Monthly Archives: April 2013



Hello lovelies,

I finally finished my poor neglected Colette Anise jacket just in time for (I HOPE) the last cold day of the year yesterday, and I must celebrate! Also, I want to continue blogiversary celebrations, AND I’m just plain giddy that I’m working on my favorite thing I’ve ever made ever. It’s so silly and simple, but it makes me dance, and I hope to finish it soon. I’m saving it for Me-Made-May though.

Anise is a gorgeous jacket and, although time-consuming, not a difficult pattern to follow, especially when you refer to Sarai’s sewalong posts and/or buy the Anise Companion, which has tons of photos and tips. She warns in the instructions that a jacket isn’t an instant gratification garment, and man, she wasn’t kidding.

I think I cut the (million) pieces back in October or so. Here is documentation of the carnage.


Then I had kind of a sewing and blogging slump over the autumn, then the weather just wasn’t right, plus I always seem to have a sewalong project due. At one point I got as far as the sleeves and that didn’t go so well. I thought I had lost my normally-intact setting mojo, but it turns out that I was putting the sleeves on the wrong sides, so I quit again for a while in disgust. The almost-jacket just hung there looking at me for another while. Then we didn’t have a March or April that acted like March or April. Et freakin’ cetera. I love the fabric (velveteen from beloved Fabric Mart), I love the pattern, but it simply didn’t get made for a long time.

I finally got the lining fully constructed and wanted to wear it for the perfect low-40s/high-50s day on Tuesday, but then the dreaded hand-sewing was called upon. Guess what? Inspired by Sunni’s love of fusible web, I pretty much just used Steam-A-Seam to finish the hem and all of the lining attachments and hems (except the sleeve hems, so right now the sleeves are eating my hands). This thing is fused within an inch of its life. It will get hand-sewn when I bloody well feel like it, but for now it looks really neat and clean and no one needs to be the wiser. Except all of y’all.

These pics are crappy because it was approaching evening and iPhone pics in low light aren’t necessarily stellar.


Just a peek

Just a peek–And yes, I’m blocking the garage

This is like the fifth thing in which I've used blue lining.

This is like the fifth thing in which I’ve used blue lining.


I WILL eventually put the buttons on

I WILL eventually put the buttons on

With a little attitude...So it's NOT totally finished.  Deal with it! :)

With a little attitude…So it’s NOT totally finished. Deal with it! 🙂

Anyone else have a similar experience with a WIP/UFO that there wasn’t anything incredibly wrong with, but it just kept falling down the queue? We fickle sewists.

Okay, on to the official celebration. A Giveaway!!! Gotta pass along some of the fun tools that have been helping me lately.

I meant to mention the wonder of Wonder Clips in my Mad Men post, because they are HEAVEN when working with picky stuff like charmeuse (and I assume silks, satins, etc) that you don’t want to stick too many pins in. I just got them a few weeks ago, but I use them a ton. In many cases, you don’t have to use pins to hold your seam-in-progress together at all, no matter what fabric you’re sewing.

As I was doing my Wonder Clip shopping, I noticed that there are also jumbo Wonder Clips, that have some kind of seam gauge marking on them. Don’t ask me how that works. Look it up.


If you already have Wonder Clips or just aren’t bothered, how about a roll of Steam-A-Seam so you can be a hem and zipper wizard like Sunni?

So if you want to win, please specify in the comments whether you want the 50 regular Wonder Clips, the 24 jumbo Wonder Clips, or the Steam-A-Seam. Let’s make the deadline Cinco de Mayo, which is a week from Sunday I believe, when we’ll all be well into our Me-Made-May routines.
I have no idea how I’m going to pick the winners. You’re just going to have to trust me. Please have a website or email address clickable or otherwise available in your comment.

Gotta go. Computer is dying!! Be well!




Happy Everything, Everybody!

Of course I waited until the last minute to finish the Mad Men Challenge. I blame the lovely Kristin for mentioning the deadline extension on her blog, because I had no idea and thought I needed to finish by Thursday night or so. I’m as done as I’m going to be, and while it’s not an exact replica, it’s good enough and so soft and yummy. During this experience I got to do a darn near perfect lapped zipper thanks to Sunni’s FREE (Yes, you’re an idiot for not doing this because it is in fact free) Craftsy class on zippers. If you don’t believe me, Rochelle raves about it too. It’s just too helpful and no-brainer. I also finally made myself learn a blind hem after hearing my wonderful best cheerleader/biggest critic co-workers bitch about my machine hems. (Like THEY’RE at home sewing fabulous things!) I figured that a charmeuse dress warranted a neat hem.

My inspiration dress was this lovely shot from the Season 5 cast photos.
joan1 I had to pick a Joan dress (gotta do something with these girls) and I’m all about the floral. I chose New Look 6567 because I thought the neckline would be compatible, plus it’s a simple silouhette, enhancing my good bits and kinda flowing over the meh bits. Works for me. I absolutely adored my wearable muslin, and got compliments from random people who don’t even know I sew, which means they’re not people who feel they always have to ask if I’ve made what I’m wearing and compliment me.

Here’s the muslin:

It’s a decently substantial cotton, I dare say an actual apparel rather than quilting cotton, and it feels wonderful. I didn’t bother putting a zipper in it because it was fitting great and it is a muslin and only needed to be mildly cute. I also didn’t do facings, just hemmed the neckline in. No probs. It passed the dancing test one evening last month when both my boyfriend and his brother had gigs in the area. Look out, Bridgewater nightlife! Shelley’s boogying in her muslin.

The actual dress is made from a charmeuse. I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember if it’s silk or polyester, probably poly since it was reasonably cheap. I got it on eBay and it was as close to the Joan print as I could find. It feels phenomenal on, like wearing lingerie all day. Nums. I’m so glad I did the lapped zipper, one because it was already in my stash and two because it was a dark green, which appeals to me even though you can’t see it. Any picky looking places are because I accidentally had the tension on low when I did the last stitch and had to redo it, therefore making a bit of a mess. It was by no means the fault of the fabulous Craftsy class.

We be lappin'

We be lappin’

Since the muslin fit well, the dress went together smoothly, BUT since I didn’t test a facing AND because it was a funny material AND because I altered the neckline and therefore the facing pieces, the neckline doesn’t lie perfectly flat. I think that there was also a problem with the sleeve insertion on one side because that seems to be where the pulling is from, but I’m not about to unpick a whole sleeve. It’s just going to be something I fuss with throughout the day. Seems like there’s always something I’m tending to on my garments. But overall, I LOVE.

Here she is

I left the sleeves long because I didn’t think I would like the length of the inspiration dress sleeves. Just seemed awkward for me. I was lucky enough to find the perfect trimming (at Wal-Mart no less), so that was a fortunate addition to my Joan homage.

DSC_2918 - Copy

Sadly attempting the Joan pose

Sadly attempting the Joan pose

And they’re spectacular 😉

Not too bad from the back

Thanks as always to our gorgeous hostess Julia!!!

In other news, let’s make Me-Made-May 2013 official:

I, Shelley of Cuckoo Chanel, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear a different me-made outfit each day for the duration of May 2013. I will not repeat outfits, but repeat garments are permitted if necessary and if the garment is just too cute and versatile to wear only once.

Here again is a shameless link to my Me-Made-May’12 gallery, just showing you that you can wing it even if you think you don’t have enough items. I did a lot of refashioning, and wore a quickie infinity scarf as my me-made item one day. Hey, it all works. It’s all in good spirit and good fun!! Absolutely cannot wait to see what everyone does this month. I will be lurking the Flickr group CONSTANTLY.

If all of this weren’t exciting enough, today is my one-year blogiversary. Sorry, no prezzies yet, but I promise I’ll get generous someday. I truly feel fortunate to be a part of this community. Thanks to everyone who commented on my blog when no one else was, and to all the wonderful folks I met during last Me-Made-May ’12 and all of the other events and sewalongs over the past year. Looking forward to making lots of beautiful things and meeting even more of you blogoddesses. Also, just a reminder for those living in or visiting the greater NYC area, our Google community is open for meetup suggestions
Come on over!

Major Mad Men Me-Made-May LOVE!

Chuck Lives!


When the lovely and talented Kristin over at Sew Classic decided to pay tribute to the gorgeous originality that was the short-lived ABC series Pushing Daisies, I decided to hop in and do my best version of the character Chuck, inspired somewhat by this photo:
Anna Friel is a goddess, and Pushing Daisies was such a little slice (pun intended–there are pies involved) of TV heaven. I had no idea exactly what to make, but when Alice suggested Cambie, it was all systems go. I even had some daisy fabric, so it was a total stashbusting extravaganza.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a bed of daisies to lie on, and totally not enough time during lunch breaks in our two days of warm weather last week to put together a proper photo shoot, but my boyfriend thought that these baseball players would make an interesting background. He is an artistic soul.

He also wanted to capture this lady walking her dog behind me (Well, there was a dog on the show). 20130416-071951.jpg
So that orange thing is a happy bonus that came out from this sewalong. Other than those freak 80-degree days we had last week, it’s not going to be warm enough to wear a Cambie by itself for a while, so I whipped up a cardicket (jackigan sounds kind of rude), out of some stash crepe and some delish Vera Wang lining from Fabric Mart. The pattern is technically the cardigan view of Simplicity 2154, but I lengthened and lined it, and just love love love it. ‘Twill be my go-to spring 2013 layerer.
Couple more pics. Had to throw in a few hats, because Chuck had fun with accessories.

This top-down pic taken while Lenny was racing me back to work makes me happy
Definitely check out Kristin’s amazing dress and incredible photos. She even made a pie!

Go create something beautiful.

The Flying Alma


As the temps here on the east coast continue to almost ease up to normal, and there are more than four hours of daylight per day, I can start to wear and photograph the blouses I made back in the fall. The other day was Renfrew, and today is my beloved Alma, which I finished back in October. It is made out of some kind of polyester crepe from Fabric Mart, and the collar and cuffs are in a similar crepey material that came in a mystery bundle. This blouse is a combination of views B and C, so it has long sleeves and cuffs plus the Peter Pan collar. I cut the biggest size (16 or 18) and didn’t have to make any adjustments. Amen. Darts sit perfectly, length is awesome, side zip is nice. The only hiccup I had during actual construction was the cuffs, but I think that’s only because I’d never done them before. For some reason I just could not figure out how to fold them–or something. It’s been so long I don’t remember the exact problem, but if you’re a beginner, just take your time with this step. The only other problem is that the collar doesn’t want to lie flat on one side, but I pressed it a bit last night after just hiding it with my hair for all of these months, and it actually did okay today. That crispy crepe is totally picky, and you have to cut those collar pieces perfectly. Plus using a white contrast really shows every flaw. This blouse in one fabric, maybe a nice voile or challis (April Challis month anyone?) or anything but what I used would be a SNAP. But I’m really happy I made it in this exact fabric combination, because I adore it
even if it does make me look a bit like Sister Bertrille from the Flying Nun.
All I need is that funky hat, and you know I love hats.

Few more shots …
Sa-weet semi-visible side zip
Making sure the collar is minding
Awkward pose #73
Happy Sewing, and happy flying!
Love, Shel 20130404-181313.jpg



Happy April, everyone! How are you? I’m several garments behind on blogging. Here’s my take on the cowlly view of the notorious Renfrew, which I completed sometime in January. I can’t seem to get a good photo of me in this, so I give up. I’m hoping that this is one of the last days that it’s cold enough to necessitate this warm of a top, so I’m capturing it while it’s on my body.

Renfrew is as awesome as everyone says. Zero construction problems, and it’s cool how the cowl comes together so easily. Don’t let the pics fool you–it’s a lovely top. I chose this light pink out of my knit stash because it goes with quite a few of my skirts, including this one, the first garment I ever made, back when my only goal was to make faux Lilly stuff. Looks good with jeans too. Will definitely be making the other views soon. I like the idea of making my own tshirts in whatever colors/prints grab me.



The weird shadows aren’t doing me any favors.

Here I am in the ol’ cubicle, with my trusty maps and Crewe Alexandra Football Club bear in the background. Any Crewe fans out there?

In other news, I’m psyched about all things Tilly. Finally downloaded Mathilde the other day, and downloaded Miette as soon as it came out yesterday. Also, her appearance on the Great British Sewing Bee starts this very eve. I’m a sucker for British TV and, admittedly, reality competition shows, so there couldn’t be a more perfect program for me. Go, Tilly!

In social news, there is a Google+ community forming as a central location for NYC area sewists to arrange meetups. We formed the group basically using the email list from the recent Mood meetup, but by no means is that list inclusive. If you live within reasonable distance of New York and would like to be kept up on events, the site is:

Fleur Hoare was kind enough to set this up and even kinder still to make me a moderator, so if you would like to join, either of us could help you. I’m brand-brand new to this, so I’m not 100% sure how joining works, but I will definitely send you an invite if you’re interested (please have a Google+ account). Also feel free to pass the info along to any Tri-Staters that you know. We literally just started this yesterday, so I’m sure it will evolve and hopefully grow into a wonderful social resource, for locals and for visitors.

So much to chat about–How about Me-Made-May 2013!! The lovely and talented Zoe is hosting again, and I can’t wait. My photographer has a day job now so I don’t know how I’m going to document the duds, but I had such a blast with it last year that I simply must. And I want to see your bright and shining faces on your blogs and Flickr as well. If anyone thinks she can’t do this, forget that attitude right now. I had been sewing less than three months when I did Me-Made-May ’12, and I think the experience really helped inspire me to create, plus it’s a great way to make new friends. Jump on in–the water’s fine.

My imaginary sewing queue is out of control. Anyone else going through this? If I actually listed all of the garments I would like to make in the near future, I think it would scare me. One thing at a time…

Still waiting for spring,