Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sewing Jots and Tittles 4.30.11

Ok, as you know "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. Here's what I've been thinking. 

-My Coverstitch is here!!! It arrived yesterday evening and I was all too happy to unpack it. It arrived well packed. It was double-boxed and wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and saran wrap. It was fortified, let me tell ya!!!

After unpacking it for 10 minutes, out emerged my machine and I'm so delighted. I gave it a try and it works great. It's pretty simple to use and is just like threading a serger. Anywho, I've already added it with the other "babies". The family is complete---a sewing machine (I have 3 other around), 1 serger, 1 coverstitch, and 1 blind hemmer. I'm pretty proud of my family:)

Support- I want to give a special "shout-out" goes out to my Hubby for encouraging me to get my coverstitch machine. I think somewhere along the way I've convinced him that I'm serious about this "sewing thing"! LOL! He always supports me without reservation and that means alot. Maybe it's about time I start doing a little sewing for him to show my gratitude (wink)!

-Is this a dress? I picked up this Vogue 1229 pattern a couple of months ago and thought I had picked up a top. I just realized this is a dress pattern. Really?!? That's interesting. I guess I'm just going to have to wear it as a top.

-No Vogue patterns yet?- I'm about to blow a gasket. Neither my local Hancock Fabrics or JoAnn's has gotten in the new Summer Vogue patterns. What in the world is going on?  Two sets of Vogue pattern sales have come and still no patterns. I'm really struggling. I'm going to go to both stores tomorrow morning to investigate and make sure they're not hiding out in the store room.

-War Zone-My Sewing room looked  like World War VII broke out!!! It took over an hour or so to tidy. I threw out lots--fabric swatches, and organized my summer fabrics. Man, I love decluttering!!!!I watched a Princess Diana special while I worked. I forgot how big of a philanthropist she was. I care more about that then the current royal wedding details! Anyway things are all tidy now and I'm ready to get back to  sewing.

Great Sewing books: I've had these books for a while and have been meaning to review them. I bought the Tailoring and Couture Techniques book first and loved them SO much that I bought the Garment Construction book. The latter book is more so for beginners so I'll use it with my sewing students.
 At first I really didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The books have great pictures and go into great depth on alterations, construction details, and finishing touches. I love the Tailoring book. I have other great one's but this one covers handling a Man's and Woman's jacket and alter for them and complete 2 fittings. If you want to expand your sewing library some, these are great supplements!

-Mother's Day dress- I found this fabric and SOOOOO want to make a dress out of it. I think it would be perfect for Mother's day. It's a matte jersey with a gorgeous and bold red, white, and black floral print.The only challenge is I have 1 1/2 yd of it.

I might just pick something else for Mother's day and instead I might just use it to make this instead....

Women's Day Flowers- I'm working with an old client who would like for me to make 50 bodice corsages for every woman at her church to wear for their Women's program. The only details she gave me is that the event is May 22nd and she wants them to have a pink artificial flower (still need to decide on a shade), some ribbon, and be pinnable. She's given me creative license so I've got lots of research to do so I can show her some options. Then once we decide on a design we can talk price, supplies, and all the other details. For me pricing is always the tricky part--I like to make it fair for me and my clients. But with good research I usually do so. This will be a fun journey. I like taking on fun projects!!!

-Clothing Labels- I had a friend assist me in designing my clothing labels a month ago and I still haven't placed an order for them. I'm astonished by my level of procrastination sometimes. I'll send those off this week. I'm tired of making label-less garments.

-New Muslin fabric- You all know I like to make a muslin, especially when I'm sewing something really fitted. Well I'm switching over from using the cotton muslin (which I figured out how to get for a $1/yd at Joann's by using 50% coupon off of 15yd pre-packaged bolts) to a cheaper alternative. The lovely Katie at Kadiddlehopper turned me on to this product which is used for plumbing work but is also great for tracing patterns and doing fittings.  This is actually great because it might encourage me to start using my old Burda pattern magazines. So I ordered a roll and should get it in the next week and a half.

-Trip Down Memory Lane- For some reason my mind wandered to the first dress I ever sewn and wore to an event. It wasn't anything fancy--just a black sheath dress that I had to wear as a hostess in a friends wedding. The fabric wasn't the best quality and the seams weren't perfect, but I sure was proud of it and it look pretty nice. I just remember beaming with pride and feeling SO confident. Wow, that's been a long time ago and I've come along way but it will always be a GREAT memory!

Ok, that's what's been circulating through my mind, what's been on yours?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Addition to the Family......

I'm absolutely delighted! As of yesterday I became the proud owner of a "gently used" Brother 2340 CV coverstitch machine! A Coversitch machine has been on my Christmas Wish List forever----well for the last 2 years!
  I found the machine on Ebay and it's being sold through a seller who used it twice but decided she didn't need it. I was able to swoop it up for $299 with $27 s/h charge. So I ended up getting a good deal for it considering that I've seen it being sold for much more. You can read machine specs here. I originally didn't have the Brother Coverstitch in mind. I was too busy stalking the Janome CoverPro CP but after realizing that it only had a double needle (wide) stitch option I turned my attention to the Janome CoverPro 1000CP and although it's their brand new coverstitch machine, I didn't wan't to pay an "arm and a leg" for it. So I did a little research and looked at some reviews and discovered the Brother 2340CV was just what I needed.

Now mind you, the reason I really didn't want to spend alot on a Coverstitch machine is because I already have one. I own the Huskylock 936 and have had it for 7 years now, I think.
I love, love, love my Serger (which also can convert into a coverstitch machine). To me it's the best one on the planet and takes the guess work out of serging. It's computerized and with a few punches of a button to select fabric and stitch type I can manually set the thread tension to it's recommendations and voila---perfect serging. However, I'm not exactly stoked with its coverstich capabilities. They're ok but not consistently good---at least when it comes to stitching over joined seams. Besides, it's somehwhat a hassle converting it from serger to coverstitch and back. So I'm happy that will be a thing of the past and I'll be able to serge and hem in a quicker fashion.

Well Friday can't get here soon enough. I hope it arrives safe and sound. The timing will be perfect---I'll need it to hem up a knit top I'm currently working on.  I will get lots of use out of this machine so it's a worthy investment. I sew mostly knits (it's my favorite fabric to sew with) so with knits alone I'll "put alot of miles" on it!
How about you---do you own a coverstitch machine? Do you love it? Use it alot or little?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Dresses: Simplicity 2888 & Butterick 5443

Happy Easter/ Resurrection day !!! Here are the Easter dresses I sewed for me and my daughter. Sewing them was a delightful experience and I loved the end results. I lost a couple of work days due to a nice little "bug" that my daughter passed on to me that had me out of work. So I had alot of catching up to do. But despite that and finally finishing sewing this morning I'm happy I was able to pull it off.

I went in a different direction with our colors this year. I strayed away from the normal floral print and decided to something in the opposite direction. I found the fabric for my dress at Jo-ann's several weeks ago, and as I mentioned in an earlier post I absolutely fell in love with it. So I matched my daughter's dress to it and of course my Hubby wore coordinating colors. So here's the reviews and pics for the dresses......

(worn with black shrug to church)
Simplicity 2888

Pattern Description:
Dresses with two lengths with bodice variations. I made view A.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 12 bodice tapered to 14 for waist and skirt.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty much!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the style and flare of the skirt.

Fabric Used:
Polyester shantung with unique print in white, black, gold, light blue (I think that's all of the colors).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1. Dresses with midriffs make me a little nervous since I'm short waisted. But I did a muslin for the bodice and since the fit was good went with it. After completiong, I realized that the midriff was too wide for my taste and very obvious with my fabric. It was too late to reduce the lenght of the midriff after it was sewn, so instead I make a fabric belt to tie up and wear in front of the midriff to make it less noticeable. That worked well. I also paired the dress with a black shrug which balanced the look alot more.

(Dress w/o shrug and belt. I'm not a fan of the midriff)

(The Midriff  up close. Again, it was too wide for my taste and looked a tad bit awkward. And yes, I had to pin the front a bit, the neckline was a little low)

2. The other change I made was reduce the side seams beginning 8" down from top of the skirt. That ended up being 4" taken out of each side seam hem.

3. I left out the pockets since I ended up screwing them up due to rushing.

(Bronze Nine West Sandals)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably won't sew it again but I definitely recommend it to others!

Beautiful dress! At first I didn't think it was going to work due to the wide midriff but accessories helped.  I was well pleased with the end results!

(This child never met a camera she didn't like!!!LOL!)

 Butterick 5443

Pattern Description:
Lined, sleeveless dress with tier variation, back zipper closting and ribbon tie.

 Pattern Sizing:
Size 4

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

 Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so!

 What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the style and thought it would make a perfect Easter dress for my daughter. There wasn't anything to dislike---the dress was perfect!!!

Fabric Used:
A cotton gauze in a light blue shade. It was light and girly. The entire time I worked with this fabric I kept thinking about the mummy or wrapping a burn. LOL! It's just what I always associate gauze with! LOL! The lining was cotton broadcloth.
(A kiss for the camera man!)
 Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None were needed!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Not anytime soon---there's other dresses I'd like to sew for her. I'd like to make it maybe when she's several years older and probably in a chiffon fabric.

Perfect dress for my daughter! She looked like a little Doll!

Again, Happy Easter/Resurrection Day!!! Have a GREAT one!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sewing Jots & Tittles 4.18.11

Ok, as you know "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. Here's what I've been thinking. 

Desperate Blogger: I've been TRYING desperately to post more! Things just have been a little busy and between 3 sewing projects currently in the works and much client work in addition to everything else. You know how crazy our lives can get. I miss "hanging out" with you guys and reading alot of your posts. After Easter, things will slow down a bit and I should be able to post and "visit" with you more! You know I can't live without my daily dose of K-Line (wink)!

Withdrawal: I'm still very much on my high with Spring sewing as mentioned in my last post. With that said I'm going to have to withdraw from the "Jacket of the Month" challenge. I mean, I don't know why I tried to kid myself. I live in one of the most sub-tropical states in the US and we broke high temperature records last year. It gets HOT & Humid here----like 115 F on a steamy day. I thought I could make some cute Spring/ Summer jackets but that idea is just ridiculous. And I refuse to sew cold weather jackets now (when it comes to sewing I don't do the whole delayed gratification thing.) Besides, I've got too many cute Spring/Summer items to sew. I'll save my jacket sewing for the end of summer.

Easter Dresses: My daughter's is cut out and 90% complete. I just have to add the zipper, hem it, and add a waist sash. I think I'm going to go with a brown satin sash to coordinate with my fabric. The dress is cute--nothing spectacular--and I think the crinkly gauze gives it a nice effect! Here's the pattern and her dress below.

With her dress almost done that leaves mine to cut out and sew. I'm actually having second thoughts about my dress (not uncommon for me). I'm questioning my print and hoping it's not too much. Again, my gut tells me I'm fine so I'll work on cutting it out today and getting it sewn up in the next few days.

Saw this ad in the newspaper and I am so THANKFUL to God that I know how to sew. Did you see those prices? The dress on the left is cute and all but it's priced at $178. I don't care if it is chiffon and is draped all nice, that's a LOT for one dress! You know how much fabric you can get for that? LOL!

Fabric Love: I found this fabric the other day when I stopped by Jo-Ann's to pick up some notions for my Easter dresses. I passed it up the last time I was in the store and just knew I had to pick it up. It's a floral charmeuse print and the colors are quite rich (excused my out of focus pic, too lazy to take another one). I haven't decided a pattern yet, but I'm thinking a cute, flowy top of some sort with white pants. Hmmmm......

BTW, when I walked in the store the line was absolutely CRAZY. The Daffodil Dash sale was going on and the whole store was full. The line was like25 people long. it was ridiculous!

I was hoping and praying the line would clear so I could go pick up my daughter. Fortunately it did!

Jumpsuit Fever: In addition to all of the clothes I mentioned an interest in sewing in the next few months (see last post), I failed to mention a jumpsuit. I have been  wanting one since last year. I purchased some super matte jersey in black and plan to make this little number real soon.....

Burda Patterns on sale at Hancock's--- I'm still upset that I missed this sale a couple of weeks ago. I think the patterns were on sale for $2.99 or so. In my years of sewing I've NEVER seen these on sale. Back in the day you could use Jo-Ann coupons to discount them before they change that. I didn't know Hancock carried them. This must be new---because my local store only carried Kwik Sew and the basic 4 plus New Look. I still don't know about my local store. But I guarantee I won't miss the next sale like this---even if I have to order them online (I wonder if I can???). I just love Burda patterns. The look and fit is so European and shapely!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Time Sewing is in EFFECT!!!!

First of all I wanted to thank all of you for the wonderfully kind comments you left regarding my Gala dress! The event is over and done with and the dress sits on my dress form but your comments still warm my heart:)

Secondly, I'm sure most of you know this already but just in case you don't ......"It's Spring BABY"!!!! Can I get a "What-What"! LOL! Excuse my silliness but Spring is definitely my favorite season. There's just something about it that symbolizes "newness" and "freshness" Everything comes alive from hibernation---including my wardrobe. I've unpacked the warm weather wardrobe and frankly thought I probably wouldn't have to sew much of anything for the season. How WRONG was I. Immediately I started cleaning out the wardrobe and creating a Goodwill pile of some items. You know it's interesting how our tastes can even change from season to season and I'm happy that I have the skills to sew so I can create the wardrobe to my liking.

So I've got my work cut out. You know I'm a planner so I've already outlined my next project for the next few months. Here's what's in the pipeline......

 I'm currently working on this top. I picked up this McCall pattern on Sunday. It's one of the newest patterns and I'm making view c in this lovely red knit with black & brown designs. I made some changes to the pattern and hope it turns out good. I'd like to make a few of them if that's the case.

Also, Easter is just next week and I have two dresses to make. This is the pattern and fabric I'll be using for my dress. I'll be making the dress on the left. Well I know what you're thinking---it is alot of look but I'm going to go with my gut on this. The fabric has a shantung texture and sheen and the colors of this fabric are bold but yet rich (not really seen in this photo). My hubby approves so I'm thinking I'm heading in the right direction.

This is my daughters dress--the one on the left in light blue knit gauze. I think the texture and lightness of the fabric will make it pretty. I plan to accent with a light blue and brown belt. So as you can see me and the "Wee One" will be coordinating so dad will probably wear a blue shirt and khaki's.

Needless to say I'll be sewing all weekend to churn out these 2 dresses in the midst of some client work that I also have to do. But I digress...... there's more....

Here a few pattern I hope to be pulling from to do some sewing between the end of April and June. Some specific projects I've already targeted are....

This lovely number (the long one). I've been salivating over this dress since last year when I bought the pattern. I've had the paisley crinkled chiffon print in my stash for the last 5 years or so and have definitely found a pattern that's worthy of it.

This top (sorry about the sideways pattern pic)

And this halter dress--short version in this colorful knit.

Well that's an overview of some of the sewing I plan to accomplish now and in the near future. How bout' you, are you geared up for Spring Sewing? Have some exciting projects planned?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Simplicity 2253-- The Jessica McClintock Gala Gown---Pic Heavy!!!

I had such an exciting time sewing this dress!!! I have to admit that at moments I was holding my breath and sewing an hour before I had to go---I've got to stop doing that LOL! This dress was made specifically for a fabulous Gala we attended. But I was pretty happy with the results. I felt just a tad bit of pressure since I was advertising my business in the Gala souvenir journal. As a "walking billboard" I wanted to make sure I was advertising my skills well. I received numerous compliments and some potential clients.

To change things up a bit I did a quickie photo shoot at our downtown river front area. It was alot better than my backyard (my usual locale). Here's my review and some pics.

Simplicity 2253

Pattern Description:

Evening gown by designer Jessica McClintock

Pattern Sizing:
I made a size 12 for a bodice and graded up to 14 for the skirt.

(Front view: Excuse midsection wrinkles---this dress, like most satin one's didn't recover from me being seated)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Absolutely--it was really pretty!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Fairly so! As previous reviewers reported, the instructions kind of skip all over the place so you want to make sure you are paying attention to the steps.

(Side view: Notice the crazy face--- the wind was overwhelming)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the overall style of this design and of course the shoulder treatment won me over. The pattern was absolutely great and there wasn't much to dislike. The only thing I didn't like was that the skirt seemed to run small. I made a muslin to gauge the fit and I ended up just adding and additional 1/2" to the circumference for insurance purposes.

Fabric Used:
Some mystery "midnight blue" satin I bought on clearance at Hancock while out of town in Florida a few years back. I bought 5yds for $1 each. It was indeed a steal since the fabric quality is phenomenal. It's similar to a crepe back satin in that one side has sheen and the other is matte, but it doesn't have the texture though. I knew when I laid eyes on it that it would be used for a phenomenal gown.

(Up close so you can see the weaving.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1. I added 2" to the length of the skirt.

2. As mentioned above, I made the bodice in a size 12 and graded to a 14 mid waist and below.

3. Reduced the back length by about an inch. I'm shortwaisted and due to the back panels was able to do this alteration after the dress was assembled. I simply sewed the seam of the 2 upper back panels (between them) a 1/2" deeper (totalling 1") and phased to nothing at the side seams. You know like making a horizontal dart.

4. Increased hip circumference about 1/2" or so.
(Here's the accessories. After I found the sequin clutch, I found some shoes that matched. It wasn't my original intent since I wanted something strappier but it worked rather well. I threw in some faux diamond earring and wore my hair in a side chignon and that was that. I didn't want to overshadow the dress.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe. This is a one of a kind dress but I wouldn't mind making the shorter version in a cotton or linen fabric.

(Me and my Hubby! He's one of my biggest supporters and helps keep me sane! I'm sure he grew tired of all of the fitting questions I asked him about this dress. LOL!)

This indeed is a beautiful gown that yielded beautiful results! It indeed made my night special and I feel like I looked a "Million bucks" although my dress at tops cost me about $16. I love being able to sew!!!!


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