Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BurdaStyle December Giveaways!

Having only been introduced to Burda this year, I had no idea this was coming, but I thought I would share.  The English BurdaStyle website is having a month-long of awesome give-aways.  I am hoping they continue to post their giveaways here, but if not it should be able to see what's offered on the BurdaStyle blog here.  If you go to the first link you can also take a look at what was offered last year.  Looks like we might be in for some more thread, fabric, and sewing machines!  Not to mention perhaps a few Burda patterns?  Remains to be seen, but I know I will do my best to comment every day to try and win some of the prizes...

Burda Early Preview - January 2012

Hard to believe, but the first glimpses of the 2012 Burda have been posted on the German Burda website today.  Of course, it is a bit early to tell yet, but I am not overly excited by this preview.  I mean, there was a little bit of this:

Oooo, pretty!
A little too much of this:

Not the most useful patterns...
And, of course, this:

January crazy costume edition is upon us!
As always, I reserve full judgement until I can see all the patterns and line drawings, but, well, after the last three fabulous months it was a bit much to hope for it to continue indefinitely.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: The Alloy of Law

Since I didn't spend this weekend purchasing fabric as I had planned, I spent it reading instead.  And, although I have been working through several books for quite some time, I instead decided to ignore all of them and read the entirety of Brandon Sanderson's The Alloy of Law instead.

The completely spoiler free review: In a way, it is sort of like the fourth Indiana Jones movie, only done right.  And by "right" I mean that fans of the originally trilogy will find it undeniably amazing.


The more complete review:  This review will not be spolierific in terms of plot, but may reveal more than some purists want to know about the contents of the book.  Proceed with caution.

The Alloy of Law is a steam-punk-esque type fantasy/mystery/action/adventure novel set in Sanderson's Mistborn world.  The adventures in this story take place many years after the original trilogy has ended.  I really love that Sanderson has shown how his world has progressed in terms of technology, religion, and the magic system he created in the original trilogy.  Perhaps the best part is that none of these changes really require a lengthy explanation, and none of them receive it.  All of the progression is logical and well thought out, adding exciting new flair to this story, but at its core this is still a Mistborn novel, with all of the awesomeness that implies.

Without a doubt, the Mistborn books contain the best action sequences I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and Alloy takes the game to a whole new level.  Quite frankly, between the amazing "magical" powers possessed by the characters, the guns, and the dynamite, this book almost reads like a commercial for Spike tv (read: LOTS of explosions).  This, however, is a good thing, as it allows the characters to undeniably assert their complete and total awesomeness.  Badass doesn't even begin to cover the levels of amazing displayed in this story.  Which makes it a very, very fun read.

While I don't think this book achieves the same level of storytelling brilliance as was displayed in the original trilogy, there is no doubt that this book deserves to stand on the shelf next to them.  Although Sanderson always loves to create characters with wit (haha, see what I did there?), the constant banter in the book gives it something of a lighter tone than was present in the original trilogy.  I don't think this makes the novel feel out of place though; it just further highlights the fact that this a different story in a different time in the same place.  And while the overall story is quite exciting, following the adventures of lawmen just does not have the dramatic impact of taking on a centuries-old empire.  Despite this, however, the idea of having characters use their powers in an attempt to serve humanity is very much in line with the original Mistborn story.  So, despite all of its differences, in the end this book actually fits in very well with those preceding it.


Final impressions - this book is a must read!  Honestly, all of the books set in the Mistborn universe are must reads, and this is no exception.  While I have enjoyed all of Brandon Sanderson's writings, the Mistborn novels are my favorites, and I highly recommend them to readers of all genres, though especially fans of fantasy or science fiction.

Random Observation #1:  Has anyone out there played the card game "Bang!"?  It is an Italian western card game that I couldn't stop thinking about while reading this story.  In the card game, players choose personalities that give them special abilities.  Well, change the personality cards to allomantic and feruchemical powers (the magic system from the novels), add a few metal cards, change some of the guns, and there could be one heck of a rootin' tootin' shootin' good time.

Random Observation #2:  I seem to absorb myself in the writings of Brandon Sanderson when I am feeling upset or depressed.  Oddly though, his books always seem to come out at times when I am feeling a bit low.  Even more odd, they seem to be proportional to my level of depression.  The lack of fabric shopping has sent me into an odd funk, and this book was read in the course of a few hours.  Sanderson's most massive book thus far came out shortly after the worst day of my life to date, and it let me hide from the world for a good week at least.  On the one hand, I sort of associate his writings with the not so good times; on the other hand they never fail to improve my spirits while reading them.  Don't really know why I am rambling about this, other than to say if he wrote it, you should read it.  End of discussion.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Shopping Bust

Well, Saturday shopping trip didn't turn out as I had hoped.  In fact, it didn't turn out at all.  There had been a plan to go to the LA Garment District (can you say fabric heaven?), but it got unscheduled sort of last minute.  So all of my planning was for naught, and my Black Friday weekend fabric haul amounts to exactly nothing.  I know I could look at fabrics online, and there are some good sales, but, well, quite frankly I am kinda disappointed and I don't have the patience or desire to search through fabric online at the moment.  I don't know what's worse - the complete and sudden lack of interest in fabric, or the feeling that I am acting like a petulant child in need of a good spanking.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pattern Review: BWOF 01-2006-101B

The snake print trench coat is finally finished!  Actually, it didn't take as long as I had imagined, at least once all the pieces were cut out.  Although this is probably the most complicated pattern I have used so far, just because it has so many small detail pieces:

BWOF 01-2006-101B
Although I made the pattern from the January 2006 issue, I was actually inspired by the photo in the February 2006 BWOF:

My inspiration: BWOF 02-2006-110A
Although the print on my coat is not quite as distinctive as the fabric used by Burda, I am pretty happy with my results:

Coat front

Side view

Back view

Top details

Pocket details

Sleeve tabs

Front without belt tie

Lining shot

And here is my official pattern review:

Pattern Description:  Classic double breasted trench coat with raglan sleeves, welt pockets, flap pockets, flap and tab details, and tie belt.

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 38-44.  I made a straight size 40 with no alterations.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  For the most part yes, although I don't usually have as much trouble with Burda instructions as a lot of other people.  A few things though: (1) It took me a while to figure out how the collar and collar stand attached.  The side with the notch marks attaches to the facings and the plain side attaches to the collar.  (2) Attaching all the pockets takes a long time.  I followed Burda's instructions for the welt pocket and then pretty much make the flap pockets exactly the same way.  Overall they turned out ok, though I accidentally cut a little too much past one of the welts.  Because of the print fabric it isn't too noticeable, but it would have been if I had made it in a more solid color.  With the pockets I was debating how much of a seam allowance Burda had included, because it sure wasn't 5/8".  I think their seam allowances are the distance between the sewing line and the cutting line for the pockets.  (3) I did follow the instructions, but I made almost everything out of order.  I made the lining first, and then I made all of the detail pieces so I could just attach them once I got to that step of the instructions.  This word out very well because I did all of the sewing, then all the topstitching, then button-hole making so everything was very uniform and I didn't have to keep changing thread and settings on my machine. (4) The instructions never tell you to topstitch around the collar and down the front of the coat, although it is clearly shown in the line drawing.  I did that step after attaching the lining, before doing the large buttonholes.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Yes, I think it mostly did.  Since I used a print it is a bit more difficult to see all of the details, but then it also hides some of my mistakes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  Likes:  I really like the style of this coat.  It feels very classic - like a trench coat from an old detective movie.  As always, I love the Burda drafting - the fit is top notch.  I have to make so many adjustments with envelope patterns, but Burda patterns just fit so well without any changes.  Surprisingly, I actually like all of the details.  I had not previously considered myself a fan of shoulder tabs or flap pockets, but in this instance I really like all the extra touches.  I like the raglan sleeves - I think the style looks good on me and it was very easy to sew together.  The sleeves are quite roomy, so I had plenty of room for underlining and interlining them.  I also like that this pattern has a collar stand, despite it being confusing to sew, as I think it gives necessary structure to the collar.  Also, since this is intended to be not too fitted and then tied with the belt I did not have to make my usual swayback adjustments.  Dislikes: I don't really have any dislikes other that that it took forever to cut out all the pieces for this pattern.  Also, I will say, that before I added the buttons it was feeling a little too much like a bathrobe to me, and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  After adding the buttons to the front I really loved the end result.  As far as my project goes, I am a little sad over some mistakes by one of the welt pockets (I cut a little too much), and I wish my machine was a little happier dealing with topstitch thread or had a nicer three-step straight stitch, but that isn't really a reflection on the pattern.

Fabric used:  The snake print is a polyester microsuede from Joann.  It was surprisingly easy to press and sew.  It washes like a dream and overall behaves itself marvelously well.  Much better than I expected.  I underlined all of the major coat pieces with cotton muslin, to help the suede have a bit more substantial look and drape.  I used fusible interfacing for the detail pieces, collar, and facings.  The lining is a polyester charmeuse from Michael Levine's online store, and it is interlined completely with cotton flannel for warmth.  I love the charmeuse/flannel combo - it is so cozy!

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  No major changes.  I did not interface the front pieces because I wanted the coat to have a more drapey feel to it.  I think the muslin underlining helped to provide a little extra structure though.  I also did not have as large an ease-pleat in the lining as suggested as I accidentally cut it just a little bit too small.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, I think I might sew this again in a solid color fabric so that the details are more obvious, although I probably won't be making it for quite some time.  I would recommend this pattern to others - since it has a nice amount of ease it will probably be easy to fit for most people.  I think the style is very classic and would be a great addition to a fall wardrobe.

Conclusion:  Overall this is a really great pattern!  For the most part the coat is fairly simple to sew together, although it does take a long time to cut everything and there is a lot to keep track of.  The most difficult part is the pockets, followed by the collar.  I would say it is a great coat pattern for an intermediate seamstress.  I think the details and the somewhat spotty directions may be a bit frustrating for a beginner, though I think a really ambitious beginner with some sewing experience could make this coat if they don't get discouraged too easily.  I think it is helpful to have some experience with other Burda magazine patterns though - you have to be very careful about the extra pieces that aren't included on the pattern sheet as some of them include allowances and some don't.  Overall though I would say this is a great pattern with lovely details that would be a great addition to any wardrobe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sewing Related Black Friday Sales!

So I know that since joining the sewing blog-o-sphere I have read many a great tale about the wonders of Black Friday fabric sales.  So I thought I would post a list of what is on sale, where, and when to help keep track of the deals.  I haven't listed all of the sales, but focused on the things that are probably of most interest to the home sewer.  I haven't listed things like sewing machines or furniture, but I have tried to get the fabric and craft items that could be useful for the holidays or that one might want to stock up on during the sale.  I will try to update as more sales are announced.


Joann Fabric and Craft:

Friday Only:
*Stores Open 6AM
*25% off total purchase coupon available (6am - Noon only)
*50% off any regular priced item coupon available (Friday all day)
*$1.49/yard flannel (as a side note - my experience with Joann flannel is it is not best quality, so I don't know if I would consider this a good deal or not)
*50% off all jewelry, beads, supplies, and storage (THIS IS AN EXCELLENT DEAL)
*$99.99 Dritz Simple Fit Dressform (I already have a Uniquely You dressform that I love, but this could be a good deal, especially with the extra 25% off coupon)

Saturday Only:
*Stores Open 7am
*25% off total purchase coupon available (7am-Noon only)

*50% off any regular priced item coupon available (Saturday all day)
*$1.99/yard Quilter's Showcase Prints (I am not a quilter and don't really use quilt fabric, but as I seem to live in quilter country, I expect a vicious hoard there 7am Saturday)
*$79.99 Guttermann Thread Cabinate - 100 Polyester Spools (same as a 50% off sale, but again the 25% off coupon could bring it down)

Friday - Sunday:
*$2.99/yard Blizzard fleece solid and print (great for holiday gift making and interlining heavy duty winter coats)
*50% off Plush Fur (great for making up the December Burda coat patterns)
*$0.99 Butterick Patterns (in case you want any of the latest releases)
*50% off Bottomweights
*50% off Simply Silky Prints (great for lining fabrics or possibly holiday party clothes)
*Buy One Get One Free - Buttons
*Buy One Get One Free - Thread

Friday Nov. 25 - Saturday Dec. 3:
*50% off Holiday Inspiration Fabrics
*60% off "Puttin' On the Glitz" and "Holiday Dressing Special Occasion" collections fabric
*60% off Fall Fashion Apparel Fabrics (excludes Sew Classics & swim/dancewear knits)
*40% off Jewelry Making Supplies (excludes beads and storage)

Thursday Dec. 1 - Saturday Dec. 3:
*$0.99 McCall's
*$3.99 Vogue
*50% Off all blizzard fleece
*50% Off Apparel Trims
*$6.99 45mm Olfa rotary cutter or 2-45mm blade pack
*50% Off fabric dye, paint, glitter
*40% Off jewelry making beads, charms, pendants


Hancock Farbics:

Friday November 25:
*Open 8am
*50% Fall Fashion Fabrics (Wool/Wool Blend, Corduroy, Suitings, Suede)
*$2.99/yard fleece
*50% Off Notions
*$1.69/yard flannel
*$2.99 suede solids
*40% off beads, charms, accessories
*50% off Olfa 45mm rotary cutters and replacement blades
*50% off stretch velvets/velveteen/panne velvet
*$99.99 Dritz Dressforms
*40% Off buttons

Friday Nov. 25 - Sunday Nov. 27:
*10% off entire purchase coupon available
*$0.99 McCall's
*$0.99 Butterick
*$0.99 Simplicity
*$3.99 Vogue
*20% Off Kwik Sew (awesome!)
*50% Off Fleece Solids and Prints


Michael's Craft Stores:

Special Coupons

Thursday November 24:
*Store Hours 4pm-10pm
*30% Off Total Purchase coupon available
*$9.99 21-opening collage photo frame
*50% Off Rubber Stamps (I have always wanted to try stamped velvet...)
*15% Off 10-Drawer Rolling Cart (notions storage!)

Friday November 25:
*Store Hours 6am-9:30pm
*25% Off Total Purchase Coupon Available (6am-Noon ONLY)
*50% Off any regular priced item coupon available (Noon-9:30pm ONLY)
*70% Off "Celebrate It" Holiday Ribbon
*50% Off 7 & 7.5 ft Christmas Trees
*$1.99 "Celebrate It" 9-ft Garland or 18" Wreath
*$19.99 Scrapbook Rolling Tote (possible a good tote for going to sewing classes?)
*$69.99 Cricut V1
*40% Off Everyday Stems
*50% Off Loops&Threads Impeccable Yarn

Saturday November 26:
*Store Hours 8am-9:30pm
*20% Off Total Purchase Coupon Available (8am-Noon ONLY)
*50% Off any regular priced item coupon available (Noon-9:30pm ONLY)
*$129.99 ($100 off) 7 & 7.5 ft pre-lit willow pine Christmas Trees
*$2.99 12" x 12" Scrapbook cases (actually, I have used these to store skating costumes that are too heavy to hang up - so I might get some of these...)
*50% Off American Girl Crafts
*$9.99 Collage frames
*50% off ArtMinds Christmas Ornaments
*40% off various "Celebrate It" Ribbons

Thursday November 24 - Saturday November 26:
*50% off scrapbook storage
*60% off Home Collection photo frames
*40-50% off various photo frames
*60% off "Celebrate It" Holiday Ribbon
*50% off "Celebrate It" Christmas Picks (holiday decorations)
*50% off "Celebrate It" Christmas Ornaments
*50% off "Celebrate It" Gift Wrap
*50% off "Bead Gallery" strung beads
*40% off Crystazzi beads (still overpriced - better to buy in bulk from an online retailer)
*50% off various holiday florals
*3 for $5 photo boxes (great for notions storage!)
*3 for $10 Duck Tape (for making duck-tape dummy dressforms!)
*Strathmore Artist Pads - Buy One Get One Free (for sketching sewing design ideas)
*Various sales on lights and holiday decor


Fabric Mart will be having 25% off it's ENTIRE website.  I am not exactly sure about the timing on this sale, but I am assuming it is Thursday through Monday.  That means today is a good day to go through and fill up the wishlist.

   ___________________________________________________________________________ is having a Gobble Gobble Gobble sale through Monday November 28.  In addition to free shipping over $35 (US only), you can save more with the following Coupon Codes:

*$0 - $74.99 = Pie20 = 20% Off
*$75 - $149.99 = Pie25 = 25% Off
*$150 & Up = Pie30 = 30% Off


Fashion Fabrics Club:

FFC is having an end of the year Clearance Event through December 5, so this could be a good time to snag some online fabric at low prices.


Mood Fabrics Online:

For those of us not lucky enough to live in New York, Mood now has a nice selection of online fabrics.  This week they are having a 20% off of all cottons sale.


Dreamtime Creations:

Dreamtime Creations will be having online rhinestone sales throughout the Black Friday Weekend.  They have various specials with coupon codes available.  They plan to add coupon throughout the weekend.  You can only use one coupon code per order, so you may have to make multiple orders in order to get all of the deals you want, though they will try to combine shipping.  They are also giving 10% off total purchase of regular items over $50 with the coupon code THANKS2011.  The sale is good Thursday November 24 through midnight central standard time on Monday November 28.


Sad to say, but the online sales totally dominate the sales offered by the brick and mortar stores.  Although, honestly, I don't know how much participation I will have in any of these sales.  I don't really plan to do much decorating, and I already have the fabric for my holiday gift sewing.  While the 60% off fabrics at Joanns are tempting, I haven't seen much interesting fabric there lately.  And while I could possibly find some good stuff at Fabric Mart or the sale, I also know that the Saturday after Thanksgiving I have a very special shopping trip planned, so I am hesitant to go for any of these deals.  I suppose I will just take a peak at what these online sources have to offer and maybe have them as a backup plan if Saturday doesn't turn out as I am hoping.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Memory of Anne McCaffrey

On Monday, November 21, Anne McCaffrey, author of over 100 books and first female winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, passed away.  Though I can't say I have read a large selection of her work, her contribution to science fiction and fantasy cannot be ignored.  She will be missed by fans the world over.

I HATE Making Sewing Repairs!

Pardon the rant...

I have a warm-up jacket that I use for skating.  This past Sunday the zipper pull decided to disintegrate.  That's right.  Disintegrate.  It is currently in 5 pieces.  I really don't know what happened.  One day it was fine.  The next it was not.

Now, if this were your run of the mill, any old warm up jacket I would have just said screw it and gotten another one.  However, this is not your run-of-the-mill any old warm up jacket.  No, no, this is my fancy embroidered skating logo jacket.  I have a jacket from 2004, which I used for 6 years until 2010, when the fabric by the zipper started to tear.  Considering I would wear this thing 3-5 times a week for 51 weeks a year, that really isn't too terribly bad.  So in 2010 I decided to get a new jacket since I didn't want my old one to die, expecting it to last 4-6 years at least.  Sadly, this zipper lasted less than 18 months.

So, I figured I would simply remove the old zipper and insert a new one.  Hahaha.  Simply.  I spent over 2 hours ripping out the old zipper.  The insertion of the new one is sub-par at best.  The fabric wasn't happy with the stitch removal and has a few small holes.  I have at least 20 puncture wounds on my fingers from the seam rip and the pins.  I would have had to take apart the whole jacket to install the zipper as securely as before, so, while it is in, I doubt its security.  All in all I am not entirely pleased with my fix-it-up job.  On the other hand, it zips.  So, well, there is that.

But in any case I HATE making repairs to clothes.  The fix is never as good as the original, and it takes soooo much longer to fix something than to make it right in the first place.  Arg.

Ok, rant over...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Confession Time: My Other Stash

While I am finishing up the detail work on my trench coat, and watching the world skating online, I thought I would ramble on about some of the other sewing (and skating) related things that occupy my attentions.

I believe the fabric stash is a well studied problem amongst sewers of the internets.  Let's face it - pretty much unless you live in the heart of NY (aka walking distance from the garment district) as a home sewer, you probably have a stash.  Big stash, little stash; patterns, fabric, and notions; vintage flea market finds or the latest excess fabric from the runways bought online, we all pretty much have one.  The stash is different things to different people - for some a burden they seek to lessen, and for others a refuge of endless possibilities.  Any way you look at it, the fabric stash is a condition we as home sewers can all share and understand.  However, unlike a lot of home sewers, I also have a stash of a different kind.  I have a sparkle stash.

Yes, indeed, I have a fairly extensive collection of all things shimmery, shiny, and glittery.  Although my fabric stashing only really began in earnest the past year or so, my collection of all things shiny has been in full gear for over a decade.  I always liked shiny things, but ever since I started skating my collection has grown in ernest.  Beads, sequins, rhinestones - if it sparkles, I've got it.

Beads for jewelry making...

The bead box

Large beads

And small ones
Sequins for costumes:

Sequins on strings

Sequins in boxes

Sequins in bags

All shapes and sizes
I have cheap plastic jewels...

The fake stuff
And the good stuff - leaded glass crystals:

My favorites - the big honkers

And the sew on beads

Squares and margarita flowers

In lots of colors

Gotta love the vitrails!

And of course good ol' crystal - plain and AB.

But the colors are more fun!
I have seen a lot of people refer to themselves as magpies, but, honestly, in this case "magpie" doesn't even begin to cover it.  No, what I have is a full blown case of "Liberaceism" - the constant urge to spangle, sparkle, or bedazzle any and all plain fiber surfaces.  Instead of thinking about colors as they would be named in a box of crayons, I instead consider the world in shades of "Siam AB" "Capri Blue" and "Emerald."  So you see sewing people of the internets, I have another stash, a sparkle stash, one that is extensive and varied.

And so I ponder... I know many of us have sewing stashes, but how many of us have other stashes?  Is stashing a situation created by the nature of sewing, or do natural born stashers gravitiate towards sewing as an activity?  How much stashing is too much?  Is the severity of a stash determined by the quantity it contains, the cost of acquisition, or the space it consumes by residing unused?  Do any other seamstresses spend this much time weighing the pros and cons of laminated plastic vs. leaded glass, or am I just an oddball?  Is it a problem if sometimes all I want to do is pull out the stash, sit back, relax, and think, "ooo, shiny"?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Mail from Atlanta Thread Supply

This was my first time placing an order with Atlanta Thread & Supply Company, and I must say overall I am quite pleased with the service.  I was really excited when my big box of serger thread arrived:

Box stuffed with serger cones!
I was looking at the Joann's thread after I ordered my machine, and thought it might be ok when they have a 50% of thread sale.  Then I heard from a sewing friend that she didn't really care for the serger thread from Joanns all that much.  Then I realized I could order the brand name Maxi-Lock for $1.75 per cone, well, the Joann's options didn't seem so impressive anymore.  I figured I would get a lot of color options since the multi-packs had the best pricing:

Tailoring colors multipack - browns, greys, navy, black, and white.
Fashion colors multipack - a rainbow of options.
I also thought I should get a lot of the basic black and white cones:

Lots of black and white thread
And, well, I decided I would splurge a bit on some fun stuff too:

Maxilock Swirls in fun colors, metallic wooly nylon, and Maxilock stretch.
I was supposed to get the stretch in black, but they were out and sent white instead.  I think that may have been part of the hold up with the shipment, but since I am just experimenting with my machine right now I am not too upset about the color swap.  I want to see how the stretch fares compared to the wooly nylon for skating costume seams.  I plan to use the fun colors once I figure out the rolled hem on the serger, and I got the red/gold wooly nylon for a specific project where I am hoping to use the rolled hem feature.  As for the other colors - I am going to use a lot of the fashion colors in my upcoming holiday sewing I think, and the tailoring colors will be great for edge finishing on pants and jackets in the future.  In any case, this should give me enough thread to play around with at the moment, so I can figure out what I like and make decisions about which colors and types of threads I will be needing most in the future.  And I will most definitely be ordering my serger thread from Atlanta Thread in the future - the prices just can't be beat.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trench Coat Progress Report

Though I expect to be thoroughly and completely distracted during the next two weeks now that the world championships is being shown live, I have managed to make some progress on my snake print trench coat.

My coat, before adding the collar.

The back
The sewing hasn't taken nearly as long as the cutting and prep work (attaching interfacing and underlining).  I decided to sew the lining first, and then to sew all of the detailed attachment pieces.  That way when I was constructing the coat I could just focus on putting the big pieces together and not have to deal with changing thread (I am using a darker thread for my topstitch color, and a lighter thread for construction), changing presser feet, or worry about inconsistent buttonholes (well, for the small buttons - I haven't done the large front buttons yet).  I am not totally happy with the shape of my pocket flaps, and some of my topstitching isn't perfect (I use the 3-step straight stitch so I can make the regular sized thread have a bit more impact, but sometimes my machine is not happy going over the bumps), but the crazy snake print hides a lot of the errors that would be much more visible on a plain fabric.

Flap detail on the sleeve seam

Welt pocket for the hands

And flap pockets for hiding goodies

Sleeve tabs

And shoulder tabs

Overall, sewing it hasn't been too difficult, although it took a while to insert all the pockets and figuring out the collar was a bit of a pain.  Well, not the collar, but the collar stand.  It is this oddly shaped piece and since the numbered indicator is at a point and not really on a side, I spent a while staring at it.  Turns out the notched side connect to the facings and plain sides connect to the collar.  I spent about 20 minutes second guessing myself on that one and another 20 sewing very very slowly to get the stands on.  But it worked though, and actually I really appreciate that part of the pattern because I think it really helps give the collar some nice structure, even in my relatively soft draping fabric.

Notched collar has been added

Inside with collar stand and facing

Collar stand close up - the seam between the stand and collar is topstitched so the seam still stay open.

Collar stand from the outside - hard to see but it is sort of an odd shape.
At this point, I am getting close to the finishing stretch.  I still need to add the belt loops, attach the lining, and then hem everything, add buttons, and do some topstitching.  Unfortunately, I am on hold at the moment because I have run out of my topstitch thread color.

I need to use this for attaching the belt loops, which needs to happen before I attach the lining, so progress will be stalled a bit until I can get to the fabric store.  I think I might use the little thread I have left to attach some of the small detail buttons.  And I suppose I could hem the sleeves since I will be using the lighter thread for that.  All in all, I am hoping that I can get all the machine sewing finished before Thanksgiving, and all the hand stitching finished in the weekend after.  I am hoping to finish before December, so I can get started on my holiday gift sewing.  Probably won't be posting any more updates until it is finished, so stay tuned for the coat finale!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Newsflash - Live Streaming of Roller Skating World Championships!

Alright, so I was poking around the internets a bit and I found a website that has live world's streaming.  It isn't as nice as previous years, with the skater's name, country, and scores showing up, but still - it is a live feed!

Live Streaming of the 2011 Roller Skating World Championships is HERE!

The event scheduled times are located further down the page.  Since it is a live feed, you will have to convert the event times from Brasilia, Brazil to your local time zone.  There are several websites on the internet that can help you do this if you search with Google...

Also, RESULTS are posted as well, and are updated fairly quickly after the events are completed.  So far there are only results for the Junior Figures and Junior Solo Compulsories, but more should hopefully get posted soon.

I will post the link in my left sidebar under "Skating" links, so that these are easily accessible even as I continue to write more posts in the coming weeks.

Pattern Sales: Butterick, Vogue, McCall's, and Simplicity

Although I know many of us home seamstresses are waiting for the Black Friday sewing deals, Joann is going to be having some notable sales in the week preceding the big day.

Thursday November 17 - Saturday November 19:
*$1.99 Butterick Patterns
*$3.99 Vogue Patterns

Saturday November 19 - Wednesday November 23:
*$1.99 McCall's
*$1.99 Simplicity

Also, November 19 - November 23 are "Merry Moolah" days, with coupons that can be combined depending on the amount spent.  So Saturday would be a great day for sales - all of the Big four on sale, and $$$ off coupons.  Of course, I am not really wanting to get any patterns at the moment, but I may be picking up some stuff for my holiday gift making plans.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Newsflash - Possible Live Streaming of Roller Skating World Championships

The Roller Skating World Championships started today with the Junior World Class Opening Ceremonies. The event was supposed to have been streamed live, but as far as I know, event streaming is still up in the air since the person who was to be in charge of the video has sadly passed away.  I have not been able to find any sources saying whether it will or won't be streamed, but the video channel does have times listed.  I can't seem to figure out if those are times for Brasilia or if the time has already been converted to local time.  My best effort is to keep checking news sources and keep the video window open in case something starts to happen.

Since this is the ultimate roller skating competition, featuring the best skaters in the world, it is totally worth the time to watch, if it gets posted.  The schedule can be found here.  The Junior level events will be held this week, with the inline and Precision and Show events this coming weekend, and Senior level events next week.  All of these events should be excellent and quite exciting should the video feed work.

If you want to hold out hope that those of us at home will be able to watch this year's worlds, you can check out the link here.

I will post as soon as learn of any updates.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like my computer is trying to get a video, but I am getting errors warnings instead.  Chrome, Safari and Firefox all say the same thing - Error 3222.  I attempted to update Silverlight, but that does not appear to have helped.  If anyone else is getting video please post a comment!  Also, it looks like the scheduled times correspond to local time, so perhaps the video is on tape delay and not actually live?

UPDATE 2: Looks like streaming is still up in the air, and not very likely as they are having more important crisis at the event.  No one was able to watch the video last night, so the errors weren't specific to my computer.  This article makes it seem like they are lucky to be having an event at all, so I suppose we should be happy they were able to deal with the problems and get the event started.  Still crossing my fingers that they might figure something out with the video before senior starts though.

Snake Trench - Progress!

I did a bit of a marathon cutting session, so I have a some of the coat underway!  I made a couple of decisions regarding the coat construction:

(1) I am going to underline the fashion fabric with muslin, just so it is a bit more weighty and a bit more wind proof.  I have decided not to interface the front and hope that the muslin will act as a very soft interfacing.  As an added bit of warmth, I am going to interline with cotton flannel.

(2) I am using fusible interfacing for all of the detail pieces and facings that are supposed to have interfacing.  I am going to blockfuse these in the next few days.  After doing all my cutting, the last thing I wanted to do was blockfuse and cut some more, so I still have this to do in my preparatory stages.

(3) I am going to use my serger to construct the lining, to construct the detail pieces, and to edge finish the fashion fabric and underlining.  I am going to use the sewing machine for the main coat seams, topstitching, buttonholes, etc.  I cut everything with a 5/8" seam allowance, but after using the serger I will have a 3/8" seam allowance, which is what I was aiming for.

Since I have been having such luck with the size 40 Burda tops, I cut into the muslin and pinned it together to check the fit:

Front in muslin

Back in muslin
Normally I would have done a swayback adjustment, but since this coat is not meant to be fitted and instead given shape with a belt, I am leaving the pattern as is.  I did try it on with a belt from my closet - the back doesn't look too poofy, so I am hoping it will be ok.  This is also my first time making anything with raglan sleeves, but I am thinking the style looks pretty good so far.

I was considering doing all of the interfacing and cutting tonight, but I really wanted to sew something on my serger!  Despite the fact that my fancy serger thread hasn't arrived yet (grumble, grumble), I went ahead and used some of my regular sewing machine spools and it worked out just fine.  I used a 3-thread stitch to edge finish the main coat pieces:

Edge finishing with the serger!
And I used a 4-thread stitch to construct the lining:

Lining - the flannel covered wrong side

Serged seams!
I really love the feel of pairing charmeuse with flannel to create the lining.  I have done this on my previous two coats, and it really makes the finished product so much more cozy.  The flannel interlining is two different colors because I had the green leftover from interlining my green wool coat, and the purple was left over from interlining my sister's black wool coat.  You can't really see them through the lining fabric anyway, so I figured using bold crazy prints and colors wouldn't really matter.  And now they are all used up and out of the stash, so yay!

Also, I really love the lining fabric I found.  It was $3/yard from Michael Levine's online store and it is stunning.  Photographs do not do it justice.  It isn't even colors or patterns I would normally care for, but somehow I find it oddly appealing.  Part of me felt bad using it as a lining and not as a dress or blouse.  Of course, the practical part of me know I wouldn't really wear it as a dress or blouse, so I will probably best appreciate it as a lining anyway.  And, well, I have a yard left, so I can do something else with it I suppose.  Anyway, here are some pictures of my pretty lining:

My lining - the right side.
Back side of the lining.

Close up of the raglan sleeve seams.
I really think the serger is a great way to make the lining - especially since it finishs off the edges.  No more stringy bunches of poly charmeuse fibers floating about.  And the seams look nice and smooth.  I may have already bragged about this a bit too much, but, well, I loves my new serger!

Anyway, hopefully I can get the rest of the prep work done tomorrow and maybe get some sewing done this week too.  I think hoping for a pre-Thanksgiving finish might be pushing it, but, well, we shall see.  I do want to push to finish this project though, since I have been thinking I might be sewing up Christmas gifts this year.  I know, I know, that there is crazy talk.  A few weeks go I had been dead set against it.  So, what on Earth has changed my mind?  Well, for one, because I would rather spend my money on fabric that I am giving away than spend it on random other stuff that I am giving away.  And for two, because if I plan it out right I can use me serger to make everything, which will be simultaneously fast and fun.  So, really, I am just looking for more excuses to play with my serger.