Thursday, December 31, 2009

Final Farewell to 2009

I won't summarize my sewing accomplishments or lack thereof but will make a few resolutions for the following year.

1. I resolve to tell people who make a difference in my life how they are important to me.  Give more compliments or praise where it is due.

2.  I resolve to make a plan for my sewing- sort the stash, muslin what's new and make more clothes that are wearable with my other clothes.

3.  Work out harder and become stronger- inside and out.

4. Change my hair to something fresh and new.

5.  Learn a new technique for doing something new or old both in my personal and professional lives at least once a month.

Back to sewing...
The muslin for the Ottobre coat is done.  I'm glad I did it because now I know the skirt is very a-line and I do like the thought of pockets.  I had once thought I'd insert pockets in the side seams but that seems too far back on this pattern.  Appropriate placement for me is right where they put them.  Although, I don't like the patch pockets which are designated for this coat.  Now off to learn a new technique and how to place some inconspicuous welt pockets in the front.

The coat will have an interlining of muslin to reinforce the back and front.  I'm still deciding on the interlining of cotton flannel.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

Zebra for coat
Originally uploaded by a2thstudent

I'm finishing up a late Christmas gift and then off to trace an Ottobre jacket pattern 5/2009 #6 for this fabric.  After much consideration and lots of opinions, thanks ladies, it will be official today.  Since the snow is so reflective, I think it will be a good day to trace on the window- cold, but good.  My husband has committed to watch the dog and play with her so I can get this started.

Since this will be my first Ottobre pattern, a muslin is definitely in order.  I'm going to test the fabric as well for changes that may occur when ironing/pressing with a cloth and at different settings.  No washing for this coat since the fabric is a silk/linen upholstery fabric.

I've washed the cotton flannel and am considering interlining the front and back for warmth but will decide that after I get the fashion fabric cut out because it might be heavy enough.  Really, can I ever be too warm?

BTW, the high today is 28 F without the wind and it's still snowing.  I helped dig someone out yesterday because they got stuck in a driveway.  Where do I live again?  This weather is definitely different.  We're nearing a foot of snow today- happy sewing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Party Dress- BWOF

Just some photos of the final dress and thoughts...

This is without a shaper and honestly, I didn't like the shaper.  The fabric had a tendency to cling to it and make it all wrinkly.  I will try a tricot slip next time.

Hubby was in a hurry since he likes to get places early so this is all I got- 2 out-of-focus pictures.  Hopefully I can take more this afternoon since it's sunny outside.  FYI, the shaper kept me really warm but it was like I was trying on a little girl's pair of pants or a.k.a., packing sausage.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Working Through the Stash

I've been finishing items from the UFO and stash piles this week.  The first shirt for my husband, actually the muslin, has been cut out and is ready to assemble.  I'll show the progress as it occurs.  The little red dress is done and photos will be coming as of Tues. evening when the party is here.

The Hot Patterns Boudoir PJs have almost become a wadder.  The pant legs are large enough for me to stand in one leg alone.  I don't want to destroy them but will probably be cutting the legs down by about half so I lose the Samurai appearance- that's not attractive.  Again, more pictures to follow. (promises, promises)  I am hopeful the top for this pattern is more attractive.  A muslining I will go...

Projects to finish up December:
1. Muslin and hopefully 1 shirt for my husband
2. Hot Patterns Boudoir PJ top
3. Finish the Amy Butler bags
4. Complete the re-hemming of my RTW pants that always seem to come apart

Stay tuned for photos.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BWOF Dress 5/09-103B Done

(Photo from Burda
It's a hot little dress!  Sooner Red baby.

 This is the bodice over exposed to show detail.  I doubled the front bodice fabric to give it some beefiness so it would hold up better.  Also, no FBA was necessary but  small swayback, broad back and round back adjustments were made.  I used clear elastic cut 3.5 cm shorter than the cross-over portion of the bodice to make it hug better.

The cuffs were the most ambiguous part of the instructions with basically- turn the cuff.  Hmm, the pattern didn't allow for turning the cuff so it would look like the picture.  So, I improvised.  I sewed the sleeve right sides together from the armscye to the first turn and then flipped it inside out and sewed from the first turn until the end with the wrong sides together.  Then, I turned the cuff and slip stitched it into place. Viola!

The hem is fused with Fusi-Knit interfacing.  I then hand stitched the hem to the interfacing for a completely invisible hem as you can/can't see above.


As you can tell from the Burda photo, it is a fitted dress.  I don't feel comfortable showing off my stuff like that so I let the side seams out in the skirt by 1/4" in each and now it fits nicely.  Also, since I'm not 5'6 I had to shorten the dress by 1.5" so it hit slightly above the knee.  Not too vampy for my hubby's Christmas party.

Now, if I could only figure out how to make nice Italian shoes I'd be set in life...

More pictures of me wearing it will be posted later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

BWOF update and other stuff

I have made my muslin for the dress, fashion fabric single layer and then it was ripped out.  The single layer was too lightweight for the top and continued to roll outward at the neckline.  I decided to take the fashion fabric and self-line the front bodice.

I will post pictures when I get them taken.

The neckline has a deep-v and to prevent gaposis, I used clear elastic applied with my serger and then flipped the lining to the inside.  From there I topstitched it down.  The instructions call for interfacing the hem and topstitching it in place.  I am considering other options for finishing this area.

The skirt portion is fitted, as I knew it would be but, I don't flaunt well.  So, I added 1/4" to both side seams to make the skirt hang more.

Adjustments made: slight round back, broad back, sway back. (lots of back adjustments so this tells me I must be getting old;)  Petite upper bodice and shorten the skirt by 1.5".  The sleeves are going to be the same length.

Tonight I finish it- hopefully.  More pictures as I progress.

Other stuff:
I am so happy, many people have found me from my other blog to have dental care completed through me.  I can't tell you how happy this makes me to know that people would make the trek out to see me for their care.  I am so thankful for all the fantastic people in my life!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Dress

I have decided to make a dress for my husband's company's Christmas party.  The one I have chosen is a BWOF 5-2009-103. (photos from

It looks very fitted on the model and I assume she must have a shaper on to make it look so smooth.  The pleating in the front is like the technical drawing but less like the model.  I considered not having a center back seam but knew I'd have to take a swayback adjustment and upper back curve adjustment.  My major concern was the front and whether it was too low cut and not enough coverage requiring major adjustments.

I have started on the muslin and so far, it appears to fit straight off the pattern for a 36.

The dress is going to be a true red jersey knit of a heavier weight.  I'll post more photos as I get started- the dress needs to be done by next week.  I'd really like to get a pair of sexy shoes but since I'm on a limited budget this year, it probably won't happen.  But look at my choices:

This is my number 1 choice- glittery without being over the top and sexy as can be!

A practical pair but just as sexy.  (do you see the theme?)

 Practical yet...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fundraiser Project

(Photo courtesy of
 I am making the bag on the lower right: the one featured in red. (But now is waiting on webbing for the handles) It was recommended to use a heavy-weight fabric but I had this great Japanese fabric from my stash so I decided I didn't need a really heavy-weight bag.  After all, it's really for water and tea and not big wine bottles.

Then, I read a Facebook comment from my friend that states she is helping host an auction for a friend who has cancer and insurance isn't covering the cost of the experimental treatment (of course).  More on the insurance topic below...  So, she has asked that we help with the fundraising.  Well, as I'm making this bag and btw, it's going together very quickly, I thought I'd make a smaller one for the auction.

It is a Simplicity pattern #2806.  This one holds 6 bottles.  I'll probably make in about 1/2 the size for 4 bottles and the accoutrements necessary for a little wine and cheese party.  I really don't want to buy 4 bottles of wine for this so I might ask for some assistance with that part.  Maybe I'll use 2 real bottles and 2 empty bottles for example only.  Yeah, that's tacky... won't do that.

Finally, I got to use some new stitches from the Juki.  This one turned out nice but different than the image on the screen.  The other one was nice too but the 3rd, not so much.  I won't show you that one- yuck!

I'm sure it's my error but it didn't turn out right at all.  I'm going to see if I needed to use the differential feed or what.  Not like I'll ever have 6 wine bottles to buy at one time but this is good for my Honest Tea and Metro Mint water purchases at Whole Foods.  That's one way I spoil myself.  (Don't ask my husband because he'll say that's not the only thing;))

Any other ideas?

(Disclaimer: I am on my soap-box and if you don't want to hear a strong opinion which may differ from your own,  don't read below)

Ok, how do we women feel about the mammogram recommendation?  Yes, I agree, most of the time nothing is found but really?  If a woman dies due to advanced breast cancer the insurance company comes out ahead.  How?  Think of how much it costs to diagnose, treat and reconstruct a woman after breast cancer.  A LOT!  Millions of dollars will be saved each year by less mandated testing, less treatment (biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies) and saved hospital costs.  How much is a life worth?  So, I ask if a woman gets the testing and it is found negative for so many years and she absorbs the cost; and at lets say 15 yrs down the road she gets a positive mammogram, can she be reimbursed by her insurance company for saving them the money?  My friend was diagnosed with aggressive Stage III breast cancer in her early 30s- rare, yes but it could have killed her.  Without the mammogram, her children would be without a mother today.  It could not be detected by a self-exam or physician exam.  How many women need to die for this to be a priority.  Hey, Viagra is paid for and birth control isn't.  Yes, ED is a medical condition but prevention should be the focus.  Preventing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, emphysema, pregnancy are all cost savings for insurance companies.  Why is it we as a society don't pull together to fight the insurance companies?  Are we afraid of losing coverage?  Most likely.  It's sad to think we have lost our options.  Individuals and small businesses must take on the brunt of the cost and leave the money making, multi-billion dollar insurance companies to dictate who lives or dies based on their ability to pay.  (I have officially hopped off my soap-box)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quick Organization Tip for Feet

Organizing sewing machine feet.  I used a tackle box with adjustable partitions.  Each partition contains a special foot and it is subdivided into the type of machine.  No longer do I have to try to find the right foot and remember what the rarely used feet are for.  Just a quick organization tip.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Finally Finished- BWOF 8/200-119 Jacket

(BWOF photo from website)

This jacket has taught me a lot about my skills or lack thereof.  I've decided to walk away from it and figure out how to press it nicely.  The fabric shows all pressing issues- yuck!

My jacket as I wore it today- notice the dog doesn't care...

Almost ready for the military in this pic.

This shows the covered snaps nicely.

Still needs pressing.

It looks a little pink in the photo- poor lighting.

Here are a few pictures of the snaps and how to cover them.

First, cut the fabric about twice the size of the snap.  I applied Fray-Check to the center where it was to be cut out for the snap portion.

I then added a rough running stitch around the perimeter.  As you can see, the center is cut out for the snap portion- keep it small.

I used snaps that were about 1" in diameter.  Nice size and easy to work with.

This is the snap pushed through the hole and slightly gathered.

This is the fully gathered and covered snap.

This is the underside, you can see it's gathered tightly with an excess of fabric.  Try to keep it to a minimum so the snap attaches flat to the garment.

Here are the snaps placed on the jacket.  It's a nice touch but they aren't very strong with the fabric attached.

As you can see, the pressing is an issue- look at the middle snap- it's caved in where it should be smooth.  I'm not sure how to remedy this but I'm going to sleep it on it.

I love the sleeves- they are 2 parts and have a cute cuff.

My review can be found at -

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Preparing to Dye

Originally uploaded by a2thstudent

Good thing I know how to spell, the title could be disasterous.  (I don't exaggerate EVER!)  I've decided to take my mauve (it looks really pink up there but it's mauve) wool and dye it a deep blue.  This I'm going to swatch test since I don't want some odd version of purple.  A dark blueish-purple would be ok- I guess.  I'm using Dylon shade "Ocean Blue".

It's a great piece of fabric but it's stuck in the 80s.  I hope this works.  Although, I just realized the blue isn't that deep of a blue so I might end up with some sort of violet.  This could be disgusting...

I'll post photos of the progress.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Organization feels so fine...

I went through my complete stash and organized it to the max.  I also posted some fabrics that I've been holding onto in the event I find something cute to make them into.  Unfortunately, I found that my tastes have changed.  (They are on PR if you're interested)

Using the stash management method on PR, I cut small swatches of all the fabrics, measured, estimated their content if I didn't know what it was and filed them neatly in a notebook.  Then I folded and sorted into plastic tubs based on fabric type- i.e.- knits, silks, coating, lining, etc.  Now I'm all ready to go through my patterns and do the same.

I haven't figured out how to sort the patterns so that I remember what I've got.  I guess I could make a copy of the detail page with yardages but I'd like to find a better way.  If only I could scan.  Do you think taking a picture of it and downloading it into a photo album, like my BWOFs, would work?  I'll take suggestions.

Also, since learning to fit my body type, I threw away all those UFOs that I knew weren't going to meet with my satisfaction.  Well, I donated the fabric.  After getting over feeling guilty, it was like Christmas when I found fabric I didn't know I had and it was still in style- yippee.

It's now time to prioritize my sewing.  Lance needs some shirts, I have 3 projects to finish, 2 pants that need re-hemmed and a coat to make.  Guess that's prioritizing...

I'm also knitting up a storm.  Due to a short trip to San Antonio, I think I might finish some of those projects on airplanes and in airports.  I'll post pictures of the projects as they progress.  BTW, I can't believe it's November.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ripping Apart the Shirt

I've guiltily Sharpey'd up my husband's shirt.  To remember what it looked like, I took pictures.  Let's see if I remember how to put this together when I rip it apart.

Under collar, neck and yoke view.  I'm deciding whether to make the collar stay inserts.
 This is the right side where the buttons are attached.

This marks the pleat and where the sleeve matches up with the yoke.

Placket top (kind of self-explanatory)

Pleat and cuff assembly.

This shows the placket on top and underneath with the cuff detail.  (I don't like the look of the cuff- yuck)

Left side fold for buttonhole placement.

The shoulder seams are wide so I may ultimately use a pattern if after ripping this apart and finding it to be unadjustable easily.  Sure, I can make it this way since he's used to this but since it's supposed to fit right, I'm sneaking in some fitting;)  Don't tell.

Speaking of not telling.  I've officially stopped the Wardrobe Contest.  Only because Lance needs some new shirts and I want to make that zebra print trench coat.  Call me a quitter but that's what I'm going to do.  I do have other items cut out so all may not be lost- we'll see.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Necessity Trumps Me Again

Ok, my husband has bony elbows.  He recently wore through 2 of his really nice shirts.  I was planning on sewing for myself right now but now I need to take care of him.  Yes, I'm selfish but only temporarily.  Here are some of the fabrics he selected for his dress shirts.

They are 100% cotton from Michael's Fabrics; beautiful with a wonderful hand.  Both the top and bottom fabrics are a heavier woven.  The blue and red stripe is like a jacquard.  The middle striped fabric is a light-weight cotton- great for the spring and summer (this will be the last one I make).  This is after washing, drying and pressing- gorgeous.  I hear they are Zegna cottons.  When I priced the nicer shirts for men in Miami they were (gulp) $350 EACH!  I can make them for a lot less.  Unfortunately, my husband is more conservative than I am so they are going to be the typical dress shirt.  When I saw those outrageously expensive shirts in Miami I noticed they were made with contrasting inner cuffs and under collars.  Slowly I'll inch him toward something more daring.  After all, he is an accountant;)  (Curb my enthusiasm and make them generic- darn, darn, darn.)

I'm copying his favorite shirt.  After he wore through the elbows I took the shirt and hid it.  He would never let me rip it apart otherwise.  I'm going to label, photograph and then rip it apart.  I'd like to make it more fitted and longer in the sleeves and back.  He's 6'4 and thin so he needs the length and not the width.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Expo is over and life starts again

What a great end to the weekend.  I learned how to screen print and dye fabric.  Watch me go now!  What a great week.  This was my first experience at the Sewing Expo and I'm happy.  Although, if I have to admit, the advertising company should be taken out back and shot.  Ok, that's a little strong but definitely fired.  The woman on the cover looked disheveled and unkempt.  Is this what people expect of sewists and quilters?  Disappointed!  Put some of the members of PR on the magazine and let us advertise (with a little monetary incentive) and we'll show you how it's done.  I was surprised by the limited number of exhibitors.  But, being my first, I had high expectations.

Cynthia Guffey was INCREDIBLE.  Yes, you're not supposed to use capital letters because it indicates shouting but I am!  I thought she made it so easy.  That's what I need- easy and not some couture mumbojumbo.  I am happy having things fit nicely that I can wear for years without having to do all that hand sewing- blick!  Cuddos to those who can do it: I'm forever in awe of your skills and patience.

So, finished up my pants and now now how to make the next pair.  They are great by average standards but now I'm in Cynthia Guffey realm... OCD here I come.  My jacket sleeve has been torn out and am encouraged that the canted sleeve can be remedied soon.  It had been several weeks since I was discouraged and stopped the project but when I tried it on it looked really cute.  So, time to finish it.

The Halloween party has now become a small friendly get-together.  Saturday is hard for parents (which we are not) so we've decided to make it really relaxed without costumes.  I've got mixed feelings about this since I really like Halloween and dressing up.  That's for another day to discuss.  Now my costume won't get in the way of my sewing for the Wardrobe Contest.

As it stands, I have 3 bottoms and 2 tops to finish in 5 weeks.  I know one top will be finished and likely, I will be distracted by my new Hot Patterns...  isn't that just typical????

Hope this week is better than last and I figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Feza Oriental Yarn Scarf

Since my sewing has yielded negative progress and the weather is changing to cold, I decided to get a little knitting done.  This is a super quick project- all of 3 hrs and I'm a slow knitter.

The yarn is Feza Oriental Yarn knitted on 17 circular needles in a straight knit stitch.  I wanted something bright and green to remind me of grass in the summer.  It's a little crazy but hey, I'm going to work it;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pants are done- NOT!

Ok, I finished the pants and put them on.  Not bad, need a little tweaking sooooo- yep, I ripped out the waistband and then oops, the zipper pull gracefully separated from the zipper.  Ok, I handle this.

Nope, couldn't fix it.  So, I ripped out the whole zipper and facing.  Pretty much back to square one.

Basted the zipper in again and caught the lining- can we say it's not a good night to sew?  Removed the lining and now am back to putting the zipper in the pants.  I hate to think I have not accomplished anything and have made negative progress this evening but it appears to be happening.

After I get these darn pants finished it is a break from the wardrobe contest to make 2 Halloween costumes before the weekend is out.  Calgon, take me away...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Photos of some of the finished projects

More items for the Wardrobe Contest on PR 2009

BWOF top 1/09 top from a Rayon/Lycra from Gorgeous Fabrics.  Cute pattern- wide at the upper bust but cute details.   I used a selvage treatment at the neckline to keep it stabilized and keep it from gapping.  It seems to work well.
Hot Patterns T-shirt- 14oz. Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.  This is going to be a favorite pattern of mine- so comfy and easy.
Both of these tops got the cover stitch treatment at the neckline.  I'm getting to love that machine.

BWOF 1/09- #111 skirt from Rayon Double-knit from Emma One Sock.  This skirt has cute detail and an interesting waistline.  I'll put pics of it up so you can see how it finished out.

I'm still sewing and taking more pictures.  I hope to have another top finished and a pair of pants finished today.  Stay tuned for more pictures.  I'll dissect the items later.

This is a Jalie pattern- it looks like it's gapping at the neckline- hmmm.  When I look at it in the mirror it looks fine.  I must be standing funny...

It's cold, unseasonably so; I'm sewing today and going to start cinnamon rolls- yummy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hot Patterns T-shirt Done

Ok, after a failed attempt at a Hot Patterns outfit this one is a success.  I love the t-shirt pattern. (photo courtesy of Hot  It was short so I added 3 inches to the length and also an inch to the sleeves.  To top it off, I made a binding for the neckline.  A final finish involved the cover stitch machine.  I think I need the special foot to keep it even while stitching...

The fabric is 14 oz. Rayon Jersey from EOS.  I really wish I'd gotten all the colors because it feels so nice!  They've had a shortage of this type of jersey recently so I'm eagerly awaiting more of it.  They have a nice gray so I'm going to add that to my stash and make another Hot Patterns T-shirt.
Hot Patterns link for t-shirt