Saturday, February 27, 2010

HP once, twice, three times a tee

That's a mouthful, huh? This isn't going to be a long post...I'm off to pick up some Tex-Mex for dinner! But I whipped up this interesting little tee this afternoon and wanted to share! I dedicate this one to Dawn, who's waited a long, long time for it. heh.

It's the HotPatterns Once, Twice, Three Times a Tee.

Super, super easy to put together. It's basically rectangles of fabric. I'm not a fan of "slot" necklines like this and indeed I don't care for the way it flops around, or for the way the facing doesn't want to stay put. (I'm ok with the fact that I need a tank underneath. I wear a cami or tank every day anyway! I'm just old fashioned that way.)

In fact, I might be drafting a keyhole alternative neckline tonight & fixing it up. I have plenty of this muted pink & khaki tie-dye to do it. Then I think I'll be in love with the whole top. I already love the funky sleeves and the fit.

Speaking of fit, I cut a 14 in the neckline (and could have used a 12 in front I think, which might have helped my slot neckline a bit). I swung out to a 16 at the armhole, then bumped out at the bust to an 18 for a "cheater" FBA. Then I followed the 18 down to the hem, but I did cut in just a bit of shaping at the waist. Otherwise you're looking at one long rectangle for the front and back.

The front/back as drafted is LONG. I cut off 3 inches at least. I'm probably not going to hem it, I like where it's hitting me right now. I likewise didn't hem the sleeve frill. I love knits! I typically have to shorten tees because I'm pretty short-waisted. I'm 5'5 and most of that is legs!

In good mail news, I received these awesome zippers from an Etsy seller. If you're interested, I'll dig up the name! **UPDATE for that heifer beangirl: The seller is "ButtonsandSuch". There now you have zips. I can't do anything about your short legs. Muwahahaha. They ship from Asia so it takes a couple of weeks, but how darn cute are they?

Here's a closer view:

Obviously they're for exposed zipper projects, but I can't wait to use them on some cute summer skirts!

I hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

vogue sale!

I succumbed to the latest Vogue email. It's not the best pattern sale they've ever had (I barely missed the $3.99 sale the last time they had it online!) But I never seem to make it into my Hancocks when they have Vogues on sale (it's also an hour away so I need a good reason to go that far, not just a Hancocks run!)

Here's my haul. I'm very enamored of these Rachel Comey dresses...


Likewise, this Rebecca Taylor suit, V1169:

And this Rebecca Taylor dress is shown in such a busy print, that you miss the cute design lines until you look at the line drawing. V1152:

line drawing:

I have a love affair with most of Anna Sui's patterns and I buy alot of them just to have. I've yet to actually make one! This one is in Lu's size because it's just a bit too young for me. Sigh. It will be so adorable on her though that I might actually cut into my first Anna Sui! V1153:

This is so pretty too, and I do find myself in need of a more formal type of dress now and again (weddings, prom, etc. Ok, so I don't find myself in need of a more formal type of dress more than twice a year but still. This could work if the occasion suddenly presents itself.) V1154:

And since I had such great success drafting my own pants the past few days, why not BUY a pattern and start all over with fitting?? I know. I'm just nutty like that. This is the Sandra Betzina Today's Fit jean, V1034:

I ordered this morning and had a shipment notification by 5 pm. Now that's service.

This afternoon found me at home with a sick kiddo, so I took the opportunity to cut out this New Look pattern that the adorable Shannon sent me:

out of a gorgeous red sweater knit that the likewise adorable Julia sent me. I cut out the long sleeve wrap sweater, before I realized I was clearly delusional thinking I had enough of the red sweater knit to make that view. When I came to my senses, I pulled out a minty green shimmery sweater knit and tried again.

Unfortunately, I have now partially cut into the red sweater knit! Ack!! I might be able to salvage it for another, simple, short-sleeve garment... I'm not sure. I've got it tucked aside for now until inspiration strikes.

Although...if inspiration doesn't stop striking in my house I'm just going to be chasing my inspirational tail and never ending up with complete garments!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the pants journey. pt 2

Ok peeps, time for a pants part 2. Just a reminder, I'm using the Design It Yourself Clothes book. Here's the completed pattern pieces:

Since you're drafting from measurements, you can add whatever shaping or ease you wish at the legs/etc. I have added a slight bootcut and the rest is a pretty slim fit. I figured if I can get a slimmer pant to look nice and fit well, I'm in like Flynn for everything else.

And here's my first muslin. I actually finished this one Sunday but didn't have time to snap a pic until tonight. Sorry, no waist shots because I haven't actually attached the waistband yet!

Things I learned from the first muslin:
Rise Measurement: The book instructs you to hold a book or other object between your legs, then measure the distance from your waist to the top edge of the book for the rise. I did measure this way, but didn't take into account that my front waist dips about 1" or more in front. That's why you don't have a back view. It's most definitely not PG-13.
**The Fix: I raised the back pattern piece by 1", and also to the side fronts, truing the seamline to meet my original center front (which fits perfect by the way. Wow.)

Thigh Measurement: I'm so used to adding to the "thighs" of other patterns that I just automatically didn't trust my pattern draft and added .5" to the outer thigh of front & back. That's the extra 'pouchy' fabric on my outer thighs. Yeah, I guess I drafted better than I thought!
**The Fix: Remove .5" addition from outer thighs on pattern.

High/Full Hips in Back: This is just a usual alteration for me. I always muslin without adding this, and always have to go back and add it in. No difference here. Since I was using the "Rise" measurement for my pant back & front, I not only need the additional 1" above (in back) but also an additional .5" to 1" for my high, full hips.
**The Fix: I tried on my BurdaPlus pant from last week and tied an elastic around my waist. Then, I adjusted my pants by pulling up or down until I lost the drag lines and wrinkles. Lu took a tailor's chalk and chalked a line around the top of the elastic at my waist, then I removed the pants. Note, the Burda pant has an elastic waist, so I marked that 1.25" casing line also. It turns out at exact CF and CB I'm "perfect". It's just everywhere else that's a little off. ;)

I cut this piece away at the chalked line. This gave me a crazy looking piece of fabric! But it also served as a map of how much I need to add to each front and back piece to account for my assorted lumps and bumps. I traced this fabric "waist map" onto tissue and carefully labeled it. I think if you click the large version, you can see a little better how it works.

The "clear" sections of the pattern are the original waist area (the dotted line would be the actual waist seamline plus s/a). The shaded portions are what I need to add or remove. Note that I need this adjustment on basically ALL pants and some skirts, so I'll just keep this little pattern for future reference (disgarding the lefthand portion probably. I can fine-tune.) In front it's more interesting than in back, which is almost a solid 1" straight across.

I'm pretty happy so far. I've already adjusted the pattern pieces and now I just need to muslin again and add the waistband this time to fine tune. I'll get a better idea of the fit in back with a waistband.

I have to say, I can't believe how easy this was to draft. Now I'm excited to try the t-shirt pattern and basic blouse pattern! I've already recorded all the necessary measurements.

I should add that I left off one piece of equipment in my last post photo that I needed...a French curve or "hip curve". I have a French curve that I used to draft the curve at the crotch, waist, and side seam. You could probably do it without, but I found it really, really helpful.

So, have you bought the book yet??

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the pants journey. pt 1.

So what better is there to do on a rainy Sunday than to flat draft pants? I can't think of anything!

I started with this book, which has flat pattern drafting instructions for a basic top, skirt, and pant (all with several variations):

I was pretty intrigued reading through this book because I've had such great success using similar flat pattern drafting with my Sew What Skirts book. Of course I jumped right to the pants chapter since I am tired of fooling with that Burda Plus pant. **Hey, I just joined KitschyCoo's sewalong for this book too! See my cute button on the sidebar? Here's the Flickr group! Join us! And, you know, buy the book.

And to entertain myself while plotting out my soon to be perfectly-drafted-to-fit-me pants I popped in the first (and only, sniff) season of Moonlight. Because Mick St. John is hot. And vampires are good pant-drafting buddies. Didn't you know?

See those claw marks on the top right? Poor yellow cat has been locked in the other end of the house because of her intense love for my roll of tracing paper. Bad kitty.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

church potatoes

I'm sure you've seen and used a version of this recipe about a million times, but this one is my favorite. My mom has always called them "church potatoes" because they're a hit at church luncheon's or suppers, and easy to make/reheat!

*1 large package frozen hash brown style potatoes (or "country style" potatoes, which are cubed with peppers and onions)
*2 cans cream of celery soup
*1 - 8 oz carton of Garden Vegetable Philadelphia cream cheese
*Optional: Italian bread crumbs & melted butter for topping
*Optional: 1 cup cheddar cheese

Heat the soup & cream cheese in a bowl in the microwave until the cream cheese begins to melt. Stir or whisk to blend. Fold in the frozen potatoes. If you're using the cheddar (like I did!) you can fold in half of the cheese now. Pour into a buttered casserole dish (if I'm making a full batch, I usually use a large round casserole or 9 x 13 rectangular casserole. If I'm making a half batch for home, I just use an 8" round casserole dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly. Toppings: For the last 10-15 minutes of baking time, sprinkle Italian bread crumbs over the top and drizzle melted butter/margarine over the crumbs to create a crunchy, yummy topping. Or, sprinkle the 2nd half cup of cheddar over top (I'm usually lazy and sprinkle the cheese before baking, that way I don't have to pull them out again until eatin' time!)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

mail day!

Man, I love a good mail day. And today was awesome. Of course it helps that it all came in the same order from Amazon, and I was the purchaser so I had a bit of an inkling that at least "one" day this week (or next) was gonna be a good mail day.

But that's nitpicking. Especially since I didn't expect this package until Friday at the earliest and next week at the latest! I got the new Built by Wendy book:

It's all about dresses, and since I had a lot of success with the Built By Wendy Simplicity patterns last summer, I was excited to try out the designs.

The patterns are included for 3 different dresses, but variations total 25 projects? If I'm reading the cover right! There's a sheath dress, a shift dress, and a dirndl dress (my favorite!) I'm happy to see the sizing is larger for this book than the last (I think. I'd have to check, but I believe the last books only went up to a 12? This book's "XL" appears to be more of a 16 with bust 40-41, waist 33-34, and hip 43-44) .

Next I got this one, which looks promising if a bit simple:

Then this one, which I was most anticipating, "Twinkle Sews". I was sort of familar with the author's knitting books. I had heard of her at least even though I don't (currently) knit. She has a quirky style I really enjoy so I was happy to see a sewing book from her. This book has "25" handmade fashions, but again, there are lots of variations on a few styles of tops such as raglan sleeves, spaghetti strap, drop shoulder, etc.

My biggest complaint is that my very favorite pieces in the book aren't included as patterns. I was annoyed to discover the very first garment photo of a blue skirt (pattern included) and black chiffon top that is to die for adorable...isn't included. There isn't even anything remotely resembling that top pattern in the book, yet an entire color page of the book is devoted to the TOP in the skirt instructions. Grrr. **UPDATE! The awesome PeacockChic pointed out the first top is available as a free download on Burdastyle HERE. Thanks girl!

I was then doubly aggravated a few pages later (still in the skirt section) to discover that yet another adorable top was NOT an included pattern. Grrr again. (NOTE to publisher/author...please only photograph garments included in the book! In every skirt photo, you actually HAVE a top photo you could have used from the included projects! That way there's no confusion and disappointment from your readers. End note.)

That said, there are cute, innovative things in here, things that I love! Things that you're definitely not seeing in the mainstream pattern books. Things at least as trendy and cool as Burda Style magazine (even quirkier in some cases.) I'm excited to try a few of these patterns!

Next is this Adele P. Margolis book that I've been wanting. It's used of course and a bit musty, but I can't wait to read it!

And since I've been looking for a Battlestar Galactica fix ever since my beloved went off the air, I ordered the Season 1 (and only) of Defying Gravity. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. I accidentally ran across it on ABC last summer. They bought the series then proceeded to 1) not promote it at all and 2) not air it. They aired the first few episodes and then nada. Nothing. Now I have all 13 produced episodes and am excited to at least see how this thing ended up (even though I'm sure it's not a "final" ending. It will always be up in the air.) Ahhh, if only BSG had ended more "up in the air", I might not still be in mourning.

Anywho, if you run across Defying Gravity and enjoyed BSG, I'd encourage you to give it a shot. I enjoyed the episodes I saw last summer. (But then, I'll watch anything with astronauts and space. I'm just sayin.)

And now I'm off to eat "church potatoes". I was craving them something awful all the way home today so I just made a small batch. Yes, that's supper. Sue me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

a day off!

I'm off today! I spent the weekend tracing several things from the new Burda Plus and from the regular Burda mag. Then I lounged around in indecision of which to make first for a few hours this morning. Grr.

Finally I decided to try this one:in a poly blend black with white pinstripe. It's sort of spongy and has a bit of stretch, so I am doing a "faux" fly rather than actually inserting a zip. Heck, with the elastic back & sides, I don't think even with regular trouser fabric I'd need a zip.

I'm a bit aggravated though. I have them stitched together and they're too baggy through the legs (they don't look as wide in the line drawing as they are on me!) so I need to trim down a bit there. I also have my usual wrinkles under the bum in back. I don't know exactly what causes this and even following Belinda's recent Jalie fitting sessions hasn't helped me figure it out.

I'm about to the point where I can just live with those wrinkles. Hey, I can't see them. Right? Plus, I'm pretty sure all my RTW pants have them anyway. I'm also pretty annoyed that I wasted half the morning trying to sew PANTS. What was I THINKING????

So I'm moving on. Probably to this top from the same Burda Plus issue:I love all the ruffles, but I don't care for the length. However, when I was tracing it, it didn't seem that long (even for this view, there's a shorter view). I have an aqua Imperial batiste that I mail-ordered and didn't turn out to be exactly the color I wanted. So I figure I can try it in this blouse and if it works, great.

Then I remembered I had earmarked a length of dark aqua crinkle cotton for this:

Apparently I'm on an aqua kick this month. Now I have to decide whether to keep my aqua plans or dig around for another fabric for one of these.

Or, you know, move on to another project entirely. Like a frothy dirndl skirt made out of this fabulous palm tree voile with a pink Imperial batiste underskirt:

Yeah, that imaginary skirt is sort of calling my name. Can you hear it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

dandelion delight

In an earlier post I told you about the Easter dress that originally influenced my desire to learn to sew. That dress is called "Dandelion Delight" and is a vintage reproduction of a baby dress, featured in the 1998 Easter issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine.

This is my version of Dandelion Delight.

This dress was my original "first project", one that I failed miserably at. The experience made me determined, however, to learn to sew (and sew well) so that I could one day return and make this dress for my baby girl, Lu. I'm happy to say that Lu wore Dandelion Delight for her 2nd Easter.

This dress is so beautiful, and it featured so many difficulties for a new seamstress! The skirt is a full circular skirt, and it is in 2 layers, a batiste underskirt (trimmed in wide lace) and a point d'esprit netting lace overskirt:

Finding materials to make this dress proved difficult. As a single mom, there was no way I could afford traditional English netting point d'esprit (which is cotton). I found nylon point d'esprit netting lace in the bridal section though, and batiste in the cottons.

The wide lace for the hems is cotton lace. I purchased it from a mail order catalog, "Home Sew". This was still pre-internet days for me! The wide lace is zigzagged onto the hems of the netting skirt and the underskirt.

The shaped yoke gave me fits, I do remember that. I was stitching 2 layers of skirt remember, to a curved shape. Then, you apply the wide lace to the yoke seam, "pinstitching" OVER the lace header. It was nervewracking. But it turned out lovely.

I found a tiny stash of entredeaux at Hancocks too, and used it to trim the neckline, followed by a narrow cotton lace edging.

The tiny puff sleeves are netting lace with a row of entredeaux beading and gathered edging. I ran a narrow satin ribbon through the beading holes to draw up the sleeves to fit, then tied in a bow.

Sue Pennington Stewart designed the original reproduction, and the pattern was featured free in that issue of Sew Beautiful. Unfortunately that issue (the most beautiful of all my Sew Beautifuls!) has been out of print for more than 10 years. The good news is that Sue is now offering the Dandelion Delight pattern on her website! You can purchase it here.

As a special treat, here's a photo of Lu on that long ago Easter morning, wearing this dress I was so proud of, and a sweet bonnet (also a Sew Beautiful free pattern!)

And of course my gorgeous G-man at age 4, wearing a mommy-made button up shirt complete with a paper pieced farm scene. This was his all-time favorite shirt for a very long time!

It has special meaning for me too, because it was my first published piece. I wrote an instructional article for Sew Beautiful magazine the fall 2003 issue. The article includes the directions for inserting paper-pieced or smocked blocks in little boys shirts. If you have back issues, dig that one out and have a look!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


So Stick Girl & I went to see Leap Year Sunday afternoon.

Very fluffy, cute, and mostly smooshy movie. (You know that's my favorite kind.) It never pretends to be anything else. And I for one appreciate that.

Best part? (Oh ok, besides the yummy Irishman complete with swoony accent) Amy Adams' character's wardrobe! This was my favorite outfit:

Note the adorable red & cream print blouse with AQUA piping!! And I was completely distracted by the gorgeous aqua (possibly glass) ball buttons:

That pencil skirt was awesome too. Of course what I zeroed in on (courtesy of my newfound love of underthings) was the amazing yellow lace-trimmed slip peeking out from under her hem!

Here's another top I'd love to duplicate. It was probably a silk, it had a lovely drape and sheen. It also featured bits of smocking here and there (under the yokes in front and back, and on the shoulders) and a yoke made entirely of bias tubes & faggoting. Gorgeous.

And... I actually know how to do this. It made me anxious to try a version of my own! If I do, I'll be sure to blog the process. There aren't too many garments out there that feature that type of handwork. It's really lovely!

There was also a very sweet linen wrap dress in the final scenes that was worthy of a mention, but I can't find a picture online.

Of course, the real star of this movie is Ireland herself. Beyond lovely.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Vintage - Simplicity 1093

Today I found a few spare hours to work on my vintage top, Simplicity 1093:

I made the rickrack bow view in white linen, if you'll remember from last week. Here is the finished top, rather quickly modeled by me:

As far as fit goes, the sleeves fit great, and I'm happy with the waist to hem area. But the bust/midriff area is still a little too big. I think I just overzealously graded this one up. The original pattern is a Bust 31", and I like to start with a Bust 38" or 40" in vintage patterns (I normally have very little to alter with that size.)

I tried grading up by using incremental measurements to add on the necessary sizes, rather than slash & spread my tracing. Maybe next time I'll try slashing and spreading and see if that works out better. This is pretty good though, and definitely wearable. I do think it would be cuter if it were a bit closer fit through the bust area.

Construction was very simple. There are 2 bust darts and 8 waist darts (4 in front, 4 in back). This view closes with snaps in the lower side seam of one side. I left this off, because I could pull the top on over my head with minimal tugging. The cap sleeves are faced. Since I was adding rickrack trim, I stitched the facing down by machine (it was going to be covered by the rickrack). The directions call for blind-stitching the facing down by hand.

The neckline is finished with a bias binding. Instead of turning the binding to the inside and handstitching it down, I stitched it on in reverse so that I could topstitch from the right side. I think a binding looks neater this way (and I can control the topstitching better from the right side).

I trimmed the sleeve facing and the neckline with kelly green baby rickrack. I machine stitched the single lines of rickrack down, but hand sewed the bow on after.

All in all, this was an easy to sew, fairly easy to fit pattern, and I can see a few more of this in my future. I would love to try the pink puff sleeve version! I would also like another stab at this rickrack trimmed, cap sleeve version. Maybe with red baby rickrack on a baby blue Imperial batiste I just bought?

Things I especially love...the waist darts are pretty flattering untucked! Especially if I can get a better fit through the chest. I think this will be an adorable top with a wide variety of bottoms too.

This post is cross posted at We Sew Vintage!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

vintage slip.

I made the most incredible purchase on ebay last week! A gorgeous, peachy coral slip, circa 1950.

The top section is nylon tricot. There are 2 layers of nylon netting tiers (a crinoline fabric, dyed to match?) edged with matching wide lace. Sooo sweet.

You can't see, but on the bottom layer, there are little peach satin ribbons tied into bows at intervals along the bottom ruffle. They would only be seen if your skirt flipped up and the ruffles were swinging about. That is awesome. Because of course if you were wearing this beauty you would want to flit around and let your ruffles peek out? Right?

I couldn't wait to try it on and snap a few pictures! I'm wearing a nude plain slip under it. It is too sheer to wear alone.

Doesn't it make an adorable skirt all by itself?? It's not "too" poufy either, which I think makes it more wearable. And I have plenty of spring & summer skirts (either already finished or planned) that would look adorable over it. Like my vintage-y linen dirndl skirt:

I love the bit of petticoat peeking out. And when I sashay about, as I'm prone to do most days, it does this:

I'm totally stalking ebay & etsy for more colors. And I might just have to make some up myself out of nylon tricot & chiffon. I scored 3 bags of colorful laces last week on ebay too, so I'm practically all set.

I have no idea where this week went. I didn't get any sewing done on my vintage top at all. But I'm off to work on it now, while I pop in Disc 2 of Mad Men, Season 1. I really heart Netflix.