Saturday, January 31, 2009

Burda 07-2008-124 Teeeeeeny Beeeeeeekini

Well, it's very small. I have no bust and with this pattern I'm lucky that I don't. It does hold my bits and pieces completely. Any one else and it would not cover you. Well, it wouldn't cover you much. The bottoms are another version of KS 2689. This fabric is from Spandex House. I cut the triangle pieces carefully so I didn't have bulls eyes.

Nothing exciting from this angle. It's a string bikini so there are a lot of strings on the back.

The original pattern is just the nylon-lycra with no lining or padding. I added a lining and sandwiched these bra cups in between the two layers. I made it look like I sort of have a bust. Sort of.
Only 12 more days!

If I stop responding to email . . .

. . . it's because Mt. ReDoubt erupted. When it erupted last time it send ash miles into the air. That ash made its to Anchorage and it also made its way into four jet engines that were carrying 231 passengers. All four engines died. They were able to restart the engines and landed here in Anchorage. Bad timing.

Here in Anchorage, the ash will settle on everything. Your first line of offense is to lock yourself in your house and seal off any leaky/venting areas. They say three days is enough to let the ash settle out a little bit. Did you get that? Three days in your house. No going out. Kids in the house with you. Yikes. I might go a little crazy. All electronic equipment with fans is supposed to be shut off. So that means no computers. We will buy dust masks to protect our lungs and perhaps goggles for the ash. My husband was here for the last eruption. He says its not a big deal but he's a guy. He could cut off his finger and say, "No big deal."

I guess she belched a lot of steam yesterday afternoon but no ash.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Say You?

So, as I sew more for my children, I contemplate the need for an embroidery machine. Really, it's Angie that has put the bug on me (as my son would say, "Grenade on her!"). She has done so many cute embroidery things. Look here, here, here, and here. Then I see all these cute things in BWOF. What do you guys think? I feel like I'll use it quite a bit for the kids. But, will I use it when they are a bit older? Here are a few examples that I really like. At the bottom of this post are some pros, cons, and some questions for you since I don't really know much about it.


Another BWOF

This is a bad picture I took of one of their shirts. Can a home embroidery machine do this sort of stitching? The little letters are embroidered on felt or other fabric. Could this be done with a little practice or is this something that only industrial machines do?

Here's a photo from their jammies. The green heart and the blue 'e' are fabric with embroidered edges.

I love all the little flowers on these pants. Too cute!

Yes, I need one:
  1. What sewer don't want a new shiny piece of equipment?
  2. I will use it on the kids' clothes regularly, I think.
  3. If I can figure out my serger, I think I can figure out an embroidery machine.
  4. I love the little gifts and cute things that Angie makes. She makes these totally cute bookmarks and cute pillows.
  5. My business will pay for it and it's got the money right now.
  6. I love sewing details. How awesome would it be to embroider my jeans pockets before I added them to my jeans?

No, I should pass:

  1. I already have two machines in this room. Do I need a third one? Do I have space for a third one?
  2. How expensive is it going to be?? I see Debbie Cook digitizing logos and things. Do I want to be able to do that? Will I wish I had it after a while? Is that capability really expensive?
  3. Will I be talented enough (with color and design) to avoid the Becky-Homecky embroidery? You know, the tacky Christmas things you get from your grandparents? I have one grandma who, I swear, sends me whatever things she is about to donate to goodwill. It usually includes some fuuuuuugly embroidery pillow/tablerunner/napkins/you get the idea.
  4. More needles, more thread, more space, more, more, more!

Questions for you:

  1. What kind of machine do you suggest? Are there combo machines that do regular sewing and embroidery?
  2. Is digitizing cool and do I need it? If I understand it, it means that you can take any image and make it into an embroidery design. True? So, could I take some of these fonts and change them into an embroidery design? My son is obsessed with aliens.
  3. If you have one, what is it, and do you recommend it? I'm really curious about the digitizing. If you don't have it, do you want it? Why didn't you get it?
  4. Do I need one?
  5. Is there just the basic software and later you can buy digitizing software if you want it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Boden Spring 2009 - Inspiration

I just received a Boden catalog in the mail. They have cute clothes that are reasonably priced. Here are a few of my favorites.

I love these skirts. They are called Fun Skirts. I love the name and the big, bold appliques on them. I love the brown with the blue embroidery and applique. You can see a close-up here if you zoom.

I have some red/white crinkle fabric that would be perfect for this type of dress. It's kind of an empire waist with a cross top and waist ties. It might make it on the short list for Hawaii. And no I haven't forgotten about the F-ing Cold SWAP but it got a lot warmer!! Right now my focus is warm clothing for Hawaii and all the little things I have to do. I'm sure I'll have plenty more winter to keep me busy.

I;m in love with this dress. It's very similar to BWOF 12/2008 #130. I will be making this but I need to find the right fabric.

Simplicity 3775, anyone? View F.
Back to the grind. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Love My Internet Buddies

I love my Internet buddies for so many reasons. :) First, you guys rock because of all the swimsuit compliments. Thank you!! I do workout and run a lot in the summer. I'm in my it's-ass-cold-outside-and-I-ain't-runnin' phase right now. I'll start running full time again (15-25 miles a week) when March or April comes. Now I'm just lifting weights and doing sporadic cardio workouts. Most of it is genetic and there isn't a cesarean scar (anonymous asked) because those twins came out the chute if you will.

Second, I get this award from several of you (MarySews, Ann of Stitch Me Up, JC of WANNASEW, Ann of Gorgeous Things, and Melissa of Susie Homemaker). Thank you kindly. I really am stunned that people think I'm creative. Hardworker? Yes. Good with my hands? Yes. Creative? No. People that can draft their own patterns or drape are the real creative geniuses out there. Thank you for the award though. It really means a lot that people actually look at my blog and many of you are regular commenters. Thank you!!! I think all of you have been nominated but these are the blogs that I always visit and read religiously: Fashion-Incubator, Hungry Zombie Couture, Sewing By the Seat of My Pants, Slapdish Sewist, Quality Time, Miss Celie's Pants, and Just Keep Sewing.

Third, my sewing buddy Kristine and I are doing a fabric SWAP. She had a yard of this freaking fan-tabulous wool left over and asked me if I wanted it. Um, heck yeah, I want it. I'm sending her some black stretch twill for the exchange. It's cut and weighed and all I need to do it put it in a box and schedule a pick-up. (It's coming Kristine! I promise!)

So, Monday usually sucks but I'm basking in the warmth of my happy little sewing community. You guys rock.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Down, One to Go

This is KwikSew 2689. I made this today and it was very fast so I'll probably whip out another one before we go to Hawaii in February. I really like the simplicity of the pattern and the fit. My husband picked out the fabric and I didn't really like it. As a swimsuit, I think it looks nice though. Go husband! Here's the full review.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thanks Gwen!

I've been a bit slow to sew this week but it's not for lack of trying. I'm almost done with a dress and I received my swimsuit fabric in the mail. But . . . my mom is here and she sleeps in the sewing/spare bedroom. That means that my sewing has been toned down to a minimum. On top of that, one of my retailers just ordered a passel of slings. I have to do that first since they are paying customers. Drat. I've been patient but I'm getting frustrated with the lack of progress.
But, I did get a delightful gift in the mail today. Gwen from After the Dress posted a give-away a while back for this pencil roll pattern. How perfect is this for a few gifts for kids? I can see these in all sizes for crayons, pencils, paintbrushes, etc. Thank you Gwen!!!
Hopefully you'll get to see some bathing suit pictures soon. I ending up getting four (I know, who needs four?) cuts of fabric. I hope to make at least two tops and bottoms to wear while I'm there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

From This to That

I just entered PatternReview's recycling/refashioning/reconstruction contest. My neighbor gave me this black dress from the GAP that was brand new. She couldn't take it back b/c it was bought from the sale rack. She decided she didn't like it so yours truly ended up with it. Here's it's shown with a top on it for a size reference.
Did you realize that the straps are reinforced with clear elastic? I didn't until I cut them off.
This was what was left after I created my new Jalie top. Notice my trashy soup can "pattern weights" to the left.
Here she is; another Jalie 2804 top.

Look at the great notions I cut off this dress. I used the straps for the shoulder ties on my new top. Don't you love the black jersey knit-covered buttons?

I kept the original hem.

Here are shoulder ties from the right side.

and the wrong side. You just sew on a little scrap of fabric and make two channels in it. Then you thread the ties through there and viola, there ya go!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Questions and Answers

Sorry to have two posts in a row of no pictures. I hope to post something recycled/refashioned today. We are headed up to the cabin so I'm not sure I'll have time to photograph it and write the review. I want to enter it in the Pattern Review Recycling/Refashioning/Reconstruction Contest. It's nothing special but I made good use out of what I had.

tcarole has left a new comment on your post "How Did I Get Him?": You've got an amazingly thoughtful and resourceful husband there.Would he mind sharing where he got it? I'm going to Houston next week and I'd love to check out some fabric stores while I'm in town. Thanks!

tcarole -- Sorry I didn't answer this earlier. He went to High Fashion Fabric Center in Houston.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "How Did I Get Him?": Ignoring all your beautiful new fabric out of jealousy, I wanted to ask a question re your photography. Your photos always look great and show a garment well as you post a "whole body shot". My questions are now about your fabric - how do photograph that? You seem to be able to show the colour and texture well. Are there any tips re lighting lens etc you want to share?Your graphs were so interesting BTW and got me thinking too.Natasha

Hi Natasha -- I use a camera with timer on a tripod. I really try to use natural light but Alaska in the winter has very little of it. I take a lot of pictures and find one that isn't too bad. I do use photo editing software a bit to get truer colors. I use which is free to use and download.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another SWAP?": Cute tops! but...synthetics for knit tops = SWEATY in may want cotton knits... there's a reason all those aloha shirts and mu-mu's are out of 100% cotton or silk wovens... Gail who worked so very hard to make "Units" (dating myself, I know) in hot pink, kelly green, black and turquoise to mix-and-match to visit the in-laws on Kauai in the early 90s...SWEATY!

Gail -- Thanks for pointing this out! I really hadn't considered polyester versus cotton but you are right!! I'll stick with either cotton or rayon for my Hawaii tops!

goodworks1 has left a new comment on your post "In the Works": Dawn, How long until you leave for Hawaii? I've got a bunch of new, never tried on two piece suits that would love a home...My son (who lives in Thailand) sent them to me as samples - I think he thought I might sell them somehow.... could send you several of them for the postage...and then you wouldn't have to worry about sewing a suit in such a short time...Actually this offer holds for anyone who is interested. Email me....

goodworks1 -- Thanks for this generous offer!! I really want to tackle making my own swimsuit this time. I'm posting this here to pass the word along for you. :)

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Burda 12-2008 #119 Jacket": Great jacket and fabulous colour! Glad to see a petite pattern done ... from over here with another A cup, that FBA must have felt like good value. Your topstitching looks really good. I noted you used Gutterman heavy duty ... any topstitching tips re technique would be appreciated (it's one of my personal sewing goals for this year to improve). Congratulations on the jacket. Natasha

Natasha -- I almost always use Gutterman heavy duty, upholstery, or topstitching thread when I topstitch. I mostly use the upholstery thread. I find that a topstitching needle and tighter tension is required. I usually have regular weight thread in the bobbin and have no problems. I sew lots of samples before I try it on the real fabric. Oh, and get the feet! I have an edgestitch foot (maybe it's also called the "stitch in the ditch" foot?) and a topstitching foot. They have a little groove to keep your line of stitching a precise distance from the seam. It makes it so easy to lay down a straight line of stitches.

bbgrilla has left a new comment on your post "Burda 12-2008 #119 Jacket": I pretty much love everything you make and this is no exception. It's so cute! I've had my eye on this pattern and am so glad to see it made up. I'm curious--did you do the seams like version A (right sides together) or B (overlapping)? Also, do you think a beginner could handle this (especially since it seems a lining is really necessary)?

bbgrilla -- I did version A but with some of the topstitching of version B. I think a beginner could handle this especially because you don't have to bag the lining.

Myra has left a new comment on your post "Hello, Moron. BWOF 01-2009 #125": I like the top and the snaps. Which press and where? I tried a sway back on a knit top w/out a CB seam and worked well. I just pinched the tissue larger on the fold, narrowing until gone as I went toward the seams. It worked really well as before I had had a lot of crinkles there. As far as the shoulder/arm, it looks fine to me and I have no experience at that one.

Myra -- I bought this snap press from I now have dies for #1 grommets and size 16 snaps (open ring and closed). I love it.

Kristine has left a new comment on your post "He's Crafty": I was hoping to get my FIL to make me a set, but I couldn't find the correct measurements anywhere for him to work from. What a great gift, you're so lucky!

Kristine -- Have your FIL check out this .pdf. It's from the Cooperative Extension Service in Kentucky. It gives you measurements for the point presser.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sewing Backstory

LindseyT posted a bit on her blog a while ago looking for people's sewing backstories. Here's mine; it's short.

  • In 1992 I had Home Ec. in High School I made a pillow and a canvas tote. Not too much to tell there. I learned the basics of stitching and the purpose of the most basic tools.
  • In 1994, my college's friend's mom taught me to block piecing and quilting during our Christmas Break. My mom "loaned" me her ancient Pfaff. I made about 8 full size quilts and several baby quilts before I decided quilting was not for me. I love the look of the final project but how many blankets do you need? I made my last quilt years ago.
  • In 2001, I decided that I could sew a skirt. I had no experience besides Home Ec. I bought a New Look Easy pattern (a-line skirt), some cute quilting cotton, and matching zipper. I cut it out at my MIL house. I gave up when I tried to put in the zipper. The MIL was trying to be helpful but not pushy. I can be a bit willful when I make up my opinion if you can imagine that. I had decided that the skirt was not going to work. Period. The skirt was put into a box that I labelled "Evil Skirt Box" and was put under her house in the crawl space.
  • My son was born in 2004 and shortly after that I started a baby wearing business called I do a lot of sewing for this but it's all straight stitching on very stable fabric.
  • During my son's (and later daughters') early years I made a few receiving blankets and swaddling blankets.
  • April 2007, discovered I followed a link totally by chance from a babywearing website. This was a catalyst that got me thinking about the Evil Skirt Box again.
  • In 2007 during the Spring Equinox (right after discovering, I completed my first garment. I was hooked. It was an a-line skirt. In December, I started this blog. At the risk of sounding like some sort of sentimental freak, I'll let you in some thoughts in my head. Sometimes during the early days of my garment sewing obsession I would wonder how I ever survived without sewing. I would be slightly angry or sad because it took me so long to find the thing I was, obviously, meant to do. I know it sounds like I'm taking it too seriously but I really find peace and happiness in fabric. I love feeling in, cutting it, manipulating it, etc. I love the science of turning a 2-dimensional thing into a 3-dimensional structure. I hope to pass this love of working with my hands to my children. I hope they love it too.
  • 2007 -- Bought my first new sewing machine. It's a Husqvarna Viking Madison. No bells and whistles but it is stout and sews through anything. Shortly after that I bought a Husqvarna Viking Husklock 936. This does 2-3-4-5 overlocking and coverstitching. With my business I can write these expenses off as business machines. They are, after all, used for my business.
  • 2008 and 2009 I feel pretty proud of how far I've come. I feel like I'm mastered some construction techniques and I feel like I do a pretty good job with most things. Sewing has really helped me use my brain to visualize techniques. I love it and now sew all of my clothing (excluding bras). I sew many garments for my children and some for my husband. This winter my MIL got out the Evil Skirt Box. It was pretty funny looking at that quilting cotton (what was I thinking?) and pattern. I've come a loooong way.

He's Crafty

How cool is my dad? He's a wood worker and used to be a cabinet-maker and carpenter. A while ago we were talking about "trading skills." I would make him some warm motorcycle pants and he would make me some wooden presser tools. Well, he still hasn't gotten me his measurements but look at these!! The clapper is made from Purpleheart which is an extremely dense heartwood. When its cut it changes from a chocolate brown to a dark, rich brownish-purple color. It's beautiful wood. The presser board is made of Ash. Both are unfinished. He didn't want to have the potential for varnish to stain my fabric. They are both smooth and highly sanded so as not to snag fabric.

This clapper had grooves in the sides for easy handling.

My dad said that he made a template for himself so any modifications can be done easily to the next set he makes me. Did you catch that? "The next set he makes me." He's awesome. I just wish that he would send me the damn measurements so I could fufill my part of the skills swap. I've never used one of these before but I think it may have to be pointier so the collar can slip on it a bit easier.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hello, Moron. BWOF 01-2009 #125

So, who's the moron that cut this top on the cross grain? Oh, yeah, that would be me. Fortunately this has 4-way stretch so it still stretches around my body. What a doofus. Here's the full review at

This is the first Hawaii-inspired top. It is #125 from January 2009 BWOF. It's the sewing course so it's easy-peasy.

It's got cute gathered sleeves that aren't toooo poofy.

You can tell I need a swayback adjustment. I refuse to cut a center seam on most knit tops and I think that is really what I need.

Cute snaps? Like them? I put them in with my snap press. You guys need one.

Here's the question of the day. I did my shoulder to bust tuck like I normally do but I did the sleeve tuck differently. To reduce the sleeve, I matched it along the sleeve seams and drew a line that matched where I normally shortened the front and back. I continued that line (and tuck) on the sleeve. I did that on the front and the back. What do you guys think? The pink is where I put the tucks. (click on the photos to see both front and back)

This is what I normally do.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Burda 12-2008 #119 Jacket

Here's the jacket. I still have a little work to do like sewing two snaps to the inside but it's 99% done. I wish I could wear it tomorrow. I really like it. Here it is lightened so you can see the details.

It is not this grape color.

This is the true color of the jacket.

This is the work that still needs to be done.

Front details.

I ended up lining the fabric with dark brown (darker than this) Ambience. It now slides over my clothing much nicer.

More front details.

Here's the full review for those of you who are interested. My next project will be an easy knit top for Hawaii.

Another SWAP?

Yes, I think another SWAP is in order. I am still working away on my f-ing cold SWAP. I should have the purple jacket ready later today. I have some topstitching to do and then I'll attach the lining. After that I want an easy, fast project. Come to think of it, winter sewing is usually structured, tailored, fitted clothing which takes longer. It makes sense to do a summer and winter SWAP together so you can alternate a fast project with a long project. I don't know about you guys but after a challenging jacket I want a simple knit top. These are my Hawaii clothes. I have three pairs of shorts that I made last summer. I am not going to make any more because you only need three pairs of shorts in Alaska. I do need some cute knit tops though. Here are things I may make.

This is January 2009 BWOF.

This is from the May BWOF. I like the top and dress from this pattern. I didn't give it a second glance though until I saw this review from mikkim.

I like it as a dress too. I'll need a knit dress while I'm over there.

I'll also make the Jalie 2804 with the runched shoulders. This top fits me well and it's already traced. That's another key thing right now. I'm out of tracing paper so I can't work on my winter SWAP anyway.
Have a happy Sunday! I'll be sewing!