Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mixing It Up with NL6557 & M5624

This pattern has been reviewed 44 times on PR. It is no questioning the likability of this patterns. The first time I made View B was in 2007.

So why I'm I reviewing it again? Because there are endless possibilities for creating your own one of a kind dress. In recent years all of the major pattern companies have a "Create It" or "Design Your Look" line of patterns encouraging sewists to mix and match sleeves, bodice, collars, etc. This is a "technique" I've practiced for over 20 years. It was out of necessity/desire to get that sought after look without trying to draft my own patterns. So for this dress, I combined the top of NL6557 with the skirt of M5624.

Pattern Description: A-Line sundresses with various bodice styles.

Pattern Sizing: 8 - 18

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

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the style of dress. Perfect for summer. Easy to make and wear. No dislikes.

Fabric Used: silky polyester purchased at JoAnn's.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did my usual FBA on the bodice and used the skirt of McCalls 5624 cutting it at the desired length.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. And yes I would recommend it to others. This patterns was published in 2006. But it is still popular and fashionable.

Conclusion: I like really like this pattern. This dress will be part of my cruise wardrobe for my upcoming vacation in Mexico. If you like this style of dress, try this pattern. You won't be disappointed.

Butterick 5497

I bought this pattern a few weeks ago with the idea I wouldn't have to make fitting alterations. Every once in a while I want something that does not take a lot of time altering to fit. Butterick rates this one as easy. True..,

This was the last pattern in the drawer and it did not include my size. But I purchased it anyway. Size 12 was close enough as I could add more to the seams to get size 14; plus there is a lot of style ease in the upper bodice.
My review:

Pattern Description: MISSES' TOP: Tops A, B, C, loose-fitting at bust, have short or long dolman sleeves, gathered upper section, shoulder casings with elastic and stitched hems. A, B: lapped upper back sections have neck binding. C: upper front and back cut on crossgrain, shading may occur.
I made View A.

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 20; two separate groups.

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 ok.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Likes - the design of the tops. I actually like all three views. it's easy.
Dislikes - No dislikes.

Fabric Used: cornsilk bamboo knit purchased at Vogue's last year.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The only changes I made was to scale it up to size 14. After I finished it, I tried it on to see how it looked. The lower bodice is kind of long on my torso. So I decided to add ruching on the side as well. Plus it's more flattering with the rushing. I just followed the same process for added elastic to the shoulder seams. First by measuring the length of the elastic against my body for the desired length. Then I inserted it and stitched across to secure it. Not hard to do.

After stitching the upper bodice to the lower sections I noticed I didn't "cross" the back section in the right direction. That's okay though. You get the same affect. Lol

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I want to at least make view C. And yes I recommend it to others. It takes a little time inserting the elastic and depending on the knit - careful sewing. In particular at the neck binding. The bamboo is very soft and it curls a bit. So I hand stitched the openings to have better control and a better finish.

Conclusion: I like this top and plan to make at least one more (view c).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fall 2010! Trends - Will You follow Them?

Can you believe it? Magazines are already publishing fall trends. Summer has just began. I'm always behind the eight ball. Grrr!

Here's what Marie Claire published as "101 Ideas":

Riding Pants and Blouson Blouses -

Camel Coats and Leather Skirts -

Chiffon Dresses and Cable Knit Sweaters -

All photos from Marie Claire, July 2010 issue

Question to all the fashionistas..., Will you follow the trends or make your own?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Easy Breezy Shift Dress - Simplicity 2938 Revisited

After finishing S2692, I felt energized to finish another summer dress. This is a repeat of S2938 made two years ago. This time, I made my usual FBA, no back darts, and added a belt.

I followed the Threads tutorial for making your own bias tape.

Note on the shoes - I really wanted some of those new strappy galdiator sandals to wear with this dress, but didn't find the "right" pair for the "right" price.

The fabric is from JoAnn's which I got on sale for about six bucks per yard. It's floaty, soft with some gloss. I really like to colors in the print and the feel of this fabric.

This dress is easy and a great wardrobe builder. I may make one more this summer.

Coming soon: More dresses, of course; but I really need to finish up the tops and pants that already cut and ready to sew.

Happy Sewing!

Grecian Style Dress - Simplicity 2692

Thursday afternoon, I thought to myself: "Self take a day off work to do some sewing." So Friday I spent time making this dress and another from S2938 (my next review of the day). This dress took a total of 3 1/2 hours from cutting to hemming. I'm really pleased with the results and may make another before the end of summer.

Here's my review:

Pattern Description: Misses' Dress in two length with Bodice variation. This is a Grecian style dress that can be made up in a woven or knit fabric.

Pattern Sizing: 4- 20

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. I decided to contrast the tie and midriff.

Were the instructions easy to follow? A breeze for view C with the shoulder tie of view D.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the Grecian design of the dress. No dislike.

Fabric Used: A polyester knit from my stash (black and magenta) and the contrast is matte jersey leftover from another project. Last year I purchased the at Vogue Fabric. It has a soft hand and is very stretchy with great recovery. I did not know what I'd make out of it, but thought it was very pretty and unique.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

- Added about an inch and a half to the bottom of the bodice. And two inches to the length of the skirt.
- Omitted the zipper thinking I wouldn't need it as the fabric is very stretchy. But if you make this in a woven or straight matte jersey, add the zipper to the side seam.
- Contrasted the midriff and tie.

Design -

Before laying the pattern pieces on the fabric, I experimented with the placement of the "diamond" shapes in the fabric making sure they fell on the most flattering area of my body. The coordination of the fabric design was key in how the design of the dress would look on my body.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm considering view A out of some Georgette that I have in my stash. And yes I would recommend it to others. Several PR members tried this pattern already creating their own one of a kind dresses.

Conclusion: If you are making a cute Grecian style dress this summer, try this one. It easy to sew.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Brightness of V8644

When I first saw this pattern, I thought it was similar to Vogue 8594. So I decided not to buy it. Then at the next sale, I convinced myself that the jacket was included and the design lines were "slightly" different. So I end up buying it anyway.

Here's my review:

Pattern Description: MISSES' JACKET AND DRESS: Semi-fitted, lined jacket has neckline pleats and darts, princess seams and three-quarter length sleeves with elbow darts. Fitted, lined dress with bodice and yoke, side slant pockets, back slit, back zipper closing and mid-knee length.

Pattern Sizing: 8 - 22

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? They are typical instructions for a lined sleeveless skirt waist dress and a princess seams jacket. So for the most part, I did not look at them as I put the garments together.

I will say this though, for steps 30 and 31 I wish they would instruct sewists to "not match" the small circle to attach the lining to the skirt. For better results: "no puckering" move the lining small circle a 1/4 inch above the small circle on the skirt.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?I like to pleated neckline on the jacket and the design lines on the dress back bodice.

No dislike.

Fabric Used: Linen Look (50/50 Poly/Rayon). I used a fabric not recommended. But I thought it would work for this outfit. It doesn't wrinkle as much and just as easy to handle as linen.

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

-FBA on the jacket and dress
-Sway back Adjustment to both folding out the excess across the lower back. Also reducing the width of the lower back cutting the pattern at size 12 (not illustrated).
- At the under area of the dress, I added 1/2 inch where the side seams meet decreasing as I approached the notches on the side front and side back. Sorry on illustration in the flickr set.
- A slight broad shoulder adjustment. Again no illustration but it's a typical adjustment for broad shoulders and prominent shoulder blades.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think the jacket would compliment a variety of short sleeve or no sleeve tops. I don't think I'll make the dress again.

This is pattern is fairly descent. It goes together easily. I did notice the skirt is narrow in the hips. And the jacket at the side front has a little too much fabric. I think that's because of the FBA. So you may have to move some of the width at the lower armhole.

It's labelled as a Divine Details. This one does not have as much detail as you might expect for the line of patterns. Vogue 8594 has twice as many details in the skirt and bodice.

Conclusion: I'm pleased with the results. This pattern is so me. I like it; and if this is one of your favorite silhouettes, try it.

Fashion Trend - Big Bold Jewelry. Pictured: necklace, ring and earrings from Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company. Bracelet designed by my DD.

Here is the link to my flickr set for illustrations of the FBA.

Spring Blouses - M5884

Pattern Description: MISSES' BLOUSES: Loose fitted, pullover blouses A, B, C, D have self or contrast collar with tie ends, sleeveless or sleeves and stitched hem; blouse B has short sleeves with stay; blouse C has contrast collar and tie ends, below elbow sleeves with contrast cuffs; blouse D has long sleeves with placket opening and buttoned cuffs.

This blouse has been on my to do list for quite some time. It was LisaRM's version that really help move this to the top of my list. I cut two of View B with only slight modifications.

Pattern Sizing: 6- 20

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes they were. However, I made a few changes.

White blouse - I followed almost all of the instructions, only changing how I attached the inner-sleeve. Skipping step 25, I attached the outer-sleeve of the blouse. Then I attached the inner-sleeve and serged all layers.

Fuschia blouse - The same change above and I didn't make the slit at CF as deep. The opening is very low. Untied, the base of your bra is visible. The third change, I top stitched the opening instead of understitching it. In the white version, the opening felt a little weak. So I thought this would reinforce the area.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Likes - The tie and the puffed sleeves of view B. From the photo it looked like one of the care free blouse. Something you can just throw on and not worry about readjusting.

Dislikes - It takes a lot of fabric to make this blouse as the tie is cut on the bias. Because of the "juggling" of the pattern pieces and the type of fabic used, it was impossible to cut both blouses at the same time. Attaching the neck tie is pretty straight forward, but because it was cut on the bias I had to carefully sew it to the blouse front making sure the gathers were as indicated in the instructions and the photos.

Fabric Used: Silky polyester that I purchased at JoAnn's last year.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I wanted my blouses to look as close to the illustration as possible. So I skipped making my normal FBA. Figuring there was enough style/wearing ease to accommodate the needed space, I cut the bust area at size 16 and the rest at size 14. In retrospect, a slight FBA is adviseable. Plus the changes mentioned above.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think I'm done with the one. My stash is overflowing with top and blouse patterns that I want it try. But I will recommend it to others.

Conclusion: This is an okay pattern to try. The draping is not perfect, but workable. You may want to make a few changes. I will definitely enjoy wearing my blouses

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Haute Couture Luncheon at Alhambra Palace

HCC Luncheon 3 2010

The club annual luncheon was held at the fabulous Alhambra Palace Restaurant on West Randolph Street. As always, a great time with all the creative ladies. More and more each day I'm lovin this community of sewists.

After lunch we got down to club business. This is the year for new officers. Mrs. Rhonda Buss (President) passed the baton to Marty Moser. We are under a new administration for the coming year.

Lots of exciting new activities and projects on the way. Next year's fashion show is all about Hollywood. Ms. Carol Scott and Ms. Sandra Young are chairs of the show. The first challenge of the year is to create a garment centered around one of the academy award winning films. A few caught my eye: Titanic, The Last Emperor, All About Eve..., I'm going to enter. Hopefully, I'll be able to see it through. The challenge takes place on November 6, 2010.

Here are a few photos for the luncheon:

HCC Hostess at Picture Table

Dedicated HCC hostess/member at fashion show picture table. I was surprised "we" had DVD of the show for sale.

Lovely Ladies of HCC 2010

Nik-ki, me, Mrs. Evans (Francine's mother), and Francine

Parting shots:
This season I was able to sew curtains for the kitchen and bathroom. JoAnn's had a very good sale over the holiday weekend and I picked up some home dec fabric for $2.00 per yard. Can't beat that!

Kitchen -

Bathroom -

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Breathing Dilemma - Thyroid

About 27 million people have some kind of thyroid disease. And over half are undiagnosed. I was recently diagnosed with a form of hypothyroid disease called a goiter. It wasn't until I changed doctors that I received the proper diagnosis. Why am I blogging about thyroid disease? Because it may help someone avoid the trouble and frustrating misdiagnoses that I encountered over the past three years.

One thing I pride myself in is keeping a watch on my health. My stance is to have routine check-ups and report anything unusual to my doctor. My "painful" journey started shortly after I was diagnosed with hypertension, four years ago. Initially, I struggled with the fact that I would need to take medication on a daily basis to help control it. The side effects were wearing me out. Needless to say, my young doctor struggled with finding a drug that would work for me.

During the course of finding a medicine that would regulate my blood pressure, I started having breathing issues while sleeping. It was an effort to swallow at times. My throat felt like there was some type of blockage at the base of my neck. The doctor ordered breathing and sleep apnea tests. Both rendered negative results.

It was becoming increasingly more difficult to sleep. I would have dreams of drowning or someone choking me. I awoke from the nightmares coughing sometimes with a rapid heartbeat. The coughing fits were so intense that it would wake my daughter- and we all know how hard it is to disturb a teen from sleeping. There were a variety of other symptoms: thinning hair, fatigue, weight fluctuation, dry eyes, and more. All of which I thought were side effects of the medication or the Big "M". Throughout the process of trying to diagnose the problem, my doctor insisted that I was having panic attacks and needed to see a therapist. I insisted that there was something physically wrong. Of course, the two differences of opinion hinder progress to resolve the real problem. I tried another doctor. She advised me to continue with Dr. D****. I tried to work with him again. So for about a year and half, I loathed going to the doctor and my blood pressure was not consistent. I wasn't sleeping well and I was nervous about how the many different drugs were prescribed.

One of the ten medications prescribed to me was nifedipine (calcium blocker). It seemed to control my blood pressure the best. August 2009, he switched the medication again. This stabilized my blood pressure, but the coughing and breathing issues were getting worse. By this time I was practically sleeping in a seating position. Finally, in February I noticed my throat enlarged. I asked my DD to take a look; she agreed. Then she and I discussed thyroid. At my next doctor visit, I told the doctor what I thought about my condition. He ordered a thyroid blood test; he also announced his leaving the HMO (I was glad).

My new doctor (Dr. J. Clay) is a dream come true. I saw her two weeks after my last appointment with Dr. D****. We talked about medication and thyroid. She said that blood tests are not conclusive and immediately stood up and walk towards me to examine my neck and throat area. My eyes filled with water. I thought maybe she would be able to help me. There was hope. Thank you, God. I had been praying for some understanding, some guidance, some help. After the examination she replied, "your thyroid is enlarged, the left side is larger than the right. I’m ordering an ultrasound, referring you to the endocrinologist, and making some adjustments in your medication. Dr. D**** had prescribed a dosage of nifedipine that was twice the amount needed. She reviewed my prescription history and decided to change the blood pressure med to Benicar 20mg. This was my turning point. Since that appointment, I've had a CAT scan and biopsy. The final diagnose is a benign goiter, predominantly on the left side of my thyroid. Relief...

Everyone, please by no means allow anyone to control what you think and feel about your body. Research and ask for a second opinion. It's worth it.

My friends and I tease about having a doctor, lawyer, dentist, electrician, etc. in the family, in hopes of securing help in those critical areas of life where advice is of upmost importance. Most people keep personal troubles and health issues a secret until it's too late. It is so important to share life changing issues as it may help someone overcome or give hope that there is an answer or at least some form of understanding.

Here is a helpful link to answer questions about thyroid disease:
Thyroid 101 Basics
There are several quizzes that will help you understand the disease and help with finding an appropriate doctor.

Here's to good health!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who Is Jill Scott? Making It Hot in Chi-Town

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending another Jill Scott concert. It was all I expected it to be. Ms. Jill Scott and Maxwell, both center stage at the United Center in Chicago.

My sister, friends, and I where seated in the mezzanine, entering at Gate 6. The house was packed with fans from around the Chicago land area. Much excitement filled the stadium. Each time I am privileged to attend a concert I find myself scanning the arena and thinking about the number of people attending. It's so amazing to me to see the crowd of spectators. Jill was on first.

If you don't know Jill's music, I'm here to tell you she is a artist in the true sense of the word. Her poetic lyrics pull you in. Then the melodious voice add body and richness to the stories that she tells. Jill is phenomenal. With her killer vocals, she belted out all of my favorite tunes: A Long Walk, He Loves Me, Golden. Just to name a few.

Some call her music neo-soul, a sweet mixture of contemporary R&B and 70's style music with elements of hip-hop. I call it beautiful. There was a moment in the show where Jill did this operatic run at the end of a song. Her range and ability is off the chart. Clearly she is in a class by herself. No need to say I enjoyed the concert. It was worth the money.

I would be remiss not to mention the soulful sounds of Maxwell. He followed Jill in song with his greatest hits and some new music. His jam session was noteworthy. All in all the concert was worth it.

Playing Catch Up Again!

I'm always playing catch up with blogging. There are not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Usually, early in the morning my thoughts are everywhere: God, work, sewing, family, you name it. Often I start my day thinking about all the wonderful things I would like to do. Some days I feel pretty good about what I've accomplished; and others I miss the mark.

So this afternoon I decided to give some highlights on the "happenings" in my world. Some I'll do a complete post later.

  • For starters, I'd like to thank all who visit and comment of my blog. Your thoughts and compliments are much appreciated. This year I've completed a few clients projects and thus far Min. Ross's suits are the favorite. As for me: the navy dress with the star burst is my personal favorite so far. Hmmm..., I haven't made very much for myself this year. ..., Got to do something about that. Lol

  • On the entertainment tip, Ms. Jill Scott was in concert at the United Center on May 26th. She was as fabulous as the last time I saw her. She and Maxwell shared the stage. His performance was good. But Ms. Jill was exceptional. Full review in a separate post.

  • The memorial day family celebration was awesome. Had a great time with the family. We are all looking forward to the next "big" gathering. Love my Peps.

  • Are you having sleepless nights? Are you suddenly awaken by a rapid heartbeat? Trouble catching your breathe? Sudden weight gain or loss? Or loosing your hair? These symptoms may be common to many ailments. But collectively it may be your thyroid or a goiter. Detailed in future post.

  • Just in from a two-day trip-Urbana campus. We demo'd the application for the Vice Chancellors. They were pleased with the presentation and the product information shared at the meeting. I'm glad it's over. Now, we moving onto phase II of the process.

  • The thin economy has come to my work place. The university has a huge deficit. Positions are being eliminated, staff is furloughing, and the fringe benefit package is being revamped. All in an effort to offset the deficit. (full post later.)

  • Finally, the number reason why I blog - sewing. There are several projects in the queue. I'm still working on the Simplicity pants and top (putty fabric). Can't seem to finish it. I don't like the way the top and pants fit. I've made these pants before. I guess the ole body has changed since the last time I made them. Tee Hee. The color isn't the best for my skin tone either. Oh, well...., sigh..., sigh..., But I managed to finish: M5884 top in white (review coming soon), curtains for the bathroom (no pattern used). and two skirts for clients (more later). And more client projects on the way!

Stay Tuned! Details and photos coming soon.



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