Thursday, April 29, 2010

gotta love vogue.

First though, a huge Thank You for the support & well-wishes on my last post. I'd tell you how much it meant to me, but I'd probably wind up embarrassing us all. ;) Let's just say I don't really have any sort of support system in my everyday world, which makes your comments & emails that much sweeter. So thanks!

Vogue. (And not of the Sue Sylvester variety...)

No, I'm talking about the Vogue sale! (Which was extended through tonight!) I was on a self-imposed pattern diet, but I couldn't resist a couple of pretty dresses. And maybe a top or three...





As usually happens with the pattern company's seasonal offerings, I'm not terribly impressed when the "New Patterns!" are released, but on thumbing through weeks later, I see gems I just have to have! I love the interesting details (especially the variety of detail) in the top patterns!

The dresses are just gorgeous and fun and scream "summer". Now if I could just get some free time to sew! Hopefully this weekend. Tomorrow's TGIF!!

Oh, and if you haven't seen the Glee "Vogue" video, you really must google it! It's hysterically of the awesome!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

weight a minute...

We interrupt this vintage & sewing broadcast for an off-topic conversation!

Over below my archives section, you might notice a new little "ticker". (I couldn't find one online that fit in my sidebar dimensions so I made one myself!)

(Normally I wouldn't share something quite so personal, but we're all family right?)

I joined Weight Watchers this weekend! I'll be following the online program. Many of you have commented over the past few months on various projects that I had "lost weight" and that's true, last year I lost approximately 15 lbs. I didn't do anything rigid or structured, or really even planned (sorry. I know that stinks.) I substituted whole grains for white, gave up sugary sodas, eat more veggies.

As usually happens with this sort of thing, I have gained 5 lbs back though, and even the addition of an exercise bike this February hasn't really made a difference (oh, wait. I bet you're supposed to RIDE the bike!)

My two Kristines (here and here) have been keeping me motivated. It really helps to have a buddy I can email when I'm hungry! ha!

Just a note about WW...I've done it in the past, after I had my gorgeous daughter Lu, and was successful. I like that I have to figure it out on my own (still have to cook, pack a lunch, grocery shop). I'm not a fan of processed foods every day so things like protein shakes/bars/frozen dinners don't work very well for me. I'd rather have real food. Anyway, I like that I'm making new habits, not letting someone else tell me what/how much to eat.

My first goal is to lose 35 lbs. I probably won't be talking about it again (unless you just ask me something specific) but I thought I'd let all of you know because my garment sewing may change a little to allow for weight loss (i.e. I probably won't be making any fitted sheath dresses anytime soon!)

If you've read me for any length of time, you know that I'm a big proponent of LOVE THYSELF. Life is too short to be worried about something like weight or diets or pant size. I still believe that, that's still my motto. I'm still fabulous and beautiful, no matter how disgusting my jiggly parts are to thin-istas. Unfortunately I've been struggling with a couple of health issues since January that have me really thinking about quality of life, and my doctor thinks weight loss may be a positive combative change I could make.

I hope you'll wish me luck and if you need an "I'm starving/I hate that damn treadmill!" buddy, let me know! I'm probably available. ;)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

vintage love.

Just a quickie! I received some goodies in the mail this weekend from ebay and knew you'd appreciate the opportunity to lust.

Don't hate me because I'm a strategic searcher.

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

HP Miss Moneypenny Pussycat Blouse

Wow, that pattern title is a mouthful! Remember, this is one of my Emma Pillsbury top knockoffs! Everyone needs a good tie-front blouse, right?

I started this top (my "muslin") back in March. I got mad at the neckline/collar/tie directions and had to set it aside. I picked it back up today to finish because I've got to get the UFO pile under control before I start anything new. And, I really wanted to finish this one because it was turning out so cute! See?

It's not perfect, but it was just intended to be a wearable muslin. I didn't have enough of this cute lime/yellow/blue print (from Hancock's!) to make the facings or the 3/4 sleeves. Or the ties! I had to piece the ties, but my "seam" ends up right where they "tie" so it's covered. They're still not quite long enough to tie in a nice bow though.

I substituted a white cotton for the facings, which isn't terribly noticeable until you're up close to my neck like the photo below. This also shows a closeup of the collar/tie that gave me such fits!

Essentially where I screwed up the first time I started this top was that I mistakenly thought the tie/collar was a BAND, not a rolled collar. I had the collar/facing all kinds of screwed up, because the collar portion WILL attach like a band (and looks fine.) There's just no way to add the facing if you do that!

I ended up ripping it all out and redoing it. It just took me a few weeks! Unfortunately, my limited fabric also means this little top is a tad short. I knew it was going to be, but there was just no way to fix it. I took a 1/2" turned up hem, so its wearable, but just barely.

I used the short, puffed sleeve from a different pattern because I didn't have enough for the original sleeves. My plan was to gather and bind the lower edge of the sleeves, which I did. That's what will probably make this top unwearable, because the bindings are TOO TIGHT! Grrr.

I could take the bindings off and do something else for the sleeve hems...but right now I don't want to fool with it. Maybe in another month!

What I will change for my future versions (because I really love the style & the fit!): I think I need to lengthen the upper bodice front another 1/2 inch, and add length to all of the bottom bodice pieces. This is one short top as drafted.

The back (which I didn't get a shot of because it was sprinkling on me in these!) fits great, but needs a "petite" adjustment on the upper back.

One UFO knocked out! Sort of. I still need to figure out what to do about the bindings, but technically I could hang this in the closet now and get it off the sewing table!

Friday, April 23, 2010

a day off.

I took the day off... I feel so wicked.

(and no, that's not how I normally feel. shut up.)

I'm on my second cup of wussy cappucino coffee and watched the morning news programs.

Where I learned that the jackal mates for life, one of the only mammals in the world to do so. (I've personally known some jackals in my lifetime, and clearly could contest this fact. But won't.)

I do have this fabulous thing taunting me:

I don't know the pattern company (Anne Adams? Marian Martin?) but it's an 18-1/2 which I think will be just perfect! just so happens that I cut it out on Saturday morning, the 17th, and its on the sewing table now. I'm using a lovely, dark plum double knit.

I'd show you, but I'm too lazy to go get the camera.

Did I mention I took the day off?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Simplicity 4887 pt 2

I really love this little vintage dress! It's adorable, I think, and was so easy to fit & make! Just as a reminder, here's the pattern envelope:

Just to recap, I'm using a 100% cotton print fabric. It's a quilting/apparel cotton by Amy Butler called "Lotus" in the blue/cream/grey colorway. I just love this fabric! I bought it from my local quilt shop a long time ago and have been hoarding it for the perfect project.

Here's a couple of pictures of the dress on me, while the sun was setting this afternoon.

This is a "half size" dress pattern, in size 20-1/2 or bust 41. I did make a muslin of the bodice to check fit, and found that it was wonderful through the bust right out of the envelope! I just had to lower the "point" about 1/2 inch. The waist hits just above my natural waist and because of the style I left it as drafted. The neckline was just a bit too wide, which leads me to believe a vintage 18-1/2 would probably be perfect.

A couple more changes...the neck was choking me on my first fitting, so I dropped it by about 1/2" in CF, tapering to nothing at shoulder seams. But I'm particularly sensitive to things tight at the base of my neck. It really doesn't "look" that different after the change, but it feels different!

The skirt was drafted for 6 pleats in front and 6 in back. I just barely had enough fabric to cut this dress out (I even had to seam the CF!) and I ended up a bit short when I went to pin in the pleated skirt to the bodice. The math to reduce the pleats equally all around hurt my head, so I went with a gathered skirt instead! I love the "just to the knee" length. I took a 3" hem, stitched by machine.

I really wish I had a nice yellow ribbon to use for a belt, a'la the pattern illustration, but I just don't have any the right color on hand.

I love this dress for its simplicity, and for the classic boat neckline and fitted bodice, even if that closed up neck/chest and sleeveless armholes aren't the most flattering look for a busty girl with rather full upper arms. I don't mind though, it's a pretty style and easy enough to add some things to accentuate the good parts yet still keep me cool in the hot summer months!

I also have a vintage set of large yellow faux-pearls (I'm wearing the earrings in these photos!) and they look grand on the high neckline.

One interesting thing about the pattern that I just haven't seen before (but I haven't made many 60s era patterns either) was a "dart" line on the back neck. It's just a printed line, not an full "dart". The directions instruct you to sew up approximately 1/8" on either side of the line to fit the back neck. I always have trouble with the back neckline gaping, so this little dart was a lifesaver! The back neck fits perfectly!

Tonight, I added a J Crew mustard yellow "Jackie" cardigan (from ebay! Love ebay!). This is probably how I'll wear this dress most of the time.

And my mustard ankle strap pumps from Target. My favorite shoes!

My cardigan is held with a pair of 1950s gold & pearl sweater clips. So sweet! (Also from Ebay, although I have a pair or two in my jewelry box from Etsy too.)

I've moved on now to another awesome vintage pattern. Hopefully I'll have something new to share by the weekend! And this project was so easy and quick, I think I might whip out another dress or two in a fun spring/summery print really soon! This post is cross posted at We Sew Vintage!

And my lovely photographer, Lu:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

my 15 minutes of fame.

Although I think its more like 30 minutes! You know me, go big or go home.

DanainDFW is the smarty pants who guessed right in the comments. I was recently asked by the super sweet Lori of Sew Forth Now to participate in one of her sewing podcasts. It was SO fun!!

My own disclaimers before I give you the link to have a listen...

1) My voice is (has always been) that of an 8 year old girl. When people call my house they ask "Is your mama home?"

2) I'm from the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. Get ready for some twang. (Combined with the 8 year old vocal stylings, you get something similar to what you get if you watch Toddlers & Tiaras on TLC.)

3) I'm a complete dork. Oh wait, you already knew that!

No really, I had the MOST fun doing this and I think Lori's podcasts are an awesome way to get to know other sewing bloggers and hear about sewing in an entirely new way! I feel so 21st Century!

Here's the link, I'm episode #55, which just so happened to be Lori's 3rd year podcast anniversary! Happy anniversary Lori, and thanks a ton for asking me to be a part of your fun blog!

ps... Stay tuned for prom dress posting tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simplicity 4887 pt 1

Another day, another project! And I promise, this one will have a finished photo by the end of the week, because I want to wear it to "prom"!

I'm using this mid-1960s Simplicity pattern:

I'm making the print version, the sleeveless view with full skirt. I'm using an Amy Butler "Lotus" print in blue.

This particular pattern is "half-sized", which is technically petite. It fit nearly perfect right out of the envelope! I just had to lower the bust point a smidge and add a bit at the waist (of course!)

I lined the bodice in white Imperial batiste rather than use the facings for neck & sleeve like the pattern called for. I've decided not to line the skirt though; I'll just wear a slip! Maybe even one of my vintage ones for Saturday night (ooh lala!)

I just need to attach the skirt next. The pattern skirt is pleated, but I think I'll just gather it instead. My first attempt at the pleats turned out too small for the bodice, and I'd rather just not fool with figuring out why. Then I'll have to insert the invisible zip (not my favorite, as you well know!) and hem, and it will be finished!

Hopefully I'll have an update in a day or two with a pretty, spring, FINISHED, dress!

ps...I just finished watching the Notebook for the millionth time. *sniffles* Gah, I love Noah.

pps...I did something super fun today that you'll have to tune in later this week to find out about. Let's just say you'll be hearing a whole new side of me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Start your engines! One more hour til...

We're watching "Sectionals" now for our "Glee-wind". (So don't be callin' me for the next 3 hours.)

If you need to catch up, head over here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

spring = bliss.

Although I originally had tons of sewing related plans this weekend, the absolutely gorgeous day called me outdoors! Who can stay inside on a day like this??

photo by Lu

My yard will need mowing before the week's up, but the violets and other tiny wildflowers are so pretty!

photo by Lu

And the bees are back! I went a couple of summers without seeing a single bee, and it makes me extremely happy to see them buzzing all over my yard! (And then I went back in the house for my flip-flops.)

Lu & Megs, cavorting with the bees:

Megs: "I can flyyyy!!!"

In the spirit of sewing, I did prewash all my new, spring linens and batistes. They looked so pretty fluttering in the wind, a mish-mash of orange, yellow, lavendar, aqua, mint...

photo by Lu

Now I'm inside for a bit, and thinking about a tracing marathon! I think we're up to 4 or 5 in our Kyoto/Hotpatterns marathon!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Kyoto Sew Along, Anyone??

Shannon & I are thinking of having a Hotpatterns Kyoto Skirt Sew-Along!

Now, there's a lot of stuff going on with this skirt! I think both Shannon & I are leaving off the toggles, but I may do a drawstring. I might try the toggles, but I'm not sure I can find any local and I'd rather just use what I have on hand to make this. I might be leaving off the patch pockets, I'm somewhat undecided on that part.

For fabrics, I've been holding onto this pretty, fairly lightweight, pale khaki twill. It's not even "khaki" really, it's even a touch paler than in these photos. It also has a slight "sheen", which I thought eliminated it as a bottoms fabric (my buns don't really need a shiny surface). But what the hey!? I can't find my other khaki twill anyway!

For bias trim fabrics I'm having trouble choosing. The pattern needs to be small enough that bias trim will carry the print consistently along the design lines (curved yoke seam, and I believe the hems are faced with the print too. I may do my drawstrings out of the print if I have enough!)

I have plenty of this aqua/olive/cream print and it IS my favorite color (and looks good next to the twill). The print is rather large and oddly spaced though. I'd have to cut a bias strip to see if I liked it.

A paisley print would be perfect since it is basically small scale, covering a large area. This coral color paisley really pops against the khaki:

I have a bit of this aqua AND coral paisley (who knew? The bounds of my stash truly knows no limits). Which seems like a perfect combination of my favorite parts of the above two fabrics...except I don't think I have enough for bias strips. Grr.

I have more fabrics (ha. Understatement.) that might work, lighting is a bit off in this picture. The cheetah print would be fun (it's not as "yellow" as shown below). The brown with red dot might be interesting too, but I'm not sure what the bias strips would look like.

Since I typically need some sort of motivation to finish projects, we'd love to have some of you Kyoto-owners (or owners to be) join us!! Shannon doesn't typically need motivation. She's better than me with that whole focus thing.

Kyoto Sew Along. Any takers?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Colette Patterns Beignet Skirt

This project began as a "real" garment (because I've already made one Beignet that fit, right out of the envelope!) but ended up a "wearable muslin" that I'm not sure I'll actually wear! **UPDATE: I wore it today because with the top untucked you can't see the foldy darts. And I decided I was overthinking something that looked perfectly fine. Better than some of my RTW, that's for sure!

I'm having some issues with fit on this one. Poo.

Here's a really bad photo to get you going:

Gah. I really need to work on that slouchy posture thing.

Anyway...a little about the pattern...This is one of the first Colette patterns issued, so there are a couple of typos, but nothing major. I'm sure subsequent printings fixed that (and they don't affect instructions, just supplies needed on the pattern back.) The supplies include a 16" invisible zipper. Uh, obviously this skirt has a zipper, but the actual Beignet pattern buttons up the front (no zip at all). In other words, if you have the original pattern and want to make the Beignet as-is, you don't need a zip.

The sizing on Colette patterns more closely resembles RTW, and I fall between the 16/18 on bottom. Just like in real life. (Yay. Not.) I cut right between the lines on my original Beignet and it fit perfect, right out of the box. (Yay for reals!)

For this version I used a stretch cotton in pale lime. I really wanted more of a "pencil skirt" feel, and the Beignet is just ever so slightly a-line. I also wanted a zip closer and no buttons. So I adjusted the pattern a bit. I used the CB for the front and the CF (with button/buttonhole overlap removed, plus s/a) for the back. Then I used the front side pieces, which do not a-line, for all the sides. The upper portion is the same as the back, but the back sides begin to a-line at the hem.

Fit was great, if a little finicky because of using the invisible zip in back on a skirt that was intended to have a button placket. My stretch cotton was a fiddly too and hard to judge fit on in-progress. After wearing only a few minutes to set up the camera, it started to sag and bag in front under my round tummy.

I also have darts trying to form on the side panels. Thanks to Shannon I realized my mistake that caused these. I have a tilted waist in front and I always lower the front waist on pants/skirt by about 1". After trying this on without the facings, I made this adjustment, trimming away 1" at CF and tapering to nothing at the side seams. The front hem was dipping down about 1". I should also mention I didn't have those folds whatsoever before removing the inch.

Well...the hem is even now, but I have the darty-fold thingies. I don't care toooo much on this skirt, because I can just wear tops untucked and it should cover the folds. Except that the entire point of this skirt was to wear my red top tucked in!! With a cute little belt maybe (Haven't added belt loops though, I was thinking of making threadloops instead. Now I'll probably just leave that off.)

I will say I don't know how wearable this skirt would be over a long day! This cotton (a cotton/lycra with a pretty jacquard weave) stretched out aLOT just in the 15 minutes I was maneuvering to snap some pics. Note how the front just gets baggier and baggier! Good news, I guess, is that I didn't need a hem vent.

After taking these pictures I did take up the CF/side seams just a bit, about 1/4 on either side. That helped with the bagging a little.

Oh! This skirt is also unlined. I had to draft a facing for the "center back" (which was the "front", haha. Are you confused yet?) . I'll try to get photos of all that later today if you promise not to make fun of my white serger thread. I'm so lazy about changing those threads! (not that I had lime anyway. So there.)

With all the fiddling, I'm sort of excited to attempt this skirt in a linen or something. Off to work! It's Monday. Sigh.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

ruffly blouses = love.

I spent the better part of the past 3 days dreaming of sewing rather than sewing anything. BUT...while I dreamed, I traced! That's where I get most of my tracing done, in fact. Those days when I don't feel like actually sewing on one of the many UFOs lying about, I pop a movie in the dvd player and trace all those lovely garments BWOF (now BS) puts in my mailbox monthly.

This weekend I concentrated on blouses, because I love love love all of the retro and vintage-styled blouses BS has had in recent months. And of course, Emma Pillsbury wears any number of gorgeous ruffly and bow tied blouses every week too, which only spurs me on. I especially love this, in its over the top ruffliness:

Luckily, it's a basic button-front blouse pattern. The lace ruffles are what makes the shirt. I've got a couple of patterns that will work, including the Simplicity one I just finished (if I add a collar from another pattern).

And this blouse has made numerous appearances on Glee, which is enough to convince me I need one. Right now.

What I really love about it is that it has a V-neck, AND a tie. I mean, you don't really see that too often! I'm chesty (heh), so I like open necklines as a rule. I have made a "muslin" of the Miss MoneyPenny Pussycat Blouse (it's not quite finished I screwed up the collar and had to rip it out and reattach last weekend.)

I have to say...Vintage Hotpatterns instructions?? Not my favorite thing.

This BWOF top from the plus section in the 9/2009 issue is also a V-neck with a tie. Very chic. Traced it last night and can't wait to try it! Note that this issue also has a great, basic pencil skirt. And, not that you can tell from this drawing, nor from the photo in the magazine, but it has this great flounce in back! I would have totally missed it if Shannon hadn't pointed it out. Amazing skirt. It always pays to check the back views in the instruction section!

Then, just in the spirit of ruffly blouses, I remembered this great top I had dogeared from the 6/2007 issue:

Started tracing it, graded and did the FBA on the CF piece when this nagging deja vu thing just would NOT leave me alone. And then it dawned on me. I had just traced THIS ruffly top from the Spring 2010 issue of Burda Plus magazine:
Doh. Except for the bit of gathering at the bustline (which I could easily add to my ALREADY TRACED pattern), its nearly identical. In fact, I sort of like the plus version better!

For fabrics, I have a yummy robin's egg Imperial batiste and a lavender voile. Both will require a nice cami underneath, so I better get cracking on a pattern for that too. I also have some white Imperial that I'd like to use for the lace top.

Better get my buns offline if I want to see any of these garments in real life though!

Happy Easter!

For all my friends who celebrate, I hope you all have a beautiful holiday!

and for all of my friends who don't...I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

pin me.

I'm still chasing Shannon it seems. She posts an Emmafication wardrobe, I post a wannabe Emmafied garment of my own.

Then this week, she posts this super adorable circle skirt with the CUTEST enamel flower pin.

No worries. Just lookie what came in my mailbox today!

I've been stalking etsy & ebay for weeks trying to build up a small collection of retro pins like Miss Pillsbury wears. And while both vendors abound with the Mod (read: loud) daisies in a variety of psychedelic colors, I've tried to concentrate on the still kitschy but more glamorous varieties.

Unfortunately that means I lose at auction. Alot. (Because I'm fashionable, but cheap.)

But this one...this one is the perfect shade of my very favorite aqua blue, and has a dazzling black rhinestone center for just the right touch of bling.

Swoon. I'm pretty sure Emma would agree.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


The peach trees are blooming in my backyard!

Spring's here! Woot!