Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Simplicity Patterns: Early Spring 2013

Coming in close on McCalls' heels is Simplicity

Starting with the prom offerings

Simplicity 1691

My best friend from high school and I like to go through magazines and play 'which outfit would you rather wear, and you can't pick something I picked.' Even if you can't stand anything on the page, you still have to pick something, its a lot of fun although it kinda sounds lame written out like this.

If I were going to prom this year (as a 26 year-old) I would pick 'FLIRTY', what would you pick? (I'll allow multiple pickings of the same dress, just this time!) I love v-neck, ruffles, and the center slit makes it a party dress.

Now which Leanne Marshall pattern would you rather wear to prom?

Simplicity 1689

Simplicity 1690

I choose the short strapless 1690. Not all prom dresses need to fulfill the fairy princess fantasy, prom is a freakin' party! Any other adult women want to play my game with me? What prom dress would you choose?

I also like the 'day' look from this pattern, but its a bit poofy. The top is cute, but crazy simple.

Simplicity 1688

Ok, prom dress play is over, lets discuss real clothes. I LOVE this. Cynthia Rowley is the bomb-diggity. The dress is perfection, the contrast, the seaming, the jacket is perfect, omg stripes, and its lined! I'm going to buy the crap out of this next 99 cent sale.

Simplicity 1687

This looks like something Taylor Swift would wear. Its cute, I love the contrasts (piping and yoke), pockets, and pleats coming off the pockets, but I think its a bit too cutesy for me. Fabric choice might alleviate the cutesy.

Simplicity 1692

OMG, its SENCHA! You can bet your patooty that Simplicity (and the others) know all about the independent pattern makers out there and are following their every move and success. Sencha is one of Collete's more popular patterns so I guess this is not surprising. I like Sencha better. So there.

Simplicity 1693

Boring shirts and those bell sleeves are unflattering. I don't like drawstring waists. They are trying to cash in on the peter-pan collar trend.

Simplicity 1694

Going for the high-low shirt hem. That front split with only one button is not my cup o'tea. Whatever is going on with the hem in view F is awful! Interesting fake fabric choice with view B, that's straight out of the 70's.

Simplicity 1699

Ok, I like that top in a pilgrim sort of way, but everything else is throwaway.

Simplicity 1696

Those look like very comprehensive pants. Very standard.

Simplicity 1686

I don't watch Mad Men, but is this what they are wearing right now?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New McCalls Patterns: Spring 2013

The first out of the gate is...McCalls!

McCalls 6698
Fashion Star: 80's fuchsia realness. They emphasize that this is a totally customizable pattern, you can have 1, 2, or 3 tiers and, wait for it, you can change the fabric for each tier. I didn't know that was allowed. I am apparently in a snarky mood.

McCalls 6701
I had to put this one second because its the same dress, they ripped off the top two tiers and kept the shoes. I kinda like the idea of a bright, happy visible lining, but that's just tacky.

Also, you have to check out the rest of the shots for this pattern. There are 4 pattern variations, but McCalls shows 5, FIVE separate (real) images of the same variation and none of the others. Does anyone else think that's incredibly stupid?

McCalls 6699
K, McCalls is really pushing the visible lining thing. I like the cup size options and the simple shape. I find the Fashion Star ideas for pattern changes remarkably insulting. You can shorten this! Or lengthen this! Or put it over a shirt! Let me add some. You can wear it under a shirt! You can cut the top off! You can even choose to not make this!

McCalls 6700
This is how Blake Lively poses on the red carpet. We can see your legs honey, they're lovely. The line drawing for this is nice, I love wrap silhouettes and a knit!

McCalls 6707
And...I'm in love. I've been lusting after pants like these for a while. Just have to make sure the fit is awesome and then I'll churn out 400 of these. Once in a while, those Fashion Star people don't piss me off.

McCalls 6694
That is art and I think I've seen it in Vogue.

McCalls 6695
I've seen girls wearing skirts this short on bikes and it never ends well unless you're a perve.

The pleats with the elastic look bulky and unflattering like a towel wrapped around the model. Not cute.

McCalls 6696
I love this style of dress so I'm no use here.

McCalls 6697
What's up with the bike poses? I want one of the models to grab it over her heard and roar like a lion into the camera, that would make as much sense as what's going on here. Also, there seems to be a different bike in every shot so why did they choose they super sporty bike for the maxidress pattern?

Ok, the actual pattern. That's ugly.

McCalls 6713
I chose this picture because we can actually see the details of the pattern, but I'll ruin the live action shot for you, she's on a bike. Like she actually knows how to ride it this time, but still on a bike. I find gathered shoulders make me look extremely bulked up, but for those with feminine lady shoulders, unlike my big man shoulders, lovely pattern.

McCalls 6702
Oh no, she's fallen and can't get up (maybe she shouldn't have worn stilettos on a bike). Good thing she was wearing a parachute to soften the fall. This pattern has a lot of volume, gathered shoulders, arms, and back so maybe the stiff fabric was not the way to go. Crinkled, unflattering mess!

McCalls 6703
Deflated balloon or belly button after you loose 250 lbs.

McCalls 6704
In all seriousness, please wear your helmet, it really does save lives.

This looks like it came from Forever 21 in 2002. The pattern variations are even worse.

McCalls 6705
This looks terrible. The lace isn't even symmetric around the bust and looks like torn paper and unless lining was added, there is some serious side boobage happening.

I love this! Wait, that's the same pattern!!! Love the idea of a print and a solid and the way its cutout. Can anyone else see a teddy bear holding its arms out though? I think I would continue the solid all the way to the hem, that would be a bit more flattering. And I LOVE the contrasting neck and armhole binding!

McCalls 6708

Everyone needs a cardigan and this one looks fine if a little flimsy.

McCalls 6706
Love the band options on this skirt, but I'm pretty wary of stiff fabric and pleated skirts. Oh, the memory!

McCalls has officially failed in how to ride a bike.

McCalls 6712
That sunhat looking thing is supposed to be a skirt. All that seaming looks like a real bitch for not a lot of reward.

McCall 6711

Monday, December 10, 2012

New home dec!

We did a couple more home dec projects!

My amazing boyfriend had some 12"x12" blank canvases left by an ex-girlfriend who fancied herself a burgeoning painter and I fancy myself a burgeoning crafter so I took them and spent the last 2 years trying to figure out what to with them.

This is what I did. I wanted to honor where we come from and where we are together (yeah I'm a huge nerd). I love the personalities of (most of) the American states and their shapes and from there, got this.

I painted the borders of the canvases so when seen from the sides, you see the colors. Its an extra detail that I love.

To get the states on there, I printed out the outlines of the states and then cute them out and outlined them in pencil. Then my amazing boyfriend carefully painted them, what a good guy. We'll likely have a life where we live in a few more states (countries?) so we'll add to them in the future.

except its not purple :(

I've also really wanted a magnetic chalkboard for a while. When I was little, I had a chalkboard outside my bedroom and my Mom and I would write messages for each other whenever we passed it and its one of my very happy memories. So I hunted all over New England and looking for the largest possible piece of magnetic sheet metal. It was very disappointing running around home improvement stores with my sad little Lord of the Rings magnet that wouldn't stick to anything and have it pathetically fall to the floor. When it finally stuck it I was more elated that I should naturally have been. I left it to my amazing boyfriend to prime and paint it. I wanted to paint it with purple chalk paint, but I let the boyfriend win with the black paint. He did a good job, except got cat litter stuck to it. Seriously. We used mirror hangers to hold it firmly against the wall. Now I just need chalk pens in pretty colors, like PURPLE, and to make some nifty magnets. I just need some super glue and super strong super tiny magnets....

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Papercut Patterns: Spring 2013

Update: They added all important information (fabrics requirements, line drawings, etc.) to the Papercut site!

I love Papercut patterns and again, I don't have any, its a darned shame. Their new release for the season is up and its really very beautiful.

La Sylphide
Super cute and oh boy oh boy short. This might be to cute for me, but wouldn't Princess Kate wear this if it were a little longer? The people at Simplicity patterns are (paper)cutting themselves for not doing this pattern first. Also, this one isn't terribly new, the pussy bow is very popular lately, but its still terribly adorable. Love the buttons on the skirt.


We'll let go of the diaper shorts for a minute to focus on the top which the pattern is for. Very nice wrap around top with a tie in the back. Again, not life changing, but beautiful, very flattering and current. Is it a knit pattern or a woven?

Why don't models smile? My job makes me sit in front of a computer for long periods of time cursing to the heavens, I deserve to frown once in a while. She wears pretty clothes and doesn't need to frown.

Peter and the Wolf Pants

I almost love these pants, but I can't really see them! What happened to line drawing and multiple angles of view? The only other front view of these pants is this:

And that's more of a side view than the previous one! Not to disparage an independent pattern designer with great ideas, but this makes me frustrated. The description describes center front seaming, but I'm worried its going to look like the seams outline my underwear and that is NOT cool. I'll wait until someone else makes these to decide, but then it'll be past the free shipping time and shipping from NZ to 'merica has got to be a bitch. (The model is wearing an orange version of the Coppelia pattern here, loving it even more!)

Midsummers' Night Dream

A wrap dress (or camisole)! I love wrap-things that are actually wrap, faux wraps are disappointing. The only problem I have with this is the fit at the top is a little wonky and makes me concerned about how real boobs fit in there.


I love you Petrouchka, marry me? This is really perfect and totally on trend. I like the swoop of the peplum, but would like to see it on others to address if it makes non-model body types look pregnant. Also, is this knit or woven with a zip? Fabric isn't mentioned in the description.

Rite of Spring Shorts

I really can't see myself near this, but I will say something. The younger girls, 16-21 who live in this city would eat these up.

Also let's look at some of my favorites from previous Papercut collections.

Watson Jacket

Ok how could you not love this, its freakin' fantastic! You know I love capes and what a perfect everyday cape! Love the pop of lining, how fun! This is the reason I first paid attention to Papercut.

Sloppy Joshephine Tee

 Ok, so there's not that much going on here, but who doesn't need tons of easy tees? Might want to bring in that neckline though, its about to fall off. Love the bands at the arms and the (I think) slightly contoured hem.

Pleated Pants
And finally, the perfect pleated pants. I love these, I want a million. I recently realized I need an arsenal of nice pants, jeans all the time is starting to get a little boring.

Here they are in floral.

Love them love them! But have to remember that fit on this is sooo crutial to stay away from any diaper connotations.

I conclusion I love Papercut patterns. I know it may seem like I ragged on them more than say Vogue or Simplicity, its because her ideas are a lot fresher and there's more stuff to talk about than the boring big 4.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


My Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, I was away from my parents, but my boyfriends family was more than welcoming and I had a great time. How about you?

The happy couple loved(!) their blanket and I'm so so happy for that. They said the colors and stitch were perfect and I don't think they were faking, so SCORE! That makes me really really happy. Totally worth it. I'm fairly sure within a short amount of time I'll be making a baby blanket to accompany it.

More stuff up soon!

The over-100 lb giant Schnauzer I spent Thanksgiving with. She grew up with a chihuahua and thinks she is one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pattern Review: Tuck Stitch Lap Throw

I finally finished the wedding present for my future brother-in-law and his lovely wife. Its only over three months late, that's ok right?

Its enormous! That's a queen bed to give you an idea of the size.

I used Cascade 220 in coral and bright blue, the couples favorite colors, but the coral is a bit redder than what it looked like online and the contrast from the blue makes even redder. So I guess I made a red and blue blanket. I used 5 skeins of each color for the body and 1.5 skeins of coral for the border.

Oh the border. The pattern calls for a an entwined, I-cord border. I knit about one-half of the border and HATED it. Completely and utterly. The busy stitch of the body needs a simple border to highlight it, not compete. So instead, after knitting the body I picked up stitches and knitted up a simple garter stitch border. If I were to knit this again (I'm not!) I would knit a garter stitch border at the same time as the body.

I kind of hate this blanket :(
It took way too long, the colors aren't right, the border doesn't look quite right with the picked up stitches. I'm going to hand it to the happy couple and say, 'Here's your wedding present, I'm sorry, let's go burn it together'.

In other news, knitting takes FOR-FRICKIN-EVER! Nearly all of my knitting plans for 2012 have been cancelled, damnit!

Passed the happy paw test.
Previous post about this project

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pattern Review: Hot Patterns Biker Babe Jacket HP 1037

Its done, its done, its done! I could scream it from the rooftops! I have never been so proud of something that I've made in my life. That's about 20 sewing years, countless culottes (hey, I started when I was 7), and more seams ripped than stars in the sky.


My new jacket. The main fabric is made out of the softest camelhair ever (from Gorgeous Fabrics, no longer available) and the lining is a pretty medallion print poly (also from Gorgeous Fabrics, also no longer available but there are other colors, this one is so pretty!). One thing to note about the lining though, in really really tiny letters is the name of the designer Elie Tahari, but its only noticeable if you are about 1" from the fabric.

Now this pattern. Oh boy, this pattern. I had a lot of issues with it. Noted in these posts:
Update #1
Update #2
Update #3 Warning Hot Patterns rant in this post

To paraphrase these, the changes/problems I had/made were:
Jacket way too short, lengthened by 2" all over, would probably add 1.5" on to that in the future for a total of 3.5".
Sleeves way too short, also lengthened 2".
Armhole too low and raised by 3/4" (I think).
Ease in arm (even after adjusting for the raised armhole) way too much.
Back too tight, broadened by about 3/4".
Waist way too big, added a 1.5" seam taking about 6 total inches of fabric out of the waist. This seam allowance was gradually reduced to the pattern seam allowance just below the arm.
Comically huge collar decreased by about 1.5".
Added a back pleat to the lining.
Added a simple inner patch pocket.
Did not add the belt or boob pockets.

Some details added to the lining are visible in these pictures, as well as which lining pieces I chose to make in the lining fabric and which I chose to make in the camelhair. Ignore the puckering please.


Lining was easy. I bagged it, then handstitched the sleeves and a small part of the bottom band (through which I bagged it). I also didn't interface anything except the upper collar, really took a risk there, but the lower collars have the perfect 'stiffness' with the two layers of camelhair. Whew.

Checkout the fit in the back!

I'm going to make this again, twice more in fact. One in olive green twill with a poly sherpa lining and the other in a tweed with no upper collar. I'm not sure that I would recommend this pattern as a LOT went into making this workable, moreso than I think should be expected using a pattern. If you really want this style jacket, well, it was all worth it for me.