Monday, January 25, 2010

Losing Weight

I didn't get any sewing done this week. That happens when I have to go to work. How do you all with full-time jobs get any sewing done? Since I don't have anything to show for the week I thought I'd tell you how my weight loss journey is coming along.

As you know, I'm following the Metabolism Miracle eating plan. This is a plan I can follow for the rest of my life. I know I said it was a low carb plan, but it's much more than that. It's a plan that will fix people like me whom the conventional wisdom of calories in minus calories expended doesn't equal weight loss. If it did, than all those years on Weight Watchers would have made me thin. I'm not thin, so obviously something different needed to be done. I'm not counting calories or fat grams. I'm not even really counting carbs, just watching them.

This eating plan is done in three stages. During the first stage which lasts 8 weeks (but I did it for 9 weeks) I lost 20 pounds. That's more than 2 pounds a week. I also started sleeping 8 hours a night. Before that, I was sleeping only 4-5 hours a night. I thought my lack of sleep was being caused by menopause. Not so! My hypoglycemia disappeared the very first week on this eating plan. I had it bad too. Whenever my blood sugar levels would drop, I got seriously cranky and if you got in my way I would knock you down to get to some food. I felt like a version of Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde. Carbohydrate food like cookies, potatoes, pasta, ice cream, etc. would be what would fix my "problem." Low carb food wouldn't do. My craving for carbs disappeared with the hypoglycemia. I haven't had sugar in three months. Nothing, nada. Who knew?

During step 2, you are to add back a 11-20 carb every 5 hours. Let's face it, our body needs carbs. But people with metabolism's like mine need them in small, controlled amounts. Luckily eating them like this keeps those cravings away. I don't even want them because I know what they do to my blood sugar levels and I know how lousy I'll feel.

The first 3 weeks of step 2 I only lost point 6 (.6) of a pound. However, this last week (week 4) I lost 2 more pounds. That puts me at a total loss of 22.6 pounds which works out to almost 1-3/4 pound a week. I never was able to lose more than half (.5) a pounds on Weight Watchers ever. While my loss is probably going to be slow, not anywhere as slow as WW was and I'm feeling better than I ever did on WW eating pasta and potatoes. Obviously low fat and restricted calories aren't what works for me. If it works for you, then Yea! It just doesn't work for everyone.

Now the good news. I've lost inches, lots of inches! I've lost 5 inches off my hips, 4 inches off my waist, and only 1 1/2 inches off my bust. None of the clothes I made over the summer fits except one top that shrank after I made it. Sadly, all my TNT patterns now need to be altered and aren't TNTs any more. Luckily, I have hundreds of other patterns that I'll be trying out. I plan to start tracing some Burda WOF patterns this week so I'm sure I'll be back to sewing new clothes very soon.

If you want to read more about this eating plan you can go to these links:

January 4, The Daily Mail - The metabolism miracle: The revolutionary diet that can help you stay slim forever.
January 5, The Daily Mail - The metabolism miracle diet part two: Eat carbs and still lose weight!
January 6, The Daily Mail - The metabolism miracle diet part three: How eating five meals a day can burn away your fat!
January 7, The Daily Mail - Chocolate? That's what I call a diet! The final part of our revolutionary scientific weight-loss plan. . .

The above links are from the Daily Mail, a British on-line magazine. You can also find out more info from the Author of The Metabolism Miracle from her website. I'm sorry to sound like such a commercial, but if it will help someone else, than that makes me happy. It was one of my ASG Neighborhood Group members that recommended it to me, and for that I'm grateful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More UFOs

I spent the long weekend doing a little housework and cleaning up the sewing room after sewing up the last batch of UFOs. It's incredible how messy my sewing room becomes. I found a few more UFOs to sew up and got started on them.

This knit top was supposed to be the tank to wear under a matching cardigan. I'm very happy with the way it turned out, but it's not even close to the original plan. I really do need some long sleeved t-shirts so that helped me make the decision to turn this into a t-shirt. This one is a bit dressier than your average t-shirt because of the embroidery. It's an army green interlock knit and it sewed up beautifully.

The reason it didn't turn out to be a tank with a matching cardigan is because something went wrong in the cutting out process. Somehow a big chunk was notched out on one of the sleeves. I don't know how that happened because I can't remember cutting this out. It's at least two years old and probably more. I honestly can't even tell you what pattern I used for the tank. The cardigan pattern was probably the pattern from the brown cardi in my last post that didn't fit me very well. I've decided that it's probably KS 2948 which has a tank pattern included. I don't remember ever making the tank but that might be what this top is from. To make the tank into a top I just sewed in the sleeves from the cardi. To replace the sleeve with the missing chunk I just took the back piece of the cardi and re-cut out a new sleeve.

The back neckline was going to be quite low and I don't like my tops low in the back. To solve this problem I just used a very wide binding. I had a binding cut that I think was supposed to be the front band for the cardi. I have to say, I'm very pleased with how the binding turned out. I was really feeling the love for my coverstitch machine. If you don't already have one, you don't know what you're missing. Ladies, you must save up your pennies and get one.

The coverstitch makes everything look so professional. I really liked how the wide band looked on the neckline so I decided to add them to the sleeve hem as well.

This dress is another UFO I started working on yesterday. I made the dress in August 2007 and I hated it. That is, I hated how it looked on me. It's really a nice dress, lovely fabric, and the Burda WOF pattern 07-2007-125 is really cute too. I even had a discussion about this dress on patternreview where it was decided that the dress was wearing me, not the other way around. On Sunday I removed the sleeves and cut 6-1/2 inches off of them. Then I cut six inches off the length.

I also played around with ways to raise the neckline so I wouldn't have to wear the cami underneath. After sewing it all back together, I decided that I really do like this dress on me. Then I went in to show my husband and son and my son said, "Wow Mom, your new way of eating is really working for you!" That did it, now I really love the dress. I took the picture by myself with the timer so once I get the dress and sleeves hemmed, I'll grab husband and get him to take some good pictures so I can update my review on PR of this pattern.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Finished UFOs

I didn't get called in to work except for one day this week because of parent conferences. That's the bad news. The good news is that I've been sewing up those UFOs I mentioned in my last post. I managed to get two garments completed this week and another one almost done.

This zipper jacket is from a capsule wardrobe that I planned in the summer of 2008. Click for the storyboard I made of that capsule. I completed both pants to go with it, but the t-shirt was a wadder and I never got the jacket made. The pattern is NL 6609 which I've made before. Last time I made it, it was part of another SWAP where I sewed up the jacket in lime green and white and it was reversible. I'm pretty happy with the fit although I did take a 5/8" wider seam allowance on the sides to get a closer fit after sewing up the jacket. I don't think this garment will fit me for very much longer, so I'm glad I made it up in this season. It's very warm to wear since the fabric is some type of poly/lycra stretch suiting I purchased on sale from EOS at least 4 years ago.

I think the reason I never finished it was because of the way the placement of the fabric design turned out. The repeats lay next to each other on the panels but there was nothing I could do about it, so I think I'll just enjoy it while I can. Another reason I didn't sew it up for the wardrobe capsule is because I didn't know how to insert the zipper. I wanted this top to look like the Loes Hinse's Zipper Jacket but I didn't want to spend the money on the pattern only to have to alter it to fit. I wish I did buy the pattern because then I would have had the directions on how to insert the zipper so that it doesn't show. The only directions for a separating zipper I could find anywhere was for an exposed zipper. Since I wanted to get this top done, that's the instructions I used.

The second garment I completed was this cowl neck top. It's made from the same fabric as the twin set which I made back in November of 2008. I can wear the cardigan with the cowl top for a warmer weather twin set. The pattern is Loes Hinse's Cowl Neck pattern with the cowl significantly reduced in size. The pattern is meant for someone with a much longer neck so I shortened it 4". I really love how this top turned out. I have no idea when I cut this top out or why I never sewed it up.

The last garment I worked on this week was this brown knit RPL cardigan. I'm very unhappy with the fit of this garment. I'm not sure what pattern I used but I have 3-4 cardigan patterns that fit me fairly well, but I don't recognize the tiny band that was cut out for the edge. Maybe that's why I never got it sewn before now. I must have run short of fabric for the band. I'm not sure what to do about a closure for this cardi. I may just use a sweater clip. I think I have a couple in my stash. Anyway, I think I'll cut it a few inches shorter and give it to my neice after I get the hems sewn. I just bought me a new sweater last month in this color, so I don't really need it in my wardrobe. She'll be very happy to get it, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Clone Continues

I may just have to start shopping for RTW clothing so that I could bring them home and clone them. Then make me some clothes that look like what's in the stores, but make them to fit! I think this is the very first time I've ever lamented not owning RTW clothing. I love the way my new clone top turned out.

Well, I'm not thrilled with the sleeves, but they weren't cloned. I couldn't find my pattern for the ones I wanted and found this pattern in my search. While they're not perfect, they are much better than the ones that came on the original blouse. The next blouse I'll use the same sleeve pattern, just make it about 3 inches shorter and take out the gathers.

Be sure and click on the photo above. It's a composite of 3 views and the original blouse. I know all the details are lost in the black dotted fabric, but I thought the fabric had just the right hand for the blouse AND it was in my collection. Remember my goal to sew only from the collection? Now if only my jeans fit as well.

OK, now I have to get back to sewing those UFOs and I think I'll search for another fabric to make this top in again while it still fits.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Clone

If you ignore the fact that I was having fun with Husband (and not standing up straight) when the first pic was taken and he'd pissed me off by the second picture, you can see that I was quite successful in cloning my original blouse. Yea! I put the pin up too high on the muslin so that the necklines look different, but they aren't. I didn't copy the sleeves because I don't like them. I plan on using the puffed sleeves that I used on my whimsey blouse. In the mirror this blouse is much more flattering.

There are a few alterations I need to do including doing a petite adjustment at the waist, do a high round back alteration and add some ease over my butt, and more ease all around. I plan on sewing it up in fabric that will look better on me than white eyelet or muslin.

So, do you want to know how I did it without destroying the original blouse?

It kind of reminds me of Burda WOF patterns that you have to trace. And, that's exactly what I did! First thing you do is draw or thread trace your grain lines on the original. If it is striped or plaid, all the better. Then if you can't see the seam lines through the silk organza, you need to thread trace them as well. Draw a line parallel to the selvege down the middle of your organza and also make a cross mark. Then you just pin your line to the grain line on the garment, Pin along all seam lines, and start tracing with colored pencils. After that, trace it onto pattern paper, add seam allowances and you have a pattern. Of course, it's a lot more complicated than that, but you'll need to take the class if you want all the instructions.

Now, a few of you asked how I liked the class. I really liked it. When the class begins, you are given the lessons in pdf files. These become sort of like your textbook. KK didn't give any lectures, however. He had a chat so that we could ask him all sorts of questions about what we read. That was a very fast hour. Then we spent a few days following the instructions to make our pattern pieces. Then there was another chat. That chat was tonight. There is supposed to be another chat next Thursday night. The transcripts for tonight's chat should be available for the students to read tomorrow. I won't have any further questions for him on Thursday, but I'm sure there'll be questions by others in the class. KK's pdf instructions were very complete and I only really needed his help on how to handle the gathers. His instructions only covered darts and pleats. He told me to handle the gathers like a dart, which is what I guessed I was supposed to do. I hope he is available even after the class when I try to clone another garment.

If you've got RTW that fits reasonably well, I highly recommend taking this class if it is offered again. It's a method that really works! Can you tell I'm impressed?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cloning with Kenneth King

I'm taking a class on called Clone Your Favorite Garment with Kenneth King. Last night was the first chat and I have to tell you, this class is fantastic. KK has a great sense of humor which doesn't come out clearly on a chat board, unfortunately. Anyway, I've picked a blouse that has never fit me well and I want to alter it to fit better, because it's really cute.

Now that I'm doing the actual copying, I'm regretting picking a garment with 9 pattern pieces. That's a lot of copying. Today I'll be thread tracing all my grainlines and seamlines. You who know me know that that's a lot of hand sewing for someone who hates to hand sew. I'm still a little confused about how to handle the bust gathers, but I asked KK last night and he explained it. I'm just waiting now for Deepika to post the chat transcripts so I can go over carefully what KK said to do.

I can see this blouse in a sleeveless and long sleeved version. I have so many wovens in my stash and very few patterns to use on them. I'm really looking forward to getting this pattern made and then altered to fit.

As always, I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tie Me Down Again

This is the same pattern from my last post. It's the Hotpatterns Metropolitan Tie Me Down Top. There are 11 reviews for this top on and at least three of them are from plus-sized women. You can see my muslin for this top on my last post. Many of you said I should wear the muslin, but I think I'll probably give it away to my neice. I still haven't hemmed it yet. My biggest problem with the muslin is the fabric. I know lots of you liked the top and the fabric, but I don't like me in white. My coloring isn't right for white. I never feel good in white and people always ask me if I'm feeling OK when I wear it. So, for my final version, I used some fabric in my colors.

I think it looks much better in this lace and animal printed sueded drapey knit. The fabric is left over from one of my first renditions of KS 2900. I'm not sure why I had so much of the fabric left over but I'm glad I did. The first top was torn to shreads when my son was having his first of many rages. (Thank God he doesn't have those anymore!) The color is more appropriate for me and I feel good wearing it.

I wound up sewing it in a size 16 with a size 18 at the sides. I think if I lose 10 more pounds I can just take it in at the side seams. I serged them so it shouldn't be hard to just serge them again with a larger seam allowance. The shoulders are still a bit long, but that may be because I didn't stabilize the shoulders and they are being pulled by the sleeve. I also didn't use the facing that is included with the pattern.

The back is still too wide, but in this drapey fabric, you can't really tell. It probably also needs a rounded back alteration, but I didn't bother with it. I really like the sleeve cuff treatment. The pattern says to sew the elastic gathers 2" from the hemmed edge, but I don't like sleeves hanging down over my hands, so I put it close to the hem. I shortened the sleeve a lot, but that's also a normal alteration. I also straightened out the shaped hem as well.

I shortened the tie. On the muslin it's much too long, especially on my 5'1" frame. My bustline also doesn't need a large floppy bow laying on top. I shortened the ties about 5" for the purple version. I think the bow is just right at this shorter length.

The only thing I really don't like about this pattern is the sleeve gathers. They are fighting with the shoulder gathers and losing the battle. The drapey knit isn't doing them justice either as they just hang limply and they should probably be spread out a bit more. The pattern has you put them at the very top of the shoulder, so that's what I did.

The top is quite fussy to make and I didn't really enjoy having to tie all the elastic thread ends. Which, by the way, the pattern doesn't tell you to do. However, I didn't want the elastic to come undone so I think it's an important step. That's 14 rows of stitches with 2 ends on each row for 28 knots that need to be made. If you hate gathering, DO NOT make this top.

All in all I really do like the top, just don't like making it. However, I'll probably make it again once I lose a few more pounds. I like how modest the neckline is and that it didn't need a FBA. Anyway, I recommend the top, just don't think it's one of those get it done quickly type of patterns.

For my next project, I've found a few UFOs that are cut but not sewn. I think they will probably fit me, if not now, then very soon. I'm excited to see if they will fit me. I don't have any clothes smaller than I am right now, so I'm going to have to keep sewing so I'll have something to wear. Just as soon as I'm down into a size 14 RTW, I'm going to do some thrift store shopping to get by. There are some pretty good thrift stores around me so I don't think I'll mind wearing gently used clothes. It's better than going out nekked!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tie Me Down

Happy 2010! Everyone is making their new year's resolutions and I'm no different. My resolution for last year was to get fit and lose weight. Well, that almost didn't happen. The last two months I quickly lost 20 pounds after gain 10 during the first 10 months of 2009. My plan is to continue my losing streak and become a lighter, fitter version of myself. I also plan to spend lots of time doing what I love to do, teach sewing. Good thing too because 2010 might not be such a good year for my family if DH loses his job. His company is being bought out and who knows what that means to the old employees. Keep us in your thoughts please.

Sorry for the goofy face, but DH always cracks me up when he is taking my picture. This is the Hotpatterns Metropolitan Tie Me Down Top. It was quite a fiddly top to make and I took forever on it. Since this was just the muslin, I didn't make the long sleeves. I folded up the sleeve length and gave the hem the same treatment as the long sleeves would have gotten. I cut it out in a size 18 with size 20 at the sides and pinned it together. It came out huge. So before I sewed it together, I had to re-cut it to a size 16 with size 18 at the sides. I added 1/2 inch to the center front as other plus size reviewers mentioned. You can see that I should probably remove the addition from the center front. This top has plenty of room in the bust. In fact, I doubt anyone would really need a FBA with this pattern. The shirring above the bust seems more than adequate for me. I added 2" to the length and haven't hemmed it yet. I think if I make it again in a smaller size, I won't add for the length. I also did a sloping shoulder adjustment.

You might not be able to tell from this pic but the back is a bit too wide for me. I didn't have to do any adjustments to the back and I usually have to do a rounded back and a sway back tuck. I skipped the shirring that's supposed to go at the waist on the back. I'm not sure I like this fabric but my friend Stephanie says that it looks very retro and she really likes it. I'm also not crazy about the gathers in the sleeve cap. Maybe that's because my fabric is limp and drapey. I have another fabric already picked out and will try to get it sewn tomorrow.