Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

This year was my year to heal. Losing my MIL in 2010 sent me into a spiral that encompassed losing my own mother in 2006. It has taken me a long time to get over losing these two important women and to come into my own. I'm hoping 2012 will be the year I start living for me. I feel like I'm recovered enough and have made a good start in the second half of this year. You can tell I'm doing better because I sew and blog more when I'm feeling good about myself and my life.

Some of my sewing accomplishments for 2011 included learning some new skills and I think I did pretty well towards that goal. I made some panties for the first time. I learned how to dye fabric, which I really liked to do. I also did some home dec projects including recovering an ottoman.

This was the year I lost my very most favorite pattern, KS 2900, the TNT t-shirt. I also found a replacement that I like just as much. I bought a ton of fabric this year and did some travelling. I went to the meeting in Chicago and I visited my FIL in South Carolina. I lost some weight and gained it all back plus some. I entered a sewing competition that had no winner and I allowed myself to be talked into sewing a costume for my niece. You know I hate sewing for others!

Things I plan on for the new year include taking care of me. My son is nearly grown and will be turning 18 and going to college in 2012. I know my job of raising him isn't over, however, I think the hardest part is. I believe I have taught him to be a self-sufficient human being, now I just need to teach him to drive.

I will be going back to college to take some classes this year. My first class will be Illustration for Fashion and Costume Design. I've been wanting to take this class forever. I'm also going to seriously look into getting my Master's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Education which will qualify me to teach at the Community College level. Unfortunately, the school where this program is offered is 55 miles away. That's a really long commute to attend school and I will really have to give this some thought. However, I really want to teach sewing. For 15 years I've been teaching middle school, and I'm tired of the behavior of today's kids. Maybe college students will be different.

I turned 50 this year. I didn't mention it when it happened in July. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Now that I've had that I've had a few months to think about it, I like the idea of being 50. I just wish I was in shape. Not that I want to be skinny (that would be nice though), I just want to be more fit than I am. I want to have more stamina and strength. I don't like the way I feel at the moment. I'm not unhealthy, I'm just very unfit. I plan on doing something about that in 2012. My first goal is 30 minutes of exercise every other day. I plan to mix it up with bike rides, walks on either the treadmill or outdoors, or using the Wii Fit program or other exercise DVDs.

As for sewing, my goal this year is to sew more capsules. I have found that every time I sew up a capsule, I wear those pieces more than anything else. I will also be sewing from the stash. It's getting completely out of control and since I have these lovely fabrics, it's time to use them. I will also be clearing out the clutter in my house. I really do have a nice size home, it's just filled with un-needed stuff and unused stuff and feels quite small. I foresee some major battles with my hoarder husband over this, but everything that I can get rid of will go. I'm becoming the Craigslist Queen and have made some money at the same time. I will continue this in 2012.

To support my goal of sewing through the stash, I've entered's Stash Contests. My goal is to sew 25 yards in January. I think this is a very doable goal since I usually don't work much (I'm a sub teacher) in January and my fashion illustration class doesn't start until March. Using my stash, I'm going to be sewing up my first mini-wardrobe for winter. I also plan to do a lot more blogging this year. I'm hoping to gain more followers in the new year and of course, I'm always wanting to generate more comments. What blogger isn't a comment ho at heart?

I especially want to wish all my readers a fantastic new year in 2012 and may all your wishes for the year come true!


Monday, December 5, 2011

What I Did This Weekend or Can You Spot My Mistake?

Clever title, huh? I've since fixed the mistake. If you're not a quilter, please forgive me. I used to be a quilter. I've won blue ribbons at the Los Angeles County Fair for my quilts, honest. I even once won a special award for my free motion quilting which came with a $50 quilt store certificate. Quilting is something I'm not sure I love, it's just that it's addicting. Kind of like eating potato chips. You can't eat just one. One block becomes two, two becomes three, and so on and so forth. I just can't help myself.

At Thanksgiving dinner I was asked by my sister-in-law to make her some lap quilts. She is wheelchair bound and stuck in Oklahoma with my brother. In a moment of weakness, since I'd hate to be stuck in OK with my brother, I agreed. She only wanted them to be 36" X 36" so I knew that this would be an easy project. I decided not to be anal about matching my seams so that the sewing would go faster. I even had these strips cut from another quilt project I did about 12 years ago. That quilt was a scrappy American flag block made with 1" squares. Those are 3" nine-patch blocks, so this is a small quilt and I'll probably finish it before the week is over. I'm enjoying the process, actually. I have the top completed, except for the borders, so it's going pretty fast. I like free motion quilting, so that should go quite fast as well. I'll make her two, the next one will probably be some sort of scrappy pinwheel quilt. I have lots of quilt fabric left from my quilting days, so I won't be buying anything--and using up stash. Yea!

The other thing I did was to finish up fitting this muslin. (Sorry about this awful photo . I hope I don't ever get arrested because I'm sure this is what my mug shot would look like.) This pattern is Simplicity 2151. It fit fairly well out of the envelope but I did make some changes to the muslin. You can see that I shortened it at the waist about one inch. I also gave it a sloping shoulder adjustment and I shortened the shoulder length by 1/2 inch. 

Another alteration I made was to straighten the seams under the bust for more room around my torso. I can see some pulling around my bust but there really is enough ease, so that confuses me. I cut the C cup but maybe I should have cut the D cup, even though, I'm not a D in bra size. What do you think I should do?

From the side I think the back fits really well, but from the back you can see that I need a rounded back adjustment. Only problem with that is that the back neckline is already almost too high, so I'll have to cut that down and alter the neckline tie to fit.

My niece is coming over again this week to sew with me on Thursday. I'd like to have the quilt sandwich pinned together and the D-cup muslin cut out for my sewing date. I can't tell you how much better my psyche feels now that I'm sewing regularly again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Return to My TNT T-Shirt Quest

Over the Thanksgiving week I was finally able to get a few t-shirt muslins sewn up. I tried two patterns, and was only successful with one. The Ottobre 3/4 length t-shirt pattern was a clear winner. I know many people have had success with this pattern. It has a good length sleeve and a nice scoop neckline, not too low or too high. In fact, it turned out so well that I didn't quite finish the muslin. This one doesn't have the sleeves or the hem completed. I was too anxious to get started on one in my good fabric.

This is my muslin done in a whimsical fashion diva print. I've had the fabric forever, not sure what I could make it into. The print and colors are very bright and bold so I think it works up great as a t-shirt and if it didn't work out, it wouldn't be too great of a loss.

I cut the muslin in the largest size, and it is slightly too large everywhere. I cut the shoulders in about 1/2" and made a sloping-shoulder alteration. I had added 2" to the hemline, which wasn't at all necessary. I also shortened it at the waist 1".

Just before I cut out the pattern, I decided to shorten the pattern at the waist 3/4 inches more. It was a really good decision, I think. With these alterations I think I got a great fitting t-shirt. I know it's hard to tell in the photo above, but I think I like the fit of this pattern just as much as I liked my missing KS 2900 pattern.

I am so grateful to finally have a good fitting pattern once again. This put me in the mood to sew, so I invited my sister and my niece to come over and sew with me on Saturday. Two years ago I took  my niece to the garment district to buy fabric. Since she wears nearly the same size as I do, we cut out some of my patterns but we never got the chance to stitch them up. Lo and behold (who says that?) we had cut out my TNT t-shirt pattern out of one of her fabrics and then set it aside. No, really! I feel like I just found a buried treasure. I took her UFO and traced out the pattern, front, back, and cap sleeve. It feels so wonderful to have not one, but two TNT t-shirt patterns. Now to trace both again and lock them in the vault so that if I ever lose one again, I still have a copy. OK, so not a vault but maybe a safe deposit box.

Since I was having so much success, I decided to try out another new pattern. This one is Simplicity 2195, a Khaliah Ali collection pattern. It couldn't be more simple with dolman sleeves and a shaped hem. The pattern calls for a neckline facing, but I've decided to do a spiral cowl neckline that Pam at Fashion Sewing Supply, the popular site for interfacing, did on one of her recent garments. Mine will be much shorter than hers because I was running out of fabric, but I think it'll work. While I don't want a whole wardrobe of this top, I like the way it's turning out. I think the underarm curve might have to be resewn closer to my body. Do you think that will work or does the dolman sleeve really sit away from the underarm this much?

Another project I'm working on is this thrift store jacket. It's a Liz Claiborne jacket made in 100% linen with a cotton lining. It must have shrunk in length, because it fits me perfectly except that I need to add shoulder pads. The color is horrible on me so I've decided to dye it using Dylon permanent fabric dye in Bahama Blue, which is probably more of a turquoise color. I had so much fun dying the Fashion Show fabric that I want to do it again. Since this is made of 100% natural fibers, it should hold on to the color nicely.

Don't you think that the trim on this jacket is horrible? The pleated fabric alone would probably have been OK, adding the knotted rope ruined it. Since I'm not sure how the trim would hold the dye, being tightly knotted and layered, I have removed it. I'm spending my evenings going through my Threads Magazines looking for just the right neckline treatment. I'm also replacing the top snap with a magnet. They were selling them at the ETAC conference so I bought a few. I can't wait to try it.

Can you tell I'm super motivated to get back to more sewing? I've felt like such a slacker this year. I hope next year I will be much more productive in my sewing room. Seriously, I've got to start stitching up some of this stash before it all comes tumbling down on my head and kills me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pillowtop and Piping

This weekend's sewing project was a DYI home dec project. Have I mentioned that I hate home dec? Well, I do. However, this one turned out to be mostly fun. I've never done upholstery before. It always looked hard. It was hard, but oh so very satisfying to do.

This is the after picture. I'm still amazed that I made this beautiful ottoman. The fabric came from a local home dec fabric shop, Big Y Yardage Outlet. I wanted four yards, but they only had three, but when I took it off the roll and measured it, there was an extra 3/4 yards on the roll. Score! I have plenty now for several throw pillows. The appeal of this fabric was that it goes with both my red sofa and my brown love seat. I'm hoping they will both look like they belong together.

Once I took off the cover, I got a good look at how the pillow top is attached to the board. I would never have figured that out. I still didn't do it how they did it, mine not being quite as professional as theirs, but it got the job done.

My ottoman went with my expensive mission style chair that I just sold on craigslist. It was much too big for the room, but the ottoman can be placed in a corner of the room and pulled out for comfortable TV watching or extra seating so I kept it knowing full well that it needed a new cover. The ottoman is very comfortable to sit on since it has a spring seat instead of a hard board underneath the pillow.

I was surprised to find that the cover included a zipper to install the cushion. I used this method as well. Good thing you can't see the robin's egg blue zipper. I didn't see any reason to go out and buy a matching one since no one will ever see it.

See how well it goes with the brown loveseat? I think it looks great with either piece of furniture.

 Really, the hard part was cutting out the fabric. See what a good job I did matching the pattern. I put the large motif in the center of the top. It looks off center from here, but trust me, it's perfect. Then the box band flows down over the side with a good match and then down to the board cover, it matches as well.

My home is in the middle of a kitchen remodel project so I'm a bit focused on the house. The next few project I sew will be more home dec. I need new curtains in both bathrooms and in the kitchen. I also want to use the ottoman fabric and make pillows for both sofas.

The t-shirt project has been set aside for awhile, but not forever. I'll get back to it during my Christmas break. Two weeks to do nothing but sew. I love my job!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Today was the Los Angeles ASG Annual Meeting in Calabasas. It was about an hour and a half drive, but fortunately it didn't rain on my friend Karen and I. The meeting was a lot of fun, especially when I won one of the door prizes.

I've won the door prize at the last two meetings I've attended. One was the Chickasaw Tribe Council meeting a couple of months ago. I won a t-shirt. This time, however, I hit the jackpot! Included in the package was a quilt of the month pattern for Halloween, a 5in1 sliding gauge from Nancy Zieman which I've been wanting, a 15-piece fat quarter collection in a lovely metal basket, and a bottle of Mary Ellen's Best Press. When they brought up the package, Karen told me I should smell how good the Best Press was and I told her that I would just have to win the prize--and I did!

The meeting's guest speaker was Leora Raikin from African Folklore Embroidery. While her stuff is really interesting, I'm not going to be picking up a needle and floss anytime soon. However, her stories about South Africa and the life there was fascinating. Next time I have a South African guest to my house, I'll be sure to offer them some tea.

After the meeting on the way home, we just happen to be passing near downtown Los Angeles so we stopped at the garment district where I found 27 yards of knits that needed to be mine. Knowing that I'm close to a new t-shirt pattern, I was on the lookout for some great new fabrics to sew up this fall and winter. 

Starting from the left chair arm to the right, the teal blue and purple flowers is a heavy onionskin type poly knit. The next seven fabrics from the brown and turquoise fabric around to the large black snakeskin print are all poly lycra prints. Under these is an embossed orange heavy acetate slinky, then a non stretchy heavy textured poly knit in a black and white print, and then an RPL double knit in navy for some yoga pants. And last but not least, hanging from my dress form is a poly ruffle knit fabric in a red and black tie-dyed animal print fabric. All the fabrics except the ruffled one came from either Michael Levine, or the Loft. I don't remember the name of the store where I purchased the ruffle. It was sitting outside the store and was calling my name very loudly, so I just followed it inside and got 2.5 yards of it. I only wanted 2 yards, but they threw in the last half yard for free. Again, lucky me!

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go clothes shopping with my niece, but all I want to do is stay home and sew up some of these fantastic new fabrics. So far, the 3/4-length sleeve t-shirt from the 2-2007 Ottobre Magazine is looking like a clear winner for me. I cut the pattern too big, so once I trace it again in a smaller size and make it again, I'll know for sure if it's just right for me. I'm not sure why, but I traced it out in the largest size, and I should have made it in a size 48, which is the size I usually cut for this pattern line.

Thank you to everyone for their great ideas on finding my old t-shirt pattern. Trina had a great idea to make a rubbing off one of my old t-shirts. I tried that and the t-shirt made from the rubbed off pattern just didn't fit right. I'm not sure why. However, I did trace that pattern in permanent ink onto my cutting board so I'll never lose it again. I think I'll do the same thing with my new favorite pattern, when I get it perfected.

It's time to take myself and this lovely feline to bed for the night. Do you see why I prefer prints to solids? They don't show the cat hair nearly so much. That, and I think they hide the flabby rolls around my middle. I promise that my next post I will be sharing some t-shirts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Doing Stuff

Before I let months go by again, I thought I just do a quick post. I've been tracing and cutting out fabric for my t-shirts. I should get started sewing today since I have Veteran's day off. Tomorrow is my ASG Annual Meeting so I won't get much sewn, but I'll work on my tops again on Sunday.

I also wanted to share the photos from the ETAC fashion show. You can see the video HERE. The fashion show starts at about 9 minutes in. I didn't get any photos on my camera, but Sue from Sew Qwk and Peggy Campbell from my ASG sent me these:

This is the first set of garments. It's what each of would wear to the Friday night get-together mixer. You can see two of us used the border print in a skirt for this event. After seeing these photos, I really hate the way that jacket turned out. The bust fit is awful!

This is the only photo I have of the Memory Lane Photo Shoot garments that I have. Two of the outfits are missing. I think I was the youngest and graduated in the 1970s. The others had garments from the 1960s. Jeanette went way out there in her interpretation of the 1960s with her wig and glasses. She looked great!

This is what each one of would wear to the Big Outdoor Dinner Dance. I really like how that skirt hangs on me. I might consider making it again, just not in a shiny fabric. This one will go into the donation pile. The shawl I made spent the last week in China. One of my friends needed something fancy to wear over a black dress so I let her borrow it. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing how we all used the fabrics and patterns in different and interesting ways. Now back to the cutting table for me. More t-shirt posts to come.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Quest for the Holy Grail - A New TNT T-Shirt Pattern

Many of you know that I have had a wonderful TNT t-shirt pattern. I've made it over 20 times and have done nearly a dozen design changes to it. The pattern is an altered version of KS 2900.

Some of the alterations I've done include an increase to the hip, shorten the shoulder seam, shape the front hem for extra bust length and add a center back seam to give it some shape and give it a sloping shoulder. Here are some examples of what I have done with this pattern:

The top two photos are the pattern as cut right from the envelope. The brown one is me using the selvage on a seam down the center front and the pink one I borrowed some flutter sleeves to make a summer top.

The red top was made using a scoop neck traced from a RTW top. The black print top has the neckline details from Textile Studios Marseilles Shirt. The green/brown top has an added collar. This detail I copied from another KS pattern. The yoked shirt has a design detail that I copied from a WOF Burda Plus pattern.

The red/black top is an early attempt at pattern drafting. I raised the neckline and added an asymmetrical yoke feature. The green top is my first try at copying RTW. I saw this sweater in a JC Penny's ad and wanted to create my own. The purple top was a 2XL t-shirt that I re-cut using my pattern. The pink one is the t-shirt with a scoop neck copied from a RTW top that I like better than the red one above and I cut the sleeve to cap sleeves length.

This set of tops is where I really started to get creative with this pattern. I started to troll RTW on-line catalogs and found some really great t-shirts with cute details. The green/black top is a Coldwater Creek clone, the black and white one is just a yoke added with gathers above the bust and the red/black one is the same pattern, except I replaced the gathers with a box pleat. The blue top is a Coldwater Creek clone that has a really nice neckline tie. The black one below is the same pattern. I think I've blogged about each one of these tops, just do a search on my blog for KS 2900 or t-shirt and you'll find them.

Again, I think I've blogged about each one of these shirts. The black and brown top are both a Coldwater Creek clone. The turquoise one was a RTW top that someone on Patternreview asked how to make, so I made it, and the brown floral top is the details to the Jalie Sweetheart top cut onto my pattern.

The last item I made with my TNT pattern was this dress. I blogged about it as well. After I made this dress, if I remember right, I put all the patterns together in a safe place. In fact, I put it in such a safe place that after tearing my house apart at least 3 times and my sewing room apart many times, I can't find it. I can't find any of the patterns. None, nada!

I'm almost over the morning period. Actually, I'm ready to move on to find a new TNT t-shirt pattern. At the same time, if you want to look on the bright side, it gives me a great opportunity to cull out some of my more ugly knits. I do have some ugly ones too. I really hope I don't bore you all with my quest for a new TNT t-shirt pattern. However, I really feel like I'm lost without my pattern and this search is a necessary evil. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mindless Sewing for Awhile

After the last two challenging sewing projects, I've decided to do some mindless sewing this week. I haven't been called in to work the last two days, and that's a good thing. (Unless, of course, you ask my husband who worries about things like paying the mortgage.) On Tuesday I cleaned up the disaster that was my sewing room and got a pattern traced.

This is the Smoothie Pantie by Lingerie Secrets. It's a great pantie pattern which is very similar to the ones I pay $8 for at Fashion Bug. There are three pattern pieces for this but the line drawing doesn't show that there is a crotch piece that you cut two layers for.

This first pair was cut using the sizing chart on the front envelope. It says that I should cut the 2XL. That looked really BIG, but I figured that was because the back pattern piece just looks large because the front piece is smaller with the seams being in front, not at the sides. Also, since I have to either lower the front or raise the back, or both, to most pants patterns, I decided to raise the back on this muslin/fitting pair.

They came out really good. I used the coverstitch to insert the elastic after I basted it on in the round on the sewing machine first. That gave them a nice RTW look. However, if you don't have a coverstitch machine, then she has some really great instructions for the sewing machine that give nice results. My favorite part about this pattern is how much cheek room there is and how the elastic is shorter in the back so that it cups underneath the butt and doesn't ride up.

For my next pair I will be sewing a size or two smaller. While they fit OK in this heavyweight cotton lycra knit, I think that when I make the rest out of leftover poly lycra and rayon knits, they might have a lot of bagginess to them. These feel too large and I am working very hard to lose weight. I can see me making all my panties from this pattern from now on, maybe. I would like to know how many of you make your own panties? Why would you take the time to make panties if you can buy them to fit already? While I like these, I'm debating within myself whether or not this is something I should be spending my sewing time on.

For my next project, I want to make this Ottobre 2/2006 Jersey Top with a Collar. I traced out the pattern today and have selected some fabric to make up my muslin from. 

There isn't a good photo in the magazine for the top, only this one which shows the collar. By looking at the pattern pieces, I can see that after I petite the pattern, it might just have the right shape for me. I really hope this one works out. If I get another day off, then I'll have this one finished and posted very soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Day After (In other words, I'm done!)

I don't have any photos of me wearing these garments. I forgot to give my camera to someone. However, I know a couple of people who were taking photos and hope to get some from them. Also, Peggy Sager's said she will have the entire ETAC fashion show as a webcast on her site. I'll give you the link when she has it uploaded. When looking at the garments, keep in mind that I have a smaller waist than squishy Judy does. The garments really do look better on me.

It was a really fun evening. I found that every one of us used the fabrics in different ways, which was very interesting. In fact, only a couple of patterns were shared by the contestants. All of us hated the gray polyester gaberdine. I got a different quality silk from every one else. They told mine was the hand woven type and it was very, very slubby and textured. I didn't like that at first, but then I think it had better drape for my cape than the other kind did, so it worked out great. Two or three of the women made pants from their dupioni, so the machine woven silk worked out well for that use.

This is my Friday Night Get Together outfit. On Friday, I still had three garments to get finished for the Saturday night ETAC Fabric Challenge Fashion Show. This made me very nervous since Saturday morning I had promised the Pasadena ASG Neighborhood group that I would teach them how to make the flowers for t-shirts. Luckily, Friday I got the jacket finished and the shawl done.

I'm not sure I like the jacket. It's made from Silhouettes #915 Meagan's Jacket pattern. The color is more a pink and the fit isn't quite right and I'm not sure it really goes with the skirt. I had used the D cup pattern pieces and I should have used the C cup but since I was doing this at the last minute, literally,  I didn't want to go back and trace the other size. I also think it needs a high round back alteration and I added too much fullness for the back flounce. I had some problems getting the collar on the jacket, her construction is something like I've never seen before. It's quick and easy, but the results aren't nearly as nice. I had to shorten the collar by an entire inch and there are some other collar issues that I had to make work as well.

On Saturday morning I got up at 5 am after going to bed at 2 am the night before. I had to make the alterations to this skirt pattern and cut it out before getting ready and driving out to Pasadena to the ASG Meeting. I spent an hour and a half getting ready and driving out there, and then only one person shows up. WTF? After waiting 25 minutes, I turned around and drove back home. The good part is that now I was already showered and my hair was dry and ready to be flat-ironed.

Anyway, back to the skirt. I got it finished when I got home from Pasadena. It only took me a couple of hours to make since it's not lined and I didn't use the drawstring. It's Silhouettes #4300, Paula's Dress, but I used only the skirt portion of the pattern. The pattern has a drawstring waist and is a bit more hippy than I am, but the fabric has enough body to make it work. I actually like this skirt and might sew it again in some fabric that would work into my wardrobe.

It comes to just above my knees so I might even wear this skirt styled with a black cowl neck, some black tights and flats. Since it has an elastic waist, I can keep wearing it as I lose weight. Win!

The top was my reversible garment and the garment I wore with all three outfits. The rules didn't say that only one garment had to meet both requirements, but it worked out that way for me. I used LJ Designs' Margarita Tank Top pattern. Here it is shown with the black side out. To finish the seams I trimmed one side and topstitched down the rest of the seam allowance for a mock flat-fell seam. The neckline and armholes are finished with a scallop edged elastic. I made two muslins of this top and got the pattern to fit nicely, but this fabric didn't have nearly the stretch I thought it did once it was sewn up. Because the bust wasn't fitting, the armholes were gaping horribly. I pulled the elastic to get the armholes to fit more closely. I'm really glad there was the jacket to hide this horrible fit.

This is the outfit for the Memory Lane Photo Shoot. I like the added boots, which is what I might have worn with it back in 1979. The pattern is Silhouette #615 Cathy's Blouse. I shortened the bodice by 4 inches and added a 20" gathered tier to the bottom to make it into my Stevie Nicks inspired dress. I wanted to give it full long sleeves, and more than one tier but I was limited to the fabric I was sent. I sure was happy that I'm short when trying to fit this onto the fabric. Since the fabric was see-through, I put the tank top underneath and wore the skirt for the next outfit inside-out as my slip.

The biggest challenge to this challenge was trying to figure out what to do with the gray polyester gaberdine. I tried to spray paint it without success. That's the sort-of brown at the back end of the fabric. You can see the original color in the middle. Since the spray paint didn't work, I settled on just using fabric paints. First I painted the fabric while wet. It did turn brown but was very uneven and the fabric got a bit stiff. Once I cut the pattern pieces out, then I went over them again with the fabric paint. I finally got the color I wanted but the fabric was much too stiff to do anything with. I wound up just stitching trim to the edges of the bolero since there was no way I was going to be able line it.

The pattern for the bolero is Silhouettes #850 No-Gap Vest. I shortened it 2" and cut the shoulders in to give it a shape that would work with the dress. There was no was this very stiff fabric was going to turn under with a lining so I picked a beaded cotton lace trim from my stash and bought the narrow trim and tea-dyed it to match the beaded trim.

This was my outfit for the Big Outdoor Dinner Dance. I think I was a bit showy in the silver and red, but in my opinion, it really worked.

The top of this outfit is the Margarita Tank Top, just the reverse side from the previous outfit. I was so pleased that the back of this horrible silver printed knit was a solid black. Instead of hiding from the silver, I just with with it. The purpose of this outfit was for dancing, so I chose a swishy swing skirt to go underneath the tank. Silhouette #2010 Three Piece Yoga Skirt worked out nicely for my outfit. It had just the right amount of swing but not too much for the amount of fabric I had. Again, being short really came in handy here. You can't really tell, but the shoes I styled this outfit with are a black strappy sandals with a silver sparkle and a clear 2 1/2 inch stilleto heel. I found them brand new for $10 at the Goodwill Store. 

I think this was the most popular pattern in the fashion show. If I remember right, three of us made it. It's LJ Designs' Sensational Shawl. The pattern calls for a fabric with lots of drape. While you don't normally think of silk dupioni as having lots of drape, the silk was soft enough, especially after washing it, that along with the lining, I think it drapes well. I really love the way it looks like I'm wrapped up in a big bow. My son said all he sees is Little Red Riding Hood, but since it's short and has no hood, I don't know what he's talking about.

I can't believe I got all this done in only 6 days. Not quite like making the entire world in seven days, but pretty amazing none the less, if I do say so myself. Now to clean up the sewing room and decide what I'm going to make next. It feels good to be able to sew what ever I want next. I wish I knew what I wanted to sew. Don't worry, I'll come up with something!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting There

I just need three more days. I can't believe it's already Thursday night. I'm beat and I have to go to bed but wanted to share what I got accomplished today.

This outfit is complete and I like it a lot. It reminds me of something that I might have worn in 1979. The colors were my favorites, dark orange and chocolate brown. The belt I had on the dress yesterday broke so I went out today and bought this new one.

Instead of lining the vest I decided to trim it. Adding cotton lace I think makes it looks like it belongs to this outfit. I have a local fabric mill-end store and bought the trim cheap. It already had the wooden beads attached in the right color. The drawstring was something I found in my trims box and worked quite well. Before trimming the armholes, I cut them in somewhat. It hardly resembles the pattern any longer. I did a FBA and the center front still doesn't hang straight. However, I think that actually helps to give me the illusion of having a better shape and I like it.

I got the muslin for the jacket done and have most of the alterations made on the pattern. I'm lengthening it 2" and raising the neckline 2" as well. I want to remove a lot of the gathers in the lower back and I have to shorten it in the upper back and add for my hips and belly.

I may not get much sleep tomorrow night, but I'm sure I'll  get it all done.