Evening in the Country...

Evening in the Country...
...a gorgeous view of the WV mountains I get to enjoy everyday. Also the place Bri proposed earlier this year! [Not taken on that day.]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Completing the 4-dart Hat

Don't mind the mess in the background!

I have finally completed my first hat! It's been hard to find time between school and full-time work but I did it! YAY!
This picture shows how I had sewn the hat around the top edge. I did the same with the lining, except I left about a one inch hole in the lining to turn out the hat.

After pressing all the seams, I pinned the fashion to the lining right sides together and pinned along the brim edge. I used a 3/8 inch on all seams.

This is a close-up picture of the finished project. Before I was able to sew the brim I had to iron it flat so that the lining stayed on the inside of the brim.

I hope you like the hat! I really enjoyed being able to put this together and found it super simple to construct. I plan to try a beret or cloche style next! You HAVE to check out McHats' inventory at McHats.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

4 Dart Hat Pattern

I got a 4 dart hat pattern from McHats on etsy.com. The pattern is easy and the instructions are great! Thank you McHats!!! I am almost finished - since hats are simple to construct. I decided to go with a tweed-like purple fabric and for the lining I have a wool crepe de chine. It really looks lovely together. I can't wait to finish but Simpsons came on and I need a break!

I decided to outline the pattern with chalk to make more accurate cuts.

This is the lining completely cut.

Here is the fashion fabric completely cut. I had to use a disappearing marker for the outlining since the fabric is loosely woven.

This is the lining brim sewn to the lining crown and the outer darts sewn together.

This is the fashion fabric brim sewn to the fashion fabric crown. You can see the lining lying with the fashion fabric, to get a better clue as to how the final project will look!

I came to a halt after this step since I need to figure out how to sew the inner dart and finish the brim. I will be ironing the seam allowances and connecting the lining to the fashion fabric. I will need to learn how to finish the brim for a sophisticated finish!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Taking Apart the Fedora

So I have this old fedora hat that has too many memories to keep around. Also it's pink and let's be realistic - I am not going to wear a bright pink fedora hat anytime (if ever) soon. Oh and I forgot to mention the silver buckle has tarnished since its last wearing. Thus I have decided to rip apart the fedora to make a pattern! I noticed while ripping it apart the seams are only 3/8 inch.

Below you can see the steps I took in taking apart the fedora.

I began with the inside band.

Which revealed that the band was covering the raw edges of the top and brim being sewn together.

Next I detached the brim from the top portion.

Here you can see the tarnished silver buckle and bias strap with a centered ribbon.

Here is after the brim is detached and you can see how there is bias binding covering the raw edges of the top.

Here I am detaching the bias strip. The strap was covering the raw edge of the top.

Here you can see how the bias trim is connected to the top.

I am beginning to detach the bias trim.

One of the last things to do was taking apart the bottom and top sections of the brim and undoing the 6 stitching lines. The brim was covered with bias tape made from the pink fashion fabric. The bias tape was topstitched into place to cover the raw edges of the brim.

Here are all my pieces (excluding the four sections of the brim) laid out. As you can see I will need to iron out the seam allowances. I will proceed to copy the sections onto pattern paper.

Saturday Night Hat

I love Saturday Night Hat by Eugenia Kim! It is full of great ideas for any style hat and contains several patterns. Kim divides the book by the different types of hats and also explains that the hats are meant to be made within an hour or so.

Kim gives ideas for berets, cloches, cocktails, fedoras, caps and sun hats. Kim doesn't forget to include the basics and "vital hat-istics" at the end of the book.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finished The Baby Quilt!

Since the baby shower was earlier than I had first thought I finished it tonight!

Here you can see after I finished the quilt seams and turned it right side out.

This is the finished project! I used yellow golden embroidery thread in a diamond shape for the tacks. I really am proud of myself! I really love the fabrics and the golden thread to accentuation!

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Patterns!

I was at Joann Fabrics yesterday during lunch to pick a few patterns from the Vogue catalog. They were on sale for $3.99, so I took advantage. As you can see I chose ones I really really could not do without! Also I plan to use the two Guy Laroche patterns as party dresses and shortening their length!

Baby Quilt for a Friend

This is a photo of the two fabrics I have chosen to use for a baby quilt. The golden yellow thread you see will be "ties" to hold the batting in placed with the two cotton fabrics. I will probably make ties every 2 inches across and every three inches down.

I only needed to buy one yard of each the cotton fabrics and batting.

Here you can see a better view of the pattern on this cotton fabric.

I can't wait to see this finished project!

Continuing Tan Embroidery Skirt

I have gotten a little further on my skirt. I began to cut the lining and finished the seam allowances on the fashion fabric.

Here you can see that I chose to cut out every single piece individually, even the front where it should be a fold. This is a rayon lining and very slippery. After I sew these four lining pieces together, I will make the hem at least an inch shorter than the fashion fabric hem.

That means I need to decide now on how long I want my skirt. A choice I wasn't ready to decide but need before I hand baste the lining to the fashion fabric.

Here you can see that I began to press the seam allowances utilizing a ham.

Next I finished the seam allowance with a nice top stitch zig zap design. This stitch used very thread and did not have to use my extra bobbin. I still need to trim the extra fabric on the outer edge of these seams.

As I mentioned above, once I finish combining the lining pieces and finishing the seam allowances I will hand baste the lining to the fashion fabric.

Once that is complete I will insert the 7" invisible zipper and continue with steam pressing my petersham into the same curve degree as my pattern.

I plan to finish the waist with the petersham inside and a sliding hook & eye ensemble. Once that is complete I can figure how I will finish my hem. I am still thinking of something along the lines of a 2" hem lined with a stabilizer. Since I need to make a decision soon on the length.

Maybe I could add a tan (matching the embroidery thread) lace or trim on the hem to have it hang nicely. I'm just not sure.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Full Circle Tan Embroidery Stitched on Black Woven

These are a few photos from the full circle pattern I made about a month ago and decided to use a black medium weight woven wool with tan embroider stitched flowers. The tan appears to be white in some of these photos, but they are a tan color. I plan to finish with an invisible zipper, golden tan lining, a thick 1 1/2 inch hem, and a grossgrain ribbon waistband. You can see the full circle pattern skirt from a few blogs before.

Here I have pinned my pattern onto the fashion fabric. As you can see I barely had enough fabric for the skirt! Luckily I was still able to work out both sides (fabric folded in half crosswise) of the pattern onto the fabric.

I began to cut my patterns and notice that I am in need of new scissors. I have been cutting easy, light weight materials and have not noticed how dull my scissors have become. I will have to try to sharpen them tomorrow to see if it helps.

This is where I have taken the three pieces and pinned the curved outside seams together and am ready to sew with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Here is my skirt after I have sewed the side seams. I have not decided how to finish my seams and will decided later but it fits well around my waist. I think this fashion fabric is lovely in full skirt and the lining will add more volume. My final plan is to make a tulle skirt that can go under other skirts for more volume. I love to be super girly and love the full skirt voluminous look!

Let me know what you think about a 1 1/2 inch hem on the bottom. I do know that I want it above the knee and will need to take approximately 4 inches off to be the correct length.


Some quotes I have taken note from of some recently read books.

Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful. - Sophia Loren

Beauty is not all that interesting. Nina Garcia

The kind of confidence that tells others that you respect yourself, love yourself, and dress up for yourself and nobody else. You are your own muse. Nina Garcia

Remember that always dressing in understated good taste good taste is the same as playing dead. Susan Catherine

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world. Bette Midler

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing. Salvador Dali

Stylish women are never lazy. Nina Garcia

Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity. Coco Chanel

Friday, October 10, 2008

The "Business" of Sewing

The "Business" of Sewing, Volumes 1 & 2, by Barbara Wright Sykes are packed with information. From samples of forms and ways to get calculations for fabric and price list samples of work and tailoring jobs. Sykes goes on to tell you about about to start a conversation with a client and how to keep a professional image and respect. She gives inherent details that are a must, details that guide you while your working away on your own business. I believe these books are invaluable. Sykes informs you that you must stay on track and keep working and explains reasons why businesses fail and how you can avoid the same.

Volume 1:
Volume 2:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The One Hundred

The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Women Must Own by Nina Garcia is a wonderful and quick read. Nina lists the must-haves that every stylista should or does own. My favs were the iPod (with lists of must-have songs), animal print (only wear one piece at a time), Hermes scarves, trench, peacoat, the pencil skirt, denim jacket and wide-leg trousers. Then there are the things that I must obtain: tuxedo jacket, men's white button-up shirt (no pearl or covered buttons), ankle booties, a nice pair of aviators (I'm thinking Dolce & Gabbana or Cartier), gloves, gentlemen's hat, leather pants, spanx and wayfarers.

This list really does let you know what pieces will last forever, pieces that are not trendy but classic. You will always find something to wear with Nina's One Hundred list!

It's good to know that I've already got a good headstart to this stylish list!

Remember every lady needs that great LBD but you also need a great Little White Dress for the after Labor Day days, when you feel like breaking all the rules and showing it to the world.

You have to love the fun facts that Nina throws in. Like the polo shirt and how LaCosta got the little crocodile idea (from a tennis player).

Pick your copy up today:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia

So of course I am a big fan of Project Runway (although I do wait until the seasons are available through Blockbuster.com - no commercials) and of course I had to read the Nina Garcia books. I am still working on The One Hundred but I did finish the Little Black Book of Style before the weekend started.

This book is wonderfully written by Nina Garcia and has artwork featured by Ruben Toledo. Toledo is one of my fav artists, his work is also featured in Nina's The One Hundred and also the Bombshell Manual of Style.



Nina informs the reader that you need to present yourself to the world, you need to have a style identity. She doesn't state a ton of rules for each stylista to remember but she does inform the reader on what to pay attention to in regards of balance of the entire outfit, from jewelry to bags to shoes to the skirt/pants and your top with a hat, everything.

This is a fun read for anyone interested in being a better stylista! Nina also tells us about her past and how she came to be the woman she is!


I can't believe it has been almost a week since I have last blogged! I have been busy between work and home and getting ready to start my fall classes at SUO. Another sewing class from http://www.patternreview.com/ started today, so I had to sign-up for that also! I need to go visit Aunt Connie and see what projects she has going on. Also, I need some advice about covering my dress form from her.

I have read a few books, which I will list and add my opinions about later.

We went to the WVU v. Rutgers game Saturday. WE KICKED ASS!!! We are still on our streak of never losing to Rutgers at a home game. GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!

More later, I promise! : )

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives

Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote this book many years ago. I wish I would have read it many years ago. Already I have made just about every mistake. Since I am only 23, I still have time to change and readdress my own issues amd what I need to be doing with my life now.

I am currently back in school and taking other classes on the side (sewing) and finding time to be by myself.

Dr. Laura explains that living together before marriage does not mean your marriage is going to last longer. I can see why she explains that this is a mistake and you are making yourself much too much available to the man. Am I giving Brian the "let's see if this feels good today and everyday for the time being" issue? Definately. I agree with you Dr. Laura. I do feel I am way too available and giving him this daily "test" yet this is what I chose to do and this is my commitment I have already made and will keep to a very respectable and honorable man.

Marriage? That is way too much for me to even think about at my age. Then I ask myself: am I committed to this relationship? Yes, faithfully, emotionally and physically. I love my boyfriend and we've already started this and we plan to finish - until death do us part. Do I ever want to be married? I haven't a single clue.

Dr. Laura is a controversial radio talk show host. An amazing, intelligent woman. A woman who has helped millions of women. Read her books, she offers sound advice and you, too, will soon find your "ah ha" moment.

I highly recommend this book for every woman from 16 - 99!

Sewing Sites

I am huge on organizing and while browsing I found this wonderful sewing site at sew-whats-new.com. They have an excellent article on a sewing room:

Check it out! You may find some tips that you need!

They also have fun sewing games, forums, blogs and videos.

Other sites:


Monday, September 29, 2008

1131 Designs

A good friend of mine has a fantastic design business named 1131 Designs. She is just wonderful and so very talented! I want everyone to check her out her blog:

I'm sure you will love how artistic and clever this lovely lady truly is! You should see how gorgeous her home is decorated, when time will allow we'll have to begin on my house!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Adding to my Dressform

I had to add to my amazon.com dress form. It's a Japanese brand and I cannot remember the name. It has dial adjustments for the waist, hips and bust in three four places. I still had to add padding for the waist and bust. I began with batting and duct tape and lots of printed research from the internet.
Here you can see that I began by widening the shoulder. It takes a lot more batting that I thought I would have used and even had to make an extra run for additional duct tape.
I adding batting to each side until it became the 17 inches I needed.
Another hint to mention is to secure from all sides of the areas you are adding to. In this second picture you will notice I used longs strips of duct tape from the top of shoulder past the underarm and down the side of the dress form. Additionally, I decided to add a horizontal strip of duct tape at the side of the dress form to secure the area even more. Alternating layers of horizontal strips of duct tape and vertical layers of duct tape will help increase the security also.

Here I began to add to the bust area. I had to go through several ways of adding batting until I found the most appropriate. I started by making sure the sides were at the correct width and then I added a bra that fit snug around my bust. I placed this bra on and began to duct tape my body (with help) with vertical and horizontal layers until I had my chest area covered. Once carefully removed, I had a "bust" of my bust! I secured this onto the dress form and began to fill the areas with layers of batting.

Here you can see my finished bust on my dress form. It has duct tape from one side of the neck down to the opposite side of the bottom of the rib area (halter style) for extra support. You will notice a lot of perkiness and this is because it is fitted with my favorite Calvin Klein bra. You will also notice the finished shoulder width. At a later date I will be adding detachable arms. A dress form that fits you properly is wonderful because you can also use it to re-form your bras after a wash.

Lastly, I added a small bit of batting and duct tape to the rear to match the same area of my hips. You will notice that this dress form doesn't go very far down the hip area, so I only had to copy the top half of my butt! Although, it has been a month or so and I could use a tad more padding. : )


It has been a relaxing weekend. Of course, I was not able to do the sewing I was in high hopes for (my skirt!!!) but I did manage to practice the tips from the couture class and finish Season 3 of Project Runway (yes, I am far behind on cable TV). Practicing narrow hems, strong spaghetti straps and gathering techniques. All of which I have found are super easy.

I was hoping to make it to PA this weekend for Wicked, but it seems that I need to take care of other things around home.

Now it is time for me to go back to housework before the new episode of Family Guy begins.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Muslin Fitting

I finally cut out and completed my muslin yesterday and it fits great! I cannot wait to cut out the fashion fabric and begin putting the skirt together. The information from my "Top Ten Couture Techniques" class with Susan Khalje gave me information on doing the grossgrain waistband. I had previously learned about it in a class with Shannon Gifford ("How to Build a Better Skirt") and she taught me the basics but Susan gives extra tips that will help me make my skirt perfect!
As you can see I want this to be very girly. Now that I have an excellent pattern (made by yours truly!) I can many, many of these! My plan is to use a rayon lining to give it that extra oomph!

Soon I would like to to make a fashionable cummerbund with buttons and the like (military-esque).

The other night I went through my closet and decided to rid it of any and everything I haven't worn in forever and know I never will. Let us just say I filled a very very large trash bag full of items I plan to take to Goodwill. I also included shoes. I like to do this quarterly (yes I have a shopping problem) and give things away, it is good to give and makes me feel warm 'n fuzzy inside. Seriously.

I am getting ready to sign-up for the wool fabrics class on patternreview.com. Everything is about to get very busy for me since I begin classes at South University on the 6th of October. I am currently studying business.

I have also chosen to have my boyfriend take my Ann Taylor charge card. Considering the economy and who knows if this will lead to a depression or not, I need not spend what I do not have. Also, this is encouragement to do a whole lot more sewing.

Another project will be two pairs of Republican boxers for my boyfriend and his father. I'm just a tad scared of the elastic. But I know I can do it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Is For Apron

A Is For Apron is a wonderfully collaborative book put together by Nathalie Mornu. It includes 25 "Fresh and Flirty" designs by several designers including:
Betsy Couzins, Wendi Gratz, Erin Harris, Teresa Harrison Johnson, Samantha Kramer, Morgan Moore, Joan K. Morris, Jennifer M. Ramos, Aimee Ray, Susan Sertain, Valerie Shrader, Ruth Singer, Carrie Sommer, Joan Hand Stroh, Suzanne J.E. Toutillott, Amy Tyree and Angelina Williamson.

The book includes an introduction, anatomy of an apron (including different pocket details), making your apron have flair, apron kit, techniques, a short history on aprons and many pictures of vintage aprons.

The designs included in this book are wonderful! There is something in this book for anyone who needs an apron (and who doesn't?) or wants to practice sewing (and who doesn't?). I plan to make a few aprons for Christmas gifts and decided to grab this book as a muse.

I will say that my favs in the collection are Cosmopolitan, Deep Pockets, Josephine (which is reversible), Mango Tango, Marie Antoinette and Kaleidoscope. These are all very different designs and Kaleidoscope even includes pintucking detail.

The fabrics used in all the designs are wonderful and it shows how you can put different material patterns together for a wonderful "fresh" look.

Overall, I can't wait to begin making my own aprons, for myself and family and friends.

Monday, September 22, 2008

1-Step Buttonhole Feature

My new Kenmore has a one-touch automatic buttonhole feature. It took me a minute to realize the buttonhole switch to pull-down, but once I did I found it so very simple to use! I only practices using spare muslin but will have to see how I can get it on a garment and to be placed correctly. Seriously though, the machine does everything on its own! All I have to do is press start and watch as it makes the first lower bar tack, the left side, the upper bar tack and finished the coming down the right side of the buttonhole. Then I use my seam ripper and there I have a buttonhole the PERFECT size.

The Kenmore realizes the size it needs by the buttonhold presser foot. You place the button (up to one inch) in the back part and you Kenmore does the rest!

Another feature I loooove about this machine is the way it slants backwards on the front. It is made angular, I don't know for what reason, but it gives it a sleeker appearance compared to the box Kenmore I previously used (and still own if you wanna buy it!).

I also tried several of the fun stitches and I am IN LOVE! The options are just so wonderful on this medium-priced Kenmore sewing machine. I am enthralled by it and have found a new motivation for my projects! Perfection here I come!!!

The Weekend

I have not been able to update my posts over the weekend. Not that I was to busy, I just didn't get the chance. I did see the new lessons posted for my Top 10 Couture Techniques class on patternreview.com. From that, I have decided to make some bias straps for a summer dress I made in May. The straps currently on it are whack! It was one of my first stitching exercises but I'm ready for something a tad nicer on the dress, especially since that is the reason I avoided wearing the dress all summer! And now it's fall and too late!

I will post pictures of that.

Now, I am going to JoAnns to pick up some more muslin to finish this skirt pattern I learned from my Build a Better Skirt class patternreview.com.

I will have to get some pictures online so you can see my works in progress! Right now, it's lunch and my belly is growling!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book: How to Alter Your Store Bought Clothes and Save Money

I recently reviewed "How to Alter Your Store Bought Clothes and Save Money!" by Joy Rogers Haugen. I borroed this book from my local library and could not find it on Amazon. It is a small sized book in black & white and only eighty-three pages. After the introduction there are eight chapters. Each telling you how to alter a part on your clothing to fit correctly.

Chapter one begins with ripping out all machine stitched seams and goes into explaining the different types of seams.

Chapter two begins with altering simple structuring of a garment: hems with different types of lengths and details (i.e. ruffles, slips, pants, tiered skirts, knits, etc.), lengthening straight skirts and long skirts, finishing the hems by hand and by a sewing machine.

Chapter four proceeds to tell you about altering waistlines. This includes making the waistline larger or smaller and if the waistline is in a dress and continues into changing a long waisted garment.

Chapter five goes into changing the hip line while six goes into sleeve adjustments. This includes different types of sleeves: unlined, lined and cuffs.

Chapter seven begins to tell you about shoulder adjustments with common problems. This includes making the shoulder narrower or if you have slanted or square shoulders. This chapter continues with explaining, "sometimes a knit dress or a stretchy material with tiny pleats or gathers on the shoulder will keep stretching and the shoulder will keep dropping off the shoulder sleeve line. A good trick to do for this is to sew a piece of tape or ribbon along the shoulder seam to hold it in place." I think this is a wonderful, especially since I am awful at working with knits. (Which means I do need to take the knit class in November on patternreview.com!)

The last chapter is the most valuable. Haugen explains about that belts made of slippery material and has no prong on the buckle can be easily fixed by adding a snap! Haugen goes to explain how to treat difficult necklines and getting a blouse to be smooth while tucked into a skirt or pants. Haugen has many more tips that the book is well worth the read and to take notes! I have not been able to find this book anywhere, so maybe my library will sell their copy and I could grab it! Check your local library or used book shop to grab a copy. It is worth the keep!

If anyone does have it and would like to sell their copy, contact me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My New Kenmore!

I got back a little while ago with my new Kenmore sewing machine (model 16231). I listed the link in my previous post. I haven't set it up or anything but it is beautiful! While in the store I got a tad confused on which machine I would like to have the most. They also had a Kenmore computerized machine for a mere $30 more. Yet, I decided to save that cash and use it on some notion or fabric to make a project!

This machine has the ability to do different stretch stitches. It also has the pressure presser foot, so that I may choose different levels for the foot for different weights of fabrics. This machine also features the one-step buttonhole, which after reading the directions, is super easy!

I can't wait to begin practicing with this sewing machine. It seems to have all the features that I was missing on my previous dinky Kenmore. I do have quite a few feet that I will have to return or sell on patternreview.com's classifieds.

I have several projects that I am currently working on. A pair of boxers for my boyfriend and his father in a particular fabric. This fabric is something he picked out when I made him go to JoAnn with me. I also have several pillows I want to get together. I am listing what gifts I would like to make for people for Christmas. I also have several skirts to finish from my very own patterns!

I just completed the Build a Better Skirt class on patternreview.com. The class was taught by Shannon Gifford and was around $50. The information I received in the class was stupendous! I had never thought that I would get so much feedback and direction from an online sewing class, but Shannon was very thorough in her steps and explanations. The price is well worth the cost!

Now, I am waiting to begin my next class with Susan Khalje on patternreview.com. As I have mentioned before, she has much experience in the couture world and I am eager to begin on Monday.

My next class with patternreview.com will more than likely be the wool fabrics class. Especially wonderful since it is the winter season and wool will keep me warm when the weather goes down in temperature.

Also, I am looking for Threads Magazine Issue 121. If you have it, email me so we can talk price.


New Sewing Machine

When I began my sewing ventures back in May (yes of this year) I chose a simple Kenmore sewing machine from Sears. When I say simple, I mean the $70 kind! Now I need more...something that has features. And I want it now! So I have decided to use Sears.com and find a sewing machine. Found I have:


Come to mama!

I ordered online and picked am on my way to pick it up!

Also, I should mention: I am putting up the other Kenmore for sale! I am asking $70.00 plus $25.00 for shipping. Check out the classified ad at patternreview.com.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top Couture Tips

Just signed up for a class with Susan Khalje on patternreview.com! She is well-known for her articles in Threads Magazine and teaching couture classes.

You can find more info about Susan at:

The Upper Gauley

At 23, I finally went whitewater rafting in my home state of WV! We took the Upper Gauley River with Ace Adventure and had a blast! The Upper Gauley is one of the most rapid-filled whitewater rafting anyone can do in North America. I highly suggest anyone to go!www.aceraft.com