Friday, March 30, 2012


So, though I had decided that my stash was quite full, circumstances dictated that maybe it wasn't quite full enough.  Circumstances being the new need to sew for others (in addition to my original two competition dresses, I now have to add a third for a new event I will be skating - team dance - and a costume for the new partner, plus 3-4 matching practice costumes for us, as well as the skating costume for my client, and now two shirts for a friend of the family), but also seeing (cheap) gorgeous fabrics I couldn't resist.  Firstly I had a few earlier purchases this month that I haven't yet shown off:

Cotton/poly/lycra stretch denim from Joann - so amazingly soft!

Poly charmeuse print from Joann - going to be used as lining.

Cottons from Fashion Fabrics Club - the teal is for my sewing challenge day dress.
The white floral and magenta will be mixed as a dress for my sister.
And then I got to go on a trip to the LA Fashion District!  I was able to snag a ride and act as a carpool dummy, and I had a super productive shopping day.  I was able to get fabric for a lot of my new skating projects, as well as finally making it to the Michael Levine Loft!  Fabric is $2.50/pound!!!  Fabric by the pound peoples!  All in all it was a productive, if somewhat expensive, day.  At least I will recoup a lot of the costs because I am buying stuff for others... which of course means I can go back and buy more non-skating fabric for me!  So, I won't keep you in suspense any longer, here is what I got:

Skating fabrics - velvets, chiffon, metallic foil dot fabrics
Some are for me, but a lot are for my clients, so you might not see all the finished products.
Also, the worst thing about buying fabric to sew for 2 people is you can't buy as many different
fabrics as you could if you were only buying fabric for just one person.

Applique trim for skating costumes (to be adorned with rhinestones and sequins)

Doesn't look like much, but this is 10,000 sequins!  They come on strands, so you can't
see the reflective bits of color very well in this picture, but these are also for the skating costumes.

"Fake" sew on rhinestones - not as good of quality as Swarovski, but at 200 feet you can't really tell.

More fake-a-roos - they look plenty shiny in the bags though.
And, totally 1/2 or 1/3 the price of the real ones - that means 3 times the sparkle!

Studs - 500 for $1.50!  I am totally going to use these for a jacket at some point.

I found belt buckles!  I had such a problem locating them online... here I got 12 for $4.50!

These beads are for one of my sewing challenge projects - won't be used for a while, but I am
super excited I was able to find the shape, size, and color I was looking for at only $1.50/strand.

The first part of the Loft haul - (back) teal slinky, poly print charmeuse, (front) animal print chiffon, teal ribbed knit.

More Loft haul - a bunch of ITY knit prints (well, I think the pink/green might be a rayon or cotton actually)
The loft haul is great - for most of the fabrics I have 3-5 yards, except the ribbed knit, the slinky, and the chiffon.  I think it averaged out to something like $1.25/yard.  And I totally would have got some more, except that I ran out of time, arm space, and cash...  Oh well.  It sounds like I might be heading back up in a few weeks with some other skating peoples who need to get their own fabrics...

Now, lest you be feeling too jealous, let me show you my latest skating dress:

It is a wadder, which is why I am not wearing it.  I wanted to keep the stripes from being broken up, which meant doing a one-piece body construction.  However this fabric doesn't drape so nice.  And, well, let's just say the finished product gives new meaning to the term bubble butt.  But I still love this fabric!  And I have enough left over to maybe re-do it.  But I don't have the time right now to work on it - especially since I now have so much sewing for others in the near future.  So, I am calling it a "wadder for now" with the hope that I can return to it and fix it to wearable status in the future.  In addition, I need to re-cut the bodice of my figure dress, and I have made a last-minute fabric switch for my solo dance dress, so this past week's sewing efforts have all been for naught.  So, you see, it isn't all lolly pops, gummy drops, rainbows, and fabric hauls here at Sew Skate Read.  There has been some sadness and turmoil as well.

So... yeah.  Substantial stash accumulation, but I also will be using a majority of these fabrics and a lot of the beads and trims rather quickly (quickly = before summer is over).  Now I am feeling a bit nervous though - I have so many projects I have to get through in the next few months!  I have about 4 things that need to get done by the end of April, and another two by the end of May.  And probably another 4-8 by the end of June.  Which, all in all, means no regular sewing for me until July at the earliest!  Also, it probably means more time in front of the machines and less on the blog-o-sphere.  So, if the posts thin in the next few months fear not for it means I am actually sewing and not just thinking about it.  I am not going away...  I just probably won't have time to be as verbose.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Newsflash - Burda May Early Preview Posted

The early preview for the May 2012 BurdaStyle magazine can be viewed here.  So far I don't see anything super inspiring, but also nothing hideous.  Seems like most of the preview pictures are following the big trends this season:

More color blocking

Maxi dress

I like the relaxed looking shirt and these pants too!

I think these are the same pants - I like them, but I want to see the line drawing.

I like this skirt too.

I think the lace skirt is pretty, but I think this is for plus sizes.

I also really like this shirt, but, again, probably the plus sizes.
So far I like a lot of these ok, but none of them are super-exciting-need-to-make-it-now, so I am hoping that there will be more exciting things when the full preview comes out later this month...

Also, in other Burda news, it seems the Russian Burda website will be going under a major overhaul and look different starting May 1.  I am hoping this won't change the way they post the full previews of the new magazines.  I mean, I know the German website posts garment photos and line drawings, but I really prefer to see them together with the model photos when I am doing my pre-arrival analysis of the magazine.  I suppose if they do change too much I can always use the French or Italian websites instead...

So, what do you all think about the preview - excited, or not?  Do you have any apprehension about the coming changes to the Russian website?

Pattern Sales: Simplicity

Joann will be having a $0.99 pattern sale on Simplicity Thursday March 29 - Saturday March 31.  Great chance to pick up some of the newest patterns at sale prices!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting a Little Older

So... yeah... the age has gone up this week.  And while my joints are screaming in protest, I did get some cool toys to help make up for it!

Firstly, I got this awesome bag a while ago but it was given "as a birthday gift" so I have held off showing it until now.  But it is pretty cool, nice and spacious:

A PanAm bag!  Because I have an obsession for that show...

All of the hardware says PanAm

Even the zipper pull!

Officially licensed and all.

Also, how amazing is this bag going to look with my blue raincoat?

Nextly I got the most awesome clock of all time (pun totally intended):

It is an ity bity sewing machine!

Aren't the little scissors cute?

The hand crank totally moves too!

I was even excited about the German instructions - they will go nicely with my Burda collection.
And so I ask you - have you ever seen anything so cool?!?!  Of course you haven't.  Until now anyway. Seriously people, how jealous are you?  It is so awesome I am jealous of myself.

And, as if that isn't enough, if all goes according to plan I will be able to use my amazing powers of "carpoolness" to bum a ride to the LA fashion district within a few days time.  If you weren't jealous before I am sure you are jealous now.  Rightly so.  Don't worry... if any fabulousness happens to be bought I promise to share it with you soon!

This getting old thing is turning out to be maybe not quite so bad...

EDIT: I have been informed that the clock is from Brighton in England... which takes the awesomeness level through the roof!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: Mr. CSI: How A Vegas Dreamer Made A Killing In Hollywood, One Body At A Time

It seems to be my luck that while reading the George R. R. Martin Ice and Fire series I tend to find other books that are engaging, interesting, and quick to read.  Mr. CSI: How A Vegas Dreamer Made A Killing in Hollywood, One Body At A Time, the autobiography of television franchise CSI's creator Anthony E. Zuiker, was no exception.

I must admit - I have been a fan of CSI:Crime Scene Investigation since about its third season.  The first episode I really remember watching was the one with the kids, the old lady, the cats, and the floaty pen.  After that I was hooked.  I have every season on DVD, and despite losing many of my favorite actors and characters from the show, I still watch the show today.  I haven't been as interested in the spin off series in Miami or New York, but I will probably watch the original Vegas show until it is off the air.

So, I expected reading the story of the man who created one of my favorite television shows would be interesting.  What I didn't expect was for the story to be one of the most engrossing reads I have encountered in a long time.  It isn't so much the story - man examines his relationship with his father and realizes how this has driven him to greatness - but how it is told.  One of the ideas that is constantly repeated is that Anthony Zuiker received encouragement from many people to develop his unique voice.  Reading this book you can definitely feel it - this man knows how to craft a story.  I have to admit that I picked this book up around 2pm, and though I took a nap, ate dinner, watched some TV, and surfed the internet, I was still finished by 1am the next morning.  This is possibly the first time I have read an entire book in a 12 hour period.  And though there were other things I should have been doing with my time, once I picked this book up I almost literally couldn't put it down.

For fans of the show this book is an absolute must-read, however I would also recommend this book to fans of autobiographies, creative types, and just in general.  I think this book is especially great for creative types struggling to make it in their respective fields.  Although this is Anthony's story, and although he is dealing with weighty issues throughout the book, somehow the overall tone comes off as being funny, happy, and supportive.  You can tell that he is appreciative of his fans, and enjoys what he does.  Despite his struggles and hardships his tone was never bitter or angry.  And you can also tell that he supports others who are searching to find their place in this world.  Despite the fact that his work deals with serious issues like crime, murder, and violent deaths, the humor and joy is never lost from his voice.  It is a captivating look at a man who has created captivating television, and I highly recommend this book to all.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sewing Progress, Or Complete Lack Thereof

So, right now I sort of have a few sewing project going, but because of this nothing really seems to be getting produced.  So I will break this post down by project to see what is up:

(1) Skating Costumes

To be fair, this past week has been fairly busy in terms of skating events.  There were competitions, test centers, and practices, all of which were either held during my normal sewing hours, or were held far away, and I was just too tired when I was done to be much excited about sewing anything.  And then I think I got a bit of a mild flu, which killed the mojo even further.  So I didn't really get anything accomplished in terms of finished projects, though I do have a half-finished practice dress.  And I did, however, get two muslins sewn for my skating competition dresses this year.  Which means after a few tiny alterations I think I am finally ready to cut into the good stuff.  Which means, in theory, that I should be getting closer to moving back to working on my year-long sewing challenge, but over the past week it seems I have picked up the need to sew at least two other skating costumes, and possibly a third.  So now it looks like it might be a bit longer before I get back to sewing clothes for me.  And I owe my sister a dress when she comes home, and that will take precedence over sewing challenge items too.  Ah, well.  I suppose this is why I have set the goal of only sewing 12 items total?  And luckily I have 5 items done, so even if I can't get back to sewing these items until June, I still won't be behind on my overall target.  Though it will probably be a bit boring for my readers, since I don't like to show off my competition dresses until after I wear them at the major competitions over the summer.  But I promise this year I will post a few sneak peaks once they are completed.

(2) Sewing Challenge Button Down Shirt

In sewing challenge news - I went back and made the alterations to the bodice of the McCall's pattern.  What I noticed is that raising the bust actually did alter the shape of the armscye (visually, when I lay out the pattern, as I haven't cut a second muslin yet).  Somewhere I read about "walking the pattern" before cutting fabric, to make sure there weren't going to be any weird surprises when you are trying to piece things together, and I have been doing that any time I make an alteration.  When I walked the sleeve in my new armscye, I had to make a few adjustments, as the shapes were no longer complimentary, and what I ended up with was a sleeve with a less symmetrical sleeve cap, which in my experience usually gives a better fitting sleeve.  I am hoping when I do get around to muslin #2, that this will be a positive change.

(3) Sewing Challenge Patrones Pants

Patrones Extra 10 No. 40

Also, I have traced out the pattern on the Patrones pants, but I haven't made any alterations yet - I already know they are going to be at least 2 inches too short, and after I make a muslin I am sure there will be other alterations as well.  I really won't have time for this project for a while yet, but I really want to make these pants, and I had a spare hour, so I thought tracing the pattern would be a better use of time than surfing the interent.  Also, this is my first Patrones pattern and I have to say that tracing these patterns is a joy - the pattern sheets are small and fit nicely on my rotary cutting mat/tracing surface, and the patterns are all different colors with plenty of spacing on the pattern sheets.  The drafting looks nice on paper, so if the fit turns out, Patrones might be rivaling Burda for my affections as far as magazine patterns go.

So... that is where things are.  I guess I feel a bit slow because I did barely any sewing this past week and I have been spending a lot of extra time working on muslins for skating costumes this year.  And I have agreed to make extra costumes for other skaters.  Which is probably a good thing, because it means I am pushing my bounds or expanding my skills or something, but is also sort of frustrating because normally it doesn't take me this long to get them finished.  Oh well.  I will be working on them soon enough I guess.  And as long as they end up good I suppose it will be worth the effort.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Newsflash - New McCall's Patterns

It seems like I am doing nothing but writing up posts on new pattern releases this week (quite literally, as I have been a bit sick), and today McCall's has joined the lineup - with their new (early summer?) pattern releases.  This release had a lot of kids and crafts patterns, along with another collection of easy summery dresses.  The big trends in this release seem to be color blocking (it is everywhere!) and maxi-dresses.  Most of the styles are pretty basic, but there were a few interesting tops.

M6561 - colorblocking opportunities

M6551 - more colorblocking

M6557 - This is probably my favorite in this release, but I already have similar patterns.

M6558 - Maxi dress trend (looking very 70s?)

M6555 - Maxi and color blocking (although to me it looks a lot like a muu muu)

M6559 - more maxis and color block designs

M6565 - I actually sort of like this top

M6564 - An interesting variation on a wrap top.

M6571 - I would be interested in this pattern if I didn't already have similar pants and top patterns from Burda.

M6569 - New bathing suit pattern - spring is here!
All in all the patterns aren't bad, but they also aren't terribly exciting.  I mean, all of the styles I am responding to are similar to patterns I already own, and I am not really finding enough of interest here to add anything to my wish list.  So, what about everyone else?  Anything here you are dying to make?  Or are you going to be passing on these releases?  Are you more excited by the McCall's color blocking and maxi trends, or Simplicity's peplums and short skirts?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Newsflash - Burda Easy Fashion Spring/Summer 2012 Announced

BurdaStyle Russia has the full preview of the latest Burda Easy Fashion up for viewing.  In general, there is nothing that I am super excited about, so I don't think I will actually try to find this issue.  But that doesn't mean we can't look at some of the designs inside...

I think this skirt would be a favorite among the bicycle riders -
just enough flare and not too long.

The jacket/pants are a nice practical combo.

I realize this is a sack dress with elastic waistband, but I still sort of like it.

I like the keyhole neckline - shouldn't be too hard to duplicate without the pattern though.

I also like the neckline/contrast fabric bands on this dress.

And here is some of the colorblocking trend.

More colorblocking - I actually rather like it on this dress.

At first I thought this jacket pattern could be interesting...

But after studying the line drawing I decided I didn't need it.

Also, I have to admit this skirt made me laugh -
it looks like she is wearing a fishbowl around her waist.
So, overall, not very exciting issue to me, however, I don't usually respond as well to the easy Burda patterns as much as I do to the more complicated detailed ones.  So, I wouldn't say this issue is a bad issue, it just isn't exciting enough for me to search one out.  What about everyone else?  Anything here really excite you?  Or are you going to stick to the regular monthly issues?