Sunday, May 31, 2009


For pants. Er, shorts rather. Anyway, pants + muslin = the suck.

I'm trying to muslin the longer shorts from this pattern, New Look 6873:

I have a couple of pieces of linen that I'd love to use for this pattern, and I'm even prewashing in anticipation of a great fitting pair of shorts. My first one didn't go so hot. Here's what I started with:

1. Cut out size 18. Add 1" to front by slashing & spreading. I'd like to keep the tiny bit of "pleat" detail at the front. I think it's cute, and it's really everywhere in RTW, even though I typically stick to flat front trousers/pants/shorts.
2. Add 1/2" to back at side seams.
3. Add 3/8" at crotch point in front only...Sherrill has mentioned this alteration in the past to prevent that "cupping under" effect where I have a poochy tummy. Lovely thought, that.
4. Lower the CF by 1", tapering to nothing at the side seam. (My shorts & skirts always want to drag down about an inch, so I normally take off this amount from CF.)

Well...the first one didn't exactly work. Back fits wonderful I should add, but there's a bit of wedgie going on, which I think was because the front was still needing about 1", AND because I might still need some at the crotch point, or possibly the inner thigh. Debbie's Minott alteration has worked well in the past for that, but since this was a full-leg short I didn't do it here.

I didn't snap a pic because the fabric is pretty ludicrous. Although you might have enjoyed the laugh! I used this Amy Butler print, which I hate.

I have no idea why I bought it. Absolutely loathe the stuff and I've had something like 4 yards languishing for months. I'm finally about to use it up! Of course Lu thought these very obnoxious rose-printed shorts were cute!

But the muslin still had some issues, so I slashed and spread again at the center of the front piece, adding another 3/8", and then I slashed & spread through the zip to add back about 3/8" (I apparently trimmed too much from the CF at the waist!) I also slashed/spread another 3/8" at the front crotch. Here's what the pattern looks like now!

Crazy, right? We'll see if this one fits any better. I'm about to go for drawstring shorts again. Actually with the first muslin, I removed the pleats in front and everything hung much smoother. So I may end up removing that 3/8" from the front and leaving the pleats off altogether.

I got all inspired to sew yesterday after venturing back into my local quilt shop after a long absence (I think it was February last I shopped there!) I got these goodies, a little Anna Maria Horner, a bit of Amy Butler, a smidge of Heather Bailey, and some Jennifer Paganelli too...

And I plan to make some tunic-y smocked tops for summer out of them! Did you see Heather Ross on Martha Stewart last week? She made (and was wearing) a smocked sundress/tunic using elastic thread. You can view directions on Martha's website, including the video clip of Heather's appearance.

I made lots of these when I was doing little girls clothes, and now I'm going to make one (or two or five) for moi. I'll be using the basic directions from the April 09 issue of BWOF for this top as my starting point for measurements:
Then I plan to make at least one Colette patterns Eclair in a tunic length (rather than dress length) without the sash/bow:

It reminds me of this top from anthropologie, which i'm in love with! And it would be perfect paired with my newly purchased, loudish cotton prints!
OK...Break's over!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BWOF - June

I got my June issue yesterday! I was so jealous that Shannon got hers before me. Darn her, we only live 40 minutes apart!

I plan to trace a few things in this issue (although it strikes me as more of a "sleeper" issue on the whole.) I really love top #102, even though its "suited for a small bust". (They do give a little hint for those without the small bust... topstitch the pleats down. I might try it the original way first just to see.)

And these shorts are adorable...I may have to grade these up:

CUTE summer bandeau top; perfect with that bolero they had a couple months ago in the plus section!

And you know I'm all over this mixed print woven top, #133:

Since I've always been a fan of retro and vintage, there were 3 things in this issue that I thought were especially lovely. Skirt #127, with an optional tulle overlay:

Love dress #128:

And top #123 has a very 40s secretary vibe to me. Add a pencil-y skirt & a french roll and I think I hear 1944 calling!

I like dress #129 too...another knit with a zip though (BWOF you slay me.)

I'm seeing a trend here...lots of pleated detailing and interesting wraps & crossovers. Also lots of fitted details, which I like! I'll bet some of you have favorites I didn't notice on my first perusal! Can't wait to see what you think!

Monday, May 25, 2009

3 things.

A PR member posted an interesting prompt last week as a positive challenge...What 3 things can you praise about yourself? And then, after an honest assessment, what 3 things would you change?

This exercise started out nobly enough, with lovely women contemplating the things they loved about themselves (how refreshing!) but after a couple of pages, it was depressing. Because the 3 things "I would change" were almost always physical, and even more depressing they were physical changes they just knew they could change if they tried hard enough. The 3 things they loved were rushed through, simplified even, but the 3 things to change were lengthy!

I participated. Not because I enjoy beating myself up in public. But because I wanted to make a point...Your physical appearance is ultimately not the thing people will remember you for. Your character, your love, the way you light up a room with your energy and presence. That has nothing to do with your weight or your thighs or your stomach or your laugh lines.

You, every single one of you reading this, are important! You're beautiful, you're strong, you're independent. You're funny and capable. You're mothers, sisters, aunts.

You're my friends.

And every single one of you is worth so much more than the 3 things you would change. Those 3 things mean NOTHING to me, and I suspect they mean nothing to the people who surround you, who love you just because you're you.

In case you're wondering, here was my response to the post challenge:

I won't be changing anything physical about myself. I like me. Flaws and all. Keepers: 1. My eyes & smile, my "beauty mark", my pointy chin...actually I rather like my whole face. We've been together a long time. 2. My curvy, girly shape 3. My longish legs (especially for 5'4-1/2!!) Changes: 1.'s time for a new one! 2. My "lounging" wardrobe...I love to be comfy at home, but I'd like to be cute too! 3. Manicure & Pedicure...I need to give myself one more often! I love having pretty, sparkling toes.

I can happily say, it was difficult for me to come up with 3 things to change. And what a really wonderful feeling that was.

We can lament the media portrayal of women, and the unrealistic body expectations we're bombarded with, and the celebrities who sell out and cash in...but really, are we any better if we're just trashing ourselves all the time? Wasting precious creativity and resources trying to change?

What if...and this is a crazy thought...what if we all just LET IT GO. What if we all loved ourselves, exactly as we are, for exactly WHAT we are right now. This moment. And every moment, from here forward.

The world would change. That's what.


And each man stands
with his face in the light
of his own drawn sword.
Ready to do
what a hero can.
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simplicity 3745

Well this has been on the backburner for a LONG while! This is Simplicity 3745:

Remember back a few months ago when I posted the bodice section?

I was disgusted with my topstitching so I threw the whole thing into the UFO pile. It's been staring at me ever since. Just to refresh where I was on this pattern...I used a rayon challis I've had in stash forEVER (Shannon has the mint colorway in this!) and added contrast bands using a lightweight Asian cotton print. I cut a straight 18 and added a bit extra at the side seams of the bodice piece rather than do an FBA. I also omitted the zipper so that this was a pull-on style (hey, it's kimono sleeves with a full & flowy skirt. No zip required!)

When I was pinning the skirt onto the bodice last night, I realized (when I was on my 2nd to last pin) that I forgot to add the contrast band into this seam! Doh. So rather than unpin it all and stitch up the band/attach the band/repin...I omitted the band instead. Cheeky, I know.

After I got the dress stitched together & tried it on to check fit & length...I discovered that I loved the length of this dress AS IS. But I still had a whole section of the contrast cotton to add a 2-3" band at the bottom! I threw leg-phobia-caution to the wind and omitted that too!!

Here's the finished dress on me (at an odd angle, but the camera is on the porch swing!)

Here's the neckline a little closer up. It has a tiny bit of ripply stuff going on, but that's to be expected with this type of kimono fit in my experience. And it's not enough to fret over at all. It also has something to do with the slightly heavier band fabric, I'm pretty certain.

The print doesn't match up neatly at the bust seam, but you know... I don't even care. It's a crazy allover oval print, and with those pleats and the gathering, and the inverse scooped V at center way I was ever going to match it up.

Here's the hem...I just serged it. I might turn up a teeny tiny hem (scant 3/8") later. But only if I get brave and decide I'm not too old for leggings. Otherwise I'm going with the serged edge hem rather than make it any shorter.

And that's it! I have one more UFO I should finish up, but I have SO many things I want to make before I go on vacation, including a Collete pattern or two, and this J Stern Designs top:

I mean, seriously! How stinking cute is this?? Be sure to click for a larger view. The credit for this find totally goes to the also Stinking Cute Debbie Cook for turning me onto this pattern line. (You can see the whole line at J Stern Designs.) I'd also like to make about a bajillion BWOF knit tops for my hot, Arizona trip which is fast approaching.

Tonight I'm on my way to the G-man's 8th grade promotion program! Here's a little Marvin Gaye to see you off on this quite beautiful evening...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

holy crap.



If you weren't watching Oprah on Monday afternoon, then make a special trip to youtube to see Charice.

Her first single is Note to God, and it is breathtaking. Prepare to be speechless at the gigantic voice that comes out of this tiny girl...

(I'd link to the video, but the first two I tried to link to
have already been pulled.
Just do a search! It's inspiring!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Things Prairie Girl

My yellow bird Prairie Girl top is finished! Ifinished serging & hemming just in time to race outside for pics before the sun went down. Barely.

I guess I like it well enough to wear it, but to be honest, I'm not totally in love with it. Truthfully, it kinda reminds me of a scrub top. (albeit it a fancy one.) It fit pretty well with minimal work out of the envelope, with no FBA on this version! And the bustline fits extremely well. No gaping in the neckline whatsoever! This is a really crappy picture, but I think you can tell how smooth the neckline lays against my chest:

I started with a size 18 and added some extra length at the bustline seam and some extra at side seams for "insurance". I ended up removing all of the length plus some, and all of the "extra" at the side seam too. The under bust seam was WAY too was at my waist at the side seam! I had to remove alot from that seam, and I did so just by basting a deeper seam allowance, then checking the fit before stitching.

This little top has optional ties, and it pulls over the head. I definitely added the ties because I didn't want to emphasize the boxy, scrub top appearance. I can't decide if I like the ties or not though. They seem to pull at that seam and make me feel maternity-toppish. Ugh.

I like the idea of a pullover, cotton top in theory. Dangit. I do think I'll make it again in a softer fabric, maybe a voile or maybe a lawn like a Liberty. Still debating the length too. I'm kind of into longer tops these days, but this one might need a deeper hem. It's hitting me at the widest part of my bum. Yay.

Here's a saucy arms pose:

The sleeves fit great! Overall I'd say I'm pretty happy with the pattern. I think if I were happier with my figure then I'd be ecstatic with it! I'm not so happy with the bod these days. I'm surrounded by people who look wonderful but are dieting and it confuses me & makes me think there's something wrong with ME because I'm not on the diet bandwagon.

And yes, I know this makes me a little looney. I can deal.

As for my top, I think it will have to sit in the closet for a few days and marinate.

You know, these aren't the greatest pictures. I've screwed up the settings on my camera and I'm getting mighty aggravated! I can't get the resolution correct. Grrr. Well, there's that and try taking a self-timed photo with this going on:

Camera hog. :P


I spent the weekend sleeping...and now it's FREAKING MONDAY!!!

I think I have a virus. I'm itchy all over my chest with a scaly rash. And did I mention sleepy??

I forced myself out of my comfy recliner (green hand me down recliner, how I love thee) and stitched together this top from Favorite Things:

It's the Prairie Girl, and I've had it in my pattern stash for several months.

This version by Spool has captivated me since they posted it back in the fall.

I'm using this yellow bird print. I really wanted to use my blue colorway of the Amy Butler peony fabric above, but I can't find it. Where does 3 yards of Amy Butler fabric hide, anyway?

Note that I am still on my yellow kick.

Need to hem & finish inside seams and this one's finito, so hopefully I can snap some pics before I lose light tonight!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

colette patterns

I got a fabulous package in the mail this afternoon! It was filled with this:

Can I just say that was the fastest shipping EVER?? I ordered these suckers over the weekend! It's only Thursday! Wow. (Thanks Sarai, you are awesome!) I just love opening a package especially when so much thought has gone into making it an "experience". Beautiful pink tissue with ribbons and bows...lovely.

But the very best part was what was inside the tissue...I got the Beignet skirt & the Eclair dress:

And I got the Chantilly dress (beautiful!) and the Macaron dress:

All of Colette Patterns have a lovely, vintagey feel. Very different from everything currently out there in independent patterns.

Rather than a boring old envelope, the patterns are packaged in this storybook format, with directions in a booklet:

and a pocket in back for tucking your pattern pieces:

One reason I went a bit crazy on the ordering process (besides the sheer yummy)?? The sizing is spectacular! All are available in sizes 0-18, which has a bust measurement range of 33 to 46 inches, waist range of 25 to 38 inches, and hips of 35 to 48 inches. I fit pretty perfectly right into these which makes me very happy.

Sarai has also mentioned that she is curvy herself and wanted to make it easier to make patterns to fit her own body type, so these have a curvier draft. This works well for me, and for the vintage feel of the designs themselves.

Our very own (and adorable) Squirrelypoo was a pattern tester and has reviewed the Eclair HERE. And there's a Flickr group for Colette patterns & garments HERE. There are already a couple of finished garments in the group!

If that's not enough to convince you to check them out, you can click all of my images for a bigger peek! And of course, drop by Colette Patterns HERE to view the lovelies yourself!