October 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm (regular) (, )

For the most part, I have finished my PR Think Pink Contest entry but I’m holding off on reviewing it because I haven’t decided if I want to make a few little tweaks before I really consider it done.  I’ve put it aside though to try and work my way through the stash I just acquired on Friday.  I must be one of the few people that can’t actually maintain a stash.  It really bothers me to spend money on more fabric when I already have perfectly good fabric sitting at home.  Unfortunately, most of what I received on Friday doesn’t really pair up well with any of my Tim Gunn items.  I think you see where this is going…I’m going to continue deviating from the list.

Currently, I’m working on using the “antique brass” jersey to make the longer sleeved version of Vogue 8511:

In jersey, this dress comes together really quickly.  It’s taking me a bit longer because I’ve taken too many breaks and have more than once sewn the the wrong pieces together.  Like other PR reviewers have noted, the sleeves are big.  In jersey, they’re borderline obnoxious, especially compared to the very close fitting bodice.  Today, I plan on taking in one of the sleeves to see if that’s doable without having to alter the armscye.  If not, the sleeves might have to go altogether.  That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world since I’d actually prefer to wear this with a black or dark brown cardigan.  I’m not sure the color is the best against my skin but that’s an issue for another post.  I anticipate finishing it tonight, letting it hang overnight and then hemming it tomorrow. 

Up next, I wanted to make Butterick 5559 in the red jersey but I’m worried the jersey will be too lightweight.  Again, I’m not the most experienced sewer and my knowledge of fabrics is lacking, but I thought jerseys were lightweight.  However, Butterick 5559 states it is for “moderate stretch knits only” but then suggests “ponte knits and jersey.”  Ponte knit I understand.  Are there different types of jersey?  It’s probably time I invest in a book on fabrics.

Since I really, really love this dress, I think I’m going to hold off, use the red jersey for something else and buy some ponte knit, once I feel more comfortable buying fabric again of course.

So, I’ll probably make Vogue 8685 I paired with the blue jersey in the last post, instead.


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New Fabric

October 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm (regular) (, )

My first Fabric Mart purchase arrived on Friday.  Here is what I ordered:

Three jerseys.  The “antique brass” and red pieces are more of a t-shirt type of jersey.  The blue piece has a sheen to it.

I also ordered, from left: floral, linen look jersey; lilac poplin; white with green pinstripes twill; pink paisley brocade; black with yellow stripes rainwear

I also ordered a mystery bundle and this is what I got:

From left:  some sort of pale green lace/crochet type (woven) material; navy blue mystery material; polka dot chiffon; black mystery cotton, possibly lining; light green with white pinstripes mystery (woven) material, possibly just a cotton

I actually like all of it.  I’ll probably dye the lace material black because its currently a grandma-esque pale green and perhaps even the green striped material.  I might spend some time in the fabric store next week checking out the different types of fabric in hopes of ID-ing the mystery fabrics.

Now, I know myself better than to plan, seeing as how I started this blog to make every item on the Tim Gunn Essential Wardrobe and have modified the list or deviated from it soo many times, but I planned a few things anyways.  It helped me justify buying so much.

The blue jersey is actually more of a navy blue, as shown in this picture, and was intended for Vogue 8685.  I didn’t realize it would have any sort of sheen to it so now I’m starting to question whether I still want to pair this fabric with the pattern, but for $1.99/yd ($3 total), it wouldn’t be a total loss if I didn’t like it.

I think this dress is going to look so pretty in this lilac stretch poplin. 

I’m almost done with an entry for the PR Think Pink Contest but this was actually my original plan.  I was going to use this pattern to make shorts out of the Ralph Lauren pink paisley brocade.  I bought a pair of gold brocade shorts from Banana Republic this summer and this fabric made me instantly think of them.  I still plan on making them but since I already have an entry, I might put this off.

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New Patterns

October 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm (regular) (, )

To avoid getting burnt out, I’m taking a brief hiatus from sewing until my fabric order arrives.  In the meantime, I decided to take a look at the new Vogue and Simplicity patterns to see what to add to my ever-growing pattern wish list.  Thankfully, not a single Simplicity pattern appealed to me.  Here are the Vogue’s I like:

Vogue 8778 – I really like this one but I doubt I’ll ever make it.

Vogue 8771 – This looks so easy to make and would be great for the winter in a sweater knit.  I don’t think the drawings though do the sleeves justice. 

Vogue 8765 – I have a ton of patterns picked out to make dresses for work.  They’re all starting to look alike, but if I made this one, it’d be the pencil skirt version.  Flowy dresses and skirts tend to make me look too young.

Vogue 8766 – Views D and E would also be great for work, but again, I’m sure I either have a pattern or have one on my list that looks just like them.  Maybe I’ll make View A for fun.

I’d love to add the next three to my list but I don’t think my sewing skills are quite at this level yet.

Vogue 1265

Vogue 1268

Vogue 1270

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PR Contest

October 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm (regular) (, )

My October plans have changed a bit already. I was hoping to color block the Vogue dress for the PR Contest but the only way to get three shades of pink would be to order online.  I’m too nervous to order the fabric and have either the shades or the actual fabric not work together.  JoAnn’s and Hancock Fabrics are the only fabric stores that really are accessible to me to shop in person and neither had what I was looking for.  That’s been the case for a few projects in the past and I always end up settling on something I’m not excited about but will work for the pattern.  So, this weekend, I picked a new project for the contest, found some fabric online and ended up taking advantage of Fabric Mart’s sale fabrics (and the fact that I was already paying for shipping) to stock up for future projects.  I’ll share what I ordered and what I plan to do with each when it actually arrives because I also ordered a mystery bundle and I’d rather just post about it all at once. 

(I should probably add the caveat that when I say I can’t find fabric, I mean I can’t find the fabric I have in mind, in my price range.)

Below is a little mock up of my new PR Contest idea.  I got the idea as soon as I saw the fabric because it reminded me of a pair of gold brocade shorts I bought from Banana Republic this summer.  The pattern has a couple good reviews already and I’m excited to try out the pattern before I commit to making an entire pair of pants out of it.  I was planning on pairing it with a light pink bow blouse but again, I had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for in a fabric.  I’ll probably still make a bow blouse to go with it but it most likely won’t be in pink and therefore not another entry in the contest.

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October Plans

September 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm (regular) ()

I rearranged my Tim Gunn list yet again, this time to match up with the October PR contest and a Colette Pattern sew along.  Here is what I have planned for the coming month:

#3. Vogue 8685 in pink for the PR Think Pink contest.  It will also count as my day dress.

#4. Colette Patterns Clover or McCall’s 6440.  Colette Patterns is having a sew along for their Clover pattern starting October 4th.  Since this is my first time makings pants, I’d really like to participate.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get the pattern in time so the McCall’s pattern is my backup. 

#5.  Butterick 5562 and McCall’s 6404.  The inspiration for this outfit is from a Foley + Corinna sweater:

#5. McCall’s 6436 This pattern looks almost identical to the famous Equipment Signature Blouse.  I’ve also wanted a loose, silky blouse for a while.  Though, this will be the first button down shirt I’ve ever attempted so I’ll probably use a more stable fabric and/or different pattern when the times comes.

Does anyone else make sewing plans?  If so, what are you going to be working on in October?

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#2 Any Occasion Top

September 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm (regular) (, , )

I decided to take a break from the second version of the pencil skirt.  I caught myself rushing through it just to be done and it was starting to look sloppy.  Sloppy results in past projects is exactly why I decided to do this sew along and do the whole “back to basics” thing. 

Here’s what I did instead:

Pattern & Description: Butterick 5495 Knit Top

Pattern Sizing: I sewed View A in a size 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 

I love that the final product looks more complicated than it actually was.  I think this is another confidence builder, especially for a beginner like me!

I agree with previous reviewers that the holes for the loop can be a bit exposing and every time I put on the top, I have to fiddle with the facing.  I’ll have to wear it soon to see how much it all shifts around with daily wear.

Fabric Used:  A rayon blend from Joann’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I stitched the holes for the loops a little smaller, but that’s it!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I would definitely sew this again.  I think I’d like to sew another one in a solid heather grey.

Conclusion:  Despite the fiddly issues and my serious inexperience sewing knits on a regular sewing machine, the top ended up great. 

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September 24, 2011 at 11:54 am (photo)

A couple nights ago, we pulled this machine out of storage.  I bought it at least a year ago off of craigslist mainly because I needed a little laptop desk in my apartment. It was cheap enough that I wasn’t concerned with whether the machine actually worked.  (It does).

I currently sew with my mom’s old Singer Genie 353 and while it works great, after doing a little reading the other night, I realized I probably will never be able to do button holes on this machine. 

I did some research on this machine and found out it is a Singer 66 from 1951.  I think I’ve figured out which Singer or Greist buttonholer it needs but I’m hoping to verify with someone before I actually order it.

All of this research though on both machines has really piqued my interest in vintage sewing machines.  I might have caught the collecting bug…which will be much to my boyfriend’s chagrin.

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The Jeans Dilemma

September 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm (regular) ()

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want to sew a pair of jeans.  Because I overanalyze everything, here’s what I’ve been thinking:

  1. None of the jeans patterns really jump out at me.  For pretty much every item on the Tim Gunn list I’ve found a pattern that I just have to make, and in most cases, I found multiple.
  2. I would probably never wear jeans I made myself thinking the look and quality were sub par to the jeans I have in my closet. 
  3. I already own entirely too many jeans.
  4. I have very few casual pants that aren’t jeans. 

So, the only reason I’d be making jeans would be to say I actually made jeans (and I guess to not deviate from the list?) and honestly, I have no problem leaving the jeans making to the professionals. 

I’d really much rather sew a pair of casual pants like the J.Crew Minnies.  While looking for patterns, I stumbled upon the Collette Pattern’s Clover cigarette pants.  It’s exactly what I’m looking for and conveniently, they are having a Clover Sew Along starting October 4th.  So, while jeans are actually towards the end of my “to do” list, I think I’ll bump up these pants and join in.  I’ve never made pants before and fit is incredibly important when it comes to pants like these so I think there’s no better way to take a first stab at them than during a sew along.

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#1 The Pencil Skirt

September 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm (regular) (, , )

The skirt is finished! Pictures to come once I can get my “photographer” to take a picture of me in it.  Pictures are added below. 

Also, I’ve decided on my next project.  Since I can’t decide what I want to do for the sweatsuit alternative, I’m going to pass on it for now and sew my choice for the any occasion top, which is the very popular Butterick 5495.  The pattern is cut out and once I finish the extra pencil skirt I decided to make, I’ll start right away on the top. 

Pattern & Description: Simplicity 2343 – Six Made Easy Pencil Skirts

Pattern Sizing: I sewed a 14 in View A.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Pretty much.  I didn’t add the buttons.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 

This pattern was definitely a confidence builder.  Very easy to put together.  I also liked that the zipper was inserted in the back and not the side.  I’m not sure what most (more experienced) people prefer but I attempted a Burda pencil skirt about a year ago and it got scrapped because of my inability to insert the size zipper without making the hip wonky. 

I actually didn’t like the little pleats in front.  I have to wonder if this only looks good on people with flat stomachs.  The hip also is a bit wide but that’s more a fit issue than a pattern issue and since this is my first project getting back into it, I didn’t want to get burnt out trying to learn so many things on one garment.

Fabric Used:  I can’t remember exactly what type of fabric I used but it was a thicker material from Hancock’s fall wool or suiting selection.  I picked it because I wanted something sturdy for my first attempt to get back into sewing.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I believe the pattern calls for a regular zipper.  I added an invisible zipper because I wanted to practice inserting one (and I only have an invisible zipper foot…).  I prefer the look of invisible zippers anyways. 

I also had to shorten the skirt about 3 inches.  I’m not sure how tall the model is on the envelope but the skirt hits me just a touch lower than it hits her after I removed the 3 inches.  (I’m 5’4”).  This did end up making the vent look oddly short so I won’t be inserting it in any future versions.  I wore the skirt once already and I don’t think a vent is even needed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, I’m actually sewing a second version right now.  I’m sewing View D without the embroidery stitches in a small hounds-tooth print fabric, also from Hancock’s fall suiting collection.  I chose View D to avoid the pleats and for even quicker assembly (this version doesn’t have pockets).  After this version, I probably won’t sew another only because there are so many other skirt patterns with different varieties.  I’d definitely recommend it to others.  

Conclusion:  This is a great pattern for experienced sewers who want to add a new quick skirt to their wardrobe and beginners who want a great, wearable project under their belt.  I think this will be a great one to come back to too when I want to focus more on fit (the hip issue).

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Next Project

September 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm (regular) ()

I’m not quite finished with the pencil skirt but I don’t have the next couple projects picked out.  I thought I’d keep track of some of my options here. 

2. Sweatsuit Alternatives:

McCall’s 6173 Leggings

Simplicity 2016 Knit Pants

Butterick 5247 Tunic

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top and Pants

3. Any Occasion Top:

Butterick 5495 Knit Top

McCall’s 6288 Knit Top

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top

4. Day Dress:

Simplicity 2369 Knit Top

5. Basic Black Dress:

McCall’s 6319

Vogue 1250 

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