"Why in the world did you pick this name for your blog?" ...so glad you asked...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Big Year - 2012: Even Bigger

2011 was the year I began sewing for myself
I have tried to go back and count, but I wasn't great at documenting (maybe a resolution for 2012?) and I counted 25 me-made clothing items.  I still wear about 18 of them and the others were worn only a couple times and then ditched.  I didn't count bags for myself or refashioned or resized clothing in the number of me-mades so that adds on quite a bit more sewing.  And then there's clothing for my girls as well as my first baby quilt.
I guess I didn't realize how prolific I had been this year!  I always think of the Sew Weekly ladies as super incredibly amazing (and they assuredly are), but for me to make one garment every two weeks impresses me.

I'm kicking off the new year with a trip to Hancock Fabrics.  I already have a list made and my $10 off coupon in my bag, as well as some swatches for matching and some patterns for referencing.

New Things for 2012:

-I've turned over a new leaf in my sewing.  I have two muslins (gasp!) cut out and ready to stitch up, and more planned. I read the Colette Sewing Handbook almost cover to cover last night after it came in the mail yesterday and I'm pumped to become a more thoughtful, more "serious" seamstress.  I like Sarai's general vibe.  She really relaxes me about tackling new projects and especially about altering muslins.
-I have two or three vintage patterns on my short list - still a scary thought for some reason, but I keep buying more.
-I am working on blocks for a bed-sized quilt.  My first ever.
-I plan to make myself at least one, maybe two coats.
-I plan to make... drum roll, please...... pants.

My next post will be some details of pattern/fabric pairings.  I did a little stash shopping and pattern planning and I'm really excited that I finally made some decisions and my fabric will finally get used.  I have about 15 projects just using patterns and fabrics I have on hand and I'll be buying fabric for 3-4 more patterns tomorrow that I didn't have a match for at home.

So, let's see, that's almost a full year's worth of sewing (by last year's standards) that I already have lined up for myself.  Wowzers.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pantone for Spring

from www.theperfectpallette.com
I noticed this morning that the Pantone colors for Spring 2012 are official.  I like to use my own likes and dislikes to guide me when I'm buying fabric or planning some sewing, but I think it would be a fun exercise to attempt some pairings or even some new sewing with these colors in mind.
First things first.  Let's find out what is already in my wardrobe that attempts to represent these colors.
Pictures are pulled from all year and are varying in quality.  Most are me made, but a couple are not.
You'll notice that Margarita and Cockatoo are my comfort zone (and apparently Amy Butler's too, since her fabrics are where you'll see these two colors below).  

Margarita, Cockatoo and Tangarine Tango


Margarita, Tangerine Tango, Cockatoo, Cabaret, Sodalite Blue (wow! little did I know what a great color investment this skirt would be!)

(This is a dress that is in the refashion-into-a-skirt queue currently) Sodalite Blue, Cabaret


Cockatoo, Margarita, Sweet Lilac

Driftwood, very soft Tangerine Tango and very soft Cabaret

finally, some Solar power and a little of almost everything else too!

Tangerine Tango

Sweet Lilac

Margarita, Cabaret, Cockatoo

Looks like I could use some more of the colors at the top of the list, huh?  
I love Solar Power, but I don't know how exactly to use it so it compliments my complexion.  
My very fave nail polish is OPI's Done Out in Deco, so I'm glad to see I'll be right in fashion wearing it this Spring since it's pretty much the same color as Bellflower.

No other thoughts right now, except that with a quick look-see, I'm not really finding anything in my fabric stash that would build very well on these colors.  Oh well, I've got a pretty good start.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Missoni Makeover

Warning:  These are all iPhone shots.  The mirror has not been cleaned since who-knows-when.  My skin is blindingly white in the "after" shots.
Proceed at your own risk.

I almost always check out the clearance racks whenever I am in Target.  I've seen the Missoni stuff from their fairly recent and much talked about release slowly popping up on the 30% and sometimes 50% off racks, but with the original prices being what they were, I still wasn't willing to pay the clearance prices.
A couple of days ago, while perusing the Target clearance section, a beautiful knit print caught my attention and there it was, this lonely, sad looking droopy thing on a hanger.  I brought it into the fitting room to give it a closer look and see if there was any potential.  
Here is what I saw. (The t-shirt is there for modesty purposes.)  It turned out to be an XL knit romper with adjustable shoulder straps.

I took a $10 gamble, hoping I could take it from saggy baggy elephant to something cute and wearable.  
I cut the adjustable part off the straps completely since they were still way too long even at their shortest adjustment.  I sewed the straps permanently at a good length for me and took in the side seams by a good 5 inches on both sides.  I shirred the back at the waist since I really wasn't diggin' it with a belt, but it still needed some help in the shape department.

Much better!  I don't know about wearing it out as is, but I think it would be cute for pj's or beachwear.


Saturday, December 3, 2011


(Arg!  The dern spacing is off and I can't fix it!  Alright, you can read now.)

Merry early Christmas to moi!  I have admired these two particular prints from Amy Butler's Lark fabric line ever since the pre-order phase on Fabric.com.
When I saw it on the bolt at Bernina Sewing Etc, a quilt shop near Jackson, I was overcome and could no longer resist the chance to wear these amazing prints.
I made my third gathered skirt.  It's so basic, just one yard of fabric cut in half from selvage to selvage and then sewn together at the short edges to make a ginormous tube.  A quarter yard of coordinating fabric, also cut in half from selvage to selvage and sewn together at the short ends. Fold it in half to make a band and sew to the bottom of the main fabric.  Take some gathering stitches around the top (I did three rows this time after seeing the Snippet email Collette recently sent out about how much more even the gathers are), gather, and stitch to elastic with a zig-zag stitch, stretching the elastic a bit as you go.  It's pretty basic, just tedious.

I love the idea of a full skirt, very vintage, but I find them a bit fussy to wear because I'm so particular about how the fabric falls.  I think this skirt needs pressing to tame the poofiness up top and I'm also hoping it will relax some after washing.

In past versions I haven't had pockets. since they are pretty easy to add and I certainly enjoy them when I have them, I thought I should put in the extra effort for this one. Of course I love them.
It probably needs tights to fully winterize it, but I think this skirt may just become a year-round favorite.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lola Goes Shoppin'

Here is my finished Lola Goes Shoppin' bag (pattern from Izzy and Ivy designs) inspired by a bag from Ness.  I mentioned the inspiration back in this post.

I used some very thin plaid shirting from Fabric.com for the outside and Michael Miller's pennant fabric from the Mini Mikes line for the interior.  The scarf around the bag is purchased.  I wished when I received the shirting fabric in the mail that it wasn't so thin.  This is the very reason I don't buy much but quilting cottons through the mail.  I used two layers of sew-in interfacing to bolster it a bit, but another layer of interfacing or some decor weight fabric between the layers wouldn't have hurt.
The construction was straightforward until I got to the bias binding around the curves.  I couldn't, for the life of me, get the bias tape to curve around without making the fabric curl.  I don't know what I missed in the instructions, but I ended up squaring off the corners on the straps and completely cutting off the binding covered by the tabs that hold the rings to the purse.
Even though the step I thought would be quick and painless was the most frustrating, I'm glad to have a special bag for winter.  It's unlike anything else I own and pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recent Sewing

I finally have a moment and the desire to post.  Here's a short update and three mini pattern reviews.

I made dresses for myself and my two daughters for our Christmas pictures this year.  (Maybe next year I can make something for hubby too!)  We had a fun photo shoot and just got the edited pictures back yesterday.  This is the Miss Kitty pattern by Pink Fig and I am completely smitten with the way it turned out.  I have to admit that I veered from the pattern fairly significantly, some purposefully and some by accident.

I ignored the directions for the waistband and for the elastic in the neckline and armholes.  I also omitted the ties in the overskirt and the tiny apron.  I'm still not totally certain, but I think I may have cut the skirt pieces twice the width they were designed to be, making the skirt extra, extra full.  She loves it because it's flouncy and twirly which is fine by me.

My younger daughter was the inspiration for my first try at a vintage pattern.  It's a size 1/2 Simplicity pattern from the mid 70s. 
Look at the inset on the front of the bodice, similar to the Miss Kitty bodice, no?  I was tickled that I could find two different patterns with a similar vibe.  The shape of the inset on the bodice was really supposed to be trim sewn onto the bodice in that shape.  I just used the pattern markings to trace the shape onto a separate fabric and made it a separate center section.

I was kind-of surprised that using the vintage pattern wasn't much different than using any other current Simplicity pattern.  I don't know what I thought it would be like, but now I've broken the ice and I'm not afraid to try more.

The little one pictured above turned two today and a few days ago, on a whim (seems like I sew on a whim a lot), I decided she needed a cute, but sophisticated coat.  I searched back through my emails over the last two years to find the Heidi and Finn patterns I purchased before I even had my youngest daughter.  I found the Swing Coat pattern, printed it and went to work with some soft denim that had been laying in a pile of fabrics on the floor beneath my sewing table.  

It went together FAST.  I loved the simplicity of it.  I'm sure my skills gained by sewing more complex patterns made this one seem easier.  It sure was nice not to have to sew the sleeves on after the body of the coat was sewn and it sure was nice to just cut 7 pieces for the outside of the coat.  And it was really nice to be able to sew a LINED coat in just a couple hours, start to finish.
I used a big square vintage scarf I picked up at an estate sale for the lining.  I think it turned out to be a perfect match for this pattern which already has it's own vintage feel.

I think my almost-4-year-old will be getting one of these come spring.  There are so many more fabrics that would look darling made up in this pattern.  You could lengthen it and make it in laminate as a rain coat.  You could make it in velvet with a voile lining for a special occasion.  And how cute would it be in kakhi with a fun cotton print on the inside, buttons all the way down the front and a tie as a playful version of a trench coat?
Good stuff.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Self-Stitched September Run Down: Part 2

Just three more highlights from SSS '11 to share with you.

First of all, I have to admit that this particular picture, although taken in September, was not actually showing how I wore it, but how I COULD wear it for a date night that never actually happened.  I did wear it once with a tank top and cardi, but that picture doesn't show the skirt as well.  
This skirt was a refashion on the fly of an empire waist maxi dress that stayed in the closet and was rarely worn.  I was challenged by a neighbor to make a maxi skirt and it jut clicked that the dress needed a new life as a skirt.  The original dress just had a plain straight hem.  I used the elastic at the original empire waist as the waist of the skirt, which meant that there was a pool of fabric at my feet when worn at my natural waist.  I had to cut some off, so why not cut it in a curve to be more interesting?  and then why not sew it right back onto the skirt to make a ruffle?  There really was no planning ahead, I just went with it.  I love the result and now this beautiful purple knit has a new life as a skirt that will actually be worn.

This is Michael Miller interlock knit made into Simplicity 2364. I used the suggestions from Christy (www.flickr.com/photos/54638955@N04/5688903017/ and followed her blog for details.  I've worn it several times, but it's rather fussy.  I think the interlock is too thick.  It's too bunchy under my arms and I keep wanting to take the top part off as if it's a shrug.  I like the way it looks, but not so much the way it feels.

Here is my second Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress.  The key fabric is a Premier Fabrics home decor weight and, just like my first Socialite, this one was easy to make and is easy to wear.  It's rare that I want to make more than one of such a distinct item, but I am very glad to have two of these in my closet.

As for what I am doing now, I have a long list of sewing to accomplish before Christmas.  I have already completed Simplicity 2584 in plaid (my first plaid sewing!) for myself, Pink Fig's Miss Kitty as a shirt for my 3-year-old and a Simplicity pattern from the 70's for a dress for my almost-2-year-old.  These three frocks were first on my list because they are all for Christmas photos being taken on the 5th of November.
I want to make ruffled capris for my little girl to wear to the pumpkin patch this Saturday.
I need to finish up a pouch for the Pretty Little Pouch Swap and mail by November 5th.
I have committed to make 15 zip pouches for some volunteer appreciation baskets by November 15th.
I need to make my almost-2-year-old her birthday dress for her party on November 19th.  
I am also considering participating in a holiday market on the 19th and would need to make some inventory for my shop.
I want to make both girls Christmas nighties.
I have scarves to make for presents and I'd like to make my older daughter pj's and my younger daughter the Lion from Bit of Whimsy Dolls as presents.

I'm probably forgetting something, but I'm getting overwhelmed, so I'm stopping now.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Self-Stitched September Run Down

I realized as September progressed that I totally failed in doing daily, or even weekly posts about my outfits for Self-Stitched September.  It seemed to be all I could manage to post daily pictures to the Flickr group.  The nice thing is that, now, I at least have all the pictures and I can do a little run down in retrospect.  Here's part 1, in no particular order.

The month started off warm in Mississippi.  A local re-sale shop had it's grand opening and I was thrilled to find a Liberty of London by Target shirt for $6.  I didn't even try it on.  This is certainly a perk of knowing how to sew.  I was completely confident that, at $6, I could make it work, whatever the fit issues.  I had been kicking myself for missing the chance to buy some of this line new (I had no appreciation for Liberty of London at the time of the Target release), but this is even better.  Fortunately for me, all I had to do was take in the side seams and this blouse was good to go.  I am looking very forward to wearing this next Spring!

I have had 1 yard of this Patty Young knit for quite a while.  My original thought was to make an elastic waist skirt, but boy am I happy I had the sudden inspiration to buy Simplicity 2560 and make a cardigan!  I laid out all the pattern pieces before cutting because I wasn't sure I had enough, but I made it work with some creative cutting.  This gets the prize for most worn and also for most surprising coordinating piece.  I had a lot more in my wardrobe that works with this than I thought I would.

This outfit gets the prize for most comfortable while still looking dressy... unless you look closely.  These green knit ruffles area  refashion and my first try at big ruffles for myself.  I wasn't ready to pay $60 for a pair of Matilda Jane ruffles at the time, so I altered a pair of thrifted extremely-wide-leg knit pants.  I hadn't ever found a good mate for them until I tried them with my new navy knit McCalls 6203.  I haven't yet reviewed this pattern because I don't have any quality shots of either shirt I've made from it.  Maybe one day...  Suffice it to say that it's pretty basic, no baffling parts, but I would definitely like an alternative way to finish the neck.  I'm not really pleased with the droopyness and I saw others complaining of the same issue on reviews.

Here's your most basic of alterations.  It took five minutes.  I put one single line of shirring (is it shirring if it's only one line?) right under the bust line.  This shirt is an unusual purchase for me because I paid full price from Target and then altered it.  I don't usually pay full price for something if it doesn't fit really nicely.  This shirt wasn't flattering whatsoever with no shape around the bust (even though it had darts, but you wouldn't know it).  I fell totally in love with the crosshatch fabric and the color and the tie collar and had to have it.  I really, really enjoy wearing it now and, even though I had to put a little time into it, I think it was worth full price.

I wore it mostly with my clearance rack Target cardi.

And here is my Lisette Traveler dress in chambray.  On one hand, I think the length is very flattering and I love the dress shirt type hemline.  On the other hand, it's way too short to wear without thick tights or leggings underneath.  On the other hand, I guess it's a good thing colored tights and leggings are in.  This is only the second time I've worn this dress even though I made it months ago.  I wore it to church and felt like it was doing funny things all that morning.  I felt the same way when I wore it again the day of this picture.  It pulls to the right for some strange reason.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what would make something do that.  When I walk a few steps in it and then look in the mirror, the button placket is pulled diagonally to the right at the bottom.  Weird.  But I think it needs a few more chances before I relegate it to the "rarely worn" part of the closet.

And the prize for taking the most bravery to wear goes to these pants.  I was fortunate enough to procure three yards of this fabric for $6 or $7 a yard (I can't remember).  This stuff sells for upwards of $20 a yard online because it is so rare.  All of a sudden, after the rejoicing ended, the fear of cutting set in and the temptation to stick it safely in some dark drawer became strong.  I try my best not to do that though, because what good is an amazing fabric if it can't be enjoyed??  So I had this amazing Amy Butler fabric to use and a great responsibility to use it in an amazing way.  

So, I decided to go with a category of clothing I'd never made before and not use a pattern.  Smart, huh?

I made a deal with myself that if I tried pants and they didn't look good enough to wear out in public that they would just become my favorite pj pants.  I used a pair of wide-leg Anthropologie pants I owned as the pattern and went to cutting before I got too scared.  A few hours later, I had a very comfortable pair of pants that fit surprisingly well.... but looked to me like they were straight from the 70's and looked to my husband like they were straight from the Orient.
I wore it as pajama pants once and asked for feedback from all my Self-Stitched September buddies to know whether or not they should see the light of day.  They got a great reception both on Flickr and Facebook, so I finally got brave at the end of the month and gave it a go.
And got a compliment while I was out!  

More thought's on SSS '11 in another post to come.

Monday, September 5, 2011

To Do:

On August 21st, I posted this list -

In the immediate future I plan to:
finish the Ice Cream Dress
finish the Lola Bag (I have to buy some bias tape)
sew the stripey McCall's 6203 - check!
sew my Michael Miller brown Ta Dot knit into Simplicity 2364 (instead of a third McCall's 6203 as I'd planned) - check!
sew my second Jamie Dress so I can wear it while it's still hot outside
sew a shower curtain valance - partial check because I thought I was done, but don't like how it looks
sew a crib sheet and pillowcase
applique two t-shirts, at least one with Henrietta

and that's all folks!  I haven't done much on my list.  I did sew a second Socialite Dress and I bought the bias tape to finish the Lola bag.  I also made a tank top for my three-year-old from Izzy and Ivy's Polly's Playclothes pattern. I altered two shirts so that they fit a little better and I'm 3/4 done taking in some trousers.  
So, I haven't been idle, just really bad at following my list...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Colette Patterns Fall Palette

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

I watched as many participated in the Spring Palette Challenge and I didn't really have any aspirations of participating this time either because I've already sewn most of my me-mades for Fall.  As I began packing for our month long stay in DC, I realized a palette had somewhat come to be all on it's own.  This palette really speaks of the colors I'm most attracted to right now, although I love just about any color.
I do have splashes of grenadine and citrus in the mix as well, but these are my main staples, at least for the next couple months.

Fall Palette '11

And a hokey mood board:

Mood Board/Fall Palette

I'll try to refer back to this as I begin posting my Self-Stitched September outfit pics.
Color by COLOURlovers

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update About a Need to Update

I've been sewing quite a bit lately and haven't really had the chance to take photos so I can do posts and pattern reviews.
I decided to try something a little different and started cutting out pattern pieces even if I'm not quite ready to sew that garment. That way, when I find the time, the drudgery of cutting is already done and I can move right into the fun sewing part.
With this new strategy, I have sewn two Izzy & Ivy Designs pieces, the Little Vicky dress and a tank from Polly's Playclothes and have used their free applique pattern called Henrietta the Hedgehog on a onesie for a baby shower gift. I am also about 3/4 finished with the Lola bag. I've made McCall's 6203 in navy knit and have a second cut out in a stripey knit. I made my youngest a dress based on one she already owns (it turned out too big, but big sis can wear it in the meantime). I have cut out and begun an Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress for my oldest daughter and have also cut out a second Jamie Dress and a second Socialite Dress for me.

In the immediate future I plan to:
finish the Ice Cream Dress
finish the Lola Bag (I have to buy some bias tape)
sew the stripey McCall's 6203
sew my Michael Miller brown Ta Dot knit into Simplicity 2364 (instead of a third McCall's 6203 as I'd planned)
sew my second Jamie Dress so I can wear it while it's still hot outside
sew a shower curtain valance
sew a crib sheet and pillowcase
applique two t-shirts, at least one with Henrietta

I really should do the valance, crib sheet and pillowcase first, but the things you SHOULD do are not always the most fun. sigh.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dresses, Dresses, Dresses!

Why am I so dern attracted to Dresses!? I don't wear them except to church and out on dates or to parties. hahahahahahaha! That just made it sound like I go to parties. hahahahaha!
ok, I've recovered.
Seriously, I keep wanting more and more patterns for dresses because I see so many beautiful inspiration pieces on other people. Either I need to stop feeling too dressy when I wear them, or I need to STOP sewing them! The only other option I can think of is I need to find someone with my exact same measurements who is coveting every single dress I sew. Then, I can wear one for a couple of months, sell it to her and start another. Whoever you are, call me, please.

All this blabbering is, as you might have guessed, an introduction to a post about some dresses I admire and wish I could find a reason to sew.

Firstly, Vogue 8413

I've never seen this pattern before, but I thought a version like Tilly's would be awesome. A knit dress that looks dressy = awesome in my book.
I just discovered Tilly's blog. It's over there in my sewing blogroll. Tilly and the Buttons. I'm hooked.

Second dress I'd like to bring to the table is the Sewaholic Lonsdale. Here is a link to the sewalong that Tasia (the designer) is doing for her dress. That tie at the top is such a neat looking but simple-to-make detail. Here is her version of her own pattern that really sold me on wanting one of my own. Tasia's patterns receive such complimentary reviews that it makes me want at least ONE of her patterns in my stash, if only for the joy of sewing up a well-drafted pattern.

Another designer who gets great reviews for "joy of sewing a well-drafted pattern" is Sarai of Collette Patterns. I've had to warm up to these patterns, since the style is definitely vintage and I didn't used to think vintage was really my style. Now, I live in a 1950's home with some authentic 50's pieces gracing our living room. I have immersed myself in blog reading of many beautiful blogs where vintage sewing is quite the norm. And then there's the general trend in shops like h&m, Forever 21, Banana and J Crew towards mixing vintage styles with a clean modern piece or two. I have, slowly but surely, been made to appreciate the charm and versatility of vintage style.
The pattern I have been lusting after longest is the Macaron, mainly because of The Sew Convert's Festivity Macaron. This combo certainly wouldn't be for everyone, but it showed me this dress in a new light instead of having to be solid on the bottom and white on the top.

Ok, got that out of my system. Whenever that person comes along that wants to buy some of the dresses currently filling my closet, then I'll get to these.... after I sew the second Socialite Dress and second Jamie Dress I already have cut out.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Izzy & Ivy Designs

I had the wonderful good fortune to get the opportunity to be a part of a sewing class with Jana and Shasta of Izzy & Ivy Designs right here in Jackson, MS. Bernina Sewing Etc. in Ridgeland hosted Jana and Shasta for the weekend. There was a fashion show on Friday night, which Eden and Arielle were asked to be models in and then the sewing class on Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Here are my girls with the Izzy & Ivy gals before the fashion show.

I lived up to my own expectations and was able to completely finish the Stella Dress (view B) during the alloted class time on Saturday.  Look at the awesome goodies each participant got!  We all got two patterns, the sun hat and the pajamas, Sprinkles labels were included, as well as a handmade magnetic ring to keep our pins on before they make it back to the pin cushion.  (There was Dove chocolate too!)
I learned to use a rolled-hem foot, which I have for my machine at home and now will actually USE it.  I got to use a ruffler which is AHHHHmazing and has totally ruined me for ever doing it the "old fashioned" way again.

As soon as I got home, I put it on Eden and, it was already beautiful, but she just made it sparkle.  We went to a local festival that night, Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, so she had a chance to really show it off while she had some fun.

She got to look on the inside of a pediatric ambulance.  There were free leis, beach balls, tattoos and balloon animals.

The line for the balloon clown was very, very long and she got a little droopy waiting in it.

She had to stand and stand.  So I took the opportunity to take a detail shot.  :)

Then we moved on to more exciting things.  Never too dressy to hold a reptile.  She was a brave one!

Eden and her dress got no less than 12 verbal compliments and many more admiring glances.  It was a pretty swell way to spend my weekend.