October 31, 2011


My friend Ebony says that I'm having an all out DRESS PALOOZA!

  • an all-out crazy party
  • an exaggerated event
  • a remarkable or wonderful person or thing
  • something excellent
  • the person throwing the party gets to add the palooza prefix

Does three dress a party make???  I think so!  Here's a picture of my third fall dress; Number 4 is one-third complete.  The party is on...

Wearing Analysis:
  • Very comfortable all day long, however I will wear a slip with it next time as the skirt was a bit clingy.
  • I'm noticing that there is definitely a difference in the texture of printed ponte de roma and the solid, but I still LOVE it.
  • I loved it and so did many others.  I got a lot of orders (made me smile) but I didn't accept any.  My coined answer: "I'll teach you to make your own".  I don't get many takers on that one.
  • Will probably make another maybe in a solid color.

Happily sewing - hope you are too...

October 30, 2011


...I am having a hard time keeping my sewing motivation "on track".  I am not by any means chunking my FALL HIT LIST, but right now I am really loving me some knit Retro Dresses!  Long sleeved versions of course, because it's only going to get colder - right!  I've got a chill on me right now.  Can you imagine being chilly in Georgia.  I'm thinking about just going with this dress flow thing for the moment, after all, it is what's calling my name   so loudly and I am so enjoying wearing them.  Maybe I should have just named it my FALL DRESS LIST - had no idea it was going to go in this direction...

Here's a picture of Fall Dress #3 - love it!  I worked on altering the pattern back in September, but choked in pattern grading confidence so I laid it aside.  I picked it back up last week because I really do love this dress that makes my thoughts wonder back to high school.  Is that such a bad thing?, or am I too old to be thinking about fashion from that era?  I have such great high school memories, as I am sure many of you do.  Mine was the era of the "Mini Skirt", so you know I wanted to make theses dresses muchhhhh shorter, but didn't dare (lol).  After all I am a GrandMa four times over.

This WILL be going to school tomorrow! (front view)

Back view
I guess I was so excited about making this dress that it never occurred to me that I needed to match the circles.  Duh, don't know where my mind was at the time.  But, oh well, I'm still in love with it.

The sewing cave is a mess!, the result of a 9 hour (10:30a.m. to 7:30p.m.) beginning sewing class with two people.  Now, they didn't cause all this disarray, but we did have SOME fun!  We must have laughed all day long.  I should have taken pictures while they were here but didn't even think about it at the time.  In the process we reviewed reading the back of the pattern envelope, choosing sizes, determining fabric yardage, selecting fabrics, and lots of sewing terminology in the process.  One person finished a  cardigan, and the other a muslin for a pair of pants - they were very happy with the results.  We plan on getting together for another session before Thanksgiving.

After fixing a quick bite to eat, I was in bed by 8:30, I was a little tired (lol).  Teaching is so rewarding, especially when you're teaching something that YOU LOVE... 

October 26, 2011


… I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this stuff I thought it high time I did a little bit of research on it.  This is probably just the tip of the iceberg on the subject.  Maybe some of my readers would like to add something that I still don’t know about PONTE ROMA KNITS.

My love affair actually began about four years ago when I used the most wonderful fabric (didn’t know what it was at the time) to make Very Easy Vogue 8408.  I searched my blog for the post on this dress, but couldn’t find it – maybe I never posted it – can’t imagine why.  So I wore it today just to get a picture.

I posed the question: “What is the difference in Ponte Roma and light weight double knit” and Google’s Search engine that took me straight to Artisan’s Square.  There I followed a thread that began July 2010 and is still going strong.  Seems someone other than me is interested in this treasure.  I won’t bore you with all my notes from the thread, but I will mention a few highlights.  If you are as interested you can read the 5 page thread HERE.  

·       Just what is Ponte di Roma?  Per Textile.com

"A fabric made in a double knit construction, usually produced in one color rather than color patterns. This plain fabric has an elastic quality with a slight horizontal line. The fabric looks the same on both sides.  Weft knitted, interlock based, double jersey structure. Ponte di Roma means 'roman bridge' which is suggested by the arrangement of loops. The fabric looks the same on both sides."  (Unless it’s a print)

·  Just where can you buy it?

Fabric.com has an RPL ponte called Sophia.

You can also get Sophia knits at Vogue fabrics.

  • What fabric content should I look for?
Ponte: 60 inches wide, 72% Poly, 24% Rayon, 4% Spandex, 4 inches stretches to about 7 inches crossgrain. 
Sophia: 60 inches wide, 67% Poly, 30% Rayon, 3% Spandex; 4 inches stretches to about 6 inches crossgrain.

    ·     How do people take care of the fabric?
         - I throw in the washer and dryer with no ill effects.

         - I always pretreat using the roughest method I might   accidentally use:  warm or hot water, regular wash, dryer.  If I am not satisfied with the result, I don't make the garment.
     - If I am satisfied, after I make the now-clean and preshrunk garment, I treat it gently.   I wash in cold water and hang dry or dry on low.

        - I usually wash and hang to dry.

    Now I off to do a little work on my third dress, will post as soon as finished.....

    October 24, 2011


    ...  I'm not going to say much more about these two dresses, but did want to mention that "HONESTLY!!!, both of my recently sewn dresses fit and wore EXACTLY as I envisioned".    Just want to show pictures of me wearing them although the fabric is dark and didn't photograph well.



     KarlaF from Atlanta wanted to see a picture of the poly-rib knit I used for the Vogue dress.  Karla hope you can see the ribs in this picture.  She also wanted to know why I remove excess pattern ease from knit sleeve caps.  Karla I'll address that topic in my next post.

    There's not much I would change about either of the dresses.  Both were comfortable  - I'm so in love with the ponte roma knit.  Hope you are not tired of me talking about it yet, but there's a lot of it in my sewing future.  It will be the topic of a few more posts to go.  I even did a little research on it yesterday and will let you know what I learned in a later post.

    This week's sewing project is yet another dress.  This time something a bit vintage as the pattern dates back to 1969.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF:  McCall's of course and  ZipZapKap Esty Shop

     I found this pattern back during the summer at the antique/real junk store that Ebony introduced me to several years ago.  It was  instant love mainly because it reminded me a lot of the dresses I use to wear back in high school.  I've been feeling a bit retro-ish  lately dreaming of A-lined dresses made in knit.  I'll be making the long sleeved teal version.

    I started working on grading my size 14 pattern back in September, but choked when I found the pattern piece that particularly attracted  me to the pattern in the first place (the side bodice inset that creates the princess dart detail) was missing.   Actually I was T-ed off (one of the down sides of buying used patterns)!   This weekend I finally Cowgirled up and braved drafting the missing pattern piece - which really wasn't hard at all.  

    I worked up a quick and dirty markup on Saturday, and cut my fashion fabric yesterday while visiting with my baby girl.  Here's a picture of the proposed fabric - that's right - another  ponte roma knit.  How good does it get!

    This dress will be a substitute for #1 (the color blocked dress)    on my Fall Hit list.  You know it's a girl's prerogative to change her mind - right???

    October 18, 2011


    Funny thing, my Fall Hit List has not been stressing me at all.  Normally I obsess over lists, or goals, or challenges - that's just how I am.  I guess I'm not stressing because:
    • there is no real deadline.  It's a Fall Hit List but I've given myself both the Fall and Winter Seasons to complete it.
    • my list is not at all stringent.  It's not written in stone, so  change is highly probable somewhere down the line.
    • I'm enjoying my sewing quite a bit lately

    O.k., moving on I've completed #4 on my Fall Hit List.  It's my Little Black Dress that was going to be double knit, but plans changed.  Instead it's made of a poly rib knit that Ebony donated to the stash long ago.  I initially intended to use the rib knit as a proto-type, but turns out I love it as the real thing.  Black fabric equals not such a clear picture, but I'm-in-love!

    Vogue 8764

    Vogue 8764:  
    • is a great pattern.  It's super easy.  I think this was the first time I ever used a pattern that had a sleeve dart.
    • the pattern calls for a full lining, but I lined only the bodice.  I lined it to deal with the raw neckline because the pattern does not have facings.
    • I'm getting pretty comfortable with pattern grading although it works my brain sometimes.  Altering this pattern to fit me was easy - I'm strictly a size 16 in the upper chest area, but I graded out slightly in the side seams for comforts sake.
    • Decreasing sleeve cap ease has become part of my repertoire especially in knits.   I installed the sleeve in flat before side seams were sewn trying to always remember to place the sleeve next to the feed-dogs to work in any ease left over from my alteration.  Works great almost every time.
    • Used the invisible zipper tutorial from Coletterie.com.  It has really made the process a lot clearer to me.  I had to use a 14" zipper rather than a 22" one.  Why?  That's all I had, and I didn't want to wait until the next day. 
    I'm pretty sure there's another one of these in my sewing future...

    October 16, 2011


     I know that I posted a Chicken and Dumpling recipe before, but after trying a new one that my Mom found at Rhoda's Southern Hospitality blog I really think this one is better.  The fact that you actually make up, roll out and, cut your own dumplings truly makes this one homemade.   Rhoda entered her Mother Iris's  recipe in the Knorr BlogHer Cooking Contest earlier this year and was actually one of the winners.  I promise, it's not as hard as you might think and tastes delish, I had two bowls for dinner.

     Iris’s Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
    1 1/2 cups plain flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 cooked chicken breast (bone in) chopped & shredded
    Water (approx. 1/4 cup) Add water a couple of tablespoons at a time until consistency forms a dough ball. Add a bit more water as needed. When dough ball is pliable without being too sticky, time to roll out.
    Cook chicken breast in boiling/simmering water until done. Pull from the bone and chop/shred. Set aside
    Add 2 Knorr’s chicken concentrate stock to 7 cups of boiling water. Simmer until time for the dumplings.
    Flour a flat surface. Press dough ball on surface and begin rolling out with rolling pin. Go from side to side, back and forth until a round circle is formed, pressing down all around to make the edges even and flat. Roll as flat as you can.
    Begin cutting strips on one side of the circle (approx. 3/4″ wide) all the way across the dough circle. Then, cut strips the opposite direction until you have cut through the complete circle and have little rectangles of dough strips ready to cook.
    As chicken stock is simmering, bring to a boil and begin dropping in the dough strips, one at a time until they are all in the pot. Stir them around with a spoon making sure they are not sticking together. Add a bit of the flour that is on your surface, this will thicken up the broth. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down to simmer for around 10-15 minutes. Then add the cooked chicken, simmer another 10 minutes until stock has begun to thicken.
    Serve hot and eat! Enjoy!

    Not much sewing on Saturday due to having to deconstruct the sewing room to get new rods hung, and then having to reassemble again.   But I am way over half way done with the second dress from my Fall Hit List.

    VOGUE 8764

    I'm making the long sleeved version and it's going very well.  All that remains to be done is the hemming.

     Here's to a GREAT week everyone...

    October 10, 2011


    #3 Ponte Roma Knit Cheetah Cowl Neck Sheath - Completed
    After a few interruptions, a trip to the fabric store and two days work on the project I finished my #3 on my Fall Hit List (19 more items to go).  I'm showing a picture of the dress on Lady Faye, but will post it again as soon as I wear it - with temperatures dropping steadily that should be real soon.

    Dark fabric doesn't show very well.  I am pretty satisfied with the finished project.  Now on to clean up the sewing room and then choose another item from the Hit List.  Hope every one enjoyed Columbus Day, I certainly did...

    October 8, 2011


    ...good Fall Saturday morning everyone! Wow, several weeks ago here in Georgia it seemed that Fall would never arrive.  That made transitioning from one sewing season to the other just a little bit difficult and almost frustrating.  But alas, it's here in all of it's glory.

    I know, I know; I'm forever declaring that "I AM A SPRING/SUMMER" type of girl, and Oh, I do love those seasons sooooo much even though I was born very late in Fall.  But, I do so LOVE dressing for Fall.  The colors are nature rich;  all warm and cozy. 

    So, I'm FLIPPING ON OVER INTO FALL and in doing so I have what I call my Fall Hit List.  The Hit List consists of 20 Easy Pieces that I've eyed and drooled over in InStyle Magazine and Etcetera.com.   There will not be a definite color scheme, but it will be filled with MY FAV ponte roma knit, wools, some double knit, denim, and believe it or not corduroy.  20 pieces goal is quite a bit to chew.  The idea of a goal that big would normally stress me right out.  But in this case, I'm placing no pressure or imposing any deadlines on myself, and it will be done in no particular order - I'm just taking it one step at a time.  My Fall Hit List has been added to my sidebar.  I'll be working on it at slow and steady pace - with my main goal being that of Enjoying the Adventure

     First up:  #3 Ponte Roma Knit Cheetah Cowl Neck Sheath 
    Inspiration for this dress is from Etcetera.com's Fall Collection Look #50.  Everything in this line speaks to me so it's not hard to find inspiration here.  And to top it off on last week's trip to Joann's, Ebony helped me spot the exact fabric for this dress on the clearance rack - $7.00 per yard, usually $12.99.  

    I'll be modifying Vogue 8413 - View A (adding longer sleeve) to knock off this dress.

    Last night I worked up a bodice markup primarily to see how low the cowl neckline would fall.  An extremely low neckline would mess up my fabric and frankly make me cry.
    I'm satisfied with the drape of the neckline, but decided to increase the shoulder area 1 inch so that hiding bra straps would not be an issue.  I decreased the ease in the sleeve cap, and added 1 inch to the length of the bodice.  Also took the opportunity to install the invisible zipper for another practice session.  I'll turn front skirt tucks or pleats into darts.

    I've completed my pattern alterations, cut and marked my fabric so now I'm ready to go with this.  Here you will see I used "MY TACKS" rather than tailors tacks, but they work just fine for me.
    Of course I'm excited!  Just brewed a fresh pot of Caramel Truffle Gourmet Coffee.  Think I'll have a cup spiked with Creme Brulee creamer - that ought to speed me up.  I'll need to stop a moment to make up some lunch before I get a headache (Grilled Alaskan Sockeye Salmon marinated in lemon juice w/ a Romaine Salad).   I'll be trying a new Chicken and Dumpling recipe for dinner tonight (more about that later).  I'm thinking about food a lot right now because of course there was no breakfast due to this sewing session was yelling out so loudly for me early this morning....

    October 4, 2011

    I DIDN'T KNOW THAT (3)...

    Today, during my information gathering lunchtime I ran across another tidbit of information that "I DIDN'T KNOW".  It's about sergers, and it gave me a few little AHA moments at lunchtime.

    This picture represents a likeness of the Singer Serger that is on my sewing table.  I'm also blessed to have an alternate Ricar Serger.  Don't tell, but I have the same love/hate affinity for both of them - you know how it goes with sergers - every now and then, they want to have a bad day and drag you right along with it.  Lately; however both are acting like adults, and have been cooperating just fine.  I'm so thankful that I have them; one is always threaded dark and the other light - they both sit on ready all the time.

    I must confess that I do not use either of my sergers to their full potential.  They are usually used for seam finishing to give my garments that interior polished professional quality that I insist on having.  I just haven't had the time to pull my resource books off the shelf to sit down to practice sessions with them.  Well, maybe one day...

    But today (maybe you already knew this, but for the sake of those who don't) I learned the difference in the 4 thread & 3 thread overlock stitch.  I always use the 4 thread overlock stitch and 9 and a half times out of 10 it works just perfectly for seam finishing be it on knits or wovens.
    • I knew that in having both needles threaded, of course this means that all 4 cones are being used simultaneously
    • But, I didn't know that the left needle is 1/4 inch away from the cutting blade
    • I didn't know that the 4 thread overlock produces a strong reinforced stitch perfect for wovens but is o.k. to use on knits as well
    • I didn't know that the 3 thread overlock stitch produces a stretchier stitch
    • or that if I want a narrower stitch to use the right needle vs using the left needle if I need a wider stitch.

    I must give credit to Nancy's new book for this information
     It's a simple book, but contains a lot of information that I DIDN'T KNOW...

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