Thursday, February 28, 2013

More Frock Festing & ...More!

Hey, y'all. I'm back, and as promised I've got photos of me wearing my latest project - New Look 6000, sewn for Scruffy Badger's Frock Fest. Tom helped me out as cameraman for these, but it seems that no amount of photography talent on his part can help me be less awkward when posing for blog photos. Enjoy!

(my go-to pose)

"..should I look off to the side, like this...??"

(trying something different...)

(looking in the mirror)

"what about this?"

(cuffs close-up)

"Sue, look over your shoulder." - "ohhh, like this?"

(grab the cat as a diversion)

(much better;  just look at grumpy Duke)

I promise to keep practicing posing... and sharing all of my awkward results along the way. Some day, I'll be more polished (and will even remember to brush my hair before throwing myself in front of the camera). Anyway, I wasn't expecting it at all, but I've fallen completely in love with this dress. I've already worn it to work once and can't wait to wear it again!

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In other news, I'm about to embark on an exciting vacation, which I'll try to share with you via iPad/smartphone blog posts. Bear with me, there's a learning curve there.
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ALSO -- the adorable (and quirky) Sally of The Quirky Peach has included me as one of the bloggers she's passing her Leibster Award on to. Thanks, girl!

Firstly, can we just take a second to note how cute the Liebster Award has become? When I was awarded it in the past, it was rather drab-looking, if you ask me.

But moving right along now. Onto the survey! I'm going to be a rule breaker here, guys. Instead of nominating 11 bloggers to pass this baby on to, since I did that the first time around, I'm just going to ask that you, my lovely readers, chime in below in the comments to share some of your own responses to the following questions:
1. What is your favorite thing you have ever sewn?
I'm afraid that's a tie between my Holiday Dress, and Gathered Skirt. They've been my latest favorites to wear.

2. Do you tend to sew more for yourself or others?
Definitely myself. The last thing I sewed from scratch for someone else was a button-up shirt for Tom, that's since been deconstructed and nearly completely abandoned. I do, however, do most of my mending for others, and just a little bit for myself.

3. What is one thing you love about where you live?
I can WALK to places, like lots of restaurants and bars (i.e. no drinking and driving) and shops. I do wish there was an exciting fabric/sewing store close-by. That's something that my area is sorely lacking.

4. Do you listen to music while you sew? If so, what kind?
Sometimes. When I do, it's usually some Kate Nash, Lily Allen, Nicole Atkins, Adele, Feist... or whatever other (girly) tune strikes my fancy.

5. What is your dream project to sew?
A skirt-suit inspired by Dior's New Look. Who knows when I'll get around to it, though. Someday!

6. When did you start sewing?
I... don't quite know. I stitched by hand a lot of little doll and Barbie clothes when I was young. I also worked on a few mom-daughter projects, where my mom did all of the difficult parts of sewing something for me to wear, and I hopped in front of the machine for a couple of straight-stitching parts, then claimed equal credit for sewing the garment.

I've always liked making things in some way or another, but it wasn't until I re-taught myself to sew in 2010 that I became obsessed with sewing my clothes.

7. What is your favorite kind of fabric to sew with?
I find myself wanting to buy lots of drapey Rayons for clothes-sewing, but then not enjoying sewing them as much as something like cotton sateen. Maybe someday, I'll even sew something with the pretty silk that's been sitting in my stash forEVER, but I'm still a little intimidated.

8. What do you do if you get in a sewing funk?
Pack up all of my half-finished projects, organize my space, stay away from the sewing area for a few days, then throw open the drawers/closet/boxes and pour over everything to find a quick project. It doesn't always work, but I've had some success. Oh, and reading lots of other blogs helps, too. It seems like there's always someone out there making something that inspires me.

9. If you could be any fictional character (movie, book, etc) who would it be?
Hmm...I know I'm ignoring some perfect, clever answer that's somewhere in my brain from all of the books I've read over the years, but lately I find myself just wanting to be Jess from the New Girl for a day. ALL of her clothes are adorable. And she has a sewing machine.

10. What is always at the top of your grocery list?
Scones! We buy them weekly from Trader Joe's and I eat one with coffee every morning at my desk when I get to work. I make a point to alternate every week between blueberry and cranberry to avoid getting sick of one flavor.

11. Who is your biggest fan?
My Mom & Dad (Hi guys!) - they think everything I sew is super cool, even if it's heinously ugly. Tom is right up there too, obviously, what with sticking around to take photos of me for the blog while I flop around in front of the camera. Thanks guys!
Duke? not so much a fan. Just look at his face in that last photo. :(

And now I turn the questions over to you all.
Do we have anything in common? Are we opposites? Are there any other questions you'd have me answer?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finished Project: Polka Dotted New look 6000

It's finally here! Actually, this dress has been finished and hanging out on the dress form for a week or two, now. I've been meaning to take photos of it, but couldn't quite manage any of me wearing it just yet - I'll try to post some of those soon! Hopefully it will be getting warmer around here in the near future so I can take some photos outside...

Anyway, this is my pretty, polka dotted New Look 6000 for the Frock Fest held by Winnie over at Scruffy Badger Time. I'd had the pattern in my stash for a long time, and paired it up with another long-time stash-dweller, some  blue stretch "sateen" cotton with white spots. I'd bought it online with the vague intention of using the fabric for a party dress, but when it arrived in the mail, it was much lighter weight and not as sateen-y as I'd hoped. For my New Look 6000, I underlined the light weight fabric with muslin, similar to my technique used on my Holiday dress, to give the fabric some more heft/weight. Though, this time, I did not include a skirt (or any) lining.


Once I'd sewn everything up, added on the sleeves with little pleats at the top rather than easing & setting in the sleeve as prescribed (my least favorite sewing task), you may recall that I couldn't quite decide what to do with the sleeve cuffs. The pattern has cute little pointed cuffs, but they just didn't seem right to me for my version.

I ended up trying to re-create a "camp shirt" style sleeve (there's probably another, more proper name for this?) that a couple of shirts in my closet have, where the sleeve is long and rolls up to a shorter length, with a button tab to keep it in place. It's definitely a more casual look, but that's what I was going for.

This dress was fun to sew - it reminded how much simpler a one-piece shift dress, with no waist seam, is to sew. And it made inserting the zipper (which I botched a little bit, as usual) easier, too. The only thing is, when I try it on, I feel like this dress demands to be worn with a belt, at least on me, and the only one in my closet that works with it is this yellow bow belt. I love the belt, I was just hoping I'd have more options.

zooooomed out back shot - don't look to closely at my zipper, or the back neckline (it's missing a hook & eye)

So what do you think -- Did I make the right choice with the sleeves? Would you have used the pointy cuffs instead?  Have any of you sewn this pattern before?

Thanks for bearing with me through the mediocre photos - they were taken on my iPad and not edited, as my computer has finally croaked. I've not quite mastered blog posting via iPad - yet. :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Steamy Valentine's Day...

Black & Decker D2030 Auto-Off Digital Advantage Iron

You know you're obsessed with sewing when your boyfriend gets you a new iron for Valentine's Day - and you absolutely LOVE IT!

For some reason, up until now, I've just been using the same, cruddy $11 iron from Wal-Mart that I originally bought when going off to college (and then never used to iron clothes). I am so excited to use this nice, new, grown-up iron and steam the crap out of all of my seams, darts, collars, EVERYTHING! :D

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A frock-sewing dilemma...

So I've been working on my polka-dotted New Look 6000 dress I gave you a sneak peek of a few days ago. Everything was going swimmingly, until I got to some of the last steps - the sleeves!

What first drew me to this pattern, when I bought it like 2 years ago, was the cute collar and cuff options. Well, for this version, I'm making view E - no collar, but with the cute cuffs. Or, at least, that's what I'd planned. Now that I've got the sleeves on, and have tried on the dress-in-progress, I'm really not liking the look of the 3/4 length sleeves and can't imagine I'll be any happier with them once the cuffs are attached. Standing in front of the mirror, I started rolling up one of the sleeves...

...and I actually quite liked the shorter length. It's not nearly as short as the other, cap-sleeved option in the pattern, and seems just right to me. I'm also liking that this length and silhouette of sleeve would work well with layering under cardigans, which the pointy (but cute) cuff I'd originally planned for would not do.

However, I'm undecided on the cuffed look of a rolled-up sleeve. Should I use some contrasting fabric? Or maybe go for little ties, like Sunni did on her adorable shirt-dress? Maybe no cuffs at all, but just cut the sleeve to the length it's currently rolled to? I can't decide - please help!

What would you do?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Hello! Here is a quick look at my current sewing project. I'm still marinating on some ideas for the second Mad Men Challenge, so I'll be sharing more details and inspiration soon. In the meantime, I've been working on this.  Hint: this project just might have something to do with the Frock Fest underway over at Scruffy Badger Time. :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Round TWO!


I'm sure you've all noticed that Julia Bobbin has announced the second Mad Men Challenge. I was so excited to participate last year and am just as thrilled for round two. Last year I compiled a Pinterest board dedicated to inspiration for the challenge and I'm planning to start adding to it again as I gear up for my second version.

As you may recall, for the first challenge I made a green dress inspired by one Joan wore.

This year I'm thinking of going for something inspired by Megan, or at least something a little bit more mod. You know I love collars, and bows are pretty nice too...

If you're looking for more inspiration, take a peek at Julia's post revealing last year's participants' amazing makes.

Entries are due April 19, so you'll be seeing more inspiration and project planning updates from me as the due date approaches.

Get excited!!