Monday, March 31, 2014

Fearless February-March Challenge End and my Accomplishments

I'm still on a bit of a high from this past FUN weekend! The Father/Daugher Banquet has come and gone (see my last post). I can't stop watching that funny video! Thanks for all of your kind comments!!!! Making my daughter's dress and Hubby's tie was fun. It's March 31st and the Fearless February Extension ends tonight! Can you believe it?!?!? I outlined the purpose of this sewing challenge and my goals in this post HERE Now before I show my challenge results I want to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to everyone who participated. You can see some of the work of these great folks on the challenge Flickr page Talk about impressive!!!! Thanks for participating and your fearlessness.

Ok, I have to admit for some reason I was initially disappointed with my challenge outcome. But after reviewing all I've been doing for the last couple of months, given my full time client sewing schedule, I was able to get alot accomplished. I did the following:

1. Made myself a coat. One that I like VERY much!
It's Burda 7020.

I still need to review it but overall I love this pattern. I did get a bit obsessive about it. I ended up not liking the ribbon I put on the sleeve (to disguise where I lengthened the sleeve) so I plan to take it off and add a cuff instead. I'll do a detailed post soon.

2. I made my daughter a coat---a housecoat. I reviewed it a few posts ago.
  Originally I was going to make her a Winter coat but with the seasons changing and her growing super fast that didn't make any sense.

3. I attempted to make my Hubby a jacket. It's KwikSew 4017. The pattern is excellent.
(The Hubby wasn't a fan of modeling his muslin. The fit was great. Just need more sleeve length. I took a back photo but for some reason it's corrupt on my phone. But the back fit good too---take my word for it!)

I made his muslin and was ready to go ahead but couldn't find exactly the fabric I wanted to use. I visited 4 fabric stores! That's right, 4. I actually found the fabric I wanted in one of the stores but there wasn't enough for the coat. Call me picky but I really want a small wall dark gray corduroy for this jacket. I'll see if I can get it online. Nevertheless it's getting warm so I may have to revisit this project in the Fall.

4. I made myself another pair of pants! The fit was great! I did a review a few posts ago.

5. I draped on my mini form

I used the fabric I made for my client's birthday gown to drape a similar gown. This was very freelance and I had a few hiccups--nothing I can't correct. I should have put some darts in the back. The "tookus" on this form is quite large. I would've never considered attempting this before if it weren't for the fact that I now take Draping classes! That's right I'm taking a draping class!

6.  My original plan was to drape myself a top.
 I didn't drape me a top because I decided to take draping lessons instead! 
So when I do drape myself a top I will do it RIGHT!!! I did drape a top for my size 10 PGM dressform. I decided to use this dressform instead of my "custom form" since I could leave it at my Mr. Jim's studio, where I'm taking the lessons. Anyhow I hope to post finished pics of the top soon and I plan on draping on my "custom form" so I can start wearing some of my own designs.

 (Learned how to make appropriate markings and pin correctly)

 (corrected the muslin)

(Transferred 3 pattern pieces to white dot paper for further correction/trueing)

I'm definitely enjoying my lessons. I've wanted to drape for the last 5 years or so. My Draping Teacher is wonderful! She's in Boston at the moment fitting/sewing Swan Lake costumes for the Boston Theatre dancers. I'm 2 classes in and have learned a whole lot. I have lots of homework to do while she is away. I'll keep you posted on my progress soon!

Ok, that's the results of my Fearless February-March challenge. I'm delighted by what I got to get done and am excited about the direction my draping is taking me in. Also, thanks again for everyone else who participated in the challenge and all you accomplished!!!! Looking forward to doing it again next year!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Simplicity 1814/ Vogue 7014--4th Father Daughter Banquet Dress and Tie--- PIC/VIDEO HEAVY

All I can say is last night's Father/Daughter Banquet was a BLASSSSSSTTTTT!!!! Oh my goodness we had SO much fun. It made any stress I had in making and completing my Daughter's dress and Hubby's tie worth it. My Hubby, Daughter and oldest God-Daughter, Natasha attended together enjoying great food and all of the fun activities. I was asked to help waitress along with others to make sure all of the Dad's and Daughter's had enough food and drinks. The place was packed and it was great to see so many Dad's and their daughter's dressed up and having fun! Well the night really hit a major high when everyone took to the dance floor. It was SOOOO much fun! My Hubby, Daughter and God-Daughter tore that floor up, you hear me! LOLLLLL!!!!  I got in on the action (on the sidelines of course) but they were in the middle of the floor shaking it down. Feels like we all danced and laughed for hours! It was SOOOO much fun! I LOVE my church for having this event every year and for showing folks that fostering good Father/Daughter relationships and relationships in general is a beautiful thing. Pics, Video (yes, this was too funny not to share) and pattern reviews below.

(Group shot after the Banquet. After all that dancing these folks were tired!)

If you want to know why they were so tired here's a VIDEO snippet of my Hubby and Daughter dancing the final dance together. These two are HILARIOUS!!! Donna Summer's "Last Dance" is playing in the background as I film this. The dance floor was crowded ALL night so this was the first time I could get a good shot.  You'll see twirling and them doing "Robot" and all other kinds of hilariousness. I love these two. They keep me laughing!!!!

Ok, here's the pattern reviews......

Time to Sew:
About 4-6 hours

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
About a 4. Not complicated at all.

Pattern Description:

Pattern Sizing:
Size 6

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I LOVED the petal type sleeves and the sleeve pleats. I also loved the tulle overskirt.

Fabric Used:
Coral colored polyester shantung.

 (Accesories: I made her headband. Very easy. Make a tube to slide headband through and secured ends. Used store bought tulle flower from my stash and sewed gold trim in the middle of it. Super simple!)

("Dorothy-like" red sequin ballet slippers. Got them at Burlington coat factory for $5.98. Found these the morning of the banquet at last minute. God was definitely looking out for me!!!)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I used 4 layers of tulle instead of the 3 recommended. I also used an amazing gold trim with crystals in the middle on the waist band of the dress.

What would you do differently next time?:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe, it was a really cute and easy pattern.

Amazing little dress for an amazing little girl!!!

(my handsome Hubby and his custom made tie)

Time to Sew:
1 hour once I figured out what the heck I was doing. LOL!

Sewing Ease (scale 1 easy to 10 difficult):
No comment, the instructions had me baffled. I had to toss them!

Pattern Description:
Wonderful Men's tie

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No. I knew the sew in interfacing wouldn't work out well. So I made a few changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the shape of the tie. It's the classic shape---not too fat or too skinny.

Fabric Used:
Same as my daughter's dress

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I decided to just steal the one-piece tie interfacing from one of my Hubby's discarded ties and use it in the tie. I then just sewed it by hand on the back as with the original. It's quality interfacing that made the tie look so professional. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes. If my Hubby needs another matching tie I'll just make him one. I like having that option!

Great pattern. Just pick a quality interfacing for it.

We had a wonderful night!!!! I can't wait until next year's!!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's time to get FANCY!!!! Sewing for the Father/Daughter Banquet!!!

One of my favorite times of the year is upon me. Our church's annual Father/Daughter Banquet---- like literally in 4 days!!! This is such a fun day for my Hubby and daughter. They actually go on a "date" every Friday but this event gives them a chance to get dressed up really swanky and hang out with other Dad's and their girls. There's food, dancing and giveaways! It's such a sweet event. I usually go also to help "waitress" for the night with some other the other Mom's.

Sewing my daughter's dress has become quite the tradition.
Remember???? Let me give you a walk down memory lane.....

F/D Banquet 2011
F/D Banquet 2012
F/D Banquet 2013

Awwww....I get misty eyed when I see those. I still have all of her dresses too! Will keep them forever. I'm amazed at how much she's grown! She's really getting big! My baby's growing up....sniff, sniff!

Ok, so the big day is Friday and I'm not really worried. Her dress is already cut out and sitting by the sewing machine. I'll tackle that later today. In addition to that I've decided to make my Hubby a matching tie. I've never made him one before so this should be fun. Originally I wanted to tailor him a suit but would have needed to start a couple of months back and I just had WAY too much going on to do that. There's always next year. Anyhow here's the pattern I'm using for my daughter's dress......

 (My daughter's dress---final pic! I LOVE it! It's a base pattern that I plan on doing some cute things to!)

I originally wanted to use this pattern and thought the same for last year but there's ALOT going on with this dress and I decided I didn't want all the layers and fullness. I'm certain I'll find a reason to use this pattern in the future!
(I decided not to go with this dress!)

(My Hubby's tie pattern)

Ok, I've got to go sew which means I've got to stop typing for now. I'll keep you abreast of my progress. I'll be sewing until Friday since I have both these pieces and Fearless February items to complete. My draping class is going fairly well and I'll have updates about that soon too! Hope your week is off to a great start!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 OSQ Expo Recap Part II/ Meeting my Blog Followers

Really, has the entire week almost gone by? Really?!?!!?!? I've been busy playing catch up since my trip to ATL Original Sewing & Quilting Expo of which I still need to recap in this post. It just so happens that Mr. Jim at the OSQE in Lakeland, Florida at the very moment. So if any of you are attending that Expo please be sure to stop in and say hello to him. I believe he's booth #1307.

Ok, so about the rest of my OSQE trip.....
The expo itself was really enjoyable. I'd been to the one in 2006 to take classes and I have to say that not much has changed. There were lots of classes offered, alot of great vendors and just the phenomenal feeling that you're surrounded by talented and crafty people.

 It was really interesting being there as a vendor and working with Mr. Jim to promote his outstanding DVD's (Tailored Ladies pants and Basic alterations---all on his blog HERE). We worked from 10am-5pm everyday and had a little commute to make too and fro. Fortunately Mr. Jim has a house in Atlanta (where he used to live for 30+ years) so that made it feel like home away from home.

Here's our booth.....

 (In Mr. Jim's booth highlighting his DVD's, Vests and Bags for sale)

(Mr. Jim in his booth. If you haven't picked up your copies of his DVD's then you're missing out! They were selling like hotcakes! He teaches anyone hot to  professional tailoring results in a fraction of the time.  You can get then at his blog HERE---just look on the left side.)

(Our view from our booth. Do you see what's directly in front of me???? Vogue fabrics!!!! I was in Heaven, I got to stare at beautiful fabric all day and see when they put out new items LOL!!!)

(Booth next to us.....We were in a high traffic area for sure)

We were located in the best spot. We were right between the food and stage. Also, Vogue Fabrics was positioned right in front of me. It couldn't get any sweeter that that!!! You know they have the BEST discount fabric. Of course I gave them some of my business. Some items I purchased from them were featured in my last post.

What was also cool was interacting with alot of folks who just flat out love to sew. Now the conference was dominated primarily by quilters but the apparel sewers did represent well. Mr. Jim taught 4 classes and I was AMAZED at the response he received. Now I shouldn't have been entirely amazed since 1. I'm one of his students and think he's about one of the best tailors out there!!! Trust me I'm not be impartial I watch this man tailor Sports coats and vests like it's the easiest task with impeccable skill and 2. He practically sold out of the class and they had to increase the seats. Unfortunately still everyone who wanted to take his classes couldn't get in them. Anyhow, it was really cool to have the class attendees visit the booth after their class in pure amazement on how Mr. Jim simplified techniques were done and yielded the best results. If you've seen his Basics DVD then you're familiar on his cool technique for sewing on buttons!!!!

I also had the EXTREME and I do mean EXTREME pleasure of meeting some of my & Mr. Jim's blog followers. That was really cool and humbling. They were all some beautiful and smart ladies. We were able to chit chat about our sewing work and the blogs we follow such as the talented Carolyn, Erica, Amanda (folks I was stalking before I even had a blog) and too many others to announce!!! I told them the penalty for them introducing themselves was they had to be featured on my blog. All agreed. Here they are.....

 The talented & gracious Shenetha who has such a calming persona and relaxing voice. I could listen to her talk for hours! We had some really good conversations....

 .....the "too cute for words" Vanessa who is a talented seamstress & has a wonderful blog at

 ....The spunky and fun Geannene. I loved her energy!!! She's a serious sewer and has a son who sews too!!!

 ....the vivacious Ebony who has a Etsy business ( centered around making cute doll clothes. 

 .....Monique with the pretty smile! Not only did she attend but she worked at the ASG booth helping others!

 ..... the Sweet and Smart Kathy! We had a very insightful conversation that I deeply cherished!

...and last but not least, Michelle who had the sweetest smile and demeanor.

I ENJOYED talking all things sewing with these wonderful Ladies!!!

The OSQE was definitely a great event. It was nice to meet so many other sewers and to present Mr. Jim's work to everyone. I'm not entirely sure I will go again since this show is predominated by Quilters (no offence quilters, you know I love you (smile)) but I look forward to branching out and attending other sewing shows in the future. In the meantime I have my Fearless February sewing to finish up and a Father/Daughter Dress to have ready by this Thursday. Lots of work to do! Happy Sewing to you!!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Original Sewing Expo Recap Part I

Wheewwwwww (exhaling sharply)'s been a heck of a week!!! The Original Sewing and Quilting Expo in Atlanta has come and gone and definitely was a great success. I had a blast! Mr Jim, (my Master Tailor mentor whose blog is HERE) taught 4 classes and hosted a booth and received great reception overall. We also met some really great folks! Anyhow I'll talk more about that in the next post. In between all of my Expo attendance/working I had the chance to visit a couple of Atlanta's awesome fabric stores. Mr. Jim has some serious connections with fabric store owners especially since he had his tailoring shop in Atlanta for 30+ years. So he took me to 2 of his favorite spots to meet the owners of 2 of his favorite stores--- Fine Fabrics and Gail K.

I was able to take 2 trips to Fine Fabrics, a fabric warehouse that has been open just under 2 years. Let me just say, and those of you who have been there can back me on this----this is one HUGE store!!!! I've been to alot of fabric stores in NYC's garment district and this one literally takes the cake! What's even better is it's filled with discount fabric. Rolls upon rolls of deeply discounted fabrics!!!! And better yet they're expanding the store and bringing in more fabric and a special garment manufacturing section.  I was able to get some really great $3.95/yard pieces. I demonstrated such great restraint. Year's ago I would've bought up the whole store LOL!

 (The warehouse is HUGE!!!)

 (Mr. Jim is such an enabler! LOL!!! He was a great shopping companion. The only man I personally know who actually likes being in a fabric store. LOL!)

(ahhhhhhh.....I was in fabric Heaven!!!)

I also thoroughly enjoyed visiting Gail K. I'd passed up the opportunity on past Atlanta visits but will definitely make it a regular stop from now on. The prices aren't as low as Fine Fabrics but they have every type of fabric anyone could want. And the quality is fantastic!!! Most people are pretty familiar with Gail K. I was suprised at how big the store was and fabric was literally packed from floor to ceiling. I could've stayed in there for hours. I found some client for a fabric that I think may work for a wedding.

 (The store may look small on the outside but it's packed with fabric.......

(.....aisles and aisles of fabric!!!!)

(loads of fabric makes for one happy girl:)

I was also able to buy a few pieces of fabric from Vogue Fabrics at the Expo. Here's my fabric haul.  I purchased 11 pieces for a total of 22 yards for next to nothing. I have the fabric for my daughter's Father/Daughter Banquet dress, our Mother/Daughter Easter dresses and some other Spring/Summer projects. 

So fabric shopping was definitely a highlight for me. More details on the Expo in the next post......

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simplicity 1562---An Owl Housecoat for the "Wee-One"

I'm happy I was able to hurry up and finish this Fearless February "coat" for my daughter, aka "the Wee-One" before I headed out to the Atlanta Quilting and Sewing Expo. I hope I get to see many of you there. Mr. Jim and I will be at booth #226 if you want to stop by. If you recall, for the Fearless February challenge (which was extended through March) I'd planned to make a coat for my daughter. Well between the crazy weather we're having (today is 76F) and crazy growth spurts I didn't think it wise to make a coat she wouldn't likely wear for long. So as a nice compromise I made her a Housecoat. She ABSOLUTELY LOVES it!!! Hey, I love a good housecoat too. Sometimes I practically live in mine. I've had some great ideas and epiphanies while at home in my housecoat. It's one of the signs of the comforts of home because I wouldn't be caught dead anywhere else in one--well only outside to get the mail but that's my limit LOL!

 This pattern doesn't really need a review. The pattern is super easy and pretty straight forward. I used a cotton flannel I'd had in my stash forever. I think I have enough to make some fleece pants for next Winter. I omitted the interfacing step. I was going to use a sew in but figure she didn't need that much stability in the collar. I also lengthened the coat and sleeve lengths a bit since she's tall with long limbs. It turned out really cute. The only thing I'd change next time is the pocket placement. They're set pretty high. I'm not bothering with lowering them. I'm nervous she won't be wearing this for long either. She's growing so fast. Here's the pics......

(Here she is testing out the housecoat outside)

 (grabbing the mail)

 (Reviewing the mail---as if she knows what it all is. I wish she'd take and handle the bills LOL)

 (Fleece upclose---Blue owls with the word's "Whoooooo's Sleepy?" on it)

(Here's she is pretending to be me wearing a head scarf with mug in hand. This child is a hoot (pun intended).

Ok, on to my Hubby's jacket. I'll see if I can get it cut out before I leave......


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