Monday, October 27, 2014

Mirror Shot and Go Vote!


Here's a really crappy mirror shot of me after work today in my very extremely messy sewing room, complete with my work badge dangling off my skirt waist. You're welcome. ;-)

I am in love with this outfit and apparently others like it a lot too since I received a nice amount of unsolicitations. Woot! What a nice way to start a week. Besides needing more Jenna cardis, I need more of these skirts. I ended up tucking in the underlayer tank, which works well I think. Gives me a waist too.

Now please go have a look at the Curvy Sewing Collective's entries into the Wrapalong Sewalong and vote for your favorite here. I won't lie by saying I hope it's for me cuz the top three vote-getters each get a $50 gift certificate from Smuggler's Daughter for fabric, and you all KNOW how fabric deprived I've been. :-)

But even if not for me, please go vote. There are many pretty entries and they all deserve a look.

And go vote in the mid-terms too. Alex and I will be heading to a local polling place tomorrow after work for early voting. Love that option. The only thing better would be an app for that.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Muse Jenna Plus Kwik Sew 2759 = New Twinset Love

Here's my almost complete Jenna cardigan over the tank from Kwik Sew 2759. I still have buttons to sew onto the cardi tonight while plopped in front of the television. I decided on shank buttons from the button stash and so there's no way NOT to do these by hand. Oh, the sacrifices ... ;-)


The fabric is an acrylic/poly lightweight sweater knit purchased from Hancock's on Friday during my aerobic lunchtime shopping. I say "aerobic" because I was out of the office, into my car, in Hancock's (3 miles away), through the fabric and cutting table for 4 selections, a stop at the pattern cabinets to pull 8 Simplicities I had on a list for the sale, through the checkout, and back to my desk in a little over an hour. Whew! It's probably a really good thing that I was so time limited because I saw a LOT of fabrics that were asking to come home with me, made worse by my fabric shopping withdrawals for the last many months.

I picked this fabric with the Jenna in mind and to hopefully match this Sophia knit KS skirt I made last year. I love the skirt but don't wear it much because I'm not so in love with the pairing possibilities in my closet. I made a knit HotPatterns top which goes with the skirt perfectly but the fabric is just so clingy that I tend to avoid wearing it. The new knit doesn't match exactly but I think it blends well enough at a reasonable distance to fool the naked eye, so I'm very happy the skirt has a new mate and I'll be wearing this tomorrow. (Plus I did hem the Gillian dress shorter which means TWO new outfits to wear this week!)


The underlayer of the twinset is the tank from this classic Kwik Sew 2759. And, yes, you're probably thinking I could've used the cardigan from this or even the Jalie I hacked instead of buying the Jenna, and you'd be sorta right. Except, one, I really wanted to try the Jenna, especially after my recent success with the Gillian. I'm not immune to the call of new patterns/designers and I've really liked all the Jenna makes I've seen around the interwebs. And, two, there's enough shaping subtleties between Jenna and the other two to make the Jenna much more current-trend fit-wise. Jenna's more fitted, with nice sideseam shaping and high armholes (something KS is notorious for NOT drafting).


After cutting the Jenna, I had enough left from the 2 yds I bought to eek out a tank. So, out came my personal pattern catalog for a quick look to see what I had on hand, and then the tracing paper. I know KS always runs big on me and those armholes always low, so I traced a M everywhere and raised the armholes to the XS height, and while tracing made my usual square shoulder adjustment. The finished tank fits very well. I just wish I had added an inch in length because this thing is pretty short as drafted and I had to turn the tiniest of hems when I would've preferred to hem this knit a bit deeper. Oh well. Sew and learn. I like how the print worked out for neck and armhole bands, even though I will NEVER wear this single layer. So I'll just enjoy the bands in the mirror and on the hanger. :-)


For the Jenna, I cut at the 42 for the shoulders/neckline and morphed out to the 46 for the rest, also adding a square shoulder alteration before I cut the pattern. There was nothing particularly scientific about this, just my gut after sewing the Gillian in a straight 46 that I probably could've gone down a size or two but the wrap styling forgives sizing accuracy a lot. My gut was correct and the finished cardi fits just as I was wanting. Which you'll see when I get photos of it on me instead of Zillie.


I had a few problems with the page alignment marks on my printout but I haven't studied it enough to blame the draft or the printer. Whichever it was, the actual pattern lines fit together without issue, which makes me lean toward the marks being the culprit. The whole thing prints out on 30-ish (I forget the exact count and the PDF is at the office) pages, which tape together just as quickly as unfolding and pressing tissue. I know I'm an oddball, but I actually prefer most PDFs over tissue. I've always had an aversion to pattern tissue. It's gotten better over the years, but I still don't love it.

The only drafting issue I found with the Jenna is very minor and does not affect fit at all. Where the side seams come together creates a "bump" at the bottom edge, which will affect how the hem band sews on and lays if left alone. (Don't stare too long at my sad matching at the sideseams. This is what eyeballing will get you. And I actually cut this single layer!)


Solution: trim the bump away.


Everything else fit together perfectly, including the neckband and center front bands. No overage, no shortage, so nice even edges top and bottom on all the bands. Here's the top button waiting for handsewing tonight. And a glimpse of the teal topstitching.



Overall, I'm very pleased with the two offerings from Muse, after sewing and fitting them both, and I know that you'll be seeing more of these patterns made up in the near future because I love me some pretty cardigans for our Florida winters and who doesn't love a nicely detailed wrap dress? (So, Kat ... when is your next pattern due??)

I want to get back into the sewing room later today to start on something else because the mojo is on FIRE, but the grocery store and weekly trip to the dog beach call first so we'll see how far I get on the next project.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hopping on the Hop


I bet Manju thought I was never going to respond to her nomination! Hah. I'm just a procrastinator. But thank you for nominating me. I'd like to thank the Academy .... er ... oops.

I'm probably now one of the last stops on this Blog Hop of Why I Write, and I don't do a lot of hops/memes/awards for various reasons (all lazy and selfish of course!), but I have to say I've really been enjoying reading everyone else's so I figured what the heck. And it's a slow day at work (yes, WORK!!!) so I can look busy while typing this and have the added bonus of not using up sewing time this weekend, because I have BIG plans for weekend sewing starting TONIGHT, after coming back from a mad-dash lunch hour stop into Hancock's for the Simplicity sale and to put a small dent into rebuilding my stash. (Run-on sentence much?)

Sidenote: I never realized how many brown/white/ivory prints I have/had until that's about all that was left in the knit prints section of the stash. Yes, I like brown and prints and even brown prints, but good lord ... was I holding a self-contest these past years to see if I could binge buy all the browns? I'm SO happy to now have a few different colors to choose from, and enough to keep me busy over the next few weeks at least.

OK, enough blabber ... let's get to the task at hand.

1. Why do I write?

Well, that's easy. Part of me likes to show off share what I've made with others who Just Get It. I've lived with only males for the last 30 years (yikes!) and while they have all enjoyed the my sewing when it came to their own special request projects, I would inevitably get the glazed eyes/deer in the headlights treatment for most everything else. Part of me wants to keep some sort of journal/diary of my sewing projects. Part of me wants to share the love of the craft with hints and helps that I have picked up along the way.

2. How is my blog different from others of the same genre?

It's not really. It's just me being me with some sewing. And  sometimes my sons and the dogs. (Speaking of which ... the Marine is being promoted to SERGEANT in two weeks!! Can I get an OORAH!!) And some life stuff. And definitely shoes.

3. What am I working on right now? 

Um, this blog post. Oh, I guess that wasn't meant LITERALLY. Hah. It's Friday and I'm a goofball. I must be on a fabric high since lunch.

I have a few things I want to work on right away now that I have NEW FABRIC burning a hole .... er ... where am I going with this metaphor?? ... starting with the Muse Jenna cardi I bought and downloaded today and will tape together tonight. It will be interesting to compare it to my Jalie hack. I also have a HotPatterns dress pattern bought eons ago I'd like to make from the new print I bought today. But first, I'm going to shorten the hem length of the newly made Muse Gillian wrap dress an inch or two. I haven't worn it to work yet because I decided I do want it a little shorter, and the energy isn't always there after working, making dinner, and dog walks. So, I'm hoping to get that done tonight so that Saturday and Sunday are free to SEW, SEW, SEW all the new things!

4. What is my writing process?

Blue moon? When the iron's hot? Hell has frozen over? Pigs are flying? I don't really have a process. I just write what comes to mind, usually after a sewing project but sometimes completely unrelated to sewing, and I write when I feel like it. Well, more like when I have the spare time. I always *want* to write more than I actually do, but there's only so many hours in the day and often the blog has to come last. But I usually manage to get something on it fairly regularly just so the comment 'ho in me (Hi Carolyn) gets her fix. :-) I never schedule a post. When you see a new post it means I have just clicked the Publish button. I'm just not that organized and I don't really see the point. If a post is ready, it's ready. For sewing projects, the post will start to percolate as I'm making the whatever. I take pics along the way so I don't forget what I want to say about a particular detail and then when I'm ready to write, I load up all the photos, edit them, and upload them to Blogger. THEN I begin on the words. And inevitably I've missed a typo or three after I click Publish so I go back and read/re-read and try to find and correct them.

I think that about covers it. I'm home now, having emailed myself the draft so I could finish and post it. I think I'm supposed to nominate two bloggers for the next stops on the tour. I didn't ask in advance so I will understand if you choose to bow out. First is Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. Did I miss her already hopping, because I don't think so and I can't believe no one has nominated her yet. I think she needs no introduction but I REALLY think she needs to send half of her ponte stash to Florida. ;-) Next is Dawn of Two On Two Off. I love her wit, her love of prints, and the Alaskiana she occasionally shares. Alaska is definitely on my Bucket List of places to visit.

I'm off to tape together a pattern and re-hem that dress while the brown thread is still in the machine. Hopefully I'll be back Sunday with something newly made.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Muse Gillian: The Reveal, and an Honest Review


Warning: This is an untypically photo-heavy post. The planets aligned and I had a nice day, a dress I'm very happy with, a son willing to take multiple photos (I don't have a camera remote and my camera only takes two shots at a time, and I quickly tire of running back and forth and smoothing clothes in the process), and -- a good hair day. :-)

So, let's get to it.

This is the Gillian wrap dress by Muse Patterns. The Gillian pattern can also be made as separates, a wrap top and a wrap skirt. As you can see, I made the dress. It's available in sizes 30 - 48, which correspond to bust sizes 30" - 48". Kat of Muse invited me to test the pattern before its release and I agreed, because this is a style that I would wear. Which is one big reason this new indie pattern line stands out from others for me. While there are a number of indie patterns I admire from afar, I know I'd never wear most of them, either due to body type or age (cough:29:cough). Muse offers patterns I would actually wear (two so far, but I'm hoping for more if this dress is any indication) , and I think ladies of all ages will want to wear. The styles are not beginner basics which you can find from other indies or the Big 4. Now that's not to say an advanced beginner couldn't make this dress, but don't expect this to be a teach-me-to-sew pattern.


I asked during testing what bust cup Kat designs for and she answered "B." I'm a DD and didn't have to make a full bust adjustment. But both knits and wraps are very forgiving for full busts, so I'm not sure I should really doubt the B cup sizing. I do know that if you are full-busted, you will find alterations for the girls are probably not needed. Yes, even you Michelle. :-)


Testers were given a little over 2 weeks to turn-around testing the pattern, instructions, and garment view of their choice. We were asked to provide feedback. We were not required to provide photos. I'm sad to admit that I failed miserably in one aspect -- finishing the dress before the release. I had every intention, but the fabric gods did not cooperate. I had ordered new fabric because the fabric requirements had me thinking this dress is a bit of a fabric piggy (more on this later), calling for 3.5+ yards. My stash was not yielding any appropriate pieces that length. So, my fabric order arrived ... SANS the 4-yard cut of the print I had planned to use. Grrrr. Does the universe not know I NEED fabric??


I did read the instructions thoroughly, printed and assembled the PDF (no problems there), checked the cutting layout, and assembled the dress in my mind visualizing the instructions as best as I could. So, even though I didn't sew the dress during the testing schedule, I found a number of issues in the instructions and cutting layout and I'm happy to report that corrections and/or clarification, as appropriate, were incorporated into the final release. So know that Kat is a pattern designer who takes her testers seriously and doesn't have a release date set in stone if corrections are mandated. (Kat was very responsive during the testing process. If anything, it was me who could have been more chatty.) As a tester, it's also gratifying to know that I wasn't just spitting into the wind and wasting my time. The one thing about the instructions, after receiving the released version, I would still like to see improved upon are some of the illustrations. They aren't sparse or horrible as is, but I think a few could be more spatially correct. And that just might be the graphic designer in me. Your mileage may vary. The illustrations certainly didn't hinder me from ending up with a pretty new dress.


I also found a few "problems" when actually sewing the dress, but only one is not due to body type or my own stupidity. Details for all below.


The one drafting "problem" I found you can see below, but it's very minor and easily corrected. The shoulder seam joining the front and back yokes results in a bit of a wonky shape at the top of the armscye. 


Solution: Trim it off. That's it. Definitely not a deal breaker.


This next alteration, below, is due to my very erect back/posture and square shoulders. I did not make either alteration before cutting fabric because I was testing. But I did want a wearable dress if possible, so after I had the bodice mostly completed, I tried it on and decided I really needed to remove an inch from the CB length above the shoulder blades (erect posture) to avoid the neckband sitting in my back hairline. I have this same issue with Jalie and Burda, so I know it's me and not them. The chalk line below shows what I trimmed away before sewing on the neckband.


Speaking of fabric, I did end up using stash after all (an ITY print and ribbed brown poly for contrast) because I decided that I would see if I could squeeze the pattern onto a 3-yard piece. I'm happy to report that I easily could, and I even lengthened the waist ties by 16" each so I could tie them in front, instead in back as designed. (Back ties look fine on other ladies and I'm not judging, I swear. But on me I feel like Holly Hobbie or pregnant or something). But, I didn't cut long sleeves or self-fabric yokes and I didn't follow the layout exactly because I thought I was in squeeze mode. The important takeaway from this is to note that the cutting layout reflects cutting every single piece from the same fabric. If you're planning on any contrast pieces (and you should, so the unique design elements stand out!), then the fabric requirements will vary. I'm thinking if you do contrast yokes, neckband, midriff, and ties, you can get by with 2-2.5 yds for the main dress and about 1 yd for the contrast.

The next alteration was due to my petite-ness-above-the-waist-ness. Yes, that's a sewing term, why do you ask? ;-) The instructions have you construct the bodice, skirt, and midriff pieces as separate units and then you attach the skirt and finally the bodice. This is actually pretty cool because sewing the skirt hem is done way at the beginning and once you assemble the units, you have a finished dress instead of a dress needing a hem.

I dutifully followed the instructions, and then tried it on. Oops. As you can see below, there was gaping in the wrap and extra length above my waist. Solution: frog stitch the bodice from the midriff, cut off 3/4" from the bottom edge of the bodice, and reattach to the midriff, which worked a treat. So, I advise that if you're fitting as you sew, BASTE the bodice to the midriff and evaluate. (This "extra" length is another reason why I think full-busted girls will have more fitting forgiveness. You can keep the underbust length and taper a shorter bodice as you go toward the bodice back, and no one will be the wiser. Well, unless you're REALLY long-waisted.)


Look Ma! No gape!

The next "problem" I had with construction was due to my own stubbornness. See this opening in the sideseam below? It's for the tie to slide through so the dress actually wraps. This is a real wrap dress, BTW, not faux. Well, that hole was almost my undoing. I kept following the instructions halfway and then thinking they just were not going to work. I emailed Kat and she so very diplomatically told me that her more experienced testers seemed to have the most problems with this step, while her less experienced testers just trusted the instructions and didn't overthink things. (Kat's actual words were much nicer than this.) So, I returned to the instructions one last time and followed them exactly, and THEY WERE GENIUS. Good lord, did I feel like an idiot. So, just follow those instructions. Don't overthink, don't doubt, don't stop halfway through and scratch your head. They work. And it's pure drafting magic. Really.




The rest of the photos are detail shots. Here you can see the edgestitching at the neckband and you get a glimpse of my "ribbed" constrast.


The gathering into the yoke.


The back contrast yoke and gathering below it.


I added contrast bands to the sleeve hems to tie into the contrast yokes.


The wrong side of the wrap skirt section.



The wrap sections overlap fully. Even in a strong wind, no good china will be shared with the world. You can't see for the print, but the hem edges of the wrap sections are curved, which can be a little tricky to sew without puckers. My advice: washable basting glue (Elmer's school glue works great), working slowly and methodically around the hem, and forcing yourself to give the glue a few minutes to dry thoroughly.

On Zillie.


Likes: The feminine details with a slight vintage vibe, such as the yokes; the soft gathers into the yokes; the wide (but not too wide) midriff, which is sturdy without being interfaced (thankfully, since I'm still out of interfacing) and which I edgestitched with a "stretchy" triple straight stitch; the different views so you get a dress, a top, and a skirt in the same pattern; a neckband that doesn't gape; thorough instructions; and fit. I should've mentioned it specifically earlier, but the fit is very good. My full bust measures 46". I sewed the 46. I'm a hourglass with the sand settling in the bottom of the glass. ;-) I made no fit adjustments except those mentioned above.

Things I will change for the next one: Remove bodice length above the waist on my pattern; adjust the pattern for my erect posture and square shoulders; maybe remove a little skirt length, although this length is fine on me I think I might want it shorter; and add pockets. My hands kept wanting pockets as I tried it on and then when taking the pics. Easy enough to add sideseam pockets, though.

Overall, I think this is a win. And for $12, I think it's more than fairly priced compared to other indies, especially those which are basic shapes and easily found in the Big 3/4 catalogs.

I did receive the pre-release and final pattern at no charge, but I think you can tell that this is a pretty thorough review and not just fluff to help a bloggie friend sell a pattern (truthfully, I don't know Kat at all except through emails during this testing process and reading her blog before her patterns were launched, so I'm not sure that really even qualifies us as bloggie friends and not just sewists who blog!). I hope I also gave you a little insight into what was expected from my testing, what I provided (and didn't), and how my feedback was incorporated into the final product. This is not the first time I've tested something for "free." I used to be a software tester for Corel Corporation, starting as an unpaid beta tester and then later "promoted" to a paid alpha tester, and a technical editor for McGraw-Hill. I'm telling you this to give some insight into the fact that I just enjoy testing. I'm a geek. I like the challenge. I like being a part of something new. I like sewing. And I LURVE patterns. For me, that's payment enough. And when it's not, I'll stop testing.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Sneak Peek: Muse Patterns Gillian


(The browns do match but my camera apparently wasn't liking an indoor night shot and decided to make up its own colors.)

I've been testing the newest pattern from Muse, the Gillian wrap dress, which was just released yesterday. I'm hoping to have this dress finished in the next day or two and you can then expect an honest review from me. Yes, I received the tester and final pattern for free, but if you know me, you know that I'm all about keeping it real. There will be no sugarcoating here. I'll tell you now, though, that if you're thinking of buying it soon to take advantage of the new release discount, you won't be wasting your money. You can find the discount code on the Muse blog, here. (This plug is completely unsolicited and I receive nothing for it.)

In non-sewing news, I started my new job this past Thursday. I didn't have to go far ... just one floor up from where I've been temping since May. It's the same firm, but a permanent position opened up in another department and some new friends I've made here let me know early and cheerleaded for my getting an interview and the job. I'm eternally grateful! It's a really wonderful place, with lots of friendly people, great benefits, and the fantastic perks and resources working in a large law firm brings. I'm technically still temp for about 25 more days, but that's how the agency fee works. I don't anticipate any roadblocks to being on the real payroll at the start of November. Then you'll hear the screams of joy (and relief) ... and the thump of the fabric delivery box ... no matter where you live. ;-)

Thank you all again for hanging in there with me during the ups and downs, and for sending all those good vibes. I truly believe they worked! Now keep them crossed for 25 more days. :-)

And, Corgi Karen ... yes,  let's get together for lunch or something SOON! 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

A picture is worth ...

Thanks everyone for the good wishes! So very appreciated.
(Doing this all on my phone so I'm not sure how it will format/size. Will fix later at home if needed.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bring on the new shoes

If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you get the job!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Banishing the Blues

A few of you commented that maybe my blue suit would be lucky. Which got me thinking that maybe it has been UNlucky. Well, I don't really believe that but I do know that I had wanted to NOT wear that darn blue suit again, luck or no luck. I was just tired of it. One thing I did come home with from Saturday's shopping marathon was a jacket I loved. Too expensive, but I bought it anyway to ... well ... dwell on it. I could always return it once I came to my senses. ;-) Well, I decided to throw caution to the wind (dollar-wise). Ya gotta spend money to make money, right? Haha.

So here's what I wore today. The ponte skirt and ITY drape neck top are me-made. The jacket is purchased. It's a knit with leather trim and faux welt pockets (which I wish were real but whatever). The silver necklace is new too. The burgundy shoes are not new.



I felt like a million bucks, and the interview went well. Not necessarily related, but looking good never hurts, right? And the jacket will join my permanent wardrobe, since I had to shorten the sleeves almost 3 inches last night, so I'll be enjoying and hopefully wearing it a lot soon. It will go with a lot of solid colors since I like b/w prints with colors. Just not on interviews. I like that it's knit, because it can be dressed up or down and is so, so comfy to wear. I can see me copying this once I can afford EmmaOneSock again. ;-)

So, I'll be returning the two blue print tops (aftering taking copious notes for a Jalie sweetheart hack) and keeping the jacket and necklace. And maybe a dress that also was a contender if I had been able to find a black jacket. ;-) But only if I get the job. Otherwise, it will go back too.

And now for something completely different ... here's me modeling the Jalie cardi hack. I think it could be a bit narrower at the sideseams. It's hard to tell since my hands are kinda pulling it downward.


Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. I'll let you know soon if they worked.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Preaching to the Choir

I decided that I would go out today and buy a new suit. I have exactly ONE solid color suit for interviews. It's blue (not navy) and I'm not really a blue wearing girl. I don't know why, I'm just not.

So, I walk into JCPenney (cheap is highly desired right now or else I'd be shopping at Dillards or Nordstroms or a few others) and was overwhelmed in a good way by all the styles and colors. I saw A MILLION dresses I would wear in a heartbeat. And another MILLION tops. Prints and fabric combos I could never find to sew. And they were all already made up. No muslins, no pattern alterations. Hence Ready. To. Wear.Which made me seriously consider giving up sewing, since my stash is so depleted and I'm going to have to spend $$ to clothe myself one way or the other.

So, I start looking for suits. First of all, finding a suit (or separates) with a matching SKIRT is near impossible. I don't want a pantsuit. Not for interviewing. Not really even for not interviewing.

Second, RTW jackets don't fit me. Not unless they're Petites. Apparently, I have T-rex arms. Any RTW jacket sleeve is at least 2 inches too long. I would hem them, no problem, if there wasn't a vent/button thing going on that would interfere. I don't even want to try to learn how to deal with shortening those.

Third, what the HELL size am I? My already-owned blue suit is a RTW 18P, modified. The jacket fits mostly great, just a leeeeetle wide in the shoulders but, really, only I can tell that. The skirt was way too big when I lost all that weight so I did take it in and shortened it as well as taking in the sideseams of the jacket to give it more curves to match mine. The suit still fits fine. The pencil skirt is a little snugger now since I'm still juggling a 20-ish lb. weight gain over the last couple of years, but it's not too tight.

So, did ANY 16 or 18 fit me? Yeah, you know the answer: Not. Even. Close. Arghhhh. Even though I have other 16s and 18s that I wear regularly. And until the 20-lb gain, even 14s.

I tried on every jacket in Penneys. I went to Lane Bryant and tried on the ONE black jacket they had. Huge. I went to Macy's and tried on a bunch more there. Some of the jackets would've been passable (and significantly more expensive) but the skirts were a no-go. Either too tight or too short. (Can you believe I was considering buying TWO skirts to take apart to refashion into one? Yeah, me either. And why can't separates include one or two NON-pencil shapes? I love me a me-made pencil but my butt doesn't love RTW pencil skirts. What do the booty girls who don't sew DO?) I even ventured to Macy's "Womens" (plus) department. Which was on the third floor, waaaaaaaaay in the back corner in a completely separate room-type area past some ugly clearance section, like they didn't even want to admit they HAD a plus department. Which, apparently, they didn't, because OMG the hideousness.

After two hours of torture, it was clear that I wasn't buying a new suit today. So, I regrouped and decided to buy a new top to match my blue suit. I've kinda not had anything specific to wear with the suit (see above comment about me and no blue) and have been making do with a b/w top as contrast and to tie in wearing black shoes or my plain ivory SBCC Mimosa. The blue of the suit is a kinda hard-to-match shade of blue. Figures. I bought the suit ONLY because it actually fit me, not because I fell in love with the color.

After returning to the call of the prints (and prices) at Penney's, I brought home two knit tops with some blue in them.

The first one, here, reminds me of the Jalie sweetheart top, modified with a drape. I really like the shape of this top (just not the blue!). But ...


... for kicks, I decided to try it on inside-out in the fitting room to see how it was made, thinking about copying it later. (See Peter, you're not the only one.) And look at how COOL this is!! I had no idea until I was wearing it inside-out that the self-facing for the drape was asymmetrical like this. I am SO modifying that Jalie pattern and copying this.


This is the other top. It's one of those uber-trendy crossover drapey styles, which is hard to discern in this photo. It's not really conservative enough print-wise for an interview, so I considered this a present to myself just because I need one. I'm sure I'll be buying one of the patterns that are currently out for this style since I do like it on me. And I might end up returning this one to the store because, well, blue. And brokeness.


And, so to come full circle ... I still half-way would like to be able to not NEED to sew my clothes because there are so many pretty choices in the stores, but the reality is I can't. They just don't fit.

Oh, and why the sudden urge for a new suit? Well, I have an interview Monday at 3 PM, and I REALLY want this job. So, cross those fingers and toes again for me please!

Also, thank you SO MUCH for the kind offers of notions and fabrics. Please know that it really touches my heart and I sincerely appreciate the generosity. If this or another job doesn't materialize, I may just have to take y'all up on those offers ... but, really, the bigger concern will be paying rent next month. So, you may see me actually begging in a few weeks. But let's stay positive and not think about that yet. :-)





Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jalie Cardi Hacking



You may already know but there's a new indie pattern company, Muse, and their first release is the really cute Jenna cardigan. If I had extra money right now (no, didn't get that job), I'd have bought the pattern. But since I didn't and, darn it I wasn't a tester (hint, hint), I had to settle for using it as inspiration. So I dug out my TNT Jalie 2566 twinset pattern and proceeded to hack away.


The hacking was pretty easy actually. I chopped off about 9" from the length and then added a 3" band at the hem and a 2" band at the sleeves. Both bands are folded, so the cutting width was actually 6-1/2" and 4-1/2", including seam allowances. The Jalie is also a vee neck with a continuous neck/button band vs. the Jenna's jewel neckline and separate neck and button bands. I left mine as is, since I prefer the vee over a jewel neck anyway.

I was really second-guessing cutting off all that length since such a short side seam looked almost comical to me, but the fabric is a cheap stashed sweater knit and I had enough to try it again if the hacking was a disaster. It wasn't. :-) The finished cardi could even be an inch shorter and still be all right.

What I didn't have extra of is interfacing. Even if I have to keep sewing from stash until that real job materializes, I'm going to have to break down and order some more interfacing since I'm seriously running out and nothing available local is even close to being suitable. (Will work for interfacing. hehehe) Having to be extra frugal these days, I did some creative piecing for the front bands.


Interfacing definitely was not optional for this squishy sweater knit since I had to put in 6 tiny buttonholes on a very narrow band. I am not exaggerating when I say I was holding my breath during each one, just waiting for my machine's auto buttonholer to screw up. Luckily, they all came out perfectly. And mostly spaced evenly.


Since the budget is also not allowing extraneous thread purchases, I went with what I have for the serger. I used overlocker grays in the needles to blend and regular turquoise in the loopers so the loops wouldn't contrast when the cardi flips open. The knit is actually much more aqua than the baby blue it appears to be in the top photo so these threads were a pretty good match.


Inside view - good blending job, right? I'm happy with it.


The buttons are Mother of Pearl from the Carolyn Norman collection. ;-) Mother of Pearl naturally has some teal-ish iridescence and goes nicely with this knit. Too bad the photo lies, but trust me ... they look really nice. And they're tiny so fit perfectly on the narrow band.


Lots of topstitching around the hem and sleeve bands and around the button/neck band.


I had just enough thread on this spool. Whew!


I'll probably wear it open, like this, but for the main photo it looked nicer buttoned up.


The blouse is a SBCC Mimosa made last year. I also made the skirt but I can't talk about that yet. ;-) The cardi is a perfect match for it and now I have a new outfit for Monday. It's still hot outside here and will be for a long while yet, but inside A/C is always chilly so layers are a must.

Even though my Jalie/Jenna hack is a successful knock-off and I can hack further for Jenna's gathered shoulder yoke view, I would still like to buy (or win) the actual pattern at some point because I think it's so cute and the sewing nerd in me wants to see the original. What can I say? I read patterns like others read magazines. ;-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Testing 1 2 3

This will be quick cuz (1) trying out mobile posting and (2) doing this on my phone ... blech.

Just wanted to say thank you for all the good thoughts and finger crossing yesterday. It went very well and I will know yay or nay by Friday. If you see a post soon about fabric or shoe purchasing, you'll know it was a yay. ;-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Random Thoughts

I haven't posted a list of Random Thoughts in a while and since I don't have any gorgeous (or even not-gorgeous) finished photos to share ... here we go ...

1. I tried on the dress this morning.
2. Not happy.
3. Yet.
4. BTW, I didn't mean last post that I don't try on at all during the process, only that I don't do the final try-on before hems until I'm sure I'm OK with any result.
5. Sometimes I just don't want to wreck a sewing session with a less-than-stellar result.
6. And sometimes it's not the garment, but my frame of mind/mirror which could wreck it.
7. I found my camera charger cord.
8. Can I get an A-MEN!!
9. It looks amazingly like a really old phone charger, which I kept out when packing/moving by mistake instead of the correct charger.
10. Now you know why I don't throw away the wrong one.
11. Too afraid the wrong one will be the right one, or vice versa, on trash day.
12. Have you SEEN Peter's and Michael's new swimsuits?
13. Go back one post too, to see more of Peter's cute tushie ... er ... first new suit.
14. I've been asked to be an "indie" pattern tester.
15. I will, as usual, give my honest opinion when the process is over, and am looking forward to seeing how it goes from this "side."
16. So far, the pattern looks promising and something I'd pick for myself.
17. And that's all I can say for now.
18. A personal request: Cross your fingers for me at 2 PM on Tuesday.
19. Football season is almost here.
20. I actually kinda got into the World Cup after I had some tutoring from a current co-worker, but ...
21. It ain't the NFL. ;-)
22. We can actually hear the Bucs' cannon from where I'm living now.
23. Too bad I'm not really a Bucs fan.
24. Exactly how much crack have the Project Runway judges been smokin' this season?
25. Still enjoying the show, though.
26. I still have fabric all over the house.
27. I really want it to be organized.
28. But first I need to buy a new shelf or something and I don't have the funds yet.
29. See #18.





Monday, August 18, 2014

McCall's 6752 In Progress

I did turn on the lights and machines in the sewing room yesterday, and got to work on McCall's 6752. I cut out the pattern and fabric and sewed the bodice. And that's where I ended since Alex and I took the dogs to the beach. We both really enjoy taking them there. It's close and free, and the dogs love it. Chili now knows where we're heading as soon as he sees the towels come out. He's so darn smart, that dog.


Tonight after dinner, I had some reserve energy (how did THAT happen?) and got back to the dress. Now all that's left are the hems.

I made View B, the one shown in the red print on the envelope. Lots of sewers in blogland have also made this view and I've liked them all, so it was time to be a sheep. :-) 


The only real alteration I made was to add 4 inches to the bottom of the skirt. All reviews (and my own eyes) said the skirt was SHORT. I cut the size 16 for the neck/shoulders and morphed to the 22 by the waist/hips, since laying my TNT Magic Pencil over the skirt told me that was the best size to use. I also added additional length to the cowl facing to help prevent inside-out-ness, especially since this ITY knit slips and curls almost on its own. I may yet still add a little weight to the facing to keep it in place.


I haven't tried it on yet, and I'm a little worried that it may be more revealing than I'm comfortable with. If so, I'll have to don a cami for an underlayer.

Does anyone else do this .... get the whole thing nearly finished and then don't try it on? I'm telling myself it's because I'm choosing to end the day's sewing session on a good note. In reality, it's because I don't want to possibly ruin my night by finding out it doesn't fit. Yep, I'm a chicken.