Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black Sand Beach

How about a little sewing break?

The Black Sand Beach (Pa`iloa Beach) can be found at Wai`anapanapa State Park in Hana.  In my opinion, it is another Maui must see if you are spending time in Hana.  According to the Maui Revealed guidebook, "the black sand was formed when lava fountained into the sea, shattering on contact with the ocean".  All I know is that it is incredibly beautiful and I love to soak in the majesty of God's creation here. 

One morning, while staying in a cabin at the park this summer, the boys woke me up early and wanted to go for a walk.  There is a nice trail, parts of it paved, on the top of the cliff that surrounds this beach with steps down to the beach.  Here was our journey that morning.
The sunrise!

We thought about going for a swim, but soon discovered these little critters scattered over the beach and rocks; Portuguese Man-of-War or Blue Bottles, as I've heard them called.  Without doubt, these leave a painful sting if you get tangled up with one.  My youngest DS did get stung by a jellyfish or Blue Bottle one year, and all I could hear him say as he rushed out of the ocean was, "It burns!  It burns!"  The wicked red welts appeared instantaneously across his chest.   Thankfully, he was not allergic and recovered quickly, according to the clock, but you mamas out there know how much longer it seems when one of your little ones are in agony!  The good news is that Portuguese Man-of-War don't show up very often.  

On the beach, there is a short lava tube that you can walk through.  The tube ends where the ocean begins, and if you look up, while inside, you can see rays of light beaming through a couple of small openings.  The way the light shone through the tube, from the ocean, was stunning that morning.  Anybody struggling to get a sewing project complete? Like me, with my Burda jacket?  There is light at the end of the tunnel, and here is proof! 
Leaving the beach, we headed back up to the paved trail to have a glimpse down.  Ahhh, everything all to ourselves, except for the curious mongoose darting in out through the lava rock wall.  He wouldn't sit still for a picture though :)  

Continuing on down the trail we soon came to this sign, which marks the entrance to a trail, which leads to secluded fresh water caves.  You can swim in one of them.  The water is frigid and crystal clear.  My family enjoys swimming in this pool, but my blood has grown too thin to enjoy the cold water.
We have yet to see the tiny red shrimp, but we did pick up a traveling companion.  The yellow dog must have belonged to the caretaker of the park.  This is the entrance to the cave you can swim in. 
Here is a closer look at the water.  It was still a little too early for the boys to be considering a dip, but it sure was a treat to see the undisturbed beauty and smell the sweet ginger in the air that morning.
Finally, it was time to hike back to our cabin and make some breakfast.  Just one last set of steps...don't give up on me now...maybe you will catch a glimpse of a Menehune ;)  
"Okay, break over, back to sewing!"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pendrell Blouse ~ Finally

Aloha!  Thank you all for chiming in on the latest McCall's dress.  I think Uta hit the nail on the head when she said it is a dress I may just need to get used to.  I didn't wear it last week like I had intended, but maybe I will find a use for it soon and give it a whirl.

I am excited about the results of my latest sewing expedition into Pendrell blouse territory.  I was just waiting for what I thought was the right fabric for it.  I love View A made up in satiny polyester-like fabrics, but knew I would not wear it that much in Hawaii if I made it out of that kind of material.  Silk would have been lovely, and I thought I had found just the right print, but alas, I waited too long to purchase it and "poof" it was gone :(  You all may remember back in July I took a very brief trip to Oregon.  My mom and I were able to enjoy a day perusing fabric shops that were new to both of us in the Eugene/Springfield area.  I think this fabric was found in the last shop we visited, Jean Marie's Fabric.  It is a silk/cotton blend in a burnout textured print.  Although the color is not my favorite, I do like it, and love how it worked up into the Pendrell blouse pattern by Sewaholic.

I have styled it two ways.  This first way is to show you the finished length.  I am 5' 7", for reference.  I like how long it is, because you can wear it like a tunic. 
Burda cropped pants blogged about here.
This second way is tucked in with a silk skirt I have had for at least 7 or 8 years.  I love the skirt and am happy to have another blouse to wear it with. In fact, I love this combination.

Pattern Details
I must say I am extremely happy with this pattern.  I cut the size 2 based on the finished measurements noted on the back of the pattern envelope.  After one modification (I had to lower the armholes by 6/8" to feel comfortable and not have any puckering along the front seam line.  This meant I also had to cut longer strips of self-bias binding for the armholes.) the shell was a perfect fit.  I can see using this as a base for the ruffle options available from McCall's 5977.  The princess seaming style works so much better for me than the dart in the side seam. 

The directions are super easy to follow with clear pictures.  I constructed the blouse exactly as written.  Everything came together beautifully.  I think some people have found the amount of ease in the pattern to be too much, but this size worked great for me.  I am truly amazed I can slip it on easily with no fasteners.  The only snug part is the neckline.  I will make my neckline just a smidge wider in the future.  Here is a closer picture of the blouse so you can see the fabric texture and sewing details.
For the rest of the week, I am going to try to make myself work on and finish the Burda jacket I started for the RTW Sew-a-long months ago.  I really want this jacket to work out and be a part of my wardrobe.  I don't know what my hang up is with it, but I am going to try to come out the winner at least by finishing it, whether it fits or not!  I am also planning a post about the Black Sand Beach in Hana, the third in my series about my latest Hana excursion.  Stay tuned for that.  Here is a bag I recently added to the shop which totally reminds me of that beach.  Happy Sewing Everyone! 

*Updated 9-26-11 to add a link to Sewaholic patterns. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

McCall's 6069 Tribal Blues

I said I would need my running shoes to keep up with this past week, but even that wasn't enough.  Here it is Saturday!  Yikes!  All three of my boys are playing soccer.  Usually I get a little break and two of them end up practicing on the same day.  That is not my luck this year.  Their practices cover every day of the week with Wednesdays overlapping.  This morning they had 3 back to back games beginning at 0800 and ending at 1400.   It's a lot of work, but I do love that they are active, and I enjoy watching their games.

On to sewing!  I have seen several versions of M6069 in the blogosphere, and ever since seeing the first one I knew I wanted to make it up.  I love the draped neckline of view A, both in the front and the back, and living in Hawaii, I can't have too many sleeveless dresses.  I used a matte jersey that I bought at Mill End in Beaverton when I took my summer, 2010, trip to Oregon.  The colors are dark chocolate and steel blue.  So even though the style is not fall, I think the colors lean that way.

This is touted as a one hour pattern.  I was not that fast with it.  Using matte jersey, which is slippery, slowed me down.  On-the-other-hand this pattern is quite easy to make; certainly a good beginner's pattern for knits.  However, one of the toughest things for me was getting a nice hem on the armholes.  The pattern suggests that you make a 5/8" narrow hem.  I really had to mess around with pinning and clipping it to get a nice finish.  Also, I have a feeling the pleats on the front and back shoulder seam are supposed to match, but mine did not.  I think that was my fault.  Thank goodness the fabric print and drape hide this pretty well.

I left out the on-seam pockets in the skirt, knowing that I would not use them.  I made the sash that comes with the pattern. I cut a size 10, but I lowered the armholes by about 5/8" so that I could take up an extra half inch on the side seams, thus reducing the width of the bust by two inches.  I didn't make any other fitting changes. This is a very forgiving cut.  In the end, I like the dress, but I think it looks better on a curvier figure.  Here is my version:
 I plan to wear it tomorrow.  Hope you all are having a blessed weekend!
Dusk at Koki Beach in Hana 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

McCall's 5977 - Mad about Plaid

Is everybody ready for the week ahead?  I know I'm going to need my running shoes to keep up with all my boys and their activities with school and soccer in full swing now.  But hey, I was able to get my top done before the mad rush.  That's a plus!  I decided to use McCall's 5977 to make a plaid top to go with my khaki Butterick skirt shown in the previous post.  It is a pattern for a semi-fitted, shaped with darts, woven tank top with various ruffle options.  My fabric is a lightweight polyester/cotton blend from  I made View C.

I cut a size 10 and added about 1/2" to the back shoulder seam to bring that seam forward a little bit.  That made the bust darts sit a little low, so I took up an extra 3/8" on the shoulder seam to raise them.  I thought I might have to trim under the arms to compensate, but it turned out I didn't need to. 

The instructions were easy to follow.  But I did sew my neck and armhole binding differently.  Instead of folding the binding in half and then attaching it, I kept it one layer.  I had a raw edge on the inside when I wrapped it around my seam allowance.  However, since the binding is cut on the bias, it doesn't ravel.  The reason I did this is because I wanted to stitch in the ditch rather than slip-stitch the binding to finish.  Once the binding was attached this way, I trimmed the excess leaving about 3/16".

Here is a close-up of the finished top. 

I have about 4" of ease in the bust, since I cut the size 10.  It's more than I like, but it is probably necessary to get the blouse over my head and shoulders without any fasteners.  Also, I think the ruffle does a good job of hiding the extra room.  Plus it keeps the blouse cool for a tropical climate.  Here it is styled with the skirt.  All I need is a cardigan, in a complementary color, and tights for it to transition nicely to mainland northwest fall weather. 

I want to say thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on my last few posts.  Sheila asked, "any tips you can share on how you achieve a perfect fly front?"  There was a time that I dreaded the front fly.  But now, I actually enjoy making them.  I don't think it is as clear trying to explain how to do them in words, so I will try to put together some pictures the next time I make a fly.  In the mean time, here are three tips that have helped me enormously. 1) I always use a zipper that is longer than what is called for.  That way I don't have to stitch around the zipper pull.  I just trim the excess when I have my waistband ready to apply.  2) I always baste my zipper before I stitch it in permanently.  It works so much better than using pins.  3)  I always topstitch over a piece of tissue paper to prevent any bunching.  Check out this blog post to see a picture of what I am talking about.  This is such a great tip!  I hope that helps a little until I can do a proper picture sequence.  Have a great week online ohana! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Butterick 5649 Revisited

Today was a day filled with activities, but I managed to sew a little bit here and a little bit there to complete my second rendition of Butterick 5649.  This time I made it in a linen/cotton blend with just a touch of Lycra.  I found this fabric for $2.50/yd. at Walmart quite some time ago.  It was a dream to sew.  The funny thing is, I kept forgetting to set my stitch length the same on several different areas of top-stitching.  Good thing I used a top-stitch thread color that blended with with fabric.  Otherwise I would have gone back and fixed those areas where the stitch length doesn't match.  To jazz things up, I added a cargo pocket from New Look 6005 (see below), and I added belt carriers.  I also finished the front and back with a flat fell seam.  I will show the skirt in a complete outfit once I have the plaid top finished.  Here are the details in picture form.

I'll be back soon with the plaid top.  Aloha and good night! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Bags and Miscellany

It's Aloha Friday!  I have been sewing this week, but have mostly been working on new bags for my shop.  I never get tired of making these.  Below are some of my favorite Hawaiian prints.  The Hidden Honu bag has a unique striated denim as the reverse fabric, which gives it a cool, vintage, beach, vibe.  The black Modern Aloha bag is distinctive, and the Purple Paradise has a groovy color combination.   
Hidden Honu
Modern Aloha
Purple Paradise
Speaking of Etsy shops.  There is a cute little shop called PriorToThis.  The jewelry designer creates unique button pendants.  Here is one I recently purchased to wear with my teal and grey outfit.  I just love it! 

I am also well underway on my next fashion sewing project.  It will be a top and skirt combo that, once again, will transition well from summer to fall.  I do have a trip to the mainland planned in October, so I think I will get some immediate use out of the fall looks.  Here are my fabrics.  I think I am on a plaid kick!  I look forward to sharing the outfit and patterns with you this weekend!
Next project.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Night to Remember...and a New Dress

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on the latest skirt.  It is so comfortable and has already found its way into my weekly wardrobe.  I love it.  Oh, but what a wonderful night I have had! While listening to the radio last week, my DH heard that there was going to be a Couture Hawaii Fashion Show at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on Sept. 3, 2011.  He came to me and asked if it was something I would like to go to.

"YES!" was my instantaneous reply. So off he went to purchase tickets.  How cool is that?  I have never been to a real fashion show, and I am not sure if Maui has ever had one prior to this.  I have dreams of one day being able to visit the garment district in New York City, and you all know that I am a fan of Project Runway.  I was thrilled to find out that Andy South, a finalist from Season 8, born and raised in Hawaii, would be hosting the event.  Well tonight was the big event..."What to Wear?"..."What to Wear?"

I "needed", okay "wanted",  a new dress that was for sure!  You would think that I would have had something whipped up last week, but no, I waited until the last minute.  I looked my fabrics up and down, I pulled out patterns, I put patterns back, I contemplated, and contemplated some more.  "What do people wear to fashion shows?" I thought to myself.  Finally, I came up with an idea.  Since this fashion show was showcasing three mainstream Hawaii designers and the University of  Hawaii Maui College's Couture Club Student collection, I thought I would create a dress with an island vibe, but also with a bit of edge. 

I used Vogue 9811, view B (the maxi length), as a starting point and a beautiful cut of rayon lycra knit from Emma One Sock for my material.  I also admire the t-back design element I have seen Anya, from this season of Project Runway, make on a couple of her dresses, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that too.

This pattern is drafted for a woven fabric and comes in sizes XS to XL.  I fear it may be OOP.  It's been in my stash for a LONG time.  Since I decided to make my version out of a knit, and because I referenced all the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern as well as taking some of my own measurements, I decided it was best to cut the XS.

I made several changes to the pattern.  I eliminated all the shaping darts in the front and the back, and I eliminated the zipper.  I added a strap down the center back with silk ribbon stitched to the seam line to prevent it from stretching, and attached it and the neck straps to a brass ring.  I also moved the slit to the center back of the dress, rather than having it on the side.  The neckline is finished with facing, and for the life of me the facing on the front neckline would not stay tucked in even after I understitched it.  I fixed that problem with some Heat & Bond Lite iron on adhesive which I placed just below the horizontal neckline between the facing and the fashion fabric.  It worked like a charm and cannot be detected at all from the outside of the garment.  My neckline lies flat now.  And here is the final result:
Andy South did a fantastic job hosting the show tonight!  He definitely has tons of energy and talent.  His designs will be sold at Neiman Marcus this fall.  Way to go Andy!!!  Thank you so much for sharing a moment of your time with me for this picture and for giving me permission to share it with you all. 
My weekend is off to a pretty great start.  I hope yours is too!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Butterick 5649, View C

Aloha! I enjoyed reading your comments on the last post.  Some of you have been to the Red Sand Beach, some would like to go, and some admired its beauty.  I was also happy to read that the Butterick pattern, pictured in the previous post, is popular among you.  Well...I have finished mine and I am very pleased.  I did have to adjust the fit, but once that was done, this pattern was a breeze to sew and gave excellent results.  I will do a thorough review at and I will hit the highlights here.

I used a mid-weight cotton plaid for this project.  Using plaid was the hardest part, because I wanted to have the print match up nicely on the seams.  That required extra cutting time.  It also meant cutting out all my pieces on a single layer of fabric.  The pattern has the finished hip and waist measurements printed on it.  I trusted that they were accurate, and they were.  I used the size 10 up to and through the hip, but then graded out to a 14 at the waist.  I wanted the skirt to sit lower, and there was no way my waist would have fit into the size ten finished measurement!  My skirt ended up landing right at my belly button and I am happy with that. 

Here are the results:

The fly went together beautifully and the instructions were easy to follow.  I did change the hem.  It called for a narrow 5/8" hem, but I did a deep 2" hem.  I also omitted step 14 where it said to ease in the skirt into the waistband.  Since I significantly altered the waist size, this wasn't necessary.  Remember how I said this would transition nicely from summer to fall.  Here are couple ways I plan to wear this.
Summer - You can find the blog post for the top here.
Fall - I've had both these rtw tops for years.  I am so glad the green fleece vest matches the green in the skirt perfectly.
I look forward to watching Project Runway tonight.  Also, I will be having a give-away for one of my market bags, to kick off the Labor Day weekend, on Saturday.  If you would like to be eligible for the drawing just 'like' my Aloha and Linen Facebook page and you will be entered.  Enjoy your day!