Friday, May 8, 2009



For a variety of reasons, I've changed the URL of my blog.

Check me out here:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Still here...

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've last posted! I'm still here -- I promise. I've just been preoccupied with other things.

The spring cleaning bug hit me hard this year, so I began cleaning out every closet in the apartment in early March. And, then we decided to rearrange our furniture -- including my sewing space. I'll have to post updates of all of my organizational changes as it relates to my sewing, because there were some dramatic changes in that respect. I'm still in the midst of cleaning out and organizing some sewing stuff, but I promise as soon as I'm done, I will post pictures of the new "studio."

Last week, it was spring break around here. I took the week off from work, and Nico had the week free from school. I had thought I would be super productive on the sewing front, but that was not the case. We just had a great time relaxing and doing "nothing" together for the first time since we were in college. It was exactly what we both needed!

I have been working on some sewing... I cut out three easy knit dresses about a month and a half ago. Unfortunately, most of the way into project #1 (a Hot Patterns cosmopolitan dress), I realized it didn't fit me right at all, so I became completely disheartened and threw the half-finished dress into the corner. I couldn't bear to throw it out, so I hope I can resurrect it somehow.

Finally, there has been progress on the party dress for the spring banquet I will be attending with Nico on April 18. The dress is approximately 65% done at this point. Unsurprisingly, I strayed once again from the previous post's plan for the dress. I'll have to snap a pic of the progress, as it stands on my dress form.

I was focused on accessories for the dress this week, and I bought a gorgeous necklace and pair of shoes from J.Crew:

Unfortunately, there won't be a whole lot of time for sewing this weekend: we are visiting friends today and Saturday, and I have lots of housekeeping duties (like, the huge amounts of laundry that are taking over our bedroom!) to take care of on Sunday. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze something in on the dress in between cleaning toilets and doing laundry. (You know, sometimes being an adult completely sucks...)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Finally, a decision.

I have been wavering on the plans for the spring formal dress since I last blogged about the fabric options. And, guess what? I changed my mind. Here's a "sketch" of the new dress plan:

Clearly, I am not a sketch artist. But, that is the new plan. Using the same pattern as a base -- McCall's 5001 -- I'm going to be using a silk dupioni for the underlayer. It will look pretty much exactly like the pattern:
Then, over the top, will be silk chiffon, gathered to a one-shoulder piece. There will be some kind of fabric flower embellishment at the shoulder as well. There will be a waist seam for the chiffon -- and the chiffon skirt will be simply gathered.

Instead of the dramatic floor-length number I was previously thinking about, I think this will be fun and more fitting for the party I will be attending.

Oh, and I chose the middle fabric -- the turquoise -- from the samples previously posted. If I had stayed with the old dress plan, I definitely would have gone with the sapphire, so thanks for all of your input!


This weekend, I didn't do any sewing at all. Instead, we rearranged furniture, purged a closet, cleaned, and bought a new chair. This activity will affect my sewing quite a bit -- once I have everything organized, I'll post pictures of the results!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do you tweet?

Alright folks, I'm getting desperate. Today, I'm blogging about blogging.

Last week, I subscribed to Twitter. It's taken me a little while to get the hang of it, but one week in, I'M ADDICTED. Seriously.

Twitter coupled with my (also) new (but very tardy) use of Google Reader is turning me into an internet geek. It's very convenient that part of my job requires me to stalk the media for gossip and news about my employer.

If you look to the right, I just added a new widget that posts my Twitter updates here as well. You can read my nonsensical dribble over there -- in my "micro-blog" -- as you wish.

So, I ask: do you tweet? If so, let me know. We can be friends!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Swimming in swatches

You know what the worst thing about a late-in-the-season snowstorm is? They don't give us snow days at work anymore. By this point in the season, I guess they assume we are used to driving, trekking through, and otherwise transporting ourselves to work in the snow, so they don't give us the day to slack off (or SEW). Hrmph. Bah Humbug.

What better to do while I'm bitterly sitting here at work, protesting the lack of a snow day (in which 75% of the office is out because they either have kids who are home from school or don't live within walking distance of the office) than to ponder the fabric swatches for the formal dress I'm preparing to make?

I have so many silk fabric swatches, I nearly spread them out on the bed at home and rolled in them. After previously getting some swatches from Mood, I ordered some more from NY Fashion Center Fabrics, B&J Fabrics, and Rosen & Chaddick fabrics. And, you know what? I learned that it's really hard to find three different kinds of silk, all in a single color.

Here are the three finalists:

I'm leaning towards the bottom color. I also like the middle one. I think I like the top one the least of the three.

Here's the plan for the dress:

I'm going to knock off a dress by Lela Rose (at left).

I will use a basic sweatheart neckline, strapless dress pattern (McCall's 5001), cut it off at the hipline to create the lowered waist, and add a full, gathered skirt made of two layers of crepe de chine and one layer of silk chiffon. Oh, and I'll add that one-shoulder strap thing. That's the easy part.

So anyway. The question is whether I should use the same sapphire blue, or if I should change it up and go with a more turquoise color.

Maybe the question should REALLY be, which swatch makes me think of spring?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pattern Review: Dress-that-feels-like-pajamas-in-a-good-way (Vogue 8411)

I apologize for the slightly blurred photo. And the extremely dirty dog-nose-smeared window in the background. And for not wearing shoes. (Picture taken post-work-day. I keep all of my work shoes in my desk at work because I cannot walk to work in heels on the brick sidewalks around here. So... I didn't have any shoes to photograph the dress in at home. I promise, it looked better when I was wearing shoes.)

But hey, the upside of this picture is that you get Eleanor. She's so cute.

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting dresses have pleated front with top-stitching details and sash. Mid-knee length with top-stitched hem. Long sleeves with elastic casing.

Pattern Sizing: 6-20. I cut a 12, but probably could have gone down as far as an 8.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought so, but I know several people on complained about the neckline instructions being complicated. I'm honestly not sure why. Or, maybe I've just been sewing Vogues too long and have completely internalized their dysfunctional instruction style.

One change I made: instead of setting in the sleeve like you would on a jacket, I sewed the sleeve to the body of the dress before stitching up the side seams. Then, I sewed the under-sleeve seam and the side seams in one fell-swoop. Super easy!

Oh, and for those darn pleats... Yes there are a lot, but they don't need to take a load of time. I just used a tracing wheel and some waxed paper to make the markings on the back of the fabric. It didn't take much time at all to pin out the pleats and baste them in place once I had the pleat lines noted. (side note: look! I still have tan-lines from Jamaica!)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the neckline. The sides of the square form a very flattering shape -- they are slightly curved and lie at my neckline tightly. I also love the pleating detail.

Fabric Used: Knit from Gorgeous Fabrics in a nice shade of teal.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: No design changes, per se. I did take in over 1.5" from the side seams. I guess maybe my version is a little more fitted than the envelope's, but I like it better this way. You should have seen the dress without me taking out that much ease. It looked like a potato sack! Seriously, the hem was almost to my ankles. No joke.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't sew it again as a dress. I'm thinking about making it into a top or a tunic, since I love the neckline and the loose-fit is soooo comfortable.

Conclusion: I was pleased with the outcome of this dress. It seriously feels like wearing pajamas in a good way, and I felt put together and cute without much effort at work. Really, that's the beauty of knit dresses -- you get to feel like you're wearing your pajamas all day, when in fact, you look so cool and cute!


I'm actually behind on some reviews. I have a couple more things that I have finished and have actually been wearing. Photographing said items is tough in the winter (as evidenced by the crappiness of the photography in this review), but I hope to get the chance to photograph them soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Swatching the dress

I could hardly contain my excitement when this appeared in my mail last night:

The fabric swatches I ordered from Mood had arrived! Thanks to the kind, generous, and otherwise fabulous Marji, I've been thinking deeply about the final design for the formal dress I'm making for an event in April. And, for the finalized design, I need crepe de chine, chiffon, and either taffeta or dupioni -- all matching. This is going to be a trick.

So, I called Mood. I mean, if Mood doesn't have what I want, then who will, right? I've been in Mood. It's an amazing place. And, I have to admit, the idea of just calling them on the phone and asking them for something seemed... well... intimidating. I put on my best friendly and confident voice, and my conversation went something like this:

Mood: Hello, thank you for calling Mood, how can I help you?
Me: Hi! I was hoping to have some fabric swatches mailed to me.
Mood: Do you know the item numbers?
Me: Uh, no?
Mood: Ugh. Ok, fine. Hold on.
[put on hold]
Mood: Hi, I understand you want some fabric swatched?
Me: Yes.
Mood: What do you need?
Me: I need a Crepe de Chine, a chiffon, and either a taffeta or dupioni to match each other.
Mood: You mean Crepe de Chine? (corrects my pronunciation)
Me: Uhhh... yeah, that's what I mean...
Mood: Ok, what color do you want?
Me: Uhhhh... a medium blue... a little greenish? I have a pantone color number, if that helps?
Mood: No, that doesn't help. Do you want a... [lists about 20 different shades of blue I have never heard of]... kind of blue?
Me: Uhhhhhh..... I'm not really....
Mood: Maybe a peacock blue?
Me: YES! Yes, that should work.

I didn't really know what to expect after I had this somewhat mortifying conversation. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I tore open my package:

Many different shades of blue and blue-green in several different types of fabric. Sadly, there was no chiffon, which I was a little bummed about because in some ways, that is the most important fabric for the dress I'm going to be making. But, I am thinking about three fabrics in particular:

The top is a silk charmeuse; the middle is crepe de chine, and the bottom is a china silk (which looks more green in person). I like the idea of working with the crepe de chine the best, but I like the color of the charmeuse the best.

Anyway, the jury is still out. I just spent over $30 on swatches from NY Fashion Center. I'll be waiting eagerly for my next shipment of swatches!