Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Fabric Scraps

Source: Uploaded by user via Maria on Pinterest

After almost a year of dedicated sewing, I’ve accumulated quite a collection of fabric scraps which are too small or too awkward to fold; I’m at a loss as to what to do with them. I’ve tried very hard to not buy more fabric than I can use immediately – I have a small square box that I store my yardage in and I’m determined to not allow my stash to grow beyond it. However, these little scraps are throwing a serious wrench into this plan.

Source: via Tara on Pinterest

I’m afraid I’m not the type who would weave baskets…

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Or bracelets…

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

And my scraps aren’t nearly this interesting (although I’ll certainly be making push pins and buttons from the ones that are!)

Are my scraps destined for the recycling? What do you do with your scraps?

October 28, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve been holding out on posting all week until I get pictures of the three (3!) new garments that I’ve made up but I just haven’t been able to get any taken. Instead of being silent the whole week, I’m going to leave you with a few sewing patterns that have caught my eye.

This print-at-home pattern from Salme is just divine. My biggest complaint is the sizing – a 37″ bust is surely not an XL.

I’ve been in love with the Miz Mozelle Dress from Jamie Christina for a few months. The sash, the keyhole neckline…. even the peter pan collar – the details are just perfect.

I’m such a fan of Megan Nielsen clothing line and I was thrilled to see this little number for sale as a sewing pattern. I love that the dress would work in both solids and prints and you can be assured that I’ll be sewing this up!

Have you used any of these patterns? I’d love to hear about your experience if you have!

October 22, 2011

A Package Came in the Mail Today

Recently, Gail, of Today’s Agenda, held a giveaway for a set of handmade stitch markers and I won! My picture cannot do these gorgeous bits justice – they are amazing in person. I was not expecting them to be so lightweight either. If you aren’t familiar with Gail and here blog, I highly recommend paying her a visit. She’s recently finished a good deal of projects and each one is inspiring. She’s managed to convince me that I need to start making both clutches and Jasmines and I doubt her influence will end there. Also, she does a mean manicure! Can you tell I love this woman?

Thank you so much, Gail! I will treasure your stitch markers and I can’t wait to start a project so that I can use them!

October 20, 2011

Possible Patterns

This weekend I finally succumbed to the cold I was fighting off last week. Unfortunately, there was really no option but to go to work and it took every last bit of energy I had. By Monday I was wiped and other than class and the occasional web browsing, I’ve slept for the past three days. Now that I’m feeling a tad better, I’ve started on my next garment – a self drafted skirt for the silk/cotton fabric.

A similar shaped skirt to my original idea at Anthropologie

I want the pattern the follow width wise and not length wise. For my taste, that means that the seams and the hem must be perpendicular to each other so the pattern isn’t cut off on the bottom and this really limits the type of skirts that I can draft. In the beginning, I had envisioned a tulip shaped skirt cut with drape only in the front. However, to keep the pattern straight at the bottom I had to draft it in an awkward way and the muslin just never looked right to me. Due to the grainline, it pulled around the hips even though there was excess fabric there and was rather uncomfortable to wear. I’ve since moved on to a pleated skirt that I think will see a lot more use.

I’m still on the search for long-sleeved blouse patterns but, with your help, I’ve been able to find a few more options. So far, I’m liking:

  • Hot Patterns 1029 (thanks, Joy!): this could be quite nice in a floral cotton lawn.
  • Burda 09/2011 #134 (thanks, Gail!): this offers some great possibilities for pattern mixing.
  • Bettsy Kingston Far Away Tunic: I found this while browsing patterns on Etsy but I’m not sure if it’s quite *me*. There’s just something off about it that I can’t quite pinpoint. I want to change something – make it longer, gather the sleeves, make it sleeveless, see it in a solid… something.
  • Butterick B5555: Similar to Gails suggestion and I could probably tweak the Burda pattern for similar results.
  • Marfy F1684: Marfy has quite a few patterns that fit the bill. Has anyone used a Marfy pattern before? I’m quite intrigued but think the price is rather steep for a pattern with no instructions.
  • Colette Jasmine: This pattern is growing on me and I think I might be able to extend the sleeves to make them full length. I’m quite inspired by Sarai’s Polka Dot Blouse.

Originally, I had hoped to find a pattern for the crêpe de chine but everything is reading a little too 70’s polyester to me. I’m drafting a sleeveless cowl neck for it and will save the long sleeve for a more matte fabric.

So that’s what I’m working on now. How about you? Any exciting projects?

October 18, 2011


I did a little spring cleaning this weekend and went through my closet. I was absolutely amazed to find that I don’t own a single long sleeved blouse made from a woven material. I have plans to make the Pussy Bow Blouse for one of my ten garments but I’d like to add another long sleeve garment as well. So, I’m looking for pattern suggestions for my next blouse. Here’s my criteria:

  • Must have sleeves – preferably full length but bangle could work.
  • No full length button band in the front.
  • No jabot or ruffles unless the pattern would be easy to make without.
  • Readily available. Although I love a good vintage pattern, I don’t want to have to stalk ebay to get it.

If you know of a pattern that might fit the bill, let me know! Bonus points for links to finished garments using the pattern.

October 14, 2011

Belle De Jour

 Pattern: Belle De Jour from Sew-U Home Stretch

Fabric: 2 yards Cotton Jersey from the remnant bin


This is my first foray into knit fabrics! I was bummed about missing my class on Tuesday but I decided to do something unexpected and cut this dress out. I was amazed at how fast this project went together and had the dress finished in a few hours. I used my serger for the majority of the project except for the topstitching around the neckline, the cuffs, and the hem; for those, I used a twin needle. The neckline stretched a little in the process and it’s a bit wavy as a result. I learned from this though and made the stitch length longer on the other two areas.

I’m happy with the results but I’ll admit it’s not something I would normally purchase. First, the color is a little too cutesy for me. It’s also rather revealing and it hugs me around the middle where I’m most self conscious. However, I think it will work nicely for work where I wear an apron. I’m always looking for something comfy that I can move in and I’m not worried about getting dirty.

I can’t wait to try my hand at more knits and I’ll definitely be using more of the pattern variations from the book!

In other news…

My Blouse was a featured member project on Burda yesterday! I’m super flattered – thank you everyone for your kind words in the comments both here and over at Burdastyle. It’s so nice to receive such awesome support from the online sewing community!

October 12, 2011

2. A Modern Dot

Pattern: Burda 09/2011 #128 Sleeveless Blouse

Fabric: Dobby Broadcloth from Vogue Fabrics

Notions: (5) buttons, white broadcloth for facings and bias binding

Total Cost: about $16


You know how everyone says that a serger will speeds up the sewing process?  I didn’t believe them. I thought, ya ya – another justification for your expensive equipment. Well, holy crap, it does! This blouse would have taken me the better part of a week if I had to finish the seams on the sewing machine but with the serger’s help I had it done in a few short hours. Oh and I even learned how to thread the machine by myself!

I’m pretty amazed that this photo shoot even took place considering how lousy I feel. I may look pale but at least I have some energy in these shots.

This was my first pattern purchase from Burda. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Colette and Pattern Runway but I was a little disappointed in how vague the instructions were. It took some insane amount of paper for a simple blouse and after assembling I realized that the pattern included sleeves and was long enough for a dress. I’m guessing that this is another version (yes, found it). Of course, the pattern makes no mention of the pieces you actually need to make the blouse so I had to deduce this on my own. That being said, the blouse was well drafted with everything trued and notches lining up. Once I started sewing, everything fell into place.

Looking at the sizing chart on Burdastyle, I chose to cut a 42. There must be some crazy ease on this because I shaved off nearly 4 inches from the side seams. I could have taken more in but the armhole shaping would have been disturbed. The front ease doesn’t bother me but the back bunches something wicked so I’ve been considering making an open boxed pleat at the center waist. Next time, I’ll cut a 38 but I want to check the measurements first.

Despite the negatives, I’m actually quite thrilled with the finished garment. The fabric is a dobby cloth I purchased from Vogue Fabrics last spring. Gail, from Today’s Agenda, made a darling Violet top from a similar (the same?) fabric recently. I hope you can get a sense of the texture from the photos because it’s a really fun take on a polka dot. I think it goes quite nicely with the pleats and the slanted shoulder seams. The blouse should pair nicely with my black dress and upcoming projects and I anticipate it getting a lot of use!

October 12, 2011

Three New Fabrics

My fabric order came in the mail yesterday…

from left to right: textured bottomweight Italian cottoncircle of fleurs crepe de chinesilk/cotton blouse weight
October 11, 2011

Inspiration on the Net

I worked my butt off yesterday finishing my next blouse and four muslins for my class only to wake up with a cold. I still managed to pull myself out of bed and get ready; however, class just wasn’t in the cards when the last ferry was full 10 minutes before embarking. I was turned around at the gate and, needless to say, I was not happy.

Rather than mope around, I’m going to break out some fabric and play around with my serger. I used it a lot on my last project and was amazed at how much it sped things along. Now I want to see what it will do with knits! I pulled out Sew-U Home Stretch which I bought ages ago in the hopes of working with more knits and am pretty set on the Belle De Jour dress. Although the fabric I have isn’t black and white, I’m excited to show you what I make from it!

In other news, I updated my tabs and included a list of the ten garments I plan to make for the Winter Wardrobe Challenge. If you scroll over the Winter Wardrobe Challenge 2011 tab, a drop down menu should appear. Click on “Garments” to see the list. I’ll be updating it with links to the finished project posts as they appear.

I’ll be back tomorrow with photos of my new Burda blouse. Until then, here are some happenings that have caught my eye:

October 7, 2011

1. The New Sarafan

Pattern:  Pattern Runway’s Sundress

Fabric: 2.5 yards of black silk noil and 1 yard of black silk habotai from Dharma Trading

Notions: 14 inch invisible zipper (should have made it longer like the pattern suggested)

Total Cost: about $40


I picked this pattern up after my success with Pattern Runway’s kimono sleeve dress. I had hoped to bust out a version in vintage gingham before the weather turned but time snuck past me and we ended up with early rain. Rather than wait until next summer, I decided to go against the instructions and use a medium weight silk noil. It has that distinctive silk scent like a cup of earthy black tea. The finished product reminds me of Russian sarafans and I plan to layer it over  long sleeved blouses this winter.

In accordance with my challenge, I’ve chosen to focus on texture for this dress. Silk noil is made from the short fibers leftover after spinning. It has a nobby texture that resembles an old pilled sweater. I anticipate the rough hand pairing nicely with a smooth fabric like charmeuse but today I’ve layered it with a sheer chiffon.

Having a short torso, I know I have to make adjustments in the bodice for princess seamed garments. Despite knowing this, I was ansy to get started and decided to skip the muslin. As expected the bodice has some fit issues. I was able to bring in the side seams at the underarms to prevent gaping but I really should have taken off 1/2″ of length at the waist. In addition, the back armholes could loose 1/2″ at the shoulders. Since I plan on layering this, I’m not too concerned but if when I sew this next summer in a lighter fabric I’ll need to make these changes. If you plan on making this yourself, the good news is you won’t have to make the entire thing in muslin. I recommend just cutting the bodice and the waistband since the skirt is gathered and, as such, is more forgiving to small changes. 

Overall, I really enjoyed working with this pattern. As with the other Pattern Runway garments, the instructions were great and everything went together quickly. I used my serger to finish the seams even though the bodice is lined; the silk noil unravels and I was worried about those princess seams. Speaking of which, the princess seams that extend into the skirts pockets are adorable and I love the gathering detail. My one complaint, and it’s a relatively easy fix, is that the zipper is exposed inside. We went to all this trouble to line the garment and the zipper really should be sandwiched in between the lining and the self fabric.

Next up… Burda 09/2011 #128. I have it on the table ready to cut!