Tag Archives: silk

In-House Patterns Blossom Blouse

9 Aug

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have been busy sewing/baking/creating tons of wonderful things. I have been sewing a good deal but have recently had some minor computer issues with my 1-year-old iMac (read: failed hard drive that is requiring replacing), so blogging has been a bit difficult lately. Luckily, I had already uploaded these pics to WordPress before the screen of death descended on my computer so I do have one project to share with you.

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A little while back Alexandra of In-House Patterns (you may remember her Belle Bow Blouse I sewed up previously), contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out her new Blossom pattern. Since we all love a freebie and I know Alexandra drafts an excellent pattern, I quickly answered in the affirmative and she sent me the pdf file.

With this pattern, she tried something a little different with the tiled pdf pages, and I must say I love it! Instead of having to fold and cut and overlap pages to make the pattern page, you simply butt the printed pages up together and tape them — no cutting or folding necessary! This is awesome in my mind since I hate cutting with scissors (I am a rotary girl). The only drawback (if you can really call it that), is that the printed lines do not extend all the way to the edges of the paper — they stop within about 1/2 inch of the edge — so you may want to fill those in before you cut. But I didn’t and everything worked out just fine.

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I pulled a fabric from my stash for this top — a luscious tan silk charmeuse with black polka dots of varying sizes. I picked up two yards of this dreamy fabric two years ago in Atlanta at Gail K’s. I can’t tell you how important it is to use a drapey fabric for this pattern. I considered using a cotton lawn but that would have been a disaster. You really want something that floats and moves around your body. And if you enjoy petting it because it feels so good, that’s an added bonus 🙂

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While the Blossom blouse is not my typical style as I go for more tailored or fitted clothes, I think Alexandra did a good job of designing this blouse to look loose and airy while not having a maternity look. Especially since there are separate pattern pieces for different bust cup sizes, you don’t get a lot of excess fabric draping out from under the bust (or the tent effect!). On a side note, our downtown has been quite the tourist attraction this summer so I thought I would join the fun for these photos and mingle amongst the shopping visitors 🙂

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As I found with the Belle Blouse, this shirt is also drafted very close to the pattern measurements. I cut the medium and it fits well overall but I could probably use a tad more room in the upper bust/shoulder area as it pulls a bit when I move my arms forward, but this isn’t a surprise as I have broad shoulders.

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Everywhere else fits great, and as usual, the directions for finishing are wonderful and even include some techniques I had not seen before.

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For example, the directions tell you to sew the sleeve hem band on right side to the wrong side of the inside of the sleeve then turn it out and fold it up then topstitch in place on the right side of the sleeve. What a professional looking sleeve!

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Alexandra also drafts the pattern without excess seam allowances so pay attention to this (she mentions it clearly in the directions). I love this since I hate trimming seams.

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The only change I would make on my next version would be to create an inner back yoke piece instead of the back facing. I just think this would look cleaner.

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I would also raise the neckline as there is no way this top would ever be decent on me without a cami underneath. Style thought: this pattern in a longer version would make a great swimsuit coverup.

So in summary, the Blossom blouse is a wonderful new pattern by independent designer In-House Patterns and I highly recommend it!

Me Made May ’13 — Part 2

20 May

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Well, the month of May is almost 2/3 of the way done and I’m proud to report that I am holding strong on my Me Made pledge.  I have even managed not to repeat any items so far!  I will likely have to repeat something this week, though, as I am running out of items and I can’t sew fast enough to keep up (but don’t think I haven’t been trying!).  So without further ado, here’s May 10-19:

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Me Made: Sandra Betzina Vogue 1045 blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Cole Haan purse, New York and Co. necklace, red patent flats

 

May 10 (Friday) — We joined some friends and attended our local annual Rotary Steak Cookoff.  While the location was moved this year because of threatening weather, the grills were still going strong and we enjoyed tasting lots of different steaks.  In this photo, I am posing with my friend Catherine in front of one of the team’s displays.  It was too funny not to have a photo-op!

 

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Me Made: Renfrew #1
RTW: Kluster necklace, Citizens jeans, coral Cole Haan wedges

 

May 11 (Saturday) — Since this was the first weekend my husband and I have had to ourselves in a while, we drove to Pensacola, Florida (just across the state line) and had lunch at a cute little burger joint downtown called the Tin Cow.  They also had delicious milkshakes and I can’t pass up a milkshake.  After our lunch, we went to Joe Patti’s to pick up fresh sea scallops for Mothers’ Day dinner, to Four Winds market for steaks, and then met up with Matt’s dad and sister for dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1808 shorts
RTW: New shoes T-shirt from Nordstrom

 

May 12 (Sunday/Mothers’ Day) — For the majority of the day, Mr. Homemaker and I piddled around the house doing chores and preparing food for dinner guests.  That evening my parents, sister, nieces, future brother-in-law, and friends Leslie and Danny came over for surf and turf.  Matt grilled the steaks and I prepared the scallops from Ad Hoc at Home that I have posted before as well as a Caesar salad and baked potatoes.  My sister brought bread, dessert, and sweet tea.  It was great to spend time with my family and friends.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Simplicity 2648
RTW: LOFT jacket, Nordstrom belt, Cole Haan wedges, The Limited necklace

 

May 13 (Monday) — Back to work this day and wearing a pre-blog Simplicity 2648 in a ponteroma knit.  This dress is a little big now but it’s okay when covered with a belt and jacket.

 

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Me Made: Vogue 8032 top
RTW: Old white belt, Nordstrom pencil skirt, Nine West pumps

 

May 14 (Tuesday) — Sorry for the blurry nighttime iPhone photo.  This day was just business as usual with a full day in the office.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Margarita Tank Top
RTW: Citizens jeans, black flats, Kenneth Cole necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 15 (Wednesday) — My day off was spent sewing a new top (see May 17), getting a hair cut, and seeing a house with my realtor.  This tank top was refashioned from one of my husband’s old T-shirts using the A La Mode Margarita Tank Top pattern.  I haven’t blogged this top but I think it is a nice little pattern for a tank.  Next time I make it, though, I will lengthen it a bit and lower the arm holes a tad as they are a bit constricting.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921
RTW: Kenneth Cole ponte pants; red patent flats; Kenneth Cole necklace

 

May 16 (Thursday) — Back to the office this day but nothing exciting to report.  This Jalie 2921 is unblogged and largely unworn because I don’t like the ties.  But when I pulled it out to wear it, I decided to try wrapping the ties around and knotting them in the back and I loved the effect it gave the top so I think this will be getting a lot more wear now.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged, brand new Simplicity 1664 top
RTW: LOFT capris, Kluster necklace, Donald Pliner red patent slides

 

May 17 (Friday) — TGIF and the weather was beautiful so my stepson and I put the top down on the convertible and drove to the local Marriott Grand Hotel to take pictures of my brand new Simplicity 1664 top.  Can I just tell you, I LOVE THIS TOP!  It fits true to the pattern sizing (must be because it is a “Threads” pattern and not standard Big 4).  I didn’t do a full bust adjustment, just graded one size up in the bust area.  It sewed up really easily and was completed in 2 evenings’ time.  I will give it a dedicated blog post soon.

 

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I offered Kris $5 if he could catch a mullet jumping in the background of one of my photos.  Well, I owe him $5 now — can you see the fish?

 

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My handsome stepson/photographer, Kristofer

 

 

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The grounds at the Hotel are beautiful.  Mr. Homemaker and I try to find a reason to have a weekend staycation there at least once or twice a year.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Nordstrom chambray shirt, Silpada necklace, Frye shoes, old belt

 

May 18 (Saturday) — I have been on call this weekend so that keeps me close to home and pretty free of major plans.  On the up side, though, it allows lots of time for sewing and other crafty pursuits!  I whipped up this skirt to wear in the span of about an hour and that included time spent waffling about which size to cut and measuring the pattern pieces.  You can read more about my experience in my last post.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Vogue 8887 halter top
RTW: Nanette Lepore skirt, Kluster necklace, Steinmart shoes

 

May 19 (Sunday) — This is also a new, unblogged top — Vogue 8887.  I sewed this halter up in a silk I got on sale from Sawyer Brook.  This pattern gave me fits and I am not 100% happy with the final product.  At least in this photo you can’t see all the things that drive me crazy.  I will try to get this one blogged soon, too.  My husband snapped this photo in the middle of our picturesque downtown.  Our city swaps out the flowers on all the street corners regularly but the May planting is always one of my favorites with the star-gazer lilies.  We even have flowers on top of our trash cans 🙂

Well, that’s all for now.  We’ll see how many more days I can hold out before I have to repeat something!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Me Made May ’13, Part 1

10 May

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Well folks, I’m about 1/3 of the way through Me Made May and I have to say I’ve been doing pretty well.  I haven’t repeated anything yet and I have even worn two me-mades that I have yet to blog (but I promise I will give you more details soon!).  So without further ado, here’s my Me Made May days 1-9.

P.S. You can follow my Flickr MMM set if you want to see daily updates.

 

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Me Made: Cambie Peplum Top
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Cole Haan wedges and clutch, and Kluster necklace

 

May 1 (Wednesday) — Sorry for this lousy photo that I took with the timer on my camera after dark. I wore this on my day off while doing volunteer work and running errands.

 

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Simplicity 1796 View D
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old white belt, Cole Haan pink patent pumps and wristlet

I also wore this dress on May 1, for date night with my husband.  I will blog more about this pattern soon, but I have to say before my mother calls me that it came out waaaaaaay shorter than I anticipated.  I was hoping to end up with a cute, easy knit dress for the summer but unfortunately it will be reserved for occasions where showing a bit of leg is more acceptable. I’m sure my mother will ask if those occasions really exist 😉

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Me Made: Sewaholic Lonsdale
RTW: Boden cropped cardigan, camel flats

May 2 (Thursday) — On this day I had to travel to Destin, Florida, for a board meeting.  Since I was staying at the Grand Sandestin Complex, I decided a sundress was in order but because conference rooms are cold, I topped it with one of my favorite cardigans. The night culminated with an impromptu gathering in my condo for pina coladas!

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Me Made: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Elie Tahari ponte blazer (love!), silk shell, Kluster necklace, and Via Spiga blue suede pumps

May 3 (Friday) — I didn’t get to stay at the beach long because the very next morning I had to get up early to drive back to the Pensacola airport to fly to cold and rainy St. Louis for another work conference. I know most people opt for comfort when traveling but I also like to look put together so my Hollyburn, ponte blazer, and low-heeled pumps fit the bill. This photo was taken in the mall in St. Louis after I got my Nordstrom fix 🙂

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Me Made: Vogue 8603 skirt
RTW: Boden cardigan, Limited shell, Stuart Weitzman pumps, Tessyla necklace

May 4 (Saturday) — I was still in St. Louis (obviously) on this day, attending the conference.  This is my favorite Me Made May photo so far.  I have just learned to use the filters on the Flickr app on my iPhone so I had a lot of fun sprucing this shot up. Thanks to my excellent employee, Lesleigh, for taking the shot for me!

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Via Spiga blue suede pumps, Kluster necklace

May 5 (Sunday) — What do you do when you are stuck in the Atlanta airport for 2 hours?  You take silly pictures for your Me Made May Flickr set! I finally got home that night around midnight and boy was I glad to see my husband and my own bed!

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Me Made: Knit Peplum Top
RTW: Ann Taylor denim jacket, Womyn ankle pants, camel flats, Kluster necklace

May 6 (Monday) — Back to the office and my regular routine after a delicious but short night in my own bed. My husband and I joined a friend from residency for dinner after work.

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Me Made: Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl Neck Top
RTW: White pants, Cole Haan wedges, Kluster necklace

May 7 (Tuesday) — Typical day at the office. Looking forward to my day off the next day 🙂

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt
RTW: CAbi top, Reef flip-flops, Silpada necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 8 (Wednesday) — Whew!  My first real day off to relax in over 2 weeks!  I enjoyed it by hanging around the house, doing a few cleaning chores, but mostly SEWING! When my husband got home from work, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and had a nice, quiet dinner together. We stopped at one of our local public piers to take this photo on the way to the restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Consignment shop silk skirt altered to raise hemline ~8″
RTW: CAbi top, chambray shirt, Cole Haan peep toe pumps, Tessyla necklace



May 9 (Thursday) — This is the first item that is not made by me but has been altered by me.  I purchased this 100% silk skirt from a local consignment shop last year sometime because I loved the fabric and shape.  What I didn’t love, though, was the mid-calf hemline.  I marked my desired hem length using a yard stick then marked another line 4″ below.  I then serged the skirt off at the longer length.  I turned up the serging and pressed then turned up the shorter marking line and pressed this as the new hem.  I then hand stitched the hem in place.  For the lining I followed a similar procedure except I just stitched a narrow machine hem. I am guessing from the tag (Rickie Freeman Teri Jon Nites), that this skirt is from the 80s or 90s, but with the updated hemline, I think it has a definite Kate Spade vibe. I have always worn it with a basic black top but this go around I was comparing it to various other things in my closet and got the idea to pair it with my chambray shirt.  What do you think about the outfit?


Well, that’s it for May 1-9.  What’s your favorite outfit so far?  Favorite photograph?  I’ll be back soon with more good stuff to show and tell!

The Date Night Dress

9 Jan

So here it is — my big sewing accomplishment from the New Year’s holiday.  I am so pleased with how this make turned out.  I didn’t copy a particular RTW design but I do think it looks a lot like some Kate Spade dresses I have seen.  What do you think?

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Necklace: Nine and Co.
Clutch: Cruise ship duty free shop
Shoes: Donald J Pliner

This dress is made from New Look 6457 and I used one of my NYC fabrics — a luscious silk Dupioni/Shantung with a white background, large grey and black paisleys, and scattered black and dark cobalt/navy sequins.

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It is trimmed with black satin (self-made) piping at the princess seams, neckline, armholes, waistline, and hem.  I finished it with a handpicked lapped center back zipper and handstitched invisible hem (with grey lace hem tape).

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My first lapped and handpicked zipper!

As far as alterations go, I used the bodice front pieces from Simplicity 2648 (see Peplum Top from last week) because I knew they already fit.  I lowered the front neckline 1.5″ and the back neckline 3″.  I took 0.5″ off the bodice length.

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I added piping to the princess seams because I like the look, although this wasn’t called for in the pattern.  The pattern called for a gathered, Dirndl skirt, but I wanted something with a cleaner look, so I cut the pattern skirt pieces but converted the gathers to box pleats in the front and regular pleats in the back and lined them up with the princess seams.

I learned several new techniques while making this dress — how to make piping from scratch, how to insert a lapped zipper, how to handpick a zipper, how to insert a zipper guard, how to apply hem tape, how to insert a hook and eye, and how to insert a dress lining without any hand stitching (yay!).

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I fully lined the dress, the bodice with a stretch satin because it feels so good slipping on and off, and the skirt with Bemberg rayon.  I hemmed the skirt lining by machine and frilled it up with grey lace hem tape to match the dress skirt.

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I applied a zipper guard to keep the zipper from eating up the lining or dress fabric.

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On the dress’ first outing, my husband and I went to one of our favorite “fancy” restaurants in town.  Toward the end of the meal my husband said a casual hello to another man as he was walking out and told me “that’s Larry the Cable Guy.”  I was like “Oh, okay, huh?”  After a moment of my husband explaining things to me and after we had paid our tab, we met “Larry,” who is really Dan, outside the restaurant, chatted for a few moments, then snapped a pic so I could show y’all that this dress also attracts celebrities 🙂

 

 

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Here is a view of how I wore the dress for its second outing (to church and brunch), plus an action shot of me ironing some invisible fabric.  I topped it with a chunkier necklace (The Limited), RTW black ponte jacket with leather trim (Elie Tahari), and black suede tall boots (Stuart Weitzman).  And fresh hair and make-up.

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So while there are a few things that are not perfect about my dress, I will not be pointing those things out to you and I dare you to spot them (well, I don’t really dare you, but you know what I mean).  I am so glad I have finally made something substantial I am proud of and will wear over and over again.

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And because I promised a glimpse of what’s on my sewing table, Gertie’s shirtwaist dress, as a shirt with a peplum (are you tired of those yet?).  This is a wearable muslin and if it turns out, I will be making the dress next.  What’s on your sewing table?

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Holiday Dirndl Skirt à la Gertie

24 Dec

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I bet you were thinking I had given up sewing.  I have actually been doing a fair amount of sewing I just haven’t had time to get things photographed and blogged.  I did have a chance to snap a few pics of this skirt, though, the other Sunday when we went out for brunch and a wonderful Christmas jazz concert.

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I made this skirt last year using Gertie’s Dirndl skirt tutorial and it is such a quick and easy project, especially if you are a new seamstress or don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a project.  My fabric is a beautiful green silk dupioni with large tonal polka dots (which are hard to see in the photos).

I did stray from Gertie’s tutorial a little bit in two ways.  One, I made the waistband from one piece of fabric.  If you are going to sew two pieces together, why not just cut one and fold it in half?  Two, I don’t really think a pattern is necessary for this skirt.  I just tear my fabric on grain to get my skirt panels in the desired length, then I fold them in half and cut any excess width off after making sure the edge is straight.  Other than that, I followed the directions she outlines.

If you are looking for a quick and satisfying make or a beginning sewing project, I definitely recommend this skirt.

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Styling Notes:

Top and black bead necklace: The Limited

Cardigan:  Talbots

Shoes:  Cole Haan

Belt:  Target

Crinoline slip:  Trashy Diva

Lipstick:  MAC Russian Red

NYC #2 — The Fabric!!!

10 Aug

Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer.  Here’s my haul from the recent trip to NYC.  I will let the pictures do the talking… mostly 😉

This is a red and ecru dot silk charmeuse I picked up from a men’s fabric store.  May become a blouse…

 

This is a silk border print that I got 3 yards of.  Definitely seeing a dress in its future.

 

On the left a silky soft cotton floral print (3 yards) and on the right an equally soft and shiny royal blue cotton sateen (2 yards).

 

On the left a free remnant of some abstract print.  On the right a gorgeous silk woven with a little stretch and some texture (3 yards).

 

This is one of my favorite finds — a silk Shantung or dupioni with grey and black large-scale paisley print and bright navy blue sequin embellishments.  Perhaps a dress and/or blouse if I can squeeze it out of the three yards I bought.

 

On the left a Missoni sweater knit remnant I got for $40 (about 2.5 yards), and on the right 1.5 yards of cashmere and linen blend for a sweater with an exposed hot pink zipper up the back (zipper coming up soon).

 

Both knits, on the left a more stable piece with chocolate brown, aqua, tan, and white; on the right, a jersey with olive green, aqua, brown, and white.  Knit top from the piece on the left and maybe a DVF-style wrap dress from the piece on the right.  3 yards of each.

 

On the left, one yard of a gorgeous black woven fabric with texture and sheen, destined to become a LBD or pencil skirt for dressier occasions.  On the right, 4 yards of a wide navy and white stripe knit for a maxi skirt.

 

On the left, tan dot silk jersey with plans to become a tie neck blouse.  On the right, a fine rib knit in soft green with aqua, burgundy, and olive green — one of my favorites.  Three yards each.

 

On the left, a ponte knit stripe with plans to become an easy to wear dress.  On the right, a beautiful, light silk chiffon.  2.5 yards of the left, 2 yards of the right.

 

On the left, a silk voile with no specific plans yet.  On the right, a pretty silk twill with dress plans.  Three yards each.

 

Another favorite — 3 yards of wool knit hoping to be made up into a cowl neck sweater or sweater dress.

 

My two leather hides — one in mint and one in chocolate.  Both of these were on the sale rack and cost $25 each.  I came out pretty good compared to the ladies who were buying enough hides to make jackets and skirts.  I don’t have the guts for something like that yet!  We’ll see if these little delicious-smelling babies can whip up into a cute clutch purse or a case for my iPad.

 

And last but not least, my aforementioned hot pink zipper and a cute jade colored belt buckle.  I have no idea when or how I will ever use the latter, but I really like it and it came from Mood!  🙂

So that’s a grand total of 53.5 yards of fabric, two hides of leather, one zipper, one belt buckle, and one roll of tracing paper (not pictured).  How much did I spend?  Come on, ladies — my husband reads this blog, too!  🙂

I had a blast visiting NYC and scouring the city for the best fabric I could find.  I know it will be years (if ever) before I sew all this up, but I can’t wait to go back again and discover more treasures.  I would also love to spend more time seeing more of the sites that the city has to offer.  Have you ever been to NYC?  I’d love to hear about your favorite Big Apple experience!