31 December 2012

2012 Sewing Year in Review

Completed Garments
I think this was a very productive and skill-enhancing sewing year.  I finished my Lady Grey Coat (worn almost daily) and upped my sewing skill on PR to "intermediate."  Woo!  Here are this year's stats:
  • 7 tops
  • 5 skirts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 3 dresses
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 coat
  • approximately 44.5 yards of fabric sewn
If you're interested, patterns and fabric used for each garment can be viewed on this page.

Incomplete Garments & Wadders
When beginning this next set of projects, I had really high hopes of completing them.  I worked through muslins for all and had even sewn one of the patterns on two separate occasions.  Alas, each project was tanked completely due to user error.

  • Vogue 1224 (dress):  I was most disappointed with the failure in this garment because it could have been avoided.  After sewing a muslin and deciding on needed adjustments, I absentmindedly used the regular pattern pieces instead of the adjusted pieces to cut out the fabric.  I held onto this fabric for a full year waiting to make this pattern.
  • Jalie 2559 (jacket):  Poor fabric choice contributed to the demise of this project.  The muslin fit great and required little adjustment.  Unfortunately, wool flannel was not the best choice of fabric.  It was too thick to make the curves sharp and
  • Vogue 8805 (dress):  I tried to make this work, but it was too shapeless and overwhelming on my short frame. 
  • Simplicity 2560 (cardigan):  Fabric choice, again, led to the demise of this cardigan.  This pattern benefits most from a fabric that has some thickness.  Rayon modal is not advised!
  • McCall's 6279 (dress):  I definitely intend to return to this pattern this Spring.  I have to re-work the pattern alterations and follow the interfacing instructions. 
Attempted Garments
When I think about the number completed garments, it seems like I never sew!  Honestly, I do.  I've had some bouts of inaction throughout the year due to life-stuff, but I do manage to sew.  It's just that some of my garments never make it out of the muslin stage.  This year I attempted, but never completed, the following: 
  • 2 Dresses (Butterick 5490, Butterick 5350, plus others that ended up as wadders)
  • 5 Tops (Butterick 5328, Kwik Sew 3436, Simplicity 2447, Vogue 7903, Vogue 1260)
  • 1 Cardigan (McCall's 4923)
  • 1 Skirt (Vogue 8426)
  • 4 Pairs of pants (Colette Patterns Clover, Jalie 2561, Jalie 2909, BWOF 11-2006-102)
See?  If all of these worked, the total number of completed garments would be much higher.  Kwik Sew 3436, McCall's 4923, and Vogue 8426 all have promise if I tweak them just a bit.  I'll give them a second look in the coming year.

Contest Win
My second contest win occurred with this year's mini wardrobe challenge.  I've tried this contest several times in the past and am so happy to have completed and win!  My favorite of the four pieces is the skirt.  It is very flattering and more flirty than the traditional pencil skirt.

Favorite Garments/Looks

left:  McCall's 6078 & Jalie 2908
right:  McCall's 6559

 Jalie 2908

I was seven pounds from my target weight back in April when the first picture was taken.  I could tuck in my shirt and not have the dreaded muffin-top.  Well as fate (and muffins) would have it, I am still seeking my target weight, but I'm far from where I was in April.  Ugh.

Anyway, the garments that got the most wear this year were my Jalie jeans.  I can't speak highly enough about this pattern.  I've made eight pairs so far and definitely see many more to come. 

McCall's 6559 is the super-sexy-sew-in-a-flash knit dress.  The pattern only has two pieces and barring crazy user error (like burning a hole in the first version), it can be sewn in no time.  The only thing is the neckline is scandalously low - an easy fix, no doubt.

Most Labor-Intensive

left:  Simplicity 2473
right:  Colette Patterns Lady Grey

From fit to construction, both of these projects tested my sewing fortitude.  Lady Grey gets worn daily when the weather isn't too cold.  I have yet to wear the Simplicity dress out on the town.  Maybe one day this Spring...

2012 Sewing Intention Results
I'm happy to say that I met all but one of my 2012 sewing intentions!
  • Jeans contest on PR:  Completed and entered.
  • Advance to "intermediate":  After completing Lady Grey, I upped my sewing skill to "intermediate."  Even though I have yet to master the collar stand, I think I've done pretty well with lots of other sewing skills.
  • Fabric-light:  I definitely bought far less fabric this year and intend to do the same next year.
  • Stash sewing:  Yup.  Shopping the stash is still in effect!
  • SWAP contest on Stitcher's Guild:  I didn't come close to finishing the 2012 swap, but I've got plans and motivation to participate in 2013.  Stay tuned!
2013 Sewing Intentions
  • Shop more of the stash:  It's no secret that I hoard have a lot of fabric.  I'm going to continue seeking out fabrics in my stash first before making new purchases.  That doesn't mean I won't buy anything, I'll just be more aware of my buying habits.
  • Make a full-length winter coat:  Since first seeing Renee's coat review on PR, I have developed the desire to make a super toasty full-length winter coat.  I love my Lady Grey coat, but it's too short and not warm enough to endure cold winters.  I have the issue of Burda from which Renee's coat was made and will include some of the tailoring skills used in making Lady Grey.  This coat will be no weekend project, so I hope to get started on it in May so that it's ready to wear by the time it gets cold.
  • Another SWAP on Stitcher's Guild:  I want to do more planned sewing and the rules for this year's contest are very relaxed.  We're to create an eleven-piece wardrobe consisting of two five-piece coordinated capsules linked by the eleventh garment.  More information to come!
  • Make a bra:  I have all of the notions, fabric, and patterns to make my first bra, I just need the motivation.  I'm a little intimidated by problems with fit and I haven't gathered the courage to give it a try.  Sigrid's bras are wonderfully made and I can no doubt learn a lot from her tutorials. 
  • Sew all of my clothes for one year:  I saw this challenge on PR and joined.  I pretty much sew most of my clothes anyway, though I do buy activewear and lingerie.  I want to see if I can abstain from buying any ready-made garment for one full year.  I might have to make an exception on bras, though.
I want to wish everyone a happy and successful sewing year!  Until next time, be well!


30 December 2012

Updates: M5523 (skirt) & J2559 (jacket)

McCall's 5523
Sewing this skirt the second time around has been a pain in the ass lesson in patience.  I started this skirt almost three weeks ago and it is still not finished.  My serger chewed the fabric horribly which prompted yet another trip to the shop.  It turns out that the blades were dull and needed to be replaced.  What, these things don't last forever?

The type of lining I'm using (polyester stretch charmeuse) is not cooperating at all.  It has an insane amount of static and sticks to everything.  I shocked the shit out of myself on more than one occasion and I have to remember to "ground" myself before I touch the sewing machine.  Grr.

Once I tamed that electrical beast, I assembled it backwards after checking...twice...and just realized last night that I serged the lining to the skirt at the waist seam...inside facing out.  It's hard to describe in words, but trust me, it is all kinds of wrong.  I'll need to unpick the serger stitches and reinsert the lining correctly.   After that, all I need to do is face the waist and sew the hem.  I don't even want to touch this darn thing right now.  =)

Jalie 2559
The jacket is coming along nicely.  I've sewn the sleeves and am now thinking about what to use for sleeve heads.  My choices are thin cotton flannel, polar fleece, and cotton batting.  Below are a couple of pictures of the two samples basted in: one is fleece, the other is cotton flannel.  Can you tell which is which?

I want the sleeve cap to be adequately supported without looking too bulky.  The cotton flannel doesn't produce a lot of bulk, but I don't know if it is strong enough to prevent the cap from collapsing.  The polar fleece will definitely support the shoulder cap as well as stop it from caving, but it is it too bulky for this material?  Hmm...  I'm going to get a piece of cotton batting and compare its thickness to that of the two samples I have.

I don't know what I'm going to do about lining.  I could use the electrical polyester stretch charmeuse, but I am not looking forward to it.  I might take a risk and use my non-stretch rayon Ambiance with smaller seam allowances.  I'll have to think it about it some more...

In the meantime, I am going to sew some quick knit tops and dresses.  I need some sewing success so that my sewjo doesn't make a run for the border.

 I'll be posting my year-in-review next.  Until then, be well!


24 December 2012

Jalie 2559 (jacket): Take 2

Remember this?

I started this jacket at the beginning of the year with the intention of including it in an old SWAP. Unfortunately, due to poor fabric choice and an silly error in adjusting the pattern, the jacket remains as shown in the picture:  a genuine UFO.  This project is a lesson in paying better attention to the list of suggested fabrics printer on the pattern envelope.  While it's probably not impossible to use a thick wool flannel with this pattern, it may not be the best choice and more hassle than it's worth.

Fast forward to today.  I corrected my flawed swayback adjustment and cut out the pattern in a charcoal gray RPL woven.  I had to think about how to approach this jacket because the fabric has a great deal of 4-way stretch (about 25% in each direction).  Based on the responses I received when I asked about stretch versus non-stretch linings, I decided to go with the stretch everything:  stretch lining, stretch interfacing, and stretch cotton poplin for the back stay.  I wanted to preserve as much of the crosswise stretch as possible for comfort, but still maintain some amount of structure.

My only concern going forward is with the notched collar.  The problem with the first version was that the fabric was too thick and made for unsightly corners as you see above.  No amount of clipping made that look any better.  I hope this works the second time around.  If so, be prepared to see at least three or four more versions of this pattern!

Here are photos of the front and back (shown with in-progress McCall's 5523).  I serged the front and back princess seams together and pressed them toward the centers. The bubbling that appears near the upper back only showed up after I added the back stay.  I don't know why this happened, but hopefully it's not too visible while worn.  It's bugging me, though...hmm...

The entire front and side front are interfaced with stretch interfacing.  All hems are also interfaced with  a 2-inch strip of stretch interfacing.  This is recommended by Jalie in their instructions.

Taking a cue from my Lady Grey coat, I drafted and added a back stay to help support the back, shoulder seam, and armhole.  To make the back stay, I traced around the assembled back and cut out the piece on the fold.  I used stretch cotton poplin to preserve some of the fabric's stretch, as mentioned above.  You can do this directly on the fabric without making a separate pattern piece.  I opted to make a separate pattern piece since I plan to make this jacket a few more times. 

I decided to sew a small strip of muslin selvage along the shoulder seam so that it wouldn't stretch.  There are some areas of the jacket that really don't need to grow!

Look at those matching princess seams!  Woo.  I think this is the first garment where both match at the same time.  Seriously!

That's all I have to share for now.  The McCall's skirt is still in the works.  I just received my stretch polyester lining today and hope to have it in tomorrow.  For the jacket, next up is the sleeves and lining construction.  That's going to have to wait until after I finish the skirt.


I want to wish everyone a joyous and safe holiday.  Be well and take care!


17 December 2012

Blog Award!!

The fantastic Farhana of Sew Fashionably Modest has graciously nominated me for the Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you, Farhana, for the wonderful gift!  I am beaming with joy and happy to know that folks read my ramblings. =)

Here are the rules:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you.  Much obliged!
2.  Add the One Lovely Blog Award/The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3.  Share 7 things about yourself.
4.  Pass the award on to 10 other bloggers that inspire you.
5.  Include the rules.
6.  Inform your nominees.

Seven Things About Me
 1.  I am an only child.  And no, I was not spoiled.

2.  I can play the piano, though I haven't done so in a very long time.  I cannot read sheet music to save the world.  I prepared for recitals by memorizing the pieces/fingering entirely and pretending to read the sheets.  My piano teacher knew what I was doing was not amused.  LOL

3.  I am terrified of heights but I will ride a roller coaster in a hot minute and always get a window seat on an airplane (except on international flights).  Tall buildings?  Fuhgeddaboutit.

4.  I am a vegetarian and a very picky eater.  I hate mushrooms, okra, olives (love olive oil though), and think cheesecake is the perfect way to ruin two good foods.  Cheese should not be in cake form!

5.  I love math and hate writing.  I'm amazed that I've actually maintained a blog for this long!

6.  I love to travel.  I've been to The Netherlands three times, most of eastern Canada, England, Italy, Costa Rica, and the United Arab Emirates.  I have another trip planned in my mind, but I'm still working out the details...um...in my mind.

7.  I've been rollerskating (off and on) for over 30 years.  I used to skate 2 - 3 times per week, but my knees can't take that plus running and weightlifting. 

My Inspirational Bloggers
It's so hard to narrow my faves down to 10; there are so many people whose style and general good nature I admire!  My nominees (in no particular order) are:
  • Faye at Faye's Sewing Adventures:  I cannot resist a Faye-inspired sew along and love her personal style.  Plus, she is just as sweet as she can be and a teacher!  I have mad love for teachers since I'm a teacher as well.
  • Audrey at Sew Re-invented Audrey:  The documentation of her personal growth is an inspiration in ways that I cannot describe and strive to experience personally.  I don't know how I found her blog, but I am so glad that I did!
  • Doobee at Made by J:  You have to check out some of Judith's garments.  Her attention to detail and impeccable sewing is to die for.  
  • Kyle at Vacuuming the Lawn:  I've also had the pleasure of meeting Kyle twice at the American Sewing Expo and am a regular follower of her fabulous blog.  I enjoy reading about her sewing adventures and love seeing her floral finds at her local farmer's market.
  • Cenetta at The Mahogany Stylist:  If you don't know Cenetta, you don't know sewing!  Girlfriend has a closet full of fierceness that is coveted by many (myself included)! 
  • Ruthie at Ruthie Sews:  Ruthie is the SWAP queen.  I do not know how she is able to do it, but she can sew two (2!!) full 11-piece wardrobes in no time.  A visit to her blog will show the countless completed and coordinated wardrobes.  This year, she has committed to writing a blog post per week on what one can do with one yard scraps of fabric.  Ruthie is amazing!
  • Adrienne at Adrienne's Little World:  The subtitle of her blog says it all:  "Day to day musings of a creative soul."  Those words could be more true.  Adrienne makes everything and does it with grace and charm.
  • Carolyn at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic:  Carolyn is a master of the TNT.  Words are not enough to express how she marvelously crafts almost everything she wears from her tried-n-true dress pattern.  If you don't know Carolyn, you don't know fashion!
  • Victoria at Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing:  I think remember reading about the ten thousand hours challenge on a pattern review posted by Victoria.  Since then, I've followed her progress and even considered trying it myself.  Victoria's adventures are definitely an inspiration!

Honorable mentions:
I would have included these lovely ladies in my list but it appears as if someone else beat me to it!  They received nominations for all the obvious good reasons.  Take a moment to check 'em out!
Many thanks to Farhana for my nomination and thanks to all who willingly share their talents with others.  May we all continue sew and tell!


12 December 2012

In Progress: M5523 (skirt)

To test out the rayon-poly-lycra (RPL) stretch woven I recently bought, I decided to cut another version of McCall's 5523 using view A.  I made this before (out of wool, of course) and loved it.  In an effort to make more wash-n-wear clothing and to see how I like wearing RPL, I thought this would be the perfect pattern.  I still think it's a great pattern, but I'm not too impressed with how it looks right now.  The fabric sews and presses wonderfully, but...that flounce area looks a little...um...yeah...  It looks nothing like the drawing on the envelope.

I pressed the $#!* out of that area with a lot of steam and used my ham on the curved areas.  Meh.  I like the skirt and will definitely finish it, but I've got to do something about that back area.  In person, the back doesn't look that bad. (Is it me or does it seem like the camera finds a way to highlight every wrinkle and bump?)  When I finish the skirt, I hope to pair it with the silky charmeuse you see in the second picture using Simplicity 2892.

I'm still trying to decide how to line the skirt.  I have some Bemberg Ambiance in the stash and am awaiting swatches of stretch poly charmeuse.  I'll think on it a few more days and then decide on something.

Until next time, be well!

09 December 2012

Stretch vs. Non-stretch Linings

I have a lot of wool.  A lot.  Wool sews nicely and is very warm in these cold arctic climates.  But, this fabric is very expensive to clean.  So I decided that I needed some more washable clothes and recently bought a whole bunch of rayon-poly-lycra stretch woven suitings from Fabric Mart.

Their website doesn't mention the percentages of rayon, polyester, or Lycra, but it did state that the fabric had 4-way stretch - which brings me to my dilemma.  Since I plan to make jackets, skirts and pants out of this fabric, I'll want to include a lining.  I see three ways to make this happen, but they all have their pros and cons.

Option 1:  use a non-stretch lining sewn with smaller seam allowances
  • Pros:  I stock up on lining whenever there's a sale or when I have a coupon, so I have plenty on hand.  Plus, my lining is all rayon and breathes/sews very well. 
  • Cons:  It doesn't stretch. I don't know if simply cutting the same pieces and using a smaller seam allowance will help preserve the benefit of the fabric's stretch.
Option 2:  use a stretch polyester charmeuse or satin as lining
  • Pros:  It stretches and is readily available.
  • Cons:  It's polyester.  What can I say?  I'm a fabric snob when it comes to linings. 
Option 3:   use a non-stretch lining cut on the bias
  •  Pros:   I'll have comparable stretch.
  • Cons:  I'm not sure how the bias will behave in the long run.  Will it hang correctly with the rest of the garment?
What are your thoughts?  Have you lined stretch wovens before?  The fact that this fabric has both crosswise and lengthwise stretch is a bit of a concern.  Though it appears to have good recovery, I wonder how the knee and seat area will look after a full day of wear.  Hmm...


05 December 2012


Thank you for the many words and notes of encouragement.  Having conversations with close friends and connecting with you and your comments has certainly helped.  Things are difficult, but I'm pressing forward.  Life is full of experiences - both positive and negative.  Although it's not easy, sometimes letting go is the best and only option.  With regard to a couple of situations, there is nothing more I can do.  I have to move on.

I've known this for some time now, but it hit home this past weekend.  In May, my 13-year old car stopped working and it's been sitting in my driveway ever since.  Why did I hang onto it for so long?  I have no idea.  I certainly didn't need it.  I had no intention of fixing it and I had already bought a new car.  It was just sitting there rusting and leaking.  Finally, I called the scrap yard on Saturday to haul it away.  It was the most freeing thing I've done in a while.  It was also an example of how holding onto stuff, things, and people can add unnecessary weight and keep you from recognizing the greatness in you and pursuing better things.

I let something else go today as well, but I won't get into that.  Let's just say it was time.

My sewjo is still on the run, but I'm closing in on it.  I cut out a skirt and sewed the front seams together.  I need to swap out my serger thread so that I can finish the seams together.  Hopefully I'll have it done on Friday or Saturday.

Finally, I never blogged or shared pictures of the Simplicity jacket I finished over the summer (S2422).  I've worn it a couple of times and really like it.  The sleeve bands are a bit tight when I reach forward, but not so much so that it's unwearable.  The photo was taken in October.  I have to get better at taking pictures; recently my photos are coming out blurry and I need to figure out why.

That's all for now.  Until next time, be well!


24 November 2012


Three glorious days (including leaving work early on Wednesday) have gone by and not a single stitch has been sewn.  Not.  One.  Don't get me wrong; the desire to sew and create is overwhelming.  Though when it comes to actually doing something, nada.  My sewjo is a fugitive on the run and it's been like this for the last few weeks. 

I'm not productive at the pottery studio either.  When my sewjo takes a break, I can usually keep the creative juices going at the wheel.  This time around?  Nothing.  I might try to go in today for a marathon bowl-throwing session for an upcoming charity event.  We'll see.  Right now, my mind says 'meh.' 

I know what's causing the drag in my motivation. I've experienced a number of heartbreaking disappointments over the last couple of months and it's taking me some time to get over it.  From finally realizing it is time to let go of two situations to regaining almost all the weight I lost last year, "being stuck" is the best way I can describe my current emotional and creative state.  Thankfully I have some very supportive and loving friends in my life with really strong and water-resistant shoulders.

That's all for now.


20 November 2012

Sewing Lady Grey

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments.  I am very happy with my coat and will definitely wear it until it turns arctic.  The coat doesn't have enough built-in warmth to last through a Michigan winter, but it's perfect for transitional fall-to-winter weather.

Fabric & Notions:
  • about 3.5 yards of wool coating (90% wool, 10% nylon)
  • about 2 yards of flannel-backed satin lining (52% acetate, 48% cotton) from Vogue Fabrics
  • light-weight hair canvas from Steinlauf & Stoller
  • fusible interfacing for the facings, collar, and hems
  • small piece of pre-washed muslin for back stay
  • walking foot to ensure even fabric feed
  • silk thread for all hand sewing
  • 90/14 universal needle
  • twill tape to mark lapel roll line
  • 2 11" by 2" strips of bias fleece for sleeve heads
  • serger & thread
  • shoulder pads

Curvy girls, Colette Patterns is your friend!  The pattern drafts are for curvier figures and full busts.  While this is only my second pattern made from this company, a scan of the reviews for other patterns shows that her patterns work on curves.  I have yet to see one of her patterns not flatter someone. 

It is rare that I can sew straight from the envelope; almost everything needs an adjustment.  I started with a straight size 14 and made a muslin out of medium-weight upholstery fabric.  The muslin showed the need for a couple of minor adjustments.

The adjustments only had to due with length.  The front was too long within and below the lapel.  The upper back was a bit too long and I needed a swayback adjustment.  Aside from that, everything else looked okay to me.  No FBA required!

Construction Details:

Tailoring the Coat

If you want to make the coat strictly following the Colette Pattern instructions, then the construction is very straightforward.  I opted to tailor the coat as part of Gertie's Lady Grey Sew Along and as Faye stated, sewing this coat was truly a labor of love.  There is a great deal of hand-sewing with stitches and techniques that were new to me.  Tailoring the coat included hand-basting hair canvas to the front and side front; taping the lapel roll line; pad-stitching the lapel and under collar; interfacing the hems, facings, and undersleeve, inserting sleeve heads; sewing a back stay; and catch-stitching the seam allowances to keep them flat.  This is a lot of work, but well worth the effort. 

The information contained in Gertie's series of blog posts is invaluable and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a properly tailored coat. The techniques presented in the sew along can be easily adapted to other patterns.  I intend to use them to sew a full-length wool coat complete with lining, interlining, and all the other fixins to keep me nice and toasty through the bitterly cold northern winters. 

Sewing the Coat

All of the raw edges were serged, sewn together on my machine, and pressed open.  I used my clapper to make the seams nice and flat and my tailors ham to press along the front and back princess seams.  I also used a walking foot to ensure even feed of both the fabric and lining.

Pocket Bags

The pocket bags are a bit long and tend to hang below the hem. I hand-stitched the bags to the nearest seam allowance. One pocket still tends to dip below the hem, so I will probably just make it smaller by serging off some of the length. My hands are small so I don't think I'll miss the extra room. I knew from following Gertie's sew along that the pockets were low. I thought about moving the pockets up during construction, but they seemed to be too high for me. If you sew this coat, keep this in mind and perhaps give yourself an extra inch or two in length before cutting out your fabric or devise some other plan to handle the pockets.
Belt Loops

Initially, I sewed the belt loops onto the back of the coat. I moved them to the side because I didn't like how the loops stuck out at the back. The loops still "bubble out" at the side, but it's less noticeable. If I make this again, I will shorten the loops a bit and maybe add some interfacing for stability.
Shoulder pads

I couldn't decide if I wanted to include shoulder pads or not. I have meaty shoulders already and wasn't sure if the extra fluff would be a good thing - especially since this is to be worn over other clothes. Eventually, I settled on a thin shoulder pad (about 0.5-inches thick) and think it looks okay. I compared this shoulder pad to that of a RTW pea coat that I own and find the thinner pad looks better.

Coat love is in effect!  I love the style and fit of this coat.  It's moderately warm for the weather we're having an a great addition to any wardrobe.  Many thanks again for all of your comments.  =)

Until next time, be well!

17 November 2012

Preliminary Pics of Lady Grey

I only have three pictures to share of my completed Lady Grey coat.  My colleague was on his way out the door and graciously offered to take a moment and snap some pictures.  When I have time to set up my tripod, I'll try to get more shots outside.


I love this pattern.  There are some areas that could use a bit of tweaking, but in all I am quite satisfied.  I thought I started a blog post reviewing the pattern alterations and sewing construction, but I can't find it.  Soooo....yeah.  I might just copy and paste what I've written in my pattern review.  =)

Until next time, be well!


15 November 2012

YSG: Ramblings

1.  My new 2012 car is in the shop.
2.  Seriously.
3.  To say that I am having a WTF moment underestimates the moment.
4.  For real.
5.  The fuel tank has to be replaced.
6.  O_o
7.  Of course, I just filled that mofo too.  It will be full when I get it back.
8.  "Stand" by Donnie McClurkin is on constant repeat.
9.  The US Court system is a joke.
10.  And not the ha-ha-I-think-I-peed-a-little kind of joke either.
11.  I haven't sewn a stitch in almost a week.
12.  Change is coming.
13.  I had a great workout today.
14.  I forgot what it was like to drive an automatic.
15.  I keep looking for the clutch.
16.  Lady Grey is finished.
17.  The fabric is starting to get fuzzy.
18.  I didn't know wool pilled.
19.  Jon Stewart is hilarious.
20.  Hmm.


06 November 2012

Quick Update

Lady Grey Update
I am really close to finishing my Lady Grey coat.  All I need to do is sew on the snaps and attach the pocket bags so that they don't fall beneath the hem.  Finally, I'll take it to the dry cleaner's to give it a good press.  I'm working on a post about sewing the coat, but that will have to wait as work is super busy right now.

Carnival of Skirts
Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement about that crazy Vogue skirt.  I've decided to put it down for now and come back to it.  I really appreciate the feedback and will definitely work on it again. I still intend to complete one skirt for Faye's sew along.  I've cut out a black and white houndstooth skirt and just need to cut the lining.  Hopefully I'll be able to get to it this weekend.

Until next time, be well!


29 October 2012

Sometimes it's just not meant to be.

After my full seat alteration fail, I washed and dried more denim fabric to try V8426 again.  I just don't think this project was meant to happen right now.  I pressed out the wrinkles on the wrong side (this is an important fact) and laid out all of my pieces to cut.  When I started to pin the front pieces together in an attempt to sew, I just stared at the CF piece.  There is very noticeable and permanent vertical line traveling down the length of the piece.  Yes, you guessed it:  it's the fold line from the fabric.  I hate Joann's.  Really, I do.  Had I noticed it at the store, I never would have bought it.  Had I noticed it when I pressed out the wrinkles, I would have moved the CF in 5/8" and added a seam.  I thought about topstitching on the line, but I'm not sure how that will look since the other seams will be "raised."  I don't have enough width to cut on the line and make a seam since the skirt felt a little snug to begin with.  Sigh.

I am so done.


28 October 2012

If you looked up "fail" in the dictionary...

...you'd probably see these pictures:

At the time, this seemed like a good idea.  In practice, however, nothing could be further from the truth!  Adding extra length to the seams caused two major and not-worth-it problems.  First, the convex and concave curves did not want to play well.  The seam on piece 8 was far longer than that on the other and I ended up with several puckers.  Grrr.  Second, the extra length drastically through off the CB seam on the yoke.  The seam was angled a full inch (!!!) away from CB.  I can totally see why it happened, but that still doesn't make me happy.  Grrrrrrr.  

I picked the seam apart and attempted to remove the extra length.  Unfortunately since I had already serged and trimmed the seam, nothing matched properly and I deemed the project a failure.   There is a bright side, though.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to add one or two rows of topstitching to the garment.  Now that this project is a wadder, I could add a couple of rows to each half of the front/back and see how I like it.

I do have more denim and intend to give this pattern a second try.  I don't know if I'll be able to contribute anything to the Carnival of Skirts, though.  With the sew along ending on Wednesday and my having to start from scratch, time is running out.


21 October 2012

Vogue 8426: Skirt (Fitting & Alterations)

As part of Faye's fantastic Carnival of Skirts Sew Along, I've decided to work on some skirts as a way to get my sewjo working again.  I didn't stop sewing completely, but I was impaled by indecision so this sew along popped up at the right time.  On my radar are:  Colette Pattern's Beignet, New Look 6130 and Vogue 8426.

I love the style lines and overall look of Vogue 8426.  Plus, with so many opportunities for delicious topstitching, how can I not love it?  I've had the pattern for a while and after perusing the numerous reviews on PR, I decided to give it a try.

In fitting skirts, I always have to make a 1.25" full seat adjustment.  The alteration is easy to do if the back pattern piece is simple.  The back of this skirt has three pieces (back, middle back, and side back) and all but one of the seams is straight.  Additonally, the skirt's back yoke appears to have a deeper dip.

I had to think about how to make the full-seat adjustment on with these pieces.  First, I made a muslin to see if I even needed the adjustment.  In all of the reviews I read skimmed through, no one mentioned needing this alteration.  As this side view of my muslin shows, I definitely need it.  It's too not extreme, but you can tell that the hem isn't level. 

I pondered for a couple of days on how to make the adjustment.  I figured that the adjustment could be made in one of two places:  at the yoke seam or a couple of inches below the seam.
In trying to do the wedge alteration below the yoke seam, I created a hot mess of uneven and difficult-to-true pattern pieces.  I attempted to do the alteration at the black line seen in the picture to the left.  That part wasn't so bad.  I ran into trouble trying to remove the extra width created at the CB from the side seam.  I couldn't get the angle of the side seam correct and didn't feel comfortable with proceeding.  So I scratched that idea and decided to do the adjustment at the yoke seam.

There is nothing scientific about this alteration.  I added 5/8" to the bottom of the yoke, tapering to nothing at the side seam.  I did the same thing to the center and middle back pieces, again, tapering to nothing at the side seam of the middle back (curved piece above).  As you can see I did this right on the fabric, so obviously I'm not that stressed about it!


The hem still appears to be off because I haven't attached the yokes.  I am trying to decide if I want one or two rows of topstitching.

That's all I have for now.  Hopefully I'll be able to work on this in the next couple of days.  I have lots of work to do and sewing will likely be put on hold.

Until next time, be well!


19 October 2012

Bless You Boys!

Congratulations to the American League Champion Detroit Tigers!!


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