Friday, January 30, 2009

The Disappearing UFO's

For the past two weekends I have been on a mission. That mission is to reduce the number of UFO's that have accumulated over the years. One of the things that I'm trying hard to do is, not to start too many new projects around the same time. If the period between getting back to a project is too long, that project gets pushed to the side while another takes its place.

After I finished DD vest and pants, I decided to finish two more UFO's. The first was a skirt from Simplicity 7015. It doesn't work for me contrary to other opinions. I'm too narrow in the hips to wear it well. The second is the long version of the jacket McCall 4665. This one is a keeper. It can be belted or free flowing. The fabric is a crepe knit from Hancock. This has been in the bin for at least two and a half years. Now it's finished and I can wear it with jeans or brown/black slacks/skirts.

Here are my reviews:

Pattern Description: Misses One Piece Wrap Skirt In Two Lengths

Pattern Sizing: sizing XS to XL. I made a medium.

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? I only glance at them. This is a pretty easy skirt to make. This view was only one pattern piece.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I purchased this pattern with the view that I made in mind. But once I was done, I didn't like it. It makes me look even narrower in the hips than I actually am. Today I told one of my girlfriends that I would gift her the skirt. She more curvaceous than I.

Fabric Used: Wool.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I added a few more inches to the bottom.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Not this view. It doesn't work for me. But I would recommend it to others.

Arrested by The Fashion Police

Conclusion: This is a quick and easy pattern that would be great for beginners.

M4665 (OOP)

Pattern Description: Unlined jacket, wrap top, pants and skirt with elastic waist.

Pattern Sizing: XS - XL. I made a medium adding 1/2 inch to the side seams.

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? No problems there.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that it was easy and the face framing collar. No dislikes.

Fabric Used: Wool crepe (stable knit) from Hancock *update*.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I adding about 1/2 inch to the side seams, a few inches to the bottom of the front and back, and 2 inches to the length of the sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Probably not. One is enough for now.

Conclusion: This is an easy pattern that I would recommend to beginners if you have it in your collection.

The Thin Economy! Keep Sewing!

Monday morning's drive into work raised my level of humility and thankfulness five notches. It was announced that 70,000 people lost their jobs. The companies named were Starbucks, Microsoft, Caterpillar, General Electric, Texas Instruments and the list goes on. All of these companies are solid American companies that have been around for decades. How will people survive?

For the past two years, I've noticed numerous foreclosures in my neighborhood. A neighborhood which has less than 15 percent apartment buildings. These home are not dilapidated; most are in excellent condition. One day a family was living there; the next it was boarded up with no for sale sign on the lawn.

Last week, my manager call an impromptu meeting to talk about budget cuts. Only 80 percent of our current fiscal year '09 was funded. Travel and no money available for June 2009 salaries. There are only six people in my unit. Of course, I'm on the horn with family and friends taking polls and discussing fall back plans. I told my mom, I would work three jobs if need be. She laughed and said, "Would you do janitorial work?" I replied, "In a heartbeat." The truth of the matter is, a lot of people are hurting financially and can not find jobs in their trained professions or trades. The market is saturated with IT skilled individuals and if unemployment increases, it will be extremely difficult to find a position. What I also learned is that many of my friends/family are cutting back. People are being very careful about the way they spend money.

Discussion with DBF - People will have to become more creative in supporting themselves. It's not pretty working just to pay bills. This will be an opportunity for people to become stronger. Start your own business.

In several discussion, people have suggested that I could always sew for people. May be..., but that won't bring in enough revenue. It's time consuming and if folks are cutting back; the cut backs are usually those things that people can live without: vacations, fancy dinners, party, custom sewing. So what do we do to sustain ourselves in the face of a failing economy: Become more conscientious about spending on hobbies we love? Or take in sewing to earn extra money?

..., at the end of the day, I thought to myself, "Don't worry. God is my resource. I will survive; my family will survive. We knew it was a recession before it was announced."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Style Watching - Arm Jewelry: Bracelets!

In the February 2009 issue of O Magazine, they feature a variety of cuff bracelets. This is my favorite "arm jewelry". Sure, I wear other styles every now and then. But as a rule I wear cuffs, wearing two as I type this post. The cuff fits close to the wist and doesn't distract as I work at my desk or doing presentations. Most of the time, I'm perched upon my chair at the computer doing what I'm paid to do.

Most of mine are inexpensive, made of silver, copper and/or brass. This year I'm in the market to buy something a little more expensive. I searched the on-line stores (Saks and Macy's) to get an idea of what available. Here are a couple that I really like. Some high end the others in a price range that I can afford.

Sterling Silver Etched Cuff $58.65 Macy's

Links of London Cuff Sugarcane $425.00 Bloomingdales

Eliot Danori Crystal Floral $100.00 Macy's

Kara Ross - Small Gold Metallic Shirt Cuff $298 Saks

John Hardy - Wide Bamboo Sticks Cuff $1,395 Saks

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Two "Kreative" Stylists nominated me for the Kreativ Blooger Award. Thanks Linda and Pamela
I'm happy you enjoy following my sewing "practice".

Rules and Responsibilities--

1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Amanda's Adventures In Sewing

Ann's Gorgeous Things

Marji's Fiber Art Afloat

Birgitt's Bubble Gum 4 Breakfast

Sheila's Sheilaz Crochetz

Faye's sewing Adventure

Angela's RiAnge Creations

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peter Sow Dress - Pt III - S2926

Fitting the pattern for this dress was pretty easy. Using Simplicity 2926 I made the FBA alterations and extend the length of the bodice to match that of the inspiration dress. I won't need a sway back alteration as this dress has elastic in the waist. I cut the entire pattern at size 16 hoping to address the fullness of the inspiration dress. I will do a muslin of the bodice to make sure there is no gaping at the neckline. This small concern can be easily remedied with deeper tucks and darts. Here's what I've been so far:

First, I made a FBA on the front bodice pattern piece.

The redraft of the front bodice to include desired length and FBA.

This view shows the lengthing of the front bodice as well as the FBA.

Alteration of the Back bodice. The midriff is eliminated to follow the same style as the Peter Sow dress. I added 4 1/2" to both bodice pieces. This will bring the bottom of the bodice to match the waist line of the inspiration dress and give allowance for the elasticized waist.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Beyonce Black Velvet Dress - M5753 & S4070 PT II

I want to wear this dress to an annual dinner party (October 2009). But hope to have it finished long before then. I'm using M5753 and S4070 to create the bodice for the dress, and M5753 for the skirt minus the pockets. There shouldn't be any problems with making the belt. I made similar belts in the past.

Right now I see the bodice as my biggest challenge. It has two styles incorporated into one: part follows the neckline of one of the McCall pattern views and the other follows a heart shaped close fitting bodice. I don't know what the back looks like, but I'm guessing it follows the same design as the front.

Yesterday I sketched a picture (sleeves too long and the neckline needs to come up) of the dress and finished cutting the patterns.

Afterwards I pondered how to replicate the styling of the bodice. I laid the Simplicity pattern pieces atop of the McCall's pattern trying to get a visual and get the creative juice flowing. Hoping that a process for putting it all together would come to me. I thought of cutting the McCall's pattern where it would join the bodice pieces of the Simplicity pattern. Then I though how would I line the bodice. ..., Still not there yet.

Any thoughts?

Did I Say Multi-Tasking or Multi-Projects?

My Goodness! I have so many projects on the table right now it's making me dizzy and more conscious about organizing processing more. Like cutting all pattern at once and making pattern alterations and muslin all at once.

- Clients: I'm trying to organize a little better to stay on top of all of the deadlines dates and scheduling fittings. I purchased a journal to log all 2009 client projects. The first four projects are first aider's uniform for a junior member (church), two Afrocentric outfits another client, and a dinner dance dress for my niece. All expect my niece's dress has been cut and ready to sew. I need to make a muslin for the her dress before starting the work on the actual dress.

- For me: Yesterday I worked on the pattern alterations for my two "Copy That Style" dresses. The Bodice of the Beyonce dress is a little challenging. I purchased S4070 to address the "heart" shaping in the bodice. The Peter Sow dress can be copied using S2926 with a few pattern alterations. Still working on another coat and several coordinates and UFO's.

- DD: OMG! Her list is BIG! So..., I said all of that to say..., "I'll be making a variety of posts on all projects until there are done.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two UFO's Done! - Simplicity 3690 for DD

These UFO's are from the Urban College Girl Collection 2007. After I finished DD's coat I started working on dresses for me. Good thing she hasn't expanded in the last year. lol

Pattern Description: Misses' Top, vest in two lengths and pants or shorts. I made views A and D.

Pattern Sizing: 4 - 20. I made size 8 for DD.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. I added a couple of pockets: one the right back and one left front and of the pants. Other than that it looked like the photo and drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. I looked over them and added under stitches to the construction of the vest.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Like: DD and I liked the style. And I like that the coordinates were simple pieces that I could sew up pretty fast.

Dislike: What appeared to be a simple pattern for the vest, turned out to be a little wonky. This was a surprise given my DD is very easy to sew for when it comes to alterations.

I read a few reviews after making it to see if anyone else had issues with the vest. Ann (Gorgeous Things) had some problems with the neckline and bust area; and she recommended that you make a muslin, which I didn't. It's not bad, but I noticed a little gaping at the neckline (back) and a little winkle at the bust line. I needed to do a sway back alteration.

Fabric Used: Wool blend from the Textile Discount Warehouse.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

Vest: I didn't make any fitting alterations, but I did under stitch the vest around the neckline, front, and bottom were the lining attaches to the vest.

Pants: No fitting alterations. I added a coin pocket and a welt pocket.

Coin pocket was added to the seam on the left front were the yoke is sewn to the waistline of the pant. To create a coin pocket, I cut one lining and one fashion fabric pocket 4X4 square.

The lining is placed on the desired location for the pocket on the right side of the pants. It is attached at the seam allowance starting at the 3/4 inch point. Sewing from the edge, pivot, and then along the upper stitching line ending at 3 1/4 point, pivot and stitch to the top of the seam allowance. On an angle the pant and the lining are slash to the corner of the stitched seam.

Turn the lining to the inside and press.

View from the wrong side.

Place the pocket evenly over the lining. Stitch 1/2 half seam allowance along the two vertical sides and the lower width. Sewn pocket.

Turn to the right side baste the pocket to the upper edge of the pants.Then attach the yoke to the waist of the pant.

Finished coin pocket.

I followed Debbie Cook's method of making double welt pockets.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but I probably won't sew the vest again. DD wants a few more pants made from this pattern. Of course with pockets. Yes, I would recommend it to others. But make sure you make a muslin for the vest before cutting into your fashion fabric.

Conclusion: This is a fairly decent pattern with the expectation of the "wonkiness" in the vest. DD really likes the pants. She says that they fit perfectly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Peter Sow Dress - Part II

Yesterday, I made a trip to JoAnn's Fabric to meet two clients (Prom dress and graduation dress). We are at the initial stage of trying to find patterns and fabric. One purchased everything needed while the other client looked at patterns and fabric still trying to decide on style and color.

Of course, I took advantage of the pattern sale (Simplicity 99 cents). I found a better pattern for the Peter Sow dress. (Linda I bet this is the same one your were regarding to in your comment. Thanks!)

I'm trying to shop my fabric stash as much as possible. So I search through the silk cuts and found this as a option for copying the inspiration dress. It's not the same color, but follows the theme of audacious print. This is not the final selection, but an option. I would love to find something closer to the Peter Sow dress print.

In the meantime, I sewing UFO's. Two finished for DD on Friday evening. Review will be posted probably tomorrow.

Additionally, client sewing is coming due. So I'm working on several projects at once and will post as I go.

Stay Tuned!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Style Watching - Classy meets Sassy

I'm always styling watching, trying to keep up with the latest trends and searching for designs that suits my taste and fits my lifestyle. I've found my second inspiration outfit in Marie Claire 101 Ideas (Nov '08), featuring a Peter Som combo of tweed with audacious print dress and strappy heels.

Gotta Copy it! Here's the Peter Som dress without the coat. It goes for a cool $1,295. I could probably make it for under 50 bucks.

The Old Navy "steal" option goes for $34.50. Now that's more like it.

Strappy shoes: $57.75 at

I can use McCall 5818 to copy the dress and New Look 6736 for the tweed coat (A little different).

Inspiration outfit #2 to copy in '09. The list grows on...,

Happy Style Watching!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jacket No. 2 - McCall 4928 View B

This is the second jacket completed over the weekend. A few PR members have had great success with this pattern. It has classic lines and can be used again, again. Hmmm.., Probably a TNT pattern. ;-)

Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISS PETITE JACKETS: Semi-fitted, lined, below hip jacket with shoulder pads has sleeve, pocket and flap variations; jacket A has top-stitched front and flaps, above elbow sleeve length; jacket B has three-quarter length sleeves, flaps, contrast flowers; jacket C has pockets, long sleeves with slit; jacket D has top-stitched seams and pockets, purchased belt; jacket E has pockets, sleeves with slit, contrast flowers, contrast and self fabric fringes.

I made view B w/ sleeves of view C. I didn't make the flower.

Pattern Sizing: 4 to 20. I used size 14 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? They looked pretty standard for making a lined jacket with sleeve and pocket variations. I didn't spend much time reading them. I followed my usual method of constructing the collar and attaching the lining.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Initially what caught my attention was view E, the fringe on the collar and pocket. But when I paired it with the navy wool fabric from my stash, I favored the classic lines of this jacket. There is nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used: Navy Wool - I think its felt wool suiting, purchased at Vogue Fabrics a while ago.

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

FBA - I'll let the picture do most of the talking.

I tried a slightly different approach. Using the method, the width of the front side (2) pattern was increased from the bust area to the hemline. I ended up sewing a deeper seam allowance to bring the hemline circumstance back to it's original measurement. I really didn't like sewing a deeper seam allowance for the Front (1) for fear of changing the shape of the jacket. But after I put the front and back together, it still looked like the pattern drawing.

Sway back and Broad Shoulder Adjustment. I did not add tissue to show the broad shoulder adjustment; I just adding about 1/2 inch to the seam allowance and decreased as I cut along the armhole.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I'm thinking about making view A. And yes, I would recommend it to others. This one is OOP though.

Conclusion: This is a classic jacket pattern with sleeve variations that can easily be used as a TNT pattern. Welt pockets can be added instead of the patch pocket or flap. So if you have it in your collection, give it a try.

Forgive the hem of my top. I was trying to show the finished hem of the jacket. It didn't show very well against the navy pants.

First Project of the Year! - McCall 5527

This is one of two jackets that I cut out before the holidays. I was able to finish both of them on Saturday afternoon. I wore this one to church on Sunday with a skirt I made (2 years old) from another McCall's pattern. Here's my review.

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, lined jacket has front and back darts, single button closure and sleeve and collar variations.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 6 - 20. I made a 14 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much. The jacket on the model appears to be a couple inches longer than my version. Could be that she is petite.

Were the instructions easy to follow?Yes. Nothing difficult about them. I competely constructed the collar/lapel before attaching it to the shell. Then I attached the lining/facing. This is the process that I usually follow when making jackets/coats for a similar style.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the design of the this jacket. The wide collar and lapel are what sold me. No dislikes.

Fabric Used: Wool Blend (loose basket weave pattern)purchased from JoAnn's Fabrics about two years ago.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made several alterations:

FBA - A picture is worth a thousand words. So here are the photos of the FBA.

Front Lining and Front Facing

Jacket Front

Checking the modifications of the three front pattern pieces.

Making the FBA on this type a one piece front pattern was alittle tricky for me. I added bust darts instead of trying to rotate the add length at the side seam to the verticle dart below the bust line.

Broad Shoulder and Sway Back Adjustments

The drawing shows the collar resting about an inch beyond the top of the shoulder seam. I didn't think to increase the width of the lapel and collar to maintain the design.

On the Hanger

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan to, but I have soooo many jacket patterns that I want to try. So not now; maybe later.

Conclusion: Cute little jacket that was easy to make and can be worn over dresses or other coordinating separates.


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