Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I just can't find...

Ever find yourself starting a conversation with this line??

I just can't find... a perfect jacket, a really cute skirt you have in mind, or a perfect dress for a party.
Well I couldn't find the perfect weekender bag.

Okay I take that back. I HAD the perfect bag and 5 years, at least 50 trips and random in town events later it was headed to the weekender bag graveyard. So, I started my search for the perfect, simple bag... Why didn't someone tell me this was impossible for less that $400?!?!

All I wanted was a classic, clean line bag that was spacey and not too big or too small.

Again, why didn't anyone tell me it was impossible!?!?!?

So my gears started to work and I searched and I searched...

I found this...

and this...

and this...

But not in my budget.

So I did what we all do in this situation. I went to Pinterest.

And no offense to those that like them, but I HATE floral printed quilted bags... and that's all I kept seeing. So I took matters in to my own hands.

I found this free pattern that was the exact shape that I wanted. Weekender Bag Pattern

Since this was my first try I didn't want to just jump out there with an expensive real leather and I was not a "bag guru" yet. So I visited old faithful, Fine Fabrics. I found this faux leather that was pretty thin, but I planned to use a very thick interfacing with it to give me the stability I wanted.
The pattern was very straight forward and once I printed it I noticed that is was slightly smaller than what I was looking for in my bag. So I graded out the pieces to about 14 1.2 inches.

I picked this pretty purple satin for the lining

This was going REALLY well and I discovered that I could use a candle to seal the edges. I just lightly ran the cut edge along the flame to melt the edges to prevent fraying.

Of course I had a "design inspiration" while working and I embroidered my initials on the front of the bag.

I love the final product! It's just the size that I wanted and it's one of a kind! Now I'm totally confident in buying a more expensive leather and trying this again!!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Corset Makes Sense!

Well, it's January of a new year and I should probably talk about my organized plan for destashing my stash, or doing something more useful with my time than fixating on the next sewing sequence.  But, that's not me so I will just start by talking about what I love doing more than anything else - sewing! And by sewing, that usually means something I don't have or something I want more of in my collection.  That brings me to this divine little number.  I saw this pattern, Butterick 6151. 

I thought this was simply lovely.  I have never owned a corset and I thought this was something I should have in my possession. (Because, I personally think every woman should own and wear a corset!)  I also thought this was an interesting take for Butterick.  They suggested using upholstery fabrics! Well, now, that was enough of a challenge for me. I found this photo of the corset paired with this most divine skirt and thought, oh how I would love to wear this combination someplace.  I don't have this skirt (yet), but don't put it past me!

So, I found this simply fabulous fabric and thought it would be perfect for my corset creation.  I did initially look at upholstery fabrics, and while I found a few, nothing really jumped out at me.  But, then one day, while minding my own business at JoAnn's, this delightful piece just called me.  It's either a bottomweight or a denim.  I'm not sure which, but it had some weight to it and a bit of stretch and I loved the pattern.  
This came together very easily.  There is boning in (most) of the seams.  I say that because I think the instructions told me to put boning in all the seams, but honestly, I didn't have enough and I was determined to get this done so I could wear it out this weekend.  That meant I needed it before the coupon hit (LOL).  So I decided that boning needed to be strategically placed! And so I did.  I think it works.  I will add a photo of me in it as soon as I can force my daughter to take one.  

I decided to line it with some gold cotton I had in my stash and I really like how well it came together.  I could have added carriers to it so I could do the belt thing, but I didn't really think I wanted that.  It felt a little too "Missy Kitty" and Gunsmoke to me with all that extra hardware.
I think it's a little vampish and sexy and while I will certainly wear it with a jacket of some sort (Its cold everywhere, including Tennessee), but it's like having a secret that everyone kinda knows but not totally.

And this is me and my favorite comedian this weekend.  As you can see, I paired this with my favorite leather blazer.  I really love this new addition to my weird collection of stuff!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What's on the table?

So after being beat up for several months by a person who will remain nameless (if you read over the other posts here it won't be a mystery for long!)

I'm starting off with the only resolution I have... Sew more!

I have to confess it's not like I haven't sewn at all... just haven't posted it!! But I also had a "valley moment" with my sewing. I went through a total lack of motivation for my craft :-( After a New Year moment... I'm back on the wagon!

For this year we will profile "What's on the table?" and I would love to hear the same from our readers!!

What's on your table?
What's in the "I'm cutting that out today" stack?

I'll post as we go along and see how it all turns out.

My first what's on the table project is this Simplicity 2413 (inspired by project RUNWAY) pattern I've had for so long and just hadn't found the right fabric to make it click for me... and then I went to "our store".

Any one who sews in Atlanta knows about Fine Fabrics in Duluth...at least I think that's Duluth :-) Well they are the Mood fabrics of the south and with some great prices to boot! I walked in and found this amazing selection of wax cloth at the store and had an inspirational moment. I instantly knew I had to have it!!
This was my pick! I love the purple and blue in it!
So that's my first What's on the table?... Can't wait to show you guys the final project!

What's on your table?!?!?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Up All Night

I love blogging about my sewing sessions.  I actually laugh at myself (often) at the obsessiveness that often takes over my sewing self.  Here is yet another example of the land of Crah Crah, where I have assumed residency.  I completed this fantabulous moto jacket last week.   After finishing it on Wednesday, I decided that I needed something to wear to work for Friday. Now a normal person would probably not have made that kind of decision. But, if you knew me, you'd know I am so far removed from normal.  I grabbed this cute pinstripe earlier in the week and knew the moment I saw it that I wanted a sheath dress out of it.  I've seen a few versions on Pinterest so it was in the back of my mind for a while.

I really loved this pattern and thought it would be perfect.  But, the best laid plans...my girlfriend unexpectedly dropped by to drop off some paperwork. A full hour and a half later, she left and here I am.  Well, now I realize, after looking at my fabric and the pattern, that I don't have the mental or I thought, physical energy to make THIS dress with THIS fabric.  The pattern has a bodice and skirt and with this fabric (pinstripes) I need to pay attention to placement and how this is sewn together.  I just didn't want to think that hard. SOO, I looked in my pattern stash (and my DD had the nerve to challenge me about ALL my patterns!) and found another similar sillhouette. 
I liked this one, and better yet, two, maybe three pieces to place.  It was already 10:00 when I decided on the pattern, so I needed simplicity.  LOL.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I also started a phone conversation just as I started this dress.  The good thing was this helped to keep me awake while sewing (they were on speaker so I didn't have to hold the phone - LOL).  The bad thing was this kept me working longer than I probably would have!  But, my obsessive behavior needed little boosting.  I knew I was planning to wear this Friday and that was all there was to it. Besides, this was Project Runway night and I said I would always try to create something on the night of the show because I would be appropriately motivated. 

But I always need what I buy and wear what I make, so I think my process for choosing is perfect.  LOL. 

The other pattern had a matching fabric belt, and I liked that so I made that as well.  I loved this and was quite proud of my crazy inner sewists who decided to start this thing at 10:00pm on a Thursday and this photo was taken at 9:00am the next morning!
And although I wasn't smiling (again) I wasn't totally exhausted when my DD took this photo. 
 Now if I could just get her to pay attention to backgrounds so that random things like my neighbor's GARBAGE RECEPTACLE isn't photo bombing my pictures!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moto Madness!!

One day, while minding my own business, I find this issue of Burda Magazine at my local bookstore.  Because it was a book about sewing, I naturally had to take it off the shelf to peruse its contents.  And there it was!

The most mahvelous jacket I had seen in quite a while!  To make it even more fantabulous, the pattern was included in the magazine!! Heavens to Betsy! How quickly can I make my way to the checkout counter to make this mag my very own!  This happened in the late summer.  I had designs on having this made for my birthday (November).  As I read every word about this wonderfully fabulous creature, they suggested Ponte Knit, Nappa Lamb Stretch Leather for the sleeves and trim and a 20 inch two-way separating zipper.  Sounds easy enough and I like the look.  Well, once would have thought they said, the rarest cashmere, silk and a zipper made from diamonds!  That's because I looked for weeks for the right weight Ponte.  I'm sure I went to Hancock's and JoAnns every weekend for two months.  They would have Ponte, but not the correct weight.  I looked at the store for EVER for a "two way separating 20 or 22 inch zipper. No luck.  And the leather!! OMG, Stretch Nappa Leather aint cheap.  I tried several times to go with the imitation, but I didn't like how any of it looked.  SO, finally, I found the Ponte, (just happened to be in Hancock's one day and they had it! GLORY!!, then I gave in and ordered the leather from New York Fashion Center Fabrics (I spent a lot of time with that piece in my shopping cart!) and after someone complimented my birthday coat and responded about my dire need for buttons, did I find the right zipper.

Here is what you should know about me; I'm cheap!  Cheap is what started me sewing when I was 10 years old.  My mother had no interest in buying me a lot of clothes.  But I loved clothes and wanted more and more.  Since I had no money, sewing made sense.  Back then, of course, I could get a lot more fabric for my money.  But, my baseline has continued to be, can this be made for less than buying it?  Of course, that has changed with time.  I do understand and appreciate quality, so I don't live in the bargain section of the fabric store (although I visit often). But I still want and need to find a deal whenever possible. However this jacket was so outstanding to me, that I decided I had to be a big girl and go for it.

So, with all my stuff finally in my possession, I decided to go in.  I almost never make a muslin for me when sewing, but I needed this to be right, so I decided I needed a practice dummy first.  And so, I made this Friday evening.

And the love I felt when I zipped this puppy up was greater than my Oliva Pope Coat a couple weeks ago.  I knew even from the muslin that this thing was going to be something fantabulous!  I really didn't want to go to bed, but it was after midnight and I had something to do Saturday morning.  So, I stopped and went to sleepy land to dream of my new hot accessory!

 When I could get back to the work, I felt the jacket was just a bit snug.  SO, I decided that a half inch adjustment would/should be sufficient.  I decided that I would just recut the front and back side front sections to included the additional space.  Now, I'm ready to rock and roll.  Now here comes the typical, "this only happens to me" moments.  First, sewing the muslin was much easier than sewing the fashion fabric.  But I muddled through.  
 The skirt is also out of the same Ponte knit.  This is one I made several months ago and was SO thrilled when I realized the jacket fabric was the same as my skirt that I love as well!  This was further confirmation that this would be a great wardrobe builder.

The other issue with my DD and her photo taking, she doesn't understand that the photo isn't really about me.  The point is to capture the garment.  So, none of these are as close as I would like them to be.  The trim on the jacket was particularly important to me.  One of the things that drew me to this jacket was the leather sleeves and trim.  This is a Burda pattern and their recommendation was for Nappa stretch leather.  Well, again, my city isn't the fashion mecca it likes to think it is. I did find this fabric at NY Fashion Center Fabrics (NYfashioncenterfabrics.com). After cutting the ponte, I laid out the pattern for the sleeves.  It was a two part sleeve.  No amount of placement and movement would get me four pieces out of that one skin!  Sheer Panic set in! This was supposed to be one of my birthday creations but I ran out of time before my birthday.  However, I didn't want to buy another skin (90.00!) because as I said above, I'm also still cheap.  To me, that was going to make this jacket as costly as a RTW item.  And I couldn't live with myself if that happened.  But, as any sewists knows, sometimes you have make it work moments.  I decided that this would work if I only had a one piece sleeve.  So I rooted around my pattern stash and found one that I thought would work. After averting that disaster, I then needed to get the trim on the jacket. Well, just let me say, this was definitely some work.  The trim has to be on both sides all the way around. I even purchased the accompanying Burda video (waste of time and money) to see how they affixed the trim.  The woman in the video used bias tape on the underside.  The problem with that is depending on how you wear the jacket both sides can show.  I didn't think that contrast was a good look.  When I say I was praying and piecing 3/4 pieces that I cut with my rotary cutter like a factory worker on a deadline! But, the sewing angels were looking down on me and smelled my desperation! I managed to eek out all the trim for both sides!

Not factory level perfection but I'm happy!

And since Teri asked, here is what it looks like unzipped.  I think it can totally be rocked up or down. As I said, I'm actually wearing it today and it has been a complete showstopper.  Every person in my office loved the jacket.  Those who didn't know I sewed now think I'm some sort of savant. LOL.  If they only saw all the "oops" undone projects in the big bag in my closet, they wouldn't entertain that thought at all.  But, it's all a labor of love!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Golden Girl

I am the proud mother of two girls.  They are AMAZING young women. Both are very smart and beautiful and funny.  I share this blog with one of them (although it would be difficult to tell because she hasn't posted in FOREVER!), as we share a love for creating.  The other one, well, she's smart too!  She doesn't sew, but she has mastered the art of the ask.  She will ask me to create something for her whenever there is an event.  Truthfully, I love it because as us sewists all know, we love a reason and excuse to create.  My daughter's ask is what brought this creation to life.  She loves a band called Mint Condition.  They were having a concert and her boyfriend got tickets and was taking her.  Of course, she needed something show stopping to wear.  One day, while I was minding my own business, working on yet another of my "I-don't-buy-RTW-so-I-need-to-sew-all-the-time outfits, I get this picture from my DD with the requests, "I HAVE to have a dress like this Ma".

This is quite beautiful.  Definitely a showstopping piece.  And a challenge! If you know me, you know I love a challenge.  So, I started the business of looking for the fabric.  In this photo, the fabric looks as if it has some body, maybe a satin or tafetta even.  We looked (and by we, I mean me) but didn't find the right look at the time.  After a while, I talked my daughter and convinced her to go fabric shopping with me.  And then we started looking at patterns.  She decided she liked this pattern. I thought this was a pretty good pattern for the inspiration look.

 My DD picked this fabric.  Honestly, when I first saw it, I thought throw pillows for my sofa!  But she loved it and I was just the creator, so I had to make it work.  Once I started putting it together, I must admit, I thought it was beautiful fabric.  It looked rich and the dress was a little sexy, but very classy.  Unlike so many of the young girls out here and their clothing selections,  I have to admit, my daughter is pretty conservative.  In fact, we tease her all that time that she is the oldest person in the family.  She's a throwback to about 1982.  She was born in 1991.

This wasn't a bad dress.  The challenge of course were the panels and matching seams.  My DD has a fabulous physique, in my opinion because it's pretty easy to sew for her.  With one exception; she has an ample butt and accompanying hips to go with.  Now, that's a benefit for the most part.  But often a challenge in patterns and clothes because they aren't really designed for the Kim Kardashian look.  So, I had to work to make this work.  I made a muslin (something I rarely do for myself) to make sure I made the necessary adjustments.

And here she is! I didn't make a lot of alterations.  In fact, the only real change was lowering the "V" to show a little more (ahem) cleavage.  We tease my DD, because her sister and I are the more "well-endowed" so it's always a chuckle when you mention her name and cleavage in the same sentence.

I thought the dress was beautiful and the girl was amazing.  I'm biased, but I'm right.  LOL.

This event has already happened and the reports back said it was a complete success!  Her boyfriend was blown away and all her friends wanted to know where she scored such a fabulous frock.  That of course makes me smile even more!
She even had women at the venue asking her about the dress!

I think she wore it well!