Monday, November 14, 2011

Work Blouse

Introducing my third Pendrell!

Not much to say about this pattern as this is my third make.  This is definitely my best one- third time's the charm!

But I do have some words about this fabric.  I love it!  I went to Joann on Friday with the intention of picking up some clearance fabric to make some shirts for work.  Most of my nice shirts are black or white.  I like white a lot.  I don't love how black looks on me.  I chanced upon this fabric and loved it.  It's 100% polyester, which doesn't bother me in the mild San Diego climate, and it is super soft and buttery.  And it was mismarked and ended up being only $1/yard!  When I found that out I got 3 more yards, so you might see a dress from this fabric one day soon. 

I also love the color.  Yes it's black, and looks good paired with black (like this thrifted Ann Taylor skirt I got for only $3!)  But the autumn colors in it soften the black and looks better on me.  

We all know I'm not photographic, so just trust me that this looks really good in person. :)

Hope you all had a wonderful 3 day weekend!  I'm looking forward to my Thanksgiving sew-cation next week. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Got a job!

I got a job!  Yahoo!

I've been a teacher the last 3 years, and in a big political/personal showdown, I ended up losing my job at the end of June.  I applied to teaching jobs over the summer, but obviously didn't get anything.  So I was just collecting unemployment and looking into switching careers and had even taken steps to going back to school in January.  Then on Monday afternoon I got a phone call and I've been swept up in the whirlwind all week.  I'm teaching 5th grade for San Diego Unified.  The classes were overfilled so they're splitting them up and giving me the overflow and I start with kids on Monday.

At my last job, I had a really difficult time maintaining a work/personal balance and I felt like work sucked my life away.  Coming home and sewing or knitting was my therapy.  This week I admit that I've been very unbalanced on the side of work, but I'm also trying to learn a whole new system, get officially hired, and be all set up for kids on Monday so I'm giving myself a pass for the first month or so.

So that's my story on why I haven't done much sewing!  I started a pair of pants last weekend, but haven't touched them all week.  I started McCalls 6403 in View E, the wide legged loose fitting pants.

I started out with the intention to make the shorts in View D, but I had the fabric and got excited and there you have it!  I've never made a fly before, and I swear it took me like 2 hours of watching you tube videos repeatedly and ripping out and trying again, but now that I've done it before I think it'd be easier the second time around.  This video was extremely useful by the way for anyone trying to sew a front fly zipper.  Despite doing a tissue fitting, this is a bit big so I need to shave off the sides, attach the waist band, and hem up the bottom.  Hopefully I'll get to it this weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Little Bow Peep

This is my final product:
And incidentally the only normal picture

This is what I was going for:

This is the story behind it all:
I always liked this Anthropologie top.  But I also believe it was priced around the $100 mark.  I thought about copying it, but I had never done that before, so I let it sit in my inspiration folder.

I was looking at Pattern Review for reviews of Simplicity 2599 and came across this tutorial.  The ladies at Presserfoot had already written a tutorial for how to make a Shelby-like top.

So I pullled out some cute cotton from my stash...

And got to work!

Now, you would think that having this tutorial readily available, mine would come out darn close.  And I'd have to agree with you.  But this is what I did:

Skim tutorial... skim... okay, cut a piece about that shape... gather here... skim, skim skim.  Got it!

Do you understand now why mine didn't come out like the tutorial?

My collar piece was much larger than the one on the Anthropologie top, but I decided I liked it.  Because the collar was so large, I left off the gathers on the sleeves.  I wish I had made the ties slightly longer, but it's not worth taking it apart in my opinion.

The thing I am most proud of is the fit on this top.  I had made this before, and it's really big in the back.  As I was cutting this one, I realized it's because I omitted the back seam without accounting for the seam allowances.  Oops.  This means I have an extra 1.25 inches in the back of the first one I made, which is why it's so big.

So this time I cut a size 12, graded out to a 16 in the hips.  I did a tissue fitting and brought the seams in slightly.  I omitted the back seam and took out the 5/8 seam allowance on each side.  I also tried it on pinned together before sewing it and made some slight adjustments, but overall I was really happy.

The front and the back pieces were the only pattern pieces I used from the Simplicity pattern.  The collar piece, the ties, and the bias binding I measured and made myself.

Even though it's not exactly what I had in mind when I started this project, I'm very happy with the end result.

As an end of post treat, here's a mini-montage of pictures from Gary trying to coach me in modeling:

Steph, look away like you're thinking.  Why are your arms just dangling there?!?

Try whipping your hair....

Sorry, I took the picture too fast.  Try again!

 Not enough hair.  Try again!  Be a model!

There you go, that's modeling!
Uh... Gary... you know that I'm trying to show off my shirt right?  This isn't  a Pantene commercial.

PS! I forgot to mention that my post on Butterick 4989 is going to be featured on Butterick's facebook page. I feel famous!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Perfect Body

Guess what?   I have the perfect body!  Haha, far from it...

But apparently my body measurements are almost dead aligned with standard patterns.

In my coats class today, we spent like 2 hours learning how to do various alterations (as a former teacher, I have to say that I love the way she taught this lesson).  Although I learned a lot, I was NOT looking forward to doing all that work on my own pattern.

I went to get fitted, and was very nervous to find out all the things I had to adjust.

But guess what?
My pattern fit!  Perfectly! And she checked everything, really looking for something, anything, that needed to be tweaked... but nope.  Back and front are perfect.  It probably helps that I had already graded out a size for my hips, but still, this is very exciting!

Gary says this means I'm completely average.  I think it means I'm perfect.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Queen of Drapey

I love long, drapey stuff.  You know those drapey cardigans that are in style?  Well, I think I own at least 4 of them, with plans to make another one next.  They're all different lengths, textures, styles, and colors, so I justify owning so many.  Plus I do wear them a lot!

Not only do I have the cardigan version, but I also own 2 vest versions.  And as a nice, easy project, I whipped myself up a third!  Just call me the Queen of Drapey. :)

Happy with my long flowy, drapey vest! 

This is Butterick 4989 in View C, the long drapey one.  This is labeled a 2 hour pattern, and I'd say that's pretty accurate. It was very simple, only 2 pattern pieces; the back and the front is cut twice. I was a little slower, but I didn't work straight and I had some self-created issues with the fabric layout.  I was a bit short on fabric, so I studied the directions seeing if I could squeeze out some more fabric.  Then I noticed that the pattern includes a 4 inch hem.  Wow.  You do NOT need a 4 inch hem.  I figured I was 9 inches short, so I cut 3 inches off each pattern piece and barely squeezed this out.  But as you can see, I still have tons of length, so I wouldn't stress out about the fabric requirements.

Obligatory back shot.

The fabric is really pretty.  It's a sage green stretch lace that has some shine to it.  It's really bunchy (as in bunches up a lot) and it has a lot of holes (because duh, it's a lace) which made it tricky to sew, but not as difficult as I thought.  I was able to use a normal needle and everything, just used a zig zag stitch.  But as a result, this didn't come out as particularly neat in terms of construction as it would've in a simpler fabric.  But because the lace is a little busy, you really can't tell. 

A close up shot of my lace, although the color is more accurate in the other pictures. 

Overall, I highly recommend this pattern and I am very happy with the result. :) 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An atypical first day

I was so excited for my first day of sewing class.  My plan was to get up early, have a nice big breakfast and a big ole cup of coffee, get all done up all cute, and have Gary take a picture so I could post me off to school!

You know what they say: If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.

I didn't fall asleep until like 12 last night, which is actually pretty typical for me lately.  But then I woke up at 3am, feeling sicker than anything.  I don't know if this has to do with getting older or the strains of the cold or flu virus changing, but lately when I'm sick I get the body aches bad.  I think I've had them for a few days, but was confusing them with gym soreness.

After waking up sick as a dog at 3am, I tossed and turned in bed until about 4.  At this point I felt bad for Gary, so I got up, switched to the couch, and watched Secret Life of the American Teenager (I'm so pissed at Madison by the way! Ugh!)

I went back to bed, and slept from about 6:00 to 7:00.  So when I got up to go to class I was functioning on 4 hours of sleep and feeling very achey.  No fun!  I debated going to class, but finally decided to go.  Side note: My dad always says you can tell how sick I am by how I'm dressed.  I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror at school and thought "This soooo does not look like me."  Whatever.

But I am soooo happy that I pulled myself out of bed and went to class!  It turns out that I had the days wrong, today was Intermediate Sewing, not my coat class.  I figured this out at about 5am, not when I walked in to the classroom, which would've been awkward.  I didn't bring anything, which was a good call because all we really did was introduce ourselves and then watched a movie about textiles.

Speaking of textiles, wow, I really know a lot.  The teacher was asking questions and I knew pretty much everything.  She also asked where people buy fabric and when I said I buy online she said that you can only do that if you know your textiles.  But I think I've made it pretty clear that I know my textiles.  Then I got to wondering how I know this.  I know my fibers from knitting and from reading knitting magazines.  As for actual fabrics, I think I seriously just touch like every fabric in the fabric store and then read what it is.  I also read a lot online, so when I buy a new fabric online I have a good idea of what it is before it comes.

I also got the impression that I am an advanced intermediate.  The syllabus has us doing things like working with knits, making buttonholes, and installing zippers.  I've done all that, no problem.  But some things I don't really know or want more help on.  She's going to teach us fitting using the Fit for Real People book (which I bought like a month ago and LOVE!)  I think it'll be helpful to have other people around when using that method, especially since I have such a hard time fitting my back and it's hard for me to see my own back!  So even though I think I'm on the more advanced end of the class, I still think it will be worthwhile to take.  And again, I'm glad I got out of bed.  Now off for a nap!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Embracing unemployment

I've mused on this post for a while, writing and rewriting it in my head.  It ended up a little long and philosophical, maybe I was talking things through for myself.  Anyways, I'm choosing to be vague about my last job, because it sucked the life out of me and there's no point in reliving it, but I hope I can convey the low feelings I had afterward and what a change of heart I had. And if you don't care, then you can scroll down toward the bottom for some sewing related stuff!

Unemployment is not as fun as you would think.  It sounds cool- the state is paying you to go to the beach and play Paper Mario all day.  But what people don't really get, unless they've been through it of course, is that it really hurts the ego.  I really did everything right in life- I graduated second in my class in high school, went straight to a 4 year university which I actually finished in 3 years, then got Masters degree and my teaching credential in one measly year, and then got a job straight out of college.  We've always been told that if you go to college you'll get a job, but Gary and I sit here as proof that this isn't really the case.  So here I am, with this beautiful resume with an excellent education and a reasonable amount of experience for my age, and no job.  It really affects your self esteem, because you wonder why you're not good enough.

Two weeks ago, on Friday, August 26th, I had my last teaching interview.  It was depressing!  It was a group interview, and I genuinely liked everyone in my group and we chatted a bunch, and it came out that at least 2 of them had taught for about 10 years and had been unemployed the last year or two.  Ten years experience!!! If they can't find a job, what chance do I have?  And I'm not even sure I want to be a teacher anymore anyways!

That night I let myself be sad for a few hours, grieving the loss of my career, and the next morning I put on my big girl pants and decided to seize the day.  I spent my summer letting things happen to me.  Letting the interviews come to me, letting unemployment wash over me.  No more! I decided I was going to own unemployment, unemployment wasn't going to own me!  So I started thinking about the things I'd like to do if I wasn't working.  One of those was getting back in to shape, which I actually started doing maybe 3 weeks or so ago now.  The second thing I really wanted to do was take sewing or fashion classes.

And so it is friends that tomorrow I start sewing classes at San Diego Continuing Education!  And they're free too!

My first class tomorrow is entitled Sewing Like a Professional (Fall Coats and Jackets).  According to the class description we are making trench coats.  I couldn't find an option to email the teacher, but it says to bring a fabric swatch and a your measurements.  It didn't mention anything about a pattern.  Joann Fabrics was having a huge sale this weekend, so I decided to pick up a pattern for 99 cents, and if it was wrong or whatever, who cares, it was only 99 cents!  So I bought McCalls 5525 which I plan to make in view E:

I also bought my fabric:

On the left is what I intend to use as the lining, a clearance polyester.  On the right is a light weight denim ( feels more like twill to me) that I bought for the outer jacket.  It's a really pretty and interesting color.  They call it Moroccan Blue; it's somewhere between a royal blue and teal. I wanted a really sturdy and heavy cotton so it could stand some beatings and so it wouldn't wrinkle too bad.  I spend a lot more than I normally do, but I know that since I'm making it in a class I will do a really good job and I hope this is something I will wear forever.

I think this post is long enough, so I'm going to wrap it up.  Tomorrow I'll blog about how class went and my other classes.  But here's a last thought- I wonder what I need to bring?  I think I'll leave my sewing machine in the car, but have it in case.  I'll bring my pattern, a swatch, a tape measure, a notebook, and a pen.  I think I'll bring pins, in case I want to do a tissue fitting.  My fabric won't be washed yet, so no point in bringing fabric or scissors.  I just don't know how it will all go!  But I'm sure other people won't have a lot of stuff either, and at least after tomorrow I'll know for Wednesday's class.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Old projects, new pictures

Hi everyone!  I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since I posted! Very lame of me.  But this will be a nice big post with pictures.

What have I been up to the last 3 weeks?

1. I had an interview on Friday and wore my hopefully lucky skirt (blogged here):
Don't I look professional, responsible, and cute?  You should hire me!

I don't have much to say about it, this is the fourth version of this skirt!  I loved the fabric, a poly poplin from  I had to drive an hour to my interview and this baby didn't wrinkle at all.

2. I went to the High Desert to visit  my friend Sydney and wow, I bought a lot of clothes.  And I mean a lot. But it was all cheap, so there you go! I averaged like $6/item.  The teal shirt above is one of such finds.  While visiting Sydney, I also knit 2 American Girl doll hats and a baby hat for her new niece.  I wish I had the foresight to take pictures of all those hats!

3.  I finally photographed a dress I made earlier in the summer.  The top is from McCalls 6083, a jumpsuit pattern.  I started off thinking I wanted a romper, but decided I wanted a dress instead.  I didn't do anything fancy at all to change from romper to dress, I just cut two trapezoids such that the waist was roughly the size of the waist of the shorts pattern pieces.  I didn't measure anything and just eyeballed it all.
Off to some Sunday Dim Sum. Over 90 degrees today, that's hot for being just two miles from the Pacific!

This picture doesn't do the dress justice.  We all know I can't be photographed (examples here and here) plus I left all my make up at Gary's parents' house and I should've put some shoes on.  Anyways, I like this dress, it's more or less a sack.  There's elastic at the waist, but it really does need the belt.  However, it's a super comfy just throw on dress that makes it look like you tried a lot harder than you really did.  The fabric is weird though.  I got it for like a $1/yard at Walmart (Hey- I am unemployed you know!).  I guess it's cotton, but it feels soft, but not in a good way, like in a "its crumbling apart" way.  It comes apart at the seams a lot, I had to super reinforce my seams, and I still don't think this dress will last long.  Oh well, maybe I'll make it again in a sturdier fabric.  And really, this was cheaper than making a muslin.

4. I finished my yellow shirt (blogged about at the bottom of this post).  I don't have a picture, mainly because I don't love it.  If I tried it on in a store, I probably wouldn't have bought it.  I measured the tissue pieces and got a really good fit in the waist and hips.  But the bust is gathered, so I didn't know how to measure that and plan accordingly.  As a result, it came out too big in the bust and makes the whole thing look dowdy in my opinion.  I'm sure it's fixable, but I don't feel motivated to fix it because I just gave up hope on the whole thing.  I guess I'll get around to it sometime soon.

5.  I made a delicious dinner for Gary:

Eggplant stuffed with qunioa, ground beef, and sauteed veggies with a side of yogurt sauce.  So yummy!

6.  I've been working out a LOT.  I gained 20 lbs over the last 3 years of my last job (told you it was a good thing that I got let go!)  The last five pounds was in the last few months there, when the monkey poo really hit the fan.  Now that my knees are feeling better, I bought a 24 hour fitness gym membership at costco and I've been making good use of it.  No excuses since I'm unemployed and have so much time!  I already lost 4 pounds, and I'm feeling motivated to keep it up!

However, one bad thing about this is I hesitate to sew a lot of clothes for myself.  If I'm losing weight, I don't want to waste time making clothes that won't fit in a few months.  So to solve this, I'm planning to make things where fit isn't such an issue, like the drapey cardigans, and I'm also....

7.  Sewing for Gare Bear!

 In knitting circles, there's an urban legend known as the Boyfriend Curse.  It says that if you spend the months knitting your boyfriend a sweater, it's guaranteed you'll break up right afterwards.  Hopefully that isn't a thing in sewing!  I'm working on a gray dress shirt made from stretch shirting from  I've having some issues with the ease of the sleeves, but to be honest I only tried once and then was too tired to mess with it again. But other than that, I'm surprised how nicely it's coming together.  I also ordered some seersucker to make him a short sleeve more casual shirt.

So that's what I've been up to in this radio silence!  If anybody knows of a job for a former teacher in the SoCal area let me know!

Monday, August 1, 2011


After yesterday's post, I took my little purple jacket to my mom's house to show her, and she absolutely loved it!   She said it'd look good with jeans and a white shirt, which is what I was going for. I think that my lack of photogenic skills influenced my own thoughts about the jacket.  I saw the bad pictures and thought the jacket was bad.  But now my mom's comment makes me think that the jacket isn't bad, it's the pictures that are bad.

I looked up some tips on being photogenic:

I only looked at 3, because they seem to be pretty similar.  I wish I had a tripod, I would just practice over and over and over!  But as it is, I might practice in the mirror.  I really need to learn to take decent pictures!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vogue 8721

First, I'd like to preface this by saying that I'm no model and I lack photogenecy (the noun form of photogenic? Is that a word?  It is now!)  I asked Gary to coach me and he failed.  In a bunch of pictures it looks like I have a really big stomach, which I don't think I do.  I seriously think I'm going to google tips to taking better photos after I finish this post.

Anyways, presenting Vogue 8721 in View C:

It's a little windy, so the front of my jacket is blowing away a bit, it actually lays flat as in the first picture. 

I bought this really pretty brocade at Joann on clearance.  I thought it was gorgeous, but I had no idea what to do with it.  When Vogue released this pattern I thought it would be perfect for showcasing this fabric.  It also doesn't require a lot of fabric manipulation, it's pretty simple.  In this photo I'm wearing it with a vintage sweater guard I bought on etsy.  I wish I had a close up, it's really cute!  On bottom I'm wearing my pencil skirt, blogged here.  

I'm unsure about how this came out.  I think the combination of the pattern and fabric isn't ideal.  Maybe the little jacket is just too loose for me?  Maybe I need something with less ease?  I don't know.  I think I'm going to leave it to the ultimate test- see how often I wear it!

My one dislike about the pattern is that the sleeves are really tight.  I have skinny noodle arms, and they're tight on me, so I bet they'd be really tight on the average bear.  Just a thought if you decide to make this!

And a back view, I really worked hard to center the brocade patern:

And now on the cutting table, or in my case, rug:
This is Butterick 4985, in View A.  I haven't had good luck with fit on Butterick patterns.  I'm not into muslins, this fabric was cheap enough, but I did a tissue measurement.  I think it'll fit in the bust, but I added an inch and a half to the hips.  I'm also planning on adding width and length to the tie so that it'll make a nice pretty bow; the bow on the line drawing is a little weak for my taste.  I got really cute buttons, so I'm excited to see this finished! I hope it'll be a lucky interview shirt to wear with my lucky interview skirt!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thirty-one dollars

My FabricMart order came in today!  Yay!  I mentioned early that I got 23 yards for $31.  I also ordered a mystery bundle, so some of that is hit or miss, which I'll describe below.

I'm going to describe what I bought, how much, and my plans for it, starting at the top left, working down the first column, and then the top right (like reading a book!).  You can always click the photo above for a bigger picture, I know it's a bit hard to see in this small thumbnail.

1.  This is from the mystery bundle.  It feels like a cotton sateen, and it has a good amount of stretch in it.  I see this becoming a cute sheath.  I have 2 1/2 yards of this, and it looks like it's 45" wide.  I hope there's enough for a sheath... I'll have to check my patterns.
2.  Also from the mystery bundle, this is labeled as an Italian shirting.  I got 2.5 yards of this.  Not sure yet what I'll do with it.  I don't see Gary wearing it, so maybe a shirt dress for myself?  But I have a lot of shirt dresses planned, so we'll see.
3.  This fabric I actually picked out, it's 100% rayon challis. I only got 2 yards, I wish I got more. Not sure yet what I'll do with it, but I'd like to make a dress.  It's really soft, so it'll have to be something flowy.
4.  This is a sage green stretch lace that I picked out.  I want to make a long, flowy vest out of this, like Butterick 4989 in view C.
5.  This is a cotton print I picked out.  I got 2.5 yards of this.  I think this will be a cute blouse, like maybe Butterick 5284.
6.  This is the real mystery of the mystery bundle.  I don't know what this is.  It feels really crisp, the most similar thing I've felt is a poly crepe de chine.  It's kind of a taupe color with maroon designs on it.  I'm not a fan.  This will probably linger in my stash as a possible lining for a bag or something, but I may end up donating it.
7.  Up on the top right is a yard of black silk shantung I got in my mystery bundle. I have no idea what to do with this.  I hate having things dry cleaned, so I never buy silk.  What can I do with just a yard?  It's also slashed a bit along the fold, so it'd be hard to get the full yardage out of it.  Another dud like number 6.
8.  This is a vertical striped cotton. I got 3 yards of this and it's 45" wide.  I think this would be a really cute shirt dress!  I was eyeing Simplicity 2246 or a '70s vintage pattern I picked up at a thrift store for 29 cents. No picture of the pattern, but I'll put it up if/when I use it.
9.  This is a zebra print poly charmeuse. I picked it out, not knowing what I would do with it, and still not sure. I think this might be a cute blouse, or I might make a cute nightgown.
10.  This is another mystery bundle mystery.  It's a yard of a very sheer orange fabric with purple suns on it.  It's cute, I could see it as a cute little neck kercheif, but I don't know what I'm going to do with it, especially just a yard.
11.  And last is what I'm guessing is a crepe back poly satin in light pink.  I don't own a lot of light pink, so I'm happy to have it.  But again not sure what to make out of it.  I think I have 1.5 yards.

- I'm very happy with everything that I personally ordered.
- I love, love, LOVE the dot fabric on the top left (labeled #1).  This is definitely the best of the mystery bundle and I can really see myself using it.
- Overall, the mystery bundle was a bit of a dud this time.  Of the 6 fabrics that came in the bundle, I only really like 1, and I could make do with maybe 2 or 3 others.

Does anybody have any suggestions about what I should make?  Thoughts on what to do with my duds?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pattern Organization

In an earlier post, I bemoaned that I lost two pattern pieces.  This particularly bothered me because I think my patterns are pretty well organized.  And to prove this, I have pictures!

First, I organize my patterns electronically.  I use Evernote, which luckily came on my new Vaio, but I think there may be a free version of the program.  I started using Evernote after reading this post by Stitchywitch.  Looking at her post again, I notice that hers looks much more user friendly than mine.  Hmm.  Anyways, here's a picture of my patterns in Evernote:

Click the image above to see it larger

As I see patterns that I like on websites, I save them in Evernote in the folder "Pattern Wishlist".  I tag the pattern with descriptors (blouse, dress, sheath) and with the company name.  This is really handy, because when patterns go on sale at Joann I can type in the company name and the patterns that I've been wanting pop up.  So last week when Butterick patterns were on sale for 99 cents, I was able to get the pattern pictured above.

After I buy patterns, I open Evernote and drag the purchased patterns from "Pattern Wishlist" to "Owned Patterns".  I love using Evernote because I can see what I have without physically going through my stash.  

So where do I actually store all these patterns?

This is a Vera Bradley Inspired fabric box I bought at Marshalls for like $12.  You can't tell in this picture, but there's also handles on either side.  I have this sitting on a chair for the picture, but I ordinarily store this box in my linen closet.  However, I chose a pretty box on the chance that it may end up sitting out and not tucked into a cabinet.  The box also zips all the way around for a neat, tidy closure. 

Pictures inside my pattern box:

It looks pretty full, but there's still a good amount of space in there. I figure that once I start needing more space, that will be my cue to start selling patterns I never use on ebay.  

I am not a very organized person, which makes me all the more proud of how well I've organized my patterns.  How do you organize yours?


Monday, July 25, 2011

The "You Should Give Me a Job" Skirt

For reasons I do not wish to discuss on the internet, I've found myself to be unemployed.  What better way to convince people to hire you than to have the perfect skirt!

It even has hanger appeal!  You just have to trust me on this one, because I finished it all of 3 minutes ago and nobody is here to take a picture of me wearing it and because I've been wearing sweats with my hair in a bun all day.

This is McCalls 5591, version A, and my 4th time making this skirt.  I lost the waist pieces, so I drafted them myself.  This is my first time "drafting" anything, and even though it was easy, I'm still proud.

This fabric is a poly poplin from that was super cheap and I therefore own it in 4 colors.  I'm glad I bought a variety of colors, because the fabric was really nice to work with.  It's pretty darn wrinkle resistant, which will be very nice for interviews.  I once had to drive 45 minutes to an interview, and it's pretty darn difficult to stay wrinkle free after a long drive like that!  I also like the color.  I don't like wearing black to job interviews, I'm a teacher and I feel like wearing black in June/July is just too severe and cold-looking for somebody who's going to be working with children.  The gray is a little softer, but just as professional. 

I also did the zipper by machine.  I usually hand-pick my zippers, not because I have any lofty ideas about hand sewing but because I am really bad at machine sewing zippers.  But I managed to do it quite okay this time.  It's not lying as flat as I would like when I put the skirt on, but not bad enough to rip it out either.  

This skirt might not be perfect, but it's pulled me out of my Wadder Depression and I'm ready to continue tackling my sewing queue! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Weekend Update

It's been a crazy week.  Bare with me as I ramble a bit here.

I woke up Monday morning, ready to tackle my skirt and clean the house.  Instead, my mom and brother called me from the hospital.  I ended up at the hospital all day.  Turns out my mom had appendicitis, which is a lot more serious than I realized as a kid.  No worries, my mom is fine, but I took care of her and today was my first real day at home.

Now on to some craft-related updates and thoughts!

I lost the waistband pieces to McCall's 5591.  Now, I'm pretty absent minded, and I misplace things a lot.  But I've been really good and careful about keeping my patterns organized, so I'm very upset that they've disappeared.  I'm guessing I put them into the wrong envelope.  But since I have 3 other skirts made from this pattern, I think I can retrace the waist band and make it work.

Fabric Mart is having an awesome sale.  They have a ton of fabric for 75% off.  I ended up getting 23 yards of fabric for only $31 including shipping and tax.  I'm so excited for it to come in the mail!  Plus I got a mystery bundle.  I got some awesome fabric in my last mystery bundle, including a Calvin Klein silk chiffon that is just gorgeous, so I'm very excited to see what I get.

And my last thought to leave you with... Project Runway is back on Thursday!!!! Yay!!!  This is the first season of Project Runway that I've had a blog, so you can be sure I'll be adding my opinions to the blogosphere.  Plus I love reading the blogs that Lifetime hosts.  It looks like this season I can look forward to catching up on Friday mornings with Peach Carr, Nick Verreos, Mychael Knight, Laura Bennet, and Jonathon Kayne.  I honestly don't remember Jonathon, I'll have to do a little refresher there.  I loved Laura's blog last season, and Peach is just a hoot, so I'm excited!

Hope you've all had a much better and more productive week than me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tried and True

I found a solution to my little wadder depression.

That's right, I'm cutting out my FOURTH version of McCall's 5591.  Second time making Version A.  The fabric is a poly poplin from in gray.  Knock on wood, but this should be fairly straight forward.  I feel like I could follow this pattern in my sleep at this point.  The fabric is a nice medium weight, not too heavy, and not too light.  It's a nice solid, will match a lot of things, and it hardly wrinkles so it'll be nice for job interviews.  Hopefully this will go smoothly and I'll be out of the wadder dumps. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I loved that word.  Wadder.  I just found that in blog world this week.  I can't remember where I first saw it used, but I swear I've never seen it before and now I see it all over the place.  From what I can deduce, a wadder is a failed garment that you toss into the corner in a wad.  Unfortunately, the discovery of this word coincides with my own wadder.

Remember how excited I was to make this skirt?  Didn't work out so well.

I have no pictures, but trust me on this one.  It came out HUGE.  I used my body measurements, and I even went down a size in the waist because I knew I wanted it snug, and I still had to take 2 inches off the waist.  Then, as I tried to cut out 2 inches, I think my back seamline got all off and my zipper ended up crooked.  I redid the zipper like 3 times, but it was still all off.

So what are your options when you have a wadder?  This is what I'm dealing with...
1.  Let it sit in a wad in the corner until I'm calm enough to tackle it again (this is where I currently stand)
2.  Scrap it and use the fabric for something else- this fabric happens to match my bedroom decor.  If step 1 above doesn't work out, I might put it in a frame and hang it on the wall.  Or I could make a decorative pillow.

While my wadder wastes away in a corner, I'm in need of some instant gratification.  I'm not sure exactly what to sew next, nothing in my queue is super easy.  Although not quite instant, I picked up my knitting needles after a long hiatus for some distraction.

I chose a nice, simple little cardigan pattern from Lion Brand Yarn's free patterns:

This can be found on Ravelry here.

I'm using a red cotton yarn that I bought for another project.  Although knitting is always slow going (I'm still on the raglan increases after a week of working on this), I'm very happy with how nice it looks. Check out how even these stitches are!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


My knees, that is.

Turns out I have chondromalacia patella, a minor form of arthritis.  I've worn down the cartilage in my joints from going up and down the stairs so much at work.

What does this have to do with my blog?

I'll probably be on a sewing hiatus.  I cut and pin my fabric on the floor, and at this point I just can't get up and down like that, too hard on my knees.  Gosh I'm old!  And I'm also bummed, cuz I was hoping to sew a LOT once school was out.  Oh well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Polo Ponies!

Now presenting one of my favorite outfits...

I made both of these pieces 2 or 3 months ago, but just never got a chance to photograph it.  I love this outfit; from afar it looks professional, retro, and a little secretarial.

But when you look up close...

Polo Ponies!!!

The top is Simplicity 2501 in version B.  I saw this cotton shirting on in the $1.95 section and knew I had to have it.  Not much to say about the pattern, easy, straight forward, and of course too big in the back!  If I were to make it again, I'd go down a size, maybe 2 sizes in the back.

The skirt is my third make of McCalls 5591, version B.  I've already made a purple and a denim skirt from this pattern.  This one is a cotton sateen, which looks nice and crisp, but is very wrinkly.  I ironed it this morning, but that proved to be a pointless endeavor an hour later.  Anyways, not much to say about this pattern, I obviously love this pattern and I'm sure I'll continue to use it.

I think it's one of those outfits that radiates how good I feel.  One of my favorite parents in my class had me twirl and told me how nice I looked.  What a nice way to start the day!

Extra credit to anyone who noticed my hair.  I got it cut this weekend (which I LOVE) and changed the color (which I feel ambivalent about).  I tried to go back to my natural, light brown.  So I chose a box of dark blonde and gave it a go.  It came out medium brown.  In what galaxy is this dark blonde?!?!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pendrell 2 and understanding your body

Hello all! I'm still alive!

Where have I been?

Central Coastal California, where else?!  That's a winery first, and some random, cute house in Carmel by the Sea underneath.

Anyways, right before I left for my trip I finished my second Pendrell bouse, this time in view A.

First, you may have noticed that I've gotten better at modeling! Gary coached me a bit this time, and I'm glad he did, because I actually look decent and my eyes are open.

As this was my second time making this pattern, I found it really easy and straightforward.  But since I wasn't concentrating so much on construction, I had more brain cells to spare for thoughts on sizing.  I'm infamous for buying the wrong size.  I've been buying shoes too big for years, I finally (mostly) figured out what size I am.  I have no idea what size I am in retail clothing.  Clothes in my closet range from extra-small cardigans and size 4 dresses to size 9 jeans.  This no longer makes me feel bad, it just is what it is, size is just a number.  But since I don't know what size I am, I just grab whatever, and sometimes I think it fits but it's actually too big.  Which leads me into Pendrell...

I know this design is meant to be loose fitting.  So the first time through I thought it was just the way it was meant to be.  But on round two, I had a few epiphanies about my body:

1.  I am more pear shaped than a pattern line designed for pear shaped women.  How sad.  This fits great around the hips, but even taking in the positive ease in the design, I need to go down a size or two on top.

2.  I have a small back.  How does one have a small back?  I can't really figure out how this works, but I do. I've mused about this before in other patterns, but I think I need to automatically cut the back (in tops) a size smaller than I cut the front.

Anyways, my adventures in figuring out my bizarre body type was a good thing, no complaints! I'm very happy with how the blouse turned out, even if it is a little roomy.  I had a lot of extra fabric (got this fabric $1/yard) so I made a little sash.  I find that I only like my first Pendrell tucked into a skirt as this gives some waist definition, and this way I have the option of also wearing it with jeans and the sash, like I did in these photos.

I'm going to try to get some sewing done on Sunday, but if anything there are only 14 (!!!!!) more days of school left, so pretty soon I'll be able to crank out a whole new wardrobe and write a book of blog posts!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal wedding

I will admit it, I got very caught up in the Royal Wedding.  I recorded every special on TV this week.  I didn't get up at 3am to watch it, but I was pretty nutso over the whole thing.  I can't really even explain why.  But I wanted to share my thoughts out on blog world since none of my girl friends cared enough to watch it with me.

The good:
Kate of course looked beautiful.  I think her dress was such a perfect choice.  It was a simple and elegant silhouette which fits her personal style.  Her lace sleeves added modesty as the occasion demanded, but it didn't look matronly.  She looked young and fresh and classic.

And it's nice to see a much more reasonable train than Diana's dress.

The Bad
I'm not a Camilla hater, really.  I think it's actually sweet that Charles has always loved her, she's obviously the love of his life, and it's sad that he couldn't marry her in the first place just because she had had "other lovers" (that's the G version they told me on E!  Code I'm pretty sure for her not being a virgin).

Her hat is pretty cute, but overall I dislike her outfit.  It doesn't look like it fits very well, and the appliqué around the hips draws the eye where it doesn't need to be drawn.

Did anybody else think this looked a little too similar to the dress she wore to her own wedding?

The Ugly
I read a lot of sewing and fashion blogs.  I've read a lot about Kate's dress, including the fact that the lace makers washed their hands every 30 minutes.  But I wonder why nobody seemed as bothered as me by Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice:

You can read more about this here, but what he heck were those girls thinking?  Beatrice's dress/coat is really pretty actually, the detailing by the collar is beautiful, but all anybody notices is the ridiculous hat on her head.  Even during the ceremony I could spot her from the crowd. (Side note: This is a Philip Treacy hat.  Anybody remember when he was on Project Runway?  I agreed with Laura about that episode, his hats are a bit too much for me.)

The announcer on TLC where I watched the coverage said the girls struggle with their weight and get criticized a lot for it, and as such they went on a special diet just for the wedding.  I get that, I really do.  But what I don't get is Eugenie's choice in dress.  The ribbons on the bodice kind of sausage her in.  It's not very flattering, especially knowing she's concerned about her weight.

Now I feel mean.  I think I'm just jealous that we didn't get a national holiday in the states. :)  It would've made catching up on all the TV coverage easier if I had Friday off work.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Found my mojo, lost my camera

That's right, my camera is missing again.  Sigh.  I'm sure it will turn up.

Joann had a big sale this past week, and I went on Saturday.  Being there, surrounded by fabric and other sewists, got me back into the sewing mood.  One lady even asked me about how to sew knits and I had to hold back from being too nerdy as I described why you need a ball point needle.  Anyways, my point is I got reinspired and in the mood!

So what am I working on?  Simplicity 2599, in the version the model is wearing with that cute bow.

I couldn't find a picture of the fabric online, but I'm using a really cute fabric I got on clearance at Joann a month or so ago, but I did see it again yesterday.  It's a "simply silky print" made for Joann, basically a polyester shiny material.  It's a medium purple with big pink polka dots.  I think it's going to look super cute!  But I'm having some fit issues.  I think I have a small back.  Whenever I sew shirts, they're too big in the back.  I went down a size from what Simplicity suggested, and I still took another inch off each side and the back, and I think I'm going to take another inch off the back.  But now I know that I need to go 2 sizes down in Simplicity patterns.  So far, I've got the basic shell down save one arm lining, and then I need to do the neck ruffle, the bow, and the bottom hem. And of course take another inch off the back.

So what did I buy at Joann?
A ton of patterns, which I'm really excited about!  But I'm not going to post them all, so you'll have to wait and see once I make them.

What else?
A teal, lightweight denim, with which I plan to make this pencil skirt:

And this beautiful, bottomweight cotton fabric by lisette:

(By the way, this fabric is so not me.  I am not a blue person at all.  But I fell in love with this, so why fight it?)

With which I plan to make this:
Side note about this pattern: I think maybe people are turned off because it says "learn to sew" because there are no projects on  It caught my eye as part of the display when Simplicity patterns were on sale and I loved the style.  And it doesn't take a lot of fabric, just 2 yards of 60" fabric for the long skirt

Now off to get started on these bad boys!