Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting unstuck

Hello everyone!

I hope you are well!

My kids are on spring break this week, so I have switched up the routine for now so I can take advantage of the time we have together.  It is Thursday evening as I am writing this, and while most parents would be excited to have their kids back in school soon, I have been drinking in our moments together...they really do grow up fast, and I know I will not always be the number one person they want to spend time with.

I have managed to spend quite a few nights adjusting my bodice sloper, though.  Yes, I am on version #4, and I am just stuck.  I have been keeping track of the adjustments I have been making, but I am so ready to see the finished product.  Part of me feels wearied that there are still more adjustments needed.  I mean, really?  How can my body be that difficult to fit?

I have been using Crafty's Sew the Perfect Fit class to help me with fitting my bodice, yet there are adjustments my body needs that are not included in this class.  Granted, I know that the instructor can't go over every type of alteration one might need, but it has been hard for me to figure out just the right adjustment to make, being a novice fitter and all.

So my challenge continues...

Just last month I imagined that by mid-April I would have my sloper done, be working on Easter dresses for my daughter and me, and beginning to sew my wardrobe for spring.  None of that is my reality today.


To get myself unstuck, I have ordered two fitting books to help with this process.  They are:

The instructions that come along with the Vogue sloper are not bad, they are just too extensive for me that I don't know where to begin.  There has to be a better way.  There has to be.  I am going to try the Palmer-Pletsch way! I realize I have to do something different if I expect different results because I haven't been getting any epiphanies lately.

I don't have a picture of my sloper for you, but I can describe it. The back bodice is quite loose, while the front upper bodice fits perfectly, and the front lower bodice can barely close.  I have opened the side seams to allow for the front to close, but there is still some pulling going on.  I am gonna have to adjust the front darts (make them smaller), and pinch out the excess in the back.

For now, our family will be going out of town for a few days, and I will be on a small break until I receive my added resources.  I am hoping this will give me a breath of fresh air and a new perspective/renewed strength to continue in my sloper journey.

I'll check back in next week, and let you know how things are going.  Have a wonderful week!

Stay sew-filled!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fun with the Liebster Award

Hello everyone!!!!!

I was super excited to see that Annette from Mrs. Toad Sews nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award!  I don't think that Annette knows that my mom is German, and "Liebster" is German for beloved (and other words such as sweetest, and sweetheart).  How fitting!  This award is only an award you can receive by a nomination from another blogger, and it is specifically designed to increase awareness of blogs that have less than 200 followers.

Thank you Annette for such an honor. You have such a great blog, and I am amazed by the things you create with your sewing talent.  Though you are starting out, I know your blog will continue to grow as other people see the love you put into what you make!

Here are the "official" rules:

You thank the person who gave you the award

Then link back to that person’s blog

Copy and paste the Liebster award to your own profile

Answer the 5 question your nominator asked

Pick 5 blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed (they have to have under 200 followers)

Ask them 5 questions

Then finally blog it and leave a comment to let your 5 choices know they have been chosen.

Nominate 5 blogs

And here are Annette's five questions for me:

1. How did you get into sewing?

Well, it seems that having a child really does change everything!  I never even entertained the notion of sewing until I was pregnant with my son, who is now 7 years old!  I wanted to make him a simple baby blanket, and some other baby gear like bibs.  After finishing that I dibbled and dabbled in small projects here or there.  It wasn't until I had my baby girl 4 years ago that I REALLY began to get interested in sewing. After all, I had to make cute dresses for my girl, right? Now I have added sewing for myself in the mix with the RTW fast for this year, and I am excited to see where that takes me.

2. What types of sewing do you enjoy?

Mostly garment construction.  I have dabbled in quilting, but my heart would definitely be in making clothes.  While I was in high school, and had little to no concept of sewing, I remember telling my friend (jokingly) that when I got married and had kids I would sew for my them and make them wear it.  We laughed, but it stuck.  I have always wanted to sew for my family.  I consider it an honor, and I love that my kids are still young enough to like what I sew, or being able to choose their own fabric for new pajamas or tops.

When I see my daughter pick out the same pajamas I made for her night after night, it makes me happy.  Maybe she will want to sew as she gets older, and if not, at least she will remember wearing what mama made!

3. What do you do when you aren't sewing or blogging?

Well, technically I am a stay-at-home mom.  Technically.  I work part-time with my hubby, helping him with a business he started last year.  I also work part-time at a Christian preschool taking care of 3 and unders (my little loves).  I help out in my son's class on Friday, and run all the errands necessary to keep my home manageable.  I have also done some knitting in the past, but mostly, I run. I. LOVE. TO. RUN!  I have done two 5Ks, and am training for a 10K in the Fall.  My ultimate dream would be to Run Disney with a few of my girlfriends in the Spring.  We could drive down, have a girl's vacation, and race through Disney with all it's spectacular scenery, characters, and fun!

4. Do your real life friends know about your blog?

Yes!!  The real question is, do my real life friends read my blog!!  All of my friends are supportive of the sewing I do and my journey to sew everything I wear this year.  However, I only have one friend who checks my blog out from time to time to see what I am up to.  My other friends are "just not that into sewing."  They will "ooh" and "aah" over what I create, but that is as far as it goes.

5. Why do you blog?

I blog because I love to write and share my experience in sewing with other people. Also, I have always been an avid blog reader, and in my reading I found that there weren't many blogs (at the time) that supported the novice sewers' experience.  There were plenty of amazing blogs from amazing seamstresses making amazing garments, and while those blogs inspired me, I wanted to relate to someone who was starting out in sewing and did not have the expertise that a lot of these bloggers had.  You know, like when you have to unpick your seams multiple times, or you sew your sleeve on crappy, or you forget to mark the right/wrong sides and mix them up.  Maybe you choose a fabric that is all wrong, or experience some other mishap.  At any rate, I like showing the real bumps and bruises along the way to a wonderful garment in hopes to encourage others that you don't have to be a seasoned seamstress in order to make a great garment.  If I can do it, trust me, YOU can do it too!!

My five nominations are:
1. Jenna from Seamstess in Training  "I just love her blog, and her creations!"
2. Candice from Sew My Time!  "She not only sews, she has style!"
3. Kyle at Vacuuming the Lawn "I always learn something to help me in my own sewing!"
4. Suzy at Suzy Bee Sews "Wow! I am always amazed by what she sews!"
5. Leslie at 3 Stitch Studio "A woman after my own heart, she sews a lot of knits, and does it well"

And my five questions:
1. How did you choose your blog title?
2. What frustrates you most about the sewing process?
3. What is the most cherished item you have made?
4. What one sewing-related item is on your wishlist right now?
5. Do you do anything to further grow/develop your sewing skills?

In closing, this sloper is beginning to feel like the song that never ends...My first version was not bad, just too big.  It was too much of a mess to try to get it sized down, so I am in the process of a sewing up a second version right now.  The sizing on this one looks a lot better, and I hope to have it fitted by this weekend.  I can tell I will be needing a lot more assistance from my hubby than I originally anticipated.  I have been using my dressform, but I would rather fit the sloper to my own body at this point.

I hope you have a wonderful week!  Happy April, and I will check in later this week again.

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Easy Burda Style Magazine Spring/Summer 2014

Hello everyone!

I wanted to have finished sloper photos to show you, but life has been throwing me a few curveballs--mainly with my health.  It's nothing I want to go into at the moment, but my energy level has been zapped.  To add to that, I have been working a few hours at a preschool, and the end of the night has me wanting nothing but my bed!!

Yesterday I lounged on the couch and checked out my first issue of Easy BurdaStyle Magazine for Spring/Summer 2014.  I am pleased!!  The magazine has a lot of nice looks, and the overall feel is a bit more youthful, but I found a lot of things I would like to sew!

This is a cute skirt!!  The row of buttonholes unnerves me (I have only done buttonholes a handful of times), but the A-line, high-waisted, knee-skimming design intrigues me.

This top screams "summer!"  I like it paired with the flowy skirt, but I could also see it with a nice pair of skinny jeans.  The skirt was pictured a few more times throughout the magazine as well:

And the dress pictured below is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE:

I really like the double spaghetti straps, pleats, and pocket!  I think the style is beautiful, fresh, and chic.

And speaking of dresses, here is another vintage-inspired one:

This dress has some of the same elements as the last one, except it has cap sleeves with lace.  It is so pretty!

These casual jackets with pocket variations are also nice.  The Raglan sleeves make them easy to sew, and I could see this in a lot of various prints.  

Those were the looks that I liked, but I also liked a lot of other features of this magazine.  Let me start with the instructions. There are MUCH MORE visual diagrams!! Yay! There is also a lot more information on general sewing knowledge, such as a section discussing the straight grain, working with plaids/prints/stripes, and laying out your pattern.  I think a beginner sewing will find this helpful.  In fact, I find this helpful!!  I like that this magazine has a bit more "hand-holding" than BurdaStyle (which I still love).  I am definitely interested in sewing something up from here once I finish my sloper.

Also, the patterns included in the magazine are printed on tissue paper (similar to the individual Burda patterns you buy at the store).  While not sturdy, I plan to trace off any patterns I may use from here anyhow.

Another thing I liked about this magazine is the variations of the different styled garments.  There was a skirt and pair of shorts done three ways, as well as a casual jacket.  I don't think you see much of that in Burdastyle, and I liked that it gave fresh ways to wear a single item, or even a fresh way of seeing the same item when it was made in two different fabrics.  

Overall, I am really pleased!!  

If you are interested in seeing more styles from this magazine, visit here.

Obviously, I have not been able to accomplish all that I wanted to in the month of March.  I have come to the conclusion that I am making my sloper a top priority.  It has been too difficult to sew that and another simple top at the same time.  I am hoping my hubby will give me some extended time to sew (and help) this weekend, so that I can finish it and move on to spring sewing.

Stay sew-filled!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Original Sewing & Quilting Expo

Hello everyone!

Today I will be sharing about my experience at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Atlanta.

This expo comes every year, and I usually hear about people going, BUT this was my first year to check it out.  It was here Thursday, March 13-15th.  I headed there on Friday, March 14th, and attended two classes.  The overall atmosphere was pleasant.  There were ladies that greeted you as you came in, and pointed you to a board where you could look up the room number of the class you were registered for. Then, they assisted you to the location of the class if you needed help.
Giveaways on Display

My class started at 9 AM so it was pretty quiet when I got there.  Things started to pick up when I got out of class at 1000.  I started to see more and more ladies arriving for the expo, and lining up to go in the room where all the booths were set up.  I had another class at 1030 so I decided I would go to the booths after the class was over.

Here is my take on the classes I took:

Sewing Great Garments by Lorraine Henry

This class was my favorite!! Ms. Henry was awesome.  The class had about 30 people in it, and most of were ladies except for 1 man.  I came in right before class started, so I ended up 3/4 of the way toward the back of the class.  Ms. Henry used a dry eraser board to draw illustrations for what she talked about, as well as some demonstrative aids.  She has a pattern line called the Cutting Line Designs, which is filled with timeless classic clothing for the "older" woman.  Here are some great tips she gave in the class:
  • Always use finished garment measurements to achieve the best possible fit
  • If you find your skirt is boxy (the same length measurement at the hipline and the hem) reduce the hem length by 1/2" total.
  • Need help matching stripes?  Draw the stripes on your tissue paper to aid in you being able to match them up properly.
  • Staystitching is important, do not skip this step.  It will help the fabric fold correctly.
  • If you need to fix a really large sleeve, try multiple pin tucks aligned at the end of the sleeve.  It will make the sleeve fit more snug.
What comes First in Fit? by Lorraine Henry

This class was only ok, in my opinion.  The instructor was great, and there were not as many people in the class (maybe 15-20). She was very knowledgeable, and she went over different adjustments for different figure types.  My only issue with this class is that there was not enough information in it to walk away with any kind of fitting expertise.  For example, if you were struggling to fit a top, this class would not equip you to do so, bought the $100 book that Ms. Henry referenced many times called Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Liechty, Rasband, and Pottburg.

What I did like about the class:
  • Ms. Henry gave extensive information about taking your own measurements and comparing them to the pattern envelope measurements
  • She spoke about the importance of getting the side seam length correct.  In the Big 4 patterns, the standard side seam length is 8", which makes a big difference if your measurement is much longer or shorter
  • Her order of fit was as follows: 1)side seams 2)full bodice 3)center back 4)shoulder slope. This is vastly different to what I've seen or read.  What I have read focuses more on getting the fit right in the shoulders FIRST, even if you choose a smaller size and adjust up.  
  • She also spoke about the Seam Method of adjusting patterns so that there is no distortion at the center front/back. (see here)
Overall, taking this class made me realize I am on the right track by creating a sloper.  Whatever method of alteration you use for creating garments, Ms. Henry strongly recommended that each individual make one.
Inside the event

I entered the event to find table upon table of sewing/quilting related paraphenalia.  I took a moment to walk the floor, and quickly found the Vogue Fabrics section.  They had an area with multiple rolls of 2 yd. cuts of fabric rolled up and ready for purchase.  I browsed, but I DID NOT BUY!  I found some cute rayon challis, SO cute, but I DID NOT BUY!!  I know, crazy right?

As I was glancing through the fabrics, I look over, and who do I see?

Yep!  Victoria from 10,000 Hours of Sewing.  I ended up going up to her table and saying hello.  I have read her blog for over 2 years now, and love what a great seamstress she is.  She is super nice in person, and down to earth.  She was with Mr. Jim, a tailor who she is doing an apprenticeship with.  It was definitely a highlight for me to meet them both!

The Runway Show

I must say, when I heard there would be a runway show at the expo (via an email I received), I was elated. I imagined it would be Simplicity or Vogue designs, since the advertising said fashion runway show.  Well, there was no Simplicity, and there was no Vogue.  Instead there was Cynthia Guffey, an independent pattern designer for the mature woman.  I was a little disappointed, but, let me tell you...Cynthia Guffey was a gem!! Her show was called Visual Magic: Clothes Re-make the Woman, and it focused on using clothing to balance and fit your figure, while taking into consideration proportion!

Cynthia Guffey on right
Ms. Guffey was very "tell it like it is," and her biggest complaint was creating oversized clothing to hide figure flaws.  Instead, she prescribed to adding fullness where necessary in order to balance your figure and make you appear slender.  Smart!!

In order to demonstrate this "visual magic"  her runway show consisted of women wearing both properly or ill-fitting clothing.  She then went through each individual one by one, explaining why what she wore either worked, or did not worked.  I found this information invaluable!

Giving advice on correct jacket lengths/features for your frame

According to Ms. Guffey: seams, princess seams, and darts are all "fitting opportunities."  The more elements of these included in the pattern, the more opportunities for you to get the fit right.

I definitely walked away from the show satisfied with my experience.

Overall, I enjoyed myself, and my visit to the expo.  Would I go again next year?  Maybe.  I enjoyed my classes more than anything, yet I did long to see more people in my age range.  After all, who will be sewing for the next generation?  I don't believe sewing is a lost art as some people say, yet there has to be something that bridges the gap between the old, young, and in-between.

Stay sew-filled!