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

Monday, January 20, 2014

McCall's 6754

I did it y'all!  I kept my promise.  Back when I felt obligated to give good reason for breaking my fabric ban, I promised I would make this chevron ponte from Girl Charlee into something  like this dress from Mod Cloth.

After I got my fabric in the mail, I realized I didn't have a pattern that would work.  When I began looking at patterns online, I was dissapointed to find that many called for more yardage than the two yards I had bought.

Enter McCall's 6754, pretty darn close to the pattern of the inspiration dress and I was pretty sure I could squeeze the cap sleeved version from the yardage I had.


I drew fitting advice from Mimi G (isn't her striped version killer?), especially regarding the sleeves.  I pinched about 2 inches out, just like she mentioned doing.

This dress is a smidge shorter than I would prefer, but I was concerned about my fabric restrictions and didn't dare lengthen it while cutting.

So, what do you think?  Have I done my penance for breaking my fabric restriction because I simply HAD to have this knit?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Josipa with a French twist

Here is my second completed Josipa bag (pattern by Gretelies).
This is the one that will be for sale/auction tomorrow! (Jan 20th) from 5-10:15 EST.  Like the Betsy Button Facebook page to see the other custom creations being sold and to bid.

 Don't you love the bikes?  I figured French on the exterior would make sense with bicycles.
I followed this tutorial for the interior zip pocket.  It had been a while and I needed to brush up on the best method.  This is my favorite.

The embroidery was done on my Brother PE 770 and the pattern is from Huups.

McCalls 6841

I bought McCalls 6841 with another piece of fabric in mind, and decided to make a muslin of View A to see if it was wearable and if there were any kinks to work out. I used a piece of teal knit from my stash for the back and some of a really neat ITY knit remnant bought in DC (TWO YEARS AGO) for this drapey top. 

By the way, it is totally open almost to my belly button.  You could sew it closed, but I just have it strategically placed for the photos.

It was a leap of faith to follow the directions in the pattern, but it really did work perfectly. I was sure to read some other blog posts on the pattern and knew from others' experience to trust the instructions even if they didn't seem to make sense.  It was like magic because it's all inside out and backwards and then suddenly, it's together and awesome.

Now, when I say awesome, I mean that it was thrilling to see how the pattern pieces and the crazy inside-out sewing made this finished product, but I'm not really sold on the awesomeness of it as I've styled (and I use the term "styled" loosely here) it for these photos.  
I don't think the teal knit in the back was the best choice.  I would use either black or just more of the same fabric I used for the front if I did it again.  
I also don't think it looks good with these pants and I have no idea what else to pair it with.  
I feel like it needs a shirt under it, well, for obvious reasons, I DO need a shirt under it, but I'm afraid it would start to look "vest"y, mainly because of that teal panel in the back.
That means, if I'm going to wear this again, it will probably be worn with something under, for modesty, and something over as well.

I might just be so negative because I'm sick, but I feel like all the draping in the front is really fidgety too.  I kept being concerned that it would stick out too much if I didn't constantly readjust it, not the best type of garment to add to my generally low-maintainance closet.
I had to lighten most of these photos and you don't get the full effect of this really vibrant fabric, so I took one photo in full sun so you could see.

So now that I've made my muslin that I'm not sure how to make wearable, I am not so sure I want to make this again in the original fabric I had in mind.  It's probably too fussy and I don't really have many occassions to wear this kind of top. 
If I did make it again, I would make the version with a wider back.  I would use the same fabric for front and back to eliminate the "vest"y look.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to style this?  How would you wear it?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Josipa Bag

A friend of mine is hosting a Valentine's Day themed auction with dresses, hair pretties, and jewelry and she invited me to join.  I offered to make a bag and used that as an excuse to buy a pattern I've been wanting to try for a long time.  The pattern is Josipa by Gretelies.
I decided I needed to do a trial run before I made the bag I want to offer for auction.
Here is what I made.

This was all the fabric that was left over from my Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress I made a couple years ago.

There were two blueish smears on the fabric that I cut around to make the dress, so my purse has the smears on it, but I tried my best to make sure they were on the back and toward the bottom.

I mainly used the photos in the pattern to guide me, since it is completely in German.  I also copied and pasted some of the instructions into Google Translate to double check.  I did my own thing when it came the the straps and I used an invisible magnetic snap from Tantalizing Stitches instead of velcro.

I am so glad I went ahead and bought 15 sets of the magnetic closures because I never want to go back to the ones with prongs on the back again!
I tried a non-zip pocket and it's kinda not the best looking thing because I was winging it and didn't do it right, but I like the look and the idea of it.  I hardly ever zip my interior zip pockets anyway.

This bag is definitely Spring colors, but I don't know if I'll be able to wait until then to carry it.  This is one of my all time favorite prints by Amy Butler and I'm really glad to have a bag made from it.
I pat myself on the back for a muslin well done.

See?  Invisible snap.  I love it.
You must try them if you are going to make a bag.  Michelle Patterns uses these sometimes in her patterns, which I also love, and she PERSONALLY recommended these to me (eek!  I felt like I was messaging with a celebrity through her Etsy shop page!) and directed me to Tantalizing Stitches.

Next up: The REAL bag that will be auctioned on the 20th.  Gotta get going on that!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tie Dye Diva

I need to share something before it's too late!  The lovely Jen, designer behind Tie Dye Diva and I have collaborated in the past and she is such a sweet person.  She makes useful patterns with clear directions.  When I say useful, I mean, they aren't all fluff and ruffles.  There is a place for those patterns.  I own a few.  But Tie Dye Diva patterns are basic, wearable, and adorable, the kind you can fill a kid's wardrobe from.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because she is retiring 11 of her patterns on the 11th and then you won't be able to get them anywhere ever again!  She has bundled them together for the bargain price of $15.

Here are the patterns that are included in the bundle:

If you are new to sewing for a child, this would be an amazing addition to your pattern stash.  You've got pants with variations, a skirt, reversible top, a dress, shortalls, hats... I'm telling you, this is a great wardrobe right here. 

Let me show you a picture of the Chelsea Dress I made for my daughter last year.

Cute, right?

So if you agree that these could be good additions to your pattern stash, or you want to find out more about each pattern and see more pictures, you can click my affiliate link on the right side of my blog here (scroll back up and you'll see it) to go to the Tie Dye Diva website and purchase the bundle.... and any other patterns that tickle your fancy.  

There are some other patterns not in the bundle that I recommend. I own the Perfect Party Dress.

And I also own the Big Bow Baby Dress.

OK, I won't keep you any longer!  Go get 'em!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Fabric, Better Wardrobe

I couldn't resist the Denver Fabrics New Year's Sale y'all.  Especially after scrolling through Sharon's blog and being inspired by all the pretty ITY prints she was using.
Here is what I bought and what I plan to use it for.

Vogue 1315 in a green splatter ITY knit

Another (info on the first one below) Hemlock Tee in pink splatter ITY knit.

Vogue 1378 pants in brown ponte

McCalls 6841View A or B in aqua/pink chevron ITY knit

I tried something back in September when I broke my fabric ban for a second to grab two knits I loved.  Instead of just buying them to put in my stash until I was inspired to pair them with a pattern, I felt obligated to make a case for buying them, so I paired them with a pattern idea when I bought them.  I decided the feathers would be a Grainline Scout and the Chevron would become a dress similar to a ModCloth one I loved.
I didn't make a Scout, but I did make a Hemlock Tee and it's quickly becoming a favorite in my wardrobe.

I still need to find a pattern for the Chevron fabric.  Unfortulately, I don't think I have enought chevron to make a circle skirt like the inspiration dress.  I could do McCall's 6754 and come sorta close. But I'm thinking maybe Vogue 1224, which is totally different, I know, but it's one I already own.
I have these too that were never paired with anything last year...

I should proabably make it my mission to find a match and sew it up soon before the new fabric excitement wears off, and before my next package of fabric comes.

Top Five - HITS

Let's do the Top 5 Hits today, shall we?

The Watercolor Stripe Maxi -
The things that made this a great make:
I love the fabric, both the pattern and the feel.
I had used this pattern before, so I already knew how it fit me and that allowed me to alter it to get another look.
A knit maxi dress is useful in my wardrobe.  It's the kind of thing I lust after in stores.  I'm learning to pay attention to what catches my eye in stores to help guide me in my sewing choices.  When I started sewing for myself, I think I had a mistaken idea that if I made something that was too "boring" or just looked like it could be from Target, that it wasn't worth it, so I tried to make things that were special and unique and ended up with things that were so special and unique that they never got out of my closet.

The Graduation Dress -
The things that made this a great make:
I combined two patterns to get exactly the vision that was in my head and it WORKED!
I absolutely loved the colorful pattern and the drape of this fabric.  I bought it without touching or seeing it in person, which was a big risk for such an important dress, but I WON.
I did a muslin on the bodice for fit. (go me!)  and the fit straight from the pattern envelope was perfect for me and the fit on the final dress was like a glove.

Pink and Purple Dress - (the 5th picture in the post)
This dress really deserves it's own post, but it hasn't gotten one yet.  I made it to wear to my cousin's wedding reception and I really love how easy it is to wear and, once again, the print and drape of the fabric were just a great choice for this pattern.

The Ottobre Tulip Pants -
The things that made this a great make:
These represent the beginning of my Ottobre love.  I don't use the magazines I have as much as I should because I have truly enjoyed the results of what little I have sewn from them.
The Tulip pants are practical for my daughters' wardrobes, but look (to me) like "real" pants bought from some cool boutique.  The pockets, the back yoke and the solid purple cord I used take away the possibility of a home-sewn look.

The Feather Renfrew -
This one gets the award for Most Worn in 2013!

As for misses.... well, if you want to look back through my blog, I ususally can tell up front when it's a miss or I need to change something to make it really wearable, and I say so in my post.  I don't feel like dredging up the mistakes of the past.  It might be too painful... or I might just be too lazy.  Either way, onward to a year where I hope for more hits than misses.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top Five

I did a couple posts last year outlining favorites and fails and goals, but I'm condensing.  I guess I've gotten lazy?  I'm just not that into recording thoughts/reviews about what I'm sewing as much lately.  Maybe I'll get my blog mojo back soon.
Let's start with goals.  My goals last year were:

1. Sew a coat.  I have the pattern.  I have the fabric.  I've just got other stuff in line before it.

Aaaaaand there's still no coat.  I still have the fabric and the pattern.  In fact, I've also got a vintage little girl coat pattern now too.  So, I'll see that goal and raise you to two coats this year.

2. Sew a swimsuit.  I attempted panties recently and it wasn't a total fail.  I could see how, with a few more tries and some tweaking, I could come up with some comfortable swim bottoms and that opened up the possibility of making my own swimsuit.  That would be so cool.

I did tweak and try again.  I ended up with some decent swim bottoms and a decent top that still needs padding added, but honestly, I won't be wearing it at a pool.  I still have enough fabric for two more tries and I will continue to make it my goal to make a swimsuit I love and will WEAR.

3. Sew something for my husband.  I don't even know what it would be, but I know I would bust with pride if he ever actually wore and enjoyed something I made him.  I'd love to accomplish that.

I did not accomplish this BUT!  I have a two Departure Satchels cut out. One for me and one to surprise him with for our 3-day Walt Disney World trip in Fabruary.  So I will accomplish this goal in the next month.

4. Take control of my sewing space.  My sewing has really just become an out-of-control craft.  It wasn't really properly planned for.  It just happened.  This year, I need to recognize that it's a hobby that is sticking around and organize to make it more accessible and enjoyable.

I did this... sorta.  I have hooks to hang my scissors on, shelves for my books, a cabinet for my fabric.  But guess what?  My scissors still hang out on my sewing table and my fabric is spread out in piles all over the floor.

5. Finish the ridiculous postage stamp quilt that I started TWO YEARS AGO!!  I am just going to feel like such a lame failure in the back of my head until I FINISH IT!

Haven't TOUCHED it.

So my goals for this year will be much the same.

1. Sew a coat for me and one for one of my girls.

2. Try again to sew a swimsuit.

3. Sew something for my husband.

4. Continue to organize my sewing space.

5.  Pooh on the darn quilt for now.  I'm going to make my last goal to sew more from the Ottobre mags I have.

Ok, maybe I will break this post up into several.  I'll do top 5 makes in another post.
Linking up at Crafting a Rainbow!