Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oh, how I've missed thee, let me count the ways...

With Rhonda and Andrea at High Fashion
Oh, I've missed you too sweet sewing and sweet blog friends.

I've been busy, no lack of inspiration
Gosh how long has it been.  Before Susan Khalje class?
Oh my, I've got some catching up to do.

I had brunch and fabric shopping with my adorable friends Rhonda and Andrea.  I don't remember the day, but it was my last day off.  What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday!  Thank you so much ladies, discussions of fabric and patterns and fitting were fun.  How is that wedding dress coming Andrea?

Marfy 3089
But for now, a weekend off.  I have one problem client from work who's filing hangs like a dangling participle.  I'll worry about that on Monday.

I have a shirt started.  Its short sleeved.  Don't laugh, that's totally doable in Houston.  It may only get up to 50, but here in the office they crank the space heaters to 75 so sweaters are absolutely out of the question.

The pattern calls for stretch knit, but the CDC has some give and I plan on putting an invisible zipper down the side.

My fabric is navy floral CDC from Tessuti.  The colors are mesmerizing and the details are astonishing.  The front drape is an overlay.

Magic Dragonfly CDC
But first, cleaning and a short work out.  I miss the gym almost as much as sewing.  For supper, soup's in the crockpot and fresh salad for my cholesterol screening this month.

I had a life, then my job ate it.
Now I'm fighting back.

I've missed you!

More on the shirt and pattern later, plus a gathering of the UFO's.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Marfy 3400 -that's OK, I meant to do that

How many times have you seen a RTW garment and you see something that you swear was an accident.  I mean like the exposed zipper.  There is no way that was on purpose the first time.
Marfy 3400

Exposed seams were the trend for awhile.  It looked wrong side out to me.

Or the center front seam on a sheath dress?  I look at that and think "Huh, made it too wide"

Color blocking, "Somebody didn't buy enough fabric"

WELLLL, ask me how I know.

The white neck band… Yep, not in the pattern.  Looks nice though, it kind of draws the design of the fabric together.  With the little slit in the neck back it looks absolutely deliberate.

I got in a hurry, worked in a poorly lit room and cut my facing out of my shirt front.

That's OK, I can make a design element…
For $XX/yard silk charmeuse I can turn lots of things into a design element.  It beats a really expensive pajama top.
in pieces!

This is a gorgeous design border print from Emma One Sock.  The picture even doesn't do the color justice.  I have never seen a cobalt blue this saturated.
I cut the back on the bias.  I'm so in love with bias cut silk charmeuse right now!

I bought several yards, I could have recut or worked around.  Or, I could save it and have enough left over for a way too awesome jacket lining.

I sewed this in brief intervals while working overtime.  OK, maybe I should be more focused and not stop and start so often.  Its still a very satisfying relatively instant gratification project.

Everyone at work Fawned over it.  Its funny how people pass over the hours spent on a meticulously tailored jacket or a perfectly fitted pair of jeans that you spent years developing, but they absolutely adore a super easy casual top.  Nobody even cared about the french seams, I had them in love at the matched seams...

As for the front band, it isn't absolutely perfectly straight, or even or maybe even perfectly symmetrical.
I like to think of it as artistic.
After all, when I sewed on the front band I was convinced that I was working on a pajama top, or something for grocery shopping on saturdays.

As for more sewing projects, I'm actually working on a muslin!  Its for Susan Khalje class next week.  I'm also working on a skirt.  Marfy 2531 skirt.  The pattern is pinned here.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cross one off my bucket list! I finished the Wardrobe Contest on

It was sooo close!  I really was working until almost midnight on July 31.
The contest is open to vote for the winner here.  You really should check it out, there are thirty different outfits created.  Voting is only open to members only, but its fun to look at what wonderful outfits people come up with in one short month.

Marfy 2762 and McCall's 6706
Top 1, the adorable white jacket in the first pic was almost my downfall.  Its Marfy 2762 which I have made before.  This should have made it easy.  I barely blogged here, I need to write a tutorial.
Did You Really Sew That blog has a great tutorial here.  I disagree about the sleeve, she says it will never work to her satisfaction as drafted.  I think that part of the charm is the overlapping sleeve so I'm willing to put up with the overlap and topstitch, more on that later.

The skirt is McCall's 6706.  I get compliments, but I'm still not fully secure.  I'll wear it though, especially with the jacket.

Belinni and Manhattan 
Skirt 2 has a completely different silhouette, Capital Chic's Manhattan.  This is a unique color blocked pencil skirt with an asymmetrical, blocked hem and get this, no darts.  All the shaping (and there is plenty of shaping) is in the front seam, side seams and center back seam.  Yes, there is shaping in the center back seam and it works.

Here, it needs more pressing.
And, a smile on my face.  I've been working for 12 days straight and I haven't been home before dark since mid July.  So, before leaving for work this morning I twisted my husband's arm and got him to help me with pics.  He was impatient and I'm just plain tired.  That's OK, I finished the wardrobe and love the pieces.
Marfy 2762 and dress 3339

Did I mention that I love this jacket?

I think I'm gonna take it in at the waist a little, maybe add pockets.  I meant to, ran out of time figuring out how to put the rest together.  Is it wrong to run out of time in a timed contest and go back and re-finish it later?  I re-work and do that all the time.  I've straight stitched a hem at 6AM because I was too lazy to wait for the cleaners to open. Am I the only one who makes long sleeved shirts only to shorten them in the spring?

It could be a couple of inches shorter too, not sure.

I added an extra inch to each side of the center front and added buttons instead of a zipper.

Last time I just partially lined it, this time its fully lined in crystal white-ish Bemberg.

This really does require a full blog post.  I would say T-U-T-E but I swore I never would.  I'm just not the tutorial kind.

I will try to describe the construction.  I sewed the final button on at midnight so some of the details are fuzzy as were some of the pictures.

There was much ripping and gnashing of teeth.

Now, I must prepare for Fasionista's final knit class on Monday night.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh look, Its a McCall's! 6706 skirt.

McCall's 6706, Belinni top
I'm not totally a pattern snob.
Well, yes I am.  But...
I find a gem once and awhile.

Just often enough to remind me why I love my Dear Marfy!  I won't bore you with another rant, you can see it all here in a previous New Look post.  OK, OK, basically, too many pattern pieces, too many sizes and where did I put those instructions?  A lining and a pocket are essential, so I had to improvise those.  I also added 4" to the waist which normally wouldn't be a problem, but it totally threw off the pleats.

I do think that only having 4 box pleats makes it a little more slimming than gathering would be.

This looks so nice all styled up.  When I looked at it in the mirror last night I was wearing a T shirt and socks with tenny kickers and I just looked fat.  That is so easy to do, judge a garment prematurely.  I glanced at my reflection this morning and was very pleasantly surprised.

I still might take some of that fullness away from the hips by sewing down the pleats and trimming out the layers behind them, but for now I'm just happy to have ONE of my PR Wardrobe outfits done.

The fabric is a wonderfully SWISHY tropical weight wool that perfectly matches the Valentino polka dot blouse.  I mean really, REALLY matches it.  It is still available here and has a modest 2% lycra which gives it just enough give so I don't worry about stressing it.  It presses OK, almost like 100% wool so I never would have guessed that it had stretch.  This is the perfect tropical weight wool for dresses and skirts, it truly light weight and has a nice texture to it.

I got 4 yards so I should have enough for a favorite skirt pattern Marfy 3094.  I like the concept of this pattern.  Its very asymmetrical to state the obvious. Marfy styled it safari, but I think it has much more potential.
Marfy 3094 skirt

Leisa has made it and documented her journey well at A Challenging Sew.  I'll have to study how she works out the waistband.

I have one more skirt to finish and that Marfy 2762 for my wardrobe.  There are only 3 or 4 days and I'm working overtime.  But don't count me out, I'm determined to work it out this year.

*sigh* back to work for now.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dress Pattern Perfection Marfy 3339

I finally found the perfect sheath dress!
Marfy 3339 drawing
Marfy 3339 pictured here with the color removed for creative interpretation. I like to scan the drawings, then play coloring book during my breaks at the office.

I can ramble like this because the pattern is shear perfection.

Mine looks a little more A-line than the pattern.  I debated taking in the fullness and making it straight until mid morning when the printer jammed and I spent 15 minutes on my hands and knees pulling tiny scraps of paper out.  I noticed the crowd of people watching and realized how nice it was to not have my hiney sticking out of a tight skirt.

I really love this dress and I'm happier then I look.  But, the work day was long and its about 95F out there.

Marfy 3339
The coworker approval rate was extremely high and the compliments flowed in all day.  I had 2 different people ask me how many sizes I had lost, not pounds, but SIZES!

I just noticed that I forgot to pick out the buttons!  Well, that's what happens when you hem the dress for wearing at 630AM.  I have some navy pearl shank buttons that should be a nice touch.

The waist cinches perfectly, accented by the color inset.  The bust shapes perfectly with a small dart that shows on the left side of the drawing.  This dart is on both sides of the pattern for shaping which is a much better alternative then just having the color block seam run over the top of the bust point.

The Marfy size chart can be found here and I have found the 1 1/2" inches of ease through the bust and hips to be pretty consistent.  The fit isn't tight through the waist, the ease is about 4 inches.

notice the bust darts and the front pleat extension
This pattern come in sizes 42, 46 and 50.  I cut a 46 and the measurements for this size are:

Bust:  39 1/2"
Waist:  34 1/2"
Hips:  41"
Back Waist Length:  15 3/4"
Front Length, Shoulder to Bust: 10"
Sleeve width:  14"

The only fit change that I would make next time is to lower the bust dart by 1".  It is kind of high for them and it stops above my but point.  If it bugs me and I get fussy I may lower it on this dress, but I doubt it.

Marfy 3339 left side
I love this pattern so much.  You could make a perfect simple dress block by copying the left side of the pattern and extending the dart to the hem for a princess seam. You could also double the color blocked side and color block in black and white for an interesting look.

The fabric is a gorgeous 65% polyester and 35% cotton tweed from Sew Much Fabric that is 60" wide and has a nice tight weave.  The navy inset is tropical weight wool .  I lined in navy Bemberg lining.

I think this is the only garment that I own that is polyester.  I'm such a fabric snob!  I like it though.  The weave and the cotton allow it to breathe relatively well for poly.  But as you can see it does wrinkle and doesn't hold a crease as well as wool.  I love the colors and the versatility so I'm making a skirt out of it too.

The shoes you ask ?????  Well, those are fabulous L.K. Bennett's in a beautiful shimmering silver suede that I got myself for my birthday present.  They still have some available here.

Future Plans 

I have enlisted in Susan Khalje's Couture Sewing School in August and I think that I will use the right front of this pattern to make a basic dress pattern block.  I am really excited about finally taking THE class and getting to spend an entire week sewing with my fellow seamstresses and learning from the master.

Susan is the write of THE Bridal Couture sewing book that was my go-to book back in the dressmaking days.  I really look forward to meeting her and saying thank you for all the guidance and inspiration.

Marfy 3339 back
But for today, I talked myself in to entering that Pattern Review wardrobe contest again so I'm cranking out the garments!  I have the blouse and this dress done as 2 out of 5 garments.  I have 5 days to get 2 skirts and a short sleeved jacket done.  *sigh* kidding, right?  Every year I try this.  I always get some interesting things done, but never the whole wardrobe.  I guess a wardrobe catch-up post is in order.  I still haven't finished last years.  Should I have tackled that first?  Of course not!

OK, just one more picture.  Here's the back:

I'm pretty happy with the fit, I may tweak the sleeves a bit.
I don't think these little issues would've been worth making a muslin for.  There are some under-bust wrinkles that indicate tightness, but when I lose another couple of pounds I'll probably have to take it in anyway.

Once again, I'm wallowing in Marfy bliss.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So Capital Chic!

I rocked this pattern!  I need like 27 more of these!

OK, I must give a lot of the love credit to the fabric which she still has in stock here.

Pattern Description: As per Capital Chic: "Bellini is a loose fitting, cap sleeved blouse with either a cutaway collar or a scalloped collar. This blouse is designed to be worn with the top button closed but can easily be worn with the neck open. It is a versatile basic that will add options to any wardrobe. The blouse closes with buttons at the centre front and features bias-bound armholes, a machine rolled hem and french seams throughout. Full illustrated instructions for these techniques are included." Super cute, instant gratification top which can be as dressy or as casual as you choose.

Pattern Sizing: This comes in sizes 10 through 18 which are all included in one pdf. I looked at the size chart and my measurements most closely resembled a 16 which is one size larger than I wear in big 4. Their size chart is here.  

Bellini front
Were the instructions easy to follow? I like the instructions. They are well written compared to many of the independent pattern companies. They are well illustrated and include a the finished garment measurements (which were accurate BTW). 
* Instructions included for French seams which really add to this simple blouse.
* Well written collar application instructions! It instructs to machine stitch but I chose to hand stitch while watching TV.
* I took a short cut and serged and hemmed the sleeves instead of using the recommended bias trim.

I didn't use the pattern layout because I cut on the bias, but it looked quite accurate.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Love the simplicity, especially the shoulders and lack of sleeves.

Bellini back
Fabric Used: Absolutely DEEEEVINE silk charmeuse with the cutest little Valentino V's woven into the print that I got at a great price at Sew Much Fabric. It being 60" makes it so much easier to cut on the bias than 45". I highly recommend that if you love bias cut charmeuse like me, you need to grab all the 60" that you can find and squirrel it.
I cut the collar from a white piece that I have in stash.

I know that some people don't care for pdf patterns, one thing that I really love about them is the ability to print twice. This is super handy when you are printing single layer for the matching of fabric patterns. This allows me to make the most efficient layout.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added an inch or so to the
length (I'm 6 feet tall). The only fit change that I needed to make is that the arms were too tight for my heavy biceps. next time I will extend the opening, this time I just shortened them and the hem and they fit fine. The sleeve measures about 13" and my upper arms are about 15", so you might want to check this.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Heck yes! I'm already planning more!

Conclusion: This is a great new pattern company. They don't have too many patterns out there, but they are well drafted with good instructions and great customer service. You can down load the pattern file up to 3 times and it includes a pdf for home printing (8 1/2 X 11) and a pdf that you can have printed if you don't want to print and tape at home. This also includes a pdf for instructions.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hello Capital Chic

I stumbled across a new indie pattern.

Ya know, one of those that lets you download the pdf and print it while 'out' to lunch at your office.
These days it seem like every blogger on the planet is starting their own downloadable pattern co and very few of them get my attention, much less excite me enough to put down the Marfy catalog.
I resisted, for a few hours.  Yes, a few hours.

Maybe its the shades, but I fell hard for the Bellini
I totally trust Handmade by Heather, and she highly recommends them. She totally rocks the martini dress and the Bellini blouse (notice a trend?)  How can you not love chic clothes named after sip-worthy drinks.

Capital Chic is based in London and I'm quite a sucker for everything British!

Check out her stuff here.  Talk about getting in on the ground floor, she's been online since like June 26th.  I can tell you, this is a lady who didn't walk into this blindly, she's done her homework *for the most part*. I fell in love with this scrumptious navy silk charmeuse with white polka dots, and the simplicity of the Bellini is just perfect.

I heard the gasp, "silk charmeuse? new pattern company? NO MUSLIN?"  What a skeptic…

OK, I'm ever the analyst…
Measure twice, cut once
Finished Marfy 3512 and Bellini front
You certainly don't walk into this blindly.  Her size chart is quite clearly state here, and she provides the actual garment measurements in the pdf that you download.  According to her size chart, I'm a 16.  OK, I can take it, I'm a 16 (in the top).  Nobodies fault but mine, I can accept it.

The silhouette relatively matches Marfy 3512, so you simply compare.

Oh, you compare the finished garment, front to front, back to back.
As you can see, the shoulders which looked slopey at first follow the lines of one of my fave new silk blouses.

Note:  Capital Chic patterns come WITH seam allowance of 1.5 cm (or 5/8")

Look how close that shoulder line is.

Marfy 3512 and Bellini back
The waist follows closely, even the length seems to match closely. The Bust and waist measurement are stated on the pattern.  Size 16 is 40 1/2" Bust and 39" waist.


This looks so simple.  No sleeve cap to over-ease, collar can always be worn open if its too small.

Oh, and for those of you who are skeptics about the whole pdf pattern thing…

Capital Chic
I LOVE bias cut silk, but it requires either a whole pattern piece (not for cutting on the fold) or that you cut on the fold.  Cutting on the fold it a total PITA on the bias. (what's the French word for that?  it sounds like something that should be referred to in French)  It isn't very fabric efficient to begin with and when you have to piece and fold and double back its easy to run out of fabric before you run out of pattern.

Pdf patterns that can be printed twice solves this.  Just tape the two halves together t the fold line you you are free to layout single layer.  This would also help with matching stripes, plaids or border prints.

I did a quick read through of the pattern instructions and I like the fact that they include french seams.

Stay tuned, I think I'm going to like this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marfy 0303 T-shirt pics

Free Marfy 0303
As styled for work with navy J.Crew pants.

I like the front.  The neckline hugs without pulling.

The peak of the crossover looks nice.

I serged and turned under the hem and it curled.
It curled and curled and curled.  I swear its about an inch longer (and needs to be) when it isn't curled.
They best way that I found to keep knits flat for sewing is spray starch.

Spray 'sizing' on the left, starch on the right
Seriously, hands down better than sizing spray.

The down side is that you have to give yourself enough time to make a couple of passes and let it dry between starching.

The right edge of the pieces is interfaced with fusible tricot.

BTW, I ended up taking about an inch out of the fullness because it bunched.

Interior, interfacing in the middle, clear elastic at the neck

Insides as finished:

  • interfacing on the center seam
  • clear elastic on the neckline
  • armholes were turned under and stitched

OK, the arms are a little unstable and gapey.  I should have used interfacing there I guess.  They do stretch a little.

I also used the terrific precision seaming zigzag method.  I'll post more on that later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Free Marfy 0303

Because I have sworn to not buy any more patterns or fabric until I finish 1 thing.

What causes the blatant pile of UFO's you ask…

Well, everything fits right, flatters when its still in the flat pattern stage…  I think that's the heart of the reason I stash.  In the 'some assembly required' stage every pattern, every piece of fabric every hem and every idea makes me look like the supermodel, while its just cut out.
Marfy 0303 and some random Pinterst outfit

I will also confess that somethings I start just to work through some construction trick or to see how the fabric will handle a certain shape.  Some ideas work out better than others.

I like to take the shape or image of a pattern and reinterpret it in my own way.

That brings me to Marfy 0303 which is a free pattern provided in the graph with the 2014 Marfy catalog.  I only gave the pattern a passing glance because I'm not convinced that the sheath is my best look and well frankly, its a little plain considering the rest of the catalog.  Then I saw another blogger Core Couture make it up and I was a little impressed.  Then I saw this top on Pintrest and I said "heeyyyyy, I know that pattern!"

So, I have this baby soft and sturdy cotton and lycra knit from Sew Much Fabric (hurry, its still in stock) that is the perfect navy and cream.

Another reason I have a pile of WIP's (accounting terms for UFO) is because cutting is soooooo easy.  For as long as my home contains a little corner for work, my office will contain a little corner of heaven.  They assigned me HUGE desk, what did they really expect me to do?

Here is a pic of part of my little lunch room (the office doesn't have one).  Don't get my wrong, I have another small table that I fix salad on everyday, but this is the 'recess' part of lunch.  My new sewing project bag from Form & Fabric is what keeps me from forgetting things like scissors, interfacing, pins and all those other essentials.  At a hefty 10" by 16" everything fits and it slides perfectly into my computer bag.  This is where I also trace patterns, the daylight is awesome.

For those of you who have never "taken the plunge" and made your first Marfy, this is how I approach the whole no-instructions conundrum.
  • Look at the pattern and think through it.  
  • Make a note of the matching letters which are clearly marked.
  • Lay it out in order, I often take a picture of the pattern as assembled for reference.  
  • I measure the pattern Bust, waist and hips and plan alterations.
  • Consider and note what interfacing is needed and where.
For this pattern I used strips of fusible tricot from Fashion Sewing Supply to stabilize the empire, and I'm going to try clear elastic on the neckline so it doesn't stretch out.
  • Consider the finishes and closures.  Things like button plackets, hems, arms and neckline as well as other details will affect seam allowances.  
I decided to cut 9" below the waist to give myself the latitude to set the hem later.

As for construction order:
First, I stabilized.  Fusible interfacing gets fused and seams get starched to tame the curl.
  1. Finished the front neckline.  This is necessary as the first steps since it intersect the bodice as a crossover.
  2. Stitched the right upper bodice to the bodice, pivoting at the center front (slit through the SA).
  3. Oh yeah, finish the back neckline.
  4. Sew the front to the back
  5. Check the fit.  Do I want to create a sleeve?
  6. Finish the armholes.  I just turned and stitched with a zigzag
  7. Hem
  8. Brag
There you go, 8 steps to a new top.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Marfy 3393 - Not everything works out perfectly.

It is such a cute thought.  The cinched waist, the curved seams and the angled neckline.

It should be so perfect with a white organza lace overlay on top of white linen.

I wore it to Austin.
OK, I finished it on the way to Austin.
Without much time under the critical eye.

Everyone thought it was cute and told me how much they liked the fabric.

"Bless your heart"
*that's southern for "you silly fool"*

Something is just off.
OK, I was in a hurry and didn't use any interfacing.  First mistake!

But, the proportion is just wrong.

I love the fabric.  I love the idea.
I think I need to add an inch above the waist and 2" below the waist.  at least.
The interfacing will help.  Fortunately this lace organza overlay is about 10 years old and I have a couple of yards left over.  Yes, I said a couple left over.

So will the diet.  I have finally finished my last work deadline until August and I am pledging to lose 20 pounds by then.

No more 10 hour days.
No more working weekends.
No more excuses!

New Marfy creations *Austin style* 3512

Marfy 3512 in charmeuse
New silk charmeuse pattern LOVE!

Did I mention in my PR weekend post that all my garments in process were so 'Houston' and not so 'Austin'?

To clarify, Houston is really more Urban.  Its more Lafayette 148, tweed and pinstripe.  Austin is more Tory Burch, sandals and walking shoes.
May lightening strike me, but I'm posting a link to Teen Vogue about Austin City Limits Street Style.  OK, its a little teenage but it gives you an idea.

Marfy 3512 pattern
So, I packed some colored jeans, denim shorts and whipped up some Austin worthy tops.
Austin worthy also means that it can be sweated in, so natural fibers, prints and all things breathable!

Marfy 3512 front pattern pieces
I really like this pattern.  I was going to omit the center front seam, but then I laid the pattern pieces together and there is some of that soft, magical Marfy shaping there that slims and flatters.  I included the seam and it does seem to help it lay smooth and straight.

I cut it out of bias cut silk charmeuse from High's in Midtown Houston.  I love wearing bias cut charmeuse so I do often take the extra time to cut carefully.  This pattern is perfect for this because there is a full front instead of half front to be cut on the fold.  Yeah, no pattern tracing!  The pattern is designed for knits so there is only 2" of ease at the waist which makes for a 32 1/2" pattern so I added an extra inch to each side.  This was still a bit snug on me so I added a black band down each side.  There is a center back seam, so I left the seam open and put a button on the top band.
design element, *shhh*

I prefer a nice, rounded shirt tail hem, so I added 3" to the center length and curved the hem.  Not only are they more flattering, but they offer more coverage in the back and help avoid any possible wardrobe malfunctions.

The shoulders are fused with this divine Pro-Sheer Elegance which adds structure without changing the drape or the hand.  I love this stuff, when I made that last leather jacket I block fused the entire charmeuse lining and it wears perfectly while feeling so soft against the skin.

I used french seams everywhere except the center front seam, which I serged to 3/8".  The fabric curved so wonderfully, the seam presses perfectly flat.

I'm not sure that this will replace the free pattern 0692 but I like it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top 10 Reasons I love PatternReview weekend

1)  65 of my closest friends that I had never met.
PR Weekend group photo
Andrea and I in dual emerald

You will have to admit, sewing can be a very solitary hobby if you let it. Even though I've only been to 2 pattern review weekends, both times I have met wonderful people from my own neighborhood.

 Including my new twinkie Andrea.
2) Like minds meeting…
Hers is a Silhouette pattern, she muslined and still had a heck of a time with the sleeve cap.
Mine, Marfy 2286, no muslin… see the smile on my face!
Looks and colors from AFW
I love having good neighbors, she sews, she fits, she dress forms.  This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship!
Betty, myself and Kyle at AFW

3) Fashion Show for Austin Fashion week.  PR weekend coincided with Austin Fashion Week so we had a wonderful opportunity to watch the runway and be super catty.  We posed for photos on the red carpet and cheer for the PR Weekend keynote speaker Daniel Esquival.  I may have been biased by his rousing morning keynote speech and charming presence, but I really liked his look. He had such interesting tidbits and stories from his time on Project Runway season 11.  It was fun to hear him talk about his background of practical experience and how it gave him an advantage on the show.

4) Pattern Swap.  I unloaded 2 file boxes of patterns and only picked up 3.  Really, PR Weekend isn't all about stashing, you get to unload to.  I scored with a OOP Vogue Rachel Comey pattern 1170 seen here that is $30 through the website.

Liberty of London silk satin
5)  OK, I did stash some too.  Vendors like Common Thread and Form&Fabric totally rocked with store discounts.  My biggest score, Liberty of London silk satin!  *squeee* I saw, and touched it and bought the rest of the bolt!  Silk Satin from Liberty of London, how often do you see that on sale.  What to do, what to do?? I can pick two things for 3 1/2 yards.  Maybe a cowl neck top and maybe one of my free patterns, that Rachel Comey pattern picked up in the pattern swap.  I also grabbed a 1 1/2 yd 3 ply silk crepe in a perfect cobalt and a matching fuchsia.  That's it, 3 pieces and each one is adorable.  Thank goodness I didn't over shop or anything.

6) The SWAG bag.  I got a ton of free patterns.  StyleArc sent almost a hundred free patterns for grab bags, door prizes and give always.  I also scored a Deer and Doe, a wallet pattern, Jalie Tshirt and free Bernina coffee mug.  If you are watching, Marfy, you could have really built some good PR.  The Style Arc Ziggy jacket is just destined to be floral.

7)  The food!  Seriously yummy!

Embroidery queen Leslie at Stitch Lab
8)  The classes.  I have never done hand embroidery before, I still need practice!  This doesn't fit in to my wardrobe in very many places, I just want to hand embroider my topstitching on my jeans like the cool designer ones!
I also attended a sewing machine maintenance class. According to Stitch Lab machine maintenance expert, the best machine for reliability and maintenance is the Bernina 830, go figure!

9)  The only place you can actually touch the clothes from those reviews!  It was common to see new friends to introduce themselves by pattern number and fabric.

10)  My sewing mojo!  I found it.  Maybe it was in the bottom of that martini glass, or during the organization presentation when I realized that my stash really isn't that bad.  Either way, I found it.  I'm back to my Marfy blouses and dresses.  It also gave me perfect
Here's to sewing friends!
deadlines to hit for some Austin sewing.  Austin has a completely different culture than Houston, so all of those super professional 'Houston' clothes were put on the back burner for Austin clothes.  I will post pick later in the week (scouts honor).

More details (and some of the pictures that I stole) can be found on the PR website.  I had a wonderful time and I can't wait to see everyone again next year!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm back!

I'm actually sewing too…

3 month recap:  I've been working.  Yes, I'm a workaholic.  I've realized that if your project goes horribly wrong, it leads to client calls and meetings.  The only thing I hate more than cranky clients (they have my cell phone number) is meetings!  If I have to work until 14 hours a day to make sure that my clients think I'm a genius, the I will see you at home at 10:30.  So, I'm proud to say that none of my clients files got screwed due to an error on my part.

Actual, real ice was involved, literal ice!
Its been a rough spring, did you hear that even Houston Texas was hit by "Snow-pocolypse" 2014?

Don't laugh, we are winter wusses and we are proud of it.  It hasn't gotten this cold in 4 years!  The 3rd  freezing day (32 degrees, so yes technically its freezing) of the year, I just called in sick not even bothering to "work from home"!  Hey, I have a 6 foot walk to my car, I'm sure that people have frozen to death in less time!
Maybe not in Houston, but somewhere in the world.

1.  I bought 3 pairs of gloves this winter, but I could never find more than one glove at a time.
2.  My winter coat is lined, but not insulated.  I'm actually proud of that.
3.  I own 3 long sleeved shirts, one has a hood.  Only 2 of them could be considered business casual.
4.  By the first week in March, its back in the 70's where its supposed to be.

Point 3 leads me back to Marfy 9462.

As in my previous post, I love the collar, but fabric restrictions (4 ply silk crepe) and climate restrictions dictate I'm making tulip sleeves instead of the long sleeves shown.

I based my sleeve drafting on Rhonda's creative life tulip sleeve drafting found here.  You really should follow Rhonda's Creative Life, what a genius!  Rhonda is such a talented, creative genius who has an incredible mind for the architecture of sewing.

curved lines for the tulip sleeve

I started with the original sleeve from the pattern, I added width for my 15 1/2" upper arms (leaving a little extra ease at the cap) and pulled out my 5/8" seam ruler for the drape.

Original upper bicep width for a size 46 is generally about 13 1/2" to 14" so this is a normal adjustment for me.

Both the front and the back sleeve are drawn together.  The piece of pattern paper is then folded in half and the back sleeve is traced on to the bottom half of the sleeve and seam allowances are added:

Pattern paper is folded in half, the upper sleeve is traced
The front and back sleeve now fit perfectly on my remaining scrap of fabric without worrying about the sleeve being wide enough!

I also cut the pieces from off-white Bemberg lining.  first I will sew the fabric and lining together at the hem and under stitch, then I will insert the sleeve into the shirt body and either bind or serge the armhole.

Then I need to tweak the fit on the sides, fine-tune the side zipper and workout the hem.

It sounds so quick when you put it that way!

This should be so easy, I have 5 days of comp time and floating holiday but I'm off to a slow start. When you haven't had more than one day off since mid-January you spend at least half a day wandering around the house picking up shoes and sorting laundry.  Then, you clean the fridge and throw away all the stuff that wasn't actually fuzzy and green when you bought it (kiwi not included of course).

I also spent time in personal retrospection (sitting on the couch, bonding with the cats).

Lesson 1: A martini and a cheeky British Murder are beautiful things on a Thursday afternoon.

Lesson 2:  I can't really spend an entire day doing nothing but watching TV, its physically impossible.  But, it was totally worth the scientific research that lead to this discovery.  That isn't really a bad thing.

Lesson 3:  I really don't like personal income taxes.   I've spent too much time on the mobile with the Internal Revenue Service lately, due to no fault of my own of course.  The deadline is April 15, not a moment too soon!

Tomorrow I set in sleeves and cut another Marfy top so stay tuned.  My Marfy purchases can be found on Pintrest.  I have great plans for Pattern Review Weekend in May, more info later.  As well as a knit shirt sew-a-a-long.

PS.  I *heart* Texas, where long johns come in thong...

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