Monday, January 28, 2013

Self-Imposed Hot Patterns Challenge

I still haven't scheduled my sewcation, but it will have to be sometime after the first week of March as per the Big Boss because we have a LOT going on between now and then and apparently she can't live without me. ;-) And my official 1-year anniversary is in about 3 weeks so my review will be between now and then. I hope the can't-live-without-you feeling plays into that. (Read: raise!!) My unofficial anniverary is September 12 (when I started as a temp) so I will have been there almost 18 months by the time of my review. Time flies!

Update since I first wrote this: My review was today! It was glowing, and I received the highest raise percentage being given. It's not a huge number because of the current economy, but it's not terrible either so I'm good with it. The best part is my "hourly rate" goes up and with all the OT coming at me, that will make a significant difference.

Anyway, on the heels of my two/three wadders, I started going through my existing and soon-to-arrive Hot Patterns with the thought of actually using them, or re-using them in a new size. I pullIed out a lot that I want to make and will start before the actual sewcation. Who knows - I might actually be sick of this challenge by then, but I hope not because I really want to have these as finished garments in my closet.

Here's what's on the list, in no particular order except the first 4 are the new ones which I don't actually have possession of yet.

Depending on its arrival date, this will be the first or one of the first. I want this to work (waistband placement especially) so I will need to make an ugly muslin, especially since I don't really know what size I am with HP anymore. I think I want to make the dress to look like a blouse/skirt, so I need to assess the coordinating solids and prints available from the stash.

This may go toward the end of the list only because I see this as more summery. Of course, being Florida, summer will be here in just a minute.

This one will definitely need a muslin and the right fabric so I don't end up with a sack since I see it with a higher waist and more fitted than shown. I'm thinking laundered linen or rayon challis. We'll see.

This one is available for download but I didn't feel like printing and taping and thought the $3 additional was a good tradeoff for NOT doing that. I'm thinking this will be a quick project so it may take a place near the top of the list. Plus it will be new-to-me and I'm a magpie with shiny, new things. ;-)

I made this before in a knit but it's HUGE now and only being kept so I can better gauge a current sizing. I also want to make this in a drapey woven this time. I don't think I have anything suitable in the stash, so I'll be on the lookout.

I also made this one before and again it's too big. But it fit great before so I'm hopeful it will be successful in a smaller size. I'm thinking white or another solid linen. I'll have to check the stash.

This may or may not get made since it's the old sizing (Glamour Girl) and the reviews are mixed. I need to pull out the pattern pieces and evaluate before deciding.

Can you believe I do not have one Sunshine Top in my current wardrobe? All of my previous makes of my favorite HP are too big. Since my weekend wardrobe is severely lacking, I think it's time to size it down.

I made this once before and a fabric disaster kept it from being wearable. Plus it was made in a bigger size back then so even if it was wearable then, it wouldn't be now. It was a popular pattern back when it was first released and, really, who doesn't need another wrap/faux wrap dress?

Thinking of this for weekends and casual Fridays in a summery knit.

Another weekend contender. I made this one before too, but never wore it because it was too big. My sister loves it though. I think it deserves another attempt.

I tried the red version way back when and it was a disaster. I don't think I'm going to revisit that one but the tie front version intrigues me. A shorter top than shown in the drawing, or longer as a dress. I will muslin this one for sure since it has sack potential.

Ambitious, no? Let's see how this goes, and no promises that new patterns won't distract me in the middle. But if I can make my way through even half of this list, I'll feel like I've accomplished my goal.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Strike Two

Yeah. Two weekends of sewing. Two wadders.

To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for this shapeless shift style (V8805) working for me. I was just lured in by the colorblocking and thought I'd try something outside the wheelhouse. I really should've known better. I know me. I KNOW what works on my body, and shapeless shifts are not it.

To make matters worse, I also got a wild hair this morning and decided to line the thing. Or rather, partially line it. Because if by some chance it did work, it was going to be Velcro butt to the max and n aturally I wanted to avoid that. I also substituted a better green for the green that came in the mail the other day. I do like the color combo, but that doesn't help the shapelessness even a little bit.

I shouldn't have bothered.

I'm thinking I *may* go ahead and hem it and then shorten the sleeves and call it a summer house dress. But I've got to cut out the lining for that because this dress is WARM and HEAVY, neither of which are things you want for a Florida summer dress. But before I do that, I'm going to try a chain belt around my waist and see if that helps at all. Probably not, but I've got nothing more to lose at this point.

I think (hope?) the wadders done now, since bad things come in threes and even though I've called this one Strike Two, it's really Strike Three. Oh, what's the third you ask? Remember that skirt I made a couple of weeks ago from the leftover poly print from Joann's. That's the third. I can't go to the bathroom in the thing. It needs a back vent because the hem width is fine to step into getting dressed in the morning, but if you have to hike it up in the loo to do your business (which you do), expect to spend a good 5 minutes wrestling the thing back down. Sheesh.

On the plus side, this pattern is nicely drafted and *might* make a good tee but I'd want to rotate the bust dart out. And, frankly, at the moment that's the last thing on my list.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


It's going to the Goodwill pile.

It makes me look like a tree trunk. A wildly patterned tree trunk, but a tree trunk nonetheless.

Wadders happen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Uh oh ...

... how did this happen? ;-)

Mr. and Mrs. HotPatterns live/work about an hour south of me so I'm hoping the fruits of my fall leap off the wagon will be here by next weekend.

In the meantime, the dress from last post still sits. I haven't been back to the sewing room since last weekend to even look at it. But my knits for the colorblocked dress arrived and are prewashing as I type. I have to say I'm NOT happy with the color of the green since I was expecting a more lime than I received. It'll do and is probably a better winter color, but it's not one of my favorite greens. I hope I'm not about to make another Zillie squatter.

Off to bed so I can get up early and start cutting tissue and fabric.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stopping Point

I've nearly finished the dress (V8825) -- everything done except the hem -- but I'm stopping. I got to the point of trying it on and I wasn't loving it. It's a lot of dress. And the sash weighs a TON and doesn't want to stay in place at my waist so I'm going to have to come up with some sort of security/belt carriers.

Technically, it fits perfectly except the sleeves could be a smidgen shorter. When "researching," I noticed all the sleeves in the PR reviews were on the too-long side so I already shortened the pattern 1/2" before cutting out. I think another 1/2" would've been perfect. But I'm not sure if I'm even going to keep the sleeves. I love the *idea* of the bishop sleeves but in the print and on me and with the high-in-the-back neckline, I feel kind of swallowed up. (Plus it's that puffy time o'the month, which is NOT the time to be trying on new clothes. Argh. I thought turning 50 last year was supposed to put an end to that stuff. I mean, it's not like I'm contemplating any more babies. Oh the things we share on the blogs. LOL)

Now don't misunderstand, I think the dress *looks* great in the photo here and in person, and I do love me a print. But I think we've just spent too much time together today and we need a break from each other for the love to re-kindle. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. :-)

On the bright side, except for the previously-mentioned sleeve shortening, I made absolutely no alterations to the pattern. I cut the 16 for the upper half and morphed to the 18 at the hip, and that's it.

Back to work tomorrow. I'm not wearing anything new, but OMG ... LOVE!!. ... LOVE!! Mrs. Obama's "new clothes" today, didn't you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

McCall's 6397 #2 Finished and Stash Crash

After spending all day yesterday doing absolutely NOTHING more than 10 feet from my bed (reading, napping, catching up on the DVR), I was wide awake at 6 am this morning. After last week, I needed to recharge the batteries. Thankfully, I still have 2 days of weekend left (and a nice paycheck coming soon). Although most of the rest of today will be spent watching football,  I do plan to get into the sewing room in spurts to cut out the next pattern. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I did finally finish the dress. It had been collecting dust on Zillie for two weeks waiting for the sleeve bindings and hem, but it's now done. I will probably wear it as styled below, with this RTW blouse.When I do, I'll snap a pic of me in it.

The zipper everyone commented on is just a basic brass zipper with a "leftover" earring put through the pull. Without a jewelry ring to hold it place, it doesn't really work to actually pull the zipper without opening and coming out of the pull but it does stay in place and hang straight if it's not pulling the zipper. These used to be some of my favorite earrings until I lost one so I'm happy to be able to use the straggler for something more than making me growl when I see it in my jewelry dish.

Last post I was flip-flopping about a Style Arc pattern order when I didn't like the freebie o'the month. Well, the $34 shipping charge made me close the shopping cart immediately. Sorry Style Arc. I'm just not ready to plop down nearly $100 for 4 patterns. I know others love them but only a few of the styles interest me and even then, they are just not all that and a $34 shipping charge so I will continue to watch from the sidelines.

I noticed Vogue was on sale at the BMV website and I quenched my pattern lust with these. I ordered them Wednesday and they were here yesterday. Unbelievable speedy! If I had made it out to the mailbox before the day was nearly over, I might have even sewed yesterday but who wudda thunk they'd be here already?

Up next is the dress version of 8825 (lower left). After that, 8805 (bottom middle), with the fabrics below which will be arriving soon. I turned the screenshot upside down since this is how I plan to use them in the colorblocking.

Hopefully I'll be back before the work week starts again, and with something to show (and wear).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tired Ramblings

1. I'm tired.
2. Almost too tired to even write this.
3. The dress remains on Zillie waiting to be finished.
4. I thought I would get in some sewing time this past weekend but my time was instead spent working Saturday and then FINALLY clearing away Christmas, cleaning the house after, and vegging in front of every football game.
5. I worked a LOT last week (c'mon OT paycheck!) and stayed up too late last night which is why I'm tired today.
6. Wait 'til I spill the beans on that zipper so many of you commented on.
7. There are finally some Style Arc patterns I might be willing to plunk down the bucks to buy.
8. But I hate the freebie for this month.
9. So, to wait or not to wait?
10. I'm taking a week+ off in the next 2-3 weeks.
11. Exact dates yet to be determined while we are in semi-crisis mode.
12. Not really a crisis but I'm too tired to think of a better word.
13. The last of the firm's "founding fathers" passed away this past Friday and there's been a LOT to do in our department and all over the firm as we organize obituaries, memorials, and services.
14. My time off will be a staycation, and hopefully a mostly sewcation.
15. I'm hoping to get to the pile of things needing something from the sewing room.
16. Meaning, remakes or take-ins or tweaks.
17. And around those projects, some new ones.
18. I need to take a page from Carolyn's book and spend the next couple of weeks planning so I don't end up with analysis paralysis and nothing sewn.
19. Really looking forward to the upcoming long weekend.
20. Did I mention I'm tired?
21. And it's only Monday?
22. It feels like Thursday. ;-)
23. As soon as I make to 25 I'm putting on the PJs and climbing under the covers.
24. Tomorrow is payday, so that's something to look forward to.
25. And maybe I'll order those Style Arc patterns, freebie be damned, and hope they arrive by the time I'm staycationing.

Good night!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rolling Along

Is this a lovely sight ... seams all lined up as they should be.

I made a lot of progress on the dress today. None on the Christmas decorations though. You all are a BAD influence. ;-) All that's left is binding the armholes and the hem. I did try it on and I'm happy to report that it fits like it was made for me. 

While working on the dress I was reminded again of something I keep meaning to talk about since it's a topic I don't see mentioned a whole lot on sewing blogs. Glass head pins. One of my favorite notions. A little expensive for pins but worth their price. I also have regular sewing pins (quilting pins, actually, because I like the extra long length) that I use when actually sewing but when I'm near the iron and have a need to keep something in place without burning my fingertips, I reach for these special pins I keep within reach of the iron.

In case you don't know why they're so great at the ironing board, it's because you can iron right over them. The glass heads resist the heat, unlike plastic-headed pins. Which means I can fold up a hem, stab pins into the board, and then press. On extra-fiddley fabric or curves or wiggly bits, I might pin proper so I can carry the fabric to the machine with the pins in place, but either way, it's great to let the pins do the holding while I press and literally save my skin.

Now it's time for season 3 of Downton Abbey. Is anyone else as happy as me that it's FINALLY back on?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sewing Won

But I'm betting you knew it would. ;-)

The invisible (magenta!) zip is in, the hem is complete, and the skirt is finished. I cut out a black lining and then decided not to use it. First, I wanted this done already so impatience won out, and second, I was thinking with the poly, it was just gonna be hot and static-y and my impatience didn't want to find out if that would be true. Since the lining is pretty much ready to go, I can always go back and add it if I change my mind. Or, I have a lining waiting for another skirt. The scrap around Zillie's neck is all that my friends Polly and Esther left me (BTW, P&E is not original, I think I stole that from Rachelle). I think I might serge a rolled edge and have a cowl/scarf, which I probably *won't* wear with the skirt.

Next up is another make of McCall's 6397.

I wore the first make all summer but it's definitely a summer dress and I've been missing it now that "winter" is here. If you were following along back then, you probably remember my disappointment at finding out too late that there's a drafting error in the pattern so that the pocket seam/waist dart on the skirt doesn't match up with the bust dart on the bodice in real life like shown on the envelope drawings. (I also notice that the human version on the envelope is the other view, the one without that seam. Hmm.) Other than that, I really liked this pattern and knew I'd make it again, after fixing that error.

It was actually a pretty quick fix. (So why, McCall's, didn't YOU do it?) I lined up the bust dart with the pocket seam and saw that all I had to do was re-cut it on the size 14 line. That's step 1.

Step 2 was to add onto the side piece (10) what was removed by recutting the seam above. Step 3, the last step, was to add onto the pocket bag (9) so it matched piece 10.

I knew I wanted to make this in a double-knit. The first make is a stretch woven and since it has about the same amount of stretch as a firm double-knit, I was fairly confident the fit would be similar. (Hope that confidence doesn't come back to bite me in the butt.)

I'm using this printed double-knit recently acquired from I had ordered two colorways but only received this one because the other had sold out, darn it.

I auditioned some different thread colors for the topstitching and settled on the one at the bottom of this pic. It actually matches the light color in the fabric, but the lighting played tricks with the camera.

Here's where I am as of now. I'll get back into the sewing room tomorrow, but I also do want to tackle the Christmas crap ... er ... decorations ... too, so I'm not counting on a finished dress at the end of the day.

If this one works out like I think it will, I'm going to make another double-knit dress from McCall's 6394, probably similar to the bottom left view. You know I'll be checking those seams before I cut good fabric.

Now it's time for a chocolate martini ... which is chocolate-flavored vodka + creme de cacao + Godiva liquor, chilled in a shaker with ice and then drained. Yum! They were passing these out (in cute little martini shooter glasses) at my cousin's wedding last April and I've been hooked ever since. It took me a few experiments to come up with a mix that tasted like those, but even the trials tasted pretty darn good. Hic!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Random Friday Thoughts

1. Put away Christmas stuff or sew?
2. Why do tires cost so freakin' much?
3. I hate Enterprise Car Rental for ripping off the Marine.
4. I *will* take it up the ladder for him if he can't work it out.
5. In public.
6. Put away Christmas stuff or sew?
7. Thinking of a sewcation for the end of January.
8. At least a stay home and veg-cation. ;-)
9. I actually ROLLED OVER 60 hrs of vacation from 2012.
10. I can barely remember the last time I had a job with paid vacation, and I'm sure I used up every square inch of it then.
11. Chocolate martini or put away Christmas stuff?
12. That one's not even a contest.
13. Supposed to rain all weekend.
14. The Marine was scraping ice this morning with a credit card in NC. Hah.
15. In his Service Bravos.
16. Have you heard about the Marines' new "non-casual Friday" rule?
17. I kinda think it rocks, being a non-casual Friday kind of person myself.
18. I haven't sewn pants in 2 years.
19. Maybe I need to revisit that.
20. I was hoping to lose 30 more lbs. but I've been stable for over a year so maybe that's not gonna happen.
21.Put away Christmas stuff or sew?
22. I still love my job, but why aren't weekends 5 days long EVERY week?
23. I think I want to make a ponte knit dress.
24. Wonder if there's anything suitable in the stash?
25. Put away Christmas stuff or sew?
26. But first I have to finish that spur of the moment print skirt.
27. And embroider tees for my brother-in-law.
28. Not really digging the idea of production embroidery.
29. Selfish sewing is more fun.
30. For me, anyway.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Simplicity 2474 and Magic Pencil Modeled

Here I am after work, wearing my new top and skirt.

Note to self: Stand away from the lamp so it doesn't
look like a tumor growing out of my hip.

But I actually kept this black cardi on most of the day as the office runs cool.

The top definitely passed the wearability test and with just using 28" of fabric plus 1/2 pack of binding, I can see a few more of these in my future. Even from Joann's Polly & Esther collection. ;-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sewing in the New Year With Skirts

I saw the New Year roll in but I wasn't enjoying chocolate martinis like I had planned. What I ate for dinner immediately started arguing with the stomach and made a reappearance shortly thereafter. Then it was nap time, up again at 10-ish, but still not ready for anything to replace dinner, including said martinis. Sigh. At least it wasn't a lasting bug and I'm perfectly fine today. The cocktails will keep until the weekend. But day-um, a special trip to the liquor store and the bottles remain sealed.

Today was lounge and sewing day, interrupted only by the unexpected need to have a new tire installed on my car after Alex hit a curb to avoid being t-boned by a reckless oncoming car. Did I mention that 2 weeks ago he backed up into a Mercedes? Also in my car. Fun times. I've been wanting a new car but now I'm not so sure. Dents in a new car are a lot harder to swallow. ;-)

So, back to the sewing ... it's a lot less expensive.

The purple Magic Pencil is finished. No new pics since it looks pretty much like the last shot. If I wear the outfit tomorrow, which is the current plan, I'll try to remember to snap a pic of me in it. With the new shoes. ;-)

After finishing that one, I pulled out Butterick 5566 simply because I'd already made a version of it once and wouldn't need to cut and alter tissue. But I didn't cut any of the official envelope views. Not enough fabric for anything more than a very basic pencil skirt. Instead I cut the plain front which is hidden under the draped gray and beige skirts, bottom left and right.

It's not done yet. I still need to install the invisible zip in the back, add the waist facings, and then hem it. I think I'm also going to line it so that will delay completion a little more. But none of that is difficult . Once I get back in the sewing room, it should go quickly. I just hope me getting back in there is quick too.

Happy New Year!