Thursday, November 29, 2012

What next?

Are you doing or planning to do any holiday gift-making/sewing? I don't currently have plans to be sewing up any festive dresses for holiday celebrations yet this year, but I do plan to do little bit of secret gift-making, which means you won't be seeing any of it until around January.

Until then, I'm trying to figure out what relatively un-complicated project for myself I should start next. I did some digging through my sewing area last weekend and pulled out these fabrics and patterns - some new-ish, some not so new.

If I make the blouse, I think I'd opt for version D - all 1 fabric, no pin-tucks or ruffles, and actually omit the sleeves, for easier layering. I have no idea if I'll use that cute Liberty lawn for it at this point, but I threw it in the picture for kicks.

The dress is one I've been wanting to make in some sort of cozy fabric, the collared version in particular. I just recently saw Nina's adorable version made up in a pretty wool crepe and I know Nicole Needles has made one too (I just can't seem to find it right now). I've got this red/white hounds-tooth flannel, which would definitely be soft and cozy, but could also be a little bit odd. Have you ever sewn a flannel dress? Or flannel ...anything other than pajamas?

I'll probably just see where inspiration takes me and end up making a split-second decision right before I grab everything and start cutting (sounds wise, no?) -- but I'd love to hear what you all think, too. I'm a little bit afraid to plan anything out too much, because I've found I sometimes start to lose interest if everything is all pre-set when I start something new.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanks and giving

Thanks for your nice comments on my double-knit peter pan collar blouse. It has definitely become a new favorite in my wardrobe. 

I hope all of my American friends here had a happy Thanksgiving holiday! I certainly did a lot of eating, drinking, and relaxing and was definitely thankful for the time off to reboot and gather my thoughts. I also did a bit of organizing and collecting some unused things around the house to donate... which means I get to pass some of the giving-away on to you all, too!

Up for grabs after being uncovered from the depths of my sewing area are my copy of Simon Henry's The Little Black Dress: How to Make the Perfect one for You, as well as an uncut New Look/Project Runway dress pattern.

Got a holiday party to sew a dress for? This giveaway could be right up your alley. The book has a bunch of fun and inspirational pictures and helps you set up your own pattern block, rather than including printed patterns. The New Look 6048 dress pattern has a super cute halter bodice option with a pleated skirt that has pockets. Unfortunately, I have too many dress patterns hanging out in my stash to justify keeping this one around, but I can't wait to see who wins it and sews it up!

  • To enter, leave a comment on this post no later than 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, November 30.
  • Make sure your email address is linked to the account you comment under so I can get in touch with you if you win, or just type it in with your comment to be safe!
  • Everyone who comments will be entered to win both the book and the pattern - there will be one winner.
  • There will be 1 randomly picked winner to be announced within the first couple of days in December.
  • Anyone can enter and I'll ship to any place in the world. 

As always, thanks for reading this little blog and taking the time to leave me nice comments and advice! I love sharing my latest sewing projects and plans with you all and will have updates on my upcoming sewing plans soon. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's a Bird... it's a Plane...!


What! A new make with my favorite collar type, ever!

For this top, I used an animal print grey/black double-knit from my stash, that I think I'd originally bought months ago because I'm afraid of jersey and other slinky, stretchy knits, but wanted to make a Renfrew. Well, this isn't a Renfrew (double-knit would probably not be a good choice for that anyway), but it is a casual top and was my first time sewing with double-knit as well as making raglan sleeves.

I made it from this cute vintage McCalls pattern, using View B. These tops have that 1960s boxy-sack shape going on, which is super comfortable, but not always super flattering when un-tucked (especially when your hair doesn't look as cute as these girls' in the illustration, to balance out the look).

Anyway, the sleeves were great to sew and I'm already planning another raglan-sleeved project. The stretch of the double-knit helped work out any fitting issues and I pretty much just sewed it like a regular woven fabric.

Another thing, other than the raglan sleeves and peter pan collar, that I liked about this pattern (in theory) is that there are no zippers or buttonholes, just a little peek-a-boo closure at the back neck. The only thing I didn't like about the reality of this particular closure, is that the pattern has you make it like 17 inches (exaggerating) long, which is a bit excessive! I couldn't tell quite how big it really was going to be until I'd finished sewing, at which point I made a "harrumph" noise and threw a safety pin in there around the half-way mark in the opening.  I got even a bit more MacGuiver on this baby when I then used a chopped up HAIR ELASTIC for my little button loop, because I didn't have anything better. It actually turned out pretty okay.

The little sparkly button is just a lonely one from my button jar that had lost its mates. It was definitely fun to pour out my entire jar of buttons and sift through it looking for the perfect one - hadn't done that in a while.

Something else I hadn't done in a while? MENDING. Blerg. This weekend, though, I was a good girlfriend who mended her guy's favorite cardigan that had been sitting in the mending pile for EVER, and then even altered one of his dress shirts (pats self on back) by adding a couple of long back darts. That may make you think I have some sort of tailoring skillz, but we'd actually just been at the real tailor earlier in the day to pick up another of his shirts in the exact same size and cut, so I was able to basically copy what they'd done there.  Shhh, don't tell the tailor.

Also, I've just started reading this:

I'm probably the last sewing blogger in blog-land to read this, but better late than never, eh? I'm only on Chapter 2 so far, but it's already really interesting. Leah of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam did a nice write-up of her thoughts after reading it, which I enjoyed reading (and you might, too).

One thing I'm already appreciating about the book is that Elizabeth Cline, the author, cites the research of the author of Service and Style, which I read a little while ago. I looooved learning about the history of department stores in America. It really made me wish (even more) that I lived a few decades ago instead of now.

Anyway, that's enough nerding-out for now. I'll be back soon with more details on my next project, and maybe even an upcoming giveaway.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sew over it.

Sometimes, things don't work out. Sometimes, you just need to channel your inner, "not-amused" Kristen Stewart (does she ever actually look happy? If you find one where she does, it's fake.) and face facts. This blouse is not working, and there's no point in even hemming it.

yes, we hang laundry to dry on the shower curtain rod in this house.

dirty, smudged mirror!

Ugh, at least my nails are gold and sparkly, haha. SOMETHING cheerful. Anyway, these bust darts are not happening, the armholes are too large and gapey, the center seam is ripply like fried bacon (fail on really capturing it in these photos), the back NECKLINE is a saggy blob, the whole dang thing looks wrinkly and sloppy beyond belief, AND I AM NOT AMUSED. The end.

Moving on! (why does this keep happening?) Perhaps I'll revisit the Jasmine blouse by Colette Patterns at a later date, but right now I'm over it. On to new and exciting things. Like mending the mr's  sweater that has been sitting in my to-mend pile for...a year?

Also, maybe starting a new project for me soon. Updates to come...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do you like... sparkles?

Because I do! Here are my two latest vintage finds: (oh - I also should have asked if you like the 1960s, because otherwise these might be lost on you...)

This fantastic beaded, sequin-covered, rhinestone-strewn sweater top is my latest favorite thing. I didn't actually have to go digging through a thrift store or estate sale for it, but I'll still call it a "find." I spied it on etsy at the cute vintage shop Lemon Icebox Pie. There's currently a sale goin' on over there, so I suggest you check it out. As for my new top, I'm thinking I'll pair it with some dark, slim-leg pants (RTW, not sewn by me - someday, I'll be cool enough to sew pants) for a festive look around the holidays. One thing I definitely like about this top is that it's jeweled...meaning I don't have to try to pair any major jewelry with it! It takes care of itself.

My other latest vintage find, was more of a "find," since I dug through racks and racks of clothing at the flea market I went to last weekend in order to find and rescue it. It's a blue and black nylon material dress with bias-bound neck and arm openings and a peek-a-boo closure in the back (no zipper). I particularly love the little cord belt it has and the cute little belt-loops. The waist has some hidden elastic strips, one on each side to give it a bit of controlled gathering for a consistent look when the belt is tied.

I wore this to work last week with some black tights. One of my coworkers was lik, "oh, Susan looking nice today. Is that a sundress?" I didn't even know where to start, because, it's not really a sundress, but it's not really anything else either - oh, plus it's a dress, and everyone I work with pretty much just wears t-shirts and jeans. What would you call this style of dress? A shift? It just seems like it has a little bit more going on than what I picture for a shift dress. Is it a sheath? Is that the same thing? I obviously have no idea what to call it, but I do think it's adorable.

In other news, my Colette Jasmine blouse is coming along. I was making good progress this weekend and even had the sneaking thought to myself "hmm, maybe I'll finish this today!" but, alas, that was wishful thinking. I got to the point where it was time for me to attach the collar, and things started to get a little hairy. 1st, it seems like whenever I'm making something with a collar, no matter how much I measure and cut carefully, the two halves of the collar never come out the same size. Then, I pin the crap out of them to get the collar pieces onto the shirt for sewing, and once I've stitched, the collar has somehow become slightly off-centered and crooked. THEN, when I go to make the bias tape to use instead of facings for the neck and armholes (I'm omitting the sleeves on this version), using the Colette Handbook, I manage to eff it up so many times that I end up with 1" bias tape, folded in half, to make 1/2" strips, that baaaarely cover up my seam allowance and are impossible to fully stitch down, since I can't get the dang raw edges to ever line up completely to begin with. ANYWAY, just in case I lost you there, here's a kind of a visual.

Jasmine is currently in a blob on my sewing table, with some hand-stitching half done to try to make my scrappy bias tape do its job. I'll be revisiting her later this week, if not next weekend in hopes of finishing up. I've got some other projects planned that I'd rather be working on, so, yeah.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sewing with Sheets

First off, thanks for your comments on my last post about my plaid skirt. I was a little underwhelmed with the final product when writing that post up and after re-reading it now, I just wanted to thank you guys for being supportive, even when I'm being a bit overly critical of something I've made.

That aside, I have a question for you. Bedsheets - do you ever sew with them?

I personally have always thought it was a great idea to sew with fabric from a sheet, but have yet to try it out. I love that you can pretty much count on (used) sheets always being soft, easy to find, cheap, and available in cute, funky, and eye-catching colors and patters. And, as if that weren't making them tempting enough to sew with, there are MANY cute examples out there of adorable outfits stitched from bedsheets. The two bloggers whose bedsheet makes have really stuck with me are Adey Lim of The Sew Convert, and Cindy of Cation Designs (who hasn't drooled over one of her cute outfits?).

The Conquering My Fears Shirtdress

This cute top above and below is Adey Lim's “Darling Stash” Peter Pan Collar Blouse

This cuff inspired the cuffs on my polka-dotted Peony.

And more dresses from Cation Designs...

Miss Lavender Goes to Hawaii

Anthropologie Knock-Off: Artist's Rendering Dress

That's right - all of these were made from BEDSHEETS!

I'm obviously quite inspired by these ladies' cute makes. So much so, that, when I was at the thrift store today browsing through the linens section where cuts of fabric are sometimes hidden, I made a b-line for this floral sheet. Before I knew it, I'd purchased it and was skipping out the door. $2.50? GIMME!

check out my new sheet!

I really like the autumn-y color scheme of this floral sheet, especially the mustard-yellow shade that's in there! I've been trying to scheme some way for me to wear mustard colored clothing, without having the unflattering hue right next to my face - this fabric could be the ticket! There's a white background and enough other colors going on, that I dont think it would make me look like I have Jaundice. Yay! There's enough fabric here in this sheet for a dress... but I'm kind of leaning towards a blouse.

What do you think?

Dress? Blouse? Skirt? PJ's?

Have you ever sewn clothing with a bedsheet? Pros/cons? Any tips or tricks to keep in mind? I'm dying to know.