Friday, January 13, 2017

New Year, New Tops

We are all into the new year and I am only now getting around to blogging.  That fact only proves that some things (your deep values and personality traits, for example) don't change much over the years.  But I have enjoyed the luxury of creative time my happy sewing space and have a few things to show for it.  

You heard about this tunic a post or two ago.  I'm still not crazy about the large scale print but I'm loving the design lines and have at least four more planned for the future...I was almost going to say "near future" but let's face it, that would be a lie.  
I took the body of my Pamela's Pattern T and morphed it on to the bottom pattern pieces of Butterick 5925, a Katherine Tilton pattern..  Butterick 5925 My TNT T shirt has a simple, lowered scoop neck but in the pic I am wearing an infinity scarf I made to coordinate for cooler days.  I like how the scarf moebius strip coordinates with the pocket twisted edge.
Butterick 5925

Butterick 5925 with great pockets and infinity scarf
I've also stolen copied  borrowed an idea from Coco when she made a "slip" for a burnout knit top. Cocosloft slip
I didn't have the see through problem with this heavy rayon knit but I did have the sticky bottom problem...where rayon knit loves to cling in unsightly lines to your jeans.  I imitated her idea with my TNT pattern, gave it some extra ease and sewed one up in a heavy but semi-sheer knit.  It did exactly what I wanted (think you, Coco) and provided a slippery extra layer between the top and my jeans.  No rear stickage.

Next up was Vogue 9057 V 9057 from the other Tilton sister, Marci.  I did the exact same procedure of franken-patterning my T which has a bust dart in the right place for me and a sleeve that is high enough with a narrow shoulder to the shaped hemline in Marci's Vogue pattern.
Vogue 9057
The fabric is a very lightweight ITY border print from Fabric Mart with abstract blue hearts.  Since the hearts have a direction I couldn't place them at the top of the garment so I did the next best...or maybe better thing, and cut the top out with the border to one side...and did the sleeves to follow that same dimension. 
Vogue 9057

I like it!  You can't see much of the shaped side angle in either picture since I have on black leggings but there's a nice line on the front piece that angles to the back.  Once again, with some collar variations there could be a whole new selection of tunics in my wardrobe this year. 

And while I am not going to put a close up on my "new" eyebrows and eyeliner "permanent make-up" I will say that one week later the major swelling has gone down and just as promised the pigment contrast is down by half.  No more Kabuki theater make up look.  I'm happy as can be to have eyebrows on my face again and the eyeliner sure makes for a quick an easy out of the house routine...put on some tinted moisturizer/sunscreen, dust with mineral powder and go.  Maryland friends, I'm glad to give you a reference to the very experienced gal in Columbia who did this for me.
Now it's back to my sewing room to put a serious dent into preparing for my upcoming sewing retreat. I hope you have a sewing project or two that is calling out to you for a fun time together.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pattern Winners

There are winners everywhere this week...out there in reader space and also in my sewing room.  First, congrats pattern winners...
 Aleta, the Mission Jacket Sewing Workshop pattern is yours
and my friend, Ann, the Thai coat pattern is coming your way on my trip to PA later this month...

and later this month is also when Lucky the rescue dog gets his next grooming which he needs badly.

I'm a winner too since I am working on some TNT patterns in my sewing room and some new ones.  Last month I got one of those terrific "save the date announcements"....which sewing people know means "save time to obsess, pull out patterns and fabric, shop, snoop shop, fabric shop and last minute sew up a storm."  My cousin's son will be getting married the third week in May and Mr. Lucky and I are looking forward to a long weekend of family fun and joyous celebration.  But it turns out that I have a lot of other things going on in the next few months so I had better get busy planning for my weekend outfits right about NOW.  
 
I was happy with Burda 3247 last fall
so I pulled out a tropical print slightly corded stretch poly from Fabric Mart. 

 
Sewing the dress took less than an hour....but that's because I haven't decided on what to use for a lining or where to place a zipper yet.  But I'm thinking it will be good for the rehearsal drinks gathering on Friday night.  I'd like to add a lacey black shrug but if that doesn't happen in the sewing room I have a little black sweater shrug that I can wear.  So, one event outfit about half way done.  Evening wedding reception dress will take more thought.  

Next on my sewing list was to franken-pattern some knit tops.  I have two almost TNT darted T shirt patterns that I like, one is Pamela's Patterns T shirt and that's what I used for the upper body and added the style lines of a Katherine Tilton pattern, Butterick 
5925.  I like the swingy side panel and droopy pocket design, similar to some I have tried on from "Soft Surroundings."  Soft Surroundings Clothing

Their clothes in the catalog look like things I would wear...but of course in person they seem cheaply made and don't fit as nicely.  This version is a wearable mock-up.  The fabric is a super soft rayon knit but that print looks like a huge bowl of oatmeal with my low contrast coloring.  But it was nice to see that my pattern blending worked out well and my next version will be in a hipper, more Tilton-like black and grey design.  

Clever pocket top twist almost hidden by this printed fabric.
And the next version you see of me will be a little more high contrast as well.  Yes, I made the jump into getting some cosmetic work done.  Those of you under 45 might want to stop reading since you are probably not interested in the discussions amongst my peers (and those younger) about everything from plastic surgery to liposuction to continuing care communities, etc.  I'm far too much of a wimp to have anything done surgically or with Botox (botulism!!!)  and far too cheap to have "fillers" that would hardly be noticeable.  Nope, I've earned my wrinkles and I think a smile and a kind spirit are what I enjoy about any of my friends.  But I'm tired of my disappearing eyebrows so yesterday I went and had my eyes and brows done with "permanent cosmetics"...basically tattoos.  Several sewing friends and family members have had it done and it looked so nice that I never knew it until they told me.  I had a wonderful person spend 2 1/2 hours with me and today (and for the next few weeks) I look like I should be in Kabuki Theater but it will fade in the next month.  So yes, eventually I will share that progress but first the swelling has to go down.  As expected, my very extreme fairness also means that I bruise like the dickens.  Perfect timing to hunker down in the sewing room and be productive today and to undecorate the house tonight.  Here's hoping you have something useful to do in your sewing space as well.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last 2016 Giveaways

The year is rapidly closing and I'm only slowly winnowing my pattern collection.  But here are some final giveaways for 2016.  Once again, I will pay postage anywhere in the world for these to find a new home.  Leave a comment below or email me at janem1960@gmail.com and tell me which pattern would be a good addition to your collection.  Winners will be selected in the evening on Tuesday, January 3 since we will be out of town for the New Year.  

An uncut pattern that I never did use..

I did make this jacket about fifteen years ago and the fabric was a good choice but the dropped shoulder look is not good on my ski slope shoulders...uncut pattern since I had finally learned about tracing patterns;-)  I have fond memories of this one because I was finally learning how careful finishing techniques can make a garment look so sophisticated.  



No time to do an end of year review although I do enjoy reading them.  Instead my head is spinning with plans for new projects, my sewing room is bursting with pattern pieces marked up and fabric ready for cutting and I am getting so excited about the late January Winchester, VA sewing retreat sponsored by my wonderful American Sewing Guild Northern Virginia chapter.  My hotel reservations are made, now it's time to get serious about what projects I will be taking.  I'm also packing for two months in Florida this winter now that Mr. Lucky has resigned from his duties as a volunteer ski patroller.  He'll be skiing a few times in January but as a customer, not as a patroller.  Two months away from my sewing room means I have to think long and hard about projects and pack carefully to have everything I need.  More on all of this later.  Until then, happy new year to all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Winners!

Lucky the rescue dog was too busy last night to pick book winners so Mr. Lucky did the job for him.  Congrats to Jonadele on winning the Jane Conlon embellishment book 
 and to JSews for winning the Linen and Cotton book.

And here's why Lucky the rescue dog just wasn't up to his job last night.  There's not much sweeter than a dog curled up in your lap.  My lap must feel like a comfy dog bed since Lucky the dog adores Mr. Lucky above all the other humans...but finds my lap the most comfortable each evening.  

Next post will be a preview of the many projects I am preparing for our annual sewing retreat and for our trip to Florida...and one last giveaway for 2016.  Here's hoping you too are brimming with ideas and plans for your sewing new year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sew Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and season's greeting to all of you.  May your scissors stay as sharp as your wits and your happiness increase like your pattern or fabric stash.

Just wanted to post to remind you that I will be picking the winners for the book giveaway at 9pm on Dec. 26, Boxing Day.  See the previous post or this link book giveaway

Not much sewing going on in our household in the last two weeks but plenty of festivities, baking, card writing and household fix ups.  I would like to brag on Mr. Lucky a little since he painted and re-hung our new pantry door that now serves as our grocery list spot.  See those custom drawer inserts?  He also built those from a pinterest
project I found...perfectly sized to our implements.

He had already made one of these fun cork boards in a previous year and finished two more so we could hang them in our remodeled hallway and take all those paper reminders and pics off the old refrigerator front.  I'm so happy to have a guy who tackles my ideas and makes them actually happen.  Hope he likes what I got him for Christmas tomorrow.  
How they really look in action
Tomorrow we will have a lazy, at home day, watching holiday movies and counting our blessings.  You, dear readers, are on my blessing list.  Hope your list is a long one, also.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winners and Sewing Book Giveaway

Yes, there are winners from week #2....Ruta, the Vogue coat pattern is yours, Vicki, Points and Pleats will be heading to South Carolina, iluvsweets, the Kwik Sew coat pattern is coming your way, Linda the Sewing Workshop Sandra Betzina coat is yours, and NRF the Sewing Workshop pattern is heading out to you.  I will email each of you to get your mailing address and will send the packages out by the end of the week. (or you can go ahead and send me your address by emailing me at janem1960@gmail.com)   Thanks again for reading, for commenting and for being part of making my pattern collection more realistic and less overwhelming.

In other news, my cousin loved, loved, loved her new apron/smock and I was thrilled that my sewing skills were put to good use for something that she wanted.  I still want to tweak the neckline and offer her some other over the head alternatives.  Isn't that the way it is, when we sew we always know that we can improve our design, our technique, our fabric choices, etc.  

Now for the week 3 giveaway.  How about some books for your sewing reading pleasure?  Once again, simply make a comment about which one appeals to you...or email me with your choice.  Postage on me anywhere in the world this month.  I'm going to extend this giveaway until Boxing Day, December 26 at 9pm EST to give more people time to enter.

Two books, both winners in my opinion...
book giveaway


The first one, by Susan Khalje, (who I was fortunate enough to run into last week at the Association of Sewing Professionals local session) is not just about fabric but is filled with her fine sewing details.  Don't know why I have two copies in my library but this one needs to find a deserving home.

In a similar vein is book selection number 2, another Taunton Press publication by someone who wrote frequently for Threads Magazine and does the most exquisite embellishments.  Again, I have two copies so here's one to teach you how to take a simple garment to couture.




Now I'm off to the Christmas luncheon with another one of my sewing groups today.  So grateful to have so many creative people in my real life as well as on my sewing blog list.  Here's hoping you have people who inspire, challenge and encourage you and your sewing projects.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Holiday Glitter and Pattern Giveaway, Week 2

First remark, please check back to the earlier post for this week's pattern giveaway...Week 2 Pattern Giveaway and make a comment or email me by tonight.  Winners to be announced tomorrow.

Now on to the latest...
My already limited photography skills have met their match in trying to take pictures of a sequined skirt that I just finished in time to wear to a holiday dance last night.  So I will try my best to describe this quick but fulfilling project.  
Pamela's Patterns Magic Pencil skirt in sequins
I have made many, many versions of Pamela' Patterns Magic Pencil skirt Pamela's Patterns  I pulled this easy but flattering pattern out of my collection when I learned a few weeks ago that our favorite big band, one that we only get to dance to at the summer wineries, was going to play a "Holly Hop" locally.  
I wanted something festive to wear and had this sequined fabric waiting in my resource center for just such an occasion.  Mr. Lucky and I do not go to fancy dress balls for charity or corporate galas and I won't be seeing our pictures in the society pages next week.  Years ago friends had invited us to their community holiday dance and I saw a woman wearing a black sweater and sequined skirt.  I thought that's exactly the look that would fit my sense of style, dressy casual.  Finally I had a winter event to bring that memory to life.  
My camera doesn't like the sparkly mini sequins
The fabric is from a Fabric Mart sale from a very high end store going out of business sale.  It is a stretch mini-sequin lightweight knit with metallic, not plastic sequins.  I did my research before tackling the project  and had some luck with my choice.  Most of the time the recommendation is to remove the sequins from all the seam allowances.  But I also watched a youtube video from Mimi G that didn't do this and the skirt seemed to look just fine. 

 So sue me, I took the shortcut and didn't remove the sequins, sewed the darts and seams as usual, pressed with a silk organza press cloth and I'm happy with the result.
I did thread trace my darts and didn't even have to cut them down to get them to press flat.
Thread traced dart
Pressed dart
I did follow the Sandra Bettina tip to face the hem and since this is an elastic waist skirt I also faced the waistband so that the sequin fabric would not irritate my waist nor get caught on my pantyhose or tights.
Faced waistband
Faced hem sample
I went through two needles and ended up doing most of the sewing with my straight stitch plate and quarter inch foot for the most control.
Sewing metal sequins is hard on needles so two metallica needs bit the dust in service to this holiday outfit.

Mood Swings, our favorite band, warming up 
Last night we danced for hours, made some new friends and had a wonderful holiday celebration.  Here's hoping your sewing is bringing you good times, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pattern Giveaway, Week Two and an Apron/Smock

Let's continue with cleaning out my pattern collection in week 2 of my giveaway.  Seems like the Sewing Workshop patterns continue to be popular so here are a few more as well as seasonal coat patterns that might interest some readers.  Once again, make a comment below with the name(s) of the pattern that you would like to win or email me janem1960@gmail.com.  Entries should be in by this Sunday, Dec. 12, for the drawing at 9pm.  Postage is on me this month.

Sewing Workshop Kinenbi Top
Before I learned about tracing patterns so this one has the top already trimmed to a size Medium and the pants to a size L.  


Another one already trimmed to size M
Both have lots of ease so don't let Medium deter you.

And now a pattern from one sewing friend to another to another....and now to one of you.




Maybe it's cold weather where you are and a new coat is on your project list:






I do have a seasonally sparkly sewing project in my sewing room to wear this weekend but this emergency request came in last week from my cousin three states away.  She sent me a text of her wearing an apron/smock asking me if I could make a copy.  Since she is a dear cousin and wonderful friend I said sure....and we all know that opens up a can of worms.  At first I just thought she wanted a new apron....and I have at least six different apron patterns in my collection. 
"Would you be able to copy this?"
But no, she really wanted an exact copy and thought perhaps I could just design it from the picture.  Hmmmm, I know some you of could do that in a flash.  Me, not my skill set.  So we discussed what she liked (the full frontal coverage, the no ties easy on and off) and what she didn't (needs a pocket or two and maybe a towel that she could remove and launder.)  She did agree, reluctantly, to send me the actual apron so I could copy it to the best of my ability.
The apron arrived two days later and one of the things I noticed was that it was most likely sewn from two old sheets.  They are very thin but very soft which does make it comfortable to use. She bought it at a charity holiday sale and has a sixties/seventies flowered sheet vibe to it, great way to refashion when bedding is damaged.
Single button closure. 

First step was to trace it (I used soil separator fabric to start this project.) 


First pattern
I pulled this soft cotton fabric from my stash hoard resource center and had enough to do a self-lining and also a front pocket, 10 inches deep along the bottom hem.  I decided not to do piping on this first version, I really want her to just try it on for size, shape and function.  
Front pocket
Two layers and front pocket but forgot to take a final picture after sewing the shoulder seams.
I did spend some time looking at tutorials and youtube videos for cross over apron styles today.  This delightful video reminded me how to sew up the apron and sew together the shoulder seams (leave a four inch opening on a side seam....reach through and sew front to back shoulder seam on each side.)  This particular video shows an adorable fully reversible child's apron and I bookmarked it for a future gift idea.

There are also lovely Japanese cross over and apron styles and tutorials in the virtual world.  I found this sweet site, Felicity Sewing Patterns with patterns for boys and girls and a cross back apron for an adult and child.  Crossback apron

I will be working up one or two other variations to send along to my cousin at a later date now that I'm understanding her priorities a bit more.  For now, since she is in the midst of holiday cooking and cleaning, I had to get a decent prototype made and in the mail to her pronto.  I was working on a deadline to get to the post office so I don't even have a finished picture to share.  I'm not thrilled with the final neckline which is most likely a shoulder slope issue as much as the neckline width.  But as I explained to her, the first version is often a "wearable muslin" that shows us what changes to make next for "good fabric."  As for me, I might go the crossover apron route this year as well.  I've made several aprons in past years Simplicity 3701 aprons
and they get plenty of use but just like in all fashion, maybe it's time for a new apron silhouette in my wardrobe.
Here's hoping you are enjoying some sewing challenges in your sewing room.  Now it's time for me to get back to that sparkly stuff.