Monthly Archives: October 2006

A Sew-Along it is!

Several people have mentioned that it would be fun to take the weekly designer-inspiration piece and have a sew-along! I love that idea! I am going to host the sew-along over at The Sewing Divas. I’ll be using the Hot Patterns Plain & Simple Tee as the base for several designer tops. You can use it or another tried-and-true basic tee pattern.

It will take me a few days to get the materials together so hang in there!


Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Hot Patterns, Tutorials

Aren’t you glad you sew? Blumarine

I absolutely love snoop shopping so I thought it might be fun to start a weekly feature showcasing an expensive designer garment that would be easy for us to duplicate (oops, is that a run-on sentence?). Sound like fun?

Today’s garment is a rayon/lycra knit from Blumarine with a retail price of $1,070 (all photos are from While I would never spend that much on a tee (let’s face it, that’s what it is), it’s important to note the little details that make it special. Details which you and I can easily duplicate in our own sewing rooms for a small fraction of the retail price (so that we can spend the $1000 or so we save on more fabric).

Granted, it would be impossible to find the same print but easy enough to find something that would give the same luxurious feel. The neckline of this top is trimmed in leather – how impractical is that? Since the binding is so narrow, it would be easy to get the same look with a faux leather. I, personally, would choose Ultraleather because it has good stretch across the grain making it perfect for this application. Believe me, no one will know it isn’t the real thing. Additionally, since I cannot get away without a bra, I’d narrow the neckline just a bit to hide my straps.

The neckline is trimmed with two large and eight small crystals at the center front. Yay! An excuse to buy sparkly things!

The sleeve opening is also trimmed out in leather and features button-and-loop closures trimmed with crystals. I have a nice little stash of expensive crystal buttons purchased during my employment at Maggi’s For Fine Fabrics in Boca Raton (known as THE place to buy buttons in the tri-county area). Maggi’s may have closed but I have a good portion of the inventory right here! If they are washable, this might be a good project to use them on since my formalwear days are practically non-existent.


Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?


Well, finally, there’s a name for my affliction: Age Activated Attention
Deficit Disorder. Yes, I have it. Last week, I had lunch with my friend Vivian and was telling her that I have to write everything down and make lots of lists – otherwise, the day goes by without my accomplishing anything I’d set out to do. This morning she sent me an email explaining the proper name for my disease: AAADD.

The email came at just the right moment too. But first, a little background: I received a $100 gift card for Home Depot this week. I’m a chronic DIYer and spend an awful lot of time and money there. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my wonderful 14.4V Ryobi drill with their new 18V One+ drill. The 18V One+ battery fits a myriad of tools: circular saws, jig saws, routers, reciprocating saws and more. I’ve been lusting after it for about a month but figured I’d just put it on my Christmas list. Well, since I’m famous for losing/misplacing gift cards I figured I’d better rush right over to Home Depot this morning and spend that sucker!

I immediately went to the tool department and grabbed the drill/flashlight combo pack (which comes in a nifty suitcase) and, seeing the fabulous right-angle drill, grab that as well. Hey, I’m in a mood to splurge! I pick up a few other things on my list, wait in line, pay, get in my car and drive home. When I get home I realize that I failed to use my gift card. Then I received the email. Apparently, pinning notes to my shirt is the next step.


Filed under Miscellaneous

It’s here!

Some of you may remember me saying that I’d purchased a 2nd coverstitch machine – a flatbed – some months ago. Well, my friend (and mechanic extraordinaire) has been busy (as have I) so I didn’t pester him about the machine. I stopped by the shop last Wednesday to drop off some fabric and was excited that the machine was being delivered that afternoon. He finished building the stand yesterday and DH brought her home this morning. He wants to know what in the world is inside this machine that makes it so unbelievably heavy (the stand actually has steel reinforcement rods). I guess weight of the metal parts and the casting add up. Still, it’s hard to believe that this weighs so much more than my walking-foot machine. I told him to be thankful we have a single-story house!

Since I’ll use the flatbed much more than the binder, I upgraded to the 8800 series. Not that I’ll ever need it but it will sew 6000 stitches per minute. Yikes!

And now that’s it, I’m officially out of space. I’m sure my husband is thankful for that!

She’s all set up and ready to go and I just realized I forgot to put the rubber feet on the stand. :-O Fiddle dee dee, I’ll think about that tomorrow. I don’t dare ask DH to lift this tank twice in one day!


Filed under Sewing Machines

New shears!

I didn’t really feel like sewing when I returned home yesterday afternoon. But, I did want to do something sewing-related so I made permanent patterns of a couple of my newer favorites. I have all of the usual pattern making tools: bunny punch, notcher, tracing wheel and screw punch. But, after struggling once again to cut out heavy poster board (I know, I’ve finally decided to break down and buy a large roll of oak tag) with my Fiskars I decided it was time for some serious shears.

So, I headed off to the store this afternoon to treat myself to a pair of shears for pattern making only. When I told my friend Greg (of Azar’s Sewing Center in Davie, Florida) what I wanted them for, he recommended the knife edge Mundial 12NPKE. I thought a 12″ shear would be a bit much for me to handle but they are very comfortable and cut the heavy paper easily. No more raggedy edges!

UPDATE 10/24/06: Kelly asked about other patternmaking tools – I apologize, I just assume everyone knows what I’m talking about. Guess I know what that makes me. ;-) I will allow expert patternmaker Kathleen Fasanella to fill you in! Kathleen discusses the basic patternmaking tools here, in her post entitled Tools and Supplies. She left out my favorite thing, the bunny punch (my nickname is Bunny) but discusses it in another post entitled – what else? – Bunny Punch. Here you can also see the hooks that are used to hang the patterns and keep all the pieces of each style together.

When I visited Simplicity last year, I noticed that all of their paper sample patterns were hung on hooks so their use isn’t limited to oak tag patterns. I must mention that Simplicity’s NYC staff not only gave our group a fascinating tour but were incredibly gracious as well. If I lived in New York, I’d beg them for a job! For decades I disliked Simplicity patterns but they have made such wonderful changes to their product line in recent years that they have become one of my favorites.


Filed under Notions

Hallo Strand!

I’m headed to the beach for a few days’ R&R. Just an excuse to lay around, read, sip umbrella drinks and nap, really. See you when I get back!


Filed under Miscellaneous

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot!

Woohoo! The Hot Patterns arrived today! I wanted them all but only ordered the Cosmopolitan Dress:

and Flippy Skirt:

for now. I have *cough, cough* several HPs in progress and really, really need to finish my UFOs before buying too many more patterns. Couldn’t resist these two though! If only I could look like Beyonce wearing the Cosmopolitan dress….

I knew this was a must-have after seeing it on Erica B.’s blog, Hook & Needles.


Filed under Hot Patterns