Archive for June 2015

Sunday Sevens #10 (#42 on T&B)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Holy guacamole -- it is almost the end of JUNE!  Where does time go!?  Here is what I have been up to this week:

1.  Excited to find China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan at the library.  I promptly devoured the book and I am bummed I will have to wait for more of this juicy Asian drama! 

2.  WIP: Simplicity 1873 for stash-busting MAGAM and T&B sew along. After pleating the skirt and trying it on, I scrapped it for a gathered more tame skirt.


3.   Curry night in Louisiana.  We made spicy red lentil curry with basmati rice for dinner.  A quick stop at the local India restaurant and we had some nan too!  My guys eat this up!

4.   Cupcakes and more cupcakes. These are vanilla with white chocolate icing.  Not shown because they are already in our bellies were red velvet with cream cheese frosting and vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting.
5.  My birthday is next week and I am taking a holiday from work.  So, when I went to work on Thursday my coworkers were kind enough to surprise me with birthday flowers and wishes a bit early!  This was what I saw when I walked into my office.
6.   Human sticky wall.  It was a hoot watching the kids run and jump full speed at the wall and then stick.  J certainly had fun.

7. I was riding my bike around our neighborhood and stumbled on a yard sale with zippers!  Of course I had to get them...


Sunday Sevens is the brain child of Natalie at Threads and Bobbins.  The idea is that each week you may not have enough for a full blog post but you do have interesting stories or pictures to blog.  Capture seven things and share!  It is also a great way to get to know bloggers better.

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Geek Chic: Superhero Pa-jay jays

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I noted in my Sunday Sevens a couple of weeks ago that I gave in and purchased Tilly's Love at First Stitch.  I own several sewing books and guess what?  I have never traced a pattern from them.  I read through them all in that eager hungry knowledge feed but have yet to trace and make a pattern.  Pretty sad, eh?? Consequently, I need to rectify that.  I decided that I will work my way through all the patterns in the book the rest of the summer.

Experiment:
Margot Jammies
Size 1

Materials:
1.5 yards of DC Women Superhero Cotton
Purple piping
Coats and Clark Yellow thread
Fat Quarter of Pink Cotton turned into Bias Tape

Procedure:
I furiously traced out all the patterns in my size and promptly skipped the first make of the book (I am not looking so good with commitments!) which was a headband.  This book is geared toward a beginning seamstress as Tilly goes over tools, patterns, and other useful info for someone who is baffled by all the sewing jargon.  The headband was a perfect sewing appetizer.  I needed a meal not a snack, bring on the Margot jammies.  Tilly has a sweet little photograph of her in shortened Margot pjs painting her nails.  This is how I came to want superhero pa-jay jays.  I am trying to reduce my fabric stash (scout's honor!).  Ah, in truth, it is so I don't feel so guilty when I purchase more fabric.  I had about 1.5 yards of the Wonderwoman, Batgirl, and Supergirl: comic girl-power fantastic fabric.  It is busy, colorful and the perfect amount for shorten Margots.
I had purple piping on hard and figured that would add more crazy color to fun pants (Rather, I reasoned what harm could it do!??!).  I topped it off finding a fat quarter (or just about a fat quarter) of pink cotton in my bin of scrapes and made a double fold bias tape.  This is dripping girly.  And if you look closely, I managed to have Wonderwoman on my behind.
I did not bother to read the step-by-step instructions in Tilly's book.  I am sure they are detailed and helpful.  Because this was the first project in the book, the instructions are interrupted with explanations about fabric, grain line, and patterns. I start this project after my son went to his room to read and finished about an hour and half later.  I was tempted to wear the pa-jay jays immediately after I sewed them.  It took some mighty willpower to leave them.  I knew if I wore my superhero jammies then I would never photograph or blog about them.
I have been living in my geeky garment since I took photos (the day after I made them).  Perfect summery lounge pants.  Even geekier PJ pants to curl up with a good book -- I have been reading Kevin Kwan's China Rich Girlfriend -- so make the Margot and find a good book!

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Sunday Sevens #9 (#41 on T&B)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer is here!  Well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Happy first day of summer (or winter for those in the Southern Hemisphere).  I traced what seems like a million patterns (All of Tilly's Love at First Stitch patterns, Simplicity 1873, Gerties' Shirtwaist dress) and started a lot of projects this week and finished a couple. Woo-who!  Here are my seven images for the week.

1.  Capturing the little moments.
2.  Biking to get staples: Icee for Jules, wine for dinner, pineapple for dessert.
3.  We have been doing a cathartic summer clean.  My hubby finally decided to part with a box cassette tapes he has had since high school.  
4.  Father's day gift came in a wee early -- more brewing stuff.

5.  We travelled to Little Rock for a baseball tournament and enjoyed the Discovery Museum.  They had an exhibit where you had to solve clues -- just like The 39 Clues (my son's current book series).
6.  Appetizer of crab claws sautéed with compound butter.  Mmmmmm.
7.  We also visited Central High in Little Rock where the Little Rock Nine were escorted into high school under armed guard during desegregation.  Very interesting museum.



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Diving into Scuba Knit: The Jeanette Dress

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Since the beginning of the year I have spied more blog posts featuring scuba knit.  I devoured all the wonder and wisdom of scuba knit other bloggers shared.  The lady at my local fabric shop scrunched her face into a knot when I asked about it, "Honey, why would you want scuba knit!?"  I did not really have an answer to that question.  In fact, I didn't even know what to sew with scuba knit.  But I wanted it.  Bad.  Hi. My name is Annie and I have a fabric addiction problem.  I found a floral scuba knit online at Fabricmart and decided to feed my addiction.

Experiment:
On the Cutting Floor's Jeanette Dress
Size 6

Materials:
2 1/2 yards of floral scuba knit
White Maxi Cone Serger Thread

Procedure:
I was school-girl giddy when my package arrived.  The scuba knit was soft and spongey.  It had a nice stretch with decent recovery.  Turned out it was easy to sew and yielded a comfortable garment.  But that was hind sight, because at the time of the purchase and the package arrival, I had no idea what to sew.  I decided to give it whirl when On the Cutting Floor's Daniela needed testers for a knit dress.
The dress did not specify scuba knit.  Regardless, I was using the scuba knit.  I reasoned that if it turned out disastrous, it was ok.  Sewing to me is a journey and not everything works.  Luckily, it worked. Fab-u-lous-ly. The Jeanette dress is a close-fitting princess seam knit dress with raglan sleeves.  Daniela graciously makes her patterns available for free.  You can read about her philosophy here.   If you haven't heard of On the Cutting Floor or seen the many wonderful patterns Daniela has created, please go visit her blog!
The instructions provided detail how to draft the Jeanette pattern but it also includes the pattern pieces for the math phobic (so do not fret if the thought of drafting something is beyond intimidating, she's got ya covered!).  I enjoyed all the technical directions since it involves technical speak and math.  The only pattern piece that was not provided was the neckband.  I measured the inside of the neckline of the garment (it turned out to be 25") and because of the the stretchiness of knits, I subtracted 3", and cut a 22" by 2" rectangle.  I did also have to remove about 1/3" from where the raglan sleeve meets the princess seam in the front.  On me, there was a touch too much room.  Removing the excess fabric got rid of shoulder boobs.
The scuba knit actually helps to add the illusion that I have curves.  Here are some of my favorite features of this pattern:

  • Can be completed on a serger.  Yeah, I am a lazy knit seamstress.
  • Band at the hemline.  I can't help but thinking it gives the dress a throwback vibe.
  • Raglan flutter sleeves.
  • Princess seams are very flattering on many shapes.  That also means no darts to deal with.
My floral version is a "Take me out for cocktails, honey" dress or a "She wore that to a garden party!?" dress.   It is completely modest but still a smidge sexy.  Would it not look great for the work place color blocked in gray or black or white?  Imagine rocking that in the boardroom.  Below is my boardroom power pose -- watch out!  I am sharing this dress of Gray All Day's Sew Chic in a Week --so much inspiration!  
The above reflects my own personal opinion of the pattern and directions (I really do like the pattern and my finished dress!).  Please note that I tested the pattern before it was released and did not receive any compensation.

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Sunday Sevens #8 (#40 on T&B)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I missed last week's Sunday Sevens.  I blame it on my parents and having too much fun!  Here are seven photos:

1. Bocce ball with grandparents.  Apparently, my mom is one heck of a bocce ball player and she'd never played before....

2.  Cocktails in warm weather! And a Shirley Temple for my little guy.

3.  I have been a subscriber to Seamwork mag.  This is the second pattern I've made: The Sydney Shrug with leftover blue linen.
4.   Waiting between baseball games and avoiding the crushing heat and humidity.  I don't think he minded.
5.  Happy mail!  I broke down and bought Love at First Stitch.  That evening I traced off several patterns.
6.   We saw Jurassic World.  Packed theater.  Popcorn goodness.  Action packed. Totally worth it!
7.  Spent the afternoon teaching a friend to sew.  She got a sewing machine for her birthday.  Now I'll have a sewing buddy.
Happy Sunday!!


Sunday Sevens is the brain child of Natalie at Threads and Bobbins.  The idea is that each week you may not have enough for a full blog post but you do have interesting stories or pictures to share.  Capture seven things and share!  

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Navy Blues are in Season

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It was so lovely to have my parents in town for a proper visit.  They live in Ohio and I now live in Louisiana.  The trek is a tortuous 13-hour car ride or two planes and copious amounts of waiting in airports.  Needless to say, it is an affair when I visit there or when they come down for a visit.  A tad hectic but bunches of fun.  I missed my Sunday Sevens post but I did get to sew last week.  Continuing on my linen and stash busting path for June, I had to make a treat for my lovely mother while she was in town.

Experiment:
Lily Dress by Tessuti Fabrics
Size: Medium

Materials:
3.5 yards of Navy Blue Linen
Homemade cotton bias tape
Mettler Navy Thread

Procedure:
I love Tessuti patterns and fabric.  I have been wanting the Pia dress but have held off since I know that I look best when I wear a garment with a defined waist.  Shift dresses and loose fitting dresses make me look as if I am wearing a pillow case.  While perusing the pattern shop, it dawned on me that my mom would love all of these looks.  I gave into my pattern addiction and purchased the Lily linen dress pattern for her.  
The Lily dress is described as a loose fitting tunic dress with pleating detail on the hem line.  The most annoying thing about this pattern was putting together the 65+ page pdf print out.  Gah! Construction and sewing was relatively straightforward. It only took an afternoon of on and off sewing with my mom and several tea breaks.
I deviated in several regards.  I did not use the tear-away vilene for the neckline as I have no clue what it is...I used bias tape that I had made with some left over cotton to enclose the neckline.  Ok, confession time:  I scanned the direction with a cocky 'I got this' attitude and did not turn back.  Consequently, in my haste, I had a flash of horror and fabric nightmare when placing the pockets on the side of a completed dress.  I chickened out and placed the pockets in the front instead of the side.  "No worries" my mother concluded.  The dress now exudes a gardener vibe  -- absurd since my mom does not garden.
I marked the pleating for the hem line but when my mother eyed it she told me to leave it.  She would rather have a flowy dress that would be easy to iron.  Plus, she reminded me, I would have to make her another (in a shade of pink or coral as per her request) with the side pocket and pleating details for more fancy occasions.    
The medium is roomy and full of ease.  I still envision myself in one of these types of dresses and in my fantasy, I look arty and hella good.  Problem is that in real life, I am confident I would be bummed with a dress like this.  I am too happy that I pleased my mom.  And will gladly make her another one.  




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Shades of Gray: Simplicity 1104

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I declare June to be the month of linen.  Linen is natural fiber derived from the flax plant.  I just finished an article from the UK Telegraph which claims that linen is "making a stylish comeback."  Ummm, to be honest, I didn't know it was not stylish as I spy RTW filled with light, breezy, tropical linen dresses.  Hot weather begs for cool linen (get the pun!??!) and I can't think of a better fabric to begin my summer.  I seem to have built up quite the stash of linen -- let the busting begin!

Experiment:
Simplicity 1104
Size 8, View A

Materials:
2 and 1/2 yards of gray linen
1/2 yard of gray charmeuse
Coats and Clark Light Gray Thread
Fusible Cotton Pellon
22" white invisible zipper (the color I had on hand)

Procedure:
I seem to have an absurd amount of the Cynthia Rowley pattern line from Simplicity.  The latest one I grabbed during a sale.  With a large linen stash and summer dresses on my mind, I choose View A: a princess seam dress with pleating.   I was drawn to this pattern because of the pleat detail at the waist.  When I opened the pattern envelope and cut the pattern piece, it was one funky shaped piece.   It was a large piece with the princess seam curve and a large notch for the pleat (think of how odd that looks cut on the fold!).  This garment requires confidence with easing a princess seam and making shape pleats.
The bodice is lined with a gray charmeuse.  The stabilizer is attached to the lining of the bodice and then top stitched into place.  The night before I wore this dress, I finished attaching the lining by hand using a slipstitch.  I had been putting it off because I loathe hand sewing.  To my utter delight, a glass of wine indeed did make hand sewing tolerable.
The dress is very flattering with the princess seams and the pleats around the waist. Word to those who sew this view of the pattern, the dress is long.  Verrrryyyyy loooonnnnnggg.  I used my dress form and marked my hem with a gazillion pins.  In the end I chopped off about three inches and did a fat 5/8" folded hem.  It falls just below my knees and could be shortened just a tad more.  The only other thing I wish I would have done is added in seam pockets.  These are two easy fixes for those who want to tackle this pattern.
I made and wore this dress to my son's first communion this past weekend.   The week before entailed a large amount of getting ready for house guests and this week has been refreshing.  We are so happy to have my parents stay with us (I made my mother a linen dress that I will share soon!) since they live so very far away.  I have enjoyed watching my son get excited to tell stories to or hang out with Nana and Gaga (Yes, that's what they are called -- Gaga came about when my niece could not say grandpa and it has stuck).  We had the added bonus of have my husband's parents joining us for the communion weekend.   Plenty of food, laughs, baseball, drinks, and merriment.

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