Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Eight days of wonderful

Of course, the week leading up to the eight wonderful days was filled with stress and buckets of tears as I said my final goodbyes to my sweet little Winnie. I can’t believe how quiet the house is without her; that will take a lot of time to get used to.


Thankfully, being in Susan Khalje’s Couture Boot Camp kept nearly every one of my brain cells busy for six glorious days. This was my little corner of the world for the week. Robin sat right in front of me. Another week and we would have been finishing each others’ sentences!


Left to right: Louise is a beginner of two years and lives not far from me in Vero Beach. She dove right into the deep end of the pool with a beautiful Marfy sheath dress. In front of her is Jeanne who made a beautiful Alencon lace jacket underlined in charmeuse and then moved on to a linen blouse with a fagotted neckline.

Then we have Diana who made a stunning two-piece dress consisting of a bias camisole with a cowl neckline and a long cascade-ruffled skirt for her daughter’s wedding.


Here we have FIT-trained Kimberly working on a gown of her own design. I’ll never drive by a Starbucks again without thinking of her! Some people run on Dunkin’ and others need a good Green Tea Soy Latte, ya know?


Supermom Anna made a strapless silk charmeuse evening gown for her daughter’s prom (that’s her form – made by Anna, of course!). The gown is stunning as it is but will be hand-beaded later. I get tired just thinking about that!


As if she needs any introduction, here is the adorable Gretchen of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing with Best Baster Barb behind her.


The delightful twins, Debby and Dianna. I fell in love with this little Givenchy number from the 1980s. I’ll be making one for myself sometime this year.



Last, but certainly not least, our fearless leader Susan advising Robin on her beautiful guipure lace jacket. Notice Susan’s Million Dollar Suitcase in the background, full of treasures to make you gasp!


As if this wasn’t already more fun than a girl could handle, I came home and had the loveliest weekend in a fitting workshop with two of my students. Fit, fit, fit. Fit, fit, fit. Fit your pattern, fit your pattern. Sing it, KC!

I have to apologize for the terrible quality of my photos. “New camera” has been moved to the very top of my wish list! I simply can’t subject you, my dear readers, to these substandard photos any longer. I still have many more Boot Camp photos to post so stay tuned!



Filed under Couture Boot Camp, Miscellaneous

Simplicity 2443 – Part III

This pattern calls for ribbon to be used for the front tie closures. As an exercise in futility I went to JoAnn’s this morning to see, if by chance, they had twill tape that would match. Hahahaha (snort). So, I decided to cut 2″ wide strips of self-fabric on the bias. That worked well but then I had to decide how to finish the ends. Normally, I would either tie a knot or use a cord end or bead. A cord end was out of the question because, with eight ties, that’s a lot of extra weight on one side of a lightweight jacket.

I experimented with knots with raw edges exposed or tucked in and decided it would just be too much. The last option was to tuck in the ends and hand sew them shut. It took awhile but I think it was worth the effort.


I’m going to leave the bodice on the dressform while I begin working on the sleeves. I still have to decide what to do with those welts.


House update: Tile, tile, tile. We are breaking up the 18×18 tiles with 4×4 tumbled marble. Jim says otherwise it ends up looking like a mausoleum (which wouldn’t be nice). I LOVE it and can’t wait to take a shower in here.



Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2443 – Part II

I just returned from spending the weekend in Dunellon. We were supposed to go up on Valentine’s Day weekend but had to cancel because of the accident. We enjoyed a lovely belated Valentine’s Day dinner with Bryan’s parents on Saturday night and then headed home late yesterday morning.

My asthma is in high gear today so I’ve stayed home but that isn’t preventing me from doing a little sewing. The steam from my iron is good for me, don’t you think?

This is a very easy jacket, really. However, extra care must be taken with all of the details on the front. Namely, making sure that everything matches and lines up properly. A trick I learned from Marta Alto years ago is to lay the fronts on top of each other. This is a foolproof way to make sure everything lines up.


Since this jacket is unlined and linen is so ravelly, I decided to use flat-felled seams whenever possible. The bonus is that flat-felled seams provide nice structure and support to the garment.

I’m pleased with the way the fronts look with the exception of that funky little welt doohickey between the pockets. Honestly, I’m not sure if I want to remove it altogether or replace it with something else.


House update: The first – and most important – row of tiles has gone in. Tomorrow the real work begins.


I have to express my frustration with my mortgage company. When you have a lot of damage to your home, the mortgage company is listed as one of the payees on all checks so they have to sign off before anyone can get paid. And they seem to love taking their sweet time about it! And, to make matters worse, they somehow expect me to make 90% of the repairs with 20% of the money. If I could figure out a way to do that I’d be in high demand on the public speaking circuit, wouldn’t I?


Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Simplicity 2443

I’m moving on to this adorable little jacket from Cynthia Rowley. It’s unlined and just the thing to wear over a tank this summer. Plus it has lots of little pieces that’ll be perfect to work on in small blocks of time.

Notice the Year of the Jacket ticker in the sidebar. 12 jackets? I hope I can do it!


I am going to work with this beautiful Ellen Tracy linen that I bought at Cynthia’s Fine Fabrics a few years ago.


DAILY (oh, how I love that!) HOUSE PROGRESS:

The plasterer is applying the skim coat as we speak.


The tile chipper has been going all day in my bathroom. Getting this terra cotta tile out has proven to be pretty difficult (how great that I don’t have to do it!) but the demo should be finished tomorrow so the tile man can start on Monday. I want to add another cubby to the shower over the weekend and get a plumber out to do the preliminary work for new faucets.


The window company was also out this morning to measure for the new French doors. You know, I was very apprehensive about letting someone else manage this project for me but now I am so glad I did because things are moving along like clockwork!


Filed under Miscellaneous, Simplicity, Year of the Jacket

Another McCall’s 5984 – Final

It’s been a pretty stressful week and I was glad to have something to work on to take my mind off of everything else. Although at times it was not easy to concentrate with all the noise!


The only thing I still have to take care of are the closures. I didn’t get around to calling Pacific Trimming about snaps and then Els suggested I try buttons. I’ll play around with that tomorrow.

As I mentioned before, I eliminated the inverted pleat at the back. This not only cut down on sewing time but also gives this jacket a different look from the first one. If you do this, don’t forget to add an ease pleat to your lining.


Ordinarily, I would catchstitch the upper and under collar seams together from the inside but this boucle hides stitches so well that I was able to ditch-stitch from the right side.


Again, I added a hanging chain. I wasted so much time yesterday looking for the leftover chain from the first jacket. I remember putting it away but don’t remember where. Last night I finally went back to Michael’s and bought more.


The hole in my house has finally been repaired – yay! Concrete block was laid in the center of the hole and is flanked by rebar-reinforced poured concrete columns. I just love the little funnels attached to the top of the plywood forms.


It looks really good from the inside.


I decided not to redo the cedar closet. It was something that my ex wanted and it will feel nice to have one less bit of him in the house. I need to start looking at closets to get some idea of what to do in here.


I had no trouble picking out new tile. I wanted Travertine but also wanted something really durable and low maintenance. I was thrilled to find this porcelain tile that looks like natural stone so I can have the look without worrying about staining and periodic resealing. I propped it against my tumbled Travertine backsplash and I think it looks amazingly realistic.


My cat Ricki has been completely stressed out since work began on Monday and has been hiding under one bed or another. Kanga, the lady of the house, has been totally pissed off. She just lays on the sofa and tries to put voodoo curses on the workers.


Winnie Whiskers, OTOH, was completely undisturbed by the noise and commotion. She’s so ladylike, isn’t she?


Tomorrow I have to shop for faucets and moldings. I’m thinking of upgrading all of my door casings in the bathroom so I’ll need to get that done before tiling begins.


Filed under McCall's, Miscellaneous, Year of the Jacket

My clothes won’t shut up!

For the past few months, I’ve been following the What Did You Wear Today & Why? thread over at Artisan’s Square and have been inspired to try a little harder each and every day. When you live in a hot climate like I do, most of your outfits consist of one (a dress) or two (top/bottom) pieces. I’ve been trying to put together more interesting outfits and to layer and accessorize more. Well, guess what I discovered? Because of this two-piece dressing habit, most of my tops are “speakers” rather than “listeners”! I am in desperate need of basic tops and bottoms so I’ve put aside my other projects so that I can fill this void. It’s not terribly exciting sewing so I probably won’t blog about it until after I’ve finished a few pieces. To start, I’ll need:

*Long or 3/4 sleeved tees in solid brights and neutrals
*Short-sleeved tees in solid brights and neutrals
*Shirts/blouses in light neutrals
*Black pants
*Khaki pants
*Solid skirts in khaki, brown and black
*Skinny jeans in dark indigo and brown
*A jean-style jacket in corduroy

I haven’t sewn much in the past two weeks because I’m trying to get all of my Christmas decorations up. There is still so much to do and, frankly, I’m a little nervous that I won’t complete my exterior illumination before Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day to all of you here in the U.S. – think of all the sewing time we’ll gain over the next week by not having to cook!


Filed under Build The Outfit, Miscellaneous

Wow, I’m honored!

Fellow Sewing Diva Mary Beth found this article about top sewing sites on the web today: Ten Best Sewing Blogs

I was thrilled that the Sewing Divas were mentioned and about fell out of my chair to see my personal blog mentioned. Needless to say, this has made my day. 🙂


Filed under Miscellaneous