October 28, 2009


...and although there were times that I thought I wouldn't make it, or that I had bitten off much more than I could chew... I did make it to the finish line. This jacket involed a lot of firsts for me. Of course I had never made a Chanel look-a-like; never thought about quilting a lining to my fashion fabric; never truly bagged a lining; hadn't used much trim, and never completed a challenge.

My re-entering the world of sewing in September 2006 it was a God send because I really need a creative outlet. I was plenty discouraged at that time because it seemed that I had lost all of the skill that I did have after my 13 year hiatus from sewing. Three years ago I would have never even thought about starting a project of this caliber.

My Mother sent this beautiful boucle to me last September and I really had planned on making a Chanel suit from it last Fall. Well that didn't happen, but when this challenge came along I signed right up. Of course I experienced some feelings of remorse shortly after joining and even thought about withdrawing my name from the challenge. But I presevered and here is my finished project.

This was quite a challenge and I want to thank Clever Girl and Cindy for setting this up. There are plans for a matching pencil skirt and a dressy blouse made from the same fabric as the jacket's lining.

October 25, 2009


Look at the nice surprise I received in the mail yesterday from my good friend Paco in Barcelona! A complete surprise - and what wonderful fall styles - THANK YOU PACO!

Well, let's see. Here's an update on what's been going on with me during the past week. First of all I spent Friday afternoon, evening and night (8 full hours) - not sewing like I wanted to, but working on my online class in order to free up Saturday for sewing with my pals, Ebony and Lisa of course. I'm am determined to:
  • finish this class prior to December 16th;

  • finish my Chanel Jacket within the challenge deadline;

  • and get on with some serious fall sewing.

I was so busy with work and homework this week that I hadn't touched my jacket since last Saturday's all day sewing marathon. So my friends and I had a early Saturday evening dinner, had our show and tell session, and then preceeded to sew for about 6 hours straight. Quite progressive, but I still did a lot of work on the jacket today.

I did get my sleeves in yesterday, and guess what?, they match with the jacket front and back. I was so afraid that they wouldn't match. Could it be...that I have finally learned to match stripes/checks/plaids?

I don't know about all of you, but I cannot make this thing work! I've tried several times to no avail. I'll try again later, but in the meantime,

I learned of this magnificent technique in a post from Cindy at Color by Number. So sim1ple! So useful! I'm in love with this and will be using it A LOT! THANKS FOR SHARING CINDY! I used her technique to make the bias tape from my jacket lining fabric. Worked like a charm! So I enclosed the sleeve cap seam with my beautiful bias tape. Learning to make the bias tape for this jacket also helped me accomplish one of the goals that I had set for this year.

I had to hem the sleeves because I forgot to bag them according the the Thread's Magazine article. Can we all say "LOTS OF HAND STITCHING". Now all that is left to do is to attach the trim and add the chain at the hem.

I had to decide on the placement for the trim; I think I like this placement best. And then decide how much of the trim to use, and where to place it. I really like the jacket and the trim, but I don't want to chance making it look gaudy. I'm thinking about placing the trim down the front, the neck area, and the faux pocket flaps only. Traditionally the trim is also placed on the sleeve and the bottom hem of the jacket, but I don't know. WHAT DO YOU THINK???

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now...

October 18, 2009


I worked on my Chanel Jacket ALL DAY LONG on Saturday. This project is truly a labor of love. I can't tell you how many times I have whispered to myself, "I don't think I can do all of this!", or "This is too much work!", or "I just quit!" But since I won't let my students quit, I guess quitting is not an option for me. So I have trudged onward and here are the results of a few evenings work last week, Friday evening, and ALL DAY LONG on Saturday.

Although not perfect, all of the quilting is done (Thank God)!

The plaids/stripes match (Yahoo!!!)

My (Sheila) faux welt pockets are on.

And this is a picture of my fabulous lace with rose and black pearl trim, which by the way will have to be hand sewn.
So, now I need to:
  • Set the sleeves, bind them with bias trim and hem them.
  • Sew on my trim.
  • Add my chain, and

Now I've got to pause to study for a test that I have to take tonight - the other things of life are calling to me. Maybe I'll be able to make it to the finish line some time this week between the 133 pages I need to read for my Psych class. At any rate, I'm a lot closer that I was before. Being able to dedicate an entire day to sewing was PRICELESS....

October 9, 2009


Never can remember whether Chanel has one "n" or two - oh well I'm sure you know what I mean.

I'm working on my jacket muslin, and the process is going very well. I'm planning on adding faux welt pocket flaps, but I'm undecided whether to use just two - I could use three or even four, but I want to make sure that I'm not over crowding it. The pocket flaps will have braided trim across them (I still have not purchased the trim yet) and I don't want them to make the jacket look junky.

Vouge 7975 has a two piece sleeve which I usually try to avoid. In addition to the two piece sleeve, I still have to contend with excess sleeve cap ease. I know that ease is a necessary thing, but I cannot stand the puckers that result from it. Several months ago my friend Lisa Howard had told me about using Armo-Rite (found in old ties) cut on the bias to ease sleeves in with the puckers. I tried it and obviously did not know what I was doing because it did not work. I noticed recently that Erica Bunker showed the same technique in a tutorial so I gave it another try. I used regular bias tape (ironed open) as a substitute to ease the sleeves in my jacket muslin.

This time it worked like a charm. So I owe a big "Thank You" to both Lisa and Erica because now I'll satisfied with my sleeves.

Today I'll search my limited source here in town for my trim, and if that fails I turn to the internet. It's time for me to get the show on the road and cut into my fashion fabric.

Before I end this post I'd like to show you a new addition to my collection - my new, old Singer sewing machine. Hancock's put all of their refurbished machines on clearance last week, and I was able to pick this one up for $32.00. I didn't realize until I got it home that it didn't have a thumb screw for the needle or the thing that holds the thread spoon on the spindle. I took it in to the repair shop today and got that taken care if for only $15.00. The man said that the machine is in excellent condition and looked to have only about 10 hours sewing use. It's quite heavy, just the machine I wanted for heavier fabrics like home decor if I ever decide to get involved. I am such a Singer person...

October 6, 2009


OR GO HOME. I've done little else but introduce myself on the Channel Blog, but I finally got around to starting my jacket for the challenge. I'm a little over the start date of September 1st but better late than never... I cut my muslin yesterday and started putting it together this evening. Here's the pattern I finally choose from the ones I had on hand, my fabric and shocking pink lining.

This is my first fitting after making a few adjustments in the waist area of the jacket. I decreased the four princess seams 1/4inch in the waist area and I think I like the fit because the fronts are not supposed to overlap.

This is a picture of the neck/upper chest area of the jacket that indicates that there is too much overlap in this area. I think that I will increase the front princess seams from the shoulder to just below the bust a 1/2 inch on both sides to decrease the overlap in this area. Muslins do take extra time, but are well worth the effort.

I make notations on the muslin so I won't forget the adjustments I need to make. If these ideas work out, I'll transfer the reminders right on the paper pattern.

I've seen some great jackets produced since the challenge started. Believe me, I am picking up suggestions, ideas, and learning from you. I am trying my best to keep it simple with this jacket as I do have a habit of over complicating things. By the way I do plan on making a matching pencil skirt after the jacket is finished.

October 5, 2009


Cennetta has honored me with this lovely award.
I actually do feel VERY honored to be recognized by such a great seamstress as Cennetta. I have to tell 7 things about myself to earn this award. Mmmmmm, I am such a blabber mouth that I've probably told everything on this blog already, but I'll give it a try...
  1. I am the eldest of four - 2 sisters and one brother. And I love them all dearly as though they were my children. They are not that cool about the my children part.

  2. I am a wannabe gourmet cook. I like to wow guests with the presentation of a meal (whenever I can find the energy to do so).

  3. My two sisters and I love decorating dinner tables. Consequently we are dish collectors. Have to stop myself from buying more.

  4. I collect cookbooks (although not as avidly as I once did). I had to stop buying them also. I still manage to add at least one or two new additions to the collection per year.

  5. I'm working on a Technical Studies Degree that sucks up my sewing time. (But you already know that, right).

  6. I'm an organizer/pack rat who can't quite get it together, I don't like to be criticized about it either. BUT CAN ANYBODY HELP!!!

  7. I am a bit of a homebody. Nothing pleases me more than a rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoon with no desire to go out. I also love company. Maybe I'm a bit of an oxymoron. What do you think???

I'm also supposed to nominate 7 other sewing bloggers for this award; so I nominate:

http://www.clevergirl.org/ Because I think she is just that. What a fitting blog name. She can refashion like nobody's business and is indeed a Clevergirl.

http://www.asewnwardrobe.blogspot.com/ I love finding new sewing blogs. This is one that I happened upon just a few days ago. Check her out, I'm sure you will like her style.

http://www.anothercreation.blogspot.com/ This nomination is a shoutout to my home girl from Elmira who is a wheez with BWOF patterns. We can all learn some things from her.

http://www.kims-kouture.blogspot.com/ I always like everything that I see Kim make.

http://www.trinilove.typepad.com/ This girl puts out an amazing amount of work with such flair.

http://www.sewsassyagain.blogspot.com/ Sew Sassy is another fashion producer. I can tell she loves her craft.

http://www.wannsew.blogspot.com/ JC is a stone researcher. She puts in an enormous amount finding information about sewing and sewing resources. Positiveness is the highlight of her blog....

October 3, 2009


By now you all know that I have a deep love of books and knowledge. Who am I kidding, I'm obsessed with books; I always have been. There is always room for more knowedge especially about a craft that you enjoy. I am constantly looking for new written resources to help me become a better sewist. I received this book this week:

Just how much do you need to know about using a serger? I've had my serger for a little over two years. At times I have considered owning it a Love/Hate relationship, so that lets you know that there is still a lot I need to learn about using it. A preview of this book has brought some interesting information to light. For instance, I was surprised to learn that my serger has two knives, I really thought it had only one. Now that is important to note for safety reasons. Another helpful thing I found in this book is what to do with what I call "serger tails". The book suggests two different methods for securing them. Did you ever wonder why your stitches unravel, or how to get a more professional sewing edge? Successful Serging will prove a very useful reference and just may turn my love/hate relationship to one of sheer joy.

NOTE: If you are interested in any of the reference books that I list in my blog posts, there is a link straight to Amazon.com on my right sidebar.

Well I went ahead with the Navy jacket as originally planned. I finished it today. I just wanted a couple of quick put ons for mornings when I don't want to search for clothing to wear to work. This jacket matches navy pants that I made from Simplicity 2700 way back in June. Both the gray and the navy outfits were initally planned for summer wear, but I ran into delays with getting them done. Even though we are clearly into fall now, I didn't want to let these things linger in fear of them becoming UFO's. They are done now and even though they will get minimal wear now that the season has changed, I am glad that I got them finished. (Faux Welt pockets complements of Sheila and they worked out great again.)

Now I'm on to some exciting garments for Fall. I have SEW many things that I want to make but have no concrete plans. My sewing thoughts are all over the place as usual, but I'm excited all the same. I am definately a Spring/Summer girl, but I so love fall fashion, fabrics and styles. I added some great fabrics to my collection over the summer that I think will work up into a great Fall work wardrobe. I can't wait to cut into them. Now it's time to start my jacket for the Go Channel or Go Home Challenge. I've got six weeks before the challenge is over...

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