Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The First White Shirt: Ottobre 05-2010-5

The pattern is almost altered for Ottobre 05-2010-5, view B. The front and back are pattern fitted. As soon as I check the sleeves for fit, I'll be ready to cut. Here are my "pre-game notes".
1. Why did you choose this pattern?
I like the yoke and the pleats on the front and back. I wanted a tailored shirt with some minor design elements.
2. Where will you wear this?
I'll be able to wear this blouse most anywhere I go. Mostly, I'll wear it with jeans for errands and family outings. It can be worn with dressy pants and a jacket for evenings on the town. Depending on my mood, I can wear it with a skirt for a dressier look.
3. Why did you choose this fabric for this pattern?
I have some white shirting with light gray stripes. It came from Timmel's Fabrics, now out of business, so it has been aging in my stash for several years. I've seen several shirts with stripes on the blogs. I like the look and would like to try it.
4. What aspects of construction are you looking forward to as you sew this?
I actually am excited about sewing the collar and stand. I've only done that once, over a year ago. I used Pam's tutorial with success. It took me forever! I'll aiming for "practice makes perfect"! I've never made a sleeve placket. Although the pattern just uses a narrow seam for the sleeve slit, I'd like to add a placket. I'm looking forward to it. Am I sick or what?
5. What aspects of construction worry you? What do you think you might mess up?
The construction doesn't worry me. Maybe it should, but I just kind of jump into things. My biggest concern is fit. The one Ottobre knit top that I made was a fit disaster. That's why I spent so much time with the pattern work. I'm seeing rulers and bust points in my sleep! Hopefully, I've worked most of it out on paper. Me? Mess Up? I'm think positively right now. I'll let you know!
6. Are there any instruction in this pattern that you have alreay decided to disregard? Are you substituting another method and if so what will it be?
I've read through the instructions which are limited. I've decided to disregard them. I know how to do the basic sewing. For the collar and stand, I probably will use Pam's method. I'm considering using Gigi's method to try another approach. For the sleeve placket, I'll follow Dave Coffin's book.
The plan is to start sewing this weekend and get as far as I can. I do have a couple of quick projects that I need to finish first.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet Roxy

Roxy will be joining our family on November 16. She is a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and is looking forward to spending time in my sewing room! BTW, she comes from Orlando, Florida and has never been to Chicago. Yet, she already knows how to put on a show!!

Burda Style Magazine 04-2010-125

I finally finished my red skirt this weekend and wore it Saturday night. As I was finishing some handwork Saturday afternoon, I felt like I was on Project Runway. The bow was doing some big time flopping around. No, I didn't glue it although I'll admit that I was tempted. Burda describes this skirt as : "The posh, slim-cut skirt lends aristocratic superiority to a wearer while a pleated hem flounce and back bow add a delightfully fanciful touch." I don't have any desire for "aristocratic superiority" and didn't feel any. The rest of the description is accurate. I love the skirt.
The pattern did not have any facing. I thought that I could be lazy and sew it per instructions. I've never sewed a lining directly to the top of the skirt. I'll never do it again! The waist was not very stable. I did use a woven wool with some lycra so that could be part of the problem. Often, laziness doesn't pay! I'll go back to using a facing or waistband or, at a minimum, elastic.

I used my skirt sloper for the top of the skirt. I have a high right hip so I always have to make this adjustment. Other than that, I made the skirt without alteration and followed the instructions. Yes, I really was able to understand the instructions -- scarey. I made a straight size 40. If I made it again, I would go with size 38 so that the skirt would be a bit snugger. I didn't consider that the lycra would cause some stretching. (Shame on me!)

I love the flounce and the bow. I think that the back is particularly cute.

Here's a close up of the bow:

I'm working on my shirt pattern and having a fit. Actually I should say that I am not having a fit yet. I've thought about changing patterns, but I am going to be stubborn. I'm determined to make it work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Burda Style Magazine 01/2009/106

As soon as I received this January 2009 issue of Burda Magazine, I traced this pattern. Then, I couldn't seem to find the right fabric. When I discovered this paisley knit from Fashionista Fabrics, I immediately thought of this pattern. I love the blouse so I think that I made the right choice. I probably thought of it because some version of it has appeared in several blogs recently.

I like these sleeves so much! At first, I was afraid of them but they went together easily.

I used Gigi's method of sewing the center panel bottom to the gathered cuff first. Then, I sewed the vertical seams. It worked like a charm. The corners even look pretty good. I'm so thankful that there are so many talented bloggers out there.
I'm working on a red skirt to wear with the top. Then, I'll model the outfit for another post. I need to get that skirt finished this week. As you can see from the top of my blog, I've joined Barbara's white shirt sew-along. I need a white shirt so this is the perfect opportunity to get it done. I want to get going on it so that maybe I can finish it with the group!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sophia Carry-all

I love Amy Butler's Sophia Carry-all. It's small enough that it doesn't overwhelm my small frame, but big enough to carry around my stash of "stuff". The pattern description is: "Inspired by romantic travel films of the eary 60's. Stroll around town with this comfortably sized carry-all." Yep, I've done some "strolling" with my new bag although it is more of a Spring/Summer accessory.The inside is fully lined with pockets on both sides. I wasn't able to get a decent photo after it was finished, but did take one photo while making it. On one side I made two pocket per the pattern. On the other side I made three pockets with one to fit my cell phone.
The instructions are very detailed with lots of pictures to show the sewing steps. It was easy to make and would be a great pattern for someone who is sewing their first purse. Many thanks to Sigrid who sent me the pattern in her giveaway.
This carry-all has been finished for a while. DH has had back problems that are extremely painful. Also, my 15 year old cat, Harry, has been sick. As a result, I've done very little blog reading and even less sewing. DH is feeling much better. The plan is to start doing sewing again!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

DeBubbled Delight

This is Burda Style Magazine 05/2010 #106. The Burda description is "The dotted batiste dress is just right for summer. The balloon effect is achieved by a shorter skirt lining that is attached to the hem edge of the dress. The casing elastic in this seam then gathers or "puffs" the hem edge". When I made the bubble version, I did look like a "balloon" and the "puffs" definitely were there. I have enough "puffs" of my own, thank you Burda. I quickly found the seam ripper and burst the bubble.Overall, I like this revised version a lot. I especially like the final neckline although I needed to do several muslin revisions before I felt comfortable with it. I raised the neckline 1 inch and moved it 5/8 inch closer to the neck. I took 1 inch from the center of the bodice and lengthened it by 1 inch. Also, I did a 1/2 inch petite adjustment. I had to fiddle with the back darts a lot. I can't remember exactly what I did now. I did raise and move them. In the final dress, I reduced the side seam 1/2 inch from top to bottom. Despite the muslin fit, the dress was too big in this fabric. I learned a lot about fitting during the process which required a lot of experimenting, trying again, etc. etc. I do like this more fitted look in the top. The trick for me is getting it to fit and still be comfortable. I'm proud of my end results and learned quite a bit that I believe I can apply to other garments. Also, I was delighted with the fabric match of the back invisible zipper.

The fabric is 100% cotton from Fabric Mart. These pictures were taken after running several errands. Although it was hot and humid, the fabric is barely winkled. Amazing!!
On the down side, I wish that I had paid more attention to fitting the skirt. The full skirt is very comfortable, but it could lose about 3 inches in width to make it more A-line. When Shannon made her version, she changed the skirt to a sheath dress. For me, I don't think that the width needs to be reduced that much, but some reduction in width is definitely needed for de-bubbling.
I enjoyed wearing this dress and know that it will get lots of hot summer wear. It also came close to following Trinny & Susannah's rules for my body type. The square fitted top is recommended for my vase upper body and the slightly (I had too much) flared skirt of my lollipop lower body. Of course, I ignore their "rules" on a regular basis but I like using them to try new garment ideas. I love it when it works!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sophia Carry-all

The very talented Sigrid had a giveaway to celebrate her 400th post (wow!). I won the Amy Butler Sophia Carry-all Pattern.
My dress is hanging in the closet before I hem it later this week. Meanwhile, I've started working on the purse. I don't care for the fabric used for the pattern photo. My main body will be winter white linen with cocoa cording and handles. The lining is a cocoa and white print.

So far, everything is cut out and the cording is ready. It's really more of a purse than a carry-all. It's big enough to carry all my stuff and not too big for my short frame. This project will be the finale of summer sewing. There's still a lot of warm weather ahead in sunny Florida, but I'm ready to start on more transitional Fall sewing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Cool Summer Top

I've wanted to make this S2570 for a while and, finally, got to it. For summer, I usually prefer a brighter color than this pale purple fabric. Also, the fabric is very lightweight so I wasn't sure how it would work. In the beginning, I expected this top to be a muslin.

I am pleased with the result. The pattern is easy is to sew. I increased the seam at the shoulder by 1/2". Next time I'll do a 1/2" petite adjustment which should make the armscye smoother. I should have done a full bust adjustment but didn't. I had to let out the seam around the bust area. The fabric does wrinkle easily which is my only real problem with the blouse. I started taking pictures outside which did not work because of the glare and the humidity. The result of fiddling around with pictures is a crumbled blouse. At the same time, I fit in with the crowd. With a heat index over a hundred, everyone is a bit crumbled. I do like this pattern and definitely will make the blouse again. I also like the jacket which probably go on my sewing list for next Spring. I've got to think ahead! Right now, I'm developing a rather long list for Fall and trying to find time to finish my summer projects.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Excited About a Dish Rag

I've wanted to learn to knit for a long time. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, I finally took a class at JoAnns. Probably, I just needed to spend some time working on the basics. I suppose that this is more of a practice sample than a dish rag. It looks like a dizzy something with a broken heart. The teacher got me started but neither of us could figure out why I kept picking up an extra stitch in some rows. About half way through, the light hit. I was picking up a stitch from the row below at the beginning of the next row. My photo shows where the new knowledge hit! I'm proud that the stiches are reasonably even. Also, I was able to follow a pattern and finish a project (despite the mistakes).I've started another knitting project, a simple shell. I'm amazed that I understand the pattern. So far, have measured for fit. Getting the correct gauge is my next challenge. I now know why people find knitting and crocheting so relaxing. Knitting will never take the place of sewing, but it will find its way on my project lists. I know that I have a lot to learn, but I believe that I can do it. I just have to take it slow and not attempt that complicated top that I love! That top will go on the list sometime in the future.

Life is getting in the way of my sewing, but I'm slowly making progress through my summer list. I've finished a top and will post pictures later this week. I have a Burda dress almost completed after a number of muslins (plus tears and temper tantrums). Learning requires getting through the frustration, right?

I'm off to finish chores and, hopefully get back to that dress later today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thinking About Proportion

I've done more thinking than sewing during the past month. Hopefully, the results of all that "brain work" will be positive in the future. What I have finished, I like for the most part.

This skirt is S2698 and the top is S4275.

The skirt is a Project Runway pattern with options for the yoke and pleated skirt. I used Yoke B and Skirt F. I think that I have a guide for skirt length that seems to work consistently for me. I've tried a number of different methods and the length is usually about mid-knee. This method gives me a slightly longer skirt that I like better. The formula comes from the late Shannon Gifford. I measured from waist to floor using masking tape to hold the tape measurer for an accurate reading. This number is then divided by 5 to get a base number. The base number is then multiplied by 2, 3, and 4 for proportional skirt lengths. My waist to floor measurement is 39, divided by 5 is 7.8. The first length, times 2, is 15.6 which is way too short for me. The second length times 3 is 23.4 which is perfect for me. (Since I get blurry eyed with too many fractions, I just use 23.5 that is easier to measure.) The top is approximately 7.8 inches from the waist. Since I am almost flat in the hip area, there really isn't any "widest part" to consider in the measurement.

I like the square neckline and the flair of the skirt. I also like the slightly more fitted knit top. The outfit is close to the suggestions from Trinny & Susannah for my "vase/lollipop" body type.
I think that the skirt is a bit too wide although it fits. It comes to close to breaking Shannon Gifford's rule of "no skirt should appear wider than its length". While I love the pockets on this skirt, I think that I'll look better in a more streamlined skirt. If I do make the pattern again, I'll use skirt I which has more pleats and should have a narrower appearance. I may just use the pockets on another skirt pattern. The back does not have any pleats and appears more proportional to me.

I needed a pair of functional shorts that I wear to play, tumble, and climb trees. I made Burda 07/09/113. Although they don't fit as well as I would like, they work. I need to take in the waist another inch (Wow! I love the results of that Firm Body Tape). Next time, I'll take in the side seams a little. The pattern was drafted for cuffs which I eliminated. The shorts would appear better if they were more fitted overall. I won't do that. To me, they are an example where function is more important than style. After all, no one is going to notice how I look (other than acting silly) when I'm rolling around on the floor or racing somewhere. The length of the shorts is my 2/5 skirt measurement (15.5). It works for me for shorts. I think that the top length works for shorts as well as skirts
On another note, I've been reading "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. That has cut into my sewing time because it's a hard book to put down. It's a long book but worth reading. I still have another 200+ pages to go. The reviews say that it will keep you up at night. I read until I'm blurry eyed. Now, I need to get back to sewing. I want to finish a top that I'm making so that I can start on the summer dresses. If I don't get going, it will time for Fall sewing!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fun Skirt

When I wear this S2655 skirt (view B), I feel like twirling around like a little girl. I'm much too old for that, but I do it anyway. I'm all for anything that causes me to feel young!
The pockets took some time to make. Otherwise, it is a simple cotton gored skirt with a flounce.

I considered making the skirt without the pockets. Then, I went back and added them. Although the pockets do not show very well in this print fabric, the added detail makes a positive difference. If you look closely, you can see the tie hanging down from the pocket.

The most difficult part was matching the fabric at the seams. Honestly, I think that it would take about 10 yards of fabric to match the pattern exactly. I'm not going there for a simple skirt. Finally, I just matched the line of the flowers. It's okay for me since the pattern is so busy anyway.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The English Garden Dress

This B5488 dress was finished over a week ago. My biggest problem was getting a photo. Despite our crazy Florida weather, I was determined to "model" it outside in the garden. When there was sunshine, the heat (index 109F) and huminity was so high that my camera screen fogged. Late in the day, there was lightning and/or rain. The possible days were windy. I thought that I had chosen a perfect day. Then, the wind decided to appear at an inappropriate time (for me). The dress tends to ballon with the wind. Maybe, I need to rename this the "billowing dress". Please keep this in mind. I look heavier in picture than I am (ugh!!) and the hem really is even. If you look closely, there is a flower stalk in the lower left corner of the picture. I managed to cut off the other flowers. The butterfly even flew away from the camera! That's enough whining!

Here's a picture on Dolly, without the wind. I think it shows the actual fit of the dress better.

This dress is super easy to sew. It only took an afternoon even with a couple of problems that I experienced.The pleats might cause a bit of a challenge for new sewers, but they are clearly marked on the pattern pieces. I did have a problem with the yoke in this fabric. I changed (means ripped out) the yoke in the same fabric. It didn't look right, looked sloppy, and reminded me of a mumu (a real danger with this pattern if anyone is not into mumus). I was able to find a matching fabric in my stash. Note: A large fabric stash can help with emergencies. Once the yoke was sewed, it looked so lonely that I added a band to the sleeves. BTW, I added about 3 inches to the sleeves. The yoke and band looked just added on (which they were). So, I added topstitching in the darker blue. That helped a lot. The picture of the yoke is blurry but it does show the topstitching. The picture of the sleeve band is clearer.

In the muslin, I made my usual size 12 for the top and tapered out to size 14 for the hips. This pattern has A LOT of ease. I ended up making a straight size 12 for the final dress. The extra ease made a great nightgown!

During the month of May, I actually made 2 nightgowns. Despite the ugly fabric of this one, I love both of them. There will not be any more oversized t-shirts at night!
I do like this dress although I won't say I love it. I won't make it again although I may shorten it and make a top. It's just so hot that I like a looser fitting top in the summer. As for dresses, I definitely will go for more fitted in the future.
I've finished a skirt that I love. This post is long enough for now so I'll post about it later this week.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The English Garden Dress

I love delfiniums. Aren't they pretty? I don't remember seeing these flowers when I was in England, but they look like they belong in an English Garden. Certainly, they typically don't grow in Florida. We grew these from seeds. I guess they adjusted to our crazy weather. We even have some more coming. I hope they make it before the Florida sun scares them away.
This is the fabric that I first saw on Shannon's blog:
When I saw it, I went to the Fabric Mart Site as fast as my fingers could type. It reminded me of the delfiniums. They still had some of the fabric left. (Of course, several other fabrics jumped in my cart to keep it company on the ride to my house.) For some reason, I can't seem to get Fabric Mart e-mails despite multiple requests. I seem to do all right, though, with blog reading and fabric browsing!
I spent a lot of time deciding what pattern to use for this fabric and looked at numerous dress patterns. Finally, I narrowed it down to two. My English Garden Fabric decided it wanted this one (B5488):

Maybe, it was the dress on the model who was wearing a similar fabric. Another fabric started screaming that it wanted to be the other dress pattern. Yes, my fabric makes a lot of noise. Usually, I'm wise to listen to the fabric. I'm not so sure this time. The pattern is an easy one that should have gone together quickly. There weren't any major sewing problems. I'm just not sure that I like it so I kept dragging my feet on finishing it. Finally, I hemmed it today. It's on my ironing board ready for the final press. I'll take pictures when the iron finishes (It's slow sometimes.). Then, I'll decide what to do about it. I definitely love this fabric and really want a dress that I love, too. There may be a remake in my future. It's NOT going in the trash.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Experimental Shorts

I finished M5393 (OOP) shorts last weekend. I didn't have enough fabric to do the large lower pockets. I doubt that they would have looked very good on me anyway, but they would have been functional. While I'm proud of myself for hanging in there until the finish, I was too tired of the shorts to do a blog post. They took a while because I tried several different techniques. One worked well and the rest will be exchanged for my TNT way of doing things.
I wasn't looking for a fitted look because the shorts are for playing at the park with the grandchildren and similar activities. I started with a size 14 (my usual) and cut them down to a size 12. The view from the back shows that they are still a tad too big, but still very wearable. IF I decide to make them again, I'll go to size 10. Wow! Could I have lost 2 sizes? Honestly, I don't think so. These shorts are just exceptionally roomy. Definitely, this "too big" problem is a new one for me. One of my experiments was to try a casing and drawstring waist. Take a look. This will be the last time you'll see a waist like this from me. I generally wear my shirts out rather than tucked in my shorts. The look isn't very good IMHO for this short body. I don't have much of a waist so I think that I look heavier than I am. I'm aiming for the opposite effect: skinnier than I really am (Ah! The dreams of a sewer!) Also, my shirts tend to pull out and look sloppy.

The pattern calls for the use of twill tape through the casting. To me, that looked messy and very home-made. That meant a trip to Jo's to see if I could find something that looked any better. Actually, there was a great sale so I added about $50 of patterns and fabric to my $1.50 cord. Naturally, I left with a big smile! This is the cording that I used. It doesn't look much better in the picture, but believe me, it makes a big difference!

I usually use Sandra Betzina's method for a fly zipper. It works well for me and looks just fine. This time I decided to follow the pattern instructions. BIG mistake!! It took a while because it was new. Also, I kept thinking that the instructions were backward. Hmmm...should have known. I ended up with the topstitching on my right side rather than the left. I guess they meant the "other right" because the instructions clearly said the right side (I did reread them). Also, the zipper wasn't as neat. It could just be me but I'm won't be trying any new fly zipper methods for a while.
Now, I'm finally getting to the reason that I made this pattern in the first place. There is a slanted side pocket. That's about the only thing about the pattern that is right for my body type and it's the only new technique that turned out well for me. At least, I have one technique that I can apply to future sewing. I think that that style pocket works well for me. Thanks to Beangirl I no longer have a gap with this pocket style. She extended the pocket and the pocket lining to the center seam which becomes interfacing for the fly facing. Here's the easy pattern adjustment:
I love how flat the pocket is.

That's all the "experimenting" that I did. Now, I'm back to my know-how-sewing before trying some more experiments. I do believe in trying new things. Sometimes, they work and are great to add to my bag of tricks.
As an aside, I do have a collection of hats that help with the Florida sun. It's not as big as my fabric, pattern, and shoe collections, but it's growing. This purple hat was $2 at Claire's. Shhhh...don't tell anyone that I bought it at a tween shop. It pays to have a small head sometimes.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Absolute Luxury

The SelfishSeamstress would be proud. I made something expensive just for me: a silk nightgown. Of course, DH has cuddling rights but actually it's just down right self indulgent.

I made this Burda 12/2008 #114 nightgown as a dress last year. At the time, I thought that I might want to make it as a nightie. Still, this silk fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics was not purchased for nightgown purposes. Actually, I bought it on a whim to make this Burda pajama set:
I thought this Burda 11/2009 #134 camisole and panties were so cute. I still do. I spent a good bit of time searching for the right lace, bought numerous samples, and never could find the "right" lace. The main problem is that I don't wear baby doll pajamas. Get REAL! I would only admire them from a distance. I haven't worn anything like this to bed since I was 3 years old, if then. I don't remember. Whenever I go looking for a fabric in my stash, I fondle this gorgeous fabric. I just never could think of anything realistic to make from it. This weekend I was playing with my stash because I was bored of working on the M5393 shorts. I was feeling self indulgent and the nightgown was the result. There is still fabric left that may show up as a top one of these days.

Now, back to shorts that I am determined to finish this week without getting into anymore stash mischief.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Playing

I spent Mother's Day at Hollywood Studios with DS2's family. Naturally, I had to make a new outfit to wear. What a great day!! Summer has arrived in Florida so it was plenty hot. I was a bit rumbled by the time we got around to taking pictures. Actually, it's a good test for the wearability (Is that a word?) of outfits.
The pants are Burda 03/09 #117 made with a cotton stretch twill. The top is Vogue 4076 made from cotton jersey. The entire outfit was comfy and great to wear for an active, sunny day. I especially like the top. It was cool and survived the day without a winkle. The pants showed signs of the day. I'm still debating whether I will make them again. There is a side invisible zipper. I started to put it in the back and wish now that I had. Since I've lost 3.5 pounds, the pants are now too big. Wow! I was surprised that little bit could make a difference. I have been working out a lot more so maybe that's the reason. At any rate, I would like to take in the side seams a bit, but I refuse to fiddle with that zipper. The back bag some under the seat. That is a pattern alterative I'm afraid. I'll save the picture in case I decide to work on the pattern in the future. One thing I did learn. I definitely miss pockets for my "play day" garments.
Right now, I'm working on M5393 shorts. They'll fit better I'm sure (lol) and they have pockets.
Have a great sewing weekend!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Exploring the UFO's

Like a lot of sewing beginners, I would often work on a project, get frustrated with it, shove it in a bag, and put in on a shelf. I have several of these projects that have sat aging for a few years. Most of them do fall in the category of "experience" and belong in the wadder bin. There are others that are worth some attention. Last weekend we left for a week at the beach. Before we left, I straightened my rather messy sewing room. I looked at that UFO shelf for some reason unknown to me. I think a couple of those old projects were screaming to me. The first is this blouse.
It's at least two years old. I bought the fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics and love it. Originally, it was the HP Deco Vibe Dress which looked awful on me. It could have been the sewing, but it certainly didn't work for whatever reason. I spent a lot of time cutting the fabric into a blouse. I had to add a back seam to have enough fabric. I must have gotten frustrated with that process and put it away. It was an easy project to finish and perfect to wear with white shorts for vacation. At this point, I have no idea what pattern that I used.
I've been looking for a fabric to wear with the blue twill I bought for this summer. It's sort of a dusty blue and doesn't match any of the many blues that I have in my stash. Well, I now have the top to wear with it and it is finished! That's the fabric under the top in the picture. I guess it was this blue top that was screaming from the shelf.
I'll be sewing my orange capris tomorrow. If the pattern works, there will be a blue pair immediately following!
We had a wonderful, relaxing week at the beach. The water was still too cold for swimming, but the weather was perfect for walks on the beach. The unpacking is done and the laundry is finished. Saturday night is movie/TV night if we don't go out. Tomorrow is a long walk if it isn't raining and, then, off to the sewing room.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Smokin' Play Clothes

My priority in sewing right now is making play clothes: the kind of garments that I like to wear hanging out with family & friends, going to Disney, playing minature golf, etc. This outfit certainly suits that purpose. Although I didn't follow all the "rules" for dressing a vase or lollipop, I love the outfit.

The top is another HP Sunshine Top made from a cotton interlock. I raised the pattern neckline 1 inch and like it a lot better. I don't have a strap problem now, but the girls do make an appearance if I lean over too far. That means that I'll raise the neckline a tad more the next time I make it. Since I'm "supposed" to wear more fitted clothes, I did make a tie belt. I like the look and comfort is not sacrificed at all. With the days getting warmer, I'm not about to wear really fitted clothes in the near future.
The pants are HP Marrakesh Drawstring Pants made from a wonderful cocoa colored linen. I did press the fabric before washing and there is not a major winkling problem. I purchased the fabric from the now-closed Timmel Fabrics so it is a good quality linen. These pants are described, by HP, as "so hot they're smokin'...". I agree although I did make some design changes. The drawstring had to go. If I add anything to my waist, it will be from chocolate, not fabric. I made the waistband flat in the front, but did add elastic to the back to stop a little gaping. According to Trinny & Susannah in "The Body Shape Bible", my vase shape looks better with angled pockets. I decided to do that and sew the pockets on the outside rather than do the pattern's side pockets. I do agree that they look better but I never tuck in my tops. The pockets don't show....dud! I prefer to eliminate pockets on dress pants but like them with my play clothes. Next time (There will be many more next times!) I'll make the pockets as instructed in the pattern.
These pants are a bit big right now, but not enough for me to take them in. Since I made the muslin, I've lost a little under 2 pounds (not a lot). I believe the difference is my regular workouts. Thanks to my Firm Toning Workout tape, I've lost an inch in my waist. Those workouts are beginning to show some results!!
Next up is a pair of capris in an orange fabric that matches the top.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some Easy Sewing

During March, I did some easy sewing while working on tax returns. I was amazed at what I accomplished with only short periods of sewing! This post is my Winter/Fall Finale. Yes, I realize that the middle of April is approaching. Tax season is winding down for me. If there are no last minute crises, I'm done. Also, I finished all of the cold weather sewing projects that were cut. That's a first for me!

The first two pictures are dedicated to two sewing professionals who are fighting cancer. Both of these amazing women have made a huge impact on my sewing.

The skirt is M3830. It's a simple skirt that is great for working on fit. Shannon Gifford worked with me for over a month in her skirt muslin class. I lost count of the number of muslins that I did. I was almost ready to say that my figure isn't suited for a pencil skirt. With her encouragement, I changed my mind. I love the fit, comfort, and look of this skirt. I now have a sloper to use with future skirt, pants, and dresses. I've taken numerous classes from this amazing woman who has made such a positive impact on my sewing. I'm sending strong vibes for her recovery.

The top is my TNT KS3338 without sleeves. I had to do a lot of easing to stop the armholes from gaping. I like the result, but may reduce the size of the armscye next time. Then again, I may not.

This top is another TNT t-shirt. Normally, I wouldn't show a picture of such a simple, easy top. The thing that makes this top amazing to me is the fabric. I purchased it from Ann at GorgeousFabric. Ann is going through 12 weeks of cancer treatment, but still is an active blogger and busy selling her truly gorgeous fabric. I so appreciate having a source for such nice fabric at a reasonable price. Lisa is sewing a garment a week for the 12 weeks to show support for Ann. I'm not able to join her in this project, but I can send wishes for a strong recovery.

This top is B4347 that I've sewed before. This time I made it in Vera Wang polyester knit from This pattern will go into my TNT drawer. I like it.

The sweater is Burda Style Karen Cardigan and is my big disappointment for the month. I purposefully made the picture small, but you can see the problems. The fabric is a sweater knit from EOS. It sewed well and the drape is fantastic. The problems are (1) The reverse side shows on the front and makes it look unfinished. I did an impressive job of serging the curved edges, too. *sigh* (2) The style doesn't suit my body and makes me look heavier. I don't need that! Compare this picture to one at the beginning of the post. In the earlier picture, I'm almost dressed correctly for my vase shaped body. Trinny & Susannah recommend pencil skirts and scoop neck tops/dresses that are fitted under the girls. While the top is not exactly fitted, it's not overly loose either. I'm not sure what the fate of this cardigan will be. I may line it or it may be cut into another garment. I do love the fabric.

In other March activities, this picture shows that Spring has arrived in Central Florida. The little pots are peppers and tomatoes that are ready to be planted in the garden. The front garden is weeded and mulched. My manicure is ruined, but the yard is looking a lot better. This winter was the coldest one in the recorded DeLand, Florida history. I could have told them that!

I need to hem a pair of pants to complete my first "Dressing a Lollipop Vase" project. I'll have more on that soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to Dress a Lollipop Vase

Actually, the title of this post is a question that I'm asking myself. Belinda mentioned a book by Trinny & Susannah, TheBodyShapeBible. I was intrigued by the book because she said that various shapes are described rather than only the typical pear, triangle, square, and hour glass.

Naturally, there was not an exact description of my body. I am closest to a vase and have aspects of the lollipop. I've read a lot of books about what you should wear for your body. Too often, I fix one problem and create two problems. The "aha" that I had reading the book was related to fit. Too many times, I think that I have a fit problem when I have more of a style problem. The vase is described as having "big tits, gently curving longer waist, hips equal tits, slim thighs and legs". I fit that description except that my waist is average and too close to the girls. The lollipop is described as "big tits, slight waist, slim hips, long legs". I'm half a lollipop. My waist is anything but "slight" and my hips are fine but definitely not "slim". I guess that I am a Lollipop Vase. Gee, that does "wonders" for my self image.

My plan is to use the relevant aspects of both body shapes when I plan my Spring wardrobe. We'll see how it goes after I finish tax returns, finish a cardigan in process, and check out a top muslin.