Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from Maggie & Me!

I wanted to squeeze in one last post to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Maggie is wearing one of the few RTW cocktail dresses left in my closet...which is okay...she doesn't get to go to the party, anyway. I'm wearing V1314 which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE:

This gunmetal gray is totally not my color but it beat boring black and it has a cool snakeskin pattern on it when you look closely. What I love about this pattern? The ruching on the side:

I used my ruffler attachment set at every 6th stitch with a wide pleat and it was perfect. Looks great from the front:

And not bad from the back! Full Pattern Review here.

Thanks to all who've followed and supported my sewing adventures this year. It has been wonderful getting to know you virtually and, I believe, a time will come when we really will get to meet!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Workout, anyone?

For any of you out there that work out on a regular basis, you know how hard it is to find cute workout clothes that don't seem like just smaller sized men's garments. Even lululemon's offerings aren't very feminine. Not to mention how expensive good workout clothes are...
I thought how cute it would be to add something "girlie" to my workout repertoire...and since I just finished making Macphee Sewing Workshop's "Looking Good" jacket, I thought it would be the perfect little topper (yes, Pauline, topper equates to cardi...) to add some spice to my workout wardrobe. I left off the second layer of ruffles on this prototype version:


To make it more "workout friendly", I added pockets and drafted a pattern piece so that it curved along the lines of the lower front where the ruffle attaches:

Then, I took some of the detail elements I like from my favorite jackets, like a sleeve pocket for my phone/tunes:

And a little inside "porthole" for my cord if I want my phone in my front pocket:

Here is a close-up of that detail which is just a piece of stabilized grosgrain ribbon (orange, of course!) with a buttonhole:

And voila, a cute workout jacket that is a little bit different from the Nike and lululemon stuff I usually see around my club! Thanks for visiting...if interested, here is my Pattern Review.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sassy Little Topper

I fell in love with this little jacket the first time I saw it. It is designed by Linda MacPhee in Canada and called the Looking Good Jacket/Vest. Wow...does it have design potential. I can see myself making a few more of these. It is sized for a knit and of course I didn't notice that until my reversible woven was cut out. Luckily, the small medium fits me just fine and my heavy cotton fabric has a bit of spandex in it. It will be cute in a sweater knit and I want to try it that way.
It's cute belted, too:

Check out my complete review here for more info on this great little pattern. Give yourself a girly lift and treat yourself to some ruffles!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Official Acceptance Speech

I just returned from a trip and found this surprise in my inbox. My adorable friend from down under, Anne, who pens Cherry Pix: Sewing Pix, nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger/One Lovely Blog award. I feel like I've won an Oscar!
I love being an inspiration to others and there are SO many of you out there that are an inspiration to me. Isn't that what it's all about? Inspiring, encouraging, motivating and supporting each other? How incredibly blessed we are to have an instant gratification venue like the internet to connect with our sewing buddies around the world.

In keeping with tradition I will pass this honor on to several of my favorite bloggers that are an inspiration to me. Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Add The One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees (or a few less if you are short on time)
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blogs.
So, here are 7 things about me that you would have no way of knowing:
1. I used to sing professionally. (Don't be too Mostly weddings and funerals.)
2. Dr. Drew's show occasionally calls me to ask questions on air. (Proves how dysfunctional I really am.)
3. I have a secret crush on Charles Krauthammer. (He is SO smart.)
4. I am the youngest of 4 girls.
5. My dad used to take us on survival training camp-outs as kids. (Poor guy really wanted boys.)
6. I've testified in front of a Grand Jury (I guess I didn't do too well, the poor sap went to Club Fed.)
7. I hate watermelon. (I know, I's so un-American.)
And now...the envelopes please! I would like to pass the love on to the following blogs:
As I Sew It Okay, any woman that owns a tractor, loves it, and names it Fergie is a winner in my book. Teri has a laid back style and I love to see her casual creations.
Aventuras de Costuras In my next life I want to come back as Merche. She has such radiant natural beauty and her personality sounds just adorable. Take a look at her blog and see the casual elegance she pulls together with her creations.
Claire Sews Claire. What can I possibly say about the woman that invented the SA Curve? Okay, to imagine it is one thing. But to actually follow through with the design and manufacturing of it and then market it? I'm just saying...she is my heroine. (Is the kind you shoot spelled differently?) She is right down the road from me out west and one of these days we're going to meet!
Ilove2sew! How cute is Sue Parrot? She is always such a great supporter on PR and her projects are always so artistic and creative. Check her out if you haven't already done so...
Now Sewing Martha and I bonded recently over a story she chronicled on her blog. My only regret is that I did not know her when I lived in Atlanta. But we know each other now! Check out her beautiful shirts...her detail is unbelievable.
P's Thrifty Sewing Blog Pauline is truly my sewing sister. We were fortunate to meet when she was in Houston and spent a fabulous evening together. Hopefully, more to come soon. This girl has a lot on her plate. She is getting married next year and not only is she making her dress and all the bridesmaids dresses, I believe she has signed on to make the men's suits and possibly all of the uniforms of the wait staff. I've never seen anyone like her!
Simple Inspirations Do you know Myra? I know many of you do from PR. She is always an inspiration...just check out the gorgeous lace peplum she recently created!
Congratulations to all of my other blogging buds that have already joined the esteemed alumus of this coveted award...enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Cowl to Covet

Sometimes the jury can be out for me on whether a cowl sits comfortably and doesn't feel like it needs to be fiddled with or constantly adjusted. Not so with Vogue 1197. This is the deepest cowl I've found and the weight of it creates the perfect drape. Combine this pattern with a nice, heavy knit and it is a joy to wear. I found this beautiful houndstooth Ponte at Gorgeous Fabrics.
I love this pattern and I think it could easily be passed by because the pattern envelope does not do it justice. To fully appreciate it have a look at the line drawing:

I love EVERYTHING about this tunic. Especially the cowl:

And the sleeves:

My Pattern Review and some other close up pics and comments are here. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Anticipating Santa

My mom used to give us new robes and jammies most every Christmas. It was the one gift we got to open on Christmas Eve. In retrospect, the idea there was probably so we would look cute for the Christmas morning photos. No was always so exciting to me to go to sleep on Christmas Eve in my new nightie with visions of sugarplums in my head.
My niece is getting her first American Girl doll this Christmas. I already had the idea to make her and her brother Christmas Eve robes and then decided how fun it would be for her doll to have a matching robe under the tree the next morning. How did Santa know?? And Joann's had their flannel on sale for 75% off so how could I possibly resist?
I won't review the doll pattern but it is B3329. Did it take  2 hours from start to finish? Maybe...but it was two hours of sheer joy and happy memories.
Olivia's robe is B5724 and is reviewed here if you have any little ones to surprise.
May all your sewing projects produce visions of sugarplums!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Defying Frumpy

This is the cardigan from the Kwik Sew 2948 twinset. There were comments on some of the Pattern Reviews about this sweater set being frumpy and only to be worn by women of a certain age. Well, I'm pretty sure I qualify for the age bracket but I certainly don't see how something as basic as a wardrobe-building sweater set could be considered "frumpy".  Please feel free to clue me in if I am out of touch with what's "in"!
I finally found this out-of-print Kwik Sew on EBay, advertised as new and unopened. Sadly, it only contained the cardigan, not the shell, and the seller hastened to return my money. No worries on that, though, because I love any opportunity to use my favorite Vogue 1141 and it paired perfectly with the cardigan:

I used a yummy milk chocolate knit called "Opening Ceremony" from High Fashion and found some adorable wooden buttons:
I stitched with satin embroidery thread over topstitching thread to make corded buttonholes:
I love my new sweater set. Go me frumpy. I'll wear it proudly!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Make It Yours!

Vogue 8793 by Katherine Tilton is a blank canvas with unlimited design potential. It's a fun tee shirt-type top that could go a little bit dressier, if needed. I wasn't in High Fashion more than 5 minutes when I spotted this striped knit with all my favorite colors in it.  The rest was easy!
What looks like piping on the collar is actually a zipper! Cute way to incorporate a fun detail. I used a sport zipper to add a little more girth since my knits were on the heavy side:
A fun sew if you're looking for something a little bit different. I might make it again without all the distraction of the different fabrics. See my complete Pattern Review here if you'd like more information on the pattern itself.
If I'm not back before next week I wish all of my friends in the states a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fixin' to SWAP!

Newsflash! I'm about to delve into the world of Sewing With A Plan and have joined with others to do the Artisan's Square SWAP2013. It officially begins December 26th and ends April 30, 2013. So, still plenty of time to join, plan and sew.
I happened on to this idea when reading about it on BeaJay's blog On the Road to Sew Wear. Check out her great ideas and plan so far.
Basically, the idea is to make two 4 or 5 piece collections, with a single other bridge garment that can be worn with both capsules. There are other rules, but not too many. You are allowed to start with one garment you already own, either sewn or purchased. I believe I will incorporate my new "across the border" top since it has all my favorite warm colors in it. For the other capsule I might bring in my cool palette colors like teal and turquoise. The bridge garment? It almost has to be a jacket in order to be worn with everything. Such problems to solve... I love it!!!
I think it will be so much fun and I'll end up with 8 to 10 new garments. ! I'm going to be sewing anyway so may as well have camaraderie and a mini-wardrobe, to boot!
I'll be posting my progress here and on Pattern Review so stay tuned!
Is anyone up for joining me on this odyssey?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I Learned Across the Border

I had more fun with this project than I've had in quite a while. Although Vogue 8390 is a simple design and an easy sew, it was the use of a border print that took it up a notch from a basic wardrobe builder to a one-of-a-kind, boutique-chic standout. At least that's what I was told countless times yesterday when I wore it!
When I spotted this fabulous ITY knit at High Fashion here in Houston I was immediately thrown into auto-swoon. It had every element that appealed to my senses, warm earth tones, some animal print but with a twist, a lot of artistic contrast, high energy but at the same time soothing and the most important ingredient that dropped the brick on the gotta-have side of the scale...a pop of orange.
I spent a good bit of time playing with the positioning of my pattern pieces. The print coming up from the border was different on each selvage edge so it gave me a lot of possibilities. You can see that the back, with the exception of the border, almost seems like a companion fabric from a different bolt:

So, what was the take-away message I learned from making this top? I need to take more risks with my sewing projects and elevate the "oomph factor" of my finished garments. I think the perfect mix can be achieved between a garment that is edgy.. but still classy. Cledgy? You heard it here first.
A long time ago one of my sister's gave me the ultimate compliment about one of my projects. She said, "that's the kind of thing...that when you die...people fight over." I want to sew those kinds of things!
Thanks for stopping by and here's hoping all your days are only sew-sew...
P.S. if you'd like to read my Pattern Review of this top you can find the link to the right in the "Hot Off My Bernina" box.

Friday, November 2, 2012

We Need a Cold Snap!


This is Vogue 8795 and it was SO much fun. Great pattern that lends itself to a lot of creativity. My pea brain cannot process the color brown without trying to finagle a way to get orange next to it so...I serged my seams in orange as a decorative element and also decorated the zipper tape with a pop of it.

I gave kudos to Sew4Fun on my PR for doing all the fitting on this for me. I so wish I was like her...tracing my patterns and making beautiful new pieces with all of my changes noted and alterations incorporated within the new pattern piece. Sadly, I didn't come into this world with that gene. I'm more of a "start drawing with a Sharpie then go at it with my rotary cutter" sort of girl. I'm learning to embrace that trait. Anyway, we both arrive at the result we want so...
Back the collar!

Here is a close up of the double zig-zag stitching on the zipper tape and the serged edges in what else? Orange!

Thanks for stopping in...have a great weekend and if you haven't already done so...VOTE!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Skinny Legged Jeans on Halloween

The inspiration for this pair of Jalie's was Style Arc's adorable Sandra jean with the narrow legs. I actually had the pattern in my cart ready to order from Chloe but, as I usually do when on her site, I got stuck in the "no" position seeing that the shipping costs as much as the pattern. Plus, I probably have a similar pattern in my stash or one that is more easily obtainable. I love Style Arc's patterns but I knew I could modify my Jalie pattern to look exactly the same.
I did a Pattern Review on this project mostly focusing on the fact that I used a NON, and I mean NON-stretch fabric...cotton duck, which has about as much give as heavy canvas. But it washes well, comes in a ton of cute colors and it doesn't fade.
I used an Asian-inspired quilting cotton from my stash for the pockets, waistband and fly shield because I love for the inside to be as cute as the outside:

And, here are my signature pockets, including my orange tab in homage to having been raised on Levi's:

I love my new jeans! I enjoy wearing them, plan to make more, and would be happy to mentor anyone out there who feels too intimidated to plunge into the world of jean making. When you conquer a pair of jeans, you feel like you can conquer the world!!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope all your days are only sew-sew!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eggplant and Ochre

I've always loved these two colors together and there is something about these opposites on the color wheel that just shouts "Fall is in the air". My yellow ochre tights don't show up very well in the photo for some reason, they are more striking in person. And I am completely in love with McCall's 6163! Easy, stylish, form-fitting and a great faux-wrap for any season. I foresee many more versions of this dress in my closet. 
I pretty much sewed this one straight out of the envelope, sans the side zipper. No design changes and only a couple of my preferred techniques thrown in. Those are talked about in my Pattern Review here. 
Thanks for stopping by!...To any of you on the east coast, stay high and dry from Sandy. And here's hoping most days are only sew-sew!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Fab 5 Collection

One of my sewing goals for this year was to find an assortment of tee and knit top patterns that I could make mine by tweaking the fit, simplifying the directions, making a note of serger settings, etc. and generally have everything in place so I could quickly churn one out.
I'm very happy with the tops that made it to the short list. For the most part, they are basic patterns that include several different neckline and sleeve variations, further expanding my choices. The views above are geared a bit towards fall hence the longer sleeves.
With the exception of V8536 all of these patterns are still in print. I reviewed each of these on Pattern Review and several of them are in earlier blog posts, but my PR friend  BeaJay suggested I post them collectively and so here they are.
Also, I keep a little journal of all my sewing projects and take it with me whenever I shop for fabric. (Actually, I keep it with me all the time, you never know when you''ll have to pull over for an emergency fabric fix, right?) I record the pattern number, a thumbnail of the view or view(s) I've made or might like to make in the future, a swatch of the fabric used that contains a serged edge and what those serger settings were, the fabric requirements, etc. This method is really handy when I want fabric for another or need a swatch for a companion garment. Here is a typical page:
If you love tees and knit tops and haven't tried any of these I hope you are inspired to...before long you will have you own favorite collection.
And don't be surprised if you see a Sensational 6 posting one of these days!
Thanks for stopping in and here's hoping your day is only sew-sew!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't Judge a Pattern by its Cover!

I'm in LOVE and who knew where it would be hiding?

V1141 is out of print, BUT still on Vogue's website AND a PR friend told me that occasionally their OOP's go on sale for $1.99!! I was able to snag this from a friend but you may want to watch for it for a buck 99!

Part of the stuffy ensemble below is this adorable knit top that will absolutely become my new T-N-TEE. I want to make one out of every color in my palette! I love it and everything about it. Little cap sleeve, forward shoulder with pleats, a little gathering at bust level both front and back, beautiful neckline...I simply love every aspect of the LOOK and the FIT is even better!

Seriously...who could look past all this wool to even notice this darling top?? Thankfully, I was able to stop dressing like this back in the 80's:

I have paired it with a sarong skirt from Butterick 4526 which is actually a bathing suit cover up that I stitched up the side to secure the wrap and was made from a 1 yard remnant of ITY knit. This is your basic 2 hour wonder...30 minutes for the skirt and an hour and a half for the top! Rotary cutter and serger...boom! brutally honest. Does this outfit look like it would guess $5.00...$7 on the high side?

My next order of business, after laminating with fusible interfacing to preserve it forever, is to draft a sleeve for my new T-N-TEE so it will be ready for fall.  Already bought the fabric for it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Forever in Blue Jeans

When I was growing up not only were Levi's the only jeans available, they were MEN'S Levi's. Women's jeans were yet to be a glimmer in Gloria Vanderbilt's eye.

Levi's were sized by hip (actually men's waist size) and length.  There was a little leather tag at the waist that had your size on it for everyone to see. My size was 30-30. Why do I remember these things?

I recently told my sister I want to be buried in my favorite jeans. Morbid? I don't think so...I just want to be comfortable on the ride home!

I made Jalie 2908 and I finally understand what all the hype is about. Making your own awesome fitting jeans is pretty darn cool. This pattern has been reviewed to death so I won't bore everyone with that and will simply brag on my accomplishment and post some pics. Making your own jeans really does make you feel smart! And accomplished. I was intimidated by the whole process but took Jennifer Stern's Blueprint to Blue Jeans class on Pattern Review and taking it bit by bit it was actually very simple.

Side view and fit

Pocket stitching copied from favorite Jag jeans. Of course, I HAD to add something orange on the outside so this will be my signature "Levi's" tag!
Oak leaf brass button and inside waistband. Rivets will arrive tomorrow!

Inside pockets and fly shield...Swiss cotton (yum!)

I only have one potentially valuable tip I posted on my PR regarding fly zipper construction that might be helpful if you plan to make a pair. I'll be making MANY more!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Luxurious Stretch Silk Georgette

What a treat to sew on this beautiful stretch silk I got from Roz at Sew Much Fabric! I simply love this Burda wrap top and know it will become a repeater. March 2012 issue top number #121A.

Cute as pie and twice as easy! I did double the length of the tie ends...I had enough fabric and I wanted them to wrap around several times. This is a tiny little top...I won't be wearing it without a cami!

More details on Pattern Review.