Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buried Treasure!

I'm proud of my minimal stash - both patterns and fabric. My patterns fill two dresser drawers and my fabric fills three. At some point in the last two years, I had decided that I really didn't need to buy anymore patterns. That's right, within my stash I could find something that, with a few adjustments, could become my fashion vision. (HAH!) Then I discovered Pattern Review.

Long story short - last weekend I decided it was time to purge my stash to make room for all my new patterns. For my pattern filing system I separate my envelopes from the instructions and file them each separately. To begin the purging process I first pull all the envelopes that I know I won't use again then go to the drawer with all the patterns (filed numerically) and pull out the "guts". As I'm doing this I discover all sorts of patterns without matching envelopes, and many of them look like garments I want to sew right now! Some may even be considered, dare I say, vintage. Woohoo! I didn't keep them all, just the ones that I thought I would actually use.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Pix!

I love it when I visit a blog and they have new pictures. I'm definitely a picture person. I really wish there was something new everyday! Of course, now that I'm blogging myself I realize how impossible that becomes.

I hate that I haven't had the chance to enter new pictures in almost a week! There's stuff I want to share but the last two weeks have been a roller coaster both at home and at work. (I teach and transferred to a new school at the beginning of this semester. Very emotional and anxiety-ridden. I'm in an urban district and left the school with the best and the brightest students to go to a school with...well not the best and the brightest.) Today was my first official day of teaching and all is good.

Anyway, I'm going to share some pictures. Nothing too exciting, just a wonderful addition to my expanding wardrobe.

I finished these ivory pants two weeks ago and I LOVE them! Didn't write a review as it's a combination of two OOP patterns (Butt. 4704 or Vogue 9537? - now I don't even remember which - and the waistline from the skirt in Vogue 2444). These are definitely my new "I feel pretty" outfits.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Emma Un-Socked!

Thanks to Shelly's keen eye a 1.5-yard piece of my fabric is on its way! Isn't the internet great? It never even occurred to me to look at the bolt ends. Another lesson learned.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Emma One Socked!

Okay, so I'm new to the whole fabric online thing. I've read many, many comments about how fabrics at some particular websites sell out almost immediately. But I could never really and truly relate until today.

I've been slowly but surely planning my spring work wardrobe. Collecting many, many patterns, and 3 yes, a mere 3 fabric swatches. Today I relented and took the kids to the Y for swimming (in 16-degree weather). I printed out my official SWAP instructions/form (compliments of Shannon at Hungry Zombie Couture) to fill out while they swam. A light bulb moment happens. My print with all the basic colors would be this wonderful print. A knit jersey from Emma One Sock. I tell myself yes, step away from the black and white, introduce tan and brown this fabric is perfect... At approximately 10:00 p.m. Saturday night after I spent an hour or two organizing my patterns in Powerpoint, I visit Emma One Sock to find my fabric. ARGH!!! SOLD OUT, in bold red letters. People, it's January, why are you buying my spring fabric in January??

Okay, lesson learned. See - buy. The End.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

This week I said goodbye to a dear friend. I was forced to trash, not donate, one of my favorite suits. I never had a bad day when I wore this suit. One year I was invited to a special brunch/fashion show hosted by Glamour magazine, held at a local high-end department store. This is the suit I wore. I always wore it with a black turtleneck, black tights and heels, that day I added a pair of black gloves. It was comfortable and it made me feel great!

About three years ago I did a major closet overhaul and bravely removed many suits that I had been clinging to, hoping to wear again…someday. (Just for the record I discovered I had made a total of 30 tailored jackets, at least 15 of them had matching skirts and/or pants. I never realized how many I had!) I couldn’t however, bear to part with my pink suit.

This year after losing some weight, I was thrilled when I realized my pre-baby body was back and I could wear it again. I realized after my first look in the mirror at work that the jacket screamed 80’s (really big shoulder pads). It wasn’t until later in the day I also realized that my beautiful pink wool had actually faded – across the shoulder seams, and in a nice stripe down each sleeve. That was it. Buttons come off, shoulder pads come out. Suit goes in trash. Good-bye pink suit, I wore ye well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Don't Do Crafts

Well yes, I’m crafter because I like to scrapbook, and knit, and sew. But I don’t consider myself a true-blue “crafter”. I do clothes, not crafts. Leave it to Threads (issue #120 pgs. 50-55 to be specific) to spur a crafting revolution in me. The article explains how to make a purse from a placemat. It’s functional, the creative possibilities are endless, and it takes very little time to sew. Here are some results:

At about the same time I read the Threads article my mom met someone that had made a placemat purse using a different pattern that was equally functional, cute, and easy. We were on a quest...for placemats!

The point of all this is that it looks like my only sewing project to be completed this weekend will be a placemat purse. Most of the purses are quite small compared to what most women need so I had the idea to put two together - and it worked! I'm not wild about the placemats, but they resulted in yet another, functional, attractive, easy purse.

The closest instructions I've found are on the Be Sew Stylish website here. (Do a search for Two-Hour Tote Bag.) Just substitute the two main sections of the bag with two placemats (you can add a pocket with a coordinating napkin).

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Just when I was going full-speed with my sewing (and blogging) my two jobs took over. Both kids have been sick and its the week before finals at school (in addition, I'm changing schools in another week). Well, now the weekend is here and I'll see if I can live up to my moniker!

Monday, January 7, 2008


Check back soon. This one's going to be fab-u-lous!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Two years ago I downsized my sanctuary (sewing area). My oversized sewing table was becoming a junk and toy collector. I ended up purchasing an old table, built-in sewing machine, and a hatbox of assorted notions for $15. The machine wasn’t worth repairing and I really only wanted the table anyway. So, I removed it and installed a foundation that could hold my machine. The table is wonderful and just what I needed but in the assorted notions hatbox I found an equally wonderful treasure. It is what looks to be a never-been-used box of sewing feet with instructions for using each foot.

Today, in an ongoing effort to make a dress that meets my 6 year old daughter’s particular standards, I cut out a knit top with three-tiers of cotton ruffles. The first two tiers needed to be measured and gathered accurately (twice the circumference of the piece to which it would be attached). So, I gathered them the traditional way. For the third tier I went to my Box-O-Feet and took out The Ruffler. As instructed by the little lady in the box, I found the corresponding instruction card and got to work testing the length/width of my ruffle. Once I found the perfect setting, it was on to the dress.

Use this:

To create this (sans the pants):

The beauty of this attachment is that it will gather and attach the ruffle at the same time. The reason I don’t use it much is that it’s difficult to determine and control how much fabric is used for gathering. There are just too many variables – the depth, the number of stitches per pleat/gather, the stitch length used and the steadiness speed at which you sew. However, when you have a project (usually home dec) that requires lots of gathering and an abundance of fabric, it's a definite time saver.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why I Love Sewing – Reason #1 my “Coat Of Many Colors”

Picture this: Thursday night at the fabric store and this multi-color, Ralph Lauren, plaid wool coating catches my eye. Off to the patterns I go and find the perfect Claude Montana (Vogue 2974) pattern to complement the fabric. Friday night is spent cutting out (no small feat considering all the plaids that need to be matched and the fact that the plaid is different on the wrong side of the fabric). Saturday is a sewing marathon. Sunday I wear my “coat of many colors” for the first time. This is a garment that shows the best of my sewing abilities – perfect welt pockets, perfect bound buttonholes, perfectly matched plaids everywhere. Details here.

This is why I love sewing. In three days I was able to go from fabric, patterns, and notions to a timeless garment that is 100% unique. I will never run into someone with this coat. I made this garment about 15 years ago and was complemented today by another sewist when I went shopping. Even if no one notices my “coat of many colors” it will forever be a shining example of why I sew.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Can This Jacket Be Saved?

My dear sweet ultrasuede. It’s been in my stash for a very long time waiting for the most special, ultimate, timeless garment ever. This year I cut out two garments that will not be timeless or ultimate. I had to do it after all, it really is just fabric.

The first garment is a jumper that turned out to be more fitted than I expected and to have princess lines that look wacky at the bust. Even if other people don’t notice, I do. (After adjusting them three times I decided to just wear it.) It’s a garment that will never hear the words “Thanks, I made it myself.”

The second garment is this little bolero jacket from an OOP Vogue pattern. All was going well until I reached the armscye. Yuk. It looks terrible. I went out and bought then sewed a cool-weather jacket in record time just to make my ego feel better. (When I can figure out how to add my widget, you'll see that too.)

After reading through conversations on PR, SG, and my favorite blogs (well, that and about 4 weeks of having it stare at me from the dress form) I decided to cut some ease out of the sleeve cap. Success is in sight (picture taken before pressing). Now the answer is yes this garment can be saved! Completed picture coming soon.