Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vogue 1020---- The Little Black Dress

It's day 28---the last day of the Fearless February Challenge!!!!! It's just a few minutes after 10pm and I'm calling it the end of the challenge for me. I was hoping to finish up another piece---Burda 7236 Jacket. I was 70% done. Darn----oooh so close. Well I'll just show it off in a few days. Well I did manage to complete my Little Black Dress. It's Vogue 1020 and is actually the 3rd time I've made it. I love this dress! It's fitted and has lovely rouching on the side. This dress has convinced me that I need to definitely get back on my workout routine. Hey swimsuit season is near anyway and I need to kick the laziness.

So it wouldn't look like a basic black dress I used a thicker knit fabric with a bit of gabardine-like texture that you can see up close. I also paired the dress with a chunky black/white/silver necklace. This is a cute dress that I'm very pleased with.

(fabric texture and ruching up close)

(side view)

Ok that's my last Fearless February Challenge garment. Next up is my review of the month...... Can't wait to recap my experiences for the month!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Give your FEARS a BIG HUG????

I was just sitting here at work on my lunch break thinking of the remainder of sewing that I'm trying to squeeze in the next 2 days before the Fearless February Sew-Along ends. My mind also wandered to something I heard on yesterday. I was listening to Dr. Henry Cloud who is the author of the NY Times Bestselling Book "Boundaries" (Hands down one of the BEST books I've ever read ---definitely a LIFECHANGER!!!). Anyhow he was a guest on the New Life Live radio show and the topic of fear came up. At the very end of his discussion he summarized how one should deal with fear (the unhealthy kind) and I declare it's some of the best and simplest advice I've heard on the subject (and I've heard/read alot of advice).

He said that when it comes to Fear we should (and in this order)
1. "Hug it Out" with Fear!!!
2. Ignore it
3. Act

Ok, I've heard similar advice but what really struck me was the "hug it out" part. That's kinda an odd way to think about handling one's fear. I mean I've always heard advice to "recognize one's fear". I've even heard advice to "embrace one's fear" which I believe he was alluding to here but in a way taking it a STEP MUCH FURTHER. What I take from this is we need to become intimately acquainted with our fears!!!! I mean take some time to really own them, acknowledge them, hold them close and know them inside out ----in great detail. After you've processed and accepted them then, and only then can you adequately decide to reject and ignore them and go on to act in a way contrary to them. I think too many times we are ashamed of our fears. We get a glimpse of them and run in the opposite direction. And thus we never take the time to really look into ourselves and look at the fear for what it is. It's almost like we know it's there but we keep choosing to ignore it. And all the while it keeps lurking and haunting us.

I'm not trying to be all psychological here (I'll leave that to the professionals) but I have to admit that during this Fearless February Sew Along alot of the fears I had weren't as big as I thought. I think would've recognized that if I'd taken time to really look at the fear for what it was and drew it near and embraced it----you know had a hug session with it. Now make no mistake, my sewing challenges were real. Fitting pants had always been a struggle in the past but I admit it was always fear that kept me from being relentless in trying to overcome them. I have to admit that after a couple of trials here and there I kinda got discouraged and let the notion of having well fit pants fall to the side. Well as you know, the last 2 projects I completed were pants (gray pants and denim capris) and I definitely feel proud of my efforts! I no longer have that fear. I still have a few challenges to work out but the fear is gone. As a result I feel really empowered to keep on sewing and tackling other sewing fears that I have. I guess the best way I can describe what I've learned.......

So I encourage you to have a good "hug-out" session with your sewing fears. It's ok, you're human---everyone fears something. Look at them for what they are. Even say them (in great detail) out loud to hear yourself. And after you've had that intimate time together make sure you kick them to the curb!!!! Because there's no time for've got ALOT of great sewing to do (wink)!!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Burda 7863---My First "Homemade" Denim Capris!

It's day 24 of the Fearless February Challenge and I've cranked out garment #2--- a pair of denim capris. I'm delighted to admit that this is my first time sewing a pair of denim capris. I've avoided sewing any denim jean due to pure laziness (not a fan of all that topstitching) and of course my initial struggles with fitting pants. I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt. And to be quite honest all that topstitching wasn't bothersome at all---actually alot of fun. I'm definitely happy I decided to take on this project. Here's my review......

(Front view)

Burda 7863

Time to Sew: About 6 hours or so. 

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
Not difficult at all. I'd give it about a 5 since itt involves alot of topstitching---Since my other sewing machine was down I had to keep switching between my stitching and topstitching threads.

Pattern Description:
Slim 3/4 length jeans.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut and sewed the size 14
(Side view)

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty much!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the simple style of the pattern. It's very well drafted and it's very fitted which is how I like my capris.

(Back views---I created my pocket design and sewed it on my machine)

Fabric Used:
Dark Indigo Denim with some stretch that I've had in my stash for a while.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
-Warning---the front crotch depth is long. You can tell from the pattern envelope model pics. I removed a little over 1" of depth but it still was a bit long.
-I omitted the pocket flaps and belt loops.
-Created a design on the pattern
-Didn't do the side seam topstitching. I was nervous the white topstiching on the dark indigo would be too much.
-Cut the front pockets down in size and made them mock. The pockets extended to the fly front and were just too big for my taste.
-Added 2 darts to the yoke---removing 6/8 in. each.
-Had slight gaposis in the waistband so I removed it by adding dart to back waistband seam.
-I cuffed the hem.

What would you do differently next time?:
-Add a bit more ease. I overestimated my denim's stretch and made my jeans a bit tight thinking they'd relax a bit. They do but it just takes a bit of stretching. Next time I'll add just a little more ease.
-I'd wash my denim with a can of coke as I hear is recommended to really get the denim fibers to soften up and relax.
-I'd also reduce the crotch length a bit more since there was some wrinkling.

(a little wrinkling in the crotch due to long crotch length)

( even after removing 1" crotch depth, it was still a little long for me)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This is a great pattern! I definitely recommend it!

Wardrobe Versatility:
They're denim capris---they practically go with everything.

I love my capris!!! I practically live in them during the Summer and I'm delighted that I can make my own. I plan to make them in a rainbow of colors!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Progress Report and My Barbie Fit Model

First of all thanks SO much for all of the compliments on my charcoal gray pants. Your encouragement and kind words are so invaluable. It always gives me what I need to move forward. Well it's day 19 of the Fearless February Sew-Along. I know I mentioned I wanted to do a post documenting my pants fitting strategy. I want to put that on the back burner for right now. Mainly because I'm working on my next PANTS project and I've learned some new info to share and at the same I don't want to lose any momentum since I still have a few more projects to cram into the month---which ends week---Eeekkk!!!!. So I've got to focus, focus, focus on sewing. I'll definitely share my pants fitting "how-to's" at the end of the challenge.

Ok, my current project is Burda 7863.

I'm making a pair of denim capris. I LOVE capris and am trying to make a few pairs this year. So this is my test pattern. I've already done my muslin and just had to do a few tweaks to the pattern. But overall it looks promising. Just need to cut out and put together.

Also, part of my FFSA challenge is to drape a top or dress. Well I think I'm going to go with a top. I'm thinking of some designs and since I'm so visual it helps to have a fit model. Well that's where Barbie comes in.  I'm not talking about the 12" one I'm referring to the 38" one---The My Size Barbie. I bought mine off of Ebay YEARS ago for the sole purpose of using it try my designs on---especially after reading how others have used it for that reason. I knew one day I'd get there and that day is now so out of the closet she emerged. I'll give more details on how-to's later but here's Barbie with the "Wee-One". My daughter can't keep her hands off of it but she realizes it's Mommy's "toy". Also, guess it would be a good idea for me to make a cover-up or something for Barbie so she isn't so exposed. Anyhow, more details on my work with Barbie to come.....

Also, many of you FFSA participants are really rocking out your projects!!!! Some of you are way ahead of me!!!! Not everyone on the FFSA participant list has begun their projects. If you have and want to update everyone on your progress feel free to leave a comment below and a link to your website. I know some of you have in a some of my recent posts but feel free to do so again. When I do a final FFSA wrap-up I'll be sure to include everyone who did finish their project. Ok that's it for now.......

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Burda 7192----Loving My Charcoal Gray Pants!!!

It's day 17 of the Fearless February Sew Along and I finally have my first garment to show for!!! Don't worry, the other pieces should role out more quickly. You may recall that I started off the month trying to sew up Jalie 2909 and wasn't able to resolve the back leg wrinkles so I switched over to Burda 7192. I'm so glad I made the switch and although I had a few issues trying to tweak the fit eventually I figured it out---yay, I figured it out (Thank you Jesus!!!!) and I've made a pair of pants I'm pretty proud of!

Now, I must admit that these pants are a SWEET VICTORY for me! I've been trying to learn how to fit pants for YEARSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! I've studied how to fit pants for YEARS! You may recall the posts I've done on the subject. But even with that I still couldn't quite get it right. Then on last week the "light bulb finally came on" and I did it. I had an epiphany of sorts. I'll be honest---it didn't take rocket science or brilliance. Actually, just a little work and ingenuity. That's it---plain and simple. I'll tell you what I did in the next post! But for now, let me show you my pants. They're not 100% perfect but I think they turned out great! I wore them for the past 8 hours and have been all over the place---in and out of the car, at church, at the store, etc. and they still look pretty good--only had a few wrinkles. That's my usual test on how good a garment is---by the way it holds up to wear! So these definitely get an A+. So here's my review......

(Yayyyy, my pants after 8 hours of wear! They still looked great!)

Time to Sew:
These weren't too bad at all. I was able to tackle it in a few hours.

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
Not hard at all. I'd give this about a 5. As a whole pants without any fancy designs are pretty easy to sew. You just sew up the legs (front/back piece)--put the 2 tubes in each other and sew up the crotch curve. Then progress with the rest.

Pattern Description: 
Pants with mock yoke pockets.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 14

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
For the most part. I had to pull out some other resources for clarification. For instance I didn't understand how they recommended sewing on the waist band. They recommended sewing it on as 2 separate pieces and then sew the center back seam. It could've been just me, but it was a tad bit confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern is WELL drafted! I loved the wider leg and the slimmer fit at the waist. There were little "mock" pockets---I mean they were pockets but hardly usable. They could've just omitted them.

Fabric Used:
Charcoal gray suiting fabric. I think it was a medium weight gabardine. It was perfect for these pants!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't really make any major changes. I adjusted the fit of the pattern to suit my body and get a good fit such as crotch curve changes, etc. I'll discuss that in my NEXT POST. I did lengthen the pattern by 2". That actually ended up NOT being long enough--especially to wear with 3" heels. So I could only do a 5/8" hem on it. I knew I should have made it longer---especially since I have about a 34" inseam. I did have to eliminate the gaping in the center back of my waistband and that was easy to do---just added a dart in it.  I also skipped adding the crease. Also---I made some "unintentional changes"---aka mistakes.--LOL!!!I had a little snafu with the zipper insertion but recovered from it. It's sad because I clearly wasn't paying attention---I've used Sandra Betzina's fly front tutorial countless of times and have never had a problem with it. It's the best tutorial out there.
(no crazy back leg wrinkles!!!!!!!!!!)

What would you do differently next time?:
I would probably leave off the pockets since they aren't very useful.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Not sure if I'd sew it again but I highly recommend it. Since I'm so short-waisted, I usually wear my shirts out and thus don't need a pants with all of the pockets, belt loops and such---no one ever sees them. I like pockets and stuff in my fitted jeans/capris but not so much my slacks. Might not make much sense but it's my preference.

Wardrobe Versatility:
It's charcoal gray---it practically goes with everything. I'd love to pair it with bright colored sweaters (hence the bright pink) like bright yellow and orange. I think these are definitely a wardrobe staple.

Very nice pair of pants!!! I couldn't be more pleased!!!!!

Ok, I have a few more garments to work on. Off to do some more sewing.....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Birthday "Flexible Ruler" Giveaway winner.....

I hate to be so brief but I've been sewing, sewing, sewing to try and stay on track for the Fearless February Sew Along. I'm a little behind and am playing catch up. I've got my first pair of pants near completion (have to add zipper and waistband) and have already muslin fit my jacket which I'll begin cutting and sewing this weekend. I'm going to be busy, busy, busy.

So that's my quick update. Without further ado, here's the winner of the Flexible Ruler........

......................drumroll please.................

and the winner is...............

The Lovely Sheila from Sheila-CTK!!!!! YAYYYYYYYYYY!

Alright Mrs. Sheila, please email me your address and I'll get that over to you asap.

Also, I plan to do a Fearless February update post. Many of you have been emailing/messaging me letting me know your progress. I have to say I've been super impressed. Some of you are WAY further along then I am. I admire your fearlessness. Remember you can see the Fearless February participants HERE. Some have started and I think some may be starting a little later and others may just have forgotten. No worries though---as long as we're all sewing (smile). Of course it's not too late if anyone else wants to get on board. You can grab the FF Sew Along Button HERE! All right that's it for now......back to sewing:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sewing Jots and Tittles 2.12.13

Had to take a quick break from my Fearless February sewing to do a quick Jots and Tittles Post. With all this running around sewing and thinking the thoughts are just starting to build up. I need to free up a little brain space. So here's a brain dump just for you.......

                                        Sewing, Fashions and Such

 What, I haven't mentioned for the 900th time how much I absolutely love my new draping book, The Art of Fashion Draping!?!? LOL!!!  One of my best purchases this year!!!!! That reminds me I need to do a book review.....

 What Men shouldn't wear---mini sailboat embroidered pants. Trust me that paisley top is pushing the limits too! LOL!

Doesn't this dress just make you happy? Love it!

 I bought the cutest bronze fabric covered pumps. Can't wait to wear them with some leggings!!!

Speaking of this is how you wear a busy pair of leggings. Love this with a jacket, tank top, and heels!

-I want this jacket in EVERY color......brown, black, white, navy....even fuchsia!!! LOVE IT!

Eggs are my favorite food. This egg pincushion is a definite MUST! I can't wait to make it!!! You can find it HERE.

It's official this is the dress I'll be making for the March 22nd Daddy/Daughter Banquet ----for both my daughter and goddaughter (but in different colors).  They're going to be SO cute!


 I mean I love bacon and all but this is taking it to a whole other level!!!

 Such foolishness......... (rolling my eyes)..... LOL!!!

 I made kale chips!!!! I love them! Even better my daughter loves them. They're better than potato chips IMO and are way more healthier. They're super easy to make. I buy the kale already washed and chopped in the bag (I just have to remove the stems). Great recipe HERE.

 I made it out of the worst storm. So weird seeing the edge of it!

 I take it there's a war brewing! Pardon the pun! LOL!!!! I don't drink coffee but found this humorous!

If someone could tell me what that is I'd sure appreciate it. I've seen some "interesting" dogs but this one wins the prize this year! LOL! If you stare at it long enough it's kinda cute!

The book "The Shack" was life changing for me.....absolutely life changing! If this is anything like it I know it's good!!!

 More books I need to add to the already long reading list.....

And a couple of more.

I've seen some excellent movies in the last few weeks! I mean EXCELLENT!!!! There's so much junk out there nowadays. It's nice to find some movies with substance!!! BTW, you can stream them all on Netflix!!!!

Saw this on BBC. Mind you Hillary Clinton is always impressive but it was the female secret service agent that caught my eye in this pic. There's something about her that makes me think she's not someone to be toyed with!

Ok, that's enough mind wandering it's time to get back to sewing. I've got to cut out my Burda pants and work on a jacket muslin. More to come.......

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birthday Video/Giveaway!!!!

Today's my birthday (woo-hoo!!!) and I couldn't think of a better time to do a giveaway!!!! Check out this quick little video to see what I'm giving to the lucky winner.

Here's a better closeup of the flexible ruler.....
Again, these things are great for creating and molding  curves and determining the length of curves. As I mentioned in my video I use it to copy curves from RTW to flat patterns. It holds it's shape really great! A very helpful tool.

So to enter the giveaway it's simple-----
Just follow me on blogger/ Facebook and leave a comment below!

 I'll pick a winner on February 14th.

Ok, I'm off to have a little more bday fun!!!!! Back in the sewing studio for more fearless February sewing on tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't judge a book by it's cover.....

....or by quickly glancing through it's contents. It's day 6 of the Fearless February Sew Along and I'm trying to work out the fit kinks on my Burda 7192 pants muslin. I've been going through my library grabbing my fave pants fit books---reviewing materials just to make sure I'm not overlooking anything. In the midst of that I rediscovered a book I've had on my shelf for a good while now but really hadn't dove into it.

 When I first purchased this book I assumed it had very basic fit instructions and since I have LOTS of books on fit it just fell to the bottom of the pile. Well after flipping through it I realize it's a real gem. For one the photos of fit problems are very clear and so are the solutions. But the best part is I checked out the pants fitting section and low and behold I was quite suprised. The pants fitting section isn't overly exhaustive but immediately I FOUND MY FIT ISSUE outlined---right there in black and white. I mean there is an entire section devoted to my problem---which I really didn't know had a very descriptive name. It's a "Full Buttocks and Tilted Waist"! That's me!!!!!!!!! Short crotch in the front and long in the back!!! Out of all of the fitting books I have, I've never seen both issues addressed together and fit solutions offered.  See the fit suggestions below:

Now mind you this knowledge doesn't make my fit process any easier. The author says there's alot of trial and error needed to address these full butt/ tilted waist issues. I mean the first line of defense is to lengthen the back crotch curve which pulls due to lack of length. Other suggestions include scooping out the crotch, adding some to the outseam, etc. She also goes on to say that pants fitting isn't an easy process (I think we've all figured that one out) and that she sometime made upwards of 4 to 10 muslins to obtain a good fit. I think my jaw just fell off and hit the ground. There's just alot of big adjustments and small fine-tuning that sometimes has to happen. That sure is alot of muslins, but considering how much work it takes to perfect pants patterns it makes sense.

I'm happy to have discovered this info. It's nice to have a book that showcases "real" figures and fit solutions for them. This book is a great companion to Palmer Pletsch's "Fit for Real People".  Mind you I'm only on muslin #1 with Burda 7192  and still have a few more adjustments to make and alot of fine tuning. I hope I get closer with every step. I hope I don't get anywhere near to 10 muslins.......Hopefully with the in-depth suggestion above I won't have to:)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Burda 7192 Progress Report....

So I'm checking in real quick to say that I think my Burda 7192 pants fitting is going ok. Actually the pants is drafted quite well, has cute pocket details and goes together real fast!  It seems to be sized a little bigger than indicated on the tissue so I plan to go down a size, especially since I'll more than likely be using a fabric with stretch in it. Here's a few pics.....

 (Note: My muslin is inside out---seam allowances visible. It's easier for me to do my fitting this way)

They're still not where I want them. There's some wrinkling going on strangely enough just over my calves. It's like the fabric's getting hung up back there. But I strongly believe this has something to do with my posture instead of width--especially since these pants are a bit wide at the bottom. The pants ideally need to cascade over my rear and fall straight down over my calves too. I may still need to make a seat adjustment or two. I'm collecting data & making my observations. I think I"m on the right track.

Here's my personal fit analysis:
1. I have a high rear. My rear crotch curve is long--usually 1-2" longer than most pattern drafts.
2. I'm shorter in the front crotch curve in comparison to most commercial patterns. 
3. The longer waist in the front and the shorter one in the back puts my posture  at an angle. I think this is the biggest reason I have so much trouble with fitting pants!
4. The sides of my knees touch and my feet point outward. I may need to look at cutting part of the pattern leg and shifting it. The lovely Aminat gave me some addt'l info that I want to try out.

Changes for my next pair:
1. As mentioned earlier I'll go down a size.
2. I need to stabilize the waistline during the fitting process so I don't get any stretching.
3. Try the full inner thigh alteration?
4. Measure to make sure I'm doing a proper protruding seat alteration.

Ok, that's all I have for now. I'll keep working at it. I'll probably end up starting another project while I keep working at these. I REALLY want to get alot accomplished this month. I'm fearlessly pressing ON! Hope all is going well with your projects. BTW, some of the Fearless Sew-Along participants have been kicking it into high gear. Be sure to check them out!!! The Sew-Along participant list is just a few posts back:)


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