Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vogue 8411

Last year I was so inspired to design my own collection for the Fall. It was too difficult for me to select a few pieces as there is so much I want to sew and create. So I decided to do a dress collection instead. This particular dress caught my eye in Summer 2007. JoAnn's was having their usual sale on Vogue patterns ($3.99), I thought the dress was cute, and so I bought the pattern.

I made a muslin first, because of my typical upper body alterations. Posted it here hoping to get some viewer comments. At first sight, my DD said, "It looks like a night gown." So I put a belt around it and posted the photo on the blog. It recieved mixed reviews, but I thought the belt version in a nice fabric would dispell the notion that this dress looks like a night gown. Linda ,Danvillegirl, suggested that I contact Dawn, Secret Pocket, for some assistance with making this dress. Dawn made some very good points on how to handle putting this dress together. Thank you Dawn and Linda.

Pattern Description: MISSES’ DRESS AND SASH: Loose-fitting dresses have pleated front with topstitching details and sash. A: above-knee length, two-piece sleeves with elastic casings. B, C: mid-knee length with topstitched hems. B: three-quarter length, gathered, bound sleeves. C: long sleeves with elastic casing.

Pattern Sizing: 6-20, I made between size 12 and 14. View C and 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? As other reviewers noted, the instructions on how to form the pleats was a little on the vague side. I tried to follow the recommended technique #4 but had a difficult forming the pleats. It may be easier with a woven fabric. After second try and being on the verge of chewing nails, I decided to sew each pleat at the fold line on the wrong side. Then I top stitched each to stablize them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the pleats and the square neck.

Fabric Used: Ponte de Roma Knit from JoAnn's Fabrics

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: From the muslin, I noticed some drag in the bust area. Dawn recommended adding one pleat to the front (also widening the straight yoke part beneath them), and add the rest at the side of the pleats. I followed adding more wideth to the pleated area, but I incorporated the additional wideth into the 20 or so pleats of the design. When I made the yoke wider it was too wide for me. This looked better, but I still noticed some drag.

I changed the depth of the hem only turning under one inch then topstitching. I did not have enough fabric to add the necessary length for my height and do a 4" hem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Not for myself. I guess I would recommend it to others but with modifications on how to form the pleats and stablizing them. This pattern should have been rated intermediate. The pleats along requires skills above beginner and the patience of Job.

Conclusion: I like my dress; it doesn't look like a night gown, but it is very comfortable.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fitting Vogue --- Divine Details 8355

Yesterday was the second fitting of Ms. PB's outfit. During that time we talk about my blog and other sewing projects. I asked Ms. PB if it was okay to publish the process of making her outfit. She didn't mind. So let me back track a little.

I made this outfit for a friend. This is not the first time that I have sewn for Ms. PB. Four years ago she asked me to make an outfit for the same annual event. This time around we started talking about the suit in February. She purchased her own pattern, but wanted me to shop with her.

We purchased the fabric and notion at the Roosevelt Rd Vogue Fabric store in the early part of March. After taking her measurements, I sew a muslins. I ready knew of a few alterations based of her body shape, but decided to make the muslin based on the corresponding measurement of the pattern size chart. So I cut it between a 18 and 20. When Ms. PB tried the muslin, it was BIG. This pattern runs big. On the pattern envelope, the suit is fitted. Ms. PB, of course, preferred the look illustrated on the pattern envelope. So I justed the pattern based of the fit of the muslin.

Here is log of alterations (fit and preference):


Muslin cut between size 18 and 20. The entire pattern had to be scaled down between size 16 and 18.

Skirt - The sides of the skirt were reduced an inch. The length of the skirt was reduced by two inches.

Jacket - The sleeves of the muslin appeared to be longer than 3/4 length. So I shorten them by 2 inches. SBA through pattern pieces 1 and 4. The width of the back was scaled down to size 16 1/2. Swayed back alteration.


I worked on the suit eight hours.


Ms PB gave the okay to publish the making of this suit.
More changes -
Skirt - more fitted. Taken in 1/2" each side. 1 1/2" inch waistband added.
Jacket - Add more stiffness to the collar.


Worked - 5 1/2 hours.

I completed the skirt. Remade the collar. Permanent stitched the peplum to the lower edge of the jacket, attached the bands on the sleeves.


Worked - 3 hours (8-11am).

Continued to work on the jacket. Hand sewed lining to the upper edge of the jacket at the lapel. Slipped stitched open edge of sleeve bands to the sleeves and attached the shoulder pads.

Worked - 2 hours (5:30-7:30pm)

Made button holes and sewed on buttons pressed suit bagged it and delivered to Ms. PB as promised.

4/1/08 9:20am

Ms. PB called me to thank me again for the beautiful job done on her suit.

4/7/08 10:00am

Ms. PB called to thank me again and to tell me of the many compliments received from guests attending the banquet dinner.

My review on PR.

I'm Happy!

Vogue 2812

One of my goals this year is to sew up the many UFO's I have lurking in my closet. These pants are one of two pair that I cut out last spring. Last week I thought it would be nice to have a new pair of jeans to wear while on my mini-vacation at the Abbey.

Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISSES’ PETITE PANTS: Close-fitting, straight, below-waist pants: floor length with fly zipper closure, non working front pockets, back patch pockets, carriers and stitched hems.

Pattern Sizing:
6-22. I made size 12, view B. When I checked Vogue's website for the pattern, it was tagged OOP.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much. The lower pants leg seemed to flare a little more than the diagram.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. There was nothing confusing about them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?I like the two part pant leg. I'm always looking for something a little different in the pant leg. I didn't like the mock front pockets. It seemed like a waste of time to do the stitching and not have the benefit of the pockets. My next pair, which I already have cut out, I'll add pockets to the front.

Fabric Used: Denim that my dad gave to me years ago.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I added two inches to the upper and lower leg of the front and back. Because of my sway back I reduced the upper edge of the waist band to eliminate the gap between my lower back and the waistband. This was accomplished by folding out two darts on the pattern piece to fit my waist. No darts in the actual waistband. Sorry no picture. Without the alteration, I could easily fit my hand into the back of the pants.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. As I stated earlier I already have another pair cut and ready to sew.

Conclusion: Nice pair of comfort jeans to add to my wardrobe.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In the Company of Women

We had a wonderful time at the Abbey. Everyone should treat themselves to a spa visit at least once. The Fontana Spa is the bomb! Love it! Love it! The Fontana Spa offers great specials throughout the year. Our package included 2-day hotel accommodations, $110.00 Food credit, $110 Spa service credit all for $395.00 per person.

My sister, Mona, planned this spa vacation for the group. The Abbey is one of her favorite places to visit. She treats herself at least four times a year. Six of us traveled in three cars to Lake Geneva (2 hour drive from Chicago). Tricey and I arrived first with the rest of the group arriving shortly afterwards.

Here's the set up:

We checked in, unpacked, and set up our own personal bar.

Tricey Helping Mona with her luggage.

Mona gifted everyone. (Martini glass, candle, body spray, and a copy of the Phenomenal Woman poem by Dr. Maya Angelou.)

Our spa services started at 2:00pm on Thursday and continued through Friday evening. We talked about about everything from presidential candidates to family matters. No male bashing.

Dinner the Thursday evening. Left to right: me, Anita, Mona, Tanya, Christie, and Tricey

I know many people aren't "big" on salad, but this salad was delicious. Mixed lettuce and greens, strawberry, mandarin orange, roasted pecans, blue cheese and raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Mmmm Mmmm good. I'm going to make this at home.

The bar which was located in the center room. We had adjoining rooms for easy access.

The bartender taking a break.

Christie- Better known as Bernie Mack's lil' sister. This woman had us in stitches the entire time.

Ms. Tanya, too tickle to pose for the photo.

The Abbey is really a beautiful place to visit. Friday we had planned to go for a long walk by the lake. Friday morning we woke up to this.

It snowed all day. So we spent all of our time in the spa: by the pool, in the sauna, having spa treatments. After a silk wrap and a custom message who can think about taking pictures.

We all checked out early Saturday afternoon. Christie and Anita headed for home. They went to the Jill Scott concert Saturday night. The rest of us went to the Huntley Outlet Mall, which is on the way home to Chicago.

Well that's it! We had a great Spa weekend. If you can, visit the Abbey or a spa near you. You'll definitely enjoy it.

Now back to the sewing. I'm working on my many reviews. I've worn one of my dresses twice already.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Break at the Abbey Resort

Yep Spring Break for me and I'm not in college. Two more days before we leave for the Abbey Resort at Lake Geneva. I'm finishing up a few items to take with so I'm sewing this evening and tomorrow night. So far I have made a cover up, a wrap top (UFO), and a pair of jeans (UFO). All made over the past few days. I'm hoping to make a cap or two tomorrow, because the Fontana Spa is goin' to wreck a sista's do. lol

Lots of projects to post, but meanwhile I need to finish up a few things before I go.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Business and Pleasure of Philly

I really don't want to talk too much about the business conducted in Philly, but because it was the reason I visited the City of Brotherly Love it would be wrong if I didn't at least mention it. Anywho, the main purpose of the trip was to attend an advisory meeting on Friday. And since there was no flight that would get us their before 8:30am, we had to fly in Thursday. Two of other vendor clients are located in Philadelphia, so we met with them on Thursday afternoon. I was able to steal away from the meeting a few minutes before 4:00pm, with the boss lady's permission, of course, to meet Karen. So I hopped in a taxi to meet her at the "Clothes Pen", 15th and Market. Funny name the 'Clothes Pen', right? I thought it was a store. It was actually a clothes pen statue in front of a building.

(BTW- I didn't get a chance to see much of Philly, but I did see the bell and the treasury building. We drove right by them on the way from the airport. I saw a couple of huge bridges, but these one or two day business trip do not allow for time to really enjoy.)

Hailed Karen from the taxi, she jumped in, and off to Fabric Row. Karen and I traveled to the 700 south on 4th Street where we shopped and talked about our favorite hobby, life, family,.., . We were able to stop and shop at four or five shops with less than an hour and half shop time. The merchants closed between 5:00 and 5:30pm weekdays.

This is a picture of the shops we stop in. Oops forgot the name of it. But there are rows and rows of button boxes.

Two of the shops that we visited reminded me of shops in my home town. Kincus Fabrics at 754 South 4th Street is similar to Vogue Fabric on Roosevelt Road, only smaller. Kincus Fabrics has a little bit of everything. Their fabric ranged from high end to very affordable. The sales people were friendly; Edgar (Ed) cut fabric for me and shared a story or two about sewing done by his wife. As Karen blogged a few days ago. Ed was sporting a very well made shirt stitched by his wife. She could go into the shirt making business. Of course I asked if she sewed for others. Ed's response, "Only for family and friends. People really don't appreciate the value of handcrafted garments." Here is a photo of me and Ed, supplied by Karen (I forgot to bring my camera again. I did take a few pictures with my camera phone, though.).

I only purchased two cuts of shirting fabric at $6.98/yard. Fishman's in Chicago has shirting of similar quality, but $3.00 more per yard. Here's Karen surveying the land of fabric.

Like Karen, I'm trying to sew more and buy less fabric. So I tried to shop with a purpose, and not buy so much because it's "pretty". This spring/summer I want to make a few button down shirts.

PA Fabric Outlet at 747 South 4th Street put me in the mind of Textile Discount Warehouse on 21st near Damen Avenue. They had some leather pieces that you can buy by the pound, invisible zippers for 50 cents, and other notions for a discounted price. I grabbed some rayon ribbon, snaps, and hooks and eyes. All of which were of very good quality.

My third cut of fabric was from Maxie's Daughter, Inc. 724 South 4th Street. This picture does not do it justice. May be once it's made into something it will look better.

After shopping, Karen and I got something to eat. Guess what?..., Philly cheese steaks. It was finger lickin' good. We had a good time. Short but sweet.

Friday was all about business. The project team attended an all day session at the University of Penn hosted by our vendor, InfoEd. Here's a photo from the 14th floor of Huntsman Hall on Walnut Street.

At 4:30pm we were off to the airport to take a flight back to Chi-town. Sometimes my job is exhausting, but I do enjoy the work that I do. I like helping people and am grateful to have a job (my bread and butter). The sewing is like strawberry jam, sweet.

Up next, projects finished over the weekend. Mojo is back!

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back from Philly

Late last night, I returned home safe and sound from Philly. I'm glad to report that the trip was good both professionally and personally. Karen (Sewing by the Seat of my Pants) and I met up Thursday afternoon. We had a great visit. THANKS KAREN for your hospitality! You're awesome.

There are some great shops in Philly. I'll talk about them in my next post. Today I want to get a little sewing done.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Weekend Sewing!

I was able to get a bit of sewing completed last weekend. I still have four items from fall/winter that I didn't finish during the Christmas holiday season. I'm almost done with V8411 and S3673. I finished the edges of S3690, views A and D for my DD. As commented by other PR members, V8411 is not easy. It took me a while to get the pleats done. I tried a couple ways, but ended up follow my own method to make them look decent.

There are a few patterns I'm anxious to try this spring but I'm compelled to finish these garments before I start something new. (exception: few pieces for the spa weekend. lol) I already have too many UFO's. lol

I have a few clients this spring, friends of course. Last weekend I went shopping with Ms. PB for fabric. She wants me to sewing V8355. We did a muslin fitting on Sunday. This patterns appears to have a little more ease then she/I expected. Ms PB prefers a more fitted garment. I have to make a lot of changes: bust adjustment, sleeves shorten, skirt shorten, and reduce ease in the skirt and lower jacket. Ms. PB has not given permission to post photos of the fitting as of yet. I'll check with her again.

Second project is for Ms. DD. I have made Neue Mode 22928(oop) at least 10 times with various modifications: pocket here or there; waistband or facing. She has given me two bags of fabric. Out of which, five cuts for pants and two pieces for swing jackets.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Movie - Jumpers

Disappointment their name is 'Jumper'. This was possibly one of the most promising and disappointing movies in the box office. For all the cool, shiny trailers, media hype and SAMUEL L JACKSON, this movie bombed worse than 'Snakes on a' Plane.
Don't get me wrong. It was a good idea, but honestly, any depth or story the movie might have pretended to have was lost in the special effects.
It seemed as though the entire thing was watered down. The plot progression was predictable and the character's actions seemed reckless, yes, even those of Samuel. You couldn't find their motivation but what you could find...was a lot of dizzying camera angles and 'whooshy' effects. So, I would suggest that you take a pass on this one or wait until it comes on cable.

Worth seeing: Juno



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