Thursday, July 31, 2008

Missing My Sister

Today is my sister's 41 birthday. Kim(berly) is next to the youngest of my sisters. She passed December 19, 1997, suffering from two aneurisms of the brain. Kim was diagnosed with high blood pressure while carrying her son. Every year at this next my sisters and I have this overwhelming feeling of sadness. We miss her and still wrestle with the fact that she is gone from us. The fact that Kimberly was only 30 years old is hard accept.

Death is so mysterious and final. At the time of Kim's death, everyone begin to think and act on the fact that life is short. And that we should approach it realizing that it is the most precious gift from God. Because no one really knows when it's their last day or hour. Over the years, we've learned to share and care for one another on a much deeper level. We spend a lot more time together and our bond has grown stronger. We do have our disagreements, but we always come back to the middle embracing the fact that we love each other and that nothing can separate the ties that bind.

High Blood Pressure is noted as the silent killer. Kim complained of headaches all the time. Often she appeared to have little to no energy. I wondered why she was always so moping and concluded that she was a little on the lazy side. Now that I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, I understand the affects of the medication used to treat it. I've been prescribed every family of HBP medications from beta blockers to calcium blockers. The doctors had a difficult time finding one that would regulate my BP. The beta blockers are the worst. What I've learned is these medication can greatly impact your bodily functions. It can take a while before the doctors can find the right med for you. Finally, exercise and ample rest can reduce stress and provide some relief of HBP.

It is extremely important to take your medications as this is what my sister failed to do. The day she was hospitalized her BP was 260 over 149; she had not taken her meds for a few days. Kim worked for Rush Presbyterian Hospital and was there when she collapsed. She lived a week after that. Each of us can remember it like it was yesterday. The morning of December 12th I had taken my final exam in calculus; went to the hairdresser; picked up my DD; then went home. For the next six days we spent most of the time at the hospital hoping and praying. Later, the doctor told us their was no brain activity and that we needed to disconnect the respirator or breathing device. Unbelievable ..., Everyone was in a fog.

My nephew is now 17 and lives with his father, step-mother, and sisters. He looks like his dad, mostly. But some of his mannerisms are like my sister. When he sees us, he gives the longest, deepest hugs. I often wondered what he was thinking but dare not ask to minimize emotions. He will soon be off to college embarking on a whole other life. ..,

I'm just rambling and missing my sister, Kim...,

Simplicity - 2977 - The Jacket

Initially I made this jacket with wear with S2938-Dress. But after completing it I realized this jacket can carry me through the fall as well. (I carry a jacket always; the air conditioning makes my bones hurt.)

Pattern Description: Misses' skirt, pants, jacket and knit dress or top.

Pattern Sizing: Sizing 8 to 26. I made size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much. The neckline is a little wider than illustrated of the pattern envelope.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The pieces went together with no problems.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I actually purchased this pattern for the top. I love the wrap style tops and dresses.

Fabric Used: This is a mystery fabric from Vogue Fabrics. I often shop the remnants room. I pick this piece up for unless than $6.00. It feels and looks like it might be a wool blend. I underlined it with glossy polyester fabric from my stash.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:I made a few changes for a better fit. I also underlined it.

I really like to support and body that underlining and lining provides. Here's a view of the underlined sleeve.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't sew the jacket again, but I do plan to sew the top and maybe the dress. Yes, I would recommend it to others.

Conclusion: This is a good wardrobe builder. A beginner can sew this up with no problems.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Simplicity 2938 - The Dress

Pattern Description: Misses'/Women's Dress or top, pants in two lengths, jacket and tie belt.

Pattern Sizing: sizing 10 - 28W. I made view A size 14 tapering between 12 and 14 below the waist.

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? The instructions were easy to follow. No problems.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked to pleating at the neckline.

Fabric Used: I used a silky polyester print from JoAnn's Fabrics.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I only made a few alterations.

- For FBA, I tested Connie Crawford's alteration.

Normally I use the typical FBA for princess seams. But recently I've noticed that the front of my dress hands lower than the rest. So I decided to use this alternative method. In the future I may combine the two for better easing of the seams.
- Added three inches to the length.
- Instead of purchased single fold bias tape, I made my own out of the self fabric.
- I inserted the zipper at the CB instead of the side seam.

- I also added Darts to the back of the dress for a better fit. Otherwise the dress stands away from my body from the shoulder blades down.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. I plan to make the jacket and the top.

Conclusion: This is a good pattern for beginners and is a great wardrobe builder.

Butterick 5214 - Vintage

Pattern Description:
MISSES’ JACKET, DRESS AND BELT: Fitted, unlined jacket has collar and lapels, extended shoulders forming cap sleeves and shaped hem. Below mid-knee dress has fitted, self-lined, halter bodice with buttonhole and button closing, flared skirt, left side seam zipper and right side seam pocket. Belt has buckle with prong and eyelets.

Pattern Sizing: 8- 24. I made size 14 with some modifications.

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? The instruction were easy to follow. Nothing confusing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the vintage style of the dress. The contour of the bodice and the "V" neckline of the halter. I also favored the shape of the jacket. It has a little peplum affect at the waist, which adds to the hips I barely have.

Fabric Used:I used a lightweight floral pique for the dress and and medium weight stretch pique for the jacket. Both purchased from Vogue Fabric on Roosevelt Rd.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:This is my wearable muslin. The dress bodice needs a little tweaking in the bust and back area. I also need to remove excess fabric below the collar bone to the crease of my armpit on the jacket. Here are the changes made on this version.
The Dress:
- I opt not to do a FBA; instead I added 3/4 inch to the front and back of the bodice. Most of the added width was removed to correct the gapping between the bust and underarm area. I eventually remove most of the excess, but some gapping remained. So I ease the area above the bust.

-I added small waist dart to remove some of the width. I still have drag marks from the bust to the waist.

On the next version I will make a slash at the waist area on the bodice to create a larger waist dart and eliminate the excess width above the bust area. Also needed is a sway back adjustment. I noticed a few wrinkles across the back.

- To help hold the back bodice in place, I sewed elastic to the seam line after I understitched the bodice lining.

- Instead of turning up 1 1/2 inch hem, I machine stitched a rolled hem. And added two inches to the bottom.

The Jacket:

-I slashed through the neck and front dart; then spread the pattern 1" for additional move in the bust areas. This required me to make deeper darts. There is a slight pulling in the area.

-Also made a broad shoulder adjustment to the back.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I plan to make this again in a silk dupioni. But wanted to try it in a less expensive fabric before making the final version. And yes, I would recommend it to others with modifications.

Conclusion: This is a easy pattern to sew. But alterations may be needed depending on your body shape.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Simplicity 3530 - DD's Second Choice

This is a Project Runway pattern that my DD just loves. She actually wants a few more versions of this versatile dress.

Pattern Description: This dress or tunic has a banded scoop or notched neckline and the latest tucking detail on the bodice. The fashion focus is on sleeves as there are several variations.

Pattern Sizing: sizes 4- 22. I made a size 10 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Based on the combinations of yokes and sleeves, yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. Nothing difficult noted.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? DD and I liked the versatility of this pattern. You can achieve multiple looks using the sleeve and yoke variations. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used: Cotton Eyelet - Vogue Fabrics - Evanston, IL. Very nice piece of fabric.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:The eyelet had a very nice scalloped border that I incorporated into the design of the dress, using it at the sleeve and dress hem.

The other alterations were to address fitting issues. So I altered the front and back dress and yoke pieces.

Finally, I added darts to the center of each dress back. Without the darts the dress stands away from her body.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Yes and yes. At my DD's request. ;-)

Conclusion: Nice trendy style that would compliment a variety of body types. Easy to sew. During the time it took to sew, I listened to three CD's.

M5378 for My DD

My DD has only asked for two dresses this summer. Surprise! Surprise! She purchased the linen for the McCall's dress. Next I'm working on having her cut the paper pattern. lol

Here's the first in review:

Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISS PETITE DRESSES IN TWO LENGTHS, BELT AND SASH: Dresses A, B, C have close-fitting bodice, front and back darts, self-faced yoke, collar, skirt and sleeve variations; dress A has gathered sleeve with pleats, sleeve band and self belt; dress B has long sleeve and contrast sash; dresses A, B are A-line and below mid-knee length; dress C is slightly flared, above ankle length with purchased belt.

Pattern Sizing: Size 6 to 22. I made a size 10 with modifications.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?The instructions were reasonable. A beginner could easily follow them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? My DD picked this pattern last Spring. Shirt dresses are in this season. DD liked the puff sleeves and the skirt waistline of this dress.

Fabric Used:navy linen.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I did not make a muslin for this dress. I thought I could get it right without going through that process. I normally have to make a broad shoulder and a sway back alterations. So before cutting into the fashion fabric, I paper pattern fit the bodice of the dress.

- Need add to about a 1/4 inch to the CF.

- Back and side views looked pretty good, but I added 1/4" to the shoulder length for good measure.

- I increased the depth of the front waist dart by an 1/8" for a better fit.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? DD would like another dress with long sleeves for the fall. Yes I would recommend it to others.

Conclusion: This is a nice shirt dress with sleeve variations that would be a great address to any wardrobe.

New Look 6429 - Great Pattern

This pattern has been reviewed multiple times on PR. There is no doubt that it is a favorite of many. This is the second time around from me. My first dress was in a yellow matte jersey.

Pattern Description: Mock wrap dress with sleeve , collar, and self belt variations. Somewhat A-line and mid-knee length. At small of the back the bodice is finished at a point.

Pattern Sizing: The sizes are from 8 to 18. I made a size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. I did make a few changes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?Yes. There was nothing difficult about the construction of this dress. I would recommend it to beginners.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like everything about this pattern. The dress is stylish and very comfortable. Not to mention I am fan of wrap dresses. It gives the illusion of a wrap dress without added effort. It's versatile; you can add the tie and/or the collar with three sleeve variations. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used: Last winter I purchased the fabric from Ann's Gorgeous Fabrics. It a jersey (Turquoises/Blues/Black). Can't remember the fiber content. It has more stretch than your typical matte jersey. It has a soft hand and wears with the greatest of ease.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made only a few minor alterations.
- Added four inches to the length.
- Lengthen the shoulder seams by 1/2 inch to the front and back pieces and added about 1/2 to the side bodice front seam in the bust area.
- Added the self tie to view C.
- Hemmed 1 inch instead of 1/4 inch.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
For sure. This is a very nice dress and a great pattern to add to any wardrobe and/or collection. I strongly recommend it.

Conclusion: This is a great addition to any wardrobe. It easy to wear and stylish. It can be dressed up or down. I would recommend it to beginners.

Vogue 1015 - Waiting for Event Photos

I'm still waiting for the event photos. Ms. CB sent one, but it was really grainy. I'll give it a few more days. Then I'll use what I already have to post the complete and final review here and on PR.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mama's Garden

On Wednesday afternoon I had the pleasure of beholding the beauty of my mama's garden. She has a little bit of everything. My mom was born in Huntsville, AL. Then my grandmother migrated to Chicago bringing my mother along with. She loves gardening and fishing. Every year she plants an array of vegetables, sometimes fruit. My sisters and I are some of the benefactors of her bountiful harvest. Here's a peak.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What the Mailman Brought

The Mailman brought a few little goodies. The Summer Issue of BWOF has a lot of great fashion as always. (I need to plant myself at the table to trace off several patterns from recent issues.)

I received my August issue of Maire Claire, which features Maggie Gyllenhaal who stars in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. This is all about fall fashion. The short of it is:

Making a fashion statement

  • Florals mixed with unusual textures
  • Extra modern shapes makes lace sexy
  • Pants are super-baggy or super-tight
  • Color me purple
  • Feminine plaid and tweed
  • Don't forget to ruffle your feathers
  • Add some sculptural points of view

BTW - The Dark Knight was spectacular! Heath Ledger by far the brightest star.

My friend Toni sent me a copy of Grandmaster Flash's book. I plan to read it while on vacation next week. Thank you Toni. Much appreciated.

Ageless Beauty

Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and said to yourself "I'm old"? Or right before your birthday felt sad because you were about to hit another plateau? Some would say this is an example of looking at life as if the glass was half empty. I am a firm believer of the opposite. I am glad to be here for more than four and half decades, which translates into about 16,725 days.

Why am I talking about age and time? The mailman delivered my copy of Vogue magazine the August 2008 issue. One the Cover is "The Age(less) Issue". Ms. Kate Moss is the cover girl. I quickly turned the pages. Vogue featured a phenomenal woman for every age group: 20, 30, 40,..., 90.

Ms. Diahann Carroll (I am a fan) represents the 70's; she is 73 and beautiful. The author describes her as "grand gestures" and her movement is that of a swan, graceful. As I previewed the many pages devoted to "The Ageless", I discovered some phenomenal women I'd never heard of like Betty Fussell and Sloan Barnett. The articles talk about their accomplishments and their approach to life. All of these women are strong, resilient, confident, and beautiful. Their beauty isn't just skin deep; it's to the heart and soul.

Some of my take aways from their stories are: it is so important to retain a positive outlook on life. It helps build self-worth and self-esteem. Learn to feel good about yourself at this moment in time. Wearing clothes that compliment your body shape and your personality boost your confidence. When you look good, you feel "better". And finally, "Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number."


Monday, July 14, 2008

Diane von Furstenberg - Fall 2008

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I know I did. ;-)

Diane von Furstenberg is one of my all time favorite designers. You can preview her fall collection. It has a touch of vintage style.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vogue 1015 - Thank you!

Thanks everyone for your generous compliments. Ms. CB is very happy with her dress. She picked it up Thursday evening. I took a few photos, but I still might wait for photos from the event before publishing the full review. Ms. CB was having a bad hair day and requested that I only show the dress.

I've made quite a few purchases and plans for my own wardrobe during the time I was making this dress, but spent very little or no time blogging about them.

Fabric Purchases -

Coating from Gorgeous Fabrics for Great Coat Sew-Along

Stopped by Vogue Fabrics to pick up a few notions - Came away with:

Shopping on eBay - Grabbed these

Several months ago Marji had a give away. She was so kind to send me these nice buttons. (Thanks again, Marji!)

To do Sewing:

Make Muslin for Great Coat Sew Along
Make two jackets that I started in May
Complete two dresses for DD started in May
Complete three dresses for me started in June

And that's the short list. ;-)

Happy Sewing!


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