Food and Fitness

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm Bringing Sexy Back or M3640 OOP

As you guys know I've been a little preoccupied lately but not so much that I hadn't been thinking about what I would wear on Christmas. I was looking forward to getting out of sweats and PJ's which have been my standard uniform lately and at least try to get back to "me". Even though I know it may have been smarter to buy something, I wanted to make something because I wanted to have control over my look rather than spend too much money on something that wasn't made especially for me.

Oddly enough the day before I had my sweet baby girl, I saw this necklace

and I knew exactly what I would be wearing and the best part, I already had the pattern, fabric and I knew where to get the shoes for 30% off. SCORE!

Pattern Description: Misses has front bust darts, front and back waistline darts and back zipper closure.

Pattern Sizing: 8-22

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Super easy although I didn't use them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the classic style of the dress. I also like that there is a girls pattern included in the envelope. Loved that there were only 4 pattern pieces especially since my sewing time is ultra limited with a newborn in the house. I also liked the V neck in the back that wasn't too low to wear a regular bra (I promise the hem is even in the back. I don't know what happened here but by the time I saw it in the picture I was on the couch in my comfy sweats). No dislikes.

Fabric Used: Stretch Shimmer Rayon Blend Shirting that I got from last year for $2.99 per yard.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: My standard FBA but when I make this again, I will shorten the bodice at the shoulder since there was some extra fabric there but given short period of time I had I'm happy with the outcome.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is definitely a pattern I need to trace because I will be making this again and again.

Conclusion: This is a fast an easy dress that can be casual or formal depending on the fabric used and accessories, a true TNT. Great for beginning sewers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

She's Here!!!

Little miss Raven Alexis is here. Born November 17, 3 weeks before she was due. I shouldn't have been suprised as I have not made it to a due date yet. She is a tiny little thing at 4lbs 4oz and 17.5 inches but she is healthy and after spending 5 days in the hospital trying to get her to eat on her own and trying to get my blood pressure under control we are both home and well and her appetite is growing by the day. We used to have to spend 15-30 minutes waking her up to feed (she's a sleepy little girl, I hope she maintains such good sleeping habits) and now she is waking up on her own before her feeding time so I am one happy mama. My mom and husband have been great and I couldn't be more thankful for all they have done for me. I am also thankful for all the support and well wishes I have received from all of you. I am looking forward to resting and then getting back to sewing so I can make fabulous things for me and my sweet little baby girl.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A little help please

I am currently in week 30 and don't want to create an entire Fall maternity wardwrobe but I do want to create a few nice pieces since there will be a couple of birthdays including my own and hopefully Thanksgiving before the baby gets here. I've been looking around for ideas (snoop shopping) and I found this dress I love.

Now I'm looking for a pattern I can morph into this or something very similar. Any ideas?

Monday, August 2, 2010

My 23 Week Bump

Here are pics of me wearing my latest version of M5893 featuring a preview of my current baby bump.

My knit dress doesn't exactly camouflage my bump like Katie's because you can definitely tell somethings growing under there but I do think it flows nicely and is uber comfortable.

I brought along this cropped white cardigan to wear in the air conditioned buildings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

McCalls 5893 or the 1 year 1 hour dress

Okay I exagerated a little. I started making this dress about 11 months ago right after finishing this version. Then I got distracted by other projects, plus this one is made from an ITY knit and I wasn't quite sure it would wear as nicely as the last one. Through out the months, I would pick it up and complete a step or two, pin this, stitch that until finally I decided to finish it because the other dress actually works well in my somewhat limited Summer maternity wardrobe. I guess better late than never.

Pattern Description: Empire waist dresses A, B, C, D have hemmed, scoop necklines, side seam pockets and elastic casing at waist; dresses A, C and D have hemmed armholes; dress A has contrast bodice and hem band; dress B has sleeves gathered to sleeve band.

Pattern Sizing: B5(8-10-12-14-16), RR(18W-20W-22W-24W)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Mostly, I omitted the elastic at the waist. I don't need anything binding on my growing belly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Instructions were super easy. I didn't really need them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved that this dress had pockets and that it went together so quickly (in theory at least).

Fabric Used: ITY Knit

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I added two inches to the bodice length and one inch to the width to make sure I had full bust coverage. I had already re-drafted the pattern pieces the last time I made this so it made this part a breeze.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably won't make this again since this is my second one but I would definitely recommend it. It's so comfortable.

Conclusion: This dress is confortable, easy to sew and can be used easily as a maternity dress with minimal adjustment and still work as a transitional garment after baby.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally . . . Great News!

Thanks to all of you who have kept me in your thoughts over the last few months. Back in April I was trying to recover from a MS exacerbation and just could not understand why I couldn't shake it. After lots of tests we got the results, I'M PREGNANT!!!! This is definitely great and welcomed if not shocking news since we had a miscarriage last year and had been trying unsuccessfully for almost a year after that. Then a new waiting game began, getting past the "dangerous" period which for me with all the health issues was a little longer than most. But we're finally over that and to top it off found out that we are having a GIRL (techinically my third but my first bio) and my feet have not touched the ground. I still haven't mustered up the energy to sew but I am definitely more relaxed and relieved.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Starting to feel a little better.

I can feel my energy starting to return and I know I'll be back to creating soon as I have recently began selecting patterns for my Summer sewing and placed a fabric order for my 10th anniversary dress. I haven't touched my machine though but I know it's coming. Thanks again for those who have reached out, I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Checking In

Thanks to everybody for checking in on me. I'm still here, not feeling any better and just trying to do all I can to get rest and recover. I am daydreaming about a Mother's day dress which unless I can find something with no more than 2-3 pattern pieces, won't be happening, but a girl can dream can't she.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Planning but no sewing

It's been a while since I last posted but I'm still here. After having MS (multiple sclerosis) for half my life, one would think I'd figure out how to stay in front of it which actually I usually can do but this time, I can't seem to beat the fatigue which has me falling to sleep on the couch or when I go to cuddle with my boys at bedtime for a few minutes and waking up 4 hours later. So although I have three UFO's that I need to finish and a new pattern traced and altered and fabric pre-shrunk, I cannot seem to stay awake to do anything. I also have all the major components for my dedicated sewing area purchased (table, rolling task chair, Ott light (40% off at JoAnn's), I don't have the energy to put the space together. I haven't even been viewing the PR digests and keeping up with blog posts daily which is unheard of! Hopefully if I go to bed early for the next two nights, I'll have enough energy to make a simple top on Friday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finally, a perfect invisible zipper . . . or so I thought

So one of my projects for this year is to learn how to perfectly insert an invisible zipper. I stayed away from the evil things for years but everytime I see one in someone else's garment, I promise I'm going to learn to do this myself. After a few false starts with either getting the zipper twisted or having it not really be invisible at all, I finally did it.

A proud moment indeed -- that is until this happened.

This is what happens when I sit, bend or otherwise move in the skirt. I think part of it has to do with the fabric being a stretch suiting but do you have any other ideas about why this is happening?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Me-Cation es Sew-Cation

People often ask me how I avoid burn out with the often emotionally draining work that I do. My first answer is usually that I have been blessed with the ability to completely shift gears the minute I leave work, which is definitely part of it but the other very important part is that roughly every three months or so I take a me-cation, that's a mini vacation when everyone else in my family is still working or going to school. It usually is only 2-3 actual days off but when you combine my regular days off it will be 6 days. Not having to do anything for anybody, not having to solve problems or hold fears, getting to sleep in, read, knit or sew, cook more elaborate meals for my family and overall just getting to take care of myself is very restorative and keeps me from burning out. Honestly, I haven't had a real me-cation in nearly a year and boy am I feeling it. I took off last June but it just so happened that while I was off a friend came to stay with us and unfortunately she expected to be entertained. Sorry but I have two little boys, a husband and I talk for a living, when I'm supposed to be home relaxing, I don't want to talk or help people figure out their problems, but I digress. Over the holidays, I was off the week of Thanksgiving and two weeks at the end of the year but my kids were also home so while I loved spending time with them and we had a blast, I got no rest.

This time, I am planning a sew-cation to to finish a few more Winter pieces before I finally do move on to Spring sewing. With any luck, these will turn out to be transition pieces.

I like View B which I plan to make in a black stretch suiting. I finally found 7" nickel zippers so I think I'll be good to go.

I also want to make either

B5284 or

M5968 to wear with a pencil skirt I plan to make from a gray wool blend suiting with light blue pinstripes. I'm leaning toward the McCalls version but it will depend on which one I have to do the least amount to (since I have alter every pattern I use). If I get these things done, I will feel so accomplished because I really am pretty fatigued so I need to be getting a little bit of rest while I'm at it.

I'm also planning on taking a beading class because I'd like to step up my accessorizing and I have a knitting lesson scheduled because I'm ready to move on from scarves. Overall I'm feeling pretty pleased with the plan. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is it just me or do you find yourself constantly thinking/dreaming of sewing, matching fabric to patterns and patterns to fabric and then changing it up and starting all over again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wee hour ramblings

One of my New Years Resoultions was to organize my stash and set up my dedicated sewing area. Over the past week, I have been emptying boxes and white water proof evelopes filled with fabric and placing the fabric in 18 gallon storage bins -- not my ideal storage solution but I would truly need a space the size of my master bedroom walk-in closet to properly store and categorize all the fabric I have. Just for a little history, I stopped actively sewing about 12 years ago because as I tend to be a bit on the obsessive side, I was spending way too much of my money on fabric. At that time, I was lucky enough to have three fabric stores in my town (New York Fabrics (now JoAnns), Hancock Fabrics and House of Fabrics (which was also bought by JoAnns) so I had tons and tons of fabric to choose from and boy did I choose. When we moved to a new house in 2005, I moved three 18 gallon bins FULL of fabric with me and with two extra bedrooms, was so excited about the possiblity of a dedicated sewing space. However one room was quickly claimed by my mother as "her room" when she comes to visit for the weekend and the other room began to shape up as my home office as I was also just starting my practice. When I returned to sewing last year, I was sad to see some of my old favorites gone (i.e., belt and covered buckle kits and this wonderful elastic product that would let you stitch on the blue lines, pull on the elastic and presto instant shirred waistband) but I was also excited to find new favorites (, denverfabrics, and cleanersupplies (excellent prices on many kinds and colors of zippers). I rekindled my obsession for fabric collecting with a vengence. I don't dare try to estimate the money spent or yardage purchased, however I do know that I have filled another four bins with more fabric to go. The realization that I have more than doubled my fabric stash in less than one year leaves me speechless and now I remember the feeling I had back then when I gave it up. Since I love sewing and don't want to find myself in that position again, I have instead shifted my focus to creating a space to create so that my process is more fluid and therefore can be continual instead of the stop-start disjointed process that it currently is with me having to set up and break down every time I get ready to sew. I'll keep you posted on my progress and I'll post pictures when it's done.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

McCalls 3280

Pattern Description: Top with various sleeve detail options. I made view E with the opening that goes nearly the full length of the arm.

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? The instructions were very simple although the front facing for the keyhole was a bit odd. You actually cut the keyhole after you have stitched the facing at the neck line and along the stitching lines for the keyhole which means you really need to mark your pattern pieces well and pin down the facing piece well so that you get the key hole in the right place because once you cut it, you're stuck with it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This came together fairly easily. I also liked that although this is an OOP pattern from 2000 but the style still works 10 years later.

Fabric Used: I used a polyester charmeuse I picked up at JoAnn's back in October. I was supposed to wear this on my birthday in November but didn't get around to it until now.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made my standard FBA and added two inches to the side seam. I also finished with a rolled edge hem instead of the two inch hem called for in the pattern as the rolled edge seems to work better for me with silky fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew this again. I like it but don't love it but it's easy and can be dressed up or down. I think I might add more length to it and add a fabric belt.

Conclusion: This is a cute little top. I recommend it if you can find it or it you have it hiding in your pattern stash. I remember thinking this would be too difficult for me when I bought it years ago. I only wish I would have made it sooner.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Help, I need an intervention

You know you have ordered just too much fabric when they can't fit your order into one box and one of the boxes they send you contains too much fabric to fold so they just rolled it up and sent it. I am happy with my loot though and am ashamed to say I am expecting two more deliveries this week. This really does have to be it at least for awhile because it's coming in much faster than I can sew it and I am running out of room to store it. Off to take advantage of my last two guaranteed sewing hours this week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Early Spring Selections

It feels like it's been forever since I've seen new patterns. Thanks to Erica B, I was able to check these out days before I received the e-mails.

S2455 - I like the blue dress even though it's fairly simple, I like the neckline details and the belt.

M6037 - Even though I've never made or worn a caftan in life, I always like the idea of having something like this to lounge in and to run to the post office or grocery store if necessary.

M6035 - I love the shirt on the model and the view at the bottom. I was forced to buy a white shirt for pics with my siblings and loved it so now I'm on a mission to add several different styles of white shirts to my wardrobe.

M6031 - I like the the neckline on the peach top in the middle. Don't know if I'll actually buy this one, but I thought it was cute.

M6028 - I love, love the color blocked view. I definitely plan to make this. Very crisp. Very smart.

M6024 - I like the pink dress on the right. It's very romatic, very Laura Ashley. This will likely make my Spring/Summer sewing list.

Have you had a chance to look at the latest selections? What are your pics.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!!

I don't know about you but I am really looking forward to 2010. 2009 started off great with my return to sewing in February, a new sewing machine and long awaited serger, then it was quickly derailed when a very close friend had a stroke in March and I later had the house guest from hell from June through September followed by the end of a 30 year friendship. Talk about a roller coaster. The truth is, the thing that kept me sane through the worst of it was sewing and my connection with the online sewing community and I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have commented on my reviews and/or blog, offered suggestions and words of encouragement and support. Because of all of you and the beautiful work you do, I have been motivated to new heights this year, sewing more that I ever have in one year:


9 Dresses
2 Tops (first ever)
1 Baby Sling

I've also realized a few things about my sewing self this year.

1. I am a very slow sewer. I used to start projects a day or two before I needed to wear them and then get all bummed out because I couldn't get them done or they turned out to be wadders for one reason or another (fit, style, etc.). Now I realize I need to start at least a month in advance if I want to make something for a specific event.

2. Even though it slows me down more, I like to watch TV while I sew.

3. When in doubt, make a muslin. I used to think I could do without a muslin to save time. ROFL!!!!!!!

4. I feel better when I am wearing clothes I've made for myself.

5. If I have a snowballs chance in H#$%at making it to PR Weekend in Philadelphia, I have got to stop buying fabric, seriously, I have spent more $$$$ on fabric this year than I care to admit, most of which is still folded and stacked.

6. The more I sew the better I get at it.

Armed with my revelations and the support of my sewing cyber friends, I am excited to see what we all will create in the coming year.

2010 here I come!