Monday, June 30, 2008

Wanted: Opinions

The muslin for the My Pattern contest are ready for the real fabric. Originally I had one fabric picked out, but have found two other contenders and now I can't decided. Please, help!

The outfit is a long, sleeveless jacket with stand-up collar and self-fabric belt over narrow-legged pants. I plan to have this be a transitional suit that will take me into fall. The jacket looks something like this

Here are the fabric candidates:

The original choice from EOS (I like the description and the fact that it's cotton, but am not sure about the texture in the close-up shot, it looks a little rough.)
A cotton sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics (I love sateen, but for this outfit am concerned about the shine and wrinkles.)
A wool gabardine from CandleLight Valley Fabrics (I love gabardine, but am not always careful about pressing. Also, do I want wool?)

What would you choose?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weekend Wonders

My favorite thing that I did this weekend was enclose the porch of our house. I'm looking for a classier way to describe the mosquito netting curtain that makes my porch look like it's screened in. I've been dreaming of this before I ever discovered there was a company that produced them. All in a quest to relive my childhood where, during the summer, the porch became an extension of the living room. My dream has come true. As soon as the morning weather is warmer than 65 degrees, I'm having breakfast out my pajamas.

My second favorite thing I did this weekend was this skirt. Vogue 8424

I've been looking for an A-line skirt that I feel flatters my figure and this one is it. Plan on seeing more of these. I bought the pattern for a fall/winter fabric. Then, when I was looking for skirt patterns a la Boden I thought this one might work (love the big pockets). Once it was done I couldn't believe how much I liked it. It just feels good to wear. Hope I can figure out an equally flattering top to go with it. Any ideas (t-shirt, tank top, cotton blouse)? I'm completely lost when it comes to putting together the rest of the outfit so if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.

The least favorite thing I did this weekend was this "thing". (The bad pictures reflect how I felt about it!)

I know it looks like a skirt but it is the most ill-fitting, unflattering skirt I've made in a long, long time. Equally aggravating is the fact that once I discovered what I think was my mistake, my correction didn't fix it. I was hoping to get a cute little sailor-inspired white skirt out of this but...the zipper's out and the fabric's gone! Buh, bye. I think this project deserves it's own individual post so that's all I'm going to say about it for now.

Buh, bye!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sewing Update

Warning: This may be stuff you've already seen.

Once again, I'm feeling guilty about not posting anything. So this post is to show all the sewing I've done since school got out. If you keep yourself updated on PR you can just skip everything, well, except my My Pattern progress. I updated my WIP review but didn't see it in the review gallery. (I'm struggling with that whole WIP process.)

Recent garments: (Click on the picture at right if you want to read the review.)

Now for the My Pattern contest. I'm putting all my photos into Photobucket albums. If you look at the pictures individually, you'll see my description.
Week #1
Week #2 (pictures are not in order)

I'm giving the sewing lounge another try tomorrow and if that doesn't work, I noticed they now have a S&B (can't bring myself to type the words! lol) every Thursday so that might be my summer getaway!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Toy

Although I love my new (actually 3 years old) machine, I do not love the buttonholes it produces. To produce a buttonhole you create the first one (4-steps) then hit a button that supposedly memorizes it so that you only need to press one button to make the next hole. The problem I have is that the tension of the fabric needs to be exactly the same as it was on the first button – and that’s not as easy as it looked when I saw the demonstration. Anyway, I’ve been struggling and trying to come up with an alternate plan.

One of my idea was to try the type of buttonholer my mom had on her machine when I was little. Enter PR and this review.

The result is very close to what I would like but the time and aggravation it saved me outweighs the quality issues. After working out my tester it probably took a total of 10 minutes for these four buttonholes. The best part is that all I had to think about was lining up the markings properly. For these buttonholes I ran the stitching around three times. My only problem is that I’d like to make the stitch length shorter to tighten the stitches. I have it set as short as possible and it’s still too long, but I’ll keep using it!

This buttonholer came with templates for straight, keyhole, and bound buttonholes. I can’t wait to try out the bound buttonholes because it appears that it will be just as much a time-saver as the regular buttonholer (don’t get too excited there’s still hand-sewing involved).

Happy sewing to all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Last week's damages, um, I mean investments!

Just what is it about a sale that makes us think we have to buy something? Oh well, I'm very pleased with my "investment" purchases.
Confession: I've been eyeing those wool coatings at Gorgeous Fabrics probably since February as I desperately need something to replace this.

Sale, not on sale, Sale, not on sale, The Great Coat Sewing Along = sale! I was so close to placing my order (kept changing my mind about the color), then I got a little postcard in the mail that one of my favorite local (but a little bit out of the way) stores was having a big sale. All wools 40% off. I decided to visit Cutting Room Fabrics and found the perfect coatings, plus a extra little dress fabric.

FYI - Their website doesn't come close to showing the beautiful fabrics they have in stock. If you plan to visit the NE Ohio/Cleveland area, it's a must-see.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

To Join or Not To Join...

Everybody's joining contests! What about me??? I missed the Vintage contest, the Mini Wardrobe contest, and The Great Coat Sew Along. Can you say "indecisive"? Thanks to some surfing on Marji's site I've found the contest for me (drum roll please) the My Pattern contest on PR. I read about it and while I started contemplating what I could possibly make all these memories started coming back.

I really was a designer at one time! I'd almost forgotten. During my Minneapolis daytime temp, evening custom sewing business time I designed some dresses that were selected for a big time fashion show! Impressed? It was sponsored by The Fashion Group and the participants were selected by a committee. Real, professional models wore my clothes! It was very cool. Here's a peek:

Re-enter indecisiveness: what should I make? I want to try draping (my other designs were all from a flat pattern), I want it to be functional, I want it to be complicated enough to be a challenge, but not so complicated that I give up in frustration. I started by browsing the vintage pattern sites to copy something and got a few ideas. Today I drew up my idea. It's a combination of one vintage 60's pattern, an Akris neckline, an Jill Sander jacket over slim pants, and a JMendel sleeveless jacket. Here's the visual:
Now, I have a mission. Along with sewing more vintage patterns (I was in vintage overdrive last year but it hasn't stopped me from collecting more patterns!), continuing with my wardrobe (spring and not-yet-complete summer-fun) projects, and sewing at least one, if not two coats (I know everyone will be blogging about this, so I'm going to pretend I'm part of the sew-along club), I'll be dusting off all my designer juices to complete a project for this contest. Yay.

P.S. - Just after I'd written the draft of this post I visited the contest pages on PR. Yikes, I really so try not think of this as a competition, but yikes! First of all Marji's making a formal dress, second Don McCunn, author of How To Make Sewing Patterns is making a wedding gown. Then in the last week Myraida announced she's entering - at the rate she's going her dress will be done on Monday and it's beautiful! Once again indecision, low self-esteem, I can't compete voices start calling me.
...But I'm not listening! Yesterday, I joined.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Date Night Dilemma!

or, what to wear when you finally have an EVENT.

Event background: I teach in an urban public school system (okay, it’s Cleveland). I LOVE my job. There are many, many challenges to make sure our students have as many opportunities as all other students outside our district. One event that actually gives our students even more opportunities is the annual All-City Musical. The students work for months with local theater professionals to produce these musicals and they are amazing! Most years I see the performance during the day on a field trip with my music students. This year it didn’t work out, so my husband (who has never been to a theatrical production) and I got tickets for the public performance on Saturday night. Yay, Saturday night out in the city to go see a musical (I’m envisioning Broadway)! Of course I need the perfect outfit.

Monday: I don’t want to buy anything new since I have so many projects waiting. I decide to make a retro dress from some cotton sateen.
Thursday night: I don’t like the retro dress. Panic sets in. My back-up dress is a solid pink poly crepe de chine in a very plain pattern. Nice, but not Saturday-night-downtown-going-to-the-theater nice.
Friday: The solution appears. I already have an ivory silk dupioni jacket from years ago; I have yards of ivory washed silk charmeuse; I have the perfect simple pattern (both OOP, of course).

Saturday: Outta my way! I spend about four hours on my new dress and finish with enough time to take my daughter shopping for new earrings (to match the new dress).

Reason #2 why I sew:

Take this

to make this

and look like this.

This year’s musical was Dreamgirls, oh yea. Un-be-live-ab-le. If you had walked in off the street you would have thought is was Broadway! The kid’s voices were out of this world, and I mean every single person that sang (and that’s not always been the case). A really enjoyable night. If you live in NE Ohio check the CMSD website next May for ticket information. This should not be missed.