2013 ESSENTIAL TOPS SEW-A-LONG FINISHED PROJECTS

August 31, 2013

EVER ELUSIVE...

...my sewing personality is ALWAYS  obsessing over SOMETHING!  And that SOMETHING is usually very elusive.  This time it's fabric  - AGAIN! Are you familiar with this Vogue Marci Tilton pattern?  Well, I've fallen in love with it; and my sewing self is telling me that we must have one of them.   She won't take no for an answer!
Vogue 8904
A number of people have made this dress very successfully in different versions.  I've been highly impressed by the dresses I've seen, but I think the one that stands out in the crowd was made by Sewmanju !  Yes another LBD right?, BUT OH MY, her fabric is exquisite!  It's called textured jacquard stretch jersey.


Of course black doesn't photograph well, but if you look hard you can see the ribbed texture
Here it is in sage green so you can see the ribbed texture better.
O.k., so what's the problem???  After a mad, mad search the only seller I could find was on Ebay, and she doesn't ship internationally.  That's a trip - Right???

So I need to pose the question, does anyone know where I could find this fabric on the U.S. side of the pond???  We would really like to have some of it...


A REAL MASTER CRAFTSMAN...

News about Mr. Jim MacFarland, a Master Tailor, is really getting around blogland.  A big "thanks" to  Victoria of Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing for introducing him to those of us who had never heard of him.  A trip to his blog, The Lost Art of Fine Tailoring will give you more information about the master craftsman.  It would be amazing having a tenth of his knowledge for my arsenal.

                                               

You might enjoy the video -  Waistband, Ban Roll and Hook & Eye that is posted on his blog.  If I only lived closer to Savannah I'd certainly try to take one of his classes, but alas, I'm a long three long hours away and can't schedule regular treks down I-16...



August 28, 2013

FESS UP!!!

... go ahead - admit it.  I know that EVERYONE of you has at least ONE sewing related
  • tool,
  • gadget,
  • or piece of machinery
that
  • you just HAD to HAVE, or
  • you thought would make your sewing experience SOOOO much easier, or
  • more professionally polished, or
  • that was so "STATE OF THE ART" you thought every sewing room needed to have one.
THEN, after acquiring that tool, gadget, or piece of machinery, YOU NEVER USE IT!   I confess.  Here's one of mine.


FASTTURN..still unopened - never used.  I should be ashamed of myself!  Good thing it cost under $20.  Maybe one day I'll open it up and at least read the instructions.

 Go ahead.  Fess up!  Tell us what you've got...







August 26, 2013

EXCESSIVE EASE...

...I test drove my new outfit today.  It is amazes me how the same patterns used with different fabrics  affect the fit.  But then again, I really shouldn't be so surprised.  My pants grew by noon today, and the ITY knit used for my top just didn't have as much snap as the fabric used for my muslin.




The pants fit good this morning with just a little ease.  I'm going back into the side seams this evening to take out that extra ease.  I'll also adjust the back seam of the top to make it hug just a bit snugger at the hemline.  It should be an easy fix.  I'll get this done early this evening and that way both garments will be ready for their next rotation when the time come.  You know me - I'm ready to move on... 

August 25, 2013

INSPITE OF THE STORM...

...whenever I plan a concentrated weekend of sewing - it always starts on Friday evening.  As a matter of fact, this past Friday I had planned an all nighter because after all it's been quite a while since I've pulled one of those. My plans were postponed just a little by one of our extreme Georgia Summer thunderstorms.  You know it had to be a bad one if I felt unsafe sitting at my sewing machine that's stationed in front of a window.  I finally just gave in and went to bed.

I did get a chance to finish my second pair of bell bottom pants on Saturday.  I had cut them out on Tuesday; marked on Wednesday, installed the front fly zipper (went in perfectly without a hitch - LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS), and stitched in the pocket lining on Thursday.  It would have been so easy to finish them on Friday, but oh well.  I love my navy bells that I made during my pants marathon back May so much that I thought I also needed a red pair.  I will show a picture later this week.

Weekend sewing plans included another rendition of the Vogue 1282 top.
I've worn the wearable muslin of this top repeatedly this summer and felt that I definitely needed  a black version because it's such a great top.
I found this black ITY knit at Hancock Fabrics and though was a little pricey, thank goodness for 50% off coupons that make having some of the fabrics I want possible.  This top will make a great addition to my closet, and although sleeveless will be worn with a jacket in fall/winter.

All and all I count this weekend quite productive even with the postponement due to the storm.  Maybe it was best that I didn't pull an all nighter,  guess I just needed to get my rest...






.............

August 21, 2013

WHAT'S YOUR GAME PLAN...

...Everyday I see more and more bloggers making plans for Fall sewing.  I'm one of them, even though there's still 4 1/2 weeks of Summer left before we officially celebrate the Autumnal Equinox.  I'm a self-proclaimed proclaimed Spring/Summer kind of girl.  Even still, I do love sewing for the Fall/Winter.  There are so many ideas and plans flying around my head that I need to hire a fashion traffic controller.  Those ideas and plans are causing some real sewing excitement!

I ripped this page from a J.C. Penney catalog months ago because it fits the "easy dressing, plain and simple" side of my esthetic perfectly.  It's been hanging out on my inspiration board waiting for just the right moment.
I'm in love with #1,2,5,6, 7, and 8 - and have been on a mad hunt for fabric to match up for weeks. Of course there are some dressier garments on the horizon as well. 
I think it will make a very nice cardigan substitute.  So this jacket is one of my FALL MUST HAVES.

What is your FALL MUST HAVE PATTERN???




August 19, 2013

HAVE YOU TRIED THREAD HEAVEN???

...I saw someone post about Thread Heaven just a while ago.  Can't remember who it was.  I thought it was Bunny at LaSewista, but I can't find the post.  Anyway, after reading about it I picked up a block at JoAnn's notion sale several weeks ago.





It leaves my thread AMAZINGLY light feeling.  So much unlike bee's wax that causes my thread to feel sort of stiff, but I still get the anti-tangling effect even better.  Glad I picked some up, it made the hand sewing on my last project a bit easier...

August 17, 2013

MUSLIN MUSINGS...

...as you know, last weekend I started work on a muslin for one of my Fall Vision Dresses - Vogue 8939.

I really liked the fit of this muslin after tweaking it just a little bit.  I altered the neckline and collar after discovering that it was just a bit too tight and thick.   Then decided that maybe, just maybe the dress should become a wearable muslin, or better yet my actual black Fall Vision Dress.  But because the fabric was a bit thin it would require a slip (which I ain't gonna wear), it would need a lining.  My next thought was to stop production on the muslin, and go ahead and donate it rather than spend time, effort and the cost of lining fabric.  This way I could go ahead and start the real dress, made from my glorious double knit.

Mmmmm, decisions, decisions!  By mid week I had decided that since I'd already put time and good sewing work into it, I'd go ahead and line the dress and gift it.  So that's what I've worked on with limited sewing time this week, finishing the dress this morning.  It's lined, hemmed and ready to box up for shipment to it's new owner - maybe today.


Speaking of muslin making - I noticed three other bloggers talking about the merits of muslining this week. Terri-Virginia's Daughter, Sigrid and Lladybird.  Muslin making - it is a valuable sewing tool...

August 12, 2013

YEP! I QUITE OFTEN THROW MY HAT IN...

 ...I love winning!!! - who doesn't, right?  There are so many sewing blog give-a-ways all the time, and yep, I quite often throw my hat in.  After all, you never win if you don't enter.  I never enter contests if I already have the item being offered, unless it's for fabric (weakness in this area - what can I say). 

 I thought I'd take the time to show my bounty from the past few months and also take the time to formerly thank the give-a-way providers:

I used Far's picture to show this beautiful bordered 6 1/2 yard cut Indian silk saree, the only difference is that mine is green instead of maroon. (too lazy to take a picture of mine).  May I say - IT'S BEAUTIFUL!  I plan on using part of it to make a tunic when I locate just the right pattern.  There will be more than enough yardage left to make some elegant accent pillows for my living room - that way I'll get to look at it everyday and tell the story about the fabric to my guests who come to visit, because I know they'll be asking about my future pillows!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FAR - THE SAREE IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!!!


This absolutely too CUTE Shabby Apple Hully Gully pencil skirt from Clio at fivemuses.blogspot.com.  WHATTTT, a skirt that I didn't have to make myself!  And it fits!  Has the cutest bow at the front waist that can't been seen in this picture.  It'll rock!, and my students will love the idea of it.  Oh, I haven't mentioned, but I have 46 brand new students, and 20 others who returned for the second year of my pathway - WONDERFUL!!! There are also 7 students from last school term who are registered for fall semester at the college (we call it the big school) to finish the program for licensure - and 5 of my former students are already at the big school slated for graduation in December.  Can you tell how proud I am of MY STUDENTS!   Anyway, back on track.  They love the clothes I wear, and encourage me in my dressing efforts.  They will love Clio's skirt when I wear it to school as well as the story behind it.  "Ms. Lewis always has a story", so say my students.  Hey, if you live to get my age you have lots of stories!  THANK YOU CLIO FOR ADDING ANOTHER STORY TO MY REPERTOIRE WITH YOUR HULLY GULLY SKIRT!  P.S., HOPE YOU HAD A GREAT TIME AT MPB IN NYC THIS WEEKEND!

Lastly, but certainly not least.  This prize arrived in the mail just yesterday and all the way from Australia!  It's the Style Arc Dee Top that I won in Rachel's give-a-way at boodogg.blogspot.com.   Love, love, love a great tshirt pattern, and even more with the unique twist in the front.  I'll be the only one in town with this shirt.  I'd eyed the pattern before, and when Rachel did the give-a-way, well it was just a natural thing to throw my hat in the ring!  THANK YOU RACHEL, FOR THE PATTERN  and for making the give-a-way international.  My kids are gonna love this one too!  I feel another story coming on!
It's certainly time to PAY THIS THING FORWARD!  So be looking for a give-a-way announcement on my blog sometime soon!!!

August 11, 2013

I LOVE IT WHEN VISIONS BECOME REALIITY...

...unbeknownst to me, and way out of my norm, I'm wanting to FLIP ON OVER INTO FALL right now.  But I don't think I'm  absolutely finished with summer yet!   Thank God I'm a woman!  This constant battle of changing my mind would surly drive a man crazy (lol).  I just couldn't wait to stitch up this classic knit dress from Vogue 8939.  Got to make the vision of my last post a reality...
 

Simple, yes!  But I think "simple" best describes my style.   "Simple" affords me limitless possibilities of mixing and matching, and the opportunity to play with the accessorizing I love so much for the Fall.  So this weekend I traced off the pattern, and picked out an inexpensive light weight ribbed knit from Hancock to play around with the pattern for fit.

  • firstly, this turtle neck is no joke!  It's a real deal turtle - Choke city here, might I add; and thick even with using my light weight fabric. Got to figure out a way to eliminate some of that bulk or I'd be pulling at that thing all day long.  Got to definitely remember to apply my make up after I put the dress on or I'd end up with a real smear mess.
  • I have several options concerning the collar:  pull a turtle neck pattern piece from an old Kwik Sew pattern that I've used before; or make the collar a cowl.  mmmmm we'll see...
  •  secondly, the dress is S-H-O-R-T, as can clearly be seen on the model.  I added 5 inches to my muslin.  I thought that would be more than enough, but since I do plan on wearing it with boots, I'm thinking about adding 2 inches more - the pattern calls for a  1" hem.
  • the dress runs large in the side seams.  I cut a 14 through the neck, shoulders and bust area and expanded to size 16 in the side seams.  As always, I'm glad that I made a muslin*.
*Please note that although I constantly talk of muslining, I do realize that it is not for everyone.  There are plenty of experienced sewists out there who just adjust the pattern itself for a perfect fit every time thus eliminating the need for a muslin.  Shucks, if I still had my out of the envelope size 12 body that I  thought was too fat back then, but always thought I'd have, I wouldn't EVER make a muslin!  It's a tremendous use of my limited sewing time.  But time and time again, I am not sorry that I bothered making it up.   It's like my fitting insurance policy.
 
so glad I finally learned to crop pictures.  That way I don't have to show ya'll the entirety of my junky sewing room (lol).  Add the elongated blazer from this same pattern and some boots, and I'll be off to professionally dressed work day!
I can see from my picture that I tapered more on the right below the hips than I did on the left.  Need to correct that.  This turned out to be a pretty good mock up, and could very well be a wearable muslin if I go back in and add a lining to the body of the dress.  That wouldn't be hard or take too long to do with some hand stitching at the sleeve opening and neck.  I'll finish this muslin, and hopefully start working on the actual fashion dress in pontederoma...


August 5, 2013

FLIPPING ON OVER INTO FALL...

...as far as sewing and blogging have been concerned - school started last Thursday - need I say more.  This past weekend I did get a chance to start a new top muslin for this pattern

BUTTERICK 5890
I was going to make View B, but ran into at least four fit issues:
  • the front neckline was too high
  • even with cutting a size 14 through the neck and shoulder area, had to take a 1" tuck in the center front at the neckline
  • needed to take a 1/2" horizontal tuck above the bust
  • had major diagonal drag wrinkles radiating from mid arm toward the bust
I'm trying to decide if I want the top bad enough to work through the pattern alterations.  I'm really glad that I made the muslin rather than going straight for my fashion fabric.  Right now I feel the need to make something absolutely gorgeous but simple (or is that an oxymoron?).

Contrary to my norm, I'm absolutely ready to move on over into Fall sewing even though there's still more than a month of summer left, and temperatures are steaming in the high 90's.  Maybe I feel the need to flip on over into Fall because school starts so very early here.  There are several "must haves" on the top of my Fall list, and since I can't figure out what else to sew for summer - I might as well flip on over, don't you think?

Of all the new Vogue patterns this is the one that I just had to have
VOGUE 8939
I do love the elongated blazer, but the dress in the pattern is what I want most.
A plain and simple, turtle necked, straight knit dress.  No darts (I hate bust darts in knit fabric), no zipper.  What more could I ask for??? I visualize it accessorized with a low slung wide belt and a big bib necklace, or a very colorful scarf, or even a big pashmina shawl in a contrasting color worn with boots.  Do you see how far my mind takes these things?, way on over into the deep end.  I've got a luxurious double knit left over from my first NYC shopping trip that I've been saving for just the right garment, and I think this one is it.  Yes I'll make a muslin, add a back hem vent, and about 5 inches in length.  Got to make sure this thing is right if I'm gonna use my double knit...

BOOKS ACQUIRED

  • Pants Sewing Guide
  • Denim Revolution
  • Pants for Real People
  • Jackets for Real Peopls
  • Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring - Palmer & Pletsch - Gifted
  • The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook
  • Ribbon Crafts
  • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers
  • Successful Serging
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women
  • Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Singer - Perfect Plus
  • Cool Couture
  • Couture, The Fine Art of Sewing
  • Singer Sewing Reference Library - Tailoring - GIFTED
  • The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns - Creative Publishing International
  • Fit for Real People
  • DK-The Complete Book of Sewing