I actually used my sewing machine

I’m really falling apart over here🙂 I can’t find the charger to my camera. Quite frankly. I can’t find my camera. So, my first trip to the sewing machine in a month is chronicled with a camera phone picture of garment on the table. Better than the floor, eh?

I generally don’t wear standard issue, boxy tee shirts. I don’t look good in them since my best feature is my waist to hip ratio. And, I get a LOT of tee shirts. I’m not comfortable sleeping in them and I don’t love them for the gym (when I go).  For a while I just started turning them down. For a bit I thought about a tee shirt quilt for all the sorority and work shirts. But, after this — I’m just gonna refashion them.

I had this BWOF tee traced out for about a year. It took me less than an hour from start to finish to make this. To be fair, I didn’t iron/press, I didn’t make a seam allowance and I whipped it up on the serger — with brown thread. Hey, what can I say. It’s 10 at night and I have to be at said festival at 7:00 a.m. all day for two days.

I specifically asked for an extra large shirt and managed to cut the front, back and sleeves from it. But, I had to take an old (and I mean at least five years old) red Volvo Ocean Cup staff tee shirt for the waist, collar and sleeve bands. I’ll try to get a photo in it tomorrow🙂

Wanna see some fun photos? Check my friend’s photography blog for baseball pictures (scroll down to the end of the post). Did I mention Japan beat us 17 to 1. Brutal.

You’ll Always Be BWTF to Me

We‘re making some changes! Beginning with our August issue, burda World of Fashion will be called burda style. We have modernized our image, but you‘ll still find the selection of stylish fashions to sew yourself that you expect from Burda. (emphasis mine)

— July 2009 Burda e-newsletter

Of course. Calling Burda BS also kind of makes sense sometimes too.

Super Busy

Sewing is great, but, it doesn’t currently pay the bills. I’m not sewing and honestly probably won’t until September. Right now, I am coordinating a week-long baseball camp between Baltimore and Kawasaki, Japan.

The boys are all 15 and very nice.  Baltimore lost the first game, but our second game is Tuesday and we weren’t slaughtered Sunday — so, I have high hopes. Even better, my counterpart in Japan and I have developed such a great relationship, that all the gifts from the Japanese delegation are sewing related!

First this silk from the delegation

This piece is from the interpreter

And this?? Well, this my friends is from my counterpart in Kawasaki! She was in Tokyo and picked up a tape measure and pattern tracing wheel for me (I have the duller marking wheel but the red Clover pattern tracing wheel is new to me!).

Funny from the weekend?

That’s $500 worth of Rogaine on the floor of my car. It’s apparently hard to find and expensive in Japan. I was asked if I could buy some and handed  six $100 bills. After choking out a ‘yes’, I hit four stores to find about 10 boxes. Which, considering I have an entire collection of red Clover tools from my sewing friends like Ginevra and just asked Melissa to buy me BarryM nail polish, I’m not complaining at all!

Book Review: 500 Quick and Easy Decorating Projects and Ideas

Country Living 500 Quick & Easy Decorating Projects & Ideas

This book was a delightful and generous gift from LindsayT who picked up on my love of the now defunct Cottage Living and Domino Magazine. I’ve always called my personal decorating style Urban Cottage and this book will easily help develop it. Country Living is also where my favorite bake-at-home cake recipe is from.

Despite being a total city girl, I’m in love with cottage / country decor. What I love about the country / cottage looks is the extreme use of fabric. What appeals to me about this book is that the aren’t trying to tell you that you can do anything when you can’t. Rather, they just want to show you the possibilities. This is not a book of how-tos, but rather photos with short descriptions of the how the color, fabric, flowers, etc. work for that room.

There is minimum text and beautiful photos straight from the pages of Country Living magazine. It covers Entries and Hallways, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Living Rooms, Dining Rooms, family and Great Rooms, Bedrooms, Kids’ Rooms, Home Offices, Small Rooms, Laundry Rooms, Porches and Outdoor Spaces, and Seasonal Decorating. But, some of the sections like Outdoor Spaces are all of two pages long.

What it will also do is make me crave:

Pink kitchens. Seriously. I think I petted this page.

More quilts and a long banister. I love the use of quilts to decorate.

Lots of layers, white and frills. If I made my bed, this would be so pretty.

and a pink typewriter. Which has nothing to do with this book. I just want a pink typewriter. Bad.

Another Ghana Print in the Mix

Well, I spoke too soon. Last summer when the PR Mods came to Baltimore for a visit, I gifted another piece of Ghana print to Pyrose. I wasn’t sure what to do with it and she had admired my maxi dress. Well, she really made it in to something and posted it yesterday!

Trying not to be mad I gave it away because I think she really used an amazing pattern. Of course, it’s a Burda🙂

Book Review: Fitting and Pattern Alteration (A Multi-Method Approach)

Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Elizabeth L. Liechty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘A swayed back will be evident by the forward tilt of the pelvis; a prominent abdomen and protruding buttocks. … Other probable figure variations include shortened upper back length in between waist and hip, and an increased length of the buttocks to crotch’ — pg. 38

So, I read this standing in Christina’s computer room when visiting her in Seattle and was sold immediately. Right there in front of me for the first time, in one place, was a description of the. very. pattern. alteration. I needed to make. Remember my final project dress and how I shortened the back by about three inches out of the back? Every pants that dipped at the back waist because my crotch line wasn’t long enough? It’s because of my swayback! I put an alert on Half.com and the book was mine for under $20 in less than one month.

I am figure 3-8 and getting the shoulders of figure 3-7!

All I can tell you is that this is the most thorough book on fitting I have ever come across. I like that they acknowledge there is more than one way to solve a problem and give you at least three different methods to do so.

In addition to the multi-method approach, they show an alteration on several garments. So, if you have a swayback, they show you on pants, they show you on a blouse and they show you on a skirt the ways to fix it.  I also like that there is a discussion on what your body is doing to make the garment hang or fall the way that you don’t want.

*All* my pants do this

Oh, and I also so clearly have large thighs on the inside. Kind of excited about trying this alteration!

Excellent resource. It’s possibly too complicated for those who haven’t tried simpler adjustments first.

Book Review and Fabric Giveaway: Material Obsession (Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots)

Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots Material Obsession: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I first found this book on Kathleen’s “Little Hunting Creek’ blog. Then I saw it written up in the Spring 2009 Stitch magazine. With two ringing endorsements, I made the purchase. And, considering I rarely buy sewing books full price and haven’t bought a quilting book in aeons, that’s saying a lot.

What a pleasure this book was to both read and thumb through! I primarily sew clothing, but I have always loved quilts. This book, in my mind, marries them both. The quilts are arranged from easiest to hardest and use the most extraordinary contemporary fabrics. Using these fun fabrics, the quilts don’t look like what your grandmother would make or what you see in most homes. Instead, you have dresden plates with graphic prints and applique with modern figures. I would recommend this book to someone with much experience or very little. The book will serve you well as your skill set grows.

In addition to great patterns, they have an always useful ‘how to’ at the back. So, it also makes a great reference book for the shelves.

I ordered my copy from Little Hunting Creek. Between her great customer service and being just one state over, I was curled up in bed reading this one less than 48 hours after hitting ‘send payment’.

I’m sure you’re now super inspired to give quilting a whirl, right? If so, check out this fabric giveway on FabricWorm’s blog. She’s opened her first retail store and is celebrating the one year anniversary of the online shop.  She’s giving away three fabric prizes!

  • 1st Prize: 1/2 Yard Set of Patty Young’s Mezzanine Collection (15 prints total, 2 of the prints have not arrived yet)
  • 2nd Prize: A Collection of Holiday Fat Quarters, including Michael Miller’s Funky Christmas and the New Alexander Henry Christmas prints (17 Fat Quarters in all)
  • 3rd Place: A large selection of Heather Ross Mendocino Scraps, (4 Yards by weight)

So, go to her blog to enter to win. Make sure you t ell her I sent you🙂 And, with the money you saved in the win, you can order this book!

Speaking of Ghana

President Obama is on the African continent (have you ever tried to list all the African countries you can? I torture my interns every year and make them try. For the record, I can only do around 20 out of near 60 myself). I thought it might be fun to recount the fabric I got in Ghana two years ago and what has happened to it. I bought about six pieces. Which, in retrospect, is more fabric than I’ll ever buy on a trip again. But, I couldn’t contain myself🙂

Here’s a slideshow of some of the garments I saw on the Ghanaian women.

I made this dress for a fashion show that the model ended up buying, BWOF 8-2002-11

First, I made this maxi dress

Then this green dress

I gifted one piece to Trena

And a second piece to Christina (photo courtesy of AssortedNotions.blogspot.com)

The rest, remain in the stash

While in Ghana I also made my own wax print

I got my hair braided there, but this is sadly the only photo I have😦 But, was so excited to find those earrings after two years missing.

And, my favorite photo from the trip

The sewing room. Nothing has been done. Nothing. But, I’m definitely not painting the knotty pine

As for the ‘dating life’ question. Thank you for the feedback on both sides.  I have new great responses and recognize why I get asked. Obviously not all people mind it nor think it’s rude. Which I’ll remember the next time I’m asked.  *I* don’t like being asked because if there isn’t anything going on, it’s generally not a topic I want to touch. And, I’m such a blabbermouth, that if something is going on, I’m like the town crier.

I Hope You Like Book Reviews

I’ve received and added about half a dozen sewing and home decor books to my library in the last month that I would love to review for you. Since I probably won’t be sewing for at least the next couple of weeks, I hope you like book reviews🙂

And, I won’t be sewing because I finally started the big move of my sewing room from the third bedroom to the basement. I hired two men from a local worker center and we spent about four hours bagging fabric, moving sewing furniture, books and machines to the basement. I also moved out an old sofa and bedroom furniture while moving in new-to-me bedroom furniture.  And it’s a bloody mess.

If you can’t take scenes of abhorrent clutter and disorganization, please skip to the bottom where I have a dinner party question for you.

Please, don’t judge.

Here is the old sewing room (soon to become a study / computer room /den). I um, need some boxes to totally move out.


Here is the basement (the fabric is in the room on the left). I, um, need some shelves. And lights. And a chisel to take out the faux fireplace. And a lot of paint to brighten up the knotty pine.


This was done yesterday, the last day of my four day weekend. And, I am bloody sore all over. I feel totally overwhelmed. I’m one sheet of paper from being on a tv show about decluttering.  It feels like I just moved in. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and leave it alone until next weekend.

Dinner Party Question

So, where are we on being asked how our love life is going? I’m just curious. Because, I never ask people how their marriage is going. But, I find myself at BBQs and dinner parties answering this question. Probably three too many times this weekend. Truth be told, I feel like if I have something to report, I’ll tell you. Logically, I know people are just  curious. But, it always feels like they don’t know what else to talk to me about.

So, am I being sensitive or is this a question you also avoid (asking or answering)?

Oh Burda

I am just incredibly underwhelmed with July 2009. The only exciting thing is the preview of the August 2009 issue:


I am a sucker for Ralph Lauren style trenches  and tweeds. I spotted this over the weekend in the Vogue Fall / Winter 2010 collections magazine that Carolyn sent me.

Tommy Hilfiger, Fall 2009 image from Style.com

Yes, it’s very similar to the BWOF trench jacket that I obsessed over from the October 2007  BWOF. I actually have a vintage pattern somewhere that totally mimics this Sherlock Holmes style.