Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Better Fit or Bust

Yesterday was my day off and I spent the entire day doing things I enjoy. I started the day off planning a mini-wardrobe and cut out this Christine Jonson pattern #426,Princess Wrap.

Her patterns go up to a size 22 but I still needed a bit of adjustment to fit my body. Before I started my usual adjustments, I picked up my copy of Threads magazine, May 2009, No.142. It's the fitting issue and ironically it was on the floor by my bed,opened to the article by Louise Cutting ,"Add a Bust Darts".
It features instructions on getting the right bra size. I looked down (way down) at the girls and decided they must be wearing the wrong size. I grabbed my tape measure and followed Louise's measuring instructions and headed out to buy a bra in the right size.
Now I was ready to adjust my pattern for these newly hoisted boobs. I still needed a FBA,but my girls were uplifted,so my measurements was accurate. Here is my new top, the first piece of my mini-wardrobe.

The lightweight knit fabric, is a purchase from Ebbyj Fabrics. This pattern was a breeze to work with. The instructions and illustrations are clear and un-complicated. Most of the construction was done on my serger,which made this a really fast project. I plan on trying several of Christine Jonson's patterns.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Maxi,City,Town Dress

I've been seeing all the fabulous maxi dresses,city dresses,and town gowns on all the different blogs and it made me wonder....could I pull this style off? I am 5'5 and quite fluffy. My friend Linda says,"Wear what you like. If you like it you should wear it." I think about her words often when I'm freaking out about my pattern or fabric selection and how it will look on my plus size body,and immediately feel good about what I have chosen.

I wanted something with some coverage and would not give me the maternity look. I choose this pattern. I have made this dress before and found it to be a great fit and fast to put together. No zippers,buttons or elastic. Don't you just love summer sewing?

I added some length and left the back ties off. No other adjustment were needed.
I purchased this cool ,cotton jersey fabric, from my friend Ebony's Etsy store, EbbyJ's Fabrics .
I wore it to work Thursday(with total confidence) and was cool and comfortable all day. I will be making this dress again. Next time, with shorter sleeves.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm A Record Holder

I think I hold the record for "longest time away from blogging"! It seem there is never enough time to do all the things I enjoy...or....maybe I don't use my time wisely. Twenty four hour per day is a generous gift from God that I receive daily. I need to get better at managing my time.
That being said,I not going to waste your time with whining and excuses.
I apologise to my blog friends (readers) for leaving you hanging. Thank you for checking up on me from time to time. I will do better.

I have been sewing lately. I made this cool comfortable dress using Simplicity 3877 and wonderfully soft cotton fabric from my friend Ebony's ,Etsy shop.

This is the second time I've used this pattern. It features a bodice with cup sizes B,C and D,so I didn't have to do a FBA. The pattern calls for side zipper which I decided to leave out after basting the side closed and trying it on first. It pulls over the head just fine. It's perfect for the extremely hot weather here. I will definitely make it again. I need more dresses in my life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Easy-Peasy Sewing

My sewing time has been limited lately, because of my work schedule. But I refuse to let it rob me completely of my joy. I just decided to do a couple of easy projects. I choose a couple of unlined jackets. Butterick 4817 and Shapes-Nine Lives Vest
The Butterick 4817 jacket is made using 4 pattern pieces,front back,sleeves and facings. I
wanted to try a couple of techniques I learned recently,at the sewing expo. I learned about matching large prints and adding a little extra to the front of a jacket so that it doesn't gap open with every move. I haven't hemmed it yet. This fabric is a linen blend,given to me by my friend,Ebony.

The Shapes-Nine Live Vest,is a new pattern by Louise Cutting and Linda Lee. I purchased it at the sewing expo. It consist of 4 pieces,two fronts,a back and a collar. I made it right out of the package to get an idea of how it would fit. The vest has an asymmetrical cut front. I haven't found the right buttons yet. I'd like something really different. This fabric is another piece of linen blend given to me by Ebony.I have the day off tomorrow, and I plan to spend it in my sewing room. I just recieved my Speigel and Coldwater Creek catalogs and my head is swimming with ideas.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sewing Expo Weekend

My weekend was filled with good friends,good food and a good sewing event. I went to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo,in Atlanta Ga. It was so much fun and educational also. I think it is a great way to get inspiration and learn the new techniques and tools to take your sewing to the next level.
It get even better when you can take in the activity with friends who enjoy sewing just as much.

I spent my time with Ebony(in the purple top),Linda(in the rust jacket) and met Carla(in the white top). Here's my haul. I purchased four pieces of fabric,four patterns from Cutting Lines, a tailoring board and a box of Steam-A-Seam.I also took two classes and won a door prize from Kathy Ruddy. It is one of her instructional booklets and it is filled with wonderful fitting alternatives and style options.
The minute we got into our hotel room,Ebony went right into cutting and sewing.

Linda and I read blogs,sewing books until wee hours. We were still rested enough to enjoy a late breakfast and head out to the expo.

As I mentioned earlier,I took two classed. The first one was Kathy Ruddy's "The Fit You Need & Style You Want". The second one was Sandy Miller's "How Many Ways Can You Make A Jacket". Both classes were good. I plan to put the things I learn into action immediately. If you have not gone to a sewing expo,you should make plans to attend one. You'll be glad you did. On a different note some wonderful blog friends have nominated me for this award.

I feel totally honored. Thank you Linda, Julia ,Knit Machine Queen, Mimi Satin and Cindy. I will pass the great honor on to 10 other sweet sisters and list the rules in my next post.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Guy Laroche Jacket-Finished !

It's finally finished and I love it!This jacket gave me a hissy fit.The under arm is cut in the strangest way. If I were to sew it the way it was designed,I would not be able to move my arms enough to drink a cup of coffee,without busting a seam. To remedy this situation,I had to learn how to make a gusset. A gusset is a diamond or triangular piece of fabric that give a garment extra space,while allowing it to hang close to the body. I use a diamond shaped insert under the arm of this jacket. I had to hit the old school sewing books,to learn about gussets. My trusted guide for this operation was "The Vogue Sewing Book"copyright 1973(Thanks Mom). The instructions allowed me to make this jacket suitable for wear. Here I am wearing with my TNT pattern,Sewing Workshop's Plaza pants.I had to make my usual FBA and I think I should have shortened the sleeves.They are at an odd area,between 3/4 length and looking too short.I figure if I wear a cute bracelet, no one will notice.

Here is a picture of the gusset under the sleeve of my jacket. I'm happy with my new jacket,now that it is finally finished and I learned a new skill. I don't think I will make it again. Besides,I just bought 4 new jacket patterns this weekend.

Claire is wearing the jacket for now. It's the first thing I see when I walk into my sewing room until I make something else. This is my last winter garment. It's all spring wear from here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cool Off Cardigan

Do you ever get so frustrated with a project, that you have to completely stop and find something else to do? Well that was exactly what I had to do while working on this jacket .
Nothing was going right. I was ready to throw it in the trash can. It was clearly time to walk away. So after a day of sulking,I decided to sew something else. I pulled out this OOP pattern, and some $1 fabric from Walmart and have some non-complicated sewing fun. I morphed this pattern into this cardigan jacket.After rounding off the neckline, shortening the lengthened sleeves,I cut 2 inch bias strips and did rolled edges on my serger.Then I used my ruffler foot to gather this stretchy fabric into an evenly gathered ruffle.This gave me about two yards of new embellishment,which I applied around the neck and down the front of my new cardigan.
I wore it to work today and it was very comfortable. As for the jacket that I almost threw in the trash...I have returned to it with a renewed mind. More on it in a later post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We Have A Winner

Thank you for those sweet birthday wishes. I'm truly blessed to have you as readers/friends. Blogging is good for the heart.

An now without further ado.THE WINNER IS...........
Congradulations Joyce Plunkett ! You've won my B-day giveaway. Please email me your mailing information so that I may send the gift to you. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you will continue to visit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday and wedding anniversary and in true blogger style,I'm giving away a gift to one of my lucky readers. More on that a little further in this post. My DH and I have been married for 25 years and in all those years he has never cut paper with my sewing scissors,complained about me buying fabric or criticized my sewing creations. He bought my first sewing machine. He has sat in many fabric stores with a bored look on his face but never complained. I never get tired of his one response to my newest creation,"Yeah baby,that looks nice". That's just a few of the many thing I love about him.

I got a new camera for my birthday and my DD was happy to take some picture. This blouse is from Butterick 5284 and the fabric was given to me by friend Ebony.

This pattern is great. Beside my usual FBA,I made one little change.I did a rolled edge(on my serger) on my ruffles instead of the narrow hem the pattern features in it's instructions. I will definitely make it again.

Here is my birthday giveaway.

This is a good book to aid in creating harmony in your wardrobe world. I hope you'll like it. Simply post a reply stating you want to be entered in this drawing.I'll post the winner in 5 days.The winner should then email me her mailing address to receive the gift. Good luck and thank you for reading my blog.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Little Sewing and A Little Laughter

I finished 2 pairs of pants from TNT patterns,Simplicity 2700 (grey plaid) and Sewing Workshop Plaza Pants(black).I know the hanger shots don't show much but I just wanted to share what I've been working on. I want to make a jacket to wear with the Plaza pants. I'll take pictures wearing both pieces as soon as I finish the jacket.

Here's my latest project is this OOP Vogue. It will be my last winter piece. The fabric is a wool blend with embossed large scale paisley print. The jacket is fully lined and the pattern requires that every jacket piece is interfaced.

I'm using the techniques from my newest sewing library addition"Jackets For Real People: Tailoring Made Easy".In the Palmer/Pletsch books they employ pin fitting your pattern instead of making a muslin. I pin fitted and of course I had to do the FBA as usual. I also added to the side back and side front pieces to accommodate my thick middle. The fabric pieces are now cut,interfaced and marked. As the book suggests,I pinned the fabric pieces together as if sewn and tried it on and fit nicely. If everything goes as planned,I should have a new jacket,by this weekend.

Now for a little laughter:

Wanna see something funny? Look

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Finished Dress

Finished at last ! It seems like every time I have a project that I'm eager to finish, all kind of drama pops up and steals my precious sewing time. I did get some sewing in,during the past weekend. I finished my sheath dress and cut out two pairs of TNT pants. My plans are to reduce my TV watching time (boo) and spend more time sewing (yaay). So far,so good. I cut out my fabric on Saturday,marked and interfaced on Sunday,sewing on Monday and drama (working late=no sewing) on Tuesday. Maybe I can get a little sewing in tonight.

I couldn't use the fabric I'd originally selected for this dress because,there was not enough fabric.Instead I used another print. My sewing friends choose this print during one of our trips to Hancock Fabrics. I'll build my Spring wardrobe on this dress.
I couldn't get my DD to take a picture. She is my usual photographer. My DH took this photo of me actually wearing the dress,so please excuse the blurry pic. I think you can still see how the dress fits. I'll definitely sew McCall's 5818 again,also I think I'll try other sheath dress patterns too. I like that it is lined and I don't have to worry about wearing a slip with it. This is a great pattern. The instructions are filled with fitting tips and the pattern is actually printed with commonly used alteration guide lines like ,the full bust adjustment. If you are new to fitting,this is a great pattern to start with.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Give Me Joy!

I have been nominated by these wonderful,talented,women,Linda of Faye's Sewing Adventure, Liana of Sew Intriguing and Lesa of Lesalicious Style and Life for this award. I am greatly honored and I thank you. The best part of blogging, is having the opportunity to communicate with these great women and other terrific people, who willingly share their knowledge,successes and sometimes disappointments of sewing. It's a joy to read comments and know that someone likes what I'm doing.I'm enjoy many blogs and here are my nominations:

Hear are the rules for the nominees:
1. Copy the award to your site.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dress Confessions-Part II

Thanks to all the wonderful notes of encouragement from my blogger friends,I jumped into this dress fitting project with confidence.
I've been working on muslins for my sheath dress.This is muslin #1. It is straight from the pattern,without any adjustments. I needed to familiarize myself with the pattern's design. It's very tight. No breathing room and forget about sitting. Every roll is exposed.

Here is the back view and more expose rolls.I modeled this dress in front of DH,who didn't know it was a fitting muslin and asked him how it looked? He looked for a few minutes and then said,"It looks nice."I was shocked to know, that he would let me walk around in public looking like this.
I made adjustments to the pattern shown here,highlighted by red marker.This is the front full bust adjustment.The front needed a FBA and some belly room.The back needed adjustment for fullness in the lower back and bottom,to prevent the dress from hanging up on my hip fluff. Here is the muslin #3 with adjustments. It passed the sit-down test and it doesn't show any rolls. It still needs a bit of tweaking.

There was a 2ND muslin but I decided to spare you and only show adjustments that work. I have tried on muslins 11 times, to get to a good fit. I think, I'm ready to move on to my fashion fabric.

Friday, January 23, 2009

True Dress Confessions.

I wore a dress to church Sunday, that was a little snug...no,it was really tight.I thought I could wear it one last time and then let it go.
I was wrong.It was one I really liked and standing in the mirror it looked good but when I got into the car,I discovered that sitting in this dress was an entirely different story.I was running late and it was too late to change,so off to church I went. I was so uncomfortable,that I couldn't pay attention to the sermon.I didn't worship,unless I can count, praying that this dress would give me an inch. All I could think of was, getting out of this dress.
Once I returned home ,ripped of the dress and was again able to breath freely,I decided that I needed to make a new dress.
I been browsing through the fashion magazines and find that they are filled with sheath dresses. I usually run from this kind of dress because I think it will be unkind to my plus-size body.Can I make a sheath dress that fits and flatters? To challenge myself and answer this question,I pulled out my "Fit For Real People by Pat Palmer " book. This book is awesome and has helped me before with my fitting issues.
I've selected McCall's 5818-view B,in the black and creme print fabric shown here.

I have cut my muslin and dedicate this weekend to making this dress. I'll be posting my progress. Wish me luck and share with me any tips,that you may have.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Sew Along Sunday

I spent Sunday enjoying a "Sew Along" with my pals Linda and Ebony. Linda prepared a delicious meal and I baked a cake for desert. Our "Sew Along" also included a trip to Hancock Fabrics, where I purchased the fabric of which, my spring "swap" will be based on.(more on this later) My friends encouraged me to purchase a beautiful print in my colors. It is always good to shop with other people who sew. We sewed up a storm from about 3pm till 10pm. Time really flies when you are having fun. I was able to complete this sweater set.I morphed the jacket from my TNT, Vogue 1020, to create this long duster type sweater,by adding 15 inches to the hem and about 2 inches of hip room .The tank top underneath is from McCall 5271. I added 5 inches to the length.

The grey fabric is a ribbed knit purchased at Wal-Mart.

I plan on wearing this on Inauguration Day.I don't have to go to work,but hey...I'm dressing for the occasion anyway.

Vogue patterns were on sale this past weekend and because patterns are on some kind of sale every month,I only buy what I plan to sew in that month. This keeps my pattern stash from becoming overwhelming This is what I plan to sew.

I think they are kinda artsy,though I would never tuck a shirt into elastic waist pants. I like the leg treatments. I'm thinking this could be another sweatsuit alternative.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A New Outfit

I finished my outfit,Tuesday. I wanted to wait for my DD to take the photos of me actually wearing the outfit,but she's been busy with her own activities. I tried to do the department store type setup with my dress form. I'm still learning my new camera,so the color is a little off.
The shirt (McCall 5471) is made from a poplin/spandex blend. It is white with dark grey stripes.I'm not exactly sure where or when it was purchased.It has been in my stash for about 2 years.The pants (Simplicity 2700) are made from a wool blend,purchased from Hancock Fabrics.They are dark grey with light grey pinstripes. This is the inspiration picture torn from a magazine and placed in my "style file".The shirt was listed for $198, the pants $98 and the cardigan $325. My version,shirt $22,pants $20 and cardigan $0. My shirt and pants cost, include fabric and notions,all purchased on sale.My cardigan was a gift. Sewing saved me $579. I don't figure in the time I spend sewing because,I enjoy it so much.

Here is the shirt by itself,to show the curved hemline. I won't be wearing my shirt tucked in.
Here's the part that gave me a really hard time,the ruffled cuff.
It was very difficult to fit the sleeve onto sewing machine in order to sew the inside sleeve facing,while keeping the ruffle evenly distributed. There was plenty of stretching,pulling and screaming,but it was all worth it. It fits and it's just what I wanted.
What's next? I don't know,but I've got Friday off and you know what I'll be doing? That's right...sew on and sew on.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Little Preview

I didn't get to finish my blouse this weekend as I hoped. I sewed late Saturday night,while sleepy and irritated.I know this is a NO-NO,but I wanted to finish.I made some big mistakes.First I sewed the collar stand on without putting on the shirt plackets,so I had to partially remove some of the collar.Then I put the plackets on backwards! I decided to stop and go to bed and get a fresh start after work on Sunday.(I worked all weekend) Sunday's sewing was much better.I was relaxed and at home alone. I fixed the plackets and proceeded without any problems.Sewing was pleasurable,like it should be.Here's a little previewI have the day off Tuesday and I plan to get this finished.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Color and Style Project

One of my resolutions this year is to sew only colors that flatter me.Some years ago,when I thought I wanted to become a hairstylist,I was attending cosmetology school and took an additional class on color analysis. This class was built on the premise that every woman's has a certain group of colors that are perfect for her base on undertones of her skin,hair and eye color.There were four groups of colors classes by seasons-Winter,Spring,Summer and Fall.
That was back in the early 90s.
In the last few month I've been studying up on the newest version of fashion color analysis (it's much more detailed and has more than four groups).Yesterday I had my first client,my friend,Ebony. Ebony's style is bold and dramatic.After her color/style analysis, we went through her fabric stash and removed all pieces that were not her colors or current style. She was very happy to see that her stash is now full of pieces that are totally Ebony's style. She even encouraged me to offer this service as part of my sewing classes.I like that idea. I regret that I didn't think to take before and after pictures. More on that later.

Here's my current project.I want to copy this outfit.
I'm using McCall's 5471 for my shirt.
I've already finished the pants using Simplicity 2700.
I've got my shirt cut and ready to sew.I hope to finish this by Sunday.I love weekends.