Friday, February 28, 2014

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

Today, I'm sharing a rather different skirt pattern with you.  
The Structured Drape Skirt
It's very asymmetrical and looks quite complicated, but you will be surprised by how easy it is to draft. After all, Fabulous Free Pattern Fridays are all about easy shapes. This skirt is made out of a knit fabric.
To draft this skirt, you will need;
1. Your hip measurement
2. Your desired length
Begin by drawing a rectangle that is half of your hip measurement with at least a 1/2" added for ease, by the length that you would like for your skirt to be.
Determine the width of the elastic that you will use  for the waist. The indention at the waist will be twice the width of your elastic. Draw a line straight our from the bottom of the elastic indention that is 14" long. Connect this line to the bottom line of the rectangle.
Since this skirt is made out of a knit fabric, we can get rid of some of the fullness at the waist. Sew the side seam of the skirt as well as the angled seam. Try to skirt on and pinch it in on the side without the angle. The side seam will look similar to the line drawn in below. Cut away the excess fabric.
You can find a short tutorial I did on creating an elastic waistband here, http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2012/03/fabulous-free-pattern-friday_30.html Once the elastic has been sewn into the waistline, push the angled seam into the skirt and arrange the drapes. I did a small thread tack at the base of each drape to hold them in place. If I had made the skirt out of a fabric with more drape, this would not be necessary. Keep in mind that the more drape the fabric has, the more the seam will drape and not stand out as much as mine does.   
A skirt with very architectural details that is so very easy to make. Who would have guessed!! I will try to post a picture of me in the skirt later today, but if I can't, I will next week.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Hi Everyone!! So sorry about missing the Wednesday Showcase yesterday. I sat down to write and I was just so very tired, so I thought...hoped, no one would kill me for missing one week ;)
I am back with a new pattern for Thrifty Thursday. In the event that you missed last week's post, I'll do a quick catch up for you. There are so many of the independent pattern companies that are offering really nice patterns for free and I think it is such a wonderful thing for them to do. It gives us, the consumers, a chance to try out their patterns free of charge and  test out their sizing as well as the pattern with only the cost of some paper and ink, and of course our fabric and time, but that's beside the point! Last week I showcased two patterns to kick off this new feature. I showed you the Yellow Tail Camisole that I made using the free pattern from Disparate Disciplines and the Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studios. By the way, I loved them both and have worn them a few times now. Both are well worth the paper, ink and time spent taping the patterns together.
This week I am showcasing the Plantain T-Shirt from Deer and Doe Patterns.
The pattern comes graded, so there are a number of sizes to choose from, very nice. They do provide a sizing chart which makes it quite easy to choose your appropriate size. You also have the choice of a long or 3/4 length sleeve. It flares at the hips, so it is a very flattering silhouette. I did add 2" to the length of my top as I wanted mine to be a little longer. The only other alteration I made was I that need to take up the shoulders just a bit. Other than that, it was sew and go!
For a little added interest, the pattern comes with elbow pads. Such fun. I made my top out of a tie dye knit. As I was looking through my fabrics, I came across some Missoni knit scraps that just happened to have the same colors as the tie dye running through the narrow stripes, so I used the scraps to make my elbow pads. To attach my elbow pads, I simply did a narrow zigzag all the way around them.
In order to download the pattern, you will need to create an account with Deer and Doe, but it is very easy to do. There are 5 pieces to the pattern, the front, back, sleeve, neckband and the elbow pad. I love it when a pattern includes everything you'll need to make the pattern.
I found the pattern to be well drafted and very easy to make. This is a French company, but the instructions are in French as well as English, so as long as you speak one of those two languages, you won't have a problem. To be honest, the instructions really aren't necessary as the pattern is so easy to put together. You can find the pattern here, http://boutique.deer-and-doe.fr/29-tops-plantain-t-shirt.html I think you'll find it to be a welcome addition to your pattern collection!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Sew Stylish Cover, The Inside Story

I'm still pinching myself as it just doesn't seem like it can really be! But it is!! It's just so incredible that a little top and skirt that I made would actually make the cover.
When Thread's sent the pattern, this was my instruction sheet. When I received the pattern, it had not been printed and released to the public, so I got it in a rather raw state. From this sketch and the pattern pieces, I had to figure out how it all went together and also decide what I would do with the pattern. 

As I shared with you in when I first found out that my outfit would be on the cover, I didn't have a lot of time to get this completed, so I needed to keep it some what simple. Also, I only had 2 pages in the magazine, so I couldn't do anything too involved. So I added to the tie closure to the shoulder, shortened the skirt and added the flounce.  
 The skirt and pants both have pockets.
 The waistband has a piece of elastic sewn to the interior.
 Because of the loose weave of my fabric, I underlined the skirt.I also cut bias strips and used them to bind the edge of the waistband as well as my hem.
 I sewed the flounce to the lining. The lining pattern is not included in the pattern.
 Since my fabric for the top is very light and gauzey, I faced it with the lining fabric and sewed the seams with a French seam finish. I also cut bias strips from the lining fabric and used it to finish off the hem.
 The neckline of the blouse.
I did not sew to ties to the shoulder as it is printed in the magazine. They couldn't figure out a way to explain what I did in an easy manner, so it was changed and made a little easier. What I actually did was I completely finished the top, but left the shoulder seam open on the side where the ties were to be inserted.
 Then I reached inside and sewed the seam, encasing everything very neatly inside the facing of the blouse.
I ordered 2 copies of the magazine because I was so excited when I heard the news that my garment would be on the cover. Threads gave me an issue, so I now have 3. I'm sure you know where this is going!! I really don't need 3 copies, so I would like to give 1 away. If you would like a chance to win a copy of the magazine, just leave a comment on this post. I will announce the winner on Tuesday, March 4th. So you have an entire week to enter.
Thanks so much for dropping by!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Amy Butler Beautiful Bell Handbag, Week 4

We have finally reached the final week of the Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew Along. What an enjoyable experience it has been for me and I hope you've enjoyed as well. Here's the final video,

Here is a link to the blog post that was done to go along with the video, http://www.sewnews.com/blogs/sewing/2014/02/24/beautiful-belle-handbag-sew-along-week-4/

Be sure to get your bags finished and uploaded to the Flickr page. I would like to showcase all the bags that have been made here on the blog next Wednesday March 5th. So get busy and get them finished!!!!
You can find the Sew News Flickr page here, http://www.flickr.com/groups/sn_sewalong1

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Monday Morning Inspiration

While going through the January issue of Vogue magazine, I came across this picture and the applique caught my eye. I love applique! The credits said that it was a Miu Miu jacket, available in select boutiques. I tried to find a website and for whatever reason, I couldn't find this jacket. So I thought, this is Chicago, we are a fashionable city, maybe there is a boutique here. None to be had. There's one in Houston...but none here. Not that Houston isn't a fashionable city, it is, I just found it rather strange that Chicago wouldn't have a Miu Miu boutique.
I continued to search and finally my efforts paid off. It's from the Spring 2014 Mui Mui collection. I love this jacket!!! 
 And they have other style variations.
 A close up of the skirt detail from above.
Subdued colors.
 There's even the face of a cat!
And boots!!
 I love the tailored coats
 and suits from this collection.
 They may be a bit of a throw back, but I think they are so very pretty.
 Beautiful pattern on this dress.
I've only posted my favorite pieces from this collection. If you would like to see more, here's a link, http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/slideshow/S2014RTW-MIUMIU/#1
And if you would like to see the show, here it is.

The filming is rather dark and the music is very bizarre. Just turn down the sound ;) Actually, just look at the pictures from the above link. You can see the clothes better and you won't get annoyed with the music.
Some thought this collection to be a strange collection for spring as the garments seem too heavy. Not if you live in Chicago!!!
Wishing you a wonderful week and may whatever you search for end in success!!!

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Night Reflections

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful
  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing if safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.
  • You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.
  • You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  • You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”
  • You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  • You have to try and fail and try again.
  • You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.
  • You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  • You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  • You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  • You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.
You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.
Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.
The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.
The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.
Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.
This post originally appeared at Edgy Conversations

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Sunday's Soup

I was initially attracted to this soup recipe because of these little guys, tomatillos!! They are a fascinating little vegetable. Although, they may actually be considered a fruit, regardless, they make a lovely addition to many recipes. I especially like making a sauce with them for white fish. Yum!
This recipe was developed by Kalyn, whose story is very interesting. She tells how she lost 42 pounds and became a food blogger here http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2005/04/how-i-lost-42-pounds-and-became-food.html. All of her recipes are seasonal, low glycemic and promote healthy eating, weight loss, and blood sugar control.
If you enjoy an aromatic soup with a bit of a tang, you will enjoy this recipe. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of lime juice which I did not add. With the tomatillos, I did not want the lime juice, but you may. It's added at the end, so you can make the decision once the soup has cooked. You can find the original recipe here, http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2008/10/crockpot-recipe-for-vegetarian-black.html
This soup is cooked in a crock pot, so it's a make it and let it cook kind of a soup. Oh I love it when things are easy!!! I added an extra 1/2 cup of brown rice which made my soup more of a stew, so it has a thicker consistency and I like that.

Vegetarian Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup
1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups chopped tomatillo)
1 T finely minced garlic
1 T dried cilantro (optional, but recommended, available from Penzeys)
2 tsp. dried Mexican Oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you could use canned vegetable or chicken broth)
1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (or a bit less if you don't love lime like I do)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired

Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried cilantro, Mexican Oregano, and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more. While vegetables saute, dump beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse until no more foam appears.

Put tomatillo-onion mixture into large 4-5 quart crockpot. (I used a 5 1/2 quart crock pot, but it was not completely full.) Add beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken stock, water, and brown rice. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours.) Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time accordng to how hot your crockpot gets.)

After 4 hours (or 8 hours if using low) turn the crockpot to low setting, and let it cook 15 minutes to lower the temperature, then add the fresh lime juice and cilantro and cook 10 minutes on low. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.

I served mine with some shredded white cheddar and Tabasco sauce!! My husband said that he would have enjoyed it a little more served on a bed of rice. Regardless, I really enjoyed this recipe and I think it is a good one to have on file.
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sleeves On Saturdays

The Barrel Shaped Raglan Sleeve
Once you have drafted a raglan sleeve, there is almost no limit to an array of design possibilities. The sleeve I am sharing today starts with the basic raglan sleeve which we drafted here, http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2012/10/sleeves-on-saturdays.html. A raglan sleeve is basically a sleeve with a large dart on the shoulder. For this sleeve we will be rotating some of the shoulder dart into the mid section of the sleeve. It's a very easy sleeve to draft.
In the picture below, you can see the bowed out mid section.
To draft the sleeve, begin with the basic raglan sleeve pattern.    
 Draw a guide line across sleeve at the mid section.
Cut sleeve pattern in half.
 Draw a guide line on your paper. With the sleeve touching at the point of the raglan, rotate sleeve, opening up large dart at the hem of the sleeve. Be sure to spread equally on either side of the center guide line and also be sure not to overlap the raglan area where you are rotating. The sleeve should only be touching at that point.
Slash the mid section guide lines to the edge of the sleeve, but not through. Over lap the slashed lines until the wrist lines meet the center guide line.
The final pattern. Cut sleeve apart along the center line. Be sure to round off the points on the underarm seams which I have shown in red. If you would like a more exaggerated barrel shape, bow out the center line as I have also shown in red.
This sleeve is beautiful on a coat as well as a jacket. I will use mine on a casual t-shirt, so it is really quite versatile.
The sleeve has fullness in the mid section with a nice tapered wrist. Easy to draft and easy to wear. What could be better?!!
Hope your weekend is off to a great start!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A New Venture, Thrifty Thursday

Good Morning Everyone!! 
I have decided to start a new feature on the blog and call it Thrifty Thursday, Thursday because I plan to do the posts on Thursdays and yes, I'm a day late!
There are a number of the independent pattern companies who are offering free patterns, real patterns. I think this is a wonderful idea. It gives you an idea of their how their patterns are produced and sized without making a huge financial commitment except for a little paper and ink and of course your fabric and the little bit of time it takes to tape the pattern together. I am becoming a huge fan of pdf patterns. I love the instant gratification of being able to print it out and have it immediately and never leave my house!! So I thought that I would print off and make one pattern each week and share my thoughts. As for my thoughts, please understand that I try to live by the motto of if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Now yes, I'm human and I may say something to a friend, privately, but not publicly here on the blog. I see this forum as a place to help build people up rather than tear them down. I hope that you'll find this new feature fun and informative. I have done a few pieces ahead and I have truly enjoyed what I've discovered so far.
My first piece features two lovely ladies from right here in Chicago. I did the oversized Hemlock Tee from Grainline Studios,
 and the Yellow Tail Camisole from Disparate Disciplines.
I made the Hemlock Tee out of a tissue knit that I purchased a while back at Denver Fabrics in Denver, Colorado. I think they have changed the name to Colorado Fabrics. Regardless, great store. If you are ever in Denver, you must make a stop and leave a little of your money behind ;)
I edged the top with a reptile knit that I got from Haberman's in Michigan. This is another must stop by fabric store if you are ever in the Detroit area. This fabric was actually a leftover piece from the outfit I did for the Passion For Fashion contest last year at the American Sewing Expo. I edged the bottom of the tee
as well as the bottom of the sleeves. She intended the sleeves to be more of a 3/4 sleeve, I wanted them to be a long sleeve so the extension worked out great.
 I also used the knit around the neckline.
This pattern is not a sized pattern, so just one size is given. Jenn gives the measurements of the pattern so you can decide if it will work for you before you print off the pattern. The pattern was VERY easy to put together, well drafted and I LOVE my top!!
I actually tested the camisole pattern for Mari of Disparate Disciplines so this is really a second  make for me. I love this pattern and you will see more versions of it later this summer. Lengthen the pattern and it makes a wonderful summer dress. It is also perfect as a slip. Just a great and versatile all around pattern.
On the website you'll see that you can pay for the pattern if you wish, but it is not mandatory by no means. If you would like to give one of Mari's patterns a try before jumping in and making a financial commitment, you are more than welcome to do so with this pattern. Just a note, I have tested all of her patterns and I have been very pleased with the drafting, sizing and overall quality of the patterns.
I did make one change to the pattern this time. If you look at the picture above, you'll see that there is a 2" wide band around the bottom of the camisole. I just wanted it to be a little longer, so I cut a 4" wide band, folded it in half and serged it to the bottom. Easy.
A little note about the straps, when I make this top, prior to attaching the straps, I try the top on with the bra I will wear underneath it and adjust my straps accordingly. I am rather narrow across my chest, so I usually have to cut a little off the sides in order for my straps to match my bra straps.
And now for the fashion show pictures ;)  
 The picture below gives you an idea of how the Hemlock Tee hangs.

 And finally, the Yellow Tail Camisole. Rather fun!
The Hemlock Tee is the perfect throw on top to wear over jeans or leggings and the Yellow Tail Camisole is perfect on its own and great for pairing under a loose tee like the Hemlock. Now go print one for yourself!!!

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