Tuesday, January 29, 2013

High Hampton Collection at Joann Fabrics

I'm not one to talk about other fabric stores, especially since I work at a well-known one in the fabric world. But I just have to express how much I LOVE the High Hampton Collection at Joann Fabrics. Yes, I am almost a weekly customer of Joann Fabrics, but I am usually only shop for notions, buttons, interfacings, patterns and the 50% off clearance fabrics section. (I look for knit fabrics to make infinity scarves.) But one day on my way out of the store, I saw this collection of fabric with a sophisticated and nautical look featuring fabrics in navys, emeralds, whites and reds. Definitely reminds me of many Lilly Pulitzer designs! I've selected a few Lilly garments to use as inspiration for these fabrics. 

This selection of fabric includes (left to right:)
Cotton Plaid Shirting, Green/navy knit, Abstract Print Rayon Knit (really like this one), a cotton with netting-like burnouts (see detail below - I really like this one!), and two nautical prints. 

Possible idea?

Here we have another plaid cotton shirting, another eyelet-look cotton, an awesome abstract diamond design on cotton sateen (I really like that one), a floral swiss dot cotton, green eyelet (LOVE) and a striped chiffon.

Obviously I was drawn to this outfit because it mimicks the colors in the cotton sateen. But the cotton sateen print could be a blazer (pretty wild one!) Or maybe even a dress or skirt. I don't have a good example for the green eyelet---I just love it! Any ideas??

This photo shows a cotton seersucker, floral cotton print, a navy blue sateen with white cording and a navy fabric (I don't quite remember if it was a knit or woven.) 

The fabric on this dress is awesome--they are buttons! But since that fabric is not available, the navy blue sateen with white cording could be a good alternative. Even the green floral cotton would be a cute substitute.

Last but not least, here is a collection with a striped knit, cotton with embroidered anchors, a cotton eyelet-look, and a white eyelet knit. 

The striped knit would make a fun shirt like the one shown above. If you wanted to go total nautical, make some shorts with the embroidered anchors cotton.

As of right now, the collection is 25% off. I'm definitely going to purchase 2-3 of these fabrics when they go on further discount. The bolts don't seem to be getting smaller. (I check everytime I go in!)

While I have some inspiration photos for these fabrics, does anyone have a pattern suggestion? All advice is welcome!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Buttondown Shirts for the Hubby

A few weeks ago I wrote about my hope to make some buttondown shirts for my husband. Well about two weeks, one semi-failed buttondown shirt and 5 yards of fabric later...I have two handsome buttondown shirts! I have a third shirt that is a size too large and needs work to make it right, but I learned a lot from it!

I've made buttondown shirts before, but it had been almost 10 years since I last tried. I was worried I wouldn't remember how to be precise! I used McCall #6044 and three different cotton shirtings I bought from Fabric Mart a few years ago. They have a nice selection of wrinkle-free shirtings.

The first shirt I cut out in size large because that's "what the pattern told me I should do." I knew that when I make clothing for myself I never make my ready-to-wear size, so I was expecting the same thing here. When my husband tried the shirt on, I ended up having to take it in a whole size! So I stopped working on that shirt and cut out the next shirt in size medium.

There were just a few changes I made to the pattern. I cut the collar out in size large, because he has a larger neck circumference. On ready-to-wear shirts, he has to leave the button at the top open (when wearing a tie.) I also had to make the sleeves 1 1/4" shorter and the hem 2" shorter.

The pattern was quite simple as far as details go. I added a yoke to the back of the shirt to help make it more like a ready-to-wear shirt. I also added top-stitching to the shoulder seams, and armhole. I had a hard time finding a thread that matched the background color, so I selected a deep navy thread. It matches some of the pinstriping in the fabric.

I used Pellon Shir-Tailor Fusible Interfacing for the collar and cuffs. I used a lighter weight interfacing on the button yoke because the Shir-Tailor made it too stiff. 

Overall, I really enjoyed making these shirts! They were fairly easy and I whipped up two in one weekend. I don't think we're going to be buying buttondown shirts anymore. I will be shopping for fabric instead!

(I will post a picture of the other two buttondown shirts once we have a better day to do picture taking!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quick Project - Vogue #8795 Marcy Tilton Jacket

Two weekends ago I started working on a buttondown shirt for my husband. I got to the point where I needed him around while I was sewing it, so I started working on an easy project for myself. I decided on Vogue #8795 - A Marcy Tilton Jacket. I made it from a double knit from Fabric Mart's retail store.

The jacket is a loose-fitting, semi-cropped jacket with an asymetrical collar. The pattern comes with variations on our to close the front. You can have an exposed collar/flap, finished collar/flap, hook and eye closure or a fashion zipper. I selected the exposed collar/flap and a fashion zipper. The pattern was really easy and I got it done in just 2-3 hours from cut to finish! I made it a little smaller in the bodice area, although it is suppose to be a loose fitting garment.

And on a side note, I just made the decision to attend the Puyallup Sewing and Stitchery Expo in March! I will be out in Washington state for a wholesale fabric show and am going out a day early to go to the expo. Can't wait to experience what everyone in the NW has been telling me about! Does anyone have suggestions on what to do or see at the show? I will only be there Sunday though, so classes are not really an option.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weeknight Recipe: Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast

I've been pinning so many recipes on Pinterest, but have not tried any yet. So one night this week when thinking about what I would make for dinner the next evening, I came across this recipe-- Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast. It is originally from Six Sisters Stuff.

I always get excited but nervous when I make something new. I'm a nervous cook---I don't want things to turn out terrible. I had a pork loin in the freezer, so I pulled that out the night before. It was completely thawed so I had to defrost it in the microwave for a few minutes. Overall it was really good! The sauce was really favorful. You could taste the parmesan, honey and soy sauce, all main ingredients in the sauce. I had it in for about 8 hours, which maybe was a tad bit too long, because it was a little dry. But add the sauce and you're fine! 

Here you can see the pork loin that we had leftover after we took pieces to eat.

I made mashed potatoes and broccoli as the sides. I had carrots in the refrigerator, but felt it was best to have veggies that were not sweet, because the sauce was fairly sweet.
Enjoy the recipe!


1 (2-3 pound) boneless pork roast
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, garlic, oil and salt. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekend Project: Buttondown Shirts

Earlier this week I was pondering out loud what should be my next sewing project. My husband was in the room and he said, "What about the fabric you bought to make me some shirts?" Wasn't a bad idea, so I thought let's give it a try!

I've made buttondown shirts for myself before, so it shouldn't be too bad. I have three different cotton shirtings in my stash that were designated to him. I'm going to make one just to get the sizing correct, then I'm going to cut the other two out right away. With all good intention, I feel like I could get them done this weekend, but there are many other things I should also be doing like laundry, cleaning up Christmas decorations and maybe even resting a little (haha yeah right!) So we shall see what I get done.

Do you have any pointers for making a men's buttondown shirt?  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cotton Sateen Shirtdress

In an effort to finish unfinished projects from 2012, I finished a cotton sateen shirt dress  I started this back in July and put it away because it was not turning out the way I wanted to. It is made from a stretch cotton sateen I chose for Julie's Picks Swatch Club at Fabric Mart.

I used Butterick Pattern #5600. The pattern calls for you to pleat in the middle back of the bodice. When I did it, it ballooned up so much. I ended up folding the pleat down to the waist and top-stitching to make it lay nicer. I also brought the side seams in between the underarm and waist to help prevent ballooning. I also wanted to make puff sleeves, but took those off because they were very balloon-like also. I know that I don't look good in puff sleeves, so I'm not sure why I chose them. I made regular sleeves in the end.

Next time I make this pattern I'm going to use a lighter weight fabric. I used a stretch cotton sateen which was beautiful, but was a little too heavy. I think it made the "balloon" factor even worse.

I used teal shank buttons on the front of the dress. I got those at Fabric Mart in our retail store. They were from a NYC design room clean-out. This is also a closeup of the neckline detail.