September 25, 2013

September 22, 2013


...WELL, IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! FALL THAT IS!  I feel so good about having gotten a little bit of a head start on the new sewing season for a change.  I'm four dress up ya'll - isn't that wonderful!
I figured with impeding cooler weather that is bound to get here one day in the future, my new Kay Unger dress, being sleeveless would need a jacket.  So I gave her one.  I've admired Simplicity A1738 since way back in June when I saw Lynne B at Wonderfully Made, and Natelea over at The Fearless Seamstreess also made the jacket way back in March.  I thought how utterly cute and simple.  I rushed right out to WalMart to pick up this 97 cent beauty that had so much possibility as a cool topper for my wardrobe - kinda like a cardigan alternative.

I've put off making this jacket because, well really, I wanted to make it in some beautiful bright popping color, lets say yellow- definitely not in BLACK.  I wanted want it made in pontederoma or some similar knit, but I've searched HIGH AND LOW and cannot find pontederoma in YELLOW!  I've been STUCK on a certain color - paralyzed with making the jacket because I couldn't find the fabric in YELLOW.

BUT my Kay dress needs a jacket for Fall, I had to give in and make her one in BLACK.

Oh well, that's the way the color cookie crumbles.  On a positive note the jacket was so simple to put together and fits real good, I know there will be another one in a BRIGHT color added into my Fall Sewing Lineup (as soon as I can find and choose that special color)...

September 20, 2013


many of us are attracted to designers who appreciate feminine style, and knows how to design for a woman's body - curves, bumps and everything else in between.  I think Kay Unger is such a designer, and I love her esthetic.  I love it so much that I've amassed quite a collection of her patterns....

....but this is the very first one that I ever sewn.
VOGUE 1329

I did make a rough draft muslin of this pattern, because I didn't want to guesstimate the fit.  My muslin revealed that I should have purchased the pattern that included size 14, because it would definitely fit me better through the shoulder and bust area.  But because I didn't want to spring for the $30.00 pattern again even at 40% off, nor wait for the next $3.99 Vogue pattern sale, I decided to go with what I had on hand.  Using the size 16 necessitated:
  • A minor adjustment of the center front - where I removed 3/4" from the dress front and front yoke; 
  • Somehow or another I had to remove a full inch at the center back; which I decreased by sewing a dart like wedge in the back yoke seam;
  • Decreased the side seam with a 1/2" wedge right at the underarm which I have to do quite often for sleeveless knit garments;
  • This dress also afforded full access without a zipper so I didn't use one.
I decided to use off white poly-interlock (that's what Hancock's calls it; the same fabric at Joann's is called Jet Set.) as my lining.   The dress was so easy to make - THANK YOU KAY UNGER!  Although I like a real sewing challenge every now and again, I can still appreciate an easy peazy project.   It's wonderful to end up with a great looking garment that was easy to make - don't you think?  The only slightly trying part of making the dress was understitching the neckline and  armscye - those were pretty tight places.
Back - definitely need to balance my dressform, it always seems crooked in pictures.  Also need to fix her bowed hips that make my dresses look fat. 
This dress will be included in the collage I make of me wearing all my recently made cool weather dresses when the weather changes...

September 18, 2013


... not to take the time to mention just how sad it was to hear the news about Gwen of All My Seams.  I felt that she was truly my friend, although virtual.  I mentioned to her on more than one occasion that I wished I lived next door to her.  She was nice, helpful and often left words of encouragement on my blog posts.  I will forever credit her for helping me alleviate wrinkles on the front of my pants.  What a relief to know just what to do to fix that problem in each and every pair of pants I make.  My pants may not be perfect, but they DO NOT have those front wrinkles.  I feel confident when I wear them - THANK YOU GWEN!

 Gwen was one of my sewing teachers via email.  I had only to email her my question and she would reply back with just the right detailed solution.

I am sure that I am not the only sewing blogger who misses her already... 

September 15, 2013

RECENT TELEPHONE CALL: ringgggg, call from Thomas, Inell. NY...


ME:  Good Morning Mother!

MOTHER:  You do still have all my measurements - right?

ME:  Yes, you just gave them to me again recently, and I have them written in my notebook.

MOTHER:  Good!  I have a request.

ME:  What's that?

MOTHER:  I need you to make me a BRA! A good fitting BRA!

INSERT:  Crickets...


ME:  Don't they still sell them at WalMart?

MOTHER:  The last time I was there I couldn't find my size.

ME:  Well, TRY TARGET!!!! 

MOTHER AND ME:  Lot's of laughter!!!

September 11, 2013


...NEVER SAY NEVER!  Wonder who first coined that phrase?  I really try hard not to say never.  But every now and then something comes up that makes me want to say "I'll never...".   I guess never saying never is like an insurance policy that keeps you from having to eat your own words (which, of course I've had to do on more than one occasion).

But, today someone asked me, "would you ever make a bra?".

And without even thinking I blurted out "NEVER"!  (Not to discourage or diminish those who do - mind you) I really don't think I'll end up eating those words, but it does bring up today's question...

What is it that you would never sew??? 

September 8, 2013


...with Butterick 5554 and surprised myself when it paid off.
Mmmmm, you know that I almost always make muslins, but not this time.  The risk I took was in not making a muslin of this dress.  It took a lot of dickering with myself back and forth to make the decision to forgo a muslin this time.  I did trace and alter the pattern at points I thought would make a better fit, like:
  • Raise the neckline 1 inch
  • Extend the shoulder seams 3/4 inch, that included extending the front and back neck facings
  • Added three inches to the length of the dress
I was sure that I'd have to make adjustments in the princess seam bust area, but was pleasantly surprised when I got perfect fit in that area.  I usually cut 1" side seam allowance (just in case insurance) but not this time.  I used I used interfaced poly-interlock for the facings because I thought self facings would create too much bulk since my dress in made from pontederoma.   Even though I added 3" the dress it was barely long enough for my liking.  So I added a stretch lace hem facing and just barely turned up the hem.  I did not like to look of machine topstitched hems so I opted to hem by hand.   Another surprise was not having to use a zipper, yeahhhh!   Things just worked out, and it's a perfect fit!

Please bear with me in showing my work right now.  Since my dresses are planned for fall/winter wearing I'm displaying them via dressform.  I plan on making a collage later when I do wear the dresses. 
I used black pontederoma for the sleeves and base of the dress, and snow leopard for the center panel for an on trend look, both from my stash.  The dress is unlined.

Choose solid black for the back of the dress.
I am so glad that I have a dressform - for what it's worth, but...

  Dressform:  an apparatus used to display completed apparel.  Truthfully, not very useful for fitting purposes,  although we all think it will be.  Something we feel is a MUST for our sewing rooms.  Mine, when dialed to match my measurements has a big hollow hole for a tummy, and openings on the sides that makes the hips appear larger than they should be (a bow hipped appearance).  A structure that seems to always be in my way no matter where I place it in my tiny sewing room.   Objects placed on said dressform ALWAYS appear larger than they actually are.  WHY IS THAT??? 

This is the third fall/winter dress of my collection, and there may be two or three more coming up....


!!! to receive a telephone call from each of my four grand-children wishing me

especially since I didn't know it was GrandParent's Day! DUH!

Happy GrandParent's Day if you are one...

September 7, 2013

...Debbie Cook (stitchesandseams) posted a set questions on her blog today.  I found them interesting, so of course I participated.  Lynne (yousew,girl) did too and also posted them on her blog - so I'm following their lead here:

1. Do you cut with your fabric RS out or WS out? 
I cut my fabrics WS out, unless cutting on single layers of fabric as directed by the pattern layout and cutting instructions.  OR unless cutting plaids or stripes which I always cut RS out so I can see clearly how to match up.  And as Lynne said, laying out WS out also helps facilitate marking the pattern especially if I'm thread tracing; and it helps identify WS from RS because on some fabrics it's hard to tell.

2. How do you make your pattern markings?
I admit even though snipping into the seam allowance is a quick method of marking I DO NOT LIKE DOING SO.  I always felt that snipping compromised my seam allowance.  I will mark some fabrics via tracing paper/smooth tracing wheel.  I stopped using the serrated wheel because it tears my patterns.  I quite often mark with a highly identifiable contrasting thread sort of tailor's tack.  I usually use RED heavy duty thread, unless my fabric is red (them I'll use white) - makes it real easy to find my markings.   I thread mark right after I finish cutting so then that way it's done and over and I'm ready to move on into construction when ever I'm ready.  I lay out the pattern, cut and mark in one session.  I also use colorful adhesive stickers to mark dots and squares. I know it's frowned upon, but I have been known to use a #2 pencil to mark on occasion.

3. Do you follow the cutting layout in patterns?
Pretty much so, but there are times that I think the layout is a stupid waste of fabric and so I change it to save fabric.

4. Are you obsessed with re-folding your pattern tissue on or very close to the original fold lines?
Are you kidding???  That never works for me.  It seems that the tissue paper grows once you unfold and use it.  It never ever fits back into the envelope the same as it originally came out.  I fold neatly, and if it won't fit, I use the ziplock bag storage method.  I am a stickler for folding and replacing as soon as I am finished with my garments.  I have on occasion lost important pattern pieces - that irritates me to no end.  So I think replacing immediately after finishing a garment has become a good habit for me.

5. I thought of one more ... Do you make all the markings? 
Yep, I transfer all markings.  There are times that I miss one and have to go back to the pattern piece to find where it goes.  I do sometimes have a problem distinguishing between my markings for large dots, small dots, squares or triangles.  What the heck, once I transfer with tailors tacks they are all the same.
Confession:  Go ahead and talk about me (there's no shame in my game) I still actually cut out my notches - the single ones and the double ones.  I got upset when they stopped extending them outside the cutting line, so I just make my own.

I've been in the sewing room the bulk of the day, and something marvelous is unfolding.  Stay tuned...

September 4, 2013


...Contest Announcement: Win 1-year subscription at ELLE Magazine
Enter the contest at by September 15.  Wouldn't it be nice, one free full year of great fashion.

If I don't win...I hope you do!!!!

September 2, 2013

A LITTLE AHEAD OF THE GAME (Missoni-esque Knit Dress)...

...I guess about a year of marination was long enough for this fabric. 

I remember one fall day last year at Hancock Fabrics when my friend Cecil twisted my arm way behind my back to make me buy it to add to my stash.  Of course I tried to resist, saying "no, no, I have far too much fabric stashed already, I just can't possibly buy another piece!".  But the pain was too much to bare - so I had to make the purchase.  You know I'm just kidding about the arm twisting part - right?

I really meant to use this Missoni-esque knit last fall, even though I really didn't know what I'd make from it at the time.  But as with so many other pieces of fabric, it just didn't get sewn last fall.   But this weekend another dress vision popped into my head, and I knew that now was the time to cut into it.

Cecil helped me remember this pattern to make my dress a reality


I first fell in love with the pattern when I saw Candice make it last fall.  Wonderful dress, but I didn't want the maxi.  I wanted a boot length midi with long sleeves, so that's what I made.  This pattern has a gianormous cowl neckline or collar - I LOVE IT TOO!  It's a simple pattern, straight forward, no need to read the instructions.  Confession:  More often than not I read the drawings in the instructions instead.  But I must admit that this has gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion.  This time; however, the drawings were enough. 

I went with a straight 16 and everything worked out just right.  I made only two construction changes:  (1)underlined the body of the dress with poly interlock to negate wearing a slip, and (2)pegged in 2 inches at the side seams from knee to hem.

I predict that weather in my area will not permit wearing the dress until mid-October or even later.  But whenever the time does come I'll be just a little ahead of the game.  My dress will be ready for first chill.  All I have to do is decide...
to belt, or

not to belt, that is the question???

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...