This is how a nerd learns her fabric

When I was in school I learned best by using flash cards, I wouldn't have learned my vocabulary words without them! Since I have trouble remembering which fabric is which, I decided to apply the flash card principle to my fabrics. Kind of nerdy, but hopefully helpful :)

I went to Office Max and bought index cards that came with a ring to hold them together.

Next, I cut out a small piece of fabric with pinking shears.

I stapled the fabric to the card and put the fabric type in the upper right hand corner. I'm not sure if I should put the fabric description/traits on the front or back of the card. I might put it on the opposite side, so I can "quiz" myself.

From now on when I buy a fabric (and before I can forget what it is!) I will fill out an index card. Someday I will have my own custom swatch library and when I want to know the consistency of a certain kind of fabric, I will just flip to the card and feel it for myself.

Does anyone else have a system like this? It's definitely not the Fabric for Fashion swatch book, but it works.


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Perfect weekend for a Colette party!

I need to be honest: I get pretty jealous of some of you guys. I read your blogs and see pictures of all the fun sewing/blogger meet ups that you go on and it makes me wish I was there! I don't know anyone that sews clothing in the San Luis Obispo area (and if you do, speak up so we can hang out), so when I found out that the Colette Patterns Fall 2012 Launch Party was going to be a few hours away in Oakland, I knew I had to go.

My friend Qui and I talked for weeks about how excited we were for the party and decided to make a day of it. On Saturday morning I drove up to Santa Cruz to go to her house and from there we went to Hart's Fabric for a little shopping. We were probably in the store for about five minutes before I decided that I wanted everything. There is a good selection of garment fabrics, fun quilting cottons, BOOKS, and an impressive amount of sewing patterns from independent designers. It was love at first sight.

 This quilting cotton is from the designer Dear Stella. I had never heard of the company, but I am now a fan. I want a quilt out of their fabric soooo bad!

I bought this Jamie Christina pattern from Hart's.

Our next stop was Oakland. Qui was sweet enough to drive (which was probably safer for the both of us haha) and we made it just in time for the pre-party meet up. Between 15 and 20 awesome ladies showed up to hang out at Actual Cafe.

Soup is my favorite. Actual Cafe makes a good tomato coconut with grilled cheese, yum!

I invited Sarai and Ken to the meet up and I was sooo happy that they came! Based on what I could see on the world wide web, I knew Sarai to be so sweet, intelligent, and encouraging. When I met her in person she did not disappoint, she is truly one of the nicest people I have met. Both she and Ken were friendly and fun to be around.

Sarai and I. Thanks for taking the photo, Qui!

The meet up was a success and I got to talk about sewing with so many other ladies that share the same interest. One of first people I met was Meg, a girl with a bubbly personality in an amazing green dress. Meg is one of those people that you feel like you have known a lot longer than you have, she's great!

I stole this picture from Meg's post

When Michelle walked in the door I got super excited because I just featured her in the Macaron Parade and loved her dress! After chatting for a bit we realized that we were raised in the same town, Paso Robles, and knew some of the same people. Small world!

Amy was another person that I was excited to talk to. I have seen her beautiful garments from time to time on the Sew Weekly and her clothes are just as pretty in person. Her skirt was to die for!

We all walked next door to the party spot, A Verb for Keeping Warm, a cute store with lots of yarn and fabric. I was most interested in the table of patterns from Colette because I wanted to buy the newly released ones :) Oh, I'd like to give a shout out to Romy who found the last Juniper pattern for me. You made me so happy!

Before I left my house I asked my husband if I would be lame if I brought my Colette Sewing Handbook for Sarai to sign. He told me that if he had a basketball that he would have Lebron James sign it. That settled it. When Sarai was signing my book I told her the story and informed her that she was my Lebron James haha.

Qui and I

My purchases

After I left Qui's and started my long drive home I thought a lot about my past few weeks. The week of the 17th was a bad one, people/customers were so rude to me and I was literally crying almost every day. This past week was the exact opposite and it ended in the best way possible: I spent time with my friend Qui, made new friends, talked about fabric and sewing nonstop, met Sarai and Ken, got motivated/inspired to sew, and scored with some amazing new patterns. I don't know if I can top it! :)

And if anyone is down for more sewing get together and meet ups, let me know! 


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I love the color mustard


Do you remember when you started liking a certain color? I do! When I first saw Michelle William's mustard dress at the Oscars in 2006 I fell in love. On my recent trip to the Michael Levine loft I saw some jersey in almost the exact color, so I grabbed a few yards of it to make a Renfrew shirt.

This is my fourth Renfrew and second time using jersey for one. When I used jersey the first time, I complained about the collar looking too baggy. Johanna and Ginger suggested cutting the neckband piece a little shorter and it fixed the problem. Thanks for the suggestion, you two!

If you have been reading my blog for the last few months then you probably have read about my last three Renfrews, so I won't get too detailed on the sewing part of it. I added three inches in length like I usually do, but other than that there weren't any other modifications. Now that it's almost Fall I will probably have to start thinking about making some long sleeve versions. Yay, Fall!


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Oakland meetup

image from Colette Patterns

Qui and I have an exciting Saturday planned. I'm heading up to Santa Cruz to go to her house, then to Hart's Fabric, then to Oakland for the Colette Patterns Fall 2012 party. Before the party Qui and I thought it would be fun to meet up at the cafe next door, Actual Cafe, for a drink or bit of food around 4:00 or so. Would any of you be interested in coming? I'd love to meet you!


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Macaron Parade!

It's the third day of the Macaron Parade which is fine with me because I can't get enough of these gorgeous dresses! I've only posted a few here, but definitely head over to the Flickr group and look at all of them. Speaking of which, there are now 209 members, wow!

Sew Colette: Macaron
I love Anna's version! The addition of the collar is a clever idea and the styling is perfect for the dress. Anna, where can I get those cute shoes???

Kim's version of the dress is stunning! The lace adds an elegant touch, don't you think?

It wouldn't be right unless I included Rochelle's dress in this post. Her Macaron is one of my all time favorites!.

The color combo that Michelle used is so beautiful.

This is the last Sew Colette post for a few weeks. Next up for October is Peony! 


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New patterns from Colette Patterns!

A couple of weeks ago Sarai from Colette Patterns e-mailed me and asked if I wanted a sneak peek of the upcoming patterns. Umm, would I?!?!?!? YES! As soon as she e-mailed me the photos of the new patterns I couldn't think about much else except that I wanted to sew them up, stat.

Oh, Anise is only the cutest coat EVER! When I saw that it was listed as an Intermediate pattern I got kind of worried because sewing a coat is new territory for me. Then I thought that maybe some of you are in the same boat and would want to vote to possibly sew this up for the next pattern in Sew Colette and we could all sew along together :) I'm crossing my fingers that some of you are with me on this one! Vote Anise for the next round haha! :)

EDIT: I just saw that an Anise companion is available. Totally worth it!

Shorter sleeves or long sleeves, which one do you like?

Juniper is the second pants pattern from Colette Patterns and is sure to become just as popular as the Clovers. I love the wide leg look, but have yet to find any pants in the store that look good on me. Thank goodness for this pattern, it may just solve my problem!

Are any of you planning on getting the new patterns? I can't wait to get my hands on them! I have yet to sew a jacket or pants and I am so grateful that when I do they will be from Colette Patterns. As most of you know, the directions are so straight forward and clear, which is so helpful to a sewing newbie like me. I know that when I am done I will end up with two beautiful new pieces for my wardrobe.


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I have a love hate relationship with my Macaron wearable muslin

I have a love hate relationship with love and hate with my Macaron wearable muslin. It was one of the more difficult dresses I have sewn up and I made plenty of mistakes to prove it. The actual pattern and directions were great, but with all the markings that had to be transferred there were bound to be some errors on my part. The good news is that when I make it again it will be easier, right?

I know, I know, I need to find a different spot to take photos. It's just that by the time I get home from work it's getting dark and my photo location spots are limited.

There is nothing better than a dress with pockets! 

 My side yard.
 Frankie!!!! I love my pup!

The fabric I used is a Civil War reproduction print. It's one of those fabrics where you can't tell if it's black or brown. In the photo it looks more brown, but in person it's darker, almost black.

I was very proud of how the bodice turned out. Initially there was some slight puckering along the yoke that worried me, but by the time it was finished it wasn't an issue at all.

  • The final fit (size wise) was perfect and I didn't have to make any adjustments! It's form fitting, but not too tight. I could eat a meal and still feel comfortable wearing it.
  • Pockets!!!
  • Pleats were new to me so I learned a new skill.
  • The sleeve style is now one of my favorites.
  • It's a dress that can be worn out to a nice dinner, to a meeting, or out to run errands. Hopefully I will wear it out to dinner this Friday when I go out to celebrate my friend Krista's birthday :)

  • I struggled with easing in the sleeves and the gathers don't look consistent.
  • After doing the pleats, the dress front and back were different sizes, by a couple inches! I probably traced something wrong :( To fix it I made two of the pleats on the back slightly smaller and it worked. Next time I may just do gathers instead.
  • Fabric choice. I didn't start the project with a fabric in mind for the final garment, so I bought this cotton to use for the muslin. Fabric really inspires me and without an end fabric to look forward to I found it hard to get motivated. Does that make sense? I'm still not sure what I will be using the next time I make this.
  • The neckline size is a little small and I had trouble getting my head through the dress, granted this is coming from someone that has a HUGE head (literally) and can't find a hat that fits. When I wore this to take photos I made sure to put the dress on and then put on my makeup. If I had done my makeup before there would probably be foundation on the dress haha.
Now that I know what I need to do differently, I'm ready for round two!


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Sew Colette pattern for October


I'm super excited to sew Peony for the next pattern in Sew Colette! It will make the perfect dress for holiday parties, don't you think? It's so weird to be thinking about the holidays already, but they are approaching quickly. Speaking of which, this will be the last Sew Colette pattern of the year. I know that at the end of the year many of us need every extra minute we can get to sew up gifts for friends and family :)

Week of October 1st: Sew-Along Kick-Off (Muslins, measurements, etc)
Week of October 8th: Fabulous Fit
Week of October 15th: It's All About Fabric!
Weeks of October 22nd - 31st: Be Our Guest
Week of November 5th: Peony Parade - be sure to upload your finished dress into the sew-along Flickr group!


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A pink polka dot Hazel and a gift for my friend Megan

A couple of weeks ago I asked your opinion on what I should wear to one of my BFF's wedding receptions. I ended up choosing what most of you chose, the pink polka dot Hazel paired with a black cardigan and thin black belt. Unfortunately, I was too busy having fun and didn't take many pictures while at the wedding reception, so I took some photos in the dress this past weekend.

This is one of the only pictures I (Luke) took, but at least it has the bride in it! The photo is of Taryn, Amy, and myself, with Megan up above. She was a beautiful bride and I couldn't be more happy for her and Matt. I didn't get to talk too much with her (there were a lot of people there), but I was so happy to be at her special day. My friends and I all got to sit together and we had fun. Plus there was a crazy drunk girl at our table that embarrassed herself (only she doesn't know it) and gave Luke and I comical parenting advice (we don't have kids). That's a whole other story that I will probably post about in my Live Journal haha.

This weekend I wore the Hazel again and made sure to take pictures. I decided to take these in my "new" bedroom. Well, the bedroom isn't really new, but it feels new since we switched rooms and got a couple of pieces of new furniture.

Pretty much the same photo as above, but Lebron decided to join me in this one. What a guy.

 Alright, let's talk about the dress. I love the fabric I chose and you would think that since this is the third time I have made the dress that I would have the fit down. Well, it appears that I don't :( In this version of the dress (not the others) there are vertical lines in the bodice area. It's wearable and not a huge deal, but still kind of a bummer. Next time I will do better, yes, there will be a next time!

My invisible zipper skills are improving with each garment!

This version of the Hazel took me a bit longer to make because I added white piping all along the top of the bodice and the straps. It adds a nice touch, don't you think?

 Alright, back to Megan. For her wedding gift I made her this shark apron. Her favorite hobby is fishing and her goal is to catch a shark, so I thought that a shark apron would be appropriate. In her card I told her that I hope she can wear this while she is cooking her first shark.

Wild sharks!


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My husband called me a hoarder

We're all friends here, right? So you won't judge me on the state of my sewing room... right? You guys, my sewing room has been a nightmare for the last month or so, it got so bad that my husband jokingly called me a hoarder. If anyone else called me a hoarder I wouldn't have cared, but Luke has been inside legit hoarder houses, so that comment was a wakeup call and made me realize that I need to get my sewing life cleaned up!

Here is the "before" picture. Oh in case you forgot, you're not judging me, remember? I have somewhat of an explanation: we switched rooms a month ago and I haven't had time to completely purge/organize/clean/decorate. It's funny how you can make time to sew, but not time to clean ;) But at least there weren't hoarder goat trailers throughout my stuff in the room!

The "after" picture, so much better!! Now the room feels so good and clean, I just want to stay in and sew. Hopefully I can get my inspiration board updated and decorations hung up within the next few weeks.

That gray bin holds my fabric. You can't tell in the "before" picture, but there were bags of fabric on top of it. I went through the bin, sorted out my scraps, and now all my new fabric (I decided that anything uncut with a decent amount of yardage is considered "new") fits perfectly. I put the scraps in a Trader Joes bag in my closet. I know that saving it seems like such a hoarder move, but Caitlin posted a picture on Instagram of a cool quilt she made out of scraps and I want to make one too.

I also treated myself to some new sewing items. The steam button on my last iron broke, so I got this one at JoAnn's over the weekend for 30% off! Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? I didn't until JoAnn's told me on my receipt.

My second purchase was this sewing basket. My last one was cheaply made and falling apart, so I bought this one. A sturdy sewing basket is very important to me, as I like going to friends houses and need a basket to carry all my supplies, but normally I keep the basket on the corner of my desk with all my VIP sewing supplies that I use on a regular basis. Oh, and I moved my thread closer to me, so there is no excuse for me not to change my thread/bobbins!

My weekend ended on an amazing note, when I got this package from Rochelle in the mail. I won a giveaway on her blog and she put in some extra goodies for me. It was such a thoughtful and perfect surprise. And those headscarves, LOVE!!! She didn't know it at the time, but my go to hairstyle is a topknot with a scarf, so the ones she sent me couldn't be more perfect for me. Thank you so much, Rochelle!


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