Sheath dress!! I have lots of dresses, most of them have multiple design lines, lots of them, and I live for prints, any type of print. Again I say, as with the basic white shirt, here, I don’t like sewing plain solid garments. Unless, of course you can see them from a few miles away, not the old “where’s Waldo” thing either.  This cute number was made during August this year, when I first started thinking about wardrobe planning. I was originally told to make it plain….but, of course I didn’t listen.  Almost 4 months later, and I have yet to find any occasion to wear it.

With that….you might think I forgot about focusing on my basic wardrobe essentials. Yes, I am a hard head, and yes, I generally steer clear of anything remotely related to “following the crowd”. However, as I said before, I am gaining a new understanding of why I need to have a really, true, solid fundamental wardrobe.

My Sewing Fashionistas Sewing group “Wardrobe Fit-Along” is still going strong. So many of our ladies have made awesome shirts and now begun preparations for sewing up a sheath dress as we continue working to build a great basic wardrobe. Many have already received their related pattern suggestions for their body type, began fitting their patterns, and are well on their way to procuring and prepping fabric choices.

As for me, well, I have been prepping new YouTube videos for all to join in our journey. Oh, yes in indeed, it is a journey. At least for me it is a long journey, one I could not do alone. So, please come along for the ride, if you haven’t already done so with the white shirt fit-along. You could play catch up by checking out my videos, or you can just dive in where we are now with the sheath dress. If you need help choosing a pattern for your body type, just hop over to my “partner in crime’s” blog and favorite wardrobe consultant, here, to see which pattern works best for your body.

In the meantime, I will be working just a tad harder this time to get test subjects who are willing to show their fabulous bodies on YouTube to help you learn how to sew-to-fit your body, your taste, and your style!!!

This week we have started out with our voluptuous, fine and foxy, plus size model, my daughter. She doesn’t sew, but because she loves having me sew for her, she had no choice but to participate as payment for the beautiful dress she will have after its all said and done.

I recorded my first experience with a styling service.  (click the picture above).  I have never tried using a stylist…I have always wanted to, but only started this year.  Now, working with a wardrobe consultant, I’m learning more about what to look for in the stores.  Sewing for myself is easy, choose the fabric, sew the clothes.  But, actually going to the store to shop is difficult for me.  The two services ask plenty questions about your lifestyle your taste and your body contours.

 Youtube video of the experience with Stitch fix.

So, along with that I decided to try out this styling and personal shopping service, Stitch Fix where someone gives you a list of things they think will work with who you are based off answers you provided on a detailed survey.  I figured I would see what they think about my style personality, and if I like what they send me,  than if I like it that much,  I could then just sew my own, since I know the garment would be way more than I would be willing to pay, or worst of all not fit my body contours.   I was wrong to some degree.

The jeans $158 and dolman top $48.

I shared what I received in this unveiling of this on Periscope today. Stitch Fix is giving me a stiffen if someone tries out their service.  I already pay $20.00 for the box, but I thought I was giving another friend a referral fee by following the link from her blog.  I hope she got it, because I want to spread the love.

The coat is a large and too small in the chest and arms.  SOOOOOO……that why I sew.  It is so cute though?  I cost $118.00, but is pure acetate, and no body.  
This sweater is really cute but it was $68, and has the cutest back opening.  I just cannot see myself spending that kind of money on a sweater when I can also make that too.  I just need to figure out how to knit or sew the back opening like this….
Anyway…all the stuff was awesome.  The experience is really neat, since I like to get stuff in the mail.  How about the fit of those jeans though!!!  Not sure if I’ll spend $148.00 for them.

My goodness Periscope is more than I expected. I had a party last night. I was in sewing guild heaven right in my own sewing room with a few others just hanging, chatting cutting out a pattern and learning. Who knew it would be so much fun!!!

I understand the videos are up for only one day. I was showing how to make adjustments to simplicity 8014 and I talked about interfacings and all that jazz.

I have found my new playroom. It was much fun!!! Oh yeah, I plan to hangout there again often!!

I’ll upload some of my videos to my YouTube channel for all to see. So don’t worry if you don’t have an interest in the periscope fad. I’m sure it won’t last long. But, for now though, it’s a lot of fun.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

You brought new life to an old concept.  Simplicity, are you there?  I think we can now be friends.  You are bringing new life into my low mojo sewing world, no frills, just plain and simple style without all the bells and whistles.  I’ve been having trouble sewing lately, which is why my friends have been encouraging me to go simple.  Something, I don’t really do very well.  The harder the better is my motto, however, that can be stifling at times and limits my creativity.  Which again, is why I say, thank you simplicity and newlook.

Oh, yes, and as I said before, wardrobe styling is not my thing, but I can put together some clothes on the machine.  You know that thing we all love…the sewing machine.  This fabric has been with me a while waiting to be added to the rotation and so here it is in all its glory.  And I love it!  Especially, with my basic “white button down shirt” presented in my fitting videos on youtube.

 This is a striped rayon knit, with white raised ribs running through it…lots and lots of stretch to boot, yet still slightly stable on the lengthwise grain so it won’t stretch out of shape.  I did secure the shoulder seams and the back neck seam with clear 1/4″ elastic.  The sleeves are great at the length on the pattern.  If I had made them any longer, my tendency would be to roll them up.  I think this will go well with any long sleeve ensemble.  So you may be seeing this quite often if you know me in real life.  Don’t hate.  (Oops, sorry I’m being a little sassy y’all.)  I think it’s the outfit.  What do you think?  HeHe.

 What a glorious day it is….I couldn’t help but just stand there and watch the cars pass.  I didn’t even realize I had snapped the camera.  (I use a tripod and a remote.)  So, I think this is one of my favorite pictures.

 Okay, I’ll spare you guys all the extra pictures…because I just love this look, but I know how hard it is to just keep on scrolling and see a zillion pictures of one person in the same outfit.

OH YEAH!!  Construction Notes:  
  • I cut a medium…the neck in the back can be made a tad smaller, it is wide.  
  • Also, for the center back seam, I made it curved from the blades into the waist and then our over the buttocks so it would hang straight and not get caught up at the hips, as my dusters do from the store. 
  • For the finishing around the edges, I just folded it over 3/8″ and stitched using a machine zig-zag. 
  • The sleeves were stitched on the serger using a technique I call blind stitching on a serger.  I made a low-grade video here…if you are inclined to watch.

 Let’s talk about stripe matching here y’all…. My OCD tendencies wanted to take this whole thing apart and redo it for “the blog”.  But, I needed to get this done. It made me feel really good!!!  I mean really good to finish something in 30 minuties.  I had to get out and gone to a meeting.  It’s not cold outside, yet quite breezy.  This is the Houston weather for November.  So, ugh!!! YEAH!! the lines don’t match… WWWWHAAT eva– y’all just gonna have to get over it this time.  I did!

Thanks so much for keeping up with this journey of mine.  I enjoy everyday I can share with you all. Your comments and questions always bring a smile to my face. 
 So until next time, keep sewing.

After an unusually long respite, I now question myself on my organization and planning skills.  But I say to you “What does tailoring have in common with quilting?”  Is there a special skill required besides a single straight stitch, what mathematical calculations or algebraic algorithms are required to become skilled in the art of piecing squares and triangles, binding edges, planning fabric, and sorting techniques.  Could they be one in the same when time is considered.  I know precision is a necessary component in the equation.  Yet, now, I am convinced that there is more.

Menswear tailoring

The suit Jacket was finished in March and engagement photos were taken then as well.  But it’s no secret, by now, that I didn’t finish for his birthday! (I intended to finish Last Year 2014!!!)  I had all intentions of doing something fast and furious.  This time, I think maybe I bit off more than I could chew given the timeframe and all the holiday affair, moving my sewing room, and, of course his brides wedding dress.  I believe I know what I’m doing, but am I a perfectionist to a fault?  I saw several other options for designing his jacket and pants, and they all included unlined, patch pocketed, floppy lapeled renditions of a mans sport coat.  None of which I wanted to make.  Here ye, here ye, though I did often try to figure a way off the path I had already started, a direction of which there was no return.  The jacket was cut to be a fully lined, multi-pocketed, pad stitched, lapeled, sport coat with working sleeve vents and tail.  I was in it to win it now.  Yet, I also had an “heirloom gown” that had to be completed.  More on that later.  Just know, however, that both were for my son and his bride-to-be. Both equally as important.

I’d scratch my head too if I was avoiding saying what I wanted to say about you taking for EEEVAA!! to finish my suit coat.  Come on MOM let’s get this over with can we please????
The scraps after cutting the suit, and I still need to work a waistband out of this, plus welt pockets.  EEEK!!!

Taking off from the gates in such a rushed unorganized manner did cost me dearly. Number one and most importantly, I ran out of fabric to properly cut all the pieces for the entire suit. The fabric, a bamboo linen blend was originally purchased for a women’s suit. Thus, I only had four yards. I usually buy five. Number two, I did not plan which techniques would work best with the style jacket I was making. I usually just stick to the old “long” way of doing things, no tricks, no short cuts, just straight forward simple techniques. But this time, I stirred too far into unfamiliar territory in an effort to finish quickly, trying methods from popular names currently on the sewing horizon. Number three, my tailoring supplies were no longer plentiful since I hadn’t truly done a men’s suit in over 15 years. Why I have stayed away from such a fine art for such a long time, I couldn’t say. What I can say, however, is it hurt my pride for sure, to flutter along so amateurishly. Especially since I had always prided myself for how quickly I could finish any suit, and the fact, I actually have professional training and college in this field, just added salt to the wound.  Does the old saying ring true in this instance: “It’s like riding a bike?” Finally, number four, I had not secured all the findings needed to finish. i.e. buttons, linings, etc.  All the gory details are in this first post here, and the second post here.

I don’t know why he just wasn’t excited to be fitting his jacket…does he suspect it will still be another few months before I get around to finishing.

With the last post, part three, here, regarding the construction of this suit I left you with a “few, yes a few task remaining undone.  Today you shall get the rest in all its glory and this than shall bring this saga to a close.  I owe you at least that much.

This was the To Do List I left you with:  Narrated of course with as many related pictures that I could find from the number of SD camera cards I have been using. They will get my point across.  
  • Shaping and pad stitching of the lapel, roll line and front, (est. 3-4 hours if I’m lucky)  This took more like 15-20 hours, give more for stopping and starting to work on other things and to give my hands a much needed break from the chore.

  • The hair canvas was basted in and roll lines were drawn on to match. 

  •  The pad stitching was done over a “sausage” I created by wrapping a rolled towel inside of a cut of cotton broadcloth.

  • I drew in my pad stitching lines to remind me when to tighten the stitching for the “roll”.  The breast pocket looks a little off because I still needed to stitch it down…I loosened it because I had to flatten it out after I had it hanging over the “bust” on my dress form, which gave it “breast”…lol.  after that, I padded out the form to avoid womanly bulges.

  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  HA!!!  Did I say 1-2 hours..who was I kidding!!!  This was a big stretch to say the least.  
    I decided to include the red piping because it just looks nice in RTW and so I wanted that look here.
  • install inside breast pocket (est. 1-2hours, if I’m not distracted.) 

  • Collars and buttonholes (est time:  “I DON’T KNOW!”)  By now the planning and prepping to make the wedding dress is in full affect and the jacket has been put on serious hold.  It is now December, time to prep for holiday affairs and finalize wedding dress fabric orders, sew muslins and have fittings, while the bride is in town for the holidays.

  •  Underneath the lapel, the pad stitched pricks.

  • Set-in sleeves of body and lining (est. 1-2 hours) It is now February I have moved to my new sewing space that now gives me room to breath and work on the wedding gown.  I have got to hurry, because I have some traveling planned and they have their engagement photo shoot date already set.

  • I am sewing in the collars and making sure it is all flat and non-bulky.  A hard task since I have been handling this for so long.  Some things have shifted or I just forgot what the heck I was doing.  Who knows?  (bug eyes rolling in my head!)

  • Shoulder pads (1 hour maybe)  Well, this is probably the only thing that took the estimated amount of time.  Go figure.  I had to make these.  Forgot to take pics…just take my word for it, they are in there.
  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  Lots of breaks were indeed taken…say about 1 week at a time.  hehe!.
  • I guess he will get the pants in January, or in time for Easter.  LOL.  Insert:::::Loud Laughter!!!! followed by rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes.  It is now November, and they have yet to get done.  HeHe.  I hope he never mentions them!!! 
Did I say this young man is really patient with me!!  I LOVE this Baby Boy of mine. 

Fitting was extremely limited for me.  I was very adamant with him to come over and fit this along the way, yet I did not prevail.  His bride won out on his limited amount of time available for me to work with him.  Prepping for the wedding was starting to test all our patience, and time.  So I just closed it up and “LET it be DONE!!” It is now March 2015!!!  How about that!!.

I did go back and move the top button and added a longer shank so it would not cause a pull under the roll line.

Who’s sleepy in the picture.  Definitely not me.  He was in a real rush to get out of town to meet his finance’ so they can take the engagement pictures. 

The back is slightly big.  But no time to fix it and for being on hiatus from tailoring menswear for 15 years, I think I did a Damn Good job!!!! Now put that in a pipe and smoke it!!!  I”M BACK!!!!

I was really excited that he would be wearing his new jacket for the engagement pictures.  I ended up truly being an integral part of the entire wedding from engagement all the way to the alter.  I love what I do, especially when it makes my family happy.

Thus, I ask again, how very related is tailoring to quilting?  They seem one in the same where planning and preparation is concerned. Most importantly, in this instance, finishing after such a long journey is euphoric.

Until next time….keep on sewing.

For some reason lately, I have been seriously considering my impact on the environment with the waste I create in my sewing studio.  Re-using all that I possibly can has been at the top, then there of course is the recycling and up cycling that is everywhere.  But what about “re-purposing?”  Plenty times I hear and have seen in designer workrooms the use of tissue for sewing specialty fabrics.  Silk charmeuse comes to mind right away, mainly because this is what I was working on today.  I decided, after looking at the pile of trash overflowing from the trashcan to the floor…all pattern tissue scraps, why not?  Use the tissue paper from the patterns!!  DingDong!! there you go..repurposing.

It is time we all start considering the waste we produce for one wardrobe…our own.  If we produce this much waste just creating our own wardrobe.  Consider the amount produced when manufactured waste is added up times a million wardrobes.  Quilters have had this figured out for a very long time.  After attending the International Quilt Festival here in Houston this past week, I realized just how frugal they are with the little “scraps” that we so easily discard because we only view fabric in yardages.  

This lady made this garment for a wedding and used all manner of “scraps” to produce the train and the embellishments on the silk doupioni.  (I’m sure she was very specific with the colors…but, image the process.)

Eager to Learn—Afghanistan

Back to the tissue…see in this picture, the tissue tore away rather easily with no left over shreds between the stitches.  I was fairly impressed to say the least.  From now own, I will continue to cut strips of my leftover pattern tissue and add it to a box on my shelf for use for all those times I need leaders at the beginning and ends of my delicate stitching.

I challenge you to find other uses for the waste we all create in our spaces. 

Until next time…Re-use, Re-cycle, Re-purpose.

This dress sewed up so quick and easy that I feel bad I didn’t cut and make two while I was at it…!  I was in need of a really simple make that would give me a cute silhouette, and be easy to fit.  Fitting is a big deal for me.  Not on an OCD level, but one that requires me to always, and I mean always, make certain adjustments no matter how simple the pattern.

This pattern was just what I needed and didn’t fail.  No muslin, just flat pattern measurements, and knowing what stretch factor I was dealing with helped me to get this one just right the first time.  Woo!! Woo!!!  (Forgive the weird pics…it was storming outside, and I just had to get these photos done because I couldn’t wait to share with y’all.)
Ah man!! I really like the hem on this dress.  The a-line shape of the skirt makes it really comfortable and hangs really nicely from the derrière so gracefully.  The bodice is comfortable because I used a mid-weight single knit (ITY) that is not overly thin, which means I didn’t need to line it or worry about too much stretching on the neck band…a detail I really love. 
Construction Details:  
  • Pattern- NewLook 6301 (Mock wrap) Feels more like a t-shirt
  • The pattern pieces went together fairly simple.  However, I did change the order of construction so that all the back and front was finished together before closing the side seams.  This made the construction take less than an hour.  I did use a serger, but only as finishing. 
    • sewed the shoulder seams
    • check the fit of the bodice and make adjustments
    • install the neck binding
    • hem the sleeves
    • sew the sleeves on the flat, instead of as a set-in 
    • attach the skirt front to the bodice front, and separately the back as well.
    • sew on the tie ends to the back at the waist just above the seam
    • sew up the side seams and hem the skirt….. done!!
  • Cut Size 12 & 14
  • Alterations-  The pattern has two front pieces, a left and a right…. I used Front piece #1 for both left and right sides
    • 3/4″ Pivot & Slide FBA
    • lengthen bodice 1″
    • 3/4″ Pivot & Slide Bicep
    • 3/8″ Neckline Wedge to help the dress hug the decollate
  • NOTE— there is a real tendency for this pattern to be baggy under the arms if you try and use the finished size for your bust.  Stick to the pattern size as related to your upper bust and add the full bust adjustment.  Remember to make your adjustment where it is needed, not just depend on the “finished” measurements.  That is an “all around” measurement.
Ask me if I’m happy with this dress.  You will definitely be seeing more.


Boo…!!!  You are Mimi, you can sew anything! Says my 8 year old granddaughter.  She knew the best and easiest way to get to me and encourage me to sew something for her in one day, was to give me a sketch of what she wanted.  What a nice sketch and so clear and accurate.  No formal training at all!!!  I could not resist making her into a Monster High Cheer Zombie for her Walking Dead look.

Let’s say that first of all, I was extremely impressed with the sketch she brought to me.  What a really nice drawing.  Can you say honestly that she has been hanging around me or maybe watching project runway as her t.v. designer education?  I think she is learning something.  I put my own spin on the outfit, because I just wanted to do some stuff myself.  Fabric shopping rendered the silver, because they did not have the pink she requested in her sketch.  
Dress-up was a lot of fun for her and the kids in the neighborhood.  They were treated with food, fun and goblins, then a stroll through the neighborhood for some trick-or-treating.  
Maybe next year she will be doing all the designing for me, and I’ll just sew as usual.