Posted in sewing

Oh Freecycle, How Doth I Love Thee?

My friends. I’m having a Peter-flavored purging / orginizational week. It started during Superstorm Sandy. I needed to move my material out of harm’s way. In the process, I realized my stash was a bit — uneven.

My purging continued after I randomly decided to rearrange my living room and put up my Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day all by myself. This is as far as I got. My furnuture is heavy and the tree is boring by ones self. So, to complete one task, I went through my stash.

This 32 gallon bin is what I’m parting with. I went through my stash and did a quick purge of all the material I really didn’t think I would be sewing from anymore. Lots of big scraps and some yardages. Seems like a lot, no? Well, I have about six bins this size stuffed to the gills with fabric I *want* to sew.

This morning, it was all bundled up and placed on the porch for one of the 20+ emails I got from my Freecycle posting.

I almost took it to the DC/MD/VA Blogger meet up this weekend. But, my car is small and I didn’t want to have to bring anything back with me.

I feel so free!

Oh. My living room got finished and my tree put up. It was like the first photo for three days until I got someone over to help me. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 5-2011-111: Purple Friday Wool Tunic

I’m on to my second Purple Friday ensemble for this football season. Hey there Oona… how about that game on Sunday?

In Baltimore, we wear purple for our American football team the Baltimore Ravens on Fridays. Why? Well, they mostly play on Sunday and Purple Fridaysare a way to show pride and support in the team. Did I mention my house is right behind the old Memorial Stadium?

Every Friday of football season is PURPLE FRIDAY!!!! Proudly wear your purple to work or school to support the Ravens! — Ravenstown

This is the true color of the dress

I wanted to make a simple shift for Purple Fridays that could also be worn on the weekend during winter. I want more casual clothes   that look nice and not ‘I rolled out of bed and threw on yoga pants’.

I started the shift dress from the May 2011 Burda Magazine during Superstorm Sandy. It was a simple project that I could complete in a day. And, I did. A few hours actually.

But, I’m salty about the fit with those fold lines under my bust. I’m not sure if the need for an FBA would solve the problems.  I know it’s a another sack dress but the folds are A-nnoying. Maybe one fold for each 1/4 inch I should have adjusted for?

I asked a few friends that are smaller up top to try on and the folds go away.

Here on Trena (obviously three sizes too big for her too) and below on my B Cup dress form.

I decided to forgo the facings and use a woven bias binding. This is my first time doing this kind of finishing technique on a woven and I’m really pleased. I also like leather and contrast bindings I see on RTW and now I have a good way of doing them consisently well.

The material is a wool in a violet shade of purple from the Carol Collection. I originally thought I’d make a skirt in the fabric but Purple Friday called and I thought this shift would be fun.

Oh, here’s a photo of the back. I omitted the ties (and the pockets). I can kind of picture metal chains instead. Hmm, maybe a T-back shirt in black too (my bra definitely shows without). Ooh, a lacy T-back would be hot.

I’m wearing the dress with leggings. It’s too short for me as drafted to wear with pantyhose.  I’ve already altered the paper pattern for a FBA and a swayback adjustment. Why didn’t I when I started? I thought it just wouldn’t matter 🙂

The dress looks pretty good in movement and I think it works well with the leggings and boots. It’s fun because the front is simple and all the interest in really in the back. It is just the look I wanted. Casual, but styled.

My immediate boss was a fan. She said I was dressing rather chic lately. I realized after she said so that she never wears prints and for work only wears black, navy and sometimes white. Her clothes are very tailored and architectural. She also specializes in large earrings and big jewelry. I like her style.  I wouldn’t say this was chic exactly. But, very minimalist. I have about three garments she’s really complimented. Hmmm, that might make an interesting post!

I think I’m going to make two more Purple Friday items. That let’s me get through a month without repeating.


I hope you (Americans) have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not going to see my parents this year (Can you say $600 tickets!?!?!) and I’m a little pouty about it. But, as I detest traveling on the holidays (chaos and stress) there is a silver lining to hanging out with local friends. Plus, I get to put my new *pink* Christmas tree up as soon as I digest my Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

Posted in sewing

Vogue 1252: Tracy Reese Ruched Leopard Print Dress

Tadaa!! It’s finally done, Vogue 1252: the Tracy Reese Ruched Dress. While I still have a little Golden Girls vibe from the animal print, once I added the skirt, I started to like it a lot more. I found myself having to just walk away several times in order not to give up on this pattern.

Issues: As Amanda pointed out, this dress has no negative ease built in to the outer fashion fabric. I had to take a total of six inches out of the bodice to get a ruched look.

And, I still don’t think it’s ruched enough at the front since I only took out two inches from the front bodice vs four inches in the back.

Also, I didn’t make a FBA — which I could use. Paticularly in the drape. Some extra length and width there would make it lay the way I want (all the way across the boobage).

When you sew this dress, you’ll notice that the lining needs to be stable because it must carry the weight of the very full four-panel skirt and support the ruching of the bodice.

I decided to skip the elastic at the skirt waist casing. Well, I didn’t decide. I forgot about it during construction. The dress is snug  enough at the waist without it. But, I’d likely take in the waist another inch or two if I were sewing again. I think this cut (or maybe the gathered skirt) makes my waist look a little thicker. This might be better suited to someone who is not as well defined in the middle.

I also messed up by sewing in the bodice lining before the skirt lining. I had no interest in taking it off to add the skirt lining so I just left it out. I do like the clean finish the lining provides. I never really think about linings on a knit. I will now.

At first I thought I put the pockets in the wrong place. As drafted, they are in the front skirt seam instead of the side seam.

So, why is it impossible to find a non-seperating 20 inch zipper with aluminum teeth that’s not custom? My friend’s roommate makes felted wool bags (available here). He had a roll of aluminum zipper teeth on black tape and he cut one for me to my specs for $4. That’s what it would have cost to order online special – minus the $8.95 shipping. Oh, the zipper was also waaaay shorter than the opening the pattern called for.  Not sure if this is a pattern error or how you sew a vaguely exposed zipper. I confess to not reading the directions on inserting the zipper.

This dress is so far outside of my comfort zone in this animal print. I have many reasons for not loving animal prints, all are nitpicky and solely my issues. But, I’m glad I went with it for this. The fabric was a G Street / Groupon special and I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. I do think I had this dress in mind when I purchased. And, of all the animal prints, this one seemed not so bad.

My dress was wildly popular in the office Wednesday. The women where I work are snazzy dressers. If totally get extra credit for making my own clothes. If I didn’t, I’d be considered one of the least interesting dressers at my job. My big boss is trying to talk me in to giving this dress to her. She loves an animal print.

As much as I like this dress and as good as I think it looks. I don’t think I can recommend this pattern. I love it. But it needs a lot of tweaking to work. The tweaking is in part based on the amount of stretch your material has. But, maybe the trick is to start by sizing down one or two sizes. If you’re patient, go for it. If you are not patient, leave it alone.

** It was 34 degrees this morning. I’m not ready for winter! So, I’m starting early with the indoor photography. I want to get better at getting the coloring (well… my coloring) right. I really need to check out an external flash and some classes.

Posted in sewing

Sewing Meetup and Simplicity 3939: Fleece Dog Pullovers

Great Holiday Weekend!

Monday was a blast. Trena and I met up in Pennsylvania this weekend at Fabric Mart Fabrics with other online sewers. Trena has a full rundown on her blog. I didn’t bring a camera so I’ve ganked the group photo from her Flickr 🙂

Group Photo

Layla, Mary, Claudine, (me), Lisette, Trena, and Diane Drexel. Layla, Mary and Lisette came up from Maryland, Claudine from New Jersey and Diana was regional to the area. I’d like to tell you I bought nothing. My plan was to buy some masculine striped tee shirt knit for a boy. But, I walked away with a stack of poly knit prints. I thought I’d sworn off poly knits because of BO. But, thanks to the input on PR and here on my blog,  with the use of amonia and enzymatic Biz in my wash, my clothes are fresh again.

I’m wearing my favorite sweatshirt dress from La Mia Boutique. It’s about three years old and starting to show it wear (I never did stabilize the neckline). I adore this dress and plan to make one again soon. Just need to track down some ribbing…

This weekend I also managed to pull out Simplicity 3939, Doggy Pullovers
For the first time *ever*, I actually purchased fleece from Joanns. I always used to wonder who could possibly be buying all that freaking fleece. Now, you can count me as one of them.

I realize this post will likely only appeal to the dog owners / lovers out there. I understand. Heh. I have two other dog clothes patterns to try out and review. Consider yourself warned…


Dog clothes barely  take 1/2 a yard of material for Linus and the cost benefit is crazy. Fleece for 50 percent off means  Linus gets a new sweatshirt for less than $5. I have to say, I hate the way fleece feels.

Simplicity 3939 is one of two dog sweater / sweatshirt patterns I picked up on Saturday night on my way home from a baby naming ceremony in the county. I was really about to swear off Joanns. Two weekends ago I went and they had not a SINGLE ONE  of the eight patterns I was looking for. Maybe mine’s gone to hell because this more suburban Joanns had everything I wanted.

So, this pattern was intriguing to me because of the back leg sleeves on View A  (Eddie Bowser) & B (Bark Avenue). I cut the size small based on his length measurement.


HAHAHAHAHA. I can’t stop laughing. I think he looks like he’s wearing a Union Suit or a onesie.


He spent a few minutes trying to shake it off (note his hind leg)


But, eventually settled in to it.

I do not think I can take him out in public wearing this. But, it’s good for night and when I’m gone during the day and the heat is down. It’s also less bulky than his wool hand-knit sweater.

Next, I went with a more traditional tee shirt, Version C: Yuppy Puppy. Dude. People LOVE them some little dog in a shirt. I walked him in the red pullover and had three people stop and chat with me / Linus. They thought he was ‘sharp’.


Not much to report here other than I’m about to save a lot of money sewing these instead of buying them. Seriously. This took less than an hour to sew from start to finish.


Both shirts use ‘Blizzard No Pill Fleece’ from Joanns. I need to buy the Baltimore Ravens fleece next time for Linus’ next Union Suit. I have another argyle fleece that I may try the other pattern from. The possibilities are troublingly endless…


Seriously, Linus has a good life, LOL. This is how we watch TV at night.

Posted in sewing

Burda 12-2011 #148: Pendelton Wool Dog Cape


Before I got a dog, I thought I’d love to sew little doggy clothes. Once I got a dog, it seemed to be such fussy sewing that I just bought the things Linus needed. Except, a coat. Well, I bought him a little cape for winter, but it’s terrible. It’s not very warm — he’s still freezing when we go out now that it’s cold.  It’s a little too big for him. Third, it’s got a satin lining with velcro closures. So the lining is all stringy and chewed up now from the velcro.


After reading Peter’s post and his notation the he doesn’t skimp on dog coats, I decided I needed to take matters in to my own hands and make Linus a cape / coat. This morning I dug up my 12-2011 Burda and traced out the dog cape from the British Style section. The whole project took less than two hours.


Now, before you roll your eyes and think I’m silly and doesn’t need a coat, he really does get cold. He’s a chihuahua which are Mexican dogs. He is bald as a billard and has short thin hair and zero hair on his belly and little body fat. Last week he started wearing a wool sweater I bought for him during the day. Otherwise, he shivers in the house. And not shivers in a little nervous dog way. Shivers in a ‘Can you please turn up the heat and get some insulation in the attic? I am freezing what’s left of my testicles off’.


The pattern calls for two layers of fabric. I decided to use a 3/4 remnant of Pendleton Wool from the Carol Collection.


The lining / inside is a Burberry pre-quilted lining. It’s from my failed lined trench coat project.


I didn’t change much. I just shortened the length by 2 inches at center back.  For the ‘belt’ and neck tab, I added reflective tape to the fabric. I’d had this in the stash from my rain gear project for my bike trip to the Netherlands.


The reflective tape seems to work great (below)!


We were walking late two nights ago and were almost hit by a car. Seriously. It came within a foot of us in the middle of the cross walk. If I had not pulled him in to the air by his leash, he would have been crushed. I was so freaked out I had tears my eyes. Since then, I’ve been walking him with my IKEA safety vest on myself. I don’t know if they didnt’ see us or they were being jackasses.

I have reflective piping. Next time I’ll add it to the collar. I don’t have the buckles on hand so I’ve got it tied here. But, will order a few this week for the belt.


I think this would work great in just about any material. I need to make him a waterproof version for cold and rain / snow.  I’ll make a third when it warms up to wear just as a rain coat.

If I were to change anything else, I might make the collar a little smaller. It kind of overwhelms his frame. And, I’ll add an inch back to the length of the cape. I’d also like to add a second belt to help the back of the cape stay secure / close to the body instead of peeking up and letting in the cold. Or, place dart in the back to snug up the fit in the rear. Finally, I’m going to take an inch out of the width or make a dark at the neck to keep it closer to his frame.


Oh, and I knew the coat was a success before I started. He’d already made a bed of it while I was prepping the pattern for cutting.