Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where Has All the Sewjo Gone?

Friends, I think I have lost my sewjo.  Normally, January is a very productive month for me, so I don't really think I can blame this on Januaritis.  If anything cabin fever generally lends itself to more time in the creative space, thus more items coming out of the creative space.

I know one problem is that I am anxiously awaiting a Style Arc pattern and I can't get it out of my mind.  Let's call this sewer's block!  It's that space where your brain becomes obsessed with making a certain item, but you don't have all the doo dads to make that item.  You can't seem to change your energy and focus until you are able to work on that project.  I don't even want to tell you how many times I have gone down to the sewing room matched patterns to fabrics and just...couldn't...cut...them...out.  I feel like waiting on this pattern has paralyzed me.

T wrote a great post over at the Curvy Sewing Collective on getting your sewjo back.  I have tried quite a few of the things that she listed in the post, but to no avail.  Every time I walk down to the sewing room, I keep singing in my head, "I'm bringing sewjo back" to the tune of I'm Bringing Sexy Back.  Unfortunately, all the positivity isn't really working.

Problem is...I need to sew.  I have a deadline of sorts.  Damn deadline!  So friends, I think I am going to get off of the computer, turn on a little JT, heat up a mug of chai tea, and head down to the sewing room.  One.  More.  Time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Laurel Has Gone Rogue...and Sleeveless

Friends, first and foremost if you haven't seen it already head on over to the Curvy Sewing Collective, where I had the privilege of reviewing the Green Style Laurel Tunic/Dress.  Green Style has agreed to give away a copy of the Laurel pattern to a lucky gal (or guy) so make sure that when you go over to read the review that you leave a comment and enter to win!

As I have mentioned before, I am sewing some resort wear and Summery items in order to get ready for vacation.  Here is my first sew:

Those may or may not be chopsticks in my hair

I sewed the dress in a Fuchsia colored Stretch French Terry that I bought on my day after Christmas fabric binge.  It is from and is available here.  This fabric washed well and sewed up quite nicely.  My pictures make it appear rosy in color, but it is really the color of the fabric on their website, the yellow lighting inside my house just washed the color out a bit.

Do recognize that pattern?  Yep, it is the Green Style Laurel, with a few twists.  I kept the bodice and skirt pieces exactly the same.  But then I cut a 23 inch by 3 inch piece of the knit terry and sewed right sides together on the 3 inch sides, forming a loop.  Then I pressed it in half long ways with wrong sides together and attached it at the neck to form a collar.  Does that make sense?  Sorry that I didn't take pictures of the process!  I also added one row of top stitching around the neckline.

Look Ma, no bra strap!

My next step was to finish off the arm holes with bias tape.  I just attached the bias tape to the outside of the arm holes, and then turned it in and sewed it down.  I intentionally left the turquoise bias tape sticking out a bit as a design element, because I really liked the way it set off the fuchsia fabric.

Stretch french terry curls up beautifully, so rather than fight it, I decided to use it as a design element and let the unfinished hem curl up.  The more you stretch the edge the more it will curl.

Can you see the curled edge?

I really like the way this tuned out, and can see me making more of these come Summer.  It is perfect for lazy days floating out on the ocean!

The scooped neck line is just how I like it, and I intend to transfer it over to my TNT t-shirt pattern.  My hubby even commented on how much he liked the neckline.  I can also see me making it shirt length with vented side seams.  The possibilities really are endless when you start playing around with your favorite patterns.

Have you restyled any of your favorite patterns lately?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sew Tropical

Friends, I have been sewing.  I promise.  Problem is it has been COLD here, and icy, and dreary.  Those conditions don't make for very good photo shoots!  Then, add in the fact that my photographer doesn't get home til almost dusk, and well...we just haven't had a chance to capture any of the goodness, yet.

In the coming weeks you may think I have gone crazy, as you will see many warm weather clothes popping up.  Truth is, vacation season is coming up soon for us and I will be sewing for such.  As I looked through my closet I realized that I did not have a single short sleeve t-shirt without a stain on it.  This is the plight of the curvy gal.  Because gravity can be a real PITA when your boobs stick out farther than your neck will stretch.  So, expect to see a warm weather Centerfield Raglan or two, as well as lots of new patterns that I haven't sewn before.  I promise I am not a one trick pony!

I did order a few patterns from StyleArc recently.  Does anyone know how long it usually takes to get these in the mail?  I am hoping to have a few of them ahead of time so that I can sew them up for my vacay.  Momma needs some Bermuda Karen walk shorts!  My problem with a lot of my resort wear is the lack of pockets, and these babies are just the ticket for resort casual with pockets!


I think I should be able to get a really good fit out of these with the waist darting and the long length, but we shall see.  I love sewing welt pockets too!

Friends, are any of you heading somewhere warm to get away from the frigid temps?  What patterns if any will you be sewing for travel?  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Burda Style, You Just Don't Understand Plus Size Sewists

Friends, have you seen the latest crap patterns offered by Burda Style for Plus Size women?  Let me introduce you:


They are calling this Loft Life: 9 New Trending Plus Size Patterns.  Hmmmm, the only way I see these as trending is if it is talk of their gross misunderstanding of what plus size sewists want.

Let's take this coat for example:


Of all the shapeless, tacky things I have ever seen, this thing takes the cake.  Who on Earth would want to walk around looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man dipped in Silver?  Tell me friends, are any of you planning to sew such hideousness?

On to this skirt and top:


The styling of this whole outfit is awful.  The model looks slouchy and unkempt.  That dolman sleeve top may be great paired with skinny jeans and flats, but it is terrible tucked in to this skirt.  Let's be honest, that wide neck opening is going to be bra strap city!  As for the skirt, is it supposed to be some kind of awful twisted mullet skirt.  Party on the left and business on the right?  Or does this skirt just have a split personality?  And the length is awful, especially paired with those ankle boots and socks.  Geesh, someone please fire this stylist.  In all honestly, it looks like a little girl has been playing dress up in mother's closet!

There is also a coat offered up:


This coat just appears shapeless to me.  I do like the split cuff detail, and have been noticing this pop up in more patterns and RTW clothing, but that is the only redeeming feature I see here.  This coat would be better off without buttons and instead with a tie belt.  At least then you could cinch it in and show that you actually have a waist.

These pants and this top:


Let's start with the pants.  I know as a curvy gal, the very thing I want to do is use a yoke and pleats to accentuate my stomach.  Don't get me wrong, I know there are some curvy gals out there who are flat in the tummy, and maybe these would look great on them, but for me and my curvy body, these pants are a major don't.  Those pockets are gonna pull in all kinds of wrong ways, and make my saddle bags seem...baggier.  Pattern companies listen up...curvy women DO NOT want pockets that hit them at their widest areas.  It just isn't a good idea.  Now for this shirt (note: there were a few other asymmetrical shirts offered in this collection as well), please please please, enough with the asymmetrical shirts!  This is basically a potato sack cut on the bias if you want my opinion.

Burda Style, occasionally you knock it out of the park with a really great design for plus size women.  By and large, you miss the mark big time.  Please, listen to what your plus size sewists are saying!  I've seen the rants of other bloggers so I know I am not alone in these opinions!  Just look at the comments below this collection on your own site and you will see that you totally missed the mark.

We want shaping.  We want patterns that accentuate the good curves.  We don't want baggy clothes that are going to make us look even heavier!  We don't want pattern deja vu, either!  It seems like I have seen all these patterns before, just in a slightly different iteration.  Where is the originality?  I can't speak for the rest of the plus size community, but for me...I would rather you only produce ten great, well thought out patterns a year in plus sizes, than have 50 junk patterns and 5 great ones!

Sorry for the rant ya'll!  Sometimes a girl has just had enough.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sewing Plans for the 2015 RTW Fast

For those that haven't heard, I have decided to participate in the 2015 RTW (that's ready to wear as in what you buy in the store) Fast that Sarah over at Goodbye Valentino is hosting.  A full year of making all my clothes, though she does allow you to buy under things.

I have been trying to compile a list of things that I wear because I will obviously need more of those, as well as a list of items that are basic building blocks of a well balanced wardrobe, so that I have well fitting clothes for those times that jean and sweaters just won't work.  Ideally, no matter what the day throws at me, I want to be able to go to my closet and find what I need instead of standing there pouting and sullen because I have nothing to wear.

This is what I have come up with for things that I wear pretty regularly:

Jeans, Sweaters, Camisoles, T-shirts (the whole reason I ever started sewing again), Leggings, Tunics, Layering Shirts, Cardigans, Panties, and Coats.  These are the things that are already in my wardrobe and get a lot of rotation.  Some of these items I already have good patterns for.  Some of these, I just don't know.

Jeans for instance...Have you seen a jeans pattern out there that goes up to 64 inch hips?  I would LOVE to try the high waist version of the Ginger Jeans that everyone is rocking, but I don't have the ambition to grade up quite that much.  My go to RTW jeans are NYDJ.  I may deconstruct a pair that are headed for the trash bin due to hrrrmmmm a wardrobe malfunction.

As for the Things I need in my Wardrobe:

I need some basic skirts in neutral colors; maybe a pencil skirt, a half circle midi, and is it wrong that I want a floor length tulle skirt with a satin tie waist?  Some basic black pants, a nice blazer, a few button up shirts, maybe some basic shift dresses, and a classic black wrap dress also need to make their way in to my closet.

So, those are some of the things that I have plans for this year.  Don't worry, it won't all be boring.  There will still be plenty of pretties, just some basics to mix with the pretties!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Black and White Green Style Laurel Sweater Dress #SewnWithMood

Friends, there has been a lot of hub bub and rigmarole in the sewing world about knit dresses that feel like jammies, so I had to join in the action and make myself something comfy but warm enough to wear in the snow!

Ta Da!
During my day after Christmas fabric binge, I ordered 2.5 yards of this fantastic Black and White Wool Sweater Knit from Mood Fabrics.  Ya'll I love it!!!  It is heavy weight and fantastically warm.  I was a little hesitant seeing as it is wool that it might be itchy, so imagine my surprise and delight when it didn't itch not one little bit!  Though I am not at all affiliated with Mood, if you are looking for a warm sweater knit for a cold weather wrap dress, or a nice warm sweater, get yourself over there and order some of this, because they still have it in stock, and with temperatures dropping I don't think it will be around for long!

I ordered a few other goodies from Mood, but the best surprise of all came in a small zip top bag.

That's right is my very first Sewn With Mood tag.  There is something thrilling about the little things in life, and I giggled like a school girl when I found this among my treasures.

As for my Sweater Dress Pattern, it is a Green Style Creations Laurel.  This isn't my first Laurel.  Though it has not yet been lifted to pattern addiction the way their Centerfield Raglan has, it is a great pattern with lots of variation.

The Laurel is perfect for my pear with a big booty body type.  The empire waist line shows off my best assets without clinging to my liabilities...if you know what I mean!

Those girls with all the Ks in their names ain't got nothing on me!

I did make an alteration to the pattern this go round.  I decided that since I normally do a sway back adjustment on most dresses and shirts I should do something on this as well, because my original Laurel hangs a little low at the back bodice.  Since the Laurel comes with cutting lines for short, regular and long torsos, and I use the long torso for the front bodice, I just curved from the long torso line to the short torso line on the pattern.

This little adjustment made the back bodice perfect length, with no dragging or sloppiness.

I decided to hand sew the hem and sleeve cuffs, because I just don't like the way that a double needle finish looks on a heavy knit.  Plus it gave me an excuse to use some of the new gadgets that I got for Christmas (these nifty hem clips...thanks Mom!)

I am very happy with how this great Italian Wool Sweater Knit Dress turned out.  I think that it will fill a void in my wardrobe, and it will keep me warm.  The high here in Indy is supposed to be seven degrees.  So cold in fact that school is on a two hour delay because it will be below zero when the buses would normally run!  I see lots of warm ginger tea, and wool knits in my future!!

Friends, what are you sewing to keep warm as the mercury is dropping?  Maybe a long overdue Winter Coat, or some nice Fuzzy PJs?  Tell me...what is on the cutting table!?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Morning Confession...My Big Fat Disaster Area

I know I have already mentioned this, but my creative space is a disaster area.  Want to see proof?  Here we go!

When you step in to my disaster area creative space, this is what you would see as you look to the right and the left.

Look Right
Look Left

Here is my fabric stash...or at least the part that is pseudo organized and on a shelf.  I guess that is my sewing library as well.  Ha.  I have a few more sewing books than that, but they are scattered around.

This is where I cut and sew.  The white sewing desk was a craigslist freebie.  It took many coats of white primer and paint to take her from the ugly greenish brown that she was to the white beauty that she is today.  My Singer H74 sits on her as well as a few lights and many of my tools.  The brownish desk that my Brother 1034d Serger sits on was a $5 yard sale buy.  It was originally a vanity, but we removed some bits and now it is a serger desk.  It is still waiting to be painted, but the six drawers it has house a plethora of serger thread and vintage notions.  The cutting table was picked up at the local Habitat Re-Store for $7.  It too is due for a good coat of paint, and a custom cutting mat.

This is my scrap pile.  It is a hot mess!  I know that there are usable pieces still in there, and I just can't let them go.

This would be my ironing area.  My less than six month old Rowenta that is leaking errrrgggg sits atop the ironing board, as well as a lovely double faced piece of shirting that I scorched the heck out of.  I may not make it to the Autumn of 1000 Shirt Dresses!  Wahhhhhh!  My clapper, sleeve board, and larger sleeve board are all garage sale and estate sale finds as well.  Are you seeing a pattern of thriftiness here?

This is my pile of current patterns, as well as the fabrics that are next on the cutting table...maybe.  This changes regularly, so who knows!

Here Friends, we find my collection of vintage patterns.  These were acquired cheaply and quickly through various outlets.  There are patterns from the 1930s through the 1970s in men's and women's styles.  There are even the elusive plus size vintage patterns here.  As mentioned previously, these will all be making their way in to the Friday Funday Giveaway, so be on the look out.

What you can't see here are two huge boxes of fabric from Mood and (actually, they are in the floor in the first picture).  I may have gone on a little bit of fabric binge day after Christmas.  All of the fabric from the estate sale a few weeks back is not pictured as well (again, actually in the first picture).  On a positive note, I got my first Made by Mood tag in that Mood order, and there is something very exciting about that, don't you think?

Friends, here is to hoping that in a week or two, I will be able to post some pictures of progress in this area.  Am I the only one who has a disaster area for a creative space?  Why is this room lacking in color and va va va voom?  I am down on my knees here hanging my head in shame!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015...Goals, Thoughts and All That Jazz

How can it already be 2015?  Friends it seems like just yesterday I was thinking about what my plans for 2014 were going to be, and here we are another year older, wiser, and a more adept sewist! ;)  I am not one for resolutions, but I am one for setting goals.

Lets get down to it with the sewing goals for 2015.

1.  Stash Busting.  When I first started sewing, I bought only what I needed for a project.  I can't tell you how many projects were made that I paid full price for the crappy fabric, near full price for the pattern, and the notions...well the thought of what I paid for those just makes me sick.  Tired of paying full price, I began to buy fabrics and notions (aside from thread because it deteriorates over time) at estate sales, yard sales, and thrift shops.  And patterns, thank goodness I learned to buy those on sale.  Don't get me wrong, I will still pay full price for a piece of fabric that is amazing, but my thrifty fabric is starting to run out of my ears.

My plan for stash busting this year is two part.  First of all, I am going to only allow to buy one piece of fabric for every two pieces that I sew.  No, this doesn't mean that I get to buy five yards of wool every time I use a fat quarter.  I mean basically that I have to sew two garments to buy another piece of fabric.  I am not sure how long I will do this, but this will allow me to not feel deprived, while still using up what I have.

Second off, I am planning an event in February/March called the Estate Sale Fabric Challenge.  I am going to challenge some of my favorite sewing bloggers to make something fabulous out of some of the great fabrics that I have gotten recently.  Newbies and old timers if you might be interested in this sort of thing, let me know.

2.  Pattern Busting.  Ya'll, I have an amazing assortment of vintage patterns that have come to me from various sources.   Problem is, I don't sew vintage.  As I have come to know who I am as a sewist this year, I have come to the realization that I am not and probably never will be a vintage sewist.  I was originally planning to put these patterns in my etsy shop, but I think I just want to share them with you all.  So, the Friday Funday Pattern Giveaway will be making a return.

3.  Quality Over Quantity.  When I do allow myself to buy fabric, I plan to buy real quality stuff.  I am not talking Liberty of London (primarily because that just isn't my style), but good Kaufman cottons, nice wools, maybe some cashmere.  The point here is I am tired of cheap knits that pill, and twills that fade, and flannels that just make me want to scream as they continue to shrink with each washing.  There is too much time and energy put in to this sewing thing to have a garment be a wadder because of the fabric quality.

4.  RTW Fast.  I may be crazy, but I have signed up for Sarah's over at RTW fast.  A whole year without buying a single piece of RTW clothing (though she does allow for undergarments).  I couldn't have picked a worse better year to join the Fast as my favorite jeans are on their way out, I just cleaned out my swimsuit drawer, and then there is the need for a ballgown later in the year.  Stretch yourself as a sewist.  When we stretch we grow!  You all remind me of that later when I am whining about it.

5.  Only make things that excite me.  We are all guilty of seeing the latest sewing challenge or knit dress pattern (yes, Tiramisu I am talking about you!) and making it even though it really doesn't fit our style or have a real place in our closet.  This year, I am going to focus on only making things that I will wear and that make me happy.  Life is too short to sew fugly clothes!

6.  Sew the Basics.  The fast will help me with this, and in truth my life is kind of basic.  I am a SAHM after all.  I rarely have the opportunity to get too dressed up.  But, as I learned towards the end of the year, I don't even have proper attire for a funeral.  Jeans and t-shirts are great, but I need to sew some basic pieces to make for a more well rounded wardrobe.

8.  Organization.  My creative room has turned in to a place of chaos.  What once was a carefully laid out area in which I knew where every thing was and everything had a place, has now turned in to a mad house collection of fabric and notions and patterns.  All this chaos can sometimes spur my creativity, but for the most part the chaos is overwhelming me and I know that I will feel happier and have better creative vision if I get things back in their place.

There are changes coming for my family this year.  Nothing negative, all good stuff.  There will be more about this later as things unfold, but friends I am very excited for all the things that 2015 holds.

So tell me friends, what are you looking forward to this year, and what are your sewing goals?