Saturday, May 31, 2008

Great Coat Sew-along Timeline

This is the planned timeline for the coat sew-along. Marji spread this out over several months so we can all enjoy the summer and have a life while building our coat. Start May and finish by the end of September.

A Guided Sew-Along
for those who want to construct a winter coat.Construction will begin July 2008, but be incrementally slow enough that you can work on other projects and have a life besides.

May -
Gather materials
June -
Muslin for fit and style, prep fabrics
July -
Begin cutting/mounting/interfacing
Mid July-
Pockets and buttonholes
August -
finish construction of shell, sleeves
Mid to late August -
Construct lining
Sept -
Lining into coat
Goal -
Finish by end of September

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I've been tagged for a Meme.......

Bonnie at me for the following meme. Now I'm beginning to really feel a part of the sewers blogging community. ;o) The best part is that I get to tag others....hehehe!!!

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
Working at a bank as the operations manager in the back office of the brokerage department. There were only 4 of us in the backoffice and there were 7 brokers in the field.

Since DH and I don't have kids we gave back to the community by becoming Youth Group Ministers. Yes, indeed...working with 30-40 teenagers, and with 2 other groups in addition to our group. You haven't lived until you've had this many teens thrust upon you at once. ;o) Actually, we loved them dearly.

2.) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
Since my day is just about over, here's tomorrows list:
Have a meeting with one of my direct reports.
Get out of bed and go to work. That's always a challenge. LOL!!!
Get some sewing done
Clean my kitchen
Spend time with DH

3) Snacks I enjoy:
If the snack has sugar in it, then I enjoy it...candy, cookies, cake, and so on...and so on....
Crackers & cheese
Veggies with dip

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Quit my job, but not leave until there is a replacement.
Travel to Europe
Buy a house/condo in Italy and maybe Paris for good measure.
Work with Catholic Relief Services donating money and time to the needs of others.
Pay of the mortgages and student loans of immediate family members and take them traveling with us or send them on a trip.
I would buy my dreamhouse, but it wouldn't be ridiculous in size. 5,000 square feet is a bit ridiculous, but still doable.
Get a maid!!!! and pay her/him well.

5) Places I have lived
That's easy....Connecticut

6.) Jobs I have had:
Since turning 16, Ive only worked for 5 companies. The only reason the number isn't at 3 is one bank was bought out by another and I went to work for them. Then recently our department was eliminated and I ended up in insurance.
Grocery store
Bradlees dept store
Clerk in several positions in a bank: loan servicing, audit, marketing, insurance, brokerage
Manager in a bank brokerage and now in an insurance company

7.) 6 peeps I wanna know more about
I really would like to know something about anyone who stops by here, but for now I'll tag some I've been in contact with lately.
Elle at
Gwen at
Carolyn at
Lorrwill at
Vicki at:
Melissa at
I'm adding a 7th blog: Kim at

This was fun! Anyone stopping by can consider yourself tagged and please play along.

Thank you for the comments on my coat fabric

Bonnie, Gwen and Lindsay...thank you for stopping by to comment on the coat sew-along and thank you for the compliments on my fabric. I just wish the picture could do it justice. Lindsay, you are so right about cutting into the fabric...just go for it. I do remember reading Ann's post in her blog about cutting into expensive fabric rather than leaving it unused, so I will "go for it" You know, the fabric really is only a waste of money if it goes unused. If I mess it up, at least I attempted to make something.

Bonnie, thank you also for the comment on the fabric I chose for the JCC. I still think I'm crazy to be trying to get all this sewing/fitting/classes all done at once, but hey we only live once, we might as well fly by the seat of our pants from time-to-time. ;o) If you like you can still join us at the SG site. I know you said work got in the way, but maybe you could do one piece?

I'm so happy that there are 70 participants, although I suspect that many will either drop out or just read. There will be quite a few brains to pick and go to for advice. Those of you who already turn out awesome garments I cannot wait to see what you do with this sew-along.

My lining came in today and the heavy-weight muslin has been shipped. I'm sure I'll need interfacing since I'm thinking about using a sew-in instead of a fusible.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great Coat Sew-along

I will start by thanking Marji for organizing this coat sew-along, which is now closed to anyone new as there are 70 participants. I'll be updating my progress here in my blog since anyone reading, but not participating, will not have access to the coat sew-along blog.

I have made my decision on the fabric and pattern I will be using.
The stars of the show are:

OOP Simplicity pattern # 4403
View C- belted, wrap style

The fabric is a stunning, yummy Michael Kors mohair/angora mix boucle that I bought from a couple of years ago (December 2005 to be exact) from . I found the receipt with the fabric and now I'm afraid to cut into the yardage...gasp $45 per yard. I'm eyeing the fabric and trying to convince myself to just "go for it" and forget the price. Carolyn, I might be making a trip to see you if I get stuck. ;o) I do have a beautiful lambs wool in a light camel color, but I really want a red coat.

I ordered a Kasha lining, in black, from Vogue Fabrics and heavy-weight muslin to work out the fitting. I pulled out white flannel yardage to underline the coat. I think I'll need it to keep the fabric from stretching out. I also would like a really warm coat and underlining the mohair will make it more than warm.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Tribute to our Great Country and our Troops

I simply cannot allow this beautiful weekend to pass without a tribute to our troops and our country. Our recessional hymn at Church today was "America the Beautiful" I think this beautiful song sums up our country in a nutshell. Yes, we have our problems...lots of them, but remember what we stand for and yes, in my household that includes God and a belief that we won't resolve our differences without him. (I will rarely (if at all) get political in my blog, but I reserve the right to be religious) ;o)

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
America! America!God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

May God Bless our country and God Bless our troops, both those fighting today and those who fought in every war beginning with the Revolutionary War and every war that followed to ensure our freedom was not compromised. And may God forgive our country its transgressions, stupidity and prejudices while leading us down the path of righteousness.

Now back to sewing....................... ;o)

My computer is down/Fitting Class/Projects.....

Talk about an oxymoron. I write my computer is down, yet I'm typing a post. I brought my laptop home so I wouldn't be cut off from the world. I would have serious withdrawal if I had to go 3 days without reading blogs and sewing sites.

I'm working on my muslin for the fitting class I signed up for on PatternReview, but I cannot post pictures from my laptop. ;o( I hope DH fixes my computer soon. He's been working tons of hours lately. Of course there is the little matter that I've been complaining about my computer for the better part of a year and he chose to fix it not that I've started my class. ;o( He is truly a darling, sweet man so I cannot get too annoyed with him. He does feel sorry for me and is trying to fix it without reformatting the harddrive since it will take him *forever* to get me back on line if he reformats.

What I'm working on:
1. Fitting Class:
The shoulder template for this Vogue dress is too big for me. According to all measurements I need to start with a 12 in the shoulder. However, the template is too large and I have to take in the front and back by about an inch total (per Shannon who is a sewing Goddess).Here is the shoulder template before taking in the inch. Luckily I already had this picture posted in PR before my computer came to a crashing halt.

I plan to make the changes today and upload a picture to PR and here later today or tomorrow to show what the muslin looks like after the change. You're probably wondering how I will accomplish this feat since my computer is down...I'm going to upload the pictures onto a friends computer since I'm not allowed to upload anything onto my work issued laptop.

I still need to do a forward shoulder adjustment, but that is done after these changes are made.

2. Cut out the blouse in muslin from my defunct fitting class and muddle through the fitting of it. Actually, if I get it cut out then I can ask Shannon for help since our class still has 2-weeks left.

3. Sew up a UFO skirt which is too long, but I think will be OK for summer since it's red & white linen and very swishy.

4. Finish gathering supplies for the June Capsule considering the start date is right around the corner. Actually, I think I have just about all my supplies.

5. Finish gathering supplies for the Great Coat Sew-along. The start date is also June 1st, but we'll be spending the month fitting our muslins. I have my fabric which is a gorgeous red wool I got from EOS a couple of years ago. I ordered Kashi lining and heavy-weight muslin. Now, to decide which pattern. Uh oh....I can hear Carolyn's voice......"just make a decision and stick to it".... I'm getting there Carolyn. I've narrowed it down to 2-3 patterns. ;o)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pattern Sale - Joann's Memorial Day weekend

Edited to add: I found Vogue also on sale for $3.99 which is better than I paid with my BMV membership. I, of course, had to pick up a few. ;o)

Posting these sales helps me stay in tune, and hurts my pocketbook. ;o)
Simplicity patters - 5 for $5.00. My flyer is in my car so I'm not sure if the sale is Saturday, Sunday, Monday or another set of days. I really think it starts Saturday.

The McCalls/Butterick sale this weekend was fruitful for me. Joanne's also had the latest releases in the pattern drawers. I wrote down the numbers of the newest patterns that I wanted, and looked in the cabinet, and almost fainted...they were there!!!! That has never happened before. I did notice something else.....there were no signs on the pattern cabinets with the $1.99 sales indicated. You needed to know about this sale, or you'd pass right by. I checked my flyer 3 times to be sure I had the correct weekend.

June commitments

OMG!!! Now I've gone and done it.....
I am gathering my supplies for the June Capsule sew-a-long on SG. Yes, I know it's a contest, but since I don't have a snowball's chance in h*** in winning, it's a sew-a-long and learning experience for me. ;o)

I have also committed to Shannon's fitting class on PatternReview. I took the class in 2005, and printed out every page of class instruction and never did anything with it. Gee, what a surprise!!!??? (heavy sarcasm here) I am taking the class again and I WILL PARTICIPATE and I will learn something!!

I have also committed to making a winter coat in July. I guess the air conditioner will be put in my sewingroom this year, and not in the TV room. ;o) We start gathering supplies and making muslins in June. DH & I were supposed to clean and organize the garage in June too. I guess I won't be sleeping much, or I'll just be Scarlet, and "think about it tomorrow".

I guess I'd better break out my DayTimer that I *had* to have for work, but failed to actually take to work since I take trusty Steno Pads to meetings to take notes in. Sigh....... I'll need something to keep track of what I need to do and when I have to have it done by.

I'm off to start my day...................

Sunday, May 11, 2008

June capsule-advice from sewing friends (thank you!!)

Carolyn and Gwen, thank you for taking the time to encourage me and yes, "kick by butt". I'm now rapidly narrowing the choices for my capsule. How can I not make my choices when you have both taken time from your busy day to read my blog and encourage me??? Big cyber (((HUGS))) to both of you. DH was happy to hear that my sewing friends were pushing me along to get something done. My comments are in red below.

I'm going to paste both comments here so I can readily find them since your advice was excellent!!

Carolyn's message:
First, when you make a choice...stick with changing your second guessing...stick with it! You can always sew something with the other fabrics later! And you will be so thrilled to be sewing and accomplishing something!Second, my advice on the outfits and fabric...

1. Use the white cherries fabric for the vintage dress. It will be whimsical and different and can be dressed up or down to make it a very wearable piece in your wardrobe.
The reason I was stuck on the dress is the retro dress could never be worn at work, but that doesn't really matter since I have a boatload of work clothes. Something dressy and whimsical for play would be fun. And I'll have a costume ready for Halloween when I start to look really silly wearing it for everyday. ;o) I do have a perfect pair of retro looking shoes for this dress, but I think I'll hang onto them for the Halloween costume idea and I'll wear cute strappy sandals with the dress.

2. Use the white eyelet cotton for a trendy little jacket - I like the McCalls one but you choose. This will allow it to go with the dress but with the next top and bottom piece.
You heard me....I love the 1st McCall jacket pattern. And of course this girly-girl loves the view with the ruffle around the neck. Even though I have 3 white jackets, I don't have a cute, eyelet one. So the eyelet it is!!!

3. Use one of the red/white pieces for the top. I like the Butterick one.
I like the Butterick one also. I really like the wrap view, but I may end up looking like a square wearing it. This I'm still giving thought to. But I will use the red with white polka dots as the fabric exactly matches a pair of platforms I own.

4. Use the denim for a skirt or a pair of trousers.
You were definitely looking over my shoulder yesterday when I pulled out the piece of yummy stretch denim I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics. My intention was to make jeans with the piece, but I have many pairs of jeans, so a skirt it will be. This might be a chance to use a Hotpatterns skirt pattern.

You have great choices, pick one if necessary by putting the numbers in a hat! :) You have come up with a great combo of fabric and patterns! If you consider the choices I've suggested, you will end up with a very wearable, work or play friendly grouping of pieces. I'm taking your advice and I fully expect to have a fun play capsule out of this. Gee, do you think I should tackle all the UFOs in my sewingroom???? LOL!!!!

You can do this Claire - I know you can!!!! :)
Thank you Carolyn. I'm always amazed at the number of items that fly out of your sewingroom, with seemingly little effort. Now I'm waiting to see your shirtdress, which you will rock!!!!!

Gwen's comment:
Wow - no wonder you have a difficult time choosing! Those are ALL great patterns and very cute fabrics! There are probably hundreds of combinations that would work beautifully! Would it help if you just acknowledged that there isn't a single right answer here? And there's probably not a wrong answer either - whatever you do is going to be beautiful and fun! So, I second Carolyn's advice - just make a choice and stick with it. :)I can't wait to watch your outfits come together! :)--Gwen
Gwen, you're a sweetie...thank you!!!! You are definitely an inspiration after you jumped in and made that beautiful wedding gown, even though you weren't sure you were up to it when you offered. Talk about pressure........

Saturday, May 10, 2008

WARNING!!! This is a very, very long post....................

Is there anyone as undecided as I am in making a decision about what to sew? I seem to get hung up on the process all the way through. I can buy RTW without blinking an eye. I know what looks good on me, what fabrics I like, what goes together, but when it comes to sewing I freeze. This is how I end up stockpiling fabrics and patterns without sewing much of anything. I'm going to try to change this and unfreeze myself. Carolyn left a message stating she was going to be all over me like white on rice to be sure I work on this capsule. Thank you Carolyn, that's just what I need....keep kicking my butt!!!!

I think I've narrowed the fabrics down for my capsule. Of course I changed my mind about a 100 times and I may change it 100 more times before June 1st. Sigh....I don't pay attention to "signs", but I have to think all this indecision has *something* to do with being born a Libra.

For the moment I'm thinking of a retro 50's, summery, cotton capsule. After taking a good look at my closet I decided that I have enough navy, tan, beige and white for main colors. I have a ton of black also, but that is taboo for this capsule. ;o) One of the colors that is in short supply in my closet is red. (yellow is also in short supply, but I'm in a red mood) I did buy a red shirtdress recently and I love it. I also hit Ebay an bought a couple of pair of red shoes. Now I must add to my red palette. I also bought a red, patent handbag, but I'd like to make my accessory, if possible.

I'll post a storyboard when I make my decisions on patterns. I'm narrowing it down, but I'm not quite there yet.

These are the fabrics up for consideration: (of course they weren't in my stash. Thank goodness the prices for the cotton fabrics were more than reasonable on Ebay)

Cherries on white: 50's style sundress. Probably a modern pattern with a 50's "flavor".
Red polka dots on white and white polka dots on red: I'm torn between a flippy skirt and an A-line. I want to use both fabrics in the skirt. This decision will be made when I determine which jacket and top pattern I'll use.
Red fabric: possibly a jacket. I don't have a red jacket. I already own several white jackets and a couple of denim and several navy jackets.
White swiss cotton or a white eyelet cotton (not pictured, as I already have these in my stash): a top of some sort. This will have to be something that can be worn with the dress to comply with the rules of the contest.
Navy or denim: I still need to work these into the capsule.

Dress patterns under consideration are:

I'm totally in love with the Retro '57 pattern. I love the neckline and the full skirt. But if I make it, I'll feel like I have to put some type of crinoline under it. I really dislike the look of a big skirt just hanging there, without the support of a full slip. It reminds me of taking an 80's jacket and removing the shoulder pads, without altering the shoulders, in the hopes that one could get away with wearing it....not!! Although, (light bulb moment) I have an evening skirt which is underlined in tulle to give it body. Hmmm....maybe underlining in tulle and stiffening in the hem would keep it from just hanging there, then I wouldn't have to feel silly in a big, puffy crinoline. I'll have to give that some more thought.

Skirt patterns under consideration are:

Jacket Patterns under consideration are:

Top patterns under consideration:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Four piece capsule contest at Stitchers Guild

I popped over to Carolyn's blog and what do I see..... a post about a small, 4-piece capsule contest being held at S.G during the month of June. Hmmmm....only 4 pieces and I'll allowed to get one item made in May. How could I not enter. I have no delusions of grandeur about winning, but I'm looking for motivation to get me off my butt!!!! Since I'm committing myself here and at SG, I will have to make something...anything. There's so much talent over on S.G and I can't wait to see what everyone puts together.

I'm dying for more navy in my wardrobe, so I think I'll do a navy, white & pink capsule. Now to work out what patterns and fabrics. I do have 5 yeards of navy linen just purchased from Now to tie in the pink and white. I know what my accessory will handbag. I found an alligator embossed soft pink leather. It's not the gorgeous pink of the original handbag, but it'll do. I could use more red also, but since red would clash with my it is.

These are the rules posted by Elizabeth (ejvc) who is sponsoring the contest. I'm sending her a big cyber ((((HUG)))) for doing this.

1. The capsule will consist of four garments and one accessory (purse, belt, headband, jewellery, etc). One of the garments must be a top, one must be a bottom, all the tops must co-ordinate with all the bottoms and the accessory must co-ordinate with them all.

2. One of the items can be purchased and one can be made before June.

3. All the other items must be sewn, knitted, crafted etc during June.

4. Twist: no black items. (I personally have more than enough black in my wardrobe and will happily sew a different color.)

5. Everyone who tells me they want to enter the contest and makes at least one item can vote on the winner.

6. At the end of the contest people can send me photos and I'll post them in sets on Flickr. We should have four photos - one showing all the garments (composite or hanging or whatever) and three of the wearer modelling the items. No flat photos of the clothes please.

I will stump up the equivalent of 50USD to be paid into a PayPal account, or in gift certificates to a retailer of your choice, to the winner (caveat - it needs to be a retailer who will take UK credit cards). I'm thinking fabric or pattern purchases, fitting books, more accessories, etc. would be great ways to spend the money, but whatever...

Then Elizabeth explained further:

You can purchase any one of your four items or the accessory, and any one of the four+accessory can be made before June. So if, like me, you are relatively slow, you could take one item you've already made (say for your ill-fated Timmel SWAP, ahem), buy another one, and only have three to make in June. If you make the accessory, you'd need to make 2 garments + accessory in June.

To restate, any of these combos would be valid:

  • four items + 1 accessory, all made in June
  • three items + 1 accessory, all made in June, +1 item made earlier.
  • two items + 1 accessory, all made in June, +1 item made earlier, + 1 item purchased.
  • three items, all made in June, +1 item made earlier, + 1 accessory purchased

Let the games begin............................ ;o)

New Buttericks are here!

I was on, which led to Candyo's blog, which in turn led me to pictures of Butterick patterns I had not yet seen. I'm not sure how long they've been up. Maybe I missed them since I've become so obsessed with Vogue lately.

Here are some of my favorites. (My computer is acting up so I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be able to get the pictures posted)

Chetta B wrap dress. How many of these patterns do I really need? I have this style in Hot Patterns, Vogue and I scored some vintage wraps on Ebay. On top of that it's not my most flattering look since I lack the body parts that make this dress flattering. ;o)
I like this dress, but again if not made correctly, this too is not my most flattering look. I actually look much better when I add a cami or modesty panel...go figure!!
The jury is out on this little jacket. I have a weakness for jackets in general, and most especially for little jackets, but my gut instinct says this will hang like a paper sack.
Again, like wrap patterns, how many tee-shirt patterns do we need? I do want to see how this fits, but I will have to change the neckline. This "U' shaped neckline is one of my worst looks.
Yes indeed, I do have a weakness for short jackets. Add puffed sleeves and I'm sold. ;o) I will be adding this one to the pattern stash.
I never care for the "See & Sew" line, but this dress I like. I have a similar dress in RTW and it is surprisingly flattering to my pear shaped figure. The empire waist draws attention to my shoulders and smaller upper body and the gathers hide the bottom half. The fabric needs to have a lot of drape. Rayon/lycra or a lighter poly/lycra would be a good choice.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Legally Blonde on Broadway/FIT School

DH and I went to NYC yesterday as we had tickets to Legally Blonde. I had a very "blonde" moment when I bought those tickets. I was convinced that I had purchased tickets at a different theater much closer to home. We really didn't mind since we took that day off from work, slept late, and headed into the city around noon.

I've been wanting to visit FIT school for quite some time. DH was a sweetie and spent the day following me. There were a few books I wanted in the bookstore, but we weren't going to carry them so I'll just order them from I did get a cute hoodie with FIT/Fashion Institute on it in very subtle lettering. Since we spent the day in the garment district area DH was even up to following me into fabric stores. Did I bring any addresses with me??? Of course not!!! Whoda thunk it (bad English intentional) that DH wouldn't mind hitting the fabric stores with me. Oh well.... it was more fun walking all over anyway. ;o)

I loved Legally Blonde. I was sure I would as I enjoyed both movies. The show was really funny and it was obvious that the cast was thoroughly enjoying themselves also. I have to say, the woman who played Elle's hairdresser friend stole the show. What a voice!!! DH didn't get it when the handsome UPS guy walked on stage, into the salon, wearing tight-fitting shirt and shorts. All the ladies in the audience went nuts, and he asked me what was going on. LOL!!!!! I had to wait until later to enlighten him. Since he's a guy I guess I couldn't get him to connect UPS guy and shorts. After I explained he still looked at me like I suddenly had 3 heads and said, "I still don't get it--all the UPS guys wear shorts in the summer". Exactly Honey!!!! LOL!!!! I did fall in love with Elle's purse, which I found out is a Lana Marks. Talk about out of my price range, but (light bulb) isn't that why we knock off items we love or use them as inspiration for putting our own twist on something. Here's the purse:

This is the "Positano Tote in Fuschia Alligator". I saw it in person at the show at the tee shirt booth, and it is cute, cute, cute!!!! I believe the bag retails somewhere around $1600. Uh, I won't be using alligator if I could find it or afford it. I am however on the hunt for pink leather. The bag is such a simple style and I should be able to find similar hardware. I don't think it would be too difficult to knock-off. I do have black leather and blue pigskin in my stash, but of course my bag must be some shade of pink. ;o)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pattern Sales at Joannes

I just received my Joanne's flyer and upcoming pattern sales are listed:

Simplicity - May 8-10 - $1.99 (limit 10)
McCall & Butterick - May 15-17 $1.00 (limit 10 each)