Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almost down to the wire.....

Ok, I've got less than a week (5 days to be exact) to crank out a dress for my "Wee-One" to wear to this year's Father/ Daughter Banquet. Her event is not until Friday but I'll be helping work the event which will be held on Thursday & Friday so I won't have much time to sew. As I mentioned earlier it is a masquerade theme and I've already picked up a lovely fabric for her. It's a taffeta fabric with velvet embroidery on top.

(Here it is draped on my dressform. The blue is alot richer & a little darker in color than pictured. Also, just realized I draped the design sideways)

But I still haven't finalized my ideas for her dress. I've had so many thoughts and haven't been able to narrow them down to come up with a sketch. Here's some dresses I've seen on the web that have features I like.....

(The front bows are TOO cute!!! I love the simple shoulder straps and the shaping of the bodice)

(I always love a busy dress with a bolero. And look at the cute flower embellishment)

(Love the skirt and how texture was created through tacking the skirt)
(Love the neckline ruffles and side bow)

(Halter dresses are just adorable on little girls)

(Love the style with the front bodice pleats and the jewel adorned belt)

 So I really love features from each dress! But I'm convinced with fabric as bold as hers that I don't need any extravagant designs. So I may just make a pretty dress and use some embellishments to make it pop. Here's the patterns I have to choose from.

 Oh my goodness to be quite honest at first these patterns made me yawn. None of them had that wow factor I was originally looking for. I wanted something that would be borderline costumey to have that dramatic masquerade look. I even explored using some Halloween costume patterns. Again, I'm nervous this may be a bit much giving the bold fabric choice. So since I'm pressed for time and I don't want to go too overboard one or more of them in some combination will have to do. I'll tell you this much, by tomorrow evening I'll be settled on an idea and will be working to make her dress happen. I refuse to be sewing until the last minute this year.......Wish me luck!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fabric Therapy

Well as I mentioned in my last post I've been up to my eyeballs in trying to play catch up. I took on the task of downsizing my fabric stash and it turned into a 3 day event. I didn't get to sew a dress this weekend because I was consumed with this task. But oh, was it a  productive undertaking!!!! I managed to go through my entire fabric stash and clear out soooooooo much fabric. Don't believe's all the fabric I pulled out.

  This "mountain of fabric" is taller than my daughter.....we're talking over 4 feet tall!!!! It's hard to tell from the pic but there's ALOTof fabric there and it as a whole looks really HEAVY!!! My strategy was to pull out all of the fabric I was no longer interested in or I knew I probably wouldn't use to make clothes with. Instead, I plan to use some of this fabric as muslin for future projects and donate some to the costume department at my church. Either way, I've unloaded my sewing closet of at least 500lbs of fabric---ok, maybe an overestimation, but at least180lbs!

After pulling out all of the unwanted fabric I reorganized my sewing closet and neatly consolidated my fabric. With all of the unwanted fabric cleared out I was able to almost get all of the fabric I own into one space. And that was a GREAT feeling!!! My knits (hands down my favorite) have mostly been consolidated and everything grouped and organized by fabric types.

(The inside of my sewing closet. Bottom shelf:  knits, middle shelf :printed polyester & silky fabrics, top shelf: woven fabrics)

 I even went through all of my silky type fabric and folded and put a rubberband on them to keep them from sliding all over the place.  So I have "bundles" of silky fabrics neatly stacked. Why didn't I think of this idea sooner?

(Silky fabric with rubberband) 

As much as I would like to admit that downsizing was the most fun part I have to say that it was re-discovering my fabric style that wa most gratifying. I ran across fabrics I hadn't seen in quite some time and it was love all over again. Believe it or not, it was quite therapeutic! Such beautiful textiles reminded me of why I desire to sew. I think I have a pretty cool eye for fabrics. I love my style! With all of the beautiful fabric organized I'm really motivated to make some beautiful clothes. Isn't it amazing what you re- discover about yourself when you clear out the excess!

I found this little gem that I hadn't seen in a while....
...a cool black and gray denim with various designs. It would make a cute vest to wear with a white t-shirt and black capris. It's definitely on the to-do list for the Spring.

I picked up a few new pieces too.....
....a green, gray, white, & black charemeuse satin.

And a awesome black, gray, & teal plaid wool for a coat later this year. It got this at Hancock Fabrics last week for $7/yd (originally $15/yd). I'd been wanting this fabric all year.....

So clearing out the excess fabric and unwanted pieces REALLY helped to reinvigorate me. Like Really. Not only did I downsize my fabric stash and get organized, but I rediscovered some amazing pieces I have and made them more accessible for future projects. Again, it seems funny, but this whole experience was really therapeutic. I stand, arms folded and looking at my sewing closet----feeling really satisfied with myself! I've got to do the same thing with my patterns. But first, I've got a little girl's formal dress to sew. The Masquerade banquet is next week & I've got to get hustling. More info on the way......

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behind......... but moving forward!

I'm definitley here but I feel like my To-do list is just getting bigger and bigger!  I am behind in posting and definitely need to catch up. My next "Sewing Jots & Tittles" post will probably be crazy long. I'm attending a wedding on Saturday and need to sew up a quick dress. The Father Daughter Banquet is the week after next and although I have fabric for my daughter's dress I need to pick a pattern. I've got some alteration & home decor work to to finish for clients. I made a dress this week but can't decide if I like it or not (I'll do a post on it anyway). I need to update where I am in my monthly challenge. And the list goes on! Whew.....need to take a breather.

And to complicate things more, I have the INCESSANT URGE to purge my sewing room. I mean downsize patterns & fabric. Like clear it out and sale the excess! I love a good purge! I really do! I simplifies things so much. Maybe that's just what I need. I'll see if I can knock that out tomorrow and whip up a dress to wear to the wedding on Saturday. And I can spend the rest of the weekend organizing all of my other priorities.

Believe it or not, with all of this going on I don't feel stressed out a bit. I think the sewing room purge feels more like a treat instead of a chore. So I'm looking forward to it! Think I'll put on a movie (I have "The Help" & "The Ides of March" from Netflix) and clear the room out. Pretty much everything on my To-do list are things I like to do it's just a matter of getting them done. So wish me luck. I tend to work pretty well under pressure but we'll see. Hope I can conquer a good deal of this list before the week's end. I'll keep you posted.

How about you? How are you handling your "sewing load" these days?

Monday, February 13, 2012

NYC Trip details----Day 2

Yesterday was my second day in the city. I was a little unsatisfied with my fabric purchases and thought I’d go looking a little more to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything. In addition to that I realized the Father and Daughter “Masquerade” themed Banquet was quickly approaching and I hadn’t decided on my daughters dress yet. I’m still a little uncertain on the style but I know I want the color to be bold—black and turquoise or purple and black. Plus I needed a bunch of feathers to use for her mask. I passed several trim shops but because I didn’t have a fabric it was hard to pick the right feathers for the project. I’m hoping to find some feathers that coordinate with her fabric.

So I set out a little before noon to venture out to the garment district. I tried to steer clear of shops visited and I managed to find a side street of different fabric shops. As soon as I walked in the store my eyes caught a beautiful fabric which I knew would be perfect for my daughters dress. After looking at other options I settled on the first one I saw and picked up 3 yards. It’s a taffeta type fabric with an embossed velvet pattern and it’s not superior quality but it will work for basically what will be a one time wear dress. My daughter grows so fast, she’ll be lucky to get another wear out of another special occasion dress.

 (The fabric is actually a vibrant darker teal color. Indoor light washes it out a bit)

I haven’t finalized my decision on the styling just yet. My brain is flooded with some cute ideas. I’ll look again at available patterns and possibly mixing and matching a few pieces to create a desired look.
I went into another store and managed to pick up 2 pieces. I found a gorgeous medium weight spandex in a rich teal color that I realized would be perfect for a dress I plan to make for a Gala in April. The fabric is so sublime!!!
(Ok, next time I photograh this it will be outdoors. The fabric for my dress is a rich, deep teal color. Again indoor light doesn't do it justice)

I’m happy that I found a great fabric. Now I need to choose a good pattern. Of course I also picked up a cute knit print to round out the purchase.

After finding the fabrics I needed I headed to find some trims I could possibly use for my daughters dress & mask. I headed over to M& J Trims for a quick look.

It’s a trim lovers paradise. There were trims from floor to ceiling literally. I didn’t find the feathers I needed, although there was a fall full of them but I did find a cute velvet trim for her dress—possibly to use in the waistline.
(So many trims!!! I loved the decorated masks. I was trying to borrow some ideas for my daughter's mask. Hers won't be as ornate as these.)

Well that concluded my visit to the fabric district. And I was pretty satisfied with my purchases.I was quite satisfied and a little pooped from all the hours of walking.

I took one final outing for the day to the Natural History Museum before heading to Whole foods for dinner. I'd visited the museum before but forgot how huge it was. It was fun seeing the exhibits.
 Here's one of the exhibits I enjoyed seeing. I believe it was on early Asian inhabitants. I can't rember the time period or the name of the people but I fell in love with this robe. The blends and woven colors were spectacular and the trims were so ornate! You have to admire clothing from other cultures both past and present.

Well this about concludes my quick 2 1/2 day get away to NYC. I made it safely back home later this evening. Glad I was able to go and get fitted for my custom dressform, grab some great fabric for future projects, and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the big city. Looking forward to future mini getaways like this in the future!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NYC Trip details--- Day 1

It’s really nice being back in the Big Apple. My Hubby & I spent a week here a few years back to celebrate our anniversary. It’s nice being back for a quickie trip. Needless to say not much has changed. It’s still the high energy and busy city that I remembered. I love the energy, it’s invigorating!!!

On yesterday, I made it into town pretty early. I’m happy I did. I flew into Newark, NJ and had to take the bus to Manhattan. By the time I got done with that and re-familiarizing myself with the subway system it was nearly noon. Fortunately, my hotel room became available early so I was able to drop my bags and do some fabric shopping before my 4:30pm appointment with Andy from Andy’s Dressforms.

Again, I’ve visited the garment district before so I wasn’t all that surprised by the plethora of fabric shops. They were everywhere and I just took my time browsing through most. Surprisingly after shopping several hours I didn’t find too much that tickled my fancy. I just don’t like to buy fabric just to be doing so. I’ve already got tons and am actually in the process of downsizing. Despite my purchasing reservations it was so much fun to be surrounded by so much fabric!
(Self pic in one of the fabric stores)

 (fabric in every store from floor to ceiling)

I actually ended up finding one piece that I loved!!!! As I mentioned in an earlier post, fabric shopping for me is quite intuitive. As soon as I saw this piece I LOVED it!!! It’s some polyester knit but it’s in brown, off-white, and black. This photo doesn't do it justice but I'm thinking of making a fitted dress in this fabric. It will be fabulous!!!

I ended up picking up a few pieces out of the bargain bin from the same store. I’ve got no shame when it comes to hunting bargain fabric.  They were also knits. One is a rayon/cotton/spandex blend in raspberry, and the other two are neat shades of blue. One is "peacock" blue and the other is an "ice blue" color. Nothing special about them except the color.   They'll make cute tops or dresses with neat design ideas. I love color!!! 

 I then went by Andy’s Dressforms for my fitting appointment. I found his shop nestled in a building with a strip mall of other shops.

Andy was a very nice Indian man with a thick accent. He was wearing a ribbed tank top and apron and the front of him was covered in what looks like plastering material. He was hard at work when I arrived. His shop is a tiny thing lined wall to wall with various sized dressforms.
He was very gracious and welcoming. I explained to him that I came all the way to NYC so I could get a custom made dressform. Prior to meeting we'd spoken on the phone a few times. We talked over options and I decided on the standard dressform. He took my measurements and we discussed the issue of my short waist and high rear which he said he would use a little extra stuffing for my form.  I’ll send him a side profile picture to help him in sculpting my rear when he makes my form. We concluded the visit with a little chit chat and a promised finished product by next month. I was encouraged to call and constantly remind him so it gets done on time. I will definitely do that. I don’t think things would’ve went so smoothly hadn’t Amanda given me such helpful advice from her own experience. Thanks so much Amanda!!!!

I was pretty satisfied after that visit and my feet were a little tired from walking around all day. I headed back to my hotel and around the corner from it spotted this store. It's called Bra Smyth and their motto is 

they're “the bra fitting experts”. I really despise shopping for bras and finding the right style and fit is always time consuming. I thought I’d give them a try. Well I wasn’t disappointed. The first bra they gave me fit like a charm. I discovered I had my cup size right but was a size smaller in circumference. The downside was the $78 price tag.  Just a little much for my taste but it was fun being professionally fitted. And we all know how IMPORTANT having the right undergarments are to the fit of one's clothes. They're a worthy investment.

By the end of all of the shopping I was starving. I headed to a local market for some fruit and then on to a nearby Whole Foods Market. I’m so JEALOUS! We don’t have one of these in Savannah so anytime I travel I have to visit. Well the choices were overwhelming.

So what do you do when you can’t make up your mind? Just buy a little bit of everything. Nothing like a good dinner to go off of the hot bar.
 (Sweet chili wings, kale & sweet potaoes, spanish red potatoes, and some other fancy veggie mixes)

Plus they had gluten/soy free carrot cake. I nearly lost my mind. Hadn't had that since before my gluten free days. I nearly lost my mind!!! I'll need to make my own.

 I headed back to the hotel. I was so pooped that I ate, watched TV, and just passed out sleep. What a fun and busy day. Next up, Sunday's details....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Going to NYC......Tommorrow!!!

Ok, this trip happened a little sooner than I imagined!!! It all started with me spotting cheap airline tickets this morning and the rest is history. I have a early 2 hour flight in the morning. I already called Andy from Andy's dressform to make sure he'd be available to assist me in being measured and choosing my dressform. The hotel is booked and I think I've covered all my bases. I'm SO excited and of course slightly nervous. It will be fun roaming around the city. It's been a few years since I've been but I'm sure once I'm back I'll remember quite alot and navigating will be super easy---a task made even easier with a smartphone (smile).

I'd love to meet up with any of my fellow bloggers if you plan to be in the area. I'll be in NYC until Monday so feel free to email me at so we can make contact. I pretty much plan to live in the Garment District. I ran across THIS blog that may help direct me to some cool shops. But I plan to probably check most of them out. You never know what little treasures could be there. And of course once I have my fabric fix there's so many other cool places and museums to hit up. I'm looking forward to it!

Anywho, I have to finish my hair, do my little girl's and finish packing. A few loose ends to tie up but not many. My Hubby is a SAINT! He always holds down the "Fort" in my absence and is an excellent, hands-on Dad. He's been encouraging me to take this trip for sometime. So in a few hours I will. Look forward to blogging & talking with you from the big city.....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Special Birthday Gift!

Today is my Birthday! I'm delighted to have lived 33 years and I feel so blessed!!! I've got my health, strength, a wonderful family, friends, job, church, etc. I'm just so thankful to God!!!!

I try to be SO low key on my birthday. I'm just not a big fuss kinda girl. Today I took the day off from work, a first, and just spent some time doing a little shopping and hanging out in Hilton Head Island. I quietly spent the evening with family. was just nice having some time to take a breather.

Usually I forgo all elaborate gifts. Of course I readily accept all Joann / Hancock Fabric/ & gift cards (so if you're feeling generous let me know---wink!). But aside from that I really feel I have everything I need.

But this year I've decided to treat myself. I'm finally going to get something I've wanted for quite some time. I've wanted a Custom Dress form from Andy's Dressform for quite some time. It's been on my Christmas Wishlist since 2009 (Btw, I'm happy to report that I was able to get all of the other items on my list over the last 2 years:)

The thought of having a body double  is an exciting one!!! It would totally cut down on the time it takes me to do fittings. I sew ALOT of fitted clothing so as you can imagine sometimes there's alot of fittings and tweakings that have to take place. It will be nice to reduce the amout of "try-on's" I'll have to do. And also I'll be able to finally explore doing some draping and pattern drafting. A custom made dressform will definitely help take my sewing in a different direction and to an elevated level.

Well I'm ready to make it happen and I'm thinking about taking a mini trip to NYC to go handle the transaction personally. I'd love to visit the Big Apple again and get lost in the fabric district. We'll see. Well I'm super excited and am ready to move forward. Wish me luck......

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Addicted to "Fit"!

I haven't bought a sewing book in quite a while but it's always refreshing to run across what seems to be a good one. I like to stay pretty up to date with the sewing references. Today while persuing I ran across a new book on Pattern/Muslin Fitting entitled "The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting" by Sarah Veblen. I did a "sneak peak" into the book and there seems to be extensinve information on how to adjust patterns and tweaking muslins.  And better yet, it's chalked full of photos. For a visual learner such as myself, this is extremely helpful. I'm getting so giddy just thinking about. I strongly believe achieveing great fit is a science!

Fitting is a subject I love to study from all angles. Not just for myself but I sew for others and I love to learn new techniques and principles. I credit great books and some trial and error in helping me learn. I own so many diffferent books on Fitting. My top 5 favorites are:
(I LOVE this book! It's so "old school" but on point.)

(Much newer than the previous book but definitely a classic! When I first began sewing I never thought you could fit with the tissue. This step has made muslin-making for certain clothes an easier task.I love Palmer& Pletsch so much that I own the Jacket & Pants fitting books too!)

(Excellent pants fitting book! It's a Singer, what did you expect (smile)!)

(There's a newer version of this book but I like this one just fine. It has really indepth descriptions of why alterations are needed and at least 3 alteration options.)

(Another "Classic" that's invaluable")

I have to admit that it's taken me years to understand fit to the level that I do now. I don't know all there is by ANY means but I've come to know my body well enough to make fitted garments for myself. And I know enough to fit my clients.That's actually why I like to work with people because no two bodies are alike.  Each project definitely brings it's own challenges and allows me to learn even more. Trust me my fitting books can get good use at times:)

As I mentioned before in an earlier post this year, I still have to overcome the challenge of creating pants that fit me. With a high derriere and short waist, I've got some fitting issues to overcome. I'm actually thinking of a different course of action---drafting a pants pattern, creating a muslin from it, and tweaking the fit. More about that in the future. But back to the topic at hand. Again, I love books on fitting patterns & muslins. I can't wait for my new purchase to arrive.

So let me ask you.....How comfortable do you feel with fitting patterns/muslins? What is your favorite book?


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