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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

PR Wardrobe Contest 2007

Here are all of the pieces!

The Backstory: On April 29th, I decided to participate in my first ever S.W.A.P. (Sewing With A Plan) / Wardrobe Contest sponsored by Pattern Review.com. I loved the idea of having an "interchangeable wardrobe"... nothing too matchy, matchy but everything kinda went together without a great deal of thought. I needed some cute Summer pieces and I thought, "Why not"? I thought this was really cool and I wanted mine to tell a story... you know, the way the designer collections do when the come down the runway. They don't match, but they all "go together".

The Collection: My lifestyle as a SAHM is pretty simple, BUT I still like to (HAVE TO) look nice. I decided to make a piece for every aspect of my life. I have simple running around to do with the kids so I definitely needed shorts and a t-shirt. Jeans are a MUST HAVE... they can be dressed up or down. I needed a "day dress" and a "cocktail dress" for those date nights. You can't go wrong with a great pair of linen trousers. Novelty tops are interchangeable with all of the bottoms. And a cute jacket is a MUST HAVE accessory for chilly movie theaters and restaurants.

5 Tops
Hot Patterns 107

Simplicity 4076
Simplicity 3867
McCall's 5329
- (also my accessory)

3 Bottoms
Vogue 8365

Simplicity 4135
McCall's 5142

2 Dresses
Simplicity 3744
Simplicity 3874

The Conclusion: I didn't participate in this contest with the objective of winning (it would be nice though, LOL), I wanted to see if I had the commitment level to follow through with it. So many times, I wanted to through in the towel and move on to the next project that tickled my fancy but I didn't give up. I encountered fitting woes, I ran out of fabric in the midst of project, ran out of thread... but I didn't give up! I'm proud of myself for completing this and I plan on participating in the next one... not to mention, I got some really cute pieces in my closet!

Simplicity 3874 - The Little Black (& White) Dress

Project Details

Pattern: Simplicity 3874, View A
Taffeta (50% polyester/50% nylon)
Lining: Cotton Batiste
Notions: 22" invisible zipper; eye & hook and 3/4 yd. of 1 1/2" wide elastic

Since I made a day dress, I wanted one for cocktail hour too. This pattern is fairly easy, but I still had to make my usually alterations.
  • I cut the bodice in a size 16, the skirt in a 18 and I made a 1" FBA.
  • I also lowered the v-neck 1 1/2 - 2 inches... it looked a bit frumpy on me. Since I made this dress for "cocktail hour", a little cleavage was not going to hurt.
  • The pattern suggested only lining the bodice, but I chose to do a full lining.
  • I secured the lining to the dress at the hem with a chain stitch.
  • The armholes and the neckline are edgestitched.
  • The ties are encased and have elastic attached to them which makes for easy adjusting.
This is a very easy pattern and I recommend it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

McCall's 5142 - The Boot-cut Jean

Project Details

Pattern: McCall's 5142, View B/C
Fabric: Denim (100% cotton)
Notions: 1 5/8" jean button; 7" brass jean zipper

Description: Jeans with front pockets with optional coin pocket, fly front, back patch pocket, back yoke, carriers, topstitch detail, slightly low-rise waist (2" below waist) and boot wide leg.

I can tell y'all already that this is going to be my "TNT" jean pattern... I absolutely love it! Palmer/Pletsch really know how fit clothing. This is a "REAL" jean pattern... they are constructed very much like RTW. They have built-in alteration lines printed on the tissue. They offer 2 waist band options: a straight band (what I used) and a contour band.

I've used 2 Vogue patterns in the past for jeans and I've had to cut a size 18, but in this one I used a size 16. The crotch curve in these jeans are PERFECT! No crotch smiles! Everything was where it was suppose to be and that worked out perfect because I didn't have to do a lot of alterations... just my normal ones.
  • I added 3" inches to the length. I like my jeans extra-long to wear with heels.
  • I had to nip the waist in almost 1" and also the back seam, right below the waistband.
  • After the previous adjustment, I had to adjust the waistband accordingly.
  • I didn't care for the shape of the pocket that was included in the pattern, so I drafted my own based on a pair of RTW jeans I have.
  • I also created my own design for the back pockets using my embroidery machine.
  • I added center creases because I like my jeans pressed.
  • I used contrasting silver embroidery thread for the topstitching.
  • The inseam is approximately 35 inches.
  • The front rise is 10 inches and the back is 14.
  • The leg opening is 23 inches.
These jeans have a nice fit without being too tight and I can't wait to make another pair.

McCall's 5329 - White Linen Jacket

Project Details:

Pattern: McCall's 5329, View B
Fabric: linen blend and cotton batiste for the lining
Notions: Three 1 1/8" buttons

Well, the Nanette Lepore knockoff is finally complete! Yeah for me! I ran into a sizing problem... I guess I miscalculated the finished size. I ended up having to start from scratch, so we'll consider the first a "muslin".

  • I went back and cut everything above the waist in a size 16, and the bottom of the jacket in a size 18 (it was originally tight across the hip).
  • I made a 1" FBA and added 1" to the length.
  • Interfaced the entire shell because of the lightweight linen fabric.
  • I cut the lightweight interfacing on the bias to provide a better drape.
  • Since the pattern did not provide separate pattern pieces, made a 1/4" allowance for "turn of cloth" for collar and lapels.
  • The waistband is attached by sewing to the outside of the jacket shell and inserting the ends into the front dart and encasing.
  • I cut my darts opened and pressed flat using a tailor's ham to reduce bulk. The instructions suggested pressing to one side.
I can't really tell you whether or not the instructions were easy because I hardly used them because the construction was pretty basic for a jacket. The only time I referred to them was when I put the waist band on. This is a Sew News pattern and they are known for having great step by step instructions and tips throughout.

I really like that this Summer jacket included a lining; I love the elbow length sleeve with ruffle and the semi-fitted style. Since this jacket has a unique style, I think this will be the only one needed in my collection so I will not be sewing this one again, but it is a definite winner.

Monday, July 23, 2007

D.I.Y. Style Verdict: High-Waist Trend


Is this a style that us "regular women", you know the kind that *DON'T* look like Rhianna, can wear?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Secret World of Haute Couture

If you haven't seen this BBC documentary, you should definitely watch it. The Secret World of Haute Couture is a film that takes a look inside the "fairytale world" of haute couture and its very exclusive club members... there are around 200 worldwide. BBC journalist, Margy Kinmonth gains an exclusive entrance into this secretive world and gives us a guided tour on how this very small segment shops.

Karl Lagerfeld

The film highlighted designers such as Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel; John Galliano; Christian Lacroix; Valentino and Ralph Rucci -- one of the few foreigners allowed to show his haute couture in Paris.

John Galliano

Haute couture is French for "high sewing" or "high dressmaking"; refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted fashions, made to order for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finish, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques.

HC club member Susan Gutfreund shows her first HC purchase.

I've often wondered what was so "special" about a garment to set a price tag of up to $100,000. After seeing all of the hours upon hours of exhausting HAND work (these garments are primarily sewn by hand, not machine), I can definitely understand. Also, another thing that puzzled me is when these garments come down the catwalk, I've thought to myself, "Who would wear that"?! I saw these very elegant and sophisticated women sitting front row at John Galliano... If you have ever seen his very dramatic work, you would understand my perplexity. One of the club members was asked this very questions and stated that they take aspects from the garment and have it constructed and customized for them (i.e. a little less sleeve, lower the waist, drop the hemline, etc...).

A HC fitting in NYC.

It took me a while to find this film. PBS in my area is not carrying it so I found it here. It's a free download. Enjoy!

Images courtesy of BBC

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I'm finally putting that embroidery machine to some use. I've been seeing a lot posts lately on different sites about creating your own labels, everything from having a stamp made to using fancy shmancy pens. I've been wanting woven labels, but as we all know, the custom ones are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. So.... I said, "Why not try the embroidery machine"? And, voila... this is what I came up with.

It is truly the season of the dress...

and if you are a fashionista that truly loves them, you'll love these sculptures. These are the creations of metal sculptress and jewelry artist Julia S. Peerson. These beautiful works will be on display at ArtWalk at the Pepper Place Farmer's Market THIS WEEKEND from 7 am until noon... hmmmm, may have to check this out!


Metalwear is based on abstracted self-portraiture. All of the dresses were made on the same steel form to fit the artist's shape. Every cut, burn and hammer-blow is documented by charred edges, chipped paint, and dented surface texture. The physical struggle that took place in the making of each work is evident. These works grew out of the desire to explain the personal need for a balance between strength and elegance.

Julia had the idea to create jewelry from Metalwear because she could not bear to throw out any of her burned and beaten scraps. The steel is often painted in layers. When scratched or burned, surface color makes way for what exists beneath. Julia feels that every tiny piece of steel deserves scrutiny and that every tiny piece of scrutinized steel needs to be worn.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nordstrom Designer Preview

I know it's only July, but I'm sooooooooo ready for Fall. Here's a great video put together by Nordstrom, previewing their Fall Designer Collections.

Vogue Fall Patterns

First, a little eye candy of some of my favorite RTW designs:

Now... for the Vogues that I'm loving:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Didn't get any sewing...

done, but I did see two great movies!

Yesterday, as I was beginning to sewing the lining into my jacket... I was dragged away from my sewing machine by my family. I have to admit, I did have fun... it was a welcomed interruption. Hopefully, I'll be able to make more progress today!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Sewing Randomness

While flipping through my favorite magazine - Lucky, found this great article: "How to shop for tailored dresses". Lo and behold there's the dress that's high on my "MUST SEW" Fall list! The Nine West dress is a deadringer for McCall's 5466. It's just a matter of cutting the pieces on the bias. Love it!

This Fall, I'll be starting "Project: Chanel Jacket". This is the wool/cotton/silk blend bouclé that I selected for my jacket. I'll be using Vogue 7975 as my pattern.

Wardrobe Contest/S.W.A.P.

While shopping in Hancock's a couple of weeks ago,

I found this great fabric. It stayed on my mind all day and I ended up going back the next day and buying it.
to make this dress.Simplicity 3874, View B

I also picked up some denim
for a pair of bootcut jeans.