Book Person

This should come as no surprise, but I’m a Book Person.


I mean, I have a stack of them tattooed on my arm 😉

As a librarian, it also benefits me if you love books, too. I don’t care what kind: romance, V.Serious Literature, YA, banned, classic, urban, complete trash, poetry (I only like Shel Silverstein’s) or most likely for people reading a sewing blog, craft related books. If it has words in it (or pictures), and you like ( I hope you love some), I want you to read it. Borrowed from the library or purchased from your favorite store.

To that end, I want to tell you about a Book Person event. One that includes admittance into FIT, a place normally off limits to non-students*.
Total win.  LYL_EVENTS_FINAL_121813

This event in particular should be especially awesome!

LKDay_DrapingFlyerWatching Karolyn drape via video (included with her book) is some kind of magic. Imagine it in person!

I hope I can make it to the event. Alas, a parent’s time is not their own. If some of you make it there, blog about! I’d love to see pictures!

*It is my not-so-secret wish to work in the FIT library/archives, thus combining two of my loves: books and textile arts. It is, quite literally (for I am there often in sleepy-land), my dream job. I got a book on ILL (which is a great way to get books that aren’t in your local library’s collection) from there. I kept telling people where it came from. #booknerd 


Draping: The Complete Course

You all know the drill by now, right? The awesome people at Laurence King Publishing asked if I wanted to review Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel. Little ole me stumbled into their path when they hosted a pop-up event at Britex and they peeped at their blog. Check the amazing hair on the adorable Karolyn! And can you spot the beautiful Laura Mae?

Britex & Laurence King Pop-Up EventI took about .6 seconds to think it over and replied YES, of course I do!  It was the perfect time as I was already up to my eyeballs in draped projects. But those are cheater makes when it comes to the REAL Drape!

This amazing (HEAVY! Seriously. You could use it to weight train.) book comes with a DVD.


I have to admit, for some unknowable reason, I was expecting a VHS tape! Can you believe it?!?! WHAT was I thinking! lol

I might have been a little tired when I arrived home from work and my hubby told me that a heavy package was waiting for me. This was, literally, 2 days after I got the email from the good peeps at LK, so I wasn’t hopeful that I’d find a book inside. But I DID!! So, excuse my Dumb & Dumber moment. K? Thanx!

Though I didn’t have to try a project from the book to sing its praises, I really, really wanted to. But, everything in my life conspired against finding the time to do so. It’s New York Archives Week and my duties as the Dir. of Communications for A.R.T. have kept me SUPER busy. Things have reached maintenance mode, so I could chill (only a bit!) for a minute. That meant that today was the day.

I didn’t even let this jam packed, suggested tool-kit page stop me.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel
Seeing this page had the same effect as waving a red flag in front of a bull!!


But, that would have meant taking a trip and I wanted to dig in, NOW. I forged ahead with my minimalist tool-kit. And for good measure, skipped right over to:
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

My dress form (which used to reside in Kalkatroona with Ms. Oona) is lacking in the lower pear area. So I thought this swing-y dress was the perfect place to start.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I pulled out my iron, put on a movie and got to work.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Sheared off bits!

This was after trim and pin session one.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I took Karolyn’s advice to heart when she states: “Check hem, armhole, and neckline shape for attitude.” I have been reading tons of Jane Austen and the “attitude” in which one stands, sits, dances, responds to a query is everything. So I was all over checking the attitude of my work!

Turns out, I didn’t like it. I gave the side seam a second trim. And found that I liked the look of it better.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I grabbed some hem tape to stand for in for sticky tape and marked the neckline and armhole.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

And then marked up the muslin.


Next stop, pattern pieces baby!!

Good Mail Day


Thanks for the love on my last post!! The sweater is actually not super difficult to make. The yoke is mostly stockinette stitch with the smocking detail every ten rows or so. It was my first bottom up sweater, though. I had misplaced my notes with the yoke only partly done and I found it hard to judge its size before it was completely finished. It’s much easier to fit top down knits, imho.


My mailbox held a nice surprise yesterday! The first portion of my internship stipend!

This is the first thing I treated myself to!

First check spoils!

I LOOOOOOVE candy and periodicals ;o)

I also bought my copy of Nikki’s book and this one, too

And, because I was still in a sewing type of mood, I finally bought this pattern.

Salme Cropped Blazer

I fell in love with this little blazer when I saw it on Tidy Tipsy’s blog. I hope to make it into a rather casual suit when paired with my TNT skirt pattern.

Something like this Victoria Beckham look:

Or a variation of this, depending on the fabric I choose:

If I’m feeling especially ambitious, and have enough fabric, I could add pants to the mix a la Blake Lively.

Or this gorgeous lady:

I haven’t forgotten about my sewing dare. Don’t worry! I think I’ve been hesitant to start because I know it’s not going to be something I can wear out anytime soon. If ever. But, a dare is a dare! And I accepted! My girls can play in it when I’m done, lol.

There is so much to sew, and sew little time! I’ll be back soon with a peek at my first time….making a muslin!

It wasn’t so bad, but it damn sure wasn’t fun!


At work yesterday, I had the break room all to myself. It was a busy day, library visitor wise, but surprisingly empty in the employee areas. No problem. That meant I could take some stealthy pics of me enjoying lunch in front of the window and directly next to the heater. It was COLD out yesterday!



I had to twist up my hair. I’d combed it out a few days ago. It was so massive I couldn’t get a hat on, lol. That wouldn’t do for the cold snap ARCTIC temps out. I knit the sweater I’m wearing ages ago and I made the dress a while back, too. This is the first outing  in a long time for the sweater and the first ever for the dress. It was comfy and warm, but after speed walking all the way to work from home (which is NOT close, long story about this that I’ll skip) I was so charged with static cling, it clung to my legs all day. I should have worn the (lined) midi skirt I sewed up (rather than cut out my coat or work on my sewing dare. I’m a chicken) instead.

I was so tired from walking so far to work (in the snow), running around helping patrons all day and battling the wind on the way home that I was in bed by 9pm. I woke up at about 4am and watched some of Amelie on cable and then crashed again.

I spent the few spare minutes I had at the desk researching sewing books. This one was available as an ebook. I downloaded it to my Nook when I got home.

It’s an interesting read, though some of the construction details are not applicable to my project.  About my project, Lsaspacey brought up a great point in the comments of my last post.

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 12.07.32 PM

Many of these older designs call for big shoulder pads. I HATE shoulder pads. So I immediately became concerned that I’d have huge droopy shoulders. So I did what I always do when trying to gauge size: I layered the pattern pieces, of Simplicity 4110, over something that fits.
Coat Front

Coat Back

The fit at back, hip area is pretty good. The front looks like there’s more than enough space for the double breasted overlap. But this coat is a more fitted design. Do you think more ease might be a good idea?

Check out my So(wn) Brooklyn playlist on Kollabora while you ponder ;p

How I Modified My Sencha

Sencha button

I took a few photos of my Sencha pattern to show you how many different sizes and tucks and cuts it took to get that fit.

Take a look at the front:

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

The shoulder, sleeve and waist has been sliced and turned under to size 6.

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

The hip area is sliced and folded to size 10 and I cut the fabric at the size 18 length. I’m 5’7″ and I don’t think I have a particularly long torso, but most sewing patterns are too short in the bodice for me.

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

I’ve mentioned my dislike of super high necklines before. To make mine slightly lower, without cutting the pattern, I folded the tucks and drew in a new neckline with pencil. As evidenced by my pencil line, precision is not my forte, lol

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

I unfolded the pattern and copied the new neckline onto tracing paper. I used that copy to re-cut the neckline after the front was cut from the original pattern piece.

Onto the back piece:

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

For the back, I cut the shoulder, sleeve and waist the same size as the front. The first time I made this, I cut the facings and left the upper back the original width. I ended up making the facings extra wide to account for the excess fabric I ended up with. This time I folded out a small section and did not cut the facings.

Colette Patterns, Sencha Mods

The lower back is smaller than the lower front. I tapered out to size 8, instead of 10, here. With the new facings, the back is ultimately much smaller than the front. This has a similar result as the swayback alteration I make for my pencil skirts. When the back and front are the same on my tops I end up with too much fabric in the lower back section.

Red, rayon, polka dot Sencha’s guts.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

For the zipper placket, I ironed strips of lightweight fusible interfacing onto the wrong side and used that width as a guide to press the placket sections down. I wish I could say there was a formula for deciding what that width would be. The truth is, I tried it on and guesstimated how much would give me a good fit. I double serged the edges and stitched a seam down the pressed line up to the point where I wanted to start the zipper. I used basting stitches for the rest of the seam. I applied the zipper (nearly painlessly!!) and removed the basted stitches with my seam ripper. I always do zippers this way.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

You can just see from these pics that I also left off the neckline facing. It is cut generously wide and with the interfacing I used on my first one, it was very uncomfortable. Here, I also serged the raw edge twice, which gave the floppy challis some stability, and then pressed it under before stitching it down with two rows of stitching.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

I serged the raw edges of the sleeve, pressed and stitched. I admit, I tried the lazy machine stitch way out to finish them and it looked terrible. I busted out my Colette Sewing Handbook to check the catch stitch instructions. I undid the seams, pressed and redid them by hand. I am much more satisfied with this result! It held up well, too.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

In this, slightly blurry, pic you can sort of see the baby hem (and the blue streak in the back of my hair!) at the bottom. I double serged the raw edge again and pressed before machine stitching it. The top and bottom edge of the facings are caught in the hems.

Well. That’s all, folks! I hope this helps someone!!

Grandma’s Notions

My (paternal) grandmother will often give me a care package of crap stuff whenever I visit her. Most times she will tell me to throw out whatever I can’t use. On my last trip she gifted me a bag of fabric (one piece is polyester and the exact color and texture of astro turf) and notions (with some random kitchen utensils in the bottom of the bag). There’s some lace and a package of fusible webbing, but the most exciting things are the snap tape, which will save me from making buttonholes on my next blouse, and a HUGE box of steel pins! I need to buy one of those pin cushions that sharpen the tips. Some of the ones I used seemed a bit dull.

Grandma's Notions

My urge to sew is slowly returning. I want to make dolls and clothing. Which is weird. It’s often one or the other. On the doll front, I modified the pattern I used for my hand sewn doll. I enlarged it so that I can machine stitch it. I’m excited to try it out but not so thrilled about using the last of my Purl Bee felt when it may not work out. On the garment front, I have two Tiny Pocket Tanks cut out and I have taken another look at Pattern Magic and what once seemed like gibberish suddenly made sense. I have altered a basic sloper to my size (hopefully) and now I have to work on making the adjustments to try out one of the bow treatments. I can’t decide which one though.

Pattern Magic - integrated bows

D appears to be the easiest (clever buttonhole placement and drafting the bow are the main tasks), but I struggle with darts a lot of the time so I’m thinking one of the projects without them may be a better place to start. The elephant in the room is, of course, my school work for the week. That should come first….but two more sewing books, Pattern Magic 2 and The Collette Sewing book, are arriving tomorrow so we shall see.

My BurdaStyle Book Dress


BurdaStyle Book Dress
Here it is!! Over a year later, lol.
Made from a lovely deep purple silk and cotton blend with coordinating chiffon accents.
It is slightly too big for me, I’m thinking of taking it in so that I can actually wear it in the spring/summer now that I have it back.

This dress was a test of endurance. I have never made anything to be included in anything before. It added a level of pressure that I was VERY uncomfortable with. On top of that, I had been having a pretty rough time of it that year. Though I was really jazzed about being chosen to be in the book, I was kicking myself for ignoring the fact that I don’t have a lot of experience working with deadlines and the like.

This project may have ended up in the big scrap heap in the sky if not for the support (pressure, nagging, cajoling, encouragement whichever was needed at any given moment) of my long suffering husband. He is totally my number one cheerleader. There is a long list of things I would have given up on if not for him.

You can see the pattern as it’s featured by BurdaStyle in the book here. For my version, I made the keyhole cut out deeper, added pinctucks to the entire front bodice, center back bodice and accents on the skirt with the ruffled hem and neckline done in chiffon. I really like how it came out, though I am refraining from looking too closely at its construction. I know that I probably could have done a better job of it now, but c’est la vie. My name and dress are in an awesome book and nothing about that can be bad!