Monday, March 31, 2008

Scheduling Issues

You've probably noticed that Vintage Pattern Sunday didn't show up yesterday. I was unable to get Mozilla to fire up yesterday. In addition, eldest son was home for the weekend and I didn't want to spend much time online anyway. So, sorry. :( I'll see if I can get the computer to cooperate and do some catch-up posting.

I'm also not having Sewing Lessons Monday today. We have a series of appointments in Anchorage today and I had to cancel on the girls. We'll be trying to reschedule later in the week and I'll keep you apprised of our doings then! I don't want to miss because we planned to wrap up our unit on applique today. I'm anxious to start on the next section with them, Fabric Modification.

So...I'm off to do some quick grocery shopping before heading off to the dentist and tire shop. Oh joy! What a fantastically fun way to start the week...


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday's Sewing Smackdown

Okay, my men were off to the ski slopes at 7:30 a.m. I have decided that today I am going to really burn up the sewing! I thought if I posted progress here I might be more likely to stay on track. I am sorely tempted to continue my decorating tantrum, but really want to get as many skirts done as possible while I have the house to myself, no one to feed and no one to keep company. So, this is the report so far. I will continue to update this post through out the day.

Sewing SmackDown Progress Report

LAST OF THE 3TS!!! - Sewed up two 3T skirts I had previously cut out. Just have to do the embellishments. I already have 1 3T done and Paula is doing the rest. As soon as I do the embellishments, I will post pics and then I'll have two sizes completed or accounted for by others, the 3Ts and 5Ts!!

UPDATE - Finished the embellishment on one of the 3Ts. On to the last of the 3Ts.

Skirt #14...The Cat's Meow

UPDATE - Finished the embellishment on the last of the 3Ts. On to the Size 6s.
Skirt #15..."Definitely Knot"

UPDATE - Ack! This is going so much slower than I had hoped. The embellishment takes longer than I estimated. I had hoped to produce a skirt an hour, but no-go there. I have three Size 6 skirt made and am now doing the embellishment on them. Will post pics when done.

UPDATE - The first Size 6 is done. It has a little Mary Engelbreit scotty dog button on the pocket. One done, nine to go! I have two here with their embellishments in progress.

Skirt #16..."Beam Me Up, Scottie"

UPDATE: I couldn't post this last night. Couldn't get Mozilla to even open. Sigh...I have two skirts that were finished yesterday. Here is the second Size 6.

Skirt #17..."Mad for Melon"


Hate It When The Brain Skips a Groove

I should know better than to visit home decor stores by now. They are a stumbling block for me. I go in a perfectly happy woman and come out a disgruntled, depressed covetous whiner. But we have a new pastor at our church and he has a totally delightful wife. They have bought a home here after spending the last 3 years on a sailboat. She is anxious to "nest" again and I thought she might enjoy visiting our local decorating mecca. I live in a huge valley, the size of West Virginia, but for all our space we have terrible shopping resources. Especially home decor. EXCEPT...for the "yellow barn" store. It's a huge building stacking to the vaulted ceiling with all kinds of gorgeous (and expensive) home goodies. The owner has exquisite taste and the store is beautifully merchandised. It is so overflowing with lamps, shelves, boxes, pillows, candles, aprons, finials, tassels, chairs, tables, couches, etc. that you have to slide around sideways carefully watching your purse lest it bump a very expensive knick-knack onto the floor. We had a great time, looping around twice just to take it all in. I was very good and left empty-handed. But somewhere along the way I shop-lifted a major attitude problem. I arrived home on a major decorating tear. I shuffled furniture and redistributed accessories and spray-painted frames and..and...and... Which leads me to the Brain Freeze....

I decided that the back foyer window needed a topper. I had given the window a really cool Gallery Glass treatment when we first moved in ten years ago, but in my current mood it seemed insufficient. So I sketched out a simple topper - afterall it's a small window and whipped it up on my serger. It seemed a little bare so I decided I would pick up some tassel trim on my trip to Wal-mart to fetch the rod and curtain rings. The window is 34 inches wide. I made the topper 46 inches wide so it would have some ease and not just lay flat. But when I get to Wal-mart and the clerk asks me how much trim I need, what do I tell her? A yard!!! I didn't even think about it until I came up inches short upon applying it. ARRRGGHHH! Now I have to pull it all off, go to the store and buy more and start all over.

That's my wake-up call. Time to readjust my attitude and return to being the happy little homemaker blissfully ignorant of how far her home falls short of HGTV standards.

Just for giggles and's my new window topper. In the photo it looks like it's shorter on one end, but it's not.

And here's how $10 worth of Wal-mart greenery gave my hutch a boost.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Skirt #13..."Bella Ballerina"

I finished Skirt #13, the last of the Size 5Ts. Tomorrow I plan to stack several pieces at a time and rotary cut ten Size 6 skirts. I'd like to get them all done over the weekend. My guys are going snowboarding so I should be able to do a marathon sewing session on Saturday.

Heading to bed!


August Deadline??!!!!

I talked to my Mom and Dad this week about The Hundred Skirts Project. I wanted to get some sizes from my Mom and ask my Dad about customs and shipping. Dad said that he was planning a trip back to the Guatemalan orphanage in August. I guess they are getting some pressure from the Guatemalan government to accommodate more orphans. The need there is urgent. So there are plans for more building and a medical clinic. Dad will be going in August with a construction contractor to address this need and make plans for more growth. He says that he will be happy to hand-deliver The 100 Skirts Project for us.

But this means moving up my self-imposed deadline from the end of the year to August! I also would like to expand the project to allow for the new orphans that will be coming in. So I'm aiming for more like 150 Skirts by August. I did the math and I will need to make about 1.8 skirts a day. This sounds overwhelming, but really it's entirely do-able. With my serger, I can make a skirt in about 30 minutes, not counting the embellishment. So I plan to spend about an hour each morning making two skirt blanks and then when I sit in the evening to watch a movie or TV DVD episode with DH, I will do the hand-embellishing. I will need to be diligent to stay on track, but it's nothing overly taxing.

In early April I have a group of about 8 teenaged girls and 4 women who will be getting together for a one-day sewing marathon. We should be able to knock out about a dozen skirts.

And Lindsay has a skirt on the way already! I will post her skirt and blog link when it arrives. I'm anxious to see it!

Paula is making SEVEN skirts in Sizes 3T for me. I will, of course, share hers as well.

Peggy L has made three skirts in connection with Pattern Review's Charity Sewing Contest. They are in honor of her daughters and DIl.

And I have had a variety of emails from other gals who will be participating as well. So I'm completely confident that we'll reach goal in time!

That said...I didn't get much sewing done today. I have a ballet print skirt almost done. It just needs the embellishment and then I will share it. It will be the last of the 5T sizes!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sewing Lessons

Playing catch up here...Thank you to those who've inquired as to my whereabouts. My computer is running so slowly despite herculean efforts at rescitation that it's just very difficult to post. I'd have to have the patience of a saint and well....I don't. :) We will be purchasing a new computer, but we are a no credit, cash-only family and there are some other items ahead of a new computer on our Cash Flow List. So I guess I'll be learning some patience. Or posting less frequently until a new computer appears on the horizon.

Monday was Sewing Lessons Day with the girls. Sarah wanted to perfect the hem points on her vest and worked on that, developing some new marking techniques involving reversed tailor tacks in order to mark a sewing line on a garment already constructed. Her patience continues to amaze me. Maybe she and I need to swap computers! LOL! Emily completed marking on her furry coat and began construction. She completed the stay-stitching and setting in the in-seam pockets on her center front pieces. The pockets of this coat are set into shoulder princess seams.

During our instructional time, the girls learned how to do Madeira applique and padded applique. We only have shadow applique left for next week and then they will have completed their unit on applique. Our next unit will be on Fabric Modification Techniques. This should be a really exciting unit and I hope to produce some tutorials from our experiences. We will be covering various types of dye techniques, such as ombre, tie-dye, crayon resist, etc. We will also look at acid etching, embossing, painting on silk, stenciling, etc. And we will look at some techniques that involve manipulating fabric through tucking and pleating. I'm looking forward to it.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Dinner

I'll be taking a break from sewing and blogging for the weekend. I most likely will not be posting "Vintage Pattern Sunday". It's time to put down my needle, pick up a wooden spoon and hole up in the kitchen. Here's what we're having for Easter Dinner...

Easter Menu

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
Grilled Salmon
Baked Halibut

Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes
Steamed Asparagus
Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Easter Pistachio Salad
Deviled Eggs

Outback Brown Bread
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Whipped Honey Orange Butter

Chocolate Mousse Pie
Strawberry Shortcake
Apple Pie
French Vanilla Ice Cream

Southern Sweet Tea
Peach Tea
Variety of Sodas

I hope your Easter is super blessed. Enjoy your time with friends, family and reflecting on the spiritual blessings we have received in Christ. Christ Is Risen!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Skirt #10..."Lemon Zest"

Another 5T skirt completed. I still want to do a little beading on the applique on this one. I will be picking up either a white, orange or yellow tee for this one depending on what I find. This skirt was made from a denim I had in my stash. I have enough left over to make two or three skirts in the other sizes - though I will alter the embellishment as I want each skirt to be unique.

Skirt #11 (I think! LOL! I need to get my count caught up *g*). This one is called "Pocket Pals" and it's made from vintage sheeting in a very nice weight. It irons beautifully and is highly wrinkle resistant. This is also a 5T.

Skirt #12..."A Little Bird Told Me"


A Little Business

I am SOOOOO delighted with the sweet emails and comments I'm getting from folks who want to help with The Hundred Skirt Project. I have gals from New York, Indiana, Washington and here locally who want to be involved. What a treat! I am happy to report that the 3Ts and 5Ts are either done or promised. Sizes remaining are 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and I will need to make a few Misses Plus sizes as well (have two of these so far and could probably use 3 more).

On the downer side...I think my computer is about ready to fry. I've done quite a bit of maintenance on it with no improvement. It's an old computer so this is nothing unexpected. However, if I didn't get back to someone waiting to hear from me, please try again. It's taking several minutes to download a page so my computer time has dropped drastically and I may have missed a question, comment or email in the frustration and confusion. We are working on it, but if I suddenly disappear, it means we've had a crash and will be back online as soon as possible. Just wanted to give a heads up.

Thanks again for all your encouragement, enthusiasm and participation!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Skirt *8..."Peachy Keen"

Actually, I need to recount because I think this is Skirt #9. I'm going to need to come up with a system soon for organizing these skirts (which ones need a shirt, which ones need a tag, etc.) or it's going to get confusing very quickly.

This is how the skirts will be packaged. They will be wrapped in tissue paper first. Hot pink if I can find it and then put into a gallon size ziplock with the skirt tag on top.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Sewing Lessons Monday

Emily, Sarah and I had a very productive sewing day today. We covered two more applique techniques, reverse applique and needle-turn applique. We kept our instructional time a little shorter because I really wanted the girls to make some solid progress on their projects today.

On the project front, Emily completed the cutting on her Project Runway Style Mystery Assignment coat. You can read about that adventure here. This is a "repurposing" project. She will be turning a chenille bathrobe into a lined jacket with hood. We will share before and after pics when we get done. Besides the cutting, she also experimented with a little beginner-level pattern drafting, figuring out how to make a "powder glove" for her jacket. We got a successful draft on almost the first try. She was ecstatic. The powder glove muslin soon turned into a frenzy of making 80s style fingerless mitts. I think she went home with enough mitts to wardrobe an octopus! She also got her first lesson on a serger. It went pretty well, but...well,,,let's just say it's gonna be awhile before I turn her loose on anything that matters.

Sarah meanwhile was wrapping up her vest. This has been a looonnnnggg project and Sarah's fortitude has amazed me. I would have wearied of this thing about two weeks ago. Sarah is a bit of a perfectionist. She and her seam ripper have become fairly inseparable as the slightest wobble in a seam gets the pointy end of her ripper. However, the vest finally passed her rigorous standards. She is probably about one hour from completion. We have a little work on side seams and the buttonholes left to do. Buttonholes are always a bit of a gamble. Especially on a slightly stretchy and napped fabric like moleskin. I'm a littie nervous for her. It would be quite disheartening if, after all her painstaking efforts, things went south from here. So keep your fingers crossed for her.

And a little business...thank you for the emails and comments from those of you wanting to help with The 100 Skirt Project. I am getting some weird error message on my computer. The thing is barely crawling from page to page. So I'm a little behind on getting emails out and questions answered, but I'm doing major computer maintenance tonight and I hope I'll be back up to speed tomm. Thanks for your patience.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Skirt #5 - "Pumpkin Patch"

Skirt 5 out of 100 has rolled off the production line! I want to make some holiday themed skirts just for fun. So this one's Harvest themed. This is a 5T. This is another destined for The Hundred Skirt Project. See yesterday's posts for more information.

Skirt #6, Strawberry Fields Forever." Size 5T. Embellished with rick-rack, applique and vintage button. This is a vintage poplin fabric I found at a thrift store. I think it's just fantastic and it has a wonderful weight to it.

Skirt #7, "Victoriana"

Skirt #8, "Seeing Spots"


Vintage Pattern Sunday

Wow! A week rolled by already! It's Vintage Pattern Sunday again and time for me to share a pattern from my vintage pattern collection. This is a sweet one that I dearly love, a vintage toddler's sailor outfit.

And this is one I found online recently and plan to purchase out of sheer nostalgia. My grandmother made me a whole wardrobe from this pattern when I was 13 years old. There was a solid royal blue top and a floral royal blue top. Two skirts from the same and a pair of royal blue pants. She made them for me to wear on a European summer tour. I adored my grandmother and adored my mix and match wardrobe. It was one of my favorite outfits I had as a girl. So when I saw this pattern online, I just fell in love all over again and decided I had to have that pattern. Who know...I might have a 13 yo granddaughter some day. :) :)

And these are not from a vintage pattern. The tote and the girl's design I drafted myself and the other is just a basic romper. But since I'm in nautical mode here, I thought I'd go ahead and share them as well!


Organza Flower Applique

Kat asked how I created the organza flower appliques in the skirt below. It's really very simple....I cheated. :) LOL! The flowers are pieces of a trim that I purchased at Wal-Mart years ago. It was a by-the-yard trim of layer upon layer of these organza flower shapes. It was beautiful. Looked extremely expensive. Definitely NOT Wal_mart-ish. It came in this pale pink and a few other colors I don't recall right now. I bought it to use in the dress below. I wish I had bought a ton of it at the time. So I had a tiny bit of the trim left. I have used it in a variety of crafts for ethereal type appliques by simply cutting one flower off the trim and then separating the layers. So for the skirt's embellishment, I didnt' do anything but slap down three of the individual pieces and sew a button through their middles.

Lesson learned from this...when you find a fantastic trim or fabric at unbelievable price, rare quality and unlimited potential, buy a TON of it.


Skirt #4..."Spring Fling"

The 100 Skirt Project Update

Okay...I finished up Skirt #4. I'm calling it "Spring Fling" (so original, huh?). I will buy a lime green or hot pink tee to go with it. The embellishment is simply three organza flowers with button centers.


100 Skirt Project

I decided it was time to make some progress on my 100 Skirt Project. For those who might be new readers, I'm working on making 100 Skirts in size 3T to Misses Small. Each skirt will be unique and have some type of embellishment such as beading, applique, rickrack, etc. These will be paired with a simple matching tee to make a coordinating set. They will then be attractively packaged and wrapped with a tag that reads "The One Hundred Skirt Project, You are the Owner of Skirt # (whatever)". When these are done they will be sent to this orphanage in Guatemala. Original Posts about my 100 Skirt Project can be found here and here.

So today I cut out 5 skirts in a size 5 and started whipping them out assembly line style on my serger. Tomorrow I will insert the elastic into the casings and give each their respective embellishment. I'd like to knock out two more by Sunday evening and that will take me to 10% done! My goal is to have them shipped by the end of the year. I'll post pics when I get tomm's batch finished.

I have had some ladies express interest in contributing a skirt both here locally and online. If you're interested in participating, I'd be happy to include your contributions as well and share your pics here. Here are the guidelines.

1) Create a simple skirt in one of these sizes 3T, 5T, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, Misses Small. Add an embellishment of your choice (applique, trim, pocket, ruffle, piping, beading, whatever). In order to make fit as flexible as possible, please use a pattern with an elastic waist and an A-line shape.

2) Please be aware that the orphanage is in a small Guatemalan village. The dress for young girls there is much more conservative than typical American wear. You will want to make the skirt a couple inches longer than normal.

3) The girls do their laundry themselves and scrub on rough washboards. You will not want to use fragile fabrics and will need to make sure seams are finished in a way that can hold up.

4) Purchase a simple tee to match your skirt. If this is not possible, please just send on the skirt and I will purchase a tee.

5) Name your skirt. Have fun with this.

6) Contact me for a shipping address. It will be easiest and most economical if everything is shipped together, so if you ship it to me I will put everything together, add the "100 Skirt Project" tag with your skirt's name (and your name if desired) and ship everything in one big box.

My Mom and Dad have twice served at this orphanage for several months. This is one reason I chose this particular organization as my project. I'm familiar with the need there. Most of these girls have been badly abused. Many were entrapped in sexual exploitation and abuse. The need there is legitimate and all gifts received with much gratitude. Here is a picture of the girls.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Religious Costume of the "Old Believers"

Kat responded to a comment I had made about the Dries Van Noten dress resembling a Russian ethnic dress we see often here in our Alaskan valley. She was wanting to know more about this. Actually, I should have described it as religious dress rather than ethnic.

In my local area we have a large population of Russian immigrants. Some of them live fairly secular lifestyles and dress in western garb. But most of them wear contemporary version of "Old Believer" religious wear. The Old Believers is a sect of the Russian Orthodox church which broke away during The Great Schism of 1650 when Nikon began to enact religious reforms of the mass and to make changes to holy texts. The Old Believers rejected these reforms. They were persecuted under the reign of Peter the Great, who they believed to be the Anti-Christ. They have been frequently on the move since. They escaped from the persecutions under Peter the Great to China and stayed there until the Chinese revolution in the late forties. They then escaped to South America, but poverty there resulted in a large migration of the population to Oregon. The largest community of Old Believers in the world still resides there. I believe about 10,000? Part of this community came to Alaska. Many are in small villages and live in preferred seclusion, but we do have a population here in the valley that has mainstreamed into the community here.

But enough history..back to Kat's question. This community is easily recognizable by their dress. The women wear a long-flowing jumper like garment that falls from a very high tight bodice. Usually over a full-sleeved blouse. The dress version has the same bodice, really almost simply a yoke, but a very full skirt, deeply pleated that falls from above the bustline to the ground. They usually make these from beautiful fabrics. Silks, sheers. Slippery stuff and I'm often intrigued by what a pain it must be to control the sheer volume of fabric in these garments. It must take six or seven yard to make these. They are always flawlessly constructed. It is interesting to see how the women still make their individual style statements. The young girls can sometimes be spotted in trendy prints and colors. They also wear a head scarf and the teens like to make these from sequined slinky fabric,

Here are some pics from the Costume Manifesto website, but the versions I see in Alaska are much more westernized.

It's 1:00 AM and Do You Know Where Your Seam Rippers Are?

I intended to put down the Van Noten dress for the evening, but here it is 12:55 am Alaska time and I'm still trying to smack the dowdy out of it! I figured out what was bugging me about the sleeves. The lines and proportions just weren't right. But I've got it looking more like my inspiration pic now. Here's what I did...

Took 2 inches off the length of the upper sleeve piece (black dot)

Altered the fullness of the bottom sleeve portion (lavender floral). I placed the ruler at the upper edge where the bottom sleeve would join to the upper sleeve and then angled it so that I tapered off 1.5 inches of fullness from the hem edge. Rotary cut that baby.

I then put the sleeve pieces together, basted their side seams and basted it into the armscye. The sleeve silhouette was now correct, but something still looked dowdy when I slipped the garment on. I finally figured out it was the shoulder line that was throwing things off. It was sitting ever so slightly off my shoulder. Only about 1/2 inch, but enough to give it that droopy shoulder line that made the whole thing look matronly. So I shaved off a 1/2 inch from the shoulder line and slipped the dress back on. MUCH better. However, I noticed that the bodice of the dress felt like it was pulling towards the back. The back of the dress is significantly heavier because of interfaced facings on both center back edges to accommodate buttons and buttonholes. However, I didn't think that could account for the way the bodice was looking weighted towards the back. It finally dawned on me to checked the shoulder seam placement and sure enough, it does not fall at the height of my shoulders. The shoulder seam sits a good 3/4 of an inch off my shoulder towards the back. There isn't really much I can do about that at this point as the bodice is already lined and facings set. :( :( I've made a note for the next time I opt for this OOP Vogue that I used for the dress bodice. If this was a fine fabric purchased just for this project, I would pull it all apart and reshape that shoulder seam. But this was an impulse project after falling in love with a magazine photo. The fabrics are "make do" pulled from my stash. This is, afterall, the year of the Fabric Fast.

So...the evening's Dowdy Smackdown is over. I am heading off for a bubble bath. Tomorrow, I will finish and reset the sleeves. All that will then be left is hem, buttons and buttonholes.

Anyone have a hint they want to send me for making buttonholes in satin????? :( :(


Thursday, March 13, 2008

More of the Same

Today I plan to continue yesterday's theme of balancing household chores with sewing productivity. Yesterday I finished the gray pinstriped shirt, a muslin for the baby doll dress (still on the fence about that one) and cut out the Dries Van Noten knock-off. Sewing goals for today are to finish the Van Noten dress and then make some serious progress on my Wardrobe Capsule plan. I will post pics of finished pieces as I progress updating this same post.


I've assembled the yoked upper portion of the Van Noten dress. This is made from a black and white irregular dot lined with a lime green and white floral. This upper bodice is taken from an OOP Vogue 8145. It differs from the inspiration pic in that it has a notched neckline rather than the bateau neck. I shaved a tiny bit off the black and white neckline so that the lime print would roll ever so slightly towards the front, creating a faux piping effect that gives just a touch of color to the black print. Next up...creating the shift part of the dress from a lavender, black and lime floral satin with the lime green from the lining repeated in a hem band.


The lower front and lower back have been attached to their respective yokes. Next up are side seams and hem band. And I'm still trying to decide how to salvage my desired sleeve design from my cutting mistake.


French side seams are done. Hem band is in process. Sleeve assembly will be up after that, but I need to take a break to get some household chores and meal preparation done. Not sure I'll get this done today. Maybe by late tonight...

I'm having one depressing realization. No matter how cute a creation is. No matter how creative or beautifully executed. No matter how perfect the fit. I just can't really showcase my work properly at this weight. :( :( There is a reason why runway models are bone thin. As much as I'd like to champion for "real bodies", the truth is that clothes DO look better on thin women. And I LOVE clothes. I love fashion. I love making clothes. I love wearing clothes. And I really need to get the rest of my weight off to look good in my clothes. Yes, I should want to do it to be healthy and be a good steward of my body and all that. And yes, those are important reasons. But for me, I can't stand taking a pic of myself and knowing how much cuter that dress would look in a Size 8 on a Size 8 body (at 5'9" and 47 years old, I'll never see a Size 4 and actually would be thrilled to see a Size 10!) Besides making time to sew, I've got to start making time to exercise again now that the snow and ice are finally clearing off outside!


I've assembled one sleeve and pinned it in place to get the effect. ICK! Something about the high bodice, the poufy sleeve and the floral satin is making it look like the Russian orthodox dresses our Russian community wears here in Alaska. It's beautiful on them, but it will look ridiculous on me. :( :( I'm going to have to restudy the inspiration pic and try to reshape the sleeve. I think the problem is that the upper sleeve (the one that matches the bodice print) is too long and the longer portion is too full at the cuff - almost a lantern style. Sigh...I think I'll step back and readdress this tomm. I'm done for the day. Time to clean up dinner dishes and spend time with my kiddo.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Overly Ambitious Day

Okay...youngest son (Casey) is out for Spring Break and we've been doing nothing but partying for days now. I have GOT to get some stuff done today. I want to get a hunky chunk of the Spring Deep-Cleaning Thing done. I want to sew several skirts for The Hundred Skirt Project. I want to reorganize my jewelry (my pocketed hanger fell off the back of the door and all the contents spilled out). I want to start in on reshuffling around my sewing room. I want to cook and put away several meals. I want to finish two UFO sewing projects and start a new one. Obviously, not going to get to it all done today, but there it is.

To keep me really hopping, I'm going to post everything I get done today. I'll just keep updating this post. Hopefully the thought of public exposure will keep me from hanging on the couch with my kid (as important as that truly is!).


Hair Done
Make-up Done
Stripped Bed
Made Up Bed With Fresh Linens
Picked Up Master Bedroom (not a deep clean yet)
Vacuumed Master Bedroom
Wiped Down Master Bath (not a deep clean yet)
Fed Pets
Scouted Out Message Boards and Read Email (okay, this one should have gotten skipped)
Picked up Homeschool Room (not a deep clean yet)
Vacuumed Homeschool Room
Dusted Homeschool Room
Lysol'ed Down Computer Desk
Finished Gray-Pinstriped Shirt
Wrote Pattern Review for the above
Ironed Caleb's dress shirt and dress pants
Ironed 1920s vintage toddler bubble romper
Picked up Foyer (still need to mop, clean woodwork and dust furniture!)
Hauled 5 loads of stuff from upstairs to storage
Washed, Dried, Folded, Put Away Three Loads Laundry
Ran an Errand
Finished muslin of Bubble Dress (but decided against it in a woven solid and scrapped the muslin. However, I want to give this pattern one more try in a print matte jersey)
Cut Out the Dries Van Noten Knock Off


You can see a review of this design here

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sewing Lessons Monday

I'm a day late getting this up because of a freak accident that crushed our phone jack box, knocking out our internet and phone connection for a day and a half. I'd like to say that I was super productive during that time, wasn't. :)

We did, however, go forward with our Sewing Lessons day. During our "teaching time" we began our unit on applique covering fusible web with satin stitch, fusible web with zig-zag, fusible web with machine blanket stitch, fusible web with hand-embroidered blanket stitch and raw edge applique with thread painting. Next week we will cover the freezer paper method and needle turn applique.

Project time was shorter than usual because we got a later start than normal. But the girls did make some progress. Sarah constructed her shell and her lining and then began bagging. I had sent Emily's sheath dress home with her last week for hand-hemming and a few other minor hand-sewing details. She didn't get it completed so she wrapped that up.

Next week, I hope to see Sarah complete her vest (except for buttonholes) and Emily begin cutting her fashion fabric on her coat. We'll see how it goes!


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Just Ordered

I have been wanting to improve my fashion illustrating ability for a long time. I keep a sketchbook full of my design ideas, but the illustrations are so amateurish. I heard from others that these two books were particularly helpful, providing fashion illustration tutorials. I just ordered them from Amazon today and should receive them by week's end. I'll post a review here after I've had a chance to peruse them.

And just so you can imagine the dire is a sketch for a child's design from my notebook.


Vintage Pattern Sunday

I have been inspired by some vintage pattern websites I discovered recently. I love vintage patterns. The more contemporary ones remind me of my childhood and teen years. The older ones recall a ladylike era where fashion, femininity and glamor were synonymous. I have a fairly large vintage pattern collection and thought it would be fun to share it with my readers. So I'm going to implement "Vintage Pattern Sunday." Each Sunday I'll share one of the patterns from my vintage stash. And perhaps I'll do the occasional give-away. :)

Below is a Jane Tise pattern. This was a designer that was popular during my teen years , along with John Kloss, Betsey Johnson, Willi Smith and others. While this is a design that is too young and too bare for me to wear now, I still love the style. It is reminiscent of something I'd wear as a girl. I found this pattern at a local thrift store for ten cents. :)

Not patterns I own, but other wonderful Jane Tise Designs...

This one I remember having and sewing as a teen! I soooo wish I had kept it or had a photo of it. I can't even remember the fabric I used, but I do remember the pattern.

And a final tidbit...Did you know Jane Tise was one of the founders of Esprit?


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spring Loves

I'm not usually a follower of Spring Fashions. I'm much more of a Fall Fashions person. I love tailored garments, wools, coats, jackets, tweeds, sweaters and the Fall neutral palettes. However, I went to Anchorage (about 1 hour away) today to spend some time with my eldest. And when with Caleb one will sooner or later end up in a bookstore. So it was that I was browsing the magazine rack at Barnes and Nobles and saw the HUMONGOUS Spring Vogue Fashion edition. It must have been 3 inches thick. I thought it would cost a fortune, but it was only $4.99 so I bought it on a whim. And yes...most of the fashions therein can't hold a candle to what will follow for Fall. BUT, BUT, BUT...there was the most gorgeous multi-page spread on floral and hand-painted silk dresses. And this pic below particularly caught my eye as I LOVE mixed prints. I immediately tore it from the magazine and ran downstairs to shop my stash and my patterns. I think I'm going to be able to get a fairly nice RTW knock-off. I will be using bits and pieces from three different patterns. And I think I've settled on three prints: a black irregular polka dot, a lime and white floral and a purple and fuschia floral. But I'm going to force myself to finish my pinstripe shirt and my baby doll dress before I can start it. I'm hoping to be able to start first thing on Monday.

Dries Van Noten Printed Silk Dresses

And these are the fabrics from my stash I'm considering. Sorry about the poor pic. It's still dark and it was difficult to get any lighting for the photo.

PS - And no...I have no current plans to adopt the matching hairstyle.

Friday, March 07, 2008

All Those Not In Favor Signify By Saying..."Weird, Mom."

I've got the dress below almost finished. The sleeves are set in and the upper edge gathered. The neckband is ready to attach (I ditched the quilting idea. Looked homemade-ish). So I slip the dress on to get an idea of fit before putting on the neckband. I'm standing in front of the mirror, still totally waffling about this style on me. My 17yo son walks by, pauses in front of the mirror with me and says "That looks weird, Mom."

Gee, thanks... :( :(

Actually, once I put on black nylons, black heels and accessories, it looked kind of cute. But it only looks good if it's fairly short. Shorter than I normally wear my skirts. If it goes knee length or longer, it starts to look like a nightgown! And while I like the lantern sleeves, on the already baggy, full dress, they're a bit much in the full-length variation. I'm going to do some horizontal tucks at the hem and will do the same on the sleeves to take out some of the fullness.

Jury's still out on this one. I'm going to finish it and then I'm going to have to make up my mind. Because it's rather trendy, it's not the kind of thing you can wear while still waffling between "Do I look cute?" or "Do I look silly?" I'm going to have settle it in my mind so I can wear the thing with a confident attitude.

Of course, that's hard to do when you've got a Tim Gunn wanna-be making snide remarks during your fitting sessions.


Batter Up!

I bought this pattern not too long ago and decided to give it a quick muslin run from some hot pink polyester plisse microcheck that has been in my stash for about 12 years! I'm really on the fence about this pattern. Have a bit of a love-hate thing going on. I love it in the dotted matte jersey as shown on the front of the pattern envelope, but am not crazy about it in a solid. I think the style is so plain that unless its made from a trendy print, it starts to smack of "grannies housedress." I'll post a pic when I get a little further along. Because of the raglan sleeeves I can't really get it onto a hanger until the neckband is applied - and by then it's almost done. I will be doing some embellishment on the neckband. Some light free-motion quilting with an overlay of stretch netting and then some hand-beading. Will post pics. I have to make a trip to town tomm and then have church Sunday, so unlesss some time presents itself for photo-taking, it will probably be Monday before I get pics up.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

UFO #2 - Pinstriped Shirt

Besides the jacket mentioned below, this is my #2 priority UFO to finish up, hopefully before the weekend. It only needs me to complete the 3rd buttonhole triangle tab thingie, topstitch the front closure, sew on buttons, make buttonholes (on those tabs) and hem.

UFO #2

Cuff Detail

Collar and Tab Detail

Back yoke applique and locker loop

So far this one has gone like clockwork with no headaches and frustrations. I've probably now jinxed myself...


I've finished the tabs, the top-stitching on the center front and applying the buttons. The only thing left is to hem and do a snap at the base of the collar. This will be finished easily tomm. It fits perfectly. Not a fit wrinkle anywhere.