Monday, April 28, 2008

In the Company of Women Pt II - The Sewists

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara, Patty, Patti, Mardel, and Diane. Most of these women are members of PR and blog as well. Marji and Carolyn were coming too but could not attend due to jury and illness in the family.

Barbara Bell at Counter in Vogue

Patti Ferguson organized this Chicago meet, greet, and shop. This kind lady is great source of encouragement and is to be commended for bringing us all together. Last fall she emailed me to introduce herself. Both she and I know one of the Assistant Vice Chancellor's for Research at the University. Patti suggested that I join the Stitcher's Guild and expressed her likes of my sewing projects.

I met the group at the Vogue store in Evanston. Afterwards we had lunch. Then everyone headed to Fishman's. This is the premier fabric store in Chicago. Whatever you are looking for, you are sure to find it at Fishman's. Mardel bought some of the most beautiful fabrics from there. I looked and watched. I've shopped there many times, but was not in the market to purchase high end fabrics this trip. lol May be later.

Notions Section (Vogue)

Zipper Corner (Vogue)

Mardel Searching for Treasures (Fishman's)

After shopping at Fishman's, we said our good-bye's. I headed for home and the ladies headed back to Skokie.

This was a wonderful meet, greet, and shop. I really enjoyed to the company of these creative women. And everyone came away with beautiful fabric either from Vogue or Fishman's. My only "two" disappointments were Marji and Carolyn couldn't make it, and I couldn't spend more time. It was great to share sewing stories and life experiences. Thanks to Deepika, PR, women all around the globe have united to form a dynamic group of creative people who may influence the market for all things sewing.

Patty and Diane at Fishman's

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting Started - New Sewists

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a young lady who would very much like to start sewing her own clothes. She has desired to do this for many years but didn't know where or how to start. She asked a few people for tips on getting started, but didn't get enough guidance on how to begin. Here is how I responded. The name has been changed to "WanttoSew".

Good morning WanttoSew,

I apologize for not providing information sooner. This week we are celebrating my Pastor's 31st anniversary. I'm flattered that you asked me for guidance. I greatly appreciate the compliments. For the most part, I'm a self taught sewer only attending a six week introductory course in middle school. I took home economics in high school, but no sewing course.

There are some essential supplies and equipment needed to get started.

* Sewing machine and threads
* Serger, if desired
* Scissors of various size including pinking shears
* Rotary Cutter(s), mats and straightedges
* Pattern tracing paper or cloth, tracing wheel
* Pressing tools such as sleeve board, seam roll and ham
* Pressing equipment, including ironing board and iron, press cloths
* Straight pins and cushion
* Measuring tools (tape, ruler, gauge)
* Marking pens (either air or water-soluble) or tailor's chalk
* Spray adhesive (temporary)
* Hand-sewing needles and thimble
* Point turners
(Sewing Savvy & me)

This is just for starters; as you try various techniques, you will need to expand your supplies and equipment. If you are really serious about sewing, I would also suggest that you purchase "Vogue Sewing" and "Fit for Real People". These are great reference books that will help you with sewing and fitting techniques. These may be two of several books that you will purchase. Over the years, I have subscribed to a variety of sewing magazines: Sew News, Vogue Patterns, McCall's, Sewing Savvy, and Threads all of which have been very helpful.

Two of my first projects in the six week course were to make a stuff animal and a tote bag. Later I made a simple pair of pants: darts, zipper and waistband. It took me forever to finish. lol May be you can start with a simple skirt. WanttoSew, you may also consider taking a beginner sewing class at one of the local fabric stores in your area. A class may help jump start your confidence to pursue your dream of sewing your own fantastic wardrobe.

WanttoSew, I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know how it goes.

Thanks again for your patience,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Style Watching - Marie Claire

On the Cover of Marie Claire May 2008 issue. I like this unique spin on the ever so popular trench coat.

Sewing Frenzy

I guess with me its either feast or famine. This weekend I searched through magazines, patterns, and fabrics looking for the right combinations for my spring wardrobe. Well, truth be told, I still don't have the a manageable group of designs nailed down. But I at least know that B4978, NL6156, M5522, S3684, 2923, M5336, M5597 and BWOF 115 are on the list. I cut and read instructions for about ten patterns.
Also included with this list are the picks from BWOF April 2008.

Blog watchers beware: This list can change at any moment. I looked at about fifty possible designs. And I haven't stopped buying patterns yet. lol

In recent weeks I have pick up several patterns. Mostly dresses and blouses. I really like these jeans by Sandra Betzina
The pocket treatment is what sold me.

Sewing - A Side Job

Everyone loved Ms. PB Vogue suit. And as a result of my latest sewing expedition, I've received requests for quite a few commissions. I'm still being very selective in what jobs I accept as not to overload myself or create a situation where regular life situations compete with "extra" jobs.

I started working on V1015 for Ms. CB. Last Saturday I cut the pattern based on her measurements. Today I will make the muslin for the first fitting. Before cutting the pattern, I read the instructions for making this beautiful gown. There are 143 steps to putting it together. The dress consist of a full lining with a joining foundation. It also includes several flowers at the shoulders and hip area, a godet, and an invisible zipper. Ms. CB selected a sea foam crepe back satin. This dress is a beautiful challenge.

Ms. CB's event is in July 2008, which gives me plenty of time to get it done. Side note on Ms. CB. She is a veteran at making gowns and prom dresses. I was surprised when she asked me to make her dress, which takes the challenge up a notch. I have myself to critique my work and a veteran sewist.

Also on the client cutting table are pants for Ms. Dee. Neue Mode 22928 with variations in eight different fabrics.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BWOF - April 2008

I'm lovin' the April issue of BWOF. There are quite a few looks I want to make sometime this year.

Gift from Karen

A few days ago, I received this wonderful book on embellishment from Karen (Flying by the Seat of My Pants). Much appreciated. This book has some great tutorials on various embellishment techniques. Here are a few that I plan to try.

Unusual closures

Beading is something that I've never tried, but wanted to.

Embellishing with Fabric

Last Dress of the Fall Collection 2007 - S3673

This is the very last dress sewn for the fall/winter 2007 collection and is my least favorite dress out of the seven. It's not the best choice for my body shape. View C would have been better for me. I made view A minus the bow/buckle at the waist.

Pattern Description: Misses dresses or jumpers with skirt variations

Pattern Sizing: 8 to 22. I made size 14 with alterations.

The finished dress looked like the pattern illustration except in eliminated the bow and buckle at the waist and used black for the band.

The instructions were easy to follow.

Likes and Dislikes: Initially I like the retro look of the jumper and thought it would be good addition to my work wardrobe. This view is not flattering on me.

Fabric Used:wool blend from JoAnn's

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:FBA and broad back. I probably needed to a little more move in the top of this dress as it is snug through the bodice area.

I won't sew this view again. But I would recommend it to others. Several people at PR had great success with this pattern and style of this dress.

Conclusion: This is a fairly deceit pattern. I have already worn this dress. I will wear it, but probably with a jacket.

Patricia Underwood Hat V8440

Test driving Patricia Underwood hats. I started with view A of V8440. This is my wearable muslin originally made to wear on the return trip from the March Spa weekend. More details later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

McCalls 5466

I made this dress to wear to the 31st Anniversary dinner of my Pastor. On Saturday night I finished this dress and sash. Sunday morning I was hit with some kind of stomach virus. Need I say more? BTW- this pattern has been reviewed many times and is highly recommended by fellow sewists. Anyway here is my review.

Pattern Description: MISSES' DRESSES, BELT AND SASH: Fitted or semi-fitted (bodice) dress with straight or A-line skirt has long or short self-faced sleeves and back zipper closure; dress A has purchased belt; dress B has belt; dress C has contrast sash.

Pattern Sizing: 4- 18. I sewed size 12/14 with alterations. I made view B with the sash.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. There was nothing confusing about them. But I didn't follow them completely. I skipped the neck facing and lined it completely.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?I like to style of the dress. It put me in the mind of the recently popular tulip shaped dresses and skirts. I also thought this would be a easy dress to make since I didn't have a lot of time to make it after finishing Ms. PB's suit.

Fabric Used: polyester satin and lining from Vogue fabric. I found to pieces of this fabric in the remnant room at the Roosevelt Rd store. Each was under thirteen dollars.

The second piece was for the jacket from V8232.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
- FBA- I had to add horizontal darts
- broad and sway back alterations
Design changes:
- Eliminated the pockets by aligning the pocket pattern with the front skirt - Added two inches to the length of the skirt
- Fully lined the dress

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes. I plan to make the other views.

Conclusion: I like to pattern. There are a lot of style options for this pattern; you can dress it up or down.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Health Watch - Protecting Your Lungs

Do you sew once a week? Do you sew every day? Do you spend endless hours in your sewing nook or studio? Are you constantly cutting fabric? Is your sewing area well ventilated? Or is the area closed in with little to no fresh air circulating? If you answered yes to at least four of these questions you may need to purchase an air purifier.

Over the years there have been numerous studies conducted on the effect of over exposure to textile fibers. Many factory workers developed byssinosis, "chronic lung disease." Recently, I read a post on..., I think Donna of SewandSo recommended the purchase of an air purifier for the sewing room. Last month I purchase a Holmes air purifier from Walmart ($40.00)to help eliminate dust from my sewing area. Holmes has a complete line of air purifiers to accommodate any size room. I think it's worth the investment.

Just thought I would share this with fellow sewing bloggers.

Happy Sewing!

Excellence Award

Updated 4/10/08: In accepting my award I must nominate ten people. Hear are my other nominees, which aren't in any particular order. I enjoy equally enjoy reading their blogs:

Karen, Robin, and Jackie nominated me for the Excellence Award. This is such an honor. Personally, I think there are many sewists/bloggers who should be named for this award. Thank you ladies.

Since joining PatternReview and creating my own sewing blog, my strive for "excellence" has increased and I have become more focused. In my mind I considered myself an advanced sewer to some degree. But lately I have found myself trying to live up to that rating. So now I’m setting skill goals and achieving more these days. So many bloggers and PR members have rated themselves as intermediate whom I feel have surpass that rate long ago. I love the cyberspace-creative community; it is a source of inspiration and a greater source encouragement. Each member of the community has something special to offer and I'm grateful to be a partaker and contributor.

Its fun, and I deeply appreciate the comradery among my fellow blogger sewist friends.

I want to pass along this award to a few sewists who, in my opinion, are worthy of such an award. The two outstanding sewists Erica B. and Marji.

Thanks again, Karen and Robin

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring - Fashion Trends 2008

I'm still trying to write reviews..., Gosh..., How do you do it? Work, sew, blog, reviews..., But in the meantime there are a few fashion trends to be noted.

An Anoraks jacket is on my list of "must make". Marie Claire featured this jacket in their February 2008 issue. Oprah Winfrey is also pictured on a recent issue of "O" magazine sporting an anorak.

McCall's 5635 fits the bill.

Also featured in Maire Claire..., Shirtdresses. They seem to be all the rage. I have a few pattern options in my collection. Vogue recently published the sassy shirtdress (V1048) this season and several fashionistas have added it to their list of dresses to make this spring.

Michelle Obama - I Like Her Style

Ms. Michelle Obama has been named "It Girl" by Vogue Magazine editor Alexandra Kotur. Michelle is definitely a fashionista. The potential first lady is bold and beautiful. style watchers and trend sitters are impressed with her style.

Michelle Obama doing it in style!

Barack's Rock


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