Monday, April 30, 2012

Taffy Parade

One of my favorite parts of sewing along with all of you is seeing all the different variations of the patterns we're using. Different colors and prints, fabrics, modifications, and added details can make a completely different look that I hope will inspire some of you who haven't yet made the pattern. And even if you have made the pattern it's so fascinating to see what everyone else made. It's eye candy either way :) Below I have featured just a few of the ladies who sewed the Taffy.

side view
Ruth finished this top back in January and posted this adorable photo in the Sew Colette Flickr group. I love the blue/lavender accent from the bias tape. The fit looks spot on too.

Taffy Sleeves 
The Queen of Cool Modifications aka Rochelle from Lucky Lucille, once again made me say, "what a great idea!" I never would have thought to finish the sleeves the way she did. In her blog post she mentioned that the sleeves took a while to do, but I think it was well worth the time spent, don't you?

Taffy blouse
Charlotte's version uses such a cool fabric, perfect for spring. I love her pose too :) Check out her post to see her fellow model and cute shoes!

Thanks for sewing along with us. Can you believe we only have one pattern left :(

Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Guest post by Meg the Grand
April 30 - Taffy Parade

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Taffy blouse

I completed my Taffy blouse today at 4:00 pm, talk about a procrastinator! In fact, I didn't even cut out my fabric until today. I made a muslin a couple of weeks ago and it was a nightmare because I used really slippery fabric and had trouble cutting it. My cuts were so far off that the shirt wouldn't even stay on my shoulders when I sewed it up. It was a depressing muslin, but I am so happy that my final shirt turned out well.

The neckline is still a little wider than I like, but it is still wearable. In fact, I wore it today :) Random, but don't you love it when complete strangers compliment you on something you have made? It happened to me today when I went to the Coach store and it made me happy.

This was my first time sewing with silk and it was definitely a change and a challenge for me. I made sure to use spray stabilizer, a rotary cutter and pattern weights to cut out the fabric, a new needle, and sharp pins. 

What I love about this sew along is that I am really getting out of my comfort zone and learning new things, like French seams. If you told me last year that I would be sewing French seams I would have asked if you were drunk! My sewing projects are far from perfect, but I am so happy to be learning.

Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Guest post by Meg the Grand
April 30 - Taffy Parade

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sew Colette - Guest post from Oona Balloona

I'm kind of weird in that when I am reading it can take a lot for me to crack a smile, let alone laugh, when something is funny. That being said, it means something when I say that Oona is HILARIOUS! I love reading her blog for the following reasons: she has incredible style and an eye for prints, she is a skilled seamstress, her stories crack me up (see: Oona in the sky with deadbeats), and I know she wouldn't judge me for drinking alcohol as I type this :) How cool is it that this funny and talented lady is willing to do a write up on her sewing experience with the Taffy blouse? SO cool! Thanks, Oona!

i was so glad when sarah and erin asked me to share my experience with the taffy blouse, since i never really posted about the making of it in the first place! (true to form, i paired a Jazz Concert with a Me-Made, and the perplexing tether that connects events in my brain called it A Blog Post.)

so!  le blouse du taffy.  i scored this gorgeous material during our big new york meetup last fall.  i swear, every piece of material bought that day was anointed in holy sewist water.  (where would one get that?  possibly from the first ever steam iron?  its vessel is always mysteriously full; it resides in a secret room in the labyrinth under chanel.)   during those glorious sunny hours, i played co-host, and sternly told myself: no fabrics.  i would be too busy co-hosting.   ten minutes into our first stop, i had four bolts out.  total haul: around twenty pounds of fabric, and not one piece has failed me.  

that said, i have no idea what most of the fabric from that haul IS.  i've pored over sarah and erin's posts on taffy fabric choices, hoping to recognize mine, but really... no idea.  perhaps one of you might sleuth this material? if i had a scrap in my possession, i'd do a burn test, but the silvery remnants are in new york, and the blouse itself was left languishing there as well, in favor of a californian summer palette.  i do remember the fabric having little to no stretch, with a lovely burnout pattern.  i think you call this burnout... again, i'm no expert on fabric.  is there such a thing as burn in?

after tracing off my size, i began my usual pattern adjustments.  first and foremost: raising the waist.  this time i took it up a good two inches.  this affected that fascinating bust dart that juts out of the pattern piece like italy's boot.  so, i closed up the dart, folded it down just as i would have if i were using fabric, and added a bit more paper to the edges to make the side seam behave as it should.  now.  speaking of boob darts.  being a smaller cupped gal, i've had issues with colette patterns, sized for the C cupped woman.  lotsa gaping going on for this this wee B.  to solve this problem i just traced the smallest dart, the size zero, so the apex would be as high as possible.   questionable pattern alteration?  yes indeedy.  but let's face it, if i'm not making a muslin, knowing i have to adjust for high waist / small bust / square linebacker shoulders / erect back, do you really think i'll be rotating any darts? no, i get way too excited about the glorious material in front of me to do it right. 

and, there's something equally exciting about having to make it work when it goes wrong.  HOW WILL I EVER FIX THIS ONE, i'll often think, geekily knowing inside i will indeed fix it and then have the right to feel Incredibly Smarmy About It.  it's flawed logic, i know.  shhhhhh.

still, i try to be smart about this half baked way of thinking.  i always use a basting stitch and fit as i go.  here's my path: sew bodice darts, hold it up to mirror.  check.  baste side seams, pin shoulders and try again.  check.  only, this method doesn't work with sleeved garments.  OOPS.  i shrugged my square shoulders and serged everything together.

lo and behold, when i threw it on, the neck was so wide it was a bad attempt at a flashdance costume.   if the Costumer had put jennifer beals in a top that fell off the shoulder TO HER ANKLES.  not exactly the colette asthetic.   really, a fail.  

a fail?!  a chance to make it work!  HUZZAH!  i pinched the fabric, looking for where it wanted to go... it wanted darts at the front and back necklines.  so i gave it what it wanted.  i'm benevolent like that.  and instant karma for my generosity:  i LOVED the weird extra darts!  in my head, they play with the sheer fabric quite well.

mission accomplished, i moved on to the raw edges of the neck, arm, and hem.  self made bias tape wasn't going to happen with my wee bit of yardage, and anyways at the time, i was all PHOOEY ON SELF MADE BIAS.  Future California Oona was most certainly laughing and shaking her head at Past New York Oona's ignorance.  yes, Future Oona giggled mightily poolside, drink in hand, extra sharp needle in the other, stitching her fifth garment finished off with self made bias tape, you just wait.   Present Oona has indeed wised up, i'm addicted to the stuff now, and i adore sarai's method of attaching it front to back.  i like to blindstitch the backside of it, while sipping a cocktail.  no, truly, i do.  all Oonas are in total agreement on this point.

but for this go, Past Oona was all uppity.  i dug into my drawer of trim and found this wee floral crocheted stuff.  i serged the neck, sleeve and hem edges in one circular swoop (they had been raw and handled carefully to prevent fraying the whole time--i don't like to overlock each pattern piece before sewing when using dainty stuff like this, i find it much harder to get a clean finish on circular edges when they've already got threads in them), then pinned this trim on the neck and straight stitched it right down the middle.  i left the hem and sleeve edges serged, thinking too much of these little flowers would be... too much.

i'm constantly playing hide the ties with anything wrap-like in my closet, so i decided to omit them.  i prefer a belted look-- belts are like candy to me, and i have a knack for finding dollar waist goodies in every color.  

i was so happy with this top, i wore it immediately.  that's unusual for me.  when i make something because i want to wear it IMMEDIATELY (like in 4 hours from when i start the garment) i usually end up wearing something else while the garment gets a cooling off period in the closet.   its probationary sentence is used to coax myself into forgetting any shooting-myself-in-the-foot activity that might've occurred.  but even with my refusal to do things the proper way, the pattern was impossible to mess up TOO much.  so, to a holiday celebration it went, that very night.

so that's my oonafied version of sarai's indestructible taffy.  actually, as i wrote this post, i was alarmed to recall my path.  i realized i've been getting more and more thoughtful in my sewing.  it would seem California Oona has learned a few tricks, a little patience, a few new cocktails... come on over and see me sometime if you'd like proof. 
thanks erin and sarah for having me... i'm excited to see ALL of your perfect taffys, you colette challengers, i'm positive there will be much teeth gnashing in kalkatroona!  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Renfrew #2

I finally finished a sewing project! I think I have been in a sewing rut over the last month and I'm not sure why. There has been a definite lack of motivation when it comes to my two unfinished quilts and to the Tafffy blouse I am working on :(

This is my second Renfrew top and I truly love this pattern. It's just so easy, like "beginner like me easy." The only issue I had is with the collar, it looks baggy. This is probably due to my fabric choice, no fault to the pattern! Instead of a stable knit I used a lightweight jersey. The shirt feels so good on though, that despite the imperfect collar I am going to wear it. I realized that no one is going to notice the collar unless I point it out or they sew too. Hopefully I won't run into any of you while I am wearing this ;) Kidding! But, that made me think about you guys and what you do when you make something that you aren't 100% satisfied with. Do you scrap it? Wear it proudly? Fix it if you can? I'm curious!

Oh, and sorry for the low quality photo. I dragged Luke outside with my camera, but the battery died before he could even take a picture. I settled for an Instagram photo from my phone instead.

Check off one project for the spring color palette challenge!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Giveaway winners!

Hello, hello, hello! I'm so excited to announce who the winners are for the three patterns shown above. Ladies, check your email inboxes for a message from me :)

Butterick B5152 is going to Jacqui.
Butterick B5281 belongs to Melizza.
Cynthia is getting Butterick B5214.

Not only am I excited to give away these patterns, but I am excited to add books to my Amazon wish list! I am an avid reader and have not heard of many of the books recommended, so thank you to everyone for sharing your favorites with me! Are any of you book lovers on Good Reads? It's a cool website that I use to organize the books I have read/want to read and I set yearly reading goals for myself. Just thought I would share since so many of you are readers! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sew Colette - Guest post!

Hi everyone! Meg the Grand (love her) was sweet enough to do a guest post for Sew Colette. She sewed up the Taffy earlier this year and was willing to do a write up on her sewing experience. I remember seeing her Taffy and being in awe of her color choice and cool modifications. Thanks for sharing with us, Meg!!!

Friends, I love this pattern. L.O.V.E.  Pair it with jeans and you've got the perfect outfit for a night on the town; pair it with a pencil skirt and watch your coworkers turn green with jealousy.  I, for one, chose to finally tackle this pattern because I had the perfect fabric for it.  I used some large scraps of polyester in my stash in order to create this blouse.  While the handbook instructs you to cut your pieces on the bias, I knew that I wanted the sheer stripes running vertically on the blouse and cut the pieces out on the grain line instead.  This ended up working out in my favor as the polyester had a bit of stretch to it, giving me the wiggle room that a bias cut blouse would have allowed.  

This polyester was a bit thicker than most of the polys I've worked with in the past, so I ended up using a thicker needle for this project. Because of the thickness of the fabric, my French seams did come out a little wonky and uneven on the inside of the garment.  I have never created anything using French seams before, and the book is SPOT ON with their directions.  I've gotten so confident in my French seaming that I use this finishing technique as often as possible.

The body of the shirt went together very quickly.  I spent the majority of my time for this project on the hand sewing.  Because I didn't want to take away from the sheer portions of the shirt with my messy polyester v. sewing machine battle, I used a blind hem hand stitch to attach all of the bias trim.  To be honest, I cheated a bit on the bias trim.  I cut long strips of the fabric on the grain (since I was working with large scraps originally) and since the fabric had a bit of stretch to it, it ended up working just as well.  The main issue, besides the large hems on the sleeves, was the fact that all of my brand new hand sewing needles were having difficulty piercing through the polyester.    My fingers were hurting quite a bit by the end, but it turned out to be the perfect time to play the "Sweetie, I think I might need a hand massage" card.  

If I had to offer any tips on sewing up this pattern, I would say that this is a really fantastic pattern for showing off those VIP fabrics in your stash - it allows your fabric to take center stage and shine!  The lack of bodice detail (aside from darts) means that prints and stripes and florals can be seen in their full glory.  The sleeves allow for the fabric to be altered from the bodice view - try having stripes run horizontally along the middle of the outside of the sleeve, or see how many flowers in your floral print you can line up under the pattern piece.  I was completely pleased with how my Taffy turned out and I've been brainstorming other versions to make with some of the more wild/sheer fabrics in my stash.  I have some pink and black silk that I think would be fantastic as a Taffy for this summer (with black bias trim, of course). 

 I'm excited to see all of the versions of this pattern that this Sew Along group is making!  Good luck and have fun with the French seams (they are the BEST)!

Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Special Guests
April 30 - Taffy Parade

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Keep Calm and Sew On

I designed this a couple of weeks ago after getting inspired by one I saw on Pinterest. I even made it in a pastel to go with my spring and summer color palette :) Eventually I would like to print this out and hang it in my sewing area. Wouldn't it be cute in a white frame?

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pattern giveaway

 I swooped up three gorgeous sewing patterns this weekend and decided to give them away to three lucky ladies. If you would like to enter the giveaway please leave a comment and let me know which pattern you hope to win. Just for fun either tell me a little known fact about yourself or recommend a book for me to read (I love to read). This is my way of saying, "THANK YOU" to those that have inspired me, befriended me, or taught me something new :)

The giveaway is open to all countries, will run through the week, and end on Sunday, April 22 at 6:00 pm PST. One comment per person please. Please make sure I am able to get in contact with you (leave your email address in the comment or make sure it is listed somewhere on your blog).

Butterick B5152. Sizes 16, 18, 20, 22, 24. For some reason I think this is so Joan Crawford!

Butterick B5281. Sizes 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22.

Butterick B5214. Sizes 8, 10, 12, and 14.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sew Colette - Taffy muslin

The weather is dreary here in California (weird), so this weekend I won't be at the beach, I'll be inside working on my muslin for the Taffy blouse. Below I have added on to our list of sewing techniques with new information and links Sarah has provided over the past week.

That last tutorial for making bias tape is tricky to me, so I might try and work on it this weekend. What about you, are you working on the Taffy this weekend?
Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Special Guests
April 30 - Taffy Parade

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Palette Inspiration Board

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

Colette Patterns is having a Spring and Summer Palette Challenge and those that are interested are making mood boards as a way of organizing their colors and ideas for upcoming sewing projects. I don't know about you, but when I get inspired by color it isn't necessarily JUST from fabrics. I get inspired by colors everywhere! My mood board below shows just that :) Keep in mind, this is based on color only, I'm not saying that I want to sew up the clothing that is featured.

I'm so cliche sewing up pastels for spring ;)

Balloon picture - Mint dress and pale pink coat - Watch - Dress with the low back - Model with pink polka dots - Yellow dress - Pink couch - Umbrella - Pants and sweater

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Week with Marilyn

Whenever a movie is made I always read the book first, if there is one. Not too long ago I read My Week with Marilyn. It took me a long time to read because I wasn't into it. Unfortunately, the same went for the movie :( The bright spot was seeing the outfit above. I loved the gingham pants, black shirt, and scarf combination. Then it hit me that I should sew this for That's Sew Cinematic!

I have the Clover pant pattern, but I am hesitant to start sewing. I have never sewn a pair of pants and I am worried that the gingham might be hard to match up (I haven't matched prints yet either). To those of you that have sewn up Clovers, what do you think? Will it be a nightmare to sew with gingham or will it be fine?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fabric choices for the Taffy blouse

I thought it would be a good idea if we talked about fabric choices right off the bat, so those of you who don't live close to a store with garment fabrics can plan ahead. I normally fall into that category, but this time I made sure to scoop up some fabric on my last trip to Mood. If you do need to order online, Tasia made a huge list of online fabric shops which is very thorough.

When I picked this out my husband said to me, "doesn't that fabric look like something you already have?" I argued with him because OBVIOUSLY I know my clothing/fabric better than he does. I must have blacked out or something because the picture at the top of my blog is of me wearing a white sheer polka dot shirt. Oops. Well, this one is going to be pink with black polka dots and the sleeves will be totally different.

Sarai recommends using chiffon, georgette, lawn, or silk charmeuse for the Taffy. Fabric choice is extremely important for this as the finishing techniques in the pattern are dependent on which fabric you use. Something to consider when you are choosing your fabric is how the sleeves will drape. Do you want them to be light and flowy or a little stiffer? House of Pinheiro sewed up the Taffy  earlier this year and used an old duvet. You will notice that her sleeves don't drape like the version in the book and it gives the top a different look. I like it!

Be sure to check out Sarah's very informative post on all the different fabric choices. Tomorrow she will be posting information on fabric preparation and sewing techniques, so be sure to look for that.

Have you picked out your fabric yet? What did you choose?

Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 6th - Let's talk about fabric.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Special Guests
April 30 - Taffy Parade

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Fourth Project - Taffy

Are you ready to sew up a blouse for the sew along? I know I am! One of my goals is to sew more tops because at work all I seem to wear is a white V neck t-shirt paired with a cardigan, jeans, red lipstick, and flats. Dresses and skirts aren't really practical for my work, so I am really excited for the Taffy blouse. I think that it is a top that can be dressy or casual depending on the fabric choice, so hopefully I will have one of each style by the time this is finished. The schedule is listed below. 

Schedule for sewing the Taffy shirt designed by Colette Patterns.
April 6th - Let's talk about fabric.
April 13th - Marvelous Muslins
April 20th - Special Guests
April 30 - Taffy Parade

This is kind of off topic, but I wanted to recommend another sew along that is going on right now. It's hosted by Sarah, Meg, Solvi, and Veronica. The options are endless because the goal is to make clothing based on what your favorite characters are wearing in movies or on television. Pretty cool, huh? I'm going to kill two birds with one stone and make my upcoming Licorice dress work with Sew Colette and Sew Cinematic. Just a thought :) 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I got on Instagram a few months ago and I just love it. My name on there is misscrayolacreepy (are you surprised?).  Since I have been taking so many photos on Instagram I thought I would share some with you.

A former coworker gave me these magazines. The one on the left is from 1924 and the one on the right is from 1928. I love looking at the ads, some of them are pretty funny.

 On Sunday I dragged Luke to the antique store to go treasure hunting. I scored on these old Pyrex bowls, they match my kitchen perfectly.

Buttons in an old jar. As I was carrying this stuff in the house my neighbor saw me and we started chit chatting about antique stores. We are going to go shopping together for more treasures in a few weeks.

I enjoyed this coconut margarita at Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach. You know I can't say "no" to anything coconut. Tasty!

Are any of you on Instagram?

Monday, April 2, 2012


Did you know that I like animal prints? ;)

Yesterday I made myself a Renfrew t-shirt. Sewaholic makes this amazing pattern which I ordered a little while back. Why did it take me so long to sew up? To be honest, it was because I was afraid of sewing with a knit fabric. Someone (I don't know who) put it in my head that knits are hard to sew with and I have been scared ever since. Lauren must have sensed my fear because she wrote up this awesome guide for my scaredy cat self! 

Before I started sewing I made sure to get ball point needles and twill tape. Both of these were new to me, but not hard/scary to use in any way. The shirt was so easy to sew up, it only took me maybe three hours or so. The version I made is a short sleeve shirt (view b), but with a scoop neck (view a). I didn't make any adjustments other than adding 2.5 inches to the length because I don't like short shirts that ride up and show my tattoos. And I don't like the random weirdos that talk to me about tattoos!

Basically, I am obsessed with this pattern and I want to make this shirt in every knit available. Once you find a pattern that works, you stick with what you know, you know? My work is a jeans and t-shirt kind of place, so the Renfrew is perfect for my life.