Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking ahead

Yesterday after spending almost two hours fusing the pieces of my coat (and I'm not done yet!) I decided to sit for a while and try my hand at a Granny Square.

One of my goals is to become a better crocheter. I made this skirt which I love, but it took many months of work (I felt like Penelope, who knitted during the day and undid her work at night). Right now all I want is a Granny Square blanket, not the one from the 70's but the modern versions which are bright and cheerful.

I first followed the instructions from the book the Happy Hooker, but I wasn't getting it so I turned to You Tube and I got my Aha! moment and then I was able to follow the tutorial for the blanket I'm coveting

If you look at the sample above is not quite right, I messed up on the count, but I'm happy I figured it out and now I can start dreaming about the colors I want.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Undercollar

I spent yesterday working on the undercollar and I'm thrilled on how it turned out. It's amazing that those little pad stitches can shape so nicely. I had padstitched before using sewing machine methods, this was the first time I did it all by hand.

As you can see I'm also thread tracing (not as nice and straight like Tany's), so although I'm hoping that I will have a fabulous coat to wear at the end this project is all about the process.

Here is the collar so you can see the roll line, the stand and the fall. My pattern did not include a roll line so I figured it out by looking at my muslin.

So based on all the responses I have received to my previous post and my own preference, I'm going with "design feature" for this coat.

More to come...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So here is my dilemma...

To make a long story short, I ended up with tailor chalk marks on the right side of my coat fabric. Yes the white color disappears with pressing/steam but no matter what I have done the imprint is still there, most obvious when you look down on the coat.

So instead of crying over ruining this beautiful wool/camel coating I've decided to use the wrong side of the fabric on the panels that I ruined.

Difference between sides is not extremely obvious

Here is what it would look like, I shaded the pieces that would show the reverse of the fabric by necessity (they have marks) and I figure to balance it I would make the tabs on the sleeves out of the reverse.

The right side of this fabric as you saw in one of my previous posts is fluffier almost like a velour.

So what would you do? I'm calling my solution a "design feature". Would you just use the reverse and call it a day?

Really this coat needs to be made, it has been weighing on me for far too long

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feliz Navidad

A todos mis lectores les deseo muchas felicidades y salud. Que disfruten estas fiestas en compañia de sus seres queridos.

Les doy gracias por leer mi modesto diario y espero que sigan visitandome el año que viene.

To all my readers of my very modest blog I wish health and happiness. I hope that you spend these holidays with all those you love.

I hope you continue to visit me the coming year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The coat's lining

I am very relieved because I finally started cutting the Burda coat. I finally admitted that I was fearful to cut into my "good fabric" and I was trying to read everything that might help me with this coat and in doing so delaying my actions. So the lining has been cut, the fabric is a beautiful silk lining, and I only incorporated one modification to the pattern that I have never done before. I read in Connie Long's Guide to Sewing Linings that the lining in the kick pleat can pull and distort the fashion fabric so she basically lowers the back by 1/2 inch at the hem and then blends in towards the front, she also lowers the start of the pleat. Eugenia has a great sketch showing this alteration which she used on a skirt.

Since we'll be snowed in tomorrow(it is still snowing here on our way to a couple of feet), I'm sure I will have time to cut into the fashion fabric. My next fear to conquer will be the welt pockets, but I will make a sample and there are a number of good tutorials on the net as well as in a couple of my books to guide me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Staghorn Cabled Tunic

Quite the name don't you think? Anyways this pattern is from WEBS, I purchased the pattern and yarn (Valley Yarns Northampton) at Stitches East two years ago. It was finished a while ago but took me a while to block and then sew the seams. I'm missing the buttons on the bodice (just for show), I was going to drop by Joann's today but my interpreting job took longer than I thought and I had to get home because my oldest forgot to take his house key.

I think it is a cute tunic for casual days. I enjoyed doing the cables and although it was pretty simple to do, it had enough going on to keep one interested.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The first image shows what I believe is the reverse of my wool/cashmere coating, the second is the loftier right side? I know you are just suppose to choose the side you like and go with it but I would like your opinion on what is the right side of this fabric. You can see part of the selvage on both pictures.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

First Snow

Today we got our first snow of the season and while I was excited about it, I hoped that it had started on Sunday instead. Today at my friend's shop Large Marge Yarn Shop there was a gathering to raise funds for Helping Kids at Hopkins. There was a silent auction and I had made the above knitting needles and crochet hooks holders to help with. I got in my car around noon and the wheels started spinning as I was getting out of the garage...ok not a good sign but maybe the roads were better. Well I made it half way up the hill and decided I needed to go back home. Thankfully Large Marge took pity on me and came to rescue me. We had a great time and we raised $1,400! Not bad considering the bad weather that I'm sure kept some away.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Burda World of Fashion jumper+turtleneck

Pictures are not the best quality, my camera is not working and we used my sons.

I finished these two pieces a while ago but then the weather got warmer so I hadn't had a chance to wear it, I wore it for work today.

I love this combination! It is a very comfortable to wear outfit but stylish (at least I think so!). Both fabrics are from Gorgeous Fabrics.

The jumper (9/2007 121)is made of a rayon jersey. The jersey is very lightweight and a little slippery to work with but it feels wonderful against the skin. I didn't pay attention when I was cutting the pieces and almost didn't have enough fabric to cut the skirt pieces, my compromise was to make it shorter and I'm happy with the length.

The top (9/2204)I made in a poly knit. It has an unusual raglan seam, very curvy as you can see in the line drawing (no line drawing, archives don't go that far back). I basted it by hand before sewing it by machine and had good results. I'm not convinced with the zipper on the seam going up to the collar, I thought it was a cool detail but I struggled with it and I still did not get a perfect application. If I repeat this top I will make sure the collar is cut big enough to fit over my head.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So I finished the Burda WOF jumper and the turtleneck top to go with it but I haven't had a chance to photograph it to show you. I'm happy with the way the outfit turned out. Stay tuned for pictures soon.

I also decided that it was time to make the coat I had planned and bought materials for last year. The muslin is made and tested and the fabric prepared, I have everything I need to go ahead. In preparation I started re-reading my material on making coats. I'm starting with the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction, then I will review The Great Coat Sew Along and Tailoring. I have made jackets and one coat before so not every technique will be new to me, however I have never tackled welt pockets before, so this will be new and I also want to try bound buttonholes. I'm looking forward to the adventure.

I also wanted to show you the last patterns I bought.

I loved 2473 when it first came out, but at the previous Simplicity sale they didn't have it (at Joann's). I really like the view with the collar for winter but I also like the other views. View A in 2560 is a really pretty layering piece (I'm always cold so I like layers), and I have fabric to make it with. View D of 2501 is wonderful, the sleeves are feminine without being frilly.

When I saw the review in Threads magazine for the Cynthia Rowley 2586 this cut of fabric came to mind. I think I can use the border at the hem and sleeves. I'm sure some of you will recognize this fabric, it came from Fabric Mart a while ago and Carolyn made a wonderful jacket out of it (I'm sorry I couldn't find it on her blog for a link!)

When photographing the fabric my camera was behaving weird. Keep your fingers crossed that it will straighten itself out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A rainy field trip

Today I went to the National Gallery of Art in DC with my son's high school. Both the art class and the photography class went and he is in both. I hadn't been in the West Wing where mostly the classical works are exhibited in a while, my family enjoys the East Wing with its modern displays and special exhibits more, so I comply since I enjoy both.

It was a nice surprise to go from room to room and still be able to identify the painters; my son was impressed and you know is hard to impress a teenager so I was happy. We had terrible weather but as the teacher says it discourages the kids from wandering outside.

Above is a painting I had never seen before. It is by Leonardo Da Vinci, my son said it look like a dead Mona Lisa.

Hope the sun is shining in your part of the world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My first stitching passion

A couple of weeks ago I woke up to 1/2 inch of water around my water heater; it seems overnight it sprung a leak. About $400 dollars later we got a new one installed and a major part of our storage had to be moved. In storage I had quite a few pictures of my cross stitch projects, so I photographed them to share. I picked up cross stitch when I first moved to Maryland back in the 80's. I made many pieces, a lot were given as gifts. After a while I realized I couldn't fill my house with pillows and frames so I expanded into quilting, knitting and fashion sewing. I still have some that I started and a couple that need to made into pillows, one day I will finish them.

I had just gotten my first dog, Echo, and I was in love with my little rascal!

This is one of my favorites, I love 30's fashions and this is reminiscent of a fashion plate; it hangs in the sewing/guest room.

I made this one to display along with wedding photographs of my parents and my husband's parents at our wedding.

This is the cover of my stool for my vanity. It is covered with clear plastic ( I know I know), it is the only reason that it still looks this good.

After I stopped cross stitching I made a few needlepoint pieces, this one I hope to make into a pillow eventually.

When visiting Winterthur, Delaware, I fell in love with this kit, I really do plan on finishing it!

I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


My kids today woke up fever free and as the day went on felt well enough to go trick or treat. The weather did not cooperate and it has been raining on and off all night, so we did a quick run and returned home with full baskets (neighbors were afraid of low showing due to weather so they were more generous than usual).

My teenager wore the cloak I made for him last year and the youngest was a knight. For the knight outfit I once again used the pattern I have been using for 3 years now to make the bodice armor, the pants are from a McCall's pajamas set and the helmet I found instructions for here.

This is the sword my husband made, he also made the shield. The sword turned out fantastic, is made of wood and then carved and painted. My son is thrilled with it.

Happy Halloween!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Doctor Mom reporting

Both my boys have the flu, we think is the H1N1 because we were vaccinated for the seasonal flu. Regardless it is treated the same. My teenager has gotten it worse with high fever and stomach upset along with a bad cough. The younger one has low grade fever and a bad cough. I'm trying really hard not to get sick, as you can imagine, since who will take care of Doctor Mom?

I hope to take pictures of my youngest in his costume this weekend, he might be fine to go trick-or-treating by then. I'm off to finish his pants, at least last night I slept (only had to get up once) and I feel like I can function in the sewing room.

Hope you all stay healthy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A beautiful fall weekend

Even though yesterday it rained all day, about the time that I was preparing dinner the sun came out and the light after all the rain was beautiful. The leaves had a wonderful color in my backyard so I ventured out to take some pictures. I'm sure I could not capture it all, I have a point and shoot camera that although has some nice features I really haven't explored them as I should. Anyways I thought I share with you the best shots.

I have finished sewing Burda WOF 09-2007 121 the famous jumper that has been made many times by other sewers. I used a beautiful rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics, but I won't show it to you until I make the top to go with it. I have to put that project on hold because I need to start on the Halloween costume for my youngest son. He is going as a knight so I'm making armor once again.

I also finished knitting the Staghorn Cable Tunic from Webs, it needs to be blocked so I can sew up the side seams. To have a knitting project while watching tv I casted on and I'm almost done with the back of Drops number 97-5 Sleeveless cardigan in Silke-tweed in Burgundy. The pattern is free as well as many other patterns on their website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin hat for my nephew

I made this hat the other day, and I was in such a hurry to send it off to New Jersey that I forgot to take a picture. Now I have a better picture to show it off. Isn't he gorgeous?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Burda 8906 Boatneck top

This pattern is now out of print, I've had it for a long time. I finally decided to try it to use up a remmant from my Madison Avenue dress. I really like boatnecks but I usually don't have much luck fitting them on me. I have very narrow shoulders (there are 3 size differences between my shoulders and hips) and these type of necklines are always too big on me.

In this pattern the opening is too wide even though I made my usual Burda size at the shoulders. Also the shoulder width seems extremely narrow to me, it doesn't look that way in the pictures on the envelope. Because of the width the neckline never stays nice and straight, it deeps in the front; I believe it is also too high. The neckline and armholes are nicely finished with binding.

I had high hopes for this pattern but it needs work to fix the above problems. Nonetheless I wore it today like this. The sweater I knit a while ago from the Spanish knitting magazine Katia.

We've had two days of miserable cold, misty rain, which will continue at least for another day, I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Burda WOF 3-2008 107

This is a very simple tunic made out of a stretchy mesh that came from the $2.97 table in G-street in Rockville; I know it has been in my stash a while because it has been a couple of years since I ventured out to Rockville.

The neckline is bound and I followed the Burda instructions with no problems; it gives this simple top a nice finish at the neckline. One thing to note is that my version even though I went up a size from my usual in the hip area it fits snug.

As far as layering this top I would prefer, from looking at the pictures, to either wear a turtleneck or a lower neckline than what I'm wearing.

I traced, cut and sewed this top in about a day, that's pretty quick for me. If you like the style give a try!

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Not much sewing has gone on this past week, well no sewing really I refuse to count washing my fabric, but it is ready for a simple knit top. I still have to show you the shell I made with leftover fabric from the Madison dress, but because I worked in the garden today it was a natural looking day for me and I am not inclined to share with you that look ;-)

The boys are playing baseball as I type and I'm exhausted from the yard work. I know these pictures don't show that I did much, but I worked the soil to spread mulch which had turned to a really nice rich dirt and spread some seeds my neighbor gave me. I'm hoping that next spring I can have an "after" shot of these corners. I also made a border by cutting into the soil to create a trench;the same neighbor that gave me the seeds showed me how to do it and I wanted to try it out.

If you have seen these beetles, they are an accidentally introduced bug that seems to be showing up more and more in the suburbs.

Even though in my household we respect all living things, these bugs are getting out of control and my sons spent quite a bit of time today exercising some control. Here is info on this annoying insect.

I took a look at the new Vogues, and there are a few I like, I'll let you know more when I look at them with more time. Any favorites out there?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!