Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sewing Playbook

A sewing playbook is a book for you to keep pictures that may inspire you to sew your projects. The way I am doing it is by cutting pictures I like from fashion magazines and that may look as a pattern that I already have with or without modifications. I write the pattern number and brand beside the picture and also make some drawings if I need to.

My mom is making this dress for my next formal in October. The pattern number is McCall's 4710. We chose an old rose tafeta fabric.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCall's Pattern M5717 Finished Work

I am very disappointed with the fitting of this coat. At the beginning I thought I only had problems when trying to attached the sleeves to the coat. After figuring out the problem with the sleeves everything was "a piece of cake", so I thought. I tried to follow directions from A to Z. Just before attaching the skirt I realized that the coat was longer on me than the one in the picture. I think it will work that way.

Please note that I always use a dress form since I am not "dummy", but the coat just fell too loose. So I tried adjusting it, made some seams at the sides and on the back. Then, I am going to admit I am not an expert doing buttonholes since I am still trying to learn how do them. It turned out that they were smaller than the original turquoise buttons I got. So, I had to make two trips to the fabric store to find buttons that would look good and still fit into the button holes.

In conclusion, this pattern was not so difficult but the fitting is not good. Maybe because it is a coat, the persons who designed this coat thought about the clothes I might be wearing underneath. This is not the fist time I have problems with the fitting by using a McCall pattern and I don't mean tight fitting, I mean loose fitting. Having a bust size 36 forces me to buy sewing patterns in a size 14 which is a retail size 14. I am considering for my next coat or jacket project that I should use a size 12 and just add some inches at the bust. It still loose on me but when I wear it in the winter I will take a picture and you may post your opinions.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to shop for patterns

Let's get started! Lets say you just went to the store and purchased your very first sewing machine, or you already own one but have no inspiration to start sewing new projects. Maybe you are thinking about taking sewing classes. The big question you keep asking yourself is "How do I get started?".

I am going to assume that you are a newbie and at least can sew a square bag and had finished easy projects like square pillows, place mats, hems, etc. Now you are ready to start sewing clothes, but need to learn about how to buy the pattern that works for you.

There are many companies that specialize on patterns; there is Simplicity, Vogue Patterns, McCall's and Butterick just to mention a few. Patterns can be purchased at stores like Joan Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics and even Walmart. I like to buy my patterns at Joan Fabrics because they have patterns on sale every month for only $1.99. If you can't wait, patterns can be purchased thru their websites and prices may be lower than in the stores. But what size of pattern should you buy?

Patterns sizing are different to retail sizing. If you are a commercial size 8 or 10 you will have to buy a size 14, if you are a 6 or 8 you will need a size 10. Before buying a pattern you need to know your bust measurements, waist and hips. There are patterns for petites and for plus sizes too. If you would like to learn more about sizing, I will recommend buying a book about sewing basics or check on the Simplicity website.

A friend asked me why not trying making my own patterns? Well, firstable to be able to do that from scratch there are some classes that may need to be taken. If you are not planning on doing this for business or as a designing career, I don't see why spending your time and money learning to create your own patterns. There are so many patterns alternatives in the market and the pattern companies always have the comming trends like a year before it hits the retail market, plus sizing is very why go thru the work of making and cutting your own patterns. To me it makes no sense.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

McCall's Pattern M5717 Work in Progress

During the past two weeks I have been working on a coat using M5717. Hopefully I will finish it tomorrow. I purchased a fabric very similar to the one in the picture. The results are not going to be the same as the one in the picture thou. I had to use some help from my mother because I could not figure out how to get the sleeves on without adding darts because it was not very well explained in the pattern instructions. So, again since I am working and she is at home she took it from there. She fixed the sleeves and attached the ruffled. I will do the button holes tomorrow.

I tried the coat on today and it is bigger and longer than I expected. I may need to start cutting coat and jackets patterns in a smaller size. I can't do alterations because I finished the terminations. I concluded that in order to make it fit me well, I will do the button holes a little bit to the right. I think the coat is looking good and will be a good addition for my fall wardrobe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to find your passion

I had try different kinds of crafting hobbies in my life. I recognize that I like to follow trends and also like to learn a little bit of everything. Some of my friends might say I have like a million hobbies which I don't beleive is true... I just tried a bunch until I found which ones were right for me.

Let me tell you in a brief story about me and my so-called hobbies. When I was 12 I decided to collect mail stamps, I gave it up because it was just too complicated so I kept my collection but stopped doing it. Then I decided that I would collect postcards, that only lasted about a year. When I turned 16 I thought it would be cool to learn how to sew clothes, eventhough I wanted to give it a try and learned pretty good I fell very discouraged and I found that it was easier to pay someone else to sew a replica of the dress in the picture of a Vogue the look was more professional. Then I got married and wanted to learn how to cook so I started a big collection of cooking books. keeps going on. I thought about quilting (never gave it a try), tried scrapbooking (so that I could organize all my pictures), learn how to do greeting cards with stamps because my mom thought it was cool...then I went back to sewing and also found a passion on designing beaded jewelry. Last year I took some Wilton decorating classes and learned pretty well but it is so messy and takes so long to make a nice cake, plus I think that everything related to cooking is more like a task not a hobbie. So, I learn all those things but always knowing that what drives me to sew is my love for fashion. Yes, it is all about the fashion...nothing else.

Here is a list of 10 reasons why I sew quoted from my favorite sewing book S.E.W. EVERYTHING WORKSHOP by Dianna Rupp.


1. I can go to the fabric store.
2. I can crack the code.
3. I can make what I really want, how I want.
4. I can alter and repair clothes myself (this means I don't have to pay).
5. I can relax and de-stress.
6. I can take pride in practical skill (SEWING IS AN USEFUL SKILL)
7. I can express myself.
8. I can have fun sharing sewing with others (read blogging)
9. I am part of a larger community (Project Runway trend and other reality shows)
10.I can show others I love them (I can sew cool things for christmas or birthdays)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get inspired and go shop for some new pattern styles

Here are some patterns that just totally remind me of some styles I saw the last time I went shopping.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Work in progress, my favorite sewing book and about buying out of print patterns

S.E.W EVERYTHING WORKSHOP by Dianna Rupp is the best sewing book I ever bought. It is modern, has great pictures and includes patterns. I already made two projects from this book: the yoga pants and the boxers. Every project is well explained. I purchased this book last spring and it really inspired me. I highly recommend beginners to buy it. Today I started to make two skirts by using patterns from this book.

I received a question about where to buy the out of print pattern that I used to make my red fleece jacket. I was searching the web and I found a website that sells all kinds of out of print patterns and have them listed y era. Here is the link :

I usually get my out of print patterns at a local thrift shop and Ebay, but I don't look for specific pattern or numbers...I just get what I like and think will work for me in the future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My pattern collection

I have over a 100 patterns, including current and vintage.
I keep my patterns in filing boxes that I purchased at Joann Fabrics.

I keep buying more patterns and I am not planning on stopping soon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Simplicity 1960's Retro Pattern 3833

I finished my quest for the perfect summer dress pattern. This pattern is flattering and has multiple options. Can be used to make a summer dress or a spring dress. Love the retro look and love the final results! It was an easy project that only took me about three hours to complete in a period of two days. The only bad thing is that I waited too long to sew this dress and summer is over.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pattern disaster

My mom is visiting and she always was my inspiration to learn my sewing basics. When I was a little kid, she used to make me cute outfits and I also remember her wearing the latest 70's fashion that were constructed by her. She always tells me that I always choose the most complicated projects. Her motto is to go for the Easy Patterns, loves Simplicity and if something is too complicated she will just quit and leave things unfinished. It is truth that she can sew an invisible zipper faster than me and even without using any pins. She can help me when I need to figure out how to fix a mistake when a garment turns out to be lousy or does not resembles the dress in the picture of the pattern envelope. She can also be very discouraged about my sewing.

This week, I started working on pattern McCall's M5624 . My choice of fabric was great also. But for some unexplained reason, I could not get the bodice part to fit me. So, she offered me her experience and help. First, she told me that I leave to many extra inches of fabric. I always like to leave at list two inches of fabric in case it won't fit me and also when I am doing the terminations I cut all the extra iches of fabrics. Well, all this ended up in a big discussion about what was right or not. So, she decided to finish de jumpsuit and measured my hips and waist and told me that I cut it a size bigger. The next day I went to work and left her finishing the project. When I came back from work I found a fashion disaster! Very good looking jumpsuit, still without a zipper... "LET'S TRY IT ON!" Oh, my gosh...I could not put my big butt into the jumpsuit! She cut the garment to small and still have no zipper! I wanted to cry! She still thinks everything was all right, she cut the fabric to fit me... but guess what? I think that if a pattern is suppose to be a size 14 which in reality is a commercial size 10 or an 8, that means it should be cut an sew that way. Alterations shall be make only if it turns out to be too big. Now I am considering buying the fabric to cut the pant parts again, but the fabric may not be available because I bought it at a 60% discount at Joann Fabrics.

My words of wisdom: Ask for help if you need to, but don't let the other person finish your project unless you are present.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Simplicity Easy to Sew pattern 4428

I made this jacket last spring and it still waiting to get out of my closet. It was very easy to make. I completed the project in about an hour, including cutting time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New York City

Last labor day, I visited New York City. I had a great time but I did not have time to do everything that I wanted. I did not have time to go to Mood Fabrics. I didn't go to check out the Runway Project Building either, even though we were staying at the Hilton located by Time Square. It is a bad thing when there is other people with you on vacations that do not share the same interests and then at the end of the day you realize the time is gone. By the way this comments have nothing to do with my husband, it is about the other couple that went with us.

One thing that I got to do was check most of the stores I wanted to visit. I went to Macy's, Saks, H&M; just to mention a few. Also, I tried to check fashion on the streets. All I can say is that I prefer NY during the winter, since in the summer and probably because I went in a weekend, people were not so dressed up or maybe most people were tourists.

My fashion report based on what I saw in some stores is leggings for next season (again), lots of oxford shoes and anklet boots, empire waist coats and the color purple.

In conclusion, there are so many things to do in New York city and shopping is just one of them. I need to go back again before the year ends.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008