Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's my Blogoversary & A Giveaway!!!

Actually, yesterday was my 2 Year Blogoversary but I dragged in so late and was too tired to post. I couldn't let the time pass without honoring an achievement I'm well proud of. I'm SUPER excited that I've been around that long and I'm THANKFUL that you've hung in there with me through my sewing experiences offering both great comments and advice.

As with any anniversary I tend to get extremely sentimental and reflective. I feel so blessed to have sewing as a hobby that I'm SO passionate about. Ok, I 'm absolutely obsessed with it but you know you are too (wink)! I'm delighted to use have the ability to work on projects that help to improve my skills and help me get one hour closer to reaching my TEN THOUSAND SEWING HOURS goal!!! And I love the notion of giving back and using my skills to make garments for other people or even inspire them. Sigh.......needless to say my heart is very happy and I'm so excited for what the next year will bring. I hope it's full of many more challenges and that I grow tremendously as I strive to hone my craft.

I love the projects I've been taking on but I definitely want to push myself more next year. I'd love to get to the point where I'm getting 2 projects done a week or 3 within a 2 week period. I'd love to stock my closet full of pants and jackets I've made myself. And I want to do much more sewing for my little girl. Those are just a few of the goals I'll be pursuing in the next year.  So please expect bigger and better things as I try to raise the bar a little higher this year.

Ok, enough with all of the mushiness (smile)! To commemorate this milestone, you know me, I LOVE to give things away!!! Tis' ALWAYS better to give than to receive.

This year's giveaway is a SUPRISE!!!! Come on, you love those. Trust me, it will be nice. I'll announce exactly what it is by the end of the week.

To qualify for the Giveaway you need only do 2 things:

1. Become a follower if you're not already.
2. Answer the question below.

Question: What sewing related skill have you greatly improved on this year and which skill(s) are you planning to improve on next!

That's it!!! Plain and Simple! I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, December 7th.

My Answer: I feel like this year I've really improved in my ability to fit myself.  I like to wear alot of fitted dresses and tops so the skill of pattern tweeking is a necessity for me. I've recognized the common fitting issues I have with commercial patterns so it's easier now to go ahead and correct the issue on the pattern before I even do a tissue fit or muslin. I used to really stress about the fitting but I really feel at ease with it now and feel much more comfortable fitting dresses, skirts, and shirts. Where I'd like to improve my fitting is with pants. Although I've sewn a few pairs of pants before, I'm still working to tweak the fit perfectly on them. I hope by this time next year that fitting pants won't even make me break a sweat!!! I also want to make several jackets so I can make them flawlessly.

Ok, that's it for me. Thanks again for visiting and following along with me. I'm looking forward to another exciting year of sewing!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simplicity 3503---The Birthday Girl's Dress!!!

Ok, this is the 4th and final post detailing the Salsa birthday party dresses I made. Actually this is the most important one----the BIRTHDAY GIRL's DRESS! I finally got my hands on some of the pictures from Saturday night's party so you could see the dress I made for my co-worker and dear friend, Tina, who was celebrating her 40th Birthday----Salsa style!!!
 (Tina and I, both dresses made by me. My dress detailed in my last post)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress! As I mentioned in my earlier post this is Simplicity 3503. The style and fabric print/colors were perfect for the occasion. Making a dress for her big celebration was such an honor and I'm so delighted it turned out perfectly. I LOVE sewing for others---it allows me to contribute to their special moments in a special way. She was an awesome muse and we were able to put our ideas together to decide on a style that would flatter her figure and give her just the amount of sexiness she was going for. Plus she's an excellent Salsa dancer and with so much dancing to do a the party, the dress had to be as comfortable as it was cute. I think this turned out GREAT!!! What do you think?

Also, I detailed the pattern adjustment and changes I made to her dress in an earlier post HERE.

Here's a few more parting pics.....
(The Bday's girl side dress view. Sorry, don't know what I was doing in this photo. Got caught trying to make a quick exit:)

  (dress w/o bolero)

(dancing shot)

The party was a success and I'm super excited that Tina's dress turned out well! It was great to make a dress fitting for someone who is both beautiful on the inside and outside:) Sigh....I love it when a great sewing plan/project comes together:)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simplicity 2406---My Salsa Birthday Party Dress!!!

The Big Salsa themed 40th Birthday for my friend was on last night and I'm happy to say that it was a WONDERFUL party!!! The food, decorations and outfits were all quite lovely!!! And there was alot of Salsa dancing which made the environment so fun and festive. If you've been following along with me they you know I was in charge of making the Birthday girl a dress and one for myself (see last post). Well the Birthday girl's dress turned out quite lovely (everyone loved it---HOORAY) but I am waiting on all of the pictures so I can post them soon. The party was dimly lit so my poor cell phone didn't quite cut the picture taking since I didn't have a flash. Fortunately we had a photographer there:)  Anywho, in the meantime I'll post pics of my dress and review it.

I have to admit that I love this dress and think this look came together quite well. I was looking for something sexy and fun and this sure did fit the bill!!!

Pattern Description:
I made view B----Dress with gathered neckline, back slit, sleeves with shoulder openings and sash.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size 10 in my muslin but ended up adding a smidge in the hip since it was a bit snug.
(Front view)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
A thousand times YES!!!!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so! Nothing complicated about it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked how nicely drafted the pattern was and how well it went together. The revealed sleeves and back were sexy touch.

(Back View)

(Slit view up close)

FYI or TMI--LOL!: I had to purchase undergarments that would allow me to wear this dress without making them visible to the world. I ended up with this contraption. A new strapless bra to which I added clear straps and a low back extender which connected to the back of my bra pulled it down, wrapped it around the front and clipped in the front. I bought all of these items from I think a Bali, playtex outlet store.
 It worked but I still ended pinning about 1" out of my slit. I was so scared I would dance and one of the straps would come loose and hit someone in the eye! What a contraption indeed! LOL!

Fabric Used:
A polyester woven fabric from Jo-Ann's.  I was LOVE at first sight. I was insta
ntly drawn to the fabric colors and designs. I wanted the perfect fabric---one that would give the design the much needed crispness & volume.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a muslin which was a good idea for me. I'm extremely anal when it comes to fit. It turns out that I only made 2 adjustments.
1. I'm shortwaisted in the back so I shortened the length in the middle back of the dress by almost 2" and tapered to the sides.
2. Because my back is so short,  I also shortened my back slit by 3". I just folded the 3" out of the back facing and everything went together perfectly.

(Last but not least.....my shoes!!!! Love these!!!)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think I'd like to sew it again. Maybe in a solid color or in a denim fabric. It's a really cool dress. I love it and recommend it highly to others.

Super cute dress! It fit the bill for my party and I received lots of compliments!!!!

Ok, that's my dress!!! Stay tuned for the Birthday Girl's dress---pictures coming SOON!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Salsa party dresses follow up Part II: One Down, One to go!

Please forgive me, since my initial Salsa party dress post things have been CRAZY!!!! So crazy I've been unable to visit you Guys in blog land like I've been wanting to. I've got to catch up with you and your projects!!!!

Nevertheless, things are moving right along and minus a few hiccups I'm making good timing with sewing the 2 dresses I describe in my initial post. As mentioned in that post, I have the extreme honor of sewing a Birthday party dress for a friend/co-worker  who will be celebrating her 40th bday at a Salsa themed party. I'll also be making my dress for the party. Well on last week I made a muslin (sample dress) for my client and we had a fitting which only required minor tweaks. Here's the dress. Unfortunately I'm not into putting pics of my clients in muslin's on my blog. Seriously, I'm only allowed to embarrass myself like that! LOL! Remember this is the pattern....
Here's the muslin (sample dress for fitting)...
The dress bust is a little large since it's 2 cup sizes larger than that of my dressform. My friend is a size 36 DD in the bust so that required me adding about 2" to the bust length to ensure the midriff fell at the base of her bust. That was all it took and the dress fit perfectly. Since I lengthened the front bodice I did the same for the back. But after further inspection notice she was short waisted in the back and I'd have to go and pinch out some of that length in the bodice back and midriff piece. Other than those 2 things the muslin looked great and the dress was a cinch to put together. I did sew 2 versions for myself not so long ago:)

I proceeded to cut out the actual fabric, assemble the dress, and schedule another fitting with my friend. The fitting went well and in addition to the 2 alterations above I realized that the fabric was a bit more stretchier than the muslin fabric so I'd need to take out an 1" in the upper bodice side seams. The dress is currently on my cutting table being operated on.....I mean altered. Here it is here.....

And I hope to be done with it in the next day. (Exhales, wiping sweat off brow). I'm happy that things are working out great. But on to the drama--you know there is anytime you have an important project going on. It seems I didn't have any major issue with my friend's dress (knocking on wood) but I had a few issues with my own. Remember, I wanted to make this dress......

Well I did---in muslin first. And boy did it turn out be a cutie! Please trust me on that. It's hard to tell from the pic, especially since unbleached cotton never really makes any design look attractive. But here it is....
Remember the dress looked like this....

Although this dress wasn't super easy to make it was pretty straightforward.. It had alot of steps and required tons of pleating but the neat design made it well worth it. The only problem is that the way the dress is made, you couldn't possibly lift your arms in it. It's not made for those maneuvers. The bodice is described as close fitting and the way it is cinched in right under the bust along with the sleeve design made it difficult to lift my arms. I recall reading this in another reviewer's post. Well it's a Salsa themed party and I hope to be doing alot of twirling (or trying to learn how rather) and didn't want the dress to inhibit this. So I had to find another dress---and STAT!!!!

So I searched..... And searched.......Searched some more! Went through all of my patterns and kept searching. Then I stumbled upon a pattern I'd attempted to make earlier but with the wrong type of fabric. Well I abandoned the project. But after much thinking realized this style would make for an alluring party dress. It turned out to be Simplicity 2406 view B--the one being modeled.

Then I had to turn my attention to finding the perfect fabric. I nearly drove myself MAD---seriously!!!  After MUCH searching and I mean MUCH--I finally stumbled on the RIGHT fabric for it. There were alot of suggested fabrics on the pattern envelope but I wanted a specific effect. I didn't want to make the dress out of charmeuse like I orinigally intended with Vogue 1207 (my original dress pick) since I wanted the dress to have less shine and more volume. I stumbled on a fabric at Jo-Ann's that had the right amount of weight and some great colors. I'm keeping it a secret for now. I'll reveal shortly.

Ok, that's it for now. I've got alterations and need to cut and sew my dress. Lots of work but I'm nearly half way there and am not worried too much.  So enough about me, what's been going on with you? Have any HUGE projects lately taking up your time?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sewing Jots & Tittles 11.6.11

"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. Take a peek if you dare......LOL!

Velour jumpsuit
-Thanks guys for all of your nice compliments regarding my jumpsuit. I absolutely love it! I had to do my usual early Saturday morning grocery shopping and guess what I grabbed to wear. So warm & convenient! Can't wait to make the next one. I'm on the hunt for charcoal grey velour (thanks for the suggestion Texan). I've always wanted one in that color. And I still need one in black.

But what I really loved about this pattern that I forgot to mention was that I got the opportunity to use my Velva board and boy did it make pressing the velour SO easy!

In the past, before I found the velva board, I would use a towel and although it worked ok it wasn't the greatest. I didn't get any weird smashed seams and imprints.  It's a shame they don't make and sell these anymore. I'm happy I was able to get my hands on it when I did.

Keeping Bright in the Cold!
-I still need some more cold weather wear, specifically for work. Since I work in a very casual environment I can't be dolled up for work but I still like to keep it cute and fun. This is something I wore to work the other day. I wore this red fleece vest and BRIGHT yellow knit shirt with khakis. Although I felt like a bottle of ketchup and mustard---LOL!!!--I loved the colors.
What can I say, I REALLY LOVE bright colors!!! It's my way of sticking my tongue out at the cold weather and hazy feel and look of fall and winter. It the suns not out constantly shining then I want my wardrobe to reflect that brightness.

I love the fleece vests and hope to make a few soon. I'd love to have them in very bright colors. This is the pattern I was eyeballin'.

New McCall Patterns
-I went to Hancock's for a return and stumbled on a pattern sale. They had the new McCall's. I grabbed up a bunch. These were my favorites....

Project Accessory
-There's a new spin off to the Project Runway franchise on Lifetime and it's called Project Accessory. I'm a little perplexed by that. It's a competition in similar Project Runway fashion but instead of clothes the contestants have to make accessories. I'm not to eager to check this one out, but it might be good. I barely was able to get the Project Runway season it (thanks God for online episodes). Speaking of which, the way that panned out was interesting. Who would've thought the least experienced sewer would be such a talented designer and win the competition. I guess experience isn't everything, huh?

Got my boots!!!!
-I was out today at Burlington Factory minding my own business and getting a refund when I mozied on over to the shoe section. Low and behold guess what I found. A pair of Nine West black dressy boots!!! I've ALWAYS wanted a pair but refused to pay in-store prices. Well there they were and for the great price of $59. I had a $23 gift card which knocked that price down even further. Well I swooped those up without any prejudice and I'm happy to say they are getting adjusted to their new home. I can't wait to wear them!!!
  (Sorry for the bad lighting)

Salsa party fabric change
-As I mentioned a few posts ago, I'm helping to coordinate a birthday bash for a friend with a Salsa theme. I'm making her and my dress. I'm working on her muslin now (expect details later) but I switched up the fabric I was planning to use for my dress. It was nice but didn't have that "Wow" factor I was looking for. So I searched my fabric stashed and Hancock Fabrics and Jo-Ann's. I turned up this little number at Jo-Ann's.
It's perfect!!! Surprisingly the colors are the same. It's also a charmeuse. I just like the sharpness of the pattern. I think it will show the design details alot better than the abstract print I originally picked.

Crochet shorts?!?!
-My hubby ran across this the other day and I nearly fell out my seat from laughter! He found this pic on the web. They describe the shorts as knitted but it looks crocheted to me. That aside it's just wrong for any many to wear this! It sure makes for a great laugh!!!

Well that's what's been on my mind. What's on yours??????

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kwik Sew 3678-- a Velour Jumpsuit

 I've had this jumpsuit on my to-do list since last year when I purchased this pattern. There was just something about it I just loved. Velour jumpsuits are so fun and stylish. Here's my version. It's not "Juicy Couture" (and you know it didn't cost that much. Only cost me about $15 including fabric and notions.) but it's mine which makes me even more proud of it. I'm looking forward to getting much wear out of it. I head back to Alaska for work in January so you know what I' will be wearing in the airport (smile). I also plan to make a black version (and maybe even a gray one) which will probably be more fitted. Anyhow, here's my review.....
 Kwik Sew 3678

Pattern Description:
Jumpsuit jacket and pants. I made view A.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the size medium.

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 much so!!! No disappointments here.
(Back view)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like how easy it was to assemble the jacket and pants. The pattern pieces fit together perfectly! I love how most of it was constructed on my serger. It really doesn't take more than a day to put both pieces together. There's only 11 steps for the jacket and 8 for the pants. Super easy!

Fabric Used:
A stretch polyester velour in navy.
(A closer view)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
*I omitted the pants pocket
*I added clear elastic to stabilize the jacket shoulders
*I used stay tape to stabilize the zipper.
*I added 3" to the hem.
*I used my coverstitch machine to finish the jacket edge and the pants and sleeve hems.
*Future alteration: Next time I make it I'll be sure remove at least 1"  to 1.5" from the crotch length and taper the pants legs from the hips to the hem. When I make this alteration I'll add more to the hem to compensate.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, yes, and yes! I have some stretch black velour that I plan to use with this pattern.

This is a stylish and comfortable jumpsuit. A nice addition to any wardrobe:)


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