Friday, November 22, 2013

My Latest Plan For A Plan

Ugh. I hate it when I miss so much sewing/blogging/pattern-reviewing time. When I looked at my blog tonight I realized that I have four "drafts" that I started to write in the last six months but never finished them. Well, I'm is the oldest one and I posting it even though fall is almost over. Keep reading, there a  couple of pix at the end to prove that I have actually been able to complete a few projects.

At the time I started this post it seemed a realistic goal to have some of these pieces completed before May. Well, there hasn't been any spring sewing and thankfully (not really) the weather hasn't turned to spring yet either. Anyway, this is how I'm now going to start creating my SWAP's. I was inspired by my favorite wardrobe planning blog The Vivienne Files. I couldn't find the original post I remember about the Crazy 8 but if you look for it on her blog you will find loads of ideas and inspiration.
As I remember it, there is a blazer, a cardigan, two tops, one blouse, one pant, one skirt, one dress. I just scanned some basic pattern outlines to remind me what the pieces need to be added. When I'm ready to match it with the fabric, I'll pick a specific pattern to use. 

She suggests you purchase (gasp! - that's sew to you and me) an entire Crazy 8 in one solid color and another entire wardrobe in a coordinating solid color. Did you catch that word "solid"? Yes, a total of 16 pieces in solid colors. This is probably the biggest obstacle. I mean it makes sense, but I rarely go to a fabric store in search of 10 yards of the nicest tan fabrics I can find. There will be prints but they come in when you add pieces that coordinate with both solid colors.

Here's how I worked it out with my current stash and finished garments. My first solid color is royal blue. I've had all these beautiful coordinating blue fabrics for awhile, but had a complete roadblock when it came to figuring out what to make with them. For this board the solids are on the left and I only included the fabrics/garments I already have. (The smiley faces are the completed garments. The blue dress also needs a face. It was my Easter dress...completed the week after Easter...but in time for Mother's Day ;) On the right are the prints that will coordinate with the blue and other solids in my closet (black, gray, tan).
The second solid color is, well, I'm calling it gold. The jacket is the one that ended up with the backward sleeves that is still waiting to be fixed. The skirt I wear all the time! I love wearing it with a chambray shirt and boots :) The gray floral is on the sewing table this week, and just now (11/21/13) I'm thinking that metallic gold blouse just might work for Christmas.
I also have enough wool to create two more Crazy 8's in ivory and tan and, I have a workable Crazy 8 in my closet using gray and black. Gosh, when I write it down like this it sure seems like I've got an awful lot of clothes, doesn't it? Oh, well!  I'm thinking the ivory will be the starting point for my spring work wardrobe. Off to go plan and hopefully sew something up!

Projects without Posts :(
Vogue 1268
Top Simplicity 7967 (1980's?), Pants Burda...
New Look 6049 
Jacket McCall's 4596 (Old but not vintage)

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Just a quick link to show you where I wish I was today Cleveland Museum of Art  It's only about 10 minutes from my house, but there's no way I can fit it in my schedule. Le sigh.

(Pic from the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Friday, May 17, 2013


This post is about my non-sewing life. Tomorrow my choir and band are performing at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since I recently realized that some Clevelanders might actually read my blog thought I would share this.

It's a great (free) way to support Cleveland student's and visit the museum (shhh, they don't advertise this part, but if you tell them you came to hear the John Marshall choir/band your wristband will be free). I think this is the 14th year for this event and I've only missed one. But, this is the first year I have been just plain excited to perform. I'm at a new school, the kids are great, and I know it will make this year of stress and non-blogging worthwhile. By tomorrow evening I might even be ready to sew!

Have a great spring weekend, and if you come to the Rock Hall make sure to come over and say "Hello." (Choir at 12:40pm, Band at 1:20pm)!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sewing, It’s a Head Game.

Sewing’s not just skill, it’s a head game and right now I’m on the losing end! It’s seems like it’s been at least a year since I’ve made a garment without some stupid mistake. This time it’s my lovely gold suit. The first mistake was that I really should have interfaced all the pieces. The wool is very soft and drapey and it just needs more structure. The second mistake, which I didn’t discover until I took the pictures and studied them a bit. I’m 99% sure the sleeves were put in backwards. Yup, backwards sleeves. See those lines on the sleeves? I’ve made this jacket before and it didn’t have those lines. Sigh. The final stupid mistake was that after I made all the buttonholes and added the buttons – which were really hard to match with this color – I remembered I needed one more for the back. This I didn’t have. I didn’t have the additional button and had no idea when or where I bought the four that were on the front. (Probably JoAnn’s but in the last year they have completely restocked their buttons making it very unlikely that I will find another one there. Plus, I just hate going there lately. They’ve “updated” my store and I hate it. Can’t put my finger on any one thing, just know that I hate it.) Wait! There's one more mistake - I also messed up (cut it out wrong) the vent in the skirt! It looks okay on the outside but I won't be posting any pictures of the inside!

My head game stems from trying to capture what my sewing life used to be. The life I had when I truly earned the name “Lean Mean Sewing Machine” and would easily have made this suit in a weekend (my weekends always start on Friday night). I have always had a project-oriented personality. Before kids, and before a mentally draining job, this worked well for me. Now it has become my nemesis. I still work one project at a time but the gaps of construction time are so long, I forget what I’ve already done! Did I cut this with a 3/8” seam or 5/8”? Sigh.

So, I made this suit. I like, not love, it. I’ve purchased a few pieces (prints) that I thought would go with it. For the most part, when I get them home, they don’t. I toiled for probably two years before I committed to what I thought would be the best jacket pattern and now I'm not sure what blouse necklines work best with it. I’ve worn the skirt with black and light blue and just noticed that it’s really pretty with my royal blue. The skirt will get a lot of wear, not so sure about the jacket. But, that could be because the skirt’s been done for a month and they jacket has become is still hanging on the dress form. We’ll see.

I've got more to post but time's not on my side. Happy sewing! Be sure to keep your head in the game!

Friday, February 8, 2013

One, Two, Three, Four, FIVE?

That's right in my never-ending quest for the perfect-every-time buttonhole I have now purchased FIVE vintage buttonholers. Rather than go through the very lengthy explanation I shall refer you to my handy-dandy butthonhole flowchart. Of course, it doesn't really end there. The Necchi student model, and the Singer Fashion-Mate were donated/sold. After that I decided I had to give the whole idea a rest...a long rest. Then, about 1-1/2 years ago I was at an antique mall and saw one of those old b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l machines for a mere $35. I buckled, bought it, and brought it home. It's a black Necchi BU Nova in it's own table. Sigh. It's so pretty. It didn't work with any of my buttonholers but I didn't really care.

After surfing Craigslist, and ebay, and posts about buttonholers recently I finally found what I think is a perfect match. On a recent unexpected snow days (only unexpected because my kids had to go to school but I didn't - yipee!) I took the plunge and ordered one more buttonholer that I'm confident will work. Ebay had not one but three Griest #7 (for a high shank, left aligned needle) buttonholers and one sailed home to me. I haven't tried it out yet. Hold your breath and wish me luck. I'll report back soon! Hopefully in the near future I'll be putting about four vintage buttonholers up for sale. Update: UGH!! It doesn't fit!!! After 20 minutes of scratching my head (when attached the buttonholer is still about 1/2" from touching the faceplate) I  realize that the buttonholer IN the box doesn't match the picture ON the box! I did not get a Griest #7 I got an older model #? that is not for a high shank machine. The search continues...

Just for fun...
When I took these pictures all I could think of was that I had to share them with my online sewing friends because I know some of you love vintage as much as I do. These are from my daughter's family b-day party last year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Finally started sewing the one piece of fabric I wanted to tackle during my Christmas break. I managed to cut out the main pieces on the last day of break but you know, sewing is a lot like painting a room. You can't wait to do the painting and see the results but there's so much prep work. This weekend I cut out the lining, fusible interfacing and organza, then fused everything. Saturday night I finally got to sew.

Hoping to write an actual review for this one when it's done. Here are a couple of teaser pix.

Crossing my fingers that I'll have a new outfit for church (because that's usually my Saturday night goal) soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

No More Excuses

Hmmm, just looked over my posts from 2012 and it was pretty sad in both quantity and quality. Hardly any of them were actually about sewing! Many were just excuses for why I didn't have anything to share. Well, for this post I've decided to end the year with some actual finished sewing projects!

Vogue 8772 Let's start at the end with this chambray shirt. (Technically finished on 2013 but I'm not the technical type.) I hardly ever think to use Pattern Review as a resource but when I remember it's very helpful. This pattern was purchased before the research but it looked like many people had success with it. A nice classic, fitted blouse with darts (I'm just really not a fan of the princess seam).

Well, just look for the lines, they point to all the problems. Apparently the full bust adjustment I made wasn't quite enough, and the upper arm width I added wasn't quite enough, and even though others felt the sleeves were too long (which is why I didn't add any length to mine), they weren't quite long enough for me. They may look like they're long enough in the picture but they don't meet my "reach" length and within the first five minutes of wearing it I had to unbutton the cuffs. The more I looked at the fabric the more I decided it just looks like a dark blue oxford cloth instead of an authentic chambray. Having said all that, I wore it yesterday under a sweater and it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I'll keep it until I replace it or it just starts to bother me too much!

Butterick 6861 (OOP or vintage depending on when you were born ;) I really love this one...even though I put the buttons way too close to the edge. The fabric is a silk charmeuse leftover from my Minneapolis days - guess that makes the fabric vintage too!
During my years of sewing, including the year this pattern was new, I was on a quest to find this style of blouse. I could never find one that was easy, fit my bust, and had buttonholes instead of loops. Don't know how this one escaped me the first time around. The only design change I made was to raise the neckline slightly. The only fitting change was a full bust adjustment. I probably should start adding a sway back adjustment but I keep trying to tell myself I just need to make the hips wider. Also, I don't usually remember this until I'm taking pictures!

McCall's 6866 (OOP/vintage) yuk. The armholes were waaaaayyy too tight even after I made adjustments to the pattern. To me, the collar doesn't look like the pattern cover at all. It has more of a curve to the outside edge. When I cut it out (summer of 2011), it was going to be a dress. Yuk. If UFO's didn't bother me so much I never would have finished this. I cut off the extra length to try and save it. Even though the fabric (from Janie's) is really nice, it's way too stiff for the look I wanted for this top.
I didn't finish it till right before school started and it's still in my closet but I don't think it will be there for very long in 2013.

Simplicity 2700 (Current!) I made this pair of black pants in 2009 that I absolutely love. Well, I wanted to duplicate them with this gorgeous royal blue wool I've had for a few years. I always knew I wanted to make a pair of pants with the fabric but wasn't confident that the rest of the world was ready to for them (i.e., I didn't want anyone making fun of me!). Seeing how almost every store in the country is selling blue pants this year, I decided I would finally be brave enough to make a pair of my own.
Even though they are all wrinkled in the pictures from a long day of work, I'm really please with the fit. Again I followed Peggy Sagers method for fitting and bravely sewed about 1-1/2" down from the CB top seam. The pattern looks very strange, but it works on me. I added belt loops to this pair, you know, so I could add a belt to the look!

For a very long time I avoided the trend of low-rise pants. When I finally caved and made my first pairs, I found that I hate where the waistband hits me and really don't think it is flattering on my curvy body at all. I like to wear blouses with my pants and if the waistband hits me in the hip area I feel like a box. Even though this is a really good pattern - especially the pockets - I don't know if I'll make it again. I'm ready to go back to a waistband at my waist.

Well, it's not the prettiest post ever but at least it's about sewing. I'm off to see if I can get at least one sewing  project done before school starts again on Monday.

Happy New Sewing Year to you all!