Sunday, April 15, 2007

Making Pleated Drapes

About a year ago when we first moved into our house, we decided we were going to put up drapery in our living room and kitchen. The house was newly finished and yet looked so naked inside. I shopped around the ready-made options and couldn't find any thing that I thought would suit our home or style. The next step was to explore the custom option and went so far as to have what we wanted priced out. The total cost: $4000-6000 depending on what material we wanted! Now, even if I weren't the do-it-yourself kind of girl, that price tag alone would have made me one. I decided that I could buy the silk dupioni and a sewing machine and sew them up myself...

I finished the kitchen window as my tester and to develop my skills:

I'm working on the living room now... Here are my calculations thus far

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sewing for others...

Given that I love to sew and that I love my friends, occasionally the opportunity presents itself to join the two. I was chatting with a dear friend of mine this afternoon. We spent a while on the phone, brought each other up to speed on our respective lives and reflected how quickly the last year has passed. My friend had a birthday just this past week and I decided it would be fun to celebrate her and our friendship with a sewing project... Enter Simplicity 3927:

I also have this wonderful stretch charmeouse that my friend really liked when I showed her a photo. It is a polyester silky with just enough stretch to be forgiving. The tunic has great potential.

Once she sends me her measurements, I'll get to work. A full bust adjustment will likely be necessary; I'll be posting my method as I go.

Vogue 8157

My first pair of pants! I was so excited to finish these pants that I sewed almost through the night. I started with this pattern about a week before I actually cut the fabric. I had initially laid out the pattern front thinking that it would be fairly straightforward. However, I was determined not to go about this project without consideration. My father, a master carpenter, has always said "measure twice, cut once." Looking at the front pattern piece, I decided to take his advice. The inseam on these pants was 32" including the 1.5" hem allowance. Now, I am 5'9" and my favorite pants have a 34" inseam. I decided I would lengthen the pattern, but before doing this, I traced it out to keep the original pattern unaltered. I transfered all pattern markings, added 3" to the front and back at the lower lengthening points and then cut my fabric. The length worked out quite well for me, as you can see below. It works with both heels and flats.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sewing process of these pants. I knew I would have to make an adjustment for my sway back and my small waist but I left that for fitting with fabric. I ended up taking in about 1/2" on the side seams at the hip and taking in 2" at the CB. I also altered the crotch curve a bit, to eliminate some of the bagginess just below the fly. It was a learning experiment for me

The first seams were stitched before I made any adjustments. I *should* have basted everything together, but it was late and I was more than a little tired after working a full day on Friday. I tend to make silly mistakes when I am tired and one would think I would have learned this about myself by now. I managed to sew the inner seams on the wrong side, so the SA was on the outside where it shouldn't have been. Once I ripped out the seam, I basted everything afterwards and tried on the pants inside out to make tailoring easier.

The instructions call for hemming the bottoms by hand, but I machined it using a blind stitch. It was definitely quicker and it's invisible. After looking at the pictures my husband took of me, I realized that I somehow didn't measure correctly and the left leg is longer than the right. It's not visible head on, but obvious from the rear where you can see about 1" of heel on the right and none on the left.

Spring Pattern Review

They are in, folks: new patterns from all the big companies and I feel the need to comment on the design choices made. Last season we saw the reemergence of the skinny pant, a look I personally feel was better left behind with the late 80s. This season it seems we are heading toward that early 90s look of oversized, loose-fitting garments.

From Vogue...

My least favorite of the bunch, by far, is V2970. The combination of the loose-fitting top with the bow-skirt is unattractive, even on the model. It hits her in all the wrong places: expanding through the ribcage to bubble out at the waist on top of the HUGE bow. Adding insult to injury, the skirt hits her at the widest part of the calf, which is flattering on no woman. This probably one of the least attractive looks I've seen from Donna Karan. Ever.

Continuing with the loose and oversized, Vogue V2971 gives us this skirt and blouse combo. The skirt is laced up the back, giving it the pleats that can be seen from the rear. Adding bulk are the pockets that the model is helpfully showcasing.

The top is not bad, actually. It's a boat-neck wrap top that ties in the back and can emphasize a smallish waist. The site says it is loose-fitting, although it doesn't seem so in comparison to the skirt.

Brought to us from Michael Kors, V2924, features a suit with cropped pants and single breasted jacket. Wide-legged cropped pants = thunder thighs on stubby legs. Look at the model; 'nuff said.

Let's take you back to the year 1995 with Vogue 8395. Observe in the photo provided how the skirt hits her at the widest part of her thighs, a look that works if you are 13 and have not yet developed curves or cellulite. For the rest of us women... Well, this is only for the bravest of the brave. Oh, and lovers of suspenders.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


After many fits and starts, here it is: my first official post! For this inaugural moment, let me address the whos, whats, wheres, whys, and hows of the matter.

Who am I you ask? I am a newly minted 30 year old, married and living with my husband in our new home. I work in the financial sector by day and sew by night.

What do I have to say? Well, lots, generally about all sorts of subjects. This blog will mostly be devoted to sewing related topics, however. We'll keep the politics and religion for another place and time...Sewing is my happy place :)

Where am I? Phoenix, AZ, also known as the Valley of the Sun, aka the Sonoran Desert, aka the hottest place I have ever been to. Last summer it hit 122 degrees Fahrenheit, and yes, you read that correctly. Don't believe the hype about the so called "dry heat." To get an idea of what it's like, preheat your oven to 400. Bend close and open the oven; that blast of heat that hurts your eyeballs? That's what the air feels like here.

Why do I need to have this blog? Well, mostly because I am the only person I know locally with an active interest in sewing and I miss having a community. Gotta love that internet!

When am I am going to post? When I have the energy after working and sewing and being a wife, etc. Don't be afraid to check back often...

How did I get started sewing? My mom had a beautiful old Singer sewing machine that always fascinated me with its golden accents. I thought it was beautiful and loved to watch my mom sew as a small child. It started skipping stitches and she somehow never found the time to have it fixed and so the Singer languished in its table for years. By the time I was old enough to start buying my own clothes, I started wishing I could take in this shirt or that waist line or let down a hem, etc. So, I took the Singer out of its table and to the local shop and had it tuned and the rest is history :) I love to sew and only recently purchased the Best Machine Ever. This blog will document my sewing adventures...