Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Year End Review and 2011 Goals

At the beginning of 2010 I posted my goals here. Here is a review of what was or wasn't accomplished:
1. Sewed window treatments for the dining room and family room ( unplanned)
2. Crochet a bag ( planned)
3. Made a jacket, as a result I have a TNT jacket pattern (planned)
4. Made 2- skirts here and here (unplanned)
5. Worked on TNT dress/blouse muslin. I still have to do minor tweaking, however, its a winner, I have a basic dress/blouse sloper (unplanned)
6. Spent time with the fabulous Omega and met up with two great sewing sisters- Carolynn and Sheila (unplanned)
7. Spent a Saturday with friends- pattern review in August (unplanned)
8. Sewed from my stash (planned) jacket, skirts and window treatments
9. Continue to work and improve my sewing skills
10. Bought a 1929 vintage Singer sewing machine
11. Attended a sewing class with Connie Crawford

Not Accomplished
1. I did not work on any unfinished project
2 Did not work on pants
3. Although I did sew from my stash, it was a small amount
4. I spent too much money on fabric.

As 2010 end, I have a sense of satisfaction regarding my accomplishments. I did not sew many garments, however the few pieces I sewed were sewn using vintage techniques including some tailoring techniques (jacket) and they fit my body perfectly.

My Sewing Goals for 2011

Sew the following:
Priority: To finish UFO in my sewing room
1. Skirts- 4
2. Dresses- 2
3. Jackets- 1
4. Simple Tops-
5. Pants- 1
6. Craft- Projects
7. Take a sewing class

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Holidays

This is a photo of the Xmas tree (last year) in my living room. I have two Xmas tress for my living room, a big tree and a table top tree. This year I am using the tabletop tree. I have a total of 10 Xmas trees. Each room has a different team.

Let me give you a brief idea of I got started.
December 1994 my son was 10-months old and it was his first Xmas. I wanted new decorations and I could not afford to buy new decorations nor did I have a lot of money to buy gifts. I watched Martha Stewart’s and other craft show on TV and came up with the idea to make a gingerbread theme. I bought $3.00 of camel color felt, brown embroidery floss, batting and made the ornaments on the tree below. In addition to the ornaments I used brown paper bags from the grocery store and wrapped empty gift boxes, drew and painted more of the gingerbread dolls on the gift boxes. I save the ornaments and boxes until 1996 when I loaned the ornaments to family member; they were returned in 2008. I don’t know what happened to the gift boxes. So last year was the first time I re-decorate a tree in the gingerbread theme. As you can see in the picture below I found red bags with the gingerbread theme. I am going to change the red bags to brown bags later.

This was my starting point; in 1996 I came up with a second theme; gold angels. I bought gold plastic angels after Xmas, and painted their faces to suit my decor. Know it takes me approximately 2-3-years to develop a theme; from the ornaments on the tree to decorating the mantle over the fireplace etc.

In 1999 I started the third theme Santa Claus. I made the ornaments out of recycled brown paper bags from the grocery store. I drew the faces and painted and glittered each one. I probable made 75-100 medium to large ornaments. Just like the gingerbread ornaments, I loaned them out in 2004 and the rest is history. My friend could not find the ornaments, and finally I was able to get them back in 2006; however they were flattened and essentially needed a little work to bring them back. After all the work it took to create the Santa Claus ornaments, I just did not feel like being bother. I was in A.C. Moore after Xmas and I found ceramic Santa Claus faces that you can paint and decorate for 60% off. That was 4-years ago.
As a result of not having the Santa Claus ornaments in 1996 I bought string of pearls at the RagShop for pennies and strung my living room tree with lots of pearls like garland and that was how the fourth theme was started: crystal/clear. Since then this tree took on a life of its own. I started buying clear ornaments, crystals including Swarovski crustal. I have one of kind ornaments from cheap to somewhat pricey. Last year I added lots of clear balls. This is a versatile theme because you can add a small amount of color to the tree with little effort.

In 2004, my sister bought me a white Xmas tree. I bought a large urn, and use it as the base of the white tree and placed the tree in the dining room. This was theme #5 Apples, Pears with a touch of red. Again I went to the Rag Shop Xmas eve and bought reddish/burgundy/goldish pears and apples and decorated the tree.

In 2007 I redecorated my dining room and decided to buy a largeee Xmas tree and decorated the tree in a green; theme #6. I found the most beautiful ornaments at Crate and Barrel, Jo-Ann's and other places including discount stores.
I also started theme #7- the kitchen tree. This tree was decorated with stainless steel pot & pan I bought at Toys R US, including rolling pins, utensils etc.

Last year I decide to add a Xmas tree in the back porch/laundry room, guest bathroom.

I have two more Xmas tress on the front porch, one in bay window and one in the front porch. One more, the foyer….. I started a collecting ornaments for a Kwanzaa/Ethnic theme. I have been working on this idea for the at lease 13-years. Maybe next year?

This is a lot of work, and this year I decided to streamline the decorations and not put up so many trees. I will like to spend my holiday time enjoying the holidays with family, visiting friends,and making plans for the approaching new year.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Window Coverings- Family Room

I bought 8 yds of heavy upholstery fabric in August, at The Fabric Warehouse for $16.00. It was on the clearance table for $4.oo/yd plus 50% off. I've sewn lots of home dec projects, however this was the first time I sewed with this type of fabric. I bought the fabric because of the mutted colors of red, green, blue and gold; also it has an etnic look.
The project took 4-5 hours to complete. My first attempt was a disaster. The side seams were wavy and it did not hang right.
Here are the steps to make a simple window covering:
1. Cut the desired length of fabric- include hems and header
2. Fold the fabric length wise, the selvages may or may not meet. The goal here is for the fabric to hang straight. See below

As you can see the selvages did not line up.
3. Pin the selvages. I used a yard stick, chalk pen, rotary mat and a rotary cutter. Use a line on the rotary mat and drarw a straight line with the chalk across the selvage. Cut the selvages. You could remove 1-3 inches or more from the side.
See below

4. Once the fabric was straighten, I proceeded to straighten the top and bottom, using the lines on the rotary mat, the yardstick etc.
5 I serged the sides, the top and the bottom.
6. The sides were turned under 1-inch. Here I had to tweak the sides a little, I removed 1/2-2 additional inches from the side because it was not straight.
7. The top header was hemmed 3-inches and the bottom was given a 1-inch hem.
This was straight stitching, nothing fancy. The side panels are twin sheets I bought in Walmart 3-years ago for $3.00 per sheet.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Look 6808

In my previous post you saw that the muslin only needed tweaking. I made muslin #5, in a dark grey fabric. I relay on photos to fit myself in the back and the gray fabric made it easier for me to see what exactly what correction I needed to make.
The pink muslin was fine; it only needed a bit of tweaking. I sewed this muslin following the Bishop's method. The results was a better fitting muslin. The grey muslin was hand basted and that made a difference in the overall fit and looks of the muslin.

The following are notes from this process:
1.I moved the zipper from the side seam to the center back seam. The pattern instructions called for the zipper to be inserted into the side seam. I am working with two muslins, one has the zipper in the side seam and the second muslin has the zipper in the center back seam.

2.I did not compare the center back length and center front length measurements of the pattern to my CB and CF length measurements. After comparing the measurements, the CB was length by 3’’to the CF was length by 2”. A swayback adjustment was done in the early stages of fitting the pattern. The addition of length to the CB and CF improved the fit of the muslin. A swayback adjustment was done in the early stages and once the CB and CF were corrected the fit in the back was better. Also the CB of curved and fits my swayback.

3. I decreased the length of the back dart by one-inch and did the same in the front.

4. There was gaposis in the front neckline. ½” was removed; once the zipper was removed from the side seam and inserted into CB; this lead to the removal of an additional ½” from the neckline.

5. Next: Sewing the pattern out of a fashion fabric. This is work in progress, my ultimate goal is for this pattern to become a TNT.

This was a journey that started when I took a fitting class in October 2000. In this class I learned how to do alterations to a basic dress. That my introduction to fitting and altering a pattern. Fast forward to 2007, I enrolled in a fashion design class at the community college. The first class was learning to draft a dress sloper with long sleeves. The skirt was drafted first. That was very easy. Because most of the class did not know how to use a sewing machine, a simple skirt became a time consuming process. Towards the end of the semester the teacher rushed through the bodice sloper and it was a disaster....I became so frustrated that I refused to enroll in any more classes.

Do you know what made the difference and why I was able to finally fit this blouse/dress sloper? It is you guys. I learned from all the blogs I read. I bought books based on a blogger's suggestion ( The Bishop Method of Sewing, Adele Margolis). I watched sewing videos, I read Threads Magazines articles including the last series of fitting articles done by Kenneth King etc. The fact is that you guys in sewing blog world are the best. To all of you who took the time to post detailed instruction on your blogs and gave tips how to accomplish a sewing task, Thank You so very much

Lastly, the sloper is not perfect, and it will improve as I work with it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Nwe Look 6808

This is what I have been working on. I pretty happy with this muslin so far. I made a total of 3-muslin. I still have to tweak it some more. I am not going to over fit. See the pics below, your comments will be greatly appreciated. My plan is to work on this muslin and get the fit right, so that I can have a basic TNT pattern to work with.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More About My Vintage Singer

After reading the comments regarding the vintage Singer sewing machine, I decided to do a follow-up post. In the front of the sewing machine there is a serial number engraved into a metal plate. Forgive the blurry picture, the number is AA703882

I checked Singer sewing site to find out when the sewing machine was built. I though it was 1929, but after reading Claire's comment I decided to check the site again and realized that it was built in 1924.

Claire was kind enough to post a website that provides instructions regarding how to service a vintage Singer.

Michelle commented about the cost of cleaning and refurbishing the sewing machine and how much I am going to enjoy sewing on the machine.

I knew that if I searched the Internet or send a S.O.S that someone in blog world would have provided me with the information on how I could clean and refurbish the machine myself.
I bought the machine on E-Bay and when it arrived it was filthy and smelled musty. I did not have the time, energy or interest once the sewing machine arrived. My first reaction was to put throw it into the garbage. I contacted the seller and he was kind enough to call me. I learned a little about the history of the machine and I found out that the seller was an elderly person who was supplementing his income . He was kind and was willing to do whatever he could to make me happy with my purchase.

After my conversation with the seller I decided to get the sewing machine professionally taken care of. I checked several places and found out that it would be expensive.

I am happy with the machine, however this was a learning experience and trust me I would not buy another vintage Singer. Well maybe... Anyway I am going to visit the website that Claire provided, just in case another vintage machine falls in my lap or there is one on E-Bay of Craig's list the hypnotize me and make me buy it. Next time I will be doing the work myself...

Oh, the knit bag is finished, The "fashionista" Sheila inspired me to finished knitting the bag and its done. I nedd to purchase handles, add lining and done. More later....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1929 Vintage Singer

I my last post I shared that I did a lot of sewing related shopping this year. In July I bought this vintage Singer on E-Bay for $90.00 including shipping and handling. The owner told me that it belonged to his grandmother and it was stored in an Attic for a few years. It came with a metal bar that you push against and that was how the machine sewed. I got it professionally service and added an electric foot pedal. I spent approximately $400.00 This machine will last another hundred years. In this area to buy a similar vintage sewing machine that was refurbished could cost approximately $400-$500. If I ever buy another vintage sewing machine, it will be for display only, because it is an expense to get cleaned up and service.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Not much sewing around here. I caught the flu in the middle of August and it progressed to Asthma. Add the demands of work and life into the equation and you can imagine the rest.

I have not sewn a stitch, however,I am knitting a small bag. There is a small yarn store next my allergist's office. Last spring a knitted bag was displayed in the shop's window; it was knitted with a black cotton yarn and a lime green funky yarn. I am using the same black cotton yarn with a funky black yarn. Now I am looking for a beautiful handle, it's almost done, I need one more ball of funky yarn and done.

I've spent my time visiting blog land and enjoying it. I have a lot to share. I bought lots of fabrics this year, books, a 1929 table top sewing machine and I visited Seattle.

After reading Carolyn's blog regarding her stash, I have to confess that my stash is 3-4 or even 5 times bigger than Carolyn. My pattern stash is probably around 2000 (conservative number).
What I am going to do about this, it is time to purge. When and how more about this later...

I will post more about the above mentioned later.........

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Since I finished the drapes I've had so many complements from friends and family. Some of the comments were " they look so rich, I know that was a lot of work, luxurious".
It was a lot of work; lesson learned- planning, gathering all the supplies you're going to need and deciding a sewing order is the key to success.
Of course I'm going to continue to make window coverings. In fact I love sewing home dec projects. The one advice I will share is that the lining should be added at the very end. Don't add it a the very beginning because the drape becomes too heavy. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Yesterday I sewed the last three panels. After sewing 11-panels fully lined, last 3-panels was quick and easy to sew because I figured out that it much easier to sew the curtains first and attached the lining at the very end.

I hung them up last night and my daughter commented that of those were the most regal and rich looking curtains I've ever sewed.

I must admit there all lovely, but oh my gosh it was work. Anyway I wrote extensive notes, so the next time around it should be easier.

I stayed up until 1am cleaning up my sewing space, and today I will finish cleaning up.

Next- I am going to finish working on a blouse muslin and for the September Friday night sew-in I am going to work on finishing the red cropped jacket. No more big ideas for Friday night sew-in, yep I learned my lesson

Photos later

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Wonderful Saturday

Saturday morning I met up with a wonderful group of women at Starbucks on West 35st and 8th avenue. We had coffee a few of us had a light breakfast and at 10am we left Starbucks and walked to 37st, where we met the second group of fabulous women such as Sheila, Carolyn, Andrea, Nancy K, Wendy etc. I don't remember all the names, however It was so great to meet all these great ladies. Visit Carolyn's blog for more information

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Window Covering- Post Friday Night Sew- In

I have 3-panels up. I am adding tabs to the top header, these tabs create the pleats at the top. I've made window treatments many times but never this many panels, six was the maximum. Oh wellllll.
Here is picture of the window treatment.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

I tooked Friday off. I decided to sew new window treatments for my dining room. I sewed all the windows covering in my home. I bought 42yds of home dec fabric cut in 3.5yds panel in July for a total of 12 panels. Earlier in the week I bought 3-spool of threads- 500yds each and on Thursday night while watching t.v. I pinned the left and right side hem of the 12-panel. I did not have enough lining fabric in my stash. On Friday morning I went to Jo-Anns and bought 50yds of muslin for $1.99/yd + a 50% coupon for only $25.00. I started sewing at 6pm and the panels were ready by 11:45pm. I proceeded to cut 3yds panels of muslin. and went to bed at 1am.

Today I pinned the top header and added the muslin to the panels. And now back to sewing.
I should be finish by late tonight or early tomorrow.

Although I did not finish on Friday night, just the idea of dedicating Friday night to sew was great. Lesson learned planning and using your time wisely is the key to success here. And if you decide to take on such an ambitious project like window treatment start sewing from earlier in the day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

I joined the Friday Night Sew-In. The twist here is that I took Friday off because I want to finish a red jacket I started a few months ago and complete the blouse I am working. I have a few more ideas in my head, however more about that laterrrr

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to take Measurements

After reading many sewing books, attending tons of classes, in the end it accurate measurements is one of the most important aspects to achieving great fitting clothes.
One of the best books in my sewing library is by Anna Zapp. She provides a diagram and a detailed chart on how to take accurate measurements. I combined Anna's method and an article from threads magazine regarding how to take measurement. I tooked my measurements and here is the results:

1. I am much smaller in the back and larger in the front- this means that the back pattern will be smaller than the front
2. I have a short back, and this is the reason why in ready to wear there is always extra fabric between my shoulder and back bust area. To correct this I removed 1-inch bewteen the back bust line and the shoulder to shoulder measurement
3. I have a swayback and I need to lenghten the center back to meet the front waistline and then do a swayback adjustment
4. From waist to hip the lenght is 11 inches
5. I've gained weight- more in the front, making my front waist measurements much larger than the back.
6. I have a slope shoulder

Anyway you get the idea and here is a pic of the measuring diagrams. If you would like more information regarding the charts I used send me an e-mail

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Burda 7866- Kimono Style Blouse

In a previous post I wrote about Burda 7866. I made a blouse for my DD out of a knit fabric. Although it was a simple style I made a muslin because I don't have experience sewing knit fabrics. The first muslin was out of a very light knit. I added 2" to the hip area based on the first muslin. The second muslin was made out of heavier knit. I removed the 2" and added bust darts. I also joined the lower part of the blouse to make it one piece because I did not want to deal with matching the design. I read a post over at cheap and picky's blog regarding sewing knits and it was very helpful, I used Claire Shaeffer's book Fabric Sewing Guide. Last but not lease the fabulous Omega sent me a great book "Sewing Knits by Singer". I am going to read this book and I am going to sew another knit blouse. Here is the blouse.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Who is the Mystery Visitor?

Well, who else but the fabulous Omega, to find out more about the fabulous time we had, including meeting up with two beautiful sewing divas visit her at sewhooked

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vintage McCalls 3536 mentioned this website in her last post. Of course I don't need patterns but what the heck I decided to visit the site.

I cannot believe that I found this pattern. This pattern is the reason I learned to sew. I was in 8th or 9th grade and this was my first sewing project. I made this dress by seat of my pants. The dress was almost a success except that the collar was lopsided. I did not care I wore my dress proudly to church. And the rest is history.

There is a 40% discount on pattern and free shipping if you buy more than 3. Do I need to say more. I am going on a fabric and pattern diet, hmmmm, maybe next month

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hot Weather and a Mystery Visitor.

It is HOTTTTTTTT! I am almost done with my DD's blouse, just need hemming. I went to Jo-Anns to buy knit-interfacing and I did not like their product. So I either have to go on-line or wait until next week when I go into New York City.

I haven't done much sewing, between work, family visiting and trying to keep cool it seems like there isn't enough time.

Next week will be a great week. A special person will be visiting and we are going fabric shoppinggggggg. HURAYYYYYYYY, I really need therapy, I need to relax and enjoy buying fabrics even though I don't need it, I really don't need it, but I want it and I deserve it all of it.
We are planning to hit New York City next Friday, so if you are in the city and would like to meet us for lunch drop me an e-mail.

Now, I will post more next week ......

Monday, June 28, 2010

Burda 7866

I started working on this pattern for my DD. I used a cheap jersey knit like fabric that I bought at the fabric warehouse for 0.50/yd ( had to buy 10 yd to get it at that price) and made 3 muslin, now you would think that this was an easy pattern. Well, yes and no. The first muslin needed more ease in the hip area, the second muslin I made an error in cutting and the third muslin I added bust darts and the sleeves were wonky.

I reviewed my notes from the last class I took with Connie Crawford and proceeded to balance the pattern, which I should have done first. As you can see from the picture below I added extra tissue paper to various area of the patterns
Connie suggest that you star off with a balance pattern before you attempt to fit and alter a pattern. You must check that:

1. The back shoulder should be 1/2 inch higher than the front shoulder
2 the center front should be 1/2 inch wider than the center back. Line up the front and back pieces matching seam allowances and proceed to check your pattern.
3. The front and back bust line should line up, the same with the waist and the side seam. If your pattern have a bust dart you should transfer the bust dart to the shoulder in order to ensure that your pattern is balance. If you add a bust dart don't forget to add to the same amount to the front lower hem from the side seam tapering to nothing at the center front.
Note: mark the bust line and the waistline on the front pattern and line up the back pattern and mark across.

In the end I made the pattern work, but this was a poorly drafted pattern and if you take a close look at the pattern you will see that the sleeves on the model are twisted, the neckline opening on the pattern is smaller than it appears on the envelope. I enlarge the neckline quite a bit

My DD and I are happy with the outcome of the third muslin. I used a total of 6-yd of muslin fabrics. I may add back darts, not sure. More later....

McCalls 5390

Done. I finished this skirt 2-weeks ago and wore it to work. Here it is on "Oriana"

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I sort of lost my sewing mojo. Responsibilities at work and home have taken a hold on me. So last night after seeing sheila's jacket I found myself back at my sewing machine.

I worked on the skirt and it's almost done. I cut a3-inch wide bias strips out of the same fabric to make bias binding for the waist and I will finish the hem on the lining tonight. I rip the skirt out three times for one reason or another; this was due to cutting out the wrong patter pieces ( I did not readdddddd). Also the fact that I choose plaid became a little bit of a challenge and top stitching the pleats was time consuming. In the end it turn out to be a very pretty skirt. Pic coming soon. The red jacket, I am not happy with the sleeves; however sheila pointed me in the direction. Also after taking Connie Crawford's class I will be able to improve on the fit. I am going to add a lining to the jacket and who knows I might change the style of sleeve completely.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Connie Crawford - Fitting the Mature Bodice

I signed up for this class at Fabricland in March. The class was today and it was an education. Connie is truly a teacher and a patternmaker. She taught the importance of balance in the side seam and shoulder. Lots of information and great handouts. She encourages the class to listen and not to bother with taking notes because the handouts material has all the information.

She brought a rack full of garments she made from her pattern line, this way the class was able to look at each garment up close. She had several of her patterns pin and ready to fit and she fitted several ladies in the class. The fit was perfect.

She instructed the class to buy dress and blouse patterns based on your bust measurement instead of your high bust measurement.......? Anyway I am going to give her patterns a try.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Butterick- 5039

Here is the cropped jacket I started working on in April. Unfortunately my sewing time has been very limited because life tends to get in the way. After completing the previous jacket I tweak the pattern by adding 3-inches to the bicep and added bust darts. A musling was made and it revealed that the back darts were optional because the length of the jacket was above my waist. I am happy with the fit except for the front armhole and the sleeves. The front armhole needs tweaking. I am stump on this one

This is the skirt I am working on I am using the same pattern I used for the polka dots skirt
One last word of advice don't work with plaids and stripes when you are tired and read your pattern notes carefully. Lucky me I had 4-yds of this fabrics.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Project Runway - Season 7 Finale

This was one of the best seasons on project runway. My heart was set on Emilio Sosa because his creations during the competition blew me away. Set Aaron's clothes were impressive and I knew that in the end, it was between Seth and Emilio.

When Tim visited Emilio to review his collection before the final show and I saw the colors that Emilio choose, my heart sank and Tim's comments was on target. I had the same feeling when Tim visited Seth and reviewed his collection; the difference was that Seth took Tim Gunn's advice and in the end it paid off.

When Heidi Klum said Seth was the winner, I was so upset to the point of tears and I swore that I will never ever watch project runway again. Of course I watch the reruns of the last show again and again. I understood Nina Garcia's answer to Emilio's question. If his clothes were so perfect, well made and beautiful and the judges love his clothes so much why he was not the winner?

Nina explained it in one simple word, he showed a line instead of a collection and he needed to show more of the beautiful gowns to seduce the judges. He accepted Nina's explanation and I accepted the explanation because in my heart I knew that was the reason for the lost.

I must say the Michael Kors is not my favorite character, he is vulgar and his comments are rude and insulting at times. Something I find totally unnecessary; however, he did make an important point, choosing the right fabric can make or brake a design, if you choose the wrong fabric for your design and you don't understand how its going to behave all is lost. Those were words of wisdom.

I will end this post with a quote from Anthony " You don't have to wear the crown to be the queen or in Emilio's case the king"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sewing With A Plan

After my last project I realized that the skirt and the red cardigan was a versatile ensemble and that it could be dress up or down. After checking my closet I found that 30% of my clothes are versatile. I need to increase it to at lease 90% percent.

Sewing with a plan is not a new concept for me; however I was not successful in my previous attempts. This time instead of planning every detail and I am allowing myself to be inspired. The inspiration could be from anything, including items I already own. If an item in my wardrobe does not inspire me then I am going to give it away to the Goodwill store and move on.

The plan is to sew items that coordinate with what’s in my wardrobe. I need clothes for work (dress code is casual, relaxed, appropriate and professional) and clothes that fit my lifestyle which is casual and relaxed.

The ultimate goal is to create a wardrobe with enough pieces that I can basically have something to wear at a moments notice.

My next inspiration is a cropped jacket. More later....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Black & White Skirt (Stash Busting)

This was my inspiration

This is my interpretation

The pattern was a discontinued skirt pattern from McCalls . The fabrics were from my stash. It is 100% cotton and the lining was a very soft silk like cotton batiste. the color is nude. I don't remember where I bought the batiste fabric. It's beautiful and soft.
A few years ago Susan Khalje had a sewing show on HGTV. One of the show focused on linings and using skin tone fabrics to bring out the true color of the fabric. Threads magazine did an article regarding linings and using neutral colors of beige, neude, pinks and salmon depending on your skin tone
The inspiration skirt had box pleats and my interpretation has pleats that were topstich starting at the waist down 3-inches.
I did not use the waistband that came with the pattern, I drafted my own. The waistband was 7 inches wide by 38-inches long. I interfaced the waistband with the lining fabric. I sewed the waistband on and then turn it down. The waistband is 1 1/2-inches wide and it has body to it without using stiff material to give the waistband weight. This was not planned, after I sewed the waistband, it was too wide so I turned it down and I love it. I hand stiched the waistband.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jacket- New Look 6316- DONE and Words of Wisdom from Kenneth King

The jacket is doneeeeeee. I spent a lot of time on this jacket and made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot.

The most important lesson I learned was to stop being a pain in the a..... perfectionist.

In a recent interview Kenneth King said the following:
If I were to say one thing and only one thing, it’s this: perfectionism is a disease, and a form of fear!
When learning the craft of sewing (which I believe is absolutely necessary in order to know what’s possible when designing), you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. This is an acquired skill which can only be perfected by means of repetition—practicing over and over, learning from mistakes, learning when you can save something, and when you need to cut your losses and start over.

If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.

However, if you are willing to charge forward, cut into that fabric, try something different, and risk making a mistake, there will come one day when you realize that you’re sewing without that knot of worry in the pit of your stomach, and the process effortlessly glides along.

He is absolutely right. So I forged ahead and finish the jacket. It's not perfect, but it is good enough for me to wear.

I wore the jacket to work yesterday and was complimented. After work I stoped at the fabric store . While I was there I strike up a conversation with the sales lady and another customer. The customer name is Thomas (he gave me permission to post about him), he asked about the details around the edge of the jacket. I told him I made the jacket. He complemented me and proceeded to share his observations; the fit in the shoulders and the sleeves was very good and the darts in the back of the jacket where in the right position, etc.. To make a long story short we exchange phone numbers. Thomas worked for Tommy Hilfiger for the past 10-years. So for him to take the time to give a stranger lots of tips... well you guys can imagine my sewing self esteem is in high gear.

I am always amazed at the generosity of the sewing community. All the effort I put into this jacket was worth it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jacket- New Look 6316- Quick Update

I found the jacket muslin. I worked on it for most the day yesterday until 9:00pm last night.

I don't understand why when you solve one fitting issues another one appears. Oh well... I had gaposis in the armhole area. I remove 3/4' from the shoulder tapering to nothing at the neckline, it helped but did not remove all of the fullness. I made a dart in the armhole area to remove the balance of the fullness, then I transferred from the muslin to the paper pattern.

When you make a change to the pattern sometimes it distorts the shape of the paper pattern. You have to re-draft the distorted area. Another issue that I had was fullness within the pattern. I had the privilege to attend a class with Susan Khalje and Kenneth King. I worked mostly with Kenneth, and all the problem I encountered with this jacket I and how to solve each one was taught to me by Kenneth.

I don't know about you guys, but I am a visual person, once I see either via video or personal demonstration I stays recorded in my memory. Kenneth is doing a whole series in Thread's magazine regarding fitting issues. PLEASE check it out and save and guard the instructions with your sewing life..LOLLLLLL

I took detailed pictures of this process and once the jacket is done I will write a post explaining the process.

Next: fitting the sleeves. Thank you Faye for sharing how to remove ease from the sleeve cap.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jacket- New Look 6316

This was the photo from my last post.

I got some help from the and paco.

I went back to the muslin and lowered the waist by 1/2 inch,repositioned the darts, removed 1-2 inches of fullness from the side seam and made minor changes to the shoulder seam.
I cut out a second jacket and the fit was much better. The sleeve that came with the pattern had 4-5 inches of ease and the upper arm measurement was too small.

I decided to try my hand at drafting a sleeve using my measurements. I use and books from my sewing library. In the end I use most of the info from vintage sewing..

I cannot find the jacket. I looked everywhere. Tomorrow I will cut and sew another jacket so that I can fit the sleeves.

P.S. ignore the dates on the photos. I did not set the date and time on my camera.

I am going to work on this jacket until I get it right and it become a TNT pattern for me.

I started working on the jacket the end of December and I have refered to my sewing library for guidance and some direction because the last time I sewed a jacket was in the late 70's or early 80's when anything I sewed fit with little or no effort. Now... I will not go there.

Here is a list of the books I read:

1. The Art of Sewing ( Basic Tailoring, Classic Techniques,The Custom Look. Separates That Travel)

2. The Complete Book of Tailoring by Adele Margolis

3. Fit for Real People and Jacket for Real People by Palmer Pletsh

Hopefully, I will be able to complete a wearable muslin soon.....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Someone posted a comment on this blog in Chinese. I deleted the comment before paying attention to the author's name.

Whoever you are, If you want to post a comment on this blog please write in English otherwise don't bother. Also, the next time you post on this blog I will be identifying you by name. Better yet don't comment on this blog!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Look 6316

I started working on this jacket in December.
A simple unstructured jacket that would become the workhorse of my working wardrobe. The jacket has a large amount of ease. I started with a size 8, lenghten the waist, reduce the shoulder lenght and the back width.

The first muslin revealed the following:
In the back
Too much fabric between my shoulder blades and upper back; also between the breast line and waist due to my swayback
The shoulder slope needed to be corrected.

I drop the shoulder slope by 1/2 inch and I removed 1" of fabric from my upper back and 1' from the lower waist area.

I added a center back seam to help with my swayback and I added darts to provide shaping.

Here are the results

As you can see the wrinkle on the right hip area??????

I asked Paco and Cenetta for helpppppppp. In the meantime I spent the last two weeks doing a lot of reading about jacket construction and I must say the time was worth it.

Cenetta suggested adding shoulder pads to check the fit. I am going to implement her suggestion. Paco suggested lowering the waist because I removed 1" of lenght from the middle.

I did both and I made up a new paper pattern with the changes. Next is muslin #2.

It is so important to know your body and the type of alteration you needed in order to make a pattern yours. Hopefully, I will get a jacket I am happy with and it will become my sloper for all others

More later....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sewing Goals for 2010

Here are my goals for the New Year

1.Finish all the sewing projects that I have started and then abandoned

2.Sew pants that fit

3.Sew a simple jacket

4.Crochet and or knit 2 items

5.Sew from my stash as much as possible

6. Inprove my sewing skills

My goals are simple and uncomplicated. My ultimate goal is sew garments that fit well and improve my sewing skills. In order to achieve these goals I must come up with a workable plan. This plan will be adjusted and or change as needed. More regarding this plan later.....

Finding My Style