Friday, June 29, 2007

My Girl

Happiest of birthdays to my little Lu, who turns 10 today.

She's the happiest child I've ever known, and I thank God every day
for letting me be her mama.

Speaking of sewing (wha? Weren't we?) I was perusing YesAsia this morning and fell in love
with this book:

I'm seriously coveting this dotty skirt on the cover! And look at this lovely top on the left...

It comes from this book:

Too many lovely books to choose from. Summer budgeting stinks.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Little Stitches

I have to do a plug today for a couple of really great small embroidery companies! The first is Sew-N-2-U Designs. The sweetest, tiniest fonts you've ever seen! Patty currently has 6 tiny fonts. I purchased two recently to make my own clothing labels

Another tiny design company is Perfect Little Stitches. MJ has the most amazing tiny designs! (and some regular size too!) I could shop all day at this site. There are tiny designs for every thought or occasion, and if Lu's not careful all her socks will be embroidered and all her clothes will have embroidered, covered buttons.

The best part?? They both have very reasonable prices and generous copyright agreements (both allow items to be stitched & sold). I never, ever buy brand cards or cds anymore. Not when there are SO many gorgeous designs out there from small companies with excellent prices!

Since I've been doing custom sewing, I've been in the market for woven labels. Lordy, they're expensive! Especially for a small home-based business like mine. I tried printed labels, but they just weren't what I wanted for a permanent solution. What I wanted was going to set me back several hundred dollars.

Enter all the tiny designs I've been collecting, and I debut for you my new labels:

Aren't they just perfect?? Now I'm ribbon and twill tape shopping. I can't wait to stitch them out! Sounds like a rainy Saturday afternoon project.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Flea Market Fantasy

I love flea markets. Dusty old windows with peeling paint, vintage patterns wrapped in Saran wrap (ooohh ahhhh). Oh, and retro appetizer cookbooks with be-gloved ladies sipping martini's on the cover in their starched ruffled apron.

On just such a previous trip to my local flea market I picked up this great vintage sewing book...

I mentioned it several months ago but never followed through on my promise to share the goodies inside. Since I've been doing the "One Pattern Multiple Ways" contest at PR, I've been paying all kinds of attention to the variety of ways you can change a pattern to reuse it.

After all, patterns aren't exactly cheap. Well, OK, the 99 cent sale is pretty cheap. But I've got a bajillion 99 cent patterns that I've never even cut into. And most likely never will. That's a bajillion 99 cents I could have saved!

Plus, using a pattern one time and then discarding it (or stashing it until you discard it) is just contributing to that "throwaway" mentality I keep hearing about on the news.

(Speaking of which, did you know that plastic cups were originally used in coffee vending machines, and people kept reusing them, because, HELLO they're reusable! So plastics manufacturers did a bunch of brainwashing, erm I mean suggestive advertising, to convince people that the cups were indeed disposable. And thus our disposable lives began.)

Anywho...check out these great "Multiple Ways" ideas in my flea market find...

The cap-sleeve dress:

So you can get married, go to a garden luncheon with Muffy and then out to a dinner party to celebrate your husband's promotion! All in the same dress! (Before you tar & feather me, I'm kidding of course. I'm a huge vintage pattern collector and I've got a dress like this one in my stash!)

And the Classic Suit:

Speaking of classic, does this pattern look exactly like a pattern you'd see in today's pattern mags??

Also included in this fabulous book is a section on how to alter patterns to further your "multiple looks". Below are images that show how you can alter a basic a-line skirt to achieve some pretty cute variations, still up to date looking 50+ years later. (Typed comments are my own, added to the image.)

A gorgeous side pleat with yoke variation...

This back pleat variation is awesome! I mean, how great is that contrast fabric peeking out??!!
I'll take off now, leaving you with vintage sewing book envy. Laters!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Home Sweet Home...

We're baaaacckk....exhausted but tan. Oh, and with that annoying respiratory infection I always seem to catch on planes. Achhoo.

Never fear, I bring pretties for you....

First we stayed in Orlando, at Downtown Disney (although we didn't do Disney this trip to FL.) Some of what we DID do...

Face Painting at Universal Studios...

And the beyond amazing animals of Seaworld...

The really incredible Shamu! (I was as excited as the kids!)

For the last few days of our week we stayed on St. Pete's Beach at the Don Cesar...It's a beautiful art deco hotel. Here's a snapshot at sunset last night:

another shot of St. Pete, from Crabby Bill's Crab Shack (Where I stuffed myself on yummy crabcakes! and Lu sadly lost her stuffed dolphin souvenier from Seaworld.)

We ferried over to Shell Key for the day, where you're smack in the midst of sealife. We snorkeled over hundreds of live sand dollars...

While snorkeling, a school of dozens of stingrays swam by, as well as a 7+ foot manatee! How cool is that?! It's a beautiful shelling beach too, and we gathered up more shells than we could bring home. Sand dollars by the BUCKET! Unfortunately, we had them safely packed in a hard plastic case and wrapped in towels in a suitcase for the flight home. THAT bag was one that was randomly searched by the TSA. They crushed all but 8 sand dollars. Why they would do that is beyond me. :(

Finally, I'll leave you with the gorgeous gulf coast sunset....Wow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On this momentous occasion...

We have reached a milestone lurker-lu's! We hit...

And with that, I depart tomorrow morning for here...

and here...

and here...
and here (although we missed the launch of Atlantis by a few days)...

and oh a few more days here too...

See ya'll on the flip side!

Monday, June 11, 2007

One Pattern, Multiple Ways Pt 2

I've finished my first AND my second pair of Simplicity 5074! Here's a really crappy picture of "Original Pant" (heretofore known as OP. hehe.)

You know, it's tough to focus on your own image in the mirror, through a camera lens, while sucking in your tummy, and trying not to look like a doofus. I almost succeeded.

And here's the 2nd Incarnation of OP...

Yowza, I need some color on those pasty white legs! Again, not a terribly accurate self portrait, my head isn't really that disproportionate to my body in person. I swear. Or at least nobody's ever mentioned it before.

Here's a close up of the hem detail on the bermuda's. Nice patch pocket with a drawstring, kinda manly, but in a good way. If there is such a thing.

Now I forget what else I wanted to do to jazz up and differientiate this pattern. Gonna have to go read my own blog. Seems like I had a TON of ideas when I joined this contest. Hmmmm.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

T-Shirt Love

I love tees. Ok, who doesn't. But it's really hard to find a cute tee that fits the erm, girls, and is long enough, but not tunic "I wear leggings" long. You mini-me's will just have to trust me on this one.

If I added up all the hours I've spent tracing, cutting, sewing, tossing different t-shirt patterns in search of "THE TEE", I'll bet I could have watched my entire collection of BSG dvd's. Or flown to Tokyo and back. Or ran off to Vegas to play the slots, got married by Elvis then hopped a charter helicopter to Reno for a quickie divorce. And still had time for a mocha frappucino grande at Starbucks. Twice.

And in the end, still no tee.

Until NOW. Da da da dummmmm.... I present to you my perfect tee:

The pattern is the puff sleeve tee pattern from the Ottobre Woman 2007 issue.

I made no alterations to the pattern. Zip. Nada. None!! Not even an FBA, which I have to add to all patterns that are normally drafted for a B cup. This tee is drafted for a C though, and by george those pattern drafters at Ottobre know their stuff. It worked perfect. I did omit the puffy sleeves and substitute the other short sleeve pattern provided in this magazine.

Here's a close up of the sweet neckline gathering and the pretty binding:

I'm more filled out than Edith the dressform, so my tee is more "rounded" than this when actually worn. :o) That picture is over at PR, where I'll do a review shortly.

I'm off to cut out another now. And finish up my tan linen drawstring shorts for the "One Pattern Multiple Ways" contest.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


You know the tarantula in the kitty food bag story? You know, the one where I was JUST OVERREACTING??

Well take a look at what just crawled onto my drive!!!



Making Lu's face do this...

Apparently you have a WAY quick recovery time when you're 9:

Less than 5 minutes later, it's just another beautiful summer evening...



I had a really deep, thought-provoking post composed in my head last night. (I KNOW! Who woulda thunk it?)

Then I slept.

All I have left is this pic...

I cleaned out my closet! I tossed...TOSSED!!!....anything that doesn't fit. Or that I just don't wear. EVEN IF I MADE IT. I'm the worst about keeping things I've made, just because I made it.

But I revisited the Fat Rant video by Joy Nash this weekend (not a bad idea whenever you're having a down day) and she says to "Get rid of all the clothes that don't fit! They're just p***ing you off!" Or something to that affect.

You know, she's right. So I pitched them. Thought I was gonna hyperventilate. Because in case you missed the picture above ... MOST OF THE CRAP IN MY CLOSET DOESN'T FIT!!!

I've been hanging onto it because someday it "will fit" dangit. Well, some of that stuff is 5 years old or more. So I'm guessing it's not gonna fit anytime soon, or it will be out of style anyway (um, ya, some of it already is!)

Although if I hang onto it for another 15 years it should be BACK in style. (I'm kidding. I pitched it all, I swear.)

My closet is bare.

But what IS in there fits. What a thought.


Monday, June 04, 2007

One Pattern, Multiple Looks

I'm entering this one. Maybe with more than one pattern! Basic rules are:
1. Choose 1 pattern to create several different looks.
2. If the pattern includes multiple types of garments (e.g. a wardrobe pattern), then just ONE of the garments can be used (e.g., the skirt, the top, the jacket or the pants).
3. You can change length, add a ruffle, add trim, change fabrics, etc. etc. etc. You just can't redraft the pattern to make a new look!

So you CAN leave off sleeves to make a sleeveless version of a top but you CAN'T draft a raglan sleeve from a set in sleeve pattern (like anyone would do that crazy stuff anyway!)

My pattern choice...Simplicity 5074. A TNT (tried-n-true) pattern for me, I'll be making (hopefully) several versions of the drawstring pants.

Here's the line drawing to give you a better visual of the pant...

Thankfully the pattern already comes with a couple of easy variations...drawstring bottoms, or NOT. Patch cargo-esque pockets, or NOT. I'm planning on a few more inventive changes though. Like...
1. Cargo shorts, with a little cuff or roll, and a buttoned tab on the side hem?
2. A straight leg (possibly slightly widened) flowing pair of rayon crinkle gauze dressy pants.
3. Linen capri length pants in a floral linen/cotton blend.
4. Black patch pocket, with drawstring capri's exactly like the pattern cover (my "original" interpretation of the pattern).
5. Lengthened to high-heel tipping evening pants in rayon velvet (great for winter...which is SO far away, but I'll be glad this winter I've got them!)
6. Comfy flannel pj pants...slightly tapering the leg.
7. Silky oriental print...slightly narrow the leg and lengthen to ankle-skimming length.
8. Bermuda length shorts...patch pockets, no cuff in a pink with navy seersucker stripe (I call it my "cape cod" fabric, LOL!)

And those are just my immediate thoughts for changing this pattern! It helps somewhat that I've made this pattern at least 1/2 a dozen times already in yet OTHER looks than these. Of course I can't use any of those...these garments have to be made between June 1 and July 31.

First pair up: The "original pattern" interpretation, black rayon capri lengthen with patch pocket & drawstring hem. They're cut out and partially seamed. I'll post a pick as I get each garment finished!

Stay tuned!