Saturday, August 21, 2010

Christmas Stocking

I love love love old fashion knit Christmas stockings. I have wanted to make coordinated stockings for my kids for a few years but the project has never made it to the top of the queue. Now that they are ready to be out on their own, I've decided to wait until they get married and make a set of stockings for each of them and their spouse.

In the meantime, to fulfill my urge to knit a Christmas stocking, I decided to make a set for the guy and me, probably for the Florida house. So what do I do? I pick THE-HARDEST-PATTERN-IN-THE-WORLD. Holy cow! I've done cables and aran patterns in the past but never in such a high concentration. EVERY ROW is different! I started his stocking in July and this is as far as I've gotten. This is definitely not bus-knitting so I have to sneak in time when I'm not around him. I purchased the yarn for mine at the same time as his. Mine will have a cranberry red heel and toe instead of green... IF I ever get to it!

Pattern is from a book called Christmas Stockings: 18 Holiday Treasures to Knit (Edited by Elaine Lipson) and the specific pattern is called Hugs and Kisses Aran Stocking (for the X-O pattern shown on the left in the photo. I am using Cascade 220.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fabric Clearance Sales

It's that time of year when many of the online fabric sources are trying to reduce their inventory and I felt obligated to help. Somehow, I ended up purchasing 16 different fabrics (36 yards) from and After discounts, the total spent was $142, or approx $4 per yard. Overall, I am pleased with them although a couple of the pieces are flimsier than I would have liked. Here's a photo of the loot with descriptions below.

Fabric on left, top to bottom:
  1. Chocolate Brown Poly Lycra Sweater Knit 57" Wide (
  2. Cotton Blend Jersey Knit Dandelion Yellow (
  3. Cotton Jersey Knit Spiro Burst Yellow/Turquoise/White (
  4. Polyester Blend Strawberry Colored Plaid 60" Wide (
  5. Cotton Jersey Knit Argyle Fuchsia/White (
  6. Slub Rayon Jersey Knit Mauvlous (
  7. Slub Rayon Jersey Knit Ivory (
  8. Matte Jersey Knit Floral White/ Lavender/Red (

Fabric on right, top to bottom:

  1. Square waffle weave black cherry ivory 56" Wide (
  2. Cherry rib knit 44" Wide (
  3. Spring suiting Maggy London white black yellow 60" Wide (
  4. Black And Yellow Wool Cotton Silk Boucle 56" Wide (
  5. Rayon Cotton Jacquard Weave Green 57" Wide (
  6. Polyester twill abstract irregular petal shapes 44" Wide (
  7. Sweater knit Navy 48" Wide (
  8. Ponte Knit royal blue 60" Wide (

Butterick 5382

Here is another project I finished back in March.
I'm starting to sound like a Michelle Obama groupie but this dress was also inspired by one of her dresses pictured here. This dress is almost identical to Vogue 8593 except this one has a seam under the bust and the Vogue does not. Thank goodness I had both patterns because I needed the Vogue instructions as described below.

Pattern Description: Straight Fitted Dresses have front pleats, raised waist seam and back zipper. Three sleeve lengths.

Pattern Sizing: 8-22. I made a 12 tapering to a 10 on top. Although the 10 fit through the bust, I felt the armholes were a little tight. not sure if the 12 would have made a difference.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? All the other reviews said the pleats were a breeze but I could not get the center pleat right after several tries. I decided to look at the Vogue directions and those directions busted through my brain block by giving a diagram to illustrate the center pleat. Perfect! Closeup of pleats:

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Very flattering design. As I mentioned, I had trouble with the pleat instructions. I also cut the first front bodice out wrong. It's directional and I had the pattern piece the wrong way. I considered changing the direction of the center pleat but after I basted and pressed it several times, it was looking beat up so I cut out a new front bodice piece.

Fabric Used: I used a stable knit (double knit?) that I purchased a year or two ago from an online fabric source. Can't remember who!!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Probably don't need another dress like this but I thought it might make a cute top if I can find a lighter weight fabric that can stand up to the pleats.

Conclusion: This was supposed to be my "power dress" to wear at a conference presentation. But alas.... the airlines lost my bag and I didn't get it in time to wear. I subsequently debuted it at a client meeting and received some nice feedback.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pattern Suggestions?

I saw this photo online this morning and really love the top. Specifically, I love the shoulder / sleeve treatment. I would love to find a pattern that mimics this sleeve. I am not a fan of one shoulder tops and would turn it into a two shoulder top. Anyone seen anything similar? Or know who made this top?

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Well, I took my first ride on the Craigslist train today and I am utterly exhausted. I listed a car for sale at several hundred less than Blue Book Value because I wanted to get rid of it fast. Like today. I've received 35 emails (ummm, maybe price was TOO low?) and spent the good part of the day answering phone calls, emails, arranging meetings for people who didn't show up.

But this was the best: Guy Number 1 offered me cash, sight unseen. "Please, ma'am, the engine blew in my car yesterday and if I don't buy a car tonight or I'm going to lose my job tomorrow." I will bring cash at 5:00 today. Meanwhile, Guy Number 2 drives over and looks at the car in my driveway. Offers me cash without driving it. (Apparently, he knows about cars and was able to check under the hood and get a good feel for the car without actually driving it.) I explain that I feel obligated to sell to Guy Number 1 because he called first and he's desperate. I call Guy Number 1 to make sure he's still coming (with cash) and he can't stop thanking me for saving his job. Guy Number 2 is a good sport and says if it doesn't work out with Guy Number 1, call him.

You know how this is going to end, right?

Guy Number 1 doesn't show and won't answer his phone.
Guy Number 2, who I shall now call Guy On A Car Buying Mission, had already bought another car.

Sigh... Let's start over again tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

S3678 & S2608

I made a knit dress a couple years ago that I just loved and always intended to make another. Instead, I decided to make a knit top from the same pattern - Simplicity 3678. Love love love this pattern. This pattern is a joy to sew. Not sure where the fabric came from; I've had it for a few years. Here is a shot of the top:

I have it paired with a knit skirt from Simplicity 2608 (view D). The skirt is a very fun design with some ruching at the top and a foldover waistband. Of course, you can't see it with the top hanging over so here is a better view.

The entire ensemble. (Wow, do I look tired!)

And now, I'm ready to start my day!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Another peasant top & an injured car

I found this sheer gauzy fabric with a border print and really liked it. I thought it would make a great peasant style top. I was going to make McCalls 5931 but after reading reviews, I realized I would have to make some alterations and I was too lazy to do so. I decided instead to re-make an oldie - McCalls 5050 (oop), that I made for the first time in 2007.

Although it turned out ok and I've worn it a few times, it's not the most flattering top. My daughter thinks I should have made a smaller size, that the excess fabric is making me look bigger than I am. I don't like how the arm attaches to the bodice. When I lift my arm, I feel constrained. Not sure if this is something I can change or if it's part of the pattern. Regardless, it's not intended to be a long term member of my wardrobe. I'll probably wear it a few more times this summer and retire it.

One of these days I will try M 5931 as I think the fit would be better.

Next up is a sundress out of some beautiful batik fabric.

In other "Ain't life grand" moments.... My daughter's car was maimed by a flying tire last week. This is the second time in 18 months her car was damaged while parked. A Dodge Ram pickup truck lost its wheel and the tire flew back and smashed into her parked car. Fortunately, a truck can't go with only 3 wheels (go figure!) so while it was stopped awaiting a tow, the police came and took a report. Turns out the offending truck was uninsured and the drivers were minors. The parents are making them pay but who knows how long that will take! Fortunately, my insurance is handling as a no-fault claim but we may be out the deductible if the crashers don't pay. This week, we are playing musical cars to get to work while her car is being fixed.

Whoa!! Just got the call from the dealership. $3,057 to fix! Infiniti parts are ridiculous!