November 30, 2011


...during the Thanksgiving holiday I had visions of whipping up two pencil skirts and another retro knit dress.  Howbeit, I sew much slower in reality than I do in my mind, so I was only able to finish the leopard print pencil skirt and start on the second one.  Thus the name no. 2 pencil.  Love the term and wish I had thought of it, but I'm borrowing it from J.Crew.  I did finish the skirt last night however.

I've had this picture from an old Coldwater Creek  catalog on my inspiration board for a while, and really wanted to create this look. 
I searched my internet fabric sources for a salt and pepper tweed and couldn't fine what I wanted anywhere.  Then I turned to my stash and what to my wandering eyes did appear?, but a reasonable facsimile - I think it was donated by Ebony awhile ago.  The fabric is a wool blend, and the skirt is fully lined.  I used TNT McCall's  3830 view c that I've probably made up 5 or 6 times previously. 

The skirt is easy to make up, only four pattern pieces and it fits like a glove.  The very best thing about finishing a project besides wearing it - is STARTING MY NEXT PROJECT...

November 27, 2011


...sewing gadgets that is.  Are you a sewing gadget person too? I'm always in search of just the right tool to make my sewing work easier and more precise; so when I first laid eyes on this baby - I just knew it had to be mine.

I first saw it mentioned here at the Cupcake Goddess blog (nka A Fashionable Stitch) about a year ago.  As you can see by the label on the box, I was able to pick mine up from B. Black & Sons in NYC.  However, like so many of my "I have to have it" gadgets - never even used it.  UNTIL ... today when trying to straighten the loop-sided hem grain of the skirt I'm currently working on.  RESULTS:  it worked perfectly!
Now I won't have to sweat so hard to get my hem straight.  I certainly need to pull out more of my GADGETS (and use them) to make my work more precise. Lately I've also been using my blind hem foot for hemming - got to convince myself that not every garment has to be hemmed by hand.

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth asked how I appliqued the cardi in my last post.
This cardi was my very first applique project.  I cut out different shaped scrap pieces of the leopard fabric and arranged randomly by pinning on the sweater.  I had to refer to my machine manual to identify the stitch to use, and used another one of my gadgets - an applique foot.  I practiced on a scrap and soon got the hang of stitching around the curves.  The cardi was thrifted for $4.50 so the cost factor made the fact that this was my first project a little less scary.  I see so much creativity over the world wide web I want to try my hand at more of it.

November 26, 2011

GETTING IDEAS OUT OF MY HEAD... the Dress Palooza over and done with?  I think not, but I did put it aside for a moment - just long enough to get an idea out of my head, onto the drawing board and into my reality.  It's actually #9 on my Flipping on Over into Fall Hit List - the leopard print faux suede Jean Skirt.  My inspiration came from a Newport News catalog
I found the exact print at Joann's a while ago and it was now time that I got it made up.  I used Butterick 5649  view c, adding a kick pleat to the center back seam.  Since I hadn't used this pattern before, I made up a quick muslin (using a thrift-ed bed sheet) to check the fit.  I think the fabric I used was a butter suede, and since it was a little drapier than desired for a skirt - decided to use the actual muslin as an underling to give the fabric a little more body.

The skirt is also fully lined, and it fits really good.  View c is a basic straight skirt with a front fly zipper, but I pegged it to get a truer pencil skirt look.

I've wanted to add some embellishment to a cardigan since last fall but never got around to it.   I took the time today to get that idea out of my head by appliqueing some of the skirt's leopard print to a black cardigan.  I also added a little beading to the project to give it more of a jungle feel.

Here's a picture of the whole outfit.

I think the cardigan adds just the right amount of whimsy to the outfit.  I like bringing Cardy to the party...

November 22, 2011


For my latest Palozza Dress I wanted something P & S  (plain and simple).  No frills - not too many details, fast and easy, comfortable - something I'd enjoy wearing and could dress up or down, still keeping with my latest vintage vibe.  But with so many patterns it was hard to make a choice.  There are only 2 downsides to being a patternaholic:
  1. Storage Problems, and
  2. Trying to make a decision about which to use for your next project.
It took me a week to make up my mind, but I finally decided on this vintage pattern.  I struggled with the pattern choice for a while because the fabric I wanted to use was not even close to the patterns suggestion.  I finally just took a deep breath and went with anyway.
The only alterations made to this pattern were to eliminate the belled sleeves, and remove excess ease in the sleeve cap.  I used another cheetah print ponte de roma - this time a royal blue background with black spots purchased at Hancock's cause I fell in love with it.

I am highly satisfied with the fabric choice and the fit - so I'm glad I made the decision.  Here's a picture of my new palooza dress and a closeup of the fabric.

I think I'll wear this one on Thanksgiving Day...

November 13, 2011


I'm still right smack dab in the middle of my All Out Fall Dress Palooza.  I think the party's waning, but I can't be sure of it, so I'm just continuing with the flow.

This Palooza started around Oct. 8th, and I've completed a dress a week since that time.  I did finish one other dress since my last post that I haven't published yet because I was torn about my level of satisfaction with it.  Howbeit, all is not loss - my friend Cecil was here today and helped me work out a few the dresses kinks.  I'll work on the alterations she suggested, re-adjust the back hem and the dress should then be ready to go.

In the meantime it was time to get started on my Mom's Birthday dress because I didn't want to procrastinate - cutting it too close to the deadline.  I emailed her a couple of pattern choices and a picture of the fabric then got right to work on it.  I finished it yesterday!  Mom's dress is made from - you guessed it - ponte de roma, a print this time. 
She chose the Vogue 8764, the same dress I made for myself just a few weeks ago.

I lined the bodice only on this dress too, but this time I also interfaced the V at the neckline.  I did this because the V on my dress was a little droopy.  The interfacing did the trick.  "Mom, rather than mailing I'll send your dress back when Pat comes to visit this weekend!"  Postage adverted.

Now for a little Doll House Delight...

I am such a soup lover - for me it's the ultimate comfort food especially on a rainy fall or winter day.  Mind you, it didn't rain today, I just wanted some soup.  You wouldn't believe it, being the soup lover that I am,  the only soups I ever make are vegetable beef or my good old standby tomato/rice soup.  I did make chicken noodle soup a very long time ago - once when my daughter was a little girl sick with a cold.

I've been eying this recipe for more than several years, it sounded so good, but I guess I was scared to step out of my comfort zone to try something new.  Well, today was the day.  I'm having French Style Chicken Soup with 5 Cheese Texas Toast for dinner.
It took about 30 minutes to prep with an hour cooking time.  You know that I've been tasting along the way (what good cook doesn't?).  And all my fears have flown the coop because this soup is a hit!

Here's the recipe just in case you're a Soup lover too:
French Style Chicken Soup
(serves 8)
2 1/2 pounds Chicken, cut up into serving pieces
(I used three drumsticks and 6 drumettes)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green pepper, sliced into strips
2 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 cloves garlic, finely chipped
1 can (16oz.) diced tomatoes
1 (4.5oz) jar whole mushrooms, drained
1 can (10 1/4oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup apple juice
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Brown chicken on all sides in olive oil.  Remove from pan.
Saute onion, garlic and green pepper in olive oil just until tender.
Return chicken to pan with vegetables.  Add all other ingredients to chicken/vegetable mixture, bring to a slow boil.  Reduce heat considerably, cover and simmer one hour.


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...