Sunday, February 20, 2011

DC at the Gaylord in March


My husband has a convention. I get to play.


I look forward to being back in DC and visiting my old stomping grounds. I grew up in the DC area, Maryland side. Many weekends, I would walk to the bus stop and, for 40 cents, find myself at the National Zoo or one of the Smithsonian Museums or the National Cathedral. Of course, once the Metro was built (during my high school years), that was the preferred method of transportation and oh so much fun in those first years of operation!


March in DC can be unpredictable. I expect cold, blustery winds, rain, some sunshine and perhaps some warm days. Layers. Warmer layers, cooler layers. Expect anything layers. You just never know.


I put together a packing list last eve…at 3am…once the mind starts wandering, there’s only one way to silence it: draw it on little 3x5 cards. I’ll wear a nice outfit to dinner one evening, and recycle part of the outfit in the following days for my daytime activities.

This is what I need to sew in order for the plan to succeed:

1. Jacket: winter white, soft wool. factory interfaced.

Wool with already fused interfacing

Question: Should I use the same pattern as the purple wool coat? It has no button closures and too-wide sleeves: so that’s preventing me from answering a resounding yes. But I have it fitting so nicely!


I’m leaning towards Silhouettes 909. I’ve made two muslins thus far and think I have it fitting well.

Silhouettes 909_back

But I’m totally undecided. I’d love you to weigh in with suggestions. What is stopping me from deciding???


2. Top to Match Jacket: a winter white top to match (I’m not seeing fabric in my collection so this might be a frustrating task). What I have is too white or too yellow.

3. Skirt: a black/off-white chiffon pattern from fabric I already have. I can’t find a photo so you’ll have to wait for the final product. I’ll make a simple A-line, elastic waist, calf-length, lined with off-white Bemberg. This can be paired with the above jacket and top and also with a black RTW sweater set I have. Two evening outfits.

4. Skirt: a sold black skirt, textured fabric – blend unknown. I’m pairing it with the following sweater set.

5. Rust Sweater Set: silk jersey from G Street. Will match the solid black skirt.Silk Jersey

This basic black/winter white wardrobe with slight splashes of color (for spring!) will be supported with a few RTW items: sleeveless turtlenecks, off-white rain jacket with rust trim, and jeans. I plan to highlight the sets with scarves.


I also plan to bring the black/white jacket I completed in January to pair with black RTW trousers or the black skirt and, depending on the weather reports closer to the day of departure the purple wool jacket to pair with black trousers or skirt or jeans.


If I run out of evening outfits (one never knows ahead of time just how many evening events one must attend), I can pair the black skirt with rust top and white jacket and scarf to pull it all together.


I have plans to meet an old friend for lunch – haven’t seen her since 10th grade. We recently reconnected via Facebook and I love her as much now as I did then! Perhaps I’ll be heading the tour parade for spouses of event attendees.


I’ve never been to the Spy Museum. Need to fix that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February’s Wooly Jacket


McCall’s 6208, view E

This is a very simple, unlined jacket. Not even a dart. I think I picked up the fabric at Hancock’s on their sale table – pretty sure anyway. I always think I’ll remember…


Adjustments I performed: my usual FBA, a forward shoulder (but I forgot to change the sleeve to accommodate so the sleeve is slightly wonky but not enough to be uncomfortable because this sleeve is HUGE), a slight prominent shoulder blade and sway back.

Changes I made mid-stream:

1. I took out 1 1/2 inches off the shoulder/armscye tapering to the notches.

2. After hemming the sleeve cuffs as narrow as possible, I realized they were not right. They were bulky, the sleeve was too short, the cuff too narrow. I simply took them off and hemmed the sleeve to a good length. The coat looks better. I never think to take photos of something I don’t like (making a mental note to do so next time).

McCalls 6208


See the wonky sleeve? (Ignore the fighting-a-headache aura.)

But also notice how nicely the coat collar and front are simply formed. There is no closure or buttons. And no dart.

Have you noticed needy Murphy? After the trip to Pittsburgh last week, he’s even MORE imprinted on me than previously. His Chihuahua is showing (his mother was a tea cup). Next post I’ll be sure to post a photo of his eyes which show his lineage. They breed these Chiweenie’s down south. Chihuahua/Daschund – get it?


Looking at this side view, I think I’m making too prominent a sway back. Or maybe I need to add a bit of length at center back as a part of the sway back. The door knob is not a button – but perhaps a button at waist level might be a good idea?


If this were made in a lighter weight jacket (and I might make another), I think I’ll need to add fish-eye darts. The additional fabric is not so bad in a sweater coat – I may wear a heavier sweater with this – so I’m okay with the ease as is.

Not a favorite, but I think it’s a great jacket to throw on to run out on errands – roomy and comfy and warm.

Next up: silk scarves (need to roll hem) and then a pink wooly jacket.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Burda and Murphy in Pittsburgh

Just because I have not been to a Joann’s in many years – just because there is one a mile from the hotel – just because the day loomed with nary a responsibility save, perhaps, to wine and dine later – just because the dog was snuggled in his carrier and I could carry him into the store in that manner – and just because I was curious to see - - -

It was a super store, with a very small (relatively speaking compared with the rest of the place) fabric department. I think the scrapbooking section was larger than the fabric section. The majority of fabrics was fleece and flannel. I didn’t see anything at all tempting to purchase.

Until I noticed a Burda pattern book on the pattern book table. I laid the dog carrier down and noticed that he would stop whining to be let out if I kept up a running commentary. This dog is imprinted on me. I am his security blanket. It is annoying. But it is what it is.

“Oh look, Murphy,” said in my special Murphy sing song voice, very annoying if you are not Murphy, I am sure,

Burda 3477 “this princess-lined dress is probably quite a nicely made pattern which I can alter with an FBA. Perhaps I can have a TNT like Carolyn and use this over and over. I must remember to add width to the shoulders to hide my straps which always peek out the back of the armholes. Other than that, I think this would be a perfect dress for that white linen I’ve been saving, you know Murphy, the one hanging in my closet with the scattered green flowers. Yes, Murph, I think I need this.”

“And, Murphy, good boy, no whining, what do you think about this?”

Burda 7700

“It is unstructured and even has a hood if I should want one. I think we could make the blue wool into this quite nicely, don’t you, good boy? I like the sleeveless view for next fall. We’ll come up with some fabric for that, won’t we?”

Burda 8592

“Oh, look at this one! I like the asymmetric front opening and large decorative button. Maybe this would be perfect for the winter white wool I bought at G Street. Oh, hush, good boy. I’ll keep talking…I don’t think I’ll be adding the ruffle…”

“Do you think we need this Chanel-type jacket? Everyone seems to like them. Yes, this one is a bit different. See view B, Murph-man? It has a pleat mid-back with looks very interesting.”

Burda 8949

“And the front slits on that view is also an interesting feature which adds a touch of pizzazz don’t you think? I wonder if I could edge so neatly. I may have to leave that off. But I like the length for something a little more dressy. What a good boy, aren’t you? Maybe my pink G Street wool for this? Or the green velvet that still does not have a pattern? We’ll see when we get home.”

“Oh, look at this skirt. That short one has just the right amount of flounce. Not too much, which looks ridiculous on me. Let’s try it and see if we like it for that nice black wool we purchased yesterday, shall we?”

Burda 8280

“Ready to go for a car ride? Perhaps the hotel room is tidy now. I’d like a nap. All this talking is getting on my nerves and I could use a break. Right, boy?”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Fabric Place – Pittsburgh


Rolling hilly back neighborhoods with houses distinctly Pennsylvanian, reminding me of the decade I spent in Chambersburg raising my children, opened onto a main street with parking meters lining the curb. I had forgotten about parking meters. Mine would not take my quarters as there was a bent one stuck in the slot. I figured it was a freebie for me and took the spot rather than seek out another because the frigid wind was whipping and I’d found a relatively slush-free spot directly across from my destination.

I slung the dog-carrier across my shoulder (couldn’t leave the poor Chiweenie in the car to freeze) with hopes that he’d be mistaken for an oversized purse. His whining spoiled that effect as soon as we entered the shop. So much for incognito. But not to worry, the ladies (I found out one was the owner, Tami) were not at all put out by his incessant whining from the confines of his new “bed.”


I am here on business. Well, my husband is here on business, I am here on a shopping spree. Er – to help share the driving and keep him company this week. Ikea is a mile away  (have not been to one in 3 decades!) as is DSW shoes, which I heard recommended recently.


But my first stop had to be The Fabric Place. I needed lining and I was told they have Bemberg. They do. In oodles of colors. I stocked up on several. And I asked about other silk linings and was shown several which were on sale and less costly than the Bemberg (which is $8.50/yard).


Here are the silks:

 Swirl Silk

blue lavendar silk BW luxurious silk

I hope to turn the bold black and white into a scarf as one of the sales ladies had done. It is just lovely. Luxurious.


I then mentioned an event I plan to attend this spring or summer in DC and my intention to make an outfit. I was shown several options but settled on this jewel-toned knit – it has sparkles which are not apparent in the photo. Just a wee bit of bling. I’ll make a simple shell with it.


I’ll top it with a simple cardigan, 3/4 sleeve length made with this purple summer weight wool. The drape on this wool is so delicious!


The black will be the skirt – an 800 weight suiting wool that is a remnant large enough to be a skirt with a wee flounce.


This is quite a bit more colorful than I normally wear, but the jewel tones are definitely my colors and the bling of the shell will be muted by the solid cardigan and black skirt. I’ll need to find earrings – or bracelets. Bracelets sound right, I think.

I highly recommend this shop if you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh. In winter. The morning after a snow. With a dog in tow. Tami is kind and helpful and is happy to send swatches. She has unique and fine things. This ain’t no Joann’s! She is generous with her cuts and tears fabric on grain. She took her time and held up fabric to my face before a mirror to convince me that my pale off-white and beige selections were truly not in my best interests. There is lace and trimmings and a button wall – not as extensive as G Street, but quite unique and sufficient. Such a treasure is this shop.


Zebra print shoes?  DSW, here I come!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fabric Mart Fun

Mystery bundle on left

While ill with a virus all week, I succumbed to temptations. I ordered 4 lengths of fabric plus a mystery bundle. Those bundles are addictive, aren’t they?


First what I bought individually:

2 linens 2 velvets

The top two are linen. The left wine color is 100% linen. On the right, the cooper is linen/rayon blend. They are both luxurious to the touch.

The bottom left is a Nicole Miller stretch velveteen (3% lycra). The paisley is sueded cotton (per Fabric Mart’s description). I love the subtle paisley. I think this is my favorite type of texture: a subtle self-hued pattern.
I ordered “matching” thread. They got 2 out of four matched. I have no idea what the dusty pick is supposed to match! And the other linen color also does not match in real light, the thread is too red. I doubt I’ll order “matching” thread again – though when they get it right, it’s convenient. And I guess 50% isn’t too bad for that convenience. But really? Dusty pink in a package of wine and rust?

This mystery bundle is the best thus far! I received 5 fabrics for a total of 9 1/2 yards.

 wool silk cotton lawn plus black velvet mystery bundle plus P2051742

The charcoal grey is a fine wool with an amazing drape. I’m thinking a Loes Hinse jacket will show this to full potential.

Next to that is a grey silk (not violet as in the photo).

That’s followed by an aqua cotton – perhaps a fine lawn? Just beautiful! I wish I could photo the color better, but this is a cloudy day and it’s just not happening.

Stretch black velvet as soft as down and so shiny. Unbelievable!

The stripe (out of focus, sorry) cotton is the only think I can’t envision a use for immediately. But it is a fun and interesting fabric.

I really hit the mother lode with this bundle, didn’t I?