Friday, July 24, 2009

I have a question for you!

Do you think about sewing a lot? I know I do!

So many times I'll go to bed and think about patterns, fabric, future projects, techniques--you name it, I've probably thought of it. Then when I wake up, I wonder if I'll get in any sewing time, mull over what to wear that I've made, eat my breakfast while checking out sewing blogs or PR, maybe do a bit of sewing, then start my day. If I'm lucky, I'll do sewing at some time during the day, maybe at night too.

I get very excited when I think about going to Pocono Sew and Vac. So many machines, so much gadgetry, so many sewing notions...oh, I just want to sit at the machines and experiment! And then there are the fabric stores. Where am I going? Is there a fabric store nearby?

Yeah, I think about sewing. A lot! My Coverstitch machine is still in the box. I looked at it every time I was in my sewing room today thinking about those gorgeous coverstitched hems and feeling those stretchy professional-looking hem stitches. It will be another 10 days before I can take out my new toy and play with it. Can you imagine??? Why did I even pick it up when the box tortures me every day LOL? Oh well, after 10 months of layaway, what's another 10 days, right?!?! You know, I get SO happy thinking about my "family". The machine family that is. I want to see them all lined up on one table so I can take a picture--my sewing machine, serger, embroidery machine, and coverstitch. Such a handsome family of machines it will be!

Do you virtually eat, sleep, and breathe sewing? I've been like that since 7th or 8th grade. My summers in high school were spent in the basement making clothes, many times from 8 or 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. when I had to get ready to go to work. I will admit that my sewing went into a temporary hibernation state when my four kids were 7 and under. I think I slept through huge chunks of time in the 1990's or lived in a sleep-deprived daze for a few years. But other than that, sewing has been a major part of my life and who I am.

How about you? Just wondering how many of us have this *passionate* hobby. I'd like to know I'm not alone :) .

Friday night meandering thoughts.

It's 10:45 on a Friday night and I'm waiting for DD#1 to arrive home. So, I'm thinking about sewing things and will finish up the christening outfit tomorrow night. It just needs the buttons and buttonholes. I was going to do it tonight but cleaned a bit and had to get stuff ready for DD#2's softball tournament and DS#2's very first baseball tournament on a 10U team. What I don't like about this is I'll have to use all manual settings. The 1/4" buttons are too small for my buttonhole foot!

Also, I plan on adding a number of blogs to my blogroll and subscription feeds in Bloglines. That's one of the reasons I love my Sitemeter widget. Sometimes I check out my referrals and find some great blogs that way. It's kind of like if someone is interested in my work, I'll most likely be interested in theirs as well. And, of course, I find some great ones via comments. There's some mighty fine work going on the sewing blogsphere!

Which brings me to Bloglines--I dread looking at the feeds! I've been so busy and haven't had a chance to read any blogs the past two weeks. It will probably be three since I have to get ready to go to Virginia on Wednesday. And do you know who I'm going to see in Virginia??? JEF from Patternreview!!! I'll be there for the ASA Softball Nationals and we're going to meet up hopefully for both coffee/lunch and at G-Street Fabrics. This is really exciting! Although, I must admit, DD#2 is not all that thrilled about it. She'll survive though. I'll buy a new camera battery and be ready to go.

So maybe in another 10 days I'll be back to somewhat of a normal routine and can catch up on an immense amount of blog reading. Or maybe I'll start right after finishing this post :) !

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Little Pattern of the Year!

Drum's from McCall's! This HAS to be one of *MY* top patterns of 2009! This McCall's pattern, 5893, an EASY 1-hour dress is superbly drafted and uniquely designed to fit and flatter.

I desparately wanted a maxi dress *this* summer. NOT next summer with my sewing being so slow which is typically the case. So when I saw Erica B's version (although a different pattern), then Adrienne's version from this same McCall's pattern, I knew it was "the" one and was sold on it. Every version I checked at Patternreview showed lovely results on various figures.

What is key here is that the horizontal bodice seamline is not only gathered, but the seam allowance on the inside is pressed toward the bodice and a casing is created from the skirt seam allowance (the bodice seam is trimmed). This provides a close, comfortable, yet snug fit right under the bust which is very slimming. That's really a crucial area with this kind of dress which can very easily look tent-like. And IMO, it absolutely does NOT look like a tent. I think it's actually quite flattering.

The best part? My quick muslin of the bodice resulted in only 4 very minor alterations.

1. I moved the entire shoulder seam forward a 1/2".

2. I added small darts in the back from the bodice horizontal seamline extending upward about
2". Too much extra fabric. I removed 1 1/2" via the darts.

3. Added the same type of darts (extending just down to the waist) on the skirt in the back to match the bodice. Yeah, I didn't have to do this, but I didn't want to add it as gathers. Too many gathers is not a good look on me.

4. Added 2.5" to the length of the skirt.

These are incredibly minor alterations. I used a size 10 at the neck and shoulders grading out to a 14 from mid-armhole down. I loved the fact that this was a multi-size pattern with the 10-14 sizes which made things so easy for me.

Get this! The vertical darts on the bodice were in the right location! My bust apex is 3.5" from the CF and these darts were 3.75" away from the apex. I left as is--that 1/4" won't really matter.

The fabric used? That lip-smacking ITY purchased from Spandex World in NYC. This fabric is perfect summer weight--not as heavy as the "buttermilks" I purchased from EOS but really the same type of fabric. The drape is heavenly. So much so that I bought two more Spandex World ITY's for a short summer dress from this pattern as well as a top. Here are two more beauties I bought for this pattern and will make a shorter dress out of this pink/black print and a long top maybe with the sleeves out of this green swirly print

And the shoes! I bought Candies flip flops at Kohl's that were a great match. DD#1 not only approved of the dress, she also liked the shoes. Too bad they're not her size ;) .

Here's a pic of the dress outside in daylight. The colors are so pretty! Truly everything about this dress is fabulous. DD#1 even commented, "It really makes you look tall!" And I'm not short either--about 5'7", but the long, column style really elongates the figure and adds height. And...when I wore this to my local Sew and Vac today to pick up my Coverstitch machine, one of the employees loved my dress so much she was going to head out to Joann's this weekend and pick up this pattern.

What is needed now? Better earrings, and a good chunky brownish/bluish bracelet. Oh, and a nice-looking handbag. That would really complete the ensemble. At this point, I really hope maxi dresses are not SO out of style that they can't be worn next year.

Yeah, IMO, McCall's Easy 1-hour 5893 gets my vote as one of the best patterns in 2009! It's a little early to make that call since the year is far from over, but this pattern deserves it! McCall's gets kudos for this one!!!

Smug and Stupid!

Last night I worked on the snap crotch/legs on the Christening outfit. In not one of my finer moments, I installed the tape on the front legs, installed the tape on the back legs, then go to snap it together and realized something wasn't right--the recollection of baby clothes running through my mind.

You know, I could have looked at the pattern directions again! The method for installing the tape on the back legs is different than the front. If I still had wee little ones, I would have known this but wasn't paying too much attention to things. A moment of smugness with the thought, "I don't have to look at the directions!" will give me another hour of frogstitching with the seam ripper and installing the back tape again. How stupid is that?!?!

Again, the wording could be a little better on the snap tape installation instructions. Same type of thing with the back closure. Better wording would have eliminated any second guessing of "Is this what I'm supposed to do?" I will elaborate on this when I do a pattern review. It would have been fine if I had some baby clothes around to examine but I don't.

Lorrie made me feel much better about things anyway. She posted:

"I had the same problem with their instructions on the same outfit. I ended up modifying to fit my needs...alot easier. good luck finishing."

For once...I'm not the only one :) !

Thank you to Lindsay. She suggested I contact Bunny of La Sewista for help, and I would have except I'm starting to become pressed for time. So I'll follow the pattern instructions and use small, flat buttons. Filing that link in a brain cell for future reference should the need arise.

And, of course, thank you to everyone else for their words of encouragement. Baby clothes certainly are not my specialty but this project is moving along fine with just minor detours along the way.


Yesterday I finished my maxi dress with my Spandex World ITY fabric. It looks FABULOUS! I love it and will wear it today. Get ready for pics!

AND...I'm picking up my Janome CP1000 Coverstitch machine that has been on layaway for 10 months! I used all my birthday, Christmas, anniversary, and sewing lesson money to pay for it. So when I go to my local Sew and Vac for tiny buttons today, my Coverstitch will be coming home :) ! In fact, DD#2 was trying on polos (new school dress code a/k/a uniforms, yes, for a public school!) and said the bottom might need to be cut/rehemmed. No problem! I can give her the same hem with my new coverstitch.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Christening Outfit, Part III: 85% complete

First, let's talk about the pattern. That Simplicity Christening outfit boy/girl pattern 5813. The instructions were great until the back, "placket" section. I'm a "visual" person and read the instructions and closely examine the pattern illustration that corresponds to the numbered item. The problem is, the illustration was a little misleading. I spent an hour scratching my head after doing the back closure part wrong. Still not sure if it is right, but it looks right so all is well.

Here's the front in it's current state:

Here's the back. Notice the ridge that needs to be pressed out on the back placket aggravation area. Dumb pattern!

Another thing, what the heck is wrong with Simplicity??? Putting a baby sleeve in, in the round instead of flat? I can't imagine using the smallest size for this pattern and machine stitching the sleeve in the round. When I do a pattern review, I'll be sure to note this.

The pattern required bias tape to turn the neckline seam to the inside. The likely purpose for this is to enclose the seam so it would be comfortable against a baby's neck. Instead of purchasing Wright's bias tape, I used bias strips cut from the dress lining. The positive of this is that the lining is thinner and softer than the bias tape. I wasn't going to do this, but when I looked at my clock and it said 2:40 with the store closing at 3, the lining called out to me, "Use me as bias tape!"

Right now I just have to work on the back closure and the snap crotch at the legs. I think I'll do buttons/buttonholes at the back. I was thinking about small snaps as well. Not sure which way I'll go, but will mull this over tonight. If anyone has any thoughts regarding snaps or small buttons, I'd appreciate posting a comment about it.

Now I'm off to examine the pattern instructions for installing the snap tape in the leg seams. I haven't used that stuff since high school!

I've found it! My Fab Maxi-dress Fabric!!

The perfect knit for the maxi dress I want to make! At first there was a knit that caught my eye at Gorgeous Fabrics, but then I decided on this brown/blue beauty from SpandexWorld:

Maxi-dress-to-be fabric!

I know--it's ITY poly/lycra. Here's the kicker. In the Poconos, we've had one of the coolest, non-humid summers in years with temps in the mid/high '70's, low 80's. The last time we hit the 90's was a brief hot weather spell in May. Very atypical, but I'm not complaining about it.

The brown/blue combo has to have just enough blue so I can pull off this color scheme, and I think it has it. Too much brown, well it's just not my color. Karen is one of the few people I know that can pull off the entire palette of rust, brown, orange, etc. with panache. She really knows her colors, AND they look great on her!

Just wanted to post this because I LOVE this fabric! The print is busy enough, but not too busy. Bold colors, but not too bold, if you KWIM. It has an artsy flair and is different from anything I've seen is RTW. And the beauty of it all? I'm using a Q&E 1-hour pattern. Okay, 2-hours--I've got a few pattern alterations to do first.

The fabric just came in the mail today and I LOVE it! It's not too thick so it won't it be too hot, but is substantial enough with (what I think will be) fantastic drape.

I'll work on the christening outfit for a while today, then do some minor pattern alterations for the maxi dress with a very quick upper body muslin.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Christening Outfit, Part II: Tracing/Cutting

I realized today that I neglected to post the pattern I'm using for the Christening outfit in my previous blog post. It's Simplicity 5813, view D (romper). So here is the pattern photo:

Two nights ago I was able to trace off all the pattern pieces for the Christening outfit and start cutting out the pattern pieces. Today I finished the cutting and am ready to start the sewing. Hopefully, my snap tape will arrive soon because the actual sewing of this is very easy.
The traced pattern pieces:
The pattern pieces/fabric all cut out:
Oddly enough, I can't believe there doesn't seem to be mention of interfacing in the collar and leg cuffs. Is this standard for baby apparel? I'm thinking of just putting in some P/P sheer interfacing anyway. Also, I'll need some tiny buttons and bias tape so I'm hoping to get that in town.

In other news, I did take a trip to Walmart and picked up McCall's 5893:
I loved 3kid's version of this in her pattern review and had to get it. There's this great knit at Gorgeous Fabrics that I'm dying to have for this dress. I did have a beautiful border print in my stash purchased from EOS about two years ago, but only have 1 1/2 yards! I need 2 :( . Oh well. The fabric is aging beautifully. It WILL become something, someday. Wouldn't it be great if I could make this maxi dress *THIS* summer when it's in style??? We'll see...we'll see...

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Christening Outfit, Part I: FEAR!

Today I started the Christening outfit for my niece's son. I'm making it from her wedding dress along with a pillow using the bow from the back of the dress and a clutch purse.

So...there is no fear like the fear of cutting into a wedding dress! I purposely put off making the outfit until now because the growth of a baby can vary. I feel confident about the size I'm using, but actually taking the scissors to the gown is kind of maddening. Once you clip, there's a point of no return LOL.

Here's the pattern piece ID stage:

Pieces cut out next to pattern:

Scared as heck looking at the dress:

Feeling the fear...and doing it anway:

Christening outfit fabric panels on left, clutch lining on right:

(Big sigh...) The What-Have-I-Done Feeling when examing the dress back LOL!

The dress has several panels in the back. I think I'll only need two, and will use the upper bodice for the clutch purse and pillow. The other panels can be saved for a Christening gown for a girl. And what is it about snap tape??? That stuff is hard to buy in short lengths. I saw Internet stores selling 30 yard minimums on up. Uh...$36 or more for snap tape? I'd have enough for 5 lifetimes! Thankfully I found a short length on Ebay.

Okay. Now I'm going to trace off the pattern pieces. That's the good thing about this project! The pieces are all nice and small which makes for quick tracing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick Sewing Update!

Yesterday I FINALLY put in my order to Sew Sassy for bra making supplies. I was supposed to do that two weeks ago but hesitated every day thinking there might be one more supply to add to the order. I finally placed the order and am happy about it. Next week I can get my bra done and work on Bra version 2.0.

Started a second pair of lacy panties in royal blue with black lace. Had to stop because I ran out of plush finishing elastic. Waiting for that in my order. I modified the panty pattern tweaking it here and there. Added a little bit of width at the back booty area near the crotch/back piece horizontal seam, narrowed the upper width of the back piece a smidge, raised the center back a little bit, and shortened the crotch piece about a 1/2". Let's see where these pattern alterations take me. I was thinking on my third try to cut the width of a size XS at the mid/upper side seams. We'll see. Here's the KS panty pattern I'm using, the style is the green illustration:

My swimsuit muslin has been tweaked. You'd think in nylon/lycra I wouldn't have to do anything, but no.... When am I ever able to get around alterations??? The KS swimsuit pattern as altered according to my back waist and crotch depth, but there is way too much length at the front between the shoulders and bustline. It's far too low. Then the bra shelf is far too low as well. You wouldn't believe how much I had to shorten the bra shelf, which put my boobs dangerously close to the upper edge LOL. Bra cups won't work in a bathing suit that low cut so the upper edge had to come up.

Bra cups are a mystery that is unraveling for me. I've never used them before in anything so that is a learning experience. I'm very happy to be involved in the lingerie/bra making sew along because it's very helpful as I try to work in some sort of shelf bra in my swimsuit. The bathing suit style is more of a "Baywatch" type of swimsuit in that it is a one-piece tank front and it has a low back with high-cut legs. Here is a pic of it:

At some point, I'll try to get a pic of my bathing suit muslin. Maybe within the week.

Also, my friend, Pat, just finished her Cape. It looks great! Right now I'm helping her make a matching skirt. She also has enough to whip up a vest. A complete outfit! She's going to look great in this.

Future plans for the month? A maxi dress. I have the McCall's pattern picked out, the perfect fabric picked out from my local fabric store, and I'll be the first one in my town (at least I think!) to wear one around town. The pattern will likely be a one-hit wonder for me. The maxi dress will be in this summer, and probably out in the Summer of 2010.

Last, but not least, I have been commissioned to make my niece's Christening outfit for her infant son from her wedding dress. Wish me luck! I'm not a baby clothes person so this will certainly be an interesting endeavor. I'm starting that in a week or so. Her wedding dress is in my front closet ready to go.