Sunday, July 29, 2012

Butterick 5601---The denim "cut-out" dress!

Let's just say I'm surprised this dress turned out so nicely! I'd like to put emphasis on the word "surprise". There were a few times I was having second thoughts! The design lines are really what attracted me to this pattern. The front is modest and really sets the stage for the "wow-factor" that is the back. I love the triangular "cut-out". Originally I was going to make this dress in black. I had the perfect piece of Black stretch sateen for it. I'm in such a need for a LBD. But at the last minute I thought I'd switch it up to denim to make it pop a little more and to make the design lines more visible. As I mentioned in my last post, I have a newfound love for denim.  When I changed my mind that was exactly when "I hopped in the car and took a drive down insecure highway"! LOL! I wasn't feeling exactly sure on my choice of denim fabric. I had to do a bit of tweaking to get the fit just right. But all in all I think it turned out nice. This dress is a great canvas for accessories, especially if made up in a plain color fabric. I threw on a brown belt and bracelet, and cheetah print earrings and shoes! So in the end, everything seemed to work out all right. Here's the details on the dress.....

Butterick 5601

Time to Sew:
This dress took approximately 45 minutes to cut out and took about 6 hours to sew up! I cut out on Friday night and began sewing on Saturday afternoon. I made a muslin to test the fit and that was 1 hour or so.

Sewing ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
I'd rate it a 5!

Pattern Description:
Close fitting, straight, dress with cut out design in back.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 12 of view A.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

YESSSS! No disappointments there!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yeah, super simple!!!!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I loved the back view and how it contrasted with the demure front view!!!!

 ( I LOVE the back!!! The back bodice wrinkling due to belt. BTW, the button was sewn further right then noted in the instructions. The back still retains the triangular cut out shape so all is good!)

Fabric Used:
Dark Indigo blue stretch denim.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:-Took 1 1/4" out of center back seam on each bodice tapering down to about 6".
-Added 3" to the hem.
-Had to sew the back yoke a little lower into back bodice to prevent gaposis.
-Interfaced front & back yoke pieces since denim was so stretchy. Didn't want those stretching out of place.
-Added fusible stay tape at both the bodice front and back (seam line and waist line) to prevent stretching.
-I used the denim as a lining only on the front and back yoke. I used a cotton stretch poplin (in plaid) to line the bodice. In order to give the denim more stability I sewed the lining and denim together at the waist. That kept the bodice from stretching too much.
 (inside the dress)

What would you do differently next time?
-I'd interface the bodice back and front to limit stretching---especially if I had a pretty stretchy fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Not sure! It's kinda a one-of-a-kind dress! But I wholeheartedly recommend it!!!

Conclusion: Excellent dress! Easy to sew and so stylish!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I NEED more Denim in my life!!!!!

I'm currently working on Butterick 5601 (making it in denim) and on a whim thought I'd Google "denim dresses" to get some belt color ideas. Well...........................let's just say I think I found my denim paradise!!! Here you take a look. Go HERE! Don't even try to look away---just take it all in! Aren't those dresses just magnifique!!!! So many different style and design features!!!

 Aside from wearing denim capris & jeans (which I LOVE!!!) I realize I don't wear alot of it at all. I'm thinking that's got to change!!!! I would welcome a few tops and distinctly different dresses into my wardrobe. "Distinctly different" being the operative words----can't have too much where they all begin looking alike. So I'm thinking I need the following key pieces:

-denim jacket--to wear with maxi dresses, etc.
-denim bolero---for dresses and cute capris
-denim strapless dress & a few other styles
-denim shirt
-denim vest 
-denim jeggings (These have been on my to sew list for a few months)
I think that's all of the necessary pieces. Am I missing anything???

I think I'll pass on the denim ball/ wedding gown! LOL! Not my taste!  Seriously, I didn't know there was a such think as denim wedding gowns. That's very interesting!!!!

(Photo courtesy of

It goes without saying that denim is a popular & versatile wardrobe staple.  I've always known that but hadn't really made the connection to it's "lacking in my wardrobe" until now. I hope that in addition to the current dress I'm working on I"ll be able to aquire all of the "necessary" denim staples I mentioned above (whether I have to sew and/or buy them) fairly soon. They will expand my wardrobe tremendously!!! I'm definitely ready to make room for more denim in my life:)

How about you---Do you wear alot of denim? What pieces do you consider necessary?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My SEWING Interview featured on the Blue Gardenia!

The lovely and ever so gracious Denise Calhoun recently interviewed me for her blog the Blue Gardenia. If you're interested in learning how I learned to sew, and the other in's and out's of my sewing please check it out! This was a really fun interview to do!!!!You can read my interview HERE. In addition to interviewing sewing talents she also sales vintage patterns as well (an added treat)!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Look 6557--- The Atlanta Wedding Dress!

I just got back from a super fun weekend in Atlanta!!! I attended the beautiful wedding of a dear friend and was able to meet up with other friends and just have fun hanging out. I'm delighted that before I left for the trip I was able to finish up New Look 6557 which I wore to the wedding. The dress turned out really cute! I think my choice of pattern with my fabric was a good decision. Anywho, here's my review......

NewLook 6557

(love my shoes too--they have satin flowers on them!)

Time to Sew:
This dress took approximately 20 minutes to cut out and took about 4 hours to sew up!

Sewing ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
I'd rate it a 4!

(front view---love my shoes, they have flowers on them)

Pattern Description:
Halter dress. I made view A.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Absolutely--except for the bodice trim/halter ties!

(back view)

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVE everything about this dress! I love that the midriff and bodice have a figure-flattering shape! The skirt hangs beautifully!

Fabric Used:
Some rayon/poly blend.

(fabric up close)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
-Took 2" out of center back seam on each bodice tapering down to about 6".
-Reduced the hem by 2".
-Created spaghetti straps and added to bodice instead of using suggested trim.

 (up close jewelry view)

What would you do differently next time?
-Since this fabric had a slightly loose weave and could have benefited from being stabilized more using interfacing. 
-I'd also add some boning to at least give the back bodice a little support. I had to pull it up a couple of times. Maybe a grosgrain ribbon would help keep the bodice from shifting.
-Sew the straps to the inside of the bodice instead of outside. The straps would occasionally flip over and the seam would be exposed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Probably so! It's a great TNT pattern and always yields great results!

Excellent dress! Easy to sew and so stylish!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Game Changer

Well I was well on my way to cutting out the dress I'm wearing to an upcoming wedding. Based on my own thoughts and alot of you guys' feedback from last Monday's Post I decided on using the New Look pattern top 6773 (view C), with the folded over edge and halter straps, and I would use another skirt from a different pattern since I didn't like the pleats in the included skirt (we'll save that discussion for another post). I did all of the fitting work on my bodice last night using my custom dressform. I fit like a charm and would need just a tiny reduction on the bodice length in the back to accommodate my short-waistedness. Today I pulled out New Look 6557, an oldie but goodie, to retrieve the skirt I was planning to use. I made view B of this dress about 6 years ago and absolutely loved the skirt and the entire dress for that matter. The skirt hangs beautifully.

  Anyhow, I pulled out the NL 6557 skirt and did a tissue fit and it aligned with the NL 6773 bodice perfectly. For good measure I tried on my version of NL 6557 and that's when things in a whole new direction. I realized this pattern would be perfect for my fabric and I would nix using NL 6773 all together.
 (Here's New Look 6557---my new pattern choice)

 (NL 6557 from 6 years ago. Made out of poly peachskin---super soft to the touch and a perfect hand for this dress)

 (Bodice upclose. The fabric is so cool and has an Asian vibe. I usually detest midriffs because since I'm short waisted (more so in the back) they tend to cut me in half. This dress was drafted so well that it actually elongated my waistline. Maybe that's an optical illusion and maybe it's more so the use a a print actually disguises the severity of the midriff. Plus there's a tie belt which hides the lower midriff seam making it look like a 2 piece dress. No matter what it is, I like this dress. It was voted one of Sewing Pattern Review's Popular patterns for 2007.)

 (Bathroom shot. Hubby was taking a nap so I was on my own.)

 After looking at myself in the dress I decided that I wanted to make the halter version--view A. I absolutely loved the fit of this dress and know the dress would showcase the fabric very well. So I put NL 6557 to the side and started working on my new plan. I'm very particular about my halter tops. I don't want to much to show or too little---I like the perfect balance---sexy but classy! So I made up a quick muslin to test it out. It went together too fast!
Here it is on my form. Fits perfectly!!! Both front and back!!! I might shave off a little in the front to open up the dress front a little more and give added shape.

(NL 6557 Front halter view muslin made out of some gingham I had on hand. The fit is great. There's no weird gaposis and the bust size is perfect. Everything lays perfectly flat. BTW, I cut the dress in a size 12....)

(....NL 6557 Back halter view)

So things changed up a bit and am happy that I decided to go with NL 6557.  I'm excited about it!!! I really appreciate all of you guys' comments and opinions. I do think the busy print would have camouflaged the folded over edge of NL 6773. Besides it's going to get used---believe you me. I've been waiting to use that pattern for quite some time. It just so happens I have a Wedding Anniversary to celebrate next month so I'm brainstorming about a dress. The first thing that comes to mind is NL 6773 View B+ J (folded over strapless bodice edge and a fitted skirt)  in  really cute fabric that I will keep a secret for now.

Ok, I'm off--have some pattern pieces to cut out! Happy Sewing!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Living Social "Online Sewing Class" Deal!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a sewing related discount on living social deal the other day. It's for 50% off a class. I've never taken a class and I'm not particularly interested (I have some DVD's on some of the topics) but thought it a good enough deal to pass along. Heck, if you've been debating on taking one now's a good chance. You can find more details about the deal HERE.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sewing Jots and Titles 7.12.12

"Sewing Jots & Tittles" is my weekly post where I get to ramble on and on about sewing related stuff that's been on my mind. As the multiple rings of orbit Saturn are comprised of both particles big and small so is my brain full of diverse thoughts. Watch out for falling debris.......

-This dress was featured in the 2011 movie "The Flowers of War" and I absolutely fell in love with it.  It was gorgeous on the big screen---or DVD in my case---and this pic hardly does it justice. The movie was really good too--a bit brutal at times and heartbreaking (any true depiction of war is) but the performances were stellar and it was such a testament to the good of humanity even in a bad situation. Trust me you'll need tissues for this one!

- Burn baby, burn!!!
Somehow there's a mystery surrounding the burning of my olfa mat by my steam generating iron. I nearly fainted when I realized the iron was "on" and sitting on it's rubber mat on top of my olfa cutting mat. The part that was burned by the intense heat was warped and is a bit cracked. Seriously, this was pretty traumatic for me since I really love my cutting mat. A full investigation is being launched and I hope to bring the guilty parties to justice. In the meantime I think I can work around it for a while before having to replace it.

-This is how a man thinks about cutting multiple layers of fabric. This is my co-worker cutting out layers of tulle for his wife, the music director, who was creating costumes for a school musical. Only from the mind of a man....LOL!!!!

-A cry for help!
 I cut out this pattern LONG ago and can't find the pieces or pattern sheet. Is there anyone out there who'd like to give up theirs? I'll trade you for a pattern of mine. Trust me, I've got lots of patterns to choose from. Let me know.

-I was hanging out downtown and ran across this cool graffiti. I loved how the colors just jived with my marigold dress! And yes, I did just use "jive" a 70's terminology. Took it way back! LOL!!!

-Working on a dress for a young client. Using view C from Simplicity 1927 on the left. Looking for the perfect white fabric for it.

-Tried sewing up some shorts. Here's my gingham muslin.
 The fit was superb but the style wasn't for me. I wish I could wear short shorts but these long thighs and camel knees don't make it flattering! LOL! So I'm sticking with capris. Here's the pattern I'm looking at using....


-Love this quote! And yes, I plan too (wink)!!!

-Public Service Announcement: Don't advertise an avocado as ripe unless the are ACTUALLY ripe. No one wants to wait 3 days to eat their "ripe" advocado. That is all!!!

-Hilarious cards! Man, I'm certain I have some crazy family pics to contribute. C'mon, you know you have some too! LOL!

-I've got honey on my face!
 I've recently gone granola--like far right granola! LOL! I work in the field of environmental microbiology  research and am aware of how beneficial bacteria are to us--the environment, everything for that matter. Well after a horrible facial outbreak the result of a sugar binge on cookies and a bad skin product. I had to find a way to heal my skin. That's when I did some research and discovered the "Crunchy Betty" website in addition to tons of other articles & videos supporting the use of RAW HONEY---Manuka to be exact, which is one of the most biologically active--- as a skin cleanser. I've been using it for a couple of months and my skin never felt better. The blemishes are healing and the tone is becoming even. I use a diluted Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and tea tree oil as my astringent. Throw on a little moisturizer and that concludes my routine. It's not shocking that nature has the cures that we seek for everyday issues!

-Fermentation/Canning Frenzy
 I've always been a bit of a health nut. I want to start making my own yogurt and fermented veggies (lots of healthy bacteria there). I've had Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions for a few years and are ready to give some of the recipes a try. The fermented veggies you buy in the refrigerated section of the health food store are uber expensive. Bubbie's live culture sauerkraut is $6/jar. Can make that myself and for way cheaper.
  Going to buy some quart jars and start making my own this weekend. I'm also regained my interest in canning. Hope to start that up soon too!

-Mother lode
I bought the largest bag of rice for $8. It's 20 LBS and was over half off at Publix. A normal bag pictured above is around 1 lbs and is over $2. What a savings I literally think I'll be able to go a year without buying another bag!!!

-Oh, I'm thinking strongly about this for me and the Hubby next year. Guess it's time to start training. Could I be any more out of shape.....sigh! Having this much fun would definitely inspire me to get in shape.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Upcoming Wedding dress/ Atlanta fabric stores???

In a couple of weeks I'll be attending the wedding of a dear friend in Atlanta. You don't even have to ask if I'm making something to wear, I think you already know the answer (wink)! So I want a cute little dress for the affair. As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I've already got my fabric and am trying to settle on the perfect pattern.

Here's my fabric.......

I LOVE it! It's a medium weight woven polyester something-or-another fabric.....I really can't remember what it is. It's almost like a rayon challis---I think it may be. But what I do know are that the colors are bold and vivacious. What attracted me to this fabric was the bold black design lines, streaks of corals, red and pinks and gray flowers. The print is pretty "in-your-face". Well with such a bold fabric I thought I'd pick a pattern that was a little understated and would really showcase the fabric.

Well I have 3 patterns I'm debating on:

Pattern #1 
Simplicity 4070
I like the strapless version with the straight skirt. I think the sweetheart neckline is just darling! The fit of the bodice is complete perfection and contrasts so well with the full skirt. Plus it would be cool to add a little embellishment to the waistline. Maybe a gray flower, as featured in the fabric, perhaps?

Simplicity 2884
I honestly really haven't met a halter dress I didn't like. The bodice and full skirt are lovely. This style is so classic. My only concern is the wide midriff. I'm shortwaisted and am wondering if this would pose a problem. Of course I could do a muslin just to check.

Pattern #3
New Look 6773
I totally like the strapless view in the middle. The fold over bodice edge is what drawed me to this pattern and the full skirt is just what I'm looking for.
Which do you think would look best in my fabric? I'd love to know your opinion. I'm stuck at the moment on making a decision. I'm really liking the first 2 options. I hope to decide by Wednesday because I need to get to work on this ASAP!!!

Also, while in Atlanta of course I plan to visit fabric stores. I did the last time I visited a year ago and unfortunately forgot the names of the stores I visited. I have very limited time and want to spend my time going to fabric stores with the best fabrics for the best prices. Can you recommend any??? The names of Closeout/ Bargain fabric stores are always welcomed!!! Thanks for all of your help in advance.
Of course, I

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Has watching Project Runway helped your sewing???

Project Runway Season 10 airs July 19th at 9pm on Lifetime!!! I'm SUPER excited!!! You would think after 10 seasons this show would get old but not for me and obviously the millions of other fans that have kept the ratings high and it on the air for this long. 

I absolutely love it! Each new season brings a new set of talent and challenges. The challenges range from making ready to wear clothes for department store to borrowing clothes from complete strangers to make garments .I love analyzing the details of each challenge and the choices of each designer---both good and bad. You can learn so much about textile manipulation, fabrication, designing that way. Too bad we aren't privy to the seeing more draping, pattern making and in-depth design details but that's not the focus of the show. Nevertheless, the bits and pieces we are able to see in conjunction with the challenge details and results are very enlightening.This show in a way inspires me to tap into my own creativity and take some risks with my sewing. All in all, it's a wonderfully inspiring show.

How about, has watching Project Runway helped your sewing?

Friday, July 6, 2012

May / June 2012 10,000 Hour Challenge goals & July/ August Plans

Happy July Everyone!!! I don't even know where June went. Can't believe the year is half over with!!! Well I've just completed my May & June Sewing challenge months and want to recap them and move into the July & August goals.

Unfortunately I don't have much finished projects to show for myself for May & June since I spent most of May planning & starting sewing projects and doing client work. I managed to churn out 4 projects in June and have 2 still in the queue that I didn't finish up on time. I did alot of sewing but didn't finish everything. One of my biggest problems was dragging my feet on projects that were nearly finished. At one point I had 3 projects that were one step away from being finished. That's ridiculous!!! I guess I didn't realize how much I really wasn't excited about doing bias bindings on necklines and armholes, particularly in the 2 tank dresses I finished. But despite being somewhat slowful, I have to admit that I LOVE the dresses that I made in June. I mean, love, love, love them. I've been getting to much wear out of my tank dresses. Here they are.....

I hope to be really productive for July and August----getting much more sewing in.  In July I hope to continue the sewing some of the garments I mentioned in my MAY post and will make other arrangements for August.. I'm also attending a wedding in a few weeks and plan to make a dress out of this fabric. I love it and am thinking about making a strapless number.

I have a dress to make for a young client so that's also on the agenda for July & August. So I'll keep you posted on that. Plus I'm planning on some other surprises which I'll reveal later. All in all, I'm striving to make the next couple of months productive one's. Well I've got some family visiting for the July 4th weekend so tomorrow I think I'm off to the beach for a little R&R. I'll be sure to bring some sewing projects to aid with that! Hope you all are enjoying your July 4th weekend;)


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