Time to Dye!

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In my opinion, this has been the most creativity I’ve had on any project I’ve worked on thus far. It’s easy to follow a pattern. It’s even easy to try to replicate something once you’re able to dissect all it’s parts from a picture. But for me, it’s hard to come up with my own idea. I think I figured out how to do that in this project.

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Sparkly Seattle Tunic

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I know I’ve been a little silent over the winter, and it’s not because I haven’t been sewing, because I have been. A lot. In fact, if I haven’t been doing anything else at home, I’ve been sewing. I’ve had a couple time-sensitive projects I needed to work on. One was my costume for Emerald City Comic Con, and the other is a quilt I’ve been making with my mom for my brother’s wedding, which I still have yet to post about (but I will, when she’s done with her part of the quilt). Both have basically taken up all my time since I finished my husband’s coat, and I still need to make a dress for my brother’s wedding by the end of April, but I’m sure that will take me no time at all.

Somehow, I managed to find some time to go to the annual Sew Expo in Puyallup with a couple of girl friends. We just went for a day, and shopped and watched fashion shows like we did last year. I stuck to my strict budget, but found a few fabulous fabrics to make a few things with. Vogue Fabric’s booth was much larger this year, and I sifted through their pre-cut bundles and bought a couple knits and poly/rayon something prints. With my leftover budget, I revisited the booth of one of my favorite Seattle fabric stores, Nancy’s Sewing Basket. I ended up gravitating to a charcoal knit with gold/copper flecks. It feels like it might be a spandex blend, so it would probably make a marvelous bodycon dress, even. But I spent the rest of my budget on a single yard of this glorious fabric. (This picture doesn’t do it justice, but you can see a little where the fabric shimmers in the camera flash).

It has a beautiful drape to it, so the only thing that made sense was to make a cowl/drape neckline top out of it, and I’m sure I could eek that out of one yard of fabric. Digging through my pattern stash, I came across Simplicity 1716, which I was contemplating using on a couple yards of silk jersey I bought at Mood a few years ago. But the tunic with the fluttery cap sleeves was perfect for this fabric.

So after I was done with my costume, I decided to just make something for me with no time constraints attached. I needed something to boost my love for sewing again without making it feel like something I have to do. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, right?

This tunic went together rather quickly. The hardest part was probably hemming up the sleeves, or sewing down the pleats. If you have a random yard of a knit lying around with an awesome drape, definitely use this pattern. I might make it again, but a little shorter in shirt length, rather than tunic length, or longer again, as a dress. I love these sleeves, and it’s perfect for this time of year, too. And this fabric so reminds me of our famous Seattle color palette of greys and gloom that is classic Seattle spring.

I wore it to work today, and while one of my co-workers commented on it that it was cute, and I told her that I had just finished it last night, another remarked that he wouldn’t have guessed I made it, and that it looked like something I got from Nordstrom. Probably one of the best complements a home-sewer can get, right? :)

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Shiny

Sometime early last year, one of my friends told me I should make the famous Kaylee dress from the Shindig episode of Firefly. I don’t go to conventions or costume parties, so I had nowhere to wear it to should I make it. I laughed it off, until the same friend said we should go to Emerald City Comic Con together. We chatted about what costumes we should make, who we should go as, and how to coordinate our costumes. Eventually, I told her I’d make the Kaylee dress, but she’d have to make Inara’s dress from the same episode. She agreed, and set to work planning her dress, whereas I started freaking out about having to make something without a pattern.

Kaylee Shindig Dress

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Richard’s Winter Coat

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I also called this his “$1000 Coat”. No, this didn’t actually cost me $1000 to make, but if I were to buy it in the store, it would probably cost nearly that much, if not more, depending on who the designer was on the label. This coat was supposed to be made last year, but I got busy, I think, I can’t remember, but by the time I was ready to make it, it was the cusp of spring, and who needs a warm, wool winter coat in rainy Seattle spring weather?

Given when my last blog post was, this project has taken a bit longer than most of my projects, but that’s to be expected with a well-tailored coat like this (Vogue 8940) that contains fifty-billion pattern pieces (okay, maybe not that many, but it was probably around 20). But it was all worth it, and learned a couple things from it.

I let my husband pick out the fabric for his coat. I ordered a handful of blue and black and even green wool swatches from Mood Fabrics a while ago, and he ended up going with this small herringbone pattern. I was a little worried it might look “too mature” for him, but it turned out really nice, almost a heathered-grey, from a distance. The lining I used is a flannel-backed lining, to give him another layer of warmth.

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Sleeve cap close-up

This pattern is fairly complex, as it should be. There are many pattern pieces and techniques used in creating this coat, but it’s all worth it. As much as I dislike “wasting” my time basting, followed all the directions for basting and whatnot. There might be a few stray pink threads here and there from leftover basting thread, but the end product was pretty amazing. I had a minor mishap with the interior welt pockets (not pictured, for good reason). I’ve done welt pockets before (for the pants I made him last year), so I had no excuse for royally messing it up. However, the pockets work, even if they’re not pretty, and I even ran my error by my husband and he was okay with the outcome (he didn’t understand what was so bad about them).

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Outer pocket

If you’re in the mood for making a designer-worthy, dapper-looking winter coat, I highly recommend this pattern. The entire process is long, but definitely worth it in the end (even all the hand-stitching!)

 

 

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Go Hawks!

Seahawks hoodie at Pine Lake

If you’ve been to Seattle recently (especially sometime around February 2, 2014), you’ve probably noticed that the Seahawks are kind of a big deal right now. That’s not always been the case, and I admit that I haven’t closely followed football until last season, but I definitely get emotionally invested in the games now.

Last year, during the playoff game against the Saints, I was chatting with one of my friends over Facebook while we watched the game together. I noticed the cheerleaders had these really cool ombre (white to navy blue  to neon green) jackets they were wearing, and I commented to her that I wanted to make one of those. Granted, I can’t even find a picture of it, and they don’t just sell fabric like that, so I’d have to make my own. My friend keeps telling me that dyeing fabric is really easy, and I’m sure it is, but I’d probably find a way of messing it up. (I’m not quite ready for that stress yet).

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Lace Back Shirt

Occasionally, I look through the patterns on BurdaStyle’s website, but rarely buy them unless it’s one I must have, but cannot find in a current BurdaStyle magazine that I can check out from the library. So I collected a wishlist of them over time, and this Back Lace Top pattern of theirs was one I’ve been enamored with for quite a while. When I checked a bunch of the magazines from the library, I was excited that this was in one of the magazines. It looked so easy, and only required tracing three pieces from Burda’s crazy pattern insert. But soon after starting it, I affectionately began to call it the Trainwreck Shirt.

My lace back shirt

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Butterfly Bust Shelf Dress

I was on staycation this past week, so I had some time to work on another one of Gertie’s dress that has been sitting in the project queue for quite a while. I had all of the fabric for the project, so it was just a matter of putting it together. Since I had recently finished the applique on the Unicorn quilt top, I decided to treat myself to making this dress. I managed to finish it just so I could wear it to a sewing blogger party in the Seattle area this past weekend!

Beautiful day for taking Cassie for a walk

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Nearly Completed Unicorn Quilt Top

This has been the longest I’ve ever worked on any project. I can’t remember when I started it exactly, but I saw this design in a quilt show in 2002 and decided then that I wanted to make it (even though I had never made a quilt before). Later, in 2007, I started procuring some of the fabric I needed for it. I may have started working on it then, but I can’t remember, and I really didn’t keep detailed logs of my projects like I do now. In any event, similar as with my first knitting project, in which it lasted longer than other knitting projects I had started and finished before I had finished it, likewise with this quilt, wherein I’ve actually started and finished a few quilts before I finished this one. And even this one isn’t totally completed, but this is as much as I can do until my mom can finish the satin stitching and (hopefully) quilting.

Every year, at work, we need to set goals for ourselves. One of them can be a personal goal, whether it be learn a new language or quit smoking. When my manager sent out a reminder for us to set our goals, he used “finishing a quilt” as an example. I realize it was only an example, but between that suggestion and my mom kindly reminding me that she’s “not getting any younger” I figured that this would be a good personal goal to set for myself. And thus, only a month or so before the end of the fiscal year, I’ve finished the quilt-top (well, again, as much as I’m going to be able to finish before sending it off to mom).

And once she sends it back, I’ll probably have some couching and binding to finish off, and then I will throw a party to celebrate the accomplishment of this masterpiece.

All I had left after assembling the completed blocks was the border. The border was rather easy, compared to the blocks, so I don’t know why I was dragging my feet for so long on it. But I told myself that I couldn’t sew myself any more fun summer dresses until this was done. And that’s exactly what I did.

Below is the quilt in it’s entirety (middle), plus each of the four borders. You can click through to view an enlarged photo of each border. Be forewarned, each photo is rather large, so you might experience a long download time.

Top border
Left border Unicorn Quilt with Border Right Border
Bottom border

I have just a couple more supplies to research and buy before I can stick this in the mail, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find what I need (even though the local quilt store doesn’t have what I need, so I might need to find the extra supplies online).

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Blushy Lace Stole

After the better part of a year, I finished my first knitted lace piece: the Easy Lace Stole.

I actually really liked working with the Shibui Silk Cloud (in Blush) that I used for this scarf. It felt fragile and delicate at first, but after knitting this scarf over wood size 6 needles, this yarn is pretty tough. If I had worked on it more often, it would have knitted up faster (this pattern is quite easy). The one thing I didn’t account for was the cast-on row loosening up after the first stitches, and the cast-off row being too tight, so blocking it was rather interesting.

This scarf was done with one whole skein of Shibui Silk Cloud, so I have four left and am thinking of maybe making a pullover of some sort with it. Pretty nice length of scarf for one skein.

Definitely a highly recommended pattern for a first time lace project, and this yarn is so soft and fuzzy and nice feeling.

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Border Printed Elizabeth Dress

I’ve been busy working on some volunteer sewing for the upcoming International Convention in Seattle, which means I’ve been doing very little for myself. I finally managed to finish up the work that I volunteered for and found that I had some time to make a new dress for myself to wear to convention. I decided that this would be the perfect chance to use the pink and black border print fabric I picked up at SewExpo back in March with my sewing buddy (who is also attending the convention, so if she makes a dress from the fabric, too, we’ll be twinzies!)

Border print Elizabeth dress

I pored over my collection of patterns to look for a pattern that would give this fabric the love it deserves. Originally, I created a muslin for Simplicity 2886. It’s made for border prints and it’s got pockets: what more could I want out of a dress? Well, I’m glad I made a muslin, because when I tried it on, the waist was too high and with the looseness of the skirt, it wasn’t very attractive on me. So I nixed that.

I wasn’t happy with anything else in my collection, but then I remembered I had bought Burda’s Sewing Vintage Modern book a while ago (to make my Downtown Abbey party dress). Sure enough, there it was: the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress. It’s a very feminine, 50’s inspired dress, and basic enough that it allows the print on the fabric to shine.

It took about a couple hours to make up a muslin for the bodice, and didn’t make any alterations to it (probably could have lowered the front darts a little bit, and maybe lowered the neckline a smidge). Earlier, I mentioned that I was concerned about how stiff the fabric was, but it washed up really nice in laundry. The pattern has a side seam zipper, so I didn’t add pockets to this. But I did add horsehair braid to the hem to give the skirt some body without needing to wear a crinoline.

Pattern Description

A 50’s style, tea length, sleeveless dress.

Pattern Sizing

For this, I sewed up Burda size 40.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Mostly. The neckline sat higher on me than the picture on the model in the book, but I should have altered that myself.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yep. There aren’t very many pieces to it (more pieces for facing than anything else), and the construction made sense.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like that it was very simple, yet elegant. It does haven’t a lot of parts, so it’s easy to alter it to suit your needs.

Fabric Used

A cotton border print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

No, but I should have shortened the darts on the front and lowered the neckline a little bit, but it fits and looks lovely otherwise.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Sure! I’d probably make some alterations, try a different neckline or shorten the skirt.

Conclusion

Cute, vintage dress. Highly recommended!

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