Sunday, December 21, 2008

Butterick 4686

Pattern Description:

MISSES’ SKIRTS: Below mid-knee skirts A, B have pleats, waist facing and left side zipper closure. A: made with a border print. B: ribbon ties. C, D, E: self faced yoke, flared below mid-knee skirt and back zipper closure. C: decorative buttons on front yoke. E: contrast yoke with purchased trim inserted between yoke and skirt.

Pattern Sizing:

AA(6-8-10-12), EE(14-16-18-20), I sewed a 20.

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

Oh, yes!! I was inspired by EveS's review

Were the instructions easy to follow?

yes, although I am soooo bad at reading them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

The timeless-ness of a pleated skirt. They have always been in fashion, maybe not the highlight of fashion but always there depending on the fabrics used.

Fabric Used:A rayon silky from jo-anns.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

none in the first skirt, but for the second skirt in denim I removed some of the pleats. denim skirt . For more on the changes see my blog

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

yes!! this spring I plan on sewing one inspired by edupraz's lovely eyelet skirt you just gotta love it in an eyelet for spring!!


Lovely lady like pleated skirt.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quick Christmas Gifts to Make

Christmas is around the corner, very scary if your like me and wait until the last minute to do anything. I do work better under pressure, but always wish I had started early on my Christmas crafts. If your like me and are scrambling to get some gifts made here are some ideas:

Cute little Birds at Spool Sewing

Dresden Petal Bag from Jemimabean

Martha Stewart makes place mats

Apron made easy by J Caroline Creative

Very quick and simple key fobs at Cute2Carry (I am going to make some of these!)

Cute Criss-Cross Coasters from Allsorts or Pin Wheel Coaster from The Long Thread

Yummy Oreo Truffels in a pretty dish - recipe at Bakerella

Lovely Pincushion over at Creative Kismet

Craftblog's note book cover

Corkboard/Wall Pocket at Craft Apple

Deb richardson shows how to create a fabric post card

A Quilted Wallet at That*Darn*Kat

Sew Christine makes a wallet with a coin compartment

Sulky shows you how to make a stationery keeper

At least this is a start

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Am Thankful For

Wet noses & wagging tails,
All the joy they bring

A soul mate,
Without you my soul would be empty

My son,
The greatest gift that was ever given to me

From them I have learned

How they have touched my life

And all thier love

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Well thats odd............

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Social Nerd

You're interested in things such as politics, psychology, child care, and peace. I wouldn't go so far as to call you a hippie, but some of you may be tree-huggers. You're the type of people who are interested in bettering the world. You're possible the least nerdy of them all; unless you participate in other activies that paled your nerdiness compared to your involvement in social activities. Whatever the case, we could still use more of you around. ^_^

Science/Math Nerd
Anime Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Literature Nerd
Drama Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shopping with the girls........

Saturday was pure fun! The girls and I went to Belk's Charity sale and had a blast! We started at 7 am, hit every section, got some great deals and a few laughs. Just about everything was 40% off, and who can't appreciate that? We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel - YUM!

I picked up two cotton sweaters, one in black with a crew neckline and another in preppy kelly green with a 'V' neckline. We went to Ulta and I grabbed some OPI nail polish in -' I'm Not Really a Waitress' (a fabo red) and 'Significant Other Color' (a opalescent lavander) and of course a tube of Big Tease mascara by Bare Escentuals. I also ran by Brighton and bought an amethyst charm for my sterling silver wheat chain I got a few months ago. The heels are like a leather ombre of navy to medium blue back to navy, sexy killer heels by Paris Hilton!
After all the fun we hated to say goodbye, but our feet told us it was time to stop. I arrived home to find more fun waiting for me.

Two patterns from Hot Patterns were waiting for me. Weekender Jean Jeanius Trouser Jeans and Metropolitan Seriously Stylin' Jacket.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Altering Pleated Skirt Pattern

I have decided to use Butterick 4686, but want to remove some of the pleats. In a light weight fabric 7 pleats are nice, but I am thinking in Denim maybe they might be to much. I also wanted a less puffy look and more of an 'A-Line' shape.

Butterick 4686 uses the same pattern piece for the front and the back. I know my front is way different than my back so I am going to create a front and a back pattern and move the zipper to the center back.

So here is what I am going to do starting with the original pattern. I numbered the pleats to help in the example.

I will remove 3 of the pleats by folding out the pleats numbered 2, 4, and 6 (fold out completely). This will remove some of the volume at the pleat release to the hemline.

Retrace and then use this as my front pattern piece.

For the back I will draw a line down the center to create the new center back seam line.

Then add seam allowance and mark the zipper placement.

Next I will pull out my TNT pencil skirt pattern McCall's 3830.

Taking the new pattern pieces for the pleated skirt folding the pleats and pin using McCall 3830 as a guide for fit in the waist and hip area. I will alter using the pleats and side seams if need be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pretty Pleasing Pleats

Oooooooohhh, pleats are everywhere this season! Pleats on skirts, blouses, pants, dresses, shoes and even on handbags too. All you have to do is search 'Pleated' at Neiman Marcus or Saks and up pop lots of lovely things.

So next up is a inverted box pleated skirt in dark denim or black. The list of patterns I like so far are:

Burda 8034

view A has a wide waistband, 5 front pleats and 5 back pleats with a side zipper

Hotpatterns 1017

Has a small waist band, 4 front pleats and 4 back pleats top stitched down to hip area, deep hem and a side zipper

Butterick 5285

View 'C' and 'D' have a small waist band 6 pleats in front and 6 pleats in back that are stitched to hip area with a back zipper

Butterick 4686

View 'A' and 'B' have 7 pleats in front and 7 pleats in back, no waist band (pleats start at top) that are stitched to the hip area, and side zipper

I am leaning towards Butterick 4686, mainly because I already have this pattern in my stash and have sewn up a test, I also have Burda 8034 and love the waistband ............but I am still looking closely at the others.

For inspiration I found this cute skirt at Newport News

Should I do dark denim or a black twill?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

McCall's 3830

Pattern Description:
Skirt in five lengths have front and back darts, back zipper, faced waist and optional carriers; skirt A, B and C have back vent.

Pattern Sizing:
6 thru 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Very much so. The first skirt in purple was exactly as shown. I altered the pattern for the black and gray skirt to my inspiration skirt by Antonio Melani.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy and strait forward. The instruction are great for beginers.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I know this pattern has been review quite a few times but I thought one more couldn't hurt.
Everyone needs a pencil skirt in thier closet and this one is easy and quick to sew up. I like the easy and fast results, you can have a skirt in a few hours from start to finish. This simple pattern is open for great options for altering once you get the fit just right. Pencil skirts are flattering on all body types, as long as the fit is good and length is appropriate.

Fabric Used:
Fabrics recommended: Cotton and Cotton Blends • Linen Blends • Wool Crepe • Gabardine • Lightweight Woolens • Wool Blends • Synthetic Suedes and Leathers.
The purple skirt is cotton twill with flowers embroidered on it from JoAnns. The Black and gray skirt is a black and gray heathered poly blend from my stash I think I purchased years ago in Italy.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
For the purple skirt I cut a 20, but had to alter a little in the waist (due to the fact I don't have one) by letting out the darts. I tappered in just below the hip, to give it some shape. I am a plus girl with ample bum, hip, and thighs but have the skinnyest calves. If I had not taken it in below the hip it would have looked very odd.

The black and gray skirt all started when walking in the mall one day I spotted a skirt by Antonio Melani at Dillards and had to make one. I am in no way as thin as the lovely model but just loved the way the band accents are in black. At closer look the skirt has two bands, one at the waist and the other at the knee. I measured from the seam allowance at the waist down 3 inches to create the top band added registration marks and measured from the hem allowance up 2.5 inches for the bottom band, drew lines on the pattern pieces then cut these lines, added seam allowances. For the waist band I folded out the darts and created a contuored waist band. This made 6 pattern pieces from the original 2. Three for the front and three for the back. I used the new waist band pattern pieces for the facing and lined the skirt with black ambiance lining. (also if you notice - YES I got my new boots 'Bullock' by Born and LOVE THEM!!!!)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I will. This is a staple in my wardrobe and a pattern that will be used for years. The next one will be the below the knee length and in denim for casual Fridays at the office and maybe a bright teal and black plaid I have in my stash.

Fasy and fast! Pencil skirts will never go out of fashion.

I know I look goofy, and I need to smile. Really odd, when taking these photos I could swear I was smiling, but maybe the running back and forth to do timed photos I missed the smile. Believe me I am very happy with the way these skirts turned out ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Fashion Fun Online

purple lady by la bella colori

This look would be great for the office or dinner out with my sweetie.

For fun check out Polyvore where you can create sets of items and its free. Just explore and see all the ideas in fashion that have been saved. It is going to be a great help in learning how to make my wardrobe work. I don't really own any of these items BUT I have some that are similar. So - this might help me stretch beyond my boring and sad outfits from the past.

Why I picked these items

  • I adore purple - all the shades & tones. This cardigan's deep veep neckline draws the eye up and is very flattering.
  • Pencil skirts are everyone's friend, we all need one in our closet! I even love them and I am a borderline plus gal. Just make sure it fits, has NO pleats, the hem hits you in the right spot. Wear a top that has a little volume and a little flirt to it (example the slight puffy sleeves on the cardy above).
  • I also love the color gray and tanks are so versatile in your wardrobe, you can dress them up or down.
  • Diamond stud earrings are # 27 in the book 'The One Hundred' by Nina Garcia - and I could not agree more. Every woman should have a pair!!
  • Bags - are like chocolate!! I can't stop wanting them all and this baby is ultra feminine and practical at the same time.
  • The bow detail on the shoes adds to the lady like feel
  • Vintage jewelry is all the rage. The older the better, and what a statement they make.

Ciao Bella!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hire a Fashion Stylist?

I wish I could, seeing as I don't have the money its not gonna happen. I have been trying to create a wardrobe by researching and learning what are good choices for my figure and age. While running an errand today I stopped in B Dalton and noticed the book 'The One Hundred- A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Should Own' by Nina Garcia. Being one of the millions of Fashion Runway fans I was compelled to pick it up. It looks to be a good read and the fashion advice is something I have been needing.

Worked on the Robe some last night. I have the back and fronts sewn together and one sleeve in. Its time consuming having to change thread colors, from black to white and back again but it looks very good so far. I am now seeing the concept/vision my son had for making it this way. Last night my son and I got started on his mask. For the past three years we have always made a mask for Halloween. Using Rigid Wrap, Evan covers his face with Vaseline and then I set to work covering his face with Rigid Wrap. After a little drying time we remove the mask and let it dry. Then in a few days Evan will paint and decorate it to go with his costume. I will post some pictures soon to show what craziness we have been up to.

I still have not decided what Halloween costume I will wear this year. I am not one to go for the sweet cute costumes. One year I dressed up as a hunter and no-one knew who I was for most the night. Anther time I was Martha Stewart in prison, with the orange jump suit, pearls and actual prison number.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tibetan Sand Art Mandala

This Saturday while the son was at the Academic competition my husband and I went to the arts center at the college and watched the Tibetan Buddhist Monks create a sand mandala. The monks chanting was so strange and different, but it was so calming and meditative. The vivid colors of sand and the details were beautiful!

From all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, that of painting with colored sand ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning sacred cosmogram. These cosmograms can be created in various media, such as watercolor on canvas, wood carvings, and so forth. However, the most spectacular and enduringly popular are those made from colored sand.

In general all mandalas have outer, inner and secret meanings. On the outer level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightened mind; and on the secret level they depict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear light dimension of the mind. The creation of a sand painting is said to effect purification and healing on these three levels.

The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness. This is done by means of chanting, music and mantra recitation.

The lamas begin the exhibit by drawing an outline of the mandala on the wooden platform. On the following days they lay the colored sands. Each monk holds a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur while running a metal rod on its grated surface. The vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid onto the platform.

Traditionally most sand mandalas are destroyed shortly after their completion. This is done as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.
If you ever get the chance, do go and see!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lusting over Boots

Its sad here in Florida when its still 90 degrees out with 100% humidity in October and all the lovely fall fashions are out. I think everyone needs one pair of good boots in their wardrobe, and I am lusting over these by Born

I could see them with Simplicity 4487 view F (short puff sleeves no pockets) in a soft floral. Or view A in a solid color.

Pattern review has some reviews on this pretty little top.

I like the feminine look to this and it also reminds me of the blouses the Money Penny would wear in 007 movies.

Butterick 4686 skirt view A in a dark wash light weight denim, with lots of top stitching details. I have made this up in a muslin with inverted box pleats instead of knife pleats. The fit is good but there are still some tweaks to be made.

This pattern is highly recommended at Pattern Review.

Depending on the fabric this skirt can transition between summer and winter.
Now wouldn't this be a cute fall look? With lovely boots and a basic cardigan to chase off the chill. Perfect for the office or a day shopping with the girls!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Halloween has to be my families most favorite of all holidays. For some reason it makes grown-ups want to dress up and try to scare each other. I am kinda partial to Christmas, but 'hey' Halloween is lots of fun!!

So all normal sewing is put on hold so that costumes and gifts can be made. First up I made trick or treat bags for two sweet little boys whom happen to be the son of my co-worker and the grandson of my boss.

The embroidery pattern is from Embroidery Library. All the fabrics are from Joann's, they are cotton quilting fabrics. I used fusible fleece to make the bags soft but still light weight.

Then on the list of 'HAVE TO DO ASAP" is

Butterick 4050. In half black and half white linen like fabric. I have it all cut out and let me tell you it is a small feat to accomplish in itself.

On Saturday I had the whole living room floor covered with fabric and pattern pieces. I am working on view 'B' which takes 10.5 yards of fabric. The pattern is good for this as there is a seam at the center back. We purchased 5 black and 5 white. The white fabric was the last on the bolt and was not a continuous 5 yard cut. Someone had cut it, so we purchased the white in 4 yards and then the last 1.5 at a discount. Lucky we had coupons for Joann's because this could have been a very pricey costume.
Its a good thing that Halloween only comes once a year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What to do about the hair

This weekend I need to get the final test of a tee done and start on drafting a cardigan. I have some lovely fabrics coming (I love ordering fabrics online, it's like Christmas when the box arrives in the mail). In the meantime the design board is getting crowded with fall looks. I love the change of the season but I never get started early enough. Living in Florida doesn't help either with only a few cold months out of the year.

I am in need of a hairstyle or haircut, so I am looking for a style that my naturally wavy-mind-of-it's-own hair can handle. Something that is easy to manage and looks nice while growing out my just above shoulder length hair. HELP!!

The first picture is one that I know would be so easy. Styling instructions would be go to bed, sleep and wake in morning, do not brush your ready to go! Second picture I love this style, but I would have to have my scalp and hair removed and get transplants for strait hair. Third picture, whats with the cutesy look on her face?? Love it BUT on me it might just look like a soccer mom and I would need to purchase some Mom Jeans. (photos are from )

I will continue the quest.................... In the mean time it's gonna be a busy day, work and then off to the school for a open house and PTA meeting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Outfit Obsessions

There is a slight delay in the fitted tee-shirt, I have become obsessed with this skirt by Antonio Melani. This weekend while walking in the mall I spotted it hanging in Dillards. Beautiful skirt with satin details and lovely silver threads that create the pattern in the skirt body (you really have to see this skirt in person to admire the subtle details). I ran strait to Jo-Ann's for fabrics, picking up some polyester suiting in a gray tweed and black, perfect to try out the color block details on. Although I did not want to invoke the dressiness of the silver threads, I do want to create the feeling that I get from his design. So on the design wall she goes!

This evening I was reading What I wore Today and found a look I would love to copy (you HAVE to check out her blog!!), the vest Kasmira is wearing is from Forever 21. So cute unbuttoned and over a splash of color - 'You Go Girl'. KASMIRA SO OWNS THIS LOOK!!!
Add something else to the design board. Now my only worries are, can someone my size and my age pull off this look?? A 40 something with the middle-age fluff, or will I look like a waitress -- heck at least I can give it a try...

So as they say this is 'def-on-radar' for me this fall.

Surfing at the office

At lunch today I was surfing and doing the usual blog reading and Mary posted a cute Wordle , and you know I had to do it too.......

Goes to show you I have been working on fitting issues lately. Get your own wordle

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

5 Tee-Shirts down and how many to go??

I have been on a quest to get a tee-shirt pattern to fit me. My measurements are very wonkie, as I am different sizes all over. I did the dumb thing and went through 4 different patterns to see if I could alter them to fit me. So on Saturday I began this journey........

I tried New Look 6813, fitted a raglan sleeve. After doing a FBA for raglan, I used some bright pink cotton knit and it still fit tight in the bust area even with the FBA and very wide in the neck. Not a pretty look!! I threw it to the way-side, questioning myself as to why did I choose a raglan sleeve to begin with. This pattern will have to wait for tweaking - I need a true basic tee.
Next up was LaFred's Tia Tee, cute and sassy top. I did not do a FBA on this top as it had a dart drafted into the pattern. I sewed it up to my measurements but without the vertical darts on front and back waist. It was good except the bust darts are way below where they should be on me. (the dart could be moved, but...) The shoulders are drop shoulders, I have narrow shoulders and a large bust which this look ends up very sloppy on. I placed this pattern on the pile to tweak late on.
Then to try and cheer myself up I pulled out Simplicity 4076 wrap top (yes, I know its not a basic tee). Did a FBA for wrap tops on the top using my upper bust measurement. I came out good but I must have messed up when doing the extra bit of the FBA for wrap tops because it was a tad big and one of the two front pieces is bigger and it sits funny.

"Ok, lets try a Burda now" I say with a smile, Burda 8244. I border on the plus size so I thought why not. I measured (Burda's are drafted for a C cup, I think that's what I have been told) and used the full bust measurement and used a size 22 (get a clue here Kira!! I measure a 16 in the upper bust). It sewed up beautiful, has a bust dart and it's a basic tee. I tried it on and it was way to big! I took up a whopping 1" fold (2" total removed from front and 2" from back). The arm scye was way too big and left a lot of fabric between the bust and underarm. What went wrong? I have not a clue - duh the size was to big! All fabric removed and the neck is out of whack, yes I could redraft it, but I am delirious at this point.

I took a break, had some tea and a thought came to me: I love the back of Simplicity 4076, it fit great from the back with the exception of adding a swayback adjustment. The wrap top fit somewhat good in the front but the addition of the FBA made it baggie/loose and off keel to match by my mistake, on the plus the arm scye was good on me. What if I used the front of Burda for the neck and the arm scye from the Simplicity and morf it into the front of a basic tee??

Using the very last of my pattern ease I did a ruff draft from the Burda and Simplicity by matching center fronts of the unaltered Burda front over the unaltered Simplicity wrap front (the side that is not gathered). I redrew the arm scye, shoulder and side seams of the Simplicity but leaving the Burda neck alone and no bust dart. Sewed this in some more of the Pepto explosion fabric and it came out "OK" ! Now we are getting somewhere. Just need to do a swayback adjustment in the back and the fit check fit without the bust dart.
Somehow in all of this I am learning something, what it is yet I don't know. But at least I have a beginings of the basic tee, and lots of wierd shaped pepto colored rags.
(sorry, no photos of this adventure as of yet, and there very well might not be as most of then are to bad to wear out of the house, but more to come on the franken-tee)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What Does a Chameleon Have in Common with a Tee Shirt ?

Like the amazing color changing chameleon a TNT (tried and true) basic tee shirt pattern can be changed to fit any fashion situation from comfort to dressy.

A basic crew neck style shirt can be altered into so much more than the boring old tee. As long as the fit is good and your fabric choice is appropriate, so many alterations can be made to the pattern to create a totally new design. So you can become the fashion designer! (tee from Coldwater Creek)

A cool cardigan out of a fantastic print by altering the center front to wear over a tank or shell. (example from J.Jill)

To make a basic twin-set, extra width can be added to the sleeve of cardigan draft to fit over a short sleeved version of the same basic pattern. (set from J.Jill)

After sewing up the pattern, embellishments can be added as embroidery to create a hip look. (at Johnny Was)

Or a very classy and elegant top like this one by Louis Dell'Olio at QVC using rhinestones.

For a fun look, slash the pattern and spread to create gathers in an area of the top. (here a cute top by Three Dots)

These are really just a few basic changes. Add a collar, change the neckline, add puffy sleeves or go wild and add all kinds of changes. This is one of the fun areas of sewing, once you've got the good fitting basic tee have fun being the designer.
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