Saturday, January 26, 2008

Up and Running!

I have spent the past two weeks choosing fabric and patterns and editing like crazy for the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest. I now have a plan, I just need time to execute it. My travel wardrobe is based on neutrals with charcoal as my starting point, adding black, more grey, beige and ivory. Sounds boring, but by using fabrics with pattern, it breaks it up and adds interest. Besides, these colors should travel well.

Starting at the top left going clockwise: charcoal wool for pants and jacket, beige tropical wool for pants, black tropical wool for pants, grey microfiber for pants, black & beige stripe for handbag, ivory & black rayon stripe knit for long sleeve T-shirt, top, ivory rayon knit for short sleeve T-shirt top, crinkle silk georgette for evening top, grey rayon knit for top and variegated grey knit for sweater.

The patterns I chose for my wardrobe:

Textile Studio Marseilles Top #1205
McCalls #4596 jacket, short collarless zip front
The Classics, Material Things Fearless T #109
Loes Hinse Bianca Top #1508
Vogue #7036 handbag view A
Hot Patterns Plain & Simple Everyday Pants (same pattern for all 4 pairs)
Jalie top #2682

If there is time, I want to add more tops using the T-shirt (gold & black rayon knits) & Jalie top pattern (green rayon knit) plus adding the Loes Hinse Tunic Blouse #5202 (while rayon jacquard fabric) and Textile Studio Tank Top Shell #1203 (beige/taupe rayon jacquard). One more item I could add would be another sweater in the Loes Hinse Sweater Set #5201 cardigan using some wool double knit I also have in my stash.

Tonight I plan to trace off and work on a muslin for the McCalls jacket. I figure that will be the most challenging part of my plan. I already have enough interfacing and lining for this, but will need to get a separating zipper for the jacket. I have been looking for one, but have yet to find one that isn't too sporty. I want to be able to wear this jacket to work, not just on my trip. I will keep looking since I don't want to cut the jacket fabric until I have the actual zipper.

Last Sunday, my sewing friend, Ann B, came over and we both made duck tape dummies. I am pleased with the way mine came out and it is on my old dressform now (no pictures of this babe without clothes will ever get published). This will be a great help in fitting the jacket and tops. Ann helped me name her--Madame! My old dummy was named Goddess, but her day came and went. Madame fits a woman of a certain age.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Second Attempt

Pattern Review is having a Wardrobe (aka SWAP) Contest running from February 1 through April 30. I need/want new clothes for our trip to France at the end of April and I want to sew down some of my stash (Fabric Fast). So it makes sense to me to try to complete a SWAP thus accomplishing two goals at once. I will need to finish by April 20 since we are leaving only a few days after that.

This time I won't try for as many complicated (time consuming) garments, just a few knit tops, one pant pattern used three times and a TNT skirt. I think I know which tops I want to sew, but what I'm having problems with is deciding on a jacket. I plan to bring my black Dana Buchman raincoat, so I want something that I can wear under that. Layering is key. Once I can decide on a jacket, then the rest is easy to plan. Researching the April weather in France I found that during that time of year it is not as romantic as the movie or song . It is cold and raining--maybe that's why the tickets didn't cost as much as I thought they would.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

This is torture!

Well I've committed myself to a fabric, pattern & sewing book fast for 2008. I really need to do this since my inventory is starting to take over the house. I figure a SWAP uses about 25 yards of fabric. My current stash would provide 26 SWAPs. I can't dream up that many SWAPs. Two or three with layered stages added to each SWAP would be fun to plan. Work will be quite busy the rest of the month staying late dealing with year end stuff, so any SWAP planning will not happen for a few weeks.

Now I'm getting emails and snail mailings telling me about all the fabric sales. What prompted this entry was that I just received an email from Michael's Fabrics informing me that most of their Zegna's are 75% off and the rest of the inventory is 50% off. If I were not fasting, I would be ordering. Sawyer Brook is also having a great sale. I assume they are all getting ready to make room for their Spring inventory. Ha! I already have a Spring inventory--and Summer, Fall & Winter, too!

Also I got a lovely email from Marfy telling me that the Spring 2008 catalog is ready. Then I read Pattern Review and discover some great patterns I would love to sew. Arrggh!!

I just have to tell myself there will always be lovely fabrics and patterns out there in the future. And I also own loads of lovely fabrics which are begging to be sewn. Maybe I'll go shoe shopping.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fabric Fast

I have approximately 650 yards in my fabric stash. I realize there are others with stashes containing thousands of yards, but my stash is beginning to take up too much room. My youngest son is presently in Iraq as a Marine assigned to Central Command. While he is gone, I have moved my stash to his room. I need to sew some of this down and move it out before he returns, so that there is room for him.

I have cataloged all my fabrics so at least I know what I have. I have swatches in a binder filed by fiber (silk, cotton, linen, wool, synthetics, rayon and miscellaneous). Listed next to each fabric is the yardage (this is why I know how much I have) and width, any notes about the fabric and the year purchased. I then have my fabric stored in large banker's boxes according to color. Presently there are 15 boxes. Some are duplicates such as black, ivory and green - I tend to be attracted to certain colors. Much of this coordinates. When I planned my original swap last spring, I did not buy any new fabric since I had plenty to plan with. This stash needs to be set free--on my body, that is.

After realizing for the past several months that I own a large amount of fabric, and since I don't want to part with the majority of it, I need to sew this up before I purchase any more, at least during 2008. Therefore, when the PR Message Board popped up with the 2008 Fabric Fast--I knew that I needed to join this. I'm not sure I can stop buying--but I want to give this a good try--and I do believe I really can stick with it. I did lose 25 lbs last year, so why not at least that much in stash this year.

I also will refrain from buying any new patterns. Patterns really aren't a problem, but I find that many of my patterns look alike, even though they are from different designers/pattern companies. The same goes with books--no more sewing books. Besides many of them repeat each other in content--they just have different pictures and words.

The only thing I will not give up is my Burda WOF--it gives me inspiration and doesn't take up too much room either.

Buttons are another obsession, but they are neatly stored by color. But unless I don't already have the perfect button for a jacket, I will not purchase any new buttons. I have plenty great buttons for all the blouses I want to make.

I don't need interfacing since I have a decent size stash of fusibles, sew-in and silk organza. The same goes for linings, I have a fair amount of basic colors in rayon and silk. If I use up my interfacings and linings, I certainly have made a large dent in my fabric stash.

I also plan to go to France in April--so I cannot give up a chance to fabric shop in Paris. I am not a martyr. And, of course, I will allow myself to shop if I go to PR weekend.

So this year, I will not purchase any new fabric, patterns, buttons or books (except in Paris and PR NYC weekend). I have to stop thinking about what I want to make and just start sewing.

Happy Blog Year

Recently, I was chastised by a sewing friend for not keeping up with my blog. Well, I agree, I need to make some effort towards this endeavor. I did complete two more items to last year's swap--finishing the pussycat blouse and the cosmo dress. I really should post reviews and pictures of these. I promise I'll try.

I have been sewing infrequently and completed two LH cardigan sweaters which I wore at PR Weekend in November. This pattern has become a TNT for me since these were my 4th and 5th times with this pattern and I have more planned in my head.

That's been my problem lately, more planning than execution. And part of the planning stage has been purchasing more fabric. My stash has grown by over 100 yards in the past year. I have become addicted to Emma One Sock, anxiously await my Sawyer Brook swatch mailings, Michael's Fabrics has me on their hit list, and the Fabric Place store closest to me closed--but had a mega sale that lasted two months before they finally did close. Then, of course, there was PR Weekend, but I restrained myself and spent more on buttons than fabric this time (everything fit in my suitcase, so I figure I was somewhat under control).

Ah, the Randolph Fabric Place sale--it started with a flyer giving me an extra 10% the already marked down store contents. I arrived in early October and stalked the aisles planning what to buy then and what to buy in the coming weeks when the markdowns became even greater. I haven't knitted in ten years, but I bought yarn (I may never see it this cheap again) and found some great linen. Next trip I bought silk, black, cream and print for lining, more yarn, bamboo fabric and McCall's patterns at $1 each. Now I was contemplating purchasing the furniture--namely pattern cabinets. I did come to my senses since I have no place to put them and my system of banker's boxes works quite well for pattern storage. The store is only 5 minutes off the route home from work, so I found myself gravitating towards the store at least once a week in November. I bought a couple upholstery sample books at $1 each thinking they would make great purses, then found some great bamboo voile (which I had been seriously thinking about for quite a while), printed cotton which would make great pj's for me, and more silk in brown charmuese and 3 ply. I showed up the next to last day before they closed, 80% of the merchandise was gone and I realized I was looking for things that just weren't there. I left empty-handed but with lots of memories of a fabric store I spent a lot of time in over the past few years. Fabric Place is still around--just not as close as I would like. So now I'll have to drive 30-45 minutes depending upon which store I want to visit. I also now have a yarn stash!