Food and Fitness

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Simplicity 2497

Can I just say, I love this dress; not only do I love it because it looks good, feels good and was easy to sew. I love it most because I feel good in it. This was the first Christmas in a long time that I felt that what I had on really represented what was in my spirit. I usually end up putting on whatever I can find that fits and that looks festive. I realized that the last time I felt this good about my Christmas fit, I made that one too. My plan for 2010 is to make at least 90% of my clothes and only have things in my closet that I absolutely love. I don't believe that clothes alone make the woman but I do believe that when you feel good and feel that you look good, you walk a little taller and exude that much more confidence.

Pattern Description: Cynthia Rowley - sewing patterns dresses. Misses' dress in three lengths with neckline variations.

Pattern Sizing: (12-14-16-18-20)

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were pretty well written EXCEPT for the knarly zipper insertion/left pocket instructions. I still don't know exactly what they wanted me to do I just made it work. When fitting the dress, it is most important to make sure that the band at the waist fits the bodice and the skirt are very forgiving since both are gathered at the waist.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the lovely ruffle and the simple lines of the dress. I also liked the novelty of the invisble side zipper instead of a back zipper. This really is a quick dress to put together and in fact, my muslin went together in just a few hours. My only dislike was the confusion caused by the zipper insertion instructions.

Fabric Used: Deluxe Stretch Cotton Sateen Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Because I had to make room for my extremely ample bust, I added two inches to the length of the bodice and did a two inch FBA.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend this dress. I know I should say no because the style is so distinct, but I definitely plan to make this dress again and already have the fabric picked out for Spring.

Conclusion: This is a great dress. I loved my fabric choice which was great because of the stiffness of the fabric to make the ruffle stand up and the stretch was good because it allows the dress slightly more fittted which I will take into account the next time I make it.

Just because I like them so much, one more shot of my fabulous shoes!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or . . . Simplicity 2497

I'll start by saying I hardly ever make a muslin which is why in the past I've ended up with wadders and had to go with less-than fabulous back up options. However, for something as important as my Christmas dress with no time for do overs, I decided I would make all my alterations to the pattern pieces and make a muslin. I also thought it'd be a good idea to see if this style would translate well on my body. Well wouldn't you know the muslin came out perfect. For a minute I chided myself about wasting precious sewing time making a dress I couldn't wear but the truth is, with my luck, if I hadn't made a muslin the dress wouldn't have fit. I've got the dress all cut out and if the sewing gods are good to me, I will have the dress substantially completed by Tuesday of next week since I will be home alone for the next two weeks during the day with my 3 and 5 year olds baking cakes and cookies, going to see Disney's Princess and the Frog, Chuck E. Cheeses and story time at the library, stealing moments to sew along the way. I love, love, love this dress, pockets and all. I love that the dress is chic but not body hugging, lets face it, I've body parts that just should not be hugged.

I'm using this rich blue toned red stretch sateen that I got months ago from So far, this seems like a really good fabric choice for the dress because of the slight sheen, stretch, yet stiffness of the material so that the ruffle will actually stand up like on the pattern envelope.

I had convinced myself that after the recent additions to my fabric stash and boot collection that I really didn't need any shoes but when I found what I hope (I'll know for sure when they are delivered on Monday) to be the perfect shoes for the dress on sale and an additional 30% off, I had to have them.

I'll post pics and a full review after Christmas but I'm so excited about the dress (who am I kidding, and the shoes) I just wanted to share.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yay, It's My Birthday/Butterick 5100

I love, love, love my birthday - so much so that I'll use any excuse to celebrate for the entire month of November even though it's actually on the 13th. On Friday I celebrated with a cake and dinner prepared by my husband and boys.

Yummo! White cake with rum custard filing and whipped cream icing.

Blackened catfish with Cajun lemon butter sauce served with mashed potatoes and broccoli. Pretty good for someone who never cooks.

Then on Saturday, I went to my mom's for my annual birthday dinner which ends up being our Thanksgiving warm up.

Cornish hens and dressing, greens, banana squash, corn and salad.

Followed by a yummy dessert of birthday apple pie (doesn't everyone get one of these?)

And homemade brownies for the chocolate lovers.

Of course I needed a new dress to wear and I settled on Butterick 5100 after some mishaps and great advice (see post below). Thanks ladies! Hubby took the pics so they are not the best but I wanted to post pictures of me actually wearing the dress.

Pattern Description: Pullover, sleeveless tunic in two lengths and dress have deep V-front neckline and extended shoulders, separate tie belt or purchased belt. D: cowl collar.

Pattern Sizing: Y(XS-S-M), Z(L-XL)

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 for this were super easy with the exception of one bump in the road but other than attaching the facing to the neck after putting on the cowl, I didn't even have to look at them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved that this came together rather quickly (other than my aforementioned bump in the road). It could have been that I was working on it so late (3:00 a.m. - I know this was the reason I cut the front in two instead of on the fold and had to go back and get more fabric, the last on the bolt) or that the instructions/diagrams weren't clear but when it was time to put the facing on, I couldn't figure out where to place the cowl so that when I turned the facing it would work because they only showed the V-neck version in the diagram which is pretty straight forward. It wasn't until I put the dress down for a day or two that it came to me that with the cowl attached, you're supposed to attach the facing inside the cowl (right sides together) then when you turn the facing inside you have a nice finished seam. I'm sure they could have found a better way to illustrate this.

Fabric Used: Ponte Roma Knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't make the belt because I just don't feel the need or think it would be flattering to have something cut me in half.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan to make it at least one more time. In Black.

Conclusion: This is a great little dress. It's comfortable and stylish. When made in basic solids, it gives you a lot of options with the change of tights, tops and accessories. I made it for something else but this will make a great little work dress, something that allows me to look pulled together but is simple to make and wears well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Inspired but no time.

Is it just me or do you notice that your mood is directly related to how creative you've been. I haven't made a wearable garment in about a month (I've only attempted two, 1 is a total wadder and 1 just didn't get finished when I wanted to wear it) and I am feeling more and more frustrated. I realized a long time ago that my sewing style was more that of an "event sewist" in that rather than just sew for sport, I would only pull out my machine to create a new dress or outfit for a special occasion be that Christmas, a wedding, graduation or something more basic like a family bar-b-que. It's been my association with PR and the inspiration provided by the very talented and supportive folks there that have me wanting to sew more/most of my wardrobe but now I'm at a point in my life where I have the least amount of time. This dilemma lends itself to all nighters and stolen moments, both of which for me have been main ingredients in the recipe for disaster. Case in point, after doing an FBA on M5752 and carefully constructing the bodice and waist band, I realized I didn't not fit the waistband and therefore cannot wear the dress, ruining my beautiful fabric. Disaster #1. On this past Saturday/Sunday I stayed up to 3:30 a.m. feverishly cutting and sewing B5100, (my second attempt by the way since the night/morning before at 4:00 a.m. I cut the front in two pieces instead of on the fold.) only to give up and go to bed after attaching the cowl incorrectly. While this is definitely salvageable, I didn't get to wear it the next day at brunch like I wanted to, which qualifies it as Disaster #2. Something has definitely got to give. I can't imagine not being able to create custom fashions for myself but if I don't get any sleep nothing productive is getting done anyway and who knows what the next thing I cut in half might be. Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I did it!

I finally got layers to work in Paint.Net. I've been working on this for weeks to no avail and then miraculously it worked this time so simply I can't believe I ever had problems with it. Thanks so much to Em over at Em In The Studio for her post about Paint.Net free download and how to make these groovy garment mock ups. I don't really have much else to say other than it is definitely time to abandon Summer sewing around here and get to my long list of Fall/Winter projects. First up McCall's 5752 in a nice fall polyester knit I picked up at Hancock's for 40% off.

Is this cool or WHAT!!

I'll post pics of the finished dress as soon I can.

Happy Sewing

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I am such a pattern junkie, buying new patterns makes me feel like I actually own the clothes. The Vogue Holiday/Winter 2009 patterns are out and I did see a few that caught my eye. Although I don't know how many I'll actually get to this season, I will definitely pick these up so that I can capture the possibilities.

V1150 - I like this because it's simple, chic and sexy. Give me some tights and a nice shoe boot and I'm ready to go.

V1147 - I'm actually pretty ambivalent about this one but I think with the right fabric and embellishment it can be pretty stylish.

V1143 - What really needs to be said about this other than this is HOT!

v1138 - This is definitely a great party dress and I can see it in a nice jewel tone for the holidays.
What about you? Do you see anything you like? Did I miss any of your favorites?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Thank you Eugenia of Eugenia's (Fabulous) World of Fashion for nominating me for the Kreative Blogger Award. I will gladly and proudly display this logo on my blog.

As most of you know, the rules for accepting this award call for me to tell you seven things that you don’t know about me, after which I may nominate seven other blogs to receive this award.

So, here we go.

1. I'm married to my high school sweetheart whom I've known since I was 12 years old.

2. Even though I've been sewing for more than 20 years and have made bridesmaid dresses, ball gowns, skirts, casual dresses, blankets, you name it, I didn't make my first top until this year. The truth is I never even thought about making tops until browsing the review gallery when I first joined PR.

3. I plan to sew at least 90% of my wardrobe over the next year. The remaiing 10% leaves room for the ocassional layering piece.

4. I am the only family member of my generation that knows how to sew even though my mother and most of my aunts do.

5. When I was younger (read slimmer), I used to be able to sew straight from the envelope.

6. Part of the reason I stopped sewing for so long was because of fit issues when I got older(read heavier) .

7. I will never again let pattern company sizing deter me from my passion for creating fashion.

I too follow the blogs of many who have already received this award, however, I have found a few new talented women who are also very deserving.

'Toya at Stitch and Snitch
Jayme Grace at Sew it Seams
A Sewn Wardrobe
Busy Bee Crafting
Seams Fabulous

I am so thankful to be part of such a supportive sewing community.

Happy Sewing!

Burda October 09 - My Picks

I received my October 2009 issue and found a few looks that I like.

Dress 119B - I can see myself wearing this is a lightweight gray wool with tights, a thin knit turtle neck and boots.

Jacket 136 and Skirt 137 - Although I NEVER have occassion to wear a suit, if I ever did, this would be the one I'd want to be seen in. I love the combination of the shawl collar and rounded cut-away detail at the hem of the jacket and skirt. Very stylish.
While on the site, I took a look at the Burda Plus Fashion Autum/Winter 09 offerings and found a few things there that were of interest, enough that I'm contemplating subscribing.

Dress 401 - This dress looks so comfortable and classic but with just the right contemporary touches.

Skirt 408 is fantastic. It's shown in the magazine as part of a holiday cocktail outfit and may very well appear at one of the many holiday parties I usually attend but if the maxi trend holds up, I can also see this made in a more casual fabric for Summer.

Top 417 - I like this top because it's very simple but the layered use of fabrics make it pretty special.

Skirt 423 - Love this! It's made up in suede in the mag but it will likely show up in denim in my wardrobe.
I'm a pretty recent Burda subscriber and have yet to actually sew a Burda pattern likely because of the tracing involved (adds an extra step when I already have so little sewing time) but the clothing is so fashion forward, I feel like I have to collect so that when I do have the time, I can make something from here.
How often do you sew Burda patterns? Did I miss any of your favorites?
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Simplicity 2599

Pattern Description: Misses Tops With Trim Variations

Pattern Sizing:12-20

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty close.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes the instructions are super easy to follow as long as you make sure to find your view.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It went together quickly and had separate pattern piece for D cup. I also liked how easy it was to do the ruffle. The ruffle is a separate piece cut on the bias, gathered down the middle and basted then stitched on at the neckline after the facings have been attached, all in all, pretty simple.
Fabric Used: Yellow Cotton BroadclothPattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I still had to make a FBA however not as big because of the different pattern pieces. I also used my serger to do a rolled hem edge on the ruffle instead of folding it under as directed because I think it looks better.

Here are a couple of close ups of the ruffle and the rolled hem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don't think I will sew this view again but I might try one of the other views. I think this is a great top for a beginner.

Conclusion: Quick addition to my warm weather wardrobe during this heatwave that we are having here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What I'm working on

I keep telling myself that I need to switch gears and start at least planning my Fall/Winter sewing but I keep running into reasons to stay in Summer sewing mode the latest of which is the expected 100 degree weather all this week. So. . . to make sure that I will say cool during the week I decided to complete a few pieces that are either already cut out or that should work up quickly so that I can stay cool and fashionable. I'm done with Simplicity 2599 View F (the one the model is wearing without the bow) which I made in a bright yellow broadcloth from Hancock and will review in a future post.

Next I'll finish my second version of McCall's 5893

In this Tropical print ITY Knit.

It's been cut out for weeks now and the bodice is completed I just need to complete the skirt and join the two together.

I am also working on McCall's 5621 View C

in a black cotton waffle pique which has been cut out for months and months but I temporarily lost my sewing mojo over most of the Summer as I had the houseguest from Hell for three months. This promises to be really cute and I have the perfect shoes so I'm really trying to get this finished.

If the weather holds out into next week, I'll finish View C of McCall's 5977

In this satin charmeuse print I got for $2.99 awhile back from I've already started cutting it out so that should serve as added incentive.

This much sewing in a week is quite an ambitious plan for me considering I've got a full caseload and my two boys who love to ask me first for everything even though their very capable dad is right there, but I figure why should I be hot if I can sew. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
What are you working on?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Winter/Holiday McCalls Patterns

The new McCalls patterns are out and I now know why I don't sew nearly as much during the Fall/Winter season. Of the 49 new offerings, here are the two that I like.

M5972 - This is so cute. I can see myself either making View C in Navy or Black for an evening event or in a bright fun color for Spring.

M5977 - I just love this pattern because I love ruffles and flounces so I can see this as a go to foundation piece.
What about you -- did you see any that you like?

McCalls 5425

Pattern Description: Pullover dress has front and back neck casings; dress A has contrasting tie that extends from left front and left back opening edges of casing, center back slit at upper edge; dresses B, C have shoulder straps extending from casing, upper and lower center back slits; dress B has contrasting shoulder strap and belt.

Pattern Sizing: (6-14) (14-20)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Sort of. I made mine a maxi but other than that it looked like the drawings.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were super easy. I'd just check every now and then to make sure I was on track.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The ease and quickness with which this came together. I don't get to sew too often so I like to see a finished product pretty quickly to stay motivated. This dress definitely fits the bill. I also liked how you can adjust the neckline to form little gathers for a little added interest.

There is great coverage and the straps are adjustable for those of us worried about bra strap issues.

Fabric Used: A polyester knit I snagged from

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I extended the dress length by 15 inches. I also did my standard FBA. I wish I would have cut the back on the fold since I stitched the entire seam up without the keyhole anyway, the print is busy enough that you can't really see the seam.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'm sure I will eventually sew this again. I'd like to try a shorter version in a woven or silky.

Conclusion: This dress fits my current sewing mantra, quick, cute and easy. This would be a great dress for a beginner.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dress #2 for DD

Pattern Description: Strapless sundress

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I didn't use a pattern

Were the instructions easy to follow? This dress was so easy I didn't need any instructions
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved that with one serged seam, casing for the elastic, under bust elastic, the hem and ribbon trim, I had a cute dress in no time for my daughter. I also especially loved the fabric as this one I picked out. I liked the little thread hoops I put on the dress to keep the ribbon in place since I didn't want to stitch it down.

Fabric Used: Quilting Cotton $5.99 a yard on sale at JoAnn's

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely sew this for her again. All it took was 1 yard of 45" fabric and a seam for a great look. Total cost $7.
Conclusion: It took no time, my daughter is happy, it's a winner.
Here she is fully accessorized.