Saturday, November 19, 2011

Calling 1990 . . . Are you there?

Some Vogue Designer pattern, sorry I can't remember #
I finally switched my closet from summer to winter last week. As usual this is a weeding out process and there are always a few garments I cling to. Honestly, I'd only been hanging on to this one because I thought it turned out really well, great welts and great sleeve caps. Those pretty much sum up a well-made jacket to me. I made this while I lived in Minneapolis and must have bought the fabric from my former employer, the long-gone Northwest Fabrics. I mention this only because I bought a lot! Enough to make two jackets (one using method I read about in Threads on converting a set-in sleeve to a sleeve with a gusset. Can't find the first issue that showed this but it is shown again in issue 94), a skirt, and a pair of pants. This is all that's left of that wardrobe and it was on it's way out the door until I tried it on. I was absolutely certain that it would never fit my now "mature" body...but it did! And then I started to think about how nice it would look with some of my gray pieces. And then I thought about how I have this gray and pink shirt that it matches...and this great necklace...

So, now what? Those shoulders are huge! My only choice is to alter them. Open the lining, take out the shoulder pad, lower the sleeve cap, reduce the shoulder slope, re-attach the sleeves, re-attach new shoulder pads, close up the lining. That is a lot of work and I hate alterations. I always tell people that I hate them so much that if I have a broken zipper, I'll make a new skirt/pants instead of replacing the zipper.

Well, at this point it has made the journey out of the close and up to the sewing table. And I do have a few extra days at home this week for Thanksgiving... we'll see what happens.

Just one more thing...

Another garment - yay! (See sidebar and click on the pic to read the review.) I really love the result and especially love the fabric. I orginally ordered it from Gorgeous Fabrics to go with a little SWAP experiment in ... 2008! Jeesh, am I ever behind. This pattern suits it so much better than my original idea. The "artsy" vibe is a little out of my comfort zone but...I guess it's good to step out of the zone sometimes!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still Here

And still sewing! I'd love to share all the little interruptions that have prevented me from posting for hmmmm...3 months(?), but really it's just life... busy, crazy life.

On to the sewing. Let's start with McCall's 6395. See that? It's a current pattern! I really thought I'd be the first to review this on PR, but looks like I'm just a few weeks late for that. The complete review is here; the personal comentary is Here!

In that never-ending quest to sew a perfect garment every time, I'd been reading the Real Fit for Real People book. I picked up on two items while reading, 1) press your patterns before you cut (of course, I knew I should do this all the time, but I hate it - it takes more time and you can't see the factory fold lines to fold it perfectly back in the envelope - which I actually love to do), and 2) maintain the design ease into your garment in addition to fitting alterations.

I will explain what I did with the understanding that I don't know why I did it on this particular garment. To me, the fit on the model shown on the pattern envelope isn't particularly flattering, especially the neckline. If that's due to the design ease, why the heck would I want to duplicate it? I don't know. But I did it anyway.

First, I compared the bust/waist/hip measurements on the envelope to those same measurements on the pattern and determined that this was the fitting and design ease. Next, I made the fitting alterations for my body in these areas. Lastly, I added the "ease" measurement after my alterations. The result was a big garment. The bust darts seemed huge! I went back and took in a total of 3" from the hip and waist, and about 2" from the bust area - all done in the side seam. I still hate the bust darts. They feel like two gigantic arrows. Oh well, I'll continue to wear it...this year ;)

That's all for now. I've got more garment pictures just waiting for the words to go with them!

Thanks for stopping by - can't believe I've actually got a few new followers (big smiley face that I'm too lazy to insert)!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Okay, so there's is this really cool vintage shop that I drive by everyday on my way to work. Over the past 10 years I've probably only been in three times. So, I know what's behind the uber-cool display windows (I'm linking to this blog and their, apparently overlooked FB page, because their website just doesn't do it justice.). Today I made visit number four because I'm sort of looking for a cool Mad Men-like couch. I could kick myself because I didn't pull out my phone and take some pictures. You know how sometimes you go to a vintage shop and you turn a corner and there's this little closet-sized room filled with vintage clothing, purses, shoes and hats? Well, this place has about 20 of those little rooms.

Because my daughter was at my side reminding me how "boring" this was I was forced to resist more than a glance at everything...except the four small boxes of vintage patterns. I couldn't believe that I found one of the vintage patterns that I have been lusting after for three years. Ironically, when I first saw this pattern online I didn't buy it because it wasn't my size. Well, neither is the one I bought today but, I don't care! Look at that collar, that collar and those sleeves! Did you notice the shape of the armscye? This is one of those patterns that just has "me" written all over it. IMHO, this is contest worthy. I'm going to PR to find out when the next vintage contest begins!

Did you notice that little sticker on the envelope flap? This is the second pattern I have in my collection from The Higbee Department Store. Higbee's is the store that is featured in the movie The Christmas Story and was also my very first employer during high school (out in the suburbs, not the downtown one you see in the movie). I still remember the few times I worked in the fabric department and one of the older sales clerks shook the ultrasuede and explained to me that it sounds that way because it has rubber in it. (I don't know if that's true, but I don't care. It's a very special memory of mine along with running the fabric through that measuring thingy.)

If only I didn't have to spend the next week getting ready for my real-life paying job...ahh such is life. I shall use whatever time I have to daydream thinking of the perfect fabric for this blouse.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Postlude

Life is getting hectic again. I can feel it. One week left before school starts. Fingers are crossed for a good year...Oooops..sewing this is about sewing!

Here are two other pieces I made this summer. Nothing really exciting but they have gotten a lot of wear.

Pattern: Simplicity OOP 7588 view B. At first I thought this was a vintage possibly 60's-70's but when I looked on the envelope...1997. Nothing special. Just another "old" pattern. ;)

Fabric: Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voile Diamond Mine purchased at Stitch Cleveland (they happen to be on call for the filming of "I, Alex Cross" currently filming in Cleveland and their latest facebook post said they were working with Tyler Perry's personal tailor - WOW).

Fitting Adjustments: FB adj. and added width to sleeve.

Construction notes: I did two things differently for this blouse. I used organza for interfacing and attached it by sewing it to the right side of the outer edge of the facing first. Then, turned it to enclose the seam allowance before attaching it to the front.

Also, followed this tutorial from Pattern Scissors Cloth. Mine doesn't look nearly as good as hers or I would have shown you a picture, but it was good practice!
App. Prep time: 45 min.

App. Sewing time: 3 hours

Miss Alaney: I love this blouse. Mostly because I'm sick to death of fitted T's which is ironic because for the past several summers I've been searching for the perfect T. This summer I realized I've acquired more than one wearable t-shirt in all of my favorite colors and I don't want to wear them. I wear them but I don't want to. What I really want is a nice light cotton blouse...just like this one!

Goes with: I first wore it with my white pants and it was okay. But later found I loved it with my jeans skort and my tan shorts.

Pattern: Simplicity 2451 view D

Fabric: Joann's cotton sateen.

Fitting Adjustments: Hips are one size larger than waist ;)

Construction notes: Once again I used the underlining/hong kong finish to line the skirt.

App. Prep time: 45 min.

App. Sewing time:
2.5 hours

Goes with: I loved it with this T and new "el cheapo" necklace of many colors.

I really like this skirt but I think it’s the fabric that makes it. The reason I’ll continue to wear it is that the print really hides those two pleats in the front that pouf out. I won’t be holding on to this pattern. I think it was those pockets that drew me to it in the first place and now that I’ve made it…well, eh, no need to make it again.

  • In completely unrelated news…my X’s now X girlfriend has sent me a few messages…kind of like she wants to be friends…because he wronged her too and, get this, my kids might miss her ?????? I don’t think that will happen, I mean us becoming friends - well, my kids missing her either. Oooops…sewing, this is about sewing!
  • I’m going to try really hard to finish 2-3 sewing projects this weekend but I’m soooo ready to cut out some wool! Oh, I almost forgot… It’s been ages since I ordered fabric online but when Fabric Mart had their trendy challis marked down to $2.50/yd I couldn’t help myself. This is what I had to have. (The pictures are pretty bad - sorry, I was in a hurry!)

  • Jeepers, I’ve done a ton of yard work this summer. Tonight was the first night that the mosquitoes got me – I got 12 altogether and a giant one on my forehead – yikes.
  • Oh, and also, I fell off my bike!! You should not ever fall off your bike when you are past a certain age. I'm not going to say what that age is, but I've passed it!! I must be okay though because I was able to ride my bike home and transplant a small lilac bush the next day ;)
  • Oh yea... I lost my logo!! Anyone seen it? I tried to "update" my blog format and accidentally deleted my blog heading picture. Sad face :(  Some other silhouettes are auditioning for the part but I haven't picked a winner yet.
  • Have a great, creative, enjoy-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-summer weekend!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Good Class

Fitting: the European Method - Virginia Marti-Veith
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this class. First, recently I have heard some, well not-so-great comments about the fashion design department at Virginia Marti CAD primarily about the lack of sewing knowledge in some of the graduates. Second, I’m realizing that my age is directly limiting the amount of new ideas and techniques out there (i.e. I'm so old and have taken so many classes that not too much seems "new" to me). This doesn’t mean I know everything. It just means that I’m familiar with a lot of techniques and when I take a new class, there’s a pretty good chance I’m already familiar with the information. Note: that doesn’t stop me from enrolling in more classes ;)

So, I’m happy to report that this class was about 90% new info, or info I knew before but forgot, or info that put a new perspective on things I already knew. (That means I thought I was good!) And, I couldn’t wait to get home and share all the good stuff with you.

The class was led by Mrs. Veith (Virginia Marti Veith, school founder) and primarily focused on measuring and evaluating a figure to complete a sloper and then using the sloper to adjust your patterns. It’s a lot to cover and we never really got to the actual "how to use the sloper to adjust a pattern" part. That’s ok with me. Even though I seriously struggle with that step there was so much other information that energized me I didn’t really care.

A live model (a fashion student who volunteered because she has a hard time with fitting) was on hand for Mrs. Veith to demonstrate how to take measurements and how to evaluate the figure. This was especially helpful as even though the student was young and had great figure, it wasn’t perfect there was much discuss about the problems and solutions for fitting. One thing that really impressed me was that she (the instructor) knew the correct terms for all of the bones and body parts. In fact, one of her main props was a model skeleton!

So here it is, the highlights from my notes. Remember, I didn’t say everything was new, they may not all be “aha” moments to everyone. But they were to me so I’m gonna share! I’ve starred what I think are the “must-reads”

She emphasized two things that I usually overlook
  1. Use your eye first to identify problem spots. Don’t just rely on the tape measure to tell you everything about your body shape.
  2. Weight! As in weigh yourself or your customer when you measure. Your body decides on it’s own where it’s going to add or subtract those extra 5lbs., it won’t just be evenly distributed. If your weight changes, you need to go back and take new measurements. And girls, don’t take your measurements PreM because you will be retaining water and the measurements won’t be accurate!
Shoulder measuring tips:
  • Look for an invisible line from the side that starts at the back of the ear (the actual ear, not where it connects to the head), goes down the neck and ends at the shoulder point.
  • Move your arm forward to about bust level to be able to feel the dip that will form at the shoulder point.
  • Once you have found the shoulder point, look to see if the upper arm stands out a lot (sorry I didn’t catch a more detailed term here than “a lot”) compared to the shoulder point. If so, you will probably need to make adjustments to the upper arm sleeve width.
Standing in front of a mirror check to see if your chin lines up with the jugular dip (dip is my word, can’t remember what she called it). We didn’t go over what this means, only that it will be an indication that there are probably other areas of the body that are out of alignment. This was repeated for other areas. For instance, if one shoulder is higher than the other then the hips will also be out of alignment because the body is compensating for the shoulder imbalance.

To find the waist, I know this is a very common one, tie a piece of elastic around the waist. The new-to-me part was to tie it tight so it doesn’t move. For all except the waist measurement, you just need to know where the waist is so keeping it tight is okay.

Measure the body in quarters. I always think about this one now because my body has changed so much in the last 10 years and I know one waist measurement divided into equal quarters does NOT reflect my actual body. But since I’m kind of lazy and usually in a hurry, I’ve just been guessing at the difference ;)
I won’t list all the measurements here because they are pretty standard and available in most books about fitting. She did say that the students must have these measurements memorized in order. I think that’s a good thing for me to put on my to do list.

** When taking the hip measurement watch for other areas, like the tummy, that protrude. When she took the models hip measurement, she held out the measuring tape to allow for a protruding tummy. Because for most garments, in this case a skirt or pant, you will not want the garment to be body hugging at that point.

** For all fitting issues you must keep the CF vertical and centered, and the hipline and waistline parallel to the floor. If they are out of alignment, fix them first and then go to the area where there is a problem. At the problem area either pin out the extra or cut open to release stress until the garment fits correctly. (I know this is vague but this is just a summary and many books can explain the fix-it better than me.)

** To add fitting ease to a garment (her method) she counts how many seams will be inside the garment (including darts). For example, at the waist of a straight skirt with 2 back darts and a CB zipper there will be 3 seams and 2 darts, double that for each layer of fabric in the seam. Then take the fabric to be used for the garment and fold it into that many (10) layers. Squish it down and measure the thickness. That is the minimum amount of ease you will need for your garment. Note how this will be different for each type of fabric.

So that’s the bulk of the sewing information – hope you didn’t fall asleep reading it. I really prefer picture-posts to text-posts but this one can’t be helped! Now for the fun facts from the other attendees:
One woman was an American who lives in Italy and is taking a sloper class from an old-school sewing instructor and most of the fun facts came from her like,
  • A woman in her class visited China and bought some fabric. Before she was given the fabric they asked her if she wanted “Made in Italy” printed on the selvedge!! Yes, you read that right.
  • When her Italian instructor was questioned about a garment not being comfortable her response was something like, “If you want to look beautiful you cannot be comfortable.”
Mrs. Veith indicated that they will soon be opening a couture sewing department in a newly acquired building. Not sure how soon, or if any community ed. classes will be offered but the possibilities sound exciting.

So, how will this change my sewing habits? I’m not sure that I want to spend the time or energy making an updated sloper. I will, however, be spending some quality time with the tape measure to update my measurements. From there I will be able to make more accurate adjustments to my patterns.

I’m trying to figure out how to either join or start a sewing group that focuses on garments instead of crafts. There are a couple of options but none of them seems to fit what I’m looking for. Stitch Cleveland is a really nice place and seems like it would be ideal, but most of the classes and projects are for craft or “learn to sew” items. Apparently there isn’t a Cleveland chapter of ASG (so the possibility of starting is there) as I went to the website, sent an email, and after a week I still haven’t heard anything. There is an active group in another community that is close but 1.) I don’t think there are many garment sewists, and 2.) I’ve heard they’re clique-y and I definitely don’t want to deal with that. So there are people out there…and apparently NONE of them are in the online sewing community! Then there’s the whole thing about scheduling. When my kids have to be in bed by 8 during the week it doesn’t open up much time for evening activities. So, what do you think?

Whew! My fingers are tired! Happy sewing to you all!

P.S. – I wore my Beautiful Fabric dress to the class 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Saturday Sewing Schedule

I'll be here (scroll down a bit for details) for the morning attending Fitting: The European Method     :)

I'm counting on the inspiration from this to take me through a weekend of sewing productivity (in between all the other to-do's on the list)!

I've got a few more project pix to post (hahaha) nothing to exciting just some additions to the summer stuff.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. - I've been trying not mention the state of teaching in my state, well the city where I teach  in particular, but... Today I received an update from our union pres. indicating that the actual student/teacher ratio after spring teacher layoffs now appears to be 60:1. That number is up from the originally anticipated 40:1. I know it probably won't happen but, seriously? At the very least, that's going to be a fire hazard, right? School starts in three weeks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beautiful Fabric – A Timeline

  1. I’ve had a crush on this fabric since the first time I saw it.

  2. Carolyn made it into a skirt.

  3. I found it at Janie’s booth during a Sewing Expo

  4. I made it into this.
    Looking at the picture now it doesn’t look so bad, but it didn’t wear well. The neckline was too low for my comfort and the sides have slits that slide up even further every time you sit down. Too much to worry about.

  5. Recycled it into this (Simplicity 4149.
    It’s nice and wearable but I think it looks kind of funny with shorts. Good with pants but I don’t wear too many pants in the summertime.

  6. I found more of it at Janie’s on my fabric excursion this spring and just had to have it so I could try again.

  7. Ta Da! A dress I like. (Hmmmm. I think I like it. Now that I've seen these pictures I'm not so sure.)

    Pattern: Very Easy Vogue 8486
    Fabric: Rayon print from Janie's Sewing Corner

    Pattern Adjustments: Originally, none. But after putting it together I raised the hem by 4-5" (sorry, I don't really measure these things - I just cut).

    Construction notes: Because this pattern is made for knits and my fabric isn't knit, I cut it out one size larger. This worked for everything except the armhole. I had to open up the front curve and underarm curve by 1/2" (after it was finished).

    App. Prep time: 1/2 hour to cut and iron on interfacing.

    App. Sewing time: 3-1/2 hours. I sooo wanted to make this to wear at my sewing workshop last weekend. But sometimes, when you don't come up with the idea or start a project until 9:00 p.m. the night just doesn't work out that way.

    Real-life time: 5 days. I started it last Saturday night and finished it last night.

    Miss Alaney: See timeline :) I made it shorter than I normally would for a dress because I intend to wear it as an everyday dress this summer (i.e. I won’t be wearing it to work unless it looks good as a tunic).

wink wink ;) - see how short it gets in the back when you bend over? It's something to think about.

Ha! Two posts in one week. That's a record for me this year, woohoo! Oh, did I mention my kids are at an overnight camp for one entire week? Celebrating now because the party's almost over ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day of Sewing with Kenneth King

(Sorry for the blurries. Realized too late that there were little munchkin fingerprints on the lens.)
Without talking numbers…because this was a birthday present to me…let me just say that the first workshop I took with Kenneth King was before he’d written any books. At some point during that 2-day beading workshop he mentioned that he was working on a deal to write a book about making tassels. OK? Get it? It was a long time ago. You do the math.

The only thing that made this workshop less exciting than that first one was the fact that thanks to the worldwideweb I already knew and have tried several of the techniques we worked on. I knew that before I even signed up. I signed up for the atmosphere. I wanted to be around other people that love to sew and that’s what made it fun, super fun!

We worked on the alternate pocket flap (p. 95 in Cool Couture) and I realized when I got home that I must have thrown my sample away :( - sorry 'bout that, no pic. Then we put together a bound buttonhole and welt pocket using his ribbon method (p. 103-106 in book). I didn't bother taking pix or notes on this process because the book does it much better than I could...(and I took this class on PR a few years ago and have my notes from that.) Before turning the pocket opening we put together the pocket lining and facing.

Because I was in panic mode, and couldn’t find the picture of this in the book, and because I really wanted to remember what goes where at this point, I decided just to leave my sample like this. It will be much more helpful for me when I sew my pocket bags.

This workshop was sponsored by Janie’s Sewing Corner where there’s lots of sewing energy, knowledge, and creativity. In my most recent visits I’ve seen pre-teens sewing away, adults learning to sew for the first time, and a good variety of quality fabrics. If you live within an hour or two of Cleveland or are planning a visit (yes, people really do visit Cleveland) please make a point to stop in and support her!

I also got a little spending money for the big day (THANKS MOM!). How convenient that I could run a tab and fabrics were 30% off. Here are the rest of my birthday presents.

Happy sewing to your nice, cool, air conditioned sanctuary. And if you don't have one of those - GO TO THE BEACH OR THE POOL OR THE MOVIES OR THE MALL - go somewhere where you can keep your cool and forget about sewing for a while! ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Best Birthday present from me ever - "Cool Tricks" class with Kenneth King tomorrow - I can't make my face smile big enough! Will report back later, well maybe sooner than later since the other amazing b-day gift I gave to myself was to send both kids off to Camp Fitch for the entire week. What perfect timing.

Both kids have been warned not to break anything, cut anything, or catch anything that will make them sick or they're grounded for the rest of the summer! (It was at this same camp last year that DD broke her other arm and got a 2-hr ambulance drive back to the city.)

Now...what to make, I mean what to wear, what to wear?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's New To Me

Pattern: McCalls 5433. So funny, I just discovered this pattern and thought "Wow, this is a really nice new pattern. I wonder if anyone at PR has sewn it?" Well, yes, yes they have. More than 15 people have reviewed it - as early as 2008. I'm so behind the current patterns, sigh.

Fabric: Lightweight linen, from Janie’s Sewing Corner, local shop

Pattern Adjustments: full bust adjustment, lengthened sleeve by 1/2", cut 14 on top, 16 on.

Fitting Adjustments: Alterations are shown where you see orange pattern paper.

Construction notes: Here's the fun part! I recently found/saw two new construction techniques for blouses that I was really eager to try.

The first is the front band technique that I saw on Silhouette Patterns video for the 1-hour blouse (seriously, she made a blouse in one hour and that includes cutting it out and answering questions!). Based on what I saw, I extended the CF seam allowance to be the width of the CF band w/o seam allowances. The band for each side is a piece that is the band width + 1/4" on each side which is pressed under. Then, the band is just sandwiched around the CF extension on the blouse and topstitched in place.

The second technique is a RTW cuff application - woooohoo! - from pattern-scissors-cloth ! Love it when I can speed up the process. This is another one of those mysteries uncovered - the mystery of the RTW cuff - mwaaaaaahahahah.

App. Prep time: Rats. Thought for sure I'd post this before I forgot. I'll guesstimate it was 30 min.

App. Sewing time: See above. It went together faster than normal because of the cuff and front band changes so I'll guesstimate.....4 hours.

Real-life time: I'm stumped. I think this was a weekend project (w/o kids) so I'll say 2 days. Every time that I try to start tracking things, like sewing time, I do it once and just plain forget to do it the next time - sorry :(

Miss Alaney: I just LOVE it when I find a new sewing technique. I knew there was a faster way to attach a cuff and was so happy to find out that I could do it with fairly decent results.

Goes with: Mostly white stuff of which I don't have much...yet. I've worn it with my white jeans.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Got'a Lov'a Print

Pattern: Very Easy Vogue 8424
OOP but still available on their website.

Fabric: Black - cotton print from purchased two years ago.
Green - Heather Bailey print from Stitch Cleveland (local).

Pattern Adjustments: I've made View B of this skirt in a cotton before but always felt the front pleat pulled it down in front. I wanted an A-line with pockets so I just eliminated the pleat by laying the front pattern piece with the CF on the fold.

Fitting Adjustments: None.

Construction notes: I used the fabulous underlining as lining (on the link site, scroll down until you see HongKong underlining) method and attached the pocket lining after the the underlining was turned. Both skirt hems were completed using the blind-stitch function on my machine.

App. Prep time: 1-1/2 hours to cut fabric, lining, and interfacing for both skirts. I just didn't feel like bothering to try and match the patterns ;)

App. Sewing time: 2-1/2 hours of solid, uninterrupted sewing for each skirt.

Real-life time: Used my Saturday afternoon/evening to sew them both (7 hours with interruptions) but they were cut out about 3 weeks ago.

Miss Alaney: Love the results of the no-pleat A-line! If you're a pocket person, you'll love these, they're nice and deep. They're the main reason I chose this pattern.

Goes with: Summer t-shirts. I realized when I got out my summer wardrobe this year that I have a solid T in almost every color imaginable so matching a top won't be a problem. The skirts are a welcome addition to my summer run-around outfits and will be worn with my Teeny Tiny shorts.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Teeny, Tiny, Shorts

You will NEVER see me model these! As I've mentioned before, I want shorts to wear under my summer skirts/dresses and that's the only reason I made these - purely functional. Two years ago I had the original idea (shorts under summer skirts) to make some and ended up with these baggy, ugly, and really uncomfortable shorts. They were so big and baggy in fact, that I deconstructed them and reconstructed them with my new pattern.
Pattern: I got the pattern from these spandex RTW shorts using the duct tape method.
To preserve the finished duct tape pattern I attached them to pattern paper (I use the thin vinyl made for covering banquet tables in orange).

Fabric: Cotton/lycra single knit, pretty sure it was from JoAnn’s.
Construction notes: There's a gusset in the crotch(snicker, snicker)! Maybe this is standard on workout clothes - um, I wouldn't know - but I thought it was pretty funny especially when I ran out of fabric on the green pair and had to use black for the gusset - hahaha!
I used the fastest, I-don't-care-what-it-looks-like construction. The thread only matches two pair because I didn't want to take the time to change it.

I really like the waistband - a new technique, yipee! Here's my version of what the RTW construction, sans coverstitch.
Once the elastic was stretched and stitched on (cut only slightly smaller than the actual fabric length) I just folded the waistband in half and stitched to the shorts. If you look closely at the picture you can see that I put the yellow waistband on in reverse - inside is out. Oh well.
Pattern and cutting prep time: 20 min. to tape the RTW shorts and create the pattern. Another 50 min. to deconstruct previous shorts (yellow and green), ugh. Cutting new pattern assembly style (4 pair) 20 min.
App. Sewing time: Assembly style 1 hour. Well, it probably would have been done in an hour if my machine hadn't frozen up.
Real-life time: About two months from the time I came up with the idea and when I actually finished them. It just became one of those low-priority projects. I've known I wouldn't need the shorts until summer and I don't really like making the same exact thing over and over. In other
Goes with: All the new summer skirts and dresses I'm going to make this weekend - HA!

Thanks for the well-wishes for my son. After visiting the pediatrician, he was given the okay to at least play catch - whew!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ugh. A Sad Story

New sewing post soon but....just when I thought I was going to get a chance to breath, relax, sew, blog, begin my little guy ended up in the hospital with an infection in one of his beat up knees. He was admitted on Thursday and just came home today. Now I've got to figure out some way to keep him busy and still rest his knee. Yep, school's out, weather's finally improved and he can't play baseball, swim, golf, skateboard, run, play catch, etc. This is not a child that has ever enjoyed sitting still. Oh, and did I mention tomorrow is his 9th birthday? He wants to go golfing sooooo bad. :( Poor little guy had at least three crying fits today when he got the news.

In the meantime - THANK YOU so much for all the nice and encouraging comments from my recent posts. I do have more to share but have to wait for life to get back on track. First goal is to get caught up on all my blog reading - yikes! you guys are way to fast! I don't know how you do it :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Just Patterns

It's been a long time since I've even browsed my favorite vintage patterns sites. But last week the sales were too good and I couldn't resist just a glimpse. Well, more than just a glimpse.
I'll use some fun florals for the dresses. The coat, well, I thought I'd be using some fabric from my stash until I saw that View 2 takes 5 yards of 60" wide fabric. May have to rethink that plan!

And, the one I absolutely don't need but had to have.

I liked the shape of the coat but what really sold me was the line drawing. This will be the "You expect me to lift that? Not." coat. Those sleeves were meant to be worn in one position only - down. I'm going to channel my inner Patsy Stone when I wear this one!

I seem to be collecting these shorts-under-skirts patterns but wonder if I dare wear them.

In the summer I want to look put together and love wearing a comfortable dress, but I want to be able to jump on my bike and ride with my kids too. So, I'm looking at these from a practical standpoint. The questions is, am I too old for this style? I know the answer. I'm just trying to find a way to make them work! Any suggestions?

FYI - There are an overwhelmingly number of great vintage pattern resources. I just stick to these three because I'm a creature of habit ;) LanetzLiving, Momspatterns, and Out Of the Ashes Collectibles.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Pattern: Vogue 8287 (OOP but still on their site) shown here with the Vogue 2886 gray pants and before I added the buttons.
Fabric: Cotton shirting from Janie's Sewing Corner
Pattern Adjustments: View A without the sash.
Fitting Adjustments: Full bust adj., added width to upper arm, added length to the sleeve (3/4")
Construction notes: Followed the pattern instructions except for the cuff. Since it's almost a french cuff, I didn't bother to turn under the seam allowance on the inside. I just stitched them together and serged the SA - nobody will know except me...and now you.

This blouse is so easy to make! If you haven't made many or have a fear of making blouses, I highly recommend this pattern. You have to be careful when attaching the collar but everything else is a breeze!
App. Prep time: 20 min. I've made this before and just made a few minor fitting adjustments before cutting out.
App. Sewing time: 2-1/2 hours (guessing)
Real-life sewing time: 3-4 hours without kids.
Goes with my: Gray, and black skirts and gray, black, and tan pants. Do you sense a theme?
Miss Alaney: I've made this one waaaaay too many times. This is #3.
I'm in a rut with my blouses and even though I have many blouse patterns I go to the same two patterns each time. This Vogue and New Look 6783 (OOP). Will try to break out of my rut. I have over 20 blouse patterns, for pete's sake!

P.S. I joined a sew-along for the first time ever (that I can remember, anyway)!
I'm so excited about this one; learning the real RTW techniques. I'm way behind in every step but I can't wait to really tackle the jacket. As a matter of fact, I'm supposed to be making my pattern adjustments right now! My jacket is going to be a boring old basic black jacket but something I desperately need in my closet. I have two black jackets already but they're not basic and can't be thrown on over just anything. This one will fill that void. Even if you don't make a jacket, you should join and read through the instructions you might find something you've never seen before - I did!

I'm getting drawn back in. For months I've been able to resist my favorite vintage pattern websites...but tonight I caved. This is not good, not good at all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pattern: Vogue 8633
Cotton, from Janie’s Sewing Corner in Cleveland. I noticed just before I cut this out that the pattern is for knit fabrics so I went up a size but just ended up taking it back in again. If you're going to do the same, I suggest making a muslin first just to be sure.
Pattern Design Adjustments: none
Fitting Adjustments: Most alterations are shown with orange pattern paper. Construction notes: I sewed the skirt using the lining as underlining technique. I fused interfacing on the entire bodice. Changed the bodice lining construction by enclosing the armholes before following the pattern instructions.
App. Prep time: 5 hours for fitting adjustments, muslin, transferring adjustments, cutting fabric, lining, interfacing, and applying interfacing.
App. Sewing time: 5 hours
Real-life time: 3 Days
I'm made this while on spring break and was able to dedicate some serious daytime sewing to get it done in less than 2 weeks.
Goes with: Green duster from New Look 6518
Miss Alaney:
Hahaha! - see it? It's the attack of the pins! This time I sewed right over one with my zoom zoom (industrial straight-stitch). The machine didn't even slow down! I only noticed it because it sounded funny. So, add about 15 min. of real-life time while I tried to get it out without cutting the thread.

Also, my kids got these fun nerf-type pop guns and we were all playing while waiting to go to lunch at a really nice restaurant but one of the balls got lost. About four hours later when I changed into my "relaxing" clothes guess who found the missing ball? It was secretly hiding in my cleavage all afternoon. If you didn't notice on the pattern adjustments, I raised the depth of that V by about an inch. Apparently there was still enough room for a small ball to hop on in!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


In an effort to increase my blog activity without losing hours of possible sewing time, I'm going to try and just give the facts.

Pattern: Vogue 8601
Fabric: Wool denim
Pattern Design Adjustments: None. I made the one-button version (view DE)
Fitting Adjustments: Alterations are shown where you see orange pattern paper.
Construction notes: Bagged the lining, added sleeve heads, used Steam-A-Seam at the back vent (instead of under stitching) to control the lining from rolling out.
App. Prep time: Didn't really track it this time. But I did make a muslin so maybe around 4 hours.
App. Sewing time: (totally guessing) 10 hours
Real-life time: Most of the jacket was complete after a Saturday sewing marathon. The finishing parts - closing up the lining, adding the button, attaching the shoulder pad, and then opening up the lining and doing it again (see Miss Alaney) were done in a couple of evenings over the next two weeks.
Goes with: Black, dark gray, purple (yes, purple) wool pants and black wool skirt. On top - well, it's all about the turtleneck for me and I've got black, dark gray, and purple of those too!
Miss Alaney: See the pin poking out of the sleeve head? Well, I didn't. Not until the jacket was complete - hence the need to open up the lining!

New notion that I think I love! It's chalk in pencil form. It goes on so easy with very little pressure and most of the color can be rubbed out. I picked up the last one at Janie's Sewing Corner a couple of weeks ago. I'll try and remember to update if it works any better/worse than my first impressions.