Friday, December 31, 2010

10,000 Hours of Sewing Challenge: 2010 A Year in Review

This has been a great year indeed!!!! This is actually my favorite part of the year. Oh how I love to look back and reflect on all that I've sewn up and all that I've learned in the process. Of course you know that the premise for my blog is to ultimately log 10,000 Hours of Sewing (including sewing related activities) over the next several years (see my sidebar for details). I'm pleased to announce that I did indeed meet my goal of 1000 hours of sewing for the year by logging 1006 hours. Thank You Jesus! Boy I was cutting it close but with roughly 2 weeks off from work I was able to rack up the remaining hours I needed. So let me stop for a moment to celebrate---YAY!!!!---because as we know it's not easy to be disciplined. I'm happy I was able to reach my goal! Now just 6,000 more to go......

So the total of garments I made for the year were as follows:

Dresses    13
Skirts        1 (Burda skirt I still need to photograph and review)
Pants         4
Tops         11
Bathing suits      2
Client Sewing    2
Gifts for others   2
Wadders 6

So I made a total of 35 items this year (wadders not included of course). I understand what you mean Tasia, I thought I'd sewn up much more too! LOL! But it's all good and I've had fun doing so.

Now on to my favorite picks for the year:
My favorites were....

 Butterick 5562---The top I just reviewed on yesterday.....


Vogue 8593---made 3 versions (only 2 pictured)

Simplicity 3503--made 2 versions (only 1 pictured)

Butterick 5212---The Greek Goddess dress

Vogue 1020---made 3 versions of this dress (only 2 pictured here)

Jalie 2909---my First pair of pants!

Simplicity 3867---made 3 versions of this top (only 2 pictured here).

Burda 7549

Kwik Sew 3503---made my First swimsuit--2 versions (only one pictured here)
As you can tell I love to sew multiples versions of a great pattern!

My Biggest Flop for the Year.....

  My Brown corduroy jacket. I spent 2 weeks on making this (several of those days were spent on research). I stupidly only tissue fitted the pattern and should have done a muslin and of course measured more carefully. It turns out that I didn't properly alter for my narrow back---the problem is I didn't alter at all. With everything cut up and mostly sewn it's kinda difficult to go back and correct a narrow back. I refuse to wear anything ill-fitting. Besides, I don't feel like ripping out all those seams. So I'll have to scrap this one which is so hard to do! I'm not one to admit defeat especially with such a stupid mistake. But they happen. Fortunately I have enough corduroy and lining remaining and will remake it hopefully in the near future. Besides I learned some pretty interesting things from researching this project and will share them in a future post.

The Highlights of the Year were:

1. I organized my patterns and created a great Pattern Filing System
2. I made my first bathing suit--twice!
3. I sewed my first pair of pants. I have no idea why I didn't make more than one.
4. I celebrated my First Blogoversary and hosted a FUN giveaway!
5. I bought a 70"X35" Olfa rotary cutter mat and became a huge fan of rotary cutters.
6. I got several things on my Christmas wish list: blind hemmer, Threads DVD Rom, Steam iron.
7. I worked on making the essentials for my wardrobe and bought some needed wardrobe accessories.

Plans for 2011

1. To sew a jacket---dressy and casual.
2. Finish making the essentials for my wardrobe: LBD, black skirt, white shirt, cardigans etc.
3. Find a velva board/ needle board (nicely priced) so I can sew with corduroy. Using a rolled up terry towel worked but there's nothing like having a specific tool for the job. I've got to make another brown corduroy jacket.
4. Get some clothing labels made. I've been waiting to develop a logo for my business but I can't wait anymore. For the life of me if I make one more garment without a label I'll scream.
5. Do more client alterations. Hey I'm trying to rack up some business/money this year!
6. Buy less fabric! Ok, I know you've heard this promise before and are rolling your eyeballs but I mean it. I'm trying to actually save up some money this year and purchase something big---like a coverstitch machine.
7.Buy a coverstitch machine. Let's face it---knits are mostly what I sew. And it's time consuming to convert my serger to a coverstitch and back. It'd be easier to have a separate machine. I will save up for one myself:)
8. Buy a custom dress from from Andy's Dressforms. Amanda is there anyway I could contact you with questions about this?  I have the smallest back in the world and need to get a custom form to help me fit it.
 9. and of course..... Rack up another 1000 sewing hours!!!!!

Well that's it for now. I'm going to take the next week off to get focused for the New Year! Like most of you I'm still wondering what happened to 2010. It blew by so fast. When I get back I'll reveal my 10,000 Hours of Sewing challenge goals for January & February.

Thanks as always for following along with my zany sewing adventures! I can't express how much interacting with you guys over the last year has meant! I want to wish You and Yours a very Happy New Years! Take Care and God Bless:) See you in a week......

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Butterick 5562---The top that had me drooling....

All I can say is I absolutely love, love, love this top. I know the ruched and puffy sleeves are back in style and although I was a little skeptical about the pattern I decided to give it a chance. I'm so happy I did because I love this top!!! It's one of my favorites for the year!!! I wanted to get this review done before the end of the year so that meant no camera man. So here's the top on my beloved dressform. It's so much prettier on. You can wear it with a belt or without. Plus it's so comfortable. I'll post a picture of me in it soon.....

12/31/10 Pic update:

(Front view w/ belt. It's actually just as cute w/o it. The sleeves are definitely the "attention- getters".)

Pattern Description:
Close fitting pullover tops with various sleeve styles. I made view B which had the elasticized sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the small.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Oh yes! Definitely! The pictures I took on my dressform doesn't really do the top justice!
(Side view of sleeve)

(Entire sleeve view)

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very much so!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I'm learning more and more that it doesn't take a million pattern pieces to create a great garment. In this case there are only 3 and they yielded a spectacular top! I love the ruched sleeve and it's extra long length.

Fabric Used:
I used a royal blue stable knit (only stretched crosswise) and is somewhat thick like a ponte de roma or double knit. In my opinion a slightly thicker knit in this case helped the ruched sleeves retain their shape. The color of this knit is spectacularly dark and rich. The flash from some of my pics definitely distorted this.
(Pic of blouse in natural light w/o flash. Isn't the color just spectacular)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did the following:

1. Stabilized the shoulder seam with clear elastic (I do this with all of my knits).
2. I cut the size small but since my knit isn't so stretchy I was sure to reduce the seam allowance from 5/8" to 3/8" from the waist down to give me just a little extra room.
3. I accidentally used the elastic guide for top A instead of the one intended for this blouse (view B). The elastic guide for top A was slightly longer which means my ruching isn't as tight as originally intended or as pronounced. I'm happy I made the mistake because I love the results. I'll make future versions this way as well.
4. I used clear elastic. There was no way in the world that I would use some white braided elastic. The clear is a little tougher to stretch but it worked wonders.
5. As always I inserted my sleeve in flat and then sewed from the sleeve down the side seams.
(View of clear elastic on lower part of sleeve)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes! I'm debating on doing it in a pattern or another bold solid color.

If you're not afraid of a puffy ruched sleeve then this is the top for you. I really love this pattern. It went together quick and yielded stellar results. I'm tempted to convert this pattern into a dress:)

Monday, December 27, 2010

What has the world come to.....

when you can market something called "Pajama jeans".
 I was laying out fabric for a pattern when I saw the infomercial for Pajama jeans. Have you seen it?  Can you say "disturbing". Had I not seen the commercial and only read the title I wouldn't know what to make out of this product. But to me the commercial, although explanatory is a bit strange. Here's the Pajama jean infomercial. Now tell me why I would want to wear jeans that feel as soft as pajamas. Or to work out in. Or to sleep in. In all fairness, I see where they're trying to go with this. I mean who doesn't want extremely comfortable jeans. And of course jeggings are all the craze since they're the best of jeans and a legging and are extremely comfortable. And everyone doesn't want to wear comfortable sweat pants all of the time. So hence the Pajama Jean.  But you have to admit the name Pajama jeans is a bit strange and confusing. Marketing jeans that feel like pajamas. That's some marketing strategy! To that I say No-Thank You! LOL!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Praying that you have an awesome Christmas filled with much Love, Family, Fellowship and of course Great Food! May you be overtaken with all of Life's Blessings.
Much love to you and yours~ Victoria

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coats on the Brain/ New Simplicity Patterns

As a follow up to my last post I went on the hunt for knitting yarn for a project I hoped to undertake while I was out of town for the weekend celebrating Christmas with family. Well I went to Hancock's to find the yarn but had no luck. I refuse to take on any other knitting project so I'm putting this one on hold until I can figure out how to get the yarn I want for a better price. I may have to wait for a sale. No problem--- I'll wait for a little while if it means it saves me a little mullah.

Anywho, while I was a Hancock's I couldn't help but notice the 50% off sale on tons of fabric, coating in particular. Then I spotted 2 pieces of fabric that would make awesome coats. You see I've recently taken an interest in coats since I realized I don't own too many of them. I've decided that I want a few additional stylish coats---- you know to match the stylish clothes I'm trying to make. Hey you have to have options to be stylish, don't you (wink)! Seriously, my wardrobe is lacking a black dressy coat and maybe a casual coat and something a little in between. Well I think the 2 fabrics I spotted will help me on the casual and "in-between" end. Here's the fabrics I bought and the patterns I've paired with them.....
The picture doesn't do this fabric justice but it's a sherpa fabric with lime suede. It's the lightest yet spunkiest color and it would be perfect with my skin tone. For this coat I'd only want something simple and would love to have the sherpa collar and cuffs visible.---like in this picture here.....
or like this one.....

Here's the other fabric....
 Sorry for the bright pattern pic. But this fabric is equally lovely and is a poly/rayon/spandex blend. The weight is perfect for a double breasted coat. I  have exactly 2 yds, which is what this pattern requires so I'm cutting it close.

So I'm happy I found the coat fabrics. I've got so many things lined up to sew and if I can at least get one of these done I'd be a happy woman. Tailoring a coat is a bit of an involved process and I am still very much a novice. We'll see what happens.....

But just as I'm geared up to do a little more winter sewing, Simplicity releases it's Spring patterns to remind me that the change of season is right around the corner. I was happy to pick up these looks.....

Here are the casual looks. I love how stylish the rolled and tabbed sleeves and hemlines are.

Here are the fancier one's!!! So pretty!!!

Ok, that's it for now.....I've got some more cooking/planning/packing to do. Happy "Eve" of Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Itchin' to Knit .....and I NEED YOUR help!!!

I haven't knit in FOREVER! Seriously, It's definitely been several years. Remember, I taught myself to knit and crochet when I was like 8 and did it for years. I've never did any fancy socks or cardigans but I sure could churn out some afghans, pillows, and other crafty stuff. Well I've had the sudden urge to knit up a scarf or several scarves. Mainly because I've recently became obsessed with scarves and would definitely like to make a few of my own. Secondly, I'll be out of town this weekend for Christmas and would like to bring something I could work on while I'm away from my Babies (my Sewing machines). I used to knit scarves back in the day and would defintely like to pick it back up.

In search of  a quick scarf pattern to accomplish this weekend, I ran across this Lion Brand pattern

Let's just say I was immediately SMITTEN! I love the style and look of this scarf. It's perfect! Plus it could be made relatively quickly---in a couple of hours or so. So today I set out to look for the yarn and the size 50 Knitting needles (those babies are huge). Well I found the needles at Michael's but after looking at Jo-Ann's, Michael's, and Wal-Mart for the yarn I turned up empty handed. I'm running out of options. Where can I find this in town. Tomorrow I'll check A.C. Moore and Hancock Fabrics. I'm getting desperate!!! Where can I find this yarn????? I hope I find it so I can have it for my weekend trip. But if not, I still want it.
This is where I can use your help. I know I can purchase this online---at the Lion Brand site, Jo-Ann's,, and a few more places (I even checked Ebay). I just don't want to pay the $7+ a skein. Are there any discount yarn sites that you use and recommend? I'm certain I can find this for cheap online somewhere. If not then I can get it from Jo-Ann's. Can you use your mailed coupons for online purchases? I'm just trying to find the cheapest way to get the yarn I need to make the "scarf of my dreams". Thanks in advance for your advice.

Monday, December 20, 2010

McCall 6084---a Stylish Cardigan

In July I purchased some great fabric bundles and blogged about my desire to sew up several cardigans HERE.  I've been meaning to make cardigans for some time and am happy I FINALLY got around to doing so. I had a friend's birthday party this weekend and needed a cute and effortless outfit to wear. Plus I wanted to wear the boots I just bought on Black Friday. So I figured a cute and quick cardigan would do the trick. This cardigan went together so fast that it was ridiculous (even for a slow poke like me).

Pattern Description:
Cardigans A, B, C, D have cascading shawl collar with shaped front hems, wrong side of fabric shows. I made view D with the long sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut the smallest size which is the xs (extra small). I cut this size because I was concerned there may be too much ease in this pattern. I wanted my fit to be a little more snug then the pattern envelope picture. I normally wear a size 12 in knits but this would have meant that I cut the size Medium and I knew that would just be way too big on me. So I debated cutting the extra small vs the small. And after taking my lightweight (yet very stretchy) knit into consideration and the fact that I have a narrow back (14" across) and 36C bust, I figured even if I cut the xs I'd have enough ease. I'm happy I went with my gut instinct because I liked the results.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Super easy! It took me a minute to figure to sew he front and back pieces together around the neck and shoulders but as you can tell I finally figured it out.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Fabric Used:
I used some lightweight knits that I purchased from Walmart. They're are thinner then I'd prefer for a dress or even top, but they're perfect for cardigans. Ideally I wish they had a little Lycra in them but they're nice as is. For this pattern I think the proper knit choice is crucial. Too heavy of a knit will make the collar and front appear to bulky. A thinner knit allows for better draping. Of course you guys know that, you've seen RTW knits.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I actually reduced the length by 3" by folding out 1.5" on the bottom fold/lengthen line. I was nervous this would be too long. Looking at the finished product I think the next time I'll only reduce the length by 1.5". I would like the back to be a little longer, especially if I want to wear it with a belt. As a side note, I actually didn't finish any of the seams on this. The knit doesn't fray or ravel and was just so lightweight that I didn't think it was necessary. I just made sure I cut everything straight.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Absolutely and Absolutely! I have a ton of fabric left and want to make this in several more colors. Plus this pattern is super easy to put together. It took me just a little over 2 hours to complete. But I don't want to get too carried away because I'd like to try some of my other cardigan patterns with this same fabric

Great patterns that's super easy to make and very stylish! It's definitely a keeper and great for a little wardrobe building.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vogue 8593........for the third time!

Hey I have no problem whatsoever exploiting a GREAT pattern!!! I bought this great printed Ponte knit print from Jo-Ann's several weeks ago and knew it would be perfect for another version of Vogue 8593. I made and reviewed this dress HERE and Right Here . I love both versions trememdously. But I have to admit that there was something really special about this dress. The fabric feels awesome and is borderline heavenly. This dress is extremely comfortable and I think very flattering. I have to admit though I wouldn't wear this after a full course meal. I'd have to do some serious sucking in!!!! LOL!!!!!

For this version, I only lengthened this dress an additional 2" inches. I was nervous that the thickness of the fabric would creat too much bulk in the pleated neckline. But that wasn't the case. In addition to edgestitching I also tacked down the front facing on the shoulder seams and a inconspicously in a few pleats in the front. As far as construction goes, I inserted the sleeves in flat and then sewed from the sleeve down to the side seam. I'm really beginning to like sewing my knits that way.

So the wrap up is, after 3 times I'm still very much in love with this pattern. I think I may enter it into my TNT Pattern Hall of Fame. I recommend this dress wholeheartedly to others!!!!!

 (My bad posture created these wrinkle. Otherwise it fits me perfectly)

(My fabric upclose)

(My favorite Shoe bootie's)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Time Management Truths........

I was listening to a  Joyce Meyers Podcast (I love her practical teachings) the other day and she said some pretty interesting things in regards to time. I thought they'd be appropriate to share here, especially since my entire blog is centered around devoting 10,000 hours of my time to the sewing craft.

One of the things she said is that We ALL have the same amount of time to work with. That's right, I just stated the obvious! LOL! But, seriously, that's a fact that I sometimes take for granted. No one has anymore time or any less. The only main difference is how we choose to use it! In the past I was always notorious about saying that "I had so little time" or "I was always so busy", but in reality I don't have anymore time than anyone else. So in a way, complaining about time is somewhat pointless. We're always going to fell like we never have enough time. That's just a reality that's often pointless for me to address. Mainly because it becomes a stumbling block. I spend so much time fretting about what time I don't have that I pay less attention to the time I do have and and what I could be accomplishing with it.  Am I maximizing it's potential or am I wasteful of it? Why are some people more productive then others? Why are some people more successful then others?  How can I maximize my productivity. 

The second thing she said was about how she organizes her personal schedule. She said that  doesn't just set a schedule, she continues to shape her schedule. I guess this is something that I've naturally had to learn to do with time. I have to be honest and admit to a large degree I'm a planner. .I'm pretty devoted to the idea of creating a daily plan of action (that is when I'm not being lazy). But rarely does any of my plans pan out the way I intend. So I understand exactly the importance of "reshaping" your plans to maximize the time you have. This drives my husband crazy--but he's the easy going don't need a schedule kind of guy (which is why we're just perfect for each other---one of us is uptight about time and the other is pretty laid back LOL!!!).

Ok, so I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this this. Well to be honest, I've come to realize that it's important for me to continually evaluate how I spend my time. With all of the responsibilities that swamp us in life it's quite common to feel just plain out of control with things. But the truth of the matter is that I've got control---you've got control---we all have control. It's just important to remember that. And no matter how often we feel limited by our time it's important to make the most of the moments we have. Because we all have 24 hours a day--no more and no less! Oftentimes, when I don't have large chunks of time  I take for granted those several minutes that are available that I could be progressing on a garment. Sometimes it seems I spend more time debating whether or not to progress then actually doing so. There's always time loss with that. You can get so much done even in such a small bit of time if you're focused and disciplined.

Anywho, these were two really great thoughts on time to ponder. It's amazing how if you change the way you think about something your actions will change as a result. I feel so empowered by these truths. Let me get back to sewing. I have a few minutes before bed time and I should---I mean I want to make the most of it......

What about you, what thoughts about "time management" inspires you?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Updates, Updates, Updates......

Wow, there's been a lot going on as of late. I guess that's usually the case this time of year. I'm currently trying to get myself together. I tend to do this at the end of every year. I plan to clean and gut out the entire house of unwanted stuff. I'm on a war path to re-organize. I've had to stop sewing for a couple of days to organize the sewing studio. I'm beginning to realize that I can't operate in total chaos (just partial chaos) so organization helps me out tremendously.  I've been working on filing away new patterns. I've also started a new separate notebook for TNT patterns so I can get to them at a moment's notice if needed. I now have 5- 3 ring binders holding the pattern envelope in clear sheet protectors. Of course the patterns and guide sheets are stored in the 6X9" manila envelopes and are stored in drawers (I've posted about this system before HERE). To tell you the truth, I still haven't completely filed all of the patterns. I'm telling you, having to do this much work discourages me from wanting to buy more patterns for sure.
3 of the 5 Binders full of Pattern envelopes

Giveaway Round up....
Last month I enjoyed hosting several giveaways but on the flip side I was fortunate to win 3 Giveaways! I don't usually win things but to win three times within 2 weeks was jaw dropping for me! Here are my prizes....

Many thanks to Peter for the lovely Vintage pattern, Robin for the pretty Silk scarf, and Faye for the cool "Denim Revolution" Book!

Wardrobe essentials
I wrote a post on Lacking the Winter Wardrobe essentials last month but was able to able to rectify that situation on the accesory and shoe end. I am proud to say that thanks to the Black Friday sale I was able to update my wardrobe with the essentials fairly just in a few store trips. I have to admit that was my first Black Friday sale ever at a place other than Jo-Ann's. In the wee hours of the morning (4am-ish)  my Hubby and I were able to hit up Jc-Penny's and many other stores and the savings I got were huge. I have to admit that I couldn't have found a better group of sales to help me stock up my wardrobe. Here's some of the things I got
Yipee, shoes---from casual to dressy!

My favorite shoe---I love a cute shoe bootie. This one is made by Madden Girl and has a cool zipper rosette sewn on.

I love these boots and need a reason to wear them. Unfortunately the casual dress code at work doesn't give me a real reason to bust them out. I still need a pair of fancy calf high black boots.

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories---from purses, to belts, to scarves--all at deep discounted prices!

Current Projects
I am still plowing away on my corduroy jacket. I'm just a few steps from finishing. All of the separate pieces (sleeves, facing & lining) are sewn and just needed to be sewn all together.I would've been done a while ago before I decided to spend a week testing out a new toy.......

I finally scored the 2009 Threads Archive DVDRom (Thanks to a nice Lady in Canada who sold it to me for $70---50% off---told you I wouldn't pay full price) and I thought I'd take it for a test ride.
 I spent a good deal of time reading up on tailoring jackets, bagging the linging, and different ways to set in sleeves. I enjoyed studying and all of the great reading this DVD-Rom provided. It was nice to "go to school" and the info I learned definitely gave me the "oompp" I need to finish my jacket.

In addition to the jacket I'm working on a matching skirt...
The skirt  is actually sewn up but needs altering. Upon sewing on the waistband facing the skirt stretched so that the waistline was distorted. So I need to take it in and add twill tape. That should be an easy fix.

I've also got this long sleeve dress on the radar and would love to have it to wear to church on Sunday.....
I've made this dress twice before and absolutely love this pattern!

So yes I'm sorta working on three things at one time right now. Things are going pretty smoothly and  I'm happy about all of the projects.

Future projects
Oh, like most of you I've got tons of projects on the "back burner".
I REALLY need some more pants. I have a trio of corduroy fabric (tan, black, & brown) that's just waiting to be made into these wonderful Jalie pants......

I have 5 yards of black velour fabric that I definitely want to transform into this jumpsuit......

Here are some patterns I'd love to sew up within the next 2 months.

Well that's what's been going on with me. I hope to to increase my productivity before the year's end and have some great garments to show for. Keep your fingers crossed. What's been going on with you? Are you able to sew this time of year or is it hard to find the time?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And the Winners are........

The BIG day has finally come! The moment we've been waiting on! Time to announce the winners of the 7 Giveaway prize. Without further delay (drumroll, please) they are....

Giveaway #1 goes to....

Giveaway #2   
 Kim from Garden of Fenway

Giveaway #3

Giveaway #4 
  Sabrina Clementine

Giveaway #5

Giveaway #6  Pick 1 out of 3 options (see fabric details here)

....and the Grand prize---the 2 Threads DVD-ROM's goes to......

Congratulations to all of you Wonderful winners!  Please email me your addresse so I can send you your prize. My email address is posted on the right side of my blog.

Again, Thanks for such a great year! It was my pleasure to host such a great giveaway to reflect such a great year! I've appreciated you Guys' support, comments, advice, etc. (you gave some pretty great responses to the giveaway questions LOL!). Thanks for following along with me on my sewing adventures and as always I wish you the best in all your sewing endeavors:)


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