December 9, 2014


Honestly - I have been sewing.  My huge, long to do list is completely overwhelming me and I sit in the living room after work and knit - which is fine because I still have a bunch of that to get done before the holidays as well.

In late October - I tested Violet for Abby of Blue Ginger Doll.  Some changes were made during the testing process and I can't actually tell you if my dress is similar to the pattern or just a complete departure.  

Color blocking is a very new thing for me and I'm not sure how or where or how much color blocking to add.  The main fabric is a chocolate brown knit with ivory and blue polka dots.  The fabric was purchased from Fabric.Com and is lovely.  It's swishy and has a great hand.  I bought a thin blue knit and used it for the yoke as well as the pockets (not in the original pattern, but since sewing Odette, I find I need pockets in everything!) - so I drafted some and added them.

While making this dress, I really, really, really tried to make friends with the coverstitch setting on my new to me serger.  I did not win.  In fact - my machine is still at the doctor, should be coming home next week.

Anyway - I highlighted all the yoke seams with blue double needle stitching.  Because I believe accents should be done in threes - I bound the sleeve hems and neckline edges with the blue knit as well.

I chose the full skirted, short sleeved options.  Short sleeves are my default these days.  

This dress goes together quickly and easily.  I'd like to try the pencil skirt version - not sure it's gonna happen in 2014 - but I will get to it.  You know, as long as I'm not distracted by the new shiny pattern.

November 26, 2014

Vogue 8944 - Again with the Catchy Title!

 Hey - I made a new dress!  

This is Vogue 8944 and the fabric is a great ponte that Kashi of Metro Textiles talked me into.  If you've been following this blog for long - then you know I don't wear a lot of solids.  For whatever reason - I feel big as a barn in solids.  Anyway - I was going to pass on this fabric, but Kashi and JB talked me into it.  

This dress had it's problems.  I cut it out according to my measurements. A straight size 22.  I did not trace all the pieces - what was I thinking?  I traced the skirt pieces - front and back because I was making it in a knit and didn't need a center back seam in the skirt and I did need to lengthen the skirt - I added 3" and put in a 1.5" hem.  The pattern calls for a 5/8" narrow hem, so I took a bigger hem than called for - but I think it suits this fabric.  I also made a sway back adjustment to the back bodice and made up a sleeve length (I cut at the lengthen/shorten line).  The sleeves are even - I'm not standing straight.

Anyway - I put this together with my serger and topstitched the seams per the instructions.  Got it all done and it was too big.  Enough that when I went to show JB even he noticed.  That was Sunday night - after spending my weekend sewing time going to Costco, doing laundry, starting the flannel pants factory, and working on the circle skirt project - I wanted to make something for me!  Something new, quick and easy.  This dress felt like it should fit the bill.  So - I hung it up and went to knit.  

On Monday - I decided to finish it so I could wear it to work today.  First - I took it in, 2" at the bust on both sides (yep - that's 4" smaller!) tapering to nothing at the hip and out to the bottom of the sleeve.  The fit is much, much better.  

Notes for next version:

    • Cut the shoulders at a size 14 width
    • Cut the sides at a size 18: width
    • Cut the center front bodice just slightly off the fold
    • Add just a bit more length to the skirt

And this is how I wore it to work - with a skinny taupe belt, a cardigan purchased at Target, and a pair of boots.  I also wore the locket that Beau bought me for Christmas last year - I love this locket!  I have to say - all in all - even with it's flaws - I really like this dress.  The skirt is flirty and feminine without being too full.  Even in the solid - I didn't feel huge.  There will be more dresses from this pattern.  
In fact - the next version will be color blocked with 2 solids and a print.  Oh - and with the leftovers of this fabric?  (Yes, I bought 5 yards of the fabric I wasn't sure I wanted.  I have recently figured out that I can get a dress and a magic pencil skirt for one [or both] of my girls from 4 yards.)  I bought the paprika patterns Jade Skirt - because of this post on the CSC.

I have big plans for the long weekend that's coming up - big plans I tell you!  Flannel pants, color blocked dress, pencil skirt, another Violet and another Odette (which is cut out).  I also have a Myrtle cut out - but I'm not loving the fabric, so who knows.       

And for Nessa - here's a posterior for posterity.  

November 11, 2014

The Bride's Shawl

The knitting started with a request from The Princess - she wanted a large - large round shawl.  We both trolled Ravelry trying to find a pattern and ultimately she settled on Girasole by Jared Flood.  Actually - let's back up - it all started because of that award winning shawl I knit for a bride last summer.  I honestly don't remember if The Princess was even engaged when I knit that shawl, but once engaged, once of the first things she asked for was a shawl.  Next - I reached out to my friend Gyspy Knits who is an amazing dyer, but isn't really dying yarn any longer and asked if she'd be interested in dying the yarn for the shawls.  She was and did.  We sent her a sample of the bridesmaids colors and asked for ghost colors.  GyspyKnits did an amazing job.

The Princess asked for a few things - she specified a pattern and asked that the shawl be huge.  I knit my shawl which was also round, to work out construction and bought the Elizabeth Zimmerman book to figure out Pi Shawl construction.  I also reached out to the Jared Flood team to see if there was a way to make it even bigger.  Oh and I stalked each and every girasole made on Ravelry and read the notes for everyone who made theirs bigger. 

 I knit the center exactly as written.  There really was no way to increase in the center.  I knit as many extra repeats of Chart E as I could, knit 3 repeats of Chart F, then I knit as many increases of Chart G as I could until I had to repeat again.  Then I knit 3 repeats of Chart H and honestly I was worried I was going to run out of yarn.  The Princess was home in late August and I had her choose between the edging pattern called for in the pattern, or the same edging used on all the bridesmaids' shawls.  She (of course) chose the matching edging - of course it was the more difficult and complex edging.  I think there was 1600 stitches around in the last 18 rounds.  The edging took 2 rows to bind off a single stitch.  I honestly thought I was going to the wedding nekkid because I did not start my dress until this shawl was finished!

Once the shawl was completely finished - the decision was made not to block it.  Blocking would open the lace up in the center a lot more, but as you can see when the shawl is draped over my coffee table - the sunflower in the center stands out.  The shawl is quite large without being blocked - The Princess is almost 5'11" and folded in half, the shawl stretches from finger tip to finger tip and hangs down past her knees.  What was done instead of blocking was the edging was just steamed out to open it up without really making it any bigger.  

I think The Princess liked it and it was exactly what she wanted.  I don't know how she'll use it from her on out - but I expect to someday get a photo of a baby wrapped in this shawl.

November 3, 2014

Long Time - No Post

It reaches a point when you haven't blogged in a while where you wonder - do I want to blog?  Do I start where I left off or start where I am now and just catch up or carry on?

Well - I do want to blog.  I miss being in this place.  I believe I'll just start with where I am now and maybe catch up - or maybe not.

I have been sewing - though not loads.  September and October were busy months with a visit from the kids (catch up post) and a wedding and vacation.

I made my mother of the bride dress.  I started it the first weekend in September and worked on it every moment I wasn't working the entire month.  I finished hemming it the night before we flew out.

I also knit 7 shawls - one for the bride, one for each bridesmaid and one for each of the mom's (mother of the bride, mother of the groom, and the bride's step-mom).

I did loads of things I've never done before when sewing.  I underlined the entire dress with organza, hand basting the organza to the silk dress with silk thread before cutting each piece from the silk.  I wish I had had more time, to do a test run of the techniques, because while I was comfortable in the dress, I don't think it's my best work.  And it's probably not surprising to any of you if I tell you the dress is too big for me.  I seem to consistently have issues with making a dress actually fit me.

The Musical One (Maid of Honor) with me pre-wedding
 There aren't any great photos of just me in the dress.  There are a few where you can see the dress better - but I don't like them, so you won't see them.

The dress is a Vogue Designer pattern by Kay Unger, #1392  If you click the link, you will notice my dress is different.  I fell in love with the pattern and had to make it.  I think my fabric was a bit too soft or fluid for this pattern, but I did it anyway.  The Princess (also known as the bride for this post) met up with Carolyn back in July and they went to Mood and bought silk, silk and more silk for my dress and it was mailed to me.

There are no construction photos of the dress.  I need to learn how to get them out of my phone.  Okay - I feel like this post is disjointed and bouncing all over the place - so I'll leave you with unofficial photos from the wedding.
the bride and her mom - post wedding.

JB and the Bride

my girls - The Princess and The Musical One

September 13, 2014


Abby of Blue Ginger Doll released a new pattern, the Odette dress.  I've been waiting for this one for a long time!  It's always exciting for me when I'm asked to test sew a pattern.  I enjoy the process and hope I end up with a fabulous finished project.  In this case - I really do feel like I'm the winner!  

I worked on this dress over several weeknights while JB was in night school refreshing his emissions certification.   I also worked on some new techniques for me.  This dress includes my first hand picked zipper.  I have to tell you - I was positive the zipper was gonna just fall out the first time I wore it - but it hasn't!  I also did loads of catch stitching to finish the bodice lining.

The observant will notice that the skirt is slight too big for me.  Nope - I don't have any idea how big my hips are.  Maybe someday I'll figure it out.  In the meantime, this is wearable.  The super observant will notice that I don't have an insert in my bodice neckline.  That is totally my fault.  I messed up the button placement.  I have the insert by the sewing machine to fix it - but honestly I just wear the dress without it.  The slit is not so low as to be inappropriate for work.

This one's for Nessa - posterior for posterity

For the first time ever - I needed a forward shoulder adjustment.  I did NOT follow Heather B's lovely tutorial on adjusting the sleeve - which I will do for next time.  And there will be a next time!  I have fabric set aside for at least 2 more versions.  and speaking of Heather B - did you see her Odette Skirt hack?  As this was my first forward shoulder and a bit of a different neckline - I totally messed it up.  But I know what I did and will fix it on the next version.  The shoulder seams are very narrow.  They stay on my shoulders just fine, but you can see my bra straps.  I keep meaning to add strap keepers - but it hasn't happened yet.  Someday. . . 

I used a polished cotton with stretch.  The bodice is lined with purple batiste and so are the fronts of the pockets.  The pocket backs are fashion fabric.  As I mentioned, there are some changes I will make to the next version - make the skirt a smaller size, fix the forward shoulder adjustment that I did - the shoulder seam is in the right place, but the shoulders shouldn't be so wide/the seam so narrow, and follow Heather's tutorial for adjusting the sleeve to match.

August 5, 2014

One Trick Pony

I made another moneta.  But if you look closely - it doesn't really look like Colette's Moneta.  As designed - Moneta is a lovely dress that is flattering on everyone I've seen make it.  This is my 4th version - so it's not like I don't like it - I do.  I just find the neckline a bit high on me. 

For this version I took the Lady Skater front bodice over this one and just cut it lower.  i like it!

Per the instructions, the bodice is lined.  Well that's not exactly true, the instructions only have you line the bodice in the sleeveless version.  Until about 3 months ago, I made the majority of my dresses sleeveless and always wore a cardi.  But it's been hot!  and I want to be able to take my cardigan off and not break the dress code at work (I mean, I'm pushing it enough by having bare legs!)   So - I lined the bodice on this version.  

I decided I wanted a different skirt - so I used the skirt from McCalls 5974.  I didn't use the pleats exactly as designed for that skirt - I just measured out from center and folded the pleats back until the bodice and skirt panels lined up at the side seam. 

The fabric is a poly ITY that I bought from Fabric Mart in October 2013.  I spent just over $10 for the 3 yards and I had scraps left over.  The lining was a thin, inexpensive knit from JoAnn's that worked well with the colors.

I  added pockets - I never used to add pockets but I put them in my last dress and now I want them all the time!  Seriously - give me pockets!

Because this giant print was a bit see-through I also made slip out of the leftover yellow jersey.  As TMO told me last week when I was working on my maxi - you don't know how big your hips are do you?  Apparently I don't.  While the slip is long enough and did it's job well - it's too big!  I know this surprises none of you.  

So - all in all - another nice dress to add to the closet!  

July 15, 2014

Tulip Moneta

This dress (yep - it's a dress) is the 3rd moneta I've made.  This pattern is quick, easy and mostly flattering.  In this knit the skirt is so very, very swishy!  The bodice fabric is a heavy jersey I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics on my bonus Monday off after the July 4th holiday.  The skirt portion is a stretch jersey ITY crepe knit border print that I bought from in 2011 (according to my order history), the top of this fabric was all white.  Since I managed to spill something on the skirt today and every single time I wear white I can't keep food in my mouth - I did NOT want a white bodice.  So - I took the fabric to JoAnn's to find something to work with it.  You can't see it in the photos, but the bodice has just a tiny bit of sparkle in it.  

bonus pics of the poor maple firewood and stump!
Moneta has a slight a-line shaped, gathered skirt.  The pattern piece has a curved hem.  Honestly - I can't remember if I lengthened this or not - but I think I probably did - just because I always do.   When I cut the skirt, I placed the bottom of the center front skirt pieces an inch below the bottom of the border print.  So, I lost some of the bottom of the border in the curve of the pattern piece.  Make sense?  I did not include pockets because I am not a pocket girl.  My hips are big enough I don't need to pile stuff on top of them.

I did scoop out the front neckline a bit.  I think the front neckline on this pattern is quite high.  I did not line the bodice or use bands, I simply pressed the edge under 3/4" and topstitched it.  I also did something weird with the sleeve hems - the appear to be curved - need to straighten them out!

Honestly - I'm not sure I love the skirt portion of this pattern.  The skirt gathers to the bodice.  My issues are my own problem and creating.  Since I don't know how big my hips are or how much ease they need - I cut the skirt portion in size 3X.  However, I cut the bodice in a large (um, yea - it could be slightly bigger).  However - I left all the matching notches where they were because they large sizes aren't nested with the smaller sizes.  This time I matched side seams and notches and gathered to fit.  That means more of the gathers are on the sides rather than evenly spaced.   I do think I'll take a page from Idle Fancy's book and pleat the skirt next time - or try matching the lady skater skirt to this bodice - or maybe flora ala Heather B.

June 21, 2014

Trying a New Pattern and it's not a dress!

I was keeping an eye on Beau in this pic
hence the crazy face
 I have had New Look 6098 in my pattern stash for a long, long time.  Every time I move upcoming patterns to sew around - I keep this one on the table.  And yet - until recently - I hadn't made it.  New Look patterns seem to fit me fairly well, straight out of the packet without too many alterations.  

I think one of the things I was worried about with this design, was the waist band.  Couple that with my lovely menopause belly and I was very afraid I might look pregnant in this dress, rather than just large.  A couple of weeks ago - I finally traced this pattern. When tracing - I made a few changes, notably:  short sleeves, raised the overlap, and made a 2" swayback adjustment.   

Knee is slowly improving
No more accessorizing with tape!
I grabbed a very pretty brown and white knit that I bought from Fabric Mart (Drat you Carolyn!!) but had only bought 2 yards of the fabric.  There was just enough for this top.  I posted a pic of the fabric on instagram and Sharon said it needed to be worn with hot pink to make it seasonally appropriate.  I just happened to have a pale pink skirt in the closet and an outfit was born! 

I wore this outfit on Friday - casual denim day in our office.  The one thing I noticed - the top is too big.  

The pencil skirt is from Simplicity's Amazing Fit line.  The pattern is Simplicity 2475 and is one of the first patterns released in this line.   The 'pleated' kick pleat is a change I made to the pattern, just for something different.  My kick pleat doesn't lay smoothly all the time, if I were to do this again - I would mimic Abby's instructions in her new Betsy Pencil Skirt, view C has a lovely pleated vent.

The one thing I noticed - the top is too big.  So, I've already cut out a dress from this pattern.  In version 2 I added a little bit more height to the center front and took some length out of the front angle.  I threaded up the new serger I bought strictly for coverstitching and got the bodice put together before heading out for Father's Day festivities last weekend.  I also cut the whole thing one size smaller - hopefully it works.  I'll be finishing it up today - right after I take the Abby to the vet for annual shots and check up. 

June 12, 2014

Plaid and Floral. Yea or Ney?

So how do you feel about mixing plaid and floral?  Are you a fan?  Or do you think one is enough without the other?  

When I cut out the plaid for Ava - I really, really wanted to line her with a brown floral lining.  I was positive I had brown floral lining in the stash - but I didn't - I had brown floral linen.  

In answer to the question - I like floral and plaid together.  I just don't think these two fabrics go together as well as I would like.  

The dress is BHL's Anna.  I really like this dress, I think it's flattering and very girly.  This version is fully lined and there are no photos of the guts at all.

When I put the dress on for these photos - the zipper broke!  I ripped it out and put in an exposed metal zipper.  it was cold on my back all day!!  Guess I'm gonna have to learn how to do a hand picked zipped.  I'm tired of the failures.  

June 1, 2014

Betsy and Ava

I told JB these pictures were important and he need to make me look like a super model.  Not sure he did his job - but here you go, non-the-less.

These two pieces are the Betsy pencil skirt and Ava jacket both by Blue Ginger Doll patterns. 

I will be honest and tell you that I basically begged Abby to let me test.  And she agreed as she was just expanding her pattern line into bigger sizing.  Blue Ginger Doll patterns now go to size 24. 

I will also tell you that any issues I had with the pattern were of my own causing and I stupidly didn't sign up for the blog tour.

I made view A of the pencil skirt and started with a size 24.  My waist measurement is a size 20 and my hips come in right at the 24.  My first mistake is that I muslined this puppy in true muslin.  This skirt is designed with negative ease and needs a fabric with some stretch.  The 24 muslin fit - but had wrinkles across the thighs and pulls from the hips.

So I added some more to the skirt and made muslin #2.  At this point - I had a complete meltdown - over everything.  My size and shape, my complete inability to alter a pattern.  I was ready to list my machines on craigslist and put the fabric on the curb for the first taker.  I emailed Abby - who patiently put up with me and said basically, hang in there, this will work.    On May 17th, I had a sewing day with a friend where we worked on her Mother of the Groom dress and she made some slight tweaks to my 2nd muslin - she's Abby and sewing friend were right - it wasn't too bad. 

So - I dug around in the fabric cupboards looking for something with stretch.  This brown is a stretch suiting of questionable fibers.  I took some of the extra width out of the final version  (ending up with about a size 24.5 [1/2 of the way to a 26]).  I will say - the waist is still too big. 

I then grabbed this lovely wool blend plaid from the fabric cupboard to make Ava.  I have never made a true lined jacket before.  I will again.  Based on the finished garment measurements I made a straight size 14 with no alterations.  I cut the cuffs and the lapel facing on the bias and added an extra layer of interfacing.

I think this jacket is cute and wearable.  It was easy to wear and the construction was easy to.  I did not apply the lapels following Abby's instructions - and I'm not sure why I went my own way.  I have a piece of black and white houndstooth and some faux black piping to make another and will do it properly next time.  I think I'll also cut the back to a longer length - but not much longer - I think it's pretty close to working quite well for me at the length it is.

All in all - I'm very happy with these two makes.  I really want to thank Abby for letting me test and putting up with my pity party.  I'm still not over it - but I'm doing better. 

Even though I didn't play along - please check out the others on the blog tour, they can be found here:

29th May – Tanya at MrsHughes - ( Betsy) 
1st June – Liz at Sewn by Elizabeth - ( Betsy & Ava as well as a little interview with me.)
2nd June  – T at uandmii ( Betsy)
3rd June  – Mary at YoungBroke&Fabulous
4th June – Mary at Idle Fancy
5th June – Andrea at foursquarewalls
6th June– Tanya at MrsHughes - (Ava) 

7th June - Melissa at Scavenger hunt 
8th June -  T at uandmii ( Ava)

April 16, 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett

 I finally sewed up the By Hand London Elisalex dress.  Obviously without the tulip skirt.  I spent 2 weekends of sewing time working on the fit of the bodice.  While the bodice fit straight out of the envelope - there were some problems.  The main one being that the princess seams did not go over my bust where they should.  They were off to the side by quite a bit and there was pulling across the center front. 

The first thing I did was an 'unauthorized' alteration.  I took the side front bodice piece and I drew a line from the pivot at the underarm to the waist and sliced that open, then I spread it about half an inch right across the fullest part of the bust.  I moved the center front off the center by 1/4 of an inch and reshaped the neckline.  Muslin #2 still had pulling across the front.  Next set of alterations was a proper full bust adjustment adding 3/8 of an inch. 

I ended up making one more set of alterations before cutting into my fabric - but at this point, I honestly don't remember what they were.  I know I slashed and overlapped the back bodice from the armhole to the neckline edge.  I did that in 3 different places and removed about an inch and half.  I did this because the back gaped around my shoulder blades.  Again - not sure if this was authorized - but it worked.  I could still raise my arms and the back didn't gape.

 After 2 weeks and 4 muslins, I finally traced and muslined the tulip skirt.  The back fit great - but the front wasn't fabulous.  Might be because on my body that tulip skirt isn't really exaggerated - I'm that shape. 

I used the skirt from McCalls 6503.  It's a full A-line with 2 pleats.  Rather than use the pleats from the McCalls skirt - I used the box pleats from Elisalex and the shape of the McCalls skirt.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job blending the two - need to smooth that out for the next version. 

The fabric is a cotton print that has been in the stash cupboard for a long time.  The background is light pink, there is some dark pink, green and white in the print.  I think the white cardigan is a little bit bright with the print. 

The bodice is fully lined.  This dress is comfortable and easy to wear.  I think for my next version I will lower the front neckline just a bit.  I do want to try this bodice with a pencil skirt. 

Hopefully - I can do a bit more sewing in a the upcoming weeks.  I need some cute, loose dresses for an upcoming vacation in Maui.  Hopefully I'll have some desire to sew after work in the next couple of days. 

Thanks to Dolly Clackett and Sarah at Rhinestones & Telephones for the inspiration and prodding to finally sew up Elisalex.   I can see many many skirts added to the comfortable and flattering bodice - Anna, Flora, circle - just to name a few. 

March 24, 2014

Not Much Going On

I haven't been doing much sewing lately.  I had a bit fail back in January and I'm just not sure what I want to be sewing now. 

Carolyn posted last month or possibly back in January asking if you were the sewist you wanted to be.  I was loving sewing a quick knit dress during the weekend and sometimes two.  But this post triggered something and I've been stewing and mulling it over. 

I want to sew more tailored, fitted clothing.  Which is funny - because I tend to want to dress like  Dolly Clackett - which isn't a bad thing at all, it just isn't necessarily the image I want to project at my (been there almost a year - so can't keep calling it new) job. 

There are a few patterns I have been mulling over since reading Carolyn's post.  I want to try Emery.  I still want to make By Hand London's Elisalex and I just ordered flora.  I love the square neck and want to see how that pleated circle skirt is made.  I can see adding that skirt to lots of different bodices.  And Simplicity 2444 is that list of woven patterns I want to make up. 

The biggest problem is that I don't want to spend a bunch of time working out fitting issues.  With a wedding looming in my future, I'm spending some quality time working on my diet. 

So - in the meantime - I've been quilting.  And knitting.  And reading your blogs.  Hopefully I'll have some new sewing soon. 

February 21, 2014

Old Pink Dress

I'm really trying to embrace these lessons from Ella.  This pink dress is one of my favorites.  The fabric is a wonderful jersey that I bought locally and then hoarded for years waiting for something good enough to use it.

This is how I wore it to work today.  Well with shoes - I wore grey flats at work, but I keep my flats at work and commute in trainers or danskos and since my danskos are red - well you got stocking feet pictures. 

On the commute to work - I starting thinking about what I could have added to this outfit:

Scarf:  pink floral; grey floral; two - tone grey pashmina.  Meh, I wanted to wear a pretty necklace. 

Different Cardi - I let grey pass briefly through my mind, but I've always paired this with the pale pink.  I thought about white - but discarded that as being too bright for the predominately muted dress.  I thought about red, to pull it from the dress, but again - no.  Then I thought what about my black polka dot cardigan?

When I got home tonight, after hitting the grocery store on the way home and then helping JB get dinner started - I asked him to grab his camera and we headed upstairs so I had quicker access to the closet.  I swapped the grey belt out for a white belt and tossed the black polka dot cardigan on. 

What do you think?  Would you pair these together?  Is it a bit of mutton dressed like lamb?  I know I should have pulled the cardigan together and belted on the outside. 

At some point during my workday - It came to me - Ella would have grabbed my grey jacket, rolled up the sleeves and buttoned it.  (Hey I was tired!  It was after 7!!)

I don't know if there is enough of the same colors in the scarf as the dress.  But it does add a 3rd element.  I still have that white belt on under the open jacket.  (I look a bit shell shocked - don't I?)

Oh - and if you haven't seen it - go check out this post from Jenny.  There is something raw and honest, vulnerable and touching about this post.  I've been rolling it over in my head since I read it. 

I think the best thing to come from the Style Session with Ella is that I'm rethinking the way I view myself.  The way I think about my shape and how I talk to myself.  As much as we all love compliments - I honestly wasn't fishing for them with the last post - but rather, trying to open the dialog about society and how women (giant generalization) think about their bodies.  Sadly - most of us are our own worst enemies, we need to remember to talk to ourselves as nice as we would talk to our daughters or best friends.  I really appreciate everyone taking the time to comment. 

February 17, 2014

Lessons from Start Close In

Saturday morning I had a virtual styling session with Ella of Start Close In.  I have been looking forward to this since Lynne first posted about her experience with Ella.  You can read about it here.   

One of the things I hoped to come away with was just looking more intentional - more put together with my clothes.  And to feel good.  See - again - I've gained some weight - thanks menopause! 

Ella and I discussed what the difference is between Joan from Mad Men with her little belly being drop dead sexy and if I tried to wear something similar - I would just feel exposed and like my clothes are too tight.  So - what's the difference?  Is it attitude?  Feeling comfortable in your own skin?  what?

The other thing I've known and apply to my sewing - is the rule of threes.  So, normally I would wear this denim pencil skirt with an untucked tee for running errands on the weekend.  Today, I tucked in my tee, added a belted cardigan and the shawl that I recently knit. 

I will tell you - in this second photo - what I notice first is the belly.  While the open, unbuttoned cardigan is comfortable - my mind says it's open because it's too tight.  What do you all think?  Do you like the trend to leave a cardigan unbuttoned?

The skirt is Simplicity 2154 in denim.  This is how I do jeans Friday's at work. 

So - talk to me please.  How do you feel about fitted clothing if your shape isn't model perfect? 

February 14, 2014

Playing with Print

 I wore this dress to work today and realized I had never shared it on the blog. 

It's another version of the Butterick 5454 wrap dress.  I cut this dress with the grain going all over the place.  I placed the fronts along the cross-grain so that the border was on the running along that diagonal edge.  Then I cut the skirt so the border was at the bottom.  The sleeves were cut with the border along the hem edge as well. 

Rather than put the pleats that the pattern calls for - I gathered the fronts into the shoulder seam and also gathered the skirt onto the bodice. 

Because of the way the pattern feel on the fabric there is a small edge of the border on the back right above the waist seam. 

After all of that - I cut a piece of the border print and appliqued it to the front overlap portion of the skirt.  I made sure to match the print up and miter the corner. 

It's an interesting dress - but it's not my favorite. 

I love the print, I love the colors in it.  It's comfortable but . .  .

there is something about it that I can't explain.  I think I've only worn it twice since I made it back in October. 

What is it that makes a garment something you reach for again and again?

February 3, 2014

Bandwagon Fan?

I was asked to travel to San Jose for a work event.  This is pretty huge because generally, EAs with my company do not travel.  The partner I work for - specifically asked that I travel and attend the event to help.  It actually turned out to be a good thing that I was there because the local EA called out sick.  Anyway - for the social in the evening, Seahawks clothing - or at the very least - colors were required.

Well, anyone who knows me, knows that JB is an EAGLES fan.  There is one Seahawks hat in our house and that's it.  I wasn't going to buy a jersey or shirt that I wouldn't wear.

What I thought I'd do is swing into JoAnn's and get some Seahawks logo'd cotton and make an infinity scarf.  When I got to JoAnn's on the Saturday before I left - they didn't have any Seahawks logo'd fabric. 

What I did find was a deep blue and green striped fabric with a tiny glittery silver stripe between the colors.  So I bought 2.5 yards.  I took it home, washed it, ironed it, played with the layout - cut out another Ottobre Sheath Dress and sewed that baby up in time to leave for the airport at 6p on Sunday!

The sleeves are elbow length with no bands and the neckband was cut with the striped going vertical rather than horizontal.  After I was done I thought - I should have cut it on the bias, oh well.  I put fusible interfacing in the hem of the dress and sleeves.  Otherwise - nothing remarkable about construction.

This dress has seen lots of wear already in it's short lifespan.  It made an appearance in San Jose with grey boots and a silver cardigan - but it was hot and the cardi got ditched early.  Then on casual Friday - I wore it as pictured.  And of course it made an appearance at the Superbowl watching yesterday.  Most of the women there wanted their own Seahawks dress.  But it will remain one of a kind. 

***  While this dress might not be my best look - horizontal stripes, close fitting, clingy knit.  I will say - it's comfortable and forgiving.  I feel very girly and curvaceous and not necessarily as aware of the shortcoming of my shape when I wear one of the 4 dressed made from this pattern that are in heavy rotation in my closet.  So - I think I will continue making this pattern and learn to accessorize to my advantage. 

you can just see the silver sparkle and neckband stripe
going the opposite direction.
***  While JB is getting better at taking photos - he takes more than one, he makes me laugh, we move around the house (remember when he took one shot?).  Now I need to start asking him if my clothes are hung up on anything apparently. 

***  I am really ready for a haircut!  My roots are very obvious.  And long - man, my hair is getting long! 

So - what do you wear that makes you feel comfortable and fabulous?  Is it your 'best' look?  What about the garment makes you feel that way?  Is it a color, style or shape?

So - to answer my heading question - nope, not a bandwagon fan, just a *team player*.

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