15 Tips for Sewing with Rayon Challis

Cali & Co

Rayon Challis is seriously my dream fabric! There’s something about it that feels so special and luxurious to me! So, when dreaming up my latest summer maxi, I knew it would be made from this wonderful fabric!

Rayon Challis is 100% rayon. It’s super lightweight with wonderful drape, and even though it’s man-made, it’s done so with natural fibers making it perfect for a summer dress! But, because of these wonderful qualities, it can also be a little tricky to sew with.

So, here are my top tips for sewing with Rayon Challis which from here on out will be referred to as RC. (Fun to say, not fun to type.)


In my opinion, RC is best suited for drapey garments rather than fitted ones. Garments with soft details like the flounce in my dress, a flutter sleeve, and a gathered or circle skirt would all be suited…

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#33 The Lost Art of Dress with Linda Przybyszewski

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History, home ec, and fashion converge in this episode, an interview with historian Linda Przybyszewski (Professor Pski to her students), author of The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish. Professor Pski fills us in on the fascinating and little-known story of the “dress doctors”—a group of early 20th-century seamstresses, scientists, and artists who taught girls and women the art of dressing (and living) with style, taste, and beauty. If you’ve ever wondered why vintage sewing books are so rad, you can thank the dress doctors!

Subscribe in iTunes!


Outro: “Born on a Train” by The Candy Strypers

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More Lip Balm and Jewelry Making

The lip balm I made last weekend was a hit at work.  I made some more this past weekend and handed it out to some more of my co-workers.  My next project is to make more lip balm with a different fragrant, make cuticle oil/cream, whipped body butter, and bath salts.  For what I paid for the ingredients to make lip balm, I can make at least 20 tubes a batch and that’s a lot of lip balm, so it is cheaper to make your own and sale what you don’t need.

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I had some time over the weekend to make this Black Agate Indian coil.  I used memory wire and created simple loops on each end to close and prevent the beads from falling.  I love this coil as I can wear it as a bracelet, wrap it around my neck or ankle doing the summer months.  It’s multi-faceted jewelry, yay!

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First DIY Project of 2011

It has been a long time since writing a new blog post, and this is the first entry of the year.  I’ve been a little busy, but have been itching to make something.  I’m still working on my cowl sweater and been doing some reading with an on-line book club that I have to finish reading for the first meeting in a couple of days.  I’ve been also getting into Martha Stewart as of late and got some great ideas to make.  I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, and Whole Living.  Actually, I’ve been a subscriber to Whole Living for years when it the magazine was originally named Body and Soul.  Each month the magazine has a DIY body care item to make, and I became interested in making lip balm.  So I went online to Whole Living and found a recipe for a lip balm that I liked, brought the ingredients at Bramble Berry, and this morning I made lip balm.  It took very little time to do, less than 15 minutes, and took about an hour to cool before placing the caps.  You can use the small lid containers or chap stick tubes.  I have tubes as well, but need a holder to pour the lip balm mixture without making a complete mesh.  You need beeswax, shea butter, and sweet almond oil to melt in a double boiler.  I also added vitamin E to the melting mixture.  Once everything melted, I let it cool for a minute or two and added the essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus.  I must say, it turned out pretty well, I just poured too mixture into the containers.  You could cool them in the refrigerator for a half-hour or a cool place in your home.

I am going to make more lip balm and thinking about making a peppermint cream and cream for my hair now that I realize that it is cheaper to make these products than purchasing them ready made.  Some of these products can cost over $10 each, and this girl needs to save some money for other things I want to do.

On another note, I had the opportunity to be in the audience at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday.  I did have fun, but had to stand outside for over three hours and taping didn’t start until after 6 pm.  I missed the Martha Stewart show in January because a freezing rain storm that caused the public transportation in my area to stop running disabling me from getting into the city aghhhhhh.  Well at least I had the day off because I wouldn’t be able to make to the work in the first place.  This has been my year thus far. Ciao for now.

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Cowl Madness and Busy Season

I hope everything one had a good Thanksgiving.  Now we are into one of the busiest times of year, the advent season.  Yes, we are busy with holiday parties, shopping, and working.  I have an event and a sales retreat next week, and attend a couple of holiday parties before Christmas.  I had tickets to be in the audience at the Martha Stewart Show, but due to high attendance, I rescheduled for another date in January.

I finally brought a couple of books to add to my ever growing library and yet still thinking about getting the Nook, but haven’t made a decision because I love the idea of having a book in my hand and reading.  I don’t like reading from a computer screen and causes eye strain which probably one reason I am wearing reading glasses, but I digress.  I brought Cowlgirls by Cathy Carron the other day and received it today.  The book has 41 patterns of cowl to knit that another from the beginner to advance knitter can knit.  I posted some photos of cowls from the books, but I have to say that I could knit at least 20 projects from this book and I do not feel that way about every knitting pattern book I buy.  I love knitting cowls because it’s a great alternative to scarves, and you can place around your neck without worrying of losing it.









Just is eye candy


I also purchased the book “Keys to Good Cooking – A Guide to making the Best of Foods and Recipes” by Harold McGee.   McGee is the NY Times columnist who writes the column “The Curious Cook” and author the classic book “On Food and Cooking”.  I recommend this book to all home cooks beginners and experienced.  The book details everything from how to pick asparagus to storing leftovers.  It is best refrigerate leftover quickly than slowing cooling can stimulate growth of harmful microbes.  Actually that does make sense, but I am not alone in saying that I have broken that rule and few others I probably didn’t know exist, and that’s the reason for getting reference book about cooking.  I have to say that they are no recipes in this book along with no photographs and illustrations, and I’ve learned a lot from watching America’s Test Kitchen on PBS.   Since I want to improve my cooking skills, this book will be useful for me in this goal.  Also, in an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, McGee stated that the two tools that cooks should have in their homes in is a thermometer and a scale.  I thought about it and realized that it does make sense in determining proper cooking time and knowing the weight also plays a factor in cooking.


I think I am going to call it day as tomorrow is Friday and that’s a good thing because I am a little tired.  Ciao for now.

Thanksgiving Day Countdown

I am starting with cooking for Thanksgiving early than usually.  I have to work a food even on Monday, so I am making cornbread, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pies this weekend.  The cornbread is for the dressing.  I have been making cornbread dressing the way my grandmother made it.  She would make cornbread days ahead to dry out a little to make the dressing.

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With the cornbread out of the way, tomorrow will continue the countdown with sweet potato pies and cranberry sauce.  I need to run to the store in the morning and buy a couple of apples for the sauce.  Ciao for now!

Making of a Cowl Sweater

Since receiving the Knits Picks order sooner than I anticipated, I winded a few balls of yarn to start working the cowl sweater over the weekend.  I thought it would be the best time to start knitting as I probably will start preparing food for Thanksgiving next week.  The cowl sweater is a seamless constructed knitted from the top down, so the beginning of the project is the cowl.  I think it’s looking pretty good.  More later.

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Yarn Shipment has Arrived!

My yarn from Knit Picks arrived today and was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t expecting the order until Monday.  Now I get started with knitting the cowl sweater.


It’s a nice and swishy yarn hence the name “Swish Bulky”.  It’s a beautiful color and believe this will knit up nicely.  I was I had a ball winder, but it will not take long to turn the hanks into balls.  In fact, I am going to get started on it now.  Ciao for now.

Some Decision-Making

I had off today and must admit that it feels good just to be around the apartment drinking coffee and catching up reading some of the books I purchased over the past couple of weeks.  I am still waiting for my yarn order from Knit Picks to get started on the cowl sweater I blogged about earlier in the week.  The order doesn’t arrive until the weekend which means I have to wait until Monday because the order is being delivered at my office.  I am not home during the week to receive the package, so having packages shipped to the office is the best way.

Last night before coming from work, I made a stop at Whole Foods to pick up some groceries and start shopping for Thanksgiving.  I brought some butter, flour, pie crust, and spices as a start.  I still have to plan a menu for turkey day, and thinking about making Brussels Sprouts with bacon and garlic.  My dad wants Collard Greens, but probably will make them next weekend and freeze them.  I have some decision-making to do.

I brought another book yesterday, “Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit – Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-create and redesign your Favorite Fashions”, I think the title is longer than the actual writing.  I am kidding, but why are titles so long these days?  I am will be reading this book over the weekend because along with knitting the cowl sweater, I would like to make a pair tweed trousers.  I love tweed, and was also thinking about a dress and skirt.


I found this wool tweed on Trim Fabric’s website, and tweed seems to be the trend for the fall.  I think this tweed will coordinate well with the purple I chose the knit the cowl sweater. I also love knit and it’s probably the reason for me learning how to knit so that I can make something like this Jonny Rotten jacket from “Brave New Knits”.  Blue is my favorite, this is another reason why I like this jacket and buttons are just great.  With my luck, I probably will not find these buttons, but fabric covered buttons could work as well.

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I purchased the Interweave Crochet Accessories issue, and the crochet jewelry pique my interest.  I especially like the crochet belt because it would coordinate great with a tweed or charcoal dress.  The crochet wired bracelet is lovely as well.

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That’s all I have for the moment, ciao for now.

A Sunny Tuesday–Inspiration

I had a bad experience at Purl Soho today.  Yesterday, I purchased a pair of 6 double point needles and realized this morning that I already had a pair.  So I decided to return to the store and exchange them for a size 7, and purchase some yarn for another hat project I had on my to knit list.  The employee at the store told me that they did not except exchanges, and I told him that the needles were still in package unopened and just purchased them yesterday.  I believe that this is bad customer service and it’s one of the reason why larger companies push out smaller for this reason, but larger companies aren’t fairing well in the customer service department either as the comedian Lewis Black artfully talks about in his monologues. Needless to say, I will not be returning to Purl Soho for my knitting needs.  I will go to Lion Brand, Knit Picks, and Yarn.com for yarn as I probably find better deals.  I think Purl Soho overestimates that customers are yarn snobs, but everyone eventually looks for the best deal possible.  The store is convenient, but I am willing wait a few days for knitting needles and yarn.  I also suggested that people go to Purl Soho, but not longer, I am not recommending them anymore.  Enough of my ranting, moving on to other things.

I went an interesting textile store named Habu Textiles.  It’s in the garment district on 29th Street that sells yarn (mostly lace weight) using all kinds of fibers including yarn spun from paper.  I am nerd because I find that fascinating and wanted to ask how is paper spun into yarn, but didn’t.  What was also interesting about store is the salespeople go into back and allow you to look around the store.  I have to mention that this a Japanese company, customer service is very different and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The company sells wholesale as well.  I wanted three balls of a particular and when she brought out the balls, it didn’t have the same dye lot, so she winded the yarn onto a cone.  I stop typing for a minute because that simply made my day.  I am going to knit a scarf with cone of yarn.

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I purchased the new Knitting Today Dec/Jan issue and there is a cape that caught my eye.  I do not know if am going to knit this project, but it’s a good one for someone to knit.  The photo is a little blurry.


I brought the new book “Brave New Knits” today and fell in love with these projects.  The cardigan is versatile because it can worn at the office and Sunday brunch with the girls.  I love the sweater because it is very feminine with hint of sexiness.


I just had to share this photo of a houndstooth coat done in crochet.  This coat is crochet and in the issue 10 of Inside Crochet magazine.  I do not know if I am going to stitch this, but I love it.


I picked up a copy of for “Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf”.  I have not seen the movie and think I am going to wait for it come out on DVD.  I was not old enough to see the play, but it is worth mentioning that Tyler Perry on used 16 of 20 poems and it’s a good thing to read them before seeing the movie.


This is shocker that I am writing blog entry twice in a row, but this is good because I had a chance to rant a little about the dwindling of customer service.  Ciao for now.

Cloudy and Windy Monday – Knitting Pattern Find

It’s a little gloomy in NYC today and work seems to be dragging just little now that it’s eastern standard time.  This makes for good knitting weather indeed.  I came across a website called Sweater Babe and found a sweater that held my interest to take the challenge to knit it.  It’s called the cowl sweater and can be knitted with long or short sleeves.

It’s a top down knit construction and I purchased the pattern for $7.00.  The suggested yarn to knit this is project is Knit Picks’ swish bulky yarn.  I chose to knit using the yarn, and picked the color blackberry since the shade purple is the trend for the fall season.  I decided to knit the short-sleeved version because this sweater will be very warm and trying to fit the long-sleeve under a coat will be a challenge.  I am going to do a swatch and hope that the yarn will be delivered by Friday to get a weekend start.

I have to get started with a menu for Thanksgiving, and thinking about purchasing some wool tweed fabric to sew and coordinate with the cowl sweater.   In any event, I have to wait and see because I could change my mind and want to make a pair of double-knit grey trousers.  It’s Ciao for now.

Inspiration by Anthropologie

I haven’t written a blog entry in a while, so a little late with writing my happenings.  This past week, I went was in the audience of the Nate Berkus show which is scheduled to air Wednesday, November 9.  You may not see me because I was sitting in the last row on the lower level.  I have to say the seats were the most comfortable at any venue I’ve attended.  Rachel Roy, the designer and Sherri Shepard were the guests that day.  Sherri is very funny and wonderful with warming up an audience.  It was a very good experience, and still trying to get tickets for the Martha Stewart show, but is a bit of a long-shot.

Last night, I went to see “A Free Man of Color” at the Lincoln Center Theater with Jeffrey Wright and Mos (formerly known as Mos Def) and their performances were great.  I love seeing them on stage, the two men have chemistry together on stage just like in the production of Top Dog Under Dog several years ago.  If you are ever NYC area, I would recommend seeing the production.  The costumes are fantastic.

I have been thinking more and more about knitting this bookish cardigan even in the same color.  Turquoise is color that I love and don’t mind having in my wardrobe.  I wouldn’t mind having the glasses the model is wearing either.  I feel like I need to have black skirt to coordinate with this cardigan other than with jeans.  This is a versatile piece that will probably stay with me for years.

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The other day during my lunch break, I went to check out Anthropologie’s clothes and jewelry (I also check out its home goods as well) to see what’s new.  I actually received a catalog from Anthropologie the other day, but wanted to see the clothes up front and personal.  I noticed that the company has done a lot of knit this season, and also admit that the NYC store does a wonderful job with styling the space.  The store also gives the feel of not only purchasing goods, but the idea of inspiration with books on art, creativity, and cooking.  I think the latter point is important because after looking at the prices of some of its knitwear and have to say it’s a good thing that I knit. 


Girlfriend wants to be stylish, but doesn’t want to spend every last dime achieving that goal.  I took some photos of the cardigans and sweaters at the store  This floating sparks cardigan costs $98.00 and it’s not made of all wool.  It’s mixed with some good quality synthetic fabric, but I probably knit this cardigan for less by using a sport weight yarn with a natural fiber.  I do like the design element that the designer created.  All the sweater has a mix of of wool, mohair, nylon other synthetic fabrics.


This next item is called the scarf-wrapped sweater is probably one of my favorite out of the collection. It’s a cardigan and scarf that you can button or unbutton.  The cost of this item is $148.00.


This next item is called the set free cardigan that is made of wool, arylic, nylon, mohair, and spandex.  I like the look and the fact that it has a fair isle design, and it’s priced at $128.00.


I love these trousers and probably have a pattern that I can use to get a similar look.  Actually the trousers would coordinate with the set free cardigan.   I like the drawstring and pockets and think perhaps a pinstripe or a subtle plaid.


Sunday Musings

I spent the weekend doing some cleaning and managed to get some knitting.  In fact, I just decided to quit for the night so that I can do a blog entry.  I am still knitting and coming towards the end of finishing my hat with decreasing at the top.


I am working on my sweater using Vanna’s Choice yarn from Lionbrand.  I just knitted the increase row and beginning to work the sweater in stockinette stitch.

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I purchased the new book “Stitch ‘n Bitch Super Star Knitting – Go Beyond the Basics” by Debbie Stoller.  The book is designed to build a knitter’s knitting skills in colorwork, intarsia, fair isle, cables, lace, knitting with beads, steeks, and how to design your own patterns.  The book also includes 41 original patterns.  Debbie books is one of the few knitting reference books that carries an ample amount of patterns.  There are a few patterns I would like to knit – here are few from the book:

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I love this cardigan sweater and glad that Cascade is the yarn used for this project.

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This is a really cute lace skirt and think it would fun knitting and wearing it.  The belt is from the Urban Outfitters.

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I don’t know if I will knit these lace socks, but they are really cute.  I am going off to bed, and hope that I get a chance to write a post later in the week.  I am going to the Nate Berkus Show taping this week, unfortunately I cannot take photos as it is a rule of the show and most talk shows.  I am going to say ciao for now.


Getting into Fall

I am going write a quick post of what’s on my needles this weekend.  I purchased some Cascade Soft Spun Yarn that’s on sale at 20%.  I am knitting this hat


Over a month ago, I was fortunate to win a copy of Shannon Okey’s current book “The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design” on Margot Potter’s “The Impatient Blogger” blog.  Shannon autographed the book which was a great touch.  I am going to write a review on the “Knits Men Want” in a blog post later this week.  I admit that I haven’t gotten around to reading Okey’s book, and will write about the book in a future a blog.  I am going to turn off my computer and go to bed.  Ciao for now!


A Nice Fall Friday – First Fall Knitting Project

The days are getting cooler and shorter, and the time has come to get out those knitting and crochet needles for some projects.  I decided to make a cowl because it’s a great alternative to a scarf.  It’s has been a while since my last post since August 27.  That’s almost two months, I really need to improve on writing a blog entry more often.

I have Photobucket on my phone, and found out that you can add thought bubbles and other nice things.  Unfortunately, it isn’t very readable what’s inside of the bubble, but in essence I will be making more cowls than scarves this season.  My next project is knitting a hat and fingerless gloves or wristlets.

I almost forget to describe this cowl.  I used Cascade Eco-wool on size 9 24-in circular needles.  I knitted the ends in a 2×2 rib stitch and stockinette.  I knitted the cowl in 12in in length and 12 1/2in  in width.  It was really an easy project.  This all I have for the moment.  Ciao for now!

Trial and Error, Something New

So after writing my blog post the other day, I was set to work on the world traveler necklace from Fusion Beads.  It me a couple of nights to work and finally got to end of the project and ran into a problem,  the beading wire was too short.  I thought that if I remove the last row, it would be fine, but much to my chargin that did not work.  I will have to start over with the exception of adding a couple more inches to leave room to finish off with toggle, but was not incline to restart last night.  However, I was determined to get something done, so I created another necklace with the extra materials from the World Traveler project.

I was able to use the beading wire from the failed necklace attempt to make this 26 in necklace.  It did take me a little while to string it due to the seed beads, and figuring out the placement of them.  Actually I had the concept for this necklace in my head for a couple since knowing that I would have dalmatians beads left from the world traveler project.  I received an order from Fire Mountain Gems that includes round wood beads.  I an idea in my head a bracelet and necklace with the wood beads.

This weekend, I am to write a to do list of knitting, crochet, and jewelry projects.  Now I am going to get some rest because I think my body is getting ready for fall.  Ciao for now!

Rainy Day Project

It has been one rainy day on the East Coast, actually it’s been raining on and off since Sunday.  I have been waiting for some jewelry supplies to make necklace and some finally arrived on Monday and Tuesday.  I have a necklace project on the burner for a couple of weeks, but realize that I did not have enough size 6 seed beads to finish the project.   Upon ordering more seed beads I decided to purchase another set of beads and toggle clash as I am going to make another World Traveler necklace from Fusion Beads.  I am going to have dalmatian jasper beads left over, so I am creating an original piece.

I have another order from Fire Mountain Gems on the way with wooden beads to make some bracelets and necklaces.  I purchase some turquoise beads and getting some inspiration as what to make with them.  Also re-order some beads for a project to posted a couple of weeks ago because I think I lost my necklace which took me about two hours to string because they were 15 and 11 size seed beads (teeny tiny ones).  I just may for it after making the second.  If that should happen, then I will give it to my niece.

I really need to work on an inspiration board for color schemes and patterns for making jewelry and crochet and knitting ideas.  I will save that project for the weekend, but at least start cutting out photos from magazines to get my on my way.  Ciao for now.

Jewelry Resources

Toya from Life Happens be Positive blog asked me about resources from jewelry making, my latest hobby.  I gave her a couple of books and online jewelry supply stores, but today would like to give more book and online resources.  I started making jewelry back in January or February after a trip to the library to borrow a couple of books.  My local library has a few craft classes for individuals to attend and the jewelry making class was scheduled on the day I made the trip.  I went to the class on impulse, and now I have several pieces of jewelry.  I have more necklaces than bracelets, and haven’t made any earrings yet because I do not wear them because of scarring.  However, I do see making a pair of clip-on earrings.

There is one blog I do read on a regular basis and she also has a a few books published on beading.  Her name is Margot Potter of the Impatient Crafter blog, and she creates lovely jewelry and her musings are just great.  She is author of “the impatient Beader”, “the impatient Beader Gets Inspired”, and her current book, “Bead Chic”.  The Impatient Beader is written for the beginner and has easy projects for a person to create.  There is also the Naughty Secretary Club Blog, Jennifer Perkins creates multiple crafting projects including jewelry.  A website I find very helpful is jewelry making on About.com where you can sign up for the newsletter, and get jewelry projects.

Here is a list of some other blogs and online jewelry resources:

A Bead A Day

Fire Mountain Gems

Fusion Beads

Shipwreck Beads


JNS Beads

Beading Path

Kathie Hacker

Rings and Things

Strands of Beads

Beading Daily

Art Beads

I find inspiration from reading Beadwork, Easy Wire Jewelry, and Stringing from Interweave; Bead and Button and BeadStyle are also magazines I read for inspiration and ideas.  Making a trip to the library and checking out books on beading and jewelry making can get me going as well.  I borrowed a couple of books the other day from the library, Beaded Allure by Kelly Wiese has 25 bead weaving pattern projects.  The other book, Handmade Underground Jewelry by Shannon LeVert.  This book has 25 projects for all occasions from easy to immediate, but most of the projects are easy to do.

This is what I have so far on beading and jewelry making, but I am always on the look out for new blogs and online stores to purchase beads and supplies.  There is something very gratifying in making something you can wear that afternoon or the following day.  That is the satisfying thing about DIY.  Ciao for now!