Category Archives: Rookie Mistakes

I’ve been too busy to blog!

Oh dear friends, it’s been a busy sewing month of September! I’ve had a rough time trying to stop and blog what I’ve been up to! A lot of the projects I’ve been working on have been in muslin, rather than finished fabrics, so I guess I wasn’t as excited to show you the results 🙂

All except this one…


I’ll be catching you up on all my projects over the next few days, but here’s a quickie preview!

During the month of September, I…

  • Visited a new sewing store in town, Common Thread
  • Dropped my vintage Bernina off at the store for a much-needed tune-up
  • Bought a bucketload of patterns, many from Colette!
  • Bit the bullet and bought my first silk charmeuse…and then washed it! A terrifying process that worked better than I could have dreamed!
  • Bought a new sewing machine… introductions will be made later
  • Learned how to grade a pattern
  • Learned how to modify a neckline
  • Started watching Project Runway… I’m not sure I’m happy about it, either. More on this to come.
  • Started working with voile for the first time
  • Made an adorable shirt out of lace + knit…on a whim! My first time working with either and it was so rewarding! (see above)
  • Modified my dress form so that it actually matches my own measurements…what a difference!

I’ll also confess that it’s been busy at work, and here at Maison du Chat… but October marks the beginning of fall here in Texas, and I’m so inspired by my successes that I can’t wait to finish some of my projects and share them with you!

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Field Trip, new skills, planning, Rookie Mistakes, shopping


Post Mortem on Sorbetto

So yesterday, I unveiled my finished Sorbetto top:

Which I wore the day before to work. And I got so many compliments! Which made me feel much better about the bits that didn’t come out perfectly (or even how I wanted them!).

Here’s a few of the things that went wrong:

When I pin fit the pattern, it looked like my bust point actually didn’t need any adjustments at all… so I didn’t move the dart and didn’t really even look at it much during the rest of the fitting. Big mistake!

As you can see in the photos from yesterday, the bust dart is both too high and too long. When I sew it again, I’m going to shift the dart down at least 1 inch, and shorten it by 1-2″. Right now, the dart sits right on top of my bust, which is uber distracting for me. My Mister says it isn’t noticeable, but I have to look at the darn thing all day, so it’s noticeable enough!

So I’ve marked that on the pattern for next time.

I also don’t think the dart took in enough ease because I had a small amount of gaping around the armhole at the top. I hear you can adjust this somewhat by having a slightly wider side-seam at the top, but I think I’d rather take the time to figure out how to get the bust right!

The other thing that went wrong…oh y’all! I don’t even want to show you the photos its so bad!

But in the hopes that someone else can learn from my mistakes, here it is.

Pardon me while I avert my eyes…
Stupid cap sleeve...buh-bye

Gah! I tried to be smart and use a pattern piece from another pattern to make a sleeve…but I forgot to look at the fabric! This was for a knit fabric so when I first attached it (I didn’t even get a photo because it came off THAT FAST) there was zero ease and I couldn’t move my arm. Ha! So I attempted to shorten it and make a teeny little cap sleeve with gathers but as you can see that was an abysmal failure.

Why did I want sleeves on this so bad? Because my office has a policy against sleeveless shirts. I will not pretend to like this policy, especially when we’re on day umpteen of 105+ degree days! So I really wanted some sleeves on this puppy, but it didn’t happen. I might try again with Mena’s sleeve pattern but I don’t know if it’s worth the bother.

I like the contrast binding a lot, but I didn’t really like the instructions Colette gave for how to install it… I used the method I’ve always used on the neckline and that came out well, but for the arms I used Colette’s method. Now, of course, I realize that she didn’t actually call for double-fold bias tape which is what I was using, so maybe her method would’ve worked better if I’d had regular bias tape? I don’t know! But the arm holes have a weird tendency to roll in funny directions. I guess it doesn’t really matter though, since I have to wear it with a cardigan (GAH YES A CARDIGAN IN TEXAS IN AUGUST GAHGAHGAH) so no one sees it but me.

I’m so critical!

But all in all, I really love the shirt. It was gloriously cool when I wore it around outside getting to and from work (when I kept the cardi in the bag, thankyouverymuch). So, it was a success… and as I said, i did get lots of compliments so I’m trying to take it easy on myself.

I’m just itching to modify the pattern and give it another go! I don’t know if it will happen this weekend though because I’m working on a massive writing project and have several social events planned, but maybe next week!

Have a great one, and stay cool out there, lovelies!


Posted by on August 5, 2011 in creations, Rookie Mistakes, spot of bother


Latest project: Colette Sorbetto

A full blow by blow to come, but for now, here’s a peek at my first Sorbetto top:


I learned so many things with this project!


Full bust adjustment
Waist and hip adjustment
Dart placement…or how to figure out where it needs to go and how long it should be
How to use my hemming foot for a rolled hem
How not to use double fold bias tape
How to hang dry linen to minimize distortion
How not to make a sleeve pattern (hint: don’t use a knit pattern piece for a woven fabric!)

But all that is going to have to wait because I’m exhausted just thinking about how hard I made this top! I spent about 5 hours on it, which is 5 times as much as most of you!


French Seams: I get it now!

Thanks, Colette!! I now understand French Seams! No More zigzagging the bejeezus out of my ravely fabric seams! You make it look so simple…. Can’t wait to try it out!

Incidentally, I’m going to have to start a spreadsheet or something for my projects (a la Casey) just to keep track of all the inspiring projects out there from you talented sewists! It’s a little overwhelming!

I’ve also figured out my next project — I’m going to make a muslin of the first outfit I made, but this time, I’m going to use some of the pattern-fitting techniques I’ve just learned about. It will be interesting to see how it differs from the original. I also picked up a lovely burgundy linen from Silk Road today — once I get the fit perfected on the muslin, I’ll make it in the linen. It’s a gorgeous drapey soft linen — so excited to work with it!

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Posted by on June 11, 2011 in new skills, Rookie Mistakes


Pattern Planning – Vogue 8635

I’ve got quite a few patterns I’d like to make up at this point… now it’s just a matter of plotting out what I want in the fabric for them, deciding how much I can afford, and then seeing what I can find. I don’t have much in the way of a stash yet, and I don’t really plan to because of the whole tiny house thing!

Here’s an upcoming project that I’ve already bought fabric for.

vogue 8635

vogue 8635

I bought 2 yards of black cotton interlock and 1 yard of purple interlock. This will be my first project working with knits and I’m a little nervous about it (see: no serger). I’ll just do what the books tell me to do and cross my fingers!

Now that I’ve bought the fabric, I’m kind of kicking myself for it… I didn’t realize how expensive I was making this project! Luckily, I got the pattern on sale for $5, or I would really be upset! I got the fabric at JoAnn’s but the interlock is $10 a yard y’all… ridiculous! At least to me… that means that this shirt is going to cost $30 ($35 if I only make it once!), even after all the discounts.  Holy cow! Where does the money saving come into play??

I like black and purple, but jeeze!

File this one under: Rookie Mistakes.



Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Frugal, musings, planning, Rookie Mistakes