Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

2015 was a fantastic year for my family and me. There were challenges and health issues. Challenges were met; some health issues were resolved others are chronic.
On the sewing front I did manage to sew some not as much I wanted. On the crafting front, I had a successful year. I manage to make quite a few craft projects. I am ending 2015 with a big bang and greeting 2016 weighing 9 pounds less than I weighed in 2015. See you next year.

Mariela Alethia

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Before & After- Donna Karan's Skirt

The suit  was designed by Donna Karan in 2012.

Below is the skirt I made. You can read about it here. I cannot find a photo of me wearing the skirt. I wore the skirt twice once in 2012 and 2013.

And I wore it this morning.  It is still fabulous!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Amazing Coat Sew-Along-4

In my last post I wrote about the sleeves, I sewed the sleeves and the fit was snug. I altered the pattern and increased the width of the sleeves from the bicep to my writs without changing the armhole. I had enough fabric to cut out another pair of sleeves and wallahhh all was well. I used information on Gertie’s blog concerning how to insert sleeve-heads in a jacket.

I purchased Warm & Natural Cotton Batting  from Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts Store. I’ve made several quilts in the last 16-years and that is the only batting that I used. It is a bit expensive but so worth it.

 Anyway, back to the sleeve-heads; I basted the sleeve-head to the right sleeve seam allowance. Oh my goodness what a difference in the fit of the sleeves, the wrinkles that was radiating from the shoulder to the right upper chest area disappeared. 

If you look at the right shoulder you will be able to see the difference between the right and the left. 

Next, I will hand baste the sleeve-head to the left sleeve seam allowance and if all goes well adding the lining is next and hopefully my coat will be ready. Later……

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Amazing Coat Sewing- The Muslin-3

I was unable to work on my muslin last week. Today I sewed the sleeves. I don't like to sew sleeves, however I had no problems sewing the sleeves in. Before sewing the sleeves I realize that they were tooo snug in in bicep area. I did not worry about it because the muslin phase is where I get to work out the fitting issues. I have believe I have enough fabric to cut out another pair of sleeves after I alter the sleeve pattern. Work in progress......

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Amazing Coat Sew Along- The Muslin-2

I am wearing the muslin, it was underline and the fit is snug. After I took the photos I decreased the seam allowance from 5/8- 1/4. The fit improved in terms of ease, I still have a few more decisions to make... work in progress.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Amazing Coat Sew Along- The Muslin

Burda 6727 is an unlined jacket with an integral collar. After checking the finished measurements I choose a size 10. I had to read the pattern instructions a few times regarding how to sew the dart and the collar. The pattern instructions are basic, interfacing is only added to the back neck and the front pattern.. I recommend that you use the instruction only for sewing the front collar, the shoulder seam and attaching the collar to the back neck seam . If you have a good sewing book, this will be the time to use it as a reference.
Fabric: medium weight purple denim with no stretch; it was underline with grey batiste. The coat was sewn and tried on and the following was noted:
 a) The fit in the neck, shoulders and upper back was good. A slope shoulder adjustment is a must for me. Correction- ½ inch slope shoulder adjustment
 b) The fit from the bust to the hip was snug. Correction- add 5/8- from the armhole to the hem
c) Add 3-inches to the length
d) Remove ½-inch from the back shoulder and add ½-inch to the front shoulder e) Add ¼ to the center back seam
f) The muslin also revealed that I need chest support. I may use this tip from Gertie to add chest support and shoulder pads to the coat.

I am please that I took the time to work on the muslin today. Tomorrow I will make the adjustments on the pattern and I will  be ready for October 1.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Amazing Coat Sew Along- Fabrics, Books & Videos

Fabrics: too many choices, here are the contenders:

The purple fabric is a light to medium weight denim that I am going to use to make a muslin to check the fit.

The fabric is a wine color dark purple.

FYI- do not put iron on interfacing (fabric type) or any other type in the washing machine. Ask me how I know. What was I thinking? Instead run hot water from the faucet and soak the interfacing until the water gets cold. Lightly squeeze the water out and hang to dry.

Books and Videos
Erica wrote a post concerning tailoring books that she uses. I have the same books except for the illustrated guide to tailoring. In addition to the books I will be referring to the books below. The Bishop Method of Construction- they are my favorite books to read. 

The Vogue Book of Sewing and The Complete books to Tailoring by Adele Margolis is another favorite.

Craftsy- Essential Guide to Tailoring- Structure and Shape by Allison Smith

You Tube- The Making of a Coat. If you have the time and you’re interested in tailoring techniques and lots of hand stitching check this video

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sew- Alongs, Lessons Learned - The Amazing Coat-Sew-Along

In the last nine years I’ve joined two or three sew-along and failed at each one. When I read about a sew-along my anxiety level goes from 0-10, until, Faye had the Carnival of Skirts Sew-Along. Of course I jumped on the skirt bandwagon because skirts are my favorite garment to sew. That was my first successful sew-a-long.
The reason for my success:
1.I use a TNT skirt pattern that I’ve used countless time and sewn it in all type of fabrics
2.During the sew-a-long, I devised plan and dedicated ½ - 1 hour sewing time

 Here is why I failed in the other sew-a-longs:
1.I joined the sew-along without considering the time it would require, the type of garment(s), and my level of sewing.
2. The choice of patterns- I choose patterns that I did not work with before. This caused me to spend too much time fitting and altering the pattern. Lesson learned: choose a pattern that you have worked with before, maybe a TNT pattern. In fact I believe TNT pattern(s) should be the pattern(s) of choice.

For the last two winters my sewing sister shared her love of coats. My sister has a wonderful collection of fabulous coats including the ones she made. I’ve never given my coats a second look, I own maybe one heavy winter coat, two light coats for fall and spring and that’s it.  The idea of making a coat and updating my coat closet has been on my mind for a while. And here come Erica  with the Amazing Coat Sew-Along. When I first read about the sew-along and I decided that I would stand on sidelines and cheer everyone else on. Once Erica started the daily post I started to move from the sidelines to getting in line. What made me leave the sidelines and get on the bandwagon?                   1. You get to choose the pattern. I choose a very simple pattern. Straight stich sewing. This is the first time I am sewing a coat and I want it simple. Alterations and fitting will be kept to a minimal, my first goal is to have a wearable coat. The second goal is to use my very, very, and very extensive stash. I have interlining, lining, shoulder pads, etc. The long term goal is for my chosen pattern to become a TNT pattern.                                                                                                           2. This post took me from the sidelines onto the bandwagon. The first paragraph was the deal maker for me: “When I start to think about what pattern I want to use to make a coat, I first think of the need it will fill in my wardrobe. Will this coat be a necessity? Will this coat be a classic coat that I plan on wearing for many years to come? Or will this be a trendy coat in a fun color or print? Also, other variables I must take into consideration? When will I wear it? And does it really meet the standards of my lifestyle and climate?” Next pattern and fabric.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Circle Skirt

My love of skirts has been well documented on this blog.
This skirt was easy to sew. I did not use a pattern. I took one of the circle skirts that I made in 2007,  made a pattern by laying the skirt on muslin, traced around the perimeter of the skirt, added 1-inch seam allowance at the side seams, ½- inch- seam allowance at the waist and 2-inches at the hem. That was it.                      The back and the front of the skirt were identical. I added a side seam zipper. The skirt has a lining that was cut from the same skirt pattern with the same seam allowance; however the lining was sewn at ½-inch and it was attached at the waist.                                                         
The skirt hem; my original plan was to do a 2-inch hem. That did not work out because the hem stood away from the skirt. Instead I did a basting stitch one-inch from the edge of the hem, turned it under and top stitch. Perfecttttt! After I made the skirt I was unsure about the color of the blouse or shirt to wear with the skirt. Well when you own a well-rounded wardrobe you never have to worry about matching anything all you have to do is walk into your closet and wallahhhh! I found the grey blouse and the shoes this morning as I was looking through my closet.  This is what I wore today. The photos were taken after a long stressful day at work. No worries I got so many complements at work today, it made my day!  Later.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pinterest (inspiration), Cowl Neck Blouse and a Gore Skirt

The photo below was on Pinterest and it inspired me to create the skirt and the blouse.   

Fabrics: knit - animal print and white stretch gabardine fabric from my stash. Camouflage white and pink medium weight cotton knit fabric was  bought in Brooklyn, NY on a fabric extravaganza trip with my sewing sister Sheila.  Notions: pinking shears, and cotton and polyester thread and a white zipper.     
Construction & Sewing: The white skirt was self-drafted using my TNT skirt pattern. It’s an eight panel gore skirt. I did not try the skirt on during the construction because I’ve sewn many skirts and my TNT work like a charm. Well, surprise, surprise, the skirt was too big. I took in ¼ inch at  all the seam except for the center back seam where the zipper was inserted. I removed two inches from the waistband. I did not bother to try it on until today.                                                                                                                                                                                             The Cowl neck Blouse: you can find the pattern here . This is one of my favorite websites for free patterns.                                                                                                                                         Alterations: short back adjustment, two inches was removed from the middle back, ½- inch slope shoulder adjustment and one inch was removed from the hem.                                                        Note: this pattern works best with a knit that had a lot of drape.  I will not recommend a thin and vey light knit. Medium weight cotton knit the cowl neck does not drape softly.                                       This video tutorial was very helpful. After watching the tutorial I added a self-facing to the front of the blouse and a back facing.  The blogger who did the tutorial has a lot to offer, especially for beginners.                                                                                                                                             The young lady in this video inspired me to cut up my TNT skirt pattern to make a gore skirt . I know you may not see the connection, oh well that is how my brain work. One more skirt and maybe two more tops coming soon! Enjoy

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms, aunts, godmothers, grandmothers and to anyone who fulfill the role of a mother. od bless you all. My awesome hunnyyyyy, did not wrap my gift, this year he choose to display it on my mannequin. Awesomeeee!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Customize Dress Form and TNT Dress Pattern

FYI- do not use old sheet, the weave it tight making it difficult to get pins to into the fabric and it wrinkles like hell, no amount of ironing takes the wrinkles out.


My DD belongs to an organization that wears white to their formal and semi-formal events. This organization has rules regarding the type and length of the garment that can be worn by the ladies. Three weeks ago she asked me to sew a dress with a jacket for an upcoming event. I decided to use a fitting pattern that I had in my collection B-6092. My goal was to work out her fitting issues in the muslin, make a customize dress form and have a basic TNT dress pattern for her.

I choose the size of the pattern based on the high bust measurement.  I compared her measurements against the pattern measurements and I did the following changes to the pattern:

1.      Decreased the shoulder length

2.      Lowered the bust point

3.      Lengthen the waist- this was done after the bust point length was adjusted

4.      After comparing the slope of her shoulder and the pattern, I did a slope shoulder adjustment

5.      Added 1-inch from the bust point to the side seam

6.      Added 1- inch to the front waist pattern

The muslin was cut and fitted and the following alteration/adjustments were done:

1-     1-inch of fabric was removed from the chest area above the bust

2-     1.5-inches of fabric was removed from the lower back

3-     Adjusted the shoulder line for a forward shoulder

4-     Re-adjust the position of the bust dart

5-     Pin-out two inches from the center back; this change the center line seam line from straight to the shape of a S; this corrected most of the swayback issues.

The second muslin was cut and fitted after the above adjustments were made. I added the skirt to the second muslin, and it only needed minor tweaking. I followed the instructions for customize your dress form (CRAFTSY Class) and padded the mannequin and here are the results. I check the measurements of the dress form and the shoulder length, center front length, center back length, waist and bust circumference are exactly the same as my DD. I need to adjust the side seam line to balance the hip measurement.

Please forgive the wrinkles it is the fabric. Remember don’t use 110% cotton old sheets

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Photo Album

 On/around September 2013 I watched a video on You Tube by Kathy Orta regarding how to construct a mini album. I spent three months watching videos by other ladies on album construction. I enjoy scrapbooking and I figured that by learning to make my own album I could get exactly what I want. I purchase Kathy's tutorial and used it to make several albums. By the beginning of 2014, I got bored and move on to something else. Recently, after I crocheted several hats, I began to think about creating an album where I kept photos of all of my projects ( sewing, quilting, home dec, needlework, etc.).  Ahhhh! and it all came back to me; create your album. Went back to You Tube and after watching a few videos, I completed this album in 2.5 weeks.
 After the album was completed I looked through old photos to find pics of items that I sewed back in the 1970's and OMG the album took a life of its own. The album was filled with photos of my college years, dating my husband, our wedding, friends weddings, events, trips etc.  There will be a few more albums in the future. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crochet Hat Palooza

In a previous post I wrote that I followed Hectanooga1's video on YouTube to crochet this hat. After I crochet the first hat ( orange), the hat grew by two inches.  I revised Hectanooga's  instructions and I am loving the results.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vogue Patterns- Spring 2015

Good Morning

I enjoy Toy's fashion and pattern reviews. She has a great eye for details and because of her reviews I am looking at patterns with keener eyes.  Vogue Patterns Spring 2015 was posted on her blog today. Please check the post out. After reading her post and writing my comment, I decided to post my comment here.

Vogue 1442, love the design, as for fabric a very soft drapery knit is perfect. For a very curvy girl this could be a tricky one, proceed with caution.

9075- Wide leg jumpsuit, this is an old pattern that came out of the archives. This is very easy to recreate with an existing pattern. I will not buy this pattern; however I will add the image to my inspiration book.

9091- No, on this one. Culotte pant are flattering to most figure type. I have a Culotte pattern by Butterick.

9076- YES hunniiii! I love this one. It’s a 70’s flashback, but oh so feminine. I will check my pattern stash; I may have an older version of this pattern.

9077- Yes hunnniiiii! The front pleat elevates this simple shirt dress; I will advise caution with this one because if you are larger than a B-cup think about the placement of the pleat and the size of the pleat. It could result in an awkward detail.

9079- Yes hunnnniiiii! The pattern is worth buying if only for the design. This pattern can take your sewing skills to the next level. I see lots of design opportunity here.

9093- Nope, another princess line jacket. Boringgggg!

9086- Yes I highly recommend this one, especially for a beginner. Also it’s a wonderful pattern to use bold, funky prints

9087- Yes hunniiiii!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

My first Project for 2015


This is my first project for 2015
My last crochet project was the crochet along that  Sheila and I did in 2013. I crocheted three skirts and as I worked on the fourth skirt I developed a severe allergy to the acrylic yarn. Sadly I gave the skirts away. Recently Sheila has been on a crochet extravaganza and I desire to crochet began to take hold. So I went to the craft store and I found cotton thread with 15% polyester. My first attempt to knit a hat was not successful because I choose the wrong thread for the pattern. This was my second attempt. I love it especially since I have a better understanding of what the thread can do.  The pattern is from one of my favorite You tuber Hectanooga1.  I choose orange because my coat is black and I wanted to add a pop of color and what better way to achieve that.