Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Which "Online Sewing Communities" Do You Like?

I've been thinking lately about the various sewing communities that exist around the internet. In my opinion, I would label Pattern Review, The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, and BurdaStyle to be the " big players" in the online sewing community. I would consider group blogs, such as SewRetro, and various flick groups to be sewing groups, not exactly sewing communities.

Personally, I am a member of Pattern Review, BurdaStyle, and The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, but I must admit that I have yet to post anything on Burdasttyle. So, why choose one over the other, or two and not the third? What makes a sewing community a place that one wants to visit and participate in?

I happen to really like Pattern Review. First, I find that Pattern Review is the best site to find information about a specific pattern, if that pattern has been released in the recent past (i.e. not true vintage). I find that most all of the reviews that I have read are informative and are beneficial to me when I begin my journey into a new pattern. The only downside is that most people, myself included, are only going to post a successful project, leaving the patterns that are total flops to strike another unknowing seamstress. I also like the message board feature on Pattern Review. Whether you have a sewing related question or a moral dilemma, someone there is bound to have an answer or some advice for you. There are a lot of really talented people on Pattern Review, who are generally willing and eager to share their wealth of knowledge with you.

Next, we have The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, which if you haven't visited, is part of The Sew Weekly. I also happen to like this site, but for entirely different reasons than Pattern Review. I believe the point of the site is to be a "social network" of sorts for those who sew, as you can add people to your "friends" and maintain your own page. I haven't really explored all of the capabilities of the site though and have yet to "friend" anyone. ( Will you be my friend?) I enjoy posting photos of my sewing on the site as people seem to be quite friendly and generous with comments. The downside to this site is that usually the information provided about the pattern is slim to none (sometimes no pattern number is even given), and, unless those who post their work apply a tag to it, there is no way to search through the archives.

Next up we have BurdaStyle, the site that I have yet to post anything on. I do enjoy looking through the projects on BurdaStyle, but I have just never felt compelled to post my own work. Like the Sewing Circle, it lacks a good way to search for meaty information about a pattern. There also seems to be quite a few sewing minimal crafts that pop up in the picture feed from time to time. I have looked at the discussion tab on the site a few times, but it seemed to be a bit confusing to me. I suppose I could simply post pictures of my work on BurdaStyle and link back to my blog, but I am not 100% sure about it yet. I am in no way trying to make BurdaStyle seem like any less of a site than the other two, because that is not true, I simply do not know all the ins and outs of BurdaStyle since I am not a regular user.

I think one other thing to consider when looking at sewing communities is what demographic each sewing site is attempting to cater to. I would say that Pattern Review caters to those who want lots of details about specific patterns, are sewing mainly from modern patterns, and, generally, are probably a bit older than myself.

I think the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle caters to anyone who likes to sew vintage specifically.The Sewing Circle also seems to be designed, unsurprisingly,for those who participate in The Sew Weekly challenges.   I don't think the point of the site, at least in its present form, is to be a gathering place for technical sewing information. There seems to be a wide range of age groups and skill levels that participate in the site.

Lastly, we have Burdastyle, which seems to cater to new seamstresses and a younger age group. This site also serves the purpose of selling downloadable patterns from BurdaStyle. I have downloaded two free patterns from the site but it's not something I enjoy doing. ( For one thing, I don't have a printer, so I have to print them off at school where it costs four and a half cents a page, still a better deal than ink though.) Overall, however, BurdaStyle is still a wonderful place to go to find lovely garments for inspiration.

So, readers, I want to hear from you! Which online sewing communities do you participate in, if any? What qualities and characteristics make you want to be an active part of a sewing community? Will you be my friend on The Sew Weekly? Should I give BurdaStyle another try?

Happy Sewing!

P.S. Have you tried oatmeal cookie chunk ice cream from Ben And Jerry's? If you haven't, you should, and that's an order from the wannabe seamstress herself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Finished: The " No! It Does Not Look Like Daphne" Skirt

For those of you unfamiliar with Daphne, I am referring to one of the girls on the classic cartoon Scooby- Doo.  ( I think I should let it be known that I actually despise Scooby-Doo, simply because it was the most frightening cartoon show ever!) But back to the skirt, I finished this skirt and paired it with a lovely vintage scarf, to which one of my teenaged brothers loudly exclaimed that I looked like Daphne. Sigh. So, caring entirely too much about the opinion of my brother, I opted for a necklace and ditched the scarf.
I used the pattern on the right.

Lets get to the details now, shall we?
  • Pattern: McCalls 5004 circa 1976  from an estate sale
  •  Fabric: Pink cotton broadcloth from an estate sale ~$.50
  • Notions: One 7" zipper also from an estate sale and thread, of course, which cost a ridiculous $4 at Joanns. 
  • Design Changes: I cut 4 inches off the bottom as this skirt is much longer than the pic leads you to believe. I haven't hemmed the skirt yet because I am debating about chopping off another two inches or so. What do you all think about the length? I also sewed a lapped zipper instead of a centered one per the pattern instructions.
  • Make again? I may make this again if I want another slightly high-waisted A-line skirt.

Now, for the details of the outfit.
  • Cardigan: Rafaella, thrifted
  • Cami: Eddie Bauer, on clearance from website
  • Shoes: Worthington, from JcPenney
  • Necklace: Vintage, from an estate sale
There you have it, all of the details from the unexciting adventure of McCalls 5004. I have already started on a modern Vogue dress, and have the circle skirt portion hanging up so that the bias will stretch and be ready to attach to the bodice and hem all at once. I may have to go to Joann and get interfacing as I think all that I have on hand may be a bit too stiff. If this is the case, I am going to wait til the Vogues are on sale to go to the store, as I have a particular pattern in mind that I want for some fabric I have in the stash.

Hopefully, I will be able to write another installment of Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love in the next few days.
Happy Sewing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Really Brief Update

I just thought that I would let all of my lovely readers know that I am having trouble with my internet and my power supply cord for my laptop, so I will be away from my blog for a little while. ( I live in the middle of nowhere where the only available internet comes through a 3G modem thing from a cell phone tower. There is no DSL, no cable internet, no satellite internet, and because of our phone lines, not even any dial up.)  Lately, the company has been imposing restrictions on how much internet can be used for the month and needless to say it has been causing mucho problems. I have online classes starting in the fall, and I forsee the problem getting even worse. Oh, and to top it all off, my power supply cord has decided that it wil not work.

Lovely readers, who live in civilization where internet is adundant, may I come live with you? I promise I won't be a bother, and I'll even cook dinner every night! Seriously, while I am on my soapbox, let me say that the United States needs to get serious about making internet access available to all, and keep up with other countries a bit better. No wonder the US falls behind in test scores, some kids are still at home using an 1974 edition encylopedia to type a research paper,on a typewriter, because the internet is something that only could be imagined in something like Back to the Future.  Hmm, since the wonderful season of campaigining has just begun, whoever brings me internet, gets my vote! As soon as I am finished with college, I will be moving closer to civilization, and far far away from a place that still has laws about dancing on Sundays.

I hope to see you guys soon, with lots of finished objects to show off!
Happy Sewing and enjoy your lovely internet access!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dear Modcloth, Please Stop Making Me Drool on my Keyboard!

Have you been over to Modcloth lately? If you haven't, I suggest you grab a roll of paper towels ( you'll need those to wipe up the drool) and a bottle of vodka*, and head on over there to check out the to die for collection of dresses that they sell. (* You're going to need to vodka to self medicate after you realize you don't have an extra ten grand laying around to order one of everything.) I seem to love almost every single dress that they feature. Some of a bit more modern, with an 80's flair, while some are super cute retro inspired dresses that are totally wearable. Each time I click over there I end up saving what seems like a bagillion things to my "clipboard" in Polyvore. Just for the record, I have not actually bought anything from their website. Most of the dresses are in the $75 plus range, and I am a complete cheapskate, and some of the styles are a bit short for my taste.

Over the weekend I finally cut out some fabric to be made into my first Modcloth inspired dress. The dress is still listed here on their website though it appears to be sold out. It originally retailed for $98.
I need your help though, dear readers. I plan on making a loop and a knot of fabric to put on the bodice of the dress and I am going to use one of my "new" belt buckles and backing to make the belt detail. Where I need your help is in deciding if I should include the white stripe at the bottom of the dress. I can't seem to tell what the stripe is made from or if it is just woven into or printed onto the fabric. I assumed that I could just hand stitch some white ribbon onto the bottom to imitate the design feature. Do you think that this is a good idea or should I use something else? Should I leave this off? I need your feedback lovely readers with much more sewing knowledge than I.

I am already planning my next Modloth knockoff and I have yet to even put a single stitch into my first one. I am an over planner, so what can I say? This is such a cute and modern looking shirtdress. I am pretty sure that one of the new Lisette patterns has the perfect short sleeve shirtdress pattern to recreate the look. I will add that to my already filled to the brim and exploding to do (eventually) list.
Happy Sewing!

P.S. I should have a new skirt to show you all tomorrow!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love 3

Hello dear lovely readers! Welcome to the third installment of Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love. I hope you;ll grab some popcorn and soda, pull up a comfy chair, kick back, and get lost in the wonderful world of sewing blogs.

  • Amber, from The Evening Tree, made a super cute dress. I love her fabric choice!
  • Though this post is a bit older, Sew Maris has a wonderful tip for turning up hems. 
  • Starting Monday, Suzy from Suzy Sewing, will be hosting a week of giveaways in celebration of her birthday. 
  • Sophia, from Sophia Sews, has some pictures of amazing dresses from an exhibit she recently visited. 
  • Heather, from Sewing on Pins, finished her Master's  degree. Congratulations!
  • Last but not least, if you're at all interesting in vintage advertising then checking out this site  is a must. I could spend hours there looking at the archives. 
So, readers, what are your sewing plans for this week? I didn't sew a single stitch last week, but I plan on starting this Vogue dress in hot pink this week. I'd love to hear what everyone is making.
Happy Sewing!

P.S. Please don't forget to enter my pattern giveaway!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Once Upon A Time I Said I Would Never Have A Stash

Once upon a time, I said that I would never ever have a fabric stash. Seriously, who was I kidding? We all know that I am a hoarder at heart anyways. Yesterday, I told you all that I had plans to go to another estate sale this morning. Well, I guess I should have used the term morning a bit more loosely, as I didn't arrive until two. My tardiness didn't keep me from exercising my compulsive tendencies though, as I came home with quite the haul. There was a sign in the closet that contained the fabric that said " Cloth- $2 each". Each piece in the closet cost two bucks, regardless of fiber content or length. There was quite a bit of 70's polyester as well as some very small quilting cotton remnants that I passed up. My greatest find of the day though is three lengths of wool, yes real wool, for two bucks a pop. Don't worry, I will not be tossing this absentmindedly into the wash.

Fabric is not all that came home with me though. I also happily surrendered my six dollars to procure an entire shoe box full of self fabric belt buckles and an assortment of "slide" belt buckles. I think I do deserve a round of applause for leaving behind an entire box of zippers. Perhaps I bought so much fabric because I used up all of my will power when I left the zippers behind?

These were both picked up from the thrift store a few days ago. I think the light blue is wool.

I have about 4 yards of this, also from the thrift store.

Both are wool, from the estate sale.

My favorite estate sale fabric, which is also wool. I am thinking it wants to be a jacket.

I think the left fabric is a linen look.

I have about 3 yards of this. I think it may be vintage.

This is definitely going to be an apron.

So cute! I think a vintage blouse is in order.

Maybe I need two vintage blouses?

The dots are smaller than they appear in this pic.

I think I have enough of this to make a jacket and a skirt.

I have about three yards each of these.

How could I have said I didn't want a stash? It's so beautiful I could cry.

Self fabric belt buckles. I think I have about ten or so of these.

"Slide" Buckles

I believe some of these are mother of pearl. They're quite heavy for their size and have natural irregularities.

Lots of belt backing!

Don't forget to enter my pattern giveaway!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Pattern Acquisitions and What I Have(n't) Been Doing

Hello dear readers! I thought that I'd write another post showing the other pattern goodies that leaped into my car last weekend. I have plans to arise at the crack of dawn in the morning and drive out even farther into the boonies to go to another sale that lists sewing items. ( According to most people's standards, I already live in the boonies.) Anyways, yesterday I needed to go to Joann's for thread so I stopped by a few thrift stores while I was out. Well, I ended up coming home with three pieces of fabric, two Fire King custard cups that match some I already own, and a purple belt. All of the fabrics were pretty thick so I assumed they were some sort of poly blend suiting..until I put them in the wash. After a couple minutes in the wash the laundry room started smelling with wet dog, er sheep, and moth balls, which leads me to believe I actually chucked a piece of wool suiting into the washer. So, I did what any reasonable person would do and subjected every other member of my family to the gag worthy smell until the wash was over. Luckily, I didn't throw the fabric into the dryer, though I was this close, instead I chose to hang it outside to air dry. Tomorrow, I think I'll give my first burn test a go to see if I really did score some wool suiting for less than two bucks, or if someone just stored their cheap polyester in a dumpster of moth balls.

Now, for what I haven't been doing:sewing. I haven't put a stitch into anything since my last Lisette dress. I have been giving my Gingher's quite the workout though. I decided that I needed to cut out some summer dresses and went at it with a vengeance. I've sliced and diced out three summer dresses, one is in the wearable muslin category, and one skirt so far and I plan on cutting out at least two more fun summer dresses and one dressier dress. ( The dressy dress will be made from my "sunshine dress" pattern that didn't work so well the first time.) I love the look of a huge stack of patterns and fabric and the feeling of knowing that all I have to do is walk over to the pile, make my pick, and I am ready to start stitching.  Hopefully I will be able to actually sew some over the weekend and have a finished dress to show the blogging world soon.

Now, my other pattern goodies.

I love both of these patterns.

The one of the left is a duplicate.

I love the simple sheath on the right.

The pattern on the right is sized for double knit only, itchy, scratchy double knit.

I have never seen a Kandel Pattern before. Can anyone tell me about them?
Well, there you have it, the rest of my pattern haul. As I said I think I'm going to go to the boonies to go to another sale tomorrow, and hopefully go father's day shopping after that. If you don't see any finished objects fro me soon, I grant you all permission to pester me until some appears.
Happy Sewing!

P.S. Please don't forget to enter my pattern giveaway

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Recent Pattern Acquisitions

As you may have read in this post I acquired some new to me sewing stuff over this past weekend. It seems that along with the fabric and notions that followed me home, about 60 more sewing patterns leaped into my car as well. The majority of the patterns are mail order patterns and many still had their original envelopes. It seems a bit odd to have so many mail order patterns, a few of which were duplicates in the same size. Anyway, the whole lot only cost ten bucks so I'm satisfied.

I really love the dress on the right.

The pattern on the right looks like a jail suit to me.

I don't know if I'll be making any mumus anytime soon.

I think I have two or three of the one on the left.

These might be up for my next giveaway. They both have over 40" busts.

This is about half of the patterns, so I'll be writing another post showing the rest of my lovelies.

Happy Sewing!

P.S. Don't forget to put your name in my pattern giveaway!