Friday, August 12, 2011


Wow, it's been almost two months since I've posted. It seems like the blink of an eye, and also an eternity. Two months ago, our house has just gone on the market and the summer stretched out ahead of us. Today, the For Sale sign is gone, and our uncertain futures are stretching out in front of us.

It's been quite a summer. To give you some idea of what it's been like, I started this post two weeks ago.

You'd think with all of this I'd need a diversion and would maybe have been sewing and posting, right? Well, apparently sewing takes way more brain power than I have right now, because the few things I have tried to put together haven't gone so well.

I made shorts from Burda 06-2011-111. I had found what I thought was a super cute linen-blend with wild zebra print all over it. Perfect for a mini skirt or a pair of shorts, so I thought I'd have a go of the shorts pattern. YUCK. The pattern is fine, but I decided to include the front pleats, which I hated. The fabric's weave was too loose for clothing and too stiff for pleats. The combination was a colossal fail.

Then I fell in love with Amy Butler's new Soul Blossoms rayon prints, and ordered this pink border print from I cut it out in Burda 07-2011-101. No big deal, right? Simple dress. Except that I somehow managed to cut the front and back all wrong, leaving my front six inches longer than the back and forcing me to cut the border print off!
Anyway, the moral of the story is I am not quite yet emotionally ready to sew again. So instead I've set about finishing some unfinished objects, with mixed results. So far I've managed to take off the uninterfaced waistband on these trouser jeans, interface it, and re-attach it. I still haven't hemmed them.

Thanks for your patience. I'll be back soon, hopefully with the Soul Blossoms rayon dress to show for my absence. **crossing fingers**

Monday, June 6, 2011

the Lekala drawstring top

I'm sure you've all read by now, but the Russian pattern site Lekala has their designs free for download, as long as you can use a Burda size 44. I went to the site, and fell for this dress, drawstrings and all.

So off I went, printing and taping the pages together, cutting and plotting how I was going to make a size 44 fit. I'm usually a 40 or 42. I found that the Lekala patterns whose lines are printed single, do not include seam allowances. I double-checked, and my pattern was single so voila! I would simply stitch it up on the serger, reducing the seams by about 1/4" all around. Remarkably, this worked and the top fits.

I wanted to make it up as a top in order to determine how well I'd like it as a dress? I'm still torn. It's pretty fitted and I don't know that I want to put that over my butt. Also, the back pieces are different, so there's a center seam down the back and that means there's a possibility of a crooked seam running over my butt.

I had this piece of stripe left over from a previous project, and I like it. Of course I like it, I like stripes! But I could kick myself - I cut the bottom off about two inches too short for my taste.

Anyhoo, if you haven't checked out Lekala's patterns yet, take a gander. You may have to tweak the sizing and there are no english instructions, but a free pattern is a free pattern! I translated the instructions from Russian on two different sites and still ended up winging it.

Whew, two projects snuck into my "no sewing" time. Score!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

the I love stripes and ruching top - McCall's 6356

Whew, I snuck this one in with barely anyone noticing. Shhhh! I'm not supposed to be sewing. We put our house on the market last week and it's been all I can do to make sure it remains organized and clean. Clean is an understatement, it actually appears antiseptic right now but apparently that's what buyers want.

After all the organizing, staging, decluttering and more decluttering, I snuck downstairs one evening and cut out this McCall's 6356 pattern in a lovely lightweight knit I picked up at Hancock's for $2 a yard. My husband was fiddling with one of his old cars, I knew I had a short window of time.

Have I mentioned before that I love stripes? And that I love ruching? In my mind, you could ruche every surface of my body and I'd be happy. So I thought this pattern would be the perfect marriage of figure-flattering and stripes. Because I love me some stripes.

I can tell you I will wear this top all summer long. It's lightweight like a whisper and since it's already 97 degrees here today, that's very welcome.

What I don't like about it, can you see how far down those armholes dip?! It's insane! I am shocked my bra band doesn't show, but it doesn't. Oh, and my twin needle gave me fits on this feathery fabric and rolled the neckline collar, piercing a huge hole in it. I just turned it down some more and stitched it again.

I left the hem natural after that disaster, and with all the ruching and rolling I think it looks fine.

My next project is another stripey knit top, already cut out and waiting for 30 free minutes when I don't have to fold and put away laundry. Or wipe down a bathroom surface. Or empty trash cans. Or cut the grass.. sigh.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Does wishing count?

I'm not sewing right now. My recent trip to Vogue Fabrics was a bit of a bust. I was in such a mood, I only walked out with one piece of silk fabric to make the Vena Cava shift dress from Vogue.

For whatever reason, I struggled through the construction of that very simple dress. At one point in trimming seam allowances for the French seam, I cut into the body fabric. At every turn, my own mojo (or lack of) was pushing against me. Finally, I set it down and walked away.

See, we're going to be listing our house for sale in a week or two, and I kind of think this was God's way of telling me "Heather, you're supposed to be staging and de-cluttering, not sewing." Ok, ok.

So de-cluttering it is! No more new messes, cleaning up the old ones. I have a basket full of fabrics and patterns I need to give away. If I get organized enough, I'll just post them here for the takers. If not, I'll have to drop them at a Goodwill. Can't keep everything!

But you know what's a silver lining in all this lack-of-creativity? I was working in the sewing room yesterday, de-cluttering, organizing, packing things away into Rubbermaid containers. I stopped to lose myself in my back issues of Burda magazine, and there it was! While I can't sew for the next month or so, what I can do is trace patterns.

All of the designs that I hated when they came out? Now I love them! I must be about a year behind the Burda designers. What I thought was weird last summer I think is genius this summer.

So my roll of Swedish tracing paper is at the ready, as is my newly purchased tracing wheel (apparently my three-year-old's favorite tool of mom's to lose is the tracing wheel). Hopefully by the time my mojo returns and my domestic situation settles, I'll have all sorts of patterns to choose from. Wish me luck.

By the way, does anyone need a box full of silk scraps from old kimonos? They'd make an awesome obi belt. Email me.