Friday, August 31, 2012

a giveaway, a discount, and a swap, oh my!

I have a whole post planned on the new books i checked out. I even took photos! (can you tell how excited i am about them! yay local library!) but i don't have the time right now to compose my thoughts. So expect a post about books next week! I know you're excited too, on the edge of your seat right? you should be =)

A few things I wanted to mention…

There's a giveaway going on over at Steph's blog 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World for some awesome fabric! I hope i win, but if you win i'll be excited for you too (or at least i'll pretend to be, he he). She also needs help picking the name for her Tiramisu Lady's name, so get your vote on!

20% off at sewaholic - check it out over at Tasia's blog - now i'm very tempted to get a thurlow and a pendrell.  must.   finish.   alma.   first.

And one more thing, there's a pattern swap starting at The Perfect Nose! Read about it here and here. I'm going to try to sort through my huge pattern stash and pick which ones i'd like to swap and take photos. So hopefully I'll have that posted sometime next week! Then you can check it out and let me know if you'd like to be swap buddies. yay!

i think that was it for now… it's a 3 day weekend, yay! so i'm planning to spend some quality time with my brother…


haha. (my real brother lives out of state anyway.) hopefully i'll be making some progress. but i might just be doing a lot of reading, oh yeah and sorting through pattens. have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

dastardly darts

I wish i could be one of those bloggers who just posts completed projects (fabulous completed projects) - every other day, wham bam, a new project, and it's fab-u-lous! but no. i try to squeeze in some sewing time at night, but life gets busy. and then i remind myself i need to go to bed! So this is as far as i got on  monday at midnight… (sewing was trumped by a margarita and a free ticket to a musical last night)

half an alma

do you ever do something one way, get super frustrated and think "there must be a better way!" - that is me and darts. dastardly darts! so, while working on the back piece of the blouse, i was starting at the top pointy end of the dart and trying to sew straight down to the other pointy end of the dart. and it was just not going well. not cool. so when i got to the darts on the front of the blouse i decided to try sewing from the middle of the dart down to one point and then again from the middle of the dart to the other point. Bingo! much nicer. and then i had the genius idea to look in one of those books i checked out from the library. surely there was something in there about sewing darts. D'oh! right there in a book it says to start sewing the dart from the middle out instead of starting at the point! and i read the book, but i guess i forgot that bit. oops. so my front darts are nicer than my back darts. but they're in. and i stay stitched correctly this time! and then i joined the shoulder seams. and then i tried it on… and… it fits!!! (so far!)

so i'm very optimistic about it and wish i could be working on it right now. hopefully i'll make more progress tonight. but my books are due back to the library. they let me renew them twice already. and now they want them back. so i'll return them, and then wait a few days and go back and check them out, ha ha!! actually i'll see if they have a few different sewing books this time. fingers crossed for some good ones!

here's my other unfinished (abandoned) project…

a small percentage of a tent dress

that's my tent dress. it's going to have to wait its turn until the alma is done. 

have you been frustrated while working on something and thought "there must be a better way!" …and then later you find out that there's an easy fix.

Friday, August 24, 2012


look ma, i traced a pattern!

don't try to adjust your monitor, you're seeing that clearly - it's progress! last night i traced the patten onto parchment paper - isn't that redundant, like saying "paper paper" or "queso cheese dip" or "atm machine" but that's what it said on the publix package, "parchment paper." 

compliments of the dictionary app on my computer

oh okay webster, so you're telling me that parchment can also be animal skin, not just paper. so i should call publix and rant "i expected this to be animal skin and i'm very disappointed! the package is clearly labeled 'parchment' but this is not what i expected." anyway, just trying to keep this educational. now you know. parchment is not just paper.

moving on. so i traced the pattern onto parchment paper, held it up to myself and decided that i needed to lengthen it. i'm tall. so i actually followed directions and cut on the line in the center and added 2 inches to the length in the middle, rather than just throwing 2 inches onto the bottom of the pattern.  taped it together and my tape Does Not Stick to parchment paper, booo. but it does stick to the hardwood floors! (no cutting table over here) so i taped the cut pattern pieces to the floor, spaced out the top and bottom pieces of the bodice by 2 inches and traced it onto another piece of parchment paper. but before i could re-do the second pattern piece, i ran out of parchment paper! so i found some tissue paper that we had received wedding gifts wrapped in and there ya go. 

then i pinned the pattern to my fabric and went about cutting it out. it was like a game of twister on the floor. "right hand on sleeve pattern piece." "left foot on pins." (ouch)

AKA "how flexible are you" or "let's get friendly and fall on top of each other"

oh i also left several inches available on the bottom of the sleeve, because i'm going for the 3/4 sleeve View B, but i'm not yet sure how long my sleeves should be. And I'm doing the neckline from View A. I may or may not make the belt. I have enough fabric left over, but i'm going to wait until i have the shirt mostly done to decide if it would look better belted or not.

*I did not really get a pin stuck in my left foot. I know you were probably concerned. 
**And i always won at twister (no, I am not that conceited, just more flexible than my oponents)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

another happy, happy, joy, joy! but no real progress

Guess what was hiding in my mailbox! yep, the Alma pattern arrived last night! I was very tempted to start cutting my fabric immediately, but i haven't finished my hopefully-not-a-tent dress (who am i kidding, i'll be putting that on hold), and it was girls movie date night. (The theater near me has $6 movies on tuesdays, yay!) So i didn't get any sewing done (or tracing or cutting). But i did admire the pattern. ("my precious…" ha ha ha) It looks very well designed, both as a pattern and the packaging. And the instructions look easy to follow. Being a very visual person, i love all of the drawings - the more drawings, the better! And i'm going to be a good little sewer and trace my pattern onto other paper instead of just hacking up the original (like i did with my last 2 patterns, ha!)

who knew i'd get so excited over a pattern… is there a pattern that you've gotten so excited about that you just can't wait to get started on it??

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

happy, happy, joy, joy! and then fail

borrowed from here

missing ipod has been recovered! yay! suffering from massive pandora withdrawal, i once again turned the sofa upside down last night and poked around, and ta-da! i found my poor ipod sandwiched inside between the 2x4 at the bottom and the fabric on the back.  whew.  (also found 2 quarters.) 

so over the weekend i got ZERO sewing done. i blame the marathon of "top chef" that came on while i was eating breakfast/lunch on saturday (i like to sleep in on weekends, so then it's breakfast/lunch when i get up. i stay up super late on weeknights, so i have to recover.) and then it was rainy and i took a nap on the couch. and then we celebrated a friend's birthday in the evening. another friend had a birthday to celebrate on friday night, so no sewing was done then either. and then sunday, wait what was my excuse for sunday? oh yeah i did some yard work and then it rained again, and then we went for a walk on the beach. and did zero sewing.

so monday night i sewed!! I pulled out project tent event and got down to business. i only had the side seams and armholes done, so up next was the neckband with interfacing. I sewed that up and it was huge, falling-off-my-shoulders huge. so i took it in by 2 whole inches on both of the shoulder seams, as small as i could make it and have it still fit over my head. This dress has no zipper, it's a pullover style. I gathered the back and attached it to the neckband and i think that part looks good, but the dress is sooo wide. it needs a belt or something major, or i could take the side seams in some more?

the pattern was part of my plethora o' patterns and it only came in sizes M-XL. I did the medium and it is not working at all. I vented my frustration to my husband and he said he didn't think i'd be using patterns much longer anyway. i guess he's seen too many episodes of project runway. my fault.

i've read about people making a block pattern for themselves, so i'll have to look into that more. as for the tent dress, i'm going to go ahead and finish attaching the neckband and see if it looks salvageable. if not, there's enough fabric in the dress to cut it up and make into a top or skirt.

I'm also still stalking my mailbox for the alma pattern and i'm really hoping the sizing works right off the bat. it is kinda silly that i have a huge bag of patterns, but i'm waiting for one to arrive in the mail. can't help it, i got all excited seeing all of the cute versions everyone made. sewing envy is my downfall.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

alma muslin maybe?

I ordered my Alma pattern yesterday! I checked the store that carries Sewaholic patterns near me twice and they weren't getting it in, so i just went ahead and ordered it online. And you're thinking, "but you need to finish those other WIPs first!" But I'm like a small child - "No, I wanna start something new!!" Kinda like - you can't eat desert till you finish your dinner. That's how it feels.  

And I want to go buy new fabric. and you're thinking "no, you need to use up the fabric you aready have." "I don't wannaaaaaaa." We'll just have to wait and see who wins this battle.

maybe a compromise? i'll make a muslin (hopefully wearable) of the alma with some fabric i already have?? how about that? sounds good. so here's some cheap-o fabric in my (tiny) stash.

blinded by the light, swept up like…lala la lalalalalalala
i was drawn to the pattern of the leaves in this, but now i kinda think it would've made a better pillow instead of clothing. it's a light/medium weight cotton. and i don't really want to make a pillow, plus it would NOT match my ipod-eating sofa. (i kinda want to write a post where every word is linked to something, just for the hellavit. maybe i will.) um, what was i talking about? distracted much? oh yeah, so i had originally planned to make this dress out of that fabric…

the business-chic clique
but, wait! she's wearing a belt! and i want to make my next dress one that has a defined waistband without needing a belt. but i do like the front darts/seams and the pockets. but those details would get lost in the print anyway! so an alma muslin it is! 

now i'm going to go stalk my mailbox for the next few days! what? you think i should just keep working on those WIPs, ugh.  (should is be WsIP?) anyway, happy sewing (or happy mailbox stalking!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

so i sewed this… and i'm wearing it, oh my

i almost brought along a change of clothes. i'm imagining ripped seams or some other tragic fail. but i'm being brave and i'm wearing my dress today!

i hemmed it last night and stole a hook and eye from another dress (i'll fix that later, i just didn't want to go to the store). the dress is a little stiff. i didn't wash the fabric before sewing this up (impatience over here). i thought i was going to go unnoticed but one of the girls at work called me out. (also when i say "girls," know that i am the youngest person in my department and one of the few that does not have children or grandchildren. so "girls" is all-encompassing.)  i did tell them that i was making a dress and would try to wear it to work, but i guess she could tell i made it? although she did ask me the other day if i made my skirt and it was a store-bought skirt. so maybe she's just going to ask me every day now. and then all of the other girls made me stand up and had to come over and check it out (blushing over here). oh and i wore some little strappy gold sandals that i already had, because i didn't do any shopping over the weekend. And the photos…

business in the front
still business in the back
ok ok, so you need proof that i'm actually wearing it, geez you're so demanding…

you like that bathroom mirror shot
my husband wasn't home right then and i didn't feel like getting out my tiny tripod and playing with the self-timer before heading to work. (note to self: clean bathroom mirror before taking photos. windex is quicker than photoshop.) and here's a nice headless shot, where i stood on a step stool. i know, super professional. i'm going to tell myself it's artsy.

my legs aren't that dark, it's the lighting - look you can see my toothbrush 
what, you need to see the back too? fine, but only because you asked nicely.

don't mind the messy bun
so it's not perfect by any means, but it's wearable, i think. well i am wearing it. but some would say, "just because you can wear something, doesn't mean you should." ok, i'm being too critical. 

you love seeing my camera in the photo
i'm excited to move on to something else now. on to the next one. - yes, i quote jay-z.

Monday, August 13, 2012

my sofa ate my ipod and other short stories

i got absolutely no sewing done this weekend. i had big plans to sew, but it didn't happen. well i did sew a bead back onto a sweater that had been falling off, and i sewed the front of a faux wrap dress together so that i don't have to worry about it coming open. i was resorting to safety pinning it closed from the back, which was fine, but not the most glamorous solution.

Saturday was a friend's 30th birthday party and sunday another friend proposed to his girlfriend and we celebrated. And i had time in between, but instead i… watched olympics, read, cleaned, took a nap, watched other tv shows and was generally lazy.

oh and i spent a large chunk of time tearing apart my sofa in search of my ipod, which i think fell into the cracks and disappeared. i had been using it a lot to listen to pandora (oh how i love pandora) and it's very handy to read email and blog updates on. i left it on the arm of the sofa. and now it is no more. it's not like i paid for this ipod, it was a cast-off from my father-in-law when he got his new ipad and gave me his never-used ipod touch. (I couldn't convince him to keep the ipod and give me the ipad.) and i already had an ipod, but not as fancy (i fill it with upbeat music to work out to - which i need to do more of) anyway, so it's not like i paid for this ipod, but i would still like to find it. my less fancy ipod does not have pandora or internet. i went as far as turning the sofa on its side and cutting open the fabric on the bottom and digging around with a flashlight. no luck. i'll probably try again later. actually i'll probably find it somewhere else completely. but i swear it was on the sofa. (don't leave your ipod on the sofa.) (also don't leave your phone on the edge of the bathtub, if it's set on vibrate and someone sends you a text, it WILL fall into the tub, and then it won't work - trust me, i know.) i also thought i could sell the sofa and on the craigslist post i could title it "red sofa - may contain ipod inside!" my husband offered to take a hammer to the sofa and find it, but i think he just wants an excuse to smash things. and then we'd have to buy a new sofa (which cost MORE than the stupid ipod.)

i stole this photo from here
well that's a photo of an iphone, which it is not, but you get the point. it's sad, lonely and lost. actually it probably ran away on purpose.

so i'm hoping that i can hem my dress tonight so that i can wear it tomorrow. it also needs a hook and eye, but i don't want to go to the store tonight, so i may steal one from some other piece of clothing that i don't wear much. oh and i forgot to mention that my car did NOT want to start this morning. i think i may need a new battery. so fingers crossed that it starts so that i can go home; otherwise i'll have to get it jumped. fun times. fun times. sometimes i really wish i lived in a city that had a subway system. (UPDATE: My car started fine and I made it home! And my sweet husband drove down to my office with jumper cables before i got off work, just in case!)

sorry this post was not really as sewing focused! were you productive over the weekend?

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I thought I'd get a good photo and then post this, but that didn't happen, so i'll try to take photos over the weekend. I got the zipper in on tuesday night, woohoo! it went in pretty smoothly and was much easier than i thought it would be. although i did have one hang up… i sewed it so that the zipper would be sandwiched (mmmh, sandwiches, is it time for lunch yet?) between the inside facing and the outside of the garment, but the zipper would catch on the bottom of the facing and not zip up further, so i had to undo one side and i plan on sewing that part of the facing back down by hand so that it doesn't catch. the other side was fine and didn't catch. I also took the top in by about an inch so the neck wouldn't gape as much.

drum roll… it fits!!! i was pretty worried after all of those adjustments, but it looks much better than i thought it would. it might not even need a belt! i just need to hem it and then hopefully i'll try to wear it one day next week (and take photos). Anyone have any nifty tricks for achieving an even hem?

and then i was thinking, wait, what shoes will i wear with this?! the dress is like a light lime green (they call it "citrine") and medium chocolate brown. (See previous post for photos of the fabric.)  looking though my shoes, they're either too winter-y (it's hot here - in the 90s right now and that's fahrenheit for those of you using celsius), too casual, too dressy, not the right brown… nothing quite right = excuse to buy new shoes? I think the dress might look best with some dressy/casual brown sandals that are flat or low (i'm tall and i don't really wear heels to work and this is a wear-to-work type dress for me). I'm going to browse zappos, anyone have any cute shoe ideas?

do you think about what you'll wear something with Before you sew it? Or do you just buy whatever fabric you're drawn to and then figure out the rest later? I think I'll do a little planning next time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RIP overcasting foot, & narrow hemmer is not my friend

I've been working away at my dotted dress, and i've made some progress despite a few setbacks and many distractions. On sunday i killed my overcasting foot. I stabbed it right in the heart. The needle came down and broke the middle bar off the foot. Needle survived, but i have decommissioned it. mainly because i think people would get mad at me if i continued to use it. it looked fine to me (AKA not bent)! but i hear you should replace your needle after every project, so after a needle smashes into a small piece of metal, that's probably another time to replace it. right. can i still use the overcasting foot? is that middle bar a must-have? i was getting to be good friends with that foot… using it to zigzag all of my edges, having picnics in the park, liking each other's facebook updates. so i thought about trying to use it without the bar. Good idea or bad idea? i guess i could order a new one =(

oh, yeah the reason i killed it was that i set the stitch width too large, oops. and in the manual there is a warning that tells you to slowly lower the needle down to make sure it doesn't crash into the middle bar. i didn't heed the warning. but mainly because this is a computerized sewing machine, how hard would it be for it to make those stitch widths Not Available when using that foot!!! I mean come on, it beeps at me every other time i try to do something stupid. 

so i tried to friend my narrow hemmer foot, but i think it's a stuck-up bia-tch. i even looked at tutorials online. i looked in the manual and it's not mentioned once. is it not even the foot i think it is? did someone at the brother company throw in a foot that doesn't do anything, just to screw with me? anyway so if you have some genius advice, do tell! I was going to use the narrow hemmer on my sleeves, but instead just did a small double-turned hem.

enough about feet. it's photo time! Here is the inside neckline of the dress…

I actually enjoyed adding the interfacing and thought it turned out well. Here you can see the underside of the interfacing, and look ma, i clipped my curves!

but i forgot to zigzag the top shoulder seams, oops! they never mention when to finish any of the edges. they think i'm smart enough to know that, but the outside of the pattern says "Easy" so i want it to hold my hand.

Neckline from the right side after i ripped it out and re-did the topstiching. And here's an up close shot.

i used the serger at the shop to edge the interfacing, which is why you can see the white serger stitches. i thought about using bias tape, but worried the added bulk would create a visible line. Here's one of the sleeves…

Easing in the sleeves was a chore. my bobbin ran out midway through the first sleeve and then i saw i had sewn 2 tucks in, so i had to go back and re-do it anyway. on the second sleeve i only had 1 tuck to fix. if there was a third sleeve, maybe i would've gotten it perfect

Tallia is still in residence, so i draped the dress over her so that you could see the sleeves better. on the floor it looks all wavy.

It doesn't really fit the dress form because she's too big, so i just have it hanging around the front and the back is gaping open. i hope the dress ends up fitting me well because I've had some issues with the fit. The top ended up being very baggy, gaping under the arms, so before i sewed the sleeves in, i took in both sides of the dress another 5/8" and then fading out to the hips and leaving them as is because i didn't want it any tighter in the hips. and then i took in the sleeves a bit too so that they wouldn't be too large. i'm still worried that it's going to look like a pillow case because the waist isn't defined. i was thinking about adding in 2 darts in the front to help? or i could get a belt i guess.

next dress will have a defined waistband. this looks all wavy on the floor, but it's just the floor being a flat surface. although now i notice the dots don't line up correctly at the bottom of the dress. drat. i haven't hemmed the bottom yet. tonight i'll be installing the back zip. this will be a first for me. fingers crossed.

i'm sure you've seen the new alma blouse by sewaholic, (you might have even been one of the pattern testers) but i think it's super cute. i'd love to find a pattern that actually fits right off the bat. not sure if i can do the peter pan collar though because i think it will make me look younger. but i love the long sleeve floral version she has on the blog. this top would be perfect for work. i already have some fabric in mind that i've been eyeing at the store. so I'm going to check to see if they have the alma pattern in stock yet. and then i need to figure out how to become one of the lucky pattern testers! sounds like fun! yeah i probably need to keep working on my sewing skills first. but hey, if anyone wants to test out their patterns on a beginner, i'm your girl.

Friday, August 3, 2012

WIP it! WIP it good

I've been glued to the tv watching the olympics and not as much sewing has happened as i would've liked. I even skipped Project Runway last night because i was watching the olympics. I'll watch it on demand over the weekend. I hope it's on there. It better be on there. otherwise i guess i can just catch up next week because they rerun the previous week's show right before the new show. (Update: Project Runway IS on demand! And there are bonus features, including exit interviews with the winners and losers of each challenge and visits to each of the designers' homes with a peak inside their closets.) My other favorite show right now is "So you think you can dance" on Wednesday night. They were courteous enough to show a rerun this week rather than a new episode because they knew i'd be watching olympics. I've been watching all of the gymnastics, swimming and diving. I did catch some archery and rowing as well.

so what am i working on? i'm actually kind of in the middle of 4 projects right now. 4 WIPs! What am i thinking!? Blue knit skirt needs some hem tape for the bottom hem. I'm OCD and can't stand to leave it unhemmed, but it wasn't cooperating. So i need to give it another go after i buy some fusible hem tape to stabilize it. or i could try starching it maybe? My "tent event" dress is also a WIP. i got bored and moved on to another project, but i will make myself finish it, promise! Then we also have my knit dress that needs some help which i have all cut out, but i need to work on the sizing of the top - much too big.

but instead of working on any of those things already in progress, i'm working on…

NewLook 6095
I'm doing view A, which is the version with the short sleeves. does it bother anyone else that view A is the bottom left corner dress? Left to right it reads D, B, A, C. yeah that bothers me. I thought sleeveless would be taking the easy way out, so i'm doing the sleeves. I hope they turn out looking okay and don't stick out awkwardly. They look a little bigger than a cap sleeve. If they look bad, i'll try to fix them or just take them off. Here's the fabric…

Amy Butler - Deco Dots Citrine
you can buy it here - and support the cute little sewing shop near where i live. i got everything cut out pretty easily (esp. compared to those knits i was working on earlier!) but i was unaware that stay stitching needed to be inside the seam allowance. well duh. it makes sense now that i think about it. i stay stitched right at 5/8th. you should be happy i stay stitched at all! look at me following directions!! except the directions didn't specifically say how far in to stay stitch. (Update: the directions DID say how far in to stay stitch - problem is, those directions were on a completely different page and that is just too much to ask of me. who flips back to reference other pages? obviously not me.)  i made friends with my seam Ripper. I've named him Jack. That's right. I'm hilarious. 

I fixed the stay stitching and i've finished the interfacing of the neckline and joined the shoulder seams. And I took photos! And my camera battery died! so i need to go recharge it so that i can get the photos off. so there will be more photos soon because i was very impressed with myself. the seams look super neat. my topstitching around the neck started to veer off course. by like 2 millimeters. and i looked at it and was like "that's fine." and then i promptly ripped it out and did it again. Muuuuch better. 

So next it says to sew up the back center seam half way up, but i'm being a rebel and will do that last when i install the zipper. so then it says to sew up the side seams next, and then insert the sleeves. BUT i could just install the sleeves and then sew the side seams all the way up connecting the bottom sleeve seam in the process?? 

and should i just hem the bottom of the sleeve first because it would be easier to sew the hem with the sleeve flat? or if i wait until i've sewn the bottom of the sleeve seams together, then the hem will look neater, but it might be more difficult to sew around because it will be a tight circle. not sure which route i'm going to end up taking. maybe i could do a hybrid of the 2, and sew almost all of the sleeve hem while it's flat, then sew the seam and then finish the hem very carefully?

what to do, what to do… Anyone have some brilliant advice or a preferred order of doing things?

Actual photos to come soon, promise! i love seeing all the photos in your blogs, and i've found that catching up on blogs is a great way to spend the commercial breaks during the olympics. 

And to make up for all those missing photos, here's a photo that was already on my computer…

on our wedding day, April 2012