Archive | November, 2011

New Infinity Scarf Instructions

30 Nov

I recently decided to make some faux fur infinity scarves for Christmas presents this year.  I haven’t made an infinity scarf since the two I made for my Italy trip last year.  I thought it would be easy to sew a few scarves together quickly.

After several tries and several bouts with the seam ripper, I decided my instructions from last year were not very clear.  So, I’m revising the infinity scarf instructions, and this time I hope they are easier to follow.  Here are the steps:

This is 1 1/2 yards of fabric, cut to 14 inches wide.

1.  Choose a piece of fabric that is at least 1 1/2 yards long.   The width of the piece is dependent upon the thickness of the fabric.  For example, last year I made my silk scarves with fabric that was 60 inches wide, and they were quite chunky.  If I were to make those scarves again, I would cut the fabric in half to 30 inches.  I think that would make a nice silk infinity scarf.  But, since faux fur is so much thicker, you would need a narrower piece.  My faux fur was about 56 inches wide, and I cut it into four pieces, each 14 inches wide.  So, you have to play around with the width a little bit, depending on the type of fabric you are using.

Folded in half lengthwise, right sides together

2.  Fold the fabric piece in half lengthwise, right sides together.

This is one end after it is stitched.

3.  Beginning about 4 inches from the end, stitch along the open edge, using a small seam allowance (about 1/4 inch).  Stitch to about 4 inches from the other end.

This is the piece with one end shoved into the tube to the other end.

4.  Sewing up the edge creates a tube.  Now take one end of the tube and push it into the tube until that end reaches the other end (see the picture above).  Now the two ends are right sides together and can be stitched from edge to edge using a small seam allowance.

This is the end you will stitch closed.

5.  Once you have sewn the end together, you will have a hole in the scarf.  Turn the fabric right side out through the hole.

This is the hole in the scarf before it is turned right side out.

This is the hole in the scarf after it is turned to the right side.

6.  Finally, hand stitch the hole from the right side.

Hand stitch the opening to close.

I hope these instructions are easier to understand.  Enjoy your infinity scarves.

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Vogue 8634…again

28 Nov

While I’m waiting to begin the Koos jacket, which is part of my winter 6 pack, I decided to make another top from this pattern.  If you remember, I made this top in a wild and crazy (for me) rayon knit for the 6 pack.  I really loved the way it turned out, so I decided to use my precious Missoni knit from Emma One Sock to make the next one.  This is not a top-of-the-line Missoni.  It is polyester, which I really hesitated to buy, but I’m so glad I did.  It really doesn’t have a poly feel.  You would probably guess that it is a cotton/rayon type knit.

The knit is fairly loose, so I decided to reinforce on the front and back shoulders (since it’s a raglan sleeve) and along the neck edge:

I had to lower the horizontal seam on the bodice. I think anyone who isn’t very flat-chested would have to do the same. Otherwise you will end up with a seam running across the middle of your boobs. I lowered the seam by 2 inches, which might have been a bit much, but it looks fine. Here is the finished top:

This is a comfortable top and I will probably make it again.  I especially like it in the sweater knit, because it works with a “beefier” fabric.

My focus this week is in finding the chocolate binding for my Koos jacket, and altering some clothes, since weight loss has me looking baggy and saggy these days.

Koos class starts on Thursday :).

Visiting NYC and the Garment District

26 Nov

My husband, “The Donald”, travels for business, but usually doesn’t go anywhere very thrilling.  When he said he was going to New York, though, I was all over it.  I needed some fabric for the Koos jacket that I will be making in a class beginning December 1, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to see the Garment District AND pick up some cool fabric for the coat.  Here are some scenes from the district:



Mood was a must on my travels, but it was hard to find.  If you are ever in the area, looking for Mood, just know that it is in a nondescript building on the 3rd floor.  There is no sign, unless you look up towards the 3rd floor windows.  This is what it looks like from the street:

See, no sign.

Here are some random interior shots of Mood, including the precious doggie, who was running around like a bat out of hell the whole time I was there:

Looking in from the elevator

Yes, lots of fabric (on two, large floors)

He was pretty cute!

And, finally, here are the fabrics I have chosen for my Koos coat:

I am going to use a dark chocolate binding to delineate the different fabrics. I wanted the colors to be the same, but the patterns and textures to be different. I’m hoping the brown binding will make it pop.

Included in the fabrics are a wool herringbone, a wool stylized plaid, a wool tweed that has sparkles, and a silk.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit the Garment District. It IS a bit overwhelming, so if you are planning a trip, make sure you have a list of fabrics you want to buy. Also, try to set aside at least two days for the district. The first day I just walked around in a state of total disbelief and confusion. It wasn’t until the second day that I could finally make some purchases.

Vogue 8120 and 8634 – The Six-Pack Continues

16 Nov

One thing I’ve noticed about my sewing skills lately is that I’m finally to the point of being able to look at a mistake without having a complete nervous breakdown.  Now, that’s progress!  I ALMOST see a mistake as a challenge to be overcome.  It definitely means less wadders.

I’ve just completed Vogue 8120, and yes, I made a few mistakes (shhhhhhh).  I made the white view (3/4 sleeves), but with buttons.  Here is the completed top, worn with my Vogue 8435 skirt:

I used a pattern that went from size 6 to 12, which I really hate because my hips require a size 14.  I wish they would just put all the sizes in one envelope.  I would even be willing to pay more for a pattern with all the sizes.

I decided to use the size 6 through the neck and shoulders, but I still had to do a narrow shoulder adjustment.  This was complicated by the fact that the top has armscye princess seams, and I wasn’t sure how to do a narrow shoulder adjustment with these seams.  That, and having to grade up to a size 14 at the hips led me to do the unthinkable…I made a muslin.

I’m glad I made the muslin, because the adjustments were pretty easy, once I could see what I was dealing with.  I’ll never say “I never make muslins” again, but I WILL still say that I hate making them.

This fabric is either a viyella (cotton/wool) or more likely a wool challis.  I decided to use french seams, and I even did them on the armscye:

I love this blouse, and will probably make it up again in white cotton.  It would be the perfect white blouse.

I had been looking for a cowl neck that wouldn’t fall off my shoulders, and many people recommended Vogue 8634:

I made the middle view with 3/4 sleeves:

I liked this top so much, I made it in a sweater knit, as well, which I will show you on another post.

Both of these tops go with the Vogue skirt I made for the six-pack.  So, I have three pieces done and three to go.

Some of you asked me to post a picture of my jacket with me wearing it, so here it is:

I included a side view so you could see that it is not a swing coat, like the envelope would have you believe.  It’s okay with me, because I love the way this coat turned out, but if you have your heart set on a swing coat, this is not it.

I am on my way to New York City tomorrow to go fabric shopping for the Koos Coat that is a part of my six-pack.  I’ll have lots of NYC pictures to share when I get back.

Stitcher’s Guild Winter Six-Pack with New Colors

3 Nov

I just had validation that the new color palette is going to work.  It took me a minute to decide what my Winter Six-Pack would consist of.  Amazing!  That little task alone paid for the color analysis.  Usually, I would be wringing my hands and testing my less-than-artistic brain for hours trying to figure that out.

The funny thing is that I had just purchased two pieces of fabric to test my newfound color skills.  Those two pieces, plus some oddballs I’d had in my stash for years, will make up my Winter Six-Pack.  Here are the fabrics:

The top piece is a brown wool gabardine I might use for pants.  The second piece is a viyella print (believe it or not) that I found at a local fabric store.  The third piece is wool jersey for the skirt and cardi.  The last piece is a rayon knit I’ve had in my stash for a few years.  The fabric that isn’t here is the jacket fabric.  I’m making the new Koos jacket and am still working on the fabric for that piece:

This is the plan:

1 jacket (in multiple shades of brown)

1 skirt (in a rust wool jersey)

1 cardi/vest-type thing to go with the skirt (the same wool jersey as the skirt)

1 woven top (the multi color viyella)

1 knit top (in a rust, orange, and brown knit)

1 pants (brown wool)

The first piece is actually finished.  It’s this out of print Vogue Woman pattern:

Vogue 8435

I hesitated to pay the price for this pattern, but it’s a real sleeper.  I saw it on a fellow sewist at sewing camp and had to have it.  This is now a TNT pattern for me, so I’m thrilled I bought it after all.  Here is my version:

The pattern calls for a stable knit, so I made mine out of a wool jersey.  I have a bit more of this fabric left, and want to make something to go with this skirt.  I could use some help with the selection of the coordinate.  Here are some options:

Marcy Tilton for Vogue 8779:

I think the long skirt with the short swing jacket will look a little vintage.  That might work.  On the other hand, are the proportions right for that look?  And, if I make this jacket, I have to deal with putting a separating zipper in a knit.  I’ve never done that and this fabric is a nightmare to rip out!  Ask me how I know.

Here is another option.  It’s the new Katherine Tilton vest, Vogue 8777:

I love the back detail of this vest, but will the proportions be right with the long skirt? Will the whole profile be “long and skinny”?

Would love any feedback on the cardi/vest piece, or any other suggestions you might have.

In The World Of Color, I’m An Autumn…Really

1 Nov

Back in the 80’s when Color Me Beautiful was all the rage, I was thrilled to discover I was a “summer”.  Finally, I would know for certain what colors to wear.  No more wasted money, no more new clothes finding their way to the Goodwill.

You see, I have a color problem.  I’m not exactly color blind, but I just don’t see color the way others do.  I’ve figured this out over the years as friends would tell me I looked great in something horrid that I found in the back of the closet, and I would look, aghast, in the mirror, thinking they were crazy. How many people have told me that I am a “warm tone” person, when I know in my heart of hearts that I am cool?

So, I bought Color Me Beautiful and went through it intensely, pen and paper in hand.  One part of the book struck me the most, and to this day it’s the only part I remember:  If you have a gray ring around the iris of your eye, you are most definitely a “summer”.  That would mean that I look best in cool tones.  Yay…I knew it!  For years I dutifully carried around that little folded-up color chart in my wallet, waiting for a shopping opportunity.

I have struggled with color ever since.  Why doesn’t anything look good on me?  Oh, every once in awhile I get lucky and try something on in a store that looks “wow”.  It would usually be outside my color zone and I would just shrug my shoulders and carry on.  But, when you sew, the color problem is intensified.  You realize that you can’t try the clothes on in the store under that glorious store light that makes everyone look wonderful in their worst colors.  When you sew, you have to take a leap of faith that the final garment will not only look good in the fabric, but that the whole thing will look good on you.

One disaster after the other, and too many wadders later, I started losing faith in my color scheme.  I thought I looked good in red, but not anymore.  What about pink?  That used to be my best color, but it looks awful on me now.  And camel?  Is that in the “summer” color zone?  I became so confused that I started wearing only two colors:  brown and navy.  They were safe.

I recently went to a sewing camp, and after I got to know these ladies well (as you tend to do after five, eight hour days of sewing), they sweetly and subtly let me know that I was wearing the wrong colors.  Most of these ladies had little color palettes that were made just for them.  They could take these palettes to the store when fabric shopping, and be assured of selecting the right colors.

I HAD to have one of those little palettes, so a fellow camper and I made an appointment to have the color specialist, Ethel Harms, work her magic on us.  And she did.  Here is my color palette:

Yes, I’m a medium autumn, with warm undertones.  So to anyone in my life who has told me I’m an autumn, and to whom I have argued that I am NOT an autumn, but a summer…I apologize.  I’m just not very good with color.

After my appointment with Ethel, but before I actually got the palette, I went fabric shopping and picked out something I thought would fall into my color palette.  This is what I bought:

I don’t know if you can see from the picture how well it fits with my color palette, but it does.  And the print looks fabulous next to my skin.  This is a print I would never in a million years have chosen before.

If you are a sewist, and are color insecure, I highly recommend having a color analysis done.  It will not only save you wadders, but you’ll end up looking fabulous!

Oh…and that gray ring around my iris?  It’s actually green. 🙂

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