Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Comraderie of Sewing

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since I wrote in my blog! I have had alot going on. My wonderful, 81 year old father had a heart attack, then triple bypass surgery. I traveled to Sudbury, MA a week ago to be with him. I arrived just before the snow storm, and just in time to experience the power outage at my sister's home. Fortunately, the power came on three days later, and we could bring Dad home. He is doing remarkably well, and is the perfect patient.

While in MA, I discovered just how close some of my Stitcher's Guild friends are to Sudbury. I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon last week with Betsy and Debra at Sawyer Brook where I also met Dixie. I found a fabulous wool cashmere and cotton print to make a shirt/vest combo.

Dixie introduced me to a staff person, Sue who was from KY. I mentioned that my family was from Butler, a town that is hardly on the map and that no one has ever heard of. Not only had Sue heard of Butler, she was raised there! She asked about my family, and I responded she would not know them. They left KY in the 50's. When I finally told her the family name, I learned that my great uncle had been a friend of her father's!

Today, I met my sewing buddies again for a trip to a fabric store in Natick. This time, Denise also joined us. It was great fun looking at fabric with fellow sewers, already knowing their preferences from Stitcher's Guild. We've been posting for so long, we all know each other fairly well: our moments of joy, sorrow, dreams, frustrations. Not only do we share a passion for fabric, sewing, fashion, and clothes. We also share our lives. It's great to have such wonderful friends, and finally get to meet them in person.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The End of A Great Week!

It's been a great week off from work. I managed to accomplish the sewing goals I made for myself for the week as well as spend some quality time with my hubby. The total for the week was:

Pants - 4
Skirts -3
Sweater - 1
Shells - 2
Vest -1
Top - 1
Total - 12 Garments.

This sweater set rounded out my sewing this week. A great addition to my fall wardrobe. It's from Loes Hinse Sweater Set pattern. It had been years since I had sewn it. I made alterations with, once again, Sure Fit Designs, and it came out perfectly. I had orange sweater material left from the vest, so I made a shell from it as well.

All fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics. They are a light sweater fabric that is perfect for early fall, and in Alabama will also work all winter.

I've really enjoyed having the week off to sew and hang out at the house instead of going somewhere. My husband and I decided this will be a new tradition for us Labor Day week. We decided it was a good practice for retirement in 10 years.

I was having this "sewcation" simultaneously with Carolyn in NJ. It was great fun knowing that she was sewing hard at home and anticipating her creations. Carolyn is always inspiring and makes the most beautiful clothes.

Unfortunately, now it's back to work and catching up with what I missed in the world of Public Health Social Work.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Vest

This is my next item completed during my Sewcation. It 's a vest made from Pamela's Patterns Draped Cardigan. I love this pattern, and have made it several times as a cardigan and once before as a vest. The fabric is a wonderful sweater knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. I had enough to make a shell from the Sweater Set from Loes Hinse. It will go with a brown cardigan of the same pattern that I'm working on.

The shirt was completed last week. It was drafted from Sure Fits and fit perfectly without any alterations. (Hurray) Once I have finished the brown cardigan, I will have met my goals for the week! Lots of new clothing items, mostly basics to update my wardrobe.

Staycation Continued

I would have posted my progess sooner, but I have been busy sewing! It's been a great week sewing, hanging out with my husband, and just enjoying being home. I realize how much I'm going to enjoy retirement. Unfortunately, that won't happen for another 10 years!

So far, I've made three pairs of pants, three skirts, a top, and a shirt. I hope to get a draped cardigan/vest, LH sweater set, and a shell completed before the weekend is over.

My body has been changing over the last few months. I'd like to attribute it mostly to menopause, but I think it has to do with the fact that I have a husband now who loves to eat (particularly fried chicken and ice cream). Therefore, I needed some basics to add to my wardrobe. I made these three skirts from Pamela's Patterns pencil skirt. I love this pattern. It is so fast to sew - about 30 minutes including cutting out. The brown is much darker, more chocolate. It came out lighter in the picture.

I also made cooresponding pants to the skirts. The first was the brown. I drafted it from Sure Fit Designs with a shaped waistband. It is my least favorite. This was not my most flattering style, but is wearable. I changed plans after the brown, and made the black and camel with an elastic facing similar to the old SoHo pants from Textile Studios, again, drafted from Sure Fit. They fit very well and are very comfortable.
My favorite project thus far has been The Sewing Workshop Trio Top with the jacquard from Emma One Sock. (Pictured in the first photo.) I love this pattern! I have a green knit to make a t-shirt underneath. In the meantime I can wear it with a white t-shirt. It also matches my brown pants perfectly. The buttons I found at JoAnn's were great. In the back, I changed the direction of the yoke. I also used the brown linen for the bias facing for the sleeves.

This will be a fun top to wear through out the fall and winter. Once it's too cold in Alabama for the brown linen pants, I can wear it with the chocolate brown pants.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fall Sewing

As tropical storm Lee comes through Alabama, I am busy working on my fall wardrobe. Lucky for me, I've taken a week off from work for a Staycation! We had planned for this in the last few weeks. For me, that meant purchasing fabric to get ready. I purchased a collection from Emma One Sock and Gorgeous Fabrics. I love these fabrics! If you are looking for a great RPL at a reasonable price, I highly recommend Emma One Sock. I bought it in brown, black, and camel to make pants using my Sure Fit Designs Kit and pencil skirts from Pamelas Patterns.

The first item I made was a a pair of pants out of a beautiful brown/white cross weave linen to match the beautiful brocade I purchased. I used my Sure Fit Pants Blue Print and drafted them based on the Katherine Pant by Style Arc. They fit perfectly at first try. No Tweaking! Being in Alabama, I can wear these well into October before the weather turns cooler. They will also be perfect for summer next year.

These were very easy to draft. I cut through the front dart to make a princess seam pant. Then I chopped it to make the pant, angling it down about 1 1/2 inches to the side. Because the opening is on the bias, I used fusible stay tape to stabilize. There are definitely more of these in my future. I'm thinking they will be cute in a light weight denim.

I'm now working on The Sewing Workshop Trio Top out of the stripe brocade to go with the pants. I also have the RPL in the washing machine getting ready to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Staycation and Fall Planning!

My husband and I have decided to start a tradition of taking a staycation around Labor Day each year. We plan to take a week off from work and have absolutely no plans. I'm sure he'll take the opportunity to go to the casino a couple of times, giving me some time in my sewing room!

I plan to start my fall wardrobe and have acquired my new fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics and Emma One Sock. What wonderful fabrics as you can see from the picture above! I purchased a brown knit and orange knit from Gorgeous fabrics. They feel wonderful and are the perfect weight for Alabama winters. The brown will become a cardigan, probably Loes Hinse Sweater Set, and the orange will be a vest from the draped cardigan from Pamela's Patterns.

The brown, black, and camel RPL is from EmmaOneSock. I highly recommend it. It's excellent quality, just enough stretch, beautiful drape, and only $12 a yard. They will become pants from Sure Fit Designs and pencil skirts from Pamela's Patterns.

The brown linen is going to be pants self drafted, but based on Katherine's pants from Style Arc. This fabric matches beautifully with the jacquard stripe from EOC that will be a Trio Top from TSW along with the green knit for a Trio Top. I love these three fabrics together. It's my favorite combo in a long time.

I hope to get my patterns ready and much of my fabric cut out before the week off. I think I'm going to like this new tradition of ours.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Black and White

I have been sewing up a storm with my new Bernina this past week. Here are some of my new creations. First, I bought some wonderful fabric from Marcy Tilton recently. Some fabrics are just worth the price, and I loved a french print. It happened to match a lavender cardigan I made several years ago. The fabric became a Tango Skirt - a pattern I have made millions of times. I was very pleased how this one turned out. I used a decorative stitch for the hem, which matched the design of the print perfectly.

Now for the topic at hand: black and white.

I have been trying to make more unusual pieces. It's been a challenge experimenting with new designs and challenging myself with new techniques.

I purchased black and white fabrics from - one is polka dot while the other is a stripe. I intended to use them together and was able to make two tops. It was fun making two totally different things. The first shirt is a Marcy Tilton pattern from Vogue, while the second is the Urban T from The Sewing Workshop. That's the joy of sewing.

One More Sure Fit Designs

I just love this system! Everything turns out great and fits so well. I opened the Shirt Kit and made my husband two shirts. This one is even easier to draft than the dress pattern - less measurements and no darts. It took no time to crank out the shirts. My husband loves them and says they are so comfortable.

James has narrow, sloping shoulders that don't fit well with the rest of his body. Shirts usually fall off of him at the shoulders. Not so with these shirts. I see more of these in his future, especially dress shirts. The shirts I made are 100% cotton, which should be nice and cool for summer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sure Fit Designs

I became interested in Sure Fit Designs when Glenda Sparling did a Chat on Pattern Review. Sure Fit has several kits - Dress (consists of a fitted blouse and and skirt), Shirt, Pants, and Children. You take your measurements and then find a matching dot to your measurement on a chart that includes a drawing of a bodice, pant or skirt. You then draft your sloper to your measurements. There are not very many measurements. For instance, there are 11 for the dress kit.

After you draft your sloper, you sew up a muslin. Tweak it if necessary. Here is my muslin, which I thought turned out great. The only tweaks were for sloping shoulder, taking it out a little at the high hip, and narrowing the shoulder. I'm sure the last two alterations were user error when taking my measurements. I always have to alter for a sloping shoulder.

Here is the back and front of my muslin.

After you get your muslin the way you want it, you can draft your own patterns or use your sloper to alter existing patterns. My first effort was this shirt dress pictured below. I included a mandarin collar and front and back yoke. I moved the must dart to the top and gathered it to the yoke. I also made gathers at the back yoke. Then, I made it a drawstring. Taking an idea from Hot Patterns, I elasticized the drawstrings for 2/3's length and added fabric ties for the rest.

Here's a back view with the gathers at the back yoke.

And another front view.

I received Sure Fit Designs as a Birthday present and love it! I currently have plans for another shirt dress, but changing the design elements, and three sheath dresses.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

V Neck Top

Here is my latest creation from the wonderful fabrics I received from Fabric Mart Fabrics. It is a rayon jersey that was very soft, did not curl at all, and is very soft against the skin. I will really enjoy wearing this. It goes well with the white draped cardigan and the taupe/grey Marrakesh pants I made.

This was a very quick pattern to sew up. I cut it out one evening, and sewed it up tonight. This is the second V Neck Top from Christine Johnson that I have made and I plan to make many more. Her patterns are so well drafted and come together beautifully.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekender Summer in the City Top

I have serious sewing mojo going on right now. Here is my latest shirt - the Hot Patterns Weekender Summer in the City top. It is gathered at the front and back yokes. The fabric is a rayon challis from Fabric Mart and had the perfect drape for this. I plan to make two more - one another blouse with ruched sleeves, and the other a shirt dress that I will wear belted. The shirt was very easy to fit. I did the usual adjustments for sloping shoulders and a high rounded back. Then took it in at the sides 1 inch and shortened it by
2 1/2 inches. I have only seen this made up once by someone else, but I recommend the pattern.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Great Not So White Classic Shirt

I am really enjoying the Hot Patterns projects I have completed lately. They come together well and fit great. I needed a new basic shirt pattern and decided to try the Classic Nouveaux Great White Shirt - except in color. I first made a muslin making my usual alterations - sloping shoulder and high rounded back. I did not make a full bust adjustment, and found I didn't need it. I am a D - Cup and have never needed a FBA with Hot Patterns. The size is true to measurements suggested, and that is great as well.

For the "good" fabric, I used a beautiful light, floral cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics. I loved this fabric, as well as my muslin quite frankly. I have been working with knits and wovens with lycra so much lately, I forgot how enjoyable it is to work with a nice cotton. The muslin fabric I bought several years ago on sale, but was never excited about it. Once I made it up, I loved this shirt, too.

The only changes I made to the floral shirt was to raise the armhole at the bottom 1/2 inch, and narrow the shoulders by 1/2 inch. It turned out perfect. Until it gets very hot, as it certainly can, I'll wear it with the green cardigan in the second picture. The shirt and cardigan will look great with my new, white Marrakesh pants or a white pencil skirt.

Now on to my next Hot Patterns project - a shirt dress from a different pattern.

Monday, March 21, 2011

All Aboard the Train!

The Marrakesh pants are finished! I love this pattern. I made a pants muslin first, and struggled with some of the instructions. Then I decided to go with what I know, and worked it out. I tried to use Trudy's instructions for the fly front zipper, but then the waistband was too short. So for the real pants, I made the waistband extra long in the front and Sandra Betzina's instructions for the zipper. She has the best instructions for this.

As for alterations, there were very few. I love how Hot Patterns puts all of the measurements on the pattern including rise. The size 12 rise was perfect for me, but unfortunately, I needed the size 14 width. As usual, I needed a slight decrease in the width in the seat. That was it. They came out great. The fabric for the real pants were from Casual Elegance - linen-like polyester in tan and white. Because the pants were in a light colored fabric, I left off the pockets.

These pants are so comfortable. I wore the tan pair today at work and it felt as if I was in my pj's all day!

Here are the pictures. They remind me that I need to continue to try to lose those 2 pounds! The sweater set is from Silhouettes patterns. I then dared to take a picture with the pants tucked in so you could see the waistband.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tribute to Mom

My Mom's 80th birthday would be today. She passed away exactly 11 months ago and I miss her every day. Nearly everything I do has been influenced by her - cooking, sewing, housework, sense of humor, teaching music to children in my choir. As much as she would drive me crazy sometimes (and I am certain she would say the same about me), her influence was significant. I realize that she lives on in my every day activities, thoughts, and work.

As sick as she became, one of the first questions she would ask me was "what are you making?" We shared our passion for sewing. I will be thinking about her tonight when I cut out my new scarf-shirt.

Thanks Mom for everything you gave me. Believe it or not, I really was listening.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot Patterns Scarf - Shirt

After purchasing this pattern, I heard from a couple of sewers that they weren't pleased with their results. I really wanted to love this pattern. Once you watch Trudy's You Tube Videos, you have to get the pattern because you just know you will look fabulous. Well.....

I love this pattern!!!! I read the comments and one review, and was determined to make it successful. I had some "silky" JoAnn's as my muslin, and I'm happy to say I can wear it. I have some charmeuse from Gorgeous Fabrics that I purchased specifically for this pattern.
The important thing is the fabric. It MUST be drapey. Not "kind of drapey", but DRAPEY! Otherwise, you will look like a balloon. Then you have to think about what tweaks you want to make. I made the usual alterations - sloping shoulders, shortened it by three inches. Then I took in the sides by one inch and added a vertical waist dart. Hanging fabric from the boobs just won't do. I think the dart made all the difference. I decided not to attach the scarf so I could use it with other outfits.

I have a Sunshine top cut out. Once it's completed, I'll make another scarf-shirt.

By the way, my sewing assistant decided to join me in the photo. She was great help today.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mini Sewcation!

Twice this month, I have worked on the weekends. That is, I've worked my day job on the weekend due to travel/meetings. I work every weekend playing for two church services and directing an adult and children's choir. So, I decided to take today off and have a mini sewcation and catch up on some things around the house.

After grocery shopping and straightening the house, I accomplished two projects in my sewing room and cut out another. The first was a Weekender Sunshine top from Hot Patterns. This is my third of these tops and I plan to make more. They are very figure flattering and quick to make.

The second was the Draped Cardigan from Pamela's Patterns. It's the picture on top of the post. I still can't get my pictures to post in order. Anyway, this is my third draped cardigan from this pattern. I also cut out a pale yellow knit (more like butter) and will leave off the sleeves and make a vest. Pamela has a picture of this on her web page.
While sewing, I was thrilled to get a package from Gorgeous Fabrics and Marcy Tilton! My spring sewing is starting off with a bang. I have fabric to make two scarf-shirts from Hot Patterns, two pairs of Marcy Tilton pants, two pairs of Marrakesh pants from Hot patterns, and a couple of t-shirts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Has It Really Been a Year???

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I posted on this blog! I haven't been neglecting my sewing, just my blog. Over the last year, I've made several one seam pants out of necessity. I gained some weight and needed pants fast! A combination of being a newlywed, and grieving my Mom's death by making many of her dishes as comfort food did me in. So after Christmas, it was back to Weight Watchers (I'm a life time member) and am down 8 pounds so far. I have 17 more to go.

Besides the one seam pants, I also made several jackets and cardigans. I have noticed that my style and taste for clothes is changing. I am making less structured things and focusing on better quality fabric. I have several things ready to start, including a couple of Marrakesh pants with fabric from Casual Elegance. My last completed project, as of last night was a Marcy Tilton top. I think it will become one of my favorites. I plan to make a couple more that are sleeveless for the hot, Alabama summers. Here's my new top: The first picture shows the twisted neckline, which was a lot of fun to do.

Hopefully, I won't wait another year for my next post.