Monday, August 24, 2015

The Lace Back Addition to the Maxi dress

As you are aware, I found the image for my brown/black laced back maxi on The Avenue. I wanted to copy the details onto one of my McCalls 6559 vacation maxis.



Here's how I did it ~

1. I cut a piece of the crochet fabric and laid it onto the dress' back piece after the center back seam had been sewn together.



2.  I pinned it onto the piece and cut around it.



3.  Then I flipped the crochet piece back and stitched it to the dress back with a 5/8" seam allowance.



4.  Finally I cut the dress back piece away then serge finished the seam.



Yes you can see your bra straps through the back.  I am wearing a grayish black bra here but I did it deliberately so that you could see the straps of the bra through the dress. Every other time that I've worn the dress, I've worn a black bra and it's gotten lost in the crochet lace.  Or you could make the lace back a smaller area than I chose to do.



If you just want the lace illusion, leave the maxi dress' fabric under the lace. I would probably pick a print that's not as busy as mine so that the two pieces coordinate better.

The last thing I did was to bind the neckline in a thin black binding. The armholes are just folded under and topstitched down.  Ta-da - you've knocked off some ready-to-wear and you've taken the McCalls 6559 maxidress to another level.

Daughter Update:
Thank you everyone for continuing to inquire after my daughter's health. She is doing amazingly one month later! When I see her every day looking happy and healthy it's hard to believe how sick she was just 30 days ago.

Sewing Update:
I've started to sew again. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen the proof! I'm starting slow with a new dress but I've started an Inspiration Board on my computer that I will eventually move to Pinterest. I'm gathering ideas, patterns and fabrics and coming up with a list of garments I want to sew for fall.

I also stopped by Daytona Trimmings today and bought these trims for fall ~



Absolutely positively can't wait to use these! Yeap, I think the mojo is back!

...as always more later!








Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ain't No Sewing Over Here...

It's summer and there seems like there is just so much to do and see. I want to sew but the time and motivation just isn't there. I've even resorted to purchasing some RTW to help tide me over with new garments for work. I got so tired of wearing the same thing over and over again. So instead of sewing, I've been buying things and...

Everything has ended up piled up on the cutting table ~


There are so many hopes and dreams on that table...probably dreams deferred as the summer is edging closer towards fall...and I still have no desire to sew. So I thought I'd share a little of what's on the table.  The Hancocks Houston haul is still on that table and was discussed in a previous post.  

The other things on the table are ~


This studded trim from M&J Trimming...and these trims also...

(Rolls of polyester organza & polka dot ribbon)

I work close to M&J now and for the last three months I've managed NOT to go in...but I had to waste some time the other night prior to meeting a friend for dinner...so I stopped in. They are having this amazing warehouse sale. Rolls of trim and loads of ribbons and embellishments, laces of all types are all $20 a roll or less. Most of it around $5 or $10 a roll. 

That's how all of those amazing things came home with me and truth be told...I'm going back. If I was a costumer I would just go in with a couple of hundred dollars and go crazy that's how good this sale is! However, I'm just a greedy sewist...so I'm going back. If you're in the area, I suggest you head on over!

I also broke my self-imposed fabric diet and indulged in one of those 50% off the entire website sales from Fabric Mart.  This showed up this last week...

(A black/tweed reversible doubleknit, a Pucci-type ITY knit
a blue/green chevron ITY knit & blue cotton chambray)

Ojolly is selling these amazing sweater bodies and two of them showed up too. I'm excited about these pieces. I've wanted some for awhile and am really thrilled to own them. Check out her shop, there are some amazing things there!


Lastly, I've been slowly but surely buying 100 sewing machine Schmetz needle packages in all sizes from Amazon. My goal is not to have to buy a needle again anytime soon. So these last packages showed up this week too.


So much buying has been going on but no sewing. Thus the messy sewing table full of things that I need to find spaces for in the sewing cave.

I don't know when I'm going to sew again, but when I do, I have given myself more possibilities to work with and to help me sew better. Also, I'm just checking in...making sure that you all know I'm still alive! *LOL*

I've been spending a lot of time with the grandkiddies lately and I have this picture from this afternoon before our dance party to share...

Miss Lena and Miss Sammy before we danced it out!


...as always more later!






Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mo' Maxis, Mo' Maxis!

I think I'm getting ready to bore the h*ll out of y'all cause I've got maxi dress fever!  I wore 3 out of the 4 maxi dresses to work a couple of weeks ago and decided that I need more of these McCall 6559 dresses in my life.  More, give me more...lotsa more! *LOL*

So I took a trip through "The Fabric Collection" dug deep and pulled out three more knits for dresses. Now this is the point where I would normally head off to Le Fabric Mart and purchase more knits. But I'm showing restraint and not doing that...because besides the three pieces of fabric shown above, I found two more amazing border prints (not to mention the couple of pieces that I picked up at Metro Textiles). 

I need to stop here and say how thankful I am for that wonderful wall of fabric! I probably could make another 10 maxi dresses with pieces of fabric from the wall...never mind the other awesome pieces of fabric I found! 

Now y'all know me. The fact that I made the original four dresses using just the pattern and fabric to bring them to life did not mean that my next versions would be the same. Originally I was just going to make three more straight from the pattern dresses, then "me" kicked in and this is what I ended up with... 

The first one was shortened and made the print the focus point...





This fabric although pulled from the collection is from Metro Textiles. I had it on when I went into the store the last time and Kashi recognized it right away. There was only 2 yards of this and I decided that I needed to feature the print because it's so cute!  This dress cost $8 - $4 per yard at 2 yards.


* * * * *

The next one is so cool because I cut the stripe on the cross grain instead of the straight grain. Of course we all know that the stripes going vertically down my body is just more flattering than if they run around me. I also added a black lightweight bias binding to the neckline to add some definition to the dress. This was one of the features on some of the Avenue inspiration dresses and I incorporated into my 6th version.





I bought this fabric from Sawyer Brook Fabrics a couple of years ago. The tag told me how much and from where but not what I paid for it. I'm sure it was a little more costly than the ITY knits I bought from Fabric Mart because it was Sawyer Brook. 


* * * * *

My third and final dress was inspired by this Avenue dress ~





I blatantly copied the back making my back piece from a black crochet lace from the collection. I took pictures of the process and will post them in a separate post if you want to copy this look.





The brown/black lace print ITY knit has been in the collection for at least 15 years. I bought this from Ebad Fabrics years ago. I'm sure that I paid no more than $4 a yard for this piece. 

The black cotton lace was purchased from Metro Textiles several years ago. I used maybe a 1/4 yard for the back so the entire piece has gone back on the shelf. Yes, I own a lot of fabric and the collection is very deep...very deep...considering I auditioned two separate brown stretch laces for the back before deciding on this black piece. 

Let's say this one cost $12 to make while the one I copied was originally $60 and is now marked down to $25, though I think their fabric choice is dicey, very dicey.

Soooooo these are the latest versions of the McCalls pattern. There will be more because hey I just bought more fabric for that specific purpose. After the last few weeks I've had I really want to spend some serious time in my sewing cave just haven't been able to get there!  I have about 6 weeks of summer sewing left and there are a few more garments that I want to make and they aren't all maxi dresses.

Lastly ~ my daughter is finally home from Houston...doing better than she was but not 100%.  We still have several more rounds of doctors visits and associated things but at least she's with me! Also, I tried to thank everyone who left a message on my last post (unsuccessfully) because I wanted everyone to know that I truly appreciated every kind comment left, every prayer and thought and each private email sent to me. For the kindness, love and thoughtfulness, I am truly grateful.

...as always more later!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

An Emergency and Some Fabric

So this is a long involved story...you may want to settle in with your favorite beverage. I will wait a minute for you to go get one if you don't have one already. Snacks...do you need some cause believe me this is a tale and you want to be well nourished for it! Okay all settled...

...so it starts like this...

On Wednesday, July 22nd,  I wake up to my cellphone beeping which was unusual because I was in the middle of the Caribbean on a Royal Caribbean cruise liner. I got several text messages from my middle daughter that her older sister was in the ER. Each message got progressively worse until the final one that said she was in liver failure in the ICU and she was being transported to another hospital that specializes in liver transplants in Houston (she's been living there for the last 9 months).

The Ship on Fire ~
I went down to Guest Services and talked to a crew member about how to get off the ship and fly to Houston. While there the fire alarms start going off...yes, I was on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was on fire while coming into port at Jamaica. You can read all about it here and here.



photo courtesy:  jamaicaobserver.com

Now I never saw the plumes of smoke from the ship because I was one of those people standing outside on the deck - I'm not actually in the picture of my fellow cruisers below. Then I was ensconced in the skating rink, freezing while waiting for them to put the fire out and find missing passengers.


photo credit: foxnews.com

As a public service announcement, if you are ever on a cruise ship and an emergency is called, please for the sake of your fellow passengers report to your station. Do not hide in your cabin. Do not go where you're not suppose to because the crew announces your name over the intercom and your fellow passengers know you're the reason they are still waiting to continue their high priced vacation. It was getting ugly people!

Finally we are allowed to return to our cabins and I head back to Guest Services to get off the ship. Another aside, the crew on the ship was just awesome! They helped me get a flight and a car service to the airport and walked me through customs in Jamaica. 

That was the easy part because of course there was no direct flight to Houston from Jamaica. So Jamaica to Miami and wait and wait and wait and 4 hrs later still waiting (I HATE YOU AMERICAN AIRLINES!) 5 hours later I finally board a flight to Houston. I was suppose to be at the hospital by 10:30pm, Wednesday evening. I actually walked into ICU at 2:05am Thursday morning.

I'm just glad that my daughter didn't get worse or die while I was sitting there because the gate attendant just so didn't care about my predicament.  Let me say again I HATE YOU AMERICAN AIRLINES!

An Update on my Daughter ~
My daughter is recovering and doing much better and has been released from the hospital...although it was touch and go there for a day or two...she ended up spending 5 days in the ICU and 6 days on a medical floor and did not need a liver transplant. 

However, once she starting doing better, my daughter and my best friend who recently moved to Houston, decided I needed to leave the hospital. My friend took me to Hancock Fabrics to fabric shop. 

Yes, we've gotten to the fabric portion of the post ~

I haven't been to a real suburban chain fabric store in a long time - like years! So the entire experience was like deja vu to me. I knew how to act...what to look for...but it seemed a little surreal! *LOL*

A few interior shots ~



I was a little too excited to take a lot of pictures...I was too busy shopping. I did know enough to go online and get the coupons for the current sale.  So I bought Vogue Patterns - 2 for $10 and McCalls Patterns for $1.99 each. I tried to find the new Butterick Patterns but they weren't in stock yet. I've bought all of my patterns from Club BMV since the inception of the club. Again a light bulb went off cause I now understand why my fellow sewists have so many patterns! Those prices are AMAZING!


This is the fabric I bought ~



When I saw this "Frozen" fabric I knew Miss Lena needed a new summer dress so a piece of this came home with me.  The other two pieces are cottons (and after experiencing a few days of temps in the 100's and higher, I understand why y'all wear cotton fabrics all the time! Geeze it's hot in Houston!) Because I lived in maxi dresses on this trip, I was on the hunt for knit fabric to make more. 

So these knits were purchased too...


Two days later after my daughter's nurse raved about High Fashion Fabrics, my friend took me there too.


I honestly was a little disappointed with this shop probably because it caters to a clientele that needs evening, wedding and prom apparel. 


I did like the signage and the place is huge. I just wasn't that impressed with the fabric selection. However, if this is what's available to you, it is an amazing assortment all in one place, although the price points are a little high.





There was only one piece that excited me enough to purchase...this printed cotton guipure lace.


Conclusion ~
So this is why it's been sooooooo quiet here and on my Instagram account. When I walked into my bedroom this afternoon, all I could do was sigh with delight & relief. It has been a very traumatizing two weeks. I'm so thrilled that my daughter is doing better and she will be home next week after some folllow-ups with the doctors.

Also I just want to say that the Doctors and nurses of The Methodist Hospital were the most amazing health care professionals I've ever dealt with. The ICU staff let me stay as long as I wanted and took great care of not only my daughter but me too. I truly believe that those Doctors saved my daughter's life and why she was able to check out of the hospital with a wonderful prognosis for recovery.

The maxi's that I finished prior to leaving will be photographed next weekend and up on the blog then. I know that this has been one extra long post but I just did not have the wherewithal to make it two separate posts. I hope you made it all the way to the end!

...as always more later!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Blog Rolls

I know a lot of readers follow their favorite blogs on Bloglovin and Feedly reading them on their smartphones. But me, I'm old school.  Even though I have a Bloglovin account and even an app on my iPad, I still love blog rolls.

What?  What you say? See it's simple...I click over to one of my favorite bloggers from my own blog roll and I can end up down a rabbit hole...reading blogs that I've forgotten about (sorry bloggers) or didn't realize existed (yeah new sewists) or just haven't visited in awhile.

But I do this from my iPad or my computer where it's easy to follow the links. I have a smartphone (why can't they just be cellphones again like they use to?!) and I use it to look up things with my apps but I just can't get into reading blogs on it. I know this makes me old and fuddy duddy but I don't care! *LOL*

I love blogs and I love blog rolls.  So here are my top three blog rolls in no particular order and yes, these pics were taken on my iPad cause I'm rolling like that today!

Shams - Communing with Fabric



From Shams blog roll I get a lot of the arty sewists...people who invest time in their garments and create art.  Seriously, A-R-T! I love their creative point of view and what they have to say when they sew. When I'm needing some creative stimulation, I'm headed to Shams' blog!

Debbie - Stitches and Seams



We all know Debbie as the Coverstitch Queen. Some of the best tutorials out there...but have you taken a look at her blog roll?  It's international and deep (why is there a rap song now playing over and over in my head)! There are sewists blogs on there from everywhere! Don't know what to sew? Need some inspiration? Head on over to Debbie's blog and check out her blog roll!

Nakisha - Sew Crafty Chemist



For a woman who only started sewing a couple of years ago, my girl jumped in with both feet and immersed herself in the sewing blogosphere.  Her blog roll is deep and has some blogs that neither Debbie nor Shams has.  However, with Kisha's blog roll, I really end up blog hopping - one blog takes me here - another blog takes me there until hours later I've been baptized in sewing makes and my creative mind is on fire!

Now I know that reading blogs on your smartphones also makes it harder to comment but this is my one woman sewing crusade - seriously you know you need to stop and take a moment and say something to someone!  Not just be a thief in the night, sneaking in and out of blog windows with no trace that you were there but a blog stat.  Sewing conversation is what this blogging community was built on and I'd like for it to come back - not be a by-product of the "like it" and move on society...chile this ain't facebook. 

I'm thrilled, seriously this is how shallow I actually am, thrilled when someone I know reads my blog on their phone, stops and leaves a comment! I try and do the same for my fellow bloggers. I know the comments are down on everyone's blogs basically due to the smartphone phenomena but can we try to buck this trend...remember that sometimes our fellow sewists need a word of encouragement...a pat on the back...a thoughtful suggestion. Those comments make us all better!

Okay back to blog rolls...seriously if you have some time follow one of the sewists named above or your own favorite sewists blog roll...you'll be surprised at how wonderful it is and how inspired you'll be when you're done!

...as always more later!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

The New Vogue Patterns for Fall 2015

Honestly I'm as excited as the next sewist when a new pattern offering appears from BMV - but especially for the new Vogue Patterns. I long ago stopped doing reviews of the new pattern selections. However, my life has changed so the patterns I would normally purchase have changed too.

Taking that into account, here are the patterns that I put into my shopping cart to await a sale.




I'm looking at buying more separates patterns instead of the dress patterns I normally flock to...but there was this one jumper pattern that I thought I could incorporate into my new "business casual" wardrobe so this one went into the shopping bag too.

front & back views


My reasoning ~
I really like the skirt pattern especially since it can be sewn with color blocking, pattern blocking or in a single color. This will be a great pattern for all three seasons (spring, summer, fall). Skirts will be a huge part of my business wardrobe going into the fall and I think this will make a wonderful addition to my closet.

The Donna Karan topper is the draw to the first pattern. It will be great as fall outerwear and during the winter as jacket over a turtleneck and jeans or slacks. A classy casual look that I can see in a sweatery/ponte fabric with pleather accents and/or sleeves.

I know the top is probably similar to a lot of the peplum-y tops that have been featured in pattern offerings in the past, but I wasn't buying top patterns then. This one is kinda different and I'm looking for separates that I can make my own with a lot of opportunities to play with colors, prints and fabrications.

There are also a few patterns from the last McCalls offering that are also in the shopping bag for the next sale. So what patterns did you like?  Or was there nothing in this offering for you?

...as always more later!



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