Monday, December 31, 2007

99% Done!

Ahh...the dress is just about done! Right now I'm debating whether to add decorative buttons at the tucks on the side of each sleeve, and the dress needs a good pressing.

And the girls definitely need to clean the mirror in their room! And, of course, simply clean the room itself! To think it was straightened up last week--you'd never know.

Here's the dress so far...

Now, to work on the matching jacket. That's what I'm going to do this coming week. I'd really like to wear this to church next week.

New Year's Eve

Well, it's that time of year when a lot of us think about New Year's Resolutions, myself included. And, of course, my list includes sewing and non-sewing resolutions as well. Did I complete last year's? Yeah, about 3 out of 10 :) . So I've whittled my list down to 5. Here they are:

1. Sew one classy/dressy outfit a month. Use my Lucky mag as an inspiration.
2. Organize my stash better.
3. Sew down my stash and use up half of my PR Weekend fabrics.
4. Clean my bathrooms and kitchen EVERY week.
5. Actually paint my kitchen and living room this year and put up new baseboard molding.

That's the completed list.

One thing I will NOT do, but would like to do, is a SWAP. Honestly, I see so many wonderful SWAPs and don't know how people do it. Some have jobs, some don't, and I'm in the don't group, but my four kids keep me so busy that I would just get incredibly disappointed if I did plan one. So many days I'm starting my dinner at noon or 1 p.m. so everything is ready by 3 so we can start our late afternoon/evening sports schedules. We never really get a lull, and by the time 9 p.m. rolls around it's bedtime. There's just not enough time and my SWAP would take two years to complete.

Back to my New Year's Eve agenda, we are a boring, but fun, bunch ;) . I'll be making margaritas and have the Smirnoff's coolers chilling. The dips and assorted crackers and chips wll be set out on the table, there's a movie to watch, then we'll watch the ball drop on TV. I'll be putting the final touches on my dress, too. Gotta get a little sewing in the mix pre Margarita.

Off to work on the dress.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Progress part 5--almost there!

Happy news on my dress! It is almost done. I just have to finish the back vent, hem the dress and fiddle with the back armhole. I added just a tad too much width in the upper back so I'm going to see if taking a smidge out at the dress armhole will be okay.

So glad it is underlined in cotton batiste and not Ambiance too. I've tried it on several times for tweaking and the cotton warm. Every time I put it on, I think of Ambiance and get the chills. Great for summer, but NOT for winter, at least for me.

Almost forgot. I have to get my 80's shoulder pads out of my supply box. Way back when (and I do mean way back when!), I bought at least 12 pairs of shoulder pads sometime in the mid to late 80's. What was I thinking??? Must have thought big shoulders would be forever. The naivete of a late teen/early 20 something. How I so wanted to look like Krystal and Alexis Carrington with those elegant clothes and "beefy" shoulders. There's even a Dynasty pattern still in my stash LOL! The dress pattern I'm using is from the early 90's and still requires those 1/2" pads. I can tell there was extra room in the dress design for them. But it's not ridiculously big in the shoulders so it will be okay. (Or so I think.)

And when I finish, I can back to my jacket. Tonight I got sidetracked by finishing a Christmas present for my daughter's friend. We're going to see her tomorrow night and DD#2 forgot to add her name to my pillowcase sewathon for her friends.

Gosh, I still have to catch up on blog reading. Hopefully tomorrow. I just saw Cenetta's/The Mahogany Stylist's absolutely AWESOME coat on her blog when doing a quick check. Didn't have time to post an comment, but DO check out the coat she made for her daughter. Think Designer Knockoff contest for sure!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Progress part 4

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

It was a great Christmas where we were able to stay home most of the day, and I made much progress on my Christmas dress (okay, so now it will be a New Year's dress :) ).

The zipper is done, the neck facing done, side seams are basted and just a little more tweaking in the upper thigh area is all that's needed to complete the seams with some permanent stitching.

Tomorrow I will work on the sleeves, the next day maybe the hem, and it will be given a final pressing so it can be worn to church. I'd get a picture of the WIP, but it doesn't fit on Phat Chick because she's too fat. I really need to slim her down because I got a little zealous with the fiberfill when stuffing her.

It's bedtime now, but I can't wait to work on my dress tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A sweet story :) !

I have a great little story to share. My DH came out this morning and said, "Happy Anniversary! It's the 22nd anniversary of our first Christmas Eve when we knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together!!" It was our third date . It was so sweet.

My favorite Christmas tree ornaments are the ones that take center front at the top of the tree every year. My SIL gave us the First Christmas Together pillow ornament for our first married Christmas together (well, actually our second ). That goes right at the top center. To the left is the groom, the right is the bride. Those are Hallmark ornaments and I had to buy not only the bride and groom set, but an extra bride because the bride in the set was a brunette. That just wouldn't do because they had to look like us so I bought the extra blonde bride to match the brown-haired groom. They *had* to match us. Right below that trio is the Hallmark Ornament of the Grand Theater. On our first date we went to an old time cinema just like the one portrayed in the ornament (even with a balcony!) and it was also called The Grand. When that came out, I knew I *had* to add that. It was calling my name. It's a very nostalgic ornament for us.

Of course, there are plenty of other wonderful ornaments like the kids' first Christmas ornaments, the sports figures, cars, trains, Star Wars, Barbies, etc., but the ones in the pic just have so much meaning and wonderful memories attached to them.

Just thought I'd share something special on this warm and cozy Christmas Eve :) !

Our First Christmas Together and matching Bride and Groom

Our "First Date" Ornament

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A little here, a little there

That's how I'm working on my sewing. Today I had a few minutes to attach the underlining to my dress backs. If I can get the housework done that needs to be done *today*, I will be able to work on a little more tonight. There's just the kitchen that needs to be scrubbed and some vacuuming, handwashing fine glasses and dinnerware, make pie crusts, and then I'll have free time.

I feel like Cinderella that has a mountain of cleaning/housework tasks to do before going to the ball. And that is not a good feeling.

Friday, December 21, 2007

No Progress...

...and I hate it! Food shopping and last-minute fabric shopping for gifts this morning, a quick jaunt to the gym, home to eat, pick up DD#2, head down to Walmart for her last present, back to the gym to finish my workout, grocery store again although a different one, back home to bring stuff in/put away, make dinner, out the door to Little League Winter practice for DS#1. Left at 8:30 a.m. and can finally relax at 10 p.m.

No time for working with my dress or jacket. What a bummer. Tomorrow and Sunday are big family cleaning days with a few errands thrown in between. Although I plan on doing something sewing related tomorrow night. And more cookies and pies must be made but DD#1 will make the cookies. I'd like to get to the gym at least one more day, too, because two big eating days are coming up on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Time to hit the sack.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Progress part 3

Block. Fusing. Is. Done!!! (long sigh...) THANK GOODNESS! Now I can finally get down to the juicy part of making a garment--sewing! DH says to me today, "You're always working on sewing stuff." And no, I'm not. It's grunge work. Block fusing is not sewing. When I'm sitting at my machine, gathering, pinning a dart, etc., *that* is sewing. Cutting is not sewing either LOL.

Oh. I almost forgot that I still have to cut three more pattern pieces as well as the lining. But that's okay. Anything but what I've been doing the past 5 days. And to top it off, it seems that every time I go to an appointment, I have to go back for more. DS#2 now has two ortho appts. tomorrow, one in the morning, one in late afternoon. And I still haven't finished Christmas shopping, nor have I worked on housecleaning this week. But I'm not worried. This year I will not stress at Christmas time. Stress is not in my nature and I will not let this holiday season get me down with everything that doesn't get done.

I am going to stay a happy chick and not a grumpy one.
ETA I had to sit at field hockey intermurals tonight and found a great spot, the receptionist's desk, to lay my dress and underlining on to work on them. It was just long enough for the dress. The first thing I did was to work with the dress front and pinned DesignPlus fusible (bias) stay tape to the front neck so it wouldn't stretch. This was done very carefully. Then I laid the underlining fabric, cotton batiste, on top of the wrong side of the dress front. The fabrics were smoothed out and pinned at all edges. The waist tucks were pinned in place as well. I was going to do the back but ran out of pins. When I got home, I removed the neckline pins and ironed the bias stay tape in place, then repinned the neck area, and stitched the entire underlining and dress together at the edges. Then the waist tucks were stitched and the entire piece was pressed. A Microtex needle/cotton thread/taut sewing combo eliminated any seam puckering. Here is the dress front so far:

The bottom corner of the dress shows the black cotton batiste underlining. After contemplating the issue of lining, underlining, or both, I decided to just go with underlining. For the type and style of dress, underlining just seamed easier. I'll probably use a HongKong finish on the seams. The zipper was going to be handpicked with seed beads but I couldn't find the shade of red beads that was needed so it will just be a regular centered zipper. And why cotton batiste? Because I'm ALWAYS cold! Batiste doesn't feel cold like Bemberg rayon. So that completes my Progress part 3 for today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Good news/Bad news

The good news is my interfacing arrived in the mail yesterday.

The bad news is the kids have dentist and orthodontisit appts. again today and tomorrow. And tomorrow's ortho appt. is a long one because DD#1 gets her braces off. I have to do *something* today so I can take it along for whatever hand sewing/basting/marking that needs to be done.

I'll probably work on some block fusing and cutting the lining.

ETA--heading down home stretch with block fusing. Oh man! I can't wait to get this dreaded chore over with. A nice BIG press board would make things so much easier.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My new, old friend!

I'm kind of bummed because my Palmer/Pletsch interfacing didn't come yet in the mail, but I've had other things to work on, namely the Christmas pillowcase gifts for my daughter's friends. They are almost finished, but in the process (there were 8, I think), I decided to get out my serger for speedy pillowcase sewing. Luck is never on my side when I try to tie a new thread to the old thread, so all my threads were removed, the color spools put in place, serger rethreaded, the left needle put back in, rolled hem foot taken off and the regular foot snapped back on and...Voila! A test drive with a perfect, beautiful serged stitch. Mmmmm! Here I am with a bad cold and dusted-off serger today but don't look too hard at my messy kitchen table!

Just the other day I was petting a nice Babylock Evolve at my local sewing dealer. Went home dreaming of it saying, "I wish..." But then sometimes we learn to appreciate what we have again. That's not a bad thing with the Evolve price tag either. Last time I had my Pfaff serger in for servicing, the technician said with a machine that old (1992), he usually recommends getting a new one except that he thinks very highly of my machine. He said it produces absolutely beautiful serged stitching and he's right. It does *most* of the time. No, it doesn't have jet air threading, nor a chain stitch, nor a cover stitch. But it does give an absolutely beautiful rolled hem and a beautiful flatlock. However, I really would like a cover stitch too. Now, what if I got a coverstitch machine? Can you imagine the looks I would get? Why do you need 4 machines??? use in explaining. The non-sewer simply doesn't understand. And don't try to explain it because they have no interest and just won't get it. But anyway...

...the pillowcases were a breeze to sew! I remembered why I love my serger :) . We had the opportunity to get reacquainted today after a long time apart and it was so nice. Here are the pillowcases I serged today and the names were embroidered last night. DD#2 is quite pleased with them and can't wait to wrap them up. Hers and DD#1's are in the completed pillowcase pile.

DD#2 is quite perplexed though. After all my raving about the beautiful serger stitching on the pillowcases, she couldn't understand why the machine doesn't backstitch. She does know how to use the regular sewing machine so I think she is kind of befuddled why a serger is such a wonderful thing to have. She wanted to wrap them up right away, but I told her I had to bury the thread chains. There were three on each one so it took about about 20 minutes to get them all done. I guess for all my raving, she can't understand why I could call a machine that doesn't backstitch wonderful.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


As in Lehigh Valley Fashion Sewing Guild! It has a nice sound to it. And it appears that it will be our sewing group name and maybe a neighborhood group under ASG. There's pros and cons about having our own chapter at this point so we'll see how it goes over the next several months to a year. And what I really like about it is including the word "Fashion" in the title. The purpose of the group is stated in the name.

It was great to see Barba and Shura again as well as meeting Annette. And it's all thanks to Deepika, founder of, which is what brought us together in our area.

So what did we do today? We talked about the focus of our group and our current projects. Annette modeled her lovely top with EOS fabric (SO soft yet substantial by the way--I can easily see what it's dubbed "Linda's favorite"), Barb's top in such a pretty Gorgeous Fabrics knit along with her awesome purses, Shura discussed the progress on her skirt (we can't wait to see it!), and I wore one of the tops from S4076, one of my fave patterns. We shared the patterns with each other and discussed muslins and other sewing/fitting activities.

It doesn't really get much better than that. Starting off the weekend bright and early in a sewing group talking about fashion sewing. I get SO excited about it being the true sewing geek that I am and that is said with an enormous amount of pride. It's that pride that "binds" us together...the common "thread"...and I'm such a nerd with the puns LOL.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sewing Gifts for Christmas

Today I have to go out and do a laundry list of shopping tasks. One of my stops is to my absolute favorite store, Poconos Sew and Vac, found online at . It is a phenomenal dealer with great prices and a super knowledgeable staff. The only minor downside is the majority of their classes are geared (IMO) toward crafting and quilting. However, it's such a great store I can overlook that :) . I need to pick up some embroidery needles for my Janome 300E. I'm planning on making embroidered pillowcases for my daughter's friends for Christmas and those are such Q&E projects. In fact, I'm going to make friends again with my serger. We've become more like acquaintances ever since I've been working on fitting. Serging and fitting don't go together for me. Nothing like ripping out serged seams. But pillowcases are begging to be serged.

Then I have to stop at a ribbon and craft store that carries nice cottons for the pillowcases for sports and horses. Hopefully, the ones I want will still be in stock. Off to get started on my busy day...

ETA..and here are the pillowcase fabrics. 3 girls will get softball, 1 a kitty cat because there were no soccer or field hockey prints, 2 tennis, and 2 horses. One of the tennis pillowcases will be for DD#1--astounding! She actually asked for a pillowcase. Like something made by me would actually be kind of cool???

Oh...and another thing. I looked lovingly at a Babylock Evolve serger/coverstitch machine while choking on the $1990 price tag. But what a machine!!! WHAT A MACHINE!!! D***, that is THE machine, isn't it?!?!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Progress part 2

Snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Yeah, it's bad if you have to go out, but not if you plan on staying in...providing that the electricity doesn't go out. The kids were off school today due to the weather and they kept busy reading and shoveling. Two batches of Christmas cookies were made today--Snow Mounds and Cherry Chocolate Chip (DH's absolutel favorite) AND I did a lot of block fusing. In fact, I ran out of interfacing and have to wait for more that should arrive tomorrow or Saturday. Tomorrow I pick up my lining fabric from the dry cleaners.

Tonight, I'm hoping to cut out the first four pattern pieces for my jacket, and tomorrow (hopefully!) I can cut out the lining pieces. Anything but the sheer boredom of block fusing! Maybe if I can rent the new Harry Potter DVD tomorrow it won't be so bad.

ETA...adding pics...I'm done cutting the four pieces!!! Three are shown below--yeah!

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The downside of block fusing! Look at all the high quality wasted interfacing :( . All that good stuff down the financial drain. That really stinks.

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And some more good stuff. The first batches of cookies. I put some in little baggies for me for the weekend. I don't eat junk food during the week and if I don't stash some (they're under the veggies in the produce drawer in the fridge so no one will look there) there won't be any left for me. Shhhh!

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This weekend is our second "future ASG" meeting! We have five definites who are interested and trying to spread the word. I can't wait to get through our mini "agenda" and hear about everyone's recent projects and favorite notions. The sewing gods are smiling on us too! The weather is bad today and will be bad Sunday, but looks we'll be spared Saturday morning. Maybe we can get some pics of our fab group sewing meeting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Progress part 1

***ETA...Every time I work on a time-consuming project over the Q&E ones, I remember why I don't do them more often.

No. 1 Reason: I feel like I'm constantly being interrupted and I need solid chunks of time to think things over to avoid making silly and stupid mistakes. Just as I was placing pattern pieces on my fabric and working with the layout, my girls got off the high school bus. I was just getting ready to cut the fabric into two separate pieces for block fusing and "knock, knock, knock!" Train of thought interrupted. Pretty soon the boys will be home. Tomorrow I have to get a minor surgical procedure done, and on Wednesday the girls need ortho and dentist appts. By the time I get back to my fabric, I'll forget where I left off!

I remember the glorious sewing days pre kids! Having entire days here and there to sew work clothes. The summer of my first pregnancy (it was the first trimester) I made an entire maternity wardrobe in two months. I went back to work in September and my co-workers were amazed at how many nice-looking maternity clothes I had. It sure was nice to have so much time to sew!

The No. 2 reason is expensive fabric. Years ago I didn't buy fabric that would worry me if I made a mistake. Disappointed, yes, but not gasping and choking for breath from making a mistake on $20-$30/yard fabric or thereabouts.

So my sewing is VERY slow going. There is no way I'm going to make a dumb whopper-of-a-mistake on this jacket fabric. Right now I'm going to see what I can do in a 20-minute chunk of time before the after school chaos begins of DH and the boys coming home.


Progress is being made on the dress and jacket. The jacket pattern has been traced and altered. Today I will double check the alterations on every piece, then proceed to block fusing. I highly doubt I will get to cutting out the jacket in the next two days. The kids have a 2-hour delay today so that means the absence of a clean kitchen table this morning.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Put the machine away.

A few days ago I was trying to get the house a little more organized for Christmas and decided to put my machine away. There's nothing to be sewn up at this point other than assembling my pants muslin which has been on my couch for at *least* two weeks or so. Maybe three. Our house is small, and although I do have a small sewing studio, I prefer to sew in the kitchen so my sewing machine is set up there. In a little corner next to my kitchen counter, there is a corner storage/table unit I purchased at Walmart about a year ago just for the purpose of a "sewing corner" in my kitchen. The intent was a little cart to put my machine on and store current notions and projects in it for quick and easy access. If there is anything else around (like my pants muslin on the couch!), it really doesn't belong there and should be back in the sewing studio.

So the other day I cleaned off my kitchen table and put the machine back on the cart with its cover. The cart was organized according to my original intent. And *finally* my kitchen table is free of "stuff"! The purpose of this was actually twofold: get a little more organized for our Christmas Eve dinner and get a good cutting surface back for my Christmas outfit project. Cutting is my most disliked aspect of sewing and I put it off with a lot of excuses. However, I'm trying to commit to more intensive sewing projects rather than the quick and easy ones so the absence of a machine means I'm getting down to serious business.

Thus far, I've cut out the red silk dupioni for my dress as well as the interfacing to underline it and the cotton batiste for the lining. Ambiance would have been more luxurious but it feels way too cold next to my skin during the winter so cotton batiste is a must. Now I'm going to cut and trace the pattern pieces for the jacket and work on block fusing the interfacing to the wool. That will probably take me a day or so. I was thinking about underlining the wool to make it warmer but am not sure at this point. Today I bought some 100% cotton black flannel at Walmart today of all places! It is hard to believe how hard it is in my area to get solid colored flannel so about 5 yards were added to the stash. So, who knows at this point if I'll use it on this jacket. If not, there are two other jackets in the cue that will need underlining.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy SWAK Anniversary and my sewing/shopping trip!

Today is a wonderful day! It is exactly 22 years since my DH kissed for the very first time, and I remember it like it was yesterday :) . So a big happy SWAK Anniversary to my husband! In fact, I just saw a news clip on TV this morning about the first kiss making or breaking the relationship, and his was definitely a deal maker ; !!

On to sewing stuff...I made the trip down to JoAnn's today and picked up some goodies. I had a long list of McCall's and Vogues, but narrowed down the McCall's to two and the Vogue ones weren't my size range. If the pattern doesn't include 10/12/14 sizes, then I really think about it. If I can wait, I will. That is a good size range with minimal alterations for me and it just makes things so easy to blend the sizes as necessary.

So what were my goodies? Check out the pic below! :)

There's a lot of marking pens, an extra seam ripper, point turner, thread, microtex and stretch needles, blue satin backed crepe and a fancy lining fabric for my black/white herringbone Christmas coat/jacket, and two McCall's patterns. The crepe was on sale for $2/yard, the lining was $10 with my 50% off coupon, and all the notions were 50% off. The McCall's patterns, of course, were $1.99/pattern. A heartfelt thank you to Lovely for pointing out this sale in her blog! She saved me a bundle on this trip. Even the ladies at the pattern table weren't aware of the sale and were happy when I mentioned it to them. Gotta enable when you can, right?!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sewing/Fitting thoughts and Christmas Shopping

You know those occasional lightbulb moments you get when sewing and/or fitting? (I mean when they go on, not off LOL!) I had one of those moments a while back when I was working on fitting the back of a jacket, McCall's 5007. I'd post a pic of it, but can't seem to figure out how to insert a pattern pic from the commercial website like everyone else does.

(DEAR HUSBAND-- This is where you can stop reading because I will bore you to death!!! Proceed to my last paragraph so you know my schedule tomorrow :) .)

The front of this classic style has princess seams curving in toward the neck on the front, but not the back. The pattern back only has a CB seam. You would think this would be great for my curvy back, but it is not. In fact, the "traditional" thought is to curve the CB seam to reflect the shape of one's own back curve, thereby getting a better fit. However, *as usual* , it seems that I am the exception to the rule--what else is new... Which kind of gets me going on the issue of "seam integrity" as I was reading on Carolyn's fantastic blog. What exactly *is* seam integrity and when does it apply. Does it apply to all seams? Or just specific ones? Does it depend on the pattern? I don't know.

This is where I want to dissect the concept of seam integrity because when I look at a pattern, that pattern is fitted to a perfect size 10 fit model. When that fit model turns 40 and has several kids with the force of gravity at work in several places, she too will need some alterations. And those alterations can come from slicing/dicing/pivot and sliding, correct? But her basic overall shape is essentially the same, unless she has put on a drastic amount of weight. So I presume she probably wouldn't need to touch her seams to make the necessary alterations.

I, on the other hand, am the one using the pattern that was made to fit her perfect body. And trying to FIT *her* perfect pattern on my imperfect body. So this is where the issue of seam itegrity falls apart for me. For example, let's say my waist is 28, my hips 36 1/2 on a given day in the month. Let's say hers are 25 and 36, respectively. The side seam curve is actually a dart into the waist. If I don't futz with the shaping on that seam that's made to fit the perfect size 10 model, it's not going to fit me. My curves are different from hers. On a commercial pattern (let's say a skirt), I will need to alter not only the crotch length, but will need to adjust the width and depth of the front and back darts as well as the shaping of the side seam.

Another issue to examine here--my duct tape skirt sloper pattern doesn not resemble most commercial patterns. The duct tape pieces (shown below) came right off my body to develop my own sloper. First the pattern on my body, then the pattern cut into quadrants, then the pattern tested/developed as a sloper (back pieces are shown). Since this sloper/pattern was created right off my body, I don't mess with the shape of the seams. It is true to my body and I'm not messing with seam integrity because this sloper was made to fit one person--me.

I'm not trying to poke holes in the seam integrity concept, just trying to understand it. I'm a question person. Always asking about things until I understand. And although my brains nods and accepts the concept, in practical terms I don't understand how and/or when it applies. I've got so many "what ifs" in my head.


...getting back to my issue with M5007... if I try to curve a CB seam on my back, I get the dreaded "X" foldlines in fabric starting at the CB at my waist and pointing to my shoulder blades and hips. This is *the* moment that tells me, "Don't mess with this seam!" Hence, seam integrity, I presume. Thus, the lightbult moment occurs and I realize that my CB seam doesn't need adjusting at all. What I need to add are princess seams in the back. So I create princess seams on the back piece of M5007 mirroring the ones in the front (curving into the neck). Why did I do this? Because the area of the curve in my back starts at the shoulder blade which is prominent, then curves in sharply to the small of my back, then back out to my rear end. My CB is actually quite straight with little curve. Thus, any form-fitted shaping on my back pattern pieces must be done at the shoulder blade point down, not at the CB seam.

This also brings about another thing that will tickle my brain. When we talk about darts, for example back darts, does seam integrity apply to darts? Because many times I'll split the back waist dart into a shoulder dart and make a princess seam. So from this perspective I think seam integrity does apply to darts. many questions! I just love to pick the brains of my favorite fitting gurus too. They've always helped me understand these issues so I'm filling up my notepad of questions again. If anyone can shed some light on the things for me, please do so. I like the seeing the bright lights, rather than feeling light a dim bulb.

DH--this is where you can begin to read again...

Christmas shopping! I haven't done any yet. But tomorrow my agenda is set. I'm going to the gym first, down to JoAnn's, then to several places to pick up gift cards. I have to make my list and check it twice today. My JoAnn coupons are ready and the sale starts tomorrow. Just a few patterns, thread, and a couple of other things written down on a to-do list that I can't seem to locate right now. Guess that means I need to get up and do some housework now. (And read more about seam integrity when I get the chance :) . )

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A lucky break!

I'm sitting in the parking lot at the high school today waiting for my daughter to come and out and my cell phone rings. Don't really recognize the number, but I picked up anyway and thank goodness! It was my sister calling and she was at Paron's in NYC. I asked her to pick me up another couple yards of wool fabric for a coat I'm planning on making "soon". When I picked up two beautiful wools during PR Weekend, I didn't look at my pattern envelope info and only bought two yards. What was I thinking??? Luckily, they had extra fabric for at least one of the wools, and with the extra money she bought me some nice lining that was 50% off. She said it would be great coat lining and I trust her judgment.

In a few days, I will go down to JoAnn's and pick up a short, boxy jacket pattern, one with fancy sleeves that is so popular right now, and make up a short jacket with remaining wool piece that is only 2 yards. I have some great buttons to match with that wool so whatever pattern I use must have buttons. Does anyone have any suggestions on cute jacket patterns? It has to be a McCall's or Vogue because those are the ones on sale in the next few days.

Now I'm going to get off my rear end to finish up some evening chores and maybe have some time to start cutting out my dress.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Creative Inspiration

After looking at so many wonderful sewing blogs, I've decided on my 2008 sewing goal: sewing classy, dressy ensembles. For example, a dress with a jacket, or a blazer with matching pants. I'm going for the "whole" look. Casual tops can wait until late Spring. Currently I'm planning my new outfit: The black/white herringbone wool jacket from Simplicity 4047 and a red, silk dupioni dress that is a Vogue OOP (7664--around 1990, I think). I have the dressy black shoes, have the long black gloves, even have the red silk (can't remember where I picked that up and the black/white wool from Paron's in NYC, both purchased during PR Weekend 2006. Essentially, I'm beginning my 2008 goal early :). I've included pics of the patterns and fabric.

I'm trying to recreate the model's look on the front of Simplicity 4047, although my red dress is going to be a little longer. The waist inset on the dress is flattering on my figure, and it's one I've made many years ago when I was working. I just tried on my dress made from this pattern a few days ago to check the fit and the only alterations made to it way back when were lengthening the sleeves and skirt portion. Other than that, I was surprised how much I loved the fit. Now and back then. (Well, the inset across the tummy is a little more snug than it used to be...) A few minor tweaks here and there (which I've done already) and it's good to go. I'm going to go with the collarless dress w/long sleeves. Hmmm...on second thought maybe not--forgot about my gloves. Darn thing is, there's only 23 days left until Christmas. Hopefully I can swing it, but I'm not going to get upset about it if I can't. Gosh, I'm still working on my pants muslin and there's still so much shopping and housecleaning to do before the big day. I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

What is/are your figure, variations?

I was again inspired by Lovely's/That's So Live blogspot with her slideshow yesterday that I decided to create one today. Of course, I ran into code trouble and couldn't find the code to insert the slide show the way I wanted it to be but...that's another story. Anyway, I'm going through my pictures to add to the slideshow and came across one that I dread. You know the ones that show your true figure flaw(s)? (I couldn't bring myself to add that one to my slideshow LOL!)

But I got to thinking. I would share my figure flaw because it illustrates what I can't wear--too short tops. I am very shortwaisted with very long legs. It is easy to disguise this flaw most of the time, but occasionally if I make a top too short, it just looks--Blech! It makes me cringe when I look in the mirror because it looks like my boobs are sitting right on top of my waist. Here goes this blasted photo:

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The pic doesn't look as bad as the top does now because it has suffered progressive shrinkage through subsequent wash and dry's, but it got me thinking. What are everyone else's figure flaws and how do they compensate for them. And what are your figure assets? So if anyone reads my boring blog, please share what you think are your figure flaws, what shouldn't you wear so they are not noticeable, and what do you wear to create the illusion of a more perfect figure.

For me, duro tops are perfect. Low-rise jeans are great--the illusion of a longer torso. V-waists are especially flattering. Empire waist dresses and sheath dresses are flattering too. What is DEFINTELY NOT flattering are normal waist jeans with shirts tucked in. I NEVER tuck my shirts in with jeans like this. And I don't like normal waist jeans because they scream Mom jeans, not sexy jeans, on my figure. Shirts must be closer to my hipline than to my waist. If I go above a certain point, it shouts, "Look at my short waist!"

So now that you know my figure flaw that nobody is *supposed* to know, I will share with you my figure assets which I try to emphasize. Long, shapely legs, nice shoulders and arms, and a full bust. I swear by Wonderbras for many of my sewing projects and highly recommend them for the 40 and over group like me :) . Husbands like them too LOL!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Conference Day

It was a hectic day today. The kids had off due to conferences, and I had to attend three. Luckily the high school doesn't have conferences at this time so that was one less than usual. So early on I had everyone get up so we could be at the gym at 8:30 a.m. The girls are old enough to work out, but the boys still have to stay in the playroom. I had one hour exactly and then it was Vroom! Off home to redress and redo my hair in approximately 7 minutes flat. Note even time to shower unfortunately.

DD#1 asks on the way home, "What are you going to wear? You can't go in your workout clothes." I replied that I was going to wear the suit I made and she just groaned and gave me "that look". Like "homemade" doesn't cut it. Um...those teeny, expensive, flimsy cotton shirts she buys from Hollister don't exactly scream fashion, nor a couture look. Well I walked out the door and had my son take a pic so I could see if the camera's eye was the same perception I had when looking in the mirror. Yes, I still like it.

And today, everyone was rather nice and pleasant to me and treated me intelligently. Kind of goes back to "dress the way you want to be treated." I felt important too :) ! It just felt good.

Now off to my new dressy outfit, of which I will post the dress and fabric tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Looking Your Best

The past few days I've been reading blogs on looking your best. And, of course, being treated accordingly when one looks their best. Really, the two go hand in hand, don't they! Sometimes I think it's a really hard thing to do. Some of work, some of us have kids, and many have the really hard part of doing both in addition to trying maintain the homefront.

I think dressing nice comes and goes in spurts. There are stages of life that affect this, and even genetics takes over at some point in time and makes things even harder. I remember back in my early-mid 20's at my first *real* job as a high school teacher. Beautiful wools suits, classy dresses--yeah, it was my style. Then at 25, baby no. 1 came along. I learned very quickly to cover up my dress clothes before heading out the door to daycare. Spit up is not very kind to dress clothes. Same with using a big absorbent towel on my lap so the suddenly very weight diaper "spot" wouldn't appear on the lower half of my work clothes. When I was home, my clothes were lackluster to say the least. Drab and dumpy to be exact.

It only got worse when I turned 30 and decided to resign to raise my growing family as a SAHM. Big oversized men's t-shirts and turtlenecks and bland jeans were my uniform. It's what I felt I had to wear. Little kids have a tendency to wipe their noses along with their big hugs on mom's shirts. Dirty hands sometimes turn my boring solid colors into prints. And the darn thing is, having a full bust and a smaller waist, I didn't always look past my boobs when going out. There were definitely several occasions where I walked out door with "booger spots" and "paw prints" on my lower half!

So, it's really hard to dress nice with little kids. Not impossible, but I just didn't feel up to the challenge with havng four kids somewhat close together. Once they all got out of toddlerhood, I wanted to look better and dress nicer. Take my life back so to speak. And this is really the hardest part of all for most women. By this time, their bodies have dramatically changed. In my case, I've been somewhat blessed by "thinner" genes, but still have to work hard to keep off 20 lbs. that would love to sit on my body. But so many have it hard, and I think the fashion industry for the middle class isn't exactly kind. As a SAHM, our family lives on one income. That doesn't leave much extra money for the finer stores. Walmart, Kmart, JCPenney, and Sears are my usual hits for shopping. That is, when I go because I hate clothes shopping and would much rather stay home and make my own. But the average Jane isn't so lucky. The spandex-y styles can be rather shapeless, and so many woman are looking for comfort. The generic department stores cater to the masses and this doesn't exactly include the cute Anthropology or runway knockoff styles I see on websites. Stretch knits with less shape are what I'm seeing in the stores and on the streets to accommodate the ever increasing American girth.

So overall, what I'm trying to say is, dressing better is do-able, but there are so many things that work against us as women. Instead of concentrating on an entire wardrobe or looking great everyday (which is sometimes a daunting task), it's nice to have a few outfits set aside for when we go out. Whether it be to school for parent pickup, sitting at a sports event, going to a parent/teacher conference, etc. I think taking baby steps can make a big difference. Heck, I even dress up now to go to the batting cages with my kids!

So fellow ladies like me, go easy on yourself. Start with a couple of nice pieces, and build from there. Maybe a nice wool coat, a jacket or two, a pair or two of nice shoes, a pair of sexy "non-Mom" jeans and build from there. We CAN get our fashion forward lives back, one piece at a time :) !

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Last Frontier

Fitting is such a funny thing. It is such... Let's start again :) . For some reason I can't get text off the side of my pic :( . Fitting is such a funny thing. It is such an integral part of sewing, and yet I've really only discovered it since joining Patternreview a few years ago. Before that it was lengthen/shorten, let out a seam here and there, and the process of a good fit has eluded me for the past 26+ years out of my 30 years of sewing. Even in high school, things never fit quite right and I didn't really know why. A few of my friends who sewed to pass the time as an elective class used to get a pretty decent fit. But I was never as lucky.

The Internet has been a godsend to me as far as fit is concerned. And it has taken time, not something that has happened overnight, in a month, or even a year. The more I do it, the better I get. So far I've been able to nail down a decent fit for a top or jacket and a skirt. But pants is my last frontier. I've been busy working on mine and my daughter's over the last several months. Since May actually, when I took Shannon Gifford's Make a Pants Muslin class. I start working on it, take a few fitting pics, stop, work on something else, start again, stop again... You get the idea. Right now I've been concentrating my efforts on my daughter's pants. They're almost there. Above are pics of her first muslin. The back looks bad, I know. Deep folds and creases from way too much fabric. Can't do much with those pants as far as alterations are concerned, so I just finished them up so she could wear them. Nothing worse than what I see at school anyway. My second try I was happier with, but it still needs work. On this pair, a few lightbulbs went on as far as pants fitting is concerned. But the deep folds and creases have been replaced with light folds and creases. She also wants a narrower leg and narrower hem. Done. Working on her third pair soon.

It's a tricky thing. I don't want to take out too much length via a fisheye and traditional dart. Doing so would make the pants uncomfortable. So I just pinch out and take a guess. Working with different weights of denim makes things tricky too, in that they lay differently on the body. So I've made another guess for my third try. My first reaction was to take out another inch via a fisheye, but I'm going to go with 3/4" right now. Little tweaks here and there from this point forward. The good thing is, DD#2 likes them! They're comfortable for her. We sometimes joke around that she has, what we call, sensory integration disorder. She has strong likes and dislikes for particular fabrics and fashions. She can't stand the feel of traditional jeans. Doesn't like stiff denim, doesn't like a tight crotch fit, doesn't like tight legs, doesn't like them short (she's developing a long inseam like me), and the list goes on. So the fact that she finds these comfortable and wearable is fine by me. The first pair I made makes me cringe when I look at the back, but hey, they look good from the front LOL. The second pair looks about average compared to what I see in RTW on a lot of people. So I'm getting excited about this third pair.

I'd get excited about *my* third muslin, but dummy me did a foolish thing. I have 4 pieces--a right front, left front, right back, left back for my asymetrical body. Not having worked on it in a month, I grabbed two pieces and started cutting. ACK! I cut 4 backs!!! Please stamp the word "Stupid" on my forehead. I was thinking of salvaging it, but probably won't. What I will do is cut out two fronts from another pieces of denim and use the backs to make sure they fit right. Then alter the pattern if necessary and recut two more backs from the new denim. Darn! I hate making stupid mistakes on fabric I really like. Oh well. It wasn't expensive. And it happens to all of us, doesn't it.

As I work on conquering this "last frontier", I realize there are two very important people I must thank for getting this far. Those two being Shannon Gifford and Jean Haas. What great fitting gurus they are! And so extremely helpful too. They go above and beyond the call of duty and are always available when the class is over to answer lingering questions. Their Patternreview classes are awesome and I've always gotten a lot out of them. Someday I'll meet them in person.
Ending on a happy note, I met PR members Babs and Shura this past Saturday! What great women and we talked about what we love--garment sewing :) . We're hoping to recruit enough people in our area to start an ASG chapter. We have high hopes in getting one going, so please wish us luck in our endeavor. We're planning month meetings at this point and hoping our recruiting efforts will succeed in helping us meet our goal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pants, pants, and more pants

I've finally been able to work more on pants. DD#2's jeans are done and she's wearing them to school today--first time. In fact, it's the first time she's worn jeans to school in so long I can't remember. Think she wore them once last January (a brand new pair I bought her for Christmas), but she didn't like the feel so she gave them to me. I love 'em so thanks Di!

Today I will continue sewing her second pair with the pattern alterations to take care of her baggy butt/back upper leg. She was happy to learn that the number of fittings on this pair will be cut in half.

Some bad news on my own though. Dummy me forgot I was using two fronts and two backs to account for my asymetrical body #*(@U(*#U@*( !!!!! So I have two left backs and two right backs. At first I thought it was a total loss, but maybe that's not so. I think I can cut a left front and right front from the two extra backs by piecing the side seam with a long extra strip of denim. Think design element here. It just makes me mad though because it's extra work on a pair of pants that is taking me months to perfect the fit. *Finally* I get the alterations done and have a cutting error. So disgusting.

So maybe I'll finish mine over Thanksgiving. Today is a big pie-making day for me so if I'm lucky to work on DD#2's second pair of jeans, I'll be that much closer to working on my own and fixing the boo-boo.

Monday, November 12, 2007


First off, we have to thank our wonderful hostess of the event, Deepika! There would be no PR Weekend without her initiative and effort in creating the Patternreview website. She's awesome!!!

The weekend started for me late Friday packing my suitcase and other goodies around 6 p.m. I had to take DD#1 to baseball later and didn't get back home until 9:30 p.m. Checked my emails and had to respond to Sue who couldn't attend with me this year due to a very unfortunate and heartbreaking loss in her family. Sure hope her family was able to get through the weekend okay.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early at 3:15 a.m. to be out the door at 4:15 to catch a ride with my friend's husband at the gas station. He works in NYC and was able to drive me right to my sister's apartment doorstep! What a gem. I tried to offer him some money for the trip but he wouldn't take it. Such a nice guy and was good enough to listen to my boring early morning babble on the way. My sister and I had a small breakfast at her apartment and we were off at 8 to meet everyone at 9:15 in the hotel lobby.

We broke into two groups soon after and my group was headed to the leather store. Mmmm!!! Smelling and feeling all those skins!!! Absolutely incredible. I bough some red leather for a purse and some black for whatever. My sister was simply smitten with some goat skin and bought 3 skins to make a black jacket. It is going to be gorgeous when it's done! Then we went to Mood. Didn't buy anything there because our next stop was where I REALLY was itching to go--Metro Textiles. I bought about 5 knits from Kashi and had them shipped home. Can't wait for them to arrive. Then it was lunch at the Times Square Deli. Thanks goodness as I was starting to get the afternoon cranks. A lunch of a toasted chicken panini, terra chips, chocolate cake, and a Fresca made everything right again for more fabric shopping. After lunch we went to Paron's (gosh I love their wools!) and picked up a blue/black wool and a dark green wool. After that it was a walk to the trim shop (can't remember the name) where I picked up some cotton thread for my leather as well as a few buttons to match my green wool. Spandex House was next on my hit list and I picked up a knit there too. So did my sister. Then a few more stops here and there and we were done.

After shopping we went back to the Milford Plaza lobby to rest our weary feet for about 45 minutes before we were to meet again for our evening party. We took a 20 minute subway stop with a short walk to the office building and we all met in the conference room for pizza, drinks, good conversation and the gift swap. Around 9 p.m. there was a lot of yawning and the party broke up with everyone saying goodbye until our next meeting, whether it be fabric shopping or a PR retreat of some type.

That is basically a summary of my overall awesome day! Saturday night was a little difficult LOL. While my sister's bed is certainly very comfy, it was very hard for me to sleep at all with the strange NYC noises going on outside. So Sunday was very exhausting. My sister accidentally set the alarm clock an hour early (not that it mattered, of course) and I was up at 4:45 a.m. We left her apartment around 7 and went for bagels and then to the Port Authority to wait for my 8:30 a.m. bus. I was supposed to leave on the 3:15 bus, but our PR group decided the night before that we would forgo the Sunday breakfast, so I was able to leave early and be home with my family. Truly it was another awesome PR Weekend, and I can't wait to do it again.

This year it was wonderful to get the opportunity to talk more with people I didn't get a chance to speak that much with last year, like Mina. She's incredible and so funny! I loved her dress story (or maybe I should say lack thereof LOL!). This year I met Cindylou and she is the epitome of a southern belle! Warm, inviting, and cheerful with a delightful light southern accent. Karen amazed me again this year with her ability to pick out fabrics that amazingly match her skin tone. What incredible taste! JodiB was so kind and complimentary to me about the fit of my shirts in my reviews, but I was equally inspired by her SWAP plan. She had the fabric swatches in hand as she shopped the stores. She has the most amazing skin tone too! We were at Metro and she had this fabric draped on her which was not only a great color on her, but it just makes her skin glow even more than usual. She was also so kind to wait until my sister made her final decision on her leather skins to guide us to the next store. (That was actually quite dangerous because I know how long my sister can take to make decision! Luckily she didn't take forever.) I loved talking with Ann and think she has a great sense of humor. She picked out this gorgeous print at Kashi's with purple and red. After leaving the store I was kicking myself for not buying some too. Can't wait to see the top or dress that she makes from it! As for Cidell, I didn't get a chance to talk with her much, but she is incredibly beautiful. She looks terrific in her pics, but even more gorgeous in person. TomP was there with his contest-winning coat. Amazing work. Equally amazing was the coat he made for his girlfriend--the same pattern/coat that Mary Cargill made and was wearing that night. And don't even get me started on Mary LOL! She makes amazing coats and jackets. Her evening outfit was equally impressive. I absolutely LOVED her idea for the loop/carriers on the front and back of her black top to insert a scarf. It just makes for an incredibly classy look. It was so nice to actually meet several others like Cindy, Mimi, Jaeng, and Mariela although I didn't get to talk to them that much this year. Kim wasn't in my group either, but you know...there's always next year. Even my sister commented on the great time she had and what a great group it was!

The only drawback to my weekend was my crummy, cheapo digital camera. I only got 9 pics because for some reason the camera wouldn't save to the SD card. I was afraid to reformat it for fear the pics in internal memory would be lost. Da** camera! But I will try to post what I do have as well as fabric pics during the next few days.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Just in time.

The tops are done! Finished just in time for PR Weekend shopping tomorrow. Just one little problem--it's way to cold for my duro top! Yikes. So I'm bringing along two outfits for Sunday just in case maybe it will get warmer than it's supposed to. And last year was so beautiful we were walking around with no jackets in the afternoon. Perfect weather and sunshine. This year it's a bit different.

Anyway, here are the tops. I'll edit my review for the scoop on these two next week.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fast and Furious!

That's what it is!!! Fast and furious sewing for Pattern Review weekend in NYC. Two tops basically done except for hemming. Lots of last minute things to buy for my trip today, including a trip down to JoAnn's for a gift for the gift swap. There were a few head-scratching moments this week with fast sewing and stupid mistakes, but both tops should be finished by tonight. Whew! This has been a painful experience because I sew slow and enjoy doing it that way. No rush, no deadlines, just the relaxing sewing experience. So I'm still running on adrenaline at this point. I'm hoping to get some pics of the tops up by tomorrow but won't be able to review them at Pattern Review until next week.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Ryan!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

PR Weekend Clothing

This was troubling me lately--what to wear to PR Weekend this year. I know I'm making the wrap version of S4076 again, but what about the second day? I've finally decided it's going to be a duro-style top (Simplicity K. Ali, don't know the number offhand) lengthened to my thigh to wear over my black leggings. The fabric is an awesome black/white/grey print from Gorgeous Fabrics. Both of these patterns are TNT so they should be very quick to whip up. All I have to do is basically adjust the hem lengths on both patterns before cutting. Time is an issue though. It is a struggle with so much to do during the day and evening with the kids. However, determination will get me through. Both need to be finished before next Friday, and I'm hoping to get at least one cut today.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things to do today.

My to-do list:

1. Sew the inseam and side seam on DD#2's jeans with topstitching and transfer her baggy butt/leg alterations to the flat pattern for her next pair.

2. Finish tidying up my sewing studio (Gosh, I LOVE calling it a "studio"! Makes me feel rich LOL.) It's really a small room in our house but it houses most of my sewing stuff, except for most of my stash. Will take some pics of it too.

3. Outside errands--food shopping and post office. The bathrooms will have to wait yet another day.

4. Pick the girls up after school, go to the gym, then eat and take DS#2 to football practice.

And that is my boring list! Oh yeah, add the mundane housework kind of things like vacuuming and doing the dishes. And DH wonders what I do all day! However, even he was amazed at how something simple like taking the car in for a wheel alignment and oil change will wipe out most of the day when he was off from work this past week. Really, items 1 and 2 are the *most* important :) .

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Instant Weight Loss!

Here's an easy way to lose 10 lbs! Just alter your pants to fit LOL. I've been working on the alterations for DD#2 and check out the left and right side of the pic below with the excess fabric pinched out. The pinched out side makes her look 10 lbs. thinner. Now all I have to do is transfer that alteration to the flat pattern and we're good to go with another pair. Her alterations are basically the same as mine too. She'll wear these pants once I finish, however, the butt alteration can't be done on this pair. Not to worry I told her. I've seen a worse fit on some of the kids at her school. Next pair should look darn good.

It's absolutely amazing what a good fit will do for the rear view, isn't it?!?!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Half Done

So far so good. But sewing for the boys is easy. DS#1's jeans are okay. It's his first wearable muslin with the new alterations for growth, and the denim is not my fave. It's stiff and straight from the Walmart $1 table. However, now that the muslin basically fits, I'm going ahead and using some nice fabric for his second and third pair with minor tweaking of the side seams. DS#2's third pair are great and made from a nice, soft, medium-weight denim from a local fabric store.

DD#2 is on her third fitting as of tonight. At this point I'm tweaking the upper/mid thigh so the side seams hang perfectly straight and are a little looser. I got a little over zealous taking out some fabric and need to adjust as necessary. She really hates fitting. Getter her to stand still for five minutes while I do some measurements is pushing it and that is very annoying to me. She'll bother me to make them, but then doesn't want to the the absolute minimal effort of simply standing still for several minutes every couple of days to get a decent fit. And let's face it. She probably will make some excuse about how she doesn't like the feel anyway once they're done. However, I probably should be grateful. Getting the boys to stand still even for a second to take a pic is almost too much for them! But I'm working on that Kodak moment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Not To Wear!

Teenagers! (said with rolled eyes) The things they will do and think it's okay. I admit to not being fully alert in the morning when my girls leave at 6:30 to get on the bus in the morning. Yesterday DD#1 left with a jacket on and what I thought were loose blue shorts. For some reason I didn't even notice her shoes.

She comes home, arrives at the front door, and I ask her, "Where did you get *THAT* outfit???" (She was wearing a royal blue, thigh high dress with a black belt and black heels.) It did look very nice. She replied, "It's yours!" It turns out she took a dress that has a matching black and royal blue jacket, a belt from my black/white suit, put them together and got the look she wanted to for Spirit Week at school. However, the dress was mid thigh, and I know my dress is knee length. So I ask her, "Why is my dress so short?" She proudly (yes, I did say proudly) turns back the hemline to the reverse side which reveals clear plastic packing tape holding the entire hem in place. Yikes! How tacky. IMO, that's bad as stapling your hem in place. I told her that someone had to see it. Geez, didn't it crinkle when she sat down? Maybe they even heard it. Guess I should be happy she didn't get some insane idea and cut my hem.

She was promptly sent to her room to remove the packing tape from my dry-clean only dress, checky for dirt and oil spots, and put my belt back on my black/white suit. IMO, that is definitely a fashion faux pas. Taping a partial hem in an emergency is okay. Taping the entire hem on someone else's dress is not.

Anyway...DD#2's jeans are going fine. She had her first fitting yesterday, and I pinched out some vertical darts where some fabric needs to be removed. The crotch area (at this point) looks fabulous. I was so pleased. Currently the legs are being redesigned with some flare as per her preference. So far so good. DS#1 and DS#2's jeans are cut and ready to be stitched. Mine still have to be cut, but all the alterations have been transferred to the pattern. The only thing I want to double check is the front crotch area.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Body Core and Body Space

What does going to the gym and sewing have in common? Well, it hit me today. It's that darn body core! Everybody is always working to get a good, strong body core at the gym. We sewers are always trying to get a good fit in pants and in struck me today that body space in the the body core is likely a crucial component for proper fit, especially for people like me that have less than perfect torsos.

Case in point: my daughter's pants I'm working on. I matched up the front and back jeans pattern pieces at the crotch point seamline and made sure the grainlines were perfectly parallel. The result? A very narrow body space that maybe Barbie could fit into. When I put her crotch curve/body space overlay on top it was a Wow! moment. There was no way her body was going to fit into these pants. Something has to be done with the body space issue. I looked for an old Threads issue that had an article specifically about this (the 12/05-1/06 issue, pp. 40/41) and soaked up the info like a dry sponge.

Tomorrow I'll edit to add pics for an illustration of what I'm working on. Right now, I'm going to sleep on this fitting dilemna before proceeding with her pants alterations.

Pics now included :) ...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Hissy Fit!

DD#2 is having one. She says she doesn't have any pants to wear to school! What's a mom to do? The easy thing to do is to take her shopping. The hard part is that it takes forever for her to find something to wear. She is not a fashion diva type of girl. Not by a long shot. She's 13 and dress very "sporty"--t-shirts, sport pants, sport shorts, sweatshirts. That's the extent of her school wardrobe. It's a stark contrast to her 15-year old sister who enjoys her "fashion-conscious" clothes. Anyway, the hissy fit started two nights ago when she made the announcement, "I don't have any pants to wear to school." She claims the ones I bought for her two months ago for back to school are now too short. (That may be true since she's growing like a weed.) So Thursday night I'm seam ripping the serged hem on her sweatpants so she can wear them to school the next day. Then I get the comment that breaks me down--"What about those jeans you said you were going to make for me two months ago???"

So here I am. Typing about it while taking a break from drafting a pants pattern for her. DS#2's 3rd pair are cut out. The alterations have been transferred and/or completed on DS#1's and my pair. Now I'm working on hers. Here's to hoping the draft will be complete tonight to cut out a muslin tomorrow.

This is when sewing sometimes doesn't pay off. DD#2 hates virtually all jeans. In fact, I'm sitting in a pair she asked for last Christmas. We wear the same size and they fit me like a dream. Fit her like a dream too (IMO)! Why doesn't she like them? She doesn't like the feel. It's too snug, cuts into her here or there, so what makes me think mine will be any different? I don't. Plain and simple. This is a labor of love because she'll probably say she doesn't like the ones I make either. There is one thing in my favor. The jeans will have an elastic waist and mock zipper stitching on the front. Maybe, just maybe, the tide will turn.

Here's to hoping, but I'm not holding my breath. Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's a Wrap!

Just finished S4076, the wrap version. Don't know why, but I've never owned, nor worn, a wrap top before. But this version is definitely to my liking! The fabric I used was an embroidered, black Slinky--LOVE IT!

I'm definitely in love with Slinky fabric. In fact, this morning I bought 1 1/2 yards of this beautiful teal Slinky over at EOS to make another wrap top, maybe for PR Weekend in a few weeks. And I had to take a peek over at Gorgeous Things and ordered a black/white/gray art deco print, maybe for the Christine Jonson Wrap top. Once it got down to 7 yards left, the decision had to be made.

I was cautioned by a recent review of the wrap version over at PatternReview. A reviewer mentioned that her wrap version (in the flat pattern stage, I think) definitely did not have the same finished measurements as it should in the bust. Guess Simplicity chalked this up to an error, but there were no fit issues for me by simply grading from a 10 at the shoulders to a 14 mid armhole down. Those darn full high hips of mine needed a little more on the back piece from the waist down, so I added a 1/2" extra in the seam allowance starting at the hem on the back piece only, tapering to 0 at the waist. This is a constant bugaboo for me--broad shoulders, very small back, and full high hips. It makes for a very curvy back which necessitates either A: back darts or princess seams or B: Make the back more boxy and loose. I opted for B on this top, although if made again I think the back piece wil be redrafted for a shoulder princess seam so the small of the back can curve in and mold the body better.

Here is a pic of me wearing the top:

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There were lots of alterations for me as usual. They are found in my review of this top at Patternreview (well, when I get to write it :) ). I think the style is flattering, although I added 2" of length below the waist and probably shouldn't have with the Slinky. The 4-way stretch tends to pull down and add length anyway. Right now the top hits me right at my widest point, but that isn't a deal breaker because I simply like the fit and feel of the top. The top is tacked closed at the v by stitching in the ditch of the neckband.

Overall, I'll get a lot of wear out of this top. It's comfy and can be dressed up or down.

The next few days I'll be taking a break from tops and working on jeans. Cutting out mine because I'm finished (well, at least I *think* I am) with muslin alterations, cutting out DD's for her muslin, finishing DS#2's third pair, and starting DS#1's first pair! Better make sure there are enough good denim needles in my stash!

Here's to hoping my muslin alterations will pan out!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Birthday Wishes!

What a great way to spend one's birthday by taking a little time out for sewing activities! Can't say that I really want, nor need, anything. DH is a charmer and always says if you want it, buy it. (Good thing I'm not a shop-a-holic!) And he really is very good about because he sometimes gets neglected due to sewing activities. Hmm...I think from his aspect it might be a little more than "sometimes". So really, I must get working on something for him too.

Aside from this aspect, I did get to put the final alterations on my first wrap version of (yeah, it's my fave again!) Simplicity 4076. Perhaps there will be a chance to cut it out today from the embroidered Slinky fabric. I finished up DD#2's second pair of jeans too. He's thrilled with the side pockets, but next time will make the opening a little longer for him. Tomorrow his third pair will definitely get cut out. I'm going to take a little ease out of the waistband of his master pattern because the gathering at the waist, IMO, is a bit much.

Off to cutting.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Boys' Jeans

There are few things more frustrating than promising something specific in a garment and forgetting to do it when sewing it, which is exactly what I did. I making jeans for my boys. They hate RTW jeans. DS#2 specifically asked for side seam pockets, and I yes'd him but remembered AFTER sewing up and finishing the side seams. Yuck! Rip, rip, rip!!! I just drafted a side seam pocket last night and, hopefully, will get to putting them in today. After that, a simple elastic waistband finish will finish the jeans. He desparately needs three new pairs and this is number two. Maybe I will even get a chance to cut out number 3 today but that might be pushing it.

Once those jeans are done, DS#1 needs 3 new pairs of jeans too. As I start his, I will *finally* work on cutting out a casual, close-fitting trouser pattern that I've been perfecting the last three months. The alterations just need to be transferred to the pattern and it will be good to go. DD#2's jeans pattern needs to be drafted as well but at least that is half done. So...I'll be working on pants/jeans for three people over the next two-three weeks--myself, DS#2, and DD#2.

Busy, busy, busy!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Finished Projects

Last week I devoted a good chunk of time to cutting fabric--my most hated chore! So I set up a few projects to cut at once. So it took me a few days but was able to manage to finish two of my three projects, a twisted knot top and a tank dress. The twisted knot top is Simplicity 4076 which is one of my FAVE patterns in my stash. Geez! It must be the 8th top made from that pattern so far, and this week I'll be making my first wrap top from it too. The pattern has already been altered and is ready to go. The fabric used was a black lycra (think swimsuit fabric). To dress it up a little I added some black hot-fix crystals at the neckline and near the front twist. It's supposed to be worn with a skirt (still in the planning stages on that one), but for now will wear it with jeans for a casual look.

Here are the current pics:

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As for the "matching skirt", it will be a straight skirt made from some fruity fabric with black godets. Check this out--

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I can't wait to see how it turns out, although DH will probably not want to be seen with me when I'm wearing it LOL!

My second completed project this week was my Pamela Tank Top converted into a tank dress. I've morphed this pattern into a bunch of different styles and love the summer dress version. It's so hot in NE Pennsylvania today that I'm wearing it out. Probably the last day to wear summer clothes since it's supposed to get a bit cooler later this week. Even had enough fabric to make another tee (yep, S-4076 again :) ). The fabric was a pretty knit found at a local fabric store.

Here's the front and back:

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More later...

A New Day!

Well, I finally did it!!! After reading so many blogs about (what else!) sewing, I took the plunge. Stay tuned for some of my new projects that I've either finished, almost finished, still a work in progress, or on the cutting table.