Adventures with muslins

Instead of sewing Vogue 8468 as planned, I got hold of McCall 5620 during a wonderful 99cent sale at Joanns. They're the same basic shape except the McCall pattern uses pleats instead of gathers. Besides, those pockets on the Vogue pattern aren't even functional. I swear, why bother faking it if it's not functional? I don't get these patterns sometimes. Aside from the point, I decided to make a muslin because the ease on this dress is insane. I'm taking like 18 inches of ease. I decided to make a wearable muslin out of some seersucker in my stash.

I went down south this weekend for a race and decided it would be a great opportunity for a fun photo shoot "on location." On the way back home, we decided to make our way up Highway 1. The weather was most uncooperative as it was mostly overcast and cold. We were running out of beach and coast fast but luck was partially on our side as the sun was blazing in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, the wind was in full force as well. So it made for nicely styled photos with proper drape and detail absolutely impossible.

M5620 outtake 1
Yes, please plaster the dress all up on my body.

Yes, the wind was most uncooperative. I kept telling B to wait til the wind stopped blowing to take a shot. But the wind never seemed to stop blowing. So after a while, I decided to screw around. It made for a fun time though, channeling being an airplane and all.

M5620 outtake 2

But at the end of the day, all you will get are stand still like a manequin shots on the dress form.

M5620 front

Pattern: McCall 5620
Fabric: Some Synthetic Seersucker (true content unknown -- more detail on this in the notes)

M5620 back

Notes: The cut of this dress was inspired by Christina's fabulous Patrones shift dress. I decided to experiment and cut the front and back on the bias to make a chevron effect.

Generally speaking, I'm not super happy with this dress for many reasons. But in considering that it's a muslin, it is what it is. So here goes my laundry list of unhappy thoughts, many of which I have learned from and hope to remember in the future.

This was in no a small way 'cause of your goodwill and energetic support on my behalf.
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  1. Get to know your fabric well before pattern placement and cutting: While I was able to get my chevrons to line up on both the front and the back. I neglected to see that the seersucker stripe pattern consisted more than just one light stripe sequence and one dark sequence. There are actually two different dark stripe sequences offset by one light stripe sequence. Fortunately it lined up perfectly on one side, which happened to be the back.
    M5620 chevron detail
    Hi, we're fraternal chevrons.

  2. Take notes while fabric shopping and label all your fabric: This was my second time working with seersucker and I assumed that it was the same as the cotton seersucker I used to make B's shirt last summer. Yes, don't ever assume. As I was pressing the garment during construction, I noticed the seam edges doing funny things, like shrink and distort. Hello yaiAnn, we're not made from cotton. Down went the temperature setting on the iron. It's a good thing I realized this early in the sewing process. I should have listened to myself earlier, however, when I noticed that the fabric started puckering more in places as I was pressing the fabric before cutting.
  3. Bias is fun. Bias is frustrating: Cutting the dress on the bias made such a cute effect on the finished product. However, it made it so much harder to handle because I didn't want to distort or stretch the fabric. What should have ended up as a dress with a very smooth silhouette, turned out to be very balloony, not to mention, it didn't make hemming very fun either.
    M5620 side
    Puff in the front and puff in the back tapers down to the hem.

    M5620 hem
    Don't look at me, I suck!

  4. Lining and underlining can be your friend: I think the balloon issue could have been solved by either lining or underlining. The seersucker is pretty light and sheer and I was just really eager to sew to be bothered to find fabric for lining or underlining. Cidell is currently working on a seersucker vest and is underlining it instead of interfacing it to give it the structure that it needs. This dress definitely needs a tad of structure. I'm opposed to garments with drape or that are "loosey goosey," but balloon action is not what I'm looking for here. But structure aside, there's no way I should be leaving the house without a slip on underneath this dress (FYI, I had shorts on underneath -- hence the odd lines).

So despite my problems, the dress is done and is wearable. And at the end of the day, my muslin question has been answered. The dress fits and no modifications are necessary. But the one burning question I have is, will this dress, once made from the actual fashion fabric, look maternity? You've all seen this swatch.


This fabric is a polyester/lycra blend with a lot more weight that the seersucker so it definitely won't poof out. The black border on the bottom of that photo is column that runs down the length of the fabric with a coordinating motif that runs along one of the selvedges. I plan on having that black column run down the center front of the dress with the black border as the hem all the way around. (I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the entire pattern repeat of the fabric to show). Should I move ahead and cut into this or save myself the trouble?

Just teasing

I know it's not nice to tease, but I'm so excited right now I have to share just a little bit. I was hoping to have these two pieces done by Saturday so I could wear them to a baptism (and also do a photo shoot) but the odds were against me.

BWOF 2/08 #111 preview
Topstitching has never made me so nervous!

BWOF 2/08 #119 preview

Two down (almost -- I have to make a few adjustments to the brown piece) and ... nine to go.

Charge it and don't chuck it!

So a little good news and a little bad news. Since my last post I was able to trace out three patterns! Wooohooo! But since then, I haven't done anything, not even wash and press my fabric. I'll get on that this week for sure. Slowly but surely, this wardrobe is going to come together.

So the real bad news is, my camera is dead. Okay, really it's not dead, dead. The batteries are dead. I got this camera almost two years ago and it came with rechargeable batteries and they finally gave out a few weeks ago. So what's a girl to do? I can't take photos and refuse to buy regular disposable batteries now (part of my green living quest). And who came to save the day, green LA girl! She posted about battery chargers the other day and I've been looking for it ever since! I tried to order it from Amazon and they had an estimated ship date of May 31st!! WTF? Okay, I can't live without a camera for that long. I did some searching around and ordered them (and some new rechargeable batteries, of course) yesterday and they're coming on Monday, yahooooo! So one of my short term goals, have a FO to shoot by the time it gets here.

Yeah, I put myself out there.

So let me leave you with of the final shots from my camera before my rechargeables decided to leave me camera-less.

Orange Oatmeal Currant Cookies

Recipe: Orange Oatmeal Currant Cookies, Tartine Cookbook

So very yummy!! This was my first try at an "icebox cookie." The recipe calls for you to roll the dough into logs and chill them overnight. I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe, but the dough was pretty sticky and I had a bit of a hard time rolling them up because the dough was so malleable. Even when I sliced them after freezing, they didn't quite hold their shape (they're supposed to be ovals). I have a feeling it has to do with the currants and the rolled oats preventing a clean cut. But despite these minor issues, the flavor is amazing! They're not crispy or firm (something I'd expect since they were frozen), rather they're soft with a bit of texture from the currants and oatmeal. Yum, seriously, yum!

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

Recipe: Tofu Quiche with Leeks and Asparagus, Real Food Daily Cookbook

Let me give a little background before I go on about this recipe:

A few weeks ago, I went to a training weekend with my triathlon club to prep for an upcoming race. It's a pretty big affair with rented out cabins, coached workouts and fun social time. Anyways, our cabin decided to do a potluck and I set out to bring quiche. This was my first quiche ever (and I'm really sorry I don't have any photos.. well wait, actually.. you can see in the left corner of this photo) and I was surprised to find out that it has a lot fewer eggs in it than I thought! I used the recipe for the Asparagus and Scallion quiche from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book. The entire recipe called for only 2 eggs. The rest of the custard was made with half and half, cream cheese and goat cheese. Can you say heart attack city? HEART ATTACK CITY! HEART ATTACK CITAAAAAAAY!! Well first thing's first, it was amazing, AMAZING! It's the kind of thing you eat once in a while, with a HUGE green salad and like no dessert *sniff*. So anyways, since then I've been on a quest to find a healthier quiche recipe, either something with more eggs or tofu and less dairy. Here enters the Real Food Daily Cookbook recommended to me by a coworker.

So now onto the recipe. It's a vegan tofu-based recipe with no butter or dairy. So silly me, thought that I was going to get a healthier quiche recipe tasting like the full screaming fat dairy version. So when I tasted it, I was floored and really disappointed. I was complaining to friends that I didn't like it, that it wasn't absolutely horrible. It just wasn't what I was hoping it would be (the full screaming fat dairy version). I was so disappointed by it that I actually considered chucking it. What stopped me was that I didn't want to waste all the ingredients just because it didn't turn out as I expected. So the next day, mama- and papaFasu said to me, "Hey, you're pie is good!" That caught me totally off guard. I decided to give it another try, and indeed. There was really nothing wrong with it at all. It wasn't the best quiche ever, but it also definitely wasn't close to being the worst. I think because I was so set on having it taste like my first quiche, it felt like an utter disappointment. You definitely won't fool any meaties into thinking that what they're eating is really quiche. There are definitely a lot of recipes out there that you can use to "trick" meaties into eating vege, but this is probably not one of them. Like I've read before, there is seriously no real substitute for eggs and dairy, but there are certainly a lot of things that can come quite close. Either way, I'm still on a quest for a better, heathier quiche recipe.

46 days, it's crunch time!

It's been 15 days since I've last posted and I've honestly done nothing except for open up my packages of fabric, and pet and swoon over them. I've honestly been a little preoccupied with my preparation for a major event and I knew that would hinder my progress a bit, but I didn't think it would hinder it THIS much.

So what's this 46 days business? Let me let y'all in on what this major event is and NO it has nothing to do with bells of any sort, except for maybe the cowbell variety. In 46 days I'll be in Brazil (hopefully with some new clothes), taking on a day-long adventure. Think of the things you can do or accomplish in 12-14 hours over the weekend. And then think about how on May 25th at 7am, I'll be working hard to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles all within 13 hours. And you only think I was crazy about crafting.. I'm just crazy, period.*

I got this email today. Truth be told, this photo makes me nervous. The jitters of a mass start, the sound of the timing chips, it's all very nervous and exciting at the same time. This was a bit of a wake up call, a 46 days left to get your butt in gear wake up call and a 41 days or you'll be partying naked in Brazil wake up call.

46 days away..

I've got 41 days to turnover some semblence of a vacation wardrobe before I make my getaway. I've set up my training schedule to allow for full use of my evenings and I thought it would be perfect. Here's a how a "normal" week looks:


  • 5am - up and at em'
  • 6:15am - spin class
  • 7:30am - treadmill session
  • Head to work by 9:00am
  • Home by 6:00pm


  • 5:20am - up and at em'
  • 6:00am - swimming (2100-2500yds)
  • Head to work by 8:00am
  • Home by 6:00pm


  • 6 - 7:00am - up and at em'
  • 8 - 9:00am - riding my bike anywhere from 40-100 miles
  • Home by 5:00pm


  • 6 - 7:00am - up and at em'
  • 8 - 9:00am - running around anywhere from 6-13 miles
  • 10:30am - swimming (~4000 yds)
  • Home by 1:00pm

DAY OFF!! Wooot! (but I still have to go to work.. boo!)

So yes, up early in the mornings with completely FREE evenings.. and how have I spent them. Cooking, baking and veging out. I'm heading into crunch time for my training so now I'm cracking the whip and putting myself into crunch time for sewing, too.

Tonight, after I come back from the pool (yes, I missed my workout this morning), I'm going to get friendly with my BWOFs and tracing paper while my fabric goes a washing in the machine.

Let's hope I survive.

*Don't worry, I've done this once before in 2006 out in BC, Canada. And yes, I voluntarily agreed to do it all over again (and I voluntarily agreed to do it the first time, too). I'm crazy, I tell you!


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