Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fabric Shopping

I'm reaching out to my readers to ask for help. I love online fabric shopping as much as the next person, but I need something more. My relationship with fabric has become boring and I need to spice up the routine a bit. I'm looking for out of the way fabric shops and warehouses that sell mill-ends, discontinued items, etc. I used to have a list, but like most of my lists it was misplaced and lost in the sands of time.

I need deals, steals and squeals, and I need your help locating them. My primary target is apparel fabric, but I don't mind if there is a good mix. I live in North Mississippi and can travel several hours in either direction, so we're talking TN, AR, MO, AL and possibly Southern KY.

Important info: Name, location and contact information for the store.

In the interest of fairness, I will also take recommendations for online shops that I might not be aware of.

Post away!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Color Palettes and Wardrobes

All this color palette creation has led me to some interesting places on the internet. My new favorite color toy is Colour Lovers! You can import pictures to create palettes with the Photocopa tool, browse other people's palette creations and have all sorts of fun playing with your new colors. You can see my palettes here.

For anyone who has never visited the Pantone site, I highly recommend it. More specifically, visit the Fall 2011 Color Trend page. I don't know why I keep forgetting about it - I love this year's picks.

If you are participating in the Colette Fall Palette Challenge, or any palette or wardrobe challenge for the fall, please feel free to leave your link below. This widget will be open through the end of November for anyone who happens to stumble across it later in the season.

Other wardrobe challenges (some ongoing, some limited, sewing, remix, etc.):

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yummy Stuff

I finally got around to trying one of the "Sizzling Salad" kits from Kraft and I have to say it was pretty good! I got the Caesar salad kit with cracked black pepper cooking sauce and Caesar dressing. Instead of just cooking with the sauce, I marinated the chicken for about 3 hours prior to throwing it on the grill. My only complaint is that the servings are very high in sodium - 47% of your RDA if you cook and serve as suggested. I rarely use as much dressing as indicated in a serving size, and Caesar isn't my favorite. It's definitely something we can't eat all the time, but was a nice treat and something different.

For some Halloween fun, I ordered the Jell-O brain mold. If you don't already know, I love Halloween, and I love gross/creepy stuff. The brain shaped gelatin mold is right up my alley. AND Coupons.com has a FREE offer, for only $2.95 shipping. I'm sure supplies are limited!

Just like everything else I enjoy, I get on cooking kicks. Lately I've not been feeling it. I'm on a sewing kick right now so I'm taking advantage of it. I really need some suggestions on what to cook that won't bore me to death, or take too long to prepare. We love to grill and our weather is temperate enough that we can grill out most of the year. Anything of that persuasion is always good.

I'd love some suggestions in addition to my cooking wish list. Warning! Pinterest can be highly addictive.

I also have a kitchen wishlist that I haven't looked at in a while. Most of that stuff is probably no longer available. That's how long it's been since I actually looked at it.

I want to eat, but sadly I do NOT want to cook anything right now. Apparently everyone else in the house is in the same mood. Ha! What are you in the mood to cook and/or eat?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Palette Challenge Update

I have completed one piece(McCall's 3830), need buttons for another (New Look 6407 OOP), and have done a full bust alteration for a dress (Butterick 4443) following this method since I wear a 38DD bra and patterns are usually sized for B cups unless you can find one that includes different cup sizes. I haven't done any cutting on the dress fabric yet, and I won't be able to post pictures until after Lonnie returns.

I think I'm going to use yellow pearl snaps for the shirt because I'm 1. lazy and 2. they look better with that style of shirt in my opinion. I'll probably get them from Snap Source since they seem to have the best color range and price and I only need a few.

To be honest, I really don't like the shirt pattern. Well, I like the pattern, but the sewing directions piss me off. I've made it one time before and the same issues were apparent this time. If I make it again I will have to alter the construction directions a bit because I really don't like the way the collar goes into the neckline. It's cumbersome and could be done a lot better I think.

Anyone sewn this pattern successfully who might have some construction tips?

The dress only calls for a bodice lining, but I think I'm going to line the skirt as well. The fabric is somewhat thin, and I despise wearing slips. Anything I can do to avoid them is fine with me.

The skirt I made also does not call for a lining, but I made one easily enough. It's just so much better to line things that have skirts if you can. No panty lines, no slips and no dress wedgie if you wear thong underwear. Win-win.

Since I don't have any pictures of finished garments, here are some scanned images of the fabrics.

Navy pencil skirt

Navy pencil skirt fabric. You can see the dark blue and gray-green threads that are woven in. I have had this fabric for several years and don't remember where I got it.

Stripe shirt fabric

This is the fabric for the short sleeved shirt that just needs pearl snaps to be finished. I doubt this will ever be worn without a jacket or vest over it. I really need to find a different shirt pattern. I'm not happy with the construction of it, and everything I tried to make it better just made it worse. I love the colors, and the navy and yellow stripes fit right in with my fall palette.

Purple dress fabric right side

This is the fabric for the dress I'm getting ready to make. It's a linen look poly blend from Joann Fabrics. I made a muslin this morning and the alterations I made to the pattern are perfect!

Purple dress fabric wrong side

This is the "wrong side" of the fabric, which I think I'm going to use. I just like it better.

That's what I have on the table right now. I have other fabrics and some on the way, and I hope to be able to wrap this challenge up in time!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Palette Challenge - Item List

Knit shirts - 2 sleeveless, 2 l/s or 3/4 sleeve.
Button down shirts - 2 s/s, 2 l/s.
Skirts - 2 pencil skirts, 2 pleated/full skirts
Pants - 2-3 pair of trousers.
Dresses - 1-2 dresses.
Jackets - 1 3/4 sleeve "puff sleeve" jacket, 1 l/s jacket.
Cardigans - 1-2 long sleeve cardigans.

I've already finished one of the pencil skirts and I LOVE IT, and have started on one of the s/s button downs. I can't take any pictures until Lonnie returns from his European jaunt with the camera, and I hope to have a couple more pieces done by then.

I have fabric and patterns ordered and I'm trying to use up fabric that was already in my stash. So far, I've used two pieces of fabric I already had, with plans to use several more. I purchased a 50% silk brown/camel suiting, and two pieces of wool/poly/spandex knit jersey for the sleeveless tops in goldenrod and magenta from Fashion Fabrics Club.

The good news is that I've done an inventory of my wardrobe and these new colors I'm introducing are either in short supply, or will fit in with clothes I already own very well.

I also got my new closet system installed and have plenty of room to hang/fold everything I own and probably still have room left. I only hope the sewing mood lasts...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fall Palette Challenge

In addition to picking up my sewing again, I recently started reading several sewing blogs. I don't participate in a lot of blogging challenges, but this particular one caught my eye. The Fall Palette Challenge at Coletterie is something I've actually been thinking a lot about lately: making new pieces of clothing that will integrate with and improve my existing wardrobe. I've long known that sewing my own clothes is the best way to get new pieces that actually fit, rather than scouring sales and clearance racks for things that I might not like or might not be in my size. Sewing allows me to carefully select the exact style, color and fabric and be a bit more purposeful about it than just tossing it in my cart and hoping it works.

This challenge is the perfect way to evaluate what I have, figure out what I need, and make some really cool stuff in the process. I already have several pencil skirts planned in various colors, and I hope I can integrate them into this challenge.

First, the inspiration. I looked over my Style Pinboard at Pinterest and found the following colors to be the most prominent:

I already have a LOT of neutrals, but camel is sadly lacking. I have a lot of basic pants and skirts in black and gray, but again camel is left out. I also want to add more colorful options to my basic wardrobe. I want one full set of interchangeable options, including at least one of each skirt, shirt, jacket, pants and a dress. I really have to consider my color and fabric options carefully, including the fabric and patterns I already have and what I need to buy.

The skirt will likely be finished first since it is the easiest to complete. I am not a fast sewer, and sleeves give me hell, so the jacket and shirt will take longer to complete. I'm trying to decide on long sleeved or short sleeved jackets. Short sleeves will be more versatile in this climate, and I can always layer. See? Already thinking about options...

After some consideration, I've narrowed it down to these colors:

Color by COLOURlovers

I think these colors would be easy to work into my existing wardrobe, and help balance it out a bit. The aforementioned lack of camel limits my remix options, and I need some navy as well.

If you want to participate, hop on over to Coletterie and join their Fall Palette Challenge.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day arm party!

I had a long weekend, so I went through my jewelry box and had my own arm party party at home. I didn't party as much as I wanted. I painted the bathroom! I did homework and watched it rain. My wrists and arms are not that thin, so I can only get so many bracelets on them. Here are the results.

Arm party 1 Arm party 2

The first one I wore to work Wednesday, and the second one I put together from my white, clear and silver stuff. There are several necklaces in there, and I could only get so many of those on the arm. Whew!

To participate:

1. Have an arm party. Or three. Take pictures. Post it somewhere on the internet. It can be your blog, your image host, Facebook. I don't care where.

2. Come back here and click on the blue button at the bottom that reads "Add Your Link." Please use the URL of the specific blog post or picture, NOT the link to your blog's home page or your image host's home page. So instead of http://www.yoursite.com you would enter http://www.yoursite.com/name-of-blog-post or the single picture's URL. Adding your link will be available right after midnight on Labor Day.

3. Tell lots of people by clicking on one of the share buttons at the bottom of this post.

I can't wait to see what you gals -or guys- come up with!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bathroom Makeover Update

We recently started a makeover on our master bathroom, which I posted about last month. Here are a couple of updated pictures of the wall that was ripped out.

Much better, right?

Here's a picture of Lonnie and his uncle milling the cedar on the sawmill.

I know the picture is a bit dark, but Meredith had the camera and she was hanging out in the shade.

Not only was the wood free, it was also cut locally by family. I apologize that the toilet was open during the photo shoot, but those were the only two pictures I got. The plan is to cover the wall behind the toilet and go around the shower stall with cedar, then paint the wall a lovely green.

Can I just add how ready I am not to have to look at that ugly floral wall anymore?

Pencil Skirt Love

I LOVE PENCIL SKIRTS. They are flattering, can be worn any time of year with the appropriate accessories, and you can pull just about any top out of your closet to wear with one. They can also be paired with a skinny belt, a wide belt, and just about any number of shoes or boots of your choice.

The search for the perfect pencil skirt for Fall inevitably leads one to the J. Crew catalog.

Pencil Skirt Love

Even for a classic piece of wardrobe staple in such mouth-wateringly delicious colors, I cannot drop $120. Not even when I find I have extra money in the bank account. It just isn't going to happen. I am, however, perfectly capable of sewing a pencil skirt. I even have the perfect pattern! Because I already have the pattern, all I have to do is find the fabric, lining, thread and zipper.

Fabric can be tricky. Because I sit at a desk most of the day, I can't really use anything that wrinkles or looks like it's been wadded in a corner after five minutes of wear. This pretty much leaves out all linen, rayon and 100% cotton. I really have an affinity for the silk/poly/wool blend tweeds and gabardines, but some can be a bit heavy and thus bulky and really warm when sewn. What I end up getting is usually a lightweight blend of one or more of those fibers.

Pencil Skirt Fabric Choices

Fabric and supplies for one skirt will run anywhere from $8-15 depending on how much yardage I need, and whether or not I have to purchase thread. That's at least ten pencil skirts for the price of one, and I can make sure it actually fits me.

I have one skirt made already, but I have to go back and redo the hem. I don't like the way it looks, and even though no one else is likely to notice, I'm not going to rest until the hem looks the way I want it to.

In other sewing news, I cut out a really pretty blouse from some ivory silk charmeuse I purchased nearly two years ago. I fell in love with the fabric when I found it on Fashion Fabrics Club's web site, and it's been languishing in my "to sew" pile since then. I'm not a nail biter, but I'm almost to that point now. Luckily real silk has some grip to it, so I hope I don't feel like I'm trying to sew two greased pigs together. We shall see.

Pics will follow!

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