Another J Stern Tee

No need to do a review of this. I used the exact same technique to make it as I did with the version I made for My Niece’s Christmas Present last year. I used the sister of the fabric I used for hers. Where hers was brown and white, mine is black and white with little glitter sparkles. Glitter sparkles, as you may know, are a pain in the butt to work with. Glitter, glitter everywhere! Here’s a tip I wrote for taming glitter, but because it was snowing and cold out all day today I couldn’t actually use my own tip. I’ll just bring the vacuum cleaner up tonight and try to pick up as much as I can.

Bad Erica, No Biscuit!
Thanks to Erica B’s post today, I went traipsing off to my local JoAnn in search of a bunch of McCalls early spring patterns. They tried their best to hide them, but I found the ones I wanted. They aren’t in the catalog yet, but here are the ones I picked to click. First up are two cute dresses for spring. The first one is a ruffled wrap dress that will work up really nicely in one of the Cottons at Gorgeous Fabrics. I’m thinking Seersucker. Or maybe Eyelet!

This one will be great in a cotton for spring:

I just LOVE this one. I’m going to make it as soon as I’m able.

As Erica pointed out, this is a classic blouse. You can never have too many classic blouses.

DH has been an absolute saint, helping me through everything and going to appointments with me, so I owe him at least a nice shirt.

This jacket has many of the hallmarks of a Chanel-style topper. Leave off the crafty crap and use a classic trim or combination of trims for a look that will work equally well over a dress or on top of jeans.

While I was there, I also picked up this adorable little wrist pincushion

How incredibly cute is that? I grow heirloom tomatoes in the summer, and my favorites are always the yellow ones. I couldn’t resist!

Happy sewing!

Working on Two Things….

Well, the tree is down, the decorations are stored for another year. The laundry is done and the kids have finished their vacation homework, so it’s time to hit the sewing room. Right now I’m finishing up another version of JStern’s Tee, using Dance on the Wild Side Mesh from Gorgeous Fabrics:

I started cutting it out at noon on Christmas Eve, but between trying to do Christmas with my family and blowing town right after, it’s still in pieces on the sewing table. It will be a fun top for celebratory affairs like Valentine’s day, my friend Barb’s birthday, etc. I’ll try to finish it today and post pictures.

The other thing I’m ready to start working on seriously is my Chanel-style jacket. That’s the one I started with Susan Khalje when she was in town. It’s completely quilted and ready to start sewing. I’m so excited about it! Susan is an absolute font of knowledge and she’s written one of the best articles about making a Chanel-style jacket. You can order it directly from Taunton Press. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. I think it’s one of the best resources out there. She was telling us that when she wrote the article, Chanel was incredibly helpful, opening their archives and letting her really study the construction of jackets up close and personal. I also love her online article about choosing trim for a Chanel-style jacket.

For my version, I’m using Vogue 7975.

Susan showed us in class how to convert the pattern’s two-piece sleeve to a more Chanel-like three piece sleeve, canting the bottom part of the sleeve vent to make the trim sit beautifully. I’ll post pictures of the results when I’m done. I don’t have the trim yet. I hope to be able to get to New York at some point in January to purchase the perfect trim(s) for it. We’ll see how things go on Tuesday and hopefully I’ll get to M&J or Tinsel Trading before the end of the month. It’s a spring color jacket, so I don’t have to rush, but it sure would be nice to have it ready for Easter. We’ll see how it goes!

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes. I’ll be out of commission Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, though the warehouse and the guys will be processing orders and shipping things out. Tuesday is the surgery and Wednesday I’ll be recovering (hopefully). So I don’t know when I’ll be blogging actively. Hopefully not too long from now. Well, I’m hoping you’ll see the latest top this afternoon, but after that… we’ll see. Wish me luck. Thanks for everything, and of course,

Keep on sewing!

Lingerie Lust

I haven’t had any desire to sew lingerie before. I’ve made bathrobes for various family members. But I’m not into making my own bras, panties, negligees, teddies, camisoles, garter belts, or anything like that. I think that’s about to change! Hotpatterns just released some a new collection called Boudoir of Bliss (cheeky devils, Trudy and Jeremy!) Bliss is right. There are three patterns in this collection that I’m positively drooling over. First Up, the Trousseau Nightgown and Robe.

How do I love this? Let me count the ways. I’m particularly gaga over the gown. I love the lines, I love the drape, and I just got in the most perfect 70-denier microfiber jersey to make it with. I’ll have that up on Gorgeous Fabrics tomorrow, and I’ll place an order then, too. I’m not generally a big robe gal, but I think this will make a lovely exception. And I can wear it when I don’t feel like schlubbing around (not like I ever really schlub around) in my plaid fleece robe.

The second pattern that caught my eye is the Buckingham Beauty Nightgown and Nightshirt. On nights and weekends when I am not in the mood to be a sexy thang, this is the kind of sleep shirt I love. I go for the shorter version. This will look great in a cotton shirting like this Striped Cotton Shirting in Blue and White.

The third one I want want want is the Bel-Air Lounging Pajamas. I just love the idea of making it with Silk Charmeuse in True Red, using the face for the bulk of the garment, and the matte reverse for the trim. I’ll probably make a camisole to wear underneath the robe. I like camis with my jammies. The rest of the collection looks great too. But these are the three that I’m going to buy.

I’m almost done with my dress. I got slowed up earlier this week when I got some news that knocked the wind out of my sails. But today I sat down and put it all together except the CB seam. I’m debating between a lapped zipper application or an invisible zip. I think I’ll go for the latter. I hope to have it finished by Sunday night.

Tomorrow is the monthly meeting for the New England Chapter of ASDP, of which I’m program chair. If you’re in the Boston/Worcester area, it’s going to be a great meeting and it’s open to the public! The speaker is Jennifer Stern of J Stern Designs. She’s giving a talk on making jeans, with lots of samples, examples and demonstrations. The details are as follows:
Date: Saturday November 14, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM
Cost: Free for ASDP members, $20 for the general public. It’s going to be worth it!
Address/Directions: 12 Woodward Avenue, Berlin, MA
From Route 495:Take the RT-62 W exit, EXIT 26, toward BERLIN/CLINTON. Turn LEFT onto MA-62/COOLIDGE ST. Continue to follow MA-62.  2.0 miWoodward Ave. is on the right and Town Hall is on the hill to the left at #12 Woodward Ave.

That’s all for now. I’m tired. It looks like it’ll be a good weekend to finish my dress. I’ll post pictures and lots of information as soon as it’s done.

Happy sewing!

Weekend Recap and an Expo Lament


I hope you all had a great weekend! I didn’t get any sewing done, because I spent Saturday working as an Ambassador at the Sewing and Craft Expo in Worcester, MA. Then Sunday we decided to take the kids to Newport RI and spend the day.

I have to tell you, I was really saddened by the state of the Sewing and Craft Expo. Considering that sewing seems to be undergoing a resurgence, it was so disappointing to see what is going on at the Expo. Mind you, I only had a day there, so perhaps there were things that I missed, but I don’t think so. There were far fewer vendors there this year than in years past. And there was a lot of non-sewing stuff (massagers, basement finishing). On the plus side, I did get to meet Jennifer Stern of J. Stern Designs. She is delightful, and she gave me a gift of her latest patterns. I’ll be reviewing them (with all appropriate disclaimers) soon, I hope.

I was the ambassador, which translates roughly into “ticket taker and classroom assistant” for three classes. One class was taught by Peggy Sagers. I love Peggy. She’s no-nonsense, opinionated and outspoken. Hmmmm – who does she remind me of? Her class was about debunking common sewing myths. While I didn’t agree with everything she said, I certainly agreed with most of it.

The other two classes were more craft oriented. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to cast a gimlet eye at “craft” and many of the purveyors thereof. So it was an interesting lesson in self-restraint to sit through these classes. One was about machine embroidery. I know many of you love it, but I find machine embroidery to be a complete waste of thread. Sorry. That’s how I feel. The other class was about easy embellishment techniques. Okay – “easy” and “embellishment techniques” do not belong in the same sentence in my universe. If you are going to embellish something, it should be spectacular. Needle felting, fabric paints and cutesy appliqué? Sorry, not my bag. Don’t get offended. I’m just saying it isn’t for me. I feel the same way about free jazz, NASCAR and body piercings. I’d never tell someone else not to partake, but I school my facial expressions to keep them very bland, and make my grocery list in my head the entire time.

What I did enjoy about these classes was the unbridled enthusiasm of both the instructors. They brought the same sense of joy to their seminars that I try to bring to my garment sewing classes. And that’s what you’re paying for, right? The expertise and enthusiasm of the teacher. That was what kept me from running screaming from the room when they pulled out the refashioned, embroidered sweatshirts. Those have no place in ANY universe. Ever.

Sunday was fun. We packed the kids up early and headed to Newport, RI to spend the day. If you haven’t been to Newport and get the chance, I really recommend it. At the turn of the last century, it was the summer playground for the robber barons and New York society. My sons had never been there. We wanted to go to see the Doris Duke exhibit, Shop Like an Heiress at Rough Point, her Newport estate. Unfortunately, the estate was closed for a private event, so we went to Rosecliff instead. Rosecliff is most famous for being used as a setting for the 1974 Robert Redford film, “The Great Gatsby”. It was simply stunning. I had been there as a kid, but not in recent years. We picked a lovely day to visit. After taking the tour of the mansion, we went walking along the Cliff Walk, then headed into town for lunch and puttering about. Newport is built on a beautiful sheltered harbor, and the weather was warm enough that we didn’t need our jackets. On the way home, we stopped for dinner at Phyllis’ house. Most excellent salmon, Phyllis!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend. I’m waiting for my Marfys, so I am going to start working on the new Jalie Faux Wrap Top. It’s all cut out. I’ll review it once I have it finished.

Parting Shot: The boys and me at Rosecliff. I think it’s time to change my hair color. Stay tuned for that one…

Oh and see the handbag? It’s an Emmett McCarthy.

Happy sewing!

Transitional Top – J. Stern Tee Take 3

It’s another J. Stern Tee – I hope you’re not bored yet. I’m not! This has turned into a staple in my wardrobe. Part of what I like is the shape. I also love the fact that I do not have to do an FBA. This time I did a slight variation on the Meshin’ Around version that I made for my niece. For mine. I used two fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics: Garden Sweet Jersey as the underlay and Stretch Chantilly Lace in purple tones as the overlay.
I underlined the lower front and back bodice pieces, and the upper side and upper back pieces. That leaves the sleeves and the upper center with just the lace. Here’s the final result:

I really like this version! I’m wearing it now, but you won’t see a picture of me in it until later. That’s a funny story that I’ll leave you with.

Now, I’m as vain as the next person, right? Nope, vainer, but that’s for another conversation. Anyway, I was at my dermatologist getting my moles checked. As an aside, thank you, DSis, for getting melanoma. Now whenever my derm needs a tuition payment she calls me in and takes a few hunks out of my hide. So I was talking with her, and I said, “Gee, you know this pigmentation on my left cheek really bugs me.” It’s a melasma I have left over from my pregnancy with DS the younger. She looked at it, figured she could cover a couple of textbook costs, and said, “You know, we could do a peel and that would take it down quite a lot.”

So I said yes. She came back in a few minutes later with swabs of stuff and had me sit back in the chair and said, “You don’t have anything big this weekend, do you?”

“No…”

“Good!”

And she proceded to wipe this stuff all over my face. It was no big deal actually – a little tingling and not much more. She admonished me to keep sunscreen on (no problem – I’m the sunscreen queen) for the next couple of days. As I got ready to walk out she told me that I could expect to see some flaking starting Thursday or Friday.

Riiiiiiight…..

“Some flaking” translates roughly to “You’re going to look like an extra in some horror flick for two days. Don’t go for a walk in your neighborhood or you’ll scare the children and set the dogs howling in fear.”

So starting last night, the “some flaking” started. It’s mostly gone now. And yay! So is much of the melasma. Modern medicine really does work. But I’m not letting anyone take any pictures of me until it’s all done.

I have a great fabric that I want to make into a skirt this weekend. It’s very springy. Stay tuned!

Happy sewing!

Another Spring-like Top

I won’t bother to review it, since it is another J Stern Designs Tee. But I made another springy top to put me in the mood for warmer weather! I used another rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. This time I used 11 oz. Rayon Jersey in Blue Skies. I cut a size medium (definitely going to be a “thin day” top). I constructed it pretty much as usual, with the exception of the neckline. Rather than following the pattern’s instructions for applying the neckband, I did what I call the Kwik Sew method. For a size medium, I cut a 20 inch by 1 inch strip of the rayon jersey on the crosswise wale. I sewed the ends together in a 1/4 inch seam, and divided the band into quarters, marking each with a pin.

I divided the neckline similarly, placing pins at center front, center back, and halfway between on either side. I matched up the pins, sewed the band to the neckline, easing the neck onto the band and thereby snugging it up, and voila! A successful neckline with no hassle!
I have another 11 oz. jersey that I think I’ll make into a Jalie tee next. Stay tuned!

Happy sewing!

Ugh!

Here’s what we woke up to today.

I don’t complain too much about the weather, because it doesn’t do any good. But I have to admit, I am sick to death of winter right now. The kids had today off from school anyway (staff development day), so it doesn’t affect them. But it does affect everything else. Ugh indeed.

But on happier notes, today is DH’s birthday. Happy birthday darling!!! To celebrate, we went out to a local steakhouse with the boys last night. OMG, I think I ate way too much, but it was so good. The boys split a steak. DH and I should have split a steak, but we didn’t, so we have lots of leftovers for lunch today. Though I have to admit, I’m still really full and can’t even contemplate eating anything more.

The snow seems to have lifted for the time being, so it’s time to contemplate shoveling before the next bands come through. Maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee first.

Oh, want to see what I got? I have been jonesing for a full body dress form since I saw Laura Bennett’s. So to celebrate DH’s birthday (any port in a storm), I put in an offer for one from the same eBay seller where Sewing Diva Phyllis got hers.

Now I have to figure out where I’m going to put it.

Since I’m so tired of winter, and since I won’t have the pattern to complete my Burda jumper/KS turtleneck until Thursday, I think I’m going to cut out and make a bunch of tee shirts. I have 1-yard lengths of rayon jerseys in several easter-egg colors that I used for a presentation at the Boston Fashion Meetup. I think I’ll toss them in the washer, then make them up into J.Stern and Jalie tees. I am working on a Project Runway top from Simplicity that I’ll review later (not impressed). But that’s black and silver and I need some color to alleviate the winter blahs.

Well, coffee is done; it’s time to get dressed and start shoveling.

Stay warm and happy sewing!

Meshin’ Around

I’m feeling under the weather today. I always get sick after Thanksgiving. I think I must be allergic to turkey. I can’t even begin to face food today, so I figured I would let DH take the kids while I pop tums and spend time in my sewing room. I’m trying to clear out some stash fabric (yeah, as if!), and I had a couple of pieces I had grabbed for a brown fall grouping. One of them is a super soft jersey (since sold out, sorry) in bittersweet chocolate. The other is a really fun (also sold out) Walk on the Wild Side Mesh.

I had this idea that a mesh top would be nice, but face it – unless you are 17 years old and live in a very warm clime, a mesh top is a wee bit impractical. Plus, I went through that phase back in the early 90s where I would wear a sheer top with a black bra, and there is no way I’m going back to that club girl look. That would be very, very bad.

The idea came to me to make a top that has a built in liner, and I immediately thought of J. Stern Designs Tee Pattern. The design has separate pieces for the upper and lower bodice, so it would work perfectly with no alterations. I set to work.

It really was quite simple. I’ve already made this tee, and You can see my review of it here. I made a few changes to get the results I desired. First, I cut the lower front and lower back bodice pieces from both fabrics:

I underlined the lace with the solid jersey, basting them together and then treating them as one fabric.

I cut the bodice top pieces and the sleeves from just the lace. Though if you want, you can create a nice design touch by underlining the sleeves and bodice side front, leaving just the upper front and upper back bodice pieces unlined.
To sew the lace pieces, I set the stitch length on my serger to 2mm. That’s about half the stitch length that I usually use, but since this mesh is so, well, meshy, I wanted to be sure there was enough coverage in the seam. I also reinforced the shoulders with a 1/4 inch strip of fusible tricot interfacing sewn into the seam.

I made a 1-inch by 19 inch facing strip for the neckline using the solid jersey. I eased the neckline onto that using a 2.5 mm zigzag stitch. I would have preferred to use my coverstitch machine (yes, one of these days I will get around to posting about that beast!), but I really don’t feel up to leaving the house. So I made do.

Finally, I did a narrow overlock on the hems of the top. Again, had I been feeling up to it I would have prefered to head up to the studio and run it through the CS. Next time. Here you can see the result on Shelley.

I really like the fact that this gives the pattern a completely different look. I’m thinking I’ll give this to my neice when she comes home for Christmas. I think it will look really cute on her, and it will give her something to wear for New Years.

Tomorrow I hope to make lots of progress on my coat if I’m feeling better. Tatiana’s dress is also coming along, but she wants to change some of the design. Tell me again why I wanted to do this? Oh yeah… it’s a challenge!

Happy sewing!