Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Slow Creep to the Finish Line.....

(Here's the culprit that's been frustrating me---The nearly finished peplum top in black twill with a cute snake skin patterned belt I hope to wear with it. It's pretty much done I just need to resolve a back fitting issue.)

It's so agonizing to be so close to finishing a project but yet still feel a bit away. I feel like I've been working on NewLook 6130 forever!!! First there was thedisappearing denim design fabric snafu I had that made me put the project on hold until I could find another fabric of choice. Then I rushed to get it done this weekend and  ran into a fitting issue I didn't anticipate. I rarely have to do a narrow back adjustment but it looks like this pattern may require it. I'm still not sure if it's an issue with the fabric or pattern just yet. Even worse is I made a muslin but didn't add the zipper. I would've been able to spot the fitting issue had I added the zipper. Argh!!! I don't feel like trying to figure it out. This was supposed to be my quick and easy project!!!! I feel like a toddler right now having a tantrum. Sigh. Argh! Pout. Sigh....and pout again.

Well I suppose these types of frustrations are quite common to any seamstress. Which you and I both know they very well are. I'm cool now since I vented my frustrations. Thanks for listening (smile). I'm determined to see this project through to the end. So I'm putting on my big girl britches and going back to it. I like a challenge and nothing matures you more as a seamstress than taking a problem head on. I'll figure out the problem, resolve it and then move on.

I'll have this top ready before the week's end. I've got one more piece to sew and it's on to Fall sewing. It hasn't even gotten a bit cold here yet. I don't expect it to for a while but I still want to start my wardrobe so I'll be ready when it does. I'll unveil my Fall/Winter sewing plans in my next post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are you REALLY using your Creative License? Part I

 Photo courtesy of PDUB productions)

All creative work is made by many small steps. 
The steps themselves are rarely great leaps. 
It is the faith to begin that we must cultivate.  
~ Julia Cameron

I've been so inspired by Julia Cameron, author of quote above and the books, "The Vein of Gold" and "The Artist's Way", etc. I've never read her books but just following her on FB has been inspiring. 

Anyhow, with all of this encouragement I've felt compelled to delve into the arena of Fashion Design sketching. I think to a degree most home sewers are designers. We take established patterns and make them our own. We often tweak & morph designs to create something to our liking.  Earlier this year I began sketching designs, not because I'm so good at it but because I want to capture the ideas floating around in my head. I know I've got to do more to cultivate those ideas. Hence my draping training that I'm about to embark on. I desperately want to bring my own ideas to life.

But this newfound desire to explore my creative side hasn't been an easy process. It seems I need to train my brain to think creatively--I mean push it past it's current barriers. We all know that everyone has 2 sides of their brain that controls different functions. The left side is the more "logical & objective side" and the right is more "intuitive & subjective". There are a few debates about the function of each side so I'll steer clear of all that. I only mention it to say that it seems that out of the two I'm more left-brain dominant (there's some fun online quizzes that can help you establish which you are).This fact is true and evidenced by how I've been sewing for the last few years. In the past I've been so concerned with the technical skill that I hadn't really allow myself to be immersed by the creative possibilites. I'm becoming more and more comfortable with my sewing ability so it's time to shift focus. This shift requires a more intense use of my right brain. So I'm devising ways to tap into my creative side more and to stimulate right-brain thinking. This is REALLY exciting for me!!!  There's all kind of ways/methods to encourage creative thinking.

Here's some interesting articles I've run across on the subject.....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Let the Draping Begin!!!

Ok, you may recall my August 9th post where I mentioned I'd be taking the initiative to teach myself how to Drape. Well I'm all ready to get started.

Here's my textbook........

This is a textbook from 2008 and is great. But I REALLY want Connie Crawford's 2012 The Art of Fashion Draping textbook. I REALLY ( a thousand times over) want it!!! The pictures and diagrams are even clearer and there's loads of extra helpful tidbits. I hope I can get it in the next couple of months and can pick up my lessons using it.

I already have the First 10 Topics/ lessons all organized beginning with the contents of chapter 4. They will be as follows:

Lesson 1   Basic Front Bodice Drape
Lesson 2   Basic Back Bodice Drape
Lesson 3   Convert Front & Back Bodice Drapes to Pattern

Lesson 4   Basic Skirt Drape Front
Lesson 5   Basic Skirt Drape Back
Lesson 6   Fit analysis, true front/back bodice/ convert front/back drapes to pattern

Lesson 7   Draft Basic Sleeve
Lesson 8   Determine cap ease & notch placements
Lesson 9   Make Sleeve adjustments & pattern corrections

Lesson 10 Facings

(BTW, after these basic lessons things will begin to intensify. Dart manipulation lessons will follow.)

I won't assign a date to these lessons. Instead I'll take them on as my schedule permits. I hope to at least get in 1 to 2 a week but with my personal and client sewing that may not always be possible. Of course I will do a post regarding each lesson. Gotta keep you guys up to speed on my progress!

I'm pretty excited!!! I know understand how designs are made will help me with my sewing and creating my own designs (I've got a few sketches of ideas thus far). I'll start with Lesson 1 the Basic Front Bodice Drape this week after I pick up some muslin. I also need to finish a peplum top for myself. Lots going on. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Yes!!!!!!!! I think I FINALLY understand Pants Fitting!!!!

Well it's about time!!!! Ok, I'm not a master YET or anything but I think I'm on the right track with fitting pants on me. I've made Jalie 2909 for the 3rd time and the fit is definitely much better. It really pays to not give up or throw in the towel!!!
(Front view--- I made this twice before and didn't have too much problems with the fit of the front)

(It was the back of the pant in which I struggled fitting. My high waist/rear in the back was tricky to fit especially since my waistline is lower in the front. There's a much better rear fit and the legs are less wrinkly on this 3rd attempt. BTW, Pants are fitted inside out so seam is exposed (for fitting purposes) and left leg wrinkles due to straining to take pic).

I can breathe a sigh of relief!!!!!! I've spent ALOT of years really trying to streamline my understanding on how to fit pants properly! It has definitely been a journey! A journey no less complicated by a non-standard figure. By that I mean my body, like most of you, is a bit different from the Big 4 patterns and other patterns out there!!!! I wrote posts about my 1st Jalie 2909 attempt and 2nd Jalie 2909 attempt. I've been honest about my difficulty of trying to fit my short waisted, high-derriere frame. I'd have back leg wrinkles and couldn't get the crotch just right.  True my first couple attempts at pants sewing were decent. Although much study and work went into them and good results were yielded, I still felt a little impaired in my knowledge. You know like I was still missing a few things. I've got tons of resources, all great but I needed something that would just gel everything I've been reading together.

Well yesterday I decided to watch Peggy Sager's Ultimate Pant Fitting webcast from 2 years ago. I've always been aware of her webcasts (and own several of her instructional videos including her pants one) and have been able to watch a few with the intention of watching them all one day. It was her video that sparked my light bulb moment. My biggest sewing epiphany and eureka moment to date!!!! I can understand things SO much clearer. Again I think it's partly due to me studing fitting pants for so long. I've also deconstructed pants (multiple pairs) that fit and analyzed their elements (crotch depth, length, shape, features etc.) I'm a visual learner so seeing Peggy's pants fitting just solidified all of the other info I'd been collecting/ learning. For the Record: I am not a paid or compensated spokesperson for the company (only wish I were that lucky) just passing on helpful info I discovered (wink). Ok, I'll continue.....

We're all at different places in our learning so I'll let you watch the video and be the judge for yourself. She even has a 2nd pants fitting webcast and a bunch more other webcasts that may be helpful to you. This/these may or may not be the resource you need. Or you may pick up one suggestion that will help you improve a bit. I don't know. But I'm sure glad I checked it out......

But this is a summary of the helpful information I picked up.

1. Pick a REALLY good drafted pattern. It's kinda difficult to correct a badly drafted one.
2. Always make a muslin in similar fabric (I always make this my practice).
3. Don't be nervous to pick a pant 1 size bigger if necesary and base pick on body measurement plus ease. You can easily reduce excess circumference later.
4. Make up the muslin and don't sew in darts (I've heard this before. It's easier to drape those in later).
5. Leave off all zippers, etc with the muslin. Despite the closure just sew up the front with proper seam allowance. Try pants on and then pin the seam allowance in the back. If you have any adjustments to make it WILL NOT be from front or back center seams!!!! (I'd never heard that before. I think that makes alot of sense. You should technically make adjustments at the side seam).
6. Once on, make crotch adjustment by pulling up pants to where crotch feels comfortable. Then pin the waist and hip to make pants snug. The pants should be snug and not falling down.If you're fitting by yourself you can then take off pants and sew those adjustments. (I've learned before that to fit you always deal with length, then circumference and then fine tuning).
7. Peggy says that there is no need to scoop out anything in the crotch. (I've been hearing about scooping out crotches and it's mentioned in several books. It may work for some but I can understand why she's against it. It can add length to the crotch and complicate fitting attempts.)
8. Drape in the darts.
9. Then take a look at the crotch. If there's any weird "smiles" or "frowns" then you have a crotch depth issue. This type of adjustment is the main reason why making a muslin is best. Peggy demonstrates how to horizontally pin out excess fabric across the crotch. The opposite is true if in the back there's pulling. You may have to spread the back and in essence create a dart to accomodate a larger rear end. (I'm beginnig to suspect that reducing the crotch depth will always be the case for me. I've noticed a shorter crotch in the RTW pants I have and I had to make the alteration on sewn pants.
10. Once you're satified with the tweeked fit then use elastic to mark where waistband should be.
11. If you've made lots of adjustments it might just be easier for your muslin to become your new pattern. Just remember so sew the crotch changes, etc. in place first. (I have a couple of fabric muslins from my first few attempts at pants sewing I prefer to use the muslin pattern---it's easier).

And much more.....

As you can see I sure did pick up alot and I think it definitely served to "plug some of the holes in my understanding". I used to be so FRUSTRATED trying to sew pants. Now I can say that I feel a whole lot more confident in my technique. I'll finish up this 3rd pair and post pics soon. It's not super perfect but looks lots better. I look forward to whipping out a few in the next month or so.

So if you're struggling with pants I have the following words for you:
Don't EVER give up!!! There may be a sewing technique or fitting issue that you may not be able to conquer now but if you keep at it and try to understand it from different angles you WILL eventually get it!!! Keep at it.

Until next time......Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sewing Jots & Tittles 9.19.12

Woot-Woot! It's hump day and the week is nearing it's end. Hope you guys have had a great week so far. Well I have and I've got ALOT I want to get into this weekend. Here's what's in essence been on my mind or the last week or so......

All of the Sewing Stuff......

You can check out home decor samples at Jo-Ann's just like you'd check out a library book (except it involves a deposit). Cool, I didn't know that!

I don't get any of the real fancy cable channels but I was delighted to run across the Sundance channel Reality show "All on the Line" with Joe Zee, the Creative Director at Elle. You can stream it Instantly on Netflix. His show is geared toward helping struggling fashion designers launch their lines. I'm only 3 episodes in but love, love, love it. I learn alot from these types of shows. Fashion design as a career is no joke. It's brutal. It's cool to learn some of the in's and out's as a "fly on the wall" so to speak!

Revisiting this pattern. This is officially my weekend project.

I  so wanted to pick up this wool suiting until I read the warning label "fabric may crock". Then I looked it up and realized that if washed or even rubbed too much there would be dye transference (hopefully that can be avoided by dry cleaning as instructed). That happened to me recently  My hubby washed a new pair of my black cotton capris with his white t-shirts and all of his t-shirts came out green. Go figure. 

My "Wee One" would grab my favorite fabric and use it as a blanket. She said it was super warm. I said she had 2 seconds to give it back. I then hid it when she wasn't looking!!! LOL!

Saw this Rayon Challis leopard fabric print with leopard face at What??? Is it me or does this look really creepy?  I've never seen anything quite like it.

I have a friend/co-worker from Portugal who purchased this fabric for me when he visited several months ago. He's since returned back home and is planning another visit next week. I've asked for more fabric but haven't used this piece yet. I've got to make something quick to show I'm deserving of fabric everytime he visits. LOL! I'll think of something.

Wow! I used to say that until I had one! LOL! Those 3 hour sleep intervals with a newborn were crazy!!!

Went to Sam's and bought a few items for a work party. They all added up to be $100 even with tax. That's never happened before.

Gum in dessert flavors. American's have quite the obsession with dessert, huh???

My favorite soup from Nourish. The scent is heavenly. It only comes out a Christmas time and I only have one bar left. I can't bring myself to use it. Can't wait to stock up in a few months!

This sunrise view made for a pleasant highway ride!!! The photo doesn't do it justice!

I've never been more angered by an infomercial. The worst part was a testimonial that said "you don't have to change your lifestyle or eating habits. Your tummy will shrink regardless". I think I had fire coming out of my ears. What a con-job!!! Let me stop before I start getting fired up again!

Growing up my Ken dolls never had a six pack. Wow they've come a long way. And is it me or is Ken's hair (top left) absolutely ridiculous or what??? LOL!

My lemon snowballs were a hit!!! They're so light and lemony. My "Wee-One" had powdered sugar everywhere!!! You can find the recipe HERE!

Ok, that's enough of my thoughts for the week. Until next time....Happy Sewing to ya.....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Questions & Answers 9.16.12

A few of you guys had some questions for me and I thought I'd publicize the answers just in case anyone else was curious. 

Question #1
The Lovely Shannon R (from the Fashion Night Out....Post)asked....

How do you keep track of which patterns you have? Do you buy fabric for a specific pattern or with something in mind (jacket, pants) or do you simply buy what material catches your eye? Any tips??

Great question Shannon R!!! 

I detailed my pattern filing system in this POST. To be quite honest my sewing room is overrun yet again by patterns so it's time to get back to the filing system. Once I've used a pattern that I plan to keep then I store it (envelope, guidesheet, and cut pattern pieces) in a clear Ziploc gallon bag in a separate bin. I keep used patterns separate from the unused ones.

Good question about my fabric shopping practices! I cover my inclination to buy fabric first rather than a pattern in this POST. I tend to have "love at first sight" moments with fabric as I describe in this OTHER POST. All those it's been a while since I've written these posts I still tend to purchase the fabric first and decide it's use later. But I know everyone is different. Alot of people don't want a fabric stash so they'd rather buy as needed. If I lived near NYC I probably wouldn't have a fabric stash. However, sometimes fabrics are slim picking and hit or miss for me so when I see something that catches my eye I get it and hold on to it until I decide what to do with it.

Question #2 The Wonderful Becky (from the Denim Trouser Post ) asked ....

What s the difference between trousers and jeans? Genuinely curious as I thought they were the same. I always wear skirts as a personal preference so I am out of the loop on this one.

To be quite honest Becky your question stupefied me. I really thought I knew what trousers were and it appears I may have confused them to be synonymous with a dressy slack. 
In truth a Trouser is defined as 1. (Clothing & Fashion) a garment shaped to cover the body from the waist to the ankles or knees with separate tube-shaped sections for both legs

So it appears that the word trouser is an umbrella term for a type of pant. Ok I got that.  But up until my Denim Trouser Post, I'd never heard of the phrase "denim trouser". I'd only heard of "denim jeans". So what the heck are jeans. Well  jeans are defined by as (Clothing & Fashion) informal trousers for casual wear, made esp of denim or corduroy.

So now I completely get it. I mistakenly equated the terminology trouser to always mean dressy pants and I've always associated denim with undressy pants. So when I saw the denim trouser I thought there was some new Frankenstein creation on the pants front. Not so!  I understand it now!!!! Trousers are a type of pants that can even made out of a casual fabric such as denim. Good to know. Thanks Becky for forcing me to think a little more about this!

 Question #3
The Fantastic Chaka (posted on my Chat box ) asked.....

What size do you wear retail? What pattern size do you wear? I am trying to wrap my head around the measurements. So far, I always cut too big.

Hey Chaka I answered your question in my chat box but felt I didn't do it thoroughly. So here's the full answer. I wear a size 8 in RTW. RTW sizing can be tricky and depends upon the size assigned to it (unfortunately vanity sizing exists). But I've tried on alot of different clothes so for the most part I'm a size 8. Now in pattern sizes I normally wear a size 12 for my bodice and 14 for the waist and below. My actual measurements are Bust 36, Waist 28 & Hips 42". I often opt to make smaller sizes in knit patterns since I like my clothes fitted. The point I'm trying to make is your sizing for each pattern may oftentimes be different. It depends on your measurements & necessary wearing ease of course AND the design ease of a pattern. You can read more about wearing and design ease HERE.

Case in point, I recently made this McCall's 6241.
 Based on my size 12 pattern measurements I fell into the Medium size category. However, I looked at the finished measurements (which included the design ease) and realized it was.......... That was more ease then I wanted. I wanted the top loose but not that loose. So I decided to go down a size and the resulting top is what you see and what I was happy with! So always examine your pattern's design ease in light of your actual & wearing ease measurements. This will help you to choose the fit of you prefer.

An additional suggestion is when in doubt, make a muslin.  There are plenty of times where despite knowing the design ease I'm still unsure of how a design will look on me. In those instances I often make a muslin, or test garment using dispensable fabric. I'd rather take the time to do that then waste good quality fabric. I   HATE ill-fitting clothing so making a muslin is often the best insurance policy!

Hope these answers were helpful!!!!
If you have any additional questions please post in the comments section below and I'll answer in the next Q&A post!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A "Sewing Break" Movie!

Far be it from me to EVER suggest you take a sewing break of any kind (wink)! But sometimes after a hard week you need one. Such was the case for me on today. I've been ripping and running for the last few days and I decided to take a break and just relax my mind. I went looking through Netflix for a good Instant movie to stream and ran across A Moment to Remember. The premise is great and the movie is about "A romance that blossoms between a clothing designer and a cautious young man, but because the two have both been hurt in the past, it develops slowly. One is recovering from an affair with a married man. The other has lived his life alienated and alone".  It's funny that the main character is a clothing designer. That was one of the things that caught my eye & interested me.

Anyhow,this movie is a wonderful love story!  It's humorous, sentimental, and touching!!!! It's in the same vein as the movie "The Notebook", the "Vow" & "Love Story". So if you loved any of these you've gotta check it out!  And being that it's a love story I cried my eyes out! There's something about true love that is so moving. The love portrayed in this movie is so rare these days.  Plus the lead male actor's cute too (is it me or is it not a real romance unless the lead actor is dashing)! LOL!  Anyway I give this one 4.9 out of 5 stars!!! It's a NR rating but by U.S. standards it would be PG-13 rating. Plus the lead actor was cute too! It's a foreign film---Korean---so be prepared to read subtitles and not be able to sew or do anything else for that matter. Not to worry though you may just need the break anyway. I hope you enjoy!!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Inspires my Sewing (in pictures).......


 (The possibility of my own runway show)

 (Inspiring others)

 (Vibrant colors)

(The Book title says it all---my aim in sewing for sure!)

 (The Peace & Tranquility it provides)

 (The crusade against negative self images)

(Bold patterns)

 (The smiles of satisfied clients)

 (Special Occassions)

(Other Creators/ Artists such as God........)

( and Michelangelo, etc.)

(The Full spectrum of beauty. I love sewing for them all!)

(My daughter. She inspired this dress. She's my youngest muse)

(My custom dressform. Just makes me want to drape and sew til' my hearts content)

(Freedom of Expression)

(Saving Money)

(Lots and lots of fabric)

(Spreading the message to others. Sewing for others allows me to do that.)

And many, many, many more things!!!!
What inspires your sewing????

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sewing Jots & Tittles 9.8.12

 Sewing Jots & Tittle is my weekly to bi-weekly post of some of my random sewing & non-sewing thoughts & observations!!!! You're welcome to take a peek......

Sewing Related.......
This wrap dress pattern would drive me insane! The waist ties are miles long!!! The effect is cute but I'd be scared they'd get loose and get stuck in an elevator door etc.

Oh, I wish I knew how to sew when I got married. My veil was $90. Ridiculous. That would have been an easy project!!!!

Picked up this cute knit top at a thrift store for $3.50. It has lots of knit fabric strips sewn diagonally across it.  I later saw the same fabric at Jo-Ann's. I may need to make another one!!!

My kind of fashion mag!!! I like to keep my fashions real simple!

Guess who's been sketching. I've been doing it for a while. It's about time I bought a pad!

Teaching myself the in's and out's of making cute bags.  I've been wanting this book for quite some time.


 On August 26th my "Wee-One" had her 5th bday and.....

 started Kindergarten the next day. She's growing up so fast!

 Hilarious doll accessories!

 Yup, this is how we roll! She's get entertained & I can concentrate. Love a portable DVD player. Grocery shopping is a cinch!

Do you see that speed bump? Yeah neither did I when I sped over it. Who re-paves the road & forgets to paint the speed bump yellow???? Grrrrrr! 

During my Sewing Staycation at the end of August I became a big fan of the Original House of Pancakes! Their gluten free pancakes are marvelous!

I LOVE mimicry in nature. This grasshopper looks like a leaf! What a riot!

The answer to my Hubby is "no I can't have enough kitchen gadgets"! Boy I want this one!

For me this is the scariest part of visiting Wal-Mart. I have the worst luck for picking the most dilapidated shopping cart!!!

Did a little worm watching with the Wee-One. One of the best parts of a hard rain!


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