Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm Busy...but you'll just have to believe me

Hey everyone...I've been crazy busy.  I leave on Friday for Italy for 16 days.  ON VACATION.  Oh, I'm getting a little excited. Yup, the land of pasta, pizza and vino. I know not a lick of Italian (other than Ciao Bella! and Buongiorno, and Vino, but then those are the most important words, no? Oh yeah, and gelato of course!)

I have not gotten any more sewing done since my last post.  My plan last night was to attempt to create a few pairs of leggings (totally inspired by Margy's Playing With Proportion post!) and a few more tunics and tees before my trip, but my energy level by the time I get home at night is just keeping me out of my Atelier the time being.  There are just way too many other things are taking my attention away right now.

One of the things that has been taking my attention away is that I have been gifted a gorgeous new camera - the Nikon D5100 with a few lenses and other toys.  I've been playing with it and in the near future should be able to give you photographs of me wearing the stuff I create instead of iPhone pics of my dressmaker's dummy.

I was hoping to do a post on my travel wardrobe, but that just might have to wait until I get back.  I'll try to get my traveling companions to take pictures of me on a daily basis so I can keep track of the outfits and what works and what doesn't for future reference.

So, for the next few weeks...Arrivederci!

Friday, November 23, 2012

N'est pas bien dans ma peau aujourd'hui...

It's been a long week.  Not overly stressful, not overly tiring, just long.  I think the grey-ness of the day doesn't help either. The temperature here is supposed to drop from the loveliness we've been experiencing recently, and there's FLURRIES in the forecast!

But...I digress.  Today's one of those days where I just do not feel right in my skin.  My hair is bugging me, I'm just not feeling it.  I had a tough time figuring out what to wear this morning.  Nothing seemed just right.  Something casual (because it is Friday after all), comfortable and professional.  That's a tall order.  I opted to throw a few things together, but am still not 100% certain it's what I was aiming for.

One of those things is this, my new Marcy Tilton V8671. Yup, not the one I said I was working on the other day - sorry, mixed up the Marcy Tilton pattern numbers!  


It's two different fabrics, a rayon/lycra faux knit knit (as a knitter, I LOVE this!) and a cotton/lycra jersey. The instructions tell you to use the raw edges of the front panels, overlap and topstitch.  I folded over 3/8" of the top layer (in this case the faux knit knit fabric), applied Steam-a-Seam and ironed them together before top stitching.  The black just wasn't speaking to me, so I added a few squares of coordinating fabrics that I had simply serged and topstitched in place.  Kind of a fun detail, but I think it still needs something.  Maybe some bling on the squares?  Sequins and beads?  Maybe a silver charm or two?  I'm still dreaming of silkscreening in a silver colour. Anyone done this before?  What do I need to do to start?

I'm wearing this with a vest I made a few weeks ago:

and a pair of skinny jeans, with a great pair of riding/motorcycle boots that lace up the entire back.  

Maybe I need a different necklace or something...(shrugging)  Le sigh.

Up tonight - a massage (maybe that will get me out of the funk I'm in), and sewing something red:

V1124 -Sandra Betzina Sweater

I'm a sucker for the drapey sweater, and this one will be out of this:

Cuddly soft heathered wool blend sweater knit
What do you do to get out of a funk?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Finished the Pants (but you'll just have to believe me...)

Last night I finished my grey trousers.  You'll just have to take my word for it for the time being, because other than really really lousy cell phone pictures, I haven't coerced my photographer yet.  I'm not 100% happy with the fit, but I have been successful in removing the excess fabric that used to hang and bunch at the upper back thigh area.  But, I guess they're still better than what I would have "settled" for if I had to rely on the mall for clothes.   I will try again when I get back from my upcoming vacation.

I also finished another Marcy Tilton tee - another V8636.  Yup, love a TNT for ease and flexibility.

V8636 - Marcy Tilton pattern
Ignore the drag lines on the hips, it was late and by the time I realized the top wasn't on the dressform properly, I was already heading up to bed.  I'm toying with the idea of silk screening - it certainly would add some pizzazz to this top, which for the time being is rather...dull and plain, and quite casual, which really wasn't what I was going for.  Maybe I'll add some surface embellishment with texture...I'll have to think about it for a bit.

I've also decided to join the RTW Fasters group. RTW Fasters Webpage I know, I know...I'm such a joiner, and I usually can't follow through (sometimes with really good reasons, though!).  But this comes with some serious contemplation.  I'm really really trying hard to cut back on my budget, and with a fabric (and yarn) stash that I will probably not use in my entire life (literally, folks!), there really is absolutely no reason for me to go out and buy clothes.  I am also frustrated with the "same-ness" of every store in the local mall.  They all have the SAME thing!  Add to that the fitting issues I have with RTW and I feel frustrated and disappointed every time I make a trip to the mall. So...RTW Fasting it is!  I'm excited!

Up next...more tees from Marcy Tilton V8636, in a variety of fabrics, some tunics from Marcy's V8582 and some quick and easy leggings from M6404.

Line Art

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Current Bane of My Existence

Ah...Pants.  The Current Bane of My Existence.  I browse others' blogs, and see lovely fitting pants, with nary a wrinkle or fold in sight.  My current experience is driving me mad.  Mad!  I am currently working on Vogue 8157 (OOP, and no longer on their website, but I did find a copy on Ebay tonight - photograph to follow), which is described as "Close-fitting below waist pants have yokes, side front closing, mock fly zipper and length variations."  I'm working on these in a lightweight wool suiting in a lovely grey colour.

Anyway...back to my (pant fitting) issues...When I cut out the pattern, I made a 1-1/2" fish eye dart just under the back crotch line to compensate for "pooling" fabric just under the buttock area.  I added 3" to the length because I have long legs.  I also during the sewing process decided to let out the inseam from the upper thigh to the crotch by 1/2".

After sewing said pants, and then browsing through my many many pant fitting books and a few websites, I finally locating pictures of my precise dilemma in Jan Minott's book, Pants and Skirts, Fit Your Shape (circa 1974 that I picked up at our used book store for $4.95!!).  In addition to ALL the other adjustments, I also need to lengthen the back crotch and shorten the front crotch.

Is this all worth it, you ask?  Tonight, I am pondering that very question.  With a glass of wine.  This pant fitting ordeal is definitely not an easy process.

But...yes, it will be worth it.  I scan blogging land with envy, and the knowledge that I will over come this and I AM going to have a pair of perfectly fitting pants!  Even if it takes me from now until...Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Rain

So in spite of the miserable weather we've had recently, I've been plugging away, finding time to sew whenever I can.  I've still got major mojo!  I am going on a trip soon, and trip or no trip, I desperately need to refresh my wardrobe.  Funny how putting a deadline on things makes me get some serious work done.  Procrastinators, unite!

In that vein, I've always been a wardrobe planner.  In my head, I have an amazing wardrobe, stylish, fun, funky and suave, that coordinates and works for every occasion I could ever possibly come across. But when you look at my huge closet full of clothes, I really don't know if it works that well.  I have a big mix of colours, things I don't really wear, and things that don't even fit!  It feels cluttered and overwhelming.  Dressing in the morning can be a bit of a chore.  My accessories and footwear are a mish-mash of stuff, and things are starting to look worn.

I've come across The Vivienne Files (, with amazing wardrobe planning ideas, and lots of sewing inspiration for me.  One great idea I've been toying with is the Project 333 approach to the wardrobe.  You take 33 items, essentially per season.  These 33 items are well planned out, and coordinate to create a huge number of outfits that will carry you through the season.  This sounds like a great idea!  I have done this loosely in the past with the SWAP idea, but think it is time to really focus on what the overall wardrobe should be, instead of what I do, which is typically creating random capsules here and there. When I get back from my trip, I will focus on the Project 333 concept, with colours of black, grey, red and winter white. Fortunately, what I've been sewing recently has worked in with the general idea.

Here's a few of my latest FOs:

B3468 in Grey Wool Doubleknit
Very basic, almost boring.  But, when I pair it with a funky tee, and great swishy skirt, with some great boots, suddenly it becomes a principle piece.  

I've made matching pull on slim pants from McCalls 6440.  These required some "futzing" in order to get them to fit properly, but hey...what pair of pants doesn't?  I lowered the front waist by 1", I did a 1-1/5" fish eye dart on the back just below the crotch seam, and I added 3" to the length.  I had to play around with the inseam to get the crotch curve just right.   Again, still no picture - but I've just gotten a new camera, and I have a all I need is some spare time to play a little and there may be gratuitous pictures of my backside on this blog soon!
I also finished another Marcy Tilton tee - V8636, from a poly blend knit fabric that I've had in my stash forever.  I used the right side for the front and backs (I did a 1" sway back adjustment and added a centre back seam on this one), and used the wrong side for the sleeves and neckband.  I love this pattern!  I already have a few more cut out.

So...when I've finished the rush of clothes for my upcoming trip, I will take time to go through my closet and purge - all of it - clothes, accessories and EVEN shoes.  I don't relish the thought of doing this, but I know that once I do, I will feel much better!

Monday, November 5, 2012


So...I essentially ignored the stuff I was supposed to do this weekend.  You know, the fun and exciting things like paying bills, working on the budget and cleaning the house.  Blech, I say.  I focused instead on sewing.  When the mojo hits ya, ya gotta take advantage of it!  After my very productive Friday night, I managed to finish these on Saturday:

Butterick 5526 View C from a grey and white cotton shirting

Butterick 5678 out of the same cotton shirting as above,
using the "other side" as the "right side" for a deeper grey/black colour
I spent some time on Sunday in a marathon cutting session:

After which, I worked on these:

Vogue 8777, Katherine Tilton Vest
This vest was actually my last project of the weekend.  It was rather late, and I was tired.  The instructions gave me fits - I actually ended up draping the pieces onto my dressmakers' form to figure out how the back went together.  I'm glad I did, because I love how it turned out.  I used the length of View C, but finished the edges by serging then turning and topstitching with a 3mm x 3mm zig-zag stitch.

This is a very drapey fine sweater knit from Casual Elegance from a few years back. I made a long sleeve Perfect Tee from Loes Hinse a year or so ago from it, and it feels so lovely on.  They'll make a great twist on the twin set.

I also finished two pairs of pants on Sunday, but you'll just have to take my word for it for the time being, since I don't have the proper camera equipment to take a decent picture of my own backside.  LOL. 

I made a pair of Cigarette Trousers from V1264 out of a black wool flannel.  I ended up cutting down the waistline at the front about 2", as the pattern hits right at the natural waistline, and I'm just not comfortable with it WAY up there anymore.  The back I only ended up taking down by about 3/4".  I used the same facing patterns, but a tiny little seam allowance.


I also finished a pair of black heavy weight black ponte de Roma pants from Katherine Tilton's pattern, V8837.


Honestly, pants scare me a bit.  I never seem to be able to nail down the fitting issues.  And then, if I do get close, I gain or lose weight and have to start all over again!  I think it will take some time, and a couple of repeats of the same pattern before I can really nail them down.  It drives me crazy to try the pants on, take them off, unpick something, then sew a bit, then try them on again.  It's not simple, nor is it quick,n]but I kept reminding myself that after a bit of fiddling, I will end up with a great fitting pair of pants.  For both of these pairs, I did a 1-1/2" fish-eye dart alteration to the back and added 3" to the length.  I also scooped the seat out a bit as well, I'm pretty happy with the fit of both pairs!

Tonight, I started working on these out of a heavyweight heathered grey wool doubleknit.


I'm not quite as pleased with the fit, and not really in the mood for fiddling, so I'm stopping sewing for the evening.

Later this week, I'll tell you about my finds when I went into Fabricland tonight for thread and zippers!  I got quite a haul!

One thing I'm still looking for is a brick red stretch twill or lightweight denim, and the same colour in a stretch fine wale corduroy.  Anyone know where I can get any?

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Friday night is normally my "Crash and Burn" night.  Typically, I get home from work, make a pizza, have a glass of wine, crash on the couch,  watch TV and doze before heading to bed.

Last night, I decided to "Just Do It."  I ignored the primal urge to Crash and Burn, and decided to use my time wisely.  And look what I accomplished!!

I finished hemming the Butterick 8410 jacket bottom and sleeves, and hemmed the lining as well.  I also stitched the buttonhole and sewed on the button.  It's completely done!

I started and finished this:

Vogue 8636 - Marcy Tilton 
This is a Marcy Tilton pattern, out of a rayon/lycra jersey.  The only difference I made from the pattern was to shorten the length of the body by 1", and stitch a 2" hem.  It fits like a dream, and the rayon/lycra jersey feels lovely!

Then, I continued on with this:

Vogue 8671

Another Marcy Tilton pattern.  It too fits absolutely wonderfully for my shape.  It is from a very tiny stripe jersey fabric (unknown, potentially cotton/poly blend).  I used a ITY print for the contrast binding.  By this point it was late and I didn't really understand the instructions for the binding, so I made up my own.  It's just a simple binding, stitch the right sides together, then fold over to the wrong side and topstitch.  Amazingly, it worked (my own inventions and deviations, especially late at night, do not usually work out all that well!).  Here's the neckline and fabric up close:

The front is two separate pieces, overlapped and topstitched into place with the raw edge of the knit showing as a design feature.  I used a zig zag (4.0 mm wide by 3.0 mm long) to topstitch.  I also used this stitch to finish the hems.  I am really pleased!  It even got DD's seal of approval (as in she wants one - I'm going to have to keep a close eye on these, and make a few for her!)

I've been browsing the tee gallery on Marcy's website (Marcy's Tee Gallery)  to see what variations she has used for these tees. She has SO many great ideas!  I am dreaming up a lot of new tees in my future!  I'm a sucker for something different than the mainstream.

Plan for today is to start another Butterick shirt - I think it is another 5526, but I'll have to double check.  It was cut out in a previous cutting session.  Then I am planning a marathon cutting session for three pants and a few vests to take with me on an upcoming trip.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Christmas is COMING!!!

Halloween is done.  I was not responsible for sewing ANY costumes this year.  I think this is the first year EVER that I have not had to work on any costumes.  It is a little sad, actually.  Maybe next year I will do one for myself, regardless of whether I have some where to wear it or not.  Even just handing out candy? that Halloween has come and gone, it is time to start thinking Christmas!  YAY!  I love Christmas, the whole feeling that comes with the holiday season.  Not the crazy, fight-over-the-parking-spot-at-the-mall feeling, but the homemade gift, baked-cookies-fresh-from-the-oven, family-get-togethers feeling. I am turning my mind to the holiday season, which for me, also means holiday dressing.  NO...not stuffing (but there will be that too), but holiday dresses, and fancy parties.

I pulled a few patterns from my horrifically unorganized pattern stash (mental note for New Year's Goals!!), and narrowed my choices down to these:

Butterick 5542

McCalls 5878

Vogue 7277

Vogue 7510


I will definitely be making a short dress, the party I usually dress up for is essentially a fancy restaurant dinner and drinks - so any of the long ones will be shortened to knee length.  I love the ease, fit and comfort of the knit dresses, but I think McCalls 5878 is really cute, but I will be lengthening it to suit my comfort level.  That being said, I love the drama of a gorgeous back, but when I'm sitting down to dinner, you cannot see my back!  The last Vogue is very dramatic, in a knit, and looks stunning from both front and back!  Do you see my dilemma?  I guess a lot will depend on what fabric I have available to me (aka what's in the fabric stash? - mental note #2 - another New Year's Goal!)

What do you think?