Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bold Necklace - Fashion Trend 2008

My best Christmas gift was crafted my DD. In August I posted five must haves and planned to at least make the dress and blouse. Needless to say, neither was made (yet).

The inspiration necklace was priced at about $2 grand. I expressed the desire for the bold gold necklace to my DD (jewelry crafter). She and I went to a new bead store across the street from Vogue Fabrics on Roosevelt to see what they had to offer. We picked up several types of beads, but didn't find any that resembled the bold gold necklace that I wanted.

DD made my first bold necklace from some black marbled stone. It's nice, but didn't quite satisfy the desire. Unbeknownst to me, DD went on a hunt and found an online supplier of gold and silver materials for jewelry crafters. This was her "Big" gift to me for Christmas, and she made a pair of earrings too!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just a Little Crocheting in 2008

My niece so willing to model my crocheted hats and a scarf.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Butterick - Fast, Easy and "Stylish" 5247

This pattern comes highly recommended by several fellow bloggers. I thought I would gave it a try for something fast, easy, and stylish.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ TUNIC, DRESS AND BELT: Semi-fitted, pullover tunics A, C or above mid-knee dresses B, D have cowl-like collar, short or long dolman sleeves and belt. Purchased top, pants and belt.

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 8 to 24. I used 14.

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 didn't read them. This was a super easy, super fast pattern to sew. I took me about 1 1/2 hours to cut out and sew on Christmas morning.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that is was fast and easy. I wanted to make something that didn't take a lot of time.

Fabric Used: Matte Jersey from Vogue Fabric.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I only make a few minor adjustments. I wasn't to worry about the FBA because of the roominess across the chest. So I just added about a half inch to the side seam from the curve of the underarm to the length of the dress. I also added about three inches to the length. And finally, I made a broad shoulder adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I plan to make the tunic.

Conclusion: This is a fast, easy and stylish pattern that you can make under two hours. Try it! ;-)

Vogue 8438 Sew Along Coat - Finished Part III

For the past four years I have been fortunate enough to make at least one winter coat per year. Last year, I made a coat for the first time for DD; the year before that I made my sisters coats for Christmas; and three years ago I made a coat for the first time for myself.

Last Spring Marji created a blog called: The Great Coat Sew Along. She invited fellow sewists to participate. Each contributor selected a coat of their choice, posted the various stages of making it, and published the finished coat. Several bloggers and members of PR become contributors to this awesome movement. The Coat Sew-Along is a great source of encouragement and allow each participant an opportunity to take advantage of several tutorials posted on the blog. Big Thanks to Marji for creating and maintaining the site.

At the beginning of the year, the blog will be made available for everyone to view. Several people are still working on the final stages of their coats.

I finished my coat on Christmas Eve and am happy to post my final review of the process.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ COAT AND SASH: Loose-fitting, lined coat, above or below mid-knee has princess seams, front snap closures, shoulder pads, center back pleat and side seam pockets. A, B: ruffled collar and collar band, two-piece sleeve. B: purchased belt. C: standing collar, sleeve with cuffs and optional sash.

I made view A.

Did it look like the drawing: Yes, it did. I added a few inches to the length and made some fitting alterations.

Where the instructions easy to follow: No problems there. Typical instructions for putting together a coat with princess seams.

What did you like or dislike about the pattern/coat: The thing that drew me to this pattern was the "flower petal" shaped collar. I'm always looking for patterns with odd or different accents. The other thing that drew me was the sleeve variations. The sleeves for view C could easily be exchanged between a variety of coat patterns.

After I attached the collar to the coat, I fell out of love with the coat thinking the collar was too big for me and the coat. This back and forth with like/dislike happens occasionally as I go through the process of finishing a garment.

My sister saw the coat Saturday, and she just love it! Especially the collar! She already put her bid in for a swing coat made of "beautiful" wool. No hurry, next winter is fine.;-)

Fabric: Bright Navy - Lightweight Melton CoatingBright Navy - Lightweight Melton Coating purchased from Ann's Gorgeous Fabrics. The lining is a brocade from Hancock. I didn't underline the coat so I thought the brocade would help fight against the strong Chicago winds.

Preparing the fabric: Before pre-shrinking the fabric, I trued the grain making sure the cross grain was perpendicular to the lengthwise grain. Then I folded the fabric in half and basted the parameter. I didn't want to go through the trouble of pre-shrinking it myself. So I sent it to the dry cleaners.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: First I made a muslin to check the fit. Then I transferred the observed changes to the pattern. After posting the muslin photos, I noticed I hadn't sewn the correct seam allowance for the center back seam. Instead of the usual 5/8 inch allowance, the pattern called for about 2 inches seam allowance.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Not for myself. The collar is so unique that I wouldn't sew this version again for me. But I would recommend it to others. It's a fairly easy pattern to follow for a stylish coat.

Conclusion: I'm back to my original thoughts about this pattern. It's stylish and offers a unique collar to a otherwise standard design. It's a nice pattern to try. I wear my new coat on Christmas, everyone love it!

Here are all posting related to making this coat.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not Your Ordinary Gingerbread Cookies

Cookie baking at Christmas time is a tradition at the Walker house. This year my DD decided to make gingerbread cookies in addition to the lemon drop, oatmeal raisin (ready made dough by manufacturer), and pecan cookies. I really like taste of the gingerbread. Mmmmm Good. You can find the recipe here.

Here are a few shots of the cookie-baking crew in action:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Alterations and Fitting Vogue 8438 - Part II

Finally, I'm able to post the alterations and fitting of my Sew-Along Coat, V8438. The pattern alterations were relatively easy. I had to make a FBA and a sway back adjustment. With princess seam style garment I usually don't worry about adding width across the shoulder blades in the paper pattern alteration. As I'm cutting out the garment I add a little more to the seam allowance just in case.

Here I made a sway back adjustment on the back and back lining pattern by folding out about 3/4 inch.

On the side back (also used for the lining), I gradually increase the amount to be removed as I moved toward the seam allowance that joins the back pattern.

On the front and front side pattern I made a FBA.

The adjustment were also made on the front facing and front lining.

Fitting - Front view - No gaping at the front closure across the bust line.

Back view - No horizontal lines across the back. The stitching at center back seam of the collar and the lower center pleat will be removed after pressing and before I hem it.

Side view.

I've already attached the front facing and lining.

Here's a view of the under collar. When I had the coat on the stand on the coat felt a little droopy. But I think I can live with it.

Tonight I plan to hem the coat and attached the lining to the sleeves.

Stay Tuned...,
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Little Black Dress & Mc Call's 5753

McCall's,like Simplicity and New Look, has it's own version of mix and match pattern pieces to aid sewists in their quest to create unique, personalized garments. The line is called "Create It". About two months ago, I purchased M5753. This is a perfect pattern for that little black dress for which I have none. In October 2008 Toya devoted the entire month to the Little Black Dress, publishing several commentaries and photos of very well crafted LBD's. Toya's articles were exactly the encouragement I needed to start plans to make at least two LBD's.

Ms. Beyonce Knowles wore the cutest LBD to the premier of "Cadillac Records"; of course I would love to have her dress. But we all know her dress cost an obscene amount of money that I do not possess. There is hope. The McCall's pattern has some similarity and would be the perfect blueprint to mimic the Beyonce dress.

It's Beginning To "Feel" A Lot Like Christmas!

Finally, I'm starting to "feel" the Christmas spirit. Last week my sister and I spent some time planning the Christmas holiday activities for our family. Today she sent the final itinerary of outings. Yes, I said itinerary. It's makes it easier for us. We all work a lot of hours on our respective jobs and our children's ages from 5 to 21 years old. So we try very hard to plan some activities that all family (and a few friends) members can enjoy.

How does your family spend the holiday?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting Back in the "Sewing" of Things!

Back to sewing! Over the past several days, I was able to get some sewing done. My Sew Along Coat and a "wearing" muslin for B5295. Yesterday a put the lining together, attached the collar and then the lining (V8438). I must admit, I not crazy about the results. The fit is fine. All of the alterations noted (Summer post) were incorporated into the paper pattern. My issue is with the collar which is quite substantial and feels odd. The longer version with a belt and alternative collar may have looked better. But I will go ahead with finishes the coat and post the alterations. Maybe by the time I finish it, it would have grown on me. Occasionally, I make a garment that I don't like at first. But, after I complete it and give it the final hard press, I like it. So we will see what happens.

Making the wearable muslin for B5295 serves two purposes, test the pattern and to perhaps get a faux fur coat at a cheap price. When I purchased the fabric from Hancock's with a 40 percent discount coupon, I thought it would be great for a faux fur coat. But after I put it together, I really did not like the results. I will complete the coat but don't think it will grow on me. Charity maybe.

My likes about this pattern: The pleated back, collar options and the fullness below the hips. I will make it again but in a different type of fabric. I thought charcoal or chartreuse wool melton.

The other day I was on the Threads website and guess who has a tutorial on pressing?
Ann Steeves of Gorgeous Things. Great tips!

Closing - Last week I thought I would see Australia..., Nope. We saw "Cadillac Records" instead. (Thumbs up) The theater switched times for showing Australia. So we switched movies to see. Maybe this week we see Australia.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks! I'll Be Back Soon!

Thanks everyone for your continuous visits to my little place in the cyberworld. Not much sewing or blogging going on pre-Thanksgiving. BTW-I hope everyone had a splendid Thanksgiving holiday. These days Work, WORK, and more WORK. Between providing functional support during the deadlines, I'm evaluating several features/functions of our eRA application and presenting at the Phrase Rollout Implementation sessions. Sigh.., Sigh..,

Sunday night I was determine to get something sewing related done. I did ..., a little (will post when I get a chance).

Did anyone see the "Secret Life of Bees"? I did and enjoyed it. Saturday I plan to see Australia, starring the hunky Hugh Jackman.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Abbey Resort and Spa

The Abbey Resort is a great place for a mini vacation. My "Girlfriend Group" love the accommodations and the amenities. Last weekend five of us made the trek up to the Abbey (2 1/2 hour drive from Chicago) for some pampered R&R.

Thursday afternoon we arrived at the Abbey.

There are three restrauants, The Helm (piano bar), conference facilities and gift shops all conveniently located within the Abbey complex.

The Avani Spa provides a complete menu of excellent spa services including men's and ladies' lockerrooms equipped with dry sauna and steam rooms, whirlpool and shared swimming pool. (There has been some renovation at the Abbey. More to come. To the right of the whirlpool are the steam, sauna, and swimming pool.)

We spent some time at pool side: reading, talking, chillin'. On Friday morning we ordered breakfast near.

Counter at pool area. Magazines and newspapers are available.

At the pool area, there is complimentary, fruit, coffee, tea, and juices. There are also a number of classes available for the guest.

Sis Mona as we start our walk along the lake front. It was a beautiful day. The sky was clear and it was about 45 degrees.

A few of us decided to take a walk along the lake on Friday afternoon. The sun was shinny, the sky was clear, the air a little crisp. The perfect mix for an enjoyable fall stroll around lake Geneva.

This view is of the Abbey at the end of our trek about the lake area.

Beautiful homes and condominiums are etched across the skyline along the lake front. In the surrounding area, there are some great shops and restrauants for those who want to venture beyond the resort grounds.

This is one of many mansions along the lake front area. Many of the houses were closed up for the winter. Lovely real estate.

This time around, not so many photos of the group, but a view of the Spa and lake Geneva.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Still Here...,

It has been over a week since my last post. Still no sewing and very little blog reading. At work, we are just finishing up the NIH deadlines for (November 5th and 16th). Wednesday, The UI "working group - To Be Processes" met in Pontiac for an all day meeting. It's been very hectic at work these days, but I remain grateful to have a job. My girlfriend group started our spa weekend on Thursday. And let me tell you..., I was over joyed to leave Chicago for some pampered R&R. We had a great time and are already planning to next trip (February).

Sewing News...,

There are still several garments on the cutting table, but I have started thinking about Christmas gifts for family members. My budget is a little tight and I wanted to come up with some creative gifts this year. My sister is the host for Christmas dinner. So I don't have to worry about dinner.

My coat for the Great Coat Sew Along is still not finished. I'm bumping that to the top of the list. Today I felt like wearing my new coat, but it's not half finished. Two jackets are high on the list as well. Now that I've had a rest, the new week offers great promise for finishing "something". We'll see how it goes.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!!! Barack Obama!

Not Much Time for Blogging

Still here..., Not much time for blogging or sewing of any sort. We are finishing up an NIH deadline. MY GOODNESS! I'm tired!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Found the Right Slack - S2860

I am so pleased with the results of this pattern and would encourage you to go out and grab a copy. It's a very good fit without going through my usual crotch curve alteration.

Pattern Description: Misses' pants with individual pattern pieces given for slim, average, and curvy fit. Includes customized fitting instructions.

Pattern Sizing: sizes 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? Yes. There was nothing confusing for me. Great instructions -- Several tips were included on how to make fitting adjustments. They lack instructions on making a sway back adjustment to the waistband and the adjustment on the length of the crotch was different from my normal adjustments. See my adjustment method hear. Also see comparison of M5710 and S2860 here.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? There are a few things that I really liked about it. The claim of an "amazing fit" was achieved. The instructions on how to make the fitting adjustments were pretty good. The pattern seam allowances were 1" instead of the usual 5/8", which is a plus when making adjustments. The process of constructing the pants was different from the typical instructions that you see with the big four, applying the waistband section to each piece of the pant before joining the side seams and CB seams.

Fabric Used: Polyester Gabardine (Vogue Fabrics) for the wearable muslin and very nice wool suiting from Fishman's Fabric.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I only made a few fitting adjustments.
- I added approximately 3 inches to the length. The pattern's inseam measured 33 inches, which enable me to put a generous hem the pant.
- Sway back adjustment to the back waistband.
- The seam allowances were 1 inch. I ended up sewing at 1 1/4" inch allowance. Based on my measurements I collected the curvy version, but I think the average version would have been better for me as far as wearing ease.
- I added a full lining to my second wear (wool), cutting it crosswise.
Assemble the lining, sewing all seams together except for the CF at the zipper opening; then finishing the edges. The lining was cut 2" shorter the pants.

This time I didn't follow my normal process of attaching the lining to the inside of the pants after attaching waistband; then hand stitching the inside of the waistband. Because of the pant construction, I followed the process below: Pin lining to inner waistband. This was a first for me. Only problem, I had a little trouble figuring out how to completely attach it and secure the waistband.

Lining attached to waistband

Next, I attached the lining to the fly/zipper.

There is a slight opening just below the zipper that I didn't attach. During the process I didn't consult any manuals or sewing books. Later I will search for some instructions on making a more polished look.

To secure the waistband, I simply stitched in the ditch of the side seams.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Sure will. This pattern fits very well and can be used as a sloper for altering other pant patterns. Additionally, I can use it to add welt or side pockets.

Conclusion: This pattern offers some great fitting options. It is versatile and can be used as wardrobe builder.


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