Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vacation - Wooo I'm Drained! - PICTURE HEAVY

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!!

I'm so sorry for not posting in over two months!  My husband and I went on a 10  day Southern Caribbean Cruise back in November just prior to Thanksgiving with our youngest son and his fiancee...what a trip!  But I totally "BURNED" myself out prior to taking vacation by attempting to make my entire wardrobe for the trip!  So I've not wanted to do anything sewing related, including blogs, (other than reading you all blogs of course!) since I returned. :(. 

I've seen a lot of beautiful work out there on your blogs and so glad you're all there because it's given me my "mojo" back!  I'm ready to get back in to the swing of things and get my "sewing groove" on!  So here goes and I hope you all accept my apology!

First for the sewing review...I saw this really, really cute skirt made by Maggie over at V.V.Mode.  Maggie's D.I.Y designs are very unigue and I really wanted this skirt.  So with her permission, I drafted my own...this is my muslin and I've already made a few changes to make it perfect for the next one.  But I'm so in love with this muslin, I wanted to show it!  I even drafted a top (a pretty basic one) to go with it!  Here's the inspiration skirt by Maggie...
Of course I can't sew up that perfect little body she has, but I think my version looks good on me too!  Maggie's is made of an interlock knit, mine is made of black Rayon Spandex knit from Mood Fabrics ...

The top fabric is a rayon lycra knit from Fabricmart.  I drafted a simple cowl neck and included some cap sleeves, since this will be worn at work.  I really like this outfit and am already planning another of these skirts in a nice Ponta Roma knit!

Now for my vacation...for those of you who might ask, no I didn't complete my entire wardrobe.  I was short by 4 pieces, so I ended up going to my favorite place to look for inexpensive clothes, Marshalls!  Also, vacation sewing pre-empted everything in my life including EXERCISE, so there was no swimsuit on this trip, not at all!  No's a picture of me and one of our sons in the water (beach in St. Maarten) he stayed and played, I got out right after the photo was taken! (His fiancee joined him later!)

and a picture of me leaving after the photo!  (I didn't want to get wet but a huge wave got me before I got out!!!)

...also a photo of me and the hubby on the same beach...
since this was a "clothing optional" beach, we were very careful in not photographing anyone so not to offend them or others who would see my photos!! (and yes, we kept our clothes on!!!)I also did the same thing in St. John Tortola (just picture taking in the water, no swimming, just lounging eating and drinking!)...

 I also had an opportunity to buy fabric in the Caribbean too!  We visited this apparel shop in St. Kitts where they actually make a fabric called "Carabelle Batik".   You can learn more about the shop, the fabric origin and see some of the clothing by clicking here.  I actually got to meet one of the ladies who was in the process of making fabric when I arrived!  The colors and patterns of their fabrics were really nice! and it has the feel of cotton.  I purchased some of this fabric, which was a bit pricey at $40 a yd! I even had an chance to take photos with her holding my purchase....

I also had an opportunity to hold one of the "green monkey's" of St. was a baby one in a diaper, he was so cute and he bit me at least three times!  Poor little thing was so frightened!  It's owner brought him on our tour bus so we could hold him and you could tell he really didn't want to be there!
By now, you can tell this is my favorite vacation hat!  Can you believe I've had this thing for approximately 17 years!!!  It's time to retire it now!  St. Kitts also had beautiful scenery almost similar to Hiawaii, like these rocks and there were black sand beaches...
Some of the other views were just breathtaking!

Lazy! Taken from "lounge chair"!
This is a photo we shot of our ship (Norwegian Dawn) while we were out and about...

That's it...had a wonderful time, but glad I'm back and ready to jump back into sewing again!!  Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Twin Set for a Cause

Hi everyone!  I'm participating in the Junior Achievement Bowl-a-thon through my job.  Our team has been really busy fundraising and we decided to hold a "silent auction" this week.  Now,  I'm really not good a fundraising at be honest, I really don't like doing it either!  However, when your office director puts you on the team and thinks you will do a good job...well you don't want to disappoint them!  So I worked "feverishly" calling some favors from my hotel contacts (I coordinate meetings) and ended up getting two major hotels (Hyatt and Intercontinental) to donate 2 night stays at their hotel for our auction!  It was so worth the stress!

I will be bowling for the team but also had this thought...I would donate my sewing skills and time for our auction too!  I decided to make a twin set (cardigan and tank) for the auction.  The team liked my idea but was a little concerned about timing.  They didn't want to put any extra stress on me in trying to get something created. Of course, sewing is my passion so you all know me, I'll make it happen for a great cause!

So I decided to use a TNT pattern that was very quick and stylish...Simplicity 2603 (the DKNY knockoff).

 I paired it with a cowl neck tank I designed and drafted.  I purchased a Wine colored Rayon Lycra from Joann Fabrics that was 50% off and using my VIP card, I received another 10% off of that!!  With the cost of thread, this lovely twin set a great deal at $29 to make!  I've made at least 5 of these cardigans and will probably make it again at some point too.  This is a very, very easy pattern to make and both pieces were completed in about 4 hours tops...I did it this afternoon!  The pattern instructions for this cardigan are super easy! 

I went to a consignment shop and purchased the necklace you see shown with the twin set for $10!  The total cost of this look is $39.  That's what I call the "look for less"!!  Our team agreed to start the bidding at $45 for the entire ensemble!  I hope we can get some really nice bids for it, and ultimately add to our fundraising goal!

On the vacation sewing front, I have a few more pieces completed...I'm almost done and really have to get moving since I only have about 4 weeks remaining to sew!  I'll post those pieces in a couple of days.  Wish me luck and thank you so much for stopping by!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another White Blouse

Sorry it's been so long since my last post!  I've been sewing when I can and have some new "vacation pieces" to show you, but I got side tracked last week at work when I realized I needed a nice white blouse to wear with a suit for a meeting.  The last one I made many months ago would just not work.  I don't know about some of you, but I've find it very hard to justify purchasing some items of clothing because I know how to sew.  I tell myself, "why pay that when you can make it cheaper".  This line of speaking to myself always adds more work to my already overflowing plate, but it almost always turns out correct and I win!  Having something nice and much cheaper!  Not to mention it always feels good because I know I made it too!!

Well it was the same with the new white blouse I needed...I used an old favorite pattern, New Look 6704.

I have to say, you get really nice results with this pattern, but it is definitely not quick to make!  Because of all the detail topstitching, this blouse took me a couple of days to complete.  But it was oh so worth it!  The fit is is great!  I used a very light weight stretch cotton poplin I purchased from Fabric Mart (fast becoming one of my favorite online stores!)  The only change I made was adding smaller than recomended buttons and I re-measured the spacing and like the look!  By the way, Fabric Mart just put this fabric on sale for $1.99 a yard in many colors...of course I purchased a few colors for myself.

If you like this pattern, it's definitely worth your while!  I'll post a photo of me in it with another piece from my vacation wardrobe so you can see the fit. 

Thanks again for reading...I'll be posting again soon and Happy Sewing!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy As a Beaver

I've been working like a "Beaver" trying to get all my sewing done.  I know I have about 8 weeks left before I leave, but that goes by fast and I have so much to get completed by then.  Some items I've not posted (sorry, I wouldn't have time for sewing if I posted everything!)  I've made a couple of very nice tee shirts I've designed for my hubby too!  I'll definitely get vacation pictures up so you can see all of the things I've made once I return.  This has definitely been a challenge for me and don't think I'll do it to this extreme again!  Maybe a few pieces but never a full wardrobe!  I must have been crazy when I decided that!

My lastest project is a dress for dinner during the cruise, not my formal, just a dress to were for dinner.  I chose Butterick 5559 (View B) the sleeveless version.

I used a Camel colored (Dark Beige) Ponte Roma Knit from Fabricmart.  The fabric has a very soft hand and firm stretch with a very nice recovery, which makes it perfect for this style dress.  When I first put it on, it almost acted as it's own body shaper!  The pattern size runs from 6 to 20, I made a size 12 and although I normally make a 10 in knits, I'm very happy I made a 12 because this pattern was snug.  The instructions were very easy to follow, but it is essential to your results that you transfer all the line markings from your pattern to your fabric!  The other tip I'll give is that you pin each tuck before sewing it to keep them straight while sewing.  It could be much, much harder if you don't!  As it is, it took me a couple of days to complete this dress. (and there's only 4 freakin pattern pieces!!!)  That's just how long it took me to work on this ensuring each tuck was in the perfect place.

I think my results turned out pretty good...

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was lengthening the dress by 3 inches.  Doing that, made this dress just 1" above the knee for me, so it would have been to short for my comfort level!!   I do really like this dress but will probably not make it again because I have so many patterns to get to.  I do recommend it to others if you like the style. 

On to my next project and thanks again for stopping by!!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Vacation Ensemble

Thank you all so much for your very kind comments on my last post regarding my first maxi dress!  I am so glad you all encouraged me to make it and so glad I did!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

This post is about two patterns I used to complete an ensemble.  Butterick 5646 (View C, the blue one and model wearing).  I only read one review of this top on Pattern Review, interesting.  Also, Kwik Sew 3770, there were no reviews of this one on Pattern Review at all!  However, I actually saw these leggings and fell in love with them on fellow blogger Shannon's blog, Mushywear

The top:  This pattern while easy to make, takes some time to complete.  You must read the instructions to completely understand how the pleats are developed.  It's equally important to transfer markings from the pattern to your fabric, especially if you have a chiffon fabric as I did where both sides look the same!  (because of this, my pleats ended up on the opposite side...oh well!)  The fabric is a polyester chiffon from JoAnn Fabrics.  This top took me a couple days to complete (sewing when I could...not all day)  Also, the front bands (with hidden buttons, that I love!) and the sleeve bands, require interfacing.  Since my fabric is sheer, I opted for a very sheer, fusible tricot interfacing which worked perfectly.  No alterations or changes were made to the pattern, it fit perfectly right out of the envelope. Although this top takes some time to complete, I really love the end results and would highly recommend if it's your style...

The leggings:  Very, very easy and quick to make!  However, because of the ruching, they do take a little longer than traditional leggings.  The results are oooooh so much nicer though!  I used a white bamboo knit from Fabric Mart, which is perfect for the comfort of these leggings!  I can see I'll be wearing these out very I'm really happy I knew how to sew!!  I made one alteration to the pattern which was my usual crotch adjust because I'm short-waisted.  Other than that, the pattern is perfect and I love these leggings!  They remind me of when I was a teenager, we used to wear mutiple pairs of knee high socks at once and push them down towards our ankle.  We did this to make our legs look bigger!  It was the cool thing to do back in the day!!  I'm highly recommending this pattern if you like these "very different" looking leggings.  I'm currently cutting out a pair in black too!

Sorry about the dark DH took them without the flash on our way out to dinner with friends yesterday.  It was a rainy Labor Day and not much natural lighting and I didn't have any time for re-takes.  :(    I do love this ensemble and it will make a perfect addition to my vacation wardrobe.  Of course I test drove the wearability of this one yesterday and it passed with flying colors!  So if you like either piece, they both get "two thumbs up" from me!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Sewing!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maxi Dress does work for me...

Ok, I know some of you were really recommending my last top/dress be made as a maxi dress.  What some of you may not know is that I was very uncomfortable wearing them outside of the house!  I saw them all over the place looking gorgeous on ladies!  In the malls, at restaurants, just everywhere I went I'd see someone in a maxi dress!  So why did I feel uncomfortable(please don't laugh)... it's because both me and the DH felt it was like having your nightgown on (pajamas, loungewear) you know, that kind of thing.  Well after a couple of private email messages from some of you, I thought I'd give it a try and I'm happy to say, that won't be a problem now!! (Thank you all!!) 

I decided to use McCalls 6326, View C (leopard print) and definitely needed to make a muslin first.  Especially since I'd never made this pattern before and there were only a couple of reviews on the view I wanted to make. (there were issues with that one too...everyone else made view D - pink one shoulder). 

While this is definitely a very, very easy, quick pattern to make, there was only one issue  I noticed.  I hate to say it again, but the length of the "keyhole" in front at the bottom of the twist, is much too long and shows all your girls!  I think the reason is, these types of tops are designed for women who are not as "curvy" on top, if you know what I mean!  So I ended up figuring out how to shorten the "keyhole" so it was modest enough for me and my girls! :)  It was a very, very minor adjustment to the pattern too.  Step 3...where you stitch to the circle, move the circle my case 2.5" higher. (If someone needs me to be more specific, let me know and I'll post it).  After that, this top is perfect!! (and oh so comfortable!)   Here's my muslin/sample (which turned out very wearable too!)... 

This is such a nice pattern and look once completed, I couldn't wait to make a maxi dress out of it!!!  I started immediately and completed the maxi dress in the same day!!!  Now how's that for a quick pattern!!! My muslin fabric was left over from another top just recently made.  It's a Canary yellow bamboo from Fabricmart.   I love, love, love it!!

The fabric for my maxi dress is also from Fabricmart and is an ITY knit.  Other than the change noted above and lengthening the bottom half to make this a maxi dress, this creation was a breeze!!  I can't wait to wear it out and the DH absolutely loves it! 

I didn't want to wait until I returned from the cruise to show you how it looked on me, so I please excuse the "no makeup" face!!! (I got up first thing this morning to take pictures).  I think this is going to be the perfect look for my cruise, don't you?...

Now all I have to do is figure out what shoes to wear other than my trusty gold "flipflops" I wear with just about everything!  I think a great pair of gladiator style espadrille wedges would be beautiful with this outfit, of course I'll have to buy some...shoe shopping, YEAH!!!

So, if this pattern tickles your fancy, it's definitely a great one to make and I highly recommend it!!  I think I'm going to make a shorter version too!  Maybe in a wild animal print! 

Well it's time to get back to the sewing machine!  Lot's more to get completed before I leave!  Thanks for stopping by and Happy Sewing!