Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Do you?

All of my sewing machines and the serger came with either a hard case or a plastic cover to cover the machines.  If they weren't included with your machine, there are patterns available like this one...



...to purchase online. I'm sure there are some on eBay and probably even on Etsy.  However, I've never covered my machines unless they came with the hard case and I was transporting them. So I was wondering how many sewists do or don't cover their machines?

Also, why?  Do the machines really get that much dust inside them if they aren't covered? In all the pretty pictures of sewing rooms on Pinterest and the internet, the machines are uncovered. So do you or don't you cover your sewing machine? That's my question of the day, so talk back to me okay.  I'm very interested in hearing what you have to say!

...as always more later! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Photo Shoot Outtakes & A Few Other Things

My daughter is still taking my pictures which means that she comes with assistants.  Last weekend she arrived with only the girls.  The boys stayed with their father.  So we had fewer assistants than normal and the girls behave differently without their big brother.

That being said at times they had me rolling with laughter because they were mimicing me and their Mother, posing, giving each other direction on how to stand and finally running, running and more running.

Here are the pictures of the girls ~

Both of them posing like Nana!

Samantha getting her groove on!

Aleena laughing & playing

Ready...Set...Go!

Ummmmm girls you gotta move so your Mama can take Nana's picture!

Nana - look at me pose too!

I am truly blessed to have grandchildren and a daughter who willingly adjusts her day to come by and take pictures of my outfits. I appreciate her so much for that!

Fashion Revolution ~


Sasha from Secondo Piano contacted me last week and asked if I would be willing to participate in a post she was doing for Fashion Revolution week. I was honored to be asked because I really admire her sewing skills. As well as recognizing the need to highlight how clothing is manufactured now and how the people who make them are exploited.


She wrote the most amazing post featuring a global round up of sewists. You will recognize some of the sewists but there are many here that were new to me. So now I have a whole new list of bloggers to follow. Please check out the listing here.

Wearability Report ~

I wanted to include a "Wearability Report" in this post since new clothes, you know they got worn this past week.

First everyone's favorite the black/white ponte striped dress:
I wore this on Monday because I loved my new dress. I unglammed it a bit by wearing some black wedge slides (no cool black and white criss crossed slides), no necklace, only 2 gold bracelets and not the armload pictured above. Even my hair while down was worn with a headband and back from my face. AND STILL I looked like the school teacher surrounded by a class full of students. See it was in the 80s on Monday and quite a few of the guys showed up in shorts. Yeap, casual. 

I love my dress and it wore perfectly and was so comfortable, yet I was still overdressed. I will need to figure out a way to make it a little more casual, maybe wear it with a short black cardi and my skippys!

The vest/denim legging combo:
This was fine. It fit in my workspace and the vest was perfect. Too bad I don't own another Kantha Quilt to turn out a few more pieces...

Midi Skirt & Denim Jacket:
I wore the midi skirt with a RTW white tank, orange cardi and black slide on wedges. It was a hit. It was comfortable and fit the office dress code. I wore the denim jacket as a topper only - like to the bus stop only. Friday ended up being warmer than I thought.

Lessons learned ~
I have several more dresses I want to make. For them I will use some of the denim and chambray I've collected, as well as, the printed linens in the collection.  All of these should work well.

I like dressing up and I need to tamp this down just a tinge more and remember that I can wear anything however I'm feeling that morning. It can be expressed in my outfit, no matter how casual.

There is hope here for my spring wardrobe especially when I mix it in with the pieces I made for last summer.

Lastly, I did sew this weekend so more garments coming soon to the blog!

...as always more later!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Outfit Two - A Denim Jacket and Midi Skirt

Outfit Two of my Chico's Chic spring wardrobe plan consists of this denim jacket and a midi skirt from a bold floral print.  We all know that florals are hot for spring and I love them. So making garments with some of the bold florals from the fabric collection is definitely happening this spring/summer.


This is one of those outfits that's great for early spring because I can layer for more warmth. The jacket is loose enough that bulky or thin sweaters/tops/tanks can go under it.

The Supplies ~
2 yards of a polyester twill floral print given to me from Smuggler's Daughter.
1 yard of non-roll elastic

Construction Details ~
Details of the jacket construction can be found in this post. The skirt is made from a pattern that's been in my pattern collection forever ~ McCalls 2795 ~ circa 2000.  Dayum this pattern is 16 years old and I've been using some version of it for the last 16 years. Interestingly enough, the pattern pieces I used for this skirt, are the original pieces, which thankfully I kept.

That is one good thing about the weight loss, my original TNT pattern pieces now work. This was a quick and easy sew. I only had two yards of fabric, so the pattern piece was cut on the fold for the front and back. I folded the fabric matching selvedges, then folded in it half. The pattern piece was laid on both folds and cut. This allowed me to take advantage of the length of the fabric and get the skirt as long as possible.

After that, side seams were sewn. A casing was made.  The elastic inserted. The casing closed and a 1/2" hem was put in the skirt. I wanted the fabric to do all the talking and I believe it does.

A few photos ~



I'm thrilled with this outfit because it's casual yet on-trend and it's me. Well the new Chico's Chic me! *LOL*

...as always more later!




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Reversible Vest - Outfit One

When I cut out the Tamarack Jacket, I knew I had just enough of the Kanthra Quilt left to make a vest. In my mind, it was always a vest because the fabric was too thick to use as anything else.  As an aside, my Tamarack Jacket was one of my most worn garments this winter!

However, I got the idea to make this vest reversible from Secondo Piano's blog. She made this amazing jacket and I loved how she handled the pocket situation so I incorporated her pocket idea into my vest. See I really wanted those inset pockets in my vest but I wanted the vest to be reversible so that I could use both sides of the last of that amazing quilt.

The challenge was to figure out how to make my idea work. I once again turned to my topper pattern pieces. I believe this will be my final evolution of Vogue 1247.

The Supply List ~
Last of the Kanthra Quilt
Gray Bemberg Rayon for pocket lining
Yards of Linen Bias Binding - made by me

Some Construction Information ~
Since this is a vest, I cut the armholes a little deeper in the front and back pieces. I didn't put the darts in the vest front and worried about the lack of them until I tried the vest on half way through and it seems to work. The edges of the vest front are the finished edge of the quilt. I used it so that I didn't have to worry about how to make the front edges reversible.

All seams are french seamed so that the vest is reversible. Making the french seams was a little challenging due to the width of the fabric.  However, this technique hid the seaming since the fabric is so busy.


Otherwise the construction was pretty easy. After determining that I wanted the lighter side (the Tamarack Jacket side) as the side to have the invisible pockets, I cut extra large pockets from the darker fabric.


These pockets were finished with a dark blue linen bias binding and stitched to the jacket front. 

Again the good thing about this fabric is that the stitching fades into the busy pattern of the quilt on the opposite side.

The linen bias binding was added to the armholes and the neckline - folded in half and sewn down on both sides so that it works with the reversibility of the vest.


Those are the construction highlights. So here are a few pictures of the vest:

First the darker side of the vest ~




Then the lighter side ~





Since the temperatures are still up and down, 70's one day and high 50's another, I think I will be able to get at least one wear out of this before I put it away for the fall. I was uncertain about this when I finished it but looking at the photographs I'm thrilled with it now.  Even my daughter was complimentary about this one. 

BTW, I think I've evolved V1247 as far as I can take it! Skirt to dress to topper to vest is quite a journey! Now that the temperatures are going up, I'm moving on.  This pattern and it's editions are going back into the file folder and maybe I'll look at it again next fall or maybe not!

...as always more later!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Couple of Dresses

I've been at this job for 10 months now.  I have a better handle on how I want to dress for the job I really love. So after the last few months of wearing jeans, denim leggings and ponte jeans with a variety of sweaters, tops, blouses and toppers, I'm so ready to wear a dress.

Last year I made a lot of maxi dresses. Dresses that I'm thrilled to have in my wardrobe for this spring/summer. However, I really love to wear dresses and skirts and I've finally worked out how to make those garments function in my job environment. I've also realized that I'm going to stand out a bit but it's okay because I'm a member of the team now. I've worked hard to be respected so they will see that instead of just seeing what I wear.

So dresses! I'm sooooooo excited! I even wore two to work last week with stockings. I think the key is not to wear and accessorize them the same way that I use to. The last 10 months has provided me with the opportunity to change the way I looked at my clothing and how I wear it.  

I wore this one and this one last week.  Yes, those are just links because how they're styled on the blog is not how I wore them. However, it made me realize that in the short term, I should make a couple more just like them in different fabric types, cause I gotta lot of fabric! *smile*



The first two are shown above. They are simple sews. Made using my new TNT dress pattern. What makes them different is the ponte fabric I used. I even used some of the same techniques I've used in past dresses ~ dresses that no longer live in my wardrobe.

First the Dark Floral Ponte Dress 


Don't you love these shoes?! I've worn them under my jeans
and thought they would work with this dress.

The Supplies ~
2 yards of a floral ponte purchased from EmmaOneSock
22" black invisible zipper
Design Plus fusible stay tape

There are no new construction techniques. As I stated above it was a simple sew. I added short sleeves with a band. I will wear it with a black cardi at work because the office is always slightly chilly.

A few photos ~





The second is a Striped Ponte Dress



The Supplies ~
2.5 yards of a striped ponte from Fabric Mart
22" white invisible zipper
2 yards black foldover braid

Construction ~
This was the most challenging of the two dresses because I decided to cut the stripes both horizontally and vertically to add interest to the dress. Honestly working this out made my head hurt but I got them cut out. I used old pattern pieces from my now out-of-date TNT dress pattern so I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel.  Though I don't know how much time I actually saved since I still had to refigure everything to work for this body.

The pieces were cut out singly. I then laid the pieces on the cutting table in the order I wanted them to flow around my body. I did this to make sure that everything worked. I constructed the dress this way also. So the back pieces were put together first, including the invisible zipper, then the side seams were sewn. Matching the stripes on the one side was also important to making this dress work.



The final embellishment to make the dress work was adding the black foldover braid to the neckline and armholes. I'm wearing the dress with a bright yellow RTW sweater because I wanted to add some color to the outfit and I will be wearing it this way IRL.



Some pictures of the dress ~



Highlighting the side seam stripe match


These were the last makes but I'm blogging them first because...well dresses! So these are actually Outfit 3 and 4 in my "Chicos Chic Spring Wardrobe Plan." 

My daughter and I shot these dresses pretty glammed up. I won't be wearing them to work this way. I just wanted to dress up for a change and wear some high heels! *smile*

However, I have a stack of patterns ready to use to make more spring/summer dresses so I won't be using my TNT pattern much this summer. I just started here and am branching out because hey it's spring and I can wear dresses again!

...as always more later!




Friday, April 15, 2016

The Concord T-Shirt



First things first...
I was a tester for this pattern for Jenny.  I've also tested another pattern for Jenny. Why? Because I really believe in the pattern line that Jenny is developing for what I know is an under served market.  

Next, I haven't sewn a t-shirt since I was a teenager back when things fit me right out of the envelope. Mostly because I could purchase one or two since they weren't mainstays in my work wardrobe and I wore anything at hand on the weekends. Hey I was a mother with 3 small children, I was doing good getting dressed!

For my version, I used the length of View B, the neckline and sleeve length of View A and a C/D cup size. I deliberately made mine close fitting because I wanted to see if I could sew a decent looking tee that fit close to my body and didn't give away too much.

I was honestly thrilled with this tee. In some of the side shots that I sent to Jenny, she made some suggestions for future versions which I will incorporate. However, I love that the tee is close fitting in the bust area but still has ease over my abdomen and backside.





Here are a few detail shots, showing the collar, the cuffs and the top on the hanger...cause y'all know how much I love hanger shots!





I used some cotton/lycra knit from the collection for this "trial" tee that I proceeded to wear to death. I wore it under every type of sweater and jacket this winter! Here is a picture of it under the Tamarack Jacket...



So you would have thought that I would have made more right? Nope, I was waiting for the pattern release! I have a horrible time not sharing what I sew here on the blog...add that as another reason that I dislike pattern testing! I want to shout from the rooftops when something new and cool is happening. *LOL*

I have several lengths of cotton/lycra knits waiting to be made up into short sleeve versions of this tee. I've already thought of ways to incorporate it into my spring/summer wardrobe so more of them are coming to the blog!

I hope if you're a curvy or a plus-size or a thick sewist (whatever word you choose to describe yourself) that you will give the Concord t-shirt and Cashmerette patterns a try. 

If you're interested in a few others who've made up the pattern check out Gaylen's version for her daughter, Gillian's version and Jenny's round up on her blog!

...as always more later!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Another Wardrobe Post...

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my spring/summer sewing. How to make ideas work in my Chico's Chic theme. How to make it casual enough for my work environment but still me? I have a plan and a list but it just seems like it needs to be refined a little more.

I was going to post this picture to Instagram and then realized that I had a lot more to say than I wanted to type under an Instagram photo. I bought these patterns 14 years ago. I remember where I was living and what stage of my life I was in when they were purchased.


I also worked at a job with a much more casual work environment and these were the types of garments I was sewing to wear to work. I found these patterns rambling through my pattern drawers.  See along with not buying a lot of fabric this year and using what's in the fabric collection, I also want to use what's in my pattern collection.

If I was to describe my style I would say it's classic with a dash of funky. That's why 14 years later I can still use all of these patterns. If you've been sewing for awhile you will remember these Adri designer patterns. If you haven't, I'm sorry you missed out on these because they are wonderful patterns that are chock full of different garments conveniently available in one envelope. Yes, I've been collecting patterns for a long time.

An aside, as I was rambling through my Vogue Designer Patterns, I found Calvin Klein patterns ~ does anyone else remember when the Calvin Klein Jeans pattern was carried by Vogue Patterns?  Other designers like Givenchy, Tamotsu, Geoffrey Beene, Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta and Ungaro to name a few. Let's not talk about the drawers full of plus size 60s patterns with Jackie Kennedy like looks and the mod look.

I digress. I will be adding some of these looks to my Chicos Chic collection with the original fabric I purchased to make them with...yes, hanging head in shame, some of those fabrics are still in the collection. Okay, not hanging head in shame...there are some pretty wonderful moments associated with those fabric purchases!

Anyway all of this rambling is to ask, Do you still have loads of patterns, designer or otherwise in your fabric collection from 10, 15, 20 years ago? And were they originally purchased then? Do you still purchase loads of the newer released patterns too? Do you think you will ever sew them or are they just for inspiration?

Honestly, my love of the TNT pattern and my need to make something 3, 4, 5 times before I put the pattern away, definitely means that I won't be sewing all of the patterns in my collection. But after fabric, patterns are the things that fuel my creativity. 

All of this to say that I've been digging in the pattern stash to add items/garments to my spring/summer sewing list.


BTW, I did do some sewing this weekend.  A reversible vest and a midi skirt are done. I just need to get some modeled shots and hopefully this weekend will be okay weather wise to do so. They will be part of two different outfits for the wardrobe theme. 

...as always more later!



Friday, April 08, 2016

The Sewing Cave is on display!

Just a quick note to let you know that "The Sewing Cave" is featured on the Curvy Sewing Collective today.  So if you're interested in seeing it and hearing me ramble about "the why and what it means to me" surf on over and check it out!

It's the second sewing room showcased in this series with Gaylen of GMarieSews being the first.  It's a monthly series so after you read about mine, check out Gaylen's. I hope you'll follow this monthly series and the sewist who will be featured next! Cause y'all know we all like to see where our fellow sewists create!

I'll be back with more sewing over the weekend!

...always more later!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Falling Back on the Familiar

I made a spring sewing list and it has about 13 separate garments on it.  Some of the items have fabric and patterns associated with them and some are just items that say something like "dresses." However, my list isn't looking very attractive to me now, because I'm just not good at sewing out of season.  See it's gotten cold here again (Why?!) and I need to find a way to jump start my sewing.

The Idea and the Inspiration ~
Then I saw the wardrobe that Terri, who authors the blog, Virginia's Sew Blessed Daughter made for the PatternReview wardrobe contest and my creative bell started chiming. Yes I used chiming, because it was a gentle sound rolling through me and not a loud ringing bell.  Gotta get my symbolism correct because you never know when the "Grammer/English Patrol" is rolling out trying to skewer you.


Back to Terri, her amazing collection made me realize that maybe I should sew a casual collection for early spring. I've loved sewing collections in the past but always made them from a purely business perspective. Making a casual collection ala Chicos Chic would be a new challenge...but then again it seems as if everything about my sewing is challenging now.

The Beginnings of an Idea ~
At first I thought I would do a traditional 10 piece collection ~ y'know a topper, skirts, dresses and tops that all work together. After thinking on it a bit, I've decided that I want to make 7-10 outfits that work with each other. Each outfit will stand alone and may or may not work with one of the other outfits. 

What will connect them then? My Chicos Chic theme. The outfits have to be stylish yet work in my casual work environment. They will need to colorful, on trend and comfortable to wear...to make me feel like "me". I want them to be fun, fancy and fashionable. I want to make some sewing magic.

My first outfit will be a reversible vest using my topper pattern pieces and those inset pockets that I'm truly in love with! Though it amazes me how much I love pockets in casual clothes but had no use for them in my business attire. I will add a white blouse using Butterick 5678 and RTW leggings cause honestly I'm not ready for that challenge!


The second outfit will start with a piece that I've already made and that's languished in my wardrobe waiting for warmer weather.  This denim jacket made during my Christmas break.


I see it for spring with a swingy midi length skirt made from this fabric...


...and a RTW tank top as my second outfit. I've got these amazing shoe booties that I want to wear with it. I'm really looking forward to sewing this skirt, completing this outfit and wearing it out and about.

I have a few more ideas in mind, using some of the items on the spring sewing list, and some from ideas floating around in my head. I will share each outfit as I get it sewn but I think I've re-energized my sewing.

A few questions for you ~ 
Now a question? Do you sew for your present weather conditions?  Or do you sew for the season ahead? What do you do as a season is ending? Are you affected by the weather or do you sew your visions/desires?  This is my question of the day so feel free to leave a comment. 

...as always more later!




Thursday, March 31, 2016

A New Topper - The Next Stop on the Stylemaker Fabrics Tour

I'm in love with toppers! I love sewing and wearing them.  They allow me to feel "like me" in a casual business setting. So when Michelle from Stylemaker Fabrics approached me about participating in the tour, I knew that I wanted to sew a topper.

Because toppers are hot for spring showing up in quite a few designer lines, as well as, the pattern catalogs, I've saved quite a few to my inspiration folder. 

I really love this version from St. John ~


A little information about my topper.  I started with this fabric, very similar to my inspiration topper isn't it!?!


Used my TNT topper pattern, added a grayish blue bemberg rayon lining and some binding to make this new version. This topper was sewn using the same techniques as in this version.  The bias binding was added to the edges of the jacket front because the fabric is pretty busy.


However, the bias binding was probably the most time consuming part of the construction. See I thought that I had binding on-hand that would work with the fabric but nothing. I did, however, have some navy blue handkerchief linen so I made my own. 

Oh one other construction tip - instead of cutting the second piece of the pocket in the same fabric, this time I cut it out of lining fabric for a smoother look on the front. I noticed how the pocket hung on the tweedy version so I changed it for this one. I like this version much better and will use a lining/fabric combo going forward.

Now I know that my topper is almost identical to the inspiration topper...and also to my last version...but I went with what works for me! The fabric in this version is lighter than my previous two which makes this fantastic for spring wearing. It was almost 60 degrees out when I took these photos and it was perfect over my top and jeans. 

This is a very versatile piece that can be worn with jeans, leggings, dress or a short skirt...making it easy to dress up or down.  

So a few more pictures ~




There are also quite a few patterns available in the pattern catalogs now if you want to make a topper of your own ~

Butterick 6328

Kwik Sew 4104

Here is a link to the Simplicity offerings. I would really like a lace or linen version for spring/summer...yeah I know! But once again this works for me and the Chicos Chic wardrobe I'm trying to build.

Next up on the blog tour is Lauren, Lladybird. My previous post highlights all of the amazing sewists and designers who came before me.  I hope you had a chance to check out their garments!

Conclusion ~ 
I'd like to thank Michelle for thinking of and working with me because I was determined to make another topper.  She kept suggesting pieces from her awesome new spring line to use. I'm glad I settled on this one because it's perfect. So surf on over and check out her goods...

Finally, I want to thank my work mate Melanie who took these pictures of me. We work steps away from Herald Square Park, so it's a great place to take photos. I really appreciate that she helped me out and volunteered to take more in the future! I want to leave you with one more shot from Herald Square Park...and I have no idea how that apple ended up on the wall and in almost all the shots! It made us laugh so we decided to leave the apple in the pics!



...as always more later!




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