March 31, 2010


I think that blouses (or tops) are the most versatile garments in my closet. I always feel that I can dress well (and quickly) if I have enough tops to mix and match with existing pieces.

That said, I need some new spring/summer tops, and thought other bloggers might be interested in joining me in a SPRING MONTH OF TOPS.

It's a simple sew-a-long challenge:

•Choose your fabrics

•Choose your patterns (or self draft), or add a new twist to a TNT pattern, or refashion an existing blouse or top

•No quotas

•No limits

•and by April 30th we will have a number of added wardrobe options.

To join in just comment and PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS on this post no later than Sunday, April 4th. This new blog has been set up for THE SPRING MONTH OF TOPS. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of spring/summer inspiration....

March 29, 2010


I know, it's barely spring and I'm already proclaiming summer. I'm in the mood for easy to wear, flowy, breathable summer dresses. Even though there is still a slight chill in the air I thought I'd better get started. I have visions of all kinds of dresses; pretty printed cotton ones, colorful knit ones, long ones, short ones just dresses. I even want a shirt waist dress. This is so unlike me. You might have guessed that I love
Not that I shop there often at all, but their commercials draw me in. So whimsical and funny. Last year I made a special trip there just to see the modelkins, "Kim them". So I do window shop there and every once and a while find something that I do have to buy because it is at a ridiculously low price. This year Old Navy is featuring skirts as well as dresses for summer and I love them all. Probably won't make a purchase, but I can steal ideas and come away with lots of easy, breezy inspiration.

Last year it was their Town Gowns that inspired me. This year they are calling them Sundown Gowns. So let me introduce you to my rendition (even though it's only knee length) - my Sundown Gown. This, paired with some chocolate brown sandals, will be my "I need to run to the grocery store"; or "I need to shoot out to Hancock's real quick to pick up a zipper" dress. I can look neat with little effort and remain cool in temperatures that are sure to reach the 100's in just a few months.

My dress form does my garment no justice. She has, what my Mother would call, bow hips and for the life of me I cannot adjust them. Oh well, maybe one day I'll get one of better quality. Anyways, I've started my second summer dress and will be posting it soon....

P.S. Oh, I forgot to tell you.... I made this dress from New Look 6785 and it was all a mistake! I took one look at the pattern envelope and surmised that it was for a knit. Never even looked at fabric suggestions made by the pattern company. I was so disappointed in myself, but I was not about to waste one of my first NY fashion district fabrics. After I got this fabric home last summer I was overwhelmed by the size of the butterflies on this chocolate brown knit. I said, "what in the world was I thinking to buy this big print", mind you I also bought it in another color so you will be seeing the print again. I didn't discover that the pattern was sized for knits until after I had cut the fashion fabric. Egad! But Ebony consoled me by saying "you can make up a knit using a woven pattern but not vice versa". Well she was right it turned out great! Moral of the story: I NEED TO MAKE SURE I STOP AND READ THE PATTERN ENVELOPE!

March 20, 2010


I've had mine for months or maybe even several years. I'm a great fan on Hancock's 50% off notion sale that comes around every now and them, and no doubt it during one of those times that I pick up one of these...

I thought it was such a good idea, but it just sat in the notion drawer all that time. Until....I agreed to hem not one pair but five pairs of jeans for a friend. He didn't want them cut off, just turned up exactly one inch. I needed help jumping those humps so I pulled out a heavier duty machine and my Jean-a-ma-jig.

I must admit that there are times when I'm nervous about attaching or using something like this contraption to my machines. Besides, how can something so small and cheap really actually work? Well, it did work! Just sew up close to the hump, leave the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and insert the contraction underneath the back of the presser foot. Lower the foot and slowly sew over the hump. Once you reach the top of the hump, transfer the plastic piece to the front of the hump and continue to sew until clear of the hump. No skipped stitches, no broken needles. By the way I used a size 16 needle that specified use on heavy weight woven fabrics. It was such a help and made a dreaded job much easier.
So now you know...I'm a notion collector.

I took SMOKING NEEDLES suggestion and purchased a size 18 needle today for these type jobs (which I hope and pray there won't be many of). Every once and a while I have to help someone out because God knows I need help sometimes. I am, however, thinking about getting a t-shirt that reads "ATTENTION: I AM NOT A HEMMER - BUT WILL GLADLY TEACH YOU TO HEM YOUR OWN PANTS!"....

ADDITIONALLY, Julia nominated me for this new award:

The requirements for this accepting award are as follows:
1. Place the logo within your blog or post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within the post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Thank you for the award Julia. I'm a little busy today so I only have time to nominate 6 bloggers. I LOVE finding interesting NEW sewing blogs. There are so many out there that I haven't even seen yet. Here are six new ones that really bring some SUNSHINE to my sewing life:

I'm putting the finishing touches on my first SUMMER DRESS. Can you believe that???

March 15, 2010


I thought I'd better get some wear from what I think is my last winter suit of the season. Did I say yesterday that "spring will be here in 1 1/2" weeks"? Well, maybe it will be here in two weeks because it was still really chilly at lunchtime today. My suit was comfortable, nothing binding or pulling on me - so that was a good thing. To make something, try it on and the fit is good is one thing, but the true test is an 8 hour stand a while, sit a while work day.

I love my suit and have nothing negative to say about it, but you know how we sewers are. So the synoptic review of the suit is:
  • The jacket is a good fit! This is in parts thanks to the "Threads Fitting" DVDs, where I learned to fit my middle to ensure ample room for closure in the front of my jacket without increasing the shoulder size. I prefer wearing it open opposed to buttoned. The sleeve ruffle is o.k., and I will make the jacket again for spring/summer, but next time the sleeve will be cut slightly longer and the ruffle will not be as wide. I just think a wide ruffle is a bit overpowering on me.
  • As I've mentioned before, I must go down a hip size when I make the next pair of pants. There was plenty of room for bending and sitting, but I think they are still a little baggy in the hip area.

All in all I think its a great suit that I'll get lots of wear out of next fall/winter season...

March 14, 2010


I did make it to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo again this year. This was my third year and I was just as excited about going as I was the first. This year it was just me and Ebony because Lisa had to work. We watched one of the fashion shows presented by the independent pattern companies that were at the expo and just basically spent all of our time walking the floor visiting all of the exhibits and ohhhhing and awwwwing. I didn't take a class this year although I probably should have. I forgot to take my camera with me but oh well. As many of the attenders have already reported it was mainly a quilt expo with just a little bit sprinkled here and there for garment/fashion sewers. I do love quilts and always enjoy seeing the creativity of the quilts exhibited. And quilters do have lots of notions that I can use in my garment sewing as well. It's just nice to be able to get out of town at least once a year to see different things and people.

I didn't run into any fellow bloggers this year but I was looking for you. I know that lots of people went early during the week and had already gone home by Saturday (like my buddy Brenda from Alabama). I drove almost the whole way there and Ebony drove back home. Man, that Atlanta traffic does not play around.

I got two gorgeous knit fabrics and a nice georgette from Vogue Fabrics. I got a seam presser and clapper from the wood man, a few smaller notions - (no patterns this year) and several sewing machine feet. Afterwards we made a Joann's stop where I picked up another jeweled toned knit and some nice denim with 2% lycra, one each Burda and Simplicity pattern, and 7 cones of the chocolate brown shade of serger thread that I can NEVER find around here. I wanted 8 but they only had 7.

I had to by pass Cynthia Guffey's collection of raw silk that was on sale for $21.95 rather than $31.95. All in the prettiest jewel tones I've ever seen - Boy oh boy I really wanted some of that! It was all 45" width so I had to pass on by. And then the wool people with the cashmere and wonderful herringbone tweed - had to pass on by that too.

It was a very nice trip and I really enjoyed Ebony although I am dog tired today. I need to start saving right now for next year when I go God willing...

I guess the Expo in March should be my cut off for fall/winter sewing. I don't know why I hold on so to fall/winter sewing every year. I guess I just love sewing wools and fabrics with lots of body. Although I was born at the very end of fall I am really a spring/summer type of person. You would think that I'd be in a hurry to sew for spring. The yoshino cherry, Japanese magnolia, and Bradford pear trees are all in full bud and just starting to bloom. I even saw a daffodil which is always my clue. So regardless of the temperature or what the weatherman says - Spring is officially about a week and a half away. Just call me "Nature Girl", because I know...

March 6, 2010


that I have been coveting these tops made by Jazz Couture as her entry in Pattern Review's wardrobe contest (which by the way she won the coveted second place prize). Maybe it was the colors of her two tops that grabbed my attention. Or, maybe it was the simple but elegant design lines of the top. I don't know, but they were heavy on my mind for a while, and have just recently popped back up.

The possibilities of me getting my hands on a copy of La Mia Boutique 09-2008-8 are very slim, so I am searching for patterns to use in my morphing attempt. Here's the line drawing - so simple, but elegant. I'm in love with it! The bodice of the the design is a simple "V" - not a overlap that creates a "V". I have lots of patterns that overlap, but only a few with a definite "V". For some reason the line drawing gives the look of a woven fabric, but it's a knit.
Here's a pattern I picked out for the "V" neckline.

Or maybe this midriff could be made into V neckline.
The top has a shirred midriff. I've can't remember ever doing any shirring, but I think I've found a pattern that will provide that information for me.

I choose this vintage pattern for the neckband and front tie. Even though it's for a woven, I think it will work for a knit.

This will be a true Frankenstein design. Does anyone have a simpler idea for doing this????

March 4, 2010

My Jacket is complete...

My jacket is done, and that completes another suit that I actually started in January. This was the fabric I had to squeeze to make work. I used Lisa's pattern suggestion

and turns out the only thing I had to patch for lack of fabric was the sleeve ruffle. Instead of cutting one continuous cuff pattern piece, I cut two pieces from the fashion fabric. I used a french seam to sew the pieces together because the sleeve cuff is not lined - thus my patch. It turned out pretty nicely.

I also reduced the patterns amount of sleeve ease and the jacket sleeve has no puckering. I can't tell you how happy I am not having to fight with sleeve puckering.

My sewing progress was very slow this week intentionally. I slowly hand stitched the jacket, hem and sleeve lining to ensure that no pic marks occurred. I hate pic marks!

I saw a RTW jacket very similar to this one that I liked a lot so I really think I'll be making this pattern again.

I know that lots of blogger read Threads Magazine. I haven't missed an issue since discovering it in 2007. I love the magazine. My favorite sections of the magazine are: Closures because I enjoy the freelance story of the month. So many of the pieces are so familiar to me. and the back cover (Up Close) because I love devouring the detail work of the vintage pieces. When the Magazine arrives I immediately turn to these two sections and then I read the tips.
I swear I was just talking with Lisa about waistbands prior to reading Thread's tip on them in the latest issue. We discussed the exact same method. It amazed me...I just saying...

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...