Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Love My T-shirt Pattern

I went shopping for fabric in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday and this fabric followed me home. It's a poly/lycra jersey that I found at Michael Levine's loft for $2 a pound. I'm pretty sure this dress weighs less than 2 pounds so I got it for next to nothing. There was plenty of this fabric left over after cutting out the dress. I'm thinking it would make a cute skirt as well. I bought several other pieces at the loft too so expect to see more t-shirts very soon.

The pattern is my TNT t-shirt pattern KS 2900 which I altered to add a round sort of yoke and gathers. I made it up in a muslin, but never got around to making a t-shirt from it. Stephanie and I were discussing t-shirt dresses on our way home from downtown which inspired this dress. Sunday I altered the pattern by lengthening it 18 inches. Next time I'll only add 16" because I had to hem it up 3 inches which meant I cut 2" off the 1" hem. I also had to remove four inches from the side seams at bust level and 8 inches at the hips to make the pattern fit me. Pretty soon, I may have to find a new TNT t-shirt pattern. That will be a very sad day for me, and yet, quite exciting as well.

The dress looks so cute with these earrings. I've had them for a very long time but none of my clothes went with them, so I don't think I'd ever worn them before. The colors match the dress perfectly.

If I ever wanted to get lost in the jungle, this would be the dress to wear. It's a great camouflage. My son said I shouldn't wear it grocery shopping because I look too nice, however, it feels like I'm wearing my nightie. I plan to make lots more t-shirt dresses for my summer wardrobe. I think they are the perfect clothes to wear for losing weight in the summer. The pants I bought a couple of months ago are all getting too loose so I don't think I'll get anymore pants for awhile and pants patterns are too hard to fit, especially since I'd have to do it all over again in just a few months once I lose even more weight.

I'm not sure I ever posted this top once I got it finished. I still need to write the review, but I love how it turned out. It's NL 6940 and it was too tight when I made it in early March, but it fits me perfectly now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A week ago Friday I was rear-ended on the freeway. Luckily no one was hurt, except the cars. My '05 Pontiac Grand Am was totaled. At first I was upset since I only had a year and a half left to pay on it. However, now that I have my dream car, I'm not so sad anymore. I never did really like the Grand Am. It was a compromise when I had a choice to either buy a used car and go to Italy or buy a new Ford Fusion.

This car is a 2010 Ford Fusion SE but it has over 20,000 miles on it so I bought it for a steal. I love my new car! Already today, I was stopped in the parking lot by a man who wanted to ask me about my lovely car. He wanted one as well. After all, it was voted Car of the Year by Motor Trend.

Besides dealing with the insurance company, rental agency, and shopping to buy another car, I did have a chance to pick out some fabrics for some summer sewing. Last summer I made a mini SWAP in red and black. None of those pieces fit any longer so I've decided to make another red and black wardrobe. From left to right: Top row - Black RPL for pull-on pants, white jaquard stretch twill for white skirt, b/w animal print poly mesh for top, Red cotton knit w/black trim for top, Bottom row - gray RPL for pull-on pants, black/gray herringbone for jeans, red/black poly lycra knit for dress, and white dotted swiss for blouse. I have some red capris and some black burmuda shorts that will go great with this wardrobe. I understand that black/white is big this summer and I've added a splash of red since it's a color I look good in.

Besides making this wardrobe, I have seven dresses to make for my son's acting troup which will performing The Wizard of Oz late in July. I'm making the dresses for the rainbow dancers.

I'll be making the one with the full skirt and I need to add a short puffed sleeve with a cuff. They will all be in rainbow shades of poly satin with sequin trim at the waist and sleeve cuff. I also have to add a satin ruffle at the neckline, which with this pattern, will be easy to do. Wish me luck with the fitting. Luckily they are only costumes and don't have to look perfect. But you all know, I'll probably make them look much better than I have time for and the fit will drive me crazy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Motherless Day

I've been motherless for the last four years and Mother's Day is probably the day that I miss my mother the most. Growing up we weren't close. We were never friends. In fact, from as far back as I can remember through my early 20's, if you'd asked, I would have said I hated her. And I would have meant it. It took a few years of counseling and a divorce (on my part) to understand her. To see her life through her eyes. She grew up with a mother that was mean and a dad that was not home as he was usually out on the farm. Also, she spent most of her life either depressed, in pain, or both. She lived with pelvic pain the same way I did. She went through many surgeries to fix her health issues, but she was always in pain. To say she was cranky would have been an understatement. She was mean too. I was afraid of her, as were my sisters and my brother. In my late 20's and early 30's, she became a non-issue for me. I ignored her for the most part, except at family gatherings where I was friendly, but we weren't friends. About 10 years before she died, my dad spend a couple of weeks in the hospital suffering from serious heart problems. Mom stayed with me and for the first time, she was able to show a kinder, softer side. She was afraid and worried about my dad and yet, was pleasant to be around. It was probably the first time in my life I'd ever seen her vulnerable. Then, when my son was a pre-schooler and I was recovering from gall bladder removal surgery, we started becoming friends. She came and stayed with me for a week to help me out. At that time I think I was still trying to figure her out. However, it was not until she was in her 60s that we became close. Not close like best friends, but where I wanted to call her and see how she was doing. Just close enough to where I looked forward to her visits. Three years before she died at the age of 71, I had the privilege of having her and my dad stay with me for nearly 2 weeks while wildfires ravaged the mountaintops where they lived. They had no idea if they would have a home to go to or not. That time is when we really became friends. I think it was the strength she showed when I would have just worried and been afraid for what I was losing. She was grateful for everything that she still had. With her courage, she gained my respect. I am so grateful that we were able to be friends before cancer took her life. So on Mother's Day, while I will be motherless for the rest of my life, I'm grateful that I had my mother in my life and that I was finally able to love her.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pattern Drafting Again

It's been awhile since I've done any pattern drafting to my TNT pattern KS2900. I posted a couple of weeks ago about all the new tops I wanted to make with it this spring and summer. So of course, I didn't start with any of the wonderful inspiration pictures I showed you.

When shopping for the latest Burda Style magazine and not finding the May issue out yet, I decided to go look at the sewing books. They never have a very good selection but I always check anyway. This time I found a new book that looked interesting. Design-It-Yourself, Simplified Patternmaking by Cal Patch is a gem of a book if you're looking to dabble in patternmaking without taking a college level course or having to wade through Helen Armstrong's Patternmaking for Fashion Design.

This project caught my eye and since I had a $10 gift certificate in my wallet, I decided to splurge and get the book. The line drawings took the guess work out of what cut lines I needed to make on my TNT pattern.

After tracing out KS 2900 and making some fit alterations to my pattern to accommodate for my weight loss, I used the diagram from the book to draft a new pattern. I chose to only add one of the side bust cuts and I added 5/8 inch at each place. I wasn't looking for a flowy maternity-type blouse. I only wanted to add a design feature.

I'm very happy with the way my muslin turned out except for the gaping at the insert neckline. I'm not sure why it's doing that except that maybe I didn't have it on the fold correctly, but instead tilted away from the fold at the neckline. When I make my real garment, I may just tilt the pattern piece over the fold at the neckline in order to eliminate the gaping.

I want to add a disclaimer that I did NOT read the book yet, I just used the pictures to make my new pattern since I know quite well how to draft patterns. You can read the reviews at Amazon and decide if you want to own this book, but even though I haven't read the book yet, I'm glad I got it. Amazon has a good price for it too.