Here we are at the last day of August. Ay yi yi, where has the summer gone? Tomorrow, September 1, is Labor Day here in the US, and, along with the holiday, it is the start of National Sewing Month! I thought it would be fun to do a very loose sew along to mark the month. So I looked through my pattern stash and I realized I have at least 4 different wrap dress patterns. That’s when I had a lightbulb moment: let’s make wrap dresses for September! And I shall call it…


Here are the four patterns I pulled from my stash:

4 Weeks, 4 Wrap Dresses? We’ll see.

Clockwise from bottom left: StyleArc’s Kate, the ever-elusive Vogue 1549 by Diane Von Furstenberg, Very Easy Vogue 8646 and StyleArc’s Tia.

I have two fabrics in my stash that I will use for two of the dresses: one is a sold-out black/white print, the other is Abstract Zigs Rayon Jersey – Blues/Multi. Both are, of course, from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Whether I will make all four dresses in September is up in the air. But I think I’ll start with Vogue 8646 and the black/white ITY jersey. Today it’s really hot, so I am tempted to make the sleeveless version. That should see me through September and into cooler weather under a jacket. I am leaning toward using the Abstract Zigs with the Kate pattern, but I might use it for the DVF. I can make that decision later.

In the meantime, who wants to join me? Leave a comment and let me know if you are in, and what you’re planning to make. What other patterns for wrap dresses do you like? It can include mock-wrap, if you prefer. You don’t have to use Gorgeous Fabrics, though of course that is always appreciated. 🙂

Let’s have a Wrap-dacious, Wrapapalooza September! It will be fun, it will be fashionable and it will be fabulous! Okay, I’m off to check my pattern measurements and pre-wash my fabric so I can get going tomorrow.

Happy sewing!

Gremlins Stole My Onion Pattern!

Taa daaaa!
I swear to God, I had it on Wednesday. I decided to trace the pants first, so I put it aside and now it is nowhere, nowhere to be found. So rather than not finish my own sewalong on time, I dropped back and punted. I used Simplicity 2603, using the blue for a contrast band. I took all sorts of shortcuts on it. I serged everything, including the armholes and hem. But it’s not couture, and I’m going to be wearing it under a robe most of the time, so this will be just fine!

Of course, now that I finished my pajamas, you know the gremlins will return my pattern, don’t you? Well, that’ll be okay – I have enough of both the black and the blue rayon fabrics to make the Onion henley once it comes back.

Next up, I’m either going to make my HotPatterns jeans or my Paco Peralta jacket. I’ll let you know which once I decide.

Happy sewing!

No Progress Yesterday

In a classic example of how the best laid plans can get shot to hell, DS the elder decided to throw an impromptu movie watching party. So yesterday, instead of sewing, I spent the day cleaning and shopping. I’ll get back into the sewing room today. I hope you all had a great Friday. How far did others get on their jammies? I see Nancy finished hers. Anyone else?

Thanksgiving Weekend Pajama Sew Along Has Begun!

Greetings and Thanksgiving salutations everyone!

If you are in the US or a US citizen, Happy Thanksgiving! And regardless of your nationality or affiliation, I hope you are having a great week. The minute the work day ended today I started sewing. So far I have the pants almost done. The great thing about jammies is that they are pretty easy and fast. I raised the waistband on the original pants by about 2 inches.
Pants are more than halfway done
So here’s where I stand. I’ve cut and sewn the pant legs. I have a great little tool for installing eyelets, snaps and rivets. Unfortunately, and you can see it here, I managed to mix up the dies, so I need to figure out which one installs the eyelets for the drawstring.
Grommit! Help!
I ran out of time to do that tonight because my neighbors were having their annual Night-before-Thanksgiving bash, and we went to that. So tomorrow, no – Friday, I’ll find the right die and get the eyelets installed. Then I’ll hem the pants and get going on the top.

So how is everyone doing on their pajamas?

And BTW – don’t forget that the Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics is still going on until I go to bed this Sunday. And on top of that, FB Peeps get to see the results of burn tests on different types of fabrics. So if you aren’t a Peep, why not?

Happy Thanksgiving and Sewing!

Pajama Sewalong Update and a Cool Tool

All my fabric is prewashed and ready to go. These are the Puma jammies that I want to more or less copy.
Puma Jammies
Sorry they’re wrinkly. I wear them. For my version, I’m using 11oz Black Rayon jersey for the main body of the pajamas. It’s all washed and folded and sitting in one of the myriad piles of laundry that needs to be put away. Weekends, don’t you know. I’m going to use this blue rayon for the trim:
Sold out, sorry!

I’ve got to trace off my Onion Top Pattern and my Jalie Pants Pattern, then I should be ready to start cutting and sewing on Wednesday night after we knock off for the holiday weekend.

Speaking of Which….
Here’s a public service announcement. Gorgeous Fabrics’ warehouse will be closed starting Thursday, November 25th in observance of the Thanksgiving Day weekend. We will reopen on Monday, November 29th. You can still place orders on the website all weekend long. Any orders that come in after 5:00 on Tuesday, November 23rd will ship when we return next week.

Cool Tool!
You all know that I’m a fiend for pressing while you sew. I’m also pretty keen on keeping garments pressed and wrinkle free after they are sewn. In addition to a good iron, one of the handiest tools you can have in your arsenal is a steamer. The ne plus ultre of steamers, of course, is made by Jiffy Steamers. Unfortunately, a starting price of $189 plus shipping can put them out of reach of most of us. But, I found a great little substitute a few years back from SteamFast. I bought mine for $40 at Tuesday Morning, a discount store near the office. I figured for that price, if I got a year out of it I’d be ahead of the game. Can I just tell you? It’s a trouper. I’ve had it now for close to 3 years and it is going strong. I bought another one for the studio. It produces a lot of steam and gets wrinkles right out of clothing. In fact, it produces so much steam that I use it in the bathroom with the fan on, otherwise it sets of the smoke detector in the hall outside my sewing room at home!

Before Steaming
After Steaming

Parting Shot – an Homage to Cidell and Shannon
Cidell and Shannon both have beautiful hands and they like to show off their beautiful manicures. So since they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, here’s my manicure:
Howcum my nail pictures are all fuzzy?
Okay, it’s a lousy picture. I need to fiddle with the settings on my camera to get it looking as nice as theirs. Oh well. My nail color is Glitzerland, from the Swiss Collection. I thought it would be nice for Thanksgiving.

So enough about moi, how are you all coming with your Pajama Sewalong fabrics and patterns?

Happy sewing!

Quick Holiday Project – Table Runner

Since the holidays are nigh upon us, here’s a useful, quick project.

20 Minute Table Runner
You know the feeling. The phone rings.

“Hi honey. I forgot to tell you that the our brand new neighbors with the teenager who is old enough to babysit for us are holding a little get together at their house tonight. Meet me there at 7:30, would you?”

Panic sets in. You know the rule. Never show up to  a party without a hostess gift, especially if you’re on the hunt for a local babysitter and you want to butter up her folks. But what to bring on such short notice? Wine is nice, but cliché and difficult to purchase for someone else. Plus, it could send the wrong message to the potential babysitter’s parents. Flowers? Boring. How about a decorative item for the home? Bingo! Here’s a gift that is as lovely to look at as it is simple to make. These instructions are for a runner whose finished dimensions are 9 inches by 60 inches (without trim), but you can easily make it for any size table by varying the dimensions of your rectangle.

First, cut a rectangle 10 inches wide by 61 inches long. I made mine from silk shantung, but you can use any firmly woven fabric like silk, cotton, or home-dec fabric. Make a ½ inch narrow hem on each long side of the rectangle:
Narrow Hem

Topstitch along the edge. In this case, I used metallic gold thread in the needle, and thread to match my fabric in the bobbin. You can use decorative stitches here, if you like.

On the short edges of your rectangle, fold under a scant ¼ inch. On the right side, baste fringe or trim to the edge, with the ribbon even with the folded edge, as shown:
Basted Trim

Stitch close to the trim edge, using a zipper foot to get as close as possible.
Stitch close to trim

Fold under another ¼ inch and press, so your trim looks like this:
Trim folded under

Topstitch close to the edge, being careful to keep your fringe free. Trim all loose threads, press and, ta daa! A lovely hostess gift that takes longer to explain how to make than it does to actually make it. You can get creative by piecing different colors and fabrics, if you wish, and you can use all sorts of trims and/or decorative stitches to embellish your table runner. Your babysitting will be ensured, and you will be a hit with your hosts!

I’ll be washing my fabric for the Pajama Sewalong today. There’s still lots of time to join – we won’t start sewing until next Wednesday (well, officially, anyway). So if you want to join the fun, come on down!
Here’s the link for the Thanksgiving Pajamas Sewalong Flickr Group

Happy sewing!

Thanksgiving Weekend PJ Sewalong – My Fabric and Patterns

I decided to go with the 11 oz. Rayon Jersey in Black. I like the feel of it and I figure I can regulate my temperature by throwing on or taking off a robe or wrap. I think I’m going to trim it with some Ice Blue jersey that has since sold out. I have the header, and it will be perfect for the trim. I think I may also make a set in Peacock Rayon Jersey with self trim, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so I’ll start with the black.

So how about you? What fabric and patterns are you guys using?

Parting Story: Poor Mary

A few years ago, my then choir director, Ryan, who is now the number two guy at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, asked me to do a solo for Christmas called “Poor Mary”
“Poor Mary”, Ann Steeves, Soprano, and Ryan Murphy, Piano

“Poor Mary” was written by Katherine K. Davis, who is best known for “The Little Drummer Boy”. This is one of her least known works. But Renee Fleming sang it with the MoTab (thanks for that, Becky!) back in 2006 or so. Ryan, who is one of the world’s best musicians (and I’m not exaggerating when I say that), pulled together the melody line for me, and improvised the piano accompaniment.

So with that as the background, I get calls every year around this time from people who are dying to do that song and want the music. Alas, I don’t think there is a piano reduction anywhere. We just wung that mother. However, if anyone is looking for any of Katherine K. Davis’ works, she left them all to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, MA. I’d give them a call and see if they have a copy available.

Happy singing and sewing!

Anyone Up for a Thanksgiving Weekend Jammies Sewalong?

Allyn and I got talking on Facebook, and we thought a pajama sew-along might be fun. Anyone want to join us? We are planning on doing it over the Thanksgiving Day weekend here in the States. So we’d start up next Wednesday night. Between now and then gives us time to get the pattern(s) and fabrics. Anyone want to join?

11-15 ETA:
Wow – looks like I’m not the only one who wants a new set of jammies! I’ve started a Flickr group so you can post your photos and progress

Thanksgiving Weekend 2010 Pajama Sewalong Flickr Group. Anyone can join along, and there are just a few rules, which boil down to “stay on topic”. So come on over and let’s make some sleepwear!

Feel free to make sleepwear for any of your family/loved ones as part of this sewalong. I’m making jammies for me, but some folks want to make them for kids, spouses, etc. And if you prefer a slinky negligee instead of pajamas? Be my guest. I’m a total newb at running sewalongs, but I’ve posted the picture of the OOP Jalie yoga pants I’m going to use. I’ll post pictures of my fabric when I have it. Feel free to add your pictures as we go! First up, if you want a suggestion, is to post your pattern and/or fabric choices.