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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So you like my bag?


If you sew, and you've gotten to a point where you can turn out enviable projects, certainly you have heard, "Will you make me one?" This is one of those bags. I just made it, and I totally love it, but I keep getting requests for one just like it. It provides some interesting insight on what non-sewists think about sewing:

"I bet that cost you less than $20." Nope...

"You just whipped that up?" No, I actually thought and planned and problem-solved along the way.

"Seriously, I'll pay you." Seriously, you work the same place I do. You can't afford what my time is worth...

Still, I guess I do enjoy a little bit of sewing envy...but I'm still not making you a bag.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sewing has been interrupted by...

school! I teach 7th grade, so the start of the new school year is always pretty crazy, but this year has been exceptional. Miss Gracie started preschool last week, and today, little Mr. B is now a kinderg√§rtner. My other two (as well as my own students) started on Weds.

I think, though, I will finally get back to sewing tonight! I have a tote ready to go, and my Ottobre Woman came today. I need to sew!

On a side note, I got a new phone, a Samsung Vibrant. It's an Android phone and I'm looking for useful sewing-related apps. Any suggestions??

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Should be sleepin', but I'm checking out Ottobre

The preview of the Ottobre Woman fall issue is up!

I'm excited - I like just about everything. I'm so glad to see they have bypassed the weird hem trend that some other pattern companies have embraced.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Well, this is a fun dilemma...

My to-be-sewn pile is NON-EXISTENT...I got through about 20 little girl garments in the last two weeks and now I plan to sort out how to put together my entry for the wardrobe contest at Pattern Review. I now am pondering what my next project should be. I'm considering McCall's 5644, but I need to check the dimensions. I love the kitty cat, but I need to make it to fit the phone I'm getting next week (a Samsung Vibrant - android phone - can't wait!!!).

I also have some fabric prewashed that I am thinking about pairing with Vogue 1170. I don't care for the top, but the lines of the skirt are really cute.

I've also been thinking about a new bag, but which one?? McCall's 4851 would make a great teacher tote. Of course I also need to make a new sleeve for my netbook that I take to and from work.

I also like McCall's 5944 with the interchangeable lining, but Simplicity 2350 (Cynthia Rowley bags) are so cool - I like the duffle-shaped bag.

Of course, I'm really waiting for my Ottobre Woman fall issue at the end of next week. Come on, preview, please!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Nod to the Selfish Seamstress

Obviously, I have quite an extensive list of blogs that I follow on my sidebar, and one of my favorite is that of the Selfish Seamstress. I love her snark and witty little haikus as well as her fabulous garments. Today she posted a rave extolling the virtues of being selfish with your sewing, and I have to say, I agree with her.

I hate sewing for other people and I won't do it!!!

Okay, let me clarify this. I will on occasion, sew a gift for someone, and of course, I love sewing for my children, but I'm not fixing other people's stuff, altering what doesn't fit them, or custom making something that someone has drooled over.

Unless there's something in it for me.

My wonderful friend Beth knitted this adorable dress for Gracie:

and I made her this bag for her knitting:

I think it was a good barter as I do not knit and she does not sew. We bought each other's materials and consulted on the design and then traded goods.

So, if you want me to sew for you, you have to be able to make something I can't.

I have had people tell me I could sell some of my things - esp. some of the pieces of cuteness I have rendered for darling Gracie. But why? It's not worth my time because no one would pay me what I feel my sewing time is worth. It's priceless. I love the art of being creative. You can't put a price on that kind of fun. Plus, as my children often demonstrate, you just can't put a price on spite...so go hem your own pants!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ottobre Must-Haves

I've been thinking about doing this post for a few weeks, but the question was recently asked of me as to which issues are the "must-have" ones from Ottobre. So here are my picks and my rationales.

I should note that I discovered Ottobre in late 2007, but was too intimidated to try it until about February of 2008. It wasn't long before I was hooked.

The first English language version was published Spring 2003 and that one has some excellent basic tee-shirts.
Another issue with excellent basics, including underwear (no, I can't say I've made those - my kids like the character stuff) and another excellent tee-shirt pattern is the Winter 2004 issue:



I don't own the Creative Workshop 301 simply because I refer back to either of these issues when I need a basic tee.

The Autumn 2005 issue is the one where Ottobre does cloth diapers. Again, something I never got into and I am happy to say the "decade of diapers" is nearly finished at my house as Miss Gracie is on her very last package of Pull-ups for nighttime. There are also some really nice stylish clothes in here - one of my personal favorites:
Like some of the earlier Ottobre Design issues, the first Ottobre Woman is chock full of great basics - buy this one for the tee-shirts alone (and skip Creative Workshop 303):

I keep finding myself drawn to the clothes in the Autumn 2006 issue - such nice details:


Leggings, leotards, and lots of ruffles - the Spring 2007 issue has 'em. I love the skirt with the ruffles cascading down the back - so cute! I've made it several times. The lap shoulder tee and dress for infant/toddler girls is another good basic.
The second Ottobre Woman, Spring 2007, has more excellent tees and a really neat wave skirt:

The Ottobre Woman published Autumn 2007 has the BEST A-line skirt - no adjustments (for me at least):

Summer 2008 is another good t-shirt issue:
The Summer 2009 issue featured some nice swimsuits as well as summer pieces with cute details:

My current favorite issue is last fall's - I love the reversible skirt (so clever and easy to do) and some of the other cute outfits. The boys' jacket with color-blocking is also nice:

If you are looking to make winter jammies or a nice coat, I like the selections in the Winter 2009 issue:

So, there you have it - my favorites from Ottobre. Honestly, I love them all, and I have lost count of what all I have made from their patterns. It's a lot, suffice it to say. The subscription (I get it straight from their website and always get my magazine on the day they say it will come.) is a great deal and you can get back issues from them with free shipping if you are a subscriber.



Sew Coordinated


I love fabric collections - especially the ones from Patsy Aiken. The fabric is a wonderful quality and always washes well. Plus, everything goes together. You can get fabrics from one of her lines, but you can sometimes mix and match the more neutral designs between lines since the colors will match.

Here is a small capsule wardrobe collection I just stitched up. The top tops are from the same Ottobre pattern, with FOE binding at the neckline. I made yet another pair of leggings and the reversible skirt is like the one I made from the Patty Young knits last week. That is a fantastic pattern from last fall's Ottobre. It's very easy and fun to flip the skirt around. The pants are from the Fall 2006 Ottobre and have a lot of great details.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Want to Sew...but It's Really LATE!

Since I last posted, I've sewn up an Abracadabra jacket, two Ottobre skirts, and two Ottobre t-shirts, so the to-be-sewn list is down five items. I want to make a pair of pants next before I change out sewing machine thread, but I know they are probably going to take 60-90 minutes. It's almost 2am...that's probably not the best idea.

I could happily sew all night, but with four kids to watch and a grad school assignment to tackle in the morning, sewing the pants isn't the best idea. So, I'm winding down with some thoughts on sewing:

I love fabric - patterns and textures and colors...can't get enough, which is why I do so many multiple fabric items. Someday I want to make a quilt out of fabrics I have used to make clothing for my daughter. I save fabric scraps even when they are too small for a big project because you never know when you want to line a pocket or make a small bag or doll outfit (if you have a little girl who loves dolls). My problem is deciding what I would want said quilt to look like.

I love browsing pattern websites because I love imagining all the possibilities. I used to enjoy shopping at the mall for similar reasons, but now I don't get as excited there. I feel like there are more possibilities open when you sew.

I love that Peach on the new season of Project Runway is 50 because that means I could go in the next 12 years and still not be the oldest contestant. LOL ;-)

Seriously, I'm rambling because I am trying to order my thoughts before I wander up to bed (instead of back to the sewing machine). I guess it's time to go up and dream of new projects.

What do you dream of doing with sewing? What stimulates your imagination as a sewist?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another "little" cutting fest

I cut out some more projects now that batch #1 of Gracie's fall goodies is done. I kind of lost count as I kept grabbing fabric and patterns and saying "Ooh! This would be nice."

Well, I ended up with 19 projects in the bin...yes, 19. Okay, if you have seen my work on PR, you know I sew fast. That's mainly how I have the stash contest banners down there on the left sidebar!

I arranged all my projects by thread/needle usage so I don't have to mess around with setting up machines any more often than I have to. I already had white thread loaded, so I grabbed this skirt and stitched:

It's a McCall's pattern - 2 pattern pieces and it took all of 15 minutes to make. I sewed while DH gave her a bath.

I also did a brown & pink on white striped top and a velour, polka dot print dress this evening. Tomorrow, I'll finish up the white thread projects and switch colors. Maybe pink? I have a lot of pink projects in the stack (imagine that, lol).

I do have to say that the more you make, the faster it becomes - at least for me. I rarely look at directions. Certain items just go together automatically. It's fun that way since I get instant gratification. I'll be back to work soon (I teach middle school.), so my prolific sewing will slow down, but it is nice to be able to accomplish things quickly. It takes down my stress!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gracie's Fall Fashions

I have been busy making coordinating pieces for my sweet three year old daughter Gracie. She starts preschool in a couple of weeks and is super excited to have a "back to school" wardrobe.

I am in the process of reviewing these pieces on Pattern Review, so if you want details, please click on my reviews!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Fall Butterick patterns

You can check them out here.

I like some of these a lot. Here are my picks to snag at the next pattern sale:

This one is B5535 - I like the cut of the shorter jacket and the skirt.
B5522 is rather intriguing. I can't decide if it would be flattering or disastrous on me, but I want to think about it.
B5525 has some cute options (the yellow and the blue) and the same scary sleeves from one of the McCall's patterns I did not like for fall. I did this look in the 80's as a teen. I'm over it.
B5526 has some nice basic shirt option. I really should make a white shirt. It's a missing basic in my wardrobe.
B5538 would also make a good basic white shirt.
This is very pretty (B5544), but I would shorten it. I toss and turn to much to get twisted up in a longer nightgown.
B5513, a See & Sew pattern, is cute...
...as is B5511, also See & Sew.

Now, I will admit, I do have a few complaints. First of all, aside from a re-release of a leotard/tutu pattern, there is NOTHING for kids. Also, the only men's offering involves (you guessed it) sleepwear/loungewear. I know some people like aprons, but the ones in the new collection are only so-so. There's one accessory pattern, and it's not too exciting.

Then, there's the weird stuff:
What in the world is up with B5530? It's like Miami Vice meets Michael Jackson bling. There's potential there, but with so many cute jacket patterns out there, I'll deal with altering for fit, but not style.
B5528 seems to be their take on the weird hemline cardigan - still not a fan.
If you like your crazy hemlines short, there's B5529.
...and the winner for least flattering top possible since it makes the line drawing women look fat...B5524. This is awful and dumpy. I'm sorry...I can be critical of style and appreciate that someone else out there just likes the funky hems. If you do, enjoy, but I would give serious thought before sewing up this gem. Blech!

Of course, this pattern makes the next one look so more flattering...B5536 is another schlumpy take on the Snuggie, but at least it isn't meant to be worn outside of your domicile!

So now, I await the next Butterick pattern sale, but I'm still happy to have a good 600+ patterns in my stash to choose from.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The beginnings of Gracie's fall wardrobe

Here's a taste of what the stylish preschooler will be wearing. After cutting over a dozen garments this weekend, I started sewing the pear dress last night. I finished that this morning as well as the rest of the pieces seen in this photo:

Clockwise from the pear dress (one of the new McCall's releases), the aqua apple print Kaufman corduroy is a Butterick jumper, and all of the rest (leggings, dress, two tops, and a reversible skirt) are from various Ottobre issues and made out of Patty Young's new line of knits for Michael Miller.

Here are a couple of pictures of the reversible skirt outfit:
I'm going to finish sewing my batch of cut items (and possibly a few more that will match the thread I have in the machines) before I have Gracie model these looks and I review all the patterns. At the rate this is going, that may not be long! I sew fast, but even I was surprised at how much I got done today (plus four loads of laundry, a homemade pizza, and taking care of my four kids).