Friday, November 29, 2013


So, I got off work at noon on Wednesday (nice!). Stopped by the grocery store for a few things NOT Turkey Day related, and then came home to clean up the house before Tyler's arrival.

Vacuumed the family room, the kitchen (pre-mop), the living/dining rooms (barely, since no one ever goes in there), my bedroom, and finally ... the sewing room, which was in dire need what with the layer of thread (and pins ... oops) covering the carpet.

While in there, I made my way with the vacuum into the corner with the mirror, where I had laid down a pattern (which shall remain nameless) to deal with putting away later. As I bent over to lift it  up so I could vacuum under it, I spied the corner of another pattern. "Hmmm ... what is that?" I wondered. You know what's coming, right?

Shuffle, shuffle ...

... the missing Christine Jonson wrap top.Yay!!!

Geez ... getting old is rough. Not only did I "lose" the pattern for a bit (which I have NEVER done before), but I have no memory whatsoever of taking it out, pressing it flat, and then apparently laying it aside on the floor.

But at least I found the pattern BEFORE I ended up ordering it again, which would've been today during the last day of the sale, even if somewhere along the way I seem to have misplaced my brain. (BTW, you can order CJ Patterns from Pattern Review and they will ship internationally. I'm thinking CJ will also ship internationally since the PR sales ship direct from CJ. Maybe worth another inquiry if you're interested.)

Thanksgiving yesterday was fun. Tyler arrived around 8:30 Wednesday night, with (surprise!) another Marine. By Thursday morning, he had (surprise!) another friend here too. Around noon, two of Alex's friends showed up (not a surprise). We pretty much doubled our expected eaters since Tyler himself was last-minute. And even though I actually reduced my usual quantity of food bought and prepared, we STILL had a TON to eat and now a TON of leftovers in the fridge. (But I do love me a turkey sandwich.)

Tyler, friend, and Alex are taking off for my stepson Michael's over in St. Augustine tonight for a night of barhopping and whatever 3 brothers do (I intentionally don't ask for details), with Alex returning home tomorrow night sometime and Tyler/friend going northward back to base.

Which means I will have a day alone for just me and the CJ Wrap. Hoping the mojo stays hungry ... we have patterns and turkey to get through. And pie. ;-)

Parting shot - As promised, the HP top and the (wrinkled from being at a desk all day) KS skirt after work this past Tuesday.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Skirt and Top - aka Useful Basics

This is the skirt I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It sat on Zillie waiting for its mate, which I finally provided today. I made the skirt (KS3287) many times before, but in a larger size. This was one of those times I'm glad I traced the pattern, because I ended up needing to trace again but 2 sizes down. I love this skirt for the flippy shape but easy knit wear and construction. I will probably still be making this skirt when I'm 80.  :-) This one is from a yard (less, really) of turquoise Sophia knit purchased from a couple of months ago. Sophia wears like iron.

The top is the Hot Patterns Metroplitan Tie Me Down top, made from a ITY knit purchased to go with the solid Sophia. It's another I've made before and another I needed to retrace smaller. (Not complaining.) HP's sizing is consistent, I think, after having made a number of them but the actual sizing definitely doesn't match the measurements given on the back of the envelope. I made a straight 14 (no alterations) but per the envelope should use at least an 18. That's a GI-normous amount of ease. So, what I'm saying is ignore the envelope and use your tape measure on the pattern pieces themselves. And your common sense. And heed HP's advice to muslin if you're still unsure. This sizing is good news for those at the upper end of the HP measurement chart but probably not so good for the smallest ladies if the smaller sizes have similar ease. (I can't speak to the men's patterns.)

The patterns.

The shoulders are gathered into the seam and also shirred with 3 rows of elastic cord. The cap sleeves are gathered to the armhole at the top. Sorry for the blurry pic. :-(

The back waist, is also shirred with one row of elastic cording which provides nice but subtle shaping.

I used my cording foot and a narrow zig zag stitch. The cording foot holds the cord in place perfectly so there's no worry about stitching through the cord. You only have to keep your eyes on your sewing path. (These pics are from a years-ago project and part of a PR review here, in which you'll find more shirring details if you're curious.)

This is how much elastic cord I had left over. Whew!

The HP pattern calls for facings to hold the tie in place and finish the neck edge. I used the facings on my previous make of the top and they were fine, since they are shaped and get sewn into the sleeves which eliminates facing floppage, but I really like to eliminate facings whenever possible. For this make, I "stole" the brilliant instructions from Jalie's Scarf Collar top. You can download the instructions as a PDF from Jalie here.

Is it me, or does anyone else think the model in the solid knit is either Tasia from Sewaholic or her long-lost twin sister?

The infamous Jalie "burrito" but using the HP instead. Hard to believe a whole top plus ties are in there, right?

The only pattern modification I made to the HP was to widen the bottom of the ties and point them. While I don't have the too-big first make anymore, I did make a note on the pattern that the ties as drafted were on the skimpy side. I'm glad I widened them. I like the added width much better.

I'm not sure if I'm wearing this outfit tomorrow, but when I do, I'll get a pic of me in it.

Sunday Ramblings

1. Rainbows and unicorns - much better.
2. There IS sewing going on today, so hopefully even the unicorn will be replaced soon.
3. Good news - Tyler called yesterday and says he's headed back down to Florida on Wednesday.
4. I asked if there was anything special he wanted on the Thanksgiving menu.
5. His answer: Beer. :-)
6. Bad news - Alex wrecked his car Friday night.
7. Good news - he's fine.
8. The car is repairable and is at the shop right now.
9. He'll be without it about 3 weeks, though, due to the holidays, insurance adjuster scheduling, and parts ordering.
10. Nothing mechanical, just body (fender and bumper) damage.
11. He didn't get a ticket, even though it was technically his fault.
12. Thank you Mr. Hillsborough County Deputy.
13. Bad news - I CANNOT find the pattern I really wanted to sew, and since it's an $18 indie, I'm still debating re-ordering it.
14. I've made it before (C. Jonson Shirred Princess Wrap) and know it's a good one, but still.
15. Good news - CJ's patterns are on sale until 11/29, so I have until then to either find my original or re-order at a discount.
16. Good and bad news - I went to a shoe store yesterday and bought ... nothing. ??
17. Because we were shopping for Alex, who is picky for himself and never would've stood waiting around while I looked. And I didn't even do that.
18. No, I don't have a fever.
19. I don't have new shoes either.
20. Sob!
21. The sewing room calls ...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sour Grapes?

Apparently there's one last post left in the Red Velvet series. Also apparent is that I don't know what I'm doing in the sewing room or when printing PDFs, and that everything I found wrong (or disagreed with) is 100% my fault. I *do* know this isn't the best example of customer service/vendor response I've seen and that I won't be buying anymore from this company. I hope you have a better experience.

(I have no idea about the reference to something I "took down." Every post on this pattern remains in public view.)

Edited 11-20-13: I see today that StephC has now deleted all her comments from this post (which you can see the remnants of below), so I'm adding them back here because I think they belong as part of this original posting.


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Well, you spent an entire week laboring away at posts about how much you dislike my work, I considered it necessary to respond in some form. I chose to respond kindly and with actual knowledge/evidence to address your issues. I think that's pretty decent of me, and useful. I'm pleased you made this post, it means we get a chance to chat publicly about this, which is great.

You don't know more than me about sewing. I have been sewing at least twice as long as you have, and my exposure is wider. I don't see why I should ignore what you wrote. You were very obviously and deliberately calling me out, personally, however much you cloaked it in concern for the community and addressed me as "indie pattern designers." My name is Steph, pleased to meet you, Debbie.

If you care about the community, I suggest you find a way to fix pattern sizing and start a company of your own. Why not?

When I first read your posts (a week after they were published), I was *devastated* because I had in my head you were a sewing teacher. All I could think of was "How could I completely miss the mark with a teacher?" Much of the way I approach the work has to do with making the sewing accessible, to create the simplest/best sewing experience for relatively new sewists, based on continual observations in the classroom.

Then I realized you weren't a teacher and that your criticisms were either :

1)difference of opinion (not a big deal, but please don't act like your opinion is gospel because I'll roll my eyes super hard. Circular neckline binding is hard for beginners/ints to handle so it's symmetrical, and it’s boring to me to write and teach binding again. Facings open up greater design options, when executed well).

2)lack of understanding about the process (we nested the bodices at first because it's cheaper to print, and rejected it because it was cluttered and crazy looking and difficult. We opted for clarity, even though it's more expensive to print and ship.)

3)your lack of skill. I'm sorry, your neckline gaped because you didn't follow the instructions. That's all. I am not trying to put you down, I am not taking out a bad day on you, and I did you the human courtesy of addressing you directly here. It is a simple statement of fact that the neckline gaped because you handled it poorly. That's not my fault.

Anyway I figured I could address some of your issues, through knowledge and explanation of techniques.

I am not unreasonable, I am not unkind, I am *excellent* at customer service, thankyouverymuch. Had you written me a *word* of an email, a whisper of an Etsy conversation, a tweet, ANYthing, I would have been right there to help you out with your concerns. You did not. Instead, you chose to do what you did here on your blog. That is fine and is your choice. I am helpful, I am good at what I do, I turn myself inside out to teach great sewing practices and get people making things, and I answer my customer service emails swiftly.

If you expect me to be obsequious on top of that, too bad.

Instead, you chose to do what you did without any notification to me. Somehow I'm a jerk? No way, friend.

I don't mind criticism, I don't mind being disagreed with. Check out pretty much *anything* I've ever written. Criticism makes the work better, and anyone who doesn't understand that is a nitwit. It was laughable what you wrote about owning up to mistakes. I do that, I have done it several times.

But here, I did not do anything except *gasp* defend myself in fairly mild terms. Is it also offensive that I have the temerity to say I know more about the way sewing/machines/stitches/sewists work than you do, after having taught hundreds upon hundreds of women to sew? I *can* say that, I earned it.

I am really happy to keep discussing but we're going to have a conversation like grown women, I’m not a catty girl who moons bitterly over sour grapes.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 7:31 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

"The key to a resilient seam in knits is building in as much thread as possible. There are many ways to do this. To declare there is only one way, or one best way, or only one way to teach beginners this concept is ridiculous and doing those beginners a disservice."

Absolutely. I could not agree more, and this is precisely my point. One of several. I teach beginners a certain way because I do it a lot. I know what tends to click easiest. Then, once we've built a basic skill set, we can diverge into finding the best options for the individual. But we have to start some place. :)

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 7:35 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

But Rachel, I don't see how I was rude here. I responded clearly and constructively and directly.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 7:44 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Anon- I don't see that I attacked anyone personally. Was it my use of italics? I can tone that down, for sure. Instead, I see that I stood up for my work. I am not Burda, I am not Vogue, I am a person who cares about good and useful sewing who also makes patterns.

Why is it offensive that I address issues that arise, publicly when called for? I don't mind someone disagreeing with me, I rather like it, but there were things written here that needed to be addressed because they are either differences of opinion or untrue.

I answered clearly and in the place where the issues were brought up. I did not choose to respond with a snippy series of blog posts or conjecture or personal attacks, but with demonstrations of solid sewing tecniques.

Is this not one of the criticisms against other pattern companies, that they are out of touch? That their techniques don't work? That learning to sew has such a huge steep learning curve thanks to the badly written/made big 4 patterns that it completely turns off excited new sewists?

I am not saying my methods and patterns are perfect, nothing is perfect, but I constantly strive to do better and I've been making patterns for *a year*. Give me five or ten and let's see how we can improve things to make sewing a viable part of 21st century living. That's what I'm saying.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 8:06 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Catherine- I did read the replies, and was rather surprised by the number of anon commentators (here I am, using my own name...) and also the personal attacks against me... Barbies? Are we being ageist? I didn't go there, and I don't see how it is relevant to the discussion.

No, I don't always do what the customer tells me to do. Yes, that does upset people sometimes. That is a far cry from not caring about my customers. No customer service has 100% satisfaction, but I resent being told I don't care about my customers. Me engaging publicly with criticisms and untruths about my work is me caring, especially when I can back up my words/opinions with actual solid sewing techniques and content I created.

This is not me being "up myself," though I can understand why it might come across as such to someone unfamiliar with the work I do, especially with a headline like this one. Fair enough. I assure you, I don't waste brain cells on sour grapes. I'm also curious what the grapes are in this particular scenario? That's unclear to me.

I haven't attacked anyone personally, I have been clear, direct, intelligent and occasionally used capital letters/italics. I am respectfully standing up for myself and for good work I believe in. I am engaging the community. Isn't that what we want from pattern makers, the thing that is not much done?

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 9:42 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Katie-

I see your point, absolutely. The thing is, I'm not corporate. I never will be. I'm indie. Along with being indie is the right/responsibility to seek out authenticity, to experiment, to change, to grow, to respond. And to have an opinion.

I have thought about it, quite a lot, about indie v corporate and what that means. I came to the conclusion that I can't ride two horses at the same time. I can not talk corporate and be indie. It is not going to work. I figure if I can back up my words with deeds (or in-depth technique videos) and engage honestly and openly, then that's what I would do.

I think I made a mistake earlier on in trying too hard to "sound" corporate, because it's not what I am. Trying too hard to be something I'm not was blocking me every time I turned around, as an artist and an educator. I was trying to do things "by the book." But the thing is, there is not a book for this, for what we're doing. So I choose to engage as a human being, extending the benefit of the doubt as much as possible and never responding to things in anger. Because I am a human being and because y'all are too. Respect.

Twitter is a cheeky, rough and tumble place. If I can't have a sense of humor about things like this on Twitter, then when can I? Does Debbie have a fledgling brand I have damaged unfairly with my remarks?

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 10:56 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Well, I think we can agree to disagree about whether I'm corporate. Technically, my business is registered as a Sole Trader and not a corporation. I'm not Vogue.

I'm not holier than anyone (is this because I refuse to comment anonymously with catty ageist remarks?), but I'm also not going to ignore it when someone calls me out so publicly about something I am sure about. I can see how my self-assurance might be perceived as arrogance but that's not who I am. Don't worry, people have been trying to take me down a peg or two since I was a small kid. I'm used to it, tough hide and all. :)

Also, I haven't ever threatened anyone (as you just did me), just calmly defended myself. So. There's that..

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 11:33 PM, November 17, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey, Audrey, I absolutely agree with you. I think I come off a little snotty here between the colorful title Debbie chose (seriously, what are the grapes?) and my refusal to stoop to anonymous personal attacks. That's unfortunate but unavoidable, given the circumstances.

I agree with you that it's important to build trust and a relationship with one's students. That's what I do, in the classroom and online. I take my students' sewing seriously and go to great effort to do everything in my power to respond thoughtfully to emails, Etsy messages, Flickr comments, sewingcake comments, facebook and twitter, even when that means I sit in front of the computer typing for hours on end. I skype to sort out sewing issues, too.

That is why I was surprised by such a concentrated blogging effort on Debbie's part, and the fact my customer service has been called into question.

I am not yet able to read minds, unfortunately. If I had had an email, a word, I would have been right there to sort out the issues and check things, to be kind and helpful and responsive. But I was never extended any such opportunity and had to see my work unfairly criticized before the ink had even dried. Fair enough, but there were several things mentioned that are not actual issues on the pattern.

Really, truly, I don't do sarcasm. It's a nasty, mean little beast that terrifies me and translates weirdly from America to Australia so I gave it up a while ago. (These aussies' sarcasm is one a whole other plane and I just can't keep up so I opt out...:))

I honestly like Debbie's dresses and think they turned out beautifully well in both instances.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 11:45 PM, November 17, 2013 

StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Jennifer-

My comments were useful, they are linked to content that will help improve the sewing. If someone left me those comments, I'd check it out and see what was what. I can admit when I don't know something, and do on a regular basis. I might even tweet out or feature good tutorials that improve the sewing, because the sewing is what matters to me.

But I don't think I've ever had a comment like that before, to be honest, because I don't spend weeks at a time blogging non-stop about how much I hate a particular thing. I focus on building up and spotlighting positive things.

I'm curious if you checked out my investigation of straight v knit stitch? I approached it with an open mind, not hiding what I was doing, and clearly showing the results. I also said repeatedly that you have to do what works for you in your sewing room.

I say that all the time, repeatedly, and it's also written into most of what I publish. I don't see myself as a dictator or whatever, I see my role as a facilitator and I take that seriously. And I'm protective about my new sewists.

I don't mind if you use straight and like it, it's your sewing and your sewing room. It's not wrong. But in the majority of cases, it's not right either. That's what I'm getting at. :)

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 11:51 PM, November 17, 2013 

StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Thanks, Audrey. Maybe just maybe we can get a group hug in sometime. ;)

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 12:20 AM, November 18, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Unknown- Yeah, the thing is, I'm not in an ivory tower, I'm being forcibly locked in one and I'm standing at the top of it hollering bloody murder out the window that I don't have the slightest desire to be there. But I guess all you hear is the shouting....

Debbie taught me to put in fly zips and I held her in extremely high regard for many years, directing people to her excellent tutorial at every opportunity and raving about the quality of her teaching.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 12:23 AM, November 18, 2013 

StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Hey Diana-

I... Didn't say anything of the sort. I actually said (and sincerely meant) that I like the dresses, they're great and I have learned techniques here in the past.

I never blamed Debbie for any kind of sloppiness. The fact is that her reporting of the "errata" was inaccurate. I have a right to point that out.

There's plenty of people from a variety of age groups who sew Cake. It's lovely, and this kind of kerfuffle doesn't happen. I am at a loss about why this keeps becoming an issue of age, am I really so threatening? Why is that?

OH! Hamster power! I love it! Mine was too, a very temperamental but solid Kenmore thing in a "harvest wheat" kind of color... :) I wonder what happened to it...

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 12:41 AM, November 18, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Sure I do, and I appreciate your concern. *They* are also concerned and wish I would learn to keep my fool mouth shut and told me so. Flip is not indeed my intent, I'm quite open to a constructive and clear dialog, and I knew by posting I'd get the chance to chat about things. I think it's likely a communication style issue, that's kind of you. I tend to call a spade a spade and get on with life, and yes, I know that gets me misunderstood sometimes. I definitely could have phrased my comments that were posted above in a softer way, absolutely. At least I didn't threaten anyone, right? :)

I didn't say never! :) Not at all, that's the thing.... If it works for you do it. But- it's not really a good default, it's not safe. I like to play it safe for my newbies, I figure ints-advanced can and will do exactly as they please, but if I beginner tries to sew something and it falls apart, she may well walk away from sewing forever and that's the part that bothers me. I've seen/heard it happen too often, and to be perfectly honest it's why I'm doing what I'm doing. To get people to love the sewing, and not fear it.

I didn't want to start a pattern company, fwiw, I did it because I saw a galling gap between the types of clothes people wear and the ones we're offered to stitch. (No, I don't think all other patterns are bad, that's not what I'm saying..But there *is* a definite yawning gap.) I did it because people kept telling me I should. I did it to keep busy. I did it because I figured I could make a difference in sewing rooms and stoke the fires of the 21st century sewing revival. I did it because I have devoted hours and hours of my life to "translating" poor instructions for people in classes as I taught them the art of pattern surgery.

People get to thinking that sewing is a really really hard thing to learn, some kind of almost magical skill and it's not. The learning curve is really steep at the beginning due to the way 20th century sewing is set up, and I don't think it has to be. Sewing is a skill that a LOT of people put to use for thousands of years, and it's joy. Like cooking, really. Everyone eats, everyone wears clothes.

I did not start Cake because I'm an ego-maniac or a starry eyed idealist or an ivory-tower dweller or a jerk or whatever may be thought of me.
It's far too much hard work to keep going with only that as a motivator. :)

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 3:15 AM, November 18, 2013 


StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Well, I didn't see that as a remark on age but on experience in a particular field, but ok, I see what you mean. I did not mean "shut up, I'm better" at all. I did very much mean "if you sew it this way, your neckline won't gape." Because... It won't. Like you said I said, I respect the work Debbie has done especially in the area of fly fronts. I can't tell you how many newbs I sent there over the years.

Like a little child? Point taken. How should I respond in the future to a similar situation, so as not to be so childish? Not responding at all doesn't work for me. Is it the italics and the capital letters? I am not being sarcastic, I want to know.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 4:06 AM, November 18, 2013 

StephC has left a new comment on your post "Sour Grapes?":

Fourkid- I am so humbled that you took the time to craft those responses. Thank you.

I *do* want to track down all the bugs. They annoy the living daylights out of me because they get in the way of the sewing. I brought an editor on board.

When I saw the errata posted here I was sick about it and assumed Debbie was right. Because why wouldn't she be?

I dropped everything I was doing to go check, only to find next to nothing, and to see my customers worrying and upset themselves here unnecessarily.

There *is* a small difference between the midriff and the bodice, but it is less than a seam allowance. I checked the pattern when I saw the post, and found nothing like what was mentioned except a 4mm difference in the bodice lengths when laid out end to end as she did. When cut, this is not a huge difference and not when the pieces are laid on top of each other for seaming.

I knew the pattern would be alright when it arrived and hoped no one dumped RV in the bin without opening her up. Besides, I'd been advised to let this alone.

I'm learning what you mean about fast response off the cuff, and will go to bed and then go work.

Thank you again for the wording suggestions.

Posted by StephC to Stitches and Seams at 7:23 AM, November 18, 2013 


Monday, November 11, 2013

This and That

First, a big Happy 238th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps, yesterday, and a solemn and grateful salute to all our veterans today. I'm proud of and thankful for you all, but especially to my son, Tyler, currently a corporal in the Corps and who re-enlisted a few weeks ago for another 4. Ooorah!

Next, I know you've all been on the edges of your seats waiting to see what I finally paired with the dress. cough:cough

(Don't know why it's so blurry. I must've knocked some setting on my camera without realizing it and since I've already changed to loungewear, this is going to be as good as it gets today!) As you can see, nothing exciting here ... just a RTW cami I pulled from my closet. It's actually a light ivory, but seems to blend in just fine with the white of the print. Right now, it's still warm here so bare arms and legs were just fine today and give me a while longer to decide what to do for a warmer layer. I like the dress a lot. It's comfortable to wear. I love the print. And I LOVE the pockets!

Yesterday was my sewing mojo day. I pulled out this oldie-but-goodie Kwik Sew and, after retracing a smaller size, whipped up a teal Sophia knit skirt. The pics I quickly took last night are ick. I'll get another one soon. Plus, I really want to make a top to go with it, so you'll probably get a whole outfit post after that's done.

I started the day with a trip to Joann's for elastic. I also knew there was a Simplicity sale. I haven't bought a Simplicity pattern in ages because I haven't been to Joann's in ages and, really, it's just easier to shop online at BMV during their sales (I so wish Simplicity would follow their lead). But apparently I like BMV patterns better because I really struggled to find 10 Simplicities to fill my 5 for $5 (limit 10) quota. Here's what came home with me. Mostly skirts, it seems, but a few tops too.

I was nearly shocked (SHOCKED) to see this selection of Foldover Elastic and ruffled elastic trim on the notions wall when grabbing the elastic I went in for.

I was also shocked by some of the nice fabrics I saw/touched. If I hadn't already promised myself NO FABRIC, the cutting line would've put me off anyway. I came home with zero yardage. #proudofmyself

So that's it for this Monday, a semi-holiday on which I had to work. But the upside is that traffic was nice and light and I was home before 5:30 tonight. If you had the day off, I hope you spent it sewing!

Now off to read some blogs and catch up on my Sunday DVR queue. And read my new patterns. ;-)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Simplicity 2187 Finished: Verdict is Yes and No

The dress is finished and I like it, so that gets a Yes. I also cut and finished a black Ottobre tee with 3/4 sleeves and I like it too, so another Yes. The problem is, I don't think I really like them together. Hence the No in the blog title.

The dress really needs something underneath due to the low neckline and low-cut armholes. I'm just not sure yet if black is the right color here.I was originally thinking black tee underneath with black tights but now I'm second-guessing that. My first choice would be a tee the same shade of teal as in the dress print, but the odds of finding that in either fabric or RTW are about zero. So maybe white? But I really don't want to make a white tee right now since I have other things on my list. Maybe I've got something shoved in a drawer that I've forgotten about. I think I'll have a look after dinner. (Are you sufficiently bored with my internal monologue yet?)

So, let's move on to some close-ups ...

Murphy's Law is that the tee turned out perfectly without really trying. Some of my best binding in a while. I did interface the binding strip before feeding it through the binder on my CS machine since the black fabric is a thinnish rayon knit which I know from experience needs a little help with extra body for the binding.

The sash is great and holds its shape, since I did my fusible interfacing jigsaw puzzle shown last post. Love. LOVE the pockets. The pocket edges got some Design Plus fusible lightweight bias strips in the facing seam. (I was obviously on a fusible interfacing bender during this construction.)

The shoulder gathers. If there's a next time for this pattern (and there very well may be since it's a nice pattern and goes together quickly, and only uses 2 yds), I will move those more to the center, but as-is, they'll do for a first make.

Rear view. The back bodice blouses over the sash, which looks nice in real life but kinda skimpy here in this pic.

Inside view. Fold-over facings for the crossover. Which I fused in place with Steam-a-Seam Lite (see bender comment above) to discourage floppage.

No real need to serge/finish the edges since it's a knit, but I just think it looks better.

The back neckline is finished with purchased wide bias binding, per the pattern. The pattern also instructs to finish the sleeve/armhole openings the same way but (1) I was short on binding and (2) a simple turn under and coverstitch was more than adequate. And easier. ;-)

The tee. Black photographs so horribly, so forgive the pixelation. As you can see, I stuck on a trim I found while searching out the bias tape. It was the perfect length for the front neckline. I didn't trim the length at all. Hopefully, it will wash OK.

See what I mean about the binding? Perfection, and on the first pass with no testing. I should've known I wouldn't like the tee with the dress just from that.

In other sewing news ...

Two weekends ago, I made my friend her Halloween costume. Easy sewing, so I didn't mind. Plus she paid me. :-) She went as "Sexy Pebbles" ... with her Bam-Bam, of course. Fun!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Scrappy Progress

I made my way into the sewing room tonight. I was "forced" because Alex needed a pair of his shorts repaired at the crotch, and since I already had black thread in the machine and the shorts are black, well, it just made sense. Then I decided that while I was already in there, I would stay for a little while and add the casing and elastic to the waist of the dress-in-progress.I was on a roll, so I continued on.

Guess what this is? Maybe you have one too? It's a pile of interfacing scraps too big to toss but too small for most applications. Except tonight ...

The fabric I'm using is a drapey knit. Which is good for the dress. Not so good for the self-fabric waist sash. So I called out to my miserly self and starting "piecing" the interfacing scraps onto the sash before it gets sewn up. For this, it really doesn't matter if the pieces are perfect (they aren't). It really only needs some extra body so the sash doesn't collapse on itself around my waist. It took a bit longer than just cutting one solid piece of the fusible, but slowing down to piece the scraps instead let me make a little dent in that pile I keep around.

The actual sewing of the sash will wait until the next session, but since it's only a couple of seams and a turn and press, that part will go fast.

Here's where the dress stands tonight. You can see the elastic tail hanging out the bottom. While I did made the casing and insert the elastic, I never said that I actually tried it on yet to size the elastic. ;-) It's looking less sack-like now that it has a waist.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Almost a Drive By

Just a bit of this and that during a quick lunchtime blog post ...

Last Sunday afternoon, I started organizing patterns which hadn't yet made it into my "catalogs" and cabinet drawers. By Sunday night, it looked like this. It was a lot worse before it got to this stage. By then, all I had to do was squeeze them into the cabinet, which itself took a little re-arranging. But it's now done and my "on deck" pile is a lot more manageable. Until the next shiny thing attracts my attention ...

I meant to sew all weekend, but my mojo temporarily disappeared Saturday. I blame a rainy day which made me want to do nothing but catch up on DVR'd TV shows and lounge in my PJs most of the day. I finally got going in the sewing room on Sunday, and this was the pattern that's been patiently waiting its turn.

This is where I stopped last night. All that's left to do is add the elastic into the waist and hem sleeves/skirt. Right now, it's looking shapeless but even without the elastic in the waist, it looks a lot better on me than Zillie. You'll have to trust me on that.

I would've probably finished it except for a really stupid move on my part. I attached the two front bodice sections *upside down.* Yes, really. I didn't notice until I went to sew the sideseams and nothing was matching up correctly. Of course I had already serged everything together. My seam ripper and I bonded for an hour or so. We're like >< this. :-) I'm also planning on making a black cami or tee to wear underneath since it's very low-cut (by design) and the armholes are pretty low too. And it will eventually be winter and I'll want another layer. Florida winter, but still. I hope I have energy to get back into the sewing room before next weekend. I've already used up my "extra" hour from this weekend by staying up too late last night.

I'll leave you with some photos of me and my boys from last weekened. We had lunch at Bahama Breeze on the Courtney Campbell Causeway (a road over the Bay that goes between Tampa and Clearwater). It was a gorgeous day, the food was great, and it was nice to see Tyler ... even if he only breezed through for a day and a half. So many places to be, things to do, friends/brothers to see ... :-)

Have a great week if I don't make it back before Saturday!