Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seeing Orange

So, it's not exactly this (from Anthropologie):

...but I think it's close enough. I haven't had a lot of time to sew lately but on Sunday I did manage to find a few free hours to make this top.

I used Amy Butler's Cabo Halter pattern. I highly recommend this pattern. This was probably the easiest top I've made so far. The instructions were very clear and I made the whole thing in about three hours. I'll be making a few more of these for the summer.

Looking at this picture makes me want to redo our back patio. We're renters though, and I really don't see any point in throwing money into someone else's property. Oh, but if it were mine...the possibilities!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Madam Poofy Sleeves

Folks, I need your opinion. A glutton for punishment, I decided to try my hand at a jacket. The instructions were relatively easy. That is, until I got to the sleeves. I used McCalls 5395 View B. The pattern piece for the sleeve had an extra 3 inches that I was supposed to ease into the armhole. Now, this was my first time "easing" sleeves but still, I honestly don't know how even a professional could ease this much without having a few gathers. After about 3 attempts and several seam rips (and WTF's) later, I decided to just make my own modification and gather the top of the sleeve to make up for the ease difference. Hence, the poofy sleeves.

I read in Sandra Betzina's "Power Sewing" later that night that she doesn't like more than 1 1/4 of an inch of sleeve ease and that most ready made clothes only have this much. Her book gives instructions for modifying a sleeve pattern to reduce the sleeve ease. Hmmm, should have read this before I started cutting and sewing! I learn the hard way, what can I say.

Here's where I need your help. I can't decide whether or not I like the poofy sleeves I currently have on the jacket. Now that I know how to modify the pattern, I wonder if I should make new sleeves. My question to you, folks, is this: Do the poofy sleeves work? Would it look better if I made new, less poofy sleeves? Your honest opinions are needed (and appreicated).

Have a happy long weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One can always dream

Out of the five things I had hoped to finish this weekend, how many did I manage to cross off? One! That's right, only one. Actually, I'm cheating by saying I finished that one thing because it really isn't finished finished but I'm not going to let a little hem get in the way of achievement. In my defense, we did move couches across counties and cleaned out our closets which kind of put a damper on the rest of the list.

So, I "finished" the linen jacket this weekend. I still don't have access to picture software, but I'll post a teaser photo:

I'll write more about the jacket and the process when I post pictures of the finished piece. All I will say right now is that they definitely left "easy" off the of description on purpose.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Peter is building a new computer this week using parts from his old computer...the one that had the picture software. Oh bugger! So, I have no pictures to share with you until the new pc is up and running. I hate posting without a picture, but I have so many creative plans this weekend and I want to increase my chances of actually finishing some of those plans by writing them down now.

So, here goes:

1) Finish linen jacket
2) Begin new Amy Butler top (I can't help it, I'm obsessed with AB fabric)
3) New bag for Moi
4) Recipe cards and recipe card holders for some special people
5) Granny bag tutorial - I haven't forgotten about this I swear! Is there still an interest?

Have a great weekend, folks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When it's hot, it's hot

The past few days have been hot around here. Thankfully, I finished my breezy summer top just in time for the heat. I found this fabric on sale at Joann a few weeks ago and was inspired to make an Anthropologie-esqe type blouse.

I used Simplicity 4127, View E for the pattern. This top was a little difficult for me to make. The first problem I ran into was just getting used to working with slinky/thin/non-cotton material. The second problem I found was the elastic neckband. The instructions didn't say the proper way to sew elastic onto fabric. After consulting an elastic guide pamphlet (from Joann's), I used a long zig zag strip. All you sewers out there, is this the correct method? The third problem I ran into was my decision to alter the pattern by using an invisible side zipper instead of the back zipper called for by the pattern. In the end, I'm glad I made that decision, but it took a couple of seam rips before I finally figured out how to make the alteration work properly.

If you've looked at the pattern, you probably noticed that View E is supposed to be a strapless top. In the end, I decided that I liked the look of straps better. Yes, I am kicking myself just a little over all that trouble with the elastic that I didn't end up needing!

Simplicity 3777

Amy Butler's website doesn't lie when it comes to the Inspiration page. As soon as I saw the picture below, I was inspired to make it. Unfortunately Amy doesn't sell the pattern for this dress (though I read a rumor somewhere that she will be selling this pattern in the fall).

When Simplicity's spring patterns came out, I really fell in love with Simplicity 3777 and decided to try it out with the Amy Butler peony fabric.

I can't tell you how much I love this pattern and this dress. I made a muslin first, afraid of messing up the "expensive" fabric with a pattern I wasn't familiar with. I used the fabric size based on the final measurement ease, ignoring the size that my real measurements suggested I use. It ended up fitting almost perfectly! I had to take in the sides of the skirt because the way it hung made my rump look huge. However, I think that if I had used a fabric with more drape, this would not have been a problem. All in all it was an easy adjustment.

I had intended to use the gray Amy Butler fabric for the contrasting bands, but when I put them together I thought it looked way too busy. Instead I used a gray Kona cotton (it looks a little blue in the picture, but it's really more gray). I also found the perfect cardigan to go with it. Now if only I could find a cute pair of gray sandals...any suggestions???

Friday, May 4, 2007


My friend invited me to see a movie screening of "Once" last night. I had never heard of the movie, nor did I take the time to read the reviews (though I did hear something about it doing well at Sundance). The ticket was free though and a movie sounded like a great way to spend a gray Thursday evening.

I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I cannot wait until it comes out in theaters at the end of May so I can see it again. I'm also planning on buying the soundtrack. The story, the music, the acting were all just amazing. It's really worth seeing just for the music alone. (Check out the Once movie website for a preview.)

After the screening, there was a Q & A session with the director and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (the actors). Glen and Marketa then played two songs from the movie for us. What an amazing night!

FYI, I was not paid for this recommendation.