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Monday, September 25, 2006

So, how was your weekend?

First of all, I'd like to thank you all for the kind birthday greetings. Friday, the DH took me to a nice, casual dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Sometimes, it's just great to get away from the kiddies and have adult conversations that don't include children's issues or bills... can I get an Amen? We've been kinda slacking off on our usual date night and the kids end up always tagging along... yeah, that's gonna come to an end!

For my birthday, I like to receive money so that I can do what I want to do with it. Would you like to take a wild guess as to what I spent it on? Gosh, you guys are so smart! That's right -- fabric and patterns!

  1. Black scalloped edge lace
  2. Light grey wool suiting
  3. Tan wool suiting
  4. Brown wool jersey
  5. Brown/Black tweed
  6. Green/Black tweed
  7. Black stretch corduroy
  8. Burgundy corduroy

Now, don't faint, I know it's shocking but I've been KNITTING! The chilly nights we've been having lately have inspired me to want sweaters. I had started working on the Gatsby Girl Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2006, last month and did around ten rows and put it down and this is the progress I've made so far. BTW, I joined a KAL for this because I thought it would be great to jump start me back on knitting... this should be fun!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Back to Basics - I

This is a series I'm doing where I'm sewing basic wardrobe pieces, you know, the kind that if you ran to the mall you'd pick up. The first is a pair of wide leg pants. Since I'm revolting against all things skinny, I made these:

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 8131 - View A
98% Wool/2% Lycra
100% polyester (for lining and pockets)
Notions: 7" zipper; two 3/4" buttons

This Vogue Basic Design (rated easy) pattern is a mock fly, slightly flared pants with yoke waistband, side seam pockets with hem variations -- I did a regular hem. It's sized from 6-22, I cut my normal pattern size 16, which is equivalent to the R.T.W. size 12 I would normally buy. The instructions were quite simple, to the point that most of the time I didn't even read them. I would ONLY recommend that if you've sewn pants before.

What I like most about this pattern is that it came real close to looking like the Marc by Marc Jacobs wide leg pants that I've been craving that retail for $278.00. From the illustration, I thought that the waistband was going to be a lot higher than it was and I was prepared to make an adjustment but it was perfect -- they have a 10" rise! I did have to shorten the zipper from 7" to 5" so that it would fit properly. They look a little different from the pattern envelope because it's a line drawing and who looks like that anyway? I like the way the pants fit in the back. If you've watched any fashion segments or T.V. programs such as "What Not To Wear" (both versions BBC America and TLC), or read fashion magazines, you know that the wider the yoke, the smaller your butt looks and wider legs balance out hips. I'm all for illusions!

What I didn't like is that they are indeed a "mock fly". I failed to read that part prior to purchase. Mental note: R.I.F. (Reading Is Fundamental). This isn't a big problem, just personal preference. I thought the "naked" zipper made the pants look cheap, so I fully lined them, which I feel makes everything hang better.

In conclusion, I would/will probably make another pair, one of the cuff versions because I really like these Rebecca Taylor pants. I read a couple of reviews on PatternReview.com and one was very negative, so you always have to trust your own judgement and know your body and what looks good on you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A long time ago in a Galaxy (dress) far, far away...

...lived a D.I.Y. Fashionista that coveted a most fabulous frock that was worn in the last year by every celebrity diva on the planet known as Earth. This made the D.I.Y. Fashionista green with envy and very sad that she was too poor to afford the $1,700 price tag for the frock. Now, the fairy godmothers from Vogue Patterns made the D.I.Y. Fashionista's dreams come true!
Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 8280
Fabric: 100% lightweight wool flannel
Notions: 22" invisible zipper; eye & hook

This is a "Vogue Easy Options" pattern that is sized from 4 - 20. I did Version E which has 8 pieces. As you know, my first attempt on this dress was in a small glenplaid pattern that was very difficult to match at the seams and darts, so I decided on the black wool to give my version a more authentic look.

The Construction

Be prepared to do a lot of hightighting because the instructions jump all over 6 pages. This pattern starts out very easy with the construction of the front and back bodice pieces. Next is the "flange" (shoulder part connected to the sleeve). The flange and back bodice pieces all matched perfecty. The confusion started when it was time to connect the flange to the front bodice. Read that part very carefully. Next was the bodice lining. This dress was only suppose to lined just in the bodice, which didn't make sense to me, so I lined the whole dress. I omitted the part for finishing the lining and moved on to the sleeves.

The sleeves has a gathered/ruched detail that gives them the "puff" look. The sleeves are lined and have a slit opening. Once it was time to do the gathers, I didn't have any marking go by (make your markings on the rightside!) so I had to wing it. Hey, it looks good to me! Oh, almost forgot: I did topstitching around all edges because from what I could see on the original designer dress, there was some sort of topstitching or edgestitching. I also stitched down the flange to the bodice because once I tried it on, there was a LOT of gaping right there. All of my darts and seams matched perfectly and from this point on, the instructions are smooth sailing.

The Verdict

I fell in love with this dress the first time I saw it in a magazine and I never wanted to settle for one of the cheap knock-off versions. I also love the vintage 40s styling... when I put it on, I feel like I'm channeling Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge. I recommend this pattern to anyone who wants something other than a basic sheath. I enjoyed sewing this dress because I got to attach a lining to a dress with an invisible zipper and a slit. I would sew this one again... possible the sleeveless, sweetheart neckline in a lightweight fabric (i.e. linen) for Spring.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fall Knitty Is Up!

This is the Knitty that I love! Four sweaters that make me long for cool, crisp days!
What do y'all think?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Let me tell you...

this dress has given me a fit in the last week but I have not been defeated! The glenplaid... yeah, about that... it just didn't work for me. For the life of me, I couldn't match the plaid pattern up and it was obvious that this dress was not going to have a professional appearance. With all of the darts in the bodice and the skirt, this was just not the right type of pattern for an uneven plaid, so this fabric ended up being my muslin. Luckily, all of my stashing has paid off. I have already remade this dress in a lightweight black wool fleece and it is fabulous if I do say so myself!

It looks a lot like these:

I'll have pics for you in a couple of days... still have to do the hem and a couple of nips and tucks.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hi, my name is Erica...

...and I'm a magazine addict!

September and Fall issues

Acknowledgement is the first step!

Monday, September 04, 2006

I got 99 problems, but a stitch ain't one!

Ha, that's a joke. Perfect name for today -- Labor Day! I just hope this turns out to be a labor of love. Vogue 8280, is no joke. If you plan on sewing this dress, don't make the mistake I did, do it in muslin first... unless you are just a fabu-seamstress-extraordinaire. However, I did complete the bodice today, but not without a fight.

Let me tell ya, first of all, this pattern jumps all over the place. Remember, I'm doing View E. Okay, I had to break out the highlighter from the jump just so I would know what the hell I'm doing. Would it have killed the pattern writers at VP to just list all of the instructions together instead of having me flip back and forth, from page to page, view to view? That would have been too freakin' easy. Speaking of easy, that's what they had the audacity to list this pattern as.

More to come...