The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

The End of Corduroy Days

Well, I think I'll be wearing corduroy for a while still since there's still snow on the ground, but it's hard to imagine sewing a corduroy skirt in March.  Not when there's some lovely spring and summer fabrics to work with anyway!

Corduroy prints for grown-ups can be so hard to find.  I love corduroy but I certainly don't want to look like a six-year-old when wearing it.  I had to put in some serious ogling time to find these (window shopping online is such hard work!)

Marcia's skirts:
From Stone Fabrics (UK)


I had to give this otherwise plain skirt a little sumthin sumthin

Melissa's skirt:
from Vogue Fabrics

This was fun!

Bryn's pencil skirt:
I bought this from a de-stasher on Etsy - same fabric I used for my own skirt last year

Lara's hidden pocket skirt:
I made a pencil skirt for Diane with this fabric last year ( and had just enough leftover for another skirt

Marides' gored skirt:
from JoAnn's!

Jen's skirt:
another de-stasher on Etsy
I hope I get this lucky next year!

Vogue 8787 - Sleeve Suggestions, Anyone?

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I've had this pattern in my stash for a year or so now and I was finally prompted to make it after seeing Ann's version of it a few weeks ago.  I had some purple ponte knit that I bought on sale at Hancocks, and decided to use that to make a wearable muslin.  I haven't had a lot of luck with the solid ponte knits I've purchased there - the prints seem to wash/wear well, but the solids knits I made up into tops all started to pill after only a few washings (machine cold, line dry).  Meh.  Glad I used my coupon.


I made version A, cut a 12 (my measurements call for a 14 but the finished garment measurements said otherwise), and took the skirt and waistband in an extra 1.5" total after trying it on.  I didn't line the dress and finished the neckline with two strips of fabric cut on the bias.  I didn't make any other adjustments and I'm mostly happy with the fit.  There are two problem areas:

WTH is going on with this back neckline??  It's all . . . gappy.  I haven't had this happen before.  The back shoulder already has a dart in it, and this seems to be more of a center back issue anyway.  I noticed this before I put in the neckline facing.  I tried to remedy the problem by stretching the facing as I went, but all this did was to make the facing want to flip up.  Why is this dress so damn loose in the top of the center back?  I need to do some research, but does anyone know anything about this problem?

And then there's the sleeves.  I am probably overly paranoid about my wide shoulders (they are a good six inches wider than my hips), but there you go.  I think that cap sleeves tend to emphasize my width up there.  I'd like some kind of snug short sleeve and I need to go through my patterns to see if I find something I like better.  But, dear sewing readers, do you have any suggestions?  A friend suggested I make the shoulders more narrow so that the sleeve starts a bit higher up - I tried pinning this and it didn't look right. 

Here I am staring hard out the window because I can't make a decent face looking at the camera.

My master plan is to make this dress with my new magenta/black striped ponte knit so that I can play with stripe directions.  But I'm a little worried this dress is just too straight up and down for my figure.  The more I stare at these pictures, the less I like it.  Does that ever happen to you? 

On another note, if any of you sewing peeps haven't put yourselves on the map, hop to it!  I'm leading the charge for a Chicago meet-up and we need to know who is nearby!

Birthday Present, Part 2: I'm so Lucky, oh so Lucky!

What does every sewist want for her birthday?  Sewing stuff!  And, oh boy, I got lucky.

Look at this haul, courtesy of my wonderful MIL!  She got me a gift certificate to, and that plus a timely sale led to a a huge box of midweight jersey, ponte knit, and doubleknit fabrics arriving at my house today!!

But that's not all, oh no, that's not all.

My super sweet husband gave me four yards of this beautiful wool basketweave so that I can make myself a new winter coat for next winter.  I think I'll be using this pattern, as I like the rounded collar, the slim fit, and the band about the waist.  I want to put some trim on it.  I'm thinking dark brown leather binding or piping.  What do you think??

And look! 
I can hop up and down on the ball!
But that is not all!
Oh, no.
That is not all . . .

My lovely in-laws didn't stop with fabric, they also gave me this book, off my wish list:

I felt so "ah, shucks" receiving these gifts from family - they really recognize how important sewing is to me.  Do you all get giddy when a box of fabric or patterns arrive?  Why is it?  For me, I think it's the anticipation of creating, and all those lovely hours of scheming about what I'll create.

I've got one more sewing gift to reveal from my birthday, and it's a biggie, but you'll have to wait until next week.  In the meantime, I've got some actual sewn garments to write about before then.  Stand by!

Birthday Present, Part 1

So today is my birthday - yay!  I love birthdays, my own and everyone else's.  I have a couple of birthday surprises to reveal and this first one is from me to the online sewing community.  I have teamed up with Rhonda from Rhonda's Creative Life and I have offered up a tutorial for my Zippered Scraps Wallet as a part of her Fabulous Free Pattern Friday series.  Go check it out!

But on the way I got distracted . . .

Does this ever happen to you?  There's this dress I want to sew but it's going to take some experimentation.  I got started on it last weekend and the first effort was a failure in part due to the fabric choice.  But I thought that the fabric might work better as something else . . . which led to a different idea . . .

I tend to be a somewhat rigid meticulous structured person.  One of the things I like about sewing is that it gives me a healthy outlet for these tendencies.  If I can be exacting about a buttonhole or the fit of a bodice, I'm less likely to be exacting in annoying ways (closet organization, room tidiness).  But I also like that it gives me the opportunity to follow creative ideas and play with them, especially in my personal sewing time (the deadlines are mine so I can break them if I want).

One of my goals this year is to replicate a dress I spied in a Garnet Hill catalog:

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Garnett Hill Athena Dress

I love the sort of faux peplum/draping under the midriff band - just my kind of detail.  When I saw Cake's Tiramisu pattern, I knew it was the perfect starting point.  So I sat down to give it a go last weekend.

For some reason, I decided at the last minute to try it out with a slinky fabric I bought from ages ago.  I have a lot of this fabric because I orginally intended it for a different project that I have since decided really isn't for me.  I planned to do the dress with a ponte knit, but I didn't wanted to cut into the real stuff for my draft.  Using the slinky fabric was not a great decision.  I guess this is what happens when you start sewing at 10pm on a Friday night after having a couple cocktails with your husband . . .

So this top isn't a disaster but it's not great either.  Just barely wearable, mainly because there's just too many seams for this slinky fabric. 

But then I realized that the slinky fabric was perfect for one of my all time favorite patterns, Simplicity 2580 (I think I have now made this pattern 10 times).  The only changes I made to the pattern were to cut the bodice on the bias and use fold-over elastic to finish the back neck and arms.

Then I remembered this cute top from Boden:

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Boden Twist Jersey Top
I'm still in the midst of my love affair with cowl necklines, so I didn't want to do away with that, but I borrowed the band from my New Look 0172 pattern and cut a front and back version (the orginal pattern only has the band on the front, which I think looks silly).  I wasn't very technical about this - I simply held the band over my Simplicty 2580 pattern piece and folded under the center front/back edge so that it was roughly 1/2" smaller.  And I've got something new!


I know you might think this looks like two new tops, but the first is for my dear friend Candice as she starts a new decade (I won't tell you which one).  It's a good thing I like her so much or I'd be tempted to keep it for myself!  The dark purple top is a rayon-blend matte jersey in concord grape from - it has an almost crepe-y feel and only 20% stretch.  The firecracker top is a poly/lycra fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics with 60% stretch.  Both fabrics are still available if you're interested!

Now that I've got that out of my system, I'm ready to get back to the dress.  Any one have suggestion for how to do that draped peplum thing under the midriff??