Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I spent yesterday evening watching re-runs of Criminal Minds and tracing patterns from the September Burda Style. Yes, I traced the dress:
I also traced this blouse:

It's very simple, with cut on sleeves and only four pattern pieces. But it has sleek lines and the pleats at the neckline are very interesting.

My next couple of projects will be muslins for these two projects. Cross your fingers for me!

If the blouse turns out, I might even try the dress version:

I really like the look of this. I'm not sure, though, that it will work for my body type. This might be a dress for the tall, willowy types out there.

And believe it or not, this dress also intrigues me:

Once again, I'm not sure this is right for my body type, but I'd be willing to make a muslin and just see. I really think if this was made up in the right fabric and accessorized with just the right shoes and jewelry, this could be a great look... for someone. Me? We'll have to wait and see.

You know, this is really turning out to be a great isue for me. There are even a few more things I'd like to make. Of course, I'll probably never get to them all. I never do! By the time I get the dress and the blouse done, there will be a new issue in the mailbox and I'll be distracted.

How about you? Are there any must make patterns in this issue?

Monday, August 29, 2011

OPI DS Desire

I wanted to share the polish I chose to go with the new skirt I blogged yesterday. I could have gone with pink, but that just seemed too obvious. So I chose Desire from the OPI Designer Series.
At first glance it just looks like a shimmery metallic tan, possibly a dark gold. But just wait until the sun hits it:

It's a gorgeous holographic polish! See the rainbow in the bottle?

See the rainbow on the nail?

It's mesmerizing! I just can't stop looking at it!

I admit, I bought this just for the holo. The color didn't look like much in the dim little local beauty supply store where I found it. In fact it looked kind of muddy and dull. Maybe that's why no one else wanted it and it was waiting for me to find it and take it home. But once I tried it, I was hooked. This color is gorgeous.

The formula is great, too. Nice and thin, but not runny. It stayed workable but dried in a timely manner. Two thin coats gives great coverage and gorgeous flash. The brush is the standard OPI brush- wide and flat and easy to use.

The only drawbacks are that it was a little pricey ($10.50, which is actually pretty good- I've seen DS polishes that were higher) and availability. I'm not sure that this is widely available anymore. But if you see it, grab it! I think you'll love it!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

McCalls 5590 3.0

Yesterday I was able to finish up M5590, and today I had my photographer available to take pics.
This is my third time making this pattern, so I guess I can safely call it a TNT. Just like the first two versions, I made the knee length view (View B) without the waist tabs.

This is a super simple skirt. There are only four pattern pieces (if you don't add the pockets, belt loops, etc.) There are two darts in front, two in back, a facing, and... that's it.

I omitted the lining on this one. My fabric is a somewhat heavy stretch twill that I picked up at Hancock Fabrics years ago. I figure I'll just wear a slip with it. Leaving out the lining probably cut my cutting and sewing time by 30%.

The back is finished with an invisible zipper and a vent.

I cut a size 18, but ended up taking it in 1/2" on each side, and about 3/4" on each side at the waist. I probably should have just gone down a whole size to a 16. This fabric has quite a bit of stretch and I have a feeling it might get kind of loose and droopy after a long day at work. We'll see, though...

I had this top in mind the whole time I was working on this skirt. It's Burda Style 07-2010-121 and I quite like the way it goes with the skirt. When the weather starts to cool I think this combo will look nice with black hose and pumps.

As usual, my photographer thought it would be cool to get some action shots.

So here I am climbing up on the front gate...

And swinging on it!

And here's my photographer: my son, Brendan.

In other sewing news, BS 07-2011-131 is almost finished. I just have to finish off one armhole and hem it and then I can take pics and test drive it. I hope to have a finished dress to show you in the next day or two.

And thank you so much for all the responses to the last post about the "designer" dress in the current Burda Style. I think I'm going to at least make a muslin and test the waters. In fact, there are several things in this issue that I want to try. I may spend the evening tracing...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do I Even Want to Go Down This Road?

The September issue of Burda Style was waiting for me when I got home yesterday and this dress caught my eye: I love it. The shape is right up my alley, the seaming is great, and the bodice is interesting and unique.

I love the line drawing, and it looks like it would be easy to put together.

But... I've made similar Burda dresses before. In fact, the one I'm working on now, 07-2011-131 could be the plain little sister of this dress- princess seams, wide neckline, etc.

And let's take a good look at the model photo. Notice anything unusual?

Is it just me, or does it look like the dress is falling off of her right shoulder? That neckline is wide. And low. Even with the flap thingies, that's a lot of skin showing. (And speaking of unusual- those tights/hose are an odd color. I'm all for hose coming back, but those just look weird.)

I love the dress, but do I really want to bother with trying to make this work? I'd definitely have to raise the neckline and that would probably throw off the whole bodice. This might be one of those dresses that only works on paper. It's too bad, too because I can just see this made up in fuschia...

Monday, August 22, 2011

McCalls 5038- Seeing Stars

All three of the M5038 skirts are done, but this is the only one I was able to get photos of so far:
This is a size 10, made straight out of the envelope. The fabric is 100% cotton quilting fabric from Hobby Lobby.

There's not much to say. This pattern is so easy it practically sews itself. That's why I chose it- it's quick and easy.

For this version, I used lavender satin ribbon to trim the ruffle edges and pick up the lavender stars in the print.

The waist is finished with 3/4" elastic in a casing. All inside seams are serged and the skirt is top stitched to secure the ruffle seam allowance.

The Princess is pleased- she wore this skirt to school today with a yellow tank top.

Stay tuned for photos of the other two skirts which turned out great, also.

And now, I'm off to relax in a recliner with the September issue of Burda Style, which arrived today. Later!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wet N Wild- Teal of Fortune

There has been no sewing here this week. I mean, not a single stitch. I have been laid out flat with a monster cold and just doing my nails was a huge to-do this week. I am on the mend now and I hope to have lots of sewing stuff to show you in the coming week, but in the mean time, here's another polish post.

This is Wet n Wild Teal of Fortune:
I can't say enough good things about this polish. I've had it for a while, but just got around to trying it this week. I can't believe what I've been missing!

First of all, the color is amazing. It's a clear, clean teal blue with white gold glitter/shimmer. It goes on shear, which I normally don't like, but with this color, the shearness is a plus. The color builds beautifully with each coat. I started with two and it was gorgeous, with just a little VNL, but only in direct light.

I dinged my index finger before the polish was completely dry, and I had to "fix" it, so that's why my index nail looks a little lumpy. My fault, not the polish.

I wore this for three days and had just a tiny bit of tip wear, so I added a third coat to freshen things up. It added more depth and a deepened the beautiful teal color just a hair. I am on day four now and this manicure still looks fresh and awesome.

The formula on this was great. Like I said, it starts out shear, but builds nicely. This is a "Fastdry" polish, but it stayed workable while I was putting it on and then dried within a few minutes. I did use Out the Door topcoat (my favorite) after the second coat, but I didn't use anything on top of the third coat and I didn't have any problems. It's pretty shiney on it's own, too, so you don't need a top coat unless you just want one.

After I got this on and realizzed how much I loved it, I began to have a nagging suspicion that it might be a dupe of one of my other all time faves, China Glaze Watermelon Rind.

I took a picture with the CG bottle and I am happy to report that they are not dupes. Watermelon Rind is much greener and doesn't have the white gold shimmer like TOF:

I can't think of anything less than positive to say about this polish. On top of the great formula and beautiful color, it's pretty easy to find. I got mine at my local Walgreens for just $3.99. So great color, great formula, great availability, and great price. What more could I ask for?

If you like teals, you need this in your collection. And if you are pretty traditional in your polish color choices but have been thinking about branching out and trying something new, I highly recommend this one. It's gorgeous.

Hopefully I'll have lots of sewing progress to show later this week. I have a lot of lost time to make up for and projects piled up waiitng to be completed. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sally Hansen- Deep Blue Sea

Say hello to Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Deep Blue Sea.

I love the color. It's a "true blue" with no green or purple undertones. I've seen it on a couple of blogs referred to as a "denim blue" and I suppose that's pretty accurate. The photo below was taken against my favorite pair of jeans and the colors are pretty close. DBS has a nice shimmery finish to it which gives it some depth and sparkle, but nothing over the top.

This polish went on rather sheer. The top photo with the bottle is two coats and you can see some VNL. The bottom photo is three coats (with quick dry top coat) and it looks much better and shows pretty complete coverage. The formula is good- nice consistency and it stayed workable long enough to get a good application. Dry time was good, too. After three days of hard wear I had some tiny chips, but no one would notice unless they looked really hard.

I'm really impressed with these Xtreme Wear polishes. The formula is good, the colors are pretty, and the brush is nice and wide and easy to use. The price is good, too. I picked this up at my local Walgreens a couple of weeks ago. It was a new color, so it was on sale for $2. You really can't beat that.

If you like blue polish, I recommend this one.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Update

Well, this weekend there was sewing. Actually, there was some some sewing, and a lot of cutting. I like to cut things out on the weekend, when I have plenty of time to drag out the cutting board and spread my fabric, patterns, pins, and rulers out all over the living room floor. Then during the week I can just pop into the sewing room whenever I can steal a few minutes and sew a seam or two.

This weekend I had planned to cut out the Burda Style dress. Muslin #2 turned out quite nice- the only additional adjustment I decided to make was a 1/2" princess seam FBA. I am ready for the real fabric. However, I ended up changing plans at the last minute.

The princess is in dire need of new clothes for school. How is it that the clothes that seemed fine for schlepping around the house and the back yard all summer are suddenly all too short and too tight for school? Did she miraculously grow a couple of inches the night before school started? I don't know. But there is one thing I will never be accused of, and that is sending my 10 year old daughter to school dressed like a junior hoochie mamma.

So I decided to whip up a few quick skirts. The princess has lots of plain t-shirts that fit just fine, so I thought a few skirts would get us by until the weather cools down enough for jeans. I'm also hoping to delay buying new jeans as long as possible since she's growing so fast that anything I buy now will probably be too small by Halloween.
I let her select several prints from my hoard, er, I mean stash. She wanted something with fruit on it (go figure) so I showed her this yellow cherry print (Mary Englebright, I believe from Walmart,) and this blue fabric with apples, lemons, and ice cream cones. She approved of both right away. I remember buying the blue fabric to make a BSY with a smocked insert, but I just never got around to it. Sigh... The green star fabric was a cute find at Hobby Lobby several years ago.

We are using McCall's 5038, which will definitely be qualified as a TNT pattern now. Half the fun was choosing ribbon trim to use on each skirt. You know me- I can't just make something plain.

I started sewing last night- assembly line style. I hope to have these done and ready to wear by mid week.

While I was cutting out skirts for the princess, I decided to go ahead and cut one out for me, too. This stretch twill has been languishing in my stash for a few years. I've been meaning to sew it up for some time and finally decided to go with M5590, the high waist skirt that gets me so many compliments when I wear it. I think the pattern and the fabric will both compliment Burda Style 07-2010-121, which I made almost a year ago.

Don't worry. BS 07-2011-131 will be done soon. It should go together quickly and easily- especially since I've already put it together twice!

Until then, Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rags to Riches

I don't have any sewing progress to talk about today, so I thought I'd talk about nail polish. This is an utterly fantastic new color from Rimmel called Rags to Riches. At least it's new to me. I just noticed it at my local drugstore a few weeks ago.
I love this color. It's a warm, shimmery army green. Not too dark, and not too light. The shimmer is fabulous. In certain light it even looks like it has micro glitter in it. And it matches my eyes. Well, the green does... not the glitter.

I wish I could have captured the color better, but the sun was going down and this was the best I could do. Take my word for it, though, this is a gorgeous color.

This is three coats. I started out with two (over base coat and with quick dry top coat) but I decided to add a third coat this morning just to freshen things up. One of my nails was peeling at the edge and I had to file it down so it needed another touch-up coat anyway.

The formula was excellent- it went on smoothly and stayed workable on the nail long enough for me to get each one done to my satisfaction. I hate when polish dries so fast that it starts gumming up on my nail as I'm putting it on! It covered well in two coats and dried quickly (but not too quickly!)

I picked this up at Walgreen's for $3.99. I've also seen it at Walmart, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

I just can't get over how much I love this color! I've been picking up these "army green" shades lately and I probably have enough of them now. This one is different, though, because of the beautiful shimmer. I am so glad I got this one!

In sewing news, nothing much has been happening. I was so prolific a couple of weeks ago during my vacation, but now that I'm back at work, I'm just finding it hard to make time for sewing. I did manage to cut out a new muslin of BS 07-2011-131 to test the adjustments I made. I would skip this step and go straight to the final garment, but I have a feeling I may need to tweak the length of the back a bit. Better safe than sorry, right?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Uh, You're Not Really Going to Wear That, Are You?

Don't worry, this is just a muslin.
My 17 year old photographer is so used to me and my sewing escapades, that he doesn't even ask questions anymore. He fully understands the concept of a muslin, which is great for me, since I don't have to deal with him rolling his eyes and questioning my taste level anymore.

Anyway. On to the details. This is Burda Style 07-2011-131:

I plan to make this (if I get that far) in a ponte knit, but I didn't have any on hand to use for a muslin. So I used this cheap, loosely woven flannel. Yes, those are, indeed, the Powerpuff Girls. I thought the flannel would have enough give to it to sort of approximate the fabric I'm going to use.

I cut a 42 through the bodice and eased out to a 44 at the hip. The fit is actually pretty good. The hips are snug, but not uncomfortably so, and I think they'll be just right in the ponte. It's the bodice that scares me.

Seriously. What is up with Burda and these scandalous necklines? You can see how much bra is revealed on each side of the neckline. The top edge of the front isn't much higher than the bottom of the armhole. Maybe it's just me and the way I'm made, but it just isn't working. Funny, but the magazine photo did not look this revealing.

After standing in front of the mirror and studying the photos, I remembered that I often have to make a length adjustment above the bust on BS patterns. So I pinned out approximately 3/8", basted it, and tried it on again. It was better, but still too much bra was showing.

Now the issue could be size. I could try going down one size, but I don't think that's the problem. It's hard to see in the photo above, but the shoulder seams appear to be in the right place, and the bust circumference looks and feels right. I measured, and in order to just cover my bra, I needed to raise the neckline 1.5". I basted in a strip of fabric and it seemed to do the trick. (All these photos are of the original muslin before any additional adjustments.)

Of course, the adjustment above the bust raised not only the bust and the neckline, it raised the entire dress, which was already bordering on too short through the body. So I knew I'd have to add my customary 1" of length at the waist to get the hip shaping down where it needs to be.

You can see some of the wrinkles in the back that indicate a length problem. I also had to keep tugging the dress down to keep the fullest part of the hips from riding up.

The petite adjustment helped with the wrinkles in the upper back, but I may still need a small sway back adjustment.

I went back to my pattern and made all the adjustments to the pieces. Really, these adjustments aren't all that drastic. The issues are mostly with the length and are easily fixed. And since I still have a good 3 or more yards of this lovely flannel (what was I thinking?!?) I might just throw another muslin together to check the adjustments.

Incidentally, I planned to put a center back zipper in this muslin, but I forgot and cut the back on the fold (the pattern calls for a side zip.) I figured I'd just slap a zipper in the side instead. But when I went to sew the side seams, I couldn't find a regular zipper in my stash. I just decided on a whim to stitch the side seams and see if I could squeeze into the dress without it- it's just a muslin, right? Surprisingly, I was able to pull it on and off over my head with almost no trouble at all. Unbelievable, huh? But it bodes well for using a knit and omitting the zipper.

I really like the dress. The silhouette and style is good for me, and it's very easy to put together. I'm confident I can fine tune the length issues. It's that neckline that will be the deal breaker for me. If I can get that adjusted to safely cover my undergarments, I will go ahead with this dress. I have my fingers crossed.

Stay tuned for an update...