February 23, 2010

TA DA...

I'm just waiting for those kids to say "we're tired of taking your pictures" (lol). But maybe out of 51 students I'll continue to be able to get one of them to do the pointing and shooting for me. I decided to wear my tweed suit before I run out of winter. It was nice not to have to think about what I'd wear to work today. I opted not to wear the teal blouse today but rather choose a favorite oldie but goldie short sleeved velour top from the closet. The suit wore marvelously I must say. I think I need to make the pants a tad bit smaller in the waist and maybe go down a size in the upper chest area of the jacket (but that's all for next time) as I am completely finished with this suit. I'm glad that I decided (after much back and forth and in-decisiveness) to interface the entire body of the jacket rather than just the front, front facing and collar. I think it held up beautifully through the course of the day because of the interfacing. I am such a jacket person and have been for a long time. I love this jacket and will be making this pattern or a style similar to it many more times, but...

I really need to do another style jacket next. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to have just one style, and besides I have several RTW of this style already. I collect almost every jacket pattern that comes out from the Big 4, but have been in love with this pattern since I first laid eyes on it...
I just thought, and still think that is is so classy casual. Well, several months ago I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. When it arrived I pulled it out of the envelope, pursued the instructions and gently place it right back in after finding out that it had 17, yes that's right 17 pattern pieces. NO WONDER IT'S SO DARNED CUTE - HA! Well, this weekend I decided that I still loved it and it was time that I took it for a spin. After all, how hard can an intermediate pattern be? I decided to use a ponte like knit that I've had for a while to make a wearable muslin. To my surprise sewing through all the layers of this knit created when top stitching made working on my beloved Hot Pattern Rivera Boulevard Jacket a sewist's nightmare. I promise you that I really tried to finish this jacket! I work so hard on not having UFO's and find that the only way not to have one is to finish or ditch the project. But alas here sits one...

so close to completion, I think - but yet so far away. Gwen made this jacket from a woven and hers is beautiful. I will try it in a woven later on - I'm still in love with the pattern, but I still have not decided whether I'll keep this jacket. I've promised my sewing friends that I won't put it in file 13 until they get a chance to see it in person. So it will just sit on Lucy until that time - ON PUNISHMENT! (Can you tell I miffed?) In the meantime, I'M MOVING ON...

I made a pair of wool blend cuffed pants during the December/January Pants Sew along. They have just been sitting because I didn't have enough fabric left (as I had planned) to make the matching jacket I wanted. This is a fabric that I got on my New York shopping trip last summer and I have a real attitude because I was trying to buy more and the guy who cut/tore it for me insisted that I didn't need that much to make a suit. I should have said "#$%* it (you know my Mother and Daughter read my blog), I know how much I need, I'm the one buying it, sell me the amount I want"! But Nooooooo, that was on one of my nice days and I listened to him and came up short!!!! {Feels like it's time for a new paragraph}

But, I am DETERMINED to still have a suit from this fabric.

I spent the entire evening last night searching pattern stash and came up with a few options, but after talking with my friend Lisa tonight she mentioned this option (the gold one in the picture)...

(this is not the first time that she's come up with a pattern suggestion for me). So I'm off to grab a bite to eat and then trim this pattern to see if I can MAKE IT FIT my fabric.............

February 20, 2010


I can't believe that I did this long, highly informative post, and then the internet went down and I lost it ALL. Oh well that's about how the sewing week went for me anyway. Last Saturday while working on a quick and dirty knit top and while serging a seam I heard a loud pop - like a needle had broken or something. Tried to change the needles and of course could not get the screws to budge. I had only 20 minutes to get to the repair shop before it closed, only to get there and find out that not only was a needle bent, but it had knocked my lower looper out of alignment. Had to leave it at the repair shop, but thank God I had a backup serger. Came back home to finish working on the top only to decide that it just wasn't working out and it was time to ditch this Frankenstein knit that tore up my serger.

So, then I decided to work on the teal charmusey top to match my suit. Now really, I made my last lined jacket in a week, why did it take me a week to make this top. Sewing just did not go well for me during the past week. I'm just not lasting long enough at night. Once I have supper - IT'S A WRAP!, and there is no longer any use in trying to get any sewing done. That is the way it's gone for me all week. SEWING = NON-PRODUCTIVE.

I knew I shouldn't have gone with the collared version of Vogue 8392, but I did it anyway. Decisions, decisions! I had the dickens of a time getting the collar facing to act right. I finally got it on, but it's a little wonky. But I am not taking it off. I think it will work just fine under a jacket. WILL I USE THIS PATTERN AGAIN? Yes, I probably will. I think it makes for a nice professional looking under a jacket top. However, next time I will use one of the other neckline variations instead.
I did try something new with this top. I removed sleeve ease prior to cutting the fabric because I am SICK AND TIRED of dealing with excessive sleeve ease that results in me having to work out puckers. I used Sandra Betzina "Power Sewing" tip for removing the ease, page 206. This tip references jacket sleeve caps, but I thought I'd take a chance on a blouse sleeve. I think it worked out wonderfully! I removed approximately 3/4" of ease from each sleeve, and it left just the right amount of ease for my sleeve cap. LOOK MOM, NO PUCKERING!, and that makes me happy.

So besides a little wonkyness with my collar the blouse is completed.

Last week I finished the skirt to the matching set. I used my TNT Butterick 4613 straight skirt pattern but added an invisible zipper application that I am so proud of. I probably watched this video tutorial 20 times, because I am DETERMINED this zipper application become second nature to me.I also added a pleated vent to the hem of the skirt rather than the regular vent suggested by the pattern instructions. This picture shows the pleat before removing the basting stitches. We use to call this a kick pleat - is it still called that. Next time I'll add additional pleating to the vent for a fan effect.

So, the suit is a WRAP. And I know, I need to take pictures of me wearing the outfit. I will as soon as possible. It's just so hard finding someone to take the pictures for me. Albeit, here is one that the kids kindly took of me several weeks ago of me wearing my chanel jacket. My main objective in making this jacket was for it to wear and handle like a sweater. I realized that that objective was accomplished when one of the students said "oh Ms. Lewis I love your sweater".

Now, let me find something else to cut...

February 14, 2010


In honor of my 3rd blog anniversary I offered this sewing resource:
Sandra Betzina's "Power Sewing" is a great resource book, and one that I reach for often. It's such a great book that I really shouldn't be surprised that of 42 sewists who stopped by to wish me happy anniversary, most already own the book. So the drawing was held for the 11 who did not already have it. Since I haven't bothered to learn more about the random generator I had to opt for a more antiquated system...
(My serger catch basket)

So the winner is #5 - Amber of Obsessed with Pink.
So, Amber if you will contact me with your mailing address, your book will be on the way to you.

I'm looking forward to another great blogging year. Thanks to all who look in here as I continue my sewing adventure....

February 10, 2010


Today marks my THIRD BLOG ANNIVERSARY! Having a sewing blog has been a big asset to me, and instrumental in helping me improve my sewing skills over the last three years. Talk about inspirational, challenging and informative all wrapped up in one. Why in just the last year I've stepped out of the box and taken on some projects that I thought I'd never be brave enough to try. Oh, I still have a wadder every now and then; I still know where all my mistakes are - but I'm now less likely to point them out to those who wouldn't know the difference anyway. I've made lots of garments that I am so proud to wear....,

...and I've enjoyed the process along the way. Many THANKS to my fellow bloggers who have answered questions, given me encouragement, and made so many lovely comments about my projects.

ALSO, many THANKS to all who have signed on to follow my blog. It amazes me to think that so many people find my blog interesting, and check in from time to time to see what I'm doing.
I've been saving a copy of my most used sewing resource for an anniversary GIVEAWAY drawing!
The drawing for the book will be next Wednesday (CHANGED TO SATURDAY 2/13/09). Contestants must:
  • be followers of my blog by that time,
  • comment their interest in the drawing on THIS this post,
  • and let me know your favorite pattern (OOP qualifies).
I will ship. In the meantime, HAPPY BLOG ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!!

February 6, 2010


QUESTION??? Just how many times do you have to use a pattern before it becomes a TNT, two...three?

This week I worked on this Butterick Blazer. A week to make a slightly tailored TNT blazer is not really that long at all. But, if that is true, why does it seem that this project took way to long to finish? I didn't do a muslin because it was my second time using the pattern, and because Lisa help me fit the shell. That part was actually done two weeks a
go and after that I put it aside and took time to make the matching pants to finish out the January pants sew-a-long. I worked on the jacket a little every night during the week. I worked out any problems that I experienced by sewing in my mind while at work. DO YOU EVER SEW IN YOUR MIND? I incorporated some minute tailoring techniques in the garment. I made lined faux pocket flaps; trimmed the lapel and under collar to achieve just the right amount for proper turn of the cloth; used armo bias strips to ease the sleeves, inserted sleeve headers and shoulder pads, and topped the whole project off by using hem tape on the jacket bottom and sleeve hem. Of course the jacket is fully lined. I started to add pad stitching to the under collar and lapel, but opted to save that for another project. I am quite pleased with the jacket so here is a picture of my finished garment.

There are flecks of red, teal and beige mingled in this tweed fabric. I have a slightly charmusey (made up word) like teal fabric that I will use to make a top for this suit, and there is still a pencil skirt to come from the same fabric. Might as well stitch it up next while the machine and serger are already threaded with brown.

So on with the matching tweed skirt....