Saturday, May 25, 2013


I began working on Simplicity 1650 a few Saturday's ago (a week before Mother's Day).

I decided that I would use a royal blue jersey that I had on hand (YAY stash busting!).

Mother's Day came, and my dress sat cut and neglected on my cutting table. And then life happened, and I was busy, so the dress began coming together at an especially slow pace.

I was a bit frustrated because I knew that this dress wasn't difficult, and really, using this jersey, I could probably knock it out in a few dedicated hours. But life...

At the last minute, I decided that I really didn't want a full dress, instead, wanted separates that I could make and either wear like a  dress, or wear on their own.

And let me tell you how happy I am with the results!

As a top:
I don't know how these images turned into an animated GIF, but I likey!

As a skirt: 
The top shown here is a dress. I wouldn't wear these two together, but I had my husband ready with the camera, and wanted to quickly snap a shot.

And then as a dress: 

The photos are from my camera phone, so you can't really see the details, but the skirt has a gold zipper on the back seam.

I didn't do a muslin for these items because I felt pretty confident in the fit. I probably should have because both the skirt and the top were a bit more roomy than I am use to. I think that this is because of two things. 1) I made this in jersey when the pattern called for a woven fabric, and 2) *Fingers Crossed* the working out I've been doing, is... Working! :)

If I were to make any changes to this pattern (which I will because I can see myself making the top portion over, and over, and over, I would elongate the peplum by a couple of inches. Already have it cut in a citron matte satin with no sleeves and the longer peplum to hide the belly bulge. 

In other news I'm in the process of moving, so I've been too busy to sew lately. :( 
It makes me sad, but I will be happy once the hubby and I move into our new apartment. 
AND during packing, I came across several uncompleted garments, that hopefully after the move, I'll get inspired to finish!

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's all in the details:UPDATED

I feel like it's been SO LONG since I last wrote.
I guess that's what happens when you step away from the sewing machine, and the laptop and start getting involved in what's going on in the world outside.

My Q&D dress that I whipped up last week made an appearance at a benefit dinner. 

I missed sewing though.

I finished Simplicity 1801. And I'm in love with all of the little details I added in. It makes the garment that much more special to me.
I spent a bunch of time matching up the lines in the fabric when cutting and love the end results

Even made sure to match up the sleeve to the bodice front as good as I could. (Looking at this picture, I wish I would have put the piping at the top of the armhole seam.)

And I added little touches of self made piping at the bottom of the front and back yoke. 

I even added the same piping detail to the pockets. 

This dress is NOT my normal silhouette, but I absolutely adore it. 
From the bright, busy pattern, to the full (for me) skirt (I'm usually pencil girl all the way), and the piping details, this dress is a winner! 

I was hoping to get a better picture of me in the dress, but this is all I have for now. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Q and D

After finishing my leather skirt the other day, I made a quick and dirty dress (not really dirty, just wanted to say that for some reason. Kinda like down and dirty, but the sewing version.) Quick and dirty to me = TNT since I don't know what TNT stands for.
I've made this dress four times so far. Once for a multi-season LBD. The other versions are packed away waiting for the Chicago weather to settle into a real spring/summer (they actually may get unpacked today!)
This is the first time I've made this dress in a patterned fabric, and I'm loving it. AND, this fabric was remanents from a dress a friend of mine made, so this dress was absolutely FREE - 99! Additionally, I didn't do the double layer/lining that the instructions called for (I didn't think it was necessary on such a casual little summer dress)  and instead used self made bias tape. I also didn't include elastic at the waist since I will most likely wear a belt anyway.

I also completed this self drafted skirt for my friend and co-worker. I think she looks fantastic. I ended up taking the hem down 2" since she felt that the length was a bit too provocative .

Taking down the hem also reduced that bulky hem that you see in the picture. It wasn't noticeable IRL, but in the photo it looked horrible. Any tips/tricks on how NOT to have that problem?

I've been sewing up a storm and now I'm afraid I may have blown my sewjo. This feeling started creeping up on me yesterday (Saturday) so I dug through my stash (which usually helps) and switched my fall/winter immediate use fabrics (every couple of months I go through my seasonal fabric bins and determine what I think is "immediate use" and put this into a special bin. The thought is that I will use these fabrics first because they inspire me, or because in that moment the fabric is especially beautiful. The only problem with this logic is that the fabric in that bin is always changing, especially after a good fabric store run, or after being inspired by something else...) I felt the sewjo rev up a bit when I came across these beautiful hand created embroidered panels that I picked up at a designer fabric sale that happens at the Merchandise Mart a couple of times a year.

This is the panel with the largest embroidery design. I have three different panels in different sizes. The other two are actually mirrors image designs so there are two mirror image patterns on either side of a thin strip of fabric. Also, please excuse the wrinkles. This fabric is a nightmare to iron. Luckily, I only plan on using the embroidered parts. 
I love how you can see the actual design of the embroidery sketched onto the fabric. 

Even after (re)finding this beautiful fabric, I can tell the good ole sewjo its not at 100. I'm hoping its just that I need the right pattern to magically appear. Or maybe its that I need to work on the jacket I want to self draft. Or maybe I need to make something AH-MAY-ZING for a benefit dinner I'm attending on the 8th of May. Well, I have to make that since I can't go buy anything. :-)

I'm off to to see if I can generate some energy to create...
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bustin' out my hostage projects!

I am pleased to announce that I have finished two of the projects that have been holding me hostage for some time now.

Yay me!

First item finished was my color punched sheer blouse, that after a burn test  (I check against both charts to feel confident of my choice) revealed it's not the famous twin sisters Poly and Esther but some sort of rayon blend.

I also completed my leather dart skirt. And hopefully this ends my semi-obsession with leather. 


I love how this skirt turned out. The little details make me so happy. 

I ran out of black thread (who DOES that??!!) so I had to get creative - I used a hot pink bobbin thread. I like the end result even though it wasn't what I intended. 

I also learned a new trick from one of you ladies in this challenge. I sandwiched the lining and facing which made me not have to cut down the pattern of the skirt. LOVE this new trick. I plan to use it ALWAYS! (Year long sewing challenge circle STAND UP!)

I will say, working with this leather was trickier than I expected. The leather stretched, and moved much more than I ever expected. Next time I plan on interfacing the hell outta leather. 

Hopefully this ends my leather obsession, even though I'd love to find some ultra thin leather in a line green or neon green. All I could think about that is HOT. (As in sexy, not, you know... sweat.)

Not to fear, this will get a good iron treatment before it gets put on my body. Also, some of the lines that look like pleats or wrinkles are actually imperfections in the leather which I like. It gives the skirt a more rugged, edgy, worn look. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Too many patterns, too much fabric!

Ooooh Wee! My SewJo (to steal this term from other sewist/bloggers) is back FULL FORCE!
I'm so excited and THANKFUL for the year long sewing challenge, and the participating ladies for inspiring me like this. 

I'm literally thinking about sewing ALL. THE. TIME. I thought about sewing a lot before, but man, since I joined this challenge, I'm sure my hubby is SICK of me!

I recently got a few new patterns which I can't wait to begin on! And actually, I started on some new summer wear (since hopefully, one of these days, spring/summer weather will hit the mid-west). 

I was  so excited to start, that I completely forgot that I had 9, count 'em NINE projects in various stages of completion. I need to get finished on these (since winter doesn't seem to want to leave the Chicago area - snow flurries have been spotted near the airport today) before I start on anything new. 

1. Heather grey jacket (practicing on welt pockets, and checking for fit before I use another fabric), that will basically be a wearable muslin.

2. This blouse made of a beautiful Poly and Ester. It's beautiful because the vibrant colors, but it's Poly and Ester. You can hear the material coming. I eliminated the sleeve vent, but left the cuffs. I didn't do a full collar, only a mandarin. All that is left is the buttons and button holes. 

3. The real deal leather skirt made from a Burda magazine pattern (the skirt version of the linked dress pattern). I've made it before in a cotton blend with a slight stretch and loved it. I thought it would be nice to use this butter soft thin sheep skin leather for my second variation of this skirt. I think the solid color will highlight the dart details of this skirt much more than my previous attempt using a busy pattern. 

4. This skirt of my own pattern made from a beautiful metallic silk tweed (this picture doesn't do it any justice). I've underlined this by hand and now need to actually sew and line the sucka. 

5. This sweatshirt which I made from a black sweatshirt knit, and rayon blended tweed. All I need is to add binding to the neck, hem the sleeves and hem. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME FOR NOT FINISHING ALL THESE ITEMS???!!!

6. This suit jacket (OOP) which I have cut all the pieces for (minus interface)

7. This shirt from this OOP pattern which has been cut, and packaged (I place all notions, threads, etc in a zip lock bag with the material and pattern. It's ready to roll that way!) just waiting to be laid across my sewing machine!

8. This dress which is packaged - JUST WAITING (I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the material is a faux leather. It feels like a heavy cotton, but has a nice drape.)

9. Again, another dress, packaged,  JUST WAITING. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I won't be that chick.

The leather pants are finished, and are HOT!
1. HOT, as in super sexy. I felt incredibly chic and modern in my outfit last night. The hubby loved them, I loved them. They fit really well, and I can imagine will be incredibly versatile in the upcoming winter.
2. HOT, as in... hot. First mistake. Don't put faux leather pants on after taking a long hot shower. Don't put faux leather pants on after taking a long hot shower, and are still warm from the heat of it all. Don't put faux leather pants on after taking a long hot shower, are still warm from the heat of it all, and then putting lotion on. Can I say hot and STICKY??!!

I literally had to take the pants off, put BABY POWDER all over my legs, then try again. Second time was a charm in this instance.

This whole experience lets me know I WILL NOT be that chick wearing leather pants in the summer. And that makes me kinda sad. But I WILL be that chick who wears leather pants when it's 50 degrees and cooler! :)

Crappy cell phone pic taken courtesy of the hubby. 

I wanted to wear an outfit more like the one I showed you of the (in)famous Kim Kardashian wearing, but I didn't own a jacket with a similar silhouette.

I guess that means a similarly styled jacket will be on my list of projects for the upcoming year.
This Burda Jacket (yay! I have the issue!) is a good start. Just remove the ruffle, sharpen the shoulder and add some structure...
I'm also going to need to find the "perfect" material for this. 
Currently loving: 
35.00/yd from

Or this (from my home stash, that I've held onto for YEARS, just waiting for the perfect item...
Only time will tell if this actually happens though... 
OK. Now onto my next project. 
Wonder what it will be... 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Leather in Summer

I'm so excited to be part of this challenge:

Join the Challenge-Sew Your Own Wardrobe for A Year

This challenge is a year of not purchasing any store bought garments (I'm not going to pretend that I won't be purchasing shoes during this time frame though!)! Everything that I will wear from here on out will be garments that I already own, or garments that I have made! 

Considering that I spend a good amount of money shopping, I'm thinking this will save me a considerable amount of money. I'm adding in my own stipulations, just so that I can hopefully reap the full benefit of this challenge (which not only will save me those dollas, but will help develop my skills and techniques, which is what I've been after ever since I began blogging as a sewist.)

1. I'm only allowed a monthly fabric budget of $100.00!!! MAX! And that includes notions, thread, zippers, snaps, buttons, ALL THAT! The only exception to this stipulation is I can buy material for others when I'm making them thangs. 

2. Um, I guess I only had one stipulation. 

So! "What am I working on", you ask? Currently: Leather Leggings. Am I going to be that chick? You know, that "leather wearing in the summertime" chick? 

Truthfully, if I had on that outfit, I sure would be!