Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back to sewing and my JCC.........Knit fabric book reviews

The last 2 posts were not sewing related unless you think of self-tanner as a way to wear/make more skirts and chocolate as a way to "grow" into another size, hence the need to make larger skirts. ;o)

Back to my JCC, which I've hardly started.
I did change the pattern for the cherries fabric. I realized the gathered skirt, combined with no longer having a small waist and not wearing a crinoline would just make me look BIG. I've now chosen Vogue 2267, which is a remake of a 1954 design. I will still have the vintage 50's dress, which I feel my cherry fabric was screaming for, without the added weight-gain of the gathered skirt. I also think the little jacket included is darn cute.
I also changed the skirt pattern I was using to Simplicity 4091, view F (teal skirt in the middle left). I still plan to use the denim fabric. This skirt I can wear on "Jeans Fridays" as an alternative to crawling into a pair of jeans on a hot summer day.

I need to go to the post office again this Saturday. Last Saturday my Knipmode magazine was waiting for me. This Saturday I should find the much sought after and coveted May Patrones issue waiting for me. (YEAH!!!)

I also purchased 2 knit sewing books last week from Amazon. The first was recommended by Ann (Gorgeous Things blog) Sew U Home Stretch and the second by Gigi (Behind the Seams blog) Designing and Patternmaking for Stretch Fabrics.
I am not a fan of Built by Wendy patterns from Simplicity as they are not my style, BUT this is a fantastic book for anyone wanting more information on sewing with knits. The book is intended for beginners and I feel it does a good job helping a beginner get their feet wet in the knit sewing arena. The one caveat is the author zeros in on using a serger. If you don't own a serger you may want to after reading this book. But (again with the "but") you can sew knits easily on your sewing maching using a stretch stitch. I've done it and lived to tell the tale. Just don't ask me about the "fun" I had ripping out every single seam in those pants since I was sewing challenged the day I made them. The book also comes with t-shirt and dress/skirt patterns to get you started, and I think the patterns are rather cute. I will probably try the t-shirt and maybe the dress, with the sleeves (lengthened).


This is my new favorite book. No, I do not intend to create patterns at this time in my life, but if you want invaluable information on stretch fabrics, pattern layout and beyond, grab this book. I learned a lot last night when I started reading. Basically, this is a textbook (and the price reflects that it's a texbook...OUCH!!). The material is well layed out and organized. I think the author, Keith Richardson, is a perfectionist and this is reflected in his writing style and explanations. He is not boring, but factual, and you will learn just about everything you need to know about knits from him.

Both of these books are available at I know the textbook was in the FIT bookstore when I went to NYC, but I wasn't carrying it around with me through the city.

What your taste in chocolate says about you.

I had to take the chocolate quiz I found on Gorgeous Things blog. How could I resist with a name like, "Sewing is Like Chocolate"? ;o)

Hmmmm..... I'm not so sure I completely agree with the analogy. Maybe this is directed at my younger days...but we won't go there. ;o)

What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You
You are sophisticated, modern, and high class.
Your taste is refined, but you are not picky.
You are often the first to try something new.

You are passionate and full of life.
You fall in love easily, and you tend to have whirlwind relationships.
Your passion sometimes does get the better of you. You have a crazy temper!

You love to be in love. You crave romance, whether you're single or not.
You feel lost when you don't feel passion... you need someone to adore.
The Chocolate Oracle


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jergens Natural Glow Express self-tanner (thumbs up)

ETA: I too have scary white legs and believe me today (Monday) you'd never know it after using it twice.
I have a love/hate relationship with self-tanners. I need them in order to bare my transparent white legs to the world, but I hate the smell and that it takes so many days to get a decent color. Enter my new favorite product. NAYY!!!!! (not affiliated yada, yada) I bought this new Jergens product a couple of weeks ago and finally decided to try it.

I'm shocked and amazed at how quickly it works. The color started to develop in about a 1/2 hour or so. After one application I can bare my legs to the world. 2 applications are better. The lotion goes on evenly (does need to be rubbed in) For once my feet have even color. I'm more than impressed.

The negatives that I can live with:
  • The bottle is smaller. BUT, once I get to the color I want (2 days vs several with other tanners) I can maintain with the other Jergens or L'Oreal which both are in bigger bottles and are better values.
  • The smell is not great, but it is an improvement over the original Jergens. (which I hate) I just use it at night and by morning the smell is gone, even before my shower.
  • I give this a 5-star rating...................

Thank you everyone for you kind comments!

I'm going to be busy today but I had to stop and write a sincere thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog to check out my skirt, JCC & coat plans. Thank you very much Alicat, Adrienne, Gwen, Vicki, Bonnie D, Kim, Claire S, Isabelle, Paco, Kbenco & Lorrwill for the kind compliments. The comments mean a lot to me and I appreciate you taking the time to leave a note.

Up on deck for today is my fitting muslin for my class that is technically over. I lost a lot of ground while my computer was on the fritz and then Paul was working a lot of hours so I didn't have a picuture taker.

I'm also going to start one of my JCC items. I'm not sure if the skirt or dress will be first up. Then I need to London Shrink my coat fabric. Let's not talk about the state of my house while I holed up in my sewingroom. ;o)

And I'm off..................

Monday, June 2, 2008

Simplicity 4188 Skirt Review

Well, well there truly are miracles even in this cynical age no matter what anyone thinks. And don't let anyone tell you there isn't a Santa Claus either. ;o) The sky has not fallen in although the "thunk" you may have heard was Paul (DH) passing out.

I finished a UFO (unfinished object) from about 2 years ago and posted (attempted to post) a review at PatternReview. Here's a copy of what I wrote. (actually this is a completely new write up...rant below) I'll be adding a picture of me actually wearing the skirt when my picture-taker (Paul) is home.

It appears that I won't be copying my review into this space as there is some glitch in PatternReview and my review, that I spent 1/2 the night writing disappeared into cyberspace. Annoyed...oh let me count the ways. I should make this a "I hate computers" rant. Ok, temper tantrum over, back to the review of my skirt.
Ok, no promises on this rewrite being as detailed as the one I lost, but here goes........
Pattern Description:
Simplicity 4188 - Claire's description: 8 godet skirt can be made either ankle length (if you are 5'5" like me) or knee length. Simplicity's not too helpful description: Misses' skirts with length variations and belt. Well, then tells you a lot huh?
Pattern Sizing:
8,10,12,14,16 - I sewed a 14. This is a caveat for anyone who does not sew. A 14 is not an indication that I need to lose 40 pounds, although I could stand to take off 10. ;o) Pattern sizing runs completely different from RTW (ready to wear). When I weighted 110-115 lbs I sewed a straight 12 and wore a 4-6 in RTW. Now, back to our review of the pattern.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, it did. In fact I like my skirt even better. The picture on the envelope was of a rayon skirt and although it was very pretty I think my medium weight, very drapey linen beat the rayon hands down. I already had the longer version cut out. If I were to make this today, I would cut the shorter version, but I have to say the linen really works in the longer version.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Surprisingly, they were. I didn't have any "huh?" moments. I will add that although this is a very easy skirt to sew one should not attempt it if one is a rank beginner. That is unless you are armed with a good sewing book, and a better ability to learn using only a book than I have. Also, even though the directions are good, there are places they could have been more detailed, but then the expert sewers would complain about "unnecessary wordiness". So, just like at work, you can't please everyone all of the time.
ETA: The reason a beginner should not make this a first attempt is there is a side zipper and all those godets. Again, they are not difficult, but you need some practice.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I very much liked the pattern. You will go through a lot of thread as there are more seams than I care to count. There are 8 panels, then 8 godets. You do the math since it's late and my brain has shut down. Even if you don't want to do the math, just remember you need at least 2 spools of thread.
  • I stay stitched the top of the yoke and the panels (not the godets) to keep them from stretching. I also added stay tape to the top of the yoke to create more stability around my waist and to ensure it didn't stretch out of shape.
  • I did end up hand sewing the yoke facing to the skirt as I was not tempting the gods into cooporating if I decided to stitch in the ditch. I knew what would happen and besides a bit of handsewing never hurt anyone. In fact handsewing was suprisingly relaxing, especially when compared to the alternative of ripping out a "stitch in the ditch" attempt. ;o)
  • When it came to the hem I did not turn it up twice and stitch. My fabric is fairly heavy and I didn't want the bottom of my skirt to stick out so I turned the hem up once, stitched, and trimmed close to the stitching line.
  • Something else I loved, since my fabric molds beautifully, and since my hem was only about 5/8" (give or take an 1/8") I didn't need to run an ease stitch. I cannot begin to tell you how estatic that made me. I've hemmed acres of skirt in the past and it wasn't fun.

Fabric Used:A wonderful medium weight red & offish-white linen. From what I remember this fabric was fairly stiff, but washing and drying 3 times beat it into submission and I ended up with a wonderful piece of yardage that was perfect for this skirt.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't alter anything. I sewed a straight 14. I would recommend a flat pattern measurement of the pieces if you are contemplating this skirt. My linen had some "give" and I wouldn't be surprised if it grew a bit, helping me to get into the smaller size. (I should have cut a 16) Remember my lesson from above, this does not mean I now need to lose 50 lbs. ;o)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would sew it again, and yes I'd recommend it to others. If you want a yummy, swishy, girly (but not over the top girly) skirt go for it. You will not be disappointed.


This was an easy and fun project, albeit a very time-consuming one due to the number of seams and seam finishing. Of course, it would be helpful if I would break out the serger and learn how to use it. This would speed up the construction considerably. Oh well, at least I didn't have to worry about cutting a hole in my skirt with the serger blades. Yup, I'll just keep telling myself that until I get around to firing up the serger. ;o)
I do need a red top to match this skirt. The white one I pulled out to wear with the skirt was way too white and made the skirt look dirty. I couldn't "make it work" or even pretend it worked. Then I pulled out a couple of off-white tops which weren't right either. I ended up wearing a black sweater, untucked, with a white belt. This was "OK" but not great. At least I could pretend this combo worked. ;o)
I did figure out which top I want to make, unless I find a RTW that I can wear with the skirt for now. New Look 6808, View C, which is the pink top with the bow. What!? Did you really think I'd pick a different view without a bow????? ;o) Come know me better than that. At least it won't be pink.......... ;oP