Serger Down

My Euro Pro serger has the *worst* customer service. In 2007, I ordered two sets of knives for my machine.  I finally got around to switching out my old blades for the 2007 blades this week. While trying to serge my leotard, the knives were just chewing up my fabric. Turns out they are dull. Meaning, my brand new knives that I finally needed to use have no knife sharp edge. Smooth like butter. I called Euro Pro in Montreal to ask for an exchange and there’s nothing they can do since the warranty / exchange is for 90 days, not three years. I’m not sure why, but last time it took over two months for me to get my knives last time. So, no serger for the forseable future. And, after owning a serger, a sewing machine finish just  won’t cut it for me. So, for the next few weeks I’ll be tracing and muslining and making things that don’t really need a serger finish.

So, this weekend I’m working on Hot Patterns 1092, The Classix Noveau Pyramid Bag.

I plan to make this out of black leather. I asked the guys at our printshop to reduce the pattern for me by 40% after reading from many that they found the size a bit unweildy. As you can see, I still traced the pattern out because I wasn’t sure if I was going to want to make alterations. Plus, I couldn’t find my ‘paper’ scissors and Trena said under no uncertain terms I could use my fabric scissors.

At a smaller size I also felt it would better, replicate the look of this Trouve bag. The pewter version looks even more similar.

Here’s how it looks in my muslin as compared to my Fossil bag (Nordstrom says the Fossil bag is an Extra Large)  which measures 15″W x 10″H x 5 1/2″D. The original Pyramid bag is 22 inches wide.  My draft is 9 inches wide at the base. Maybe 11 at the widest.

*** ETA: I’m going to ask them to reduce the pattern by 25 percent vs 40. I compared my muslin to other med – large bags I have and think it’ll be a better size for me.

I feel like it’s a hair too small. If it were wider on the bottom by 1.5 to 2 inches on each side, I think I’d be happier with it. It is big enough to hold my Blackberry, personal cell, wallet, makeup, lotion and Nook. Does it *really* need to be bigger?  I’m loathe to go back to the print shop and ask them for a 30 percent reduction. You know? Of course, I could just take it to Kinkos.

What do you think?  Am I just used to really big purses or should it be a little bigger?

HP Cosmopolitan #3

I’m all done with the HP Cosmopolitan dress. But, it’s not for me.

Why not? I forgot that I added three inches in length to my version so it’s super short and it’s just really, really LOUD on me.  It’s also not work appropriate at this length and the proportions are just wrong at this length. But, for my mom who is several inches shorter, it’ll be perfect. She can wear it to lunch with Trudy and Jeremy. You know, I always saw this fabric as a maxi dress. But, I’m over maxi dresses for 2010.

The fabric is super thin and white. So, I lined the bodice with a chocolate colored tricot that I stocked up on at $1.99 a yard in Panama last August. It’ll also need a slip for the skirt. It just clings to all the wrong parts of me in this fabric weight. Another reason I should give it to my mom. Slips don’t bother her and she’s got non-existent hips.

I understitched the bodice lining so it wouldn’t show through. And, I stabilized the neckline of the chain link fabric with tricot interfacing. I also cut the sleeves shorter to suit the hem length of the dress better. And, as usual, I don’t hem my knits😉

This is the second failed dress my mom has inherited from me. So far, no complaints from her! I still love this pattern. Just not with this fabric at this length.

An Expensive Muslin

There are no words for how badly I would like to have the two new Hot Patterns. I desperately HEART this bag and the dress is just too cute for words. But, I own 10 of their patterns (Um, Trudy and Jeremy. You might want to leave me off the mailing list the next time you do a buy-one-get-one-free)  and have only made up one (albeit twice). So, I told myself if I whipped through a few this fall I was totally entitled to buy the new ones!

Where did that dressform come from? It was from my whirlwind weekend to DC, Philly and Jersey. But, more on that tomorrow. I made up the Portobello Road Shearling Coat. I’m calling it my expensive muslin. I bought this fabric from FabricMart and it was not love at first sight. I decided to use this for muslining this coat after Trudy e-mailed me special to make sure I used a thick fleece weight fabric for my muslin.  And, if I had made it in the size that the pattern *says* I am, would have likely been all  but perfect. But, noooooo. I thought I knew more than the pattern and went TWO sizes smaller. Sigh.

I’ll be honest, I did not and do not know how the collar is supposed to assemble. And, I didn’t spend a great deal of time on it because I knew this was my expensive muslin. Other than changes for my body, I must recommend that you perhaps go with a 3/8 vs 5/8 seams allowance. Why? Because I think the sherpa showing is a touch thick. I would also recommend you remove ease from the sleeve cap. I had to take out two inches (below) to get the sleeves on this pile of fuzzy vinyl to ease in. And, for my fabric, I found the cut of the back skirt too ‘full’ and would straighten out the curve in the back seam.

Am I going to make it up soon? Sadly, no. I have a piece of fabric that is perfect and gorgeous (denim backed sherpa from PR Portland 2009)  but I’m still holding out hope that it’ll still become a motorcycle jacket. But, I totally think this counts towards me being able to buy the new Hot Patterns.

Ringing in the New Year

I have had some fun, some dismal and some low-key New Year’s Eves. Last year was the great ‘I will never sew for other people‘ incident. The year before I played poker through the night with my date and friends. One year I had benihana at some strip mall on the Tennessee/Kentucky border *shudder*.

This year, I spent it with my other favorite redhead (Trena is the other one) seeing a great show at our local theater. Following that, the theater had dinner, a live jazz band, dancing and a champagne toast.

So, let’s begin 2009 with a new garment! A girl’s gotta have a new dress for New Year’s Eve, right? Originally, I was making this Hot Patterns dress to Meet the Parents. But, I didn’t finish it on time. So, here is the Wong Singh Jones Kimono Dress for 2009!

The construction is pretty straightforward for those used to BWOF style directions. Hot Patterns has it listed as Advanced Beginner and that’s about right. They have also added some photos since I made a pattern from them which are helpful.

And, I don’t know how I did this, but the front doesn’t hang straight. I cut the skirt wonky. Actually, I think I reversed the front pieces and have the side seams to the front… Machts Nichts!

I did shorten the shoulders by 1/2 inch in addition to taking in the dress another 1/2 inch along the front princess seams. It was broad in the front but the back fit me perfectly. Taking in at the front means the seams don’t fall directly over my bust apex. LOVE the modest neckline in the wrap!! I had to take some ease out of the skirt along the side hips to eliminate some gathering (but not the pooling) at my back waist.

The ties I cut by almost six inches I think. I thought they were going to be too long. But, I think they are supposed to wrap around twice (and probably should due to the construction there). I think next time I still need to make a swayback adjustment.

I added several inches to the skirt length and the skirt bands to get this length just below my knees with a narrow hem. I think the skirt would be on the short side as drafted. The pattern says it’s supposed to be at the knee and that it’s drafted for someone 5’8. I am 5’7 on a good day. I would measure and see if it’s where you want it to hit before cutting into the fabric.

The waist tie section is different. You add an interfaced facing for stabilisation (especially if you choose to add the button closures). I didn’t add buttons and it stayed closed fine. But, I did interface the facing. I chose not to add the buttons because I think I should have gone done a size for the waist and it wouldn’t have been as snug as I wanted.

Overall, I’m happy with the dress. I want to make more in different color combos and will be ordering some rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics today! I can see this being my go-to with a nice beefy knit. This one is from Jomar in Philly and was $1 or $2 a yard. The contrast is from Metro Textiles, $8 a yard. So, about a $10 dress.

This is my second Hot Patterns and I have to tell you, I’m a little in love. Not only is the sizing seemingly made for me, but I HEART the styles! I have about four more in the stash. I know that we can buy patterns for far less from the Big Box Stores, but Trudy and Jeremy are living the dream (at least my dream) and if I can help them do that, while they support the home sewing industry, I’m all about it. Think of their patterns like shopping at your local farmers market. Besides, if you make something up a couple of times, I say you’ve gotten your money out of it.

Happy New Year!!


I realize that it’s a little hard to tell quite how large the Betty Shopper bag by Amy Butler is. So, I asked a woman in my office to shoot a photo of me with it today.

I don’t think it’s crazy big. But, I have been describing it as my ‘suitcase’ or generally referencing it as ‘luggage’. Other than a basic inability to find my keys in it, it’s a great work bag.

Today actually felt like Spring and I wore my Hot Patterns Deco Vibe Cosmopolitan Dress today.  I forgot how fantastic this pattern is. I hope I can get around to making another version of it this year. You know it’s a good dress when three straight men tell you they like your dress!