Monday, April 28, 2008

What the...?

I’m one of those people that has a weird mix of personalities ( I know, just like everybody else, lol). I love attention but am completely embarrassed when I receive it. Weeks ago Paula graciously nominated my site for the Excellent Blog award. I’m equal parts proud as a peacock and shy as a wallflower about it. First, while I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do and who else to nominate – everyone was nominated! Second, after thinking about this for so long, I just checked and the award pic is gone?! Well, whether I earned the award or not here are some award-worthy sites you should visit.

The first is the only non-sewing site I visit on a daily basis. I love What I Wore Today. Kasmira’s style is young and hip and really isn’t anything like me but I love to see what she puts together! I give her full credit for inspiring this recent purchase:
In addition she’s got a fun blog list of her own.

The other site is The Lazy Milliner. I love Mary Beth's wit. I’m totally a picture person and until about ten years ago I really and truly hated reading. Well, I go to this site to read. How’s that for an endorsement? LOL

More garments coming soon. I need some bottoms to match a top I made two weeks ago. And I have a performance coming up with the newly re-built band at my school so I'm not sure when the sewing will happen. Even if you don't hear from me, rest assured I'm lurking!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Don't you just hate it when...

the plans fall through. If you’re a regular reader you’re probably looking for a description of my sewing lounge experience. Sorry to disappoint but they were closed! It’s just a small shop and it could have been something like a family emergency came up and the person that was supposed to open the shop couldn’t make it but… I was so bummed out! I mean, we had to arrange for a sitter and everything! I even left and came back a half hour later to see if I had the time wrong. Nope. Closed. And then, when I tried to email them, the message went through Outlook Express (please send me instructions if you know how to solve this problem, as it happens often) and when I hit “send” the screen says looking for POP3 and then said there was an error…something about yahoo…message didn’t go through. Argh.

I’ll probably try again next month. My main purpose in going was to try an industrial machine. Plus, this shop is very, very close to where I live and it would be great to share my love of sewing with actual real people! Can you relate? And now I'm finding myself spending valuable sewing time looking for a used industrial. I seriously I don't have the space, the money, and probably don't have the voltage to consider this but...

The good news is I made two garments this weekend. Here's a black pair of pants that actually fit! Wonder if it's because I actually broke down and made a muslin this time? Hmmmm. This is a cotton/lycra fabric (Sundance?) from Joann's using an almost vintage pattern from my stash. As I was working on the pattern I would remember little bits and pieces of the garments I made with it originally! Pretty funny.

The workmanship came second with this project, so go ahead and make note of the imperfections but I already know what they are! lol I serged the seams - didn't line them as I plan to wear them for the summer. One of the things I love about this pattern is that the front darts are released in the pockets (I think that's the way to describe it). It makes the high hip area very roomy and the pockets are designed to stand out a little. I wanted these to look a little dressier than jeans or a little more casual than dress pants. Which reminds me, does anyone know how the waistband topstitching is handled in RTW? IMO the waistband on these scream's home-made. Is it too wide, even though it matches the rest of the topstitching? Advice welcome.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Just when I felt like I was in a sewing slump I turned around and realized I’d made four new garments!

First the black and white toile skirt from a TNT pattern (please note that it was 26 degrees when I wore this last Sunday, hence the turtleneck). I remembered to cut out the lining/underlining with the extra seam allowance this time so I could do thisand boy is that a great method! I will never ever (probably) do a regular lining on a skirt again! Amazing. The cotton decorator fabric hardly wrinkled at all and because I used Ambiance lining it didn’t bunch up when I walked. Plus, and probably most important – it was quick!

This is a fabulous Gorgeous Fabrics mod knit from OOP Vogue 9564, a pattern that I simply refuse to lose! Lol! Cut exactly like the pattern this time. I normally like to use facings for this sleeveless style but was inspired by this tutorial. I serged clear elastic then turned under and topstitched. It’s the first time I’ve tried this and I’m happy with the results.

Sadly, this one’s a wadder. I had my doubts after I finished it, but now that I see what these pictures look like… buh’ bye’! The zipper is coming out and I might try and turn the skirt into a little top, but the dress is a gonner. The lesson learned is – go with your instincts! I have yet to find a bias skirt that I feel comfortable wearing (meaning, that I think makes me look good), my LBP makes any type of raised waistline iffy, but there were so many cute dresses on PR with this pattern. I buckled under the peer pressure!
Lastly, is this garment on which I have almost no information! It’s a cotton Alexander Henry print from JoAnn’s (amazingly) but that’s about all I remember. LOL This is a leftover that I cut out last year. It was before my sewing chart and I seriously don’t know what patterns I used – I am sure that I used more than one, well, pretty sure. As far as sewing goes I’m thrilled that I finally finished a sleeveless garment using bias tape without any puckering at the underarm. Forgive me if this is too basic for some of you, but I’ve been trying to solve this problem for years and years and no matter what I get puckers at the deepest curve under the arm. Well, the solution that worked for me is: while I’m doing the first line of stitching to attach the binding, I make sure that the remainder of the tape lays flat against the garment. When I turn the binding to the inside for top stitching, voile! Smooth underarm. So simple.

Gotta go do some cutting, tomorrow’s my big sewing lounge excursion!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sewing-10 vs. Planning-100!

While the actual sewing has slowed down, the wardrobe planning has been in full swing. Here are the fabric results:
I had to keep retaking this picture as I kept discovering more fabric! At this point my drawers are full, the sewing chart is full, and the pattern stash is's pretty full but I can't say that I won't add a few more. I've been spending my sewing time working on pattern adjustments and will probably focus on more of that and cutting out this week.

My sewing chart is a bit of a let down this time because I purchased all my fabric before I put it together. My favorite columns to check are the "Fabric" and "Complete" and now one of them is already full! Earlier Kay had asked for a clearer picture of this so here it is. Also, if anyone would like a copy just send me an e-mail at elkida01 "at" yahoo "dot" com and I can attach the Excel file.

My big excitement this week is that I'm planning on visiting a local sewing lounge on Friday (Stitch Cleveland). I've been dying to try out an industrial machine and ever since this lounge opened up I've been checking to see if they have one. Well, when I saw them at the Sewing Expo they said one would be ready by the next "I Sew Cleveland" (an open sewing evening). Yipee! I'm sure I'll spend all my creative energy this week trying to decide what project to bring with me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

PR Tip

I haven't been very wordy lately; too many other distractions. So, this post is just some pictures to accompany a tip I've added to Pattern Review.

This is a tip for cutting out knit t-shirt style patterns without having to open the fabric to a single layer or cutting on the fold. I remember it from a Stretch-and-Sew class that I took years ago. It works for tops that have both left and right sides rather than a one side of the front/back placed on the fold.

When you have a pattern where the front and back are the same except for the neckline, trace the front neckline onto the back pattern piece.

I also place a piece of clear tape near the CF and back neckline intersection to offer a little support to the pattern paper. With your fabric folded (just as it comes off the bolt) lay the back pattern piece out on both layers and cut following the back neckline.

Remove the back piece but keep the pattern on the front. Cut out the front neckline stopping about 1/2" from the CF intersection (the picture was taken after cutting about 1" from the CF). Just fold the pattern out of the way and finish cutting the rest of the neckline.

The pattern remains in one piece and you don't have to fuss with all that arranging to cut the pieces out on a single layer.

I've also started using this method in places like skirt/dress hems. You can cut the shorter length but keep the longer length connected to the original pattern piece. I've done some experimenting using it with multisize patterns but at this point, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big Honkin’ Pants!!

I think these are the biggest honkin’ pair of pants I've ever worn! And I went to high school when the pants were so big we described them as “elephant legs”.

I started out innocently enough trying to make a stylin’ new pair of baggy pants. I used my pants sloper to make adjustments to the printed pattern; I sewed everything together until the waistband, then tried them on – all my usual procedures. It was apparent at this point that the legs were very wide and I may have added a little too much to the length…but the waist seemed to fit really well. They got pushed aside because of Easter and my indecision about the wide legs. After weeks of thinking about what to do next, I decided just to finish them. I mean, winter is supposed to be over so I probably won’t get much use out them until fall anyway. Right? Actually even when they were done I wasn’t convinced they were huge enough to stay in the closet. ** Okay, somewhere between finishing the pants and cutting out a different pattern of pants I realized that the sloper I was using was a year old. That meant I was using last year’s pre-Body by Glamour (yep, that’s how I lost weight last summer!) measurements to fit my pants. Oh brother!

So, today I put them on with my fabulous houndstooth jacket. Here’s what happened: I nearly fell on my face at least three times when my heel caught the cuff. At about 11:00 I gave up on the heels (I usually do really well in heels but my feet were killing me today), so I had about 3” of length cleaning the floor. Yea, and it’s a good thing I decided to include the belt loops and wear a belt because the waist did not fit like I thought and for sure there would have been 5” cleaning the floor without the belt. Back to the closet they go.

Maybe the next time I’m desperate for a pair of black wool pants I’ll consider letting them out of the closet!

They actually looked more like this than the first picture. The pattern is Vogue 7468.