Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Sewing Resolutions

Earlier in the month I decided to give myself a fashion makeover. So my sewing goals are in line with that plan.I suppose by putting this out in blogland,I will be compelled to successfully complete my goals. So here goes.

  1. Clean out closet and get rid of everything that does not fit.
  2. Make a list of wardrobe basics needed. Sew them.
  3. Clean out pattern and fabric stash.
  4. SWAP-Sew With A Plan
  5. Learn to fit a jacket properly
  6. Sew weekly
  7. Learn more tailored finishing techniques
  8. Experiment with Burda World of Fashion Patterns
  9. Try a technique from every monthly issue of Threads magazine.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

UFO #1-Done

I finish one of my UFOs. I started this pencil skirt at the beginning of this month and stopped with just the hem to finish. Some how I ended up with 3 skirts in the closet that just needed to be hemmed. I guess I just like to have a little hand sewing to do while watching TV. Now I've got 2 more skirts hems left. I don't want to start the new year with any UFOs.

Here's my version in chocolate brown with a pink RTW jacket.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Often I look for fashion inspiration in catalogs a nd on the internet and can find tons of fashionable looks on thin models. This can be a bit disheartening because I'd like to see fashionable looks on people who look like me and I am far from thin. I'm not whinning about it though.There is no self hate here. One of the many reasons I like sewing blogs so much, is all of women have different figures and sew to dress themselves fabulously.They post a cool designer garment (often runway pics) and then a few days later...BAM... their own awesome version of the look.
I like seeing fashion pics of Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson, Monique and Queen Latifah. These beautiful women are always styling. Queen Latifah has a fashion line and these pics are a few looks I could see myself wearing.
I'm planning to do my own versions of each outfit including the bag as part of my total wardrobe makeover. I can see a lot of room for embellishments and additional detail which would allow me to use a couple of patterns for several different looks. I think I might have some similar patterns in my stash that could work. Good thing Hancock Fabrics is having a pattern sale.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Joy,Joy,Joy !!!

I had the most splendid time sewing with my new friend,Linda.
We got together at her home for some good sewing fellowship,this past Saturday.The first thing she did was present me with this beautiful Kwik Sew pattern.It was sweet surprise and I love it. She had her sewing room all set up for total sewing comfort and a fantastic sewing library. I worked on a skirt and she worked on a cute top and a pants fitting muslin. I got the chance to see all the cute fashions she had sewn and posted on her blog. Linda is a terrific seamstress ! I had so much fun !
Sunday evening, I cut out this trench coat from a zebra print,I've had in my stash for a year. I hope to release my inner diva for the New Year. I've been watching "Tim Gunn's House Of Style"and "What Not To Wear"and have to decided to give myself a fashion makeover. I'm going for the bold,creative look. Live out loud and in living color.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Latest Completed Projects

As promised,here are the pictures of my latest projects. This is one of the patterns and fabric I picked up during my shopping trip with my sewing buddy,Faye. This is Mccalls 5520. The fabric has a little metallic fiber running throughout the print.This was really easy to put together.One hour from cut to finish.Next time I'll make it with a smaller neckline.I don't want my bra strap showing.
I did some knitting and felting. This hat is the result. I love the felting process.

I did some crochet.
My daughter Ashley,loves all things pink. She knows how to crochet but, she usually ask me to make this and that. She doesn't like to follow patterns. She's a free style girl.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Finally a New Post !

The bad blogger returns.I've been away from blog land for a long time and I have missed it. My artwork sales have taken off suddenly and with that goes the creation of more art.Plenty of painting + family stuff + plus daily life stuff + procrastination = No time, to blog. I'll do much better. I promise.
A lot has been going on since my last post.Here a quick run down.

Melody nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger. She is so sweet. She is also a brilliant entrepreneur.This is her online store. I missed her at the Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan,this year.
I'm nominating Faye. Her blog is inspiring and fun.Visiting is like having tea with a friend. I had the pleasure of spending a shopping day with her and even though we became acquainted by blogging,it felt like we have been friends forever. We had lunch and did fabric and pattern shopping.

I won a first place award in a folk art show.

I had art show in September.Here are some of the pieces that sold.

I was able to really enjoy my trip to Michigan (where I'm from) with the money I made from the art show.

My family is very supportive of my art career and while I was visiting, my brother took me to some really cool galleries. I love visiting Michigan in the fall.

This is my Pumpkin with pumpkins. My DD attended the Sewing Expo with me. She had more fun taking pictures and raiding her grandmother's yarn stash. She sew a little bit. She enjoys knitting more.
After we returned home, it was back to more painting and sewing,in preparation for the Holiday Artist Market. I have dolls and paintings in this venue. So far the dolls are selling well. Here are two.They come in many colors and fabrics. I love making them because they require two the two thing I love,...sewing and painting.

So that's the quick run down of what I've been making lately.
Oh yes,there has been some sewing of garments too.(I had to have something to wear to the show receptions) I will post the wearable goods later. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sewing "Style File

What inspire you to create? Do you have so many ideas,you can hardly decide what to do next?
I get inspired by many things.I read magazines,watch TV,surf the Internet and people watch.Most of my sewing projects are born from magazines.My favorite fashion mags are InStyle and Lucky.My favorite sewing mags are Threads and Vogue patterns.
I keep a "style file".This is the main tool that helps me to decide what to sew next.My "style file "is a huge notebook with removable plastic page holders.This allows me to remove the pages and take them to the fabric store.It also helps with accessory purchases.

I'll add swatches of fabric to pages after the garment has been completed.It's always fun and satisfying to look back and see looks I've copied and the money I've saved.

I know that many people have similar ways of keeping that sewing juice flowing.I love to hear about it.If you feel like sharing your "style file" or similar system,email me a picture with your tips.Put,"style file"in the subject box.I'll post them here with a link to your blog or site.

Don't leave me hanging.LOL

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cool SWAP tops

Here is one of the tops from my SWAP.This is made from a linen blend from my stash.The ring for the closure,is recycled from an old handbag.The pattern is Vogue 7876. You can see it here .
The fabric has sequins scattered all over.I wore the top and found out a secret that most sewing folks,already know,sequins must be removed from all facings and any areas that touch the body.These little pretty babies cut me to shreds-well actually-some nasty little cuts under my arms.I came home,snatched it off and removed those sequins so fast it made my head spin.After that,I put it back on,and went about my business in total comfort.
The pattern was totally easy.I wanted to experiment with some different methods of closures,like my sewing heroine,Donna Ericson,hence the metal ring on the shirt.
This orange shirt did not turn out so well.There is some pulling across the top of the chest( could be the bra).I didn't notice it until I saw the picture.The first time I wore it open with a tank top underneath and it looked OK.It goes with this skirt .
It is made from a linen blend.It is so comfortable and breezy.I love bright color,so despite the fit,I'll be wearing it anyway,just not buttoned.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Midnight Musing

Some paintings sell and some don't.Here is one that didn't.I think I'll make a few changes and put it in a different gallery and see what happens.It is after midnight and I'm playing in paint.It's crazy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

SWAP Failure

Busy bee.That's me.I've been pouring most of my time into my doll making and paintings.It dulls the pain of failure,which was the result of not completing the "SWAP (sewing with a plan,PR contest).

I did complete the dolls in time to get them into the gallery by the deadline.This is Bud B.and Blossom B.Bumble bees of course.They haven't sold yet.If they don't sell from the gallery ,I'll try eBay with better pictures.

Yes,I'm guilty.I didn't finish the SWAP.

I'm sure you want to know ,why didn't I finish the SWAP? After some serious reflection,I found that,I just had too much on my plate.Too many projects going on,with too many deadlines.I also still have some time management issues.I'm not totally depressed about it though. I got a lot of sewing done and I put a nice dent in my fabric stash.The absolute best part is,I gained a coordinating wardrobe,which I have been happily wearing.It is so good to not struggle over what to wear with this and that.

I'll try a SWAP competition again some day but no time soon.I found that I missed being able to jump from sewing ,to painting,to doll making,to knitting,whenever I want.When doing a SWAP you've got to spend an enormous amount of time,sewing.I truly admire those ladies whom were successful in completing the competition.

I love my wardrobe.I've got a few more finished pieces to show you as soon as I can get DD to take a few pictures.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Swap Progress

Here the dress for the swap and a skirt.I got DD to take the picture between rain drops.Please excuse the wrinkles.I wore the dress all day.
The dress is made from a embroidered cotton from my stash and the skirt is a linen blend.I used the top from this Simplicity pattern and the bottom from this Vogue pattern.

I added lace between the bodice and skirt which hides the elastic.Both dress originally feature a back zipper.I eliminated this by making the skirt a little bigger,creating gathers.The added elastic allows it to pull in closer to the body.It is so comfortable.The skirt is a TNT.I made the one shown in yellow on the pattern package.
Its raining again today so I guess I'll spend more time in the sewing room.
I'm getting real nervous about finishing the swap.I'm really far behind.Six down,5 pieces to go.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Great Saturday

I found all my specialty feet and their uses at this site. You are right,Cidell.Thank you.
Looks like there will be some artistic sewing in my future.

I went to my LYS(local yarn shop) today,for a sit and stitch session.I had a wonderful time.There were seven other knitters,all more advanced than me.This month marks one year since I learn how to knit.One of the other knitters has been knitting for one year and has made 2 sweaters,12 scarfs,6 handbags,4 baby blankets,2 pair of socks and a prayer shawl.She also spins and dyes her own yarn.My year of knitting produced 2 scarves (I finished the one pictured below,today.) and the nightmare sweater.
Here are some of the dolls I've been sewing.There are works in progress,not finished yet.Featured here are the twins,a queen bee,lady bug,butterfly,and dragonfly.All the bugs have hand painted faces and the twins have a bit of embroidery lips and noses.I'll be selling these dolls during the Summer Artist's Market. hope they sell.I could use some $$ for fabric and the new fall patterns.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Last Saturday's Yard Sale Finds

I love yard sales and flea markets.I usually find some cool goodies with out spending a lot of $$.Last Saturday I went to a yard sale and found a cute little sewing box with a group of sewing feet inside.

I payed $1.00 for all this.I didn't know if they would fit my sewing machine but at this price I couldn't lose.I rushed home and tried them on my favorite baby and they fit just right.Know,I've got to figure out what they are used for. I know one is a ruffle foot and one is to fold and attach bias strips.I'll have to take a trip to the sewing machine shop ad find out.I can't wait.I'll have some time to do it tomorrow.
Tomorrow,I plan to go to my local yarn store for their"sit and knit".I hoping to make a knitting friend.From 11am to 1pm you can come in and sit and knit or crochet,while listening to relaxing music,in the company of others who do the same.Every since I bought my Stitch n Bitch book,I've been in search of a group of my own.I'm knitting my second scarf.I'm still fairly new to knitting.I completed one scarf which I started after my initial knitting lessons.After that,I thought I was hot stuff and started a sweater without a gauge swatch.I used the wrong sized needle and the wrong type of yarn for the project.It turned out awful.However,I do learn from my mistakes,so it's not a total loss.I going to keep the sweater as a reminder of what not to do.Maybe a before and after photo one fine knitting day in the future.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Progress Report

I have been a bad blogger.I apologize for not posting for such a long period.I enjoy blogging and reading other blogs.I wonder how others manage to update daily and give so much detail on a regular basis? I really need better time management skills.
Here is what I've been up to.I'm still working on my SWAP items.I've finished 3 more pieces.One dress,a top and a skirt.I didn't have any problems with the skirt and top,but,the dress was a nightmare.It sent me into a panic because of fitting problems.I did a full bust alteration on this pattern.This was the first time ever.

I used the top part of the sleeveless dress pictured on this pattern.The problem was that after I re-drew the pattern cutting lines,I neglected to adjust the wrap placement markings and the "V" was at the top of my neck and the shoulders were pulling forward.I was rushing and did not try it on until I completed was almost completed.I used the bottom part of this Vogue pattern view B.(the purple dress)
I added to the sides and made it way too big.Never sew when you are tired or sleepy ! I had to take the dress apart and almost start from the beginning.After a good night's sleep,started again.I know my dress doesn't look anything like either pattern but I think it turned out OK.I'll post pictures later.
I've been working on a bunch of dolls for an upcoming arts & craft market,as well paintings for my show in September.I have ten dolls in different stages toward completion at this time.I have three paintings going on at once.
So you can see why,I need "time management skills".I've been told to "choose one thing and stick with it"but I won't.I love to sew,paint and make dolls(it combines sewing and painting).
Well,it is late and I'm sleepy.I'll post a few pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The First 3 Swap Garments

Here are the results of the past week of sewing.My first 3 SWAP garments are finished.First up the linen blend one seam pants.3 rows of elastic at waist gives me a comfortable fit.The cut is designed to be a loose fit.The pattern is called "OneSEAMpants"by Cutting Line Designs.
Next is my "safari suit".The shirt is Vogue 2815 and the shorts are Simplicity 4068.The shorts have a zippered fly and side pockets.
Last is the kimono shirt from McCalls 5233.It is not part of the swap.I just wanted to finish it before I went on to more SWAP sewing.

It's been a good sewing week.Here's what I've learned:

  • Plan to spend at least 2 sessions cutting,marking and interfacing.
  • Squeeze in at least an hour a day for one week.(that's 7 hours.Cool)
  • Have all your supplies on hand.
  • Take your time.Do not sew when you are tired.
  • Use TNT (Tried N True) pattern if possible it save fitting time.

Thank you all for wishing me luck and giving me encouragement.I felt good knowing that my blog sisters are wishing me well.

Sew on to the next SWAP garments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My First Swap Contest

I have entered a "SWAP"contest,sponsored by Pattern Review.You can check it out here.

"SWAP" means "sewing with a plan".A certain amount of garments are created to mix and matchable wardrobe.This contest requires 11 garments by July 31.I've been wanting to try this for a long time and always chickened out.This time I signed my name on the list and began digging through my fabric stash for summer fabric that matched.I came up with this bundle for my swap.

The colors are orange,tan,creme and 3 prints of the same color scheme.I hope to avoid buying more fabric.I can see a nice dent in my stash.

Friday, I cleaned up my sewing room,changed the serger thread and planned my cutting time.Saturday and Sunday,I cut,marked and interfaced 5 garments,2 top and 3 bottoms.Here are the cut fabrics and pattern choices for the first five.The tan will be walking shorts and a matching safari top.The orange will be a skirt and top.The cream,orange and tan stripe will be pants.
I spent a lot of time sewing the pants and shorts Monday.I had everything I needed on hand.It really pays to plan everything in advance.No emergency trips to the fabric store or wasted time,waiting till morning because I didn't have a zipper,interfacing,ect.
I took my time and enjoyed the process.I'm resisting the urge to rush through,with the deadline in mind.I've got plenty of time and I'll end up with a cool mix and match wardrobe.I really need that.
All of these pattern are "TNT".I know they fit and are kind to my figure.I don't want to spend time fitting and adjusting patterns.I'm almost finished with the both pants and shorts.I did not get any sewing time in today.I'll make up for that tomorrow.
Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slinky Dress Photos at Last

Please forgive me for not posting anything last week.I've had some crazy problems with my computer.Everything is OK...I think.Here are the pictures of the slinky knit dresses I promised.I finally got my DD to play photographer for me.

I made the flowered one first,then the sleeveless one.I haven't worn either out and about yet.I have some reservation about showing my upper arms.However,it is getting really hot as the season moves toward summer.I think I may need to "get over it".

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another "Threads Magazine"Adventure

This adventure features the March 2007 issue of Threads magazine.The article I choose to test this time is found on page 53-55.It called,"It's a Wrap:Custom-covered Belts".This article teaches covering belts and buckles.
I decided to do this one because I needed something to give my new handbag a little zing.I wanted something fast and I did'nt want to buy any new supplies.The supplies listed for this project were all on hand already.It needed to be fast because,I foolishly decided to challenge my Mom to a race in handbag making.I have challenge my Mom in craft making,before and she CREAMED me.However it is fun and I love to see what she comes up with.

Anyway,back to the project.I grabbed one of my DD old belts and went to work.I follow the instrutions to the letter,changing only one thing.I did not do the handstitching underneath the buckle as suggested.Instead I used a zipper foot and sewed close to the buckle and then frayed the edges.(I thought it would be artsy)

The only thing I found dis-pleasing about the article is that there were no phote of eyelets and the method to make them professional looking.
Here's is the one sentence concerning this matter"To make an eyelet,punch a hole in the belt using an awl,then hand sew around the hole using a buttonhole stitch."After testing this on another scrap of the newly created fabric covered belt,I found my stitches were extremly hideous.I ended up using the circle stitch on my machine.I only punched a hole in the eyelet I'd be using to connect the buckle.The other two are decorative(even if they are slightly crooked).
This is the completed bag.I plan to carry my knitting,I made special inside pocket for knitting needles,Ipod,phone and cash.It is very roomy.Perfect for my creative adventures.On to the next adventure.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A Thread's Adventure

This is the way I start my day.Depending on how much sleep I get the night before,this cup is usaully filled with coffee,orange juice or water.

For my latest sewing adventure,I've decided to test drive some of the information found in various Threads magazine articles and give you the scoop on what works and,what doesn't.

I 've started with January 2007 -issue 128,page 54-59.This article is called ,"The Secret to Slinky Knits".I have selected this fabric and pattern.It is slinky knit.I choose this pattern after viewing Melody's beautiful example .You can see it here.

The article list basic tools-rotary cutter,cutting mat,walking foot,stretch needle,polyester thread,pressing cloth,and fusible stabilizer tape.(the brand I choose was Steam-A-Seam)

The article suggests using a rotary cutter and cutting mat.I did not use those ,because my cutting mat is to small.I used very sharp scissors and stayed close to the cutting surface without lifting the fabric too much.This worked fine.I also used weights instead if pins.I would suggest using as few pins as possible to avoid snags from pins that may not be sharp enough.The information for cutting was,right on the money.Everything went well.

And sew on...

I don't have a walking foot,which was one of the tools listed.I will be getting one.I was able to control most of the fabric shifting,but with a walking foot,I know this project would have went along a lot faster.All information for sewing and pressing was perfect.The Steam-A-Seam is something I plan to stock up on.It gave a smooth neckline and hem with no rippled edges,while adding a hint of stabilization.The stitch lenght,2-2.5(I used 2) and width 0.5-1(I used 1) was a traditional zigzag.The article advised that a serger was not necessary,so I didn't use one.This is my first slinky knit dress,It went together so fast,that I went out and bought more slinky knit and made a second version the very next day.

And sew on...

The verdict is in. This Threads,article is a winner and has helped me conquer my fear of knits.I'll post pictures as soon as I can get DD or DH to take them.Sew on to the next article.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Results of My 2 Week Sewing Challenge.

Here are the projects,I started and completed,during my self-imposed,2 week sewing challenge.

First is the lavender shirt.I used Butterick 3907,for both shirts.The pattern is fast and easy.It went together without any problem.I needed some shirts to wear over tank tops,because I don't like to expose my upper arms.
I already worn this shirt twice.It has a sheer floral pattern on a lightweight linen blend.This fabric was in my stash for 2 years.Next up,is the same shirt in a printed cotton fabric.I haven't worn it anywhere except outside for pictures.I'm planning to make a pair of solid color bermuda shorts to match.I haven't decided between white or beige.This fabric has been in my stash for 1 year.
Last on this list is the pink cotton sundress for my DD,Ashley.This is from Simplicity 4224.I plan to make another in a tropical print.She wore this to church today.She likes it and has asked for another for next Sunday.

This "sewing challenge"has taught me the joys of taking time for myself and spending that time doing something that I greatly enjoy.I will continue sewing daily for relaxation and enjoyment.

On to the next sewing adventure.I've got a big pile of Threads magazines.I'm feeling brave...hmm.