2013 ESSENTIAL TOPS SEW-A-LONG FINISHED PROJECTS

January 29, 2014

SNOW AND SEW...

...yet another SNOW SEW DAY!!! I'm safely tucked in at home again today!  I certainly don't have everything in here that I want, but thank God I do have all that I need.  Electricity and thus heat, which are always my concern during storms.  I've been without those before - not fun at all.  (Let's see; I could use some lining fabric, more weft insertion interfacing, some matching buttons, and of course a couple of new patterns.   Just kidding - that stuff can wait.   I'm also thankful that my College's administrators have good judgement about things like this and closes to keep students, staff and faculty safe.  Thank you Central Georgia Technical College for during these two days I've:
  • stayed up way to late;
  • slept in way too long;
  • ditched one pattern, and muslin and started on another;
  • made one batch of  cookies from a mix to appease the sweet tooth that tends to rise up when I'm cottage bound.  (Thank goodness they were too salty, so I won't be eating many of those yukky things).
Winter Storm Leon, as predicted, was not playing around.  He dumped 3 to 4 inches of winter precipitation on Central Georgia.



Notice I didn't venture out far.  Pictures taken from the door.
First misty rain, then sleet, then SNOW.  I know to some who live in the regularly frozen tundra areas of the USA think that we are big winter babies. But folks we are just not use to this!  Funniest thing I've seen were some children stuffed in puffer coats running outside, flopping down in the snow to make snow angels.  I think they actually dug up more grass in their flapping around than snow - so funny!  Thank God we got snow and not ice - not quite as dangerous.  Temperature is 23 degrees, feels like 15 -, 19 degrees tonight - don't know what tomorrow will be like - just know that all this will be a sloppy mess pretty soon as temperature are expected to be in the low 60's by weekend (that's what I love about the South).

After watching people stuck in highway gridlock in Atlanta (some overnight), I told my daughter if it were me they'd have to air-vac me out because my nerves would be shot.

Where ever you are, stay warm and safe... 









January 28, 2014

VERA, OH VERA, YOU'VE HELD ME IN FEAR FAR TOO LONG...

...I didn't have a problem deciding what my next project would be or the fabric I would use. 

You see, I've had this slightly bumpy (what I call basket weave) turquoise (OR IS IT TEAL - SOMEBODY HELP ME HERE - I HAVE SLIGHT IDENTIFYING SOME COLORS CHALLENGES) boucle fabric from Vera Wang's 2008 Lavender collection packed wayyyyyy back in my fabric closet for the last 4 years.  I had to buy it, after all it was only $1.95 per yard, and it's a designer fabric.  Who could resist???


I think it was a one day only sale at Fabric.Com.  I remember going back on the website later that day to order more, but it was sold out.  Now I'm glad that I didn't, because I've been scared of it ALL THIS TIME.  It's bulky, it ravels, and too much to fold properly so I've kept it tucked away in this bag for safe keeping all this time.


Oh, I'd take it out occasionally to admire it, and think about making a coat from it.  But I was really scared of cutting into it.  I'd stuff it back in the bag, toss it back on the top shelf of the closet, shut the door and keep it moving.

So why did I bring this up now:

  • Well, it's time to start a new project, 
  • and, February is almost here, 
  •  so, I've joined Victoria's 2nd Fearless February Challenge; 

so this is the year to:
  • take a deep breath, 
  • act like a big girl, and 
  • cut into Vera's boucle fabric. 
 
I have an unexpected day off because we are expecting inclement weather (isn't everyone in the USA?), so I need to make a final pattern choice.  Stay tuned...
 

January 21, 2014

THE NINOT JACKET - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED...

...I finally finished it (on Saturday) in three weeks time.  Met my goal and did wear it today (such a windy 45 degrees that felt like 35).  The jacket wore well, was VERY comfortable, which is an important thing.  I promise not a bit of that 35 degree wind chill factor got through the underlining and crepe back satin lining.  Yes, it's a short jacket, but built to withstand the chill - mission accomplished.  I needed a short black jacket.  I love it and plan on putting it into regular rotation for the balance of our winter season (however short).
   
Added a close up shot of the slightly nubby speckled wool blend fabric
I do plan on wearing this jacket with lots of things, but have also started making it it's very own matching skirt.  Only two steps left to finish - the waist facing and the hem, but sorry skirt I didn't want to wait even one more day before donning the jacket.  I'll have the skirt finished before the week is out.  But as for now, I can breath again because this project's finished...

January 17, 2014

HELLO AGAIN MY LOVE...

...I truly have missed you!
Since I didn't get much wear out of it last year, today I decided it was high time to wear my Michael Kor's Vogue 2873 peacoat.  I really do love my jacket; the color and the fit.  It makes me feel so special, and it should considering the amount of time I put into it, and the cost of the buttons sewn on it.  After seeing the gorgeous jackets made by Erica and Lori last year, and since the OOP pattern had been marinating in my pattern stash for years, I felt I had to have one for myself.



I made the coat during Victoria's Fearless February 2013 Challenge.  Today, paired with a super loud striped turtle neck sweater (hey, after all it was Friday), a jean skirt and riding boots it took me comfortably through the last work day of the week.

Ninot Jacket status:
Cut the lining last night, now to finish sewing it and do the hems.  Should be finished sometime tonight... 

January 16, 2014

THE SECOND TIME AROUND...

...as I mentioned before, it would be a crying shame not to make McCall's 6844 a second time, especially since I LOVED the pattern so much at very first sight.  I made this floral sweater knit version over Christmas break, but had not worn it yet.  I paired it with a chocolate pontederoma knit pencil skirt (McCall's 6654) made last winter.  I'm still surprised that I enjoy peplum detailing so much.  Makes me feel as though I have a waistline (of sorts) once again.  I use to think this design WAS NOT FOR ME.  I was wrong!, as it actually gives one a slimming illusion.

Yet another school picture.  One day I'll venture out to more interesting venues.  But for now, I have to grab a photographer wherever I can - this time I thought I'd venture out into the Criminal Justice classroom for a little change of atmosphere.

Ninot Jacket Update:
Last night I was able to knock four items off my "finish line list" (so named by Oonaballoona).  All that's left to do is:
  • the lining, &
  • the hems
Maybe I'll get to wear it on Monday; that is if it's not 13 degrees or 60 degrees.  In Georgia we never can tell...

January 15, 2014

JACKET PROGRESS AND IN THE MEANTIME...

...for months I haven't been able to get in much evening sewing.  Not sure why; maybe there's just not enough hours in my day.  But this week I've been determined to get a little bit done on my jacket each night.  "It is not going to take me a month to complete this project - tailoring and all" - I say to myself, I'm bound and determined.

The sleeves are in folks! - inserted without a glitch with helpful advice from Cecil and Erica the jacket/coat gurus.

Whenever I get close to finishing a project like this and I'm nearing the end, I make a list of what I have yet to get done:
  • shoulder pads and maybe a sleeve header
  • top stitching
  • back tab
  • lining
  • buttons
  • hems
Only six more things, yeah!  I'm determined to get three of them done tonight.

But in the meantime...
I decided it was high time to test drive my first McCall's 6844 aztec cardigan, so today I wore it with my  Vogue 8939 black turtle neck knit dress and my favorite black boots.
 
The cardigan garnered lots of praise at school with several students wanting me to make one for them.  Needless to say I loved all the compliments.  It wore well even though I'm really not a belt person.

O.k. now on to work on the jacket list... 


January 13, 2014

BOUND AND DETERMINED...

...an old familiar feeling rose up within me again ya'll.  You know, the one that makes me feel like I'm invincible and can do no wrong in the sewing room; that really great designs buried deep inside are about to come forth, and therefore I can make any old DARNED thing I want to.  Talk about excitement!  Now, don't get it twisted, I'm smart enough not to FULLY trust all of my sewing emotions.  That's one of the reasons I keep this lil old jar full of seam rippers close at hand.

They come in handy when things happen that bring me back to reality.  I have to admit though, I do love those rare occasions when delusions of sewing granular pop up.

Now back to the jacket...
After days of fearful procrastination (because it's been several years since making bound buttonholes) , I took a couple of evenings to practice making them.  First on cotton scraps, and then on scraps from my jacket fabric.  Thankfully Pauline Alice (creator of the pattern) had the forethought to put up a helpful bound buttonhole tutorial that was clear, understandable, and actually easier than the ones that I had made before from what I remember.

Not a great picture, the top lip is there.

 So now not only are the buttonholes done, but also the welt pockets (also compliments of another one of Pauline's tutorials) back and front facings, collar and the side seams are too.

Black wool blend, so not much to see.

 Tonight I'll start inserting the sleeves.  Keep your fingers crossed, if all goes well all I'll have left will be the decorative back tab, lining and hems.  It shouldn't take long, but of course I tend to sew faster in my head than I do in actuality...

 

January 5, 2014

I FELL IN LOVE WITH A JACKET....

...I confess, over Christmas I fell in love with Merche's of aventuras de costuras jacket.  I LOVE simple cute things.  Not that Merche's jacket is simple by far - not with that fantastic detachable fur collar; but rather it was the jacket's simple design lines that caught my eye.  I don't think she could have chosen a better fabric or color for the jacket.

Anyway, here's the pattern



I dickered with myself several nights about purchasing the pdf pattern.  I searched and searched my fully loaded pattern stock but could not find a pattern that I thought mimicked the Ninot jacket.  And since I now have a working printer (birthday present to myself)  I went ahead and clicked the submit button and ordered it (Christmas present to myself).

After I made and fitted the muslin and was preparing to cut the fashion fabric a mental struggle began over whether or not to incorporate tailoring into the project.   Each and every jacket or coat I make DOESN'T have to turn into a full fledged TAILORING JOB or does it.  I just wanted to jump in and make the darned thing following the instructions exactly (get it over with quick and dirty).   But realizing that incorporating tailoring techniques yields a more professional looking garment and makes it last longer, I had to give in.  After all, who can argue with their logical self?, not I!  So needless to say there's been a whole lot of stitching going on this weekend.
 
The fully interfaced front, front yoke, back, back yoke, and under collar.  The interlining has also been hand basted to all these pieces.

The Peter Pan collar interfaced, pad stitched, turned, shaped, molded, steamed and pinned to my dressform to dry

Of course not everything I do in tailoring is perfect or probably would be considered proper by experts.  It's all still a learning process.   I guess I could call it my  "making do with what you have, until you get what you want or need tailoring method .  Me and several other bloggers have asked Gentleman Jim from the Lost Art of Fine Tailoring to do a jacket/coat DVD on tailoring.  Hope he's listening! 

Stay tuned, I'll be sharing more of my Ninot Jacket progress...
 

January 2, 2014

NEW YEAR, NEW START...

...13 days off in a row.  WOW!, and yes it was so very nice!  Christmas vacation is just one of my job's fantastic perks.  Did I do half the things I had planned to do - of course not.  That would have to much like right!-right???  Stayed up wayyyyyyy past 1 a.m. most nights just because I could; even slept until noon one morning.  Left the house only on rare occasions - like when food was starting to get low.  Spent countless days and nights in my cluttered sewing studio - practically lived in here folks; cruising sewing blogs and virtually learning new things.   Bought my first Craftsy class - "40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know" - great class by the way, I highly recommend it.

Joined in on Goodbye Valentino's 2014 RTW Fasting Challenge.  Why not?, I'm gonna be sewing anyway, and I figure it'll be a great sewing resource besides being an avenue to get to know new to me sewing bloggers.  There's way over 100 people committed to the challenge.

I also worked up not one, but two coat/jacket muslins.  Yes, I mustered up the courage to go back to that ill fitting muslin that stumped me several weeks ago.  I'll talk more about both muslins as the projects progress.


Please don't judge the puckered sleeves on either muslin - I am going to make these work in the final projects.
Returning to work tomorrow will actually be a nice change of pace.  Got to get back to the career that fuels my sewing habit....

BOOKS ACQUIRED

  • Pants Sewing Guide
  • Denim Revolution
  • Pants for Real People
  • Jackets for Real Peopls
  • Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring - Palmer & Pletsch - Gifted
  • The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook
  • Ribbon Crafts
  • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers
  • Successful Serging
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women
  • Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Singer - Perfect Plus
  • Cool Couture
  • Couture, The Fine Art of Sewing
  • Singer Sewing Reference Library - Tailoring - GIFTED
  • The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns - Creative Publishing International
  • Fit for Real People
  • DK-The Complete Book of Sewing