March 31, 2013



... I've finished my second top.  Took me two days because I had to switch patterns.  I started making a wearable muslin of New Look 6150.  So glad I made a muslin, because as I thought, I did have a problem with View B gaping in the front.  Modifications will need to be made when I try that pattern again.  I switched to a pattern that I had made last summer - Simplicity 1916 View F.  The top made from this pattern summer was a winner for me, so I decided to give it another try. 

Even though I'd made the pattern  successfully before, I still went to Pattern Review to see what others  thought about it - and I'm glad that I did.  I found the same top made  by Aleah from No Time to Sew and loved the modifications she  made to it.  I followed her example because I didn't want this years version to look exactly like last years.  The only thing different is I didn't have enough fabric to do the short sleeves - but that's ok, I still love it.

You can't see the twist band on the front but it's there.

I love jersey knit and choose this print mainly because of the medium blue color in the print.  I have fabric to match for pants that I'll make later on.  I might make this top again in a cotton knit and add the short sleeve next time.

Hope everyone had a Wonderful Easter, enjoying it with family, friends and a great Easter meal.

March 30, 2013


...the week seems to have flown by didn't it.  In an effort to keep up finished projects, I visited blogs of  EACH SAL participants this morning, and found six lovely new Spring tops that have been completed. Pictures of these tops have been added to the SAL lineup and can be view by clicking above.   If I happen to post a picture that the maker wasn't ready for me to post - please send me a replacement picture and I will gladly change it. the meantime, if you finish a top please email me to let me know so your top can be added to the lineup.  Including a picture and pattern number will help.

...sewing has been a slow go for me.  I just can't manage to work any night sewing in.  Weekend sewing is working better for me right now.  I cut out New Look 6150 on Monday because I wanted to sew up a few knit tops during the SAL.
I can't make up my mind between view B or sleeveless view C.  We'll see.  I'm not sure about  getting a proper fit  with a surplice top so it doesn't gap - it can sometimes be tricky for me.  I'm working on a wearable muslin right now because I didn't want to gamble with the  jersey knit that I've choosen.

Happy Resurrection Day to everyone near and far...

March 24, 2013


 WOW!  The 2013 Essential Tops Sew-a-long seems to have grown overnight. At last count there are 52 participants (if I've counted correctly).   I had planned a grande finale to showcase all the finished projects, but on second thought  I 've add an additional blog page as a place to upload  pictures as they come in.   I think this will help me keep a more accurate account of finished projects.  

Since I'm experimenting with adding new pages, I've also added a page that lists all of the sew-a-long participants.  You can view either or both pages by clicking on the tabs above.  I can't wait to see the pictures of all the finished tops on one page.

Please be sure to notify me as you finish your tops!!! 
Once again thanks to EVERYBODY for joining in.  I'll be checking all blogs as time permits this week, but need your help to keep track of all the tops.
 Please email all pictures of finished tops to me at:

..what more is there to be said about Vogue 8815?   This is my 5th time using it.   I've turned this pattern every which way but loose.  Nothing like a TNT to get the ball rolling for me.    The pattern has already been altered so it was a snap to put together.  Well with the exception of the invisible zipper.  I'd not had the problem matching the bodice of  the other four tops, but for some reason this time I did.  I finally called it quits last night and just went to bed leaving the zipper for yet another day.

I made two minor adjustments when I first made this pattern last summer: 
  • the original pattern had too much fullness across my upper chest.  That was solved with Smoking Needles suggestion to  making a horizontal dart all the way across and tapering to nothing at the armhole.  To compensate for this adjustment the same amount had to be added to the bottom of the bodice.
  • Secondly, the original pattern front neckline was much to high for me, making it a "choke top".  I altered this by cutting (scooping out) away 1" at the center front fold and tapering to nothing further up the neckline.
Now I think the pattern fits me perfectly.   There are many other peplum top patterns available and I do plan on trying one of them (yes, there are other peplum tops in my future)  I do love this one.

 The mystery fabric is a cute floral print in black and white.  The top of course offers several no brainer outfit options  - (paired with black or white pants, or a black or white skirt).  Except there's no white skirt in my closet.  Note to self:  make a white skirt.

What's next for me, mmmmmmmm, I'm really not sure.  I think I want the next essential top made from a knit.  Nothing like a great knit top and it's been a while since I've made one so we will see.

March 23, 2013


I am so excited to HOST the annual top sew-a-long again!  But what makes me even more excited is the number of  bloggers who think this simple, no pressure idea is worth tagging along with.  Earlier in the week I posted "thank yous" on many of your individual blogs.  But as the week progressed I got more and more busy and didn't have time to finish.  So this morning I'm sending  A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all who have joined this years edition of my Spring Top Sew-a-long.  I can almost GUARANTEE that you won't be sorry you joined up once those nice colorful spring tops have taken their rightful place in your closets!

I've tried to link to each participant's blog below and hope that I haven't missed anyone.  If I did miss you, or the link to your blog is broken, please let me know. BeckyMc and Lise  - it's so nice to have you join up too - just email me your finished top(s) pictures and I will upload in the Grand Finale next weekend.
(NOTE:  if anyone else is interested in joining, you can just let me know by commenting in this post and leaving your blog url).

Kayotic Sewing
Adelaide B -
Peggy -
Lucy -
Karen -
Lynne -
Barbara -
Jackie -
Patty -
Audrey -
Helen -
Claire S. -
Necie -
Lisa -
Melanie -
Alethia -
Mrs. Smith -
Chris -
Merche -

Linda -
Tanya -  Eating Pins
Far -
GMarie -
Towanda -
Debbie -
Shannon -
Sarah Liz -
Marguerite -
SewBlessedMaw -
LynneB -
Linda in Calif. -
Coco -
Diya -
Julie G -
Regina Gee -
Myra -
Judith -
Sara Perez
Andrea -
Nana -

Quite an impressive group of participants, wouldn't you agree!  I just love that blogging puts me in touch with people with like interests from ALL OVER MY COUNTRY AND THE WHOLE WORLD!  Makes me feel so international.

That being said, the forecast predicts a RAINY DAY for me here in GEORGIA, and since the weekend and spring have officially begun, LET'S GET THIS SEW-A-LONG STARTED...

March 17, 2013


To borrow Phadra's words, "Everybody knows" how I feel about TOPS.  They are:
  • such an easy way to add some excitement and color to existing wardrobe pieces
  • easy to make (most times)
  • a great way to wake up sleepy sewing motivation
So since SPRING officially arrives this week, what a great time to announce the

Yeah me!  I made my first real blog button!
I know you already have some styles in mind, and I do so hope you'll join me for this years top sew-a-long.  It's been so much fun in the past with a great number of tops being born into the world.

Here's the particulars if you think you can join up:
  • The sew-a-long will start next Sunday and run for two weeks (March 24th through April 7th)
  • Any style top will qualify (sewing pattern of your choice, self-draft or refashion)
  • You can even participate if you don't have a blog, just email me your pictures and I will display.  
 What you need to do to sign up and participate:
  • Leave a comment on this post indicating that you'd like to participate
  • Include your blog url
  • Post the 2013 Top Sew-A-Long button on your blog that links back to my blog if possible. 
  • NOTE:  I will no longer be able to open  separate blogs for sew-a-longs due to Google picture storage limitations.   Instead I ask that you notify  me (by a comment here on my blog, or by email) when your finished top is posted, and I will add your pictures to the grande finale at the end of the sew-along. My email address is listed on the sidebar if needed. 
   So come one, come all!  Let's put some of those Pantone Spring colors in our closets...

March 14, 2013


...does that mean that my blog's dashboard will also be shut down???

It took a long time for me to understand "What an RSS Feed was".  To be truthful, there is still a lot  I don't understand about it.  When I  discovered  my blogs "DASHBOARD", it was instant love.  Being an avid blog reader - the dashboard is a huge time saver.  It let's me know which of my favorite bloggers have posted - so if it doesn't show up on my dashboard, I don't have to check in on them = time saved.

The question I need to ask is "if Google Reader is shut down on July 1st" will I still have use of my blog's DASHBOARD????

Dashboard will only allow you to follow 300 blogs.  (I know - sounds like a lot, but all 300 bloggers don't post every day or even every week).  I'm just getting use to Bloglovin, does it limit the number of blogs you can follow too???

March 13, 2013


...can anyone tell me why the right needle of my serger WILL NOT stay threaded??? 
  • The thread is not breaking; and
  • I've changed the needle.
Guess I need to pull out a manual - huh???

March 11, 2013


...after spending an entire month on my last project, guess you could say  I'm twix and between projects right now.  It's that awkward stage that visits every once and a while.  You know, wanna sew,  can't sew, don't really know what to sew - all of that.   But you know me - I'll force it.

I'm still excited about the Pantone Spring Colors though, and do plan to incorporate as many of them into my upcoming "SUMMER BREEZE" spring/summer wardrobe as possible.  I'm planning a few tank tops to pair with bright colored skinny leg trouser style pants.  So on Friday I went out looking for some tank  fabrics.  Wanted something silky feeling, not transparent, with adequate drape that won't stick to me when the temperature soar in just a couple of months. The only thing I was able to find locally that sort of fit the bill was peachskin.  Not exactly what I wanted, but it will do until I find a suitable alternative.

I found the Monaco blue and African violet, but was unable to find anything in emerald or nectarine.

I also picked up my favorite shade of green - that I call army, and it will become a tank top as well.

While lurking around  I found a nice inspiration tank on  Lula Louise's blog,  I loved the curved baseball tee hem detail that she added to Simplicity 2599.  It's a simple, easy breezy top - just what I want.  I love simple pieces that you can get lots of wear out of.

This weekend I made my seasonal trek out for some "snoop shopping".  WOW!, the Easter Bunny or somebody splashed paint all over Belks.  I got SO EXCITED!  If this department store is any indication - basically any and everything goes this spring.  Every color, every print, every style.  So if you're wondering what to do with crazy prints, patterns and colors that have somehow wandered into your stash - you can definitely use them this spring.

Had I been doing "Real Shopping", I probably would have spent $3,000 on this trek.  But of course I  was only "play shopping"  all the while telling myself - "I can make this", or "I have a pattern just like this".

Glad I don't have to pay $45 for an infinity scarf

 The trip was lots of fun though, and I did get lots of sewing inspiration ideas...

March 3, 2013


...there are many books on my "Sewing Reference Wish List".  Some of them I just can't afford to get right now.  But my new library addition was very affordable especially since I saved my Amazon Gift Card birthday present just for this purchase.  I'd known for months that the new Claire Shaeffer Tailoring Techniques book was slated for release in mid February and felt that since I have a real interest in tailoring it was a must have.

I like the way the book is set up.  Like all of Shaeffer's books it is an easy read - meaning I really understand what it's saying.  The techniques are not complicated, and I can use them right off the bat to enhance the skills that I already have, as well as add new ammunition to my repertoire. There is just something about a tailored jacket or coat - it just wears better, lasts longer, and ends up being a piece that you really love.  (Maybe because of all the woman hours you put into it - huh Claire.)

Information is easy to find in this book so I won't have to have a hundred post it notes sticking out of it.  It's chapters are specific rather than having the information spread all over the place.  The chapters are:
  • Tailoring Techniques for Buttonholes
  • Tailoring Techniques for Patch Pockets
  • Tailoring Techniques for Interfaced Hems
  • Tailoring Techniques for Darts and Sleeves
  • Tailoring Techniques for Trousers
  • Characteristics of Couture Construction
Bam, that's it, plain and simple.  It also comes with a companion DVD which I haven't had time to review but will be getting to soon. I know I'll be pulling it from the shelf quite regularly which is the sign of a GOOD reference book. Now I really need to get her Fabric book which I've been too cheap to buy.  Maybe I can find a good used one on Ebay or Amazon.  Claire Shaeffer is world renown couturier, but I think I'm attracted to her work because I read some where that she was born and raised in Albany, Georgia.  Got to support your home girls.  Claire, you can mail my check to Warner Robins, Georgia in payment of this great book review...

I just love "THE REPORT"...

...yesterday I took a minute out to relax and finally got around to reading Pantone's full Spring 2013 Report.  Don't you just love it!   If you haven read it yet you can link in here for a peek.  I have ventured out of my basic black/brown wardrobe shell by adding bits of color here and there, but for spring this year I want to make sure I have color POP, POP, POPPING up all over my closet.
Here's a picture of all the new colors with Emerald Green as the top pick:
 I like how these designers  answered the question:  WHY IS FASHION IMPORTANT???
Tracy Reese
Fashion is a reflection of one’s self. When you are
wearing something that makes you feel comfortable
and confident, you can take on the world!
NAHM by Alexandria Hilfiger and Nary Manivong
Fashion is an outward reflection of
yourself to the world — it empowers you.
Peter Som
Fashion matters because it’s a form of self-expression
that provides a moment in the day for one to dream.
A little time to dream is OK — the world has
enough challenges to keep us pretty busy.
I  want to have some real fun with this whole color thing this season.  Designers all had ideas on how to incorporate the spring colors into our wardrobes and suggested "must have items".  My favorites were:
Custo Barcelona Colorful and print tees (I'm thinking tanks)
Cynthia Steffe by Suwha Hong - Ladylike, embellished, ponte sheath in cool mint
Tommy Hilfiger - Red and Blue nautical print - an A-line silk dress the perfect spring wardrobe staple
Tracy Reese - The key word is "easy" - easy pieces that fall away from the body with a totally relaxed feeling to incorporate the mood of the season
Wes Gordon - a wild pair of novelty pants that can be dressed up or down

I'm planning on starting with colorful and print tanks to mix and match with existing pieces as well as those yet to come.  I'll be looking for "easy"  colorful fabrics to make easy pieces.... ANY SUGGESTIONS???
All of this talk about Spring and Color and I do declare, yesterday had to have been the coldest day of our winter season.  Shoot, maybe I need to make another coat....

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

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