Monday, November 28, 2011

Remnant’s Rockin’ SWAP 2012


My Sewing with a Plan for 2012 is coming together. I have chosen all my fabrics and a few of the patterns. I’m calling this my Rockin’ SWAP because of the textured earth-tone fabrics in olive, gold, brown and winter-white.

The primary 7 garments I will be sewing:

1. Trousers - possibly Cutting Design’s One-Seam or Style Arc’s Linda.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         A brown mystery fabric. Slight stretch.

2. Skirt – Pamela Pattern’s Magic Pencil Skirt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         A beautiful knitty knit fabric.

3. T-Shirt – Paco Peralta’s Drape

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         A very light weight ribbed/slubbed knit.

4. Blouse – This is yet to be determined. There are so many styles I want to try, yet I must find one I wish to become a TNT (tried and true) according to SWAP rules.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Slight stretch. Beautiful tones.

5. Jacket – Loes Hinse Zipper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Fairly light weight, warm, great drape.

6. Coat – Kwik Sew 3095 (a boxy looking coat, but I like my coats loose fitting rather than tight and constricting)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           Green Corduroy. Thick. Maybe too stiff.

7. Over Coat – possibly Burda 7587 (a swing coat)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Wool. Thick. Love.

The 4 garments, which according to this year’s SWAP rules, I must repeat with the same or a different pattern:

8. Skirt


9. Blouse

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Lovely. Just wait and see.

10. Jacket

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Beautiful stretch velvet. Kind of furry.

11. Coat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Stretch velvet. Kind of stiff.

I will wait to determine whether to repeat the first pattern by how much I like the first choice once it is made up and worn. If I like it, if I determine I want to have a second in a different fabrication, I will repeat it, otherwise, I have plenty to choose from and will attempt a second style.


I had a relatively easy time choosing fabrics as I have discovered I purchase quite a few in this color-way. I love these dark, deep tones. Of course, as the weeks and months progress, I reserve the right to exchange a current fabric or pattern for another, but as it stands today, I love these choices. There is enough pattern to make it interesting, enough texture to make it fun and enough styles to make it challenging. Perhaps I will add a bit of embellishment as my heart leads, perhaps with some decorative stitching using the cams on my SuperNova and using a few seed beads. Ideas are ruminating.


According to SWAP rules, I can start fitting muslins now and can even complete 2 garments prior to the Dec 26 start date. YAY! Eleven well-fitted garments seems a mighty large task to complete by April 30. But the goal is to make future sewing more rewarding by having these well-fitted, TNT’s at hand. The effort will have long-lasting reward.


But I do have to say….I’m sorely tempted to hold off on the SWAP sewing in order to make this Koos Coat…


I’ve chosen tentative fabrics, in grey tones and a wee spot of red. My fabrics aren’t as wonderful as those pictured, but one must work within one’s budget, darn it all. My patterns are much more subdued, and perhaps that fits my style a bit better anyway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Murphy on Wheels – only slightly sewing-related


I don’t think I’ve properly introduced Murphy.


Murphy is a Chiweenie. If you Google “Chiweenie” you will see all sorts of oddities. A Chiweenie, if you haven’t quite gotten there yet, is Chiuaua plus Dacshund. Murphy’s mother was a Teacup Chiuaua and his father a mini-Dacshund.


He’s quite a pathetic pooch.


My day trip to the Garment District necessitated bringing Murphy as the hotel would not allow him to remain at the hotel unescorted so I had to bring him with me on the train into the city but I could not carry him all day – he’s just a tad too heavy at 12 pounds. Not being used to crowds of feet, keeping him on a leash all day was not going to work for him.

My only option, other than staying close to the hotel, was this suitcase/briefcase on wheels (that’s my daughter pulling Murphy).



Murphy has morphed me into a crazy dog woman.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Upgrading Patterns

When I started sewing, I aimed for inexpensive fabric and simple patterns. I had fitting issues (a full bust) which I needed to learn to accommodate. Simple patterns equaled successful patterns. I’ve rarely had a wadder (something which is only good to be wadded up and tossed out) but, even so, I didn’t want to learn and experiment on costly fabrics.


Today I am tempted by seriously expensive wools. Just saying. Wools – sigh – love.


I managed to take away quite a haul of very lovely fabrics from G Street’s back wall a couple of weeks ago. After laundering, I realize just how good these pieces are. I’m hoping to build my SWAP for this year [11 well-fitted garments resulting in TNT’s – or tried-and-true patterns] around these G Street pieces. However, I have decided that in order to “make it work” I’ll need a few extra filler pieces – non-G Street back wall finds – and some newer patterns.


I have a new favorite ETSY fabric shop, FabricsandTrimmings. I hesitate to post this shop here but you’ll promise to keep my favorite pieces available to me for purchase, won’t you? I found a few lovelies last night:


Brown and Black Tweedy Wool with Poly Knit Fabric--One Yard. Skirt.



Cotton and Lycra (2%) Fabric 60" Wide. Nothing better than cotton with a wee bit of stretch for comfort.


And I snatched the last two yards of:


“Winter white sweatery wool.” Originally, I bought the last yard listed, then received notification that a second yard was available and that I could have it for half price. Great customer service!


Those three pieces will make a lovely outfit, don’t you think? The colors – the browns and rusts are colors I love to wear. And I hope the wool is more sweatery than wool because I’d love something very cozy to wrap me – I hope I can make something unlined so the warm cuddle is maximized.


I also was so tempted by Spain’s Paco Peralta’s Cowl Neck top. He hand draws every pattern. This man is an artisan and I greatly admire his handiwork.


Paco’s Jacket – has intrigued me from the first time I saw it months ago. Yet I knew my skills were not up to attempting it. …look here as well for a unique fabric application. Love it!!!



J’adore the in-seam button hole and flattering seam placement.


I decided I will attempt this jacket after the first of the year. I do not think Paco encloses directions so I will need to rely upon books and generous blogsters who post tutorials and advice, as well, of course, upon the sewists at Stitcher’s Guild. I think Paco has posted a photo tutorial for construction tips.


I took advantage of Paco’s bundled offer which included his Half-Circle Skirt  which gets rave reviews from those who have made it. I probably won’t include it in my SWAP – but my SWAP plans have only begun to marinate thus far, so we’ll see what happens.


Paco demonstrates the three pieces together as “The Perfect Outfit.”


Ah, yes. This is definitely “me.”


I am in the midst of examining a few Style Arc patterns -

The Safari Jane Jacket has just the right amount of comfy slouch.



The Lara Cardi has the touch of wool I’ve envisioned for the small collection of wooly fabrics I’ve collected.


The Shelly Top is a dynamite cross over which mimics a RTW I recently purchased and love. I was going to trace the top, but perhaps purchasing a pattern would be better. It will certainly be easier!


Sewing for the SWAP doesn’t officially begin until Dec 26, though I can make muslins and cut fashion fabric before then, plus I am allowed to make two garments before the start date. I’m still in the designing/dreaming phase so I have quite a bit of work to do. Good thing sewing doesn’t end until April 30.


Are you planning to SWAP this year?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I haven’t shown you this yet series: Bronze Vest

This is one seriously weird vest.


This vest looks best off rather than on.


The back…


I think the fabric was acquired in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart.


A “parting” shot….



Go ahead. Laugh.

I Haven’t Yet Shown You This Series: Wine Linen


Skirt: Butterick 5421 View B

Vest: McCalls 2260

Bow Pin: my own

I made a coordinating top with bow: Kwik Sew 3782  and skirt with flounce: New Look 6463 View D, from a light and breezy floral rayon which I think I bought at Hancocks. You can see the fabric on the bindings below.


Talk about the swish factor…..


I lined the skirt and used a stable cotton broadcloth for the facing.

Wine Skirt facing

I have worn the vest with black jeans on several occasions.

I Haven’t Yet Shown You These Series: White Jacket with Buttons Plus Black Suit and Top

Things I’ve made but not shared. Some of the photos are poor quality – not sure why as I set the camera on a tripod on the sewing table and set the timer. Anyway, I don’t have the energy or gumption to redo the photo shoot but hope you enjoy seeing some of the things I’ve made.


First up: The White Jacket I made last winter with buttons added since my “adjustment” this summer. After looking at the photos, I can see that I ought to wear this with button opened.


Black Suit made March 2011. The skirt is Pamela Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt. The jacket is Butterick 5400. I beheaded myself due to a very odd expression on my face…waiting for camera timers is not easy – I end up talking to myself before the FLASH! catches me by surprise. 


Black one seam waist

Black One seam on table

Below you can see seaming detail I added because the suit was too large.


Below are the cuffs which were too wide. I added a pleat and buttons.


Lastly, the elastic back took out additional width.


The details above, though not a part of the original pattern, adds unusual, unexpected touches and makes the suit work for me.

The top was made last month using an OOP Sandra Betzina pattern sent to me by a dear gal who sent me a huge lot of patterns a few weeks ago: Butterick 3124.  The giraffe floral ITY fabric was acquired in September from Fabric Mart in their by one get one sale.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Garment District in a Whirlwind

I spent the last 2 weeks on an unexpected road trip. What I thought would be a quick 2 night stay in DC (a 6 hour drive), turned into 12 nights out and included a drive right past Manhattan and onto Long Island. Our time in DC was extend due to a family funeral, which wasn’t all that unexpected as my brother’s mother-in-law had entered hospice a few days prior. We sat shiva with my brother and his wife for several days before heading to New York.


While in DC I had visited G Street twice and pulled some lovely fabrics off the $2.98 wall. But I started itching for trims. And with NYC within arm’s reach, it was a no-brainer. The train station was directly across from the hotel. I’d never taken the Long Island Rail Road, but I used to be adventurous and felt I could resurrect that long-dormant trait. One hitch in my get-up-and-go: we were traveling with Murphy, a 12 pound pooch and the hotel would not permit me to keep him in the room unattended. Last minute attempts to locate a pet sitter failed. So, if I were to go into the city, with Murphy I would go.


I chose this photo of Murphy even though it isn’t his best side because it shows you the life he’s accustomed to. There are cattle off our back deck. Planning a trip into the city with the jungle of feet would require concessions to Murphy’s need to not be stepped upon. This dog is skittish in a crowd. Can’t blame him, really. I could carry him. Except I can’t carry 12 pounds for hours on end even in a pet carrier slung over my shoulder. I needed wheels. My husband had a wheeling over-sized brief case…see where I’m going with this? Isn’t a trip into NYC worth the silliness?

I put a towel in the bottom of the case, took Murphy for a test ride in the hotel room across the carpet. He wasn’t happy but he stayed put after a false start or two. I attached his leash in the event he decided to jump out (or someone decided to snatch his cute hide while I wasn’t looking). I wore a vest with zippered pockets to keep my hands free – lipstick, license, credit card, cash, hotel card, and hand-drawn map of stores I hoped to visit – basic essentials (oh, and a water bottle in the suitcase with Murphy for his needs). Check check check. Taking chutzpah in hand, setting my determination to reach the Garment District, Murphy and I wheeled confidently out of the hotel. (Picture me with attitude.)

A haughty spirit is despised and mine came to a crashing end a mere three feet past the hotel doors in full view of the 5 doormen and bellboys hovering to lend a hand. A haughty spirit can be a heavy burden, therefore it was a good thing strong men were available to assist.

At the first rumbling sound as the case bumped across the concrete, Murphy absolutely freaked out, jumping out of the case, straining against the leash holding him close, trying to do one thing: escape!

Murphy on Sewing Table102

A dog used to the finer things in life was not going in peacefully. But by then, I had decided going in was the only way I wanted to spend my day. So we made it work. I coddled and baby talked and eventually he decided he trusted me.

The train ride was uneventful, the city was hot hot hot and more crowded than I ever recall witnessing. Murphy was a good boy. Until he wasn’t. He did freak a time or two, jumping into the jungle of swiftly moving legs.

Mike Feeds Murphy to Tiger

(I mean, that’s not even a REAL tiger. Goodness!)

Within short order, Murphy decided his case was a haven and gladly stayed put. By then I’d shed my vest (did I mention how HOT I was?) and added it to the bottom of the case so he was able to sit a bit higher which made it easier for him – perhaps it was more comfortable as well. All the store owners were kind (especially Paron’s). People on the street laughed behind my back. Children were delighted. I wish I had a photo. Perhaps I’ll mock one up later to show you.

I didn’t need more fabric. Well, I did, always, but I wasn’t going to try to carry the weight and I couldn’t justify the expenditure after last week’s G Street haul. So I aimed for trims.


M&J Trims: hem tape in black and white, fold over elastic in gunmetal grey. I would have bought oodles more but they simply did not have more in a good color or weight. How disappointing. The brown mesh is stretch. And the black is faggoting. I’ve never used faggoting or FOE.


From Daytona Trim:


I’d love to show you photos of separating zippers – but I could not find what I wanted anywhere.

After a few hours, I was hot, tired, Murphy was exhausted and so we headed out. I wish I had found more goodies to come home with me, but I think overcoming fears and finding a way to “make it work” was worth the effort. I have regained a bit of my youthful sense of adventure.

Mostly, I feel I have arrived. When I last visited the Garment District – two years ago? – I felt like an uninvited guest to the banquet. Not so this time. I belong. I’m a sewist. I know what I’m doing with a needle and thread. My suitcase was packed with clothing I’d made, sandwiched between the RTW. As a matter of fact, my best clothes, those I wore to the funeral and family events were mine: a black knit suit with pencil skirt and matching jacket, plus a sleeveless turtleneck and a winter white wool jacket and faux brown suede skirt.  I have just realized I have no photos of most of these elements – I must get better at photographing my creations!

Here is the wool jacket, photo taken last spring.


With my “adjustment” I found the jacket too large, so I added buttons and hand-bound button holes. I’ll have to get a photo of the new me wearing it, but this will have to suffice for now. With the buttons, I don’t need to alter the darts and the jacket looks fine.


Today, Murphy is happy to be home where the worst thing that can happen to him is a faux fox stole.

Murphy with stole

And I did all this without the hand-drawn map. I'm not sure it even made it onto the train with me. Yes. I have arrived.