Sunday, October 23, 2011

Costume Sewing and McCalls 5954

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments you all left me about the rabbit dress that I made my little friend. I’m very impressed with my NY stash additions as well. So much so that four pieces were washed and are in rotation for upcoming garments. One piece is done and I will blog about it soon so stay tuned. Tiny, in my last post you asked me if I made my labels. The answer to your question is no. I purchase my labels from Namemaker.

I’ve made my final decision on the lace for the skirt project. It will be in the works soon, but I have a few things I need to finish up first. A co-worker asked me to make her daughter’s costume for Halloween. The costume is Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Picture is courtesy of

I used McCall 5954. I started on this project last weekend and worked on it this past week to deliver it this past Friday. 22 plus hours of work later and that's with a day job that's very demanding. I delivered a finished costume to a very happy mother. This project and I mean project took some planning and shopping for trim, because let me tell you, this project was not a walk in the park and there were a few scary moments. Below is a mini diary of my escapade. I hope you enjoy.

On Thursday (Oct 13th) the Mother tells me oh, my daughter is in a contest next weekend and we have stuff planned for her the following weekend. I think to myself (OH Sh.., she finally brought me the fabric last week and I haven't started this project yet. OMG!!!) Nothing like her telling me at the last minute that I didn't have another week to get this baby done. Hello!!! (Why did I take this project on? Project Runway here I come.)

Thursday night I started cutting fabric and did the markings.

Friday at lunch I started basting the bodice during lunch, so far every things looks pretty good. I also used Wonder Under for the first time. It's webbing that you attach to fabric if you want to make it an applique/iron-on. For those of you that don't know it, it's like stitch witchery or steam a seam, but it comes on a bolt like fabric. I’m not crazy about my client’s fabric choice, but hey, I didn’t buy the fabric. I feel that there should be some crushed velvet in here somewhere, it would make the costume look a little more richer and this kid would be a lot warmer. I’m trying to pace myself on this one because it’s so elaborate, but I also want to get it done. I want to work on my own stuff.

Tuesday ( Oct. 18) When I accepted this job, I knew that it would be time consuming and involved, but I didn’t realize how INVOLVED it would be. I sewed on Saturday morning for about 4 hours before I had to head over to my mother's and did some handwork over there in the middle of doing stuff for her. Sunday I did not sew anything. Took the day off to rest. I did go shopping at Joanns Saturday for a heart charm to make her choker. All I found were 2 fairly large red heart buttons. I think this will do with some Mod Podge and red glitter, the ideas are endless. Sunday I glittered the buttons. They look fantastic. My brain is flying all over the place. In the time it took me to make this costume, I could have made at least 3-4 new pieces of clothing for myself or a new blazer or coat, by now, and don’t let me get started about the sleeves and the painstaking slowness that I had to take to get them attached to the bodice. If you ever have to do sleeves for a 3 ½ year old, attach them flat. I followed the pattern directions and realized afterward that they don’t fit on the sleeve arm of my machine because they’re TOO SMALL/LITTLE. I can say that I was questioning my skills on getting this one done, and so far I haven’t had a problem. I guess I just needed to know that I could do it. Every time I look at this dress, I’m like Wow, I did that, and I’m loving the trim I picked out. It’s really made this costume. (Note to self, run over to Jomar and get some more of that trim, I need to incorporate it into a project for myself. I love it.)

Wednesday (Oct 19) Through trials and tribulations, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. All the hard stuff is done with not too much mishap. Last night I finished sewing the other sleeve on to the bodice and this one went on a bit quicker as I knew what I was doing. I also added the peplum. I have to say, this is some of my best work yet and I’m still amazed that I can do this. I’m still not use to sewing for others and it freaks me out a little bit. I’m always afraid that something will go wrong like getting grease stains on the white portion of the skirt while machine stitching on the hearts. Tide stick and baby wipes are a beautiful thing. I woke up this morning and the stains were gone. I almost had a heart attack just thinking that I might have to start part of this project over.

Thursday (Oct 20) Last night I sewed the back of the skirt on, attached the skirt to the bodice. That was not easy. With all the gathers in that skirt it was crazy trying to attach the skirt to the bodice and peplum Stitching it was not too hard. When I went to serge everything to make it look clean, that was another story. I thought at one point I broke my serger. The dag on fabric was just too thick and bulky. Bias tape is a beautiful thing. It hides things that you just don't want seen and can clean up a garment like nobody's business. I called my knitting students last night because I am going to need tonight to finish up this baby. This morning before I left the house I cut out the striped fabric for the choker a striped piece for the back of the collar, ironed on a piece of interfacing and sewed both pieces before walking out the door. When I talked to the mother earlier in the week, I told her I didn't need the striped fabric. She looked at me and asked, is there anyway you can fit it in anywhere on the costume. I don't want the fabric to go to waste. (Is she freaking crazy? I've been working on this costume till 12:30 every night this week. I'm holding my eyes open with toothpicks here. Oh, and did I tell you, Mr. D. hit a pot hole in the wildlife refuge near our house while riding his bike Tuesday night and flew over the handle bars? I had to clean him up when he made it home.)

Thursday night I installed the zipper to the dress. Did all the hemming and attached snaps to the collar and dress. I was going to add striped fabric to the hem of the dress per her agreement, but now looking at it, it would ruin the dress and since I'm the designer here, it's my show and I don't want this dress to look tacky. Also made ring to match choker. Every queen must have her accessories.

Friday, delivery of dress on schedule, my mini project runway is over and I'm exhausted, but I do have one happy customer/parent.

By the way, major shout outs and thank yous go to my girls Sheila and Cennetta for keeping me on track and sane this past week.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My September Recap

I apologize for my absence but as they say, I took a blog vacation. I didn’t mean for it to be so long, but time got away from me. I have been a little busy though. I even met up with a few of you for the shopping day in New York. Here’s the loot to prove it.

This is what I got from Metro Textiles.

From the top row, the corduroy is from Mood, the two knits in the top row are from Spandex House. The bottom two fabrics are from Elliot Berman.

Sorry I didn’t take any group pictures, but my main reason for going was to buy lace for my skirt project that I talked about in my last post. Let’s just say trying to find 6-7 inch black woven lace is not one easy task. I was a little discouraged as I wanted to start on my skirt right away and then realized it had to go on the back burner. Anyway, I was able to find two different designs at Pacific Trim, and one oddly enough on Etsy.

It’s recycled but I don’t care. I think it very pretty. Here are my choices. The 2 on the top on Pacific Trim and the one on the bottom is the reclaim lace.

Let me know which one you like the best. Here is the picture of the skirt again.

To take my mind off of the skirt I decided to design a dress for my four year old girlfriend who lives across the street from me. She told me she wanted purple and I said okay. She even came over and helped me mark up her dress. Of course I marked it first and she went over the lines I had already made. I had the idea of making a romper so I purchased Simplicity 5489 which is a basic romper pattern that I picked up at Joanns. The corduroy fabric is from Joanns as well.

I decided that I wanted to place a bunny rabbit on it. That’s when the wheels started turning. Instead of placing a patchwork type shape of a rabbit on the dress, I decided to make it a pocket.

I found a picture/outline of a rabbit online, blew it up, traced it on to tracing paper and then outlined it making it bigger because it wasn’t big enough to use as a pocket. I cut 2 pieces of fabric, interfacing one of the sides to make it sturdy. After attaching the rabbit pocket on to the dress, I thought it looked a little plain so I added a ruffle to the top of the romper.

Since my little buddy is still getting use to buttons, I tried to make it easier on her since she is dressing herself and gave her snaps to close the romper.

Now to complete this outfit, what rabbit would not like something to snack on between feedings. Let’s just say the dress was a hit and my dear little friend ran off to go and play with her dress.

In knitting news, I did finish my sweater and got a chance to wear it before the cold wave set in.

It was a hit and I got a few offers but I stayed strong.

This baby is for me, and I love the yarn I used.

Up next, some more knitting for others and a new dress, McCalls 6118 to dance my butt off in.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I didn't float away!!!

As you all know by now we had some major crazy weather in this part of the country over the weekend with Hurricane Irene. We lost power Saturday night, but it came back on Sunday morning. The only damage was to our vegetable garden. We're going to have to pick our corn early as the stalks have fallen over.

I originally was going to go to New York for Elizabeth and Robin's PR shopping day, but that was canceled. To make up for that, I made sure I stopped in at the 50% off sale that Fabric Warehouse was having, and I did behave myself. I walked out only spending $30 and got this lovely loot.

After that, I pretty much got my house and my mother's home ready for the storm by putting all the lawn furniture and items that might get blown away. Absolutely no sewing got done, but I did get time to think about what I wanted to sew next. I have planned that the cream and stripe fabric will become this skirt from Twinkle Sews.

I probably won't use the pattern from the book and will use one of the skirt patterns I already have used before like McCall 3830.

I've made this pattern up before and like it. It's my go to TNT pattern and I feel comfortable playing with it. The only thing I am missing now is the lace that I would like to use as the overlay over the cream. I will probably go to Joanns and look and see what they have. I might also check out a few sites online. A six inch lace should do it.

I'm thinking of using the Aztec like fabric for Vogue 1258.

The green and black fabric will become a top. I'm not sure which one yet, but we will see. I haven't designated a pattern for the red and black fabric yet, so that will sit in my stash for a while.

On the knitting front I got to work on my Chiton Pullover from Winter/Spring 2011 Knitscene.

I've been working on it off and on this summer and thought I better get cracking as summer is almost gone, and I'd like to wear it as least once before the cooler weather gets here. I'm knitting it with a yarn that I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's cotton, bamboo and silk I think and I LOVE the colorway. I finished the drape neck front yesterday(I just love a drape neck) and I'm working on the back of the sweater now. Hopefully I can get that completed in the next week.

I'm off today and originally it was suppose to be a resting day for me, but I'm not to sure about that now. I might be moving my mother in as she has no electricity and PSE&G is saying services won't be restored till Sept. 4th. Oh well, back to the real world.

Happy Crafting everyone.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jackson's Favorite Treats!!!

This weekend I decided to make doggie treats for Jackson. I made treats years ago when Byron was around and I forgot how much they both really liked them. Scratch that, LOVED them. I was going to try this new recipe last weekend, but got to it this weekend because the cookie jar was running low.

For those of you that are interested, here's the recipe I came up with from viewing other recipes online.

Preheat your oven at 350 Degrees.


1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup oats
2 tbp of Canola or Olive oil
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 hot water

In a large bowl mix all the dried ingredients together. Then add the oil and peanut butter.

Next slowly add the water and mix your ingredients together.

With a rolling pin, roll your dough out till it's 1/4 thick. With a cookie cutter, cut your doggie cookie shapes out and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Place the cookies in the oven for 40 minutes. Take out and cool.

I'll leave you with this parting shot.

I was trying to take the cookie away from Jackson. He was not having it.

If you liked this post, let me know. I'll post other treat recipes in the future, as I test and try new ones out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Looks on Sale for $2.99

Hey Ya'll. I just thought you would like to know that New Look Patterns are on sale on the Simplicity site for $2.99 until 8/22. I got the email this morning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Maxi Time!!!

Believe it or not, I haven't sewn anything for the past 2 weeks, but I was thinking about this fabric,
and the maxi dress that would come out of it the whole time.

Now that I think about it, it might even be more like two weeks that I've been thinking about this dress. Isn't that sad? I think so.

I purchased this piece back in June at Spandex House. When I saw it. I t was screaming/whispering to me that it wanted to be a maxi dress. Anyway, I got busy doing other things and then when I had the time, I either thought about something else or looked at other patterns. I was also trying to figure out what pattern I wanted to use. I have a few tank top patterns that definitely fit the bill but in the end, I narrowed it down to Simplicity 2189. What helped me with my decision was that I didn't want darts in the bodice, and I wanted a no brainer as I was sewing this baby up after work Friday night for my company outing on Saturday afternoon. By the way I didn't look at the directions, I just did my own thing. Plus the dress is simple enough that you really don't need them. By the way, excuse the hair in these pictures. It's looking a hot mess. These pictures were taken after my job's summer outing and the weather was not the best. Let's just say Saturday was the precursor to Sunday's torrential downpour.

I cut out the size 14. I cut the neckline lower by about 2 inches because I wanted a lower neckline and added about 10 to 12 inches to the bottom flaring is a tiny bit. In the end I removed 3 inches from the bottom of the dress. That worked out perfectly because I used it for the armhole bands.

For the neckband I cut a long strip of fabri
c about 2 inches wide.

I sewed one shoulde
r seam leaving the other one open and attached the neckband to the dress before sewing the other shoulder seam closed.

This fabric was a little on the thin side so I lined it with tricot.

Overall, I'm very happy with this dress and would make it again. Here is my pattern review which goes over in detail what I pretty much just summarized.

Pattern Description:

Misses' & Plus Size shirt, pants and knit dress or top.

Pattern Sizing:

I sewed the 14, View A.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes and no. I change the length of the dress to make it a maxi dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I really would not know. I did not look at them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This pattern looks pretty good so far and there are a couple more items I may make f
rom it. I picked this pattern to achieve a look I had in my mind for a tank maxi dress.

Fabric Used:

Rayon Lyra from Spandex House.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I cut the front neckline deeper by 2 inches and the back neckline deeper by about 1 inch. I also lengthened the dress pattern by about 10 to 12 inches, but then removed from the length about 3 inches. 2 of the 3 inches I cut off I recycled and used for the armbands. I did not use the pattern pieces for the neckband and armband from the pattern. I just winged it.

In putting the neckline and neckband together, I sewed one shoulder seam closed. I left the other one open and pinned the neckband to the neckline, right sides together. Once the neckband was on I serged it, then sewed the open shoulder seam closed. This technique enables the neckband to lay flatter and I like the look much better than sewing both shoulder seams then attaching the neckband.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. I want to possibly work on the neckline a little bit more and possibly go for a r
acerback look next time. Yes I would recommend this pattern to others. There are a few more items in this pattern that I want to try.


I'm pretty happy with the outcome of how my dress turned out. I was winging it and had a vision in my head with what I wanted. I got pretty close to it. The dress is very functionable for those lazy days of summer, and I looked and felt comfortable and chic at my job's summer outing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Almost A Wadder

I have had New Look 6729 (OOP) in my stash for a couple of years but for some reason felt intimidated by the pattern. Why? I don't know because I was able to put it together pretty easily. I purchased the fabric from Fabric Warehouse about 3 or 4 years ago.

There was barely a yard of it, so I knew I had to be careful with how I cut the fabric. Anyway, I was in a rush to cut the fabric out because I wanted to wear it on Saturday and decided to cut and sew it on a Friday night before I ran out the door to go to the hair dresser to get my hair done. (I made this top in June by the way. Well, in my rush to cut out the fabric, I didn't check to see which way the stretch was and cut out the back. Of course to my horror I realized that I had cut the back out with the stretch going lengthwise. I freaked for about a minute and forged ahead, because there was no way I was throwing this fabric away. I liked the print too much. I cut the front piece out and made sure I had enough to cut it the correct way, sewed it up and left the arms and hem undone before leaving to get my hair done. When I got home I hemmed the sleeves and top then tried it on. In doing so I realized that the bottom of the top in the front was drooping in a weird way. I assumed that that was from me cutting the back out wrong.

I wish I had taken pictures to document my fudge up, but, of course I did not. (Mental note to self, start documenting everything. You never know when you may need this information again, or it might be helpful to someone else.) I put the top on Lola and messed with pinning in the sides a little, and it did the trick. I was able to get rid of the hanging droop in the front of the top.

Pattern Description

Pattern Sizing:

14, View C

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once
you were done sewing with it?

I think so.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Pretty much. I didn't have any problems with them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I liked the style of the pattern.

Fabric Used:

Rayon/Lycra Knit purchased from Fabric Warehouse.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and yes.


This is a nice top to add to your wardrobe and would look good with slacks, a skirt jeans or a suit. It is a top that can be dressed up or down. Definitely a keeper.

P.S. I made updates to my last post on how to make the laundry detergent for those of you that are interested. (Serenity, Sheila, Karen).


Blog Widget by LinkWithin