen for some long shorts when I went to visit my sister in beautiful San Francisco. I saw how cute they were on her and then I wanted a pair for myself! I always come to these fashion parties late...I didn't get into capris until they had been "in" for a couple of years. Yes, I know..and you know as well...I hate muslins. So I must be really, really serious about fixing these wrinkles if I'm willing to spend time and fabric on a muslin. Wellllll...I initially thought I could get away with just fiddling around with a few pairs of pants that were already done. I didn't wear these pants anyway for that same wrinkly-butt issue (the pants, not my actual skin :) ). Since they were just sitting around collecting dust, I figured I might as well mess them up as much I wanted to. And I did. And no matter what I did...the wrinkly butt problem remained. I abbreviate it WBP, since I'm all about short cuts! Anyway, after raising the back waistline, lowering it again, shortening the crotch depth, lengthening the crotch curve, letting out the front and back inseams...nothing!! How frustrating.

So with a great sigh, I decided to do the muslin. It was the only way. I had the freedom to fiddle with unfinished seam allowances (the other pants had serged seam allowances. Have you ever taken out a seam allowance that has been serged? 'Nuff said.) I had the perfect leftover fabric too...a coral linen that was just screaming muslin. I had made a cute, cute tank top and skirt from it. And afterwards, I vowed never to make or purchase linen clothing ever again. It's a total pain to iron. So I didn't care how much I messed with this fabric...I wasn't going to wear it. I prepped the fabric and the pattern. And then I went to my trusty "Pants for Real People." If you don't own this series, buy it. It should be a part of every sewer's fitting arsenal. (I also have Fitting Finesse and Power Fitting. Power fitting is mostly for older figures. Not much help now, but I will eventually have an older figure. My mom is living proof. Good thing she doesn't read this!!) Originally, I assumed that my problem was a swayback and a flat bottom. But this time, I looked at the pictures with an open mind. Hey...that real woman has the same WBP that I do...her problem is "full inner thighs." !! I have full inner thighs?! Nooooo...oh wait....yes. I'm skinny but my inner thighs do in fact touch. Ahhhhh. So I let out the, a whole lot. By a full 5/8". WBP practically GONE. Whoa. A revelation has a occurred...and a small victory dance. (Imagine me, prancing around in a pair of half-finished shorts. Bless my little heart.) I also noticed that I now had some loose vertical wrinkles in the back thigh area. Lightbulb...what if I un-sewed the back darts and just take a long vertical tuck down the back of the pants? brilliant! Stunning conclusion tomorrow night!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Showing off

Hey, here's my new shirt! I love it!

Review on PatternReview to come...these will be the same pictures that I will use in the review. Overall, a very easy pattern. Plenty of ease so not a whole lot of fitting issues.

One of the things I love about my hobby is that I can change my mind :) I was going to make another top but I had a brainstorm tonight and decided to make this Vogue 8229 dress instead. From this fabric, at the right.

Isn't it fabulous? It has tiny black polka dots with a border of vinyl appliqued flowers.

I bought it in NYC at PR weekend about a year and a half ago. It's been gently aging in the stash ever since. But I digress. I'm going to see a musical next weekend with some friends and I wanted to wear something nice. I bought the above Vogue pattern last weekend and thought to myself, hey, if I sew like a fiend over the next week, I can wear that dress to the show! Looking through the stash, this fabric just popped out at's perfect for that pattern! (I'm going to have to do something creative about the flowers. I won't be able to sew through them easily. ) So I for the past two hours tonight, I had a marathon of pressing the fabric, then cutting out and pressing the pattern, then laying out the pattern on the fabric and finally, cutting out the pattern. I just finished cutting out the interfacing for the neckband and armholes. Tomorrow, I will start sewing it. I will literally have to sew every night so that the dress will be ready in time. I have a beautfiul black wrap that will go very nicely with the dress. I'm sew excited!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One shirt down, another one to tackle

Super quick post. I finished the shirt 2 nights ago. It looks pretty good. I might shorten it a smidge more should I make it again. And I have an idea for the next shirt. But more on that later. And pictures and review of the completed shirt probably tomorrow night. Yippee. I love new clothes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I lurve my mini-iron

So to continue from last night, my wee iron was called into action as I flipped the sewn facings to the inside. To help the facings roll to the inside, I pressed the seam allowance towards the fashion fabric. This is different than nearly every pattern instruction out there. But I find my facings roll better (and stay on the inside better) when I press the seam allowance that way. The wee iron was able to sneak inside the neckline very easy...and it allows for precision pressing where needed. Then I flipped the facings to the inside of the garment and pressed them in place...that's the glory of the little iron! Have you ever tried getting your big iron to press a neckline seam? Yeah, you know what a pain it is. (I have a pressing ham but didn't use it for this project because the neckline is so straight. Any other neckline or collar type I would use the ham.) So yes, the little iron takes longer but it saves me aggravation, which is totally worth it. I then edgestiched to keep the facings in place (and stitched in the ditch at each of the sleeve seems for the same reasons). Doing edgestitching without pressing first is a total pain. The neckline looks great, if I do say so myself.

Tonight I sewed the side seams and finished the raw edges of all of the hems. Tomorrow I will press the hem and if I have time I will sew the hems and the shirt will be done! I probably won't, as I will be getting home late due to a sewing guild meeting. Yes, I am that geeky about sewing. But then you already knew that from the way I gushed about my wee iron. MY LITTLE IRON RULES.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Clover Mini-Iron rules!

I have started setting a timer for one hour while I'm sewing, because otherwise I would become so engrossed in it, I would do nothing else. Since I have two concerts coming up, I have to spend at least some time in the evening practicing my music. I enjoy that too, but I don't get as wrapped up in it.

So the sewing hour this evening was spent tackling the facings on my spring blouse. Remember my rants about slippery fabric? Yeah, it's all slithery and hard to cut correctly. Well, that particular demon came back to haunt me today. The facings didn't really match-up on the neckline. Lucky for me, I cut them a bit wider and longer to me "fudge" room. But it also meant I spent a lot of time lining them up so that the neckline seam wouldn't pucker and doing some creative trimming and marking.

There's a saying goes that pressing is sewing. Pressing is kind of like ironing, except you move the iron up and down rather than sliding it across the fabric. Unless you are me, in which I "iron" my fabric. You need to be a sew-er to get it. During sewing, you/I are pressing/ironing the seams so that they lay flat and in the right direction. Side seams and shoulder seams are pressed the back. Center seams are press right or left (I usually do them to the left). darts are also pressed, usually towards the sides of the garment.

What I am going into all of this? Because unlike making muslins and linigs and such, I am a HUGE fan and proponent of pressing my work as I go along. The #1 reason why I like it so is that it makes sewing the project much easier. Seams lie flat (and when they cross, like at a crotch or a sewing in a sleeve, I don't have to worry about the seams interfering with each other). A pressed seam is ten times easier to edgestitch (along with a stich-in-the-ditch presser foot). I press my hems prior to stitching them down...and my hems are more accurate for it. When rolling a facing (a fancy phrase for making sure the facing stays on the inside of the garment), I use the iron to keep the roll in place. I could go on and on...but that would be boring.

And the best thing to come along in pressing since the actual invention of the iron (aside from sewing machines themselves) the Clover Mini Iron. This little thing ROCKS. I got it about 2 years ago at Christmas (by my request) and it's been in constant use ever since. It is perfect for little spaces like collars and sleeves where a full-sized iron would just be too big and bulky. In fact, I use it for nearly every seam/dart except the long seams in pants. It's little nose is very precise. If I need moisture, I use a sponge-tipe paintbrush and dab water right where I need it.
Oh, they joys of the mini-iron.

I was going to go on about how I used my mini-iron while sewing the facings, but my clock is reading nearly midnight and I'm about to turn into a pumpking. So I will continue this post...later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bias is amazing!

I got the bridesmaid/prom/hottie dress last week in the mail. My sister has given her approval and I have a bridesmaid's dress, yay! Muchas gracias to my sister to finding the dress on eBay.

So here's the back story: I had gone to visit my friend out of town with the express purpose of finding and buying a bridesmaid's dress. The color scheme is chocolate brown and burnt orange. I went for the brown, figuring that it would be so much easier to find a dress in that color. I was so wrong! Yo, it's Spring Time! Brown is so not spring! My friend went to the Southpoint Mall, the local super-mall. Containing such wonderful stores as Ann Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic. Beautiful stuff there, but nothing BROWN. Then we hit all of the department stores...Macy's, Belks, Nordstroms...there were some gorgeous dresses but nothing BROWN. We did find an interesting orange dress reminiscent of tang...and I nixed it for that same reason. I just wasn't feeling it. My friend suggested JC Penny as our last resort before calling it a day (we had spent barely an hour shopping...which is unusual for us!). We did find two very good possibilities and here's where it gets cool/geeky. My friend took a picture of me in the dresses with her camera phone and emailed them to my sister. Isn't that so cool?? So right there in the store, my sister could give her yay or nay She lives on the other side of the country, so this fabulous use of technology saved time and money. She said, well, they're okay, which I said, no, you really have to like the dress and my friend put them back on the rack. So cool.

Later that day, I checked my email and my sister had sent me links to several eBay listings for beautiful brown prom/bridesmaid's dresses. I liked the first one, bid on it, and ended up winning it 3 hours later. So here's a picture of the dress:

Isn't it beautiful?
(I have not idea why or how this link got here. Really. I guess google just decided that everyone needs to see a 200% zoom-in on my backside. Uber sexy.)

There's like, an extra foot of fabric pooled at the bottom. I was irritated about that until my friend pointed out to me, and I quote, "Newsflash: You're short." I conceded the point and I forgave her for being tall. Because I'm generous like that.

Now on to part deux of my entry tonight. I worked some more on the polyester spring top today. It's now to the point where you can tell it's a shirt and I'm pretty impressed by the print on the's going to be a pretty shirt. I've learned that I need to use moisture to really press the seams flat... the poly just springs right back to life with a dry iron. I'm just plain happy that the seams will press flat at all. Polyester is notorious for being resistant to holding a crease...and nothing screams homemade like un-pressed seams. Yuck.

I had taken out some length through the torso and in the sleeves...right now I'm thinking that might have been premature. A quickie hold-it-up-to-myself "fitting" reveals that it might be at the right length already..which means that I'll have to get creative with hemming. I'll really try it on when I've finished attaching the facings and sewn the side seams. Then I'll see if it's too short...I hope not!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dreaming in polyester

Okay, so I finished the muslin for the bias cut dress. That's hanging in the closet for whenever I get the urge to finish it. On to the things I wanted to do: tops for spring!! I cut the fabric for this butterick top while I was home sick with the allergy flare-up from hell (started about 2 weeks ago, I'm feeling much better today, but I'm also a temporary alto. I'm very squeaky...if you can imagine a husky squeak.). I would post a picture of the fabric but I'm in bed and the camera/fabric are in a different room. God bless laptops. And laziness.

Which brings me to an interesting point. I didn't give a darn about the dress when I was making it. Maybe because it is a muslin and I'm not a fan of making muslins. It's a waste of time (not really, as any sewing book will tell get to iron out all of the bugs in the fit/pattern, etc). It's a waste of fabric (again, not really, as any long term sew-ist has at least a couple of cuts of fabric that were, ahem, not a good idea). I also didn't care about the dress because I my latest sewing fixation is on spring-y shirts. Let me just tell you...I was so not in love with that muslin project that I actually did house-cleaning rather than finish it. Housecleaning. Like doing the dishes or even worse, going through my "important paper stack" and shredding all the old stuff. I filled a whole garbage bag by the time I was done. And I'm talking a 30-gallon garbage bag. Like I said, I wasn't in the mood for the dress. In my five-ish years of sewing, I haven't made one dress. Possibly because I have fitting issues and I know that I need to spend time firguring those out. I think that's the entire reasion. Also because...well, i just don't wear dresses. Which is Sad, because I have like, 30 patterns for dresses. Well, maybe less than that...but more than enough. It's like of like my craze for fitted jackets (#1 in the Holy Grail of fitting in any sewing list). I have like, 15 patterns for jackets. How many have I made? 2. One of which had to be retired because it didn't actually fit. Argh. I do in fact, wear fitted jackets. They are more versatile than dresses. If I owned more jackets, I would wear them everyday. But, I have a jacket that I wear at work, it's machine washable and goes with everything, so because it's just plain easy, that's what I wear everyday. Getting back to the point of this's interesting how a project can really change my sewing mojo. The level of excitement about this top is...well, way more than the dress mojo. I couldn't wait to get home from work today so that I could work on my top some more. That should be in italics, because italics would fully convey my desire to sew this top. Really. Despite the fact the the fabric is a sheer polyester and I hate sewing with that stuff. (The fabric came from my mom. I don't turn down free fabric. Especially when it comes as a Christmas present from my mother. Sewing is one of the very few things we both love. I try to encourage that as much as possible.) Why do sheers suck in my book? Well, the seams show through on the fashion side. So you have to do special seam treatments and those take extra time. Time that I'm not willing to spend (see my treatise on making muslins, above). You also have to line the garment or live in NYC or LA where a transparent garment is acceptable. So's going without underwear, see Britney Spears...or not... I don't like lining garmets, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it takes time and I'm not that good at linings. One could argue that I just need more practice... My collection of 101 camisoles. Despite these reasons and MUCH MORE, I still love this top. I hope it loves me back.

Did I work on it at all when I got home? Nope. Entirely because I have a stitch in my side from coughing so much over the past week (please God, give me the necessary inspiration to invent a cough medicine that works.). So I came home and lay down on the couch. Then it was time to go to choir practice ( I didn't sing, it's a short but wholly unrelated story). Then I came home and lay down some more and now it's time to go to sleep. And in my dreams I will fantasize about my new Spring shirt.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Muslin completed!

I've finished the muslin for the Kwik Sew Bias cut dress...or close enough to completion that I can figure out what needs to be fixed. I need to make my standard sway back adjustment...above the waist like I always do. I also need to take out some length above the bust...maybe an inch total. The front of the armholes also cut into my skin when I reach forward...that may be fixed when I take out that length above the bust. If it's still a problem (or worse), I'll have to widen the front armscye by about 1/4-1/2". I used a cotton fabric (actually, another old sheet) for the lining...this dress needs a real lining fabric...i.e. something that is thin and slippery. The cotton adds a bit too much body to the dress and it kind of catches on the fashion fabric.

But the above are all really very minor things. The fit on this dress is quite good..and because of the bias, it is easy to get it on and off. A real plus for me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Must have more shirts!

Okay, so here's a clue to my inner type-A self. I pick out all of my outfits for the week so that a) I do all of my ironing at once, and b) I don't spend 5 minutes every morning looking in my closet and thinking "crap, what am I going to wear today?" So this past Sunday, I was going through the clothes and I was tired of all of it. I'm ready for spring. I'm ready for some new spring tops. I am ready for some new spring pants. And skirts. More shirts please!

So that's going to be the next project, some new shirts. What will it be? I have a couple of as yet untried patterns but I'm also looking for RTC inspiration. The janet Button-up is adorable...the wide neckline will look great and the little pouf sleeves will be fabulous. I may not keep the sleeves..I'm always cold at work and pouf-y 3/4 sleeves just don't sound right. Check out the Cordata! and if you zoom in on it, it looks like a bunch of little hearts! I'm in love. I could probably re-interpret that fairly easily using fabric yo-yos. I may have hit upon something here! The Tamatebako blouse is stunning but seeing as I can't figure out how they did that gathering-thing, it will probably remain in idea-land. The neckline treatment on the Cynosure blouse is interesting...possibly too much of a good a ruffle on steroids. I would probably do a narrow ruffle..definitely a narrow ruffle. Out of some gauzy cotton...ooooh. Which I happen to have... The rest... I can live without. I cannot do the blousy, gathered, peasant blouse thing. It would make my bust microscopic. And I would look like a ten year old.

Let's see what Banana Republic has to offer...nothing that I'm interested in. On to the Gap...ack, nothing there either.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

So, what are you blogging..?

I'm still working on cutting out the muslin for a bias cut kwik sew dress. Very boring for posting right now..especially since I haven't done any work on it since Friday morning (more on that later).

I'm currently fluffing out my links for other blogs and as I was going through the links, I saw a picture on Liana's Fashioned blog that I love, love, lurve. Go to the March 11, 2008 entry and scroll down to the 2nd and 3rd photos. Yeah, those two. Isn't that the COOLEST twinset ever? It ain't your grandma's twinset. Imagine, a pin-tucked twinset from a sheer. It's awesome. Totally sexy. I want one. Go ahead and check out the rest of the pictures. I have never heard of this Chado Ralph Rucci dude (dudette?) but he's now my favorite designer. I wanna design like him when I grow up...or until next spring anyway!

There's another sewing/fashion blog that I check in with regularly...A Dress A Day! And the blogger (Sorry, I don't know her name), posts "a dress...mostly everyday." She loves all things retro and I love that she loves all things retro. She make me want to love all things retro, except I remember that I am not into vintage or retro patterns. Most of them don't come in my size and I really dislike re-sizing patterns. Right up there with washing the dishes. So in her most recent post, Linktastic Friday No. 4, there's a link to paper wedding gowns. Not as tacky as you think, but you have to wonder (or at least I do), about the increased risk for a "wardrobe malfunction." Looking through the pictures of the wedding gowns, many of them are even pretty, but you have to like modern style dresses.

So I went out of town over the weekend to visit some friends and go bridesmaid's dress shopping (which was purchased but not at a store; when the dress arrives I shall post a picture and provide the fabulous story). As I was packing last Friday, I really, really wanted to bring the fabric for the KS dress. I had only two more pieces to cut out you see and well, I wanted to take advantage of any down time. Now, I believe cutting out is the hardest thing to do on the road, because it's so tool intensive. I need scissors, pins, pincushion, ruler (preferably the yard stick as I was cutting one layer at a time AND on the bias), marking pen, and marking chalk. Oh, and the fabric and patterns needed. Most of the items are small and will easily fit into a bag. But...I didn't wanna bring all of that with me. Mostly out of sheer laziness...just more schtuff I have to pack. So what was my crazy solution (because, oh yes, I WAS going to finish cutting out the muslin for this dress!)? My friend's mom also sews and I was just going to borrow her stuff. Perfect. I even had a 5 h "layover" at her mom's house. Except I got so busy chatting with her mom and playing with the grandbaby that...I didn't do it. (Insert irony here.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A detour from sewing..

I started a thread over on regarding spendthrift or tightwad tips. I did it because I'm currently reading the compendium of the Tightwad Gazette. It had such a variety of interesting tips that I wanted to share them with my fellow PR-ers (that is so not a word, but it works!) and start an online conversation about everyone's money-saving tips. Everyone has shared such great tips, that I wanted to compile a list on my blog. i'll try to give credit where it is due, but sometimes I'll spell usernames wrong or miss them altogether. So I apologize in advance. I can't post everything on the blog, so here's a link to the thread.

Here goes:

From Leora: Mary Hunt's blog and forum.

From yorkshire lass:
I will have a huge cooking day and freeze the results. Stews, pies, lasagne that sort of thing. Stews and similar go into old margerine tubs (they stack nicely in the freezer and hold enough for one person). This way I have the oven on for about four hours but will get enough food from that session for twelve to sixteen meals, depending on what I make. Pies get cut up into single size servings and cling filmed, Lasagnes go in single size silver foil trays, soup in plastic bags stood inside something square then taken out and stacked up when they are solid enough to stand up. I have been known to cook and mash several pounds of potatoes at once and freeze them in single servings.

From Phyllis:
I always water down liquid dish detergent and shampoos by almost 50% - and they work just as well. My note: My parents did this when we were little and it drove us kids nuts. But, it's a great that I will revisit! (Mom and dad were right,eh?)

From EWP601:
Pay your bills on time. (I am TERRIBLE about paying bills on time. I have 99% of my bills on an automatic payment system (for free!) from my bank. That has got to be the single best money saver for me.)

From EveS:
I've learned the rotation of my store's sales and shop accordingly. I try to buy enough of whatever is on sale to get me thru to the next sale. (This is something that I have to adopt, my food bills are ridiculous.)

From JoanN5A:

1) I hate this one -- Buying at most about one bottle of wine a month. As I said, I hate this one. (Sigh. I'm a big wine fan too, tho not a wino :). Fortunately for my wallet, I don't live anywhere near a wine store, unless you count the wine section at the Food Lion.)
Trying to avoid reading blogs and posts (including on PR) about what people are splashing large quantities of money around on. ( I found it so "enabling" that I had a hard time resisting the tempation. I finally had to quit reading those threads. Maybe someday I'll have the self-restraint to enjoy reading those threads without feeling tempted. It can happen...)

From MichelleT:
I also have one grocery store on the way to and from work that marks down it meats from the day before every morning. If I have time I stop in to see what is marked down and something we would eat. Two days ago I got meat for 5-6 meals with a total of $36.00 off the regular price. (What a neat idea. I'll have to steel myself to wake up at 5am one of these days to see if this will work at my local grocery store...)

From tourist:
I also make a point of saving money and electricity by vacuuming as infrequently as possible. (I got such a kick out of this. I do the exact same thing!)

I'm sure that there will be many more excellent tips posted, but these are the things that caught my eye.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

In search of...a bridesmaid's dress

My sister is getting married this fall and I will be her maid of honor. She wants me to wear something deep brown or burnt orange. I'm going for the brown because it will be easier to find the dress. I went dress shopping online last night and found a couple at J. Crew that will fit...I'm just pending an opinion from Teresa before I buy it. I wasn't entirely happy with either of the choices from J. Crew so I thought, well, as long as the dress is simple enough, I can make the darn thing. I even have a kwik sew dress pattern that will be very nice in a light, flowy silk and being that it's a kwik sew pattern, will be easy enough to sew up. So even though I'm likely going to buy the dress, I went ahead and cut out the pattern today anyway. It's a dress pattern that I've been meaning to get to for ages (I've owned the pattern for at least a year...maybe two...or three?). I also have plenty of fabric for a muslin...a fitted sheet that I don't use anymore. I kept it because it's a beautiful ruby color, with tone-on-tone stripes...and I thought, "that would make a pretty skirt..." I'm nutty. So anyway, if the muslin doesn't work out, I'm not out any money.

It actually turned out to be a good thing that I used the sheet for a muslin...because the dress is cut on the bias, I needed a LOT of fabric. about 1 yard more than I usually buy for projects. Once the muslin is done I will probably put the pattern away....I am overflowing in fabric right now (no pieces long enough for this project, unfortunately) and I will have to make room to store the as-yet-unpurchased-fabric for this project.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cootie Cover #1, Final Test Drive

Hi world! I went on a covert mission last night and tested Katie's Cootie Cover. I'm proud to say that it went 99% perfectly. The carts at Michael's Art and Crafts are smaller than the ones at Wal-mart, so the toy loops flopped over the front of the cart, but other than that, the cootie cover is one cute little thing! Oh, and the pockets are totally useless as they too hung over the sides of the smaller cart. I suspected it while I was attaching them, so I am not surprised.

Alyson's cootie cover is 85% done. I pressed and pinned the binding on tonight. Tomorrow I will sew it on and likely Friday I will insert the elastic into the binding. Buying pre-quilted fabric definitely made my life easier and sped up the project immeasurably. Yay!

I also used the binding foot for the first time the other night. I'm not totally impressed by it. I don't think it makes attaching the binding any easier. I didn't have to use pins, but any time I saved by not pinning was spent guiding the fabric into the binder foot. It might make sewing on home-made binding easier (not using pins), but there was not any advantage using a store-bought binding.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Cootie Cover...almost done....

Cootie cover #1 (for Katie) is almost done...what a relief. These last few steps were not as painful as the quilting, but gosh...I'm glad I don't do this every day! Threading the elastic through the binding actually made my hands a bit sore. I'm now sewing the snaps onto the toy loops, then I will have to hand-sew the toy loops onto the cover. I'm going to set them a little lower on the cover than the directions state...I think the loops will actually fall outside of the shopping cart seat if I had sewn them into the binding. The snaps will allow the loops to open (not an option in the original directions) and make the loops a bit more practical.

I also found a neat set of instructions on eBay for folding the cover into itself and using the safety strap as a carrying handle. I had thought about making a pocket to fold the cover into, but those directions are so much better.

The next cover that I'll make for Alyson will be different...and easier. I'll just use the width of the pre-quilted fabric for the 44" wide part (I should have thought of that with the first cover...), then I'll measure 40" into the length of the fabric. The toy loops will be made from left-over leg binding (I'm hoping that there will be enough, if not, I'll use some extra shoestring/drawstring for the toy loops). I have plenty of leftover blanket binding for the second it turns out, I only need one package for each. Doing the second one back-to-back with the first will make the second one go faster, I think, as I will remember the steps and the short-cuts that I want to take.

Then...on to my next project. It's coming up on spring...or maybe I'll make another pair of knit pants.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Test driving the cootie-cover

I went to Walmart today and brought the nearly complete cootie-cover to see if it would fit the shopping cart. It's *just* an the back. Sigh. I thought it might be but I was hoping.... so I bought an extra yard of fabric to make a border. But when I got it home, I saw that I had some left-over fabric from the project. Being the, ah, time-efficient person that I am, I just used the left-over to add 3" to the back of the piece. I spent an hour doing that tonight. Tomorrow (or maybe Friday), I'll put the blanket binding step closer to completion.

I had a bright idea for Alyson's cootie-cover...use pre-quilted fabric. Ta-da! And pre-made bias binding...I know, I know, I swore off the stuff but man, do I hate making binding. Maybe it will get softer after washing (wishful thinking??). I also think that I will either use snaps to attach the toy-loops or I'll get some carabiners to make it easier to hook a toy into the loops. I wonder if there's such a thing as plastic carabiners....

Monday, February 25, 2008


So, I have once again reminded myself why I am not a quilter. I'm working on a shopping cart cover for a friend of mine, Katie (an excellent nurse), and I've also volunteered to make another one for my office-mate and general confidant, Alyson. Except next time I am getting rid of the batting and maybe the quilting part as well. As I was struggling mightily with the "quilt sandwhich" to get all three uber bulky layers underneath the presser foot, I was swearing mightily and thinking, this totally sucks. I do not own a real quilting machine...and it's evident by the fact that there is just not a whole lot of space to the right of the presser foot in which to cram almost 4 feet of bulky quilt. I wanted to start drinking by the end. Add to that, in my demented, perfectionistic state, I HAD to, had to, do all of the quilting lines in the same that I wouldn't get any weird puckering. I didn't get any of the puckering caused by sewing in opposite directions, but I'm not sure that my sanity was worth the effort.

I'm almost done with it, and I do have to give myself a pat on the back. It's pretty cute. But the next one is being done with 3 layers of flannel. And no batting. Or maybe just low-loft batting next time... All I can say is god bless quilters, those sew-ers are patient folks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A new star!

As I was browsing through PR this week, I noticed that I got another star! I now have TWO stars. so Cool. This is really quite first star was over a year ago (at least), so this second star was a long time in the making.

I finished a pair of brown knit pants a couple of days ago and I realized that a) I need to chop off at least 1 inch from the hem, and 2) I need to play with the side seams a bit. I essentially chopped off about 1" from the CF seam, and that's thrown off the side seams. Since the pants are knit, the fit is great and the wonky side seams are much of a bother, but being who I am, I want to fix the side seams for the next pair of pants.

I'm trying to decide what my next project will be. I have no burning desire to do any particular project...I want something quick and easy. Maybe I'll hem those jeans that have been on the to-do list for a year now. Haha.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wow, it's Valentine's day, already...

I've had a bum day at work and I haven't blogged in a while, so I figured I would post an update...which in turn will perk up my spirits.

I made an awesome tutorial for how to copy my favorite RTW pair of underwear, it's posted on pattern review. I've already made three pairs of underwear and I love them. I've got TONS of beige fabric left over so there's plenty more where that came from :) I'm so inspired by how well the undies turned out that I'm thinking of copying my sports bras...which are really just basic little training bras for girls that I bought from Target. They work for me :) So while I can be depressed by my membership in the IBTC club, at least my bras are inexpensive. Anyway, copying shouldn't be too difficult.

I bought a new "journal" for keeping track of my WIPs, and also any changes that I made to the pattern. It's a hybrid notebook-slash-binder; it's got these plastic rings that kind of snap open like the metal rings in a binder, but the spine of the notebook is made from a fabric-like material, so it's very flexible and I can open the whole thing like a regular notebook. It's very neat and while I was initially kind of squeamish about spending money on it, I've definitely come to prize the notebook and it's perks.

I made a butterick top last weekend from some knit fabric that I bought at PR w/e 2007. It's a large print composed of mod flowers. The shirt came out okay, but I'm convinced that either the style or the large print itself makes my bust look even smaller. I need to post a review on PR when I get the time. I plan to wear the shirt to work next week.

I made the obi- style belt for the Vogue dress...and it did NOTHING for the dress. I still looked like I was wearing a mumu. I kept the dress because I'm thinking of recycling the fabric (there's like 3.5 yards of fabric invested in the dress..I could make a tank top or three!). At first I was going to do a review, but I've already wasted so much time on that darn dress that I don't want to bother. On to bigger and better things!

So I've got TONS of fabric that my mom gave me. Most of the pieces are slithery, sheer, very pretty, poly prints. I guess this is my chance to work through my phobia of those very fabrics. I've got nothing to lose...

I've got a long weekend this weekend...maybe I can take advantage of it and give myself a little sewing vacation. MMMMM...the possibilities :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Update for the New year

I haven't posted anything in a while..I'd like to say that I was busy sewing...

PR weekend came and went and I loved every minute of it. I passed out the bookmarks, my secret project, and they were a big hit. Everyone was inspired by the creative use of cable-ties as boning. I bought about $400 worth of fabrics, mostly knits. Used the first one almost right away, to make a Christmas Top. That top will be known as the "needle-eater," as I went through 3 needles when I made it!! But it turned out beautifully and I got several compliments, including one from my middle family, who never notices these things!

I'm currently working on a Vogue dress; I've decided to make an "obi-inspired" belt from Threads magazine. Without it, the dress looks like a mumu...which is a definite no-no for my figure! I'm glad that I've found a garment that will complement that belt, since I've been wanting to make it for awhile! The fabric is yet again giving me fits, as I'm trying to sew a slightly narrow hem, 1/2", and well, the fabric keeps "walking." I'm currently using a pair bent-nosed tweezers as an awl to kind of shove the fabric evenly into the presser foot/feed dogs. It's working well enough! It will be sooo much fun to sew the hem...ugh.

I'm already itching to start on a new project..especially since I got a lot of new fabric from my mom for Christmas. Most of it poly but also very pretty. I think I want to do a quick and dirty project next...just because this dress has taken so much time and effort.

Until next time...