Monday, September 3, 2012


I'm trying something new this fall: multiple projects at once.  I've been inspired by Hurricane Isaac - during whom I made a little mental back up plan for prolonged sewing outages: cut all pieces for the next few projects.  The outage (thankfully) was only one day, but the impulse to get several things going at once still lingers...

Here is what I'm working on for fall.

Shirt Dress (for school)

When I decided to give sewing a serious try...back in 2010...I intended to download the Coffee Date dress off Grosgrain's Frock by Friday series.  Instead, I accidently downloaded a shirt dress.  It was a disaster.  Photos later.

This put me off shirt dresses for a while... but now I'm ready to get back in the saddle.  With this dark brown pin stripe linen blend.  On the dress, the stripes will be going in the other directions. Obvi.

Tea Length Dress (for an October wedding)
Victory Patterns
Okay.  I'm a sucker for a sweetheart neckline.  The Macaron dress was the original catalyst of my sewing appetite, seen here, so you can imagine the DROOL when I saw the Ava pattern by Victory.  (Side note...I love independent pattern companies!)  I plan to make the Ava every which this round is just the beginning. 

I'll be making it out of another Egyptian gift fabric.  Gus made more than one black and gold selection while abroad - a nod to the Saints?  Also Steelers compatible.  Makes for a versatile fall wardrobe. 

Blouse (for school)
So I have been blessed with a long waist.  I don't know if blessed is the right word, but anyway.  This means that most pants look funny when I tuck in a shirt.  Consequently, I need blouses that look nice untucked... which can be a bit tricky.

Not so if you sew!  As I said earlier, I love me some independent pattern companies... and one I haven't tried yet is Sewaholic.  Luckily my Alma Blouse pattern came in the mail today!  First up is View this linen blend.

Much better than last September's line up...which ended in a sewing hiatus of six months.  Commitment: history doth not repeat thyself. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Presents from Egypt

Over the summer, Gus went on a whirlwind adventure to Egypt - touring the pyramids, the white desert, the Nile.  While sleeping in a dorm at my summer job, I awoke to a text from him at 4:30am - a picture of his head in front of the Sphinx.  You can imagine my jealously.

But leave it to Gus...all my jealously evaporated when he arrived home and showered me with gifts... most of them of the fabric variety!  This fantastic printed fresco fabric has the feeling of lightweight cotton, but is considerably more durable.  Fresco is a very lightweight wool...I found a good description at The Gentleman's Gazette.  I guess its no surprise that Egyptians have perfected hot weather fabrics.  Sorry this picture is so yellow.

My current philosophy of sewing patterns is to choose something with elements I haven't tried before.  With that in mind, it was time to add a wrap dress to my repertoire.

Pattern: Vogue 8646
Fabric: Fresco, gift
Belt: Banana Republic
Closure: Tie on the inside panel, hook and eye on the outside panel.

I finished this dress last Saturday and I've already worn it twice.  It debuted at the Ira Glass event at LSU on Sunday night.  Three cheers for public radio!  Then I wore the dress to school on Monday (the day before Hurricane Isaac put us out for a week.)  It did very well in the humidity.  I did have to pin the neckline together.  I plan to add a snap at the neckline to keep it in place without worry.

I'm excited that my sewing fluency is growing.  I was happy to be able to look at this fabric and decide what to make with it - sans agonizing over pattern choices and worrying about the quality of the finished product.  Now if only I could get my blog background to stop changing to random things...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Navy Blue Licorice

So yes, it's been quite a while since I've posted.  Between a job change, a summer away from home, and a broken sewing machine, both sewing and blogging have been on hold.  And now here I am, off work for Hurricane Isaac... hoping I can finish this post before the lights go out.

Good news... my wonderful boyfriend has agreed to be my blog photographer.  He did a great job last Thanksgiving and shares his work again here.  Neither of us are masters of the Nikon D40 yet, so it took us a little while to figure out the manual focus was off, but alas, the photos still look nice.  The wine prop was his idea.

This is my first project from the Colette Patterns Sewing Handbook - which, sigh, I got for Christmas from my brother Bob.  It's taken me way too long to get started!
Pattern: Licorice Dress - Colette Patterns
Fabric: Brocade (is what it said in the store. It feels like Silk Crepe.)
Lining: Bemberg Rayon (best lining EVER - breathable, washable, seriously check it out)

I bought the fabric at Fabric Place Basement in Framingham, MA back in December when I was home for Christmas.  Fabric Place was this old fabric store in downtown Framingham that was around since the 1940s.  I remember wandering around the winding rooms as a kid, getting lost, bugging my mom, etc.  It recently went out of business and Fabric Place Basement opened... which I must say is AWESOME.  I spent way too much in way too little time there.  I would get a part time job there cutting fabric if I still lived in Massachusetts.  Just for fun.

I've got to say... this dress is the best thing I've ever made.  It was intended for the First Day of School, but would have been too warm given the lining and Louisiana weather.  It fits perfectly (I cut a 6 top, 8 waist, and 10 bottom) and feels comfortable and professional at the same time.  I'm smitten.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Yellow Polka Dot Blouse

Pattern: Sencha
Fabric: Silk, $9/yd
Buttons: Vintage
Cost: $20

The photo above has some crazy light...but I kind of like it.

This garment is a synthesis of firsts. Components:

1. First Colette Pattern ever purchased... now almost two years ago. My first attempt at the Sencha blouse was an awful failure - between my inability to deal with the silky polyester and making a size way too small because I was used to crazy design ease. I have finally made a fitting version of this top!

2. First time using silk. Yellow Polka Dot Silk - my favorite purchase from shopping in NYC. Though tricky at times, completely worth it. Silk feels so much nicer than synthetics! Almost burned it a couple times with the iron as well... but crisis averted.

3. First major machine malfunction... right in the center of the front collar too. I nearly lost it. The needle kept breaking... I finally figured out it was hitting the presser foot. A week at the shop later...

Normal light:
Back view:
I'm finally back into sewing, after a long hiatus. I'm excited to start working through the Colette Sewing Book my brother gave me for Christmas - and use the $200 worth of fabric I splurged on at Fabric Place Basement on the same trip home to Massachusetts. Fabric Place has amazing stuff - and completely takes the excitement out of the Joann's that just opened in Baton Rouge. While I love to have an option other than Hancock... sigh...just a little boring.... ;-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Long Plaid Coming...

I must say... my blogging has gotten away from me! Between a job change, traveling for work, and Mardi Gras... I haven't had time to sew a thing. (And am now secretly glad I didn't post my "sewing resolutions" back in January... I'd be in deep water now...)

It doesn't help that my new job is teaching 1st grade... which is amazing, but "weekend craft" heavy. Let's just say I cut out a lot out of laminated letters. And crazy shapes. And sea animals. Not as many dress patterns.

So let's REWIND to September 2011 and look at a plaid variation of Sorbetto that I made, but never photographed, way back then.

Pattern: Colette's Sorbetto
Sleeve: Colette's Macaroon
Fabric: Plaid Shirting from Hancock's
Trim: Something lacy I picked up in NYC - August 2011.
Cost: No idea, but I'll guess $7.

I love how the Macaroon sleeve looks in the crisp shirting. A very comfortable shirt.

I used the trim to finish the sleeves and neck line by stitching the trim on right-sides-together, turning the seam under, and top-stitching it down. This method caused the trim to stand straight up - as you can see below - which is a little odd, but I kind of like it. 3-D Baby. Perfect to wear around the house while I start my next sewing project!