Punky Brewster Gloves

You all know that I am painfully jealous of knitters, right? Well, last year I was at a craft fair with the $300 skirt friend and bought these cashmere gloves. I won’t tell you how much I paid for them. But, you know you have that friend who has way more money than you and she tells you it’s so cute and so worth the ‘investment’ and you start to feel like you have money too? Yeah….

I resolved this year to make myself a pair. Especially after I saw nubiancrafster’s and Toya’s. And I did last night in about 10 minutes. Vague instructions below.

  1. Take sweater that has seen better days and cut off sleeve and open up along seam line
  2. Serge the cut edge on the bottom and 1/4 to halfway down the sides from the top. This will be the finishing for your thumb hole.
  3. Pin the sleeve around your hand — wrong sides out.
  4. Pin out your thumb, above and below like an L. You want to mark the corners so you know where your thumb comes out.
  5. Pin a bit down the length of your arm — make it tight, knits grow
  6. Gently remove your hand. Trim the sweater close to the pin lines.
  7. Now, serge around your pins / marking — leaving a hole for your thumb. I found it helpful to clip around my thumb (above and below) so I could serge in one clean motion. I also recommend serging twice or using wooly nylon. I personally can’t get that stuff to work in my machine but it sounds like the kind of thing that would work well for this.
  8. Turn inside out


A young woman in my office admires my cashmere ones. I’ll scope out the thrift store this weekend and see what sweaters I can dig up to make her a pair.

A guy in my office called these my Punky Brewster gloves. I loooved Punky Brewster as a kid. So much in fact that my parents called me Punky for years. And may still. I’m not fully copping to that.

Yesterday I finished off the waist stay, new strap, understitched the foundation, added hooks and eyes and made five flowers. The pattern calls for seven, I may need to make eight since mine are smaller. And pretty inconsistent! But, I like them different sizes. Kind of like a bouquet.

I’m glad you guys like them! I’m sooo not an embellishment kind of girl. I remember when I was a kid my mom was always trying to get me to buy shoes with bows or flowers and I just wanted the plain black pumps.

I tried to sew the stones in and that didn’t work out. I’m leaning to a hot glue treatment? Trena suggested ‘Goop’. Any thoughts on how to make the little stones stay in?

Where’s my mother when I need her?

Welcome to the most blogged about project ever. In case you’ve lost track, I’m working on OOP Butterick 6408.

My mom might not be able to thread a sewing machine, but she looooves to sew by hand. I though, do not care for it. In my defense, I have tendonitis and it’s very hard for me to hold on to a needle. As evidenced by my stopping after completing three roses. I’m going to go pop some ibuprofen and wrap my little paw up in a heat pad and save the others for later this week.

I’m following the Schaeffer technique, but I did cut the flowers in half width wise. The first was was too ‘bud’ like for my purposes. Also, I like them to be flat on the bottom. I got the little gem stones in NYC during PR Weekend. I think it’s a cute way to add some sparkle. My other three stones are smaller and I’ll use those for the strap flowers. The flowers are about three inches in diameter. Any bigger and I’d feel like Dorothy Dandridge on the set of Carmen Jones.

Sooo, I’m thinking about how to actually attach them. I don’t want them flopping about. I think I need to interface / reinforce where they are going. Or, I guess I could make a few pins. But, I think the pins would definitely flop around.

And, if you came by my house today, you would think I’m that crazy woman with too many cats. I’m wearing red sweatpants, my mom’s 1980 long peach robe, black socks and my dress shoes. I needed the practice with the heel and I’d like to break them in.

The Kindness of Others

Everyone, the power of the internet and helpfulness of others never ceases to amaze me. I want and need to give a great big shout out to Summerset, Dawn and Nancy for the terrific advice. I’m happy to report the dress is fixed and fits better than ever!!

I worked on both hips and I did it two different ways. Both work wonderfully and I can’t recommend one over the other. By trying both, I learned two new methods and for that I’m grateful. The first is highlighted by Summerset in yesterday’s comments:

Remove the zipper from the waist down and redraw the hip curve. Then, baste the zipper in place along the new seamline and try it on to see if it looks better. Do not cut off any fabric until you are happy with the fit – you might have some large seam allowances, but you’ll regret it if you cut them off and need them. Once you’re happy with it and done adjusting (which might take a few tries!), trim off the excess, finish the edges, and put the zipper back in.

The second, my neighbor Lilya showed me.

1. Rip out the vertical seam
2. Rip out the horizontal seam by about 2 inches
3. Make a triangle ‘dart’ along the horizontal seams to remove excess fabric (visible in the photo on the left)
4. Interface vertical seams
5. Sew vertical seams back together

For both, I used Dawn’s advice for basting.

-use pins horizontally and vertically along the seamline.
-baste with two rows of staggered running stitches
-baste wtih one row of diagonal basting
-baste wtih large back stitches
-insert the zipper by hand.

But, I did use a regular zipper foot to reattach the zipper. It doesn’t get as close as the invisible I think, but it saved me from some of my beloved handwork.

My neighbor Lilya has an alterations business called ‘A Sewing Place’. I took the dress to her today for help marking my hem.

While there I made the repairs on her industrial machine. Umm, never was a ‘power’ person before. But, I may have to start sewing at her place all the time. I had to keep practicing on scraps before I could control how fast her Juki was!

To answer a few questions:

I used silk organza as my interfacing / interlining for the bodice. I did not interface my hip. Doh! I know to do that on pants with slant pockets, but it never occurred to me with this project. The organza provides support and also seriously cuts down on wrinkles. I won’t work with dupioni again without considering it.

The dress is fully lined with a rayon. But, I did not interline it. Dawn gave me some great advice about using cotton batiste vs. silk organza. Essentially the silk organza would make the skirt stand away from the body more, but would keep wrinkling at bay and the batiste would help the dress hug my body / drape better. I chose not to use either only because I didn’t have enough of either for the skirt and time was too short to order more. If I had it here, I would have used batiste. I think the more layers something has, the more elegant it looks.

I am using organza in the bottom of the hem to add a bit of weight and to prevent a wavy hem.

So here’s what’s left:

  1. Attach hook and eyes to foundation
  2. Trim one slightly long boning
  3. Understich the foundation and bodice
  4. Make new strap
  5. Hem the lining
  6. Make hood
  7. Make roses
  8. Make date rent a tux. His ‘olive’ colored suit won’t cut it. I polled the men at work and all, I mean ALL are renting or own tuxedos.

Alright, I’m off to cut fabric to make roses for the dress. I’m using Claire Schaeffer’s High Fashion Secrets from the World’s Best Designers as a guide (borrowed from Lilya).

Oh, and I am on the hunt for a gravity feed iron. I was using Lilya’s and was sold two seams in.

Black Friday

My friend Julia told me she was going to be at the outlets when they opened at 4:00 a.m. I scoffed and said I would be calling her at 5:30 when she was still asleep and I was on my way to Joanns. Umm, guess who called me at 6:01 to say she was at the outlets and guess who turned the alarm off instead of hitting ‘snooze‘?

I was still out the door by 6:10 and I got almost everything I needed. They were out one pattern and I got the wrong size of another for someone else. But, my cutting table, bias tape makers and other assorted notions at 50 percent off (plus another 20 percent) were there.

So last night I turned the dress inside out to try and see what was making the bubble. Note the goiter-size curved seam on the left. Compare it with the right which has a gentle slope. I have no idea what happened. My pattern doesn’t look like this. It didn’t fit like this when I made up the muslin or sewed the shell. But last night it just jutted out.

I need help please. I think I need to rip out the lower half of the invisible zip and redraw the hip line — taking away some of the crazy curve. But, can I reattach the zipper by hand? I don’t think I can do it on the sewing machine. The zipper goes past the seam by another three or four inches.

Suggestions welcome and needed.


I can see the finish line

I’ve got a problem. It’s hard to see in these photos, but the left hip, where the seams join, bubbles out.

Now, there wasn’t a bubble after I put the zipper in, but there was after I attached the lining. The hip/zip almost has a C shape. It’s not a big deal when my arm is there, but it’s driving me insane. I’m really annoyed at myself. I have no idea why that happened. I think I might need to rip it out a little and reattach by hand. I’m not sure. I’ll post some photos tomorrow.

Here’s what’s left: hooks and eyes along the foundation, understitching the foundation, hemming, roses. The strap was also about one inch too short so I need to make that again and attach.

But now, I am off to bed. I need to be up by 5:00. There are bargains to be had.

You can cry. But you better cry and cut.

I am thankful that:

…I found my camera charger. Yippee! Of course it was in the most logical place ever.

…even though I accidentally cut and spent a good hour sewing the lining from the silver acetate Halloween satin muslin fabric vs the lovely silver rayon lining (they look almost the same!!), that I have all day to re-cut and sew it from the good stuff. It also explains why I had soooo much left over lining (on the right).

…I only have to make a garlic potato soup for Thanksgiving dinner

Despite raking three trash bags of leaves for an hour yesterday, I see more have fallen and that tree is just getting started. I need a condo.

…I only have to walk across the street to my neighbors for Thanksgiving dinner and stumble across the street to get home.

… I won’t have to clean up after Thanksgiving dinner.

…my Joann’s coupons finally came yesterday and I’m going to buy the cutting table and half the notions wall on sale plus 20 percent. And yes, that is some of my shopping list. I will be there at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow so I can be at work for 8:30.

… my local bookstore called and told me they had a new Mrs. Stylebook.

…my roommate went to Chicago so I can have all 1365 sq ft to myself to sew in peace

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gremlins must have it

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions on my SWAP plan. You are right, the vest needs to be a side item. Which means I can’t use the original Simplicity for this (must make three garments from the pattern). These rules!! I think I need to scrap the first wardrober I got. I’m now looking for one with a jacket, and shell and a good skirt or pants. I’m going to do my SWAP with two jackets. No rule against that. I think.

Well, I cannot find the charger to my camera. I have looked in my office, in my car, in every room of my house — every where. I do know it came back from New York with me. But, I haven’t seen it since last Monday. Now, considering it’s $59.99 to replace the charger, I have got to find it.

So, in the meantime, I have found shoes! Here’s a plug for Zappos.com I ordered three pairs of shoes last night at 7:00 p.m. and they were here by 9:30 this morning. Don’t worry, I’m only keeping the Nine West.

Yeah…. That’s a 3.5 inch heel. Which should make me almost 5’10. My date may need lifts. So, when I am hobbling around on crutches the next day because my feet hurt so badly, please refrain from ‘I told you so’. We must all at some point suffer for our art.

Be Honest With Me…

I can wear a vest with a dress, right? But, can I wear this vest with these dresses?

Yes, I’m strongly thinking about doing the Timmel SWAP in 2008. That along with finally making something from Mrs. Stylebook are two of my ’08 Sewing Goals. But, I’m struggling with the planning.

The *twist* is that I must use a wardrobe pattern (that would be Simplicity 3690). I really really want a cropped vest. But, I want to make a dress or two (the jumper counts as a bottom since something must be worn under it) which count as tops.

Theoretically, the vest should be able to be worn on its own — otherwise it counts as a jacket. Personally, I will wear the vest on it’s own. But not to work. So, for the contest, I need it to go with the dresses. But, I think I need the dresses to be more babydoll to wear this vest with them.

My head hurts. This is why I am not a stylist.

The Shell

Here’s a sneak peek at the dress (minus the foundation so no inner support). I think once the foundation is in, those last few wrinkles will go away. Again, the dress is so much darker than this. Once it’s done, I’ll take some shots without the flash.

I got a lot done today, but was distracted by a last minute visit from a friend. The shell of the dress is done. I decided to use an invisible zipper even though I had been practicing with a regular zip. I just love the look of the invisible zipper.

The dress continues to hang so the bias will fall. I’m feeling very comfortable that I’ll get it done over Thanksgiving.

So here’s what’s next :

  • Darts in the lining
  • Construct lining
  • Complete foundation (add lining)
  • Attach foundation to dress
  • Insert lining
  • Add hooks and eyes to foundation
  • Add waist stay
  • Hem

Then, I’ll start on the hood.

The Foundation

Hmmmm. Note to self: The wood paneled Baltimore basement has the 90s era Calvin Klein ad feel. Will return to taking photos in the living room.

I’ve got everything cut with the interlining and fabric thread basted. Today’s goal is to make darts in the lining and fashion fabric (already line basted). But first, I thought I would show how the foundation garment comes together. It’s actually pretty simple. I’m not sure what I was so freaked out over. This pattern is great because the foundation (inner corset almost) is built in.

As I mentioned earlier, I made the foundation out of muslin interfaced with black silk organza. I pre-washed both. The foundation comes down to my natural waistline.

While you can make your own casing for boning, I chose to just buy pre-made twill casing from Greenberg and Hammer at $1 a yard.

I’m using a spiral steel boning that needs to be cut to the correct length with wire cutters. You can also purchase tips and apply them with pliers by crimping down. They are available pre-cut.

The boning fits easily into the casing. The casing is then stitched down along the placement lines. For this dress, the boning is applied along all the darts and center back seam. I chose to use my zipper foot to apply the boning/casing.

Really basic and easy. Thanks for the encouragement. And for those who don’t believe, don’t fear the boning!