Monday, June 27, 2011

New recipe on Food blog

I just finished the remaining leftovers from a meal I made last week and it was so good, I wanted to write down what I did - I always forget to do that and then usually what happens is about a month after making, Mark will say something like, "Hey, can you make that chicken dish again?" and will be met with a blank stare.

Anyhoo, it is based on a Dr. Oz recipe I found online but honestly, I think my version is better than his. :o)

My recipe here.
His recipe here.

YOU be the judge!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

M6356 - another miss

I am not brave enough to sport the one-shoulder look so I was happy to see McCalls 6356,

View D,

which is a modified one-shoulder look that sort of conveys the same image with less skin showing.

This was a tricky one to sew for me. (More sewing details at Pattern Review.) I'm not crazy with the results. This is a little bit out of my style zone (if I have such a thing.) My daughter said it looks good but I feel like a big red pear in it! My oldest daughter said to try it with skinny jeans. My fiancé said it looks frumpy because he likes fitted tops on me. I'll probably try wearing it out and see if I'm comfortable wearing it.

M6069 - Hmmmm....

M6069 is a ROCK STAR at Pattern Review. I don't think there is a bad review amongst the 29 posted. And I am a knit dress LOVER. But I finished this one about a month ago and I'm lukewarm. Admittedly, I got a little carried away after realizing I had cut the skirt too wide. And sewed the skirt seams tighter than I should have. But aside from the snugness at the hips, it doesn't seem to hang the same way at the neckline as everyone else's. I added sleeves but I wouldn't have thought that would impact how the cowl hangs. I also admitted the elastic casing at the waist. I threw on a skinny belt that I happened to have laying in the sewing room but I think I will wear this with a wide black belt.

(Forgive the open outlet. Just finished painting the room.)

I purchased this lightweight (but substantial enough) ITY border print from

Bottom line... I guess I'll move it from my sewing room to my closet and I'll wear it but it won't be my fave.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Christmas Stocking

My daughter is getting married in November so I decided to knit Christmas stockings for her fiancé and her for their first married Christmas together. Here is the first one:

The next one will be the same design and same colors but I'll make the top, heel and toe red and the stripes green and white. Details on Ravelry.

Question for my knitting buddies.... Do I need to block this? It doesn't look like it needs it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peasant Top (B4685) Finished

Well, I finished the eyelet peasant top I blogged about last week. I still don't love the style on me but thanks to my sewing friend, Eve, I tweaked it enough so it's wearable.

I requested feedback from my sewing buddies on how to improve it and received several tips. Most agreed that an empire waist elastic fix would not be flattering. I tried Eve's tip to tie the elastic around the outside to see what it would look like and confirmed they were correct! Darts were suggested to give it more shape but I decided that wouldn't be ideal because it might require a zipper and I had already serged the side seams. Plus, making the top more fitted would change the style from a peasant blouse to... well... just a plain ole blouse. Several suggested belts (both waist level and just under bust) but I didn't like that either.

I was just going to abandon the top but lucky for me, Eve was on Facebook when I was assessing my options and we had a nice little chat. She was so encouraging and suggested a casing in the back with some eyelet inserted. I was envisioning a short casing in the middle of the back but decided to try a casing across the entire back. I like the way that turned out. Here's a peek:

Thank you, Eve!! I appreciate not only your help but your nice words, Sweetie! I liked Sharon's tip to add a long necklace to break up the white so I did just that!

As a reminder, here are before (on the left) and after (on the right) shots:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Progress on V8574

I pieced together the bodice and basted in a zipper to check the fit. I am thrilled that the top fits PERFECTLY! No need to adjust anything. I started with a 10 on top and graded out to a 12 at the bottom of the bodice.

I pinned the front skirt pieces on to see how it will look overall. I did not try to arrange the pattern any particular way but I really like the way the bodice and the bottom front ended up. Unfortunately, I won't get this done in time to wear tonight but I will find another opportunity soon to debut it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We're "taking a break"

My peasant top and I are not seeing eyelet-to-eyelet eye-to-eye so we're going to take a little break and see how much we really care about each other. I received some good ideas from my sewing friends to try out on the peasant but I need a little rest before I go down that road.

So instead, I shifted gears and I'm trying a summer dress. Vogue 8574 to be specific, the short one shown here in an incredibly ugly color.

We're leaving tomorrow with a small group of friends for a weekend motorcycle trip down to Louisville. We're going to Churchill Downs tomorrow night and apparently, there is a "South Beach" theme so I need a flirty dress. A tropical print probably makes the most sense but instead I am going to try out this geometric print rayon that I picked up at Vogue Fabrics during PR Weekend. The colors are awesome and I love the print.

Lee had this fabric first so I stalked her followed her around waiting for her to have some cut so I could see if there was enough for me, too. Somehow she eluded me and I later found it back in the inventory and grabbed it up. Lee must have known I was on to her because she snapped this photo of me checking out the bolt.

If I don't get the Vogue done tonight, I'll pack this one that I made for the cruise last year instead:

A knit dress will certainly travel better than a rayon dress in a motorcycle tour pack anyway!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peasant Blouse - Almost There...

I love peasant blouses. One of the first things I made when I resumed sewing for myself a few years ago was a raspberry colored peasant top. During PR Weekend in Chicago, I picked up some lovely white eyelet from Rainbow Fabrics and decided it was time for a new peasant blouse. Butterick has a nice pattern (4685) out now with multiple variations. I was planning on doing View A (larger image on left in pattern photo below) but when I looked more closely at the lovely border on my eyelet, I thought it would make a nice neckline ruffle so I opted for View C (blue one) instead.

As with most eyelets, the fabric is quite sheer and has large holes so underlining was necessary. I used a white batiste that I found at JoAnns. The top went together quickly and the only adjustment I made was to take in the waist a bit to add some shape. I used my commute to work this morning to insert the elastic in the neck and sleeves. After trying it on, I realize I need to make a few tweaks. I forgot the sleeves hit way up high and cut the elastic too short so I'll re-cut and insert arm elastic. Here is what the top looks like right now:

Yes, that's right. A white shapeless blah. Here is what it looks like if I pull in the sides a bit:

Looks better but I think I would need to insert a zipper to get it on and off. I already serged the seams so that isn't going to happen. Instead, I'm going to add a casing below the bustline like shown in View D and hope it creates the shape I'm looking for.

I would like to finish this one up tonight and any input is welcome!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Knitting Projects

I finished up two baby knits recently. The first is a pinwheel blanket for Mark's granddaughter. I LOVE it!! Details here at Ravelry.

I also made a quick little flower hat for my hair stylish who is due in approx. 5 weeks.

I'm also working on Christmas stockings for my daughter and her fiancé. I plan to get them both done in time to be given at her wedding shower in September.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Girley Dresses

My fiance's daughter recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I decided to make coordinating dresses for her and her 10-yr old sister. I fell in love with this New Look baby dress:

New Look 6037, View D

And decided on a simple sundress for the other dress:

McCalls 5838, View A with no ruffle

I was happy to find coordinating fabric that was suitable for both a baby and a 10 year old! Although the photos seem to show different colors in the fabric, they are the same stuff! I used the butterfly and polka dots for the baby dress and polka dots and stripes for the big girl dress. The fabric is from the JoAnn's Tutti Fruitti collection. I've used other fabrics from this collection for kids' clothes in the past and really like the way it launders.

I gifted the dresses on Sunday and they were a big hit. I'm now on the hunt for more striped fabric so I can make a shirt (Butterick 3475) for their almost 4 year old cousin (boy) so we can get a cutesy photo while on vacation this summer.

I may even make him a pair of cargo pants to go with the shirt. Would white work for a boy? Or should I stick with khaki?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Black Pencil Skirt - S2451 - AKA the DNP skirt

Here is a long overdue post on my Damn Near Perfect (DNP) skirt I finished over a month ago.

I have wanted/needed a black pencil skirt for ages. Something to throw on for date night or to wear to the office. PR Weekend pushed me to finally make this one as I wanted something to wear with my polka dot top. I wore this on our last day, to the Lt. Gov. proclamation at Fishman's Fabric.

The details:
Pattern: Simplicity 2451, View C (with modifications as described below.)

Fabric: Black stretch twill, origin unknown.

I decided to add the tabs that are shown in View D and made them first. I cut them out, interfaced, sewed, and top stitched them damn near perfectly! Then I began construction of the actual skirt. I glanced at the instructions for the pocket but then put the instructions away. I mean, hello... I'm an experienced sewer. Why would I need instructions for a basic skirt? After inserting an invisible zipper that was also damn near perfect, I took a little break to pat myself on the back and admire my progress on the awesome skirt! All I had left was the waistband and hem.

After looking at the waistband pieces and realizing they were the same width as the skirt pieces, the little voice in my head said, "Ummm, cocky girl... something appears to be amiss." Yup... the waistband did not have an overlapping tab as I assumed and the zipper was supposed to extend all the way to the top. Dayummmmm. I refused to take out the zipper so I improvised and turned one of my DNP tabs into a closure for the back. The tab is straight even though it appears cockeyed in the photo below.

Summary: I've worn the skirt several times now and overall am very happy with it. I will likely make this one again (with the zipper properly inserted!)

Things I really like: I love the fit. Classic style that is oh-so-comfy to wear.

Things I don't like so much: I wish I had heard Angela's twill tape tip before making it because the skirt does seem to stretch out a bit during the day. I wish I had lined it. When I wear it with tights, it sticks to the tights and rides up as I walk. I'm wearing it today bare-legged and it's fine - no scooching up. Although the fabric is quite comfy, it does wrinkle easily as you can see in my first photo. Not a deal-breaker but somewhat annoying.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Black / White Dress & PR Weekend

A few months ago, I was thumbing through InStyle or People Style and saw a feature on black/white stripe dresses. I loved the look and decided I needed one! I love wearing knit dresses in the summer. I feel so much cooler and more comfortable than wearing shorts and tops. While in Chicago, I found a wonderful knit at Fishman's Fabrics that was the perfect weight for such a dress.

I started with my tried and true t-shirt pattern - Simplicity 4076, view D - and added length, using one of my fave t-shirt dresses as a template for the bottom. I used black rib trim at the neck and had planned to apply rib to the sleeves, too, but I forgot to lengthen the sleeves. They were too short for a cuff treatment so I simply hemmed them. Only took me an hour or two to sew it up and I had a perfect dress to wear on a hot night at the Taste of Cincinnati!

I found some lovely fabrics during the PR Weekend in Chicago. We visited Fishman's and Rainbow Fabrics in Chicago and the main Vogue Fabrics in nearby Evanston. I had a serious case of fabric envy, wishing I lived closer to such abundant fabric sources! We also stopped at Soutache Ribbon - a great little store full of amazing embellishments. As I look at the fabrics I bought, I have such fun memories of that shopping day and the new friends I made. I look forward to making new clothes that will have the added bonus of bringing back fantastic memories made on PR Weekend Chicago 2011!

So here is my haul:

The "Reds":

My PR roomie, Melody and I found the fun knit shown at the lower right corner in Rainbow Fabrics. It's a tie-dye knit with ribbons of trim sewn right on it. I bought red and she bought blue and my intention was to make a simple t-shirt to wear with jeans. I cut it out right after I got home and attempted to sew it together but neither of my sergers would have anything to do with it! I tried new needles and re-threading but the fabric was definitely fighting and beating the machines! I was able to sew the shoulder and side seams and when I tried it on, it was a definite "meh" moment. I decided it wasn't worth fighting the fabric to finish it off so it ended up in the trash. Boo hoo! But I'm slowly learning that "ya gotta know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em" and I'm proud that I parted with the project, rather than finish it and let it sit in my drawer because I didn't like it.

The rayon on the bottom left was one another PR shopper found, hesitated, and decided not to purchase. I eagerly grabbed the bolt and headed to the cutting table! I plan to make a summer dress from it.

The following fabric is one that was being featured on the wall of Vogue but in a burgundy color. Several PR shoppers were buying that one but burgundy is not a color I like to wear. When I saw it in navy, I snatched it up. I think Jacqui and Kyle also bought it. Our group ended up purchasing the whole navy bolt and possibly the burgundy one, too!

The main fabric is the ecru background with small polka dots but it has a fun border that can be cut up and used to embellish. I stole this photo off Jacqui's blog that shows how the fabric can be used. She has almost finished her dress and I may make the exact same dress since I also have the pattern she used (New Look 6799).

In spite of growing up as a tomboy in a houseful (and neighborhood-ful) of boys, I do love girly clothes and I STILL adore eyelet! I found the following two eyelets at Rainbow Fabrics on our last day.

The thread on the red has a beautiful sheen to it. The white has a lovely border as shown and the body of the fabric is a pattern that includes 1/4" holes that repeat every inch or so. Both will definitely require some type of underfabric/lining. I'm thinking the red would be cute for McCalls 6346, View A

I think I am most excited that I found not one but TWO potential fabrics for my Mother-of-the-Bride dress for my daughter's November wedding. I am planning on this Cynthia Rowley design, view C and envisioned it in a teal or peacock blue silk dupioni. Well, I was lucky enough to find just the fabric I had in mind but I also found a fabulous purple stretch taffeta that I also think would be fabulous!

Here are my last pieces of fabric. I'm not sure what I'll do with the black/turquoise knit - I just loved the design. The black/white stretch twill will probably become a skirt.

Finally, on our last day we visited Loopy Yarns that was just a few blocks from our Dorm-Hotel. It was a dreary, cold, rainy day but we were dressed for it. The yarn store clerk called us the Rainbow Trenches!

I purchased 1000 yards of this scrumptious Malabrigo superwash. It will become a sweater someday.