Sunday, February 28, 2010

Choir Sundays 2010 #5

February colors: Black and White

Since this *is* the last Sunday for black and white, and I hadn't worn either of my recent black-and-white creations, I thought I ought to wear ONE of them, anyway. Since I wore the striped top to work this week, the choir winner was Jalie 2682, from a yummy knit I got from Gorgeous Fabrics a little over a year ago...I *think* she called it 'Fireworks'. I'm wearing it with the regular ol' cotton twill Vogue 7881 pants...just a basic top/pants combo, but it worked!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

12 Weeks of Gorgeous Fabrics: Week 3

The third piece of the double twinset: the Jalie 2566 cardigan. I had problems w/the buttonholes; the clutch in my sewing machine is slipping or something and I had to unpick the first buttonhole twice before I got it to work properly. Time to see the Sewing Machine Doctor, I think!

I'll try to get photos of these three pieces on me instead of on the hanger in the next couple of days.

Meantime, I've cut out two garments from the green knit I got from Ann at the end of December...a Jalie 965 tank (again!) and the Jalie 2682 (the v-neck empire waist top), with short sleeves from the classic Jalie 2005 t-shirt pattern.

I hope I have some green thread... ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

"She Wore the Dress, And I Stayed Home!"

Yeah, I know, it's about sisters, not moms/daughters, but it applies.

I guess after last year's dress success, I might've been just a pinch cocky about sewing up this year's dress.

It took more tries than I anticipated to get the fit acceptable. So I was later than I wanted to be when I actually started sewing the dress, but I thought I still had time. It really wasn't that difficult of a dress, and I already had the lining done.

Things started deteriorating this morning when I pressed the assembled front of the dress (I'd sewn the front and side fronts together) and discovered that the crease from the fold on the bolt wasn't just a was a fade line. And the crease wasn't right on the center of the fabric, so the pink line was off center. Couldn't cover it up with trim.

Fortunately, I'd cut the dress with a 'without nap' layout, so I had some extra fabric. Thought I'd make a sharp little shell top out of the remnant...but I cut a second center front piece from it instead, took the front assembly apart and replaced it.

Then I made a bone headed boo-boo on the boning and put it in with the natural curve going the wrong way on 5 out of 6 of them (I caught my error as I was getting ready to sew in the last one). I used Rigilene, which I sewed directly to the lining, so I had to take all those out and redo them.

The facing wanted to roll to the outside, even after understitching. So I hand picked it all along the top. I'd put some loopy silver trim along the top edge, so the pick stitching was well hidden.

I made another bone-headed boo-boo sewing the lining into the jacket...had to redo the sleeve/sleeve lining seam. In both sleeves.

And The Flute Player is simply not well enough endowed to hold up a strapless dress. So I ended up adding clear elastic straps. She wasn't terribly pleased with that, but, well, it was way better than the possible alternatives.

I started sewing this morning, never got a shower, never ate lunch, and was working on the jacket when My Sweet Baboo got home from work and informed me that the event actually started at 6:30 tonight, not 7, as I had written on the calendar.

Once I admitted to myself that there was Simply No Way I was going to be ready in time to go, the stress eased considerably.

But I spent a lot of mental energy fussing to myself all day today that it was really silly of me to have undertaken this project at all; she's going to outgrow the dress very soon...probably before she even gets to wear it again.

What was I thinking????

Oh, well, she's out the door and enjoying the awards dinner w/her brother and her dad....and the dress did look nice...

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Ok. I should be cutting out the actual dress for dinner tomorrow night; but I just took a break and checked Bloglines and found that Lori over at 'Girls in the Garden' is hosting a Compliments Guaranteed Party and asks 'What garment that you have made gets compliments every time you wear it?'

I thought, "0h, boy, instant blog post!" and jumped on to answer the question.

It's gotta be my Hot Patterns Cadeau T...probably because it's such an unusual top and on the outer edges of my normal style range. Took a couple of iterations w/cheap fabric before I was ready to cut into the good stuff, but it was worth it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I had a bad feeling about it...

Sure enough, the lining was way too big...

I just don't have the knack for pin fitting, I guess.

I put the lining on The Flute Player, and promptly pinned out almost all the extra I added after pin fitting it. She really just needed a bit added at the waist;nothing like I added to the paper pattern.

Ya just can't snug tissue paper up properly.

Anyway, I adjusted the pattern, took the appropriate lining pieces apart and recut them, then sewed it all up again. So it's ready for me to put on her really quickly in the morning.

As if I have time to sew anything on Wednesdays anyway.

I'm getting nervous about finishing; I just keep reminding myself that at this point before last year's dinner I hadn't even decided if I *would* sew her dress or not.

I really am ahead of the game...even if it doesn't feel like it.

But...the Actor was counting on borrowing a tux from the school costume closet; that is not allowed any more, so he's *really* stuck, and my attempt to get The Princess to run him around to thrift stores this evening was pretty much met treated as total lunacy. So I don't know what we're going to do for him.

And DH's suit has been waiting around to be taken to the cleaners for, like, forever. Now it may be too late...

Saturday this event will be behind me, one way or another, and I can think about something else. ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pin Fit Report

I finally got the Flute Player's Fancy Dress pattern (Simplicity 5561) traced and pin fitted yesterday.

Interesting, to say the least.

By way of a SBA (small bust adjustment), I shaved just enough of the curve off the side front bust so that the notches matched the center front piece w/no easing. That worked pretty well (Couldn't believe they drafted it such that it needed to be eased - in a shiny formal wear fabric, that'd look AWFUL. Just MHO).

The front fit fairly well. She needed just a pinch more in the waist; I think I let the side front seam out about 3/8 on either side.

I had to take in the top of the side seam a bit...about 1/2" on either side.

But the back...omigosh, the back was WAAAYYY too small. It was 1 1/2" short of reaching to her spine at the top, and a full 4" too tight at the waist. That's for just one side.

I need to go back and compare the measurements and see if it really measures what it says it's supposed to; that was unbelievably small. Or...maybe the pattern isn't nested as I expected; that is, perhaps the smallest size isn't necessarily the innermost lines? That might make sense, although...the front was reasonable. But I was watching the Olympics (first time we'd turned them on all week!) and I might've been just a teeny bit distracted.

Anyway, my plan for tonight is to alter the pattern to match the pin-fit, then cut out the lining and sew that up quickly for a fit check. If the lack of ease in the tissue paper is what caused the strange fitting issues, that'll show up and I can tweak it however I need to before I actually cut the dress out.

We don't have choir practice this week because there is an audition for prospective choir folks (um, believe it or not I started choir before they started auditioning folks, so I'm grandfathered in. Whew.), so I'll have all Thursday evening for sewing.

Hopefully by then I'll be well into construction. If not...I'm in trouble ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

12 Weeks of Gorgeous Fabrics: Week 2

This is the second piece of the 'double-twin set'...and I'll take a photo of all three pieces actually on me when I finish the cardi (which only needs buttons and buttonholes at this moment). Anyway, this is the Jalie 965 tank top once again. I *love* this's so perfect, having a scoop that's not too low, shoulders that are wide enough to cover straps, and a band on the armhole that snugs it up to keep it from gaping. Perfect as a bottom layer, or even a cool summer top on its own. Unfortunately, I believe it's now OOP...but I *think* PatternReview still has a few in stock. It's a gem!

To the best of my recollection, I've got this top in 8 colors: cream,black,light blue,orange,red,purple,brown and now grey, plus I'm planning to make one in the next few weeks from a green knit I got from Ann in December.

I really should line 'em all up and take a photo of the whole set, 'specially since I need to update the photo link on the review.

Oh...My Sweet Baboo and I have some other duties at church that will keep us out of choir tomorrow, so there will be no Choir Sunday post.

And I broke my promise to myself Thursday; I didn't expect my day to turn into a day at work (I thought I was just going to run in for a little bit). So. Hoping to get the tracing paper out today...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Putting It Off

Truth be told, I want to be sewing a jacket...working on the muslin for that Burda Magazine jacket that's been traced for forEVER.

But I've got to do the Fancy Dinner Dress. And, I'm not really feeling the inspiration. Too much like costume sewing, of which I had my fill in the fall, and which is about to start again in earnest.

But I made myself a promise that I *will* get the pattern traced, adjusted for a AA bust and pin fitted before I go to bed tonight...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fancy Dress Fixin's

This year's Quest Force Awards dinner is a masquerade...formal dress, with a mask, not a costume. The Princess gave The Flute Player a fancy mask for Christmas, so, of course, The Flute Player desires a dress that will match her mask, which is purple, silver and black.

I had hopes of running down a grey/purple cross weave taffeta...hence the road trip to Sir's. I knew it was a shot in a million, but, well, I had to try.

They had three cross woven fabrics; orange/brown, orange/lime green and red/blue, but no grey/purple.

And they had a table full of lovely woolens, including a couple of very nice boucles, that I drooled over. I picked up a couple of other stripe cotton/lycra jersey and a black/gold pinstripe cotton/lycra shirting...and carried them around a while before I shook myself into remembering that this trip was JUST for the dress. But the only thing they had that would work was bridal satin...and I just couldn't do a dry-clean-only fabric. So we had lunch at Cahoots and headed back south.

We hit paydirt at Hobby-Lobby; they had a good selection of (washable!) crepe-backed satin and we found both the purple to match her mask and a nice silver to go along with it. Back to Hancock's for the patterns and for trim and notions and then we headed home.

I tried to get her to let me do a variation on last year's dress, but it was to no avail. She wanted something more sophisticated, and she wanted sleeves. I thought a sleeveless dress w/a shrug would be nice, but as we perused patterns looking for a shrug she spotted the shorter, flared skirt dress in Simplicity 2251 and it was all over but the begging.

Fortunately, it comes as small as a 4, so I *think* it won't take too much alteration to make it work.

It had better not; the dinner is Feb. 26...a week from Friday...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Choir Sundays 2010 #4

February's colors: Black and White

Well, this is a good example of an outfit that *almost* works...mostly because the jacket is a near miss. I really ought to call it a donation and pass it on, because it just doesn't quite fit right, but, well, I need a black-and-white jacket on occasion. So, until I manage to replace's what I've got.
But a couple more photos like this may cause me to go hunting some smashing black-and-white houndstooth to make a replacement.

Anyway, the jacket is McCall's 5529 in a double face poly/rayon blend suiting. Nice and's the perfect fabric for this pattern, but I didn't make a muslin and, well, it could fit better.

I'm wearing it with a Jalie tank top, that you can't see, and my black RPL double knit Loes Hins Gore Skirt modification from the 06 SWAP combo. The sash is an Ultrasuede copy of a RTW wrap-and-velcro sash from...1992?

And the new Valentine's scarf. I didn't get it tied as I wished, and I kept fiddling with it all morning. More scarf-tying study is needed. ;)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Now, I am nothing close to a fashionista. In fact, I once thought I could write a book titled Confessions of a Fashion Klutz about my struggle to just look, um, not like Jon Arbuckle, if you get my drift.

I really have come a long way.

Every once in a while, I even get accessories right. But that's rare.

I skip most of the fashion-interest blogs because they tend to be way off my snark meter, but there are a couple -- aimed at women past the first blush of youth -- that I have in my bloglines reading list. One of these, Une femme d'un certain age is written by a lady who's pretty close to my age, so, even though our complimentary colors are just about opposite of one another, I garner glimpses of what it would take to add a little oomph to my appearance.

And she has a scarf wardrobe that seemingly doesn't end; every week she posts a photo of herself wearing one. They look smashing on her; she ties them and wears them marvelously well.

I, on the other hand, generally don't wear scarves well; I can't get past the 'drool bib' feeling. But I'm trying.

Anyway, all of that leads up to me being smitten with a scarf right out of the blue. I once ordered something online from Talbot's, so now I get the email advertising. Usually I just delete it, but yesterday I spotted the words 'Accessories - buy one, get one 50% off' and I clicked through.

And there it was. A Valentine's Day Scarf that struck a nerve somewhere in my little girlie heart.

I wanted really bad to drop a large hint to My Sweet Baboo that it would make a fantabulous Valentine's Day gift, but, well, there's no way I could've pulled it off.

So, while I was out garnering fancy dress materials for The Flute Player, we stopped by Talbot's and I got...the last one of those scarves that wasn't on a display mannequin.

And, since it was a BOGO sale, I also got a second scarf that caught my eye.

For me, the two scarves were a ridiculous amount of money spent. But I'm considering it rounds spent in the ongoing anti-frumpy-fogey war.

Now, I need to bop over to Une Femme and study her scarf-tying methods.

I'll post about the fabric I purchased (only what was necessary for the dress! really!) on Monday...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Twelve Weeks of Gorgeous Fabrics: Wk 1

So, the first garment from Gorgeous Fabrics is a Christine Jonson Basewear 2 sleeveless t-neck, from some of Ann's aMAYzing designer rayon/lycra jersey, in charcoal gray. I'm sorry for the hanger pic, but, believe me, a photo of me in my 'I stayed home in my sweats and didn't even wash my hair today' state would surely be tragic. I'll get a photo of it actually on when I don't look quite so Phyllis-Dillerish.

The gathers at the armholes are to close the gaping that that shirt tends to have on me. After I made it, I remembered that, while I like this for a regular t-neck (with sleeves), the sleeveless version is not so great on me. Hence the clear elastic sewn into the turned-and-stitched edge finish on the front of the armholes.

I knew that; I just forgot. But this is typically a bottom layer...under a jacket or a it's not that big a deal. And the gathers are much less noticeable on an actual body.

Weather permitting, I have a road trip tomorrow up to Sir's Fabrics tomorrow. The Flute Player is once again in need of a dress for the annual Kid's Ministries Awards dinner, and, although Last year's dress still fits fairly well (I think...? Mayhap I should have her try it on, just to make sure...), she wants a purple dress for this year. I've already checked the two Hancock's in town...while I was looking for Wash Away Basting Tape (the other store was out, too. Someone doing a school production must've cleaned everybody out)...and they don't really have what I'm looking for. Sir's does have a fairly large selection of fancy fabrics, so she and I are going to head up in the morning, see what I can find, have lunch and head back home. (It's about a 45 minute drive)

I'm hoping I can get in and out without another stash-swamping 50 yard purchase...Sir's is a daaangerous place....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I got mine!

Did you see this free Hot Patterns offer from

I've already downloaded my copy...dunno when I'll get around to it, but, oh the possibilities for pretty things!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Somehow, I ran out of Wonder Tape (wash-away basting tape).

I can't put in a zipper w/o it anymore. Seriously. So I made a quick stop at Hancock's this evening, only to find that they were sold out of it.

Ish. Maybe I'll run by the one on the other side of town at lunch tomorrow...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Choir Sundays 2010 #3

February's colors: Black and white

It's funny; with two new black-and-white tops out of the sewing room in the last week or so, I chose to wear an old favorite today. There's a reason for that; this is one of those days that I feel chubbier than usual and for that reason I wanted something a little, well, camouflaging. ;)

So I pulled out my Hot Patterns Cadeau T and wore it with some black straight-legged Lee jeans.

And didn't feel the least bit sausage-casing-like. ;)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

12 Weeks of Gorgeous Fabrics: The Plan

I realize that if I'm going to manage to make one garment a week for 12 weeks, I'm going to have to do some planning. And some of those garments will be very quick to make, so I can kinda double up and do some more involved projects (looks like I'm going to be switching thread in the machines a lot! ;) )

Anyway, here's what I'm planning:

I've cut out a test run of the Jalie 2909 "classic trousers" from some poly/lycra suiting off the Wal-Mart cheap table. I cut the size recommended by my measurements, but the farther I get the more skeptical I looks *small*. But I'm plodding along, because I have two pieces of woven cotton/lycra from Ann that I want to use for is a black sateen, the other is a twill w/a printed white stitch stripe. I'm hoping this pattern works, or is at least close enough that a little tweaking will let me cut into those two fabrics.

I've also finally muslined the jacket pattern from Burde December '08, with the intention of using that same printed stripe to make the first real jacket.

I probably won't wear the jacket and the pants together. ;-)

I've got some dark grey 'designer' rayon/lycra jersey on the cutting table now; I'm pretty sure I can get three 'real quick' items out of it...I'm planning a double twinset; the Jalie 2566 Cardigan, with the Jalie 965 tank top and Christine Jonson's Basewear Two mock t-neck shell. So I can wear the cardi with either top.

I've got one project that's been in the queue for ever that I'm going to finish up...the Vogue 2064 DK wrap tunic from some fuschia rayon/lycra jersey. I'll be glad to get the push to finish that one!

I've got some green rayon/lycra jersey that came from Ann right at the end of December; I haven't decided for sure which tops I'll use but I know that will be at least two quick knit tops. Green is the color for choir next month, so it will get sewn.

Likewise, I have some marvelous jacquard green silk charmeuse that I've pegged for an OOP McCall's pattern. It just needs its pre-treatment and I'll be cutting that one.

Then there is a sturdy piece of white cotton/lycra satin that I'm planning to turn into long blouse. I'm waffling on which pattern to use for it; I don't want it to end up looking like a lab coat!

Finally, I've got another piece of the brown heathered 'designer' rayon/lycra jersey in the stash that I'm planning to use as a tunic. I've got two different ideas in my head for it; both of which are modifications to patterns I've used before. Just not sure which one will win out in the end.

So that's my 'plan' for one garment a week for the next twelve weeks! Barring the onset of costuming, it is do-able, if I pace the cutting/tracing/muslin process with the simple tops.

And I've found out another sewing friend has been fighting a battle similar to Ann's; sewing these things will be a good point of contact to pray for both of them.

So, for the ladies who are planning to sew along with this...what's your plan?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Burda Boat Neck Take Two

I jumped on that pattern pretty quickly, because I wanted the black and white striped top for choir this month.

I shaved 3/8" off the top portion of the back raglan seam, then I added 1/2" to the neckline all around. I shortened the sleeves SIX INCHES, then narrowed them by about 1/2" on both sides at the bottom, tapering it out at about the elbow.

It's a ten minute top, meaning I made it in ten minute increments.

I like the fit at the neckline much better, but it's still not perfect. For perfect, I think I need a teeny dart at the top of the shoulder on the sleeve portion.

I was surprised, too, at how long the sleeves still were. I was shooting for 3/4" length...they're a little past that, even with the amount I took off.

But this one is definitely looks good under a jacket or an overshirt!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Support for a Sewing Buddy...

I imagine most folks who stop by here readily recognize one of my prime fabric sources, Gorgeous Fabrics. I've had the pleasure of talking to Ann, GF owner and fabric stash enabler extraordinaire, over the internet and over the phone; she's a gem.

But, if you've been reading Ann's blog, you know that she's hit a rough patch of life right now dealing with medical tests and results and other such things.

She's facing twelve weeks of some sort of treatment(this is on her blog; I'm not spilling any confidences...) as a result of the results.

Anyway. I read her latest post and wondered what I could do to support her.

And I had an idea.

I don't know if I'll be able to keep up or not, given the fact that I do have school costumes looming, but I checked the records on my stash and I have enough fabric to sew one garment from fabric I've purchased from Ann each week for the next twelve weeks.

(Well, I could probably go way longer than that, but I'll focus on the next twelve weeks.)

And, while I'm matching fabric and pattern, cutting things out, stitching things up, I'll be holding Ann in my heart to the Father.

For the next twelve weeks.

Anyone else have a goodly stash of Gorgeous Fabric waiting to move into the wardrobe who'd like to join me?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Yards out...

Nice to see something in that column! I had a pretty productive weekend; three basically black knit shirts that all finished at once; I did all the double-needle stitching on them at the same time. They're all up on the reviews (although The Flute Player's shirt is just a repeat). First up is the raglan T from the current (Feb 10) Burda magazine. I made it as a test garment and put it in the closet, but I'm still on the fence about it. The neckline is strap-exposing wide, and the fabric is not really nice to wear (it's from the buck-fifty table at Wally World). But I've already altered the pattern and cut it out of a yummy black/white/gold cotton lycra, which WILL be nice to wear! Dunno when I'll get a chance to sew it up...this is a VERY busy week...but it's a quick shirt and if I get 20 minutes or so at the machines it'll be done and I'll update the review with the 'real' shirt!

Next is a variation on the Jalie twinset pattern (I'm too lazy to link it up). I used the t-neck pattern, and borrowed the long sleeve from (I think) 2682. The Flute Player, being a dedicated puppeteer also, needed a new black shirt. It's a really nice cotton/lycra jersey that I had in the stash...wish I could remember where I got it (I went back and checked; it was a purchase from Gorgeous Things about a year ago).

Finally, I made Jalie 2682 from a yummy knit I got a while back (Sept. of '08!) from Gorgeous Things. I really liked the fabric and waffled for the longest time about what to make from it. With 'black and white' being the choir wardrobe for next month, I decided to just do one of my favorite tops.

I'm trying to limit myself to purchasing fabric only after I've sewn 10 yards from stash. I need to shop the stash first! ;) But it's hard...and, heading into more costuming, I know the temptation will be to buy since I'm not sewing. But I gotta stop the increase; there's nowhere left to put it!