Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Pattern (and Year)!

When I'm not sewing, I'm buying. These all fell into my shopping cart today after discovering that BMV was having a good sale on all three brands. I also went ahead and signed up again for Club BMV after bowing out for the last couple of years. Since I'm earning back a lot of the $9.99 sale cost in just this order and I know there will be other orders in the coming year, I figure I'm not wasting money.

The two patterns from this order that have my attention and the greatest chance of getting sewn sooner rather than later are:

1. Vogue 1268. I love the 1980s/Working Girl vibe going on with this. I definitely would've worn (and rocked!) this in 1985 and I'm hoping I can wear it in 2012, but not quite as short as shown on the model. Truth be told, I would be perfectly content for 1980s styles (big hair and shoulder pads and everything) to come back into style. I loved that look. Or maybe it was just a good decade for me overall.

2. McCall's 6519. I like the draped side action going on, but this one will need sleeves stolen from another pattern. The skirt is kind of cute too and may make it into the queue.

It seems I'm drawn to dresses lately (Hi Carolyn!). I guess that's since I now have a crap-ton of skirts and the mojo needs to be fed.Plus, what's not to love about throwing on one garment in the early morning hours and heading out the door?

* * * * *

Thanks for sharing in my happiness at the unsolicitation on my newest outfit. No, I did not ask his name or say that I had made the outfit, but I did look right back at him and say, "Thank you" with a big smile. Frankly, I was too surprised to do much more. As some of you commented, how often do you hear a *man* complimenting in more than a general type of way about an outfit? I know that I will think of this compliment every time I wear the outfit.

* * * * *

I've been enjoying all the recaps in blogland the last few days and wish I could be a similarly introspective blogger on New Year's Eve, but alas, I am not. A lot has happened and a lot more is still to come, but I think overall, it's actually been a positive year. I'm pretty sure I'm getting this job (more details were shared by coworkers and my agency this week), I'm happier now about the way I look than I've been in years which does great things to self-esteem and confidence, and I've got a lot of good changes to come. I'm grateful for all of your support and I'm looking forward to 2012. It's going to be the best year ever!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Drive By

As you may have guessed — with assembly-line sewing on the table waiting on the sewing table, not a stitch has been sewn since Monday. I did make good progress on the panty project but since then, nada. I've been going into the office early this week as we're under a big deadline so work has been wiping me out. Plus I seem to have stumbled onto a new, temporary addiction.

Tyler mentioned he'd been catching up on previous seasons of Sons of Anarchy on Netflix and I discovered that I can stream all the episodes for free on my Kindle with Amazon Prime. And that's just what I've been doing in the evenings instead of sewing. I may have also watched an episode or two during my lunch breaks. Ahem. ;-)

The good news for the day is that a very attractive man about my age (who knows? the older I get, the worse I am at guessing ages) got onto the parking garage elevator with me today. He stepped in after me and then quickly turned toward front as we all tend to do on elevators. But then, he turned back around, looked me square in the eyes, and said, "That's a gorgeous outfit you're wearing today." I nearly died. Of happiness. ;-) Today's the day I wore my new twisty top, Magic Pencil Skirt, and goldy-greenish cardigan. I guess it's a hit. Oh, and I also wore a smile all day long. Thank you Mr. Stranger.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Universal, and Magic Pencil Customization

Whew! What a day we had yesterday at Universal, and oh! my poor aching legs. Sad, really, that a full day of walking does me in. I was wearing the brown ankle boots I bought for my Thanksgiving trip. Since they have man-made cushioned heels and soles, they were actually quite comfortable all day long as I knew they would be, and wearing them let me also wear a pair of my newer jeans without hemming or walking on the bottoms. It isn't the boots that I'm feeling today — just the constant use of out-of-shape leg muscles and creeping up on a certain age.

The crowds were ENORMOUS, so I ended up splurging on Express Passes that let us bypass the long lines. Expensive, yes, but probably worth it just in eliminating the irritation factor. The crowds were also enormously international and we felt our Americanism was quite the minority. But since it was Christmas Day, it was to be expected that the park would be filled with folks who don't celebrate it. Of course, there were a few rude peeps here and there as there always are, but by and large and especially with a swarm this huge, everyone else was pretty nice, friendly, and polite — even if we didn't understand a word they were saying to each other. I'm always impressed by international visitors' English skills when speaking to their hosts, even those Brits with the funny accents. ;-)

I haven't really been into the Harry Potter phenom (although I'm thinking I should really read the series via my library and Kindle) but Alex has and he was impressed with that new area of the park, and commented many times on how great the details were. The new Harry Potter ride was very well done too and impressed me, a theme park cynic and non-HP fan. The roller coaster in that section is still the "old" Dueling Dragons now renamed Dragon something-or-other, and it is still a screamer. I did all the coasters and other rides with Alex, except for the one where you end up dripping wet. It was quite warm yesterday (around 80), but I still wasn't up for walking around the park soaked to the skin. I have to say that every time I was strapped into a seat, I felt a little smug that I actually now fit into it comfortably. Or as comfortable as one can really feel when strapped into a seat right before plunging 400 feet. ;-)

My cell battery died way early in the day due to me leaving the screen on by mistake, so I didn't get many photos. Alex has some on his phone that he'll forward to me when he wakes up. Hopefully, they turned out OK and I'll be able to share a few.

* * * * * 

For the sewing part of today's entry, I wanted to document the changes I made to the Magic Pencil Skirt for you and for the review I'll write up later.

The pattern piece on the right, below, is what you get in the pattern. It's the only piece, which is part of what makes the Magic. It's cut on the fold once for the front and again for the back. In order to add a kick pleat, I needed to add a CB seam. Since it's only one piece to trace, I decided I would do that instead of hobbling on to the original envelope piece. So, I traced the pattern and added a 5/8" seam allowance at the CB. Onto that, I added a 2" wide kick pleat extension. I didn't use any magic formula to decide how high to place it. Just keep in mind that if you place it too high, you run the risk of showing your undies. Thankfully, my guess as to placement turned out just this side of safe in the undies department. I should probably lower it an inch for the future.

After cutting, you'll now have three pieces instead of two. Sew the darts. Next, since there is no zipper here, sew the CB seam from the waist edge down into 5/8" of the kick pleat extension and lock stitches. Then continue your sewing but now using basting stitches to sew the remainder of the kick pleat. Press the seam allowances open. Then clip the corner at the kick pleat on the *right* extension, flip it over onto the left and from the right side, sew the extensions in place with an angled line of stitching, as shown below.

Remove your basting stitches and press the under flap to remove the basting crease. (Since I used a stable knit, I didn't finish the raw edges of the seam allowances or pleat. No one will see. But if this bugs you or you're using a ravel-y fabric, finish your raw edges as your first step, before you sew the CB seam). Continue with the pattern instructions, and obviously, start your hem at one side of the kick pleat and end it at the other, so you don't sew it closed at the bottom.

Speaking of undies, I think that's what's on the sewing room agenda today. While I really want to sew about 20 more skirts, I do realize that my closet is getting pretty full of them so I'm forcing a mini break. I don't know how many undies I'll get through because assembly-line sewing kills the mojo for me, but I'm going to make a stab because in the end, I really do prefer my self-made undies. I have a few pairs cut out from before the weight loss that I'll need to recut smaller and I also have some knit scraps from recent projects to add to the production.

I also realized when getting dressed casually yesterday for warm temps, that I'm really, really lacking in the short-sleeved tee department. Which is ironic, since I used to have so many. Well, I still do, but they just don't fit anymore. So I need to alter some smaller/shorter, toss some, and add a few new ones to the wardrobe.

Anything good on YOUR sewing agenda today?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, and Some Sewing

Chances are by the time you're reading this, Alex and I will be in line at Universal, waiting to ride a rollercoaster. I'm hoping this will be as cool a Christmas as I'm thinking, as I type this on Christmas Eve. At the very least, it will be different.

Today was a ME day. I had nothing to do but sew and watch football all day. You couldn't pay me to go near a store on December 24. And the day was a great present to myself! It's been busy at work this week (although the non-traffic driving in/out of the city has been a dream!), so I haven't felt much like sewing or computering in the evenings. I thought about it and that's just as far as I went. Instead, I curled up with my Kindle and read or played some word games. Sometimes you just have to decompress.

But this morning I slept in, then took the dogs out (and for those who asked, yes, we still have 3), and then planted myself in my sewing room and was productive. I cut and finished both the Butterick top and another Magic Pencil Skirt, and here they are:

And with a cardi that also is in this same color family of weird greenish gold:

Pretty great match, right? I love it when fabrics spontaneously match themselves from different orders and different times. This one took a while, though. The print is a buttermilk knit (remember those?) from Emma One Sock and has been waiting in the stash for years. The skirt is a Silhouette doubleknit very recently purchased from It's perfect for a skirt or pants, but Silhouette is not interchangeable with Sophia. It's more synthetic feeling/looking, but I can tell it will wear like iron. With the polyester content of these pieces, this outfit ought to outlive me by 300 or 400 years. ;-) I still have a couple buttermilk tops which look as vivid as when the fabric first arrived, even after many, many wearings/washings.

Here's a shot of the top from the inside, since the seaming and twist are lost in the photos of the print.

I did add to the neckline at the shoulder seams and just turned under the hem and didn't bind it as I thought I might. I used Wonder Tape to hold it down while stitching, and once that is washed out, the neckline will have its stretch/recovery back. As you can see, I didn't finish every seam, mostly to reduce bulk and partly because these seams lay best when open flat. I also changed the construction order a bit so I could turn under the neckline edge and loop/hole (where the twist happens) while they were still relatively flat. Like Barbara of Sewing on the Edge, I'm in line to be hired by a pattern company to write better instructions. Also like Barbara, I'm not holding my breath.

I added a CB seam and kick pleat to the Magic Pencil Skirt, which is just barely discernible in any of these photos, including this one below which was taken specifically to show the detail. Oh well. I also made the higher-waisted version of this skirt this time, because I wanted to use the elastic at full-width. I'm not wearing my gut-sucking-in pantyhose in these pics, or else I might have tucked in my top to show you. You'll just have to take my word that the waist is indeed higher on this one than the last.

I'm also modeling my new shoes. It's been a month or so, so it was time for another pair, right? Plus, I don't want to wear out my current favorites so I needed to expand the repertoire.

You can't really see them in my pic, so here's the Zappos shot.

I also ordered these for kicks. I wanted to see how they looked and felt, not really intending to keep them. They are actually surprisingly comfortable, but alas a little too tight on my pinky toe. Since I've vowed to not keep shoes that aren't comfortable from the instant I first put them on, these will indeed be going back. But I'm definitely open to try a similar style now. Or am I too old for another round of platforms?

* * * * *

Rebecca Grace asked, "since knits are all different in the stretch, how can you test fit a pattern using one knit from the Sorry Sale Bin and know whether the Good Knit that you really like is going to make up with the same fit as your "muslin?""

I wish I had a scientific, proven method for you but I don't. The honest truth is I just wing it. But I've been sewing knits for a long time now and wearing them even longer, so I'm reasonably experienced and, yes, good, at knowing how different knits will behave and what adjustments I'll have to make between Sorry Sale Tester and Good Don't Want To Ruin It fabrics. So I guess my best advice is to just try, knowing you will fail sometimes but from that failure will come experience and knowledge. It's only fabric. ;-)

* * * * *

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! I hope Santa brings you everything you've wished for. Happy Holidays to those otherwise celebrating, and Have a Great Sunday to those who aren't. (Did I cover everything/everyone?)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

B5429: The Muslin

This is NOT a wearable muslin, because I wouldn't be caught dead in this fabric. You can't see it in the pics, but it's got multi-colored metallic threads woven throughout and it's way glittery and tacky looking. Funny how none of that shows in the photos. And what was I thinking? At least it's out of the stash now.

Other than needing a bit more length, since this is the raw, unhemmed length, I think it's a go. There are only four pattern pieces and cutting out and sewing went very quickly. It will be even quicker when I'm using my serger.

I cut a straight 16 and made no alterations. I'm still wearing a DD bra cup, so there is obviously some bust room in this pattern. While the fabric I used for the muslin is a knit, the stretch runs vertically and that's how I cut it, figuring that if it fit this way, it will fit with the stretch going around too, although I may need to sew deeper seams under my arms. I was actually expecting it to be tighter than it is, with very little width-wise stretch. Maybe I should've cut the 14. We'll see.

Speaking of arms, I didn't have enough fabric to cut full-length sleeves so I ended up cutting about 6" shorter than the sleeve pattern. And they are plenty long enough for me at what turned out to be bracelet length. With six more inches, the sleeves would be covering my hands. Not a look I'm after.

I think I'm going to bind the neck with my coverstitch machine instead of turning the raw edge under per the pattern. The main reason is because the neckline is just on this side of being a bit too wide and my bra straps are starting to peek out. If I remember when I'm cutting the real top tomorrow, I'll add a little to the pattern pieces at the top of the shoulder at the neckline edge. Otherwise, I'll be getting out the Hollywood stay tape.

I'm still not sure about the dropped shoulders, and, unfortunately, you can't see them at all in these pics. I can definitely feel the seam and it feels kind of weird, like my sleeve is falling down. Which, I suppose, it is. ;-) But this muslin knit is also fairly rough so that seam shouldn't be as thick in the real fabric. I've decided to use the paisley because it's thinner. The twist is already kind of bulky in this muslin knit and I don't want to push it with the sweater-y knit. Plus, the cardigan I wore today (and which you haven't seen) matches the skirt fabric very well, and if I use the thinner knit, I can do layers.

Monday, December 19, 2011


A bunch of mostly disconnected stuff, except they are all sewing-related.

First up, the next in the OOO RAH wallets for a customer. I worked on this yesterday around football and Kindle reading. I almost forgot how much I missed reading.

I believe I can now sew these wallets blindfolded.

Tonight's sewing consisted of a 1-1/2" straight line, but it was an important inch and a half. This is the dress I bought from Walmart a couple of months ago. Aren't you digging the pants sticking out underneath? Before I would wear this dress I needed to lose a few more pounds so it didn't hug my butt quite as closely, and tack the neckline higher to keep my belly button from being on display. Both have now been accomplished and I will be wearing this tomorrow, with a cardi I've had on hold for the occasion. The temp is always cool in the office so a second layer is almost always mandatory.

Last night I started digging through some of my newer stash. Stash that hasn't even made it into the closet yet, but instead lives in a pile on the floor because of course I'm going to sew it all up in the next week. Yeah, sure. But I'm glad I did that because it stopped me from clicking the Purchase button on another cart full of irresistibles.

The fabric on the left is a knit which will become another Magic Pencil Skirt. I've been DYING to make another since the first one turned out so well and was so quick. However, I'm going to add a CB seam and kick pleat to this one just to change it up a bit. So much for quick. Hah.

The fabric on the right above or below, I haven't decided yet, will probably be the twist top from Butterick 5429.

It's circled in yellow here. I will need to make a quick muslin first for fit and to decide if I really like it.

Because I'm concerned about these drop shoulders. If not this pattern, I'll pick something else.

Now I'm just waiting for the lights to come back on at Candlestick park so the football game can continue. Looks like it's time to fire up the Kindle while I wait.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let Them (me) Eat Cake

After months and months (and months and months and months) of not eating cake or anything in the sinful dessert category, I gave myself permission to indulge in the extremely rich and chocolately cake that was put before me at the office party. I decided I earned it, and as you can see, I left no crumb unturned. ;-) The uneaten beauty next to my empty plate is the raspberry edition. Imagine the same pretty little cake but all in chocolate. It was worth it. DeeLISH. And much better than the rubber chicken for the entreé. OK, it wasn't really rubber and was quite good, but it certainly wasn't chocolate cake.

The party was fun. There were silly videos shown lampooning bosses and coworkers. I didn't know most of the victims subjects since they work in a different location, but they were still funny and my tablemates were kind enough to explain the really obscure references. It was also nice to meet some people face to face that I've only dealt with via telephone or email. And hey, I was NOT introduced as "This is our TEMP Debbie," but instead as "This is Debbie, a new addition to the Marketing Department." Gives a girl hope.

Most of the office cleared out shortly after our return from the party, but with a huge deadline looming, I not only stayed late last night but I went in today for 6 hours and continued some graphics work from my home computer upon my return. That's OK. A check full of overtime the week before Christmas will be quite welcome. And, of course, the Good Worker points are priceless in my quest to turn this gig permanent.

As I hinted, I ended up wearing the skirt with the red jeweled shell, the red drapey cardi, and the black belt. There was lots of red & black, and just black, so I fit right in. The only semi-issue I had with the skirt was climbing into the back seat of a car. Without a kick pleat, I had to maneuver trickily while still maintaining a ladylike posture. In the future, I think I will add a kick pleat, not that I can't do ladylike postures …

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Comments on the comments

First, thank you all so much for all the comments and the nice compliments — very much appreciated!

As of right now (checks watch: 10:35 PM), I believe I'm wearing the jeweled red shell and red drapey neck cardigan tomorrow. I always had it in my mind to pair the skirt with red for the party and while I didn't count "votes," I think this was the winner in the comments too. But then I started thinking that this will be a One Hit Wonder, because I don't particularly like to wear bright red at other times of the year. This inner discussion went on all day long and at different points in the day, I had decided on different outfits. But then I realized I actually don't care if I never wear the red again and that made all the difference. I don't have a fortune invested in the pieces, and I'll probably at least wear the cardigan with jeans and I do have that nice ivory cardigan I bought a couple of weeks ago which will look good with the skirt and tone down the red of the shell for later wearing. So that's where I am right now. Not sure about which belt, or any belt. I'll see how I feel in the morning. I'm leaning toward the wide black belt, though.

As to the long dress not being office appropriate … it's just that it's a long VELVET (velour) dress, which I think is just overkill for the environment. And funked up with the leather jacket and boots (which I don't own yet), it's then too … well … funky for work. If it were a different fabric, it would be fine for the office. That's all I meant when I call it "not office appropriate." But I *will* wear it at some point, even if it's far enough down the road that I have to take it in at the sideseams. I've always loved the dress and only wore it a couple of times before I outgrew it.

I did get to Beall's tonight and bought two pairs of earrings. What can I say, I like options. ;-) I even looked at purses but nothing jumped out at me so no new purse purchase but not for lack of trying.

After Beall's, it was to Walmart for grocery shopping. And I remembered to pick up another black and grey skirt in a smaller size while they were still available because I know I will miss them terribly when they're too big. For someone who never used to wear black, I'm becoming rather attached to my black skirt.

An email circulated today about the party tomorrow, telling us that cocktails would start being served at 11:30 AM. OMG. ELEVEN-THIRTY IN THE MORNING??? Good thing I'll be passing them up or I'd never make it through. Also good thing that I'm catching a ride with some co-workers in case I change my mind.

Oh, I also bought two dresses while at Beall's. But I didn't try them on yet. So I'm going upstairs to do that and then hopefully to bed before midnight. I have a lot of partying to do tomorrow.

Parting Shot: Have Yourself a Marine Little Christmas!

B5566 Done — Let's ParTAY!

It may take a few minutes for this post to fully download cuz there's a TON of pics.

The skirt is done, and all layers now fit. Whew. I compared pattern pieces and they were fine, so I can only conclude that the lining fabric shrunk during pressing. This was sorta confirmed when I saw it puckering when I started to press the new seams. I quickly abandoned THAT idea. I'm no fool. Well, except for the no-prewash bit. ;-)

The fix was relatively easy. Unpicking black stitches on black fabric after dark was the hardest part. I just re-sewed with the most minimal of seam allowances and it worked.My zipper is a thing of beauty and I did NOT want to disturb it at all. The matching looks a little wonky in these hanger pics, but it really came out pretty good. Not perfect, since I totally forgot about matching that CB seam when cutting, but more than good enough. And my hem is one thousand percent better (and straighter) than the RTW inspiration skirt.

Here's that dastardly lining. It's really straight, not crooked like it looks here. Once again, I cheated, cut crosswise, and used the selvege for the hem. It's a lining — who cares.

Here you can see those puckers I mentioned. The good thing is that I will keep getting smaller, so they shouldn't be a problem going forward. Fingers crossed.

Now it's time to start the What Will I Wear To The Christmas Party Parade of Possibilities.

First up, a ruffle knit tee with gold flecks throughout. It's more sparkly than it appears here. Pros — it's comfortable, it's a size Medium (that shouldn't count but it does), and it won't be too hot. Cons — maybe just a little too casual. I'll probably keep this no matter what because I do like it and sparkly this season seems to be more silver than gold and I prefer gold. Maybe with jeans at Universal on Christmas Day with Alex??

Red shell with jeweled neckline, drapey-neck red cardi, sparkly belt. Pros — more Christmas-y but still office appropriate, looks good with the houndstooth. Cons —Not sure about the red on me, the belt is probably too much, will need to get back to Beall's tomorrow night to get the earrings I saw to go with this and somehow ended up not buying cuz I think they fell through my cart. 

With a wide black belt (and a Chili dog). Better I think.

Faux twinset that I found buried in a drawer. The underlayer is very sparkly but you can't see it very well here. Pros — Extremely comfortable, lightweight, and maybe better than red on me. Cons — it's too big so I'm going to have to do some serging of the sideams tomorrow night if I go with this, and will still need to get some earrings, and maybe a purse. Hey, if I'm going to wear something I already had, I deserve a new purse, right?

Extremely, incredibly sparkly velour faux twinset. I love this jacket, but it's not office appropriate at all. This one is definitely out, but I still love it. And this shade of red is better on me. I wish I had someplace to wear it, but since I don't, it will be returned. Oh, that uneven hem? Yes, it really is. So I'd have to fix this too, if I were keeping it.

Outfit from the closet of years past. It's a long black velour sheath dress with a gold/black cardi/jacket over top, another Walmart find if I remember correctly. It's too long to be office appropriate IMO, but I'm not ready to cut it off yet. So this one is pretty much a no-go.

Dress alone, with belt, and half-pale arms. I can see this being part of a cool go-out outfit, if I ever go out again. Haha. But I'm definitely not going sleeveless in the office.

NOT for the party, but this is my $29 faux leather jacket. With nuthin' underneath. Ooooo. lol

Or THIS could be a going out outfit. I'm also wearing the scarf I picked up with the party tops, but not to wear to the party. Now I need some black boots to complete the look, right?

I'm sure you will all weigh in with opinions. I'm looking forward to it. I'm leaning toward one pairing in particular — which one do you think I'll pick?

BTW —another agency, which hasn't contacted me in MONTHS, called me today about a job doing pretty much exactly what I'm doing now but for a global commercial real estate brokerage not a law firm. I told them I'm up for an interview if they can sell me. Can't have too many irons in the fire, right? And nice to know I'm not dead to them. ;-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

B5566 Almost There But With a Hiccup

As you can see, the zipper is in (perfectly too, and on the first try!), along with the lining. I thought all I had left to do was to hem it, but nooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

I tried it on and the lining is too tight. Like REALLY too tight. I can get it on OK, but Lord help me if I have to go to the bathroom and pull the bottom up. The skirt part fits great, though. So tomorrow after work and after my haircut, I'll be ripping and restitching the lining with smaller seam allowances. It shouldn't be this tight, so it's either fabric shrinkage from pressing or the one-piece front is a LOT smaller than the pieced-yoke front. I'll compare them tomorrow in between ripping. If the lining fabric did shrink, then stupid me for not prewashing it, right? At this point, I'm willing to just rip the lining out altogether if I have to, so it's best to wait until tomorrow to deal with it. I do have lining fabric left over if I need to get really desperate and piece in some gussets.

This photo just looks like a blob, but it's supposed to show you how I sewed the lining and skirt sideseams as one (after attaching facings/lining to each section), so that it's easier to take in down the road. Hah, joke's on me. This whole unit would lay flat but I had already attached the lining to the zipper so it's caught up on that when pulled apart like this. I think I'm going to sew ALL of my lined skirts this way from now on. It just seems easier and it turns out so neat and finished. Well, it will once the lining is fixed.

Hopefully I can get this all taken care of tomorrow night and still have time for outfit possibility pics. And I wish it was going to be about 10 degrees cooler on Friday. A wool skirt at 77 degrees may induce heatstroke. But I'll look good while I'm fainting.

Monday, December 12, 2011

B5566 Progress

I didn't go to Joann's yesterday. I decided who was I kidding that I needed to make a special trip into the mobs of shoppers for a zipper for a skirt I hadn't even cut out yet. So I went on my way home from work tonight instead since it *is* on the way and no special trip was needed. And I didn't buy any fabric, so hah! to all of you doubters. ;-) OK, so I looked, but it was a fabric wasteland there tonight so it was easy to come home with no further stash additions.

I got my black zipper and a few others in my usual colors, plus the latest issue of Vogue Patterns magazine, mostly because Peter is in it. And I swear I had to do a doubletake on the cover model because with just a quick glance, I first thought it was Peter's identical cousin Cathy on the cover. No lie. Must the bone structure and eyebrows. (Nice article, Peter!)

After dinner, I spent some time in the sewing room. I cut out the skirt, single layer even (but not the lining yet), interfaced the facings and front yoke pieces, and serged all the raw edges since (1) this fabric ravels and (2) I'm going to be pressing seams open to allow for easier alterations later on. (Elaine, I haven't read that Threads article, but I'm pretty sure what I'm doing is probably what it shows.) Then I sewed the front yoke pieces together and topstitched them. The next step will be the invisible zipper in the back pieces, so I quit for the night. I figure I'll have better results if I do that at the start of my sewing evening instead of at the end. Or that's the theory anyway.

I really like the yoke pieces on the bias. I think they are flattering and add nice visual interest, especially now that I'm  not averse to tucking in tops again. Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics sent a very generous "1 yard" cut so I had no trouble fitting all the pieces with fabric to spare. So far, this skirt is looking much better than the RTW houndstooth skirt I tried on at Beall's.

Parting Shot: Goodbye my beloved Sunshines. I only wear this one at home these days because it's too big and I end up flashing most of my bra before I realize I need to adjust it. You can see it sticking out here. I'm going to miss this one. But I do have more of this fabric so I think I may make a replacement in a smaller size. But first I have to figure out what that size is. And I think I cut the pattern. Oops. Hopefully, it won't be too hard to figure out the lines for a smaller one. But if it is, I'll just buy it again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Starting B5566

So here's how my thought process went last night, through this morning.

1. I want to make a different pattern for the houndstooth skirt. Maybe princess seams with a contoured waistband.
2. I'm pretty sure I know what I have on hand from the Big 3/4 and I don't think there's anything there.
3. I haven't looked at my Burda WOFs in a while, so I'll pull them out.
4. Hmm. I'm guessing I'm a 48 in Burda WOF.
5. Thumb, thumb, thumb through the patterns.
6. Oh, I like that one. Drat. It only goes up to a 42. At this point tracing is enough. I don't want to grade it too.
7. Thumb, thumb, thumb.
8. Another possibility.
9. Another 42.
10. And so on.
11. An hour later, it's 3 AM and I need to go to sleep.
12. Wake up this morning and realize that I really do NOT want to do princess seams on a houndstooth check, esp since I only have 1 yard of it and can't do a bias panel cheat. What was I thinking??
13. I don't feel like going through all the Burdas again.
14. So I'll start thumbing through my Big 3/4s, this time looking for a very plain darted pencil skirt.
15. Nothing. Really, nothing?
16. How can I NOT have a plain pencil skirt pattern?
17. Changing gears again and narrowing it down to 2 or 3 not-quite-plain possibilities.
18. Butterick 5566 it is.
19. This one in brown with the pattern weight next to it, View B.

20. I figure I can do the pieced waist without too much fabric, and worst case, maybe use some faux leather from the stash.
21. Look at the pattern envelope to decide on a size.
22. Measure myself.
24. Realize I had TOTALLY guessed too big for my Burda WOF sizing. Slap forehead. Oh well, don't feel like backtracking.
25. Press and cut out pattern pieces for View  B.

Only then do I really look at the pattern instructions and realize that View A (lower left and right corners) is actually just a plain darted pencil skirt with AN OVERLAY. But I'm already mentally committed to View B, so I cut a muslin and sewed it. And here I am, channeling my inner Peter Lappin with a sheet skirt.

It fits perfectly with no alterations in the sheet (except I need to add more length to turn a hem), but my real fabric is thicker and I want to line it, so I'm going to add 3/8" to each sideseam to account for the extra bulk. I'm also going to sew it so that I can easily take apart the sideseams when I need to take it in. I don't want this to be a short-term disposable. And since it fits so well, the other views are sparking my interest again too. (My mojo always sparks in December, when I have a zillion other things to do.)

I don't think I'll be using a contrast at the waist but instead will cut those pieces on the bias and interface them for stability. Of course, I haven't even measured the actual fabric cut yet so that plan (like all my others) could change.

But first I have to get publicly presentable and head off to Joann's for a zipper (or 20). I will not buy fabric. I will not buy fabric. I. WILL. NOT. BUY. FABRIC.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

FNSI Complete, aka Let Me At My Sewing Room for ME

I almost finished this wallet last night for the Friday Night Sew In (FNSI) but I ran out of steam. I did finish it up this morning and it's all packed up for shipping, along with the purse I finished a couple of weeks ago.

I've got 5 more purse and/or wallet orders (and maybe another 1 or 2 on the way from a woman who was admiring my purse at the nail salon this morning and took down all my info), which is great. But whew, it takes away from sewing for ME ME ME. ;-) So while I have the next customer project cut out and ready to sew, I'm not going to start on it tomorrow. Instead, I will be starting my houndstooth skirt. I haven't yet decided on a pattern. I should be smart and stick to my TNT Burda but I'm getting a wee bit tired of it. I've got lots of back issues of Burda WOF (when it still was WOF), and I think I'll drag my binders of the line drawing inserts out tonight and see if anything strikes my fancy. Yes, that will mean tracing and a muslin and I may go running back to my TNT, but right now I feel that I need some variety and challenge around the production sewing.

Speaking of Burda WOF, now BS (hah!), I'm thinking of subscribing again. I'm SO tired of the boring patterns offered by the Big 3/4. I was shopping again today and saw lots of cute things that there should be patterns for and aren't. None of them are too complicated and I could probably come up with patterns but I just don't want to spend the time on it.It's so much more instantly gratifying to just buy the finished item. ;-)

Speaking of shopping, there will be a "poll" in a day or so, to get your opinions on my Christmas party selections. I was all over the board today between semi-casual and very glittery. Everything is red, though (I think), which is what I wanted to match up with the houndstooth skirt and my black patent heels. I also picked up a fake leather jacket for $29, marked down from 4x the price. I need to see some pics of me in it before I decide if it's staying, but it will probably have to be absolutely horrid to overcome the great price. I swear, I'm never shopping anywhere other than Beall's. I always find 20 things I want. And it's only a mile down the road, much closer than the mall and NOT in a mall. What's not to love?

Alex and I will be here by ourselves for Christmas and we've decided we're going to get up early and head to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure for the day (which is less than an hour away). I've promised him I will go on whatever rides he chooses. I had to have a moment of raw honesty and tell him that I actually like the rides, but wasn't enthusiastic (read embarrassed) when my butt didn't fit into the seats (how sad). Now that it will, I'll be a screaming idiot and loving every minute. I think it will be a fun mom/son day. He thinks I'm a rollercoaster wimp when it was just a fat rear end so I've got some convincing to do. I do love a challenge. ;-)

Parting Shot: Tyler thinks there's a job for Chili on his base. I think he just misses his dogs.