Great Gatsby! Who Made Your Dress?!

What?  This old thing?  

1920's Glamour

Because I have infinite amounts of time and can spend all day every day doing exactly as I please, I’ve decided to join in the Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge hosted by Miss Crayola Creepy.


In case you didn’t detect my sarcasm, I have zero time to do this.  None.  Zilch.  Nada.  But I’m sure going to try anyway!

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I spent all weekend working on my Mom’s robe, and I’m still not finished.  I grossly underestimated the amount of hand-stitching that is required to make this garment fit for royalty – because my Mom is most definitely royalty.  She’s the most exquisite woman I’ve ever known.

So, this week will be spent fell-stitching, slip-stitching, and catch-stitching.  At some point I’ll have to make time to finish altering my Elisalex and hem it so I can wear it to a wedding on Saturday. 

Then of course there’s the Laurel sewing contest – I’m hoping to get that done on Sunday.  That should be a pretty quick make.

I was hoping to make a scout tee and maybe even a tiny pocket tank before our vacation, but those plans might have to be scrapped.  (It’s link city up in here today!)

THEN and only then will I be able to switch gears and move back in time to the roaring 20s.

I have always been drawn to beaded fabrics, so I feel like this is the perfect opportunity for me to incorporate some hand-beading into my sewing!  And I’ll have plenty of time for it on our 10 hour plane trips…

I have an inspiration pinboard going if you want to see the direction I’m headed.  I’m thinking I’ll use this pattern:

 Great Gatsby

And fabric and beading inspired by this dress:

Summer Glau in a Sue Wong Dress
Summer Glau in a Sue Wong Dress

Sue Wong Art Deco Dress

I do realize that I am probably biting off more than an army could chew in the matter of hand-beading…my very first hand-beading experience no less.  But, have you tried to squash moments of great inspiration?  It’s practically impossible.

Stephanie at Mabel Makes and I have decided that we should have a virtual speakeasy party to show off our new dresses!  Anyone want to join us?  Any ideas on exactly how that should work?  Should we all agree on a date and each throw our own speakeasy party, then post the photos on our blogs?  Anyway…that idea needs some work so please pitch in!

I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

By “Academy” I mean the wonderful, inspiring, creative, sweet-as-sugar sewing blog community!

Before I explain why I’m giving an acceptance speech, I’ll give you a quick update on where I’ve been lately.  I decided I would take on two projects at once, thinking it would keep me inspired on both of them and would increase my sewing productivity.  I was wrong…very wrong.  Instead, I am just un-motivated to work on either one.

Advance 2170 - Mom's Birthday Gift
Advance 2170 – Mom’s Birthday Gift

So close to being finished!

 I am supposed to give Mom her birthday gift this weekend, and it is still in SEVERAL pieces, so it will take a miracle from the sewing gods to finish it in time.  And I can’t finish my Elisalex until I finish Mom’s gift because…well…I can’t have a completed dress for myself which has no deadline and an incomplete gift for my Mom which absolutely DOES have a deadline.  I’m sure I would inherit bad karma from that scenario.  So I’m kind of at a stand-still on both projects right now.

In the midst of my sewing hiatus, a super exciting thing happened. ..

I was given a Liebster Award by the very talented Katy at Sleek Silhouette!


This is my first ever blogging award and I am absolutely THRILLED to have received it!  I’m so honored that Katy reads (and enjoys!) my blog.  Incidentally, this virtual award makes me happier than any award I’ve ever received in my life.  I’m positively river-dance-happy right now.

Katy’s blog has inspired me in so many ways.  She’s incredibly talented and creative, and I hope to one day finish my garments as perfectly as she does.  She makes the perfectionist in me stand at attention and salute!

The Liebster Award is meant for new bloggers who have less than 200 followers – it helps get the word out about them.  Katy’s post has some phenomenal blogs mentioned that I just discovered thanks to this award.  Go check them out!  They’re amazing!

With the award, there are a few rules: 1. Answer the 10 questions that were asked by the person who nominated you. 2. Nominate 10 new bloggers that inspire YOU.  3. Ask those bloggers 10 questions.

Katy’s questions were:

1. How did you get into sewing in the first place?

~It actually started with a Halloween costume a few years ago.  I wanted a Renaissance-ish skirt and decided to make it myself.  My mom taught me the sewing basics as a child, and I was confident that I could learn the rest with the help of the internet.  While I did complete the skirt, we didn’t get to celebrate Halloween that year so I never wore it!  It’s since been gutted for parts…  But that skirt ignited a passion in me for sewing.

2. What is your favourite part of sewing?

~My favorite part would have to be the initial planning stages.  The creativity rush is so much fun!  Planning something beautiful and knowing that you can make it happen – it’s awesome.

3. Have you tried designing your own clothes, is this something you’d like to try in the future?

~My first few garments were actually self-designed and self-draped/drafted (even though I didn’t realize it was called draping or drafting at the time.)  They were so much fun to make!  Unfortunately, they weren’t very well executed since I was so inexperienced, so I haven’t gotten much wear out of them.  Now that I’m more skilled, I would like to go back to the raw creativity of creating my own designs.

4. What has been your favourite moment since starting your blog?

~My favorite moment would have to be the first time I received a comment from a blogger that I had followed and admired for a long time.  She was one of the reasons I started blogging, so having her comment on MY humble blog was thrilling.  Second favorite?  Receiving this award!!!  (Seriously…this makes me feel like a rock star!)

5. Is there anything challenging that you haven’t made yet but would like to? (mine would be tailoring a jacket)

~Mine would also be a jacket!  I actually bought a pattern, fabric, and supplies to make a jacket and then chickened out before I traced a single pattern piece.  Tailoring just seems so meticulous and time-consuming, so I’m not sure I would enjoy it…but I still want to try!  It’s actually on my list of forget-me-nots.

6. What make are you most proud of?

~I’m most proud of my Settle Down dress.  I spent a LOT of time on this – two muslins, fittings, couture techniques (underlining, hand-basting, hand-stitching, hand-picked zipper, etc.)  Also, the fact that I was able to re-create a dress that I loved using pieces of several patterns was really satisfying.  It kind of broke my heart to give it away!  (Does that make me a bad person?  Oh well)

7. What make are you most embarrassed by?

~No question…my faux-leather skirt.  What a disaster!  How did I convince myself that upholstery vinyl would work as a pleated skirt??

8. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for something you’ve made?

~Whenever I hear “Where did you buy that?  Wait, you MADE it??  I want one!” I just feel really great.  The fact that something I made looks professional (on the outside at least…don’t peek inside.  Finishings are my kryptonite!) is really encouraging.

9. Do you have any aspirations for taking your sewing further, such as starting up a pattern label, opening a shop?

~I don’t think I have enough creativity or patience to start a pattern label, and I’ve recently realized that I’m too selfish to spend time sewing just to sell my creations to other people, but I do have an idea for a sewing business.  I’m too afraid to talk about it with the public just yet since the idea is still in its infancy (I’d hate to jinx it!) so I’ll just give a simple “yes, someday!” to this question.  Muahaha!

10. Are you a perfectionist or a ‘get it done’ sewist?

~I’m a hybrid!  I’m a perfectionist in all aspects of my life, so that carries into my sewing.  But I get very discouraged when a sewing project takes weeks to complete, and by that time I just want to get it done.  I have a rather gruesome inner struggle when I get to that point because I know I won’t be truly happy with the garment if I cut corners just to finish it sooner.  I’m trying to work on my patience and learn to enjoy the process as much as the finished product.  Not there yet…

Now to pick 10 new bloggers to highlight!  I used Bloglovin as my source for following numbers.  I realize that some of the bloggers I’m about to name have already received a Liebster award, so there’s no pressure to follow all of the rules again.  Just consider this a shout-out because you’re awesome and have inspired me in my own sewing journey.  I’d also love to hear your answers to these questions if you have time!

  1. Mabel Makes – Stephanie is the epitome of elegance.  She is super talented and has amazing style – I am so envious of her sewn wardrobe!  AND she knits like a pro.  AND she lives in Ireland!!  Total girl crush going on here.
  2. Custom Style – Brooke is another incredibly talented seamstress with years and years of experience.  She could make anything…with her eyes closed…and probably with her hands tied behind her back.  Yeah, she’s that good.
  3. Gjeometry – Catja is a new sewist, but she’s already created some really amazing garments!  She’s crazy creative, has impeccable style, and is all around inspiring!  And she has the smartest kitty in the world.
  4. Country Girl Couture – Country Girl Couture is a fun, sassy sewist with great taste and style.  I love her “Things that Tick Me Off” posts…because honestly…we girls love to vent to each other right?
  5. Musings of a Seamstress – I introduced Sarah in my last post, but I also wanted to send her this award.  She’s inspiring in so many ways!  And she made her wedding dress.  Anyone who does that is a rock star in my book.
  6. Wearing History – I’m fairly new to Lauren’s blog, but I’ve already gathered this: She’s CRAZY talented, has a huge love of vintage fashions, and I would gladly step into an alternate universe where I suddenly had access to her closet!
  7. Vintage or Bust – She’s a Nancy Drew fan and has a career in costume design….enough said right?!  I’m always excited to see her latest creation.
  8. Threaded – As a member of the Mood Sewing Network, I’m fairly certain that Haylee has over 200 followers, but Bloglovin’ said 180, so I’m including her.  Has this girl got style?!  Holy smokes!  Her “finished project” photos look like they belong in a fashion blogger’s post of favorite new designer clothes that they’re dying to buy.  She’s absolutely phenomenal.
  9. The Little Tailoress – Ami’s blog is another one that’s new to me, but I am hooked.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who dresses better than Ami.  I mean honestly…even celebrities on red-carpets who were dressed by over-paid stylists don’t come close to touching this girl.  She’s flawless.  Oh yeah, and she makes the most exquisitely tailored clothes I’ve ever seen.  So…you could say I’m a fan.
  10. Ruffles Gazebo – This is another blog that I’ve recently discovered and immediately fell for.  First of all, who couldn’t love the name of this blog?  And Ruffles is one seriously talented gal.  Go check out the wedding dress she made – breathtaking!!!

Alright, my questions for you lovely ladies are:

  1. Do you do most of your fabric shopping in local stores or online?  If online, do you have a favorite website?  (I’m always on the hunt for good fabric stores online!)
  2. Which new sewing skill are you most excited to learn or perfect?
  3. Is there a sewing skill that you’ve just never been able to get the hang of?
  4. Do you remember the first sewing blogger that made an impact on you?  (Mine is Gertie – I stumbled upon her horsehair braid tutorial while Googling sewing techniques.  Hers was the first sewing blog I ever read, and I’m so thankful for it because it introduced me to this amazing community.)
  5. Is there a type of garment that’s currently trending (either on the runways or in the blogging world) that you have zero interest in wearing or making?
  6. In three words only, how would you describe the style of garments that you’ve sewn?
  7. In three words only, how would you describe the style of garments that you’ve purchased?  It will be interesting to see if these are the same three words as questions #5 for everyone!  (For me they’re not…that might be a post in the future…)
  8. What was the first sewing project you ever created?  Do you still have it?
  9. Is there a movie or TV show that you think has particularly inspiring costumes?
  10. Who’s closet would you most like to raid?  (Celebrity? Blogger? Friend? Anyone)

It’s really difficult to come up with 10 questions, but I can’t wait to see how everyone answers.  Thank you again to Katy for this award – you’ve made my day month

Love Conquers All

I’m knee-deep in two separate sewing projects right now, so I should have a finished product to show you soon.  For now, I’m dropping by because I want to direct you to Sarah’s awesome blog, Musings of a Seamstress.  Sarah is an extremely talented seamstress, and currently she and her husband are raising money to adopt their first child together!!  You can read more about her story here.

Day 1
Day 1

Sarah is 97 days into her Adoption Dress Project – she is wearing the same dress and styling it differently every day for a year – über creativity going on here.  If you donate $10 to her cause, then you can give her a theme for a day!

I was very touched by Sarah’s story, so I gladly donated!  The theme that I gave her was “love conquers all.”  It seemed like a fitting theme, and I liked that it was very open to interpretation.  Sarah did a beautiful job of portraying this message!  I’m a few days behind, but her touching post on Love Conquers All can be found here (seriously, go read it!  It’s amazing!)

Day 95 - Love Conquers All
Day 95 – Love Conquers All

I would like to encourage everyone to visit Sarah’s blog and read her story.  If you can, please consider donating – every little bit helps in the big scheme of things, and you’ll be helping a husband and wife start their family and share their love with a child that needs it.  You can also share Sarah’s story on your blog so more people will be aware of their journey.

Oh yeah!  She’s also currently hosting a giveaway!!  Go here to see the details!  You could win this gorgeous bauble!

Singer Necklace
Singer Necklace

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with a finished garment to gush about!

Planning Makes Perfect

I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE to plan things – making lists, thinking through a project and deciding on the best steps to take – it makes me positively giddy!  I never start a project without plotting it out first.

I have a pretty organized way of planning my sewing projects.  I’m not a sticky note kind of gal when it comes to my project prep.  No, no…I have my very own official Thimble & Cork Sewing Planner!


I discovered MayBooks from Pinterest not long ago, so I designed two books: a T&C sewing planner with grid paper, and a 2013 calendar.  These are the coolest little notebooks.  They are small enough that they both fit in my purse without adding any bulk, so I have them with me at all times.  And the binding is actually sewn!  I love that little touch.


I create a new page for each new project.  On it, I’ll attach a swatch of my fabric so I’m never caught guessing at thread or zipper color when I’m at the fabric store.


I’ll take notes regarding the fabric that I’m using, notions that I need to buy, measurement calculations, ideas, and sometimes a to-do list for finishing the garment.  Like I said, I love my lists!


Having everything written out gets me excited about the possibilities for a new project.  I don’t think I could ever start a garment without adding it to my little book of ideas!


Are you a planner when it comes to sewing?  Or do you forge ahead fearlessly on a whim?  Do tell!

The Flocking Birds Minna Blouse

I’m alive!!  I realize it’s been radio silence over at T&C lately, but there’s good reason for that: I had nothing to show you!!!  I failed at making myself sit down and sew this month.  February is always busy – it’s my birthday month!  Which means lots of celebrating…and lots of recovering from said celebrations (this part seems to get more and more difficult with each birthday…what’s up with that?!)

Anyway, I finally finished something!  Meet my new Minna Blouse from Salme Patterns:

Flocking Birds 1

First of all, I’ve got to say that I’m absolutely in LOVE with this fabric, and I’m still kicking myself for only buying one yard of it.  It is a lovely printed silk from Britex Fabrics.  I’ve decided that I want to live in bird-printed clothing.  It just makes you happy.

Flocking Birds 2
Grandma! What big ROOTS you have!

I also really like this pattern – it is the perfect work blouse.  I agree with other reviews that the instructions are minimal in the hand-holding department, but that’s just fine with me.  I pretty much learned how to sew from YouTube and sewing blogs, so refreshing my memory for a few techniques is nothing new.

Flocking Birds 3

I’ve mentioned that seam finishes are my kryptonite, and it’s quite obvious in this top.  I have no less than 4 different seam finishes in this baby!  So, forgive me for not showing you the gruesome innards…it’s for your own good.  No matter…the top looks beautiful on the outside so I’m not too upset about the seam-finishing-smorgasbord.

Back View Collage

I think I’ll be wearing my new birdie blouse quite often.  I’m still working on making more garments that I CAN wear often, instead of always making special things.

Flocking Birds 6

My next project will be Advance 2170, a 1940’s robe pattern as a birthday gift for my Mom.  I’m also going to be participating in the Elisalex Sewalong, which will be my first sewalong ever…you could say I’m freakin excited!  Who else is planning on making an Elisalex?  Rumor on the street is that there will be a Reversalex too!!

In Progress – Seam Binding Issues

HELP!!  I need the advice and tips of you beautiful bloggers.

I am still getting the hang of seam finishes, and I often struggle with deciding which finishing technique to use on which fabric.  I noticed that Kristin from skirt as top serged the edges of her fabric…but alas, I do not own a serger.  I tried my overedge foot on a scrap, but that did not work at all on this chiffon-like silk.  It made the edges bunch up and get bulky…take a look

Bunchy and bulky...ewww
Bunchy and bulky…ewww

So I decided to try seam binding.  I’ve never used it before and have been wanting to give it a try.  When I tested it on a scrap, it turned out beautifully and went on pretty quickly.  But as soon as I started applying it to my actual garment, everything went South.

Bunching and wrinkling
I swear I'm not drunk...
I swear I’m not drunk…

See how uneven that seam is?!  When you use seam binding do you pin it in place first?  I tend to lose patience quickly when it comes to finishing, so I was hoping this would be a quick seam finishing.  Now I’m just not sure…

Please share your seam binding tips and tricks, or let me know if you think a different finishing technique would be better with this thin fabric.

In the meantime, I think it’s time for me to take a break and finish watching one of my favorite movies, Serenity.  Hopefully the title will rub off on me and my current frustrations…

Serenity (film)
Serenity (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)