Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not much sewing this week :(

Maybe the holiday threw it off, but I got next to nothing accomplished in the sewing room.
Hmph. No fair... Yes, I am whining. No, I haven't outgrown it. With 2 weeks of school left, I think all the whining the kids are doing at this point starts to rub-off on us teachers! I know I need to adopt the 30 minute rule that Summerset uses, I'm just sooooo tired once the kids are in bed!

One bright spot in my week was Thursday after school, when I got my hair cut. It seems like each summer, as school is about to let out, the weather (stress) gets to me, and I need a change. Highlights + Heidi Klum cut = Great New Haircut! I'm so happy, it's so much easier to deal with, and I no longer have the option of being lazy and leaving the house in a ponytail!
Yes, I know. Nothing like Heidi Klum, but a huge improvement, none the less!

On the sewing side of life, DH's shirt still needs buttons (and buttonholes, too!).
I did manage to get the red silk cut for the BWOF dress yesterday. Transfering all the markings for the pleats was today's task. There's about a million pleats between the sleeves, the shoulders, and the waist. Okay, not a million... but there's a lot!!! I *really* want to do a great job on the this dress, so I'm not rushing myself or forcing myself to work on it (if I'm not in the mood). I have plenty of time (wedding is the 21st) and it's just a "two-dotter", so I'm not worried. More importantly, the Red Wings played both last night and tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Stanley Cup, so no tracing/cutting/sewing took place last night or tonight! Right now, the Wings are up 2 games to none in the series!!!Above are the sleeve and sleeve lining pieces. You can see all the pleats along the shoulder seam and hem, on both pieces (it's a bubble sleeve). Yick.

If you're squeamish, don't scroll down!!!Thanks for all your well wishes, DH is on the mend and expecting to have the stitches removed this week. 21 stitches in all, and it's actually 2 separate lacerations: 1 L-shaped cut on the back, and 1 straight cut that almost connects it and continues around to the palm side. (Michelle: This is for you...) DH says, "It's a sewing blog, and I have stitches to share!"

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend

No sewing since last Tuesday, not even a pattern traced nor cut! But we had a memorable weekend, which is even better! We took our camper out for the first time, and had such a great time! The RV park had activities around the clock for all ages, the kids rode their bikes and played at the playground, and Grandma and Grandpa were just a few campsites away in their camper! The weather was absolutely gorgeous (just a little rain Sunday morning, during which I graded papers instead of cutting a pattern I brought!), and we're already planning our next expedition! Some people might argue that we aren't really camping, since our travel trailer has most of the amenities of home... but, I disagree! It's a lot of work packing (and unpacking) clothes, food, and activities for 4 people!

Here we are all bundled up at the bonfire on our first night (I love the smell of a campfire!). What you can't see in the picture is DH's left hand. The day before he was injured at a house fire when a window was broken above him. The shattered glass fell on his left *almost gloved hand* (he was putting it on when he was injured), and he had to go to the hospital for 21 stitches. Thankfully, there was no nerve or tendon damage, but he did offer to share a picture of his wound with all of you (since it is a "sewing blog" and he's got so many stitches to share!). It's pretty gross, so I'll spare you! He's such a trooper, didn't want to cancel the trip knowing how excited the kids were, he just took his pain meds (and napped) and we all had a great time.

Happy Memorial Day to all. I hugged a veteran today, did you? (DH was a Navy guy, gotta love a man in uniform!) Here is one of my favorite non-sewing blogs, and his reminder on this Memorial Day is an amazing read.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ugh... Too busy to sew!

Sewing has been put on the back burner, while LIFE takes over.
1. My senior students last days are this week, so there are finals to grade. Tomorrow is the "Senior Walk" when they all parade through the school in cap & gown to the applause of the entire student body, teachers, and families. My favorite tradition at our school.
2. The remainder of the school year (4 weeks!) find me scurrying to finish covering the mandatory material, writing and grading another final exam, and packing up my classroom for the summer.
3. Memorial Day plans find us trying a new family tradition, but it's a secret for now... Trust me, it's big. I'll reveal all on Memorial Day!
4. I have to complete some "Continuing Education" credits for my employer, which means a few online classes and some brief essays or power-points to complete by mid-June. Yuck.
I'm thinking that I need to institute Summerset's 30-60 minute rule for the next few weeks, that way I can get the really important stuff done, and still keep my sanity. People (who don't sew) think it's weird when I say that I sew for relaxation, but they don't understand that I'm forced to focus on the task at hand, which pushes all the other crap/stress out of my head (temporarily). When I try to sew and think about life's stresses, that's when I make mistakes and it shows. Do you agree with my perspective of "why sewing is relaxing"?
On the table is DH's shirt, just needs side seams, a hem, and buttons. I really like the fabric a lot, both in color and weight, and know it will be a great shirt for the warm weather. The BWOF red silk dress pattern is all traced off, but the fabric needs to be cut. I've got until June 21st, so the 30-60 minute plan might actually be a good one for this deadline!
Hope you're all getting the fabulous weather we've got here. Nothin' but sunshine, supposed to be 80 tomorrow and 85 on Thursday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The votes have been counted...

And the winner is...
Dress #2!
As the votes came in, the lead bounced back and forth between the two dresses, and in the end Dress #1 was in the lead by 3 votes. I asked my husband and 2 friends at work, and all of them said Dress #2. All tied up...

So, I had to think some more. Sunday afternoon luncheon, hour long car ride there, and future wearability. Here's the info at the BWOF site.

The fuller skirt will (hopefully) lessen the car-ride-wrinkle-factor, and I think the second dress will work for more occasions and get worn more. I've never done a bubble sleeve before, so if you have tips for me, please comment!

I started tracing it last night while I watched the Red Wings beat the Ducks (living room) and the season finale of Grey's Anatomy (kitchen). Wasn't it a great finale?! Tomorrow I'll be working on DH's shirt (Simplicity 7030, my TNT mens shirt pattern) and probably finish tracing and cutting the fabric. With the weather warming up, DD could use some new capri's for school and shorts for playing, but she'd rather me make her dresses!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Little Red Dress... but which one?

I can't decide, so will you please help me?

I have red (matte) silk that needs to be a dress appropriate for a Sunday afternoon wedding. It's my sister's signature color, and since she'll have to wear white that day, my sisters and I have decided to wear red for her. Did you know I'm the last of 9 (5 girls and 4 boys)? (Don't worry biggest sister... the bride does not check my blog!)

So, I need your help! I've narrowed my favorites down to these two BWOF from the May 09 issue. My fabric (amount and weight) will work for both, so I can go either way.

Dress 117 (3 dots)
Here's the pics at BWOF."Enjoy making a grand entrance? Then this slim dress in moss green satin with cap sleeves is just the thing for you! The draped front bodice is just one of its many attention-grabbing details."

I like the lines of this (sexy, sexy!), but worry about my leftover baby pooch sticking out. I think the pleats will help hide it, and I really like how simple this is for a Sunday afternoon luncheon. Just picture it in red... where's Angie the wonder-techie with Paint when I need her???

Dress 122 (2 dots)
Here's the pics at BWOF.
"Très chic! When wearing this feminine summer dress in washed silk with short balloon sleeves you’ll feel like you‘re in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris."

Paris aside, the A-line skirt will be more forgiving, but I'm afraid it's too casual. But the red silk will amp it up...
So ladies, voice your opinions. DH, you can chime in, too. Big Sis, what's your vote (I bet it's the first one...) Little Miss Princess likes the second one, but what say you?
p.s. Thanks for your compliments on the prom dress, it's a huge weight off my chest to have it be done and see how much she enjoyed it. If I didn't value your opinions and feedback, I wouldn't be asking you to help me choose this pattern now, would I???

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Hoping you all have a wonderful day tomorrow (or weekend, for that matter!). DD made me some wonderful gifts (I shared one of the pictures with you last week) and I got another one yesterday...

Yes, I am 34 (well, 35... but who's counting?).
No, I am not 20 ft tall.
While I do like broccoli & carrots, I wouldn't call them my favorite (unless I'm trying to get the kids to try some... "Mmmmm, these vegetables are just delicious! Better than chocolate!")
You already know I love to sew (does my kid know me, or what?)
Yes, we do like to play (her favorite is "Shoe Store", when she is the clerk and I am the shopper, and she helps me try on my own shoes and then demands cash.)
...and Yes, I absolutely love her! She is funny, smart, stubborn, sensitive, silly, caring... a perfect mix of DH and I. Her brother is also a perfect mix of our genes, but possesses all the traits absent in DD. He sleeps in, she's an early riser. She likes egges, he hates them. She's blonde with brown eyes, he's brunette with blue eyes. I am so blessed to have 2 wonderful, healthy, happy kids, and that's gift enough for me. DH: are you reading this? No gifts tomorrow! NYC in 3 months!

Prom was Thursday night, and attending by 450 students. It was great to see all the kids dressed up, and I was really surprised by all the different styles of dresses. Short, long, solids, prints, fitted, ball gowns... and every color of the rainbow. Here are a few pictures of my dress on the girl, and it was very sweet of her date (also my student) to say, "Ms. B, she looks amazing. You did an awesome job on her dress."

As for me and sewing this weekend, I don't foresee much productivity. That evil sore throat bug made a U-turn, and found me! I'm heading to the pharmacy for an antibiotic and I'll probably just pre-wash some cottons for DH's spring/summer shirts and layout DD's next spring outfit. I'm feeling more like being horizontal today, than vertical! Did I mention that it's raining (again)???

Oh, one more thing... Did you watch "The Fashion Show" on Bravo Thursday night? I made it through the first half-hour, then fell asleep sitting up. I'm a die-hard Project Runway girl (own the first 4 seasons on DVD!), and just felt like I was cheating on my best friend. It's looks interesting (I'd never be able to make a little black dress out of a t-shirt!), but I'm not dying to see the next one. I'm really looking forward to August 20 and the 6th season of PR on Lifetime much more!
Hope you all have a great (productive) weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Big News!!!

Am I petite? Not by Burda's standards, but after reading a review of this dress on PR (of another non-petite gal), I thought it was worth a shot. This was the second positive review I'd seen of this dress, so I figured the waters were safe. I'll have to take some pictures tomorrow at Prom, but these will do for now.

My review of dress 116a from the March 2009 BWOF is here.

*Love* my new gold heels. Stacy London (What Not to Wear) considers gold a neutral, so I can't argue with that...

But my new snazzy dress is not the big news...
New York City, here I come!!!

In August, I will be attending a 4 day seminar in the Big Apple with Susan Khalje and Kenneth King. Excited is an understatement.
I've never been to New York. I've never had formal sewing instruction. Nervous is an understatement.
Rumor has it that I might also get a chance to meet a few of my favorite bloggers, who will also be attending the class. I think August will take forever to get here.
If you're interested in attending, here's the link to the Sit and Sew class.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pretty Spring Skirt

Simplicity 2698
(This has been in the works all week, I did a little bit every few days, but could've easily done it all in one day.)

Pattern Description: This Project Runway pattern features a variety of skirts with 4 yokes and 5 skirts styles (all pleated, different lengths). I used yoke B (widest) and skirt I (3 box pleats across the front and 3 more in the back, knee length).

Pattern Sizing: 4 - 22. I made the 18 (wear a RTW 12), and it's perfect.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes! Just like the red/white one on the pattern envelope.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Absolutely! No complaints, everything was super clear and easy to understand.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I always love the Project Runway patterns for their flexibility and options, and this one is no different. I've seen more and more of these flouncy skirts in the stores, and I have to say... I love this style. Defines the waist, but forgiving in the empty baby pooch area (if you know what I mean!) because of the pleats and controlled fullness.Also, this skirt is so easy to make, it's a quickie project if you're looking for a 1 day project.Dislike: All Project Runway patterns have lousy fabric yardage recommendations. The envelope recommended 2.25 yds of 60 wide, and I think I only used about 1 1/4 yards.*I highly recommend cutting the paper pattern and taking it with you to the fabric store (with any of the PR patterns).

Fabric Used: Stretch cotton sateen I purchased at Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, MI. I love the floral and all the different shades of pink! I overbought, and really only needed about 1.5 yds of 60" wide. (Here's a back view and a close-up of the fabric!)
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Other than using an invisible zipper instead of doing a lapped zipper, no.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I'll definitely make one or two more! So flirty and girly (but with full coverage so even a spring gust won't be embarassing), perfect for warmer weather!
Conclusion: Love this pattern! The best 99 cents I've spent in a long time (not including fabric)!
I'll have an updated post mid-week with the dress I made myself for Prom, which is this Thursday.