Monday, September 30, 2013

The American Sewing Expo

I spent Saturday at the American Sewing Expo. I didn't take any classes. I mainly went because I wanted to meet Rhonda Buss. It was more than worth it. She was warm and pleasant and "she's got skills." She used a beautiful "stretch pleather" and faux fur fabric to make what I thought would certainly be the winner of the ASE "Project Runway-esque" challenge. I was sorely disappointed to find out she didn't win first place. I'm happy to say I was able to score three yards of the stretch pleather from Haberman Fabrics.

I was also glad to see several bloggers that I met at the New York Pattern Review last year. I met another very popular sewing blogger, who shall remain unnamed, that was quite the opposite of Rhonda. I found her to be very cold and standoffish and was very disappointed by her demeanor not to mention the garment she was wearing. Did you make that?? If so, why? How soon we forget where we came from. Maybe a class in public relations is in order...for her, not me!

I especially had fun talking to the staff at the Vogue,McCalls, Butterick and Kwik Sew booth. There I scored a couple of patterns and a fabulous "goodie bag."

At the Vogue Fabrics booth I broke down and bought two yards of fabric and three different colors of "Dylon" fabric die.

Other than what I mentioned above, the only other thing I bought was a fabulous herbal tea...and lots of it.

I've been attending the ASE for at least 20 years and this year was the most disappointing. The number of vendors is shrinking especially those that are garment sewing related. There are more and more embroidery, quilting and all things crafty taking it over. On the other hand if I were looking for a hard-to-find gadget, I more than likely would have found it there. I did contemplate the "surgical" seam ripper but on second thought decided I didn't want to amputate any of my body parts.

So there you have it. I didn't sew a single stitch over the weekend but I do have a bra cut out and ready to sew but I am too immersed in John Grisham's "The Racketeer."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vogue 1329 Review

I'm still on my dress"kick." It's been a couple of years now so it's probably not a "kick" anymore. Although the fabric looks "Royal blue", it's actually a dark navy. I was trying to get to work and the photographer was working my "last nerve."

Pattern Description: Close-fitting lined dress has yokes, right front with pleats, back princess seams, and invisible zipper

Pattern Sizing: 8-24 After all my alterations mine was a size 18

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Super easy

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the color-blocking and the front pleats. I dislike the lining pieces. The front lining pieces are princess seamed. That seam shows up on the front pleated pieces.

Fabric Used: Ponte from JoAnns. Not Ponte de Roma. I like Ponte but it gets "butt sprung" and I'm not a fan of that look on me.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Oh the alterations! I added a bust dart to the pattern. No problems there but for some reason I couldn't get them at the angle I wanted. I forgot to raise the armhole so instead I sewed deeper shoulder seams and scooped out and widened the front and back neckline. The invisible zipper I put in looked like crap so I opted to omit it. Note to self: I've never been successful adding an invisible zipper in Ponte...don't try it again! I added 1 1/2" to the length. I would have preferred to add 3" but only had one yard of the white and that is the most length I could get. My hem is only 1" deep. I also had to take about a 1" dart at the center back neck because it gaped horribly. I'm really happy for the back princess seams because I was able to do some additional nipping and tucking to get a better fit. Finally I narrowed the skirt width at the hemline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm pretty sure I'll sew it again.

Conclusion: Great dress to make for the coloring-blocking trend. BTW I made the dress to match the shoes. I know I'm not the only one to ever do it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vogue 8904

These pictures are a little bit better.

I aligned the base pattern piece with McCalls 6559 and knew I would get the fit I wanted. I then just used the original pattern as an inspiration piece. There would have been way too much altering of the overlaying pattern pieces. I did incorporate and FBA as I do in most things I make.

My original thought was to leave the back as plain vertical stripes...but it was not a good look. I almost ran out of fabric and did have to piece one of the pieces on the back. The bottom is a single layer of the base pattern pieces. I also hemmed each of the overlay pieces. I couldn't imagine having rolled up lines all over my dress.

I love the finished dress. I've paired it with a patent leather pump I picked up at JCPenney for a mere $4, When I wore it I got lots of compliments which let's me know it is really an eye-catching design.

The main thing I like about it is that I didn't have to wear a control garment. All the layers camouflaged in bumps and/or bulges. Gotta love that. Not sure I'll make it again but is always a possibility.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

McCalls 6752 View B

Today I got my out tripod and took a few photos of this dress I made a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't sleep one morning so I got up at 4 a.m. and sewed. I think it was well worth the lost sleep!

Pattern Description: Pullover tops and dresses have neckline variations and elasticized (seamed) waist

Pattern Sizing: 6-22 I sewed the size 20

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? This is the second time I've used this pattern. The first time I made view D. This review is for view B. I didn't use the instructions at all. I sewed this dress in a little under an hour.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like draped necklines and love this one because it was not cut on the bias and is not so low that I'd flash lots of cleavage. Other than the pattern being super short...I have no dislikes.

Fabric Used: I used an ITY border print from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: When I sewed view D, I made an FBA that I didn't need. This time the only alteration I made was to add 5" to the skirt length and I narrowed the hem about 4".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Would I sew it again? Are you kidding me? In a heartbeat. There will be several more versions of this in my wardrobe before I'm finally finished with it.

Conclusion: Bound to be one of the best patters of 2013.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Salvation Army Haul Video

Just wanted to share my latest haul from Salvation Army. Yes, it does include sewing related stuff.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I know I should probably never use "crappy" and "fabulous" in the same sentence but in this case I've made an exception. I finally finished Vogue 8904. I'm sorry to say the photos are crappy but the dress is fabulous. As soon as I get a chance I will post better photos but for now here are a couple cell phone photos.

I warned you that crappy can be fabulous. I'm also sporting the $4 shoes that I posted about previously.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sewing questionss

Debbie Cook of Stitches and Seams posed a few sewing questions on her blog that she took from a dialog going on at PatternReview.

There's a message board thread on PR at the moment which is discussing the "right" way to place a pattern and cut fabric. So I thought I'd ask ...

1. Do you cut with your fabric RS out or WS out?
I always cut with the right side of the fabric out.

2. How do you make your pattern markings?
One of the reasons I always cut with the fabric right side out is because I mainly use tracing paper for markings.

3. Do you follow the cutting layout in patterns?
I never follow the cut layout in patterns. I usually have more than enough fabric so have never found the need. When I teach classes I do teach that they should use the cutting layouts.

4. Are you obsessed with re-folding your pattern tissue on or very close to the original fold lines?
Hell no! I can barely get them back in the envelope at all. Sizes that I don't use or pieces that I know I'll never sew go promptly in the garbage as do the "French" instruction sheets.

5. I thought of one more ... Do you make all the markings?
I only make essential markings by either using 1/4" snips, tailor tacks etc.
There is a method to my madness!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Sewing Mystery

While trying to locate some files on my external hard drive, I found papers I'd written while pursuing my degree. I came across this fictional short story I'd started writing but never finished. I don't know where it's going.  Read it let me know if you think it's worth finishing. TIA


As I sat down at my beloved Brother ULT sewing machine, it was with regret that I put the finishing touching on the outfit I would wear to one of my best sewing friends funeral. I still couldn’t believe that she was gone. Katherine Powell had committed suicide.
Just one week ago we had had our Thursday sewing outing. For the last five years Katherine Powell and I had gotten together every week to sew. We alternated between my home and hers to work on our latest sewing projects.
We first met at a local quilting shop. The shop had a monthly completion day that Katherine had attend for years before I knew her. The completion day concept was to take in any unfinished quilt and work on it to “completion.” I ventured into the quilt shop after seeing their commercial on television during a broadcast of Simply Quilts. I looked around and asked to be put on the monthly mailing list. After receiving a class flyer I signed up for completion day and Katherine and I became instant friends. I don’t know if it was because I was the only African American in attendance or because Katherine too, was something of an outcast sitting at a table off to the side and by herself when I arrived.
“Do you mind if I sit here?” I asked. 
“By all means,” she said.
“I’m Katherine Powell,” she said extending her hand.
“ I’m Sewphe Tucker. Nice to meet you Katherine,” I said shaking the hand she extended.
As I started to unpack my sewing equipment a hush came over the entire group. There was an outsider in the midst and I was it!
“Don’t mind them,” she whispered.
“They are snobs through and through,” she continued.
“There are about three or four cliques going on here and I’m only in one.”
Her brashness caught me off guard until she said, “I’ve got my own clique and I’m the only one in it! Wanna join?” she said winking.
“I don’t know,” I said. “My sewing may not be up to your standards.”
“If your skills aren’t up to my standards, I’ll teach you!” she said.
When she saw the sewing machine I was unloading she raised an eyebrow.
“You’re skills may not be up to par but you bring a $5000 sewing machine to a class? Who are you kidding?” she asked.
 I handed her twelve 8 by 8 inch embroidered squares.
“These are lovely,” she said. “Did you do them with that machine?” she said pointing at my Brother machine.
“Yep,” I said “but now I’m stuck. I don’t know where to go from here. I’m not really a quilter. I usually like to concentrate my energy on garment marking but I thought I’d try something different. Do you really like them?” I asked.
“Oh my, these are lovely,” she said.
“Hey everybody,” Katherine yelled across the room.

“This is Sewphe Tucker and she

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Weeping and gnashing of teeth

The phrase "(there shall be) weeping and gnashing of teeth" (in the original Greek ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων) appears seven times in the New Testament as a description of the torments of the damned in Hell. Taken from Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, I must be damned and in Hell. I am a Christian but every time I think of using my pinking shears, I know there will be praying, weeping, gnashing of teeth, cursing, lip biting and more. Why, oh why, are they such a pain to work with?

No matter what I do I can not cut more than an inch or two before they start gnawing up my fabric. Many years ago I used them all they time and seemed to cut perfectly. I've had mine sharpened oiled, hands laid upon and still the same results. Today I was simply trying to cut interfacing so that I could interface the hem of a dress with no tell-tale signs of the edge. I did manage to get it done but now I am tired and spent and frankly, I need a drink. Is there some magic formula to getting them to cut cleanly?