Monthly Archives: August 2009

Dotted Swiss – Styled!

Phyllis asked how I was going to style my dotted Swiss blouse. I’m sure you’d rather see it on a body but I have never mastered the self-timer so this will have to suffice. 🙂


I’ll be wearing the blouse with my favorite Hudson jeans and my most beloved piece of Native American jewelry, my vintage Zuni belt. I love this belt so much that the leather strap has been replaced twice. It is not just an accessory, I plan entire outfits around it! As for shoes, it’ll depend on where I’m going.

I bought a second piece of dotted Swiss (in aqua) from Ann. Now I just need to decide what I want to make with it.


Filed under Accessories, Fabric, Simplicity

Sewing Room Organization – Part I

Brad expressed an interest in the pattern and fabric binders I mentioned in my last post so I thought I’d share them with you. Of course, this is not the only way to keep a large collection organized but I have found it is the best way for me. Initially, it took me one weekend to catalog the fabric and a day to do the patterns. Additionally, this system requires minimal effort to maintain and is very cost-effective. Here is my entire fabric, pattern and Burda WOF collection:


Yesterday morning – as I was trying to plan my next project – the growing mounds of patterns finally got to me. I’m usually pretty good about keeping things under control but I’ve been buying a lot of patterns lately and allowing them to pile up in Sewing Room #1,


Sewing Room #2 and


the dining room (I won’t show you my nightstand as Saturday is the one day I don’t make my bed!).


Since I had already planned to watch my honey’s game on ESPN at noon I decided that it was as good a time as any to file patterns. The sewing room gets cleaned up and I score major Girlfriend Points at the same time!

To get started, you’ll need 9×12 manila envelopes, sheet protectors and 4″ binders. I buy the least expensive envelopes and sheet protectors but it’s worth it to buy good-quality D-ring binders (at least for the pattern envelopes) because they, unlike their inexpensive counterparts, will last forever.

I remove the pattern and instructions from the envelope and place them in a manila envelope. On the upper left corner I write the first letter of the company (Burda is Bu and Kwik-Sew is KS) and the pattern number. The manila envelopes are then filed numerically. Patterns that have names instead of numbers are filed alphabetically in the first drawer. You can see that some envelopes have white labels on them – those have been reused. Believe it or not, I do occasionally purge my patterns!


The envelopes are then placed in sheet protectors and filed by pattern type (top, bottom, dress, etc.) in binders.


Since Hot Patterns are much thicker/bulkier, I make a photocopy of the front (or, more often than not, just print it out from the HP website) for my binder and then file the entire pattern in a separate file drawer.


I used to keep my vintage patterns separate but I have found that it’s easier to keep everything together. I do have some collectible vintage patterns (like my Lucy and Desi patterns) that I just enjoy owning – those I do keep separate in acid-free plastic envelopes.

Catalogueing my fabric is just as easy. I made up these forms on my computer and had a bunch of copies made at Office Depot. As I buy fabric I just snip a piece off and glue it onto the sheet and note the source, yardage, width and fiber content. Rarely, I’ll put something away without washing. If that’s the case, I note that as well to avoid any nasty surprises later. And, since I now have multiple fabric closets I also note where the fabric is stored. Fabrics are organized by type: blouseweights, midweights, suitings, denims, cottons, knits, etc. As fabrics are used, I remove the swatch and cross out the description.


As many of you know, my fabric closets are organized by color so it’s very easy for me to lay my hands on a particular piece. That’s it, my not very elaborate organizational system! What I really love about doing it this way is that I’m able to relax on the couch or in bed with my entire fabric and pattern collection. It’s nice to be able to see what I have without making a mess of my sewing room!


I finished tidying things up just in time for mail call and, you guessed it, more patterns! My new HPs arrived along with a few new dress patterns. The drawstring pant pattern is already laid out on my cutting table, ready for tracing. I also managed to cut out another Sweetheart Top and will finish that up today.


Did you all notice the title? Part I. I thought it might be fun to do a series because I know I’m not the only sewer who has a lot of stuff to keep track of.


Filed under Fabric, Hot Patterns, Patterns, Sewing Studio

Dotted Swiss – Final

It was a very busy week and I was too tired to do much of anything in the evenings besides read patterns and fondle my fabric collection. 🙂 All week I have been looking forward to tonight because I knew I’d have time to finish up my blouse. We always have dinner with my best friend and her husband on Friday night but both Bryan and The Queen are out of town so I claimed tonight as my own!

When I was doing my pin-fitting, I decided that the blouse could use some more taking in at the side seams. This fabric is much softer than the voile I used last time and it seemed much too blousy. Don’t get me wrong, blousy is wonderful if you are wearing a top untucked. Not so wonderful when you plan on tucking it in and don’t want too much of a blouson effect. So, I ended up taking it in as much as another 2″ through the hip and even more through the waist as you can see here:


Here it is, all finished. It definitely needs another pressing! I know it doesn’t look more fitted than my last version it’s just that different fabrics fit differently which is why I always fit as I go to avoid any surprises at the end.


I liked the little gathered detail at the back so much that I included it again.


I don’t think I’ve ever showed a photo of my labels. They are very tiny and understated and came from Heirloom Woven Labels (from whom I’ve been ordering for many years!). I’ve had them for a couple of years and have been trying to remember to use them.


Now the pressure is on because I have all day tomorrow to sew! I think I’ll go let Bryan’s dog out now and then come home and settle in bed with a glass of wine and my pattern and fabric binders and see what strikes my fancy.


Filed under Simplicity

Dotted Swiss – Part II

I didn’t get much done yesterday as household chores and laundry got in the way. Tonight, however, I did manage to finish the sleeves. I absolutely love them! They are so pretty and feminine without looking too juvenile. And, of course, once I tuck this blouse into a pair of jeans that will toughen it up a bit as well. Hopefully, I’ll get a little time tomorrow to set the sleeves and complete the hem!



Filed under Simplicity

Dotted Swiss – Part I

It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’ve accomplished quite a bit since I started work on the blouse about 3.5 hours ago. The bodice is complete so all I have to do tomorrow is construct and set the sleeves and finish the hem.


Although the dots line up across the bodice front pieces but they look funky because the tucks are pressed in opposite directions. An interesting problem but not problematic enough to make me want to cut another front. Sometimes I think that I am becoming so overly fussy that I’ll have to start cutting everything single layer!


Tomorrow I also need to plan and fit my next project so that I have something to work on during the week. I’m not really sure what it’ll be – there are so many choices!

I’m off to pour myself a nice glass of wine and grab the new stack of patterns I picked up today. Don’t you all just love reading patterns and sewing books in bed?


Filed under Fabric, Simplicity

Simplicity 3786 – Final

I finished up the blouse this morning – yay! I’m pleased with how this turned out. I do want to say that this pattern is very oversized! There is so much ease through the waist and hip that I was able to remove 4″ and still have over 5″ left – yikes. All of that volume would be fine in a drapey fabric, I suppose. But on someone 5’3″ tall it’s going to be overwhelming. After taking the sides in so much it is still loose and tunic-y but shows my figure just enough. I also shortened the bodice by 4″, making it just the right length to wear out with pants or shorts or to wear tucked into a pair of jeans. And, I found the front slit needed to be opened up a little so I restitched it about 2″ lower. It’s more flattering and easier to get over my head.




I decided that I will mostly wear this particular one out (vs. tucked in) so I added the gathered detail at the back to give it a little more shape. I made my own bias tape instead of using the prepackaged tape which I find stiff and bulky.


I also used 3/8″ elastic instead of the 1/4″ that the pattern called for. It just happened to be the first thing I grabbed from the cupboard.


I like to use my specialty presser feet whenever I can so I pulled out my 1/4″ rolled hem foot to speed things along.


Here’s a closeup of the collar band. I used Sheer Elegance fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply which provided just the right amount of support. As always, I fused both the inner and outer bands.


I have a quick errand to run and then I’ll be back in my sewing room cutting out my dotted Swiss! The Dolphins are playing tonight so that means I’ll get to sew while my honey watches the game.


Filed under Notions, Simplicity

Simplicity 3786 – Part IV

The sleeves are finished and ready to be set in. As I mentioned previously, I had to add some to the upper sleeve only, tapering to nothing at the seam. I also shortened both the upper and lower sleeves by 1/2″ – a normal alteration for me. Short person, short arms! I’m very pleased with the way the sleeve hangs.


As you can see here, I am using a combination of French and narrow overlocked seams on this project. I never use an overlocked seam alone on a woven, I always sew with a lockstitch first. Overlocked seams of this type are not very secure on woven fabrics.


One thing I want to mention is that the sleeve band might need to be enlarged for some people. I have smallish hands and I can *just* get mine through the opening. As an alternative, you could add a bound placket and convert this to a buttoned cuff.


No sewing tonight as I had to repair a football pad for my honey – he made dinner so we’re even. Tomorrow, I will stitch the shoulder seams and attach the collar band before heading into the home stretch! Weekend=Dotted Swiss, yay!


Filed under Simplicity

Simplicity 3786 – Part III

The Princess seams have been sewn and I am very pleased with the fit. I really do love Princess seams! Had this been a regular darted front I would have gone ahead and cut into my dotted Swiss. If a dart is too low or high it’s easy enough to re-angle, no such luck with a Princess seam. If the bust curve is in the wrong place you can’t do much more than make small adjustments to it so it’s never a bad idea to test it out.

I ran short of fabric so I wasn’t able to match the rows of motifs across all seams but I think the pattern is busy enough that it’s not noticeable. The important thing is that they match across the center front. I know it looks a little droopy on Ethel, I keep forgetting to put one of my bras back on her!


Not much sewing time tonight but I’ll at least fuse the collar bands and construct the sleeves. This is how things get done when you are busy – in little stolen moments! All kidding aside, I have really gotten into a good rhythm. Garments are fitted and cut on the weekend when I have uninterrupted time to concentrate and then sewn whenever I have time during the week. Even ten minutes is enough time to accomplish something. Lately, I’ve been averaging one garment per week, two if it’s something quick like a knit top. Needless to say, I’ve been in a much better mood!


Filed under Simplicity

Simplicity 3786 – Part II

As soon as I had the center front panels cut out, I press-marked the tucks and sewed them. I had started to thread trace them but found it too tedious!



I really want to hurry up and finish this and put it on with a pair of shorts NOW.


Filed under Simplicity

Simplicity 3786

The dotted Swiss has been washed and pressed and the pattern has been altered. I had to make a full bust adjustment, my usual forward shoulder and sway back adjustments and (highly unusual!) I had to widen the upper sleeve by 1/2″. I’m so glad that Ann warned me about the slimness of the upper sleeve because that’s not something I ever need to do!


I’ve just finished my final tissue-fitting. With all of the alterations and the pinned front tucks I decided I’d feel much better if I use something other than my precious Swiss for the first version. Everything looks great but I just want to be 100% certain that the fit is perfect. I have several beautiful cotton voiles from Ascher in my collection, I chose this one because it’s so Provencal!

I’ll get this cut out now, then I really need to do a little bit of housework. If I work really fast I’ll get back to my sewing room later today. My thoughtful honey picked up some steaks and baking potatoes for dinner so I don’t even have to cook, yay! 🙂

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Filed under Alterations, Fabric, Simplicity