Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Thanksgiving

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  I just came back into town yesterday after a marvelous vacation in Southern California with my family.  The weather was gorgeous and the crowds at Disneyland plentiful.

I came home yesterday to find that my two Colette Patterns had arrived.



Wow!  I must say that these are the nicest patterns I've ever seen!  The Big 4 could certainly learn a thing or two from Colette.  Rather than coming in a paper envelope with tissue paper patterns, these came in a sort of "book" for the instructions and tucked in the back flap was the pattern printed on higher quality paper than the Big 4 use for theirs. I actually feel I'm getting something for my money.

I think I will make the Clover pants first.  I have tons of fabric at home I can use.  I think I also have fabric I can use for the Jasmine top, too but I have to look at the fabric recommendations first before I make my final decision on those.

Stay tuned to see which fabrics I use.  Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Colette Patterns

I just bought my first two Colette Patterns  and I'm really excited.  I've been eying these patterns for quite some time and I thoroughly enjoyed making the Sorbet and I wear it constantly.  It was so easy and it turned out great. I got the Clover pants and the Jasmine top.  Links to the patterns are below the pictures.



These pants might just replace my Vogue cigarette pants but we'll see.  I really like that the pants have a pocket.  Pockets are very important to me.

On other fronts, I'm determined to do some sewing this weekend although, the coming holiday may very well throw that idea out the window.  I don't have much to do other than clean the house and do laundry, as I'm not cooking this Thanksgiving.  Whew!  But, it will be an uneventful weekend with plenty of sewing time.  I might just give my husband's boxers a second go.

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vogue 1264


I'm wanting to begin making these cigarette pants but I fear I've purchased the wrong size.  In RTW, I wear a size 12-13.  In sewing, I usually wear a size 14. 

I pulled out this pattern over the weekend to finally begin and looking on the pattern pieces, the finished measurements of size 14 are 10 inches smaller than my measurements!! Even the waistband is considerably smaller.  I can't imagine that I'll have to cut a size 22 - and in the process have to buy another pattern.

This comes as one of my biggest obstacles in sewing - getting the right fit.  I take some quick measurements before every project because goodness knows, the older I get, the more I'm changing.  I match them up to the pattern and even estimate the finished pattern measurements before I cut.  Lately however, I've been relying on the printed finished measurements on the pattern pieces to guide me.  So far, I've been fairly fortunate. 

This pattern though, has really thrown me for a loop.

I hate the idea of making muslin's because I like more instant gratification but I fear I will have to do it in this case.  I really don't want to buy another pattern and if I  need a bigger size, it would be too much work to just re-trace a larger size from this pattern.

So, muslin it is.  I don't have any muslin fabric so I will have to stop at Goodwill and see if they have a cheap sheet I can use as a muslin.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kwik Sew boxer shorts

Yes, yes, I know. I'm just now finishing up from the Male Pattern Boldness Men's Boxer Short Sew Along here and I'm seriously disappointed with mine.  My waistband is uneven (see top of picture - one side is nicely gathered but the other, *sigh*) but that isn't the worst of it.  Take a look:

The flaps veer out when they should be one on top of the other, correct?  In addition, there isn't anything on the instructions to finish the right bottom flap and I didn't realize it until it was too late to do anything about it.

Another problem is the bottom seam.  They are uneven!  The front is much narrower than the back.  So, how is it the manufacturer could make such a blunder??  (Heh, yes, I'm sure I cut the same size, front and back)

These have turned out so horrible that I will need to start all over.  I suppose I shouldn't be too disappointed because that means another trip to the fabric store to get more elastic.  But, I really liked this fabric, as did my husband, and I really don't know where I went wrong.

So, I picked out the elastic and will try again with another bit of fabric I had.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gone with the Wind - for boys!

We are in the middle of potty training my little guy and because the weather has gotten considerably colder, he is wearing pants.  The potty training is hit and miss but like most boys, he forgets he needs to go and has an accident on his clothing. Because of this, we have been changing his pants at least twice a day and have gone through all his clean clothes in one weekend.  So, I decided it was time to make some easy pull on pants for him.  Oh, I feel so Scarlett O'Hara!

Out of an old pair of curtains made from this great olive twill:

They are a little long but I don't care.  They work.

It was already hemmed so I didn't need to do that step.

I was going to make more pairs for him out of old jeans that we don't  - ahem, er, um - fit into anymore but I put those aside to try and complete the boxers for my husband.  So far, I'm not happy with them.  More on that next post.

So, whaddya think?

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sewing Book Review

Hello, everyone.  I’ve been so busy lately and then came down with a bad cold, I haven’t had much time to blog.  Yet, I did receive something in the mail from Amazon that I’m happy to share with you.
As I’ve written before, I’ve been looking for sewing classes to take but haven’t really found anything that works with my schedule or sewing level.  In my search, I came across a certification program through Association for Sewing & Design Professionals that I thought looked pretty interesting.  Although I do not feel I am a good enough seamstress to take a certification course, I did download the book list required for the program.  Many of the books were ones I already had by authors we’ve all heard of – Susan Khalje, Claire Shaeffer, etc. – but, I found a book I hadn’t heard of yet.  It’s called Dressmaking: A Step-by-Step Course by Leila Aitken .

Dressmaking: A Step-By-Step Course
When the book arrived, I noticed it was a little outdated with many of the pictures from the 1980s but I think it is a great little book for beginners.  The pictures are clear and the directions simple.  There isn’t too much information, which can be nice for a beginner.  The book doesn’t talk too much about fitting or tailoring clothing but it *is* about dressmaking so it isn’t bogged down with tutorials on sewing pillows or stuffed animals, which is also nice (I personally pass up many sewing books because they are filled with cute crafty projects - but I'm really not interested in making pillows too often, and how many fabric satchels can you have? heh).
I believe though, that I really need to think about buying any more sewing books. I have an entire library of books with the same sewing information and Dressmaking is just one more.  Granted, I’m a book lover and I always feel that one book may talk about the same steps but say it in such a way that it’s different and thus, something I didn’t understand before suddenly becomes clear.
 As an intermediate seamstress, I found Vogue Sewing Revised and Updated to be far more encompassing and thorough however, Dressmaking is geared more towards a beginner. 
That's all for now.  We are expecting rain in Phoenix this weekend and I have my sewing project all ready to begin.

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Background

I'm trying to make my blog look a little more interesting so I played around with some blog backgrounds.  Now,  from my years in business school, I know I should probably have something a little more plain - for marketing purposes.  The simpler, the better.  However, this is a creative blog, not a business blog and I wanted to use a little more color.  I tend to be very traditional so I'm trying to step outside the box and do something different.  Of course, this may very well change over the course of the next few months so please, bear with me.

Another weekend flew by and I didn't get any sewing done.  *Sigh*  Sometimes I wonder when I will get to sew.  I thought I might be able to do a little in the evenings but I'm busy every night this week and I have guests coming in from out of town over the weekend.  Oh, well.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I’m such a nerd!

I cannot let go of the flat-felled seam debacle from the other day so, I pulled out my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing and read up on seams, to see if there was something I missed.  According to that resource I saw that I had done it correctly, albeit with great difficulty.  Yet, I still couldn’t get over the thought that I had done something wrong.
Well, yesterday I was surfing my favorite sewing blogs and came across Suni's Sewing School,  saw all the seam tutorials there and decided to spend some time reading about seams.   I found the flat-felled seam tutorial and I read and re-read and finally realized that I had indeed, done it wrong.  I had done it with right sides together instead of wrong sides together.
Don’t you hate it when that happens?  The light bulb instantly goes off and you say to yourself, “DUH!”
No wonder I had so much trouble and no wonder it still didn’t look right.
Needless to say, I have a feeling I will be doing lots of flat-felled seams in the future.
Yet, isn’t it great?  Now, I know how to do it and I’m encouraged to do them more because I can see how fun it will be!

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Extra seating

Hi Friends!

As you know, I've been doing a lot of work on my house of late, rearranging furniture, creating a guest room, painting, etc.  I finally got around to reupholstering some stools that match a long sofa table that my husband got from his mother.  I've never been a big fan of the table because the stools were so outdated.  I bought some fabric at Joann's some time back that matched the fabric for my new little pillows I made.



Whaddya think?

Flat-felled Seams

I hate them!

I was finishing up my boxers for the MPB Men's Boxers Sew-Along and as per Peter's instructions, I used flat-felled seams.  I found them to be so difficult!  Perhaps it was because my pattern (Kwik Sew) only required 1/4" seam allowances rather than a standard 5/8".    I struggled and struggled with them and they turned out a little messy but I finally got something that had some semblance to a flat-felled seam.

As you can see, they are somewhat crooked but it looks ok from the outside.  They are underwear after all so I guess no one will see them except my husband.  If I say nothing, maybe he won't notice.  They actually look a little better in person than in these pictures so I shouldn't complain.

It's been slow going on the sewing front this week.  Been busy with work and still working on the house.  I was adventurous and decided to make a couple of small pillows with some fabric I bought some months ago.

I had considered using some fringe or other decoration but I decided against it after I took a trip to Pottery Barn yesterday.  Their pillows in general were very plain and without much decoration.  These are a little smaller than I wanted but I still like them very much.  The fabric is just gorgeous.

That's all for now.

Have a great day and keep on sewing!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sewing Classes

For some time now, I have wanted to take some formal sewing classes because I really want to hone my skills.  Simply put, I'm hoping to eradicate all the wadders I make.  Sewing can be an expensive hobby and I want to be able to utilize my tools to the best of their abilities and stop wasting so much gorgeous fabric.

Now, I've done a few online sew-alongs and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  I still need to do Gertie's bombshell dress on   In fact, Craftsy is a great resource for online classes and I'm tempted to take some knitting classes.  But, I digress.  While I find online classes very helpful, I'm still looking for one-on-one help with fitting, tailoring, and the such. An online class doesn't tell you what you are doing wrong and I think a teacher would give me increased success in my sewing projects.  I've contacted a few individuals who offer sewing classes but found that I'm more advanced than they were (why would someone who could sew nothing other than a pillow give sewing classes??).  Needless to say, I'm hitting a brick wall.

I'm feeling compelled therefore, to take some sewing classes as the local community college.  I really do not want to do this and I don't really know why.  I have a master's degree and perhaps that's why I hesitate to step onto a college campus once again.  The class is four hours on Saturday morning and I am a busy person who likes to have her weekends free to do as she pleases.  In one sense, this four hour block of uninterrupted sewing time sounds like heaven.  I never get uninterrupted sewing time! I could actually finish something!!  On the other hand - it's an entire morning I would be spending away from my little boy.  As much as I like sewing, my son is far more important.

Interestingly, with shows like Project Runway being so popular and the economy tanking, making things from home have enjoyed a new popularity.  Sewing is having a resurgence in popularity, with many young sewers starting blogs and really making sewing fun.  The sewing community is no longer just senior sewing circles.  It has become sewing cyber-circles.

So, I have a bit of a conundrum.  I can't decide whether to take a college class or continue with online classes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn is here!

As you may be able to tell by now, I've been working on my house more than I've been sewing.  I'm sort of attention deficit that way.  I'll become absorbed in something one minute and completely change directions the next.  So, in addition to working on my new guest room, the cooler weather in Arizona inspired me to take out some fall decorations.

Like many other people, I am entering my favorite time of year.  I love fall colors and all the earth tones.  I use these throughout my house but I'm able to pump it up a little in October and through Christmas.  Although I don't have that many decorations, I do have a few and I'm enjoying setting them all up.  So, dear readers, in the spirit of the fall season, I give you ........ drum roll, please....
my dinner table.

I've tried using a matching tablecloth but the wood is so gorgeous that the cover just made it look flat.  The wood brings such a rich color and warmth to the room. The suede place mats were purchased a few years ago at Walmart.  They are Better Homes and Gardens. The vase is an old copper vase from my mother-in-law.  It fits perfectly with this.  The chair pillows were on sale at Khol's just this morning and I couldn't resist - especially since I had a gift card.  So, essentially, they were free.  The napkins holders are a little fancy for the decor but I think they bring a little bling to it.

I've seen many tablescapes on the blogosphere and this is in no way even close to what those talented ladies put together.  Some of them are truly phenomenal and I envy them their vast array of tableware.  I just wonder where they are able to store it all.  This is just my little decorations for the autumn.  I hope you enjoy it.  It also gives me the opportunity to practice taking pictures!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Guest Room

My daughter moved to California last week and I wasted no time changing her room into a guest room.  Can you tell I'm a happy semi-empty nester?  We cleaned everything out last weekend and painted the room a Benjamin Moore color for Pottery Barn.  The color is called Hush and it is so lovely.  I had acquired the pictures over the bed from my mother-in-law and I've been holding onto them for some time until I had the right place to hang them.

The bird nest was on sale from Hobby Lobby and the canister of soap from a popular clothing store whose name escapes me right now.

The flowers are to bring a little color to the room and the silhouette is of my son from Disneyland. The frame it came with fit the room perfectly.

My husband bought this picture before we were married and we've had it hanging in a dark hallway for the longest time.  It's nothing special but it's a Paris street scene and again, brings some color to the room.

Close-up of the soap canister.

Here is the best picture I could get of the entire room.  It's a small room and no matter what angle I tried, I couldn't fit the entire room in.

I have had another french picture stashed in my garage.  It was something that caught my eye at Ross and I picked it up for a song.  I liked it but there was no other place to put it in the room.  Since the room is so small, we put an empty dresser in the closet.  I just put the picture on top of the dresser for an "Ah!" moment.  I want to include a porcelain bowl and pitcher.  I think that would make it a nice vignette.

We had plain blinds in the window before and we were going to hang them again for privacy since the window faces the street but I wanted to dress the window too, to make it prettier. I had just purchased some fabric for curtains in my sewing room and I feared I would have to use that for these windows since the colors matched perfectly.  I was pondering my dilemma when I found these forgotten cafe curtains in my linen closet as I was pulling out the sheets and bedding. I had an "aha" moment as I pulled them out and ironed them.  They fit perfectly and let in light but kept privacy during the day.

The room is fresh and light and airy and I'm so pleased with the results.