Thursday, December 31, 2009

10,000 Hour Sewing Challenges: January & February 2010 Goals

Ok I'm pretty siked, no I'm just plain ECSTATIC, about beginning my 10,000 Hour Sewing challenge--specifically about my sewing goals for January and February.

During my first week I have to finish some UFO's ( a dress for me, a hoodie for my Goddaughter, a couple of small pieces, and some client work). BUT THEN........

I can move on to a few garments that I've been wanting to make for quite some time. They are the following :

I need some new black slacks. They're an essential staple for my wardrobe. I'm still undecided on the fabric. I can't decide if I want to do a sateen or a polyester blend fabric with a little stretch. Hmmmmm.....

A chocolate brown corduroy jacket would be nice and great for work! I also need one in black, maybe the same black fabric I use to make the Jalie slacks out of. That way I can create my own suit.

I ultimately bought this pattern for jeans but I managed to get some 14 or 17 wale corduroy from for about $2 or so a yard so I decided to make tan and chocolate brown corduroy pants. Pants are so hard for me to find since I have really long legs (34" inseam).

I currently don't have a black skirt. Yet another wardrobe staple that I'm in need of. I have a nice black polyester fabric for the job.

I love the "orange coat" design and thought it would look nice in a quilted black fabric with a sassy, red satin lining.

I thought this would be really cute. I love these little jumpers and I love anything with princess seams for that matter since I like my garments somewhat fitted. I'm hoping this plaid print is small enough that I can get around the idea of matching the print. I'd rather match the plaid in a "non princess seam" garment. We'll see.

 I also have a few "PLAN B" patterns (not shown). These are alternate patterns I'll use just in case my time is minimal or my week is bombarded with things to do. Keep in mind I do work full time, have a sewing business, and most importantly am a Wife and Mother (I try to be good one's). So just like you I have responsibilities that sometimes steal me away from sewing.  But even with life's little interruptions and unplanned events,  I'm determined to stay with my goal of sewing one garment a week, minimal:) So by the end of February I should have 8 garments to show and my sewing plans for the next 2 months. The rest of my Ten Thousand Hours Sewing challenge "rules" are posted on the top right side of my blog page.

Ok, that about covers it!!! Now it's time to step away from the computer and prepare to do some serious sewing. This ought to be quite the adventure!!!! Thanks for coming along for the ride:)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Butterick 5182

I needed a dress to wear for a Valentine's Day Ball that my church was sponsoring so I ran across this pattern and thought I'd give it a try.


I particularly liked view B and found a nice mid weight satin in a "unique" color to make it in. I honestly don't know what color it is. It's kinda a mix between mauve, some shade of purple, and fuchsia. I still don't think that quite explains it but that's as close as I can get. I just didn't want the usual red or pink dress. So this was perfect for me.

So here's the finished product.....

Pattern Description:
Lined dresses A, B, C have close-fitting bodice, semi-fitted bias skirt, train and back zipper.
Pattern Sizing:
I used the size 12 on top and  increased to the 14 at the waist and below.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes for the most part!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, this pattern was rated "average". I didn't have any particular problems with it. The directions were pretty straight forward.

(My backside is a little fuller than my dressform, hence the wrinkles)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the bodice on this dress. This typed of design always works well for me since I have narrow shoulders. And I love how streamlined and fitted this gown was. The fishtail served as a nice touch. It was perfectly formal for the Valentine's ball but not too decadent. I didn't like the fact that the dress was fully lined. I try to avoid this on bias cut garments. I don't like to add any additional bulk on bias gowns.
Fabric Used:
Crepe back satin
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No alterations were needed after I did a muslin of the top to ensure it's fit. I did omit the lining for the skirt bottom and only self lined the bodice. So I was sure to serge all of the internal seams. I did shorten the zipper A GREAT DEAL. A huge lesson I learned was never to put a zipper in the back of a bias gown. The zipper doesn't lay as smoothly and the fabric is prone to stretching (since cut on the bias) which results in fabric bubbles which I hate. I managed to shorten the zipper (it only extended 4" past the bodice) and I sewed the remainder of the back seam all the way down. This meant that I'd have to put the dress over my head but that was better than the fabric puckers I had when I used the longer zipper. Next time I do a bias gown the zipper will definitely go on the side. BTW, bias gowns should always hang for 24hours to allow for maximum stretching.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who may be interested in it. As for me, I probably won't be sewing this again. I have to many other gown patterns that I want to try and unfortunately I don't get enough occasions to do so.
I think the dress turned out very well. In my usual fashion I was sewing up until the last minute (I've got to stop doing that). For a one-night-wear dress I loved it. You think I would've took more pics but I only have 2 of them. This pic is a closeup of the bodice. Unfortunately I was a bit hunched over and had the worst strapless bra so my dress bodice didn't wear as well. But I digress---all in all, the dress was beautiful and I got a lot of compliments which is always good :)

My Newly Organized Sewing Studio

Well at least you now know why I haven't posted pics of Vogue 1020. I have been cleaning and organizing my home all week!!!! And I mean ALL WEEK!!!  There was no way that I would begin my sewing challenge without making sure my home was in "tip top" shape for the New Year.  And of course, my Sewing Studio made it on the list of rooms needing major organizing and cleaning. Now please don't be fooled. I in no way keep a "nasty" house. But I've found in my older age that in order for my home to run more efficiently it needs to be rid of clutter and nicely organized. I find that "Efficiency" is becoming one of my favorite words (wink)!!!

Now what I'm about to do is equivalent of  "baring my soul" to you. I will show you my sewing room in its not so neat --just plain disastrous---state. Is it just me or does your sewing room looks like it was hit by a natural disaster of some kind after you've worked through a few projects. Well here are a few BEFORE and AFTER pics so you can see some of the cleaning and organizing I've done--along with a good deal of PURGING. I'm proud it's so organized and everything has a rightful place and home. I'm finding that I'm becoming anal about that sort of thing.  BTW, can you guess my favorite color????



 (Here's my L-shaped desk that houses 2 of my 5 babies along with my Rowenta steamer (who's in need of replacement). The desk has 2 huge drawers that hold projects in progress and all of my thread. I love my pegboard--which surprisingly after installing it, I realized I don't use it as much. Up above on the shelves are all my labeled bins that hold various supplies and fabric swatches. Below my Serger is also a black plastic bin with pull out drawers holding other supplies).

Wall #2

Wall #2

 (This wall houses my pattern catalogs (in the binders), pressing supplies, patternmaking supplies, interfacing, fabric, cutting table, actual patterns (in tub below), etc.,etc., etc.)

Wall #3


(I organized all my books, CD's, DVD's, text books, etc. The bench is actually a cedar chest and holds all my Burda magazines and other small stuff.)

(Here's my fabric closet and it's alot bigger than it looks. It was custom built by my Hubby and I and holds alot of fabric. I also have fabric in a couple of other places. It's time to sew down this stash big time!!!)

(I keep all of my pattern envelopes in 3 ring binders organized by pattern type)

(I keep the contents of my pattern envelopes separately in manilla envelope and a plastic bin. I saw someone do this and I just had to adopt their system)

I guess as they say, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. I'm pooped from all the organizing but I'm happy with the results. Now I'm ready for some serious sewing!!! I've already got my patterns and fabric picked out for January & February. That post is next.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Knock It Off : How I copied my favorite Plaid Skirt (PIC HEAVY)

I REALLY LOVE this skirt.....

I always pair it with black tights and a cute pair of Mary Janes, throw on a fierce jacket ( did I just say "fierce"--I sound like Christian from Project runway season 4--- LOL!) , and maybe a scarf and I've got a cute look.  The other day I got to wishing I have a few more of these skirts. Then I thought to myself, "why not knock-it-off?". After analyzing it I realized it's as simple as a skirt goes and has no complex design elements just a front piece and back piece with 2 darts. So I set off to copy this skirt.

Now this isn't my first time copying a ready to wear garment. I did it once before, maybe about 2 or so years ago, for a client. To be quite honest it was FAR more complex than this simple skirt. It was this Narcisco Rodriguez dress work by Julia Louis Dreyfus (Elaine for all you Seinfeld fans!!!) for one of the Emmy's (can't remember which one).

 Aside from a few changes it was a pretty good match. I'll have to tell you that story one day--hopefully before the year's end. It's a pretty funny one and I thank God that although I didn't really know what I was getting myself in to the end results were great. But I think it took me a couple of weeks to recover from the stress I'd been under. That was an intense experience....and one I learned a tremendous amount from.

Ok, back to the plaid skirt. Where was I? Oh....yeah, so after analyzing the skirt I decided to go ahead with it--especially since it was super simple. I folded the front skirt piece in half and traced it with Pellon grid material. I would've used tissue paper but for some reason couldn't find any. Well it turns out I like this better anyway. I found it at Jo-Ann's in the interfacing section.  I probably should've tried ironing out the wrinkles but to be quite honest I wasn't sure if it could handle the heat. I didn't think the few wrinkles would be too problematic.

(skirt front folded in half in preparation for tracing)

(tracing material)

(up close of tracing material)

(tracing the plaid skirt onto the grid material)

I  traced the skirt and created a pattern that required laying the fabric on the fold. But then I realized that in order to have the plaid pattern point diagonally I had to cut the fabric on the bias which required me to open out the skirt and trace the full skirt pattern piece. I only needed to do this once since both the front and back skirt pieces were the same. Once I traced the skirt pattern I added all of the seam allowances. I added 1" to the waist, 5/8" to the side seam and "about 1.5" to the hem.

I found a perfect plaid in my stash to use--it has a tan base with brown, salmon, and burgundy lines in it. I laid out the fabric, overlayed my pattern on the bias and cut out two pieces. Since I cut this skirt on the bias I was a little nervous that it would need time to stretch a bit before sewing so I hung it for a couple of hours. After trying it on I decided to go ahead  and sew it but leave out the two darts in the back since the skirt seemed somewhat snug in the waist.  I sewed up one side and added a 7" invisible zipper in the other. For the waistline I added 1/2" twill tape and folded it down 1/2" twice and sewed it down---just like the original skirt. Then I just sewed the hem and I was done. It was as easy as that.

Here it is the Finished Product: I think it turned out really well. I wore it to church and it wore well. But I noticed that the waist expanded a little with wear. Since the bias is the stretchiest part of the fabric it makes since that this would happen. Besides needing to go back and add the original  2-1/2" darts in the back it fits perfectly. I'll definitely make a few more of these in some other cute plaids. What do you think????


(FYI: This is the reference book I used to gather some info on copying ready to wear clothes. I think chapter 24 or 25 covered this )

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

I'm sure most of you have taken a sewing break to spend time with family and enjoy the Holiday Season. I pray that you're having a delightful time. And when you're done I hope you have all the "Rest and renewed energy" to jump back into your unfinished (or new) sewing projects (smile)!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Wish List

  I usually don't require any fuss during the Christmas season. It's true as they say "It's better to give than to receive". Nevertheless, I have to admit, it sure did feel like an early Christmas on last when my stretch poplin print fabrics arrived by UPS. I can't tell you how much I've been excitedly anticipating it's arrival. When I received the arrival confirmation email I couldn't get off work fast enough to get my package.  This surge of excitement alone prompted me to compile a list of some items I know would give me the same euphoric feeling.

My Christmas Wish List consists of........

1. A Velva Board . I know you can use self fabric or a towel when pressing corduroy or velvet but I like to collecting nifty pressing tools.

(Photo is a Google Image courtesy of Couture ET Tricot--the only one I could find on the internet)

2. Blind hemmer since I do a load of hem alterations. Still doing my researh and haven't decided on a brand yet.

3. Custom dressform from Andy's Dressforms in NYC. Mimi was gracious enough to share this info. Oh how I would love to have the full body form with legs included ----totally made in my size. That would be ssssssoooooo awesome.

4. Consew CES-300 Gravity Feed Iron since my Rowenta is in need of replacement. Erica B did a product review on this a couple of years ago and gave it rave reviews.

5. Dressform tape for when I experiment with draping next year.

6. Threads Magazine DVD ROM. Who wouldn't want all of the Threads Magazines EVER published????

7. Business Labels from Worldwide Label. I'm just having a hard time deciding on a logo.

Well that's pretty much it. Nothing wrong with wishing is it? What's on your Christmas wish list? Well there's only 2 days left til' Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed because you never know what could happen!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Simplicity 2483

It seems my daughter had grown out of most her clothes and all at the same time. The person that said "kids grow like weeds" sure was right.  I whipped up this little number in time for her to wear to church today. I think I'll be spending part of my Christmas break sewing a few things for her.

Pattern Description:

Girl's Jumper
Pattern Sizing:
I used the size 2 for my daughter.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy--nothing tricky here (wink)!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked most everything about the pattern. I liked the bias tape bound neckline and armholes. Since I was too lazy to change my serger thread I experimented with the flat felled seam finish. This and the bias tape make for a very clean inner finish (which is always nice).
Fabric Used:
A patterned corduroy with pink, mauve, and burgundy hues. I've had it in my stash for a while and knew it would work well with this pattern.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No changes were needed but I did omit the pockets. My 2 year old wouldn't use them.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes definitely! I've always thought jumpers were a staple in most young girl's wardrobes. Plus with the rigt type fabrics you can have so much fun with them. I might modify the pattern next time and add pockets, appliques, or trims to have a little fun with it.

I love this little jumper and look forward to making more in the future. The pattern has 6 sizes so you can get good use out of it for several years to come. It was quick to make and yielded great results. Plus it's versatile and can be made all year round if you pair it with the right undershirt. This pattern's definitely a A+++. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Crazy Busy Weekend........

Wow, this is turning out to be a pretty busy weekend! Well I finally found my Vogue 1020 guidesheet so I can finish up my dress this weekend (if you recall I misplaced it a couple of days ago)!!!! Yay to that!!!! In addition to that I decided to whip my little one up Simplicity 2483 in time for church on Sunday. I made the dress on the left in a cute corduroy print. I'll post pics Sunday. It was so easy that I should've whipped up 3 more while I was at it. I know you're laughing at me but you know I'm "Queen of the Remakes". Hey if I like a pattern you know I'm going to "overuse" it.  You know you do the same thing (wink)!!!!

(I do like the vest and skirt on the right so I definitely have to make that in the future!!!)

In addition to that I've got a few alterations for clients and friends to get done. And on top of all that I'm sitting under a weight of housework. Plus with Christmas next week there's still so much more to do!!! Don't tell anyone, but I haven't even put up my tree yet---what a shame, I know!!! But, I'm not going to get overwhelmed. No sir, I wont! Breathing in and exhaling slowly. Hey I get to spend a good deal of this weekend sewing. That alone brings some calm to all of the chaos. Hope you're able to squeeze some sewing into your weekend.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Dream of Spring.....

I know it's December ,and I'm currently compiling my list of items to sew to jumpstart my 10,000 hour challenge in January, but my mind can't help but wonder ahead to Spring, my favorite season. That's due in part to my acquisition of some awesome fabrics from Ealier this week I was able to get my hands on some patterned stretch poplin and a week or so before that I purchased several costola 2-1 knits. Both purchases were for their very low sale price of like $2.50 or so a yard. If there's anything most people know about me is that I absolutely love fabrics with 2 characteristics: stretch and/or colorful patterns. Well when I say I racked up--I certainly did!!! You can't pass up these types of bargains--not when getting good fabrics and saving money is concerned!!!! Check out my buys and some of my ideas for their use.

This love B/W fabric for this Simplicity 3877 dress. Probably the mock wrap dress to the left.

Depending on what the print looks like when I get it maybe one of these for this New Look 6776 pattern although I feel these 2 fabrics could easily go with the Simplicity 3877 pattern above. Hmmmmm.

I'm thinking one or both of these in this Butterick 4185 pattern. I especially like the Paisley!

I'd like to use this for a blouse or jacket and pair with a pair it with some white slacks. Haven't decided on the pattern though.

Also I got these ribbed knits in 7 different colors. I'd like to make a few cardigans or fitted shirts to pair with (and in some cases) tone down the patterned dresses or skirts I have and plan to make. Who could ever have enough colorful knit cardigans or tops.

Well that's enough daydreaming for now. It's always nice to have something to look forward too......


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