Friday, December 30, 2011


Here I am, with a completed outer layer (with fur collar) and a completed lining... It's turning out beautifully, and I really feel like the end result will be a treasured coat I will wear with pride for many years. Such a great feeling!

That being said, I am at a crossroads with the closures. I bought these buttons last year for a different project, but I *love* them on this coat! If I go with a "normal" buttonhole, this coat will be done tomorrow (I get a little eager at the end, ya know?). But, something inside is telling me that a bound buttonhole is more professional, more classic, more... refined. Having never done them before, though, makes me nervous. I have scraps galore to practice on, and 6 shouldn't take me too long.

I started out writing this to ask your opinion, but now that I've put my thoughts out there, bound buttonholes seem like the only way to go. Isn't that funny?

Do you ever have to battle yourself at certain points in construction to do things the "right way" vs. the "fast way"?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Progress: Winter Coat

Santa brought me lots of new clothes, so what's a girl to sew instead? A new winter dress coat, of course!

I bought the fabric (wool, coat lining, and faux fur) all last year, but never got around to actually starting... oops! I'm actually grateful for that, seeing as how it would've been a real downer to go to all that trouble for it not to fit this year! Happy surprises, right?

The wool coating is gorgeous (it came from Gorgeous Fabrics, so it should be!) and has a woven pattern within it. Black is hard to photograph, but the bright sunshine is helping here...

The pattern is Vogue 8346, view D. The faux fur will be the collar, and came from Ressy's co-op. My fear is that it will be "over the top", so I squeezed a collar piece out of the wool, just in case. What do you think... too much of a "look"?

The front and back are all stitched, so today will be spent catch-stitching the seams open. Lots of hand stitching to do, so I'd better get moving! Will update again in the next few days...

(Sorry for the weird format here. The app I've been using to blog from the iPad crashed, and I downloaded a different one this morning. If it doesn't shape up, this may mean the end of by blog!)

**ETA: Once I cut the fur collar and placed it on the body of the coat, I knew it was a done deal. I finished my happy dance, and resumed work... then found the most fabulous buttons in my stash. I can't wait to get this done to show you!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Knock, Knock... Missoni Knock-Off

When I bought this fabric last year, it was going to be a Sandra Betzina sweater vest, but when the big Missoni trend hit this fall, I decided it deserved more. I did some research, gazing at endless Google images, trying to find one that would work with my fabric and be similar to a pattern I already owned.
This was in the running, but I didn't have the energy to track down a solid for the color blocking...

But, it was this one that made me stop in my tracks!

McCalls 6282 was already in the sewing room, and the 2 yards of zigzag sweater knit from Emma One Sock would finally become a real show-stopper (at least I hope so).

The fabric has threads of burgundy, black, olive green, mustard, and a few other typical "fall colors". I think I did pretty well, although my version has 3/4 sleeves (winter in Michigan is COLD), and I should've listened to my gut and eliminated the waist gathers.

The pattern was crazy easy to follow, and I lined it with this wonderful knit lining from Gorgeous Fabrics. Just one yard of lining, as I just didn't line the sleeves.

I didn't really follow the pattern, since I wanted to test the fit with the lining. So, I constructed that first, then attached the sweater knit to the lining neckline, then stitched the side seams closed. Absolutely no hemming here, as I traced the final length on the pattern pieces, then lined them up on the selvedge, even the sleeves.

I am very, very happy with the final product, as the fit is spot-on, and it's super comfy for looking so polished. The waist gathers will help hide any bumps or bulges, but I think this fabric isn't meant for gathers. It warranted a "Oh, WOW" from DH, so I must've done something right!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Wow, thanks so much for all your kindness, support, and words of encouragement! Sewing does definitely play a role in my weight-loss, as it allows me to wear styles that I couldn't before, and it's always nice to cut the next smaller size!

Today was the first day off of my 2-week winter break! Did I spend it in the sewing room? Nope. Had too many other "fun" things on the "To Do" list, like paying bills, filing paperwork (mostly into the circular file), running the kids to playmates, and picking up the Christmas cards. Last year, I didn't even bother with the cards, but decided to participate this year, as it is so nice to get them in the mail. Here's the pic I used this year... It's a candid from our Disney trip this past summer!

As for "inspiration", I picked up the newest issue of InStyle magazine, and found a few pages that will be ripped out and placed in my sewing space for future use!

Charlize Theron in Dior:

Sexy and elegant, understated and eye-catching at the same time.

Minks Kelly in Vivienne Westwood:

I have a black lace print chiffon that would be a perfect knock-off, but adjustments would be necessary... Unless I have another trip to Vegas in the near future?! Not a fan of the belt, and would like to see the back view.

Amanda Seyfried in Zana Bayne for Prabal Gurung

What caught my eye initially is the fabric, as I have a very similar silky print in my stash. Then I noticed the details: flared skirt, leather & rope belt... I love everything about this dress! And it would work in my actual life!!! The one subtle detail I can't mimic though, is the print at center front is like an ink blot, all symmetric! Amazing...
These sugar plums will be dancing in my head for awhile!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Last time I posted was Halloween, as life has been very full lately. Lots of added responsibility at work and many paid sewing jobs, along with making time for more exercise... I have been sewing goodies, but Blogging about it has fallen lower on the list of priorities. Do me a favor? If you like what you see, whether it is here or someone else's blog, please take a moment to just comment briefly. Feedback keeps me blogging, and I don't know about you, but no response makes me feel like either no one likes it, or one cares. Just a few words can really make all the difference in the world.

I will photograph the newest goodies very soon, but for today I will share my proudest accomplishment of the year: I am 20 pounds lighter since August 1st!



I know they aren't the greatest before and after, but I'm definitely NOT posting the swimsuit before shot! Started in a size 12, and now wearing a size 8 (RTW).

Counting every calorie (, making smart food choices, and exercising 3 times a week (45 minutes of cardio and strength training) were all integral, but what really kept me on track was having DH doing it all alongside me, (reminding, nagging, and cheering each other along) kept me heading in the right direction. He's lost 20 pounds, too, and we are still working together to see where we end up.

Ok, time to get back to other responsibilities... Pants to hem, papers to grade, and cookies to bake!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Butterfly Beauty

Little Miss wanted to be a butterfly this year... andd, so it shall be! I used a pattern from the stash, but lengthened the skirt and sleeves. Butterick 3714 is the pattern, but I eliminated the cowl piece, and lengthened the sleeves. With her being petite, the length ended up perfectly covering her jeans and shoes. (In Michigan, Halloween may require a heavy under layer, along with mittens!)

The vest came from another stash pattern, and I just added the gathered ruffle, which I made 6" wide, folded in half lengthwise, gathered and attached prior to lining.

We started our design concept with the wings, which we bought at Joann's. For some reason, they had a huge selection of butterfly wings this year, in many sizes, totally glittered up and bejeweled. We then headed to the "formal wear fabric" area and bought 2 yds of pre-glittered satin, 1 yd of organza, and 1 yd of brocade for the vest. Below, you can see the glitter in the satin (no win at Bingo, bummer!)

The elastic straps are narrow, so we put them over the vest, but then tucked them into the armholes, and tied them together to snug them up. If you look closely, you can see the tie in the neck opening.

So, that was my Halloween costume adventure this year, with Liitle Man opting for the store-bought Capt. America. Complete with muscles, of course!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vintage Treasures

Thanks to the ladies that offered their advice and experiences with buying vintage patterns! I offered $150 for the box (which contained 150 patterns!) and she accepted! Woo

Here are just a few of my faves...

They are so much fun to just look at, I swear that I was born in the wrong decade!!!

Everyone have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's My Lucky Day!

Everyone I work with knows that I sew, and how much I love it. Yesterday one of our art teachers approached me, saying a box of old patterns had been donated by a former student (her grandmother was a seamstress), and would I like to look through them? Maybe make a donation to the art department? Yes, ma'am! Absolutely!!!

So, this morning I headed down to her room, where she pulled out a cardboard filing drawer, slid it open and... I swear I heard a chorus of angels and a beam of light shone down! Not only were there vintage Vogue, McCalls and Butterick, but some Advance and Marian Martins! There were boys, men's, babies, dolls, and hat patterns... Even a Ken Doll clothing pattern! The women's patterns were mainly sizes 14-16 (perfect for me), and lots of dresses that were just my style.

I grabbed 20 of my favorites, but had trouble leaving the rest behind. When she told me that she took the "ones in bad shape" and let the kids use the tissue for decoupage, I almost fainted!! I am considering making her an offer on the whole box, so she is holding it for me, and won't let the kids touch them (thank goodness). I didn't have enough time to check them all, but the ones I opened were all cut, and I am assuming all the pieces are there, but again, I don't know.

What is a fair price? The box probably had 80-100 patterns in it, all in various conditions (asnyou can see above), circa early 50s - 70s.

What do you think?????

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pattern Shopping

I had to swing into Joann's for a zipper (Halloween costume under construction), and McCalls and Buttericks were on sale for $1 and $2. I picked up these goodies...

Butterick 5610

Butterick 5356

You might be shaking Your head at me on this one, but I have a plan. It involves this $900 Miu Miu blouse...

Anyhow, I also picked up these McCall's:
McCalls 5978

McCalls 6436

And last (but definitely not least), McCalls 6433 (my fave)

Those pleats! I have a wonderful deep purple wool crepe that will be perfect for this. Originally, I grabbed it to make a Missoni knock-off, using a zig-zag lightweight sweater knit and the view without the pleats... My sewing eyes are bigger than my calendar allows!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

LBD V1250, ver 2.0

Disclaimer: Black does NOT photograph well. Sorry!

Our 12th Anniversary is tomorrow, so we celebrated last night by going to dinner. A fancy-schmancy dinner!

I whipped up another Vogue 1250 on Thursday night during game 5 of the Tigers-Yankees series. What a game! I couldn't deal with just sitting there (it was a nail-biter of a game), so I stepped over to my work table and sewed my stress away.

The fabric is a recent purchase from Haberman's, a stretch crepe de chine, that is both lightweight and soft, like a sueded silk.

I chopped 4" off the bottom, and took in the waist about 1/2" in both side seams. I will pick-up the smaller size pattern at the next Vogue sale...

The greatest thing about this version is that it can be both a "night out on the town" dress, and a "belted with a jacket or cardigan" dress for work.

We had a great meal (crab legs and porterhouse) and a fabulous dessert. The funniest part of the night was our pit-stop on the way home at Home Depot. Can you sat, "over-dressed"???

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3, 2, 1... Jumping on the Bandwagon!

The "Vogue 1250" Bandwagon, that is!

What to say that hasn't already been covered by the MILLION sewist's that have already made it? How about, "If you haven't yet, get on the bandwagon! There's plenty of space, and extra chocolate covered pretzels being passed around!"

I was a little nervous about the fit through the hips being too tight, but it was exactly what the pattern measurement said, and I even took it in on the sides above the waist. Here's the back:

The fabric has been in my stash forever! I can't remember if I bought it from Gorgeous Fabrics or the co-op! Either way, this ITY is a perfect weight, stretch, and design for this pattern. I bought a couple yards of black stretch crepe de chinese at Haberman's recently to make a LBD with this pattern!

Here's a close-up of the front drape. I wore a cami underneath since I am always bending over students' desks...

So, there you have it. A very easy success, just like all the others in sewing blog land! Winner, winner! Much like those Detroit Tigers I'll be cheering on tonight (wink, wink at Lindsay T!). And how about those Lions!? 4-0 for the first time since 1980! I've been listening to a lot sports in the sewing room lately...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kristine, Duchess of Sewing

I have always loved the blue Issa dress that everyone knows as Kate Middleton's royal engagement dress.

Now, I have my own version of it!

I used McCall's 5752 (OOP) and 3 yards of the finest, softest, silkiest, drapiest, navy blue knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's called, "Poly Matte Jersey" in deep navy, and it feels like a thin silk jersey, but without the shine. There's still some left, if you want in on the most heavenly knit. Perfect for the Vogue 1250 that everyone is making right now...

So, here is the back:

And the side...

Anyhow, I made view D (long sleeves, no hanging ties), and just needed a few minor sizing adjustments. 16 was the smallest size in the envelope, but I've gotten back on the diet and fitness bandwagon, so I'm more like a 14 now. I will likely add a snap inside the bodice for modesty, but love everything else about it.

It's really comfy for being so dressy, and once I scale this pattern down to the correct proportions (even the sleeves are too wide), I will definitely make another!