September 27, 2015

#SEWING LIFE weekend happenings...

...my definition of a happy weekend is time spent in my sewing cave, space, room, den, No; I think  the term  STUDIO suits my fancy for the moment.  There has actually been little to no sewing going on in "The Studio" since school began on August 3rd (egad, that's almost two whole months)! 

  • I managed to catch Erica Bunker's informative Periscope broadcast that aired at 4pm est. (my time) yesterday.  I have to give Erica credit for me getting up the nerve to wear my skinny white jeans (even though I'm not skinny; YET) after Labor Day - I've worn them to work twice (on casual Friday) since and dared anyone to say anything about the Memorial Day/Labor Day cliche;  nobody said a word - but I know some one was thinking it (ha ha).  I do love me some Periscope - it's a great platform and the next best thing to being there in person.

  • My gravity fed iron BIT THE DUST this morning.  I had used it earlier and left it on (as usual) only to go back to it and find it stone cold - ice cold.  But never fear, I have a back up!  Now, when funds are right I'll need to buy a new back up for the back up because I refuse to go without one of these. 
  •  Last but not least, I am  working on my winter coat as part of The Amazing Coat Sew-Along.  I prepared my pattern yesterday and started working on my muslin today.  This is the progress I made on the prototype before I had to call an end to the weekend in order to start preparing for tomorrow and my work 
 Doesn't look like much yet, but I'm glad that I finally got it started...

September 20, 2015


...I don't mind telling you that I knew absolutely nothing about J. Peterman until I read Sunni's post at AFashionableStitch last September.  That is when I instantly fell madly IN NEED of a plaid winter jacket - and yes, with a Velvet Collar no less.   I even purchased the perfect plaid wool,

and the velvet for the collar last year in anticipation of making a reasonable facsimile of her gorgeous coat.  But, alas, keeping up with my regular sewing, my job and with life, Fall & Winter quickly pass and no plaid coat materialized.

But sleep, and rise, sleep and rise and the Fall & Winter sewing season has come around again.  So this is the year that I'll make this coat appear in my sewing room.  I can just see myself now - get the picture:  Colorful falling leaves on a misty Fall day, Plaid wrapped belted jacket, Black skinny jeans, Black riding boots, Black leather gloves - maybe even a big black blanket scarf if it's a particularly chilly day at an outdoor event; oh yes, Amen.  A look straight out of a Ralph Lauren photo shoot - minus the horse.

In my last post I really actually thought I had picked the very best pattern for the look I want to create. 

But on second thought, (Here's where the whining starts folks!) The short version of this coat has  an oversized lapel/collar.  I really wanted a coat with a standard collar and lapel.  I think I could switch the front and collar around on this pattern well equipped Project Runway pattern to achieve the look I want, but I really don't want to fool around with redrafting - I just want to make my coat. 

Enter this pattern shorten to hip length.  It's loose fitting, has solid one piece front and back pattern pieces, inseam side pockets and the standard collar and lapel.  It's just a box that could border on looking like a bathrobe, and the sleeve is one piece.  I'd much rather have a 2 piece sleeve, and I don't want to make a plaid bathrobe.  Mmmm, so I'm not sure.

Then there's this pattern.
Standard lapel and collar, shoulder princess seams offers fitting opportunities, 2 piece sleeve so I wouldn't need to redraft.  All that's missing from the coat vision is the self belt and that of course is no problem at all.
Bet you didn't know I was so wishy washy when it comes to choosing patterns - or did you?  Any input about the patterns I've listed to achieve my "J. Peterman/Ralph Lauren" vision would be greatly appreciated...

September 16, 2015


...Being the avid note taker and list maker that I am, I felt compelled to start the Amazing Coat Sew-along it's very own notebook.  Yes, I'm a notebook person!  I once saw a woman on an episode of Hoarder's and her entire house was FILLED with notebooks - Egad!

Erica is sharing a wealth of tailoring information (some of which I already knew - but a whole lot more that I didn't! I don't mind telling you that it's hard for a working girl to keep up with it all.  And with everything else going on in my life, it's hard to remember it all too.  I let paper remember so I can forget - at least temporarily.

With the notebook, I don't have to keep flipping back and forth through all of the posts (because information is coming so fast) to find previously listed information that I need. 

What could easily be referred to scribble scrabble will become a useful reference for this project and for future coats to come.   Be on the lookout later for my almighty (I can see light at the end of the tunnel project) "Finish Line List" that is sure to follow...

September 15, 2015


... wool or wool blend fabrics are my FAVORITE to work with, so are knits, but that's another story.  Wool sews, presses and holds its shape wonderfully; and garments I make from it last winter after winter after winter as long as I can keep this waistline in check - yet another story.

For The Amazing Coat Sew-along I'll be using this nice plaid wool and needed to pre-treat/pre-shrink it prior to using:

I found this wonderful information about pre-treating woolen's several years ago (provided by Pam at Off the Cuff.)  The process is simple:
  • serge the cut ends of the fabric to prevent raveling
  • completely soak two or three really large towels with HOT water
  • squeeze lightly to remove excess water (squeezing lightly won't be hard to do due to the towels being so HOT)
  • unfold fabric yardage and place in dryer with the HOT wet towels
  • set the dryer on HIGH for 40 minutes
  • walk away and do something else constructive during the process
  • remove fabric from dryer and lay flat to cool and dry completely
  • NOTE:  if your dryer has a steam setting - skip the wet towels and tumble with steam for 20 to 30 minutes instead.
I know that wool/woolen fabrics can also be pre-treated/pre-shrink by steam pressing, but using that method when I have 4 yards to work with is just too time consuming, and also to much work for my steam iron.  So  I opt for the dryer method and have been using it successfully for several years now with EXCELLENT results. In sewing I'm learning that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and I don't always need to use the most time consuming, or conventional method/technique to achieve a wonderful end product.  I'm just saying...What method do you use to pre-treat your wool/woolen fabrics???

September 13, 2015


...By now I know you've heard about the AMAZING COAT SEW-ALONG sponsored by Erica Bunker.  Being the coat lover/maker that I am, I became super excited upon hearing about it several months ago and knew I'd be joining in on this one.  I've had those several months to make a decision about pattern/fabric selection.  You already know that there is an over abundance of both residing in my sewing studio - but that over abundance often creates confusion in my making a final decision concerning what to sew next.  I PRAYED about it last night because at bedtime (he says in ALL things in prayer and supplication make your requests known) I still didn't have my mind made up.  I knew I'd have an answer when the sun came up this morning!

I sort of feel like I'm cheating with my pattern selection because I've used this one before. However, it's the closest thing in my pattern stash that fits the vision of a coat I wanted to make last winter so, sew be it.
Simplicity 2311

I'll be making the short wrapped version this time using the pattern's regular collar and lapel.
I have a wonderful plaid wool purchased for $5.95 (value $24.95) at Hancock's Black Saturday sale last year.

Decisions, decisions, decisions! I've been so back and forth about this thing, but finally had to make up my mind before I missed the entire sew-along - and that would just never do.

So okay, you DO remember how this coat making process thing goes don't you?  I cry, I moan, I whine and I complain for about a month while working diligently on the project, AND I report it ALL right here for you to witness.  (Mother and my other cheerleaders, are you ready?)  And don't forget: YOU LOVE ME AND WILL STICK RIGHT HERE WITH ME THROUGH IT ALL, and at the end of the Amazing Coat Sew-Along I have another wonderful coat that I LOVE, and ADORE and get to wear winter after winter after winter...

September 9, 2015


...... Since we're celebrating all things sewing this month it would be hard to over look that magnificent invention called the Sewing Machine.  I've been near sewing machines for as long as I can remember - starting with the days I sat next to my Great Grandmother while she used one like the picture below.  I got several spankings for playing with that machine after being told not.  Granny might as well have told me "Faye, I'm leaving the room now - have at it".  Ha, I was so bound and determined that I was going to learn to sew that those spankings meant nothing to me.  I did, by the way, inherit my Great Grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine.  Terry's Fabrics provided me with an informative infographic history of the sewing machine that I thought I'd share with you to commemorate the invention that we so wouldn't want to be without.  We've come a long way baby...

September 5, 2015


...schedules, meetings, club fundraisers, walk-a-thons (4 miles clocked early this morning folks) and six weeks progress reports due by next Friday (yes we are 6 weeks in) have prohibited me from sewing a single stitch thus far for September.   It's called workload people - Nothing new, it's like this Every year.  But, alas, the month is still young; and I am determined that something Falltabulous will soon be created and set to emerge from my sewing room just in time for anticipated future chilly temperatures. In the meantime I am scoping out, dreaming about and storing up plenty of fashion sewing inspiration.

I've been a teamplayer for eons in that every Fall I soooo look forward to the debut of the Tommy Hilfiger Collection.  Although super youthful, there are always more than a few pieces of his collection that I feel are just right for me.  I have always been attracted to the preppy, slightly tailored, all American look of his Fall pieces.  It might have something to do with the fact that I went to high school with Hilfiger (oh, I'm sure he doesn't remember me), but never the less I, like every teenager in my city, was part of the clientele who found it an absolute necessity to shop at least once at his very first (so darkly lit you could barely see what you had really purchased until you got outside in day light) basement retail store called The People's Place in Elmira, New York.   Those were the days: bell bottoms, clogs and boho peasant tops and dresses.  Although he didn't design those particular clothes, he'd trek down to NYC to bring them back for those of us who could not make the trip - and we bought!  Oh yes we bought!

His 2015-2016 Fall Winter Collection screams TEAM.  In case you haven't seen it, here's the full 100 yard runway show:

I always find his shows exciting.  Are you a teamplayer???


  • Pants Sewing Guide
  • Denim Revolution
  • Pants for Real People
  • Jackets for Real Peopls
  • Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring - Palmer & Pletsch - Gifted
  • The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook
  • Ribbon Crafts
  • Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers
  • Successful Serging
  • Making Trousers for Men and Women
  • Couture Sewing Techniques
  • Singer - Perfect Plus
  • Cool Couture
  • Couture, The Fine Art of Sewing
  • Singer Sewing Reference Library - Tailoring - GIFTED
  • The Perfect Fit: The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns - Creative Publishing International
  • Fit for Real People
  • DK-The Complete Book of Sewing