Month: May 2012

My Feathered Frock

I am happy to report I finished my dress at 1pm on Saturday–just in time to clean up and wear it to my friends’ wedding at 3pm.
This dress was some kind of sewing miracle.  My machine usually jams up frequently, where the bobbin thread creates a giant matted mess of thread on the underside of whatever I’m sewing.  I never understand why this happens, but rethreading the machine usually temporarily fixes things.  It’s very frustrating, and it has me thinking I need to upgrade to a better quality machine (truly anything will be a step up; I’m using the very basic Singer model).  However, on this dress, the machine did not jam once.  That’s right, it was a perfect angel.  I’ve never had a project go more smoothly.  Every seam went down perfectly on the first try.  I attribute this success to the thread I used and all the baste stitching I was instructed to do.


I’ve used Gutermann thread for a long time.  I thought it was a good thread.  And maybe it is, but I splurged on some Mettler cotton thread with a “silk finish,” and I don’t know if I can ever go back to Gutermann now.  Maybe it’s silly of me to give so much credit to the thread, but truly it is the one major change I made.  What kind of thread is everyone else using??


I haven’t used a pattern with thorough instructions in a while either.  I’ve been making up my own pattern or using BurdaStyle patterns which often lack instruction.  I think I really benefited from all the instruction to baste stitch wherever there was gathering happening.  I followed the Colette instructions for gathering, creating 3 rows of baste stitches, and I do think the gathers were very even and easy to create this way (I’ve used one or two rows in the past, with less success).  And then Butterick instructed me to baste the pieces together, and then sew the seam line.  I think the baste stitching first really helped in keeping the gathers even and prevented tucks from forming.


I only deviated from the pattern in a few small ways.  I cut the back skirt piece on the fold instead of cutting two pieces.  I wanted to eliminate the unnecessary seam since the fabric has such a large print.  I used snaps to hold the the dress closed instead of a hook and eye.  And that’s about it.  I really like the pattern and hope to use it again.   I did not have time to make a muslin, and I was confident that the loose fit and wrap around style would give me plenty of room to make adjustments.  The waist line hits a couple inches below my natural waist, which resulted in an extra roomy and drapey bodice when I pulled it up and cinched it in.  I knew this was going to happen, and I’m not sure if I like it or would prefer to raise the waist line.  I guess I’ll just have to make another dress with a raised waist and see if I like it better.


The wedding was a blast, and I got to spend some time with my twin sister–she took the photos for me :)


So please tell me, what kind of thread are you using?!  I really would like to know!  :)

Butterick B5152 – 1948

Crepe de Chine fabric form Gorgeous Fabrics (Polyester/Acetate)

Mettler thread

Water Soluble Pastels

Because it’s been one of those weeks–the kind where I have every minute of every day filled with plans, only to be constantly thwarted–I am throwing up a quick post to say, “hello bloggers :)” and look what I found:


I was in my local art supply store when I spied some clear french curve rulers. I’ve had these on my “need to get someday” list but had only seen metal ones for twice the price. I really like clear rulers so I can see what’s going on underneath. I’m controllig like that. And, I found water soluble pastels. I didn’t have any marking tools that would show up well on my red feather fabric, but these pastels come in a wonderfully wide range of colors. I picked up two colors to try out. I used the green/teal color, and it worked great for marking and washed away with nothing but water applied.


So now I’m recommending these to you! They aren’t as soft as regular ol’ chalk, but they don’t wipe off accidently either!

I managed to get all my pattern pieces cut out Sunday afternoon, but haven’t been able to sew anything up yet! I got some thread and shoulder pads last night, so no excuses now. I have tonight and tomorrow night to sew. I’m counting on this wrap around style to be an easy fit. If not, I have a gorgeous back up dress to wear, so I need not fret. There’s the update on my too busy life.

Also, my sister said these were yummy:


She wasn’t kidding. Yumm! Have you found or tried anything new lately? Do share!

Pattern Weights

Today I went to Home Depot in preparation for my next sewing project.
I was looking for something heavy to use as pattern weights, as suggested by so many fellow sewists.
I was immediately helped by an older gentleman who I explained to the purpose of my quest. He showed me the largest washers he had, but he wasn’t satisfied that I should use them. Instead he suggested I go to a fishing supply store and buy lead fishing weights, and fill a fabric pouch with those lead weights. That would be nice and heavy he said. Or bee-bees or metal pellets. And tie a little ribbon to close up a sack of them.

I thought it was a fabulous idea, but I wondered how much those weights would cost, and wouldn’t I need quite a few…? As I drove out of the parking lot and headed in the direction of Outdoor World, I thought to myself, you know what’s heavy? That tub of pennies that has been waiting for 2 1/2 years to be rolled and exchanged for dollar bills. You have a lot of heavy pennies at home.


So I went home and made little pouches which I filled with pennies.


I made six of these polka dot weights, and I can’t wait to try them out this week as I prep my toile.

I have two weeks to get a dress ready for my friends’ wedding at the end of the month.


If I mention it here, then I have to complete it on time, right? Well I hope this is motivation enough for me to get crackin!

I recently won this pattern from Miss Crayola Creepy’s giveaway, and though it’s a robe, I intend to wear it as a wrap around dress!  I will use the short sleeve version and make it just past the knee in length.  This will be my first venture using a retro pattern as well.    Any suggestions on how to ensure it appears as a dress and not a house robe would be most welcome!  I’m definitely leaving the frilly trim off the yoke, and it will all be cut from one fabric.  Wish me luck!

Song Bird Top

Where to begin…

I was traveling last Wednesday through Sunday, and I feel all out of sorts.  I came home in desperate need of sleep, to do laundry and grocery shop.  I’ve been able to catch up on all three matters the last two days, so finally tonight, I can think about writing a post and what sewing project will be next.  Before my trip, I did complete a little sewing project, and during the trip I was able to get a couple pictures of the top in action.

After making a Sorbetto tank top for my mom, I was envious and needed one of my own.  I found some darling quilting cotton (eek!) that had such lovely spring colors, I was smitten and bought it.  As much as I love the print, it is still quilting cotton, and it has the stiff heavy feel of such cotton.  I knew this when I bought it, and indeed it is not the most comfortable top I’ve made, but I think I’ve already worn it 4 or 5 times in less than 2 weeks.


I complicated this very simple project by adding sleeves.  I started with Mena’s sleeve pattern from the Sew Weekly, but I didn’t like the shape, so I began to fiddle with it.  I changed the shape of the bottom edge of the sleeve, and added a slit opening, intending to close the opening with a button.  It felt too loose, so I ended up adding a band around the bottom and gently gathering the sleeve.  By the third sleeve version, I was satisfied enough to finish the other sleeve in the same manner.

Other changes to the original pattern include raising the back neck line, lowering the front neck line and omitting the center pleat.  I like to wear this top with blue jeans, and the wide range of colors in the print lends itself to matching with bright accessories: blue, green, red, yellow, pink–it’s all there, which means lots of choice in earrings, shoes, lipstick, etc.  Overall, it’s a successful top that is quickly becoming a regular in my lineup.

I was very excited to visit with a fellow sewing blogger over the weekend, Miss Crayola Creepy!  Miss CC took me to the Seven Sister’s Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo, and I may have the quilting bug now.  Check out the blue and white quilt on her post here.  I could totally see that quilt on my bed :)

While I search for the perfect navy blue fabrics, I’ll be cutting out Butterick B5152.  And I HAVE to make a muslin this time, because the final garment will be out of a special fabric, for a dress to wear to some friends’ wedding at the end of the month.  I have just over 20 days to complete the dress, so we’ll see how I do.  It wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t finish a dress on time and had to wear plan B instead.

Have you ever had to resign yourself to wearing a plan B type dress, or do you marathon sew to finish in time?