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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simplicity 2281

This post may be a bit disjointed because I am not feeling all that much like writing it.  I made the dress, so it deserves a review, but I'm not thrilled, so I'm low on motivation to organize my thoughts.
Let me just start with what I liked: 
I liked the way it came together.  I remember really enjoying the process of putting the bodice together.  It's lined, so it feels substantial even with my flimsy, cheap rayon from Hancock Fabrics.  I think this fabric turned out to be the perfect weight and drape for this dress actually.  Anything thicker might have been too bulky.
I like the gathering at the front neckline.
I like the IDEA of the sleeves.
I like the IDEA of the tulip skirt.

That's about it.

Now, on to my complaints:
The armpit area is too low and too open.  I'm not opposed to making this again and fixing that.  I also think it would have been fine in the long-sleeved version.
That cute little cap sleeve was sitting way too high for me at first.  Imagine the sleeve ending a good two inches higher on my arm than it does in this picture below.  Basically, I was feeling weirdly exposed with the armpit being low and the sleeve being high.  

 I totally redid the pleat placement on both sleeves and probably won't mess with this cap sleeved version again because of that.
(side note:  I am just now realizing that my camera wasn't really thrilled with my dress either, as it decided to focus on my front door and not me.  Apparently, I still have some figuring out of the-ways-of-the-remote-shutter-release to do.) 

The middle section is a tad too thick for my proportions.  If I made it again, I'd shorten it by an inch.
As I mentioned, I like the shape of the skirt in theory, but I don't think it does my booty any favors.  I'm hippy enough without anything accentuating that.  I doubt I'll ever wear this dress because of that fact alone.
Lastly, even though I really love the gathering of the bodice in the front, I'm not sure what I would need to do next time to get it to fit properly in the back.  When I first tried the finished product on, it was like the neck was just plain too big.  If I situated the dress to where everything looked good in the front, the back of the neckline and the slit sagged and gaped horribly.  I ended up unpicking the slit and re-sewing it as a "v" shape so that the tie ends started farther apart and, when tied, were more snug.
It still gapes and pulls funny.

I bought this fabric a long time ago and, while I think the weight and drape are perfect for this dress, I don't really love the color and design of it any more.

Maybe I'll grow to appreciated it more after we have some time apart, but for now, I'm just feeling kinda meh.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The "Stylish Alternative" Dress

I've been featured again over at The Sew Weekly!  I hope you all don't think I'm bragging when I post these kinds of posts.  If you knew me, you'd know that I'm just stunned and just pretty much giddy that anything I sew is getting anyone's attention.
You can see my new favorite maxi dress here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Tops

 Real quick-like.... Here's a couple of tops I entered into Made By Rae's Spring Top Sew-Along 2012.  You can go look at the Flickr pool with all the entries here.
This first one is made from a thin soft knit with a cutsie little candy print.  I bought a yard of it to make some pj's for my 4-year-old, but I wanted to see if it was going to give me any difficulties first.  So I pulled out McCalls 6078 and made this cowl neck top for myself in no time flat.  I highly recommend this pattern as I have now made two views from it and have been pleased with my results both times.  I left it unhemmed, as it will just be a pj shirt for me.

After I took the above picture, I changed into the other top I recently made.  I showed you the silk double georgette I bought from Denver Fabrics along with McCall's 6519.  I made the shell and shortened it like I said I would.  I loved it a bunch until I tried to hem it.  I unpicked my first attempt and then decided to try a rolled hem.  After I finished and snipped my threads, it looked like I had put elastic in the hem or something.  It was like it shrunk at the bottom.  Now, when I wear it, it bubbles, which is not what I was going for, but I guess until I learn how to hem silk, this is what I've got.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Butterick 9282 and Confessions

 My first vintage pattern success!  Butterick 9282.  I'm sorry I don't know the year.  I can't find it anywhere and I don't see a date on the pattern itself.
I found this little gem with the help of Vintage Textile Pixie on Etsy.  I saw a pattern in her shop I liked, but she mentioned that she had a bunch more that were unlisted.  I convo'd her to see what she had in a button-down in a 10-12 and this is one of several she gave me to choose from.
I took the pattern with me to JoAnn's to see what fabric inspired me and surprised myself with what I chose.  In the denim section was this super soft denim with a faux eyelet design and it was 40% off.  I took a leap of faith and I think the results are admirable.
I am happy to have this pattern in my stash and can see myself certainly making it again.  I LOVE the sleeves and I didn't have to make any alterations, which is incredible to me.
Very quickly, before you look at pictures.... here's my confession.  It's not actually finished.  I haven't put in the zipper or the bottom button (hidden under the belt), but I let myself take pictures of it anyway.

Confession number two: This was originally planned as a project for The Sew Weekly challenge Inspired by Art for the week of March 5th.  I had a Renoir in mind and then I lost my mojo and didn't finish in time.
Confession number three: I have no idea when I will wear this.  Possibly, fourth of July?  A Summer BBQ party that I don't have an invitation to yet?

so tell me, where would YOU wear it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Woo hoo! Jason Wu

I really enjoy seeing the collaborations Target does with major designers.  That being said, is it an insult that I usually will only get the designer pieces on clearance and then I alter them to my liking?

Here is a Jason Wu dress I found on clearance for $12.  It came with a cute skinny mustard yellow belt too, which I am holding in my hand.  
The dress is an a-line, with a large triangular panel in the center front and two smaller triangles inset on the lower half on the sides.
I think the pictures are making it look better than in real life.  Notice, though that you can't tell the front panel is triangular because fabric from the sides is billowing over it.

 And from the back... mu mu city
Here it is with the belt in the carriers where it was intended to be.  It makes me feel sad and droopy.

  And here it is after I cinched the back up with shirring and moved the belt up about 1 1/2 inches.
You can see the shape of the center panel now, which I think is very flattering.

The shirring took the side panels a little more toward the back so they are not adding bulk to the sides as before.

The belt is sitting just below the shirring.

MUCH BETTER!  and very comfortable.

I'm sorry Jason Wu, but I'm picky.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The "It's About Time" Dress

This was supposed to be the dress I completed for the UFO challenge on the Sew Weekly the week of Fabruary 6th.  But, my unfinished object remained unfinished until a couple weeks ago, and then it remained unphotographed and unworn until today.
This is fabric from my precious stash that I got in DC when we lived there for a month while my husband was in a training conference.  There's this great store called G Street Fabrics that refreshes their $3.50/yd table with all sorts of goodies weekly.  I bought about $60 worth of fabric over three visits to the shop and have been slowly working through it.
I am drawn to these soft, drapey fabrics and then I get so frustrated cutting and sewing them because they don't hold still and making a straight line seems to be impossible.  When I get all frustrated like that, The imperfections of the completed project seem to outweigh any enjoyment I might have gotten from wearing it.
I'm glad I finally got around to finishing this and then finally got around to taking pictures. If I don't style and take pictures of something I'm not very fond of, it may continue live in the closet and never see the light of day.

I like the pattern itself (Vogue 8728) and am certainly not opposed to making it again.  I think I would raise the waistline by just a half-inch or so and that's about it.  I enjoyed seeing some of the different ways things are explained for this vintage reproduction pattern that are different from modern patterns.

I think it would be fun to get a belt kit for my next one and make one to match.

 One of the niggly things that bothers me about this dress is how it's all droopy and wrinkly in the midsection when I'm not standing up straight.  What do I expect?  I don't know!  I am silly.

 I do LOVE the curve under the gathered bust, but those gathers at the neckline are tricky.  That lace detail is to cover a bit of a mess and was not an embellishment I planned on.  Hopefully it works.

This is my vintage housewife moment.
"Oh, hi honey!  You're home early!  I was just fluffing the pillows."

Thank goodness I was able to get this fabric cut relatively straight.  The lines on the fabric helped me some, but I was afraid they would indicate later if it wasn't perfect.  I'm not going to inspect it any more closely than these pictures because I bet no one else will check either.
Yup. looks ok to me.
Maybe Me-Made-May will be the excuse I need to wear it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "City of Roses" Blouse

Here's my contribution to The Sew Weekly for the Inspired by a City challenge.
As you can see, I changed plans.  I was going to use the brightly colored ITY knit maxi dress I had in the works a couple of posts ago, but I'm still tweaking it (no pattern) and I needed an alternative.  This bright floral fabric was calling and the newest patterns are always the most alluring, right.  I bought McCall's 6510 specifically for this fabric when there was a sale at Hancock's a week or so ago.
If I had known how much my sewing machine would hate this fabric, I might have thought twice about trying it.  There are skipped stitches everywhere.  I couldn't get the thread tension right for the life of me.  My rolled hem foot refused to roll this fabric.  I guess I'm glad there's a lot going on with the colors and the ruffles and gathers and things, otherwise you might notice all the flaws.
Here are some pictures from my backyard.  The blouse demanded I dance and I was helpless to resist.  I am VERY sore today.

I'm still planning to finish my maxi dress.  I have to motivate myself to unpick some seams and that's hard enough without it being knit. The thread just buries itself into knit and it's impossible to get at it.  Fortunately, I think the dress will work just as well for next week's theme: Inspired by Childhood.

Here's the inspiration picture I found in an album at my parents'.
Scary, huh?  Can you tell I am a child of the 80's?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Yay! Yay! Me-Made May!

It's that time again.  Time for the lovely Zoe to challenge the sewers in the blogosphere to actually WEAR and get some use out of the things we create.  The first time I participated in a me-made month, I was new to sewing for myself, but I think it was really a turning point.  It forced me to wear what I'd put time and effort into.  There were lots of reasons why the things I'd made weren't making it out of my closet, but the accountability of a me-made month challenge was the kick in the pants that I needed to take seriously the money and time I had invested in the few pieces of clothing I had made.
Me-Made May 2012 will be my third challenge.  Last time I committed to one me-made item every day, but that included scarves and bags and it also included altered items.  This time I'm committing to wear at least 7 me-made CLOTHING items each week.  It may not be one a day, but it has to add up to 7 by the end of the week.  No accessories included.  No altered items included, although I'll probably mention when I did alter something I'm wearing.
Here is the official blog post in case you want to join.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sewing Small Things

Wow!  I had almost forgotten how fast small dresses and pants and things sew up.  I've gotten used to taking 5-10 hours over the course of several days to sew a garment for myself and just plumb forgot that tiny clothes go so fast.
I went into a cutting frenzy and cut out about 10 things for Eden (my 4-year-old) because we are at the point where she has outgrown all her borrowed clothing.  We have been so blessed to have had hand-me-downs from a cousin for the last four years! Then, of course, the grandparents and great-grandparents want to buy clothing too, so we have had a great selection in the closet.
I decided I wouldn't ask my cousin for another tub of clothing and we'd just do it on our own from here on out.  It's been quite a task keeping track of someone else's things for four years anyway.

I have three things to share tonight and more to come.
First up, The Nelle from Brownie Goose paired with Ruffle Pants from Whimsy Couture.

Now, I have a couple of confessions.  Number one, I wasn't too keen on Nelle at first, even though she's been a pretty big hit with the sewing crowd.  I know the lovely designer, Amy Norris (her hubby and mine are/were both residents at University of Mississippi), and she makes amazing stuff, but Nelle just wasn't my cup of tea.  Then there was this sale at the Brownie Goose Etsy shop and you may or may not know, but it's hard for me to resist a sale.  And I'd heard soooooo much good stuff about this pattern that I just HAD to be in on it.
I think Nelle and Laura Gunn (fabric designer) get along pretty well, don't you?

Confession Number two.  I wouldn't recommend that you buy this pant pattern, but only because I have now turned into a pattern snob.  Unless she's changed it, the Whimsy Couture pants pattern has no difference in the crotch from front to back.  You are probably aware that your pants are more curved in the back than in the front.  Kids don't tend to have the same curves as adults, but I still think pants look better and fit better if the crotch curve in the front is shorter and shallower and the one in the back is longer and deeper.  This pattern does hold a special place in my heart because I used it for the first pair of ruffles I ever made.

Moving on.
I wanted Eden to have some COLOR in her wardrobe for Spring and Summer.  I ordered 5 half yards of various Kaffe Fassett prints and hoped that what I thought might blend as I saw it in swatches on my computer screen, would look good together in real life.  Well, they didn't all compliment each other exactly like I thought they would, but I made it work and got two dresses out of it.

I traced the bodice of a Matilda Jane size 4 knot dress we own and then just eyed the skirt.  The bodice is lined and the skirt is two layers with the hem finish a la Izzy and Ivy.  I use their banded hem ALL the time now.  I love it.  One strap is yellow and one is red, just for fun.  No twirl factor, but Eden loved the colors.  And it was perfect with the new shoes Grandma just bought her.  All around win!

The other two half yards went into this dress.

That's an unknown fabric on the bodice (the seller sent me an eighth of a yard of something as an extra happy and doggonit, I was determined to use it!), Paganelli on the first tier and Fassett for the second and third tiers.  I was silly and didn't bother to measure the length I wanted the dress to be before cutting the tiers. I thought "I have a tall girl, it'll be fine", but it's really quite long on her (almost ankle length) and even the bodice, which is borrowed from New Look 6974, is a little big.  I'm sure she'll wear it some this Summer, but it may get much more wear next year when she's taller and won't be tripping over it.  I do love pulling things out that we enjoyed the year before and finding they still fit, so it's alright with me that this is a bit on the big side.

That's all for now.  I'll try not to be so wordy next time.  More pictures, less typing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bright and Bold for Spring

Color by COLOURlovers

Here is my Spring color palette to somewhat guide my spring sewing.  As with my Fall palette. I was inspired by things I already have in my fabric collection since I won't be buying all new fabrics or anything.
Let me start by showing you some pictures of things I've already made that fit into this palette.

Next, I'll remind you of some things I have plans to make.  You've seen these, but it doesn't hurt to see them again.

And lastly, some upcoming plans you haven't yet seen.

 One of the new McCall's paired with a rayon found on the remnant table at Hancocks.  Only 4$ a yard. 

I'd like to make a slightly lengthened view A or a slightly shortened view B.  I can't decide.  The turquoise fabric is left over from my Colette Clovers and the fuschia below is some sort of nubby suiting I got for super cheap in my first order from Denver Fabrics.

Also from Denver fabrics, I couldn't resist this silk double georgette.  It's my first piece of silk!  A milestone!
And I'm scared to death of it.
I picked up another of the new McCalls and plan to attempt the basic shell.  I've read good reviews about it, but will probably shorten it to a more trendy waist length.

These happy little mustard sea horses from Heather Ross have been waiting for a friend and Jennifer Paganelli (via a sale at Fabric Mart) has come to their rescue.  Aren't they just perfect for each other?  These will become my second Sis Boom Jamie Dress.

This last one is a bit of a wild card.  It's a crazy, slippery, stretchy ITY knit I got from Fabric.com's clearance section.  It reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs and I love him, so I went for it and bought 2 yards, not knowing what it would become.  It is destined (fingers crossed) to become my favorite new maxi dress.  I'm basing the bodice off of the Sis Boom Jamie dress and winging it with the skirt.  I'll be entering it as a contributor to next week's Sew Weekly challenge: Inspired by a City.

And there you have it!  Without even planning this palette, I was already headed well in it's direction, don't you think?  I'm definitely going Bright and Bold for Spring!

It's April 11, 2012 and Coletterie just posted their Spring/Summer Palette challenge.  I'm adding the button here.
Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge