Just Swimming Along...

I've been sewing and reading all of your blogs regularly, just nothing extraordinary to discuss over here. I'm looking into getting myself a serger, as I've gotten used to using the one in class and find it makes sewing much quicker and therefore more satisfying. I'm sewing a few Christmas gifts, and a few things that are more craft then sew, such as headbands and scarfs. I'll catch up with photos and project posts nearer the holiday, most like.

P.S. I LOVE repurposing fabric from old garments - it's fun and I get to think on my toes. I'll do a post on it soon.


Sort of Sewing...

Vogue 2811 (red version), official progress report:
-Fly zip is fully installed and topstitched to perfection. Only took 4.5+trillion tries
-Decided I wanted buttoned flaps on top of the back pockets, so I drew up a pattern piece for one
-back flap #1 is sewn and pressed, back flap #2 needs to be cut and sewn (...it was late, I sort of forgot to cut two!)
-fit forecast is promising, I pinned the sides together and tried it on last night, looks very good. 
-skirt is thoroughly covered in cat hair, courtesy Boston


Vintage Pattern Goodness + Fabric

I love this skirt - it's similar to the Colette pattern's bignet, but in my opinion even better. This skirt is perfect for my body type, too! I love highlighting my waist. A great 70's find.

Ok, it's a 90s pattern, not really vintage. But the back cutout is cute, nonetheless. 

This pattern is one of my favorite from this haul. The cut of the pants is super current - checkout Vogue's fall 2010 collection booklet - and I would love to make them. 

This reversible wrap skirt has a lot of potential, too. I'm going to keep my eye out for a fabric combination for it. 

A great 50's button up. 

Vintage slip pattern for knits. I'll probably use this for a tank or summer dress. I don't have much use for a slip right now. The princess seams are elegant though, right?

All of the above patterns are from elisesmommy on Ebay. I highly recommend this seller. Very quick shipping, huge selection, and her prices are very reasonable. 

I bought a few new cuts of fabric last month while I was in Sacramento. The above photo is a poly chiffon. I've never worked with chiffon before, but would love to try. I'm just not sure what I want to make from it. I bought the fabric because I loved the color combination - I don't have anything like it. 

I'm not really sure why I bought this Levi's print. Maybe because it's super soft, maybe because I love vintagey branding. Regardless, I can't decide on what pattern to use with it. I think I want to turn it into a casual, drapey top to wear with jeans. Sort of a gloomy winter day top, very simple. Maybe Vogue 8690 or McCall's 6241?

New Look 6873 - from UFO to FO in one evening!

I started this skirt almost a solid year ago. I didn't make a very good choice matching this fabric to a pattern. I used New Look 6873, which I've made it before here out of a lightweight swiss-dot cotton. This fabric is a Vera Lavender brocade from fabric.com last year, and it's gorgeous. Carolyn and Elizabeth have made gorgeous garments from this fabric. It's really pretty. Unfortunately, when I was working on this skirt last year I didn't know anything about working with thicker fabrics, so I was using french seams to construct it. This makes the pockets beautiful inside and out, but the waistband is unfortunately bumpy. 

Well, I pulled the project out Tuesday night and brought it to class. I ripped out the disgusting hem - I had pinched fabric along the way to accommodate for the curved hem, not pretty - and serged off about 2 inches to get rid of the damage. I also took out the bumpy lapped zip and installed an invisible zipper - my first! - and pressed the life of of it. The skirt looks tenfold better. I still need to blind hem it by hand, but blah blah, it's done. 

A close up of the side pockets. Boston threw her paw in, too. 

The less-than-perfect waistband facing. I used a french seam to attach the waistband, and that causes it to lay a little funny because of the bulk. I might go back and rip this all out later, but with a good press it's just fine for now. 

The pockets from the inside of the skirt - I love the french seams for this! They turned out very pretty and were smart for this ravely fabric. 

In Vogue 2811 news...

I resized the pattern and cut a new one out of a fabulous dark red cotton denim I almost missed at SAS. It's much darker than this photo shows, more of a burgundy. I was working on this at home and didn't have the serger like I do in class, so I spent a LOT of time zigzagging around the edges of all pieces with the shortest stitch possible. I have the front faux-pockets on and topstitched, the back darts sewn and pockets prepared, and the fly zip is halfway done. I hope to get the zipper and back pockets done tonight.

This is the original Vogue 2811 skirt. I abandoned this half way through after I accidentally cut off the zipper pull when shortening the zipper. It made me super frustrated, and I tossed it aside. It was way too small, anyway. I probably will finish this skirt and give it to Ashley for Christmas. She's tinnier than me, and leggier. 

My plan is to finish the Vogue 2811 skirts, finish a little knit top that just needs a hem, and then start on a jacket for myself. I'm still not in love with Vogue 8623 as a jacket pattern - so I'd love suggestions!


Senior Pictures!

Not about sewing, but I am wearing a vintage dress and a vintage suede coat, so that counts as fair blogging material right? The coat is from my Oma. I love it!

On another note, I just joined a great new blog called Crafty Christmas Club! It's all about gifts to make, be it sewing, crocheting, baking, whatever. How cool is that? I just posted a tutorial for these awesome baked-in-the-mug "coffee" cakes topped with homemade marshmallow.



My vintage pattern collection has been growing at a rapid pace.

Vintage Simplicity 5665 came from Carolyn. It's gorgeous! You can't see very well from the photo, but the pattern also includes an adorable button-back blouse. This blouse and coat is very high on my list. 

I fell in love with the peter pan color and front tucks. I'd love to make this in a sheer.  This is from eBay seller doowapmama, and I got it at a steal for only $1.04 plus shipping. 

I also bought five patterns from eBay seller elisesmommy, whom I highly recommend as a seller. Very speedy shipping. I need to photograph these patterns - they're great! 



The last month has been difficult. Difficult to find time to sew, difficult to work on projects that I have no motivation to work on, and frankly just difficult to do anything but sleep. My Opa, who has been severely disabled and has had a very poor quality of life for the past 5 years, passed away in early October. This has been a very melancholy event, but at 80 years old and with 7 children and who knows how many grandchildren (12 or 14?) he had a life full of love. My Opa kept diaries for 65 years almost religiously. They are very blunt and mostly just lists of things to do, or what he spent on dinner that day, or his flight logs. I am lucky and get to read through them. I have read 1967-1969. My Opa had 5 daughters and bought every single one of them a sewing machine, and from what I can tell was very comfortable with buying them patterns and material. He also bought my Oma a sewing machine just after they were married and insisted that she learn to mend his clothes and be able to sew for children. I never realized how much my Opa valued sewing, and I'm very tempted to make my dress for his memorial just for him.

My Oma and Opa had a very hollywood-esque love story. He was a pilot for Saturn airlines, flying to and from Berlin and Oakland several times a week. My Oma was a German stewardess, and by chance filled in for someone on one of his flights. They got married two months later. Thats fate, if you ask me.

I have been sewing, although poorly and reluctantly. I did not finish Vogue 2811 in time to turn it in for my skirt project in class, and instead turned in my pillowcase skirt. I got a decent enough grade on it. Vogue 2811 is an awesome pattern, and I decided to abandon the version I have shown in favor of one that will actually fit and be a more modest length. Plus, I found a fabulous dark red-purple denim for it. I am going to take my time and not be stressed with this one. I really dislike sewing class, and I'm unsure if I'm going to keep going.

I would like to start a coat for winter (it's Arizona, winter is a relative term!) but I just don't feel inspired by my previous pattern choice - Vogue 8623 - or my fabrics, grey and white worsted wools. I might choose a new pattern to get the ball rolling. Pattern suggestions for a lightweight jacket or coat?

It's pretty likely that the blog will be mostly "dream sewing" for a while. I have traffic court twice this week (Arizona's traffic laws are completely unreasonable and inconvenient, and there are speed traps everywhere. I was pulled over for going 19 in a 15, even though I had literally JUST turned from a street that was 45. Go figure). I also have to take my SAT subject tests (US History and Mathematics) and try to finish college applications this month. Oh, and halloween.

But in brighter news, I got my DREAM JOB!! I've briefly mentioned them before, but LUSH is an ethical company that sells fabulous natural and vegan cosmetic products. I have been a LUSHie for going on two years and believe in their mission statement completely, and adore their products. While on a little retail-therapy trip a few weeks ago, the manager (who knows me by name, go figure) asked if I was interested in a job there ("Since you're basically here in shifts anyway! lol!") Um... work for a company that supports fair-trade labor, does not test on animals, AND has super amazing shampoo? YES PLEASE! It was really daunting - there was a "hiring party" with about 35 girls and they were only looking to hire 5 for holiday help, 1 of which will get to stay on after. I was the first girl they called back after the hiring party and did my floor test on friday. I had so much fun! If there is any interested in LUSH's products, I would be totally open to doing photo-demonstrations on the blog, just for funzies.

In conclusion, buying vintage patterns on eBay is a better pick-me-up than a cup of coffee, and I need to go to the gym because I'm getting pudgey.


Vogue 2811 Update

Today in class I stitched and pressed the back darts, prepared the back pockets, stitched and topstitched the center back seam. The fly front facings are prepared and sewn in, and the zipper will be next.

My goal is to get the fly front zip installed and topstitched before next Tuesday's class. I'd also like to have the waistband in, so all I have to do in class is the button hole and hem. The skirt is due at the end of class next week.

The only downside is that I might not actually get to wear this skirt. I bought a size 6-8-10 pattern because that is all that was on eBay, even though I measure a 12-14 for this skirt. Pattern Review had many saying that the pattern ran big, so I thought I would be ok without alteration. I won't know until I sew the side seams. Either way, the skirt is looking really good and I think that I'll get a solid grade on it, at least.


Newest Mhendi

International Club will be doing henna tattoos at tonight's homecoming pep rally. I decided to practice on myself this afternoon. This is largely copied from an LA henna studio's design. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and the quality of this henna. This is my first time using Jamila henna powder, and it's excellent. I had no trouble mixing the paste and it never clumped. I can't wait to see the stain!

Vogue 2811 Update: there is no update. I played with henna this afternoon instead :)


Vogue 2811 - Topstitching trials

This is my first project that features real topstitching. I don't have any of the attachments suggested to get great topstitching - well, technically I have a blind hem stitch foot but I'm pretty sure Sears sent me the wrong one because it doesn't fit my machine - so I'm stuck making due with my regular old presser foot. And it's not going too bad!

Yesterday in class I serged the edges of almost all of my pieces and pressed the side pocket curves. Getting the pocket curves even and lying flat was a pain in the rear with this thick denim. I didn't purchase this fabric for this project, but I'm making due because I couldn't find anything better locally. 

Other than the denim being a little heavier weight than I'd like, it's a great color and 100% cotton. I'm using grey Gutterman topstitching thread and a topstitching needle, with dark blue thread in the bobbin to make the topstiching stand out more. I read this tip on a blog, but I can't remember which one... darn it. 

My goal is that by friday I will have the back darts sewn and the back portion of the skirt assembled. This way I can tackle the fly front over the weekend, and then hopefully the waistband in class on Tuesday. Thats the plan, anyway.

Love at first sight

Vintage Simplicity 4678

I found this lovely while browsing the eBay iphone app in Economics today. I am in love with the jacket and absolutely need it in both red and leopard versions. It's even in my size, and was completely within my budget. Wasn't it meant to be?


Beautiful Bloggers!

Wow, I feel so special :) Kathy at Summerset Sewing nominated me for a beautiful blogger award. How cool is that? In addition to sewing, Kathy blogs about gardening, swaps, and of course her two big ol' doggies.

I am suppose to tell you ten things about myself, then pass the award along. 

1. I love baking and decorating cakes. I don't decorate cakes as much as I used to, but I still have a lot of fun making the odd birthday cake here and there. I actually have awards from the AZ State Fair and the Arizona Cake and Sugar Art Show for decorating, and a blue ribbon coconut cake recipe. Woot!

2. I had a cow. Literally. I showed cows and heifers for Gilardi Cattle when I was in Jr. High and still living in Chico, CA. My heifers name was Naava, which means "pretty girl" in Hebrew. It was lots of work, but it was a great experience, I had a lot of fun, and it made me tough. Bumps and bruises are nothing to me now. 

3. One of my newest hobbies is temporary henna tattoos - specifically mhendi. I've done a few on myself and others and I'm not too bad anymore. I am still at the beginning of developing my own mhendi style, though. I love working with the henna dye, too. I've experienced how henna reacts differently depending on how you mix it with my henna hair color. 

4. I adore reading nonfiction. For whatever reason, I've never read a fiction book that makes me think the way a good autobiography can. That being said, I still try to be open-minded and varied when choosing books. I love when people suggest books for me to read! I almost always go find them. 

5. I want to go to Boston University. I'm applying to a few other schools too - University of Denver, University of Pittsburgh, Bates College, University of California Santa Clara to name a few - but Boston is where I'm set on. My kitten, Boston, was named after BU. I figured that was good luck. 

6. I cannot function without my contacts. My prescription is only a few away from being legally blind. It's pretty crazy when I don't wear my contacts because I forget what my world would be like unaltered. I am so thankful for contact lenses!   

7. I work at Jason's Deli. I'm lucky enough to be at a non-corporate location. My managers are awesome and I've got some funny coworkers. It's a really silly place to work, and the food is actually tasty. Plus, our kitchens front and back are super clean. I've seen restaurants that are just gross in the back - I could never work somewhere I wouldn't actually eat. 

8. I run a tutoring company called Chaparral Tutors. It's a franchise of Peer Tutors, LLC that I opened last January. I have ten tutors working for me, and we offer tutoring in every subject offered at Chaparral. It's been great business experience, and I hope that the business schools I'm applying to will appreciate this little forte. 

9. I have arthritis in my toes! My toes and ankles crack continuously with any movement. I can't even tip toe around at night because my toes go *crick clack* with every step. This makes practical jokes very difficult. 

10. My one big insecurity when it comes to clothing and dressing are my shoulders. My shoulders are really broad for a girl. Thats why I'm so insistent on highlighting my waist and not wearing empire lines - my body just looks huge unless I have something at my waist. Luckily, I adore 50s retro styles which almost always highlight the waist. 

And now, the other beautiful bloggers:

-La Sewista, who really puts time into the details of her sewing. She's working on a Channel Jacket right now, which I bet will be beautiful

-Quality Time. Angie is not only has my heart with all her pretty vintage sewing, but because she's super sweet! I asked a question about her piping and she responded with a whole tutorial. I've totally got a seamstress crush

-The Daily Skirt, who makes the most impressive garments in what seems like no time flat. Go checkout her new brown moto-jacket. It's gorgeous! 

-Kim's Kouture, who sews lots for herself and her family. This is one of the first sewing blogs I ever found through Pattern Review. I got the bug and read her whole backlog of posts one night. 

There are about a trillion other beautiful bloggers I know of, but I think that they have already been recognized with this award. I love that this award has really made it's way through the online sewing community.


Greetings from UFO -land

This OOP vogue skirt has been cut out and added to my (seamingly) never-ending pile of UFOs. And now, for your entertainment, a tally of my ADHD sewing habits:

-McCall's 5853 that needs bias binding
-underwear pattern that has been traced, cut and perfected from an existing pair of underwear and needs to be made up for finality's sake
-floral drindl skirt from the last post
-Jeans re-fashion
-pillowcase re-fashion
-two pairs of monster pajama bottoms
-and now the above skirt, which I am (way too) ambitiously attempting to make for my skirt project in class

Will someone shed some light on how to manage, store, and complete sewing projects orderly? Am I the only one this scatterbrained? Will the new season of Glee ever start? 

(*New theory. I sew more when I have glee to watch whilst I do so)


The "Right" Way

Well folks, I gave up. Not on sewing, of course, but on teaching myself to sew. I signed up for a clothing construction course on Tuesday nights at Mesa Community College. It's a bit of a drive, about 25 minuets, but completely worth it. Not only will this class count as my fine arts credit to graduate high school (would you believe that in 3 years I've never taken a non-academic elective? No wonder I'm such a nerd!) but I will be able to tackle "scary" projects with a knowledgeable professor helping me when I need it.

Tonight was my first class. Last week was the first class of the semester, but I showed up this week and caught on. I had brought some fabric with me, just in case, not really knowing what else I'd need. We are suppose to sew skirts from a commercial pattern. I didn't have a pattern with me, so I just did a bit of measuring, drafted a pocket by tracing my hand, and went off to do a little drindl skirt action. The only requirements is that our skirt have a waistband and a zipper. I'm essentially remaking my pillowcase skirt, with a center back seam for a zipper and pockets at the side seams. The fabric is a gorgeous, gorgeous black cotton with blue and purple flowers and gold detailing. It was only labeled as "cotton" at SAS, but lord knows how acurate that place is because I'm almost positive this is a rayon challis. At $3/ yard, I dont care much either way.

On the sewing table:
-Vogue 8623 coat project for the Trench Sew-along
-Drindl skirt for class
-Simplicity 2364 view D, done and awaiting hem


Why I haven't been sewing

It's official. Ashley has moved out of the house and into her dorm at NAU. I loved her staying with us and surprisingly, so did my mom. We had a crazy few weeks. 

Ash was sleeping in the spare bedroom/sewing space. For a while I had just barely enough space on the desk to sew, but the daffodil tank is all I had managed to sew when my fabric shelves fell down. It was a huge mess and even after everything was put away and re-folded, there was absolutely no space. Instead, we got a new distraction...

Meet Boston! Ashley and I saved her from the Euthanasia list. Boston is about four months old and very well behaved. She's already been spayed and litter trained - so we got the fun part! Boston is curious, ambitious and fearless. She also has super-soft kitten fur. Yes!

Ashley left for Flagstaff, AZ and moved into her dorm on Tuesday. I drove up the next day to bring the rest of her stuff. 

NAU has such a pretty campus, her dorm looks awesome and I know Ashley is going to do really well there. 

I'm still in Scottsdale finishing high school, working at Jason's Deli, and sewing when I can. Sewing post coming soon, I promise!


Wishful Blogging: Edgy Florals

All items featured in this post are from ModCloth.com

Conjuring Chicness Top, $42.99

While I appreciate demure floral styles, I'm not one to wear them. I've always thought those English rose bits were too feminine and frilly. After an hour-long dream shopping session over at ModCloth, I'm dead set on acquiring a few floral pieces in my wardrobe.

Rosemint Top, $29.99

Wouldn't this top be fabulous with black skinny jeans and red flats? Throw in some cat eye liner and a vintage clutch; swoon.

Floral of the Story Top, $37.99

Cute top, right? Maybe this is super-girly floral like the other two, but I'm totally in love with it. Simplicity 2447 view B would be a great pattern for a knock-off. 
Hit the Dance Floral Heel, $109.99
A great mesh of femininity and scandal. I'd love to wear these with a swishy skirt and lots of jewelry. 
Flower of the Hour Wedge, $114.99

There isn't much I wouldn't wear these shoes with. I'm totally in love, and they are Jeffrey Campbell. Jeffrey Campbell shoes have the perfect arch support and never wear out. I've got a few pairs and they all wear like brand-new. I could use a new pair of wedges... we'll see what my next paycheck from the Deli looks like, hah.


Simplicity 2865 daffodil tank

As usual, life has been pretty crazy around here. My good friend Ash got kicked out and is living with my mom and I for the foreseeable future. Even with her living in the sewing room spare bedroom, I managed to make this tank and cut out several other projects last week. 

Tank is from daffodil yellow jersey from fabric.com's clearance section bought supercheap at $1.95/yard. The buttons, which I hate, are from JoAnn. I am for sure going to rip them off and put yellow ones on, soon as I find some little yellow ones.  

Like my pattern weights? I figured the tealight candle thing out after vetoing canned food for being too heavy and too large to cut around. 

I forgot to cut notches before sewing in the side pannels the first time. See all of those puckers? Not pretty. I ripped both out and sewed them back in, this time cutting notches, and they went in much better... 

...but they also didn't line up. The notches on both were way off and both panels were about an inch too long on the ends. It's not very noticeable and frankly, I wasn't in the mood to rip them out again. Maybe this is why I sew so many wadders?

Overall, it's a cute pattern and I'd like to try the collared view in the dress length sometime. The racerback and fake-placket front are easy but stylish. 


Home sweet home + goals

After six and a half weeks of non-stop traveling, I'm finally HOME! I tried to make a little visual reference of some of the places I've been this summer - Paris, Rome, Sienna, Milano, Brescia, Verona, Zurich, Geneve, Bern, Basel, Neuss, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Offenberg, Cologne - just to name a few. Needless to say, I've had an amazing time. I'm also incredibly tired and have a hundred ideas - I'm so ready to sew!

I have a few UFOs to finish and I think I'd like to make 3 versions of the McCall's 5853 tank for PatternReview's 1 pattern, many looks contest. I also have a fabulous vintage pillowcase from a thrift store in Zurich that is begging to be a swishy new skirt. And then there is my coat for the Trench Coat Sew-Along, which needs to be muslined. And the gorgeous vintage McCall's pattern for a halter top came from Ebay...

More soon, stay tuned!


Things that make me smile

1. Movenpick ice cream

2. Cute china bits from antique stores (especially at 3 francs for 2 little espresso sets)

3. Angie's Perfect Piping Tutorial

4. Metal buttons on wool coats

5. Sweetheart neck lines (Modcloth)

6. Thrifted fabric

7. "Catch me in your net" Nail Polish by O.P.I., which I've been wearing for weeks and just saw in this month's Nylon magazine

8. Piping, which I'm now obsessed with (see #3) (ModCloth)

9. St. Gallen Bratwurst

10. The tippy top of a ferris wheel