April 30, 2011


It's the last day of the "Bottoms Up" challenge, but the day is still young.  I just finished the second bottom of the challenge.  Of course I originally planned to do more, but the day is still young, and there is no telling what I'll be able to come up with.  The sewing cave is littered with patterns, I would show it to you, but I'm much too embarrassed of it at the moment.  

These pants are a true olive; I thought the others were but now I think differently.  I bought this fabric at the March Expo from the Vouge Fabrics booth.  It was a large remnant and not clearly marked so the fabric content is still a mystery to me.  It wasn't exactly the weight I wanted, but oh well, I have to make pants out of something.  Made from my ancient TNT Simplicity 8707      pattern again.  I do think that I've got the pattern tweaked so it fits just right at this point.  But I thought that with the last pair that I made - after wearing them to work I couldn't wait to get home to tweak them some more.  I ended up going into the "safety hatch" (center back waistband and pants seam) to increase the seam, as well as taking them in in the side seams.  I also had to re-hem them again because they were much too long.

Besides going down a size, and decreasing the length 2",  I've decided to permanently scoop out 3/4" on the upper front piece from the side seam to the center front.  I arrived at this conclusion in an effort to get rid of the wrinkling that occurs in the front of my self-made pants.  I got this information from my blogger friend GWEN at ALL MY SEAMS who also suggested that I add Palmer and Pletsch's book "Pants for Real People" to my library.   It's a super easy adjustment too.  I've got one more pants pattern that I want to muslin, and of course if it doesn't work it'll be back to this TNT pattern.

I'll take this time to THANK ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN MY APRIL CHALLENGES, or who planned on joining in but didn't have the time.  You are the element that makes this so much FUN!!!

NOTE:  Be on the look-out for a simple challenge I have planned for June...I think you'll love it... 

April 24, 2011


...I managed to finish my first Bottoms Up Challenge project.  Ended up going back to my old, old vintage TNT pants pattern (Simplicity 8707 OOP) after all.  I keep trying other patterns, but this one just turns out really good for me.  The pattern is just a plain Jane trouser pattern (only 5 pattern pieces) with nice simple two piece pockets.  The pattern has two front tucks that I redesigned into one dart.  It also has back darts.  Why I continually add length to this pattern - I do not know - guess I have a nervous fear of high waters.  They turn out way too long and I end up having to cut off the added length anyway.

The fit:  The fit is as near perfect as I can get it.  I do have to tweak the side and back seams each time I use the pattern, but they still work out nicely.  Each time I make them I also add a "Safety Hatch" in the back seam.  To create the "Safety Hatch" I make the seam is a generous 1 1/2" wide, and although the pattern has a one piece straight waistband, I cut it in half so it also ends up with a 1 1/2" seam allowance. I call it a "Safety Hatch" because the 1 1/2" seams allow me to let the pants out IF there is a weight gain(hopefully not), or take them in IF there's additional weight loss (hopefully there will be) - you know how it goes.

The fabric:  A lousy light weight linen blend from Joann's.  I used it anyway although I'm not absolutely pleased with it.  I just cannot find a pant weight fabric that I really like - and I HATE Hancock's gabardine - so that's out.    I do have a different fabric in a very similar color, but it is light weigh too.


Maybe I'll be able to get at least one more pair of pants completed before the end of the week.
Hope everyone had a Joyous Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!   

April 23, 2011


...but it's a mighty slow go.  If there was a new award for "THE SLOWEST SEWER", I'd be a sure winner.  Sometimes I think I just have too many sewing ideas that contribute to slowing me down a bit.  I have got to get some of these ideas out of my mind, off the drawing board, and into fruition.  

I did get a top completed yesterday, although not for me.  Sometimes being a selfish seamstress is so very hard.  What happened?  Again my kindness got the best of me when asked "would you make this for me".  Although I'm sure it wasn't meant as such, it sounded like a challenge to the inner me- and I took the bait.  There is something inside me that has to GIVE every once and a while, so that is what I did.  So I found a pattern similar to the picture she presented me and the rest is history.  I made a top from this fabric last year and there was plenty left over for this top and maybe even a dress to boot.
I made view D, flutter sleeve top  

I adjusted plunging neckline by raising it 1", why are things cut so low now-a-days?  I think the top turned out very nice.  Be on the lookout because I have plans for another garment from this fabric very soon.

Now for Bottoms Up:  I traced this pattern on Wednesday night, cut out the muslin on Thursday night and finally got around to stitching it up today.
Pants muslin without waistband
I'm working with Simplicity 4135, and the muslin looks pretty o.k. but after attaching the waistband I'm not 100% sure of it.  I will be cutting the fashion fabric momentarily, but I just might be changing patterns.  Pattern indecisiveness is such a can be such a time waster.  I'll be using a army green linen blend fabric, and I have just the perfect camouflage print knit for a matching top.  See, too many ideas floating around at one time...

April 18, 2011


THE BAD NEWS:  ... well, after completely flubbing up my last Over the Top challenge garment (I'm convinced the fault layed in  my fabric choice (too drapey) and not with the pattern.  It's been a while since I've had a bona fide wadder, so it took me a little while to come to terms with this one.  Wadders can be dangerous for me in that they tend to attack me emotionally.  Wadder - I hate that word as much as I hate the meaning.  Got to try to come up with a suitable alternative.  I got a grip on Sunday afternoon by placing it in "Exterior file 13" -  out at the curb.  Sometimes I put these types of things in the "Interior file 13", but end up digging them back out to sulk over.  I kinda wanted to force somebody else to take this one  like Elaine May. the Selfish Seamstress suggested in her recent Vogue Magazine article.

THE GOOD NEWS:   The sulking has ended now and I officially started the Bottom's Up Challenge yesterday by sifting through patterns trying to make a decision as where to start.  After narrowing my selection down to two patterns I decided on Simplicity 4135, an oldie and I hope goody.  I'll start on the muslin tonight.

MORE GOOD NEWS:  The Bottom's Up Challenge is still open. You can read more about it here; you must leave your email address if interested.  The Bottom's up Challenge ends April 30th.

NOTE:  JACKIE O, I still need your email address to add you in the challenge.

NOTE:  After leaving your email address you will be sent an invitation.  You must respond to the email to be officially entered into the challenge...

April 16, 2011



...the "Over The Top - 15 Day Challenge" has turned into "The Bottoms up 15 Day Challenge."  It is always kinda hard to go back and recap a challenge, but here are the estimated Top's Challenge Stats:
  • 26 people joined Over The Top - 15 Day Challenge (April 1 - 15)
  • 18 people have participated so far;  I say "so far" because some people mentioned they are still making tops, and I hope they will still post the results.
  • 59 Blog Posts
  • 57 New Tops posted (includes one re-fashion if I am correct); and Danielle's (3) tops because she has not been able to post pictures yet.
  • OVER ALL RESULTS:  Quite impressive if I might say so myself .

A "BOTTOMS UP - 15 DAY CHALLENGE"   seems to be a natural progression of

April 16 - April 30 has been proclaimed an official BOTTOM'S UP CHALLENGE.  It's a simple sew-a-long that will last only 15 days.  Here's the criteria:
  • Sew up or re-fashion the number of bottoms to your liking.  One, two or three - whatever your schedule allows.
•No quotas;
•No limits;

  • Skirts, skorts, pants, slacks, trousers, yoga pants, shorts etc.  all qualify - top also, if that's what you'd like.
  • Post your reviews, comments, tutorials and any other bottoms information you'd like to share on the "OVER THE TOP aka BOTTOM'S UP" blog.
  • If you previously signed up for Over the Top challenge and are interested, you are already in - just go to work on bottoms on April 16th.
  • If you previously signed up for Over the Top Challenge and are not interested - do nothing.
  • If you didn't sign up originally but want to for this half of the challenge - let me know by commenting on THIS POST AND LEAVING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
  • NOTE:  Email address are a must for new joiners.
So come on, it's simple to join in on the fun!

I'm looking forward sharing, and seeing your Over The Top/Bottoms Up spring/summer creations.  It's such a win, win situation..... 

April 13, 2011


...thought I'd write a quick (we all know they're never quick) post while my little pot pie bakes in the oven cause there is no cooking tonight.  Just sewing!  I had planned on sewing last night after working on the bathroom wallpaper removal project FOR JUST ONE HOUR.  Well, one hour turned into 5, and sewing just got pushed to the side.  At least the wallpaper removal part of the renovation is over!  Thank God.  So tonight - just sewing.

Marjie has suggested that we flip flop the challenge for the second half of the month to focus on BOTTOMS.  I think this is a marvelous idea what with all the new tops we've just added to our wardrobes.    I know that several other participants are also interested in doing this.  So I officially propose that April 16th through April 30TH be proclaimed the "BOTTOMS UP - 15 DAY CHALLENGE".
Here's the criteria:
  • Sew up or re-fashion the number of bottoms to your liking.  One, two or three pair - whatever your schedule will permit.
  • Skirts, skorts, pants, slacks, trousers, yoga pants, shorts etc.  all qualify.
  • Post your reviews, comments, tutorials and any other bottoms information you'd like to share on the "OVER THE TOP aka BOTTOM'S UP" blog.
  • If you previously signed up for Over the Top challenge and are interested, you are already in - just go to work on bottoms on April 16th.
  • If you previously signed up for Over the Top Challenge and are not interested - do nothing.
  • If you didn't sign up originally but want to for this half of the challenge - let me know by commenting on THIS POST AND LEAVING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS no later than Saturday April 16th. 

  • Here's the Button for the Challenge

 THING 2:   I'm working on a Hot Pattern top as my last "Over The Top 15 Day Challenge sewing frenzy.  I decided that it would be best if I worked up a quick and dirty muslin of this pattern.  My muslins are never quick, dirty yes, but never quick.  There is just no way I'm going to cut into my $13.00 knit fabric before giving this pattern a test run.  This $13.00 knit is precious to me even though I got it at half price.

I never ever make muslins for tops, I just go by my regular bust measurement (although they say go with the high bust measurement), may or may not add a little to the side seams and go for it.  Things usually work out with tops unless I over think the process and decide to go with a larger size for the neck and chest areas which results in the top ending up too large.  I love Hot Patterns - they are so stylish and interesting to me.  (May be it's the names they give the patterns (Miss Moneypenny Skirt, Carried Away Suit, Riveria Boulevard Jacket, etc.) or maybe it's the chic pictures the use on the envelopes.)   But love them as I may, I'm a little fearful of them, having tried only one - and that one not turning out as expected, has left me with cold feet.  Here's a picture of my muslin, that I'm so glad I made.  Results:  Just a little tight in the armhole area.  I won't reveal the pattern just yet, I just use my muslin as sneak peek.

Hopefully I will be able to get this made tomorrow night.
THING 3:  Would somebody (anybody) put something interesting on television???  Project Runway, Fashion Show, Real Housewives of New Jersey....SOMETHING!!!  And would ABC stop playing so many reruns and get on with the programs???

April 10, 2011


...The Over The Top Challenge has created inspiration for a much sewing frenzy.  Seems I always need new tops, and they are usually the quickest way that I know of sprucing up my wardrobe at the change of seasons.

Although I've been a little sick with this sinusitis and an ear infection to boot, I was still motivated to get some sewing done.  I finished this faux wrap New Look 6901 today.  I made it first last year, really liked the fit so I gave it another go for this challenge.  This time I did change the pattern just a little by increasing the neckline height and decreasing the size of the band that finishes the neckline.  The pattern's band was much too wide for me - so I changed it up just a bit.  I also invisibly stitched down the wrap because no matter what, I always get a little gaping in the chest area - with this the problem is solved. Though there are many faux wrap top patterns available, this one, with just a tiny bit of rushing at the left side seems to fit me best.  I guess this will be my "go to" TNT faux wrap top - no need in reinventing the wheel.
This is a lovely paint splattered knit that I picked up last Sunday on a Joann's trip with Ebony and Baby Boy.  It sewed up beautifully using my Schmetz Jersey ballpoint needle - no skipping, snagging or puckering.  Once upon a time I had a little handy Schmetz pamphlet that I used as a needle reference, but of course I can't find it now.  So of course I just Googled for the information and found it here it helps me out a lot.

I have two more tops in the "bull pen" that I'd like to completed by Friday (April 15 end of the challenge").  I actually need many more than that but feel it's high time to move on to other things.  Although I've been reading along, I haven't even started my jacket for the RTW Challenge that I joined.  I do still have plans for that challenge; however, this one took precedent.

I do hope that everyone had a nice, restful and productive weekend...............

April 7, 2011


...it does feel good to have finished this top. I felt kinda a bad when I semi-kicked it to the curb.  I finished it today to avoid having an UFO floating around the sewing room.  There is nothing too special about this top, except maybe the information I found that helped me grade this pattern up two sizes (which can be found here).  I changed my mind and used broadcloth to make this top rather stretch poplin.

Now it's on to the next OTT project - it will probably be a knit top.  There are EIGHT more days left of the challenge.  I'd like to make two or three more items by the 15th.  We'll see how that goes...

April 5, 2011


...You do know all about my stead fast, number one sewing rule - don't you?  Finish what you start!  Well, what in the world happened to the plans of making that much needed white top???  It was started mind you - but got  lovingly kicked to the curb for the past two days.  All parts were placed in this bag for safe keeping...

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to it tomorrow.  But in the meantime I wanted to play just a little bit more.  (No wonder I don't have any white tops.)  The easy peasy top I made last night was still calling my name.  I so wanted to try it in a challis fabric but couldn't find ANYTHING in the fabric closet that even came close to that kind of drape.  I had to go out and pick up a piece.  I had the hardest time trying to choose a color - wanted something solid, but which one.  I came very close to getting black (of course), but opted for a bright red instead.  I RARELY wear red.  Why?  I'm not really sure unless its that I was once told not to wear red-orange.  Most red fabrics are just that red-orange.  Since I know for a fact that I have orange undertones I stay far away from that color - I have no desire to look like a pumpkin.  I need (and love) true red or blue-red, but it is hard to find.  This was the darkest red I could find today, so I just went with it.  I figure this top will work worn with white, navy, black and of course jeans.

These tops are not work appropriate, but I do need play clothes some times.  I hate when a time to play finally comes, and I can't pull out play clothes.  Can't wear it right now because after that big storm last night Georgia can't make up it's mind whether it's winter or spring all back over  again.

This top was so easy I couldn't resist playing one more night.  I've got to find me some more EASY patterns for my spring/summer sewing.  But for the purpose of the "Over The Top Challenge" it's back to the task at hand...aka the bag blouse...

TOP 2 finished...

This top is very simple, yet very unique.  I don't ever recall seeing one like it before, but when I first saw Ebony's slightly vintage New Look pattern I knew I wanted it.  She let me borrow the pattern, so after tracing the single pattern piece (yes, only one pattern piece)  I reached into the stash to find a fabric that would fit the bill.  I think this top will fit right into summer.

The single pattern piece serves as both the front and back of the top.  It's sewn together into an oversized V-necked tee and then the shoulders are crisscrossed.

I skipped over my white top to get this one completed.  Hopefully I'll finish the white one by tomorrow.

April 3, 2011


Why in the world did it take me ALL DAY LONG to finish this simple top.  Well, beside the fact that I just didn't feel well today, (not to worry Mom, just my sinusitis) perfectionism culprit really got the best of me.  I chose view "B" of McCall's 5977 - the one with the three tier ruffle.  I'd forgotten (because I've made a three tier ruffle before) that 3 edges of the ruffles must be finished and or hemmed.  "Not a problem you might say."  Well it was for me after perfectionism took hold.  And let's not forget to mention the self bias bound neckline and arms.  It would have been so much easier to use a matching pre-packaged double fold bias tape and my new binding foot.  But I have such FUNNY-TIMED skin that I don't like the feel of the bias tape rubbing against it.  I was forced to make my own as the pattern suggested, but just couldn't stitch straight today. I was determined to finish which I did do, hope you can see it - the picture turned out dark.

So many bloggers mention that they do not own white blouses/shirts/tops.  I'm one of them.  My next top will involve morphing these two patterns.  I like the first one because the front facing is cut on rather than a separate piece.  (I know that you could make any button down into a cut on, but this ones already done for me.  I like the vintage top pattern's extended shoulder feature, but the pattern is too small.  I don't really want to take the time to grade up to my size, so I'll just try to combine the two pattern's features.  I'll be using a white stretch poplin fabric which I bought enough to make two white tops/shirts. I wanted to get this traced and cut today/night, but that's not going to happen.  I'll think about it tomorrow, because after all...

tomorrow is another day...

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...