Tuesday, October 30, 2012

inspiration and another black skirt.

I think what I love most about the blogging community is the willingness to inspire and share ideas. JR and I were watching a decorating show in television the other day and the designers talked about going to their favorite "inspiration places"  so that they could brainstorm and design their next project. It might be a park, a diner, a smoothie stand, etc.

He asked me if I had any favorite "inspiration" places.
"Other than church?" No, not that kind of inspiration place.
"Other than my sewing room? A fabric store?"

Well, no. I must confess I don't really "go" anyplace to be inspired other than to my computer.. I have everything I need right here at my fingertips for inspiration... Where else can I go to see all of the latest runways or newest fabric trends?  There's Ravelry and Pattern Review and countless email updates from independant pattern designers. Not to mention department stores, online magazines, Pinterest and Polyvore, where I can actually play around with a wardrobe idea. But my best inspiration comes from reading other blogs, and the comments you leave here.

Amanda left a comment the other day about the  Vogue 8815 black ponte top, suggesting putting it with a ponte skirt from my closet, for a new version of the LBD. Brilliant!
Then I was reading a blog post at the Carnival of skirts, where Rachelle shared an inspiration photo and her version of a lace panel skirt.

And I hit the jackpot of inspiration. And lucky me, because I have an event to attend  which requires some dress-up. But the last thing I want to do is make a dress that I may never wear again, and the first thing I want to do is make something that can be used over and over again.  Seperates were the answer, and jusshing up a black ponte pencil skirt and a peplum top seemed to be the perfect answer. I made a quick sketch:

So here we go, so far: This is the same pencil skirt using Simplicity 2475. After assembling the skirt bottom,

I cut out the slip lining from a tricot thrift store slip.

And sewed the slip lining to the skirt at the top edge.
                                                   (this is the view from the south!)

The waistband is constructed with interfacing on the front band and elastic sewn in the back band:

Then the entire band is closed at the bottom.

                                            And attached to the top of the skirt.
                                                              (This is the back view)

A quick hem will be added tonight and the peplum top made up so that I will have a LBD in separates!
 I had considered underlining the lace with tricot, but I really wanted to have that layer effect for movement. I am loving the way the lace can be it's own thing over that slip lining.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

the faces I love

                                    I pretty much can't resist sharing some family today.

last week was Jon J's birthday. He is taller than I am now! And he is a young man who is intelligent, caring, polite, interesting, passionate and very funny. He was my first grandson. I love the person he has become.

                    These are the faces I think of each morning, and before I fall asleep at night. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I just love appropriately spooky Halloween stuff. I am totally into making and wearing costumes (although not wearing them much these days….the last time we wore costumes for a party, we had an embarrassing moment dressed as an Amish couple on our way to the event, which I’d rather forget…) But I still get to make a few costumes each year for a grandchild or two, which is a blast. ( I heard a report on the radio that more adults dress up than children do these days) Actually, I think sewing costumes is about my favorite kind of sewing. This year we are attempting Sofia the Elephant and Jon J the green army man.

Sof got to try on her costume tonight....of course, she's adorable.

"Mimi, you forgot one thing....a peanut."

I have a few cute Halloween vignettes around the house…my two favorites involving a couple of birdcages we got at auction two weeks in a row. The first week , I came home with an antique cage that is perfectly aged, sturdy, and made from black iron and wood. It’s SO old and SO cool. I have some fun ideas for it...just waiting for some details to come together.

And the second week, JR mistakenly bid up to $12 for a newer, imported rickety bamboo cage that certainly got a reaction from me…sort of like “WHAT are you thinking!?!?!” After he won it, he just figured “you win some, you lose some.”

Well, I was determined to turn this looser into a winner. So out came the black spray paint and the sanding block, and a glittery captive for the cage.

It now resides on the dining room table with a couple of old bottles and candles and copies of vintage Halloween photos.

Spooky, but not too spooky....

Which is exactly how I like my Halloween. Are you sewing any costumes this year?

Monday, October 22, 2012

oh, dang. I love this skirt.

And the Fall Wardrobe Sewing continues:

This is Simplicity 2475,.. an "Amazing Fit" Pattern. I made this pattern once before, using a black ponte and houndstooth.

I was absolutely inspired by The Curry Skirt from Cabi. It was one of those things I "desired to the point of distraction" that I talked about a few days ago.

And then , in July, I was at Field's Fabrics in Holland, Michigan and there was that incredible, thick and amazing yellow ponte fabric. I knew I had a pattern, so it was only a matter of time before I made my own version using the Simplicity pattern.

And here it is:

And this is what I love about the right kind of ponte knit:

                  It stretches and recovers!  This is officially my favorite skirt in the closet right now!

Now, let me tell you how I changed this pattern...
1. No zipper.
2. Waistband is interfaced in the front, and there is 2" wide elastic inserted in the back.
3. Topstitched the seams.
4. Eliminated the vents.
5. My secret thrift store slip lining was added.

Next, I am using this same pattern to make a skirt from black stretch bengaline with a lace insert panel front and back....I'm so excited!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

the lazy seamstress and how she lines a ponte skirt

I’d like to share a little secret.

I am a lazy seamstress. I'll admit it. Although I appreciate and love the process, I do look for shortcuts providing they don't compromise construction or detail.

One of my favorite things to wear is a ponte knit skirt. I’ve bought a few, I've made a few, and well, the issue I have is this:

I like to wear tights with my ponte knit skirts.

And I also have like to wear shapewear, so the last thing I want to do is add an additional layer of a half or whole slip over my shapewear and tights, just so my tights don’t stick to my ponte.

Does that make sense?

So, a long time ago, I was thinking about lining knit skirts….and examining RTW and it occurred to me that using a bemberg lining on a ponte skirt sort of defeats the enjoyment of knit fit. I like the stretch, and bemberg and ponte sort of contradict each other.

I came up with this…I actually combine the slip and the skirt. One day, I was browsing through a thrift store and it hit me that those wonderful tricot knit slips of old would make a perfect lining for ponte skirts. And, if I buy right, I don’t have to manipulate the thrift slip all that much, and I end up with a pretty lining hem as a bonus.

So, it goes like this…find a slip.
(this slip cost  99 cents!)

Cut it off to the appropriate length needed to line your skirt.

I pin my hem up first for a rough idea of where to cut the top off the slip lining. Re-size the slip if necessary by taking in seams.

                                                Using a serger makes this step a no-brainer.

And that’s your lining.

This particular skirt has a waist band, So I assemble the skirt to the point of adding the waist band...

And then, pin and attach my slip lining to the skirt.

Then just proceed as usual.  It's my go-to solution for knit skirts and great solution for me since I have limited resources around here for a knit lining fabric that’s appropriate. It also satisfies the lazy side of me because the lining requires very little finishing and fussing.
By the way, I've also used thrift slips to underline ponte skirts when needed.

This ponte knit skirt is being made from Simplicity 2475 and will be one of the skirts I am making for Faye Lewis' Carnival of Skirts.. Check it out if you are need of some skirt inspiration!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vogue 8815

I am in Peplum Love. Serious Peplum Love. This is the famous Vogue 8815, with modifications.

The first version, I made from a coated knit fabric that I found at Joann's. It has a nice sturdy hand, and a cool lace print. It was a dream to work with.
I am wearing it with a black ponte skirt that I made last year. But I could wear it with about a hundred different things in my closet.  I made some changes to the pattern. Of course. I scooped out the neckline to open it up more. And I eliminated the zipper in the back. I also added about an inch to the bodice, and took in the sleeves after shortening them to 3/4 length.

This is the second top this week....made from black ponte from the stash. I finished the neckline using a pretty standard self band finish.

hmmm...see that spot? must be on my camera lens...

This is another top that I could wear with so many things in my closet.  Oh my gosh, isn't the peplum about the most flattering, best ever trend these days? I wish I had gotten on it sooner, and I can't wait to make a few more. By the way, ponte is a FABULOUS choice for this Vogue pattern.

I can't think of a style which could be more universally flattering for many figure types...suggesting curves where you need them and camouflaging curves where you don't want them. It works on it's own or with a layer. With skirts or pants.

I think I want to make a white one, a faux leather one, a red one....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

desiring to distraction...what I'm obsessing about

Things I am obsessing about:


Caramel apples

organizing a special sewing swap ..anyone in? I've organized them before and have had some great themes and fun ideas for sharing.

knitting socks

Vintage shops on the go

Got anything on your mind that won't go away?