Monday, July 28, 2008

Sewing With Nothing To Show For It

I've been sewing (and should be sewing now) but don't have anything to post. I'm working on the garments for the My Pattern contest which, and this always confuses me, ends on July 31st but the website lists that there are only 2 days left. I'm no math genius but that just doesn't add up. Anyway, I'm sure I'll finish, as long as I don't spend too much time on the computer!

I haven't shown family pictures here but I've just got to share these. We went to Waldamere Park in PA yesterday and one of the highlights was the kids getting their faces painted/tattooed. Elayna was feeling bad that her face paint didn't last so I let her be the artist today.

Can't believe I actually caught these expressions on camera!

A proud canvas LOL! Can you find all these pictures? Nemo, Spiderman, a pink pig, a painted frog, five suns, and five moons. Let me just say that this child has a drawer full of white socks. Why he feels the need to wear his church-socks for play is beyond me. Later in the day he came out with this look on one foot and a flip-flop on the other, I think because he was too lazy to go all the way to the attic to get the other sock and sandal. That's my boy, the rugged (and lazy) individualist!

Elayna allowed me to replicate yesterday's masterpiece on her and our neighbor came over and decided he needed a clown face.

Just in case you can't tell by the pictures, a fun time was had by all, including mom!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just One of Those Days.

AAAAAAAAHHH! I’ve had a rough day. Crabby kids in the morning, messy house in the afternoon.

Now that all is quiet it’s time to shop and plan (mostly plan as I’ve received delivery for an online purchase five of the last seven days – all sewing-related)! I can’t help it, I’m thinking about fall. Maybe it’s because after today I’ve had enough of being a SAHM and am ready to go back to a job I know how to do LOL! (Don’t take any of this rant too seriously, because really, it was just one of those days and tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.) Whatever it is, sewing is not the remedy today, but planning.... ;)

My inspiration and planning are coming from:
1. My current pattern and fabric stash.
2. Some older BWOF magazines I purchased thanks to the Queen Of Sewing Enablers, Dawn. (Not only do I have three BWOF’s, I also have a Modellina, a Mrs. Stylebook, and Patrones Ninos on the way! For me, this is a lot of patterns.)
3. I’m really drawn to the monochromatic outfits from Akris, but am not sure how they’ll actually translate into my wardrobe.
4. This site (I’m really sorry I can’t remember whose blog I read when I found this because: WOW!, it puts everything together.)

This time around I’m going to let the fashion magazines inspire but not dictate to me. Last year I tried to recreate looks I’d seen and make them work for me. This year I’m going with my personal tastes in patterns, fabrics, and colors first. I don’t really have the need to be fashion forward. I just want to a) wear what makes me feel good and b) make sure nobody else wears the same outfit! This is the way I used to make my clothes. The difference now is that I am sewing with a plan and because of that my clothes should to work together. So, here are the some of pieces that I know I'll be making for sure.

And these are some of my favorite looks from Etcetera (can't copy the pictures so this will have to do) 5, 19, 20, 29, 45, 78, 86, 97, 98, 104, 110, 111.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random Sewing Stuff

Finally, I visited my local sewing lounge Stitch Cleveland! I was a little disappointed because I was the only one there, but even the most serious sewists aren’t usually thinking about sewing on a Friday summer evening when the weather is so gorgeous. Hiedi and I learned and awful lot about each other! She was working on some fantastic quilted handbags out of some Amy Butler prints that they have in the shop. I managed to almost complete a dress there - finished it at home. I’ll probably post a more in-depth review after another visit (I was too shy to take pictures…this time).

All is ready for the My Pattern contest on PR….This week I got my fabric from EOS (yes, it was my first choice and the choice of most of you bloggers). It’s a little more stiff than I imagined but the color is fabulous a deep, dark, espresso brown. I’ll be making one last muslin to figure out the front closure, then it’s off to the final fabric! That site continues to amaze me. I’ve had my eye on that fabric for over a month keeping my fingers crossed that it would still be available when I was ready to order. The very day after I placed my order it was listed as sold out with only a 2yd. piece left on the remnant page. Two days later that was gone too! The turnover there is amazing!

A few bloggers have been feeling the pull of those vintage patterns and boy, can I relate! Last spring (before PR), I owned about 5 vintage patterns that I thought were cool but never seriously considered using them for anything expect wall decorations. Now, I’ve made five garments and my pattern collection has more than tripled. And it’s so easy to get drawn in! For instance, I went browsing for a coat pattern.

Just, roaming around the vintage pattern sites and somehow this managed to find its way into my mailbox!

I did show some restraint the next day when I was looking for and found a jumpsuit pattern for the fall wardrobe (that I'm trying not to think about even though I did plan a little 4-piece mini wardrobe with some purple and tan fabrics :)

A few weeks ago I checked out a Taunton/Threads book that I’d never heard of before called Sewing Tips & Trade Secrets.

Like most of their books it is reprinted information, but the information is primarily tips sent in by readers. I thought I’d heard/read them all but found several that I will be trying out and probably use on a regular basis. I tried out this one on the cushions I just made. The author wanted to assure that the corners of a welt pocket would stayed turned under when using bulky fabrics. The fabric I used is far from bulky but it worked for me and was the first chance I had to try it out.

I didn't really put in a welt on my cushions, this is the window I made to insert the zipper.

Happy Sewing to all!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Sewing Project

No Saturday night dress this weekend. Instead, I made cushions (yuk) for an antique glider on our porch. There are only two reasons I’m spending time on these cushions. 1. when you sit down on the glider now, you can feel each spring and 2. I found the perfect vintage-look fabric.

Here's my project summary (in pictures):

Previous cushions, purchased with the intention of using them short term then recycling the filling

There wasn't enough fabric for piping so I used a paisley print for one side of each cushion. Can't believe the two fabrics work together but I'm really happy with the result.

I don't remember when or where but at some time I saw/read about professionals that sewed the piping at the same time they applied. With ignorant confidence and the desire not to prolong any cushion-covering projects, I've done the same. Maybe not with the same professional results, but it's good enough for me!

The end result! This is exactly what I dreamed of even before I purchased the glider about six years ago!
Maybe someday I'll fix the paint job on the glider, but for now I'm going to have a nice quiet (my folks have the kids!! :) lunch (chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory mmmmm) on my porch.

Happy Sewing to All!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Think Pink.

I love, love, love pink in just about any shade. At one time in my previous Minneapolis life I decided to play a little game and see how many days I could wear a different pink outfit to work. Care to guess? 10. That's ten days of pink (this is also a time where I made everything I wore except T-shirts, jeans, and undergarments). I haven't even been close to that in a very long time and even though I did plan my summer outfits, pink was supposed to be a secondary color.

Anyway, here are the most recent pink additions to my wardrobe. Somehow I've gotten into a routine of starting a dress on Saturday and getting up early to finish Sunday so I could wear it to church - sound familiar, anyone? These are two of those dresses.

Very Easy Vogue 8379 - is there anyone who doesn't have this pattern? If I add to PR, it will be the shortest review I've ever written.
Okay, I did change the pattern a little. I made it sleeveless. At first I finished the sleeves as they were, but there was a lot of pulling in the ol' armpit so I dropped the armscye down about an inch. Secondly, I followed Sandra Betzina's wrap skirt idea (I think that's where I read about it) and made the under panel a complete front instead of a left-side+ panel. Can I tell you how glad I was that I made this change? The day I wore it to church we had our doughnuts outside and the wind took complete control - not to worry. Nobody saw anything they shouldn't have!

Very Easy Vogue - 8241
This dress has yet to be worn in public. I've had it cut out since before my Dreamgirls datenight (it was one of the dress candidates), but just got this feeling early on that it wasn't going to be what I imagined. So I made it and I was right. It's just an eh dress. I've since decided that what it needs is a very special fabric. This poly CDC isn't cutting it (even if it is pink). You can read my sewing details by clicking on the review at right. (Come back soon, it isn't written yet!) The don't likes are, the neckline was too high, the sleeveless sleeves were, and still are if you look closely, too high. And I hate when they have you put the elastic in the seam allowances. It always makes the waistline stand out, away from your body.

Gonna continue this later. The families due home and I'm in charge of the pizza tonight.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Just wanted to share a few words from an article I came across recently.

Title: Is Morality “Normal”?

It is a common saying that we live in a time of moral crisis. When, however, one seeks an explanation, one usually gets only descriptions of symptoms, such as that the crime rate is shockingly high, especially among juveniles; personal and social disciplines are lax; marriage and family life are unstable;…values are almost exclusively materialistic; the religious instinct is largely moribund….

So are the thoughts of Dorothy Thompson in the Ladies Home Journal 1958!

The teacher side of me can see at least one lesson plan from this part of the article alone. Okay, I’m a music teacher and will never use this as a lesson. However, I can see parts of the article posted in my classroom! The article has some more great observations like, “The stability of marriage, they say, was essential to the very survival of women in a world where lucrative occupations were closed to them and in a time when they could not legally own property.” and “What strikes one in the modern world, and despite its many organized charities, is precisely the lack of sympathy or spontaneous aid by anyone for anybody else. A young person almost never offers his seat in a public conveyance, even to an old woman or a mother carrying a baby in her arms.” Hmmmm, doesn’t that make you think?!

Okay, now the real reason I even have this magazine. Clothes! I picked up this magazine at a local vintage shop a couple of years ago (before PR) for the cool pictures. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with it but couldn’t believe my eyes when I picked up a couple of weeks ago. Feast your eyes on this:

Although it sounds like Chanel designed these just for LHJ, somewhere it refers to them being part of her current collection.

Next current (1958) RTW that won't break the bank!

And now the patterns! All by Vogue.

Happy sewing!

P.S. I've been sick with some upper respitory bug this week. Told my family I only have enough energy to sit at the sewing machine or the computer. That's why I'm actually posting more than once a week, lol!

Darcie, I'm not the best source when it comes to advice about sewing machines but here goes:
1. If you haven't already, check out the Sewing Machine Reviews at
2. Don't buy any of the machines from Walmart (from what I understand they negotiate with the manufacturers for a lesser quality machine that they can sell for less).
3. If possible, sew on the machine first.
4. Identify how you'll be using the machine and what functions you must have. For me, the absolute must-haves are the needle-down option and a one-step buttonhole.

(Maybe I'm good at giving advice, just not good at following it! My current 4-yr-old machine has a crummy, inconsistent one-step buttonhole. Hence, the need for this.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Do I Sew? Do I Blog?

Here’s the problem with blogging, I actual blog all day long but the words never get to the computer. That’s because it’s all being done in my head! (Okay, I’ll admit that my family has caught me talking out loud too.) Wouldn’t be nice if there was an affordable gadget that would just take a voice recording and type out the words for us? What a time-saver that would be. Between my last post and the review for PR, I was online for three hours! I could have made a t-shirt in that time. If it weren’t so much fun, I’d have lots of time on my hands, right? Yay, right.

Yesterday I was ready to post about a big order at FFC for some ITY knits. It seems that everytime I look for knits I’m drawn to the prints, but I need some solids. I just wanted to find out what everybody else thought. Then today I read Shannon’s post. Hmmm. And one of the things that held back my order was that I’m not sure about the quality – especially from FFC. Well, that led me to a Google search for ITY, which led me to this thread on PR (of course!). Hmmm. I’ve decided that if Marji liked it, and described it as light-medium weight which is what I wanted, the order’s going through. Just one enabler after another, after another, after another…lol

For a long time I have been happily immersed in my summer wardrobe. And then the blog chain got me. Dawn posted that she was getting in the mood to plan for fall. The seed is planted. I tried to fight it. Then, someone else starts blogging about fall, then Dawn has all of her fabrics picked out! Arrrrgh! I’m behind. I’ve got to catch up, what am I going to make for fall? At this point I’ve collected some favorite fall outfits from; I bought a cheap-O sweater knit ($1.50) that matches two fall fabrics at home; I’ve sketched out a four-piece mini-wardrobe of which a key piece is a jumpsuit (yes, I said jumpsuit); and last night I found the perfect vintage jumpsuit pattern to make that creation a little easier. Today I'm back thinking and sewing about summer. I think this is called “wardrobe limbo”, well at least it’s one version of “wardrobe limbo”. Thank goodness Shannon is just starting some summer sewing. I think that alone will help me finish up my summer stash.

Well, another hour gone, thanks for letting me vent!

Do I sew, do I blog? Do I sew, do I blog? Do I sew, do I blog? I know you can relate, I’ve read your blog!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

More Skirts!

I actually had two summer wardrobe plans - one for work and one for play. The play plan is mostly fun print skirts and whatever I can by with for tops. Another part of the play plan was to somehow work shorts into the skirts. I do alot of activities in the summer where I don't want to have to worry if people can see under my skirt, lol! And I just feel better (and equally comfortable) in a skirt than in most of my shorts. After much consideration I decided to use the design from a RTW skort I bought last year. The design is basically a regular skirt with shorts underneath that attach at the waistband. Here's how I did it.

I used Simplicity 3754 (full review is on PR or click on the picture at right).

I started with the shorts from a skort pattern that I drafted years ago (1995 to be exact!). I knew that they still fit and that they would work when attached at the waist. I eliminated some of the length and width that was used to create a skirt-like flare.Lastly, I created an opening that will surround the front zipper opening of my skirt. This is the design element that I copied from my RTW skort. Without this, I'd have to attach the shorts CF seam to the skirt CF seam. It probably can be done, but... that's just too much brain power and time! (I'm sure that's what the RTW mfg. was thinking too, lol.)

I constructed the shorts and skirt separately and attached them at the top seam of the waistband. In hindsight, a pattern that doesn't have a yoke would have been much easier to do this with, but it worked out okay. After attaching both sides of the waistband with the shorts in the middle, I just finished the inside normally (stitch in the ditch to attach waistband facing).

I'm sure I'm leaving out details, but the kids haven't had breakfast yet! Gotta go

Here's the result