Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Present

I usually don't knit or sew Christmas presents, I never seem to have enough time that time of the year and I don't like to give myself extra stress. But this year I remembered that I had the supplies to make the Two-hour tote bag.

My brother teaches at Fordham University and like your typical professor he is always loaded with canvas tote bags. I knew this would be a useful gift for him. I bought the canvas fabric at Joann's as well as the cotton straps. The fabric was a little light so I interlined the bag with muslin and made the width of the bag narrower by a couple inches so that it would hold its shape better when loaded with books. He loved it and didn't waste any time filling it up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Simplicity 4500 Skirt

I made this skirt with a beautiful wool gabardine from my stash. The fabric has a wonderful drape and it feels all swishy and feminine on.
Working with this fabric was a nightmare. You must believe what they say about gabardine. It was a bear to iron. Knowing that it was a hard to work with fabric I chose a simple design, but even simple designs require pressing to look good. I lined it with silver Bemberg rayon, the pattern does not include a lining so I just used the skirt piece and attached it to the facing, and with hand stitches and in the groove of the seam of the facing I tacked together the facing to the waistband. I also made a pseudo crochet chain with sewing thread to keep the lining attached to the fashion fabric at the hem. I used seam binding for the fashion fabric hem (I love how this finish looks!).
As you can see I have a beautiful coordinating wool waiting to be made up in the jacket ( I really like the version with the belt). The colors of the last picture are truer to life.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I am a winner!!

Imagine my surprise when yesterday I saw that I had an email from The Well-Heeled Society telling me I was the winner of the holiday giveaway. I couldn't believe it! Go check out the goodies I won.

Well , it has been two weeks since my surgery and I feel so good I started to notice how much cleaning I need to do...I have been knitting a lot while I had my feet up and the Tilted Duster from Interweave Knits is half way done.

I hope to have pictures up tomorrow of a couple of completed projects.

Thank you all for your wishes for my quick recovery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In recovery

Well, I am recovering from surgery and slowly feeling like my old self. I am thrilled to have it behind me and now I'm ready for the holidays and to continue with my many projects.

I have a finished skirt to show you and a finished sweater I knitted. I also made a few purchases that I plan to photograph and share with you.

See you very soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feliz cumpleanos papi

Today is my father's birthday, he passed away in 1992.
My father was a loving and devoted husband and father, and the gentlest man I have ever met. His patience had no bounds , he taught my mother and my brother and I how to drive in the city streets and survived, still loving us.
He allowed us to be ourselves and he was always there for us.
I chose to be an engineer like my father because of my love of math. My first year in school was horrible, I was constantly doubting that I could do it. My father told me to follow my heart and that if I wanted to continue to do it because I want it to not because of him. I know he was proud to have a daughter engineer, but he would have been proud regardless, he just wanted my happiness.
My father was kind to everyone, and respected by everyone he knew. He was a peace maker smoothing a lot of rifts between our extended families. Everyone knew he was the man to go to for sound advice, he never judged he just tried to help.
He was a talented engineer who also could name a classical piece of music and its composer as soon as the first notes were played, he appreciated art in all its forms, he was an avid reader and loved movies...not your typical engineer.
I am proud to be his daughter, and I hope that I continue to make him proud.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Patrones Extra Febrero 2006 Modelo 48 Dolce & Gabbana skirt

Well, I finally got to wear my Patrones skirt today to my interpreting assignment and had my mom (who graciously offered to watch my kids while I worked) take some pictures.

As you can see this is a very simple pencil skirt, two darts in the back, two in front, zipper on the side seam. I made myself work harder because it is from Patrones magazine. I am used to tracing because I make lots of Burda WOF, but Patrones is even skimpier in its information. For example, I did not know how low this skirt would sit on my waist(about 1 1/2 in), that info is not given, and usually you cannot tell by the picture on the model. I chose to line my skirt up the waistline and skip the facings. I finished the waistline with topstitching to secure the lining to the fashion fabric.

The jacket I am wearing is from a Burda WOF which I made a while ago, I am thrilled that I made myself an outfit with a piece I already had. The fabric for the skirt was in my stash, a satin cotton with stretch which I believe came from Joann's. The lining also from my stash came from a local fabric outlet store that has since closed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

One of those days...

I have been working on the skirt of this pattern for the last couple of days and well it has been an odyssey...

I discovered two beautiful coordinating fabrics in my stash a steel blue wool twill and a coordinating tweed. I decided this was the perfect pattern. My job as an interpreter has picked up in frequency and I really need some work oriented things.

I first discovered that the twill had been victim of moths (I had a problem with them a while ago). I thought I could not fit the circle skirt (half circle?) on the fold but I could if I added seam allowances to the back center piece. When I started cutting I realized I could have fitted both on the fold but by now I had convinced myself that I liked my modification which allowed me to put the zipper in the back for ease of fitting. Now I still have enough fabric to make a vest, I'm happy.

The story does not end there...I decided to quickly go to Joann's to pick up some Bemberg for the lining. I took my husband's car after he told me it was fully gassed. After leaving the garage I realized the tank was empty....ok quick trip to the station and I was off.
When I got to Joann's I realized I had left both fliers (from the mail and newspaper) at home...oh well I'll pay full prize but I will also get two Vogue patterns I want, since the newspaper flier said they were $3.99. When I get to the register they come up 40% off and of course I don't have the flier to show them the ad. I leave the patterns, I consoled myself with the fact that after all I did get the most important item. I get home and realize that the 2 yards I bought will not be enough...

My next entry I hope will have pictures of both the skirts (the Patrones and the Simplicity).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stitches East

This was my first visit to Stitches East, at the Baltimore Convention Center. It was great fun! Above you can see my new acquisitions. I bought enough Peruvian by Berroco to make the Tilted Duster from Fall 2007 Interweave Knits in a beautiful brown. The purple yarn is from Valley Yarns to make one of their patterns, the yarn is a beautiful blend of cotton, rayon and silk (Goshen). I also treated myself to Norah Gaughan vol 1 and to some beautiful lace weight cashmere at an irresistible price. I also got to meet Lily Chin, she was very nice. She signed her Couture Crochet book in Spanish for my mom and even talked to us in Spanish. I have been wanting her book, so now mom and I will share it, of course I'm not even close to couture level in crochet (now my mom... I will be putting some orders in)

Thanks to Large Marge ( for telling me all about Stitches East, she was in The Celtic Knot Yarn Shop booth and we had such fun talking about what we saw and our purchases. Large Marge and I met at our kids bus stop, not only did we find out that we share a hispanic background, we also love to knit. I will be going to the weekly get together for the knitting group she and her friend created K1P2 (check them out in the Yahoo! groups if you are in the area).

I hope my next post is about the Patrones skirt I have been working on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Disappointing show

I love Martha Stewart. I love her taste when it comes to decorating and I loved her old shows where you couldn't help to learn something new everytime.

Her new show however has been nothing but disappointing. I started to watch it when it first aired (her triumphant return) and I decided that it was superficial.

Because today's show was about sewing and Tim Gunn was going to be there I gave it another try. Oh well, it was nice to see Tim Gunn but that was about it. The entire show was promoting...Pfaff sewing machine, Tim's show, Martha's new line at Macy's (which I can't wait to go inspect) and Martha's line at Michaels.

Did I learn anything? No. Not even a good project to try. And the show and tells from the audience? I know a lot of talented ladies on the net that could have really dazzled the viewers ( I kept thinking of Cidell and how Martha really missed out when she lost her number).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Butterick 4976

I was all excited about finally using the black and white jersey from Gorgeous Things. It was the first fabric that Ann sold and I fell in love as soon as I saw it made up in the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan dress.

Well, I don't have that pattern but the Butterick that looks a lot like it. However when I went to modify the pattern I noticed that the waist band sash does not fit the contrasting band of the fabric. I contacted Ann and she said hers just fitted the band. Well the Butterick patterns sash is folded down and then sewn unto the dress. Then I could split the band in half add seam allowances and put the sash and tie ends back together. Unfortunately, even though I bought three yards of the fabric I don't have enough of the contrast band to do this.
I believe the sash in the Cosmopolitan dress is part of the dress itself (right Ann?) and that is why it fitted so nicely on the band.
Well, I guess I have several options:
1. Buy the Cosmopolitan pattern and use the fabric or

2. Buy the Cha Cha dress pattern (which I also want) and use the fabric
make the Butterick with two other coordinating fabrics.

What would you do Ann?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What I have been up to

It has been a while since I posted. I have been on vacation (to Montreal), have welcomed my brother's girlfriend to our family and have gotten the kids ready for school. Also my job as an interpreter for the county's school system picked up and have been very busy helping some families in need of communication.
The above picture was taking in the greenhouse of the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Now, I have been to many beautiful gardens but the Montreal Botanical Gardens are the most heavenly I have ever been to. My family and I spent seven hours there and if it hadn't been for exhaustion and the fact that they closed, I would have stayed there longer. I highly recommend a visit there if you find yourself in the area.
In the sewing front, I am almost done with Simplicity 3803 and should have pictures soon.
I also started crocheting the Zigzag Skirt from Interweave Knits Crochet Jan/2006 which I had to undo. It was a great project to work in the car while I took my breaks from driving the many hours to Canada. I am done with one half. Yay!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Burda WOF 2/2003 117

I bought the fabric and trim to make this top when the magazine first came out...four years ago. Well I'm glad I remembered and taking advantage of the fact that these empire waist tops are all the rage I finally sewed this one up.

The only change I made to this design was to add less trim. As it is this is a very youthful top so I better wear it the most I can now before it becomes totally not appropriate for my age. The fabric is an embroidered cotton/poly blend from Joann's, the trim is pre-gathered and it is from a local shop which unfortunately closed this year.

This was a very easy to sew raglan sleeve top, the shaping comes from a tie inserted in a casing, and there is elastic in the sleeves. I think the trim is what makes it especial. I wore it today and got many complements.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Garden

I love to garden. Above are pictures of what is blooming right now in my garden. Even though we have had some beautiful summer days, there hasn't been any rain. I am trying to water what is sensitive to the heat which is not a lot, since I planted plants suitable for our weather and that require little maintenance. I did move an azalea earlier in the season that is still trying to adjust so I keep my eye on it. Weeding is next to impossible so I do a little after I have watered.
And yes my mulch pile is much smaller now, but not gone, I still have a few more hours of workout left. Hey it's free and I get to be in the garden...what more can you ask for!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Simplicity 4589

This style top is really popular now, and I thought it would be great for really hot days made in a cotton lawn. My fabric is a cotton lawn from It was great to work with, so easy to sew. I made view A where it pays to mark your seamlines around the neckline to make it easier to sew. I didn't have any problems at all. I made french seams on the side seams and I used the technique explained in Connie Long's Easy guide to sewing blouses to neatly finish your facings (you sew the interfacing right sides together along the unnotched edge and then turn the interfacing, so that the glue side faces the wrong side, and press, Voila! your edges are enclosed and your facing is ready and very neat looking).
As for sizing, I used size 8 at the neckline and armsyce blending out to a 12 at the bust and a 16 at the hip.
I like my new top is very comfortable to wear. The skirt I made a while ago from a Burda WOF.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pattern Review

Burda WOF 7/2005
I bought the coordinating fabrics for this pattern from last summer and I am glad I was able to make it this year. The printed poplin has stretch, the turquoise doesn't.
This is the illustrated course for this issue which is always a nice plus. This is one of those patterns where it pays to mark your sewing lines especially on all those corners, it just makes sewing easier. This is an unlined design and I wanted to keep it that way, since this is suppose to be a casual summer dress. The facings were very neatly designed, neckline and underarm all in one. I stitched in the ditch from the front to keep the facings down in addition to tacking it on the sideseam.
I raised the neckline about an inch because it was too low for daily wear, there is no gaping which might have to do with me raising the neckline. Later I will post a picture of me wearing it so that you can see the fit.
I really like this dress and I'm sure I'll make it again, it will even look great in a solid because all the seaming gives a great fit.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Disappointment in knitting

This is the knitted top from Burda WOF 5/2005. I knew I was in trouble when the instructions asked for k4tog to form the v neckline. I tried different combinations because I could not get four stitches to become one and even if I could I knew it was not pretty. Well as you can see my best effort turned out pretty bad. I went ahead and attached the ribbed straps after I blocked the pieces hoping that it would be okay... well, at least I was able to try it on and it fits well.
I knew if anyone could help me it was May (, if you haven't seen her work you should it is amazing! I wrote and she quickly responded with a couple of options for me to try. One includes charting my stitches so that I can redesign the neckline by just using k2tog. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, June 22, 2007


Well, I did get some sewing done the last couple of days, but with school ending and company arriving soon, my duties have claimed me and I haven't been able to review my new summer dress.
And yes I have a huge pile (20 cubic yards) of mulch on my driveway. Today with the (ah hum) help of my kids we started spreading it. I did get some satisfaction shoveling the stuff, which I never feel when shoveling snow.
Hopefully my next entry will be the review of the Burda WOF dress. Until then I will be shoveling...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pattern Review

Burda WOF 7/2005
#114 view C
I had about a yard of this pretty rayon jersey that I bought from Textile Studio Fabrics. Because I did not have much to play with I had to find a simple pattern where I could use a coordinating fabric if necessary. This pattern was it.
Instead of making the straps in one of the predominant colors in the print I chose a medium tan that was also in the print (left over from another project). This fabric was not fun to sew with. It was very stretchy although with good recovery. I followed the pattern as designed only modified for my usual back waist length and using three different sizes (upper chest 38, bust 40, hip 42). I should have raised the neckline. Usually because I use a smaller size on the upper chest and because I'm small busted I don't have problems with low necklines. Well, I cannot wear this top without a tank top or a t-shirt. Another reviewer in PR raised the neckline but she has a full bust and therefore I did not follow her advice.
I do like the top and I think I will get to use it a lot for layering. I am very happy to have used this remmant, I think from now on I will make sure I buy bigger pieces, it is just easier to figure out what to make.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pattern Review

Sew U by Wendy Mullin

A-line skirt

This is a very basic and well drafted A-line skirt pattern. My mom gave me the book for Christmas and I have been wanting to try the Simplicity patterns included.

I wanted to use this stretch poplin from which I bought last summer and never used it. Because of the busy pattern and taking into account that this fabric works well with more fitted garments I chose to make a simple A-line.

I used the largest size included (Large). For reference, I have 40 in hip and 31 in waist (to my dismay my waist size went up 2 in). This fitted nicely and it is very comfortable. I would size the waist of the skirt is about an inch below the natural waistline. I took in the large size at the waist, a total of 1/2 in. No other changes except I used an invisible zipper; this fabric was pretty stretchy and I did not want to risk top stitching a centered zipper.

The instructions are great, this is an excellent book for a beginner. Wendy Mullin gives instructions in a chatty way that is very fun to read. And she has plenty of suggestions to change her basic patterns and make them your own.

I wore the skirt today, it was comfortable and mod and it made me feel good. What more can you ask for?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Baby quilts for friends

These quilts took most of my sewing time the past few months. I got the patterns from the DIY network. I fell in love with the modern look of this log cabin pattern and I loved the colors which they used. They are both machine pieced and quilted, since they are for baby, durability and practicality is what you are looking for. My plan was to make one quilt for a friend due in July but had a lot of fabric left over and decided to use it up and make another for a friend who is also a neighbor and also due in July. I love the way they came out!! I hadn't quilted in a long time and found out I still enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A 60's style pattern

This post is for Shannon (simonfreep) who was looking for a pattern to copy a very cute RTW dress. I found this pattern forgotten in a Joann's pattern drawer. It is one of my favorite styles and the pattern was in my size range, how perfect is that?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

Yesterday I went on our traditional visit to a garden. On top is one of the pictures we took at Ladew Gardens, 20 minutes or so from where I live. The second picture is my mom with me on the right and my brother on the stoop of my grandmother's house in Havana, Cuba. My mom has always been my best friend. She is always in awe of what I can accomplish, and I am in awe of what she went through and how she made the best of what life threw at her.
I hope we can enjoy Mother's Day together for many years to come.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Patterns

Of course the last thing I need is more patterns but I couldn't resist these two from Vogue on sale at Joann's. The jacket I have been wanting since it first came out the dress I just "discovered" today while browsing the newest book.
Now I just have to finish the baby quilt and I can get back to sewing garments.
My knitting and crocheting has been disappointing lately so I need to recover my confidence by sewing something fab...

Friday, April 20, 2007


After working for months on this skirt from Interweave Crochet, I thought I finally had the gauge right and now it turns out it is too small (first time too big, second time still too big). I did not use the recommended yarn, instead used Red Heart Luster Sheen which another blogger had also used for the same pattern. I have decided to put it aside for a while and concentrate on the two baby quilts I have been working on and then finish a top I knitted for the summer with a pattern from Burda WOF (more details later).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Vogue 8258

I have been wanting to make this jacket, Vogue 8258 in a winter version for a while.

After I worked out how I wanted to make it in wool I started seeing similar versions in Lucky magazine. Because the version with the ruffled sleeves called for a ready made ruffled lace there was no pattern so I made my own keeping the proportions used in the peplum. I used a lightweight wool blend to avoid a bulky look. I partially lined the jacket (again I made my own pattern following directions from Connie Long's Easy guide to sewing linings). Both the wool and lining were in my stash. I loved the way which in episode 8 of season 3 Project Runway, the designers used yo-yos as button/decoration. So I made mine in self fabric and closed the front of the jacket with hook/eyes fastenings (a close up can be found here: