Monday, December 15, 2014

New McCalls Patterns: Spring 2015

I'm kinda over dresses at the moment, so these aren't setting me on fire or anything.

McCalls 7088
I love Trace Reese, but I don't love boob conforming seams. I saw a dress very similar to this recently where the underboob region was white and the upperboob was black. Like a big white arrow pointing up. With just one fabric, you don't see the seam so that's ok, but what's the point? Does it give a better fit?

McCalls 7081
Candy striper! My god that is some impressive stripe matching. STANDING OVATION!

McCalls 7084
Same pose, its Swirly Striped Skirt Spring! I like this one better, its more flattering. Now I know that the pattern companies, McCalls especially, paying attention to the blog world. So its nice (and smart commercially) that they are following what the audience wants, ie. shirt dresses, all the shirtdresses! Then again, with that information they do some not so nice stuff too (see below).

McCalls 7100
Hey, its the Rigel...

McCalls 7080
With some faded plaid and floppy boots, this would be perfect for a Nirvana concert. Wait, what year is it?

McCalls 7090
Stop making patterns for this dress, please!

McCalls 7082
Shit just got real.

McCalls 7089
Whoa, that's a turnaround! I'm trying to understand the story here and what I'm getting is that her dog ran away and all she's got left is his leash. She wants to run after him, but her damn legs won't break free from their cage. We all know where the dog went.

I used to be a doginatrix and now look at me.
McCalls 7087
1960's Betty Rubble. That collar is too damn big.

McCalls 7086
My word that's unflattering. Why do you have to pose like this if you're in something 50's inspired. Were all women then walking with pointed toes and horizontal hands?

McCalls 7094
I was looking into hacking the Archer in something like this, but maybe I'm just a trend hag. Thoughts?

McCalls 7099
Well isn't someone off to a fabulous day of stripping down to nothing in a filthy public bathroom.

McCalls 7093
Go ahead and put some thing in the pocket of a crepe de Chine, charmeuse, chiffon, or georgette t-shirt, we'll see how practical it is then.

McCalls 7097
Have a happy Swirly Striped Skirt Spring!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Archer: Numbre Trois

Let me tell you a story, its called Buttons are Traitors. A few revolutions around the Sun ago I had to go to the bank. I was wearing a cute button-down I got from one of Target's fancy designer series collections, blue, fancy bib detail. I liked that shirt, I thought I had a good rapport with that shirt. There were about 6 people in line so I waited and while I was waiting I noticed an old man staring at me. I mean gross staring. In my head I said, Hey you dirty perv, why don't you stare at something else, you're mother is ashamed of you, I bet no woman has ever loved you. In my head I was mean to him, I don't like gross old men gaping at me. Once I got to the front of the line I reached for my purse to get my bank stuff and when I looked down I saw. I saw that my purse strap had unbuttoned my shirt. Down. To. My. Navel. Perv had every right to stare, I was standing half undressed in the middle of Bank of America. Buttons and I have had an uneasy relationship since then, very untrusting, I get out of the car, leave the house, take of a jacket, I do the button test which essentially involves feeling up my chest in public to make sure the spacing between buttons is even, if there's too much I know disaster has struck.
Then a light shown down upon me while reading blogs, people were waxing poetic about snaps. Snaps, I thought, snaps that don't betray, could this be my salvation?

This is my third archer. I wanted a textured black fabric so I bought this black, burnout polka dot cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics. Its not black, its black and navy and it changes from black with navy dots to navy with black dots in a pattern making pattern placement kinda a bitch. Also, its not cotton, its def got some poly in that as it burns under the iron pretty fast and doesn't wrinkle a bit. These pictures were taken minutes after pulling the shirt out from luggage and no ironing. It also attracts fuzz likes its going to a fuzz party.

Not a great picture, but you can see the change in the polka dot pattern.

For Archer Trois, I went with the butt ruffle. I gotta say, I'm a big fan of the butt ruffle. Business up front, ruffle in the back, baby. Things to note, the ruffle gives a hem a much deeper curve so its not as easy as a hem as the non-ruffled version. Also, the pattern for the ruffled upper back (not yoke) doesn't include a pleat and it turns out my double-wide shoulders really like the room provided by the pleat so this puppy is a bit tight in the back.

I really like the extra long sleeves in the Archer pattern, at least on me. I like when my sleeves go to mid-hand. Maybe it looks a bit sloppy, but it feels good. I also finally got the absolute perfect placement of the closures which I wasn't able to for my first two Archers. 

And finally, the snaps. They are perfect. I haven't had a snap incident yet and all pervy men have been kept in their place. Archer, the perfect snapdown shirt.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Today's ripoff is a bit old, I'm getting slow!

Vogue 8805
Vogue 8805 is a super popular, super cute dress. Its also pretty basic, so maybe, just maybe its a coincidence that its look a lot like....

This Preen dress! I mean for heavens sake, they choose a similar color story, its not a coincidence.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Patterns: Butterick Winter 2014

I wasn't going to post these until I say B6151 so let's start with that one.

Butterick 6151

The neck brace, the straps, what the hell is that zipper thing? This pattern seems to think that boobs are dangerous velociraptors plotting to break out of their cage and devour their handlers. Why else would someone think that four straps or two layers of zips are necessary?

Butterick 6128
Butterick's trying to get some of that wrap dress fairy dust that is floating around the blogosphere. The magic of the wrap are the curves it gives (or enhances on) the body but this one isn't giving her anything. The maxi-wrap is a bit first-lady (not Michelle, she's too cool) -esque.

Butterick 6127
Comeon, just call it the Princess Kate line.
AKA, the knock-off of LK Bennett line. 

Butterick 6131
Heavens me that's cheap. Please don't put your bridesmaid in this.

Butterick 6143
Hips gathers? Maybe if you're a twiggy twig-person.

Butterick 6130
Just stop making jumpsuit patterns. Its been done and done better.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Sashiko has shown up a few times in blogs, but its so crazy beautiful its not getting the love that it deserves. I picked up preprinted sashiko fabric, some thread, and needles while on vacation in Hawaii thinking I'd have something to do on the plane back. Instead I drank way too many mai tais in celebration and spent most of the flight focusing on not projectile vomiting on the poor people three rows in front of me. Take my mom's advice because I didn't: being on a plane while hungover is something you will strongly regret. Sashiko waited until I was comfortably back in the mainland.

Now I want to make beautiful garments with sashiko accents. This has been done in sewing blogland a couple of times, notably by Kyra Clark's beautiful Archer and Reves Mecanique jacket. Sashiko also showed up at Balenciaga in 2010. While not traditional sashiko stitching, it appears as if the designer was inspired by it.

Balenciaga Fall 2010

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quilt #4

Quilt #4 is done. Jesus, it went faster than that last behemoth of 1000 pieces. This would have been a better a third project, but I'm a cocky little garment sewer and have no time to worry about silly little things like difficulty ratings. I've sewn silk, bitch!

The pattern is Hanami from quilty, Winter 2012. I wanted something that would feature the large patters and the pattern also worked perfectly with the amount of fabric I bought. The patterned fabric is Lizzy House Constellations and the solids are Kona cotton. Comparing these fabrics to the fabrics from the last quilt (which were all random Joann tone-on-tone prints), the quality is totally noticeable. Feels better, doesn't burn, you know, quality-ness.

I bought the fabric on a whim from Grey's back when I permanently lived in Bostontown, but have since realized that it isn't my style. I decided once I pieced the front that this is going to a children's charity so I quilted the living crap out of this puppy for longevity. This was the first time quilting with my walking foot (and after starching it, starch smells gooood) and it was amazing. It went so so so smoothly. Go buy a walking foot if you don't have one, they are worth their wait in gold and on top of that, just plain fun to watch! Next time I want to try out basting spray as well, but I'm not terribly comfortable adding chemicals to the world so it would have to be amazing.

The binding is also machine sewn on but from the control the walking foot gives, you can't see the stitches. Also, my corners are damn sharp! I am already feeling my preferences for various quilting methods and I like 2.25" binding whereas this is 2.5". I used bias binding because its stronger and I want it to last, but I also really wanted to try out the method for making continuous bias binding. It was a blast! And pretty easy, although I drew the cutting lines on wrong at first, whoopsie. Easily fixed!

All corners met pretty well and I had to press seams open because of all that white fabric. Pressing open made my garment sewing heart happy. You might notice the fabric framing the light blue, constellation fabric is uneven. I didn't have enough fabric to make those blocks as large as they were supposed to be and I didn't want to make them smaller because the fabric is so doggone-it-stinking cute, so I just adjusted the border to compensate.

I hope someone will enjoy this!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Vogue Patterns: Winter/Holiday 2014

Let's start with the good.

Vogue 1424
I absolutely adore this dress! I love the strappies, those pleats (swoon!), and even the color. With all the seams it seems fairly straightforward how to adjust for a larger bust too! I know the strappies have gotten mixed reviews, but I'm firmly team strappies.

Vogue 1421
Oh man alive I love that seaming! Other than the weird, fun seaming, that's a pretty simple dress. I want to make it in scuba something fierce!

Okay, the others:

Vogue 1423
Ok, I'm off team strappies. If you left off that underlayer, this would be a very chic dress for your next BDSM soiree.

Vogue 1426
I want to pull her bodice up for her. That's some super dated stuff guys.

Vogue 1428
Helen Mirren would look hot in this. No joke, Helen Mirren is hot.

Vogue 1425
Anyone else want to cut this off and make a top? Cause I do, bad. Otherwise its a fairly boring shape.

Vogue 1427
She's going out on the town with ruffle-lady. They're on the prowl!

Vogue 1422
Again a pretty, if dull dress. Gorgeous fabric. If Michelle Obama hasn't worn this yet, she ought to.

Vogu 1420
I do love a good wrap bodice, even a mock-wrap is ok. The finishing on this dress looks like it was finger-pressed and stapled. This style needs to be sharp.

Vogue 9046
I don't even know about this one. I love and hate the slight 40's-50's style. Removing the sleeves might bring this towards a more modern aesthetic. The pleats are beautiful, but there are so many it looks like a corset. The v-neck is very elegant.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quilt #3

I made my first quilt when I was about 10 and quiltmaking spread like wildfire through our sewing classes. After that I had no desire to quilt ever again. It was kinda like the time I got it into my head I wanted to make a teddy bear. I ended up gluing his arms and legs on. Over it.

Then while persuing the magazine rack I saw quilty, specifically quilty winter 2012, specifically the quilt 'Burgoyne, with Red', and I was mesmerized. Seriously, quilts are beautiful pieces of art, decorating your life AND keep you warm. I'm now completely hooked! I have every quilty since that issue and a few other magazines, follow quilting blogs, am starting quite a collection of quilting notions, and even bought a quilting class on craftsy. Bring it on, baby!

Quilt #1 was that little thing I made when I was 10. Quilt #2 was a wall hanging I made for my amazing in-laws last Christmas which was more of an appliqued horse and quilted landscape picture. Quilt #3 is the first proper quilt, piecing, backing, and binding.

The pattern is 'Hello, Handsome' by Nancy Downey from quilty, March 2014 and might have been a bit ambitious for my first proper quilt, but hell, it turned out ok. The second, nay, the MILLISECOND after I quilted it I ordered a walking foot because quilting it was hell.


That's the only picture of the back you get because the quilting blows. I added some extra blocks to the back, I'm not sure if I like the effect.

 I've already learned a lot about quilting so despite my incredible lack of quilting acumen, most of my points lined up! There were only about 3 majors misalignments. I decided to do stitch-in-the-ditch quilting because piecing is so pretty that I worry that putting thread all over it will mess it up. I need to get over that fear fast!

I ended up giving this to a person who did me a huge favor for me, but I'm going to make it again because I love it so much. And here I swear: every point will line up and I will be more adventurous in quilting.