August 30, 2010


Lady Gray made her way to my mailbox today. Boy that was fast shipping! I couldn't wait to tear into that envelope and have a look at the instructions for the coat. The instructions are actually in a little book form - cute. I read the entire book, and even studied the layout for cutting. The pattern is rated advanced. That rating still intimidates me a little, but I've already committed so I do plan to see this through to completion - God willing.
Mmmm, 14 pattern pieces, not unlike most jackets. Some separate lining pieces; I heard (or read somewhere) that separate lining pieces are a sign of a good pattern. The only thing that I see that might slow me down a little is the two piece sleeve construction. I'll just pull my best sewing references (off the shelf and read up on two piece sleeve construction before I even start on the project.

I REALLY wanted to do the coat in winter white, but knew that wouldn't be practical for me. I thought about black, but not knowing a lot about wool flannel thought that would involve a lot of de-linting. I need to step out of my box just a little, and although purple is not my favorite color I saw a gorgeous shade of fabric online so I consulted my sewing buddy Lisa for her thoughts on it. To quote her "this is going to be a signature piece so it should be somewhat out of your norm - I think you should go for it!" So I ordered this fabric from Denver Fabrics today @ $7.95 per yd regularly $22.00. I also see that Pantone includes a Purple Orchid in their Fall color palette.

Tim Gunn, Chief Creative Officer for Liz Claiborne Inc., and mentor for Bravo’s “Project Runway” offers this advice about adding pops of color to a wardrobe: “Don’t shy away from color. Color is not only a great and budget conscious way to update your wardrobe, it is a wonderful pick-me up." He also gives a couple of tips to keep in mind when shopping for color:
• Color reads best in quality fabrics, hues appear richer and more vibrant in fine wools, cottons and silks. I am a firm believer that if you invest in a few good pieces now,
you will benefit for years to come.

• Be mindful when choosing color. You can’t just admire the color of a garment on a hanger or on your friend, the color must be right for you. Your skin-tone and hair color both come into play. If you like a color and you are unsure, my advice — try it on!”

Next I need to search for just the right lining and buttons for the project. I'm off now to see what I can find...

August 27, 2010


I use to be a magazine junkie! I love them, and one might say I sort of horded them too. But for the sake of eliminating clutter, I can't even begin to tell you how many I tossed out. And after having repeated talks with myself about seriously cutting back on magazine purchases/subscriptions, I rarely buy any at all now, not even many fashion magazines. They just don't seem to turn me on like they use to. However, there is one magazine that I look for each and every year. This one
I've had it since Monday, and I still have not finished leafing through it.

Now about the commitment part: I really did try to talk myself out of it...Gertie's Lady Gray Sew-Along that is. I've seen this coat made up by several people and love it more and more each time I see it. So when I saw that she started this coat sew along, and after much contemplation, I ordered the Lady Gray pattern. As a matter of fact, it shipped today.

So why did I try to talk myself out of it? Well, since my sewing has been a little bit stagnated for the past several months, I really and truly I simply do not know what project(s) I want/need to work on first. In addition, the pattern is rated ADVANCED. Although I don't put myself in the advanced category, I do think I can make it. I just don't want to bite off more than I can chew, nor do I want a pattern that I might have to fight with. Colette patterns are new to me, and you know how it can be when you are so use to sewing only from the big 4 - sort of intimidating to say the least. So why did I go ahead and commit/purchase the pattern??? I'll explain my rational/self argument here:

  • I did commit to the "Go Chanel or Go Home" challenge this time last year, and did complete it - on schedule I might say
  • Because I really do like the style of the coat
  • The Lady Gray coats that I've seen made up are GORGEOUS
  • Even if I don't sew it during the sew along, I might sew it one day
  • I'd hate to get locked out of another coat sew along and not be able to reap a wealth of information from a whole lot of knowledgeable sewists
  • Get the pattern while its available at a 5% discount, at least that pays for the shipping
Now that the commitment has been made and the pattern is on the way, I'm officially placing The Lady Gray sew along label on my blog.

We'll just see what happens next...

August 22, 2010


I was such a blog surfer yesterday. That's one great thing about Saturdays for me; especially since I got the bill payment chore out of the way last week, and did laundry/cleaned the house on Friday. That meant that Saturday belonged to me! I could have gone out snoop shopping, and there really was a few things that I wanted to canvas, but I really didn't need to do that - might have made some unintentional purchases again - you know how I am. I just let the urge to go out subside because I really didn't feel like rationalizing or arguing with myself about not spending this weekend. A friend called and wanted to come over to present some information on his new business, and I said to myself "no way buddy, no sales presentations made here today"! I am quite a social person, however, sometimes I REALLY need Saturdays that are reserved ONLY for me. Call it selfish time, it's important to me. So most of the day was spent surfing/learning.

One little bit of sewing information that resurfaced was about easing sleeves in by the flat construction application which really is my favorite way to do sleeves. I use the conventional method of sewing the shoulder seam and side seam of the garment then attaching the sleeve ONLY when I can't get away around it (such as when using a two piece sleeve). But, even in using the flat method, I still have to ease stitch/gather the sleeve and try to distribute evenly. I have also adopted Sandra Betzina's method of decreasing or removing some of the ease in sleeves, which certainly helps too.

But what I've heard of several times before is the method of sewing the sleeve in with the sleeve next to the feeddogs, and allowing them to do the (work) easing for me. Many people probably use this method regularly without even thinking about it, BUT I NEVER REALLY TRUSTED IT TO WORK. While surf/learning yesterday I ran across this blog:

Bonnie had attended several sewing workshops (Cynthia Guffey and Peggie Sagers) and reviewed both of them in her posts. She got the information on easing sleeves from Peggie Sagers, and here are the notes that I made from her notes:

1. Use a pin to match the center or top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam of the garment
2. Decrease sleeve cap seam to 3/8"
3. Sew with the sleeve on the bottom next to the feeddogs to allow them to help ease in fullness

As I said, I've read and heard of this before but didn't trust it to work, but today I decided "what the heck, lets see"...if it doesn't work, that's what they made seam rippers for! But guess what???, it did work!

Just thought I'd mention it here just in case there are some people who have never heard of this application method, or did hear of it but didn't trust it....

August 21, 2010


...and I decided to participate since my sewing production has ranged from unusually slow to non-existent over the past couple of months. I used the sew-in as a motivator to get some things done that I had been procrastinating on. For the July sew-in I altered two very cute but unwearable skirts that I had made two summers ago. The skirts had become unwearable because I've lost weight, and inches.

NEWS FLASH: As of today's weigh-in I am down 16 pounds, 10 inches! That puts me half way to my goal.
Ya'll help me pray that I can keep it off this time.

I used the August sew-in as a motivator to finish up a Home Dec project started for a friend back at the end of May. That's correct, I've procrastinated on this since May. The tablecloth was made from three 50" x 84" drapery panels that I had to un-hem on four sides each, then piece together (I used french seams), to make the fabric wide enough for the project. Then we meticulously calculated the circumference of her antique (belonged to her grand-mother) table. After cutting the big circle, the fabric was turned under and hemmed twice. When I started to pin the fringe to the bottom, I discovered that there wasn't enough. Of course when she returned to Hobby Lobby to get more they were out, and we had to wait for an order to come in. When she told me that she wanted 2" cut off before attaching the trim, I just sort of completely shut down because I wanted to finish the thing, not do more work on it. Then I got really ultra busy with four graduations (one of them my own), an out of state trip, work, and three out of town conferences. What can I say, I just kept putting it off and putting it off some more. All the time feeling tied to it and not really being able to commit to anything else sewing wise. Having UFO'S make me feel imprisoned.

This sew-in seemed to be the perfect solution to this problem. I finished it!, and here's a picture of my first Home Dec project in a very long time. Completing this tablecloth also helped me accomplish one of my #4 2010 Sewing goals although it's not a project for my own home.

4. Try (a little) Home Decor.

In the meantime I took the last pair of white pants for a test drive yesterday. Although I really thought they fit well a couple of weeks ago when I made them, they are now feel and look too big and need to be altered. I've started adding a built in escape route in my pants by adding a center back seam in the waistband. This makes altering just a little bit easier. So altering these pants will be my next project for the weekend...

August 15, 2010


....have you ever gone into a store with plans to buy absolutely nothing! I guess you might ask, "why go to the store then"? Well, the new Joann's in Macon advertised that they were distributing their Teacher Discount Cards starting Saturday with the infamous disclaimer "while supplies last". Being the lover of fabric stores that I am, I really needed to get that card before supplies were exhausted.

With this in mind I made the trek to River Crossing, which is no short distance, to get my 15% discount card but with all intentions of not purchasing a thing. There was a long waiting line when I got there, so I thought I'd take a little look around. To my surprise, the nice purple plaid nubby textured fall suiting fabric was still there. I had eyed this fabric ($12.95/yard mind you) on an earlier visit when the store first opened. I thought that the fabric was really beautiful and would make the cutest jacket/skirt suit for fall, but would cost me at least $45. Having just returned from my annual New York trip with loads of fabric, another $45 would not fit into the budget - so I convinced myself to leave the fabric there. After all, I just can't have everything my beady little eyes want!

But you know how it is - when I got home I had a bout of "not buying remorse" about that fabric. Have you ever experienced that feeling before? I told myself "you should have gotten at least a yard and half for a fall skirt". But oh well, so it is with not buying remorse. Figured it would be all gone by the time I got back to the store. But guess what, it wasn't. I not only got my 1 1/2yd of the purple plaid nubby stuff, and an additional 1 1/2yd of a cute black and white plaid to boot! I had to talk to myself and convince "me" that...not every suiting fabric has to become an entire suit (duh!). Yes, I do talk to myself on the regular! It sometimes saves me from much financial remorse. Notice I did say "sometimes", because I have also been known to argue right back with myself with amazing logic, but this time the sensible side won out. To make this trip an even better scenario, Joann's was offering an additional 20% teacher discount for Saturday only! So, I got fabric for two new fall skirts for $24...Yea me!!!
I can see either new skirt paired with a black wool blazer (already in my closet), and simple black and purple crew neck sweaters (yet to be purchased from Chadwick's) for two classic fall work outfits. It's wonderful to have some degree of fashion building foresight, isn't it?....

August 10, 2010


I am obsessed with summer white pants! With the glorious summer months swiftly waning by the minute, I find myself almost at the mid point of August, but I just had to get yet one more pair made for the season. I promise that this is the very last white pair as I am a little old fashioned when it comes to packing away my whites once Labor Day arrives. After all I wouldn't want to be punished by "Serial Mom"! Do you remember that movie?
Well, here's my last pair for the summer made from my TNT pants pattern - Simplicity 8707.
I've also added a new book to my sewing library.

Palmer & Pletsch's "Easy Easier Easiest Tailoring" was gifted to me by my new blogger friend Elsie Cole at Elsie holds a B.S. in apparel design from University of Delaware, and says that this was one of her text books while in school. She was nice enough to share it with me and I think it will prove invaluable to me as a resource in my jacket making. I'll be boning up on this book because I know for a fact there's another jacket in my very near future. Thanks again Elsie!!!

Elsie is a model and has recently entered a contest to win a role in the famed "Madmen" television series. I voted for her online just this afternoon
because I think she is a perfect candidate for the part. Here are recent pictures exhibiting her 1950ism.If you are interested, you can cast a vote for her too at this link:

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...