crafts · patterns

Vogue patterns, Winter 2011

I was just thinking it was time for some new Vogues – and they went up on the website!  I quite like this batch, and found some patterns that will most definitely be on my list.  I can’t wait to pick these up when they go on sale!  Here are my picks:


1271 and 1270 are both Kay Unger designs.  Both would make great day dresses that would transition well into evening.  I’m imagining navy blue or black for 1271.  I have some wools that would work.  The other dress would also make a great LBD, or perhaps something a little more fun.  The bow detail reminds me of the Michael Kors design I made last year, which looked complicated but really was not bad.  One of these will definitely be made in black – I have a number of knit black dresses, but nothing really structured.



I am intrigued by these two Very Easy, Very Vogue patterns (8763 and 8764.)  I’ve seen a number of these draped dresses recently.  I will have to see it made up, but I think the color blocked version has potential.  The other dress seems rather 1960s inspired – I like it!

8766 is an Easy Options pattern.  I really like most of the versions shown, especially the lace overlay.

I also like some of the separates (shocking!)



8780 is a nice version of a waterfall jacket.  I still love this style, so this is a must for me. 8777 has a selection of vests.  I like the unusual seaming on this one, though I must confess I am unlikely to wear one – vests just aren’t for me!



8769 is a fun tunic – I love those sleeves! 8771 is a knit tunic with dolman sleeves.  I like the brown version – the long cuffs and rounded hem on the other version just seems odd to me, but I love the looks of the other!  I might lengthen it to wear with slim pants, but I would not use the rounded hem.

There are also two new vintage Vogue patterns.  They aren’t for me, but I think they are great!  I have a bunch of vintage patterns to make up already, and these both have details that don’t work for me (the sleeves on that 1950s dress wouldn’t work – they have that sort of faux bolero thing going on, and I really prefer set in sleeves.)

I am off to go through my fabric – I hope I have some that will work for these designs!

crafts · workouts

bloggy topics

I always know I’ve gone too long without blogging when people start emailing me to make sure I’m ok!  Don’t worry, after 6(?) years of blogging I’m not likely to give it up!  Silence usually means that I’ve been spending all my time doing non bloggy things, and somehow I feel sort of guilty when I bore you all with my life.  But here I am, about to bore you!  First, a little sewing content:

I finally managed to find the Fall Butterick patterns on sale – I’ve missed the last few, but they were at Joann’s last week.  My favorite is this dress, which I’m making from the purple leopard ponte knit I found at  The actual scale of the print is smaller, but I didn’t feel like taking another photo to get it to work.  I really like the pleating on one side – let’s hope it looks good in real life!  I’m not using a lining (suprised?  I didn’t think so.)  I am making the version with sleeves, because I don’t have many dresses that have them.

I hope to get to work on this cut tonight, and maybe sewn on Friday and Saturday.  I seem to not have weekends lately, due to performances and socializing, and that’s when I usually do my sewing!  I’m also pretty uninspired in these in between seasons – I don’t want to think about the cold yet!

So what else have I been doing?

I’m still on my exercise plan – I know, I can’t believe I’m sticking with it either!  Right now I’m doing the Ballet Body Periodization plan.   It’s a series of internet downloads that you string together into long workouts.  They build on each other, and you get to do your own choice of cardio every other day.  I really love the workouts – it’s kind of a combo of Lotte Berk/Callinetics style barre with some yoga and pilates.  There are a lot of body weight resistance exercises (planks, pushups etc.)  I’m getting some real strength gains, which is pretty exciting to me!  I never thought I could enjoy pushups after my high school gym trauma, but here I am, doing them a few times a week!  I’ve been doing dance and step aerobics a lot for cardio, which is required 2-3 days a week on the plan.    I didn’t think I would like step, after having done it in the 90s, but I found some fun videos, and even bought a full sized step (my old one is smaller than the ones in the gym.)  I keep the height low (4 inches) and have no knee problems from it.  I actually think the combo with barre is making my knees stronger.

If you are interested, here are the dvds I’ve been using for dance/step:

Christy Taylor: Mission Possible is what I started with.  It’s half dance aerobics and half step.  The music is super fun, and it’s not hard to catch on (keep in mind I have a dance background, so… YMMV, but this is the one that was recommended to me as her easiest.)  I also have Fit to Dance, which has step and weights, which includes a techno version of Dance of the Sugarplum fairy from the Nutcracker.  I do love weird techno mixes.

For dance I also recommend Petra Kolber.  I have Bootcamp Boogie and 123 Dance, and they are both fun.  Kind of medium level choreography I think.  Bootcamp Boogie is the easier of the two.  The music is ok – better than many, not as good as the Christi Taylor dvds!

I have some others (I put out a call to my friends for dvds, and you wouldn’t believe how many people want rid of exercise dvds… less guilt that way!  I’ve also been hitting garage sales on weekends.)  I have two of those infomercial sets – Turbo Fire and Rockin Body.  Rockin Body is mostly hiphop type dance, and it’s fun and easy – too easy for me I suspect, as I actually like choreography.   I haven’t tried Turbo Fire, which is a sort of kickboxing with pretty good music.  It’s very fast, and I haven’t done kickboxing since the 90s – might have to brush up with one of my ancient Tae Bo tapes!

I’ll try to be better about updating!  It may be more dithering, since I haven’t had time to sew, but I do find that I miss the blog when I haven’t written in a week or two.


crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Vogue 1183

Pattern: Vogue 1183, a Kay Unger design

Fabric: Olive green doubleknit from fashionista fabrics

Notes: I bought this pattern when it came out, but then promptly forgot that it existed.  It’s a bit more tailored and office-like than I generally go for.  But… I had this olive green doubleknit to use up, and I only had enough to make a slim fitting dress.  I remembered this pattern, so I gave it a go!

This is not, in general, my favorite color.  I love green, but I really prefer emerald to olive – too much yellow and I start to develop a bit of a sickly pallor.  Having said this, I think this color works pretty well on me – it has enough intensity to make me happy, and it works with red hair.  I can wear more warm colors when my hair is red.  Speaking of which, I am not going bald – I just have blonde roots that are showing when I pull my hair back!  Time to get to the salon.

The dress was easy enough to make, but a bit time consuming with all the topstitching.  I did not run 2 lines per seam – I just topstitched the seam allowance down 1/4″ away from the seam.  I omitted the lining, and opted to turn and sew under all the edges, so I didn’t really want even more stitching showing.

I am very pleased with the fit in the back.   There is no zipper – it goes over my head easily!

I had one major fitting problem with the dress, which I have seen touched on in other reviews.  It was too long from shoulder to the top of the midriff, causing the bust to gape open.  I removed 1.5″ total from each shoulder, which fixed the issue.  I have no gaping on the neckline now!  I also removed about 1 inch total at the sides from the underarm to midriff, because it was big otherwise (meaning I had to use 2 sizes smaller on top than bottom… but I think this pattern runs big in the bust.)

If I made the skirt again I would remove the darts – they aren’t necessary in a doubleknit fabric, and just added a strange wrinkle.  I had a really hard time photographing this dress – the color is intense, and I have yet to get a lens I like better from my camera.  I did, however, get a new phone (the HTC EVO 4G) which has a pretty decent camera – it took the photo below!

I couldn’t get the color to turn out, so I just used one of the downloaded camera filters

I enjoyed this pattern, and I think it’s a nice basic.  I will certainly get some wear out of it – I picked up a leopard print cardigan yesterday that goes with it really well (though I will not wear the leopard shoes at the same time… even my animal print love has limits!)  I recommend the pattern – just watch out for the upper chest/ shoulder issue!

crafts · Sewing


I woke this morning to fall-like weather – a great treat for the Labor day holiday!  I am teaching, but it’s a light day (many of my students go away for the long weekend.)  In honor of the colder temps (currently 63 degrees F, when it reached 100 only a few days ago,) I pulled out a project for fall.  I’m making Vogue 1183, a Kay Unger design.  The fabric is an olive ponte from Fashionista fabrics (I don’t think it’s the chartreuse green she has now, so I think it’s sold out.)

I’ve loved this design since it came out, but I didn’t want to make it from a woven – I have another straight, lined skirt which I never wear because it feels constricting.  The envelope suggests double knits, so that’s what I’m doing!  I’m not planning on lining, so I’m going to have to puzzle out the best way to finish the edges.

Thank you for all the nice comments on my Vena Cava dress – I haven’t gotten to wear it yet, since the weather turned a bit, but I’m sure it will be hot again soon!


crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Vogue 1258

Pattern: Vogue 1258, a Vena Cava design

Fabric: ITY knit, 2 yards (from

Notes: Vogue 1258 is not your average knit dress!  I chose this design as part of my current project – trying new silhouettes, and rejecting the notion that I need to hide certain parts of my body.  Vogue claims that this dress is suitable for the pear shaped figure (abbreviated as a triangle on the envelope.)  I found that claim to be somewhat dubious when I first saw the fall patterns.  Is that true?  Well, that depends on how comfortable you are with emphasizing the lower half of your body.  There are a lot of pleats and pockets all jammed together at the hipline.  But you know what?  I think I really like it!

It does not, in my opinion, look much like the envelope photo.  For one thin, the sleeves are longer and less cap-like than they appeared at first, which is fine with me.  The front drape has more volume, though that may be sizing.  The break for the sizes came between 8 and 10, so I bought the larger size.  This is a straight size 10, but I think an eight would have been more similar to the photo.

The other difference (and my only real issue) is the back hemline.  The weight of the pleats and pockets, combined with the ties (which do pull at the back a bit) cause the back hemline to pull up a little.   If I made this dress again I would allow for extra length back there.  I’m emphasizing it in this photo (the pockets cause it to look worse) but that’s something to watch out for!  It’s wearable either way.  It does make me look a little wider in the back than I am, again due to the pockets (which fall open to the sides a bit when not in use) but that doesn’t really bother me.  I do really like the way the bias cut skirt lined up in this print!

Alterations to the pattern: I shortened the dress by 4 inches at the hem, so mine is not as pegged (tapered) as the original.  It went to just below my knee without the alteration, which I don’t find flattering.  I also omitted the topstitching on the sleeve bands, though I did topstitch the seams where called for.  I really think this is an excellent pattern, and one which should flatter a variety of figures.  I wasn’t super excited by the first Vena Cava patterns, but I’m so glad I tried this one!

By the way, can you tell I’ve currently got one camera lens that I love, and one that I cannot get to take nice photos?  I’m on the lookout for a good multi-purpose lens, but I find all the different types to be very confusing.  I’ve currently got a 50mm, which I love, and a zoom lens (is that the right terminology?) that I don’t, as it doesn’t focus well and tends to get terrible lens flare.  I find that using the SLR has a learning curve, but I’m trying!