Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Past and the Future

It's the time of year to look back at 2008 accomplishments. While I did a lot of positive things related to my sewing passion, I did not start the year very well. I copied goals from one of the amazing seamstresses in blogland. What was I thinking? Did I think that would make me sew as well as she does? I do know better. Now, they are good goals but they were not good goals for me. I did a good job of ignoring them. Here's a review so I won't repeat that mistake in 2009.

1. I will sew mainly from stash. I will allow myself to purchase 1 yard of fabric for each 5 yards that I sew up. I helped the economy with my extensive fabric purchases. I even know the psychology of this goal. It's like a diet where someone vows not to eat pizza (or something else they love) for an entire year. All they think about is pizza and are likely to eat lots of pizza. Portion control is the answer, not denial or unrealistic expectations. This was not a good goal for me.

2. I will test drive all my sewing machine feet that I have not used in the past year. I did use 3 of the feet that I hadn't used in 2007, but only because I needed them for projects. I'd like to think that I would do samples, exploring multiple uses, and put them neatly in a notebooks. That sounds nice but it is not likely to happen.

3. I will use patterns more than once and develop some TNTs. I did use several patterns that are now TNT. I actually sewed one of them twice.

4. I will sew at least every other day, paying attention to details. I did that one with very few exceptions. This is a silly goal for me. Of course, I sew as often as life allows. I might as well say that I will get at least one hour sleep per night.

5. I will sew at least 5 basic T-shirts for me and sew at 1 T-shirt, long sleeve shirt and p.j. bottoms for hubbie. I did sew 1 basic t-shirt for me and one embellished t-shirt. I really would like to sew t-shirts for hubbie. He wears them all the time - a quick easy project once the fitting is done. I need to be able to sew a quality long sleeve woven shirt for myself before I venture off to sewing for others. I don't know where the p.j. bottoms came from but, yes, sewing pjs for hubbie would be a nice thing to do - donno if I'll do it.

6. I will sew 12 BWOF garments. I studied the magazines and picked out many garments that I would like to sew. This one will probably happen in 2009.

7. I will sew 8 vintage designer patterns. I bought the patterns - 'nuf said.

8. I will embroider at least one garment. The embroidery machine is still packed away. I'll use it when I'm ready. I've made numerous embroidered quilts and some embroidered garments. I believe that I still know how to use it.

9. I will learn the basic functions of My Label. This goal is mine. I did it. I have ML tunic and pants patterns. The pants pattern was worth the price of the program. The blouse and jacket patterns simply do not compute even though my Bernina dealer measured me twice. Yep, my top does not compute. I know that I entered the measurements correctly after checking them numerous times. I'll just have to do blouses and jackets the old fashioned way.

The actual number of garments completed is embarrassing - only 24, using 56 yards of fabric. Also, there are a lot of UFOs that are almost complete. (I'm the queen of "almost done".) Actually, I have done better in the UFO area - most of them are frustrated wearable muslins. A few I stopped working on because I entered a contest or the season changed.

There are lots of positives in the sewing area from 2008. I feel very comfortable sewing with knits now and even used my coverstitch machine for hems. I can fit pants and skirts with minimal effort (There'll usually be some fitting issues with a new pattern.). I have a fitted shoulder seam princess blouse muslin and a fitted side-dart blouse muslin. I've done fly front zippers and a lapped zippers that look respectable. My bound button holes and welt pockets are okay but need work for the professional look that I want.


Each season I will make at least 4 co-ordinated garments from my current stash. For winter, I will finish the planned 11 garment SWAP (in process) by March 31. I figure the best way to handle my fabric buying addiction is to work on projects from my stash.

I will check that I have enough run-around clothes (go to the store, soccer game, etc.) and fill in the gaps with mostly easy to sew garments.,

In the beginning of the year, I will focus on polishing basic skills and progress with new techniques. By the end of the year, I will make at least one tailored jacket and/or coat. I really want to make a coat and won't feel like a real seamstress until I do.

I will play Tim Gunn: clean out my clothes and make some basic black and white garments.

I will improve my computer skills. At a minimum, I'll figure out what going on with my Sewing Reviews and complete a storyboard.

I have a whole list of things that I'd like to do (scrapbook, home dec, knitting, crocheting, etc. etc.) just in case my goal list doesn't keep me busy (lol)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fitting and Fabric

Well, I'm on round 3 of fitting my two blouse garments. They are getting there - slowly. At least I'll have lots of sewing practice by the time I get to fashion fabric. To ease the tedious task of working out these puzzles, I'm playing with my fabric instead of buying (How's that for discipline?). These are the two pieces of knit fabric I bought from Fashionista Fabric. Originally, the larger piece was planned for a dress and the smaller one for a top. Now, they don't know what they want to be when they grow up. IMO, they look so good together. Any ideas?

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year! Here's wishes that all your sewing, crafting, and other activities turn out wonderful!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Having Fits!!!

Fitting muslins is about all the sewing that I have been doing lately. Since I've never sewn in a sleeve that looks professional, I decided to sign up for Sarah Veblen's class on set-in sleeves and armholes at Pattern Review. I have drafted a sleeve to my measurements but all the rest of my effort has been on fitting a bodice. I keep making muslins that are getting there but still have some traveling to do. Now, I thought that I could fit a bodice. Once I really looked at my attempts, I saw that I really can't. I even used the My Label fitting program patterns as a base. I am doing a blouse with a side dart (Muslins are not awful.) and a blouse with princess seams (so far nothing but disaster muslins). Thankfully, I have Sarah to help but she has to use photos for her suggestions. Sarah maintains that one has to have a good fitting bodice before one has a good fitting sleeve. That makes sense and probably is a major factor in my sleeve problems. Once I get muslins that fit (pleassssse), I'll post photos along with photos of my earlier attempts.

So, what do I do when I get really frustrated with muslins (having major fits!)? Well, I did stop and cut out a pair of pants. I didn't want to get back to sewing the sweater knit cardigan because I wouldn't want to stop. That worked pretty well. Then, I started having more fits on Cyber Monday. I made it through the Thanksgiving weekend fabric sales without buying anything. Unfortunately, (according to DH) or, fortunately, (according to my wardrobe plans), Fashionista Fabrics and GorgeousFabrics were having incredible sales. I was not strong enough to turn off the computer. I love what I bought!! I'll see if I can get some good photos and show you. If you are not familiar with these sites and want some eye candy, go check on what they have. Both companies have reasonable prices for high quality fabric. Now, I must get those muslins to fit! I don't want to ruin these fabrics!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Red for SWAP

These pants are S4275, made from red cotton twill. They are the second completed item for the SWAP contest (sew-along for me). So far, I'm up to date with my plan to complete a minimum of 2 items per month for the contest. The first item was the brown knit top that I showed in an earlier post. These pants fit and I like them, but I probably won't make them again. I really like the fit and comfort of V1051. I chose this pattern because I wanted to do a lapped zipper. That's my new learning for this garment. Surprisely, the zipper went in very easily. I thought that it would be very difficult and procrastinated doing it. Love those kind of surprises - doesn't happen very often! Here's a picture of the zipper:
Actually, all the lines are straight - just hard to photograph flat.

I imagine that most people who read this blog are familiar with SWAP but maybe not. SWAP is "Sewing with a plan". The idea started with Lynn Cook in Stitches Magazine. This contest is sponsored by Stitcher'sGuild . BTW, that is a great sewing group on aritisanssquare. Membership is necessary but it's free. For this contest, 11 garments are required - sewing occurs between November 1, 2008 and April 30, 2009. The garments include a jacket (can be a cardigan), 6 tops, and 4 bottoms. The jacket must work with all garments and the tops must work with all the bottoms. For me, it's a great way to add to my wardrobe, have garments that can be worn together, and learn new sewing techniques (my own requirement). Here's the fabric that I am using:

Speaking of SWAP, I'd better get busy sewing. It's a new month. Wow! December already!!! I have 2 garments to make this month along with all the Christmas fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I belong to Group #3 of the SewCraftBlog!!!

Yea! I belong to a sewing blog group as of this morning. I heard about the group from Linda. I'm a big joiner. I love the inspiration, encouragement, learning, and friendships from sewing groups. I already know that there are some awesome sewers in this group and other Sew Craft Blog groups. The groups are open to anyone who sews or crafts and wants to share and learn through blogging. To learn more, go to

Thursday, November 20, 2008

McCall Cotton Skirt

Well, I finished the skirt for the cotton contest. As usual, I finished the contest garment - just not by the deadline! At least my wardrobe doesn't care about the deadline. I no longer get concerned about it - just enjoy the encouragement from others participating in the contest and, of course, the finished garment. Here's the skirt:

I know I have a goofy expression. I was instructing DH on using the camera - guess it wasn't one of my "smiling days".

Project Details:

Pattern: McCall 5193

Fabric: 100% organic cotton from NearSeaNaturals. I absolutely love this fabric which was a joy to sew. It barely winkles, drapes well, and is sooooo comfortable.

Notions: 7" zipper, hook & eye, hem tape

Description: flared skirt, lower calf length has waistband and back zipper

I added 5" to the waist as there is hardly any difference between my hips and waist. Next time I make it I will take away 1" from the skirt gores. There was just too much ease putting on the waistband. I shortened the skirt by 8", 2" at the hip area and 6" at the lower area. I normally have to shorten a skirt anyway but this one hung almost to my ankles. I don't wear calf length skirts unless I wear boots (not a frequent thing in Florida) so I did my usual below the knee length. I reduced the flare just a tad. The design of the skirt is 8 gore but the gore sizes are different. I love gore skirts - the different sizes really gave this one a delightful "swing".

The top is the MyLabel T-Shirt made from rayon lycra knit - another very comfortable, soft fabric. (I could sleep in this outfit.) I got it into my head to add darts to the t-shirt to eliminate the folds around the sleeve. I'm still working on this t-shirt fit. The darts aren't quite right and now it is too tight. My friends think that I'm silly to be concerned about the fit of a t-shirt. Well, I wear them a lot and really want a well-fitted t-shirt. This shirt only takes about an hour to make so I plan to make quite a few of them - just vary the neck and trims so I don't get bored.

I've been sewing every minute I can grab (and some when I "should" be doing other things) so I'll have more finished garments to show in the weeks ahead.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Joy of Sewing

At last, I have something in common with Debbie Cook! It's not her amazing ability to fit and sew. No, it's her consideration of alternative titles for a blog post. I had trouble with this one. My alternative titles are:

1. How to Practice Your Use of Not-so-nice Words and Learn New Ones (probably the most accurate)

2. The McCall Vest (boring)

3. Picking the Worst Possible Pattern for Your Body (not something I would encourage)

I decided, finally, to stay positive. After all, I'm learning to sew. Learning new skills are part of the joy of sewing, but sometimes that is painful - especially when there are fitting issues.

All righty: I decided to make the vest from McCall 5193. I keep thinking that this is a Vogue Pattern because the fit was so difficult. Usually, I only have minor issues with McCall (in addition to my standard adjustments which I expect). Fortunately, I knew that I had to make muslin since it is a close fitting vest. Honestly, I think I could have drafted the pattern from scratch a lot faster. That muslin had so many tucks, fabric additions, etc. etc. that there was no way I could transfer all that "stuff" to the pattern. Finally, I got it to fit! I am proud of myself with that. So often, I just give up and go to some other pattern. I had this vest in my head and come h___ or high water I was going to do it. I ended up cutting the vest apart on the seam lines and tracing the muslin pieces on pattern paper. (The muslin fabric was flimsy (a mistake but I thought I might has a wearable muslin. lol). Here's a picture of my work in progress:

On the fabric, the white "thingys" are my fabric weights and the yellow stick dots show the piece and what side. Yes, I had to fit each side separately since I am assymetrical and it REALLY showed with this pattern. After I traced the fabric piece, I added the seam allowance. I'm accustomed to American patterns and didn't want to thread trace my stitching lines. I have cut out the vest and started sewing it. So far, it is going together well. That is the Joy of Sewing: learning new skills and meeting a challenge. I sure hope the sewing continues to go well so I can keep up the positive attitude.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday. You are looking at our refrigerator message board where we write important things like meal plans and stuff that we'd better get done right away. Usually, those things are chores or errands. It's nice just to write a fun message. Below the message board is a close up of the smiley faces drawn by DD and her husband. I smile whenever I look at them. They are a great way to start the day.
It's been a wonderful day so far. I took a class at the local Bernina Center to learn sewing on leather. It's so easy that I can't believe how long I avoided it! Actually, I sewed a pleather fold-over purse that's finished except for sewing on a button. Sewing friends are so much fun!! As for my age, I'll just say that I'm at an age where I'm grateful that I'm healthy, feel good, and can haul my heavy Bernina to class.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Here's the blue embroidered blouse with the sleeves eased from notch to notch. I still don't think it is a very flattering style made in heavier fabric. If I ever made it again (which I doubt), I definitely would use light weight fabric. The capris are Lois Hines Cruise pants. I love the in-seam pockets. It's one of my favorite quick and easy TNTs. The fabric is a tencel/denim - winkle free and one of the most comfortable fabrics I've ever worn. I wish that I could find some more of it. Yes, I know, Tim Gunn, I should never wear capris as they make me look shorter. Sometimes, I had rather be comfortable than look tall. Besides, I wasn't planning on meeting Tim Gunn for a critique or a runway show.
Parting Shot:

This is my youngest DGS and DH playing checkers at Cracker Barrel. Aren't they adorable?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Turtle Progress

I'm back from vacation and, mostly, caught up with all the after-vacation stuff ... the e-mails, the snail mail, bills, laundry, etc. I'm ignoring things like weeds in the yard. This vacation will go on record as the worst yet because DH was sick, coughing day and night and grumpy! Also, he loosened the screw on his glasses. I would have had fun with "he has a loose screw" but decided not to joke with a man who doesn't feel well. My vacation challenge was finding an optician in an area where directions were things like "You know where the old Albertson's was - it's right there". Actually, I did find an Optician - not the one I called but one who could fix it. On the plus side, the condo was super and so was the weather. I went walking everyday on the beach. I finished reading "World Without End" which was long but excellent. Then, I settled into vacation reading of Nora Roberts. One was a romance novel - so boring I can't remember the name. The other was "The Hollow", the second book in a trilogy. It's the typical Nora Roberts: amazing woman finds amazing man and together they fight demons. I enjoyed reading the book - perfect for vacation. I'll read the third book when it's available in December. Sometimes, I like knowing there is a positive ending and the demons are killed or suppressed. I sure wish the world would be like that - soon - I can use some good news on the tele and newspapers.

On the sewing side, I'm progressing at a slow, steady turtle pace. I finished a pair of tencel/denim capris and fixed the blue blouse with the puffy sleeves. I wore them on vacation and got several compliments on the blouse. I'm glad that I made the effort to fix those sleeves. As soon as my photographer stops coughing, I'll get a photo to post. Also, I just need to hem the Vogue 4076 blouse that I made from the deco dress fabric. It looks a lot better than the dress. I want to use my new coverstitch machine for the hem. I just haven't made the time to play with the machine that is still sitting in the box (sad!). I purchased it on sale at a good price, knowing I might not get to play with it for a while.
Mr. Postman brought me this brown and natural organic cotton while I was on vacation. It's another sale item, of course. It's still pricey but excellent quality with a good drape. The stash light-weight cotton twill goes with it perfectly. I plan to do some kind of tailored blouse with it. That means the vest needs to stay opened. Right now, I think that it would look better if I didn't do buttons. We'll see once I decide on the blouse pattern. Here's the M5193 pattern for the vest and skirt:
I plan to use the brown blouse fabric for piping around the vest. I've done piping on a pillow but this will be new learning with the corners on the vest. I've checked Kenneth King's "Cool Tricks". I hope that he rescues me!!

Parting Shot:
This is my fabric consultant, Harry, in the afternoon sun-a dailey ritual. Since he is a white cat, he prefers black fabric (leaving white hair to mark his spot). Since I've been home, he paws and kisses my face numerous times during the night. That interupts my sleep but I have a hard time fussing at him when he's being so loving. I believe he missed me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

August Mini Wardrobe Complete!

Oops, it's already October. I can believe how fast time goes! I did finish the wardrobe in September, but didn't get around to posting. It's much too late to show the entire wardrobe together (The white skirt and jacket will be wonderful next summer, but not right now.) Anyway, I finished a pair of beige pull-on pants to wear with the blouse. I used the MyLabel pattern and added side pockets from LH Cruise Pants. I can wear both of these items for the next couple of months here in Florida.

The pants fit great (love My Label for pants!). The hem on the blouse is level when I wear it and the sleeves on the same length. My right side is just lower than the left. DH is so busy now that I don't want to wait for photos wearing the garments. Here's a review of the blouse:


Pattern Description:

Loose-fitting, yoked, 3/4 length sleeve. There are various other sleeve lengths.

Pattern Sizing:

6-14 I made size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

It looked similar, but the sleeves were different.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the yoke front with gathers that do not look like maternity wear. I disliked the sleeves. These sleeves are too puffy for me.

Fabric Used:

linen for the yoke and light weight rayon for the blouse

Pattern Alterations or any design changes that you made:

I did a lot of alterations for this pattern. Most of the alterations were ones I typically make.

I inserted the sleeve with ease from the notch to notch rather than higher at the dots as instructed in the pattern. That works okay for this light weight fabric but still has too much ease for heavier weight fabric. (I made another one in embroidered cotton.) Also, I reduced the width of the sleeves by an inch. When easing, I sew 2 rows of 2.5 length stitches (rather than basting) and pull the bobbin thread to gather. I can control the ease much easier that way. Other adjustments were a slight FBA on the right side, lowered the right side by 1/2", my typical sway back adjustment, and shortened the length by 2". I stitched on the sleeves and then sewed the side seams and sleeves at one time which I find much easier. Although the pattern didn't state it in the instructions, I understitched the yoke at the neck edge.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I probably won't sew this pattern again. If I do, I will reduce the sleeve ease. I might use the yoke in another pattern but I doubt it. There are too many patterns out there that I want to try. I do recommend it to anyone who looks at the pattern carefully and likes the puffy sleeves. It probably would be a good pattern for someone much younger than I am.


This is an easy to sew pattern with a well designed yoke. With the very puffy sleeves, it probably is more suitable for teenagers or someone in their twenties.

Well, I'm off to finish packing and straighten the house a bit. We're leaving for Ft. Myers tomorrow for a week of R&R. In the sewing department, I have a few things that I'm finishing up (including the blouse from the Deco Dress fabric) and, then, I'll work on another contest that I entered. Yes, I know that I never finish a contest on time but I do finish them later. Maybe this time I'll meet the deadline. lol

Parting Shot:

Yes, Judyl, the water from Fay finally drained away and, fortunately, we did not get much rain from the following hurricanes. This picture was taken a few days ago. I can walk on the grass although it is a bit soggy. I do miss seeing the ducks.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Saga of the HP Cosmo Dress

Here's the finished dress - well, finished except for the hems. I was sooo excited about making this dress. It's just too bad that it looks awful on me. I would never wear it. I even tried on the muslin again to check if I just missed something. It looked okay but not great. I thought the problem was just ugly fabric. The muslin was a dark brown jersey which didn't make me look as heavy as this lighter colored dress. As DH said, this dress is not one of my finer moments. Part of the problem was not enough fabric in the blue print to make the dress. I spent an afternoon trying different combinations and just could not quite make it. What a bummer! I think the dress would have been wearable in one fabric. That is history, unfortunately. I searched my stash and found a white knit that worked well with the blue print. Actually, things went along pretty well until I sewed the side seams and tried it on for hemming. I looked awful and would never wear the dress. Then, I had to decide. I could make it a wadder (the trash can looked pretty good right them), finish it and take it to Goodwill for someone to wear, or make a blouse out of the skirt fabric. I finally decided on the third option and V4076 is in process. Wow! I almost bowed out of labor day activities to stay in my sewing room and finish the dress in time for the Mini Wardrobe Contest. Okay, I thought about it for about 2 minutes.
Since I last posted, life has been beyond chaotic. I have finished (except for hemming) a pair of brown rayon pullon pants which works well with the other 3 garments in my mini wardrobe. I am determined to finish the wardrobe although the deadline is long past. Also, I'm working on a white jersey top from V4076 (sewing it assembly line method with the blue print). I'm leaving for Philadelphia tomorrow to spend a long weekend with my daughter, her husband, and 3 German Shepherds. I am more than ready to get away and this trip promises to be fun (although not sewing related -- I need a break!) When I get back, I am hoping to get these projects finished and post pictures --- of some things that I can wear!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Simplicity 2938 - Jacket

Project Details:

Pattern: Simplicity 2938

Fabric: 100% Tencel from Sewing Studio

Notion: 1 inch double fold bias tape

Description: Loose fitting, unlined jacket with raglan sleeves

This is my first completed item for the Mini-Wardrobe contest. Actually, I have the matching skirt completed except for the hem (on the agenda today!). Both the blouse and dress are about 1/3 finished. Yep, I'm cutting it very close. Will I finish by midnight Sunday? I'm going to try my best. If I don't have any major problems or unexpected events (like a Tropical Storm coming through), I probably will be done.

I like this jacket a lot and so does DH. He caught me trying it on and had lots of complimnets. I'll make this one again for Spring and Summer. It will be great to wear in those chilly restaurants. I used a lighter weight fabric than suggested. I simply have to use some stash fabric. I've had the tencel for a couple of years. With a cotton batiste underlining, it worked fine. Since I'll be taking it on and off frequently, I didn't want serged seams. The bound seams did the trick, but I plan to try french seams next time. I tried many different buttons and, finally, decided not to use any of them. If I want to dress it up a bit, I plan to use a decorative pin. I shortened the jacket 2 inches and another 1 inch in the back (not sure why it was longer in the back, but it just looked sloppy). That was the only alteration I made. Usually, I have a laundry list of changes, but this is one of the advantages of a loose fitting garment.

Parting Shot:

This picture of the backyard was taken on Sunday (2 days after Faye had left the area). Our property line ends at the grass at the back of the picture. We did have a "bit" of flooding. If you look closely, you can see the 3 ducks taking a swim in our yard lake. I'm glad that "lady" has left our area although we still have flooding. In some areas near the St John's River (about 20 miles from us), it is bad. I am grateful that our only problems are lost sewing time and a slightly warped boat dock. DH is unhappy about the latter problem

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slow Progress

At least there is some progress. The picture above shows my current WIP. I am a mood sewer (sew whatever I am in the mood to sew for the day rather than finished one project and moving on). This week I was really in the mood to finish my dress and jacket for the mini wardrobe "contest". With Faye coming, I figured I'd better get a number of garments prepared for work in case we lost electricity. That's my excuse for having all these projects started and I am sticking to it!!! We haven't lost electricity although Faye is not out of the way yet. We've had steady, heavy rain. There is a pretty large lake in the view from my sewing room today. Most of the garments above are for the mini wardrobe: a print blouse, white skirt, white jacket and the top of the dress trimmed to make the skirt of the dress. There is a pair of brown pants that I need for run-around time. I started thinking that my wardrobe is not the greatest wardrobe need that I have. I really need shorts, capis, and tops to wear everyday. Yet, I know the dressier wardrobe won't get done unless there is a deadline. When I have a need for something dressy, I usually don't have time to make it! I'm off to work on the jacket. It's the closest to being finished and I'm in the mood to finish something. We'll see how long that lasts!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crying the Blues

Well, I didn't cry but I did scream a few choice words that I'd best not repeat here. Last week I decided to finish up some almost-done projects before starting on the Mini Wardrobe. First up, I just needed to hem a teal blue skirt - easy, huh? I pinned the hem, tried it on, and all looked good. Yea -- until I took off the skirt. The zipper head (or whatever you call the thingy that zips up and down) came flying off. There was no way I could get that thingy back on track. That means ripping out the zipper and replacing it - no longer a quick finish-up skirt. Moving along, I have blue embroidered blouse that needed the sleeves attached and hemmed. It is S2891. The sleeves are really puffy on top. I looked like a cross between a girl playing grown up and someone from a vampire movie. DH came in while I was trying it on and gave me one of his extremely disgusting looks. (Why doesn't he come into the sewing room when I try on something that looks good? I do have one of those occasionally.) Here's the blouse:

Actually, it looks better on the hanger than it does on me. There is no way I would model it on this blog. On me, the sleeves hang straight down. I really like the yoke and the fabric although blue is not my best color. The instructions state that the sleeve is eased between dots and the finished sleeve does look like the pattern envelope. I should have known!! Now, I have to rip the sleeves and ease it the normal way - between notches or finish it for the goodwill bag. Right now, the trash bin is looking pretty good, but it is definitely back to UFO status.

All right, time to start on the mini wardrobe. I did change the blue linen jacket to B5143 that I thought would look better with the cosmo dress.

I cut it out and just could not get motivated to fuse the interfacing on the collar and facings. I kept thinking something was wrong. I checked my cut pieces: They looked fine and on grain. Finally, it dawned on me. That beautiful 100% linen is just too heavy for the dress. So, I went with a white tencel jacket, S2938, that was originally planned for the June Capsule Contest and never got started. White is good. The wardrobe mojo is back. I'm about half finished with the jacket. Hopefully, I can post the finished jacket soon!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mini Wardrobe 8/08

Here's my wardrobe plan for the Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest! I actually got it uploaded!! Now all I have to do is finish sewing it, take photos, and post it by August 31!!! Hey, compared to learning to use Adobe, that should be easy (lol). The contest requires 4 different outfits. Mine are:
1. Dress
2. Dress + jacket
3. Pants + blouse
4. Pants + jacket

Now that I have gotten this far, I am thinking about changing the jacket. This boxy jacket doesn't quite have the "flow" that goes with my frolic theme. I'm thinking about using B5143, View A . I'll have to think about that!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Dancing Day

Yesterday, I was dancing in my sewing room. Fortunately, DH Richard was absorbed in the Sunday paper and had no idea what I was doing. Now, what could be the cause of such joy? There were several things. First, the coat muslin finally fit without so many pull winkles that it looked like I slept in it. I let out a seam here and there and eventually it hung straight, seams in line, and all those wonderful things. Many thanks to NancyK and Mary OK who gave me the winning ideas for fixing it! Of course, the collar and sleeves weren't in yet but, hey, I'm making good progress. This afternoon I put the collar in. This was not a dancing day. I had clipped the neck seams and had all those big seam allowances. In the future, I betya I'll sew that collar in first rather than clipping the neck line and pressing it under first to check the neckline. Frankly, I'd rather rip collar basting if I have to adjust the neckline. Usually, I dread set-in sleeves, but I actually enjoyed doing anything other than trying to sew a collar/band on a lapel! It should be much easier with normal seam allowances when I do the real thing. O.K., back to yesterday and happier times. The second cause of joy was my Hot Pattern Cosmo Dress. The bodice muslin actually fit with only the flat pattern adjustments I did ahead of time. I thought I'd be working on it for Summer 2009. Take a look:

Now, I know the fabric is ugly, but it is a muslin. Poor Dolly is still wearing my old T Shirt from the day that I made her. BTW, she is crooked because I am, but not as much as the day of her birth. I've been working on my posture through Chi Walking. There was 1 inch difference when I made her. Now there is about 3/8" between sides. Now, that makes a lot of difference with fitting. That difference is the reason one side hangs a bit on Dolly. One of these days I'll have to fix her and make a new cover-outfit for her. There is a third reason for yesterday's dancing. I'd been itching to enter the Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Contest. I just love participating in contests. Of course, I might as well be on a different sewing planet from the winners, but I love the sewing spirit that happens. Yep, I never seem to finish the wardrobes but I do get a lot more sewing done. Anyway, I was thinking that the Cosmo Dress could be an item in the wardrobe. I hopped on the internet and signed up for the contest. Then, reality set in. I have to have 3 garmets that go with the Cosmo Dress's mod floral print. Oh boy! There is a reason to have a stash! I have a piece of linen that is a perfect color match. Also, I have a floral crepe in the same shades of blue. That print has brown in it which is crying for a pair of brown pants. Naturally, I have brown pants fabric in my stash. I know that is a lot of "floral" but they are similar prints and look like they belong in the same closet. Never mind that I said no more contests until I learned how to do a storyboard. The storyboard will come after the coat sleeves are finished! Ahh... the joys of sewing!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Coat Muslin Burda 7855

Right Side

Obviously, this muslin needs work before I add the sleeves and collar. There is a half inch difference between my left and right side so that part is not my sewing. The left shoulder is lower and the right side is one half inch wider from the center. I'll appreciate any suggestions to get rid of those winkles. Thanks!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tailoring Traditional and Contemporary Techniques

Thanks to Marji I discovered this book. I was working on my white jacket (Yep, the one from the not-quite-finished June Capsule Contest) and decided to do Hong Kong Seam Finishes. Since I'm not trying to finish it in a day, I decided to finish the inside properly. None of the books that I checked had clear instructions that I could follow. I bought this book to use while making my coat and never dreamed I would use it for something simple. Well, I was wrong! The instructions were great and even understandable to me. I looked through the book and discovered that I had purchased a treasure. It's OOP but still available from Maybe I've outgrown some of those real beginner books or maybe some of the earlier authors really knew how to teach and write. I believe that I've made a discovery: tailoring often means good attention to detail and not just something for the experts to do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


These are the pants that gave me such a fit while working on the June Capsule Contest. Well, the fit was fine (excellent actually), but the sewing was a challenge. If you want to see these pant well made, check out Erica's blog. I adapted the MyLabel flared pants which was an easy process. I traced the ML pants and back pattern pieces, copied the Vogue waistband and pant tops on the tracings, cut them apart, and added 5/8" seam allowances. I used this pattern to get some practice with the fly front which I had only done once. The instructions for this part were excellent. I only had one section to rip and that was because I was not paying attention. I elimated the front pockets. Gee, if I added a half circle under them I would have had a big fat smiley face on the front of my pants. At least I thought I would. The back pockets were big headaches. I really struggled there as I had trouble following the instructions. It's probably my lack of experience and certainly was a time consuming learning process. As I was finishing, I was thinking of throwing this pattern in the closest trash bin. Then, I tried them on for hemming. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever owned. I've worn them out for dinner- still comfortable. Now that I started wearing them, those front pockets should work as long as they are made in the same fabric. I definitely will make another pair for the Fall. Maybe those pockets will be easier next time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

June in July

I almost finished the June capsule. Actually, three garments and the purse were finished early Monday morning, June 30. I could have added a purchased blouse and submitted photos. The photo shoot was easy but the thought of struggling through the composite of photos was daunting. That should be easy with Adobe Elements, but I take forever (okay, several hours) to complete one. Since I really don't need any more gray hairs, I decided to wait for my instructional DVD. I'll master this composite process before I enter another contest. Certainly, I am not competitive in contests with so many talented and creative seamstresses out there. My prizes are the clothes I make to wear. So, I have some prizes!Pants: V1051 (modified) Cotton/lycra twill
Blouse: S3887 Silk garbardine
Purse: Lazy Girl Designs #120 Cotton fat quarters
Skirt: B5190 poly knit (shown in last post)

Each piece has a story of beginner "learning experiences".

Blouse: This pattern was an easy fit (no adjustments) and quick sew. It only took an afternoon to sew. That's pretty amazing since I have to think a lot as I'm sewing. I needed something quick since my muslin for the original planned blouse was a mess. I think I can fix it but knew another muslin would be required. Even without the contest deadline looming, I wanted a blouse I could wear before the end of summer. That muslin is in the UFO pile waiting for a day when I need a real challenge and feel patient. I did make a tie for this blouse this week. It looks a lot better. If I make it again, I'll bring the neckline in closer to my neck. The blouse is wearable, but the top is too close to falling off for my liking. I did add topstitching and a decorative stitch in orange to tie in the yellow/orange theme.

The Purse: I wanted to learn how to make a fringe to add to a Fall jacket. The fringe I added to the purse was much easier than I thought. It just involved cutting sections of a strip of fabric to the selvage and pulling threads. The problem occurred because I added 1 and 1/4 inch to allow for seams. That's fine but I added and cut apart the width rather than the length. So... I have a shorter length and wider width than the pattern. Of course that meant remeasuring the lining and patterns. I am skilled at making simple things difficult. At any rate, I do like my adaption of the pattern as the wider width fits my wallet and is just high enough.

The pants were my big challenge. I'll talk about them in another post. Tomorrow I play at the beach with my children and granchildren. Then, this weekend I'll start work on my coat muslin and maybe the white jacket that goes with this outfit (when I need a break from fitting). Happy Independence Day!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

B5190 Knit Skirt

I finally finished one garment for the June Capsule Contest. This is a knit skirt made with yellow, orange, white, and brown polyester knit from Gorgeous Fabric. The pattern was easy fit and easy sew. The waist of the pants was fitted using the My Label pullon pants. The fitting couldn't have been easier which is a nice change for me. I did have my share of beginner problems. Of course, I had one yard of fabric, the pattern required 2 yards, and there was a pattern that had to be matched. I have to make everything challenging! I considered changing to a top but I planned the mini wardrobe around this skirt. I made a yoke from the skirt pattern and used 3/8" seams rather than the suggested 5/8". Then I spent considerable time matching the pattern. I managed to cut out the skirt with scraps the size of a postage stamp! I wasn't sure all this would work but it did. I love the skirt which will go with tops in the colors that I usually wear. I also was uncertain about using polyester knit but this fabric worked beautifully. The sewing was a dream! Hopefully, the fabric will wear well. BTW, I did not make that poorly fitted blouse. It's much too tight for my comfort. You can see my motivation for struggling through this learning-to-sew process.
I did finish the computer storyboard for the wardrobe. At least, I thought I did, but it won't upload. I will figure that out eventually. Right now, I have to get back to sewing. I may be able to finish the garments by the June 30 deadline if I don't run into too many unexpected problems (lol). Today, I plan to finish the pants (another story) and finish cutting out the jacket (a simple one -- sure!). The blouse is cut out and the purse half finished.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New and Old Toys

Well, I'm behind on my sewing schedule. I'm not surprised because I always plan more than I can do. Last week, I tried to figure out the reason I'm so behind. There are always chores and unexpected events. Still, I love to sew, want to sew but very little of it is happening. Sure, I could spend less time on the computer and do need a little more discipline there. But..... I do spend a lot of time at the ironing board with DH's shirts and, especially, his chef's uniforms now that he is going to cooking school. Of course, he doesn't worry about it a lot. I'm the one who hates to see him leave the house looking like he slept in his clothes. Cotton and silk clothes just need pressing even though we hang them as they come out of the dryer. I try not to complain very much but I did mention this problem to a friend. She suggesting a steamer. Wow! I need to discuss my issues with others more often! It won't work for everything but is great for jackets and those touch-ups!! Here is my new toy - a Rowenta Pro Steamer.

In back of the steamer, you can see my ironing board with an old toy. I'm using my big board to press my coat wool. I bought a cover for it with a grid to check that the fabric is on grain. I used it a lot when I was making quilts and just thought of using it for garments. BTW, you can see the corner of the Pinwheel Quilt that I made several years ago.
Another of my "new toys" is the Adobe Elements Program. I'm not very happy playing with that one right now. I've spent 3 days (off and on) trying to put together a storyboard for the JCC (June Capsule Contest). I sure wish the instructions were more basic like open a new page and highlight the pictures you want to use. The help menu caused me problems because the focus was on fancy applications (great for later) and seem to skip the basics for tech newbies. I think I finished the storyboard today, but the computer crashed when I tried to print it. Yes, I saved the page (I'm not that new at using technology!). Hopefully, I'll have it on the blog by the end of this week.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coat 2

Well, I've figured out how to get Vogue Patterns uploaded. This is a coat that I would like to make sometime - maybe this Fall. I bought my Burda pattern from but, apparently, the site won't let anyone upload pictures. At least that's what my error message said. So, the problem may not be me. Geez, it's confusing for tech newbies.

In case anyone noticed that my header picture is not smaller, I did figure out how to do that as I promised. I just didn't like the way it looked when the picture was so small. So, it's going to stay the way it is for now. I've got sewing to do along with all this techie stuff.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Coat Whoppee! Yahoo!!

This summer I'm making a coat along with almost 100 other people with the Great Coat Sew Along. It's an internet learn, sew, and share project organized by Marji. Today Mr.Postman delivered the coat fabric and muslin for coat fitting. He just smiled at me (knowing my fabric addiction) and didn't say anything. That's quite different from DH who typically yells "MORE FABRIC". I finally figured out why I am soooo excited about making this coat. When I was running, I never felt like I was a Runner until I finished a marathon. Now that I'm garment sewing, I won't feel like seamstress (or whatever the term is for the talented, creative people whose blogs I stalk regularly) until I make a coat. Here's my fabric:

The brown is wool flannel from Denver Fabrics and the muslin is from PerfectProductsonline. Now I'll admit it doesn't look all that exciting and, normally, I wouldn't take a picture of muslin. Hey, this is my first coat and I need to keep everything easy to sew. I'll have enough challenges with the tailoring involved! With the exception of a few other newbies to coat sewing, I don't think anyone is more excited about their coat fabric than I am. Of course, I have seen some gorgeous fabrics and plans that the experts are making. I'm honored to be sewing with them. Now I'll see if I can copy my coat pattern from the internet (lots of new tech learning going on!) Well, the chef (DH) almost has dinner ready (don't get too jealous, I have clean up duty) and my attempts are not working. I'll have to work on that one. Anyway, my pattern is Burda 7855, View A.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May Planning Brings June Sewing

May has been a planning month with very little sewing. This summer I took a look at what I need the most and actually prioritized my sewing. Now all I have to do is follow the plan and try not to get distracted by new ideas (lol). First on the agenda is the June Capsule Contest (sew along for me) that is sponsored by Elizabeth on StichersGuild. The rules are to make four garments and one accessory from June 1 to June 30. There cannot be any black items and one item can be purchased or made before June. Here are my fabrics for the "contest":
So far, I've got the patterns ready for 4 items. The yellow blouse is giving me some fitting problems (I'll keep the nasty words off this blog.). I'm working on a muslin and, hopefully, can get that ready soon. I have cut out the orange pants. At least one item is ready to go! Next week's sewing is a purse which is the small yellow and orange piece although the orange doesn't show very well in the picture. I figure I'll get one fairly easy item done first to encourage myself. My computer challenge is a story board to show the fabrics and patterns together. I think I know how to do that but we'll see!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blog Awe

There are so many awesome sewing blogs that I stalk regularly. I learn from them, get many ideas, and feel a sense of community. I hesitated doing my own blog for a while because I am such a beginner. Obviously, I changed my mind. There may be other beginners who can learn from my struggles and mistakes. Although I use purchased patterns, I do much of my work from Bernina's My Label Software program. I only know of one other blogger Robyn who uses this program although I'm sure there are others. My computer skills are not that great but I am learning. I will figure out how to make the "view from my window" smaller. Mostly, I started to feel like I did in high school when I wanted to join a sorority. I wanted to belong, but wasn't sure that I would be accepted. I'm a lot older now and there is no "rush" to start a blog. So, I'll just have to do the blog for my own record and encouragement -- I'm more likely to get things done if I have to "report". If others visit me and benefit, that will be the icing on the cake.