Thursday, August 28, 2008

Threads and Ranting

I got my new issue of Threads and it looks so exciting!! I've only read the cover and half of the editor's note. A tour of Ralph Rucci's atelier from Claire Shaeffer and Judith Neukam, and how to grade a pattern for the perfect fit - how does this sound? Anybody else as excited about this issue as me?

Now the ranting. About Fashion Fabrics Club. I've been trying to match a knit jersey with some purple wool crepe. When I started my search they had a huge selection of purple/eggplant/burgundies. Past experiences have taught me that the colors are not always as they appear, but I decided to take a chance anyway and ordered one jersey knit. No match but I decided to keep the fabric because it does go with other pieces. Next, I decided to order samples. While being a logical decision the super-ultra-mega slow cutting and shipping process was driving me insane!! I wouldn't go anywhere when it was time for the mail to be delivered. And, everyday that it wasn't delivered was another day that my perfect fabric may be sold out when I was ready to order it! AAARGH! The 1/8-yd. samples come - no match.

Now what. I do a little "Dana math" in my head: 5 1/8yd samples + minimum shipping of 4.95 + 10 days of stress-filled, sold-out fabric fear = I'm not doin' that one again. Hmmmm, next equation: Order the desired length of the two remaining purples (if I have a match, I'll have enough for a garment) + return the piece/pieces that don't match for the cost of shipping = well, I don't know what it equals, but that's what I did. It took the stress out of waiting for my fabric. And, I've got a match!!

Dear Fashion Fabrics Club,
Why does it take 5 days to cut the fabric? Why does it take another 5 days to ship the fabric from St. Louis to Ohio (the actual route is St. Louis, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ohio)? I love the selection, I love the prices, I hate that the fabric swatches don't match the actual fabric, and I hate the time it takes to receive the order.

Anyone else care to share a little FFC venting?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Everything But Sewing

Two weeks ago, sick for three days.
One week ago, started painting our bedroom, at most a two day project and I was right on schedule. Then DD got sick and had to stay home. The day she stayed home I got sick. She recovered quickly (thank goodness because the tonsils are coming out tomorrow!). Me, not so much. I've spent most of the last four days in bed. You know you're really sick when you can't even sit up at the computer!
Next week, yikes. School starts on Wednesday for my children and Thursday for my students.

Luckily, none of this has totally prevented me from thinking about sewing and wardrobe planning! About a week after the new Butterick patterns came up (I actually found a few that I liked) the JoAnn's flyer showed they would be on sale in two weeks. I've been going crazy waiting for the sale, in particular for 5258. Last year there was a lot of discussion on Stitcher's Guild about wardrobe patterns. Honestly, I had completely tuned out the fact that someone actually planned out one pattern that could work as an entire wardrobe until I started reading about last years SWAP requirement. I made it a secret goal of mine to find one wardrobe pattern that I would copy for my own wardrobe. THIS is the pattern. I've been analyzing it and figuring out fabrics choices all while waiting for the sale. Finally yesterday I picked up the pattern and realized I won't be able to completely meet my goal. The problem - Pockets. There are no pockets on any of the three pieces. I can't do that. I'm a pocket gal! I'll keep you posted when I've worked everything out.

I also picked up these.

It's not much but I've been investing in non-big four patterns lately.
Looks like a nice basic raglan T.
Like front, love the back!
Looking for something besides a basic gored skirt for knits. We'll see if this slight variation works.
Yep, you're going to see bowed blouses from me (I never got it out of my system last year and I still love them)! I got this one because it's for knits.
I purchased these as downloads from and it was so much fun! Within a couple hours of ordering I had the patterns and instructions in my e-mail box - without ever leaving the house! I had a minor setback because we haven't had a functioning printer all summer but the following day all was good and I printed my pattern pieces. I'll have to share more of that story on another post - this one is getting way to long.

Thanks for all the muslin advice. I did indeed shop the $1 table specifically for muslins and will be tossing them when I'm done. No guilt now that I know others do the same!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Muslin Mania

So, I was just wondering, what do you guys do with your muslins? I’ve been sewing up several test patterns and now have another pile of stuff (the muslins) that needs a home, at least temporarily.

My sewing area (sanctuary) is divided into uncut fabric, patterns envelopes, patterns (filed numerically), and drawers with cut fabric, pattern, and notions waiting to be sewn. Where do the muslins fit into this system? My first instinct is to toss them, but I hesitate because I haven’t made or cut out the real garment yet. Then there are some that just didn't make the cut. Do I keep them as a reminder? Do I keep them just in case I run out of other things to do and I want to try again? Help they’re taking up valuable space!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Karma Alarma!

Here they are, the Master Disasters (You're going to have to click on the pictures if you want to see all the gruesome details.)

New Look 6813 This is the canned muslin from last week really, it’s not the pattern, I didn’t interface the neckband and that’s a pretty crucial element to get the top to fit correctly. This is made from a very stretchy knit. I’ve read several reviews with this type of neckband/sleeveless style and the shoulder areas look really good. What are you guys doing that I’m not? (Besides taking your time and basting to make sure things are accurate. lol) I think I cut a 16 instead of my normal 14 to see if that would remedy the pull lines I seem to be getting at the bust line. Lesson learned. I’ll brush up on the FBA.

Jalie 2787 …I just have to laugh! First, I tried finishing the edges a couple of ways…most of which stretched out the fabric. Second, I’m thinking – it’s a knit I shouldn’t have to worry about my 1” LBP alteration. Oh wait, where the heck is the crossover going to cross over? Third, I’m used to just putting my garments together and using the instructions as a reference – I had to rip out the side seams more than once because the layers are wrong. You may not be able to tell but they’re still not right. As I’m typing this and wearing the top. I can feel that the armholes are too small. (In my defense as I was sewing this it was the kid’s bedtime and a wonderful thunderstorm hit all at the same time. Kids are up, kids are down, kids are up, kids are down…get the picture?)

Excuse me, while I go read the directions and work on some woven fabric. I haven't given up entirely on my white "sheet" blouse quite yet. Or, maybe it’s time to step away from the sewing area for awhile and tend to some of those household chores I’ve been ignoring. Better yet, maybe I need to do a little Karma Go Back To The Farma dance!

Hope you had better luck than me this weekend!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sewing Log

(kid-less) Week 1
1 Blouse (cut out in the spring using a high thread-count sateen sheet) – first had to find fabric for blouse fronts because I ran out of fabric (found pillow cases at Target, didn’t realize until it was put together that the whites don’t match), then as I’m ready to put on the collar I can’t remember how I cut the pattern to accommodate buttonholes because I didn’t want to use loops. Collar doesn’t fit neckline. Project on hold until I feel like draggin' out the pattern pieces to figure it out.

1 Knit jersey top – canned. Doesn’t fit, might look good if it did fit. Waste of time and my fault because I just threw it together.

Sewing machine and I are not speaking.

Made pattern alterations and muslins for a skirt and jacket originally planned for a pink, spring suit. I’m pleased with results. I’m making muslins - hooray!

Realized that my "My Pattern" review was the most viewed pattern on PR last week and has been shown periodically on the home page. Wow, I don't know how it happened but that's kinda cool.

Purchased four Neue Mode patterns from Very excited as I purchased the download-only version and had access to them within one hour. Or so I thought. Printers and program are not cooperating. Have message that they’re working on it.

Traced my three new Jalie patterns.

Think I’ll be ready to work things out with my sewing machine tomorrow.

A large part of my problem is mental. I now have the time and solitude to sew (kids have been at day camp and are going back to day care next week). But, then the guilt sets in – at 2:00 the breakfast dishes are still on the table, the weather is beautiful and I should be outside gardening or rollerblading, the laundry hasn’t been touched all week! I usually tackle two or three painting projects (a dresser, our bedroom, etc.) in the summer. This year – nothing. I’m losing much of my excitement about going back to school. Found out this week I’ll be the only music teacher at my high school – again. Twelve years in this district and I’ve only taught with another music (vocal) teacher for 2-1/2 of those years.

Well, as my kids would say, “blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, wah” (yes, they learned that from me). Life goes on for pete’s sake!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened...

...on the way to my Y class. I was wearing this skirt and a women told me she had a dress made out of the same print that she just loved. I immediately thought I'd met a kindred sewing spirit. No, she bought the dress at Talbots! I checked out their site and couldn't find it but I did run across the fabric here. Or, if you're so inclined you could contact Cutting Room Fabrics with a picture of the fabric and order it there. (I say with a picture because they don't have many fabrics posted online.) Actually, their price in the store is low enough that I'd contact them first. When I was there last week they still had some in stock.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Love to Plan!

Oh, the possibilities when you start to plan a new wardrobe, the wonderful expectation that everything will get finished, the anticipation of friends admiring the creative effort that goes in to each outfit! After my mega-fabric shopping I spent a few days just looking and planning. Today I've decided that I'm just too late to join any of the August contests on PR, but I'm going to pretend. So, if I were participating in the Mini-Wardrobe contest (something like 4 pieces with 3 different types of garments that make 4 different outfits using 3 different colors.) this is what my entry would look like:

If you read the fine print you'll see that only the pants pattern is current and I refuse to refer to any fashion after 1980 as vintage! So, there is one truly vintage pattern, one current pattern, and all the rest are OOP. (The pattern combination for the charmeuse may change.)

And if I were entering the lined jacket contest my entry would look be this (another OOP, but this one is still available in the Vogue OOP section):

In the same golden/ yellow wool flannel as the skirt in the mini-wardrobe.

Now I'm off to try and plan the entire fall/winter wardrobe, well after a bit of sewing. I got too frustrated trying to plan my clothes around the SWAP instructions so I'm building my plan like a family tree starting with three suits in Gold/Yellow, Dark Heather Gary, and Black (cut out from last year). Then I'll start adding other pieces to match the suits, then more pieces to match those and so on, and so on, and so on. Right now the plan is looking like a family tree. I'll post it when I'm satisfied with the plan. Once it's done, I'm going to go back and see if it fits into the original SWAP instructions.

Happy sewing to all!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Longest Blog

(Yep, this one's a biggy!)

It’s done! Not only did I manage to complete the pattern design and construct the pieces on time, I made an additional top (Simplicity 3887) to give the outfit more of a fall look. Here are the results:

And some of the construction details:

The Belt (fabric covered belt and painted buckle)
The One-Piece Collar
The Mitered Corners, at each slit.
The All-Machine Sewn front facing/hem intersection
I always knew there was a way to do this but had never heard or read anything on it until I found Jackets for Real People by Marta Alto, Sue Neal and Patti Palmer. It’s quite easy to do and I promise I’ll document it the next time I use it. Didn't do it this time because it wasn’t easy to photograph this fabric and then there was that working with a deadline thing.

The Welt Pockets (on the pants) The lining piece shows that it attaches at the CF, waist, and side seam.

If you’re interested in the pattern-making process, you can take a look at my progress for each week (1, 2, 3, no progress for week 4, 5 . You can also read a review of the complete outfit here. Voting started today!

On to the next project…
Like many of you, I succumbed to the many online fabric sales the past few weeks and I haven’t limited myself just to fabrics, patterns have been coming in as well! I forgot to take pictures of them and am too lazy to do it now, but they include past/used issues of BWOF, Mrs. Stylebook, Modellina, Patrones NiƱos, and three Jalie shirt patterns. Woohoo!

** I learned about the new big-4 patterns from reading your blogs and I have to say I wasn’t tempted to spend my money on a single pattern. I did find a couple of Burda Fashion patterns that I’m waiting for but the others? Well, maybe the next fall/winter patterns will be more inspirational. In the meantime I’m expanding my horizons with my new acquisitions.

And then there is the fabric! I’m happy to say that so far, none of my fabric has come from JoAnn’s. That doesn’t mean it won’t, but right now their stock is very unappealing. First, there was the ITY sale at FFC (two selections went back)solids. Strangely enough, after I posted that I was about to make a purchase I went to the site and every single print that I had on my wish list was sold out! Hmmmm, how did that happen?
Next, the knit sale at Gorgeous Fabrics. I had another almost sold out issue there, but all that came in is good.

After reading about several people making purchases at, I decided to join them!
And finally, a real-live-in-person fabric store purchase at the Cutting Room.
This store happens to be, sort of, on the way to my parent’s house. And since I was dropping off my daughter for a few special days of “alone time” with the grandparents, my son and I made a little stop. After I had viewed almost all of the fashion fabric (no special occasion, interfacing, or lining) my son decided he needed a potty break and of course they didn’t have a public restroom. So this purchase was quick! (Turns out after I got home and took a look at my collection, I decided to go back for more of the yellow and gray and found just one more piece of brown that I needed. FYI, one of the reasons for these purchases was the price - about $19.95 with 40% off!)

The one fabric I bought without a plan was the banana-color wool flannel. It is sooooo beautiful! I’ve been trying to stick to a plan with all my fabric purchases, but I just had to have this! Then, as the clerk was cutting it I mentioned that I didn’t know what it would go with and she said “the gray”. Oh yea! It’s beautiful with the gray. Then I remembered my 1yd. print from GF. This combo is TDF!! Then, as I laid out my fabrics it home – it goes with the gray, the purple, and the brown…. The brown? Brown and gold are the school colors at my new school! Faculty members usually wear the school colors on Friday and I had NO-thing to wear last year. This is really going to class-up my school spirit day!

After I put all of these on the table I started to go through my stash drawers, and look what I found! They may not look so great here, but trust me, they work in beautifully!

This is what my cutting table looks like now. I'm not ready to sew it quite yet, but it's hard to look at this and not get excited about the possibilities!

Wow, this is getting long! Just one more thing…I know it’s already August 2nd, and most people have worked out their storyboards, and I’ve only got three weeks before school starts (1 if I go back for band camp), but I’m feeling the need to do the Mini Wardrobe contest on PR. After all, the kids will be out of my hair, I mean having fun at Y camp and summer day care for the next three weeks so…… stay tuned!