Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Re-entering Blogosphere for 2015

After more than 4 years absence from blogging, I am re-entering the blogging world now at the end of 2014.

I decided to enter this Pattern Review Contest that runs during the month of January, 2015. I will be making my wedding outfit ensemble as my entrance for the contest. I designed a ball gown skirt, bolero jacket and shell top after reviewing many selections of formal wear. This will be a second wedding for me, scheduled for December, 2015. This contest offers me the opportunity to get a running start with all the sewing design items I have to complete in the next year. More to follow very soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweater Re-fashion

Sweater Re-fashion Steps

My Mom and I found this Alpaca hand knit sweater in a thrift store at a bargin price and I decided to make a cardigan sweater out of it. I found a compatible yarn that complemented the texture and color scheme of the sweater and whipped up a hand knit "ribbing" to apply to the center front. Next I embedded some gold thread in the "ribbing" by hand stitching random sections of gold thread to create a similar look of the gold flecks in the sweater body.

In case you want to know how this was done: To create the center front opening, I reinforced the center of the sweater by sewing strips of gros grain ribbon parallel to each other down the center front line of the sweater. With the ribbon secured in place, I created the opening in the sweater by cutting right down the sweater's center front line. To prevent the yarn yardage from ravelling, I reinforced the raw edge with a zig zag stitch. Once the sweater was open down the front, I sewed one layer of the knitted ribbing down the center front (right side of ribbing attached to wrong side of sweater). I doubled the ribbing, creating a folded edge on the center front. The doubled ribbing effect added appropriate texture needed to support the bulk of the sweater. The other side (back side) of the folded ribbing was hand stitched to the wrong side of the sweater to cover the seam. I added trim to add embellishment but also to serve as a stabilizer to hold the facing down (a facing was created by extending the ribbing past the center seam on the wrong side of the sweater--the fold in the ribbing was not folded exactly in half--there was a wider portion of ribbing on the back side).

I posed the new re-fashioned sweater on my dress form "Doreen," outside in the back yard to capture the last of the spring snow we had yesterday (11 inches).

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back in the "Game"

Two Dog Coats, Butterick 4885
(Duke on couch)
Note: See snow photo of dogs in coats in post below this one.
Cold Weather here in NW Arkansas prompted the creation of the two dog coats for my dauchsies, Duke and Dutchess. I recycled an old worn-out wool sweater of my Dad's for the trim (navy blue). The top medium-weight fleece is a print with a caricature of a dog, and the bottom fleece (lining) is just a heavier fleece. Both dogs like their coats and are happy to sleep in them after a brisk walk!

Sorry for the blurry photo here! (Dutchess in action showing off her coat)

Technique idea for Trim: I cut the trim for the outer edge using the main pattern piece and then cut around the edges of the pattern to obtain the yardage for trim at a width of a little over 1 inch wide. That provided the same grainline direction and shape as the main body of the dog coat. (What this means is that only the border of the main dog coat body was used for the navy blue wool trim-- the inner portion left over after removing the border from the main pattern piece of the coat's body was discarded after removing the border from the edges of the pattern all the way around [navy wool trim only]). I applied the navy wool trim from the backside (wrong side) of the dog coat (2 layers of fleece) first (trimed seam allowance) and then wrapped the sewn trim to the front edge, pinned it down and top stitched with zig zag right on the edge. There was no need (on the top) to turn under the raw edge. I used a small zig zag stitch to attach the two fabrics together (the wool trim and the top of the dog coat). The two fabrics blended into each other without any problems with raveling edges from the navy wool trim.
Note: The first photo of Duke on the couch was taken before I had applied the velcro fasteners, which wrap the strap under the dog's mid section.
I made the two dog coats in one 24-hour sewing session (sewing off and on). The coats are easy and straight forward to make. Knowing where to apply the velcro fasteners is as easy as applying the coat to the dog and pinning in place to find the correct placement of the velcro, and then sewing it down to make it permanent.

Dogs Enjoying Snow in Dog Coats

January 31, 2010
Duke and Dutchess
(See notes on Butterick 4885 for Dog Coats in post above this one)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ready to get back into sewing soon

I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation on November 20, 2009! So glad I will have some time to sew again. One of the first patterns I intend to make is a new Butterick Pattern. I plan to make the dress in Red to wear as a tunic over black pants.

January 31, 2010 Note: I haven't made this pattern yet but it is on my planner.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the women who inspire us in our hobbies! My mother was a primary reason I learned to sew and she supported me throughout the learning process! Thank you Mom.

I have noticed several other blog posts about the new Star Trek movie. My boys took me to see it last night. I love the way the new actors resemble the original characters in the original series. The subtleties of the humor and the historical references to earlier content was exciting. How fun!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Personal Update

I have been eager to get back to blogging and contribute to the sewing community with Nylorac Creations. Here is a glimpse of what I have been up to the past few months. I took the directorship of a nonprofit organization, Quality Life Associates this past summer. Here is a photo from my recent activities. What I love about this position is the variety and rich opportunities to serve people and make friends. If you would like to look at it in more depth see website and blog: http://www.qualitylifeassociates.com/

Monday, November 3, 2008

Office Decoration Sewing

After taking a long break from blogging--I am back! I will be posting photos of items I created to enhance the decor of my new office! Check back in a couple of days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shaped Jacket Success with Butterick 5053

Double tucks do the trick for providing the needing jacket shaping in the front for B5053 with vertical darts providing some definition in the back. Now I have shaping in both the front and the back of this jacket pattern. I used another pattern I had with double CF tucks to complete this look (Simplicity 3688, the Retro Blouse Pattern).
Actually I really like the overall effect of this pattern. It makes a great casual summer-weight jacket to wear with a fitted tee if you use light-weight but sturdy fabric (in this case quilting fabric). I like the shaping on the sides and the hem of this pattern. This one is great with jeans!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Adding Dart Shaping to Butterick 5053 Jacket

I overlaid the Camp Shirt Pattern B5047 with the Jacket pattern B5053 to experiment with CF and CB darts to add some shape to this open style jacket with scarf collar (see my earlier post for original shaping of jacket). My initial impression is that the back darts are a definite plus for this jacket. What do you think?

However, the front darts I tried here definitely need more work. The darts create an unattactive "poofy" effect at the lower edge below the dart. Since I don't want to remove the hem to take the dart all the way to the hemline I am going to reshape the dart, narrowing the dart significantly at the lower end. I do like the shaping it provides at the top of the dart. So, by tomorrow afternoon hopefully I will have a photo showing a smoother CF with an improved CF dart here.

This is one reason why we have seam rippers right?

Monday, July 9, 2007

8 Items for Tag

Duke and Dutchess

Nanflan/SewWest invited fellow bloggers to volunteer to participate in the 8 item tag.
So, here is what I have to contribute.

8 bits of facts to share about me:

1. If you are a member of this sewing community it wouldn't come as any surprise to you that I have a large stash of patterns and fabric. I love the thrill of the hunt and the capture of exciting fabric yardage and just the right pattern. But in my case I have decided that my stash is a completed collection for the time being. I plan to work mostly from what I have collected for the next few years, and just buy coordinating fabrics if needed to match what I already have. I think I could probably create just about any style from the patterns I already have. Sure, I will buy a few, but mostly work with what I already have. I have taken the challenge!

2. In addition to sewing, another hobby I have is music. I have happily collected all the major members of the flute family (with the exception of the base flute). I have the following flutes: piccolo, 3 C flutes, E flat, and alto. I currently don't have a group to play with but plan to look for another group in the next year or so. I have a part-time paid position playing piano every Sunday for one church service. It has really been fun to do and something I have wanted to try for years. The job kind of “fell in my lap.” I had filled in there as a musician at this church a number of times since moving here three years ago. One of the regular musicians they had on staff failed to show up one Sunday and didn't call in. Needless to say, he was fired. They called me and offered me the position. Of course I said, YES!

3. I am a dog lover and always have been. We have two dachshunds, a black-colored miniature long-haired female named Dutchess (8 years) and a short-haired silver dapple male named Duke (9 months)--both dogs are still vying for the alpha role; lots of power plays to see who is the boss.

4. Although I didn't plan to do it earlier in my life, I am currently finishing up a doctorate in Rehabilitation Education, hoping to graduate this coming December if I can just finish the dissertation?! Three years ago our family moved 3 hours away from home (Little Rock, AR at the time) to allow me the opportunity to do this program. Wow! The time has flown by and many days I can't believe I have actually almost finished it. My family has been wonderfully supportive of this endeavor. I couldn't have done it without them. We hope to move to the Pacific NW (Seattle area) this coming January (assuming I can find a job there). My husband and I both grew up there.

5. Since we have two boys, we are all into Boy Scouting. Yes, I have a uniform too. I have filled lots of roles over the years. My older son is an Eagle scout and our 14 year old son is coming up the ranks. We really like scouting since it provides so many great learning opportunities in life skills for guys!

6. I would love to take a couple of trips to Europe sometime in the next decade—something I have never done.

7. My parents are having their 50th wedding anniversary celebration this August and we are going to Seattle for the event. I fashioned a customized banner that will be suspended from the doorway to the event that is quilted, appliqued, and has beading on it. Some of the techniques I learned from reading some of the sewer blogs in this community. Thank you for your input!

8. My older son (19) just bought his first car, and he and my husband are off on a road trip to go pick up the car (a red 1988 cadillac with the square body shape) in Nashville, TN for the next couple of days.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Butterick Pattern, B5053 by Connie Crawford. This jacket is my wearable muslin version of the Connie Crawford Jacket with Scarf Collar. I used a cotton quilt-type fabric for the jacket body and a polyester medium weight for the collar and cuffs. The blue color in the print is great to wear with jeans, and then I have a RTW top that matches the green in the print. The jacket is lightweight and it kind of feels like wearing a blouse--actually it is a great summer jacket. I do recommend this pattern--it is easy to make after you have conquered any fitting issues.
I made a size XL, size 16, but probably could have used the size L, size 14, because the jacket ran big.
This pattern has nice shaping on the hem with shaped up sides and
side vents, and also has a scooped front hem edge.
Next Time: Lengthen collar to fit neck edge--the neck edge is elongated from cutting 3/4 inch (on the double) off of CF. Add vertical darts in front and back to give the jacket more shape.
Changes I Made to the Pattern:
  • Shortened sleeves to 3/4 length and changed cuff dimensions to fit this sleeve length. I cut the sleeves on the cross grain to get the vertical dimension with the geometric print.
  • Removed about 3/4 of an inch off of the entire center front and neck seam. I had already cut out the collar when I decided to remove fabric from the CF. The collar needs to be lengthened in order to fit the "new" CF. I will lengthen the collar for the next version.
  • Pinched out a 3/8 inch dart off of CB to remove excess fabric in back.
  • Added a little more fullness to sleeve head; I basted the sleeves and side seams in and then tried the jacket on. The upper sleeve was somewhat tight, so I removed the sleeves and recut them to add 1 inch to the sleeve head. I was able to ease the extra inch into the sleeve without any puckers. Now the sleeve fits like it should.
  • Since the fabric is so lightweight, I added a strip of soft fusible interfacing to the CF and around the back neck, 1 1/2 inches wide, and top stitched it on the outer edge. The interfacing stabilized the collar with this fabric. I also added interfacing to the inside of the hem to stabilize it as well.
  • Did you happen to notice the bias binding at the bottom of the collar? This was my solution to cover a construction "mistake." My high school sewing teacher always told us, "You can find a solution for almost any mistake you might make in sewing if you don't panic about it. Stop and brainstorm about some creative options for fixing it." I accidentally scorched the end of the collar with my iron. There was a streak of brown on one end of the collar that was quite noticeable. I was able to cover up this area with the bias binding on the end of the collar. So of course I added the same design element to the other side of the collar. Voila! Fixed.
  • I used a Hong Kong Finish (bias wrapped seams) to finish all the seams in the jacket. Suprisingly, the wrapped seams helped to further stablize the shape of the jacket, since the body of the jacket is made from lightweight cotton.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tango Skirt #2 with matching scarf

Coming up: I have a second Tango Skirt and matching scarf to post later this week

Do you use sewing as a reward for completing other projects that aren't quite as fun?

I have a need to "dive down" for the next few days and work on another section of my dissertation project--rewarding, especially when a section is completed, but it's just not the same as sewing is it!

People who sew are admirers of other kinds of art and beauty. I walk by this building every day on my way into campus. I love the beauty of the restored building and the gardens that surround it.

At one time this building was a dorm for the small group of women that attended the University of Arkansas, beginning in 1874. Ella's Restaurant and Inn is the modern name for the business that now operates there. The Hotel Management Degree program on campus runs the businesses at it is wonderful-great food, nostalgic ambiance, art pieces--the furniture is a mixture of modern and old from a variety of eras. High ceilings, plush carpets, shiny wooden floors. The hallways are adorned with photos of students, teachers, sorority/fraternity functions etc. from 1874 - 1960 when the building was condemned. I enjoy following the fashion epic throughout the years represented by the photos. A lot of weddings and receptions are held in the outer courtyard just in front of where the flowers are in the photograph.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter (See sewing post below this)

Happy Easter
In the spirit of the Easter season, realizing the true reason we celebrate Easter:
To commemorate Christ's sacrificial death and
resurrection for all of us!
On Summerset Banks blog, Pins and Needles, she expressed a similar statement, and I knew I wanted to do the same.
I have heard it said, in the first century after Christ's death and resurrection there was a formal greeting between people of faith that started with one person saying,
"Jesus Christ is risen," and it was followed by another person replying, "He is risen indeed!"
I had the privilege today at church to provide the piano accompaniment for a male soloist who sang, "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban. I don't know if you are like me, but the first time I heard this song playing via car radio, I had to pull over on the side of the road and listen to it--I was so moved by the music and words.
It seems there are many possible applications for how a person might interpret the message of this song.
One year I incorporated some of the song's themes in a Father's Day card for my Dad. As an Easter special music selection, "You Raise Me Up" was used today as an illustration of how the power of spiritual strength is available, and how it can lift a person up in a time of special need.
By Googling I found a website with a free recording of this song if you would like to hear it.
http://ladynwavsone.com/raisemeup.html Website with recording of "You Raise Me Up"

LH Tango Skirt: Easter 2007

What can you SEW when you are short on time but want something pretty and new? One idea is to make a skirt and purchase a top. I made the Loes Hinse Tango Skirt and paired it with 2 ready-to-wear (RTW) tops for Easter 2007!

The Loes Hinse Tango Skirt with 2 tops
Loes Hinse Tango Skirt with 10 panels: Semi-fitted at the top with flair at the bottom, elastic waist; I lined this skirt with an A-line two-piece pattern. As a number of other people have reported, this is a delightful
pattern. It is easy to sew (not necessarily
fast with a slippery fabric), easy to fit,
and flattering to many body types. The Lining: Spring colors are fun

It was fun to wear this outfit today--I felt very springy and light. I haven't had an outfit with these colors in years. Sometimes it is nice to deviate from your normal color selections and go with something different.
The shoes and necklace below
What's missing?: The jackets! Below is the blue stretch-woven fabric to make a jacket. I also have light pink fabric for another jacket. This will be a Burda World of Fashion Jacket with pink top stitching and pink buttons. Even though the jackets aren't a reality yet, I still have an outfit to wear with just with the tops and skirt!

I bought a DRESS FORM on an Ebay estate sale about a year ago--I am enjoying the ability to view the overall effect of an outfit's appearance and of course to check sizing for garments, and to photograph sewing creations. This dress form is a vintage Sally Stitch dress form, Size C.
What to Change:
When I put this outfit together with the colored tops and the necklace on the dress form, I quickly determined that I liked the effect of the blue top (by itself) better than the pink. I also noticed that the top would look better if shortened by 1.25 inches at the hem. What I didn't notice or discover ahead of wearing it today, is that when I sit down the lining slips out below the hem in the front of the skirt. That is easily fixed though--I will simply shorten the lining slip another couple of inches.