Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Want My Own Tracing Board!

While visiting my draping teacher's, Mrs. Pat's  studio (mentioned 2 posts ago) she showed me a small pinnable board (approx 24" X 36") in which she attaches her large sheets of wax paper and fabric with aluminum push pins and transfers markings to her fabrics. For the record her entire cutting board is pinnable!  Her smaller board is made out of some type of particle board (the name's slipped my mind at the moment) you can get out of any home improvement store. I think it's an AWESOME idea!!! So I found a similar idea on the BurdaStyle website HERE. You can see the image here. For my version I will use wax paper and I won't permanently affix it to the board. I'll just add it and fabric as needed using push pins and tracing necessary pattern markings (darts, ie.) using a pattern tracing wheel. It will just be a larger surface to transfer pattern markings and a better quality wax paper.

(image courtesy of

......and the wax paper HERE.

(image courtesy of

I'm particularly excited about the 26"X 39" wax tracing paper since the tiny store bought sheets are just too tiny and they don't last as long. I currently have the small 3"X 19.5" wax free sheets and it just doesn't mark as well. I've heard from several people, including my draping teacher, that the larger sheets last a LONG time and are far superior in quality. After seeing a demonstration from Mrs. Pat I'm definitely convinced.  The only drawback is that you have to be careful about leaving smudge marks on your fabric if you apply pressure or accidentally mark it. To my knowledge, unlike wax free sheets you can't always remove wax tracing paper markings and ironing sets in the marks. That's why it's recommended to use a wax tracing paper in a color close to the fabric you're using. Either way I'm ready to make the switch and will start ordering/buying my supplies. I can't wait to set up my own tracing board!!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mother's Day Dress- McCall 2401 again.....

It's taken long enough but here is my Mother's Day dress.  It's McCall 2401 which I first made HERE. I've already reviewed it then so I'll just post pics I decided not to post anymore pics of my knit jacket. I posted a few pics of the jacket HERE. Unfortunately I won't be able to resolve the rolling lapel issue (mentioned in that post) without some serious rigging and my heart just isn't in to that. I'd just rather start over and make another jacket. I'll consider it a lesson learned. Something that's part of the process. Anyhow, here's the dress. I can't say enough how much I LOVE THIS FABRIC! It was love at first sight when I purchased it at Fine Fabrics in Atlanta! I'm not shy about my love for color! The brighter the better:)

Remember I made my daughter a matching dress HERE

These were our Mother's Day looks for this year! Glad to have another fashionable year with my daughter. Looking forward to Mother's Day next year!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Meet my Draping Teacher!

You all know I work with illustrious Mr. Jim who is my tailoring teacher. I've also have had the pleasure of taking lessons from Mrs. Pat who is a TALENTED Freelance Draper (I highlighted a little bit about my draping experiences in this POST). I happened to run across her contact info while visiting a new fabric store in town. I was all too delighted when she agreed to give me draping lessons. I have updates on my progress but will save that for a later post. I just wanted to dedicate this one to her work. While visiting her studio I asked to see her portfolio and was literally blown away! She's been draping for over 20+ years and has spent most of that time working in costuming/theatre work and really knows her stuff.  She's currently working on Swan Lake costumes for the Boston Ballet who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!
Here's Mrs. Pat holding a magazine which highlighted the Nut Cracker production on which she worked. Can you believe she made the Nut Cracker's jacket that's featured? I should've got a close up pic of it. It's marvelous!

Here's a costume she made for the Nutcracker production at the Boston Ballet. Isn't it GORGEOUS! Just look at all of the detail in the corset and tutu.

 Here's another outfit she worked on. She made the skirt. I love the texture, colors and lightness!

 Here's the drawing for the previous skirt. Designers provide drapers with very detailed sketches in which drapers get to recreate. Mrs. Pat has worked on jackets similar to the one on the bottom right. She just finished one of 4 needed for the upcoming Swan Lake production.

Here's a pic of one of many elaborate dresses she helped create from a sketch.

I REALLY enjoyed looking through her portfolio. It gave me a newfound respect and awe for costume work and for the hard work drapers put into it!  It really invigorated my spirits on how we sewers have a marvelous gift to create beautiful clothing. What a marvelous gift it is! I'm continually working on my draping to hone my skills. I'll update you on my progress soon:)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Warning: Do Not Handle When Sleepy!

(here's a pic in case you were ever curious about the inside parts of a steam generating iron)

It took one split second, just one split second and then there was a crash. I guess trying to squeeze in another client alteration before bed---while tired and watching TV(only to keep myself alert while working)---wasn't such a good idea. All I know is the iron slipped off the ironing board, crashed to the floor and broken pieces of plastic went everywhere. I just knew that was the end of the iron. But from what the Hubby could tell all of the wiring still looks intact. So maybe it's not as bad as I thought. We'll see in the morning whether a bottle of super glue and re-screwing will help. If not then it's time to reorder another steam generating iron. My sewing room isn't complete without one. I guess there's always a bright side to most things---hey at least I didn't drop one of my sewing machines. For that we would have to call in some paramedics. LOL!!!!! And on that note, good night. I'm heading to bed before I break something else!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rolling Collar/ Tossing out the Patttern Pieces/ Food for Thought

Well between my Cameraman's (aka the Hubby) late work nights and the non-stop rainy weather it will be a little while for I get my Mother's day outfit pics taken & posted. It's my "Sewing Boot Camp" month so the show must go on! I've got lots more pieces to get sewn before the month's end. Here are some "selfies" I took on Sunday when I wore my Mother's Day 2 piece outfit---you know so you don't think I was making the whole thing up--LOL!  I posted my daughter's outfit 2 posts ago. Anyhow, the jacket and skirt were a cute combo. I received A TON of compliments at church.  Again, I'll get the cameraman to take better pics soon....

 (me in my sewing studio)

(trying to get another decent shot in the living room)

I learned ALOT from making the white knit jacket. It went together so easily but I ran into a little snafu with trying keep the shawl collar stabilized---the facing kept wanting to roll inward even after the collar was hand basted and pressed into shape. After consulting with Mr. Jim, you know my Tailoring teacher (remember, his blog is HERE) I discovered that the facing for the jacket wasn't wide enough so it could be attached to part of the armhole or side seam to prevent this rolling. Keep in mind the pattern I used (Burda 8201--which is awesomely drafted) was originally for a woven fabric where there might have been less of a problem. Stretch knits are more prone to such rolling, especially in the case of a shawl collar. Plus the jacket is unlined---so there was no lining to keep things in place either.
(Mr. Jim giving my jacket facing a look over)

 So back to Mr. Jim's point I should have made my facings alot wider. I didn't know this but it's a lesson learned. I think avoiding issues like this are exactly why Mr. Jim tosses out most commercial facing pieces. I've seen him do it numerous times. It's hilarious! Not only does he NEVER read the pattern instructions he makes most of his own pieces. As an experienced tailor he creates his own faces, pockets, collars etc based on his tailoring knowledge/skill. And his garments always come out impeccable. For me this is " food for thought". I need to think about the whether I need to modify pattern facings and such especially when using a non-recommended fabric. I do think I can resolve this shawl collar rolling issue. It may involve a little "rigging" LOL! Anyhow I appreciate the process and lesson learned. Plus the jacket is really cute.  I'll update you more soon......

Monday, May 12, 2014

Edison + GRIT + You

I'm always inspired to hear about great people and how they were defined as such through the obstacles they overcame! It really feeds my soul and inspires me. I ran across this article and wanted to share. I've always admired Thomas Edison's work ethic but to read about this enormous challenge and potential setback he faced and how he powered through it gives me even more respect for him. How inspiring!!!

I also saw the TED talk a while ago. It essentially spreads the same message!

I've learned long ago that if you want to succeed in life you've got to "bulldoze" your way through your fears, challenges and failures! NOTHING COMES EASY---at least if it's worth having! I try to apply these same principles to my sewing. God knows I've had my fair share of failed projects, techniques I struggled (and still struggle) to get and plenty of fears and frustrations. But I refuse to give up! I REFUSE TO!!! Not until I've mastered this thing called sewing. I hope you feel the same way. There's too many success stories out there of people who have likewise faced their fair share of challenges and powered through with GRIT and determination. I have no idea why I'm on this rant LOL! Just feeling inspired I guess and spreading the love. Let's all go out and do something great together!!!!! Happy sewing to you!!!! Don't give up!  May every obstacle you face be a stepping stone towards greatness....

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Outfits---NewLook 6204, Burda Style 8201, & McCall's 6355- Part I

Happy Mother's Day!!!! I spent most of the weekend on client work and wrapping up my daughter and I's Mother's Day outfits. I logged alot of sewing hours and managed to pull it off. I finished a jacket & dress for myself and whipped up this quick little dress for my daughter with the remnant fabric left from my dress. I had to be a bit creative for her dress since I didn't have alot of fabric left so I went back in my pattern bin and pulled out NewLook 6204 which I last made for her HERE. I reviewed the pattern at that blog post and the only difference with this version is I use a cotton knit fabric and used gold rope for the halter ties. It turned out cute. Initially she wasn't that excited about it. My darling is a bit of a diva in the fashion department. LOL!  But she quickly warmed up to it and loves it!!! We wore matching outfits to church and got lots of compliments! So here's pics of her dress. My camera man aka Hubby had to work so he couldn't get any pics of me. I'll post those this week. Again, hope all of you Mama's had a special day!!!!

New Look 6204
Pattern Review HERE

 Side view

 Playing around....

Back view

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Off the Radar and Onto My Cutting Table!!!!

Well that was FAST! In my last post I was obsessing about wanting to make a knit jacket and one trip to Hancock fabric made that a reality! I found the perfect weight white, Ponte knit and Burda patterns were on sale for $2.49. You see what happens when the stars align perfectly! LOLLLLLLL!  I specifically wanted a jacket with a very narrow shawl collar and not too many bells and whistles since I sorta want the jacket to be plain. So Burda pattern 8201 fits the bill perfectly!!! Anyhow, looks like I'm getting my jacket for Mother's Day. I'll start working on it tomorrow once I finish some client stuff. Also, in the photo---see that fabric to the right of the pattern and white ponte? Well that's a sneak peek of my Mother's Day dress fabric. It's a gorgeous and bold print cotton knit. I plan to wear the jacket and dress together. That's right, I'm trying to go all out with the cuteness. LOL!!! Mother's day seems like the perfect holiday to do it big. I also have to make something cute for my daughter to wear. Lots to do. Send me good vibes!  Hope all your sewing/planning  is going well!!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

On My Radar......

I have a crazy obsession with knit blazers! I've always wanted one or two. Well I saw a couple of really cute one's being worn by some ladies at church today and that put my desire for a knit blazer into OVERDRIVE! I love how the blazers are just perfectly cool and chic. They can be worn casually or dressed up. And of course they're made of knit so they're all too comfortable.  I'm hoping to sew up at least one of these for this month's "Sewing Boot Camp" challenge. I hope to track down the perfect ponte or double knit for the project!

Here are some examples of some really cute one's....

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May is Sewing Boot Camp Month....

Thanks so much for all of your kind comments regarding the stretch lace jumpsuit I mentioned in my last post. I dropped it off to the Bride to Be this afternoon and received the final confirmation that she absolutely loves it!  I am both honored and humbled. That project really challenged me and I appreciated the opportunity!  And speaking of challenge I decided to make May my "Sewing Bootcamp" month! I'd been considering having a sewing bootcamp month for a while. And I'm no stranger to challenges---heck my blog premise is built around a challenge---amassing 10,000 hours of sewing (of which I'm over half way through). This whole month is centered around "non-stop sewing". I repeat "non-stop sewing". That means when I'm not doing my daily activities (taking care of family, household, etc.) and working with clients I will be in my studio cutting out pieces and sewing! I really want to work on increasing my speed and production. I'm kicking my own butt into high gear! Since this is my full-time gig now and career focus my goal is to get better and better. You know to the point where sewing is just like breathing.  I just wanted to give you guys a heads up.  I have some client projects this month but in between I will be pushing myself. I KNOW I need to do this for me! Just taking my discipline to a higher level. As with anything the more you do it the easier it gets. Besides I need a Spring/Summer wardrobe! Plus Mother's Day is next weekend and you KNOW I'm gonna make something cute to wear for me and my daughter! Details to follow. Stay tuned! I plan on sewing non-stop this month!!! It ought to be both challenging and fun! Wish me luck:)


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