Archive for October, 2009

TV to sew by

I finished the top of my niece’s fuschia(!) Christmas dress, according to pattern. I took forever and a lot of care, binding the seam allowances and carefully topstitching. Since I always want to finish(!) projects(!) already(!), I promised myself I would only do the top last weekend.

Even better, I didn’t print out the tiered skirt tutorial so there’d be no temptations.

EVEN better, a kooky movie starring Rosalind Russell as Mother Superior was on the old UHF — Where Angels Go, Troubles Follow.

tour bus

Hip shindigs, mod dresses, nuns looking fabulous and learning about modernity…

hip shindig @ boys' school

How is Rosalind *so* glam in a black habit?

glam mother superior

No se. Has to be the sunglasses?

I love mindless movies to sew by — Svengoolie’s selections being my favorite. A good radio story works, too. A little Sewing By Nancy on PBS? Music’s ok sometimes, but I prefer a story.

Does anybody else sew to anything in particular? Songs, movies, TV? Silence?

It’s going to be a pink Christmas.

Sigh. The reason I started selling clothes online at all was precisely to sell off all the pink vintage clothing I found. Stuff that was so beautiful, but pink. No sir, I don’t like it. 

So of course, my niece, whose Christmas dress I make every year, chose p-i-n-k this time. In my favorite fabric store ever, during our special trip, just girls, she swept past teal velour, purple velvet, silvery knit and plunked her finger squarely on a hot pink baby corduroy.


With glitter, see?.

Efforts to push the dusty rose (and gray) taffeta were promptly denied.  

So this dress will be hot pink. And super twirly.

Since Gaffney’s is amazing, I grabbed up out of the quarter bin (not the yardage, the price) a chunk of this cotton that might make the bindings.


Close enough? I know it hardly screams “holiday”. But neither does pink.


Fitted: One giant purple silk blouse

My purple obsession is bordering on…obsessive. I am heeding advice to stock up while everyone thinks purple’s all fresh and trendy, for the days when my love is finally left alone.

Grabbed up a size 22 shell at the thrifts for $2. It’s a beautiful purple color and it’s pure silky silk.

blouse purple silk before

The neck has some great details, too. There used to be an invisible zipper up the side — no more. I thought this was going to be a simple fix – pull in the sides, pin, baste, sew. And you know I love refitting giant tops to fit me because of the resulting long length and the de facto cap sleeves.

Alas, some pesky darts got in the way. My refashions are sometimes lazy. I didn’t want to rehem anything or refinish any edges. So I ended up making darts on my own to pull up the slack so the front matched the back at the armhole and hem.

blouse purple silk new dart

Took three tries to get it right. Here’s one of the mistakes

blouse purple silk bad dart

I kept trying very long darts that went along the bias and were hard to sew. Unclear why – had some impression from a vintage pattern it was the way to go.

In the end, wide, straight darts ended up working right.

Tried out a Hong Kong finish on the edges to keep it all smart looking, cutting the tape from the side scraps. So little waste!

blouse purple silk hong kong finish
blouse purple silk hong kong finish

And now I have a new silk blouse.

That’s so ready for a stretchy purple sequined belt.


Dresses make good gifts.

The same little girl who got these dresses for her and her mom gets a custom Christmas dress every year made by her faraway aunt. I figure if I can’t spend time with her, I’ll spend time on her. And twirly dresses are super fun. Best part of all: We’ll get to take a trip to Gaffney’s together next weekend where she’ll get to pick whatever fabric she wants.  

Kiddo wants something like this, the Love To Twirl. In green. I haven’t yet seen an exact pattern, with tiers starting right under your shoulders, but I found these two Simplicity patterns on sale at the JoJo that I think could work. How don’t I already have anything close?

So 2711 is for wovens and 2943 (Project Runway for kids now?!) for knits.

Simplicity 2711
Simplicity 2943

I think the trick’s going to be getting the upper body to fit her, then to chop the bodice high and start adding tiers. This tutorial should come in handy.