Sunday, September 28, 2008

Winter Inspiration

My MIL snagged a couple of InStyle magazines from her work for me. I really like this short-sleeved jacket.

I think I have this pattern. It's a carbon copy of the retro Simplicity pattern. Well, maybe not a perfect copy. The Simplicity one has a gathered bust and the other one has a dart maybe? It's pretty darn close.
I love the colors in this. The styles are kinda blah.

I need a new haricut. What do you guys think of this? I love a good bob.

Love the gray.

Again, gray and purple. I don't know if this is a coat or a dress. I look for it but couldn't find it.

I love this bright skirt and I have the perfect bright, big print for it.
This photo I just find disturbing. Boy and girl? Boy and boy? For a while I thought it was the same person with photoshopping but their noses are different.

This is just the ad from JCPenney that comes on Sunday. I really like the shape of this. I would make this in a sweater knit. I've always liked belted waists. I was thinking this BWOF pattern with a self-fabric belt.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kwik Sew 3584 Cropped Jacket

This may be a dud. This one looks sooooo boxy and unflattering on me. I think it will look okay when I wear it with full-length or short sleeves. I am wearing it with a 3/4 length flare sleeve. I hope that is one of the reasons it looks bad.

I decided to line it because I had to underline this fabric because it was so fragile and loosely woven. I used a lavender acetate lining that I had left over some project. Instead of buttons, I used double snaps in black. Since I got my snap press, I haven't sewn a button.

See? Kinda boxy. Yea, no, really boxy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I blame Kristine.

Kristine over at Just Keep Sewing introduced me to fabric coops. For those of you who don't know what means here is a synopsis. It is kind of like seeing a competitive race halfway through and deciding you need to run too. You see all these people running and you shoot into the run from a side street. There is a finish line, somewhere. You don't really know because you didn't really start with those runners. There is some semblance of order. Again, you have no idea what this race is about or how long it goes. You are just running your heart out. This is how I feel sometimes in this coop. It is fast paced and you don't always get the fabric you want. The fabrics are available, you get to look at them, then they are gone three days later and you have a new batch to pick from. You put your order into this database and then you PayPal then the totals with shipping. I have no idea how they keep track of things.

This is the Fabrics and Notions coop that is run through a Yahoo Group. Here is the Picture Trail album where Ressy keeps the pictures of the available fabrics. Check out the prices (!!) on that photo album. Many of you know I have this $100/month limit on my sewing spending. Well, I've spent a bit more than that this month. Yikes.

Honey, not that much, just more than my $100 limit. I love you Honey.

I decided that I would get this wool woven for a Serious Suit. I need one of those every once in a while at school. This is subdued but interesting with all the different colored yarns running through it.

I love this wool too. I didn't buy any but I think it would make a great jacket.

I'm a sucker for grey herringbone. I didn't get this either.

What I did buy in this last batch is a bunch of wool jersey and burgundy wool crepe. These are my favorite fabrics. I love wool crepe and wool jersey is cooooozy. This is not a good thing for those of you who are trying to pare down your stash. Good luck trying to resist!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Burda 09-2008-125 Trousers with Hem Pleat

Me sewing!!!

This is the review from

Pattern Description: Just your usual tweed trousers? Look again! This pairĂ¢€™s side seams open into long inverted box pleats that give them a completely new look! Styling tip: Add a short, bulky-knit cardigan as a rustic contrast. Extra info from me: back darts for shaping, front pockets, waistband, top of pants stops at natural waist.

Pattern Sizing: 36-44. I made the size 36.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, they look similar to the model and the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't really look at the directions because I have made several pairs of pants that are similar to this. I did read through the section on the pleated hem and they made sense.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like this pattern. The fit is snug though, so watch out. I may make this again in a black RPL. I have been hesitant to make/wear pants they fit at the natural waist but these are darn comfy. Now I can wear tops to work that are short again and not worry about whale tail.

Fabric Used: This is Robert Kaufman RPL in charcoal gray. My local fabric boutique had it. They also have it in black and I'm going to get that too. This stuff sews well and wears well too.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Small swayback adjustment for my athletic butt. Oh, and you may want to move the pleat up higher. I ended up chopping off two inches and then hemming up 2.5 in additional to that. I think the pleat would look better if it was a bit longer but I cut a lot of it off.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! YES!

Conclusion: Cute, nice-fitting work pants. Did you see that I'm still continuing my purple/plum/gray fall wardrobe? Can't get enough purple right now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Burda 05-2008-125 LBD Muslin

I decided to do a muslin for this dress to see if it qualifies for LBD. I think it does. This muslin certainly has some problems. First and foremost, I screwed up on my right and left so the gathering is on the same side. Oops. The gathering is supposed to be on different sides on top and bottom. I think that will help with the gathering "bumps" I have. There is a picture below to show you what I mean.
I know it's black. Sorry. You can't really see the details. This is a cheapy poly suiting woven from Joann's. I actually melted it a bit. Oops. I drew in the gathering lines so you can see them.

It has a full skirt and then an overskirt. The overskirt is gathered and then sewn into the front side dart. There is a second shaping dart under the overskirt.

I used my lovely dressform for the first time to pin out back darts and it worked like a charm. I just threw a zipper on it so I didn't try very hard. The zipper ends (complete with bubble) right at the most protruding part of my butt so it looks funny. You can see that the front gathering gives you a little extra in the front. I think it will be better when both sides of the gather are not on the same side.

Right now, I am making myself a pair of paints out of the 09/2008 BWOF. It is this pair. Hopefully, I'll be done tomorrow. :)

More Photos of Coat

The sleeves fit perfectly at this shorter length and she loves it. Can you tell?

Off to do some me sewing. I'm thinking grey pants and knit top combo. I actually bought a pattern the other day too. I haven't done that since I started on with BWOF. I have loved this pattern since it first came out last Spring. My local Boutique had it so I figured I would get it. I'm thinking this dress with a cropped jacket would be warm and cute for this winter. What do you guys think? I love the belt and the neck folds. I'll have to see how the hip gathering works for hippy me. I'm thinking about a wool knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. It may even work as a jumper type of dress, I hadn't thought about that until just now. Hmmmmm . . . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I've lost the will to live

Coat #1 DONE. It feels like I've been working on this forever but it's only been about 10 days. I am so ready to do a quick knit top for me. The coat turned out nicely but I can't believe I cut out the second one. It may not happen this month. I love my twins but two coats? Uck.

A few details for ya'll. I lined the coat with the same wicking polyester sweatshirt knit as my son's coat. The inside has Polartec 200 for nice insulation. The arms are very wrinkly and stumpy looking compared to the rest of the coat. I did something special to the arms which I'll tell you about in a few pictures. The coat is long on my girls so I hope to get two winters worth of wear out of it. The pockets were by far the most time-consuming part of this coat. That and all the topstitching.

Lots of topstitching on this baby. I love the extra low butt-covering.

The outside arms look stumpy because I did a little homage to LL Bean. Many of their toddler clothes have "grow legs". The lining is shorter than the outer shell. When the kid grows you release the stitches and the lining "grows" to its normal length. I think it's pretty damn clever. Now I just hope that it fits as it is for now.

I may add the waist elastic and casing but I want to see if they need it and where I should put it. I forgot to add: Action shots to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whoa! Thanks guys!

PatternReview is running the PR Awards right now. It's a way to give an award to another PR contributor for funniest review, best fashion photography, funniest reviewer, etc.

I'm on there for the category called Most Coveted Closet! Wow! That means that someone (or more) voted for me. Thank you so much if you voted for me. It means a lot to me that people like my sewing too. I'm mostly just shocked. Wow.

Here's a link to vote at the contests.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Burda 11-2006-138 Girls' Coat Part 2

So I did sew on this puppy for hours today. I included some topstitching details. Every seam on this coat is topstitched. Every one; darts, armholes, pockets, etc.

This is the sleeve. Three part sleeve with two darts in it.

Here's the entire sleeve. The little cut out on the left is purely decorative.

Here is were I am right now. Body is mostly done. I need to add arms and hood then stitch side seams. Once that is done, I put the two other layers inside and put in the zipper. I think I'll get out my Kwik Sew directions for this coat I just made and use those instead of the BWOF directions. I wasn't thinking when I was cutting this out. This coat includes facings and I don't want facings. That would have eliminated 10 pieces. So 116 down to 106. Oh well, I'll know for next time.

Actually I'm really liking this coat. I think this version will look nice but you could also use the lining piece to make the front of the coat if you didn't want all the detail and pieces. The lining pieces are just one for the front, one for the back, two-piece sleeves, and three-piece hood. Much less detail than the shell.

Burda 11-2006-138 Girls' Coat Part 1

I am making slow but steady progress on the coats. This is one of the pockets. I didn't want to do applique on the pockets so I used the varigated thread to make some simple designs.

Yesterday I knew that two kids were upstairs but didn't know where the third one was. That door to the right is my sewing room. I walked right past her on the way upstairs (that's to the right also). See her? I took them off naps because they were having parties in their room for two hours after I put them to bed at night. So, no naps anymore. One of them is totally fine with it but this one needs a catnap everyday. She just sort of passes out where ever.

This was about 5 minutes before I "lost" one. They were "helping" me in the sewing room. Why do they smile like that. It only happens when they see a camera.

Here is the lining of the coat. It will be big but that's perfect. I would love to get two winters out of these coats.

I should have more to show by the end of today. Hopefully.

Questions and Answers

Thanks for all the nice comments guys! I'm trying to answer my questions more frequently so you're no left hanging for more than a week. And thanks (?!) for the horrifying stories about your own children who have had ER visits. Yikes!

Here goes:

Imaan has left a new comment on your post "Burda 09-2008-114 Retro Dress/Jumper": I was just about to ask, HOW DO YOU DO this with three kids? And work (cabinbaby)?????I have two under 3, and work full time, and ...just don't seem to find the time!!! any tips? Also, until hubby makes you are sewing space, what are you using?

Imaan: I do a lot in the mornings before the kids get up and I do a lot after the kids go to bed. I'm not really into that housework thing. :) I do the minimum because the kids just wreck it again in 20 minutes.

melissa has left a new comment on your post "Burda 09-2008-114 Retro Dress/Jumper": Fantastic fit! I hadn't even realised this was sized for Petites, how annoying (for me!). Do you think you could share how you did your runner's butt alteration? I haven't got a swayback, but I've noticed my bum is definitely, umm, perkier since I upped my mileage recently and just this week I had to take in a wedge in the CB seam of my TNT trousers for the first time ever, so maybe I should look into this. It's not something I'd heard of before, but from one sewing runner to another, I'd be grateful for a tutorial if you get the chance!

Melissa: I think it is just your standard swayback alteration. The next time I make a pair of pants of a fitted blouse, I'll snap some pictures for you.

sandy has left a new comment on your post "Burda 09-2008-114 Retro Dress/Jumper": I love your brown shoes! Can you tell me who makes them?

Sandy: I'm embarrassed you asked. I got these shoes from LL Bean when I first started as a teacher. This is my tenth year in the classroom. I still like the shoes and they are obviously well-made.

Kristine has left a new comment on your post "Green Pepper Oregon Jacket for Kids": Dawn, where do you get your materials? This is a great tough weather jacket! BTW, I'm putting a small gift in the mail to you Monday!

Kristine: I have the best fabric boutique up here in Anchorage. They don't have a ton of stuff but what they do have is qual-i-ty. It used to be called Three Sisters but it merged with a quilting store. I think it is called Seams Like Home now.

Kat has left a new comment on your post "116 Pieces . . .": Yikes! 116??? What pattern is that again? I'll be sure to avoid it :) . And I thought tailored jackets with over 20 pieces were annoying.

Kat: This is BWOF 11/2006 #138. It only has 58 pieces but I'm making two.

lynn has left a new comment on your post "Bitch Fabric. Really?": Hi Dawn!I have been looking all over for the Bitch Bitch Bitch fabric. Can you tell me where I can get it or do you have it to sell?My girlfriend and I make silly items with it. Recently, we found a yard of it and made snoods for our dog show friends and they loved them and want more. But we cannot find the fabric. Can you help us?Thanks!

Lynn: I don't have any of this fabric only the swatches. That store doesn't have anymore of the fabric either. Sorry! :(

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Snap Press is here . . .": I am interested in purchasing a Snap press, but have no idea what kind of dies or snaps to get. I was looking at and sent 2 emails.....looks like they don't answer email. So I am at a loss it seems. I am interested in sewing from infants to children clothes at present. No diapers yet, but plan to in future. Can someone help. Appreciate it much!

Anonymous: I have the snap press from them and the dies for the size 16 metal snaps. I think they recommend the plastic resin snaps for diapers and smaller size 14 snaps for baby clothing. Here's what I found on their site about the snaps.
"These polyacetal resin preemie snaps (size 14)are ideal for young infant and preemie clothes. Preemie caps (#14) work with size 16 studs and sockets.

Size 18 is a special size. It's cap diameter is between size 16 and 20. It's stud and socket are exactly the same as size 20 snaps. The post on the cap is a bit longer than size 20. The reason I order it is because people like to have size 20 on diaper wings and the less bulky size 16 to touch the baby skin. However, the regular needle on size 16 is not long enough to go through all the layers. Because of the unusual size and it's extra long post, the manufacturer's price for these two is about the same.

Size 20 polyacetal resin snaps are very popular in diaper making. We have more than 20 colors to choose from."

Hope that helps.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

116 Pieces . . .

36 pieces of shell fabric, 22 pieces of lining and insulation. Multiply that by two because I have two, two years and you get 116 pieces. Here is the picture of the front of the coat and line drawing.

This pattern has the most pieces I have ever worked on. I actually had to make myself a cutting chart to make sure I cut all the pieces. On the plus side, all the pieces are all cut out. On the minus side, I want to enter them both in the Sewing for Kids contest at That doesn't leave me much time to sew everything together. Oh well, I'll just have to kick butt and take names.

Bloody head is just fine today. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It wicks blood too.

So I made this nice coat for my son the other day. Tonight he comes in the house clutching his head saying he fell and it the fence. I pull off his hood and there is blood. A lot. He's four. This is my first head wound. Don't worry, I'm medically trained. I can help. Isn't that what you are supposed to say to make people feel more comfortable??

While applying pressure to wound, "How exactly did you hit the fence with your head?"

"I just fell."

"How did you fall? What were you doing?"

"Just nothin' I was playing."

"Let's go outside so you can show me."

"See I hit it on the fence. Right there."

Blood is seeping through the fingers, "Remember how you should never lie? Now it is really important that you don't lie. Where. did. you. hit. your. head?"

The eyes tear up, the big lip comes out, "Well I took my purple car and put it next to the boat. I climbed up on the car 'cause I was trying to get in the boat. I fell off and hit this piece of metal. With my head. Is it bleeding??!!?!?!? It's bleeding!!!!! Mom, there's blood!!!!! OOOOOOWWWWWW, OOOOOWWWWW, IT'S BLEEDING!!!!! IT HURTS!!!!!!!!!!"

So, issue one, he was trying to crawl into a boat that sits 12' off the ground using a big purple, plastic car on wheels. Issue two is that he lied. And issue three, blood on his new coat. Lots of blood. That's is what stain stick is for I suppose.

Ah, to be the mother of boys. I wish there was an emergency room punch card because I think we're gonna need it. This cut didn't warrant any stitches but, again, he's only four. I'm sure his stunts are only going to get bigger.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Girls' Coats

So what do you guys think? I need to decide on topstitching for the girls' coats.

The purple doesn't really stand out so I am thinking of the pink/blue/green version. If I am going to all the trouble to topstitch everything, I want it to pop. 1, 2, and 3 are varigated thread. I really like 2 and 3 the best I think. I also like 4.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Green Pepper Oregon Jacket for Kids

The full review is here at

Is my son cute or what? This jacket is made of three layers: XALT breathable laminate on the outside, polartec 200 as insulation, and polyester wicking sweatshirt fleece as a lining. I put the slick side against the skin.

This is the drawstring for the waist.

Here is the hood drawstring. I will change the hood next time. It shows too much cheek and forehead.

The sleeves and hem were easy. Cut off the lining an inch, fold up the shell material, fold under the edge and edgestitch.

I'm not sure that I like what happens when the hood drawstrings are tightened. The drawstrings are only attached to the lining so it pulls the lining snug but not the rest of the hood.

I put reflective tape on the back of the coat too.

Next up: The girl coats. I haven't traced this off yet but there are a lot of pieces!