Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting the wind knocked out of you

Last night I was all smiles as I was coming down the home stretch of sewing my skirt, Simplicity 2868, together. I put the lining in and I was practically purring with delight, it was so pretty.  I mean, I was "winning (thanks Charlie Sheen)!"  Well, as soon as I decided to take in the side seams a little on the right side of the skirt, I ran into a little problem.  I very sloppily serged in the seams, and ended up with two different seam lines!!  It's not horribly noticeable, but I got off track while serging and now I have to fix it up!

You know, I have always been one of those people that could turn a simple thing into something complicated.  And the complicated things...I seem to breeze through those problems.  This skirt was not supposed to be difficult.  However, I made it a little more challenging by making the mistake I made.

So once I figure this out, I will post some pics.  On the positive side, I placed an order from for the next four items I will be sewing in the Tim Gunn Sew Along, and they should be arriving today or tomorrow.  I LOVE ordering online, but I still feel like I don't know exactly if I'm going to like the fabric once it arrives.  The last time I ordered from, it was an ITY knit that said plum, and looked like plum, but it was clearly bright fuchsia when it arrived.  Thank goodness has a super easy return policy!!  Other than that, I have not had issues with them.  I'll let you know if this batch is a good one.

And yes, it is the last day of March!!  Where did the month go??  I imagine I have thrown my timeline out of the window since the beginning of the year, because I only finished one garment this month.  Of course I have purchased enough sewing patterns to make up for all the things I haven't sewn, but sometimes too many choices is not a good thing for me.  I hope April will be a month of productivity, and that I at least cross a few garments off my Sew Along list.

I hope all of your plans are coming along well, and you are "winning!"  Seriously, my husband has been saying that phrase a lot, and I just heard about it last night.  I was totally clueless about how popular the phrase has become.  So every time I hear it now, I have to laugh.  If you have no clue the way I did, check out the video on Youtube here.  Or if you just want a good laugh, you can watch the video too.

*In conclusion, I just want to say that I don't mean to make light of Charlie Sheen's situation.  I really hope he gets it together and does live a winning life.  It is his emphasize on winning, and his tone of voice that I find funny.*

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vogue summer favorites

Its the time for summer patterns to start rolling out, and Vogue has their newest summer patterns on display here.  Overall, I was not as impressed with this summer line as I was with their spring additions.  There just weren't many styles that "popped" for me.  Part of that may also be my excitement with the Tim Gunn Sew Along (see sidebar at right).  Since I have been concentrating on sewing pieces for my wardrobe, I haven't been enticed by the acquisition of other patterns.  I have enough on my plate right now, I guess.

Well, here are the ones I found interesting...

Vogue 1236

This is a DKNY design, and I love the simplicity of it.  If you haven't figured out that my style is more classically modern with splashes of trends, then I'm sure you understand now why I like this pattern.  Also, it doesn't look like it's that difficult to sew.  My issue would be getting the gathers just right (I really do loathe gathering).

Vogue 1249

This pattern is a Badgley Mischka design that I find effortlessly beautiful.  I don't think I have worn a jumpsuit since childhood, but I would be willing to consider one that looked like this!

Vogue 1245
These two loose-fitting peasant-style tops have a certain spiciness to them.  My favorite is the one on the right in red and black.  The see-thru arms are a nice effect.

Vogue 8727
Vogue 8727 is a pattern with many choices of design.  The shape of the bodice is what I like the most.  I don't think I would wear it that long, so I prefer the dresses shown with the shorter length, and slimmer silhouette as opposed to the more flared version.

Vogue 8732
This one is just a jacket I thought was cute.  I love the pop of color, though I'm not crazy about the buttons.

These two are Vogue 8723, Very Easy Vogue Custom Fit.  I really like this one.  I love the detailing of the neckline, and the mix of the different prints as pictured on the woman above.   

Here are some more Custom Fit Very Easy Vogues...

Vogue 8724

Vogue 8725
I leave you with a great bag(s)...

Vogue 8741

Bags are something that I have yet to make now that I have a year of sewing under my belt.  Actually, there are still a great many things I would like to venture into and bags is one of them.  One day.  

Thanks again for catching up with me! 

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sewing books

I absolutely LOVE to read, and so it's only natural that I read about sewing!  In fact, I love a post I read on Victoria's blog about all the different sewing books she is interested in.  A lot of them are about couture sewing and pattern fitting and tailoring.  The very next day after reading her post I discovered that my library had a couple of the books she mentioned, and I requested (and received) this one:

I am still browsing through it, but I do like it.  Here are the things I like about it:

1.  It has great pictures of couture garments.
2.  It has an organized list of different couture techniques, making it easy to find the technique you need
3.  Every technique is explained and illustrated (though I am not sure how well, since I have yet to try one)

These are some of the photos of the couture garments...

Aren't they just divine?  How wonderful it would be to be able to manipulate fabric in these kinds of ways!!  

I don't know why but lately I realized that I would like to expand my sewing reference library.  The books I have now are mostly to help me along with the basics, but I want some books that can take my sewing to the next level!  So I went out on a limb and bought this book:

It is on its way to my home now, and I am hoping it is not a dud.  If it is, then I'll figure out something to do with it.  But I would really like what I sew to look designer and not home-made.  I know that will take time, and I am willing to learn, grow, and wait.  But the ultimate goal is to get as close to RTW as possible.

Skirt Update

I cut out my fabric, and will be cutting out the lining today (did I mention that already)?  I really did want to finish the skirt this past weekend, but of course I didn't.  I will say I am continuing to work on it, and I really like working with linen blend fabrics!!  I checked out Mood fabrics online the other day and they have a $10 or less section that I liked very much.  Of course, they charge at least $10 to ship, but I really liked a lot of the fabrics they have, and I am sure the quality is great too.  

Well, not much else is going on around here, which is a good thing.  In light of all these sewing books, I would like to mention that the non-sewing book I am reading right now is called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  If you have not read it, I highly recommend it!! I am on chapter 4, but it is so riveting.  It is about a man who falls in love with a prostitute.  My friend recommended it to me, and she said it will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between.  So far, she is right.

BTW, I would love to hear what you are reading, sewing or non-sewing related.  

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sewing for school

One way to have fun with sewing is through your children.  My son, in particular, goes to pre-K a couple of times a week, and they tend to do fun stuff for the kids every now and then.  Well one of the fun things they decided to do this time was "Show and Tell" (a classic) and "Silly Socks" day.  I have never heard of "Silly Socks" day but apparently your child wears their silliest pair of socks to school so everyone can have a good laugh!

That would be great, except my son doesn't have any silly socks.  He has regular socks, some old socks, and some mismatched socks, but nothing that I would consider appropriately silly. So I was all set to send him to school this morning with two different colored socks when I had an idea last night..."Why not serge some of his old socks together and see how that turns out?"

And that is exactly what I did...

I took these old socks of his...

I cut a 2 inch strip on each of the brown socks, and quickly envisioned how I would sew them together. Then, I matched them up right sides together and serged my little heart out!  It took about 10 minutes all together, the extra time came from manipulating the socks in my serger.

And here is the end result...

Now if these aren't laughable, I don't know what are!!  Of course my son LOVED them!!  He said he wants to wear them every day!!  And this morning while getting ready for school he told me thank you for making him silly socks.

No, son, thank you!!  You made me think of another reason why I love to sew so much: it allows me to be resourceful in situations like these.  And I just know that no one else in class will have these exact same silly socks that your mommy made!

Trying on the silly socks last night

Stay sew-filled!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting down to business

Hello all!

Even though we are midweek (time is passing so fast), I am working on my black pencil skirt for the first time today.  I haven't even cut/adjusted my fabric yet because I was getting over a pretty bad flu (having kids makes me catch EVERYTHING).  The nice thing about working on this pattern is I have already checked, and there are not that many pattern pieces to work with.  Only 2! YAY!  When I look at the instruction sheet and see that, I always get a little excited!

I will be putting a lining in this skirt as well, and I guess I'd better head over to the fabric store to buy some, since I don't think I have any left over from the first two skirts I sewed.  Maybe I'll find a fun, funky lining this time.  I know I have been sewing a lot of solids lately, but I really do like to do a little fun and funky sometimes!!

Speaking of prints, I was browsing fabrics online and all I found was a lot of floral prints.  Not that there is anything wrong with a floral print, I just don't want a closet filled with floral prints!!  I haven't really found any fabric stores, or online sellers that really pique my interest and speak to my sense of style.  I'd be open to any suggestions if you have any.  Mostly I have purchased from (which I do love), and I have seen some nice things at denver fabrics, but I haven't found an affordable place that has the "it" factor, as they say on American Idol.

Well, I just wanted you to know what I was up to.  My goal is to finish my skirt by the weekend so I can head out of skirt-land for a little bit!

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tim Gunn Sew Along

I am FINALLY ready to begin the Tim Gunn Sew Along!!

I have been waiting for this moment for the last couple of weeks while I finished Simplicity 2451.  That skirt took more time than I had anticipated, but the end result was worth it!  With my next project, Simplicity's 2868 pencil skirt, I am officially beginning my countdown to a new wardrobe, Tim Gunn style!

For those of you who do not know Tim Gunn (not sure who that would be, but it's possible), he is the style guru and head mentor designer on the show Project Runway.  He is famous for his phrase "make it work!"  Well had a show called Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, where he did makeovers for women.  On each episode, he would describe the 10 essential wardrobe elements that should be included in every woman's closet.  They are as follows:

1.  Basic Black Dress - The basic black dress has been around for a long time. It is often called the "Little Black Dress", and it's true that shorter skirts on the basic black dress, when they hit you in the right place, can be more flattering than a long black dress.

2. Trench Coat - The trench coat is one of the pieces that is both classic and currently a hot fashion item. Most any store sells this piece now. It is great for fall and you can pick it up in a wide range of lengths.

3. Classic Dress Pants - Although it doesn't say black, this is probably what you want to look for. Black is flattering on all figures and goes with everything.

4. White Shirt - The white shirt is a definite classic. But it can also come in many different styles to make it look trendy and not dated or like a man's piece of clothing. Find one that accentuates your best attributes and minimizes trouble spots. For example, if you have wide shoulders, stay away from large collars.

5. Jeans - Everyone has a pair of jeans, but does everyone have a pair of jeans that make them look great? The wider leg, low-rise jean style has been popular (and still is) but a narrower leg is coming back along with a higher waist, which eliminates the unflattering "muffin top" look.

6. Jacket - 
A jacket does not have to be masculine. Find one with a proper, fitted shape. Women's jackets should follow the silhouette of a woman's body and accent the hourglass curve at her waist. It is also a perfect piece to put with the skirt or dress pants, and white shirt. Or make it casual with a pair of jeans

7. Skirt - If you need dress pants then you also need a skirt. A skirt is womanly and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men. See number 8.

8. Day Dress - Women also are not wearing as many dresses anymore. It was certainly liberating to go from the '50s when women wore dresses every day to wearing more practical pants for gardening, exercising, and so forth. But the dress does not have to be abandoned altogether. They can be very flattering, and there is nothing wrong with "dressing up" for daytime.

9. Any Occasion Top- Find something you look great in, that can look respectable under a jacket but bring on the fun after hours.

10. Sweat Suit Alternative - As mentioned before, women wear fewer skirts and dresses these days. But some women have taken casual to the extreme and spend days on end in sweat suits. It is possible to be casual and comfortable without looking like a slob. Find a comfortable material (that's why this doesn't say jeans again denim is not as comfortable as a nice soft cotton) that you would want to wear every day. It could be khakis, cords, a cotton dress, or much more. 

*Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item*

Well I can tell you that my wardrobe is lacking in many of these key pieces (as suggested by Tim Gunn) so why not challenge myself to sew them?  I mean, I am already sewing my own wardrobe, so why not sew with more of a purpose and a plan?  And that is what I am going to do!!

The absolute BEST thing about this sew along is the flexibility of it.  There is no real order to follow--you can create your own!  That means, for me at least, I will be progressing from the easiest projects to the hardest.  Also, I will be taking into account when I will be wearing these items.  For instance, the trench coat will be near the end of my list since I won't be needing it til sometime around end of September/October.  

I chose all of my patterns for this sew along already, so I will let you have a look:

In terms of timing for myself, I would like to finish this sew along before the end of this year.  For the most part I will be sewing items specifically for the sew along, but I may veer off every now and then to do other projects.  I am a little nervous about the jeans, jacket, and trench coat, but little by little I believe I can accomplish anything I set out to do.  And it doesn't hurt to have the Internet, books, and great readers such as yourself to help me out along the way, should I get stuck (and I am positive I will). = )

If this sew along sounds like something you would be interested in, then join in!  Click on the Tim Gunn Sew Along picture to the right to be directed to Patternreview's message board.  You can also click here to check out the blog associated with the sew along.

As always, stay sew-filled!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Skirt #2 Finished!

Whew!! That is it.  My brown linen blend Simplicity 2451 skirt is finished.  I am "pleased as punch" with the results, and thankful to be moving on to my next project.  For a moment there I thought I was going to be on this skirt  F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  Not so, my day of sweet success is at hand.

But before I get into showing off my second beauty, let me give you some details about the construction.  Here is a refresher of what Simplicity 2451 looks like:

I made View C in a size 14.  I started with a size 16, but with the added stretch factor of the linen blend I was using, I ended up going down to a 14.  It seems as though I am a 16 in wovens and a 14 in knits for skirts (I have yet to attempt pants but I imagine they would be related in sizing).

This pattern is marked "easy-to-sew," and it is; however, as I have learned in the past, easy does not mean quick.  The techniques from this skirt are all basic (zipper insertion, pleats, darts, facing, hem, skirt vent, slipstitching) but the thing that threw me off was adding a lining.  What can I say?  I wanted a pretty skirt that was custom made.  Besides, the fabric I used was medium wt., but you could still see through it.

So for the lining I had to pull out my reference materials.  I mostly wanted to know when to add the lining when you are sewing a fitted waistband.  I finally found my answer on, and it was smooth sailing from there until I came to the zipper insertion.  I decided to attempt an invisible zipper insertion for the first time, and used a wonderful tutorial mentioned by Rachel found here.  However, silly me, I should have read through the instructions on my skirt first, because they were for a lapped zipper (this is where one side laps over the other when the zipper is closed).  So I figured this out after I had put in my invisible zipper and it looked wrong because I had all this extra fabric gathered around the zipper.
Skirt Front

When I corrected this error, I was pleased to see the way the fabric lay in a much better way.  In fact, I like the "rear view" now LOL!

Skirt Back

As a side note, there is a lot of slipstitching to be done.  Since the yoke waistband has a facing, it is slipstitched to the interior.  The hem was also slipstitched so if you don't care for much hand-sewing this might be a task.  I wasn't too bothered by it.  I like hand-sewing because I can sit quietly with the radio or TV on while the kids nap and just do it.  It is very calming for me, and I feel like my finished garment is more "couture".
Skirt inside with lining (front)

The skirt vent was also a departure for me, since the last skirt I made did not have one, but once again, Jenna recommended a great tutorial here that helped the process along.

Skirt inside with lining (back)

So, all things considered, I ended up with a great skirt!  The fit is great, it is very comfy, and I really like the linen blend (except for the wrinkle factor).  But then again, I'll have to see how the skirt stands up to actually wearing it for a day before I make my final decision.

Would I make it again?  Yes I would!  I can see this skirt in a dressier fabric for sure!  Also, I was tentative about the pleats on the skirt, but they are actually much nicer than I anticipated.

So, yes, this skirt is one I will definitely be wearing as it gets warmer (which judging by the weather here in GA will be soon).

My next project will be Simplicity's 2868 pencil skirt (if some of you recall from my Sensational Skirt plan).

I am hoping that this skirt is kinder to me since I worked so hard with 2451.  We'll see!

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning a new skill

It's another start to another week, and I am ready!  The weather here in Georgia has been up and down lately, one day cold and one day warm, so my littlest one has caught a cold.  I can't be sure if it is a cold, allergies, or both, though; the pollen count has been high too and I think even I am starting to get affected.  Nevertheless, I am thankful to be going into a new week with new possibilities!

First, let me talk about the Simplicity 2451 skirt I have been working on.  If I would have worked on it last night, instead of watching Celebrity Apprentice (which was hilarious, by the way) I would have been showing you pictures today.  But I didn't.  In fact, I made a decision last week that I was cutting out most of my TV watching to do more productive things that I enjoy (like sewing and writing), and I have been sticking faithfully to that plan, but last night I just wanted to relax and turn my brain off for a little while.  It worked.  I laughed and laughed, and I will most likely be watching next week = ).

As far as the skirt goes, tonight is "invisible zipper insertion night"!!!!  I have my zipper foot all ready to go, and I will be coming out of my sewing room with a well placed zipper!!  That is my mission, anyhow.  You know, I can't say I am fearful of putting the zipper in, as much as I am just hesitant.  I had the realization that new skills make me a little antsy because I hate using a seam ripper and want to get it right the first time.  Uhhh, such a perfectionist!  Now I sit in my sewing room and chant "It's o.k. to use the seam ripper" whenever I am practicing something new.

Do you want to hear something funny?  I dream about sewing!  I had a dream the other night that there was a big crowd of people and we were all going to a special event, and (yes) everyone needed to have their garments hemmed!!  Of course I was the only one there who knew how to do it, so I just kept hemming garment after garment until I woke up!  The worst part of the whole thing was that I loved it!  I had a dream about being a slave to hemming and I loved it!  I'm sure each person dreams about what they uniquely love to do, or what they do a lot, so that got me thinking...

Have you ever dreamed about sewing?  If so, what was it about?

PS--If you missed the Simplicity 99 cents pattern sale at Joanns last week, Hobby Lobby has them on sale this week for 99 cents also.

Stay sew-filled!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here comes the bride!

I'm back!!!!!

I had an amazing weekend with my family and friends!  As I mentioned in my last post, my sister got married this past weekend and I was held up with wedding stuff until Monday.  What I didn't mention was I was functioning as the "matron of honor" for her wedding; hence, I ran a lot of errands and tried to keep a smile on my sister's face.  For the most part, I did a great job--except for one major faux pas (which I will get to later).

My sister lives in the Savannah area so we headed over there on Friday for the fun.  There was one thing after another from the wedding rehearsal, to the rehearsal dinner, checking into our hotel, meeting/greeting family and extended family members, arranging for everything to be picked up on time, and picking everyone up on time. Oh, did I mention I had another allergic reaction going on in the midst of all this??  Yes, I broke out in hives earlier in the week and was nursing myself back to health as well.  So, it sounds like a lot of stress, but it was good stress (as opposed to bad stress).

My son was the ring bearer in the wedding, and he was the CUTEST!!!  Honestly, I am so proud of the job he did!  He held the flower girl's arm down the aisle like such a gentleman (he didn't really get real rings to carry because we didn't trust the natural instincts of a 4 year old).  In fact, he was such a gentleman the entire wedding, helping all the ladies, holding doors, and remembering his "please" and "thank-yous."  Usually, my kids go to an event and forget all their manners and I have to say "No, really, they are so much better behaved at home," or "they are just tired right now" or "it's past their bedtime," but this time both of my kids did so great I was pinching myself!!!

My daughter was not a part of the wedding, but of course we dressed her up all special so that she could feel like a princess!  I usually let her wear her hair in it's natural state (which is curly), but for this occasion, I blow dried her bangs and curled the front pieces!  She looked so precious, and she danced and danced most of the night.  This girl will probably do something with music and dancing because she LOVES both of them!  

The setting my sister chose for the wedding was nice, and fit perfectly.  Her fiance (now husband) is in the military, and they wed at an Air Force museum.  The whole environment was filled with rich scenery of our country with multiple flags on display, and various brave soldiers of the Air Force.  It was a celebration in more ways than one.  Here is a photo of the beginning stages of prep (I didn't catch the latter end due to busyness):

So all was right, until my faux pas that I talked about earlier.  Can you look at this next picture and guess what that might be??????

If you guessed "hot red lipstick" then you are right!!  Long story short, my sister hired someone to do all of our hair and make-up for the event.  Things were going well until we started to run short on time.  And when I say short on time, I mean, run, get dressed, and line up to walk out for the ceremony, or the officiant is leaving!  Because of the time-crunch (we were 1.5 hours late), I was the only bridesmaid to get makeup done on time, including the bride! Now that is just wrong, right?!  My sister got what would be an equivalent of a 5 minute face on the day of her wedding = ( .

Now, I tried to rub off the red lipstick before I went out, but how many of you know that my lips were lined in red and the makeup started bleeding!!  I just didn't have the time, so out we all went!  Looking back, I have no idea why a makeup artist would give a bridesmaid a red lip.  When I told her that I didn't like it, she said it would look nice with the black dress.  What?!?!?!  

Thankfully, my sister still looked beautiful, and she still married an amazing man.  There is no ill will between us because we love one another, and she knows I would have done (and did) anything for her on her special day!  But I do know a certain makeup artist who is not too happy right now, after my sister told her how disappointed she was on her big day.

Well, that wraps up my trip to see my sis' get married.  Marriage is not an easy, but it is worth it.  My hope for my sister is that no matter what they go through, when it gets tough, or when it is easy-going, that she continues to choose to love her husband. Trust me, she will reach a day when she has to make that choice, and I hope that her choice is always to love.

Stay sew-filled!!