Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dawdle or Surge

My sewing and blogging is going at a dawdle pace. That pace is like my dog, Roxy, when I call her to come into the house. That's the pace where she swings her hips from side to side as she slowly moves one foot forward. She moves more to the side than forward as she looks up with big brown eyes that say, "Do I have to?". I'd like my sewing and blogging to be at a surge pace. That's the pace when Roxy sees her favorite neighbor. That dog can move faster than lightening. She's licking his hands before I can see where she is. I'd like my sewing to be going at the surge pace. Certainly, my mind is ticking at that pace with lots of ideas for Fall. Unfortunately, my sewing is dawdling. I got a few garments made in September, but feel like I moved more to the side (looking at lots of new ideas) than forward (actually sewing garments).

In September, I decided to celebrate National Sewing Month by exploring ways to improve my sewing skills. I reviewed a number of books, watched online webcasts, and watched DVDs in my stash. The highlight of this educational experience was the webcasts by Cynthia Guffey. She has webcasts on Seven Core Sewing Skills, How to Fit a Jacket, and How to Fit a Skirt. All three are excellent. I plan to use a lot of the information in the near future. The webcasts can be found on Daily Craft TV. The cost is only $9.99 each for unlimited viewing. The DVDs I watched were from Silhouette Patterns. The regular price is $29.99 each, but there often are special offers at a reduced price. The ones that I watched and will use this Fall/Winter are: Just Jeans, Leather is for Every Body, and Factory Tips & Techniques-2. Of course, I watched the Silhouette Webcasts as I do faithfully. They are full of helpful information and ideas. These are free and available through the Silhouette website.

I also spent a week at the beach in September. I got lots of wear and compliments from the 3 garments that I did manage to complete. Here they are:

This maxi dress is Silhouette 4000, a swing dress. I had to increase the size of the darts 3/4" to keep the dress from puffing out at the front like a maternity dress. Once I fixed that problem, I liked the fit. The back has a center back seam which gives the dress enough shape to keep it from looking like a tent. I took a picture of the back, but it looks exactly like the front. The seam doesn't show on a photo of this black dress. It is comfortable and casual enough for dinner at Florida restaurants.

This is the the maxi skirt that I wasn't sure that I would ever wear again. I thought it made me look too large. Apparently, that's not a big problem since I continue to receive positive comments. It certainly is comfortable and suitable for lots of evenings out.
My running/walking shorts got lots of use for walks on the beach. The water was beautiful to see and warm enough for swims and body surfing. I used Silhouette yoga pants pattern which I cut shorter.
I like this blouse which still needs hemming. It's made from Silhouette 475, modified to cut on the from fold. Also, I eliminated the collar. To me, the peplum is soft and not too obvious at my hips. There are only 2 problems. First, I can pull it over my head but that stresses the neckline, even with my small head. I know that I have to add an opening in the back or shoulder. Second, this looks like a Spring blouse. I'm ready to sew for Fall so this may get packed away in the UFO section. I do like this modified pattern and will make it again in several versions. In fact, I've altered the pattern by lowering the neckline an inch. I don't want to make that too tight neckline mistake again and have to add an opening.

 October is half over so I'd better get busy and, at least, pick up my dawdle pace. Happy sewing to you!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dare I Disagree with Kenneth D. King?

To celebrate National Sewing Month, I've been reviewing books and webcasts with dreams of improving my sewing skills. One of the books I read  is "Cool Couture" by Kenneth D. King. The "Bag of Tricks" included in the book are inspiring. His writing and pictures are clear and many if them WILL be included in my sewing in the near future. Also, he sounds like a really nice man who I'd like to meet. So, what's this disagreement? In the introduction, he states: "I believe it's better to spend a bit more time with a project and achieve something very special, rather than try to save time or money by sewing running shorts and T-shirts." I wonder where he buys his running shorts and T-shirts. Maybe, the selection is better in New York. Most of the ones I see locally and online are made of poor quality fabric, the construction is shameful, and the prices keep getting higher. Of course, the fit is a big issue for me. I live in running shorts and t-shirts. There are no occasions on my calendar that call for a ball gown. Something special for me is a pair of shorts that fit and feel comfortable. Also, my life gets hectic sometimes. I just want to chill in my sewing room with easy sewing. Yes, I love a sewing challenge as those simple things get boring at times. That's the reason that I opened KK's book. Since, I do sew my running and exercise shorts. I'll share the last pair that I made.

I used Silhouette 3400 and shortened the pattern to the length that I wanted. This pair is a little longer than usual, just below the knee. The fabric is a medium weight cotton jersey purchased from Silhouette Patterns. The fabric is so luxuiant (that means a special luxury). I could sleep in these. I especially like the fit. There is no chafing even when I wear them biking. No, KK, I didn't take shortcuts. They are fast to make, but the shorts are exactly what I wanted.

I hope that all of your sewing is exactly what you want. Happy Sewing!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Carolyn's One Hour Skirt

I was looking for a simple pattern to sew for an event. When I saw Carolyn's maxi skirt, I decided to try it. After all, it looked terrific and seemed to be quick and easy. I had the perfect fabric that I purchased from Gorgeous Fabric a while ago. The fabric was easy to sew and worked well for this simple sew. After all, I just had to cut the fabric to length, sew one side seam, add a walking slit, and put elastic at the waist. One hour later, the skirt was finished. I loved it! The top is Silhouette 195 that I made this Spring. I got lots of compliments when I wore this outfit...many more than I ever remember. Then, I saw the pictures. OMG, I look huge. Maybe, I looked thinner when I was in motion. (I rarely stay still.) Maybe, I looked really bad in the past. (I hope not.) Actually, I debated about even posting the pictures. After two weeks of thought, I decided I would. First of all, I want a record of my sewing joys and mishaps. Secondly, we are all learning. That learning only occurs if everyone shares without restricting posts to those wonderfully photographed garments.
This fabric is 60" wide and is just too big for me. There are too many gathers. I may spend another hour and remove some of the width or maybe not. I'll see. The back view was a big surprise to me. It looks like I need a major sway back adjustment. This pattern is a TNT. I never had a problem before so I think those skirt gathers are pushing the top up. After trying the top on without the skirt, I will add a small sway back adjustment. It never showed in the other tops and dresses that I made from this pattern but it does in this light weight jersey.
I have a few other garments to photograph and post. I like them all - sure hope the pictures don't show any surprises! Mainly, I'm trying to step up my sewing skills. After all, it is National Sewing Month. After sewing simple for a while, I'm having fun trying new approaches. Happy Sewing!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cleaning Up My Blog Site

I've started working on cleaning up my blog site. The First thing that I want to do is to add a "Follow Me on Bloglovin" Button. Apparently, I need to claim my blog and post a link before I can do that. So..Here's my request to follow me on BloglovinFollow my blog with Bloglovin">. Hope that this works!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Definition of Sewing Insanity

Why would anyone make a man's tailored dress shirt from cotton gauze? Well, I made that happen and learned about sewing insanity. I wanted to make Silhouette 6012, George's shirt. DH was delighted and liked the pattern. So, I had a good quality cotton sitting on my sewing table. While I was excited about the challenge, I started questioning my ability to actually make this shirt. My mistake #1 was saying my concern out loud. I told my sweetie that if the shirt didn't turn out, he could wear it to work in the garden. His response was he would love a shirt to wear working in the yard. He decided he wanted his shirt in a that light weight crinkly fabric so that it would be cool. My mistake #2 was going to the Mood website and ordering this nice, cool cotton gauze. When it arrived, I loved the soft gauze and thought that it would make a wonderful summer sweater set. DH loved the fabric also and thought that it would be perfect for a summer garden shirt. Mistake #3 was not hearing the words "garden shirt" and continued with my plans for a tailored shirt. The fun began on the cutting table. Cutting little pieces from those lumps in the fabric was just plain crazy to do. Mistake #4 was my own stubborn attitude. I cut and sewed the entire shirt. At the point of the collar, I fully realized my insanity. If anyone can get a nice point on a collar from cotton gauze, I'm opened to suggestions. I doubt that I'll ever try it again!! Anyhow, here's the shirt with the guy wearing it. He's standing in front of his herb garden.
Silhouette 6012

During the "photo shoot", he said that the shirt was too nice to wear in the garden, but he will. That was a wonderful compliment but I wish that I had made the shirt in that nice cotton. Geez, I would have missed all that insanity fun. I do like this pattern and believe that it will make a great shirt in the proper fabric. The only sewing mishap was in the cut-out. I've never made a sleeve placket and cut out the sewing lines. That was one stupid thing to do. Fortunately, I had enough fabric to cut new sleeves (goodbye tank top for me). I followed Peggy Sager's "The Silhouette Man" DVD and actually enjoyed the process of making the shirt. I measured the chest of a shirt that fit DH and used that size without adjustments. I do need to make the shoulders about 1" shorter which should take care of the winkling in the top of the sleeve. The sleeves also need to be about 1" shorter. I left off the top button since he won't be wearing a tie with it (LOL). Also, he wanted the second button left off, but changed his mind after trying on the final product. I may fix that or maybe not. I know that the front placket is not very straight. That is a fabric problem and doesn't show unless someone like me is really looking at it. I will make this shirt again, but not right away. I'd like to make it in a cotton. If I use gauze again, there will definitely be some changes - only a collar stand, no fancy front placket, and roll up sleeves. For the immediate future, I'll be sewing for me!! I've made a number of garments-just have to get pictures.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Definitely Worth Mentioning

In May, I attended the Education of the Textile Arts Expo in Herndon, Virginia. It was great to have an opportunity to talk with so many enthusiatic sewers. I was able to take classes with some amazing sewing teachers like Lyla Messinger, Kathy Ruddy, and Emma Seabrooke. For me, the highlight of the expo was the three classes I took with Pamela Leggett of Pamela's Patterns. I came home with a camisole, undies, and an almost finished slip (had to leave to check out of the hotel or that would have been finished, too). Here are my 3 pieces of lingerie from Pamela's UnMentionables Worth Mentioning Pattern:
I especially like the undies and plan to make a dozen more of these. Yep, I'll have undies to match my knit tops - what a great way to use scraps. They take about 30 minutes to sew on a slow day (which is me on most days). They really do have no visible panty lines, as advertised. I made the high cut undie. These have good coverage which is important to me and still don't show under pants. I like cotton underwear because I live in steaming heat and don't want to wear fancy bikinis. That's about all I can find in my small size unless I special order them. I'm thrilled!! I do plan to make the full cut in the near future so I'll let you know how those are. I love the one undie that I made.

I love the slip, too. Finally, a slip that is short enough. It's almost faster to make a new slip than hem the crap sold at the stores - a lot less expensive to make and with better quality fabric. The slip does fit comfortably snug on my body, without the winkles showing in the flat picture. The sewing time is 30 to 60 minutes. I'll be making more and probably will get fancier - with lace, appliques and a camisole to match.

I'm not sure about the camisole in Pamela's pattern. It is a bit awkward to put on and get lined up probably. I'm sure that I'll get faster. I hope so because I'm usually in a hurry to get dressed and go.

Among the many things that I learned from Pamela (info coming soon as I apply them to garments), is that a great iron makes a big difference. I was using a Rowenta tank iron. It's a good iron. I certainly will keep it as a back up, but it doesn't work as well as the one Pamela sells. It's a Reliable Velocity Sensor iron made in Canada.

When the steam button, with low and high options, is on, the iron gives steady steam just by touching the handle. There also is an option to not turn off after a short period of not using it. I understand that there is a law now that requires the auto shut off. Of course, it has various heat option for diffent types of fabric.The iron is not cheap. I paid close to $200 at Expo pricing. It is worth every penny!

I'm excited just writing about this lingerie pattern. I think that I'll go cut out a pair of pink knit pants to match the top I made last week. This pattern can be addictive!

Happy Sewing!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bloglovin, Of Course

Like most other bloggers, I have registered on bloglovin. You can follow me at
I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow when Google Reader leaves. Hopefully, the dashboard will remain the same. I read blogs from the dashboard. At this point, I have a few problems with Bloglovin. (Maybe, I don't care much for change.) I haven't figured out how to make comments without leaving the site and going to the website of the blogger. I love comments and know most bloggers do. I've limited my computer time and hate spend time going to the actual website to make a comment. Also, I can't see all my followers. I appreciate everyone who follows my blog and would like to read what all of you are doing. I sure wish that blogloving had a place for questions and answers. Maybe these issues are just me. I hope so. If so, I'll figure them out eventually.

Finally, I'm starting to have some time for sewing. My blog posts will increase when I'm able to get pictures. It's the rainy season in "sunny" Florida. When the sun does come out, I use the occasion to work in the yard. Right now, it's just too dreary for any halfway decent pictures. I'll just get back to sewing and create more stuff for blogging when the sun comes out. Maybe it will tomorrow! :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Sewing Conundrum

When my life is busy (like really hectic) and there is no sewing time, I usually buy patterns and fabric. The items are on sale at prices too good to miss (or so my brain tells me). I find my behavior confusing. There are plenty of patterns and fabrics in my stash of goodies. I could spend my limited time sewing a seam or two. Do I do that? No, I spend my time exploring websites! When I'm involved with a sewing project, the sales don't appeal to me most of time...if I even notice them. I'm just too busy working on a project. Anyhow, I did buy some treasures. I'll have lots of fun with them if life allows.

The BVM sales are great. Here's what I bought:
Fabric Mart had a 50% off sale on double knit and ponte. In my defense, that type of fabric is lacking in my stash. I do need some basic wardrobe builder fabric.
Fabric Mart Ponte and double knit

Sawyer Brook only has a few sales during the year. I love their fabric. It's a bit pricey but well worth it.
Sawyer Brook sage silk and print cotton satin

Gorgeous Fabrics has great fabrics at a reasonable price but high shipping costs. There are sales almost every weekend. Most of the time I check the sales when I'm looking for something specific. This time I was looking for sage lace to go with the above pictured silk. When I found it, I had to have it knowing that the colors might not match. The fabric gods were with me and the colors are perfect. Of course, fabric doesn't like to travel alone so I bought a  couple of pieces to go with it.
Gorgeous Fabrics lace, print ponte knit and brown double knit
I did manage to work on the shirt for DH when all the sales (of interest to me) finally ended. I just have buttonholes and buttons to go.

That's all that's going on in my sewing world. Happy sewing!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Since I last posted, I've felt scattered. My sewing reflected my feelings. I figured that it was time to sew Vogue 1250 like everyone else in blogland. When I saw Carolyn's most recent version of this dress, one of the fabrics in my stash started screaming "Me, Me". It's not a ponte. It's a gauze type fabric with a backing, but the houndstooth is similar. I purchased it from EOS because I loved the camel and brown color combination. This fabric was not a great choice for my first version because it raveled like crazy. Also, it didn't have enough stretch for this design. I took out the side seams as much as I could. With a bit more ease, I would like it better but it's wearable. I like it.

I'm still trying to decide how to finish the armholes and hem. Usually, I topstitch. I just don't think that would look very good with this fabric and design. I'll probably serge and hand stitch although I may use binding. Right now it's hanging in the closet waiting for the final inspiration. For the back I turned and used stitch witchery instead of a facing (got that idea from Carolyn). I like the way it finished the edge without a facing flapping around.
While procrastinating making that decision, I started working on a shirt for DH, Silhouette 6012.The definition of sewing insanity is making a tailored man's shirt in a cotton gauze, especially for the first time. I made the mistake of asking him what fabric he wanted. What a trip this has been! I've been trying to get all those points just right and, finally, realized that is not going to happen. It's crazy anyway. He wants to wear it in the garden to stay cool and protect him from the sun. I seriously doubt that he will notice those points. I have finished all the pieces and sewed the front and back together. The rest should be easy, right?
I was too lazy to press the sleeve before the picture. I just wanted to see my progress. The collar does have a band that I added after taking the picture.

My work on the shirt stopped when I needed something to wear to a funeral. At my age, I knew that I needed a funeral dress but it seemed morbid to start sewing one. I am tired of wearing my old black pants and t-shirt top. A good friend died of cancer last week. I was planning to take a picture after the funeral but just didn't feel like it. A picture of the dress will come in a future post. While appropriate for a funeral, it's also a nice date night dress.

Sewing has been slow the past few weeks because we are remodeling our master bathroom. It's hard for me to concentrate with all the banging, etc. going on. Here's my home work-in-process picture:

You can see the edge of embroidered quilt I made years ago. That's the only pretty part of this picture. I can't wait for the construction to be done!! I'd like to work on organizing and decorating my sewing room. I've seen so many great pictures on the blogs lately. I'll get to it - soon I hope.  I'd like to finish some of my bits and pieces first.

I did finish cutting out the lace anniversary dress except for the lining (which was orderd and only arrived a few days ago). I doubt that I will start the sewing until the end of May or June.

I've tired to resist all the wonderful fabric sales around. I barely have room for my large fabric stash. I saw this on EOS. It spoke to me and was in the cart before I knew it. I'm looking forward to an easy (hopefully) summer dress from the fabric. I want to end the post with a pretty picture so  here it is:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Silhouette 150 - Top #2

I managed to finish 2 tops for Faye's Essential Top Sew-A-Long! I'm proud of myself since I was sewing as I was finishing tax returns. If anyone reading this blog hasn't seen the sew-a-long tops, you can hop over to Faye's blog and see some amazing eye candy!! Here's my second top:
This is Silhouette 150 sleeveless version. Years ago I made this top and had horrible gapping problems in the front. I made the long sleeve version this winter and had no problems. I made a size 3 tampered to size 4. The only adjustment was raising the armhole half an inch for the sleeveless version.  It's a great 1 to 2 hour top. This is a close up of the front yoke.
I forgot to take a picture of the back. It has a slightly curved back yoke.

I'd love to continue making tops, but there are lots of other garments on my sewing list. Right now, the anniversary dress lace is on my cutting table. My anniversary isn't until the end of June so I doubt that I will start sewing it. That dress will be a long process. Why should I make it too far ahead of time? I'll probably make a simple dress or the shirt for DH that already is cut out. We'll see what mood strikes me!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The First Essential Top: Silhouette 425

Here's my first top for Faye's 2013 Essential Top Sew-A-Long.
Silhouette 425
In the Fall, I made this pattern in a cotton with long sleeves/cuffs. This version is made in a silk that originally was purchased for a sleeveless top. There wasn't enough fabric for long sleeves so I just made short sleeves with serged rolled edges. When I cut out the top last week, the temperature was dropping in to the high 30's at night. I was not happy about the fabric shortage. Now, I'm glad because the temperature is in the 80s. I like this pattern and this top. I used a size 3 and tapered to a size 4 in the hips. It is easy to sew and only takes a little more time than a knit top. I do prefer it in cotton as this silk droops a bit at the front gathers. I'll still wear it a lot. It fits to my liking (loose with some shape) and is soooo comfortable. Actually, I could sleep in it! I cut out a white cotton version, but want to sew something else now. Although I'll make this top several times again, I need variety with my sewing.

I'm off to finish a couple of tax returns and work on my next top coming soon - hopefully before Sunday, the end of the Sew-A-Long.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I'll start with the good. After seeing Carolyn's version of the Oscar de Renta Dress, I bought a couple of yards of Guipure lace to go with the silk/wool fabric purchased at one of Mood's 50% off sales. Hey, I got the silk/wool at such a good price I might as well buy fancy lace to go with it. The $400 a yard for 44" silk guipere was out of my price range (even in my wild mood of "gotta have Guipere lace"). Mine is cotton which is expensive but much less costly. Still, I almost called to cancel the order. Enough of my wild mood was left that I didn't. When it arrived, I did a happy dance and floated around the house the rest of the day. It is gorgeous! The photo does not do the lace or the wool/silk justice.

Over the past several months, I've lots of fun reading Carolyn's blog and thinking how I could make her garments to suit me and my life style. The lace dress is planned for my anniversary in June. I made a dress similar to one of her Butterick dresses in March (photo to come) and cut out the black pointe and faux leather dress. I really have to finish that dress one day soon. It was a challenge to do the pattern work and the cutout, but I had fun doing it. I was working on my SWAP garments and had brown thread on the machine. I was too lazy to change it.

Then, the bad comes. It seems like the past couple of  months have been one bad news thing after another. There was nothing terrible - just annoying and hard on the budget. As a result, there has been minimal sewing and blogging. It started with scratching noises in the attic. The neighbors next door left and took their cats with them. Here, I thought the cats just liked us so they spent most of their time at my house. No, it wasn't the treats and back rubs. It was the rats. When the cats left, the rats moved into our attic. When the exterminator climbed up to the attic, he managed to step on the shelf in the closet and pull it out of the wall. Years of old business records and forgotten fabric came tumbling down. About the same time, we had our annual air conditioner/heater check and discovered our 28 year old air conditioner wouldn't make it another year and needed to be replaced. I took my car in for regular service and learned that a tube thing had come loose and was starting to leak. If it wasn't fixed, the leaking would ruin my engine. I was advised not to drive it until it was fixed. Naturally, I told them to fix it. Then, the ice maker broke in the fridge. I think there were other things that I can't think of now (best forgotten anyway). All of these things happened in the middle of tax season. Although I'm retired, I still do tax returns for family and friends. They managed to give a few tax challenges this year, but that's all right. After the air conditioner and the car, I put off taking my sewing machine for annual service. It's in the shop now so I have my fingers crossed.

Here's the ugly.

The pictures above are most of the stuff that I had stored in one closet. Obviously, I am talented in putting lots of things in a small place. At least, the one bed is just my projects in progress. Everything but the business records are cleared out now. The majority of the mess went to the trash bin, to Goodwill, and to Red Cross. After I finish taxes, I'll do the shredding of those old records.

While I'm thinking about "ugly", is anyone watching Fashion Star? I really like that show, but they have started working in teams and showing the nasty conflicts among designers. I'm so disappointed. It is starting to be more like Project Runway that I have stopped watching. I just don't like all those ugly conflicts.

To end on a positive note, I'm back to sewing now. Yea!! I finished one top for Faye's Essentail Top Sew-A-Long Challenge and, hopefully, will have another finished before Sunday. This post is long enough so I'll blog about those is another couple of posts.

More to come soon.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

January and February Sewing

The year 2013 had been a zoo for me so far. At least things have settled down a bit now. I'll save the details of most of my activities for a later post. Since I'm posting at last, I want to talk about sewing. I did manage to do a little of that in the midst of chaos. It helps me cope! I only made 3 garments in January, but I love them. They are just basics which I need in my wardrobe. They also are garments from my 2013 SWAP.

The pants are Silhouette 3200 made with a wool/cashmere blend and bemberg lining. The skirt is Simplicity 5914 made with brown flannel. The top is Silhouette 550 made with a polyester knit. There were MANY pattern changes in the pants. Peggy Sagers did her magical adjustments in a 4 day workshop last year. I shortened the skirt and added about 2 inches at the waist. Then, I had to take the waist in an inch. My waist is smaller than my skirt sloper now. I think I'm getting some results from all those walking miles and weights! The top is a size 3 in the shoulders and size 4 in the hips. I raised the armhole an inch for my toothpick arms. All 3 garments are easy sewing. I had to do some thinking with the fly front in the pants, but the instructions are excellent.

February was absolute chaos. I'm proud that I finished one easy top.

The top is Silhouette 550 made from rayon knit. I made my usual Silhouette adjustment using size 3 to 4. I don't like the way my hems are looking with the rayon knit. This time I used washaway stabilizer which made the look worse IMO. I was careful not to stretch the hem so I don't think that's the problem.I like the drapey look so I don't want to interface the hem. Next time I think that I'll try steam-a-seam or stitch witchery. I gonna solve this problem eventually!! Part of my fabric collection is shown  in the closet next to the picture. That was an accident. I considered editing out that part of the picture, but decided to just show it. I love every piece there. Actually, a number of fabric bags went to charity in the past few months. I honestly try to control my fabric purchases. Then, someone has a sale or this beautiful fabric appears on my computer. The next thing I know the UPS man is making a delivery.

I don't know why this last part of the post is centered and the beginning is aligned to the left. I guess I must have hit something, but I don't know what. That's something I'll have to explore sometime. Right now, I have to get ready for a hot date. Sewing is tomorrow (hopefully I won't have any surprises to prevent that!).

Happy Sewing!!