Friday, December 31, 2010

Sew Wonderful to Finally Sew! - Threads

Today, I have written my first blog post for I am so happy because these are the people that have taught me to sew. As mention in my first post of this blog, Fashionable Beginnings, I have been using the Threads' Teach Me to Sew dvds and the Threads' YouTube video tutorials to teach myself to sew. These tutorials and dvds are so easy to follow. I have taught myself sew as well as perfected new sewing techniques by using Threads' tutorials. I am so grateful that felt that it is absolutely fitting to write a blog entry on This is a link to the blog post that I have written for

Sew Wonderful to Finally Sew! - Threads

Power tools of Fashion

I love fashion design and sewing. Design comes to me naturally. However, sewing gives me the charge - that sensation that Tim "The Toolman" Taylor gets when he uses a power tool. When I am sewing, particularly when I get into a rhythm and pick up speed on the machine, I become hypnotized by the up and down motion of the needle I just love it! Right now, I own a Brother SE-270 Sewing and Embroidery machine. My favorite feature of this sewing machine is the thread cassette. It makes threading so much easier. I've not yet used the embroidery features of my sewing machine. However, I will begin teaching myself embroider, knit, and crochet after I have mastered sewing. I even considered learning how to make my own fabric on a loom.

Equipment of my Dreams

The Babylock Ellisimo has certainly piqued my interest. It is a beautiful sewing machine with a TrueView WVGA Color Touch Screen digital display, Nevermiss Automatic Needle Threader, Needle Cam, Stadium Lighting, Automatic Embroidery Poisitioning, and for computer geeks like me, three USB ports and a Mouse. Aesthetically speaking, it is gorrrrrrrrrrrgeous! Its metallic gold and white.

That is my dream machine. It's absolutely beautiful and I super want it!

After my dream machine, my favorite sewing tool is my 45mm Fiskars Rotary Cutter with the loop handle.
Image Source: Fiskars Rottary Cutter

Though, I talk about my dream machine, I have to give credit to my current sewing machine,

It is a Brother SE-270D Sewing & Embroidery Unit. I love it, because it has a thread cassette unit for automatic threading. It is pretty superb and it was under 500.00. I have made all of the sewing projects that I posted to this site with this machine. The next major power tool of fashion that I am going to buy is a serger. I will be discussing this in Part 2 of this article.

- Warita Winbush

Monday, December 20, 2010

I made an Adult dress to wear in public!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have have made my first adult dress that I would wear in public!!!!!!! I bought McCall's Pattern M6O73 sizez 18W - 20W- 22W-24W about 3 weeks ago.

I used fabric bought from Wal-Mart 5 years ago. The finished product is beautiful!

From making this dress, I learned two new sewing skills! This dress has a V-Neckline on the back bodice and requires elastic to be sewn in at the shoulders and the waistband.


I am still trying to perfect the V-Neckline. I am going to make this dress again until I make V-Neckline in the back bodice of the dress correctly.


This dress requires that Elastic be sewn in at the shoulders for gathering. The instructions direct to pull the elastic as tight as one can as one sews in the elastic. With this being my first time having done this, I stretched the elastic from one end towards me which cause the fabric not to feed forth and the thread to bunch. After looking for videos on YouTube about sewing in elastic, I learned that you have to stretch both ends of the elastic so the fabric and elastic will feed through.


I increased the patttern sized by 2, because I wanted to make sure that the dress didn't fit exact. To increase the pattern size, I traced the pattern onto wax paper using a permanent marker. This work perfectly because the permanent marker was soft enough not to tear the wax paper and it didn't easily smear either. Next, I measure the width of each size increase on the pattern, then I added two more in those areas. The areas of the pattern that did not show the size increase, I copied exactly. When choosing this method, one has to remember to center things such as a waistband that need to be center should the size be increased.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Near Perfection!

I have made Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688 two more times. With the assistance of my lovely model Ree and her sister Mariah, my mom's doll, here are the finished products:

Ree & Mariah

Mariah & Ree

The Metamorphasis


I finally nailed the facings. Initially, I followed the pattern instructions when attaching the neckline facing to the bodice. These instructions require that the facing be sewn in after the skirt is attached to the bodice. Using that method, I found that the facing kept rolling over the neckline edge. So, I watched the Threads' Teach Yourself to Sew Tutorials about facings. In the facings video, Judith Neukam explained that it's best to sew in the facings before you sew the side seams of the bodice and attach it to the skirt. Using Judith Neukam's instructions, I attached the facings and it was smooth sailing afterward.

Sleeve Bindings

My sleeve bindings came out so much better. I am still working on perfecting them. On Mariah's dress the left sleeve binding is narrower than the right sleeve binding as well as the sleeve bindings on Ree's dress.

Finishing edges

My goal is to work on finishing edges next. I am still trying to decide between finishing my edges with my sewing machine and finishing my edges with a serger.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My First Adult Dress !!!!

Well, as stated in my Sketching and Research post, my next project would be an adult dress. Well, here is the finished product!

In the Sketching and Research post, I was considering three methods by which to make the dress. These three methods were Combining a Skirt and Top to make a Dress, Designing a dress and creating my own original pattern, and Buy a Dress Pattern. The method that I chose to make the dress was method one, Combining a Skirt and Top to make a Dress. At first, I thought that it would be difficult and that I would mess up good fabric. However, I went tried it anyway. As the saying goes, nothing ventured- nothing gained. This venture turned out to be fruitful.


The fabric that I chose isn't the most glamourous, however, I didn't want to mess up my favorite fabrics in an attempt to try a technique that I wasn't sure would work. I faced the stripes vertical because my shoulders are broad.


The design is a combination of a top and skirt pattern from Simplicity's Khaliah Ali Collection pattern no. 4708. I bought this pattern at a local fabric store, Village Fabric. I combined top A and skirt D to create the dress by laying both pieces over the fabric with the top overlapping the skirt in just the right place. Pattern sizes are different from Ready to Wear sizes. Once I finished my dress, I found would like to have had a little more room in the dress. This is where knowing your measurements and adjusting your pattern to fit your measurements is a must. I will definitely do that with my next dress.


I love the style of the dress. It could have been roomier. Yes, I am sticking with I could have made it roomier,LOL. I made markings in the areas that I will adjust the pattern from now on. This dress was really, really simple to make. The Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688 kicked my butt. However, it was worth it, because I learned how to gather, create at skirt and a bodice, create and attach sleeve bindings and facings, and I learned how to attach a zipper. Simplicity's Khaliah Ali Collection pattern no. 4708 was a breeze. My next adult outfit will come from this same pattern!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Michael Jackson doll and My Lester doll

Well, I had to share two of my favorite pics: Me with my Michael Jackson doll

and me with my Lester Doll.

I took that pic of myself and my Michael Jackson doll for the Michael Jackson kiss project that another fan was working on. He was making a collage of female fans blowing kisses with MJ pics and other memorabilia. I have one of me kissing, but I also have pics of me just smiling like in the pic above. I took that pic in 2006 or maybe 2007. It could have been 2004 or 2005. I got my Michael Jackson doll for Christmas of 1985. I was 5 years old and I loved that doll!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so elated when I unwrapped it and saw that it was a Michael Jackson doll. I loved MJ so much when I was a little girl that I was jealous of the little girl Katie in the Moonwalker movie,lol. I wondered what was so special about her that he put her in his movie,lol. I was also jealous of Tatiana Y Thumbtzen in The Way You Make Me Feel video and Ola Ray in Thriller,lol. Coolest thing ever: Godchaux's department store in the 1980's. In their toy section, they had celebrity dolls that weren't meant for children to play with. I loved to just look at them. The best thing they had was the Thriller film projector and the Thriller 3D viewmaster!

From ages 2 - 4 I had a crush on Willie Tyler's vent figure, Lester. I was under the age of 5 and he looked like he was sitting on his dad's lap like I used to sit on my dad's lap,lol. I super wanted a Lester doll. Every time I would go in Children's Palace (the best toy store EVER), I would walk by the Ventriloquist doll section. I took that pic of me with my Lester doll back in 2001. I just wanted one with Lester, LOL. I even wrote Willie Tyler and he wrote me back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was soooo nice!!!!!!

Neither of my dolls are worth any money, because they were thoroughly loved (played with,lol) when I was a little girl. I'm just glad that they are still photogenic.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sketching and Research

Today I am planning my next sewing project - a dress for me. It will be the first time that I will have made a clothing item that I can wear. While considering how to make this dress, I thought of three options: Combining a skirt pattern and a shirt pattern, designing a dress and creating an original pattern, and buying a dress pattern.

Combining a Skirt and Top to make a Dress

I have sewing patterns for separates such as tops, pants, and skirts. I would love to combine a skirt pattern and a top pattern to make my dress. However, being a beginner sewer, I a skeptical to take on such a big endeavor. It seems easy enough when you think about it. However, I would have to adjust the shirt pattern at waist and hemline and the skirt pattern at the waistline. I don't know how to do pattern adjustments yet, but this could project could be a great teacher. Just in case I decide to choose this method, I created rough sketches (super rough sketches) of how I would combine the top and skirt to make the dress:


The dashed lines represent where I would join the skirt and top at the waist as well as the areas of the skirt I would include in the dress. Then, the finished dress would look about like the dress in the second sketch. The above sketches are realllly quick sketches,lol.

Designing a dress and creating my own original pattern

Ooooo! This notion makes me giggly! I love fashion design and, as a designer I can design clothes. However, making the blueprints for the construction of the dress is something that I have to learn to do. I have numerous fashion designs. Being able to create patterns for all of my designs would be wonderful! So, I decided to do online research about pattern-making. I found an article on eHow, How to Make Sewing Patterns. This article is very helpful, however it's a lot of information to process. I have to study it for a bit. I also found a great YouTube video, Beginning Pattern Making: How to Make A Custom Tank Top Pattern. I will study over these a bit as well as any additional resources that I may come across. Once I know what I am doing, or understand enough about pattern making, this will be my main practice!

Buy a Dress Pattern

Well, the most sane thing for me to do as a beginner sewer would be to just buy an easy to sew dress pattern to make a dress. This really makes the most sense. But, I reallllllllly want to do a bit more such as option 1 or 2. However, I will let common sense prevail and choose this option.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Toys and Dolls

Arts for which I have never lost an appreciation is toy making and doll making. Once I have mastered sewing, I will be venturing into toy making and doll making. One of my most favorite toy websites is...........(drummmmmrolll)........ WHERE THE TOYS ARE!!!!!!!! In case you're wondering, yes, I did type that to the tune of the song, Where the Boys are,lol. Well, while going to the website, I discovered that Neil Sedaka sings a song called Where the Toys are. Well, okay. But, the dramatic climax of the chorus of Where the the Boys are is fun to sing, so, there you go,lol. Annnnywho. I love WHERE THE TOYS ARE because it is a normal toy store. It's not a mega store. Best of all, they sell vintage toys! It reminds me of a store that was in business when I was a little girl, Little Folks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Days of Distraction - Points of Procrastination

As determined as I might be on some days, I get distracted. On some days, I procrastinate. On these days, the two may intertwine. However, sewing can be a long and sometimes tedious task. Now that I have begun sewing, I am learning to manage my time much more efficiently. I mean, seriously, there are so many hours in the day that one can dedicate to sewing. You have to sleep. You have to eat. But, most of all, you have to sew. So, though it would be awesome to start a large project such as a dress or a whole outfit on one day and finish it on the same day, for me as a beginner sewer - it just doesn't happen. With that said, back to my sewing,lol.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Second Sewing Project

As stated in my previous post, I was working on creating a dress from the same Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688 dress. With the assistance of my lovely model, Ree, I have completed the second dress:

This time, I gathered better. I'm still working on improving my sleeves and sleeve bindings.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Noooo!!!! Yay!!!!! Facings,LOL

Following the pattern instructions, I constructed the dress and attached the facings last. My neckline facing still kept rolling over to the front edge of the bodice. I attached and unattached it twice with no success. I went back to the sewing tutorial video. I saw where it is best to sew the facings before sewing the sides of the bodice. I will be doing this on my third attempt to perfectly make Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688 dress.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facing, Interfacing, and Finishing Edges - Oh My!

Wow, today has been a tough, but educational day at the sewing machine. I am working on my second dress. For this second dress, I will be using the pattern shown in the previous post,Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688. So far, I have made the bodice and skirt and attached them. I also attached on the zipper. Following the pattern instructions, attached the facing and interfacing. I'll tell you, as a beginner sewer, attaching facing has been a battle royale. I attached it. It didn't fold right, so I ripped the seams to start again. I had to refer back to the Threads' Teach Yourself to Sew Tutorials, which has helped me tremendously.

My next objective is to practice control when finishing edges with zig-zag stitches. I start out straight, then lose control over the stitch. The fabric keeps moving closer and closer towards the edge. So, in more depth, my next post will be discussing my adventures in finishing edges.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My First Sewing Project

I decided to create a child's dress for my first sewing project. I chose to create a dress because my specialty is formal design. My journey on this endeavor first began at Wal-Mart. I bought sewing notions and a Simplicity sewing pattern. The pattern that I chose was Simplicity's It's So Easy: It's Simplicity pattern no. W2688, pictured below:

As you can see on the cover of the pattern packaging, there are two types of dresses that can be made from this pattern - w/puffed sleeves and sleeveless. I chose to make the dress with puffed sleeves because I wanted this project to introduce me to a fairly wide range of sewing techniques.

I opened the pattern and realized that I didn't understand the markings on the pattern nor the terms used in the instructions. This was all foreign to me. So, I got online and did my research. First, I came across a website called Sewing.Org . This website hepled me to decipher my pattern. However, I knew I needed further help. So I referred to my trusty Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. This absolutely helped me. However, I am a visual learner, so I needed even more help. One day, a light bulb came on in my mind. It occurred me to look for tutorials on YouTube. It was there that I discovered Threads' Teach Yourself to Sew Tutorials. These tutorials have been teaching me to sew. I love Judith Neukam so much that if I ever have a daughter, I might name her Judith,lol.

Once I got sewing I made my first dress:

This dress is a size 5. I had my walking doll model it because she is the size of a 3 or 4 year old child. She's 3ft tall. The dress isn't perfect. One sleeve is not as full as the other and the gathering isn't completely even. However making this dress has taught me the mechanics of sewing. I learned many valuable sewing and construction techniques. Now, I am working on the sleeveless version of this dress.

Fashionable Beginnings

I have been designing clothes since I was about 5 years old. My love for fashion began when I used to watch the movies "Gone with the Wind" and "The North and the South" with my mother. I loved the antebellum dresses! I used to call them cake dresses. They were the first fashions that I ever designed. I wanted one so badly that I would draw them all the time. I would draw birds, rainbows, houses, trees, clouds, the solar system, and antebellum dress. Eventually, when I was about 7 or 8, I started drawing other types of fashions. Fashion Design is truly a passion of mine. I just love it. The thing that I'd have problems with is sewing. I came across the Threads' Teach Me to Sew tutorials on YouTube around the 15th of October 2010 and I have been sewing ever since. So far, I have made a size 5 girl's dresses. I will be discussing it in the next blog post.