Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stuff I've Been Doing

I took a silk painting class today with Audrey Durnan through the ASG-LA Chapter. The class was super fun and I learned that it isn't really all that hard to create a beautiful masterpiece! I bought the supplies I'd need to make more pretty stuff. I'm not sure I want to branch out into another hobby, but this one could include sewing if I used my painted silk to make garments, right?

I was all set to come home and make me a new dress. No, I didn't make this dress. I happened to stop at a thrift store on my way home from the class and found the dress, the shoes, and the bracelet all for less than a $20 bill. I couldn't believe I found the complete outfit, in my size, at the same store at the same time. And yes, I've gained a few pounds back, thanks for asking. My job this summer will be to exercise my butt off, literally and stop eating carbs. I'm not feeling well and I'm not sleeping at all. But my hair looks good, right?

In case you were wondering, I did get the last thrift store garments remade. The cat's been sleeping on them so they have to be washed before I can share them with you. I guess I better get started on that laundry.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Attention Deficit Disorder in the Sewing Room

Three posts ago I started fitting a cardigan, which I haven't gotten back to. Two posts ago I bought a really great sewing machine which I haven't done anything with. In fact, the cabinet is still in the middle of my living room. Then my last post had me doing some thrift store refashioning. I did get started on the skirt and sweater conversions, but haven't touched them at all this week. So what did I do this week? Why buy patterns and fabric, of course!

I placed a really big order from and they came in on Tuesday. Sorry about the lousy photo. Most of these are for summer sewing.

The one on the right is a cotton/lycra jersey cream and brown argyle with gold foil printed lines. It is very pretty up close. I got 2 yards so I'm thinking it will be a fall cardigan. The next three are poly/lycra jersey prints that will become short sleeve tops of some sort.

The purple print poly/lycra jersey will be a dress. The next two are cotton/lycra twills in lavender and lime. I need summer capris and nothing feels like summer than colorful capris. The last one is black stretch denim that I want to make some Jeggings from. I won't use a legging pattern, I think I'll just use my TNT pull-on pants pattern and narrow the legs a lot. Then add some jeans details like a faux zipper and back pockets with contrasting topstitching.

I also bought some nice patterns, mostly newly issued when they were on sale at JoAnn's last week. The See & Sew dress pattern is what I'm going to use for the new purple print jersey. The McCall's blouse pattern I bought is a duplicate. I hate when I do that. Luckily I don't do it very often and it was only 99 cents so no big loss there. The rest of the patterns will probably be saved until fall.

Last night I got my hair cut. I've been wanting to grow out my layers and have discovered the flat iron. I think I'm the last one on the planet to discover this magical appliance. No more poofy frizzy hair for me. My husband says it looks like my hair went on a diet and he doesn't like it. I told him it's still frizzy and poofy without the flat iron. That made him feel better, LOL! Now to clean up the sewing room and get started on sewing since I have the day off.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thrift Store Finds Refasioned

This weekend I attended the California Community College Fashion Symposium in downtown Los Angeles. I participated in this event when I was a fashion student and had an opportunity to attend again. It's a really big event for fashion students to present their work in a runway show. This year, the theme was Re-Image, Re-Purpose, Re-Design Our World. For one of the competitions, students were to Purchase an inspiration piece(s) from a secondhand store to be repurposed and redesigned into a whole new couture-like outfit. They were required to use other recycled materials in the redesign, however, findings and notions could be new. The student's could not exceed a $50 maximum expenditure for all materials. Well, the fashions that I saw in this competition really inspired me to try it myself so today I visited a thrift store and came away with some very nice pieces.

This man's shirt is an XLTall Pierre Cardin 100% cotton shirt. I thought the fabric was very pretty. Probably too pretty for a man's shirt. It was very well constructed and was a bargain for $6. There is a lot of fabric for me to work with here. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to make from it, but I've got lots of ideas rattling around in my head.

I also found this really cute skirt for only $6. The black design is embroidered and has black sequins attached throughout. The skirt is one of those peasant skirts that is entirely too small for me on the top tier. The skirt is also much, much too long for me. My plan is to cut down the top tier to form a yoke which will also shorten it to a more flattering length. I will probably attach some plush back elastic to the top of the yoke to hold it up. The black tank was brand new for $2 and looks good with the skirt.

Having just done the pattern fitting on this cardigan, it was easy to see how this pattern could be made from a sweater. The dropped sleeves that are on a lot of old sweaters would work out perfectly for View C in this pattern cover picture.

To go along with the skirt and tank, I thought a white cardi would look really good with the skirt and also give me some shoulder coverage for work. Funny thing is that I almost bought a white shrug at Fashion Bug this weekend. This white sweater has the dropped shoulders and the fit is spot on for being refashioned. I'm going to use some tone on tone white quilting cotton for the facings and collar. When I visited NYC a couple of years ago I purchased a sweater hook that has clear crystals on it that will look wonderful holding this cardi closed. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
I don't have any shoes to wear with this outfit so I did some on-line shoe shopping and decided to get these sandals from They should be here in about a week or so. Since I live in saldals from April through October, I can't believe I don't have any nice black sandals. The only ones I have are old and worn out. Sine they won't be here for awhile, I'm in no hurry to finish this outfit, but I have already started on the sweater refashion project. I can't wait to show you how it all turns out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Look What I found

Ok, first of all, even I think I'm nuts. I found another Singer 500 Rocketeer on craigslist this week. The owner said to make any offer, so I did. I offered him $50 for the machine in the cabinet thinking that he would never accept it. Most are going for at least twice that amount. Lucky for me he accepted my offer. It's a 70 mile drive that I'm going to take on a Friday night to go get it. I'm taking my son with me so that I won't be visiting a stranger's home alone and he can help load it into the pick-up truck.

If you've been following my blog, you know I already have three of these lovely machines. My plan is to use them when I open my own sewing studio. It's a dream of mine that isn't possible while the economy is in the tank. However, if someone wanted to grant me the money to pay rent on a place for one year, than I'd do it now in a heartbeat!

The owner also told me that it had all of it's original attachments. Even in this terrible picture I can see that the box is in good shape and it has the manual! Now to find the room to put it in my house. I asked about condition and he said it hasn't been used in 5-10 years but didn't break, they just stopped using it. One can only hope that it isn't completely frozen up. However, I've brought one of my machines back to life in this condition so I'm sure I could do it again. I hope it won't be necessary though.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pattern Fitting Time

Not only did I enter Patternreview's Mini-Wardrobe contest, but I also entered The Stitcher's Guild 6PAC for spring sew-along. I'm using the first 4 pieces from my mini-wardrobe then adding two more garments. I think these will be the garments I take along with me to Patternreview's Annual Meeting in Chicago next month. The two new garments are M5932 and KS 2631.

I'm sewing the KS top in a white poly/lycra woven with black topstitching. I've made this top before in a stretch woven. I liked it a lot and I hope it works in this fabric as well. Since I don't have to do any pattern fitting on the KS top, it should go pretty quickly once I cut it out. I hope to get that done later today.

The fabric I'm using for the cardigan is a knit that's been in my stash since before I had a stash. It's a stable knit that feels like it has some poly in it. Not the best quality, but the color will work perfectly in my 6PAC.

Before deciding to use this cardigan pattern, I read all the reviews on They were a mixed bag. Not wanting to ruin my fabric but not wanting to do a muslin either, I pinned the pattern together and tried the pattern out on Judy. It fit pretty well with some minor alterations. First, I cut the shoulder slope much steeper, by 3/4" on both the front and back. That meant that I had to fold out 1-1/2" from the sleeve width. That's good because the sleeves looked quite wide. I forgot to mention that when I cut out the pattern I cut a size Large, then tapered to an X-Large side seam at the hem.

The neckline wanted to gape, so I pinched a small dart which I will rotate out at the underarm. I probably didn't have to do this alteration, but since it's easy to do and the pattern clearly needed it, I went ahead and did the alteration. This also meant that I had to reduce the length of the collar.

The back is where the pattern needed quite a bit of help. I had to reduce the center back length by two full inches for it to hang correctly. This is a normal alteration for me, but 2" was quite a lot more than I usually have to do. The tuck tapers to nothing at the side seam. Taking the back tuck will require me to even out the hem but I think I'll remove from the front instead of adding to the back since I will probably want to make it a tad bit shorter. I also had to add 1-1/2" to get the center back to cover my behind so I will be adding a center back seam to get the extra width. I didn't want to add a seam in my stripy knit fabric, but it will help get the fit I need. Oh well.

Without doing my usual high rounded back alteration, the back neckline was going to be way too high on me. One PR reviewer said that she did do the rounded back alteration and now had a bubble under the collar because she added too much. I think that the pattern is just drafted wrong at this spot. I'll correct it by cutting down the pattern and skip this alteration.

After making these pattern alterations, I think I'm going to get a pretty good fitting cardigan. It's still going to have unsewn bust darts, but that's because of the dropped shoulder. I'm not sure there is a way to get rid of that without actually sewing in the darts, something I don't want to do on this simple pattern.

April is almost over and for the sew-along, I need to be done this month so I better get to work. For the PR mini-wardrobe contest, from taking a quick look at the contest gallery, it looks like I came in 4th place. I was hoping to do better, but thank you to all 50 people who did vote for my wardrobe. I know my style of dress isn't everyone's taste, but I think I look pretty good in my new wardrobe. I just can't seem to find the love for the vintage styles that are so popular right now. However, I do love to wear red lipstick now and then. That's about as vintage as I get.