Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moving Day

Thimble & Cork has its very own website now!

Head on over to to see the updated blog and check back there for future posts.

Monday, January 14, 2013

In the Works: Sonja Dress

Indecisiveness is one of my great flaws…but I’ve come to embrace it.  I was supposed to start working on the re-make of my leather pleated mini skirt this weekend.  But I’m having trouble finding good material for it.  All of the faux-leather I've found is either thick upholstery fabric or is very shiny and looks like costume fabric.  I'm still on the hunt!
In the meantime, I happened upon this free pattern from BurdaStyle – and it’s exactly what I had in mind for my blue skater dress!  No pattern drafting necessary!  Hooray!

Sonja Dress by  ElisaSalmePatterns

Unfortunately, I was under the weather most of the weekend and didn’t get much done, but I have started my muslin for the skater dress and hope to finish it this week.  It is a very simple pattern so it really shouldn’t take long at all.  I definitely want to do a muslin first – with a bodice that fitted I’m sure there will need to be some adjustments made here and there.
Pleather skirt will have to wait another week…

Friday, January 11, 2013

Too Many Ideas, Too Little Time

I am at a sewing standstill.  This happens far too often…I get excited about an idea, then I get excited about another idea and another...and I end up with a stack of UFO's needing to be completed.  My brain works much faster than my needle!

I was planning on re-making the leather pleated skirt in better fabric while it's fresh on my mind.  But before I could get to the fabric store to find more leather material, a delivery showed up on my doorstep - from Mood!!!  It was a beautiful navy blue silk that I purchased when it went on sale recently.

Now I'm dying to make a dress with that silk, and I keep coming back to the Colette Peony pattern that I've had in my stash for a while and have been waiting to make.

But I'm also obsessed with the idea of making a skater dress - very fitted in the bodice and a 1/2 or 3/4 circle skirt.  Full skirts are my weakness!
At moments like this, I'm tempted to whip something up quickly just so I can move on to the next idea.  I know that I could make that pleated skirt in an afternoon, the skater dress in a day, but they would be sloppy.  They wouldn’t fit perfectly.  They probably wouldn’t even be lined. 

One thing that I’ve learned (time and time again) is that if I don’t take the time to do it right, I just won’t wear it.  That means I have to slow down, and I'm not a fan of slowing down.  But I will.  

After all, I have to keep my New Year's Resolutions in mind:

*Goal #8: Make a wearable wardrobe
*Goal #10: Take time to improve my finishings

Ok, game plan: I will make the skirt first.  It will be the quickest of my projects, and I won’t really be able to say that UFO #2 is finished until I re-make it.  Then I’ll move on to that silk…maybe I’ll even make the skater dress out of the silk and kill two birds with one stone!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

With Every Mistake, A Lesson Learned

The pleated leather skirt is finally finished. 
When I started this blog, I vowed to document all of my projects – my successes and my failures.  This skirt certainly falls within the second category.

Where to start?  Compliment before critique right?  Ok, let’s start with what I actually liked about this project.

I LOVE the design!  The pleats turned out beautifully and give the skirt a gorgeous shape.  And let’s not forget that I learned a new pleating technique to produce those perfectly uniform little folds.  (Checking off Sewing Goal #3 for the month!)

Another perk is that I’ve realized once I re-make the skirt in a better fabric, I will actually wear it!  It sounds obvious, but I often become obsessed with fashion ideas that I’m never able to incorporate into my daily life.  I assumed this would be one of those wasted efforts.  But this skirt is fun, flirty, slightly edgy – just my style!

So, just what makes this such an epic failure?  The fabric. 
Everything that is wrong with this skirt comes down to the fact that I used a horrible fabric.  To be fair, I knew that this material was a long shot, but I let the clearance price fool me into believing I could make it work.  (Lesson learned – no matter how inexpensive, bad fabric will always be a waste of time!!)
Once I started pleating, I realized that the material was just too thick and stiff to work.  The skirt literally stands on its own!   While the rigidity makes for cute pictures, the first time I tried to sit down, it would probably stick straight up like an old-fashioned hoop skirt.  Not exactly the look one wants to achieve in a mini!

Although the actual finished product was a bust, I appreciate the experience that I gained by making this skirt.  Besides the new pleating technique, I improved on my waistband construction, and I have a great new skirt design that I can’t wait to use again!

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Beginnings

2013 is upon us, and I have to say I'm happy to see it!
This past year has had its ups and downs and has ended with some I'm looking forward to the idea of a fresh start!  I'm counting on less stress, more focus, lots of laughter and new beginnings in the New Year!

When I drafted my first post a few weeks ago, I had no intention of doing anything with this blog until 2013 officially started.  It is, after all, meant to chronicle my ambitions for the New Year.  But I found that simply listing my goals in a public setting jump-started my motivation.  I've never been more excited to finish those old projects and start new ones!

I haven't had a chance to work on my pleated skirt since I've been getting ready for our New Year's celebrations.  Still, going into 2013 I've already marked one item off of my forget-me-not list, made several Christmas gifts, and am half-way through a second UFO.  Not too shabby!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Progress Report

I’m currently working on UFO #2: the black faux-leather pleated mini-skirt.
I purchased the leather-look fabric for this project in the clearance aisle.  I believe it’s actually vinyl and is intended for use in home decorating rather than self-decorating, but I’m taking a page from Tim Gunn’s handbook and I'm going to “make it work.”  If it turns out to be a success, I'll find a better quality fabric and make a few more.  We'll consider this my trial run.
I’m trying a new pleating method with this skirt.  Typically, I like to “wing it” with my pleats.  I’ll mark center front and sometimes quarter-marks on the fabric and fold the excess material in-between.  While this actually works very well, I wanted to have perfectly uniform pleats this time. 
Following the instruction of The Sewing Bible: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing Techniques, I took the time to mark 1.25” guide lines on the back of the fabric.

The pleats are turning out beautifully, although this method uses much more fabric than I had anticipated.  I am going to have to cut the bottom half of the fabric off to use for more width…which means that I will certainly have a very mini skirt when I’m done. 

Time to locate my self confidence…I think I tucked it away when I started eating Holiday-worthy portions of carbs! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Infinity scarves are my newest fashion fixation.  They are so versatile and effortless – no knot-tying skills required, thank goodness.
For Christmas this year, I made scarves for several of my girlfriends.  They were so easy to make that I thought they would be perfect for my first tutorial.

There are countless tutorials for infinity scarves available on the web, but I’m going to go ahead and post one of my own.  I found that when I was searching for instructions, not many of them had exact measurements, which made it difficult for me to know how much fabric I needed to buy. 

Keep in mind that you can make an infinity scarf out of practically any length or width of material that you have, but for the sake of clarity, I’m giving the exact measurements that I used.

Materials Needed:
Fabric (63” x 19”)
Matching Thread
Hand-sewing Needle
Sewing Machine
Cut a rectangle that is 63 inches long and 19 inches wide.  Since my fabric was 36 inches wide, I simply cut it in half length-wise.

Match up the raw edges on the long side of your fabric and pin in place, right sides together. 

Make one long seam here.  I used a zig-zag stitch because my fabric had some stretch to it.  If your fabric is not stretchy, just use a straight stitch. 

You’ll end up with one long tube of fabric.

Turn the tube right-side-out and match up the two ends of your scarf - line up the seams and pin right sides together.

Arrows indicate seams being matched

Keep pinning the two ends of your scarf together, going in a circle until you can’t pin anymore.  You won’t be able to go all the way around, so don’t worry when you come to a stopping point.

Sew this pinned seam.  I just used a straight stitch here. 

After you’ve sewn as far as you can, you’re left with a small opening of a few inches. 

Fold under the raw ends of your fabric and pin in place.

Slip-stitch the opening closed.

 Voila!  Your stylish infinity scarf is complete!

Over the Holiday break I also started working on my second UFO, so be on the lookout for that post in the next couple of days!