Thursday, December 13, 2012

Simplicity 1717

Hey I made something!  And it fits!  And I have a crappy picture!

It's just a basic A-line skirt from Simplicity's AmazingFit line.  I used the curvy pieces and ended up having to take it in an inch (1/4 inch at each side) from the size that I chose, but it now fits perfectly.  I did not look at the pattern instructions and added an invisible zipper instead of a lapped one.  The fabric is a thick stretch cotton that I bought forever ago at, and the waist is stabilized with stay tape.  The yoke facing is not hand sewn as nice as I would like, but my hands are bothering me a bit, so I just accepted it and went on.  (This is also why there is a machine sewn hem.)

This is just a basic skirt, but I have never actually had a long skirt so it feels kind of weird when I wear it.  I don't have much in my closet that goes with a long skirt, but I'm gonna try some more stuff on before I panic.  (Not that I will panic.  Probably will buy or make something to go with it.)  It's a style I have been wanting to try, and I'm glad it turned out so well after all my wadders.

I'm trying not to create more stress for myself by setting up high expectations for next year's sewing goals, so I'm going to keep it simple.  I want to work on taking better pictures of myself and my clothes for the blog.  That's it.  (Although it might help if Seattle had any sun, but I'm not complaining.  I love it here.)

Yay!  Mission accomplished.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Year in Review

Well, it's pretty obvious that I have kind of lost my desire to sew, which is sad because it is something that I have enjoyed in the past.  (And I hate buying clothes at stores.  Ick.)  Being ill for the first part of the year (and then spending the second half trying to catch up to my life) put sewing on the back burner for a while, and I'd like to change that if I can.  I'm in an in between place in my life right now and am thinking about what I'd like to do next.  I have finished all my major projects, come back from an amazing trip to Seoul and Taipei, and am at a place where I can make some changes to my routine.  And one of those changes is making sewing a higher priority.

I've been looking at what I made this year (admittedly not much) and evaluated the different patterns to see where I should put my focus.

  • Colette Patterns Violet: I made three of these this year and have worn them regularly.  (Along with the two others I made last year.)  I enjoyed sewing this pattern and since there are a few more changes I would like to make, I will probably sew some more.
  • Nightgowns: I made three nightgowns this year and wear the hell out of them.  I don't need anymore right now, so I mostly won't make more for a while.
  • Simplicity 2245: I made a painting smock from this pattern that worked out quite well.  I also just made a dress that turned out so unflattering that I'm not even gonna take a picture of it.  The neck yoke is horribly sewn but I won't go and fix it because, while the rest of it is well sewn, my fabric choices were wrong. WRONG!
  • Simplicity 2258: Meh skirt.  Already gave it away.
  • Vogue 8536: This was a knit shirt that I am not completely sold on, but I wear it fairly regularly.  My husband loves it.
  • Butterick 5753: Batwing knit shirt that is too big and I am too lazy to fix it.  Still gets some wear, but I'm not loving it.
  • 2 wadders that I am not even going to get into.
Turns out, everything I have made since my surgery has been crap or iffy.  No wonder I am having motivation problems!  If I don't have a success with my current project (simple A line skirt) I think I will go back one of my tried and true patterns just to make something I feel good about.  Ahh sewing, how I love and hate you!

To leave you on a good note, I will post a picture from my recent travels. This was taken up in the mountains by Taipei.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dear Vogue Patterns

This (V8853) is not okay.  Who is going to wear this.  It's HUGE!

This (V1327) is actually kind of cute.  Good job.  But knock it off with that other stuff.  That shirt is crazy town.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Butterick 5753

Uh yeah, so I actually made something.  A new pattern even.  And a knit.  (Which many people know I hate.)  Inspired by Ginger Makes (and everybody else sews with knits) I decided that I need more knits in my wardrobe so I don't have to iron everything.  Voila.  Butterick 5753.

It is a little baggy, but that is because it has wings!

Yeah.  I made a batwing knit shirt.  I'm not sure if it is that flattering on me, but I purposefully left the bottom wide because having it stretched tight across my midsection is not awesome.  I made two changes to the pattern.
  1. I made a large up top and an extra large at the bottom.  The large would have fit me all the way down, but I didn't want it to be form-fitting around my waist. I'm gonna wear it for awhile and see if I need to take it in a little.
  2. I added 5 inches to the length of the side seam.  The armhole is so big, that if I hadn't, I would have been flashing folks a little more than they probably would want to see.
Because I dislike sewing knits so much, I took it slowly, tested my needle first, and marked all of the hemlines before I folded over and stitched.  I used my regular machine, not my serger, and everything went just fine.  I don't think I will make another of these shirts, but I'll see how it goes after I wear it a few times.

Here is the line drawings from the pattern.  I made view D.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Club

Hey, I recently started a book club on Goodreads not to long ago, and decided that it might actually be a good thing to tell people about it.  It's The Classic Genre Fiction Club, and we are reading the classics in mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, thrillers, sensation, and romance.  I noticed there were a lot of groups for literary classics and a ton of groups for modern genre books, and not much in the way of older genre stuff.  This month we are reading Rosemary's Baby.  Click on the book club link and join us if you are so inclined!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Starting Fresh, a Wadder, Comments, and Kindness

Today's post will have many topics; I have a few things on my mind.

* In order to help rejuvenate my sewing mojo, I am starting fresh.  All previous projects, challenges, plans, and plots are thrown out the window.  Everything that was dragging me down is now outta here.

* In that vein, I started a new project yesterday - a shirt - with all the best hopes.  A new pattern, a pretty rayon challis, and a spark of enthusiasm.  Turns out, the pattern was poorly drafted, the fabric not so suitable for me, and the fit all wrong.  WADDER!  I was bummed for a minute or two and then I just laughed.  What else am I going to do?

* I am not enjoying the "improved" verification system that blogger installed awhile ago to prove that real people are commenting (number and wavy word.)  I often have trouble making things out and get frustrated.  So, I have changed the way folks can leave comments on my blog.  You post it, I approve it.  This seems to be working, except now I get a ton of spam.  Knock it off spam peoples! Real people, thank you for your comments, they mean the world to me.

* So, I was reading a blog the other day that I really enjoy, and there was a comment by a woman making fun of another woman's (who hopefully does not read that blog) upper arms.  As a woman who does not have the most toned upper arms, I am going to go sleeveless until I die.  But most importantly, I am going to make an effort to be more kind in my thoughts towards others (and myself for that matter.)  I may have never written unkind things about other people's looks, but I have thought them.  I need to stop doing that.  What happens in my head does matter, to me anyway.  And I don't want to be that person.  Turns out, it's just as easy to be kind.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Toss It!

I have been half-heartedly working on a dress for a couple of weeks now and I just can't force myself to finish it.  There's nothing really wrong with it, but it's for the wrong season, I don't love the fabric, and I can't be bothered to fix the front neckline. I have lost my inspiration.  I think I am going to toss it and make something I really want.  As per usual, I need shirts.  Life is too darn short to get all mopey over a stupid dress.  I feel better about sewing already.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Last week was Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, which was super fun as usual.  In previous years, I served as a camp counselor, but this year I switched things up a bit and acted as a band coach.  (Counselors stay with the girls all day and help them get to all the places they need to be at; band coaches work with the bands to help them write their songs.)  My band's name was Toxic City.  They were nine.  And they rocked.  Their song was a dark little number about toxic angels, voodoo, dinosaurs, and goldfish.  It's one of my favorite weeks of the year.

I don't have any pictures of the girls (we like to protect their privacy) but my house is looking especially cute, so I'll post a picture of that.  Ah, summer time.  (I am thinking about sewing.  Really I am.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gratuitous Picture of Alice

There's no sewing going on here, but for good reasons now.  Summer is super busy for us in the Pacific Northwest, and we have been outside enjoying the sun while we have it.  Also, it turns out that I have enough summer clothes.  Who knew?  I might make a new dress or a top in the next month, but I'm having fun just having fun.  Last night we went out to Golden Gardens with the family and barbecued on the beach.  I haven't posted a picture of my niece Alice in awhile, so here she is.  Cute as a bug, but I wish she would stop asking "But Why?"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vogue 1317

The new Vogue patterns have come out, and except for one skirt and the below pattern, I was pretty underwhelmed.

This one however, is divine.

Ralph Rucci, of course.  Oh where shall I wear it?

Also, Vogue is on crack.  Here was the main picture and the other designer patterns were worse.

Knock it off, Vogue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Simplicity 9505 (again)

So first off, Hawaii was awesome, but even better than that, I am feeling really good.  Almost like a regular person.  And, my urge (and ability) to sew is coming back!  Finally.  So, I'm back from vacation, feeling good, and what do I make?  Another nightgown.  I already had it cut out, and I only like to have one project going at a time, so I just whipped it up.  It's not glamourous sewing, but sometimes you have to make what you need and not what you want.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Simplicity 9505

So, I have made one of the three things I wanted to take to Hawaii - the nightgown.  It took me awhile because I am having some minor complications from the surgery.  (My body is not entirely happy with the new levels of calcium and I am not feeling very well because of it.  My levels are normal, but my body is used to it being much higher.)  I ended up buying 2 pairs of shorts, and who knows about the dress.

Anyway, here is the nightgown:

Nothing fancy, but perhaps you might be interested in a close-up of the fabric.

Yup.  That's the Virgin Mary.  I was looking for a thicker cotton that was more modest for when I had guests over, and I had this in the stash.  If she can't protect my modesty, I don't know what can.  (The top photo is more true to color.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Surgery Update and Sewing Plans

Hey!  I'm back(ish)!  So, I finally had my thyroid/parathyroid surgery and am currently recuperating at home.  So, they took three nodules out of my thyroid - no cancer happy to say.  They also removed the bad parathyroid that has been causing me all the trouble: tiredness, bone pain, depression etc.  I am currently trying to get my calcium levels up to normal, and once I do, I should be good to go and feeling a lot better.  Yay!

Sewing Plans:
I'm hoping that once I get feeling better again, my sewing desire/ability will return as I am taking a trip to Hawaii in July and would like to get a few things sewn for the trip.

  • New nightgown that I can wear in front of guests and not embarrass anyone. (Including myself.)
  • New shorts.  I'm going to give McCall's 6361 a try.

  • A new dress.  Maybe Burda 7513?  (The long version.)

Reviews of this dress haven't been glowing, but it won't hurt to make a muslin.  We'll see.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Violet #5

Yeah, I am both kind of busy and still feeling crappy, so not much sewing has been going on.  But I did make a new blouse for Easter, which I did not get to wear because the interfacing freaking bubbled again.  After thinking about it for a while, I pulled out my embroidery thread and French knotted the heck out of the collar like I did on my first Violet blouse.  And, of course, I like the blouse much better.

Here's a close up of the collar:

I couldn't figure out why I've been having issues with my interfacing - I use the nice stuff I buy online - until I re-read the directions.  Which clearly state not to add fabric softener when you are pre-treating the fabric.  Guess what dryer sheets are?  Fabric softener.  I hope that's what's been causing this problem.

Anyway, it's another Colette Patterns Violet blouse.  I wanted something new, but just wasn't up to fitting a new pattern, so I just pulled this out of my files and made it up.  The fabric is a cotton from Fabric Mart I got not too long ago.  Bright colors are all over the runway for spring, so I thought this blouse would be my nod to current fashion. (If you have read this blog long enough, you have realized that I am not much of one for caring about what's in style.)  The buttonholes are white, because I usually try to match them to the buttons not the blouse.  Not sure how others deal with that.  All in all, it'a a cute blouse that fits great and will get me through spring in style.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simplicity 2258

I am not a big fan of the elastic waist anything.  As an hourglass, any extra fabric around my waist is not gonna look good.  But I wanted to make a straight skirt without a lot of fitting because I'm still not feeling that well and wanted an easy project.  So, I bought Simplicity 2258, which looked kind of cute.

Well, it's just ok on me, but whatever.  I didn't expect this to be the greatest skirt ever.  (Although, you know that every time you make something, you kind of hope it will be.)

When I wear this in real life I'm going to pair it with a longer shirt, to cover up some the balloon effect that this has on me.  (You know you're not doing that well when the "hands in pocket" picture is the best one.)  The pockets are okay - although I don't use pockets much - and I am not sold on the side slit. Oh well.  This was very easy to make with good instructions.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vogue 8536

I've always hated sewing with knits.  Every once in awhile, I'll try it again because it would be nice to have some shirts that I don't have to iron.  Up to this point, I have only made one knit shirt that I have liked and worn more than a few times.  Well, here is another try, Vogue 8536.

It took me two weeks to make this (including the time that it took to make the worlds ugliest muslin.)  I added one inch to the length and took some of the shoulder width out.  It fits pretty well, but the fabric (ITY) is pretty thin and it clings to a lot of things I don't want clung to.

The sewing part actually went ok.  I used a stretch needle on my regular sewing machine and my serger for the shoulder and side seams.  There are a few unattractive parts on the inside, but I can live with that.  The pattern is pretty simple and as long as I went slowly and paid careful attention to my serger tension I was fine.  I might be willing to make another of these, but I'll wear it a few times before I make a decision.  Also, I would like it better if it was lower cut.  I'm a hussy that way.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Simplicity 9505

Hey!  I made something.  Nothing fancy, though.  Last Sunday I felt kinda good, so I thought I would make something simple from my stash.  I grabbed some cotton lawn, and a nightgown pattern and went to town.

Here is a detail of the top.

Not that many construction details here.  I made my own drawstrings and bias tape, and the pattern instructions were pretty straightforward.  I did have to go in after I was done and remove about 2 inches  from each side under the armpit.  It was way too loose.  Nothing to write home about here, but it was nice to get something done.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dream Sewing

So, I finally got to see an endocrinologist, and we are in the process of narrowing down what is wrong with me.  (It looks like hyperparathyroidism, which is annoying, but easy to treat. I just need a few more tests to make sure.)  So, no sewing here.  But I am thinking a lot about it and what I would like to be working on. Here are a few projects that I started and still want to finish.  Everything else unfinished in the past, I am going to let go.

Sewing Through the Decades: I started this challenge over a year ago, which was to sew a dress from each decade from the 1920's on up.  I got stuck in the 20's because the dress I was making was horrific.  (The 20's silhouette is not really great on my figure.)  I am thinking now that anything from each decade would be okay.  I love this 1920s bridge jacket from Decades of Style.

Mystery Box Challenge:  I would like to finish up my mystery box challenge mentioned here.  (I received 4 fabrics in a Fabric Mart mystery bundle and I need to use them all up.)  I made one project - my color block dress - and got bogged down.  I have 2 weird fabrics and one really nice one left.  I think I am going to see what dying this one blue will do, and then maybe turn it into a spring skirt.

Craftsy Classes:  I have purchased three Craftsy Classes.
  • Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress with Gretchen Hirsch
  • The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje
  • Sew Retro: The Starlet Suit Jacket with Gretchen Hirsch

I don't really want to make the bombshell dress, but I got the class because I was interested in the techniques.  I do however want to make the Couture Dress and the Starlet Suit Jacket.  (Can I mention my dislike for the couture label that gets slapped on everything.  Using couture techniques does not a couture dress make.)  I tend to take the easy way out when making clothes, but I would like to have some nicer techniques under my belt.

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Interesting Things

    So, I have not sewn anything for a couple of weeks, and it may be a couple more before I make anything new.  I've been sick for awhile, and it's not going to change anytime soon.  (My visit to the endocrinologist is not for awhile.)  I am very slowly working on a Vogue skirt, but I am at the fitting stage (my least favorite stage of all) and finding it hard to get up any motivation.  I may switch to a pattern I've made before, but then again, I may not.  Ah well.

    Anyway, since there is no sewing going on, I thought I would get a little personal and let you know somethings about me that I have maybe not shared.

    1)  I am a film writer for the MacGuffin website.  If you are interested, my stuff can be found here.

    2)  I do not make etchings very often, but my degree is in printmaking and painting, so when I ask you to come look at my etchings, I mean it.

    3) My favorite cake flavor is peanut butter.  I am gluten intolerant, but I can make most any cake/cookie/quickbread type item by substituting gluten-free flour for wheat flour by weight.

    4) I read a lot.  I am a big fan of mysteries and Victorian sensation novels.  I am not particularly fond of modern literary fiction or Charles Dickens.  The best book I read last year was A Hazard of New Fortunes by William Dean Howells.  I don't think he is a particularly fashionable person to read anymore, but this was a lovely book about life in New York City at the end of the 19th Century.

    1)  I love to travel.  This year's trips will include Austin, Hawaii, Taiwan, and probably Korea (again).  I could never afford to travel when I was younger, so I am taking full advantage of it now.

    Well, that's enough for today.  Have a great week!

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    Practical Sewing: Painting Smock

    A while back I made a ceramics smock with Simplicity 2245.  I decided I wanting the same thing for painting, so I just grabbed the same pattern and made it straight out of the envelope.  Nothing fancy, but practical and useful.  The fabric is a lightweight quilting cotton that will last for a while.  I'm thinking of making the dress version of this, but who knows.  I think about a lot of things.  If I were to make it again, I would do the sleeves differently.  The way I have them now is great for protecting the short sleeves of anything I wear underneath this, but is not so flattering to me.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Violet With Curved Front Yoke

    Yup, I made another Violet blouse.  This time I moved the bust dart into the shoulder and made a curved yoke piece using the instructions in Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear by Winifred Aldrich.

    Here's a photo that kind of illustrates what I mean.  (I'm thinking of making a tutorial.)  I will separate and reassemble the yoke piece and use gathers instead of a dart on the shirt.

    Because I made another black shirt, the details don't show up to well, so here is a close-up that has been lightened. (You can click on it to make it bigger.)

    Here is what the shirt looks like on me.

    I am very happy with this version of the shirt.  The next one won't be black, so maybe you'll be able to see the details.  My next project will actually not be a Violet blouse though.  I need to make a smock to paint in.

    From the back.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Black and White Violet

    Why yes, I did make another Violet top from Colette Patterns.  I really need tops and I am not questioning anything that has got me excited about sewing right now.  After suffering from repeated dry spells this year, I'm just happy to be enjoying myself again.  With this version, I kept the modified cap sleeves, and added a semi-successful collar change.

    I should have gone with smaller buttons, but I like these ones and it is too late to change my mind now.  There looks like there is some weird pulling at the upper bust.  Hmm.  I did not see that on the other versions.  Not sure if I am going to care.  Probably not.  The fabric is a stretch cotton I got from Gorgeous Fabrics ages ago.  It is a little thicker than the other fabrics I have used.  It works, but may be contributing upper bust shenanigans.  You can't really see the collar changes, so I will show you with the magic of the camera.

    I could never get the curved part of the collar to look just right, no matter how hard I tried, so I just straightened it out.  It mostly worked.

    You can see in this picture, which is taken with the garment flat, that by adding the little square parts, where the curves used to be, that the collar points are to close together.  It is not that noticeable on, because I am round instead of flat, but I will correct it for future versions.  All in all, I am pretty happy with this.

    I do have plans for two more of these, but with more drastic alterations.  I am going to add a front yoke on one version and change the bust darts into shoulder tucks for another.  Like I said, whatever keeps me enjoying sewing and providing tops is a good thing.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Violet Save

    So, remember my blue violet shirt with the bust darts that were too high and the collar where the interfacing bubbled?  Well, I managed to save it.
    Ta da!

    I just ripped out the darts and redid them lower down.  Easy peasy.  I was going to rip out the collar too, but the top buttonhole made that too hard, so I decided to add some embroidery to the collar to distract (cover up) the bubbles.  (The color of the previous picture is more accurate.)

    It took me about three hours to do the whole collar.  Now I like it even more than I did before!

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Party Dress

    Here is my holiday party dress.  (Since I take these pictures with a tripod, my facial expression usually leaves something to be desired, which is why I am almost always headless.)  I have three events this year that call for a nice dress (Christmas, Fake New Year's eve, and a friend's reception) and I was in no mood to mess around with a new pattern and stress about fit.  (I had to monkey with the picture a little since there is no sun in Seattle.  The tights I am wearing are purple.)

    I decided to go for a 60's silhouette, so I grabbed this great cotton sateen that I ordered ages ago from  It's heavyish, but not too much for winter.  I decided the pattern I made for the drop cloth dress was perfect; the only change I made was to take in the side seams a little and raise the hem to knee length.

    I have worn things that were more flattering to my body, but I have seldom had more fun in a dress.  I received tons of compliments and I am quite happy with it.  It's not perfect, there were some tension issues with my machine, but it's great for a one season dress.