Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The subject of Bob Herbert's column in the NY Times today dealt with the appalling behavior that the vote on health care precipitated. That in 2010 we should stand up and speak out against the  bigotry that is being spouted in the name of free speech.  This has never been a political blog, but   I was incredibly upset this weekend  when I saw  John Lewis, a man who was a driving force during the fight for civil rights,  a man who was  beaten by the police,  subjected to racial epithets screamed at him when he entered the capitol , that another black congressman was actually spit on and that Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman had anti gay epithets hurled at him. If we stay silent we condone this kind of behavior.  It is not acceptable.    I do not care what your opinion about health care is, but we cannot condone the  hate and fear mongering that have  been perpetrated in the name of democracy.  I hope that you will speak out with me and let your voice be heard.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Sewing this past weekend consisted of sewing  2 muslins and then cutting a second one for my dress and sewing it.  This from a woman who usually tissue fits.  I always think that it will take so much time, but honestly, I have perfected the art of quick and dirty muslin sewing.  No hems, so facings and I try and keep a bolt of muslin, one of the only things I buy at Joann's with a coupon of course. I know that lots of people make 'wearable' muslins, but that has always been an oxymoron to me or an expensive muslin if it doesn't work out.  The other thing is that I would never spend that much time on cheap fabric.    I like to be able to draw on my muslin with a sharpie.  I like to mark the center front,  the cross grain and the waist so that I can see it in the mirror when I fit.  The plain light color of the muslin is helpful in seeing the wrinkles that point to fitting problems.
So why did I choose to sew a muslin for my jacket, which I had already  tissue fit, and my dress, which I also had tissue fit?  I  wasn't sure about either of the styles and I wanted to have the least amount of ripping and adjusting when I sewed the good stuff.  I usually sew jackets with princess seams, but they tend to be more fitted than I wanted for this jacket and I've never sewn a jacket like this before.
I was pleasantly surprised with the jacket's fit.  As you know I am a curvy woman, with a 36 DD bust.  One dart is not usually  the best or easiest fitting solution for me but this worked amazingly well. Why you ask?  See that dart that meets the pocket opening and how the upper pocket mouth is actually on or close to the bias?  Sewing that dart  makes  the  section of the jacket  to the left of the dart  fall on the bias.  Bias molds very nicely without this being in anyway a fitted jacket. The fit is very good.  I made all my usual alterations on the pattern, except that I started with a size 40 in the upper body, instead of the 42 that I've been using and the fit is much better. 
My upper bust measurement is just a bit more than the full bust  of the size 40.  I blended it out to a 42 by the bust line.  It's easier to get a nice line when I blend it out for the hip, where I need a 46 or a bit more depending the ease.
The dress, now that needed two muslins to get a good fit.  I'll get to that in my next post.  I want to take some photos first.

I also did some thinking and research over the weekend  on Passover  menus and recipes.  How about gluten free, vegetarian.  Lactose free would be helpful too.   I have a number of Passover cookbooks, but I found a mother lode of information on line.  Google Gluten free, vegetarian Passover main dishes and there are a ton of recipes available.  Very cool, but I still love to read my cookbooks, or novels as my dh calls them.
Edited to add that only two of the guests are vegetarian.  Two are gluten free and one, myself, is lactose intolerant.   We are having a meat main dish, but I wanted to have good food for the vegetarians too.  It is certainly doable.  I am leaning towards a vegetable curry and a quinoa pilaf.  But there will be no gluten free matzoh.  It's disgusting, and at $28, at least the year my dh was diagnosed, not worth it since he had one piece and we threw out the rest.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I just could not resist posting this latest video of Jakob, or as Josh labeled it in his email, 'Ultra Baby's First Giggle'  My son called last night to tell us he'd sent a new video of Jake and of course we logged on and watched it at least 3 times. I watched it another 3 time this morning.  At least.    I am so glad that we are going  to down to spend Passover with them.  I certainly envy grandparents who live closer to their grandchildren than we do!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a Quick Note

The phone rang today at lunch.  Not  generally something to be excited about, but we lost our phone and internet service sometime Saturday in the 'storm'.  Living in the woods as we do,  high wind storms can be pretty scary.  I kept expecting a tree to hit the house (it has happened) but we got lucky, the trees that did come down were not close to the house. 
I've been busy altering patterns for the mini wardrobe contest, so I have no sewing to actually show you.  I need to cut a muslin for my jacket.  I was supposed to do that before the contest started, but it just didn't happen. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Thank you readers for the lovely comments and good wishes.  I love hearing from you all and look forward to an even better second year.
Now to the winners of my Hot Patterns drawing.  Yes, I did find a random number generator and it has chosen:
The tuxedo blouse to Stash
The jacket goes to Lady Jenn
The Riviera top to Ruthie
Please e mail me with your mailing address and I'll get these out asap.

I have been toying with entering the mini wardrobe contest on Pattern Review that starts on
March 16 I believe.  The requirements are 4 pieces that together make 4 different looks.
Here's what I've come up with.
Black cotton jacket.
Black and white knit t shirt.  This is a copy of a Celine top done in silk, but hey, I don't need a silk t shirt
Either black pants or tan linen pants.  I don't know if I want to have a matching suit though.
Black linen and silk dress that will have Burda 127 2/110 as the base and will have a blue silk charmeuse yoke.  It will be a copy of this Celine dress. Which actually looks like its blue with a shiny blue yoke not the black I thought it was.  Maybe I'll just make it black with a shiny black yoke.  Or would this be called a placket?  What do you think?  Black with blue, or black on black? This is where having a blog is so great.  Oh, and Alex, an opinion please?  I'm planning to wear this to your grandmother's 90th birthday party.  Longer on me though.
This is the top I am copying.
My 4 looks:
pants and top
pants, top and jacket
dress and jacket
Here's my sketch of the wardrobe worked over a copy of my croquis.  With notes, of course.

Even if I don't manage to make this in a month, it's a good start for my spring sewing that I can build on.  The only fabrics I need are the blue silk and some black silk organza to underline the dress with.  I could of course use the white I have in my stash, and I may well do that.  I also need  buttons for the jacket. I am using the same silk that I lined Alex's jacket to line mine.  I think that I have enough left over. 


 Originally I thought I'd make a facsimile of the Cavalli jacket I showed a few posts ago, but the Patrones pattern I found had some drafting issues, so I went with a slightly different look.   I have altered Burda 102 4/05  where I feel more comfortable anyway.  Minus the belt.
The front has a dart that ends in the welt pocket.  I've never made a peaked lapel and I've avoided this type of dart and welt before, not having seen  good instructions.  But there are at least  minimal instructions with the Burda and I'm going to make a sample in the muslin.  Samples are good.  I've shortened the jacket and lowered the whole pocket dart ensemble to fit my gravity lowered bust and my low front waist.  The back is an armhole princess.  It's not fitted, but it's is shaped and at least the tissue fitting looks good.  I also decided that since I am a 1/4" larger in the upper bust than the size 40 bust measurement  that the size 42 I've been making is too big.  what I did do is cut a 40 in the neck and shoulders (very narrow here!)  and then I blended out to a 42 at the underarm and added to the size 44 hips to about a 46. I   didn't want to add a side dart or to increase the front dart as it doesn't fit the pocket opening if I do that.  ( I tried this before on something I didn't end up making) so I used Sandra Betzina's method for adding an fba when there is a dart and you don't want to increase it.
You can just about see it in the pattern, try clicking and enlarging the picture.
I still had to narrow the front shoulder, but it seems to line up much better with my cross front measurement. The back shoulder I left alone and added a dart to take care of my slightly rounded shoulders.   This really seems to have worked.  There is no bulge at the back armscye, which is indicative of a rounded shoulder.  Gee, you can have a flat back and rounded shoulders!  I also took my usual tuck at the upper center back for said flat back. 
The sleeve needs some biceps room in this size, so I did that adjustment.  I like the slash and spread the interior method since I never want to add to the sleeve cap ease.  In fact I removed some of the ease because cotton won't ease as well as wool.  I want  a strong shoulder, so even though this calls for a shoulder pad, and  Burda never tells you how big, I added a bit to the outside shoulder curving up to it in an attempt to get that interesting shoulder I've seen.  I added back the sleeve height that  got lowered in the alteration process.
The other thing I did was to increase the center front to the front edge of the jacket to accommodate  a larger button.  Burda never gives you a button size either and generally tends to draft for a 5/8" button.  You can figure this out by measuring from the cf to the edge of the jacket.  Ideally this distance should equal the diameter of the button you'll be using.  I don't know what buttons I will be using, but I do know that I'll want a button larger than 5/8", so I increased it a bit.
Next step is to make a muslin.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


The Hammamelis tree is blooming again and it figured in one of my earliest posts, which made me realize it has been a year since I started this blog.  I've enjoyed blogging and  hearing from people around the world.  There are a lot of garment sewers out there!  Why can't I find anyone locally is what I want to know!   I originally thought that I'd do more posts on cooking and gardening, but that hasn't been the case..  Maybe this year.  I know my son would appreciate it as he isn't all that interested in sewing, but he does read my blog as does my daughter, who comments regularly which is nice since she lives on the other side of the world. 
To celebrate my year of blogging, I am  having a give away.  Three unused, one even unopened, Hot Patterns will be auctioned off.  If I can figure out how to use a random number generator, well even find one, though I must say my internet skills have improved enormously in the last year, so I suspect I can, will be used.  To be eligible  you have to be a follower of my blog, and leave me a comment  by the time I have the drawing on Tuesday morning, March 9 Eastern Standard time.

These two ar in the old, Glamour Girl sizing of 12-20 or bust 38 to 46 that were drafted to fit B/C/D bra cup.
This one is in the current sizing and has  illustrated instructions.  It is unused, but I have some instructions on how to make this a boat neckline from one of Trudy's videos on the back of the pattern sheet.
Tell me which pattern or patterns you want and I'll put your name in the hat, so to speak.

Sewing update.
Burda jeans need hemming and more rivets as  5 fell off and I used up my extras, so there are only 3 left on.  I bought them in the city from Bottani, and stupidly didn't buy enough extras.    I didn't even use really heavy weight denim either!  The jeans look great from the front, but even after making  a muslin, I have some issues with the back.  I'll try one more pair from this pattern and if I can't fix the issues, I'll look for another pattern.  They are comfortable, so they'll be great for work.
I am also working on altering a jacket pattern and I'll post more about that next time.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I've been looking at a lot of the spring 2010 collections over on Style.com the past few days and my favorite  collection by far is Phoebe Philo's collection for Celine.  She's also featured in Vogue this month, along with other designers they consider minimalist,. with the quote "Urban  minimalism today is a simple composition of sharp angels and flat planes--with a few interesting new wrinkles (even ruffles) worked in."  Intellectually I love minimalism, in architecture, home design and clothing.  I look at design magazines and I always gravitate to the minimalist looks and my home is full of modern furniture, just not all of it.  You have to be very disciplined and rigorous to live in an architectural gem (which I don't) and your 'things', you know the stuff of everyday living, have to be tightly edited or hidden away.  I don't like clutter and my things are always carefully  arranged and they are edited,  but there is more 'stuff' than you'd see in a modern house.  Now to the clothing part.  I do not have a body that sharp angles and flat planes look good on.  I am an overweight, curvy middle aged woman.   Most definitely not  the body that these are designed for.  I love modernism and these say modern to me.  No prints in sight either.   As with living in a modern home,  having a style, or even being stylish takes a lot of work.  Careful editing of my fabric and pattern choices are necessary.  But, while I am a modernist, I am also kind of eclectic and I like a little more variety in my wardrobe, though I am pretty limited in my color choices.  I like a few prints to break up the expanse of a larger body.  Those size 0 models don't obviously have this issue.  I do love the fabric choices and these are accessible to me.  The other issue is finding patterns that fit this aesthetic.  Vogue's latest offerings are girly in the extreme and I most definitely don't  do girly. The others of the big 4 lack lack a sleekness and the detail that I am looking for.  They don't look modern to my eye at all.  Burda mag has been lacking too in the last few months.
What do I like about the Celine collection that I can emulate?  The wonderful wide legged  pants in camel linen with black pocket welts and details.  The black stripe down the side seam.  Simple white blouses and interesting construction.  What I really like about this collection is the timelessness of it all.  Obviously I won't be buying it, but I like to take my time with my sewing and love good finishing, so timeless design that won't go out of style quickly is a very good thing.

I love the black leather lacing of the above dress.  She used it on some tops too.  I still like the inspirations  I posted from Net a Porter, but see what I mean about  my style being a bit eclectic?  I am not anal enough, nor disciplined enough to stick to one really defined style.  It takes a lot of work too.
Shopbob sent me an email with a shop the styles message.  They were showing Bohemian, girly, casual chic, downtown and classic. No minimalism here.   Do you fit into any of these or are you even interested in being 'stylish' in a certain narrow category?