Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What else I've been up to

So it's been a slow sewing month for me, but other sewing-related things have been going on. Check out Patternreview for my article, Sewing with a (Re)Purpose.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh no, I've caught Chanel!

There's a bad case of Chanel jacket going around on the blogs these days.

I thought I was immune, but then I started getting occasional flashes of inspiration. When I was really tired, I'd start seeing jackets in my head. Fringed trim and interesting buttons started to catch my eye.

I started wanting to wrap myself in tweed, in boucle, in boiled wool.

In . . . home dec fabric?

It's come to this. A muslin. A real, live muslin, which will end up wearable but which has already told me what to do with the real jacket.

I'm using KwikSew 3258, which looks like everybody's idea of a dowdy old Chanel suit on the envelope, kind a Chanel suit as reinterpreted by Dress Barn or maybe Fashion Bug. Like you can tell there's as good idea under there, you just have to figure out how. to. find. it.

Being that it's a KwikSew pattern, it's ridiculously well drafted, though I can say I like the drafting of their knit patterns better than their wovens. Still, this gave me enough information on the first run-through to know what changes need to be made, and there aren't many.

In their knit patterns, I tend to cut somewhere between a small and a medium. I traced a medium in this jacket, just to be safe, and that was the best choice. I'm pretty much a medium. The only changes I'm going to make for the final are to move the bust dart up by about 3/4 of an inch - it's a little . . . low slung. The girls don't need the help, thanks very much. I'm also shaving about a half inch off the center front (and the facing). The body of the jacket fits well, excepting the lowness of the dart, but the center fronts overlap just slightly. So off they come.

The jacket has a center back seam, for shaping, but honestly, there's not much shape to their shaped seam. I reshaped the seam for the next time around.

The fabric I used for the muslin was a double-sided home dec fabric that's been in stash for about 8 years. Maybe longer. It's always wanted to be a jacket, and I always liked the idea that I could use both sides.

I haven't necessarily decided to use the reverse for the pocket flaps here; I just pinned them on to get an idea of what the flaps would look like, and self flaps are almost invisible until the trim goes on.

The trim, by the way, is just the selvage of the fabric. If I decide to keep going with this, I'll put some black braid over the selvage part and just keep the neat little fringe.

For the inside, again if I keep going, I'm going to get a wad of black seam binding and just do a Hong Kong finish on all the seams. I'm not going to the bother of lining this, and if I do an HK finish, I'll still get to see both sides of my fabric.

So this is what a bad case of Chanel feels like, huh?

Does chicken soup cure this, or do I have to sew it out of my system?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


How did the entire day go by before I got around to sewing on two snaps and a button?

I think I just didn't want to face finishing this project, since it took me such mental effort to get started on it. But it's done, and I'm really pleased with the result - and with myself, for actually doing it, instead of just thinking about it until the fabric was no longer usable.

I'll do a proper pattern review for this in a day or so, but I'll "borrow" the format for now and do a dry run.

Pattern Description: Vest with closure and collar variations. Princess seams front and back.

Pattern sizing: NL sizes 4 to 16. I made my standard 12 with very little adjustment.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, absolutely.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? First and foremost, I liked that I could actually get the garment made from my limited amount of fabric. Beyond that, I like the collar variations and I'm always a sucker for a princess seamed garment.

Fabric Used: Do I have to go there? Embroidered velvet purchased at the PR get-together in Baltimore last June at A Fabric Place. Made by Versace. Ridiculously expensive, and I had to have it. Rust-colored crinkled lining fabric. Vintage button.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Surprisingly, none. This made up straight out of the envelope without me changing a thing (other than the closure, for which I swapped button / buttonhole for snaps with button sewn on top). I think it was fear of messing up my fabric that kept me from changing horses in midstream and coming up with an entirely different vest than I'd started out to make.

I want to add that I think this is a beautifully drafted pattern and very easy to fit due to the princess seaming. NL's instructions remind you to ease the top opf the seam where the two fronts join; a small thing, maybe, but BWOF tends to forget things like that, or bury them so far inside the maze that I don't notice.

I don't read the instructions that often, so when I do, it's nice to see instructions that make sense.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'll definitely make this again - there's another collar variation to try out, plus the button front. I really liked the single button closure on this one, but that was probably because I didn't have enough buttons to do any other version. Highly recommended.

Conclusion:I'm beginning to think that New Look patterns are really under-rated. They have cute styles, they're well drafted, I've had good results from every one I've ever tried, and they're CHEAP. Cheap as in you don't need to belong to a special club or hope for coupons to come. That kind of cheap.

Cutting into the "good stuff"

We've all felt it, right? Fear of the good stuff? Fear that what we have in mind - that we - are not worthy of the good stuff.

It's not a good feeling.

I've got boxes of stuff inherited from female relatives who kept it, immaculate and folded in tissue or wrapped in newspaper, whatever was the appropriate method, that was all too good to use, and therefore survived them, untouched, for me to face down.

The responsibility for all their good stuff, in addition to my own, is just too much. I've given up good stuff.

Last year, during the Patternreview Baltimore shopping day at A Fabric Place, I bought the most expensive piece of fabric I've ever owned. Ever.

It was velvet. It was embroidered. It was Versace.

It was not exactly a shy and retiring piece of fabric, but then again, I'm not known for my love of solid colors; they're something I throw in there so I don't look like a crazy quilt.

I had to have it, and after a few moments of hyperventilating about the price and how long it would take to rot in the stash, I bought it - with the promise that I would not let it sit forever.

I would let it rest until I got an idea worthy of it, however; and I was willing to believe that my idea would be worthy.

And Friday, I knew the time had come.

At least, I was pretty sure it had.


I acquired a few new patterns this week, New Look 6914 among them. I love it when vests come back in style. I have a few old ones that I hang onto, but they're a great excuse for using up small cuts of fabric (and the Versace velvet, did I mention, was only 3/4 of a yard).

Kisha had made the same view I had in mind, and I emailed her. Did she think I could get View E out of 3/4 yard of 60" wide fabric? She told me what the envelope said, and then said, "if you line it right to the edges and do the undercollar in a contrast fabric, you might make it."

Which was what I thought, but when you're taking scissors to a $50 piece of fabric, you like corroboration. I cut out the pattern pieces Friday night, and reverently took the velvet down from the shelf where it's been staring at me reproachfully for over a year. (On the other hand, I'll bet that $150 per yard bolt is still sitting on the rack at A Fabric Place, so who knows.)

I carefully laid out the pieces on the velvet. Yep, only one collar piece fit, though I decided that was actually a blessing in disguise - you can see that the fabric is 3 layers, with an almost invisible layer of batting in between. I was afraid both collar pieces cut from that might be a little bulky anyway.

I took a deep breath, picked up the rotary cutter, and started. And stopped almost immediately, because the rotary cutter promptly clogged up with velvet fuzzies. Another deep breath, and pick up the shears.

That was it for Friday. After cutting, I had to stop and recover. I actually felt vaguely queasy from the fear that I would somehow cut incorrectly and ruin the fabric. I think that's called taking it a little too seriously.

My lining drawer had a perfect copper textured fabric that was originally intended for a dress, except it looked too much like lining fabric. On Saturday I cut out the lining pieces, and the undercollar from this.

The pattern went together like a breeze. Princess seams are a wonderful thing. Also, my new light made it easy for the first time to actually see the 5/8" seam line on my sewing machine. It made a diference. I had to stop twice to blow fluff out of the machine, but in a marathon of sewing from 8:00 until 11:30 last night, I constructed and lined the vest. All I have left to do today is a final pressing and to do the snaps and button. (The pattern calls for one button, but I decided to go for a snap instead and just sew my button on top).

Finished photos hopefully this evening. Notice how much SewingLily appreciated the leftovers. Which have actually since been de-haired and added to the scrap bin. Not throwing this stuff away - it's too good!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Let there be light

When I got this month's issue of Threads, I was browsing it at lunch and in the new products section, I noticed a task light. It called to me.

Understand, it's not bright in the workroom. I have curtains on the windows (because of my very close neighbors and spending so much time in there in my undies trying things on). There's a ceiling fan with a light, but it's not bright, either, and getting an electrician in to do something better isn't an option, especially with that stupid drop ceiling.

So I saw this light. It's called an Uber Light. Liked the name. The first photo is with the Uber light.

I looked at the specs, liked the fact that it's LED and doesn't give off any heat; the workroom gets pretty sticky in the summer.

I liked that it came in either table mount or C-clamp forms (I chose the C-clamp because this way I can move it from the work table to the new surface, once it's finally done).

I liked that it uses almost no power at all and the bulb is estimated to last 60,000 hours. Even I don't sew that much. The second picture is the Singer, pre-light.

So I clicked buy, and it came on Tuesday. UPS from Canada, with free shipping. Who doesn't like free shipping. The lamp itself cost $79.95, but I decided that my vision and my sanity were worth it.

My Singer, the machine I use most often, has a totally crappy, dim light. Who decided that sewing machines don't need bright lights? My new old vintage Singer lights up like my refrigerator. But the newer machine? Unless I'm wearing my reading glasses, I can't even see the needle to thread it. And now? The third picture is the light clamped on the corner of my table, wrapping around the back.

Light. Seriously bright, cool light. The Uber light has a long neck, very flexible, and very sturdy - I've snapped gooseneck lamps before being a little overzealous. I don't think I could hurt this baby. It's from Reliable Corporation.

If it's dark in your room, check out the Uber light. It's actually worth the money.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A fabric-driven project

Remember I said I only bought one yard of fabric last weekend in New York? Well, this was it.

I saw it, it called (yelled) to me across Spandex House, and I took a close look and decided that I liked it but I'd never wear it.

I went upstairs, looked around, thought about it, went back downstairs and bought a yard. I knew I couldn't make a dress out of it, but you can make a t-shirt out of almost any fabric.

This is my TNT KwikSew 3338 t-shirt pattern. I've probably made it 15 times by now, in long sleeve or short, scoop neck or higher, solids and patterns. By this point, I can sew it in my sleep. I even have a second version of the pattern folded into the envelope in a size larger, for when I'm recycling old tshirts - they don't have as much stretch as new fabric, so I always cut a size larger and work the seam allowances.

I still haven't finished the sewing room, but I pulled the coverstitch into the living room and did the hems out there, and I still have my regular Singer set up on a corner of the table.

I couldn't not sew any more. A quick and dirty project like this one did me a world of good.

This fabric was purchased on Saturday, washed on Sunday, cut on Monday night and sewn on Tuesday.

Now let's see what happens when I wear it to work tomorrow. How many people will have to wear sunglasses around me to cut the glare?

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I've been wearing

I finally wore the black-and-white Fatina dress this weekend. It's been done for ages, but I wanted to save it for something special, so I wore it (with the jacket) to the family birthday dinner yesterday.

We're starting to lose summer, so I'm really glad I made a jacket to go with it because I really liked the dress - it's comfortable, it's a good length and I love - LOVE - the floral trim.

Unlike the Fatina dress, I couldn't wait to wear my new Ottobre jacket. This was taken by my office receptionist/staff photographer who went out on maternity leave at 3:00 p.m. today, after sitting at the front desk having contractions since 11:00 a .m. She didn't want to waste any of her 8 weeks sitting at home waiting to give birth, and I'd say she got her way.

I will miss her for many reasons, not the least of which is her willingness to take photos of latest projects, even today, when she couldn't actually balance and stand up. She scooted her chair around the polished lobby floor because she couldn't let a new piece go unphotographed.

So do I save everything until she comes back, or do I find a new office photographer?

Carolyn made me do it

I didn't have any plans to buy fabric anytime soon. Heck, I made it out of New York with only one yard of fabric in my bag, so I'm doing good, I tell you.

Then last night, I stopped by Carolyn's blog. And she was so persuasive about the sweater knits from Emma One Sock that she couldn't buy, I bought one on her behalf.

I had a terrible time choosing between the two colorways, but I decided on the green because it still had some of the rust in it; the rust colorway was pretty much rust/brown. This has more potential to get worn frequently.

I'm pretty sure I know what it wants to be already.

And in the realm of not-staying-on-the-wagon, I bought some patterns today on Patternreview. A few New Looks and KwikSew 3258 because Dawn is making a Chanel jacket from that one and I'm not 100% sold on the pattern I've chosen.

With such enabling friends, who could ask for anything more?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ottobre 5/09 #113 Jacket - Finished

We got back from dinner a little while ago and I ducked right into the workroom.

The buttons are on, the jacket is done, and the pattern review is here.

Woohoo, two projects in a month. If I sew any faster, I'll scare myself.

So I cheated

I've been frustrated with not being able to sew recently, but I've made such a disaster out of the workroom that it's been almost impossible.

Worst of all, I unplugged the vintage Singer with the buttonholer and moved it out of harm's way, so I haven't been able to finish the Ottobre 5/09 #113 jacket, which was finished all but the buttonholes I was looking forward to making.

And it's been bugging the hell out of me, an otherwise-finished garment hanging there on Evelyn, taunting me from under the dust sheet.

So what did I do? I cheated.

Yesterday Kisha and I drove up to New York for the day. I wanted to see the Isabel Toledo exhibit again before it closed, and she hadn't seen it yet, so that was first on the list of things to do.

Also on the list: Paron's, Pacific Trims, Spandex House and hopefully meeting up with Elizabeth.

Also on my list: taking a quick trip into Jonathan's Embroidery so I could pay them $3 to put buttonholes in my jacket. Which I admit seems kind of silly since I just spent money on a brand new old machine with buttonholer, but I just got sick of waiting to be able to use it.

Does that make any sense at all?

I ran across the street to Jonathan's while Kisha was pawing through the rayon jerseys at Spandex House, and I was back before she checked out. They are so fast in there. I think 3 buttonholes took about 2 minutes, and that included the time to pick out the thread color.

Aren't they pretty?

I didn't need to do it - the renovation can't take forever, and at some point I'll get frustrated with it, and put the sewing machines back up - but I realized on Saturday morning that it was the 19th, and I hadn't finished my second item for the month.

When I'm not productive, I'm not happy.

So running off to Jonathan's might not have been necessary in the long run, but it was very good for my mental outlook. And now it's done, except for the buttons, which will get sewn after another non-sewing Sunday (Mario's mom and sister's birthday dinner is tonight).

Another note about NY. I came home with one bag. A small bag. It contained one yard of stretch from Spandex House, five yards of black piping for a dress I have in mind, and a length of chain for the hem of my (eventual) Chanel jacket.

That's it. That's all I bought. I tried to explain it to Kisha and Elizabeth - I think because I've been so unproductive, I had trouble buying, or even finding, anything more than "replacement" fabric for what I'd actually used.

Or maybe I'm just uninspired because I haven't been sewing?

Parting shot here is Alice. Alice used to live in my back yard, and she was one of Vladimir Putintat's former flames, and mother of several of his children. She came in on Valentine's day several years ago, appearing at my 2nd floor bedroom window at midnight and scratching to be let in. Considering she had to climb a tree, jump an alleyway and cross the porch roof to get there, who was I to say no? I already had 2 of her children indoors, but she didn't seem to recognize them. She's still skittish, and has lots of rules about how and when she'll allow herself to be touched, but she's a sweet girl all the same.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still not much sewing going on

Actually, none. Again.

I'm still slowly working on the renovation. I got the painting mostly done, and now I'm puzzling over how to fix the ceiling. The room has a drop ceiling, but I'm not going to remove it because of the amount of work involved - I pushed up a tile and looked at the original plaster and saw how much repair it would take, and said no. I just won't look up very often.

The room has a drop ceiling, but the closet that was in the alcove did not. The alcove goes up to the original ceiling height, but is separated from the rest of the room by a (damaged) header wall over the closet. I could leave it that way, but that would leave the grungy old ceiling over half my work space, and also there's a section of the wall missing at the top and I'd rather not have an open wall there. So I have to rig up some kind of drywall patch, and drywall is not one of my better home improvement skills.

Last night I took off from home repair completely and made chicken stock from scratch. Which I've never done before, but which turned out really well and made me happy that there's one more thing I can make myself and not have to buy at the store. Mine is healthier, cheaper, and gives me a way to use up the bones of all those lovely roasted half-chickens we keep buying from the Amish boys at the Thursday farmer's market. I've had a bag of bones in the freezer for a couple of months now, and this past weekend I decided there were enough of them to experiment with.

It took hours to cook down and it perfumed the house (or stunk up the house, depending on your view; my vegetarian housemate spent much time spraying air freshener in the upstairs hall, which was no match for the chicken), and when I went downstairs at around 11 p.m. to strain it and put it into containers, I was thrilled at the transformation of a pile of bones and some cheap vegetables into a huge pot of golden yellow stock that will go into our dinners for months to come. I froze some and put the rest in jars in the fridge.

At some point I need to think about dealing with the tomatoes that are still ripening at warp speed in the back yard, and at some point I really need to sew. I still haven't made those buttonholes, which is ridiculous. I should at least do that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do we need another SATC already?

Not sure if we need another movie already - a few years between the end of the series and the movie felt right, but another movie already? Really? It doesn't seem like enough time has passed in the characters' lives for it to be worth it.

Besides, I really liked how the movie tied everything up so neatly for everyone. Well, except Samantha. Or maybe not. Maybe that was Samantha's happy ending.

On the other hand, another movie full of clothes and shoes and accessories? Well, okay, twist my arm.

I was looking online last week at some photos from the filming, and Sarah Jessica Parker has already got one dress that I'd like to try to knock off.

It looks adorable on Sarah Jessica Parker, but then again, what doesn't? Still, I think this dress has great potential to look good on a real body.

And it was very nice of the photographer to do a front, a closeup and a side shot (showing the closure, thank you very much!). Now if they could have just done a back view, I'd be happy.

And of course it's not going to happen in white. It wouldn't make it out of the sewing room clean (cat hair, anybody?), and it certainly wouldn't survive the commute to work, much less a standard day in my grubby office.

So am I the only one with mixed feelings about SATC II?

Edited to add the tidbit that this dress is from the Halston Heritage Spring 2010 collection - someone on Patternreview was asking about the dress too, so I'm not the only one!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Completely and Totally Non-Sewing Weekend

I meant to sew. Really, I did.

I did get quite a bit of work done on the workroom renovation this past weekend. I'm beginning to feel pressure to finish before it gets cool outside and I end up painting with the windows shut. A while back, I ripped out an existing (but non-functioning) closet and decided to put a countertop in the alcove that would hold a couple of my sewing machines. I could also put a shelf or two overhead, and this would be much more practical than a closet that I couldn't use.

So the closet was gone, and then I put a whole bunch of rubble into the alcove and pretended it wasn't there.

Friday night, it really started to bug me, so Saturday I went to the hardware store and got all the bolts I would need to attach the supports to the wall to hold the countertop. I've never done wall anchors of that magnitude before, so I got twice as many as I needed, plus a tube of heavy duty construction adhesive, and I spent part of Saturday drilling large holes into my walls and attaching bolts and 2x4s and generally covering myself in gray adhesive that still hasn't come off.
On the plus side, I can hang my body weight on the supports and they don't move. On the minus, maybe putting in 15 of them was a little excessive. But whatever, they're up.

I measured, and measured again, and went downstairs and marked my countertop (a 28" wide solid core door from the local home store). Now I'll let Mario get all manly and cut it with the circular saw, and once I get the alcove painted and patch the ceiling drywall, I can install the countertop and the underneath supports and actually have a much better functioning area. Where maybe some sewing WILL get done.

Sunday was a wash as far as accomplishing anything at home - we hit a porch sale in the morning, and then in the afternoon took the train up to visit my elderly aunt, who wanted to talk about her living situation. She's not comfortable on her own anymore, but she's doesn't want to go into a home. She found an independent living situation connected with a nursing home where she could have a small apartment, but some meals and housecleaning and laundry provided by the building. I wasn't for the idea at first, but the more I listened to her, the more I realized it's probably the best solution - she's lonely, more than anything, and afraid of living on her own, and this would force her to interact with people but she'd still have her own space to retreat to when it got to be too much. I could stop worrying about her being on her own, because there would be people to check on her.

Her main concern is that she might use up what money she has and not have any left to leave me. I tried to convince her that my uncle didn't work all those years to put money aside to take care of me. He was 20 years older than her and knew she'd be on her own someday, and he wanted her to be safe and comfortable. So hopefully she's going to do what he wanted and take care of herself.

Not saying if there's anything left over, I wouldn't be grateful, but I've managed to support myself since I was 18, I think I've got the hang of it by now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

It rained yesterday, cold, gray dreary rain. All I wanted all day was to come home to my nice (hopefully) dry house and not have to go out again.

So when Mario emailed me mid-afternoon and said we were going out for dinner and then to the movies, I grumbled a bit. I went, but I grumbled -mainly because he said he'd already gotten the tickets and I like knowing what I'm going to beforehand.


He got tickets to the 7:25 showing of The September Issue.

Because it was such a gray, dreary day that he thought I needed perking up.

I have many thoughts on the movie, but first and foremost is that I enjoyed it more - far more - than I enjoyed the real September issue this year.

Second, I would like to see the world through Grace Coddington's eyes. And I wouldn't mind having her red hair, either.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Almost there . . .

All I have left is to make buttonholes, sew on buttons and finish my debate with myself over whether or not I want some visible topstitching on this jacket, and if so, by machine or by hand.

And ironing. Lots and lots of ironing.

This jacket didn't turn out to be quite the jacket I had in mind. I've mostly made Ottobre bottoms before but I've done a few tops, and their sizing is consistent with BWOF; in other words, I'm a 38. So I traced this pattern in 38, and added seam allowances. Just standard size ones, nothing generous.

I shoulda made a muslin.

It fits, don't get me wrong. It fits quite well, but it's not the fit I was expecting. It's a very fitted fit, if you know what I mean. The kind of fit that gets a tank top underneath.

For those considering making this top, unless you've got little skinny stick arms (the kind I envy but will never have), do yourself a favor and cut a size larger on the armholes and sleeves, because these babies are SNUG. But on the plus side, it's a two piece sleeve, so they are well cut and attractively snug.

The same can be said for the entire jacket. The back is princess seamed, which always helps me get a good fit. The front has bust darts and contour darts to the waist seam, and then the peplum is attached. I was a little iffy about the peplum, but it lays very nicely and doesn't add any bulk to my personal peplum.

There are several things I really like about this pattern, and a few things I would change.

I really like the way the collar is drafted. The upper collar is two pieces (collar and stand) while the under collar is one piece (collar with cut-on stand). It works very well, though I think I should have used a heavier interfacing just to give it a bit more shape. (One of my minor dislikes is how large the collar is; if I make it again, I just won't add any seam allowances to the three sides).

On the not-so-plus side, I would draft a separate facing for this jacket instead of using the cut-on facing. Cut-on facings are fine for unlined jackets, but I prefer to construct my shell and my linings separately, and then bag the lining all together. I couldn't do that because I couldn't sew the shoulder seams of the lining, since part of the shoulder seam was contained in that front facing that had to then be sewn to the partial lining before the rest of the lining was constructed. Besides, I like the firmer edge you get with having a facing seam.

I did skip actually inserting real pockets under the pocket flaps. I hadn't planned on them from the beginning - they get inserted right beneath the waist seam and to me it just had the potential of adding bulk there that I didn't need, and pockets I probably wouldn't use anyway. I also cut the back piece on the fold instead of with a center back seam, but that was because I forgot to mark CB and instead marked CBF on the pattern piece. Oops. Well, same difference.

Other than having to construct it slightly differently than I like, and other than having it fit slightly differently than I'd intended, I'm pretty happy with this jacket. I wanted to make a lined jacket as a warmup before I start in on the remake of Mario's jacket, and this has got me back into the right frame of mind.

If I make this jacket again, and I probably will, since overall it was a good experience, I'll make the collar a bit smaller. I'll also cut the sleeves and armholes up a size, and add a skooch more room to the back, since I think part of the snugness is more of a broad back issue than a big boob issue (which is at least a change). I may also leave off the pleats in the back of the peplum - they were cute, but a little too distinctive to do more than once.

Now I want to go off and practice a few more buttonholes before I slide my jacket under the vintage buttonholer and let it go to town.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekend Sewing

There's not a lot of it happening, but I have high hopes for tomorrow.

I got out of work early on Friday and headed down to 4th Street to see if I could score any more of the leather I had used on Mario's jacket (thinking I could recycle the pocket flaps if I could just get enough leather for even the upper collar), but they didn't have any more.

However, PA Fabric Outlet did have the toasty-brown herringbone shown here, which is very slowly being turned into the cute little peplum jacket from the new issue of Ottobre. Hmmm, fabric purchased and cut within a day, used for a magazine that's all of 3 days old. That's got to be a record. It's actually a poly blend, though it doesn't look or feel it, and from the little work I've done with it so far, it steams as well as the real thing.

My other purchase was something I definitely didn't need, and which will also be sewn up pretty soon, I think. Jack B's is a fabric store that I've never had much time for, because from outside and just inside, it looks like they sell mostly home dec. Except there are good garment fabrics hidden in random corners, and if you ask, they probably have what you're looking for. Kisha and I went in and she said, "Do you have any boiled wool?" and they did - in black. Gorgeous, drapy stuff that we both had to have.

Saturday was business as usual - farmer's market, gym and thrift store. They were having half price clothing, so I found a few goodies that wanted to come home with me and be refashioned into something else. More about them later.

I traced off the Ottobre jacket in between a sting in the garden and cleaning the kitchen, and I got the fabric cut on Saturday night.

Today was mandatory family cookout, which was good except it seriously cut into what I'd rather have done this weekend. And now I'm full and uncomfortable and all I managed to get done before we left today was interfacing. I tried to sew tonight, but I was too tired to get much done - I just sewed the darts in the jacket and pinned the main pieces together to try on. I love Ottobre - they fit almost without alterations.

As promised, a few buttonhole samples. Regular and keyhole done on 2 layers of pinstripe with fairly substantial interfacing, and keyhole buttonhole done on a scrap of mid-weight leather. Each buttonhole was gone over twice, to add more definition.

Did I mention that I love this thing? I can't wait for the next shirt.
So tomorrow is it. The end of my long (non) sewing weekend. I'm hoping I can sneak a few hours in the workroom in the afternoon - either to sew or to work on the renovation. It's been bugging me that I haven't worked on it lately.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

August: Month End Review

Let's face it, August did not start off with great promise. Not only was my first project of the month a complete and total wadder, it wasn't even for me. Therefore, someone else was following along with the project and anticipating being able to wear the jacket, which made its untimely demise even more tragic. And frustrating.

But enough about that. If that project taught me nothing else, it was to beware when I know exactly what I'm doing, because I just might not. And I bought fabric to replace the lost fabric, and it's even nicer, and I'm going to start it next. I think.

To recover from the wadder, I made myself another version of BWOF's cutaway shoulder blouse, this time in white. I only have one other white blouse in my wardrobe and I don't like it very much, so this has gotten worn a few times already.

I also used up another piece of my Liberty fabric in the Simplicity 5204 blouse, and I do plan to make a matching skirt, but haven't gotten there yet, because of Burdastyle and their lovely Fatina dress. I made two of those, and they're possibly my favorite projects for a while.

The Vogue jacket that is meant to go over the Fatina dress was NOT a favorite project, but it serves its intended purpose, so I'm okay with it.

Last but certainly not least, last night I finished another pair of Ottobre jeans, this time in black denim. These turned out the best yet. I'm really pleased. I wanted a pair of black jeans for our upcoming vacation, of which more later.

Since I was too lazy to unthread the machine, I put together a pencil skirt with the leftover pinstripe, but that's a September project.

So a strong finish from a bad start - 7 projects, 13.5 yards. Of course I also went to NY and to Jomar this month, but I think I sewed more than I bought, so hopefully stash didn't get any bigger.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It must be Love

So tonight I finally got some uninterrupted time in the workroom with my new baby.

After I took her apart, cleaned her out, dusted, oiled, re-threaded and figured out how the hell to wind the mutant bobbins (they're clear plastic, wide, thin and screw apart so you can actually lift the thread out in a roll; weird), I tried out the Singer buttonholer.

This baby has so earned its shipping and handling. I was thinking because it's such a nice old heavy machine, I'd try it for other things, but no, it's just going to be a dedicated buttonholer. I tried out the regular and keyhole buttonholes tonight, and they came out beautifully. You can sew several layers one on top of the other, so you end up with a very textured buttonhole that isn't lumpy at all.

We're going to spend a lot more time together this weekend; photos to follow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Working on my black Ottobre jeans tonight, hoping to get them finished so I can add them to August's totals - and because I want to get on to the next project.

I was reminded today that I never added a pattern review for Simplicity 2724, so that's here. Much as I loved this dress when I finished it, it's just too humid in Philadelphia in summer to wear a snug-fitting totally lined dress. I would have melted, and the dress would not have been the better for it. Today the weather was in the 70s, and the dress finally came out of the closet.

Last time I posted about this one, I was still mulling over the hem length. Obviously I decided on a length, and then I hand-hemmed it, thinking that a hand sewn hem would show less on the RPL. Hah! I spent the entire day smoothing the hem, and I picked it out and ran it through the coverstitch when I got home. If I'm going to have a visible hem, it's going to look like a design element, damn it.

Also, a picture of me wearing the second, plaid version of the Fatina dress. I really like this one, and I'm still mulling over another version. I'm also mulling over another version of S 2724, with the narrow skirt this time, in black, with (yet another) print top.

But next up, hopefully, is the remake of Mario's jacket. I found a great houndstooth wool last time I was in NYC, and I found out yesterday that the drycleaner under my building actually has no problem steaming/ pressing/ shrinking fabric - and only charged me $5 for three yards of wool.