Wednesday, December 31, 2014


As the end of the year quickly approaches- less than 12 hours until 2015, is it obligatory to look back on 2014?  Well, let's do it anyway, because it's fun to see what happened.  I started this blog halfway through the year- my first post was June 1, 2014 and this will be my 62nd post!  Amazing that I had that much to say and I made that many things to show off.  I don't know exactly how many articles of clothing I made this year because I didn't keep track earlier in the year.  But, it is true that I made a ton of clothing this year.  Three suit jackets, three coats, an unknown number of tops, skirts, dresses, three (maybe four) pairs of pants, and twelve aprons.  Most of them were hits- but there were some misses. Shall we begin with the misses- it's good to get the bad out of the way first, right?

1. Colette Patterns Dahlia dress.  This is still my most annoying failure.  I wanted to love the dress and the pattern, but that neckline still isn't doing it. I think I'm going to chop off the top and add a leather waistband to the skirt. At least it will be wearable then.  Then I can make something else with the two meters I went and re-bought to fix it.

2.  This Jennifer Lauren Bronte top.  This is a miss solely due to the fabric color.  It looks like a gym top.  The patterns is awesome. 

3.  My franken Dahlia/Francoise dress.  This is because the fabric shredded after the first wear.  Boo!  As I was looking at it, I realized that I could have fixed the problem pre-sewing with interfacing the edges.  But I didn't think about it until the damage was done.  I might try and go back to interface the shredding part so that I might be able to salvage it? 

 That's it for failures.  I have a couple of in progress outfits that I stopped working on because I didn't like where it was going, but I might go back and finish them this year.  They're not failures yet!  Now, for the rest- I couldn't decide on a top five, so we're just going go with my favorites in general.

1.  Vogue 1419.  It's my most recent finish, but I think it might be my favorite think I have ever made.  I love the fabric, the silhouette, the finishing.  I have worn it every day since I've made it.  (Except for today- it's all of 15F (-10C) so too damn cold.)

2. It is too hard to put things in order for me.  I have made so many things that I love this year. So here are a smattering of my favorite makes in no particular order.  I made Waffle Patterns Luffa jacket twice, so I must love it. The first one was inspired by Don Cherry, hockey present extraordinaire.  It also won the Everyday Casual category of the Sew Indie Month competition.  The second I added a bow to the collar (I can't have a simple plain jacket can I?)

3.  Butterick 6094.  A dress that I made twice as well, but ending up with two completely different looks.  The first one was made out a bright blue ponte jersey from Smuggler's daughter.  It is one of my most comfortable dresses to wear.  The second version, however, gets the most compliments.  I used a floral printed cotton, closed up the back, and made it full length.  It's definitely a showstopper.

4. Fabric painting.  I decided to make my Marine Ball gown for the second year in a row, and decided on giant poppies.  I couldn't find any, so I brought fabric paint instead and messed around with it on a skirt and then the belt for my gown.  I also hand painted the aprons I made for charity.  I have bought more fabric paint, so I hope to make some more creations in the new year.
5. Vogue 1353.  Another multiple make.  Usually that's a good sign that I like a pattern.  I made one iteration out of gray wool pinstripe- inspired by a dress another fashion icon of mine wore (Angelina Jolie).  The other one was made out of likely coated cotton, a completely inappropriate dress material, but still works.  

6.  Here are some other things that were made this year that I love- enjoy!

Things that I have learned this year- I love a. bright colors, b. floral prints, and c. statement pieces.  Based on my plans for the new year, I don't think that this will change. I have also learned that I make some funny faces when taking pictures.

Other notable things about 2014 for me- we moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Kyiv, Ukraine.  I think that I'm still dealing with having winter again.  I traveled to Argentina, Turkey, Russia, Colombia, and England.  In the new year, we have Canada and Italy already planned :).  I was in Russia during the Winter Olympics and in Brazil during the World Cup.  I spent a lot of time this year watching sporting events!  I didn't finish any of my new years resolutions this year- they were being able to bench press 100 lbs and read War and Peace in the original.  I gave up on both about the same time- March 2014 (the bench pressing was because I got sick with toxoplasmosis and was too worn out to work out and War and Peace was because of the French). I'm still working on my resolutions for this year.  Likely they will be sewing related.  Anyway- that was my year- Happy New Year!  And happy sewing!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vogue 1419

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!  I just wanted to stop by and show off my finally completed Vogue 1419.  This is the original Ralph Rucci coat:

V1419, Misses' Coat

Gorgeous right?  The original and the pattern are unlined and the seams are finished with bias binding.  Well, it's cold where I live, so I decided to line it- which let me tell you was a lot of fun.  As the lighting was almost gone, I am going to have to save the close ups for another post.  Here is my version-
The outer layer is a French brocade bought from the fabric store down the street from me.  The lining is made from an unknown material- but feels like coated cotton or nylon?  Who knows, it probably wasn't a great choice as it had zero give, so the curves were a pain.
 I didn't make many changes to the pattern, only adding the lining, changing the welt pockets to inseam ones, and taking something like 3 inches out of the flare on the sleeve.  But look at that flare- it's still there.   The buttons are wooden ones from Brazil.

Well, I have nothing more to write, except for I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and probably a Happy New Year (as I won't have any new projects so nothing to write about).  Happy sewing!


Good evening everyone!  I am so surprised at the number of entries on my giveaway.  I can only imagine that it's because it was featured on wowilikethat.  There are still a couple of giveaways going on, so check it out!  I'm sure that you're waiting with abated breath on who one the Ukrainian traditional fabric (which was actually manufactured in Ukraine).  Without further ado- the random number generator picked:

That would be Connie!

Congratulations Connie!  I sent you an email to get your address.

Anyway- I need to get back to sewing- so I can show you my finished coat tomorrow!  All I have is the hem (already pinned) and one button.  It can get done!  I will say one thing- bar tacks are hard when you're suffering from jet lag and doing them at 4:30 in the morning.  I look forward to sharing this with you guys.  Here is a sneak peak- and until tomorrow happy sewing and holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2014


As I am going on vacation to the States that means giveaway time!  First let's see what I am giving away:
Traditional Ukrainian fabric.  I love the embroidery of Ukrainian fabrics.  These were bought at a local store, and I ensured that they were in fact made in Ukraine.  The fabric on the left is about 2 meters, it is thicker with a really stiff drape.  In my mind it could be a coat?  I'm thinking something like the Navaho blanket coat that was made on last season's Project Runway?  On the left is cotton fabric with the pattern machine embroidered in.  It is technically for tablecloths, which would be cool, but it is soft enough that it could be used in clothing.  

To enter- please leave a comment by noon central standard time Tuesday, December 23rd.  I look forward to sending some cool fabric to someone!

And this little ornery guy says- don't forget to vote for my mommy's Francoise dress.  You can vote here.  I am getting very close to finishing the jacket- so close that I am taking it with me on vacation to finish it up.  All the machine sewing is done.  I just have to finish the hems and do the bar tacks on the buttonholes (all 40 of them).  Sooon!  Anyway, until next time, happy sewing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Vote for me!

Hooray!  I was chosen as one of the top 25 Francoise dresses.  This one to be exact.

Now in order to win that sewing machine-  I need you guys to vote for me!  You can vote here:  Tilly and the Buttons

Now I'm sure your wondering why I would even need a second sewing machine.  Mainly because at least once a week I get asked about teaching someone to sew and would like to act upon these requests.  In other news- I've been working my butt off on this:
 As soon as I post this- it's back to making it happen before I go home to Kansas this weekend.  Which being back in the States means a couple things- first:  giveaways!  (I have two planned) and possibly a meet up?  I don't even know if anyone in KC reads this-  I was thinking perhaps something in Overland Park- we can hit Hancocks, Bernina, the fabric store next to Hancocks that is from other people's stash (all at 95th and Metcalf), and if we're ambitious the Joann's that's at College in Metcalf?  (Not nearly as exciting options as NY, LA, London, or Chicago, but I promise it will be fun.)  Any interest let me know in the comments or send me an email-  we can make an afternoon of it- lunch somewhere close by and then shopping?  Let me know- I'll be in KC from the 20th to the 2nd.

And don't forget to vote!  Until next time happy sewing.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Francoise Number Two- or Better Named Francoilha?

Yesterday, I had halfway finished my second Francoise, which involved buttonholes at the neckline, so I could make the back one piece.  Well, I was trimming threads when disaster struck. 
I don't know if you can see it, but there is a notch cut out between the buttonholes that should not be there.  As the fabric is frays like no other, this mean that I needed to redo the whole front.  So I set it aside. When Alex woke me up at 1:58 AM, I had an epiphany.  Why don't I split the Francoise and add the Dalhia waistband?  It made sense to me, so why not?  Right?  I am not sure if this will fit in the rules of the #SewingFrancoise contest, but I like the dress anyway!

My best why not expression. (Please ignore the left sleeve, the hem turned up, I swear it's even with the left one)

I took it slowly.  I will admit that I didn't take any progress shots, but basically here is how I did it:
First I drew the 5/8ths seam allowance on the sleeves where they meet.  I overlapped them to make a single sleeve piece.  Where the curves are will not meet.  This is good, this is what shapes the sleeves.  Next I laid the Dalhia back piece on the Francoise back piece, matching the underarm.  This gave me the length.  I chopped the Francoise here.  I eyeballed the same cut on the front.  Closed up the side dart, it was pretty much shaped like the Dalhia.  I lowered the front neckline about two inches tapering to about 5/8ths of an inch on the side and back.
I also shaved off about a quarter inch on the back sleeve and back piece at the neckline to tighten it up.  I ended up having to putt in another quarter inch dart to make it all work.   I had to deepen the back darts by a quarter inch on both the top and bottom to fit the waistband.  For the front- I just gathered what would have been the French dart for the top- this worked nicely.  For the bottom- I didn't do anything to the front.
I wasn't overly concerned about exact pattern matching on the sides, but I made sure the center front and center back and center sleeves were all the same. 
I also interfaced the waistband.  I'm not sure if it helped or not, but at least it helped with the fraying. Oh the fraying.  I'm not sure exactly how long this dress will last, because of the fraying.  I serged every seam, but I'm not sure if it will hold.  Instead of drafting a facing, I used bias tape on the neckline.  Hem and sleeves are turned up twice.  And I skipped the zipper- it's a bit difficult to get on and off, but I hate side zips more.  I think it worked out nicely!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!  Until next time Happy Sewing.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

#SewingFrancoise Also Known as Tilly and the Button's Francoise Pattern

After my last post, I realized that maybe I needed a couple of days off.  Mainly because I was tired and grumpy and the little guy wasn't sleeping well.  In reality, the post should have been called Sewing with as Toddler.  As my oldest one is 10 almost 11, I had forgotten how difficult toddlers can be.  Alex is non-stop... Non-stop, and for most of the week, wasn't wanting to go to sleep.  (That of course changed last night when he fell asleep at 5:00 PM and pretty much slept until 6:00AM, this allowed me to fall asleep by 8:00 PM, so I finally feel rejuvenated.)  Enough babbling, let's get to the topic at hand- Tilly and the Button's Francoise Pattern.  I made my extremely wearable muslin last week, but didn't get a chance to take photographs until today.  Mainly because I had decided on the photo shoot, which was outside, so I couldn't do it during the work week.  My idea was a woodland characters in the snow in the woods.  This was foiled by today being too nice!  It was 40F degrees (4 Celsius), so all the snow on the trees melted.  So change of plans sort of.
This is the park near my apartment.  It's rather Soviet, but luckily it had snow on the ground.  I started off with my giant snowboots.  I live in these in the winter, they are rated for -25 (can't remember C or F, but at that point does it really matter.)

The snowboots weren't doing it for me, so I decided to do the shoot as I originally intended.
God I love these shoes!  Every time I wear them, they make me so happy.  Even if I can't walk in them.  I am sure you're here for the dress, so let's get on with it.  I made a straight size four, but added three inches in length, and sewed the side seams at 3/8ths of an inch instead of 5/8th.  The fit is pretty damn perfect.

The fabric is a remnant from one of the fabric stores down the street.  There was about a meter of it left, so I shortened the sleeves to what I could fit on the fabric.
The only change I need to make in future makes (and there will be future makes- one of them is about half way done) is take about a half inch out of the back neckline as it's gaping a little bit.
The dress is super comfortable.  It was a breeze to make.  I didn't really follow the instructions, but as I've made a kajillion tops with raglan sleeves, there was nothing new here.
As I only had a meter of the fabric I couldn't pattern match in the back, but with the flowers you really can't tell.  Can you see the invisible zipper?  It's probably my best zipper insertion in a long time.  And I got it on the first try! 
Let's take some closer looks at the dress on the dress form-

This picture you can really see the interesting darting that shape the dress.  There are two darts- a long diagonal dart (I believe called a french dart) and typically side bust one.  That's the other change I need to make on the next one, shorten the side dart by a half inch.  Other than that it's perfect.

Anyway-  As this post is already too long- I'll leave you with the rest of the pictures- including a better look at the graffiti.

This is my come on Conor, pay attention to what you're taking pictures of face.  Note that it's slightly out of focus.

I was rather lucky to find such a cool piece of art in the colors of the dress.  There are several places in the city where the whole side of the building has been painted.  
Here I am once we got done.  Even though it was above freezing, it was still cold!  I've been in my heaviest winter coat for several weeks now.  It's from Eddie Bauer, and rated for -40F/C.  I don't know if I could make something like this- so I'll leave it to the pros.  Well, I need to finish my other Franciose- so I can take pictures of it tomorrow.  It's about half done- here is the fabric- it's a cotton/silk twill and frays like crazy.  I'll leave it at that, until hopefully tomorrow- happy sewing.