Scarf is More Than a Corgi Long!

So yesterday, I lost my job. There was a round of layoffs, and I was apart of that group. Oh well! It’s life. Guess that means more time for sewing and knitting while I’m a housewife! (Until I find a new job, that is). While I was catching up on my nearly-full DVR last night, I realized that I hadn’t posted an update on my Doctor Who scarf in a while. Well, lo and behold, it’s finally longer than Cassie!  I think I’m almost at a halfway point, so hopefully it will be 11-feet long when I’m done.

Cassie and Doctor Who scarf

Cassie and Doctor Who scarf

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Emerald Downton Abbey Party Dress

I can officially call this one done!

When I had all the sewing done, I went on a quest to find the perfect trim. I made sure to measure what was needed for around the neckline and the belt. My husband was feeling under the weather and I thought maybe some pho soup would help him (plus, he likes pho soup). Fortunately, there’s a pho restaurant next door to the local Hancock. I found a super pretty beaded lacy trim that I liked for the neckline. It was pre-cut to 1 yard in length, so I had to choose a different trim for the belt, since the belt was 41″ around.

After I got home and started pinning the trim to the dress, that’s when I realized that the trim was too wide to go over the straps of the dress. Arg! I still liked that trim, so I’m keeping it, but I need to make another trip to Hancock to return the other because I didn’t like it so much.

The next day, I went to Ben Franklin at lunchtime, and found their small selection of trim. Lo and behold, the perfect trim existed! It was 1″ wide (right width for the straps), black lace with black pearl beads, and a green iridescent filament on the edges. It was just right for the dress. After work, I sewed it on, and was content with the completed look.

Finally, this morning, my friends and I went to the mall (before it got too busy) and took a bunch of pictures.

Photo by Eric Bailey

Photo by Eric Bailey

Also, I submitted the dress for the Vintage Modern contest at BurdaStyle.

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Nearly Finished

It’s starting to look like a real dress! Actually, I could probably wear it now, if I wanted to, but it still needs the belt and bows on the shoulders at the very least (if only because I’ve already cut out the fabric for those pieces). Pressing this thing is still proving to be a challenge, but once I get it on the ironing board, it should be a little easier.

I think charmeuse sheds more than faux fur! Even though I’ve overcast every raw edge with this fabric (especially on the flounces, because they edges are still kind of exposed), this fabric is fray-tastic.  I’ll have to go through and trim some of the frayed strands when I get closer to finishing the dress (again, especially on the flounces).

Before I took this picture, I threw it on to make sure it still fit and I was ecstatic! It fit perfectly, looked lovely, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the fabric moved (even if charmeuse is proving to be a pain). It’s lovely lovely lovely. Can’t wait to get this done and embellish it a bit!

Nearly completed Louisa Drop-Waist Dress

Nearly completed Louisa Drop-Waist Dress (Instagrammed)

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Shiny “Tank Top”

I’m allowing myself a respite to write about my progress over the last two days.

On Friday, I was feeling tired when my husband and I were returning from dinner with friends, but I knew I had to spend time cutting out fabric that night. He made us some coffee and I stayed up until 1 AM cutting out fabric after consuming two cups of coffee.  The next morning, I woke up at 6 AM because I couldn’t sleep and was compelled to finish cutting fabric so I could get started on sewing.  I stopped last night because I noticed that the small pieces I had cut for the facing (interfaced pieces of the dress that are on the inside) had shifted while I cut it, so I needed to re-cut them with the rotary cutter, as if it was a stretch knit. Also, after washing the fabric (even though it’s polyester and unlikely to shrink, I washed it anyway), a few stains showed up on the fabric. Unfortunately, there was a big stain on the back piece of the bodice I had cut. However, I had more fabric than the pattern actually needed, so I cut out another back bodice piece, checking for stains in the fabric beforehand.

I think I got everything all cut out before I left for crafting that morning (where I learned how to do cable knitting. It’s really not as hard as I thought it would be, but the pattern I’m using is constantly switching back and forth between purl and knit, so it was a little frustrating at first. But the knitting deserves a post of it’s own…). I didn’t get back to sewing until that evening when my husband and I got back from my parents’.  I was tired again, so another pot of coffee was made, and I got started on sewing.

Completed bodice of the Louisa Drop-Waist Dress and a shoddy pressing job

Completed bodice of the Louisa Drop-Waist Dress with a shoddy pressing job

Last night, I was able to complete a majority of the bodice, stopped when I got to a rather tricky part with sewing up the seam on the armhole. Despite the coffee, I was feeling tired again and didn’t want to make a mistake, so I headed to bed. I woke up about 7:30 this morning and got right back to work. By noon, I had finished the bodice. Forgive the lighting in the picture and my shoddy pressing job. (I promise I’ll do it right when I’m ready to finish it.)

I tried it on after I finish it, and it fit fine. Not too loose or too tight in the top, and feels and looks most like a long shiny tank top at the moment. The more I look at it, the more I’m thinking about what kind of embellishments need to go along the neckline, and along the matching belt. I’m thinking black, lacy beads right now, but that could change. Also, the pattern calls for two bows to be added to the shoulders as well.

So far, I’ve learned that next time I work with slippery fabric, I’m not just using lots of pins, but also a rotary cutter. Using scissors seems to leave too much room for error with slipping fabric. Also, charmeuse sheds, a lot, so I’m neatening all my seams with this one.

This leaves me with just the skirt, the belt, and the bows to finish, which I might be able to get through tonight. However, I will want to add embellishments, so hopefully I can get that sometime next week.

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Downton Dress Downer

Last night was my second night of tracing pattern pieces for the Louisa Drop-Waist dress, and the first night of a near anxiety attack while doing so. Fortunately, I figured out the engineering error I nearly made before making it, writing a note to myself as to how to resolve the issue, and went to bed. I was pretty tired, which is probably what led to the near anxiety attack.

Earlier this week, I had been eagerly awaiting a couple packages that were to arrive on Monday. One was from KnitPicks and contained extra yarn for my Doctor Who scarf. The second was the fabric for my Louisa Drop-Waist dress from DenverFabrics. Unfortunately, due to weather, the packages were held back a day and didn’t arrive until Tuesday. So Tuesday came, and my KnitPicks delivery was on my front porch when I got home from work. My husband said the mail carrier was still at the mailboxes when he went to retrieve it, so we went to dinner and picked it up on the way back. I was also expecting a couple other packages, but didn’t think that they’d arrive until later in the week. Well, I was surprised to see our mailbox jam-packed with padded envelopes! (I’m sure our mail carrier was annoyed with how infrequently we empty our mailbox).

Here’s what I hauled in that night (I was so excited!): stretchy sequin headbands for making feathered headbands with the girls during our Downton Abbey party later this month; my emerald (polyester) charmeuse and lining for the Louisa Drop-Waist Dress; a refill of yarn for my Doctor Who scarf (along with a crochet hook that I can’t remember why I bought it, and cable needles for knitting); and finally, a set of Star Wars fat quarters for a baby quilt for a friend. Yesterday, our mail carrier delivered my order of feathers (for the headbands) to my chiropractor’s office down the street, even though our address was clearly on the long package tube he delivered. (Now, I’m pretty sure he’s annoyed with us).

Crafting deliveries!

Crafting deliveries! (Instagrammed)

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My First Finished Knitting Project

Finished the Elis Cowl. Decided I’m going to gift it to a friend after I block it and run a lint brush over it. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and yay for it being my first finished knitting project!

Elis Cowl completed

Elis Cowl completed (Instagramed)

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Finally Using My Leftover Yarn

While waiting for the extra yarn to arrive for my Doctor Who scarf, I needed something to knit. My hand were seriously getting antsy with nothing in my hands while watching TV. I’ve pretty much run out of my craft allowance for the month, and as much as I would have loved to join a KAL (knit-a-long), I’ve been trying to figure out a way to use up the rest of the Cascade Yarns Venezia Sport yarn I bought for the cowl I crocheted.

I started browsing (oooh, big mistake!) I had to bookmark every nerdy and cute pattern I could find, while actually looking for patterns that would use my surplus yarn. First, I found a hat to make for Richard. He said he liked the leftover green and white yarn I had, so I started a sample swatch to make sure I could actually do the 2 x 2 ribbing. Yay, success! Okay, let’s cast on. What I didn’t realize was that I needed to use circular needles that I could reach all the way around with. My 24″ circulars are a wee bit long for the hat. (Later, Mom said I should be using double-pointed needles [DPNs], so maybe I’ll go that route when I actually do start the hat). Like I said, I’m out of my craft allowance for the month, so even if I did go to the craft store to get some smaller circulars, I’d want to pick up yarn to join in the KAL, so I had to devise another plan for my yarn.

Setting aside the green and white for Richard’s hat, that left me with over 150 yards of the peacock blue yarn. I happily settled on the Elis Cowl, which would help me learn to knit-in-the-round and learn a new stitch too! The Indian Cross Stitch technique is very pretty when executed well, but it was a little intimating at first. Thankfully, there’s YouTube, with a collection of instructions on all the knitting stitches I’ve ever needed to look up! In three nights, I’m about a third of the way through, with a goal to complete it by Monday, when my yarn shipment arrives. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s turned out so far. It will look a lot better when it’s blocked, I’m sure!

Elis Cowl

Elis Cowl (Instagramed)

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Acceptable Roaring Twenties Muslin

After some discussion online, it became apparent to me that I have not been altering my patterns correctly. In fact, I’ve been ignoring other kinds of alterations, probably mostly due to being in denial that my body might actually not conform to commercial patterns aside from my pear shape. So this time around of making the muslin for my Downton Abbey Party Dress, I cut all the pattern pieces apart so I could make alterations properly.

I started by taking more measurements than just the three horizontal ones. I compared my back waist length (15 3/4″) to that of the pattern size I was using (16 1/6″). Not quite a half-inch difference, but still significant enough that I threw on the first muslin, marked where my natural waist is and then compared it to the waistline on the pattern. Fortunately for me, it matched! I didn’t need to shorten the bodice above the waist. Phew!

On to my “normal” alterations. Since the “skirt” portion of the dress is so much lower than the waist, I can’t just increase the hip on the skirt pattern piece (believe me, I tried, and it was… bad). Also, I needed to increase the length of the dress by 3 inches (otherwise, the hem [not including the lowest flounce] would come up to my mid-thigh when I sit down, and that’s also bad). Traditionally, these dresses went as high as the knee, so that’s where I wanted it to be!

Normally, I would just tack on 3 inches to the bottom of the skirt, but with the flounces in this skirt, that’s not going to work. Oh, what’s that? There’s a shorten-or-lengthen-here line below the waistline on the bodice pieces? Well then, that makes sense about where I should lengthen it then! I chopped up the pattern there and slipped in pieces of paper for the additional 3 inches.

To transition the size between the waist and the hip, I combined the bodice and skirt pieces (front and skirt, and then back and skirt). Then I used a curved ruler to true up the transition between the size I am in the bodice through to the size I am in the hip. Fortunately, due to my lengthening of the dress, the only changes happened in the bodice pieces, as by the time the curved ruler met the appropriate size to accommodate my hips, it was at the bottom of the bodice. I made the same changes to the back bodice piece, too.

After all the appropriate lines were drawn, I copied it over to pattern paper, cut out the pieces of muslin, and sewed it together.

Altered Louisa Drop-Waist Pattern

Altered Louisa Drop-Waist Pattern (and Supervising Corgi lounging on the futon)

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Commercial Patterns Have Spoiled Me

Downton Abbey season 3 is about to start in “The States”, so I’m going to DVR the episodes and have a viewing party with girlfriends. While organizing with my girls, I had this great idea to make a 20’s inspired dress for the party (and maybe if it turns out well, I can wear it out in public). I was talking to an online friend about costume patterns, and there really aren’t a lot of drop-waist styles out there in commercial patterns. Fortunately, she found a really good option off Burda’s website. I always forget about Burda when looking for patterns!

Louisa Drop-Waist Dress

Louisa Drop-Waist Dress

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Winter Break Wrap-Up

The week between the Christmas and New Year holidays, my employer usually gives us time off. I planned to spend my time catching up and rebuilding momentum on my various sewing projects since I had recently finished the applique on the Unicorn quilt blocks.

In addition to the knit maxi skirt I made, here’s what else I worked on:

Pinkie Pie Experiment

Pinkie Pie applique and embroidery

Pinkie Pie applique and embroidery

As I mentioned earlier, I have an outfit concept, and my muse is Pinkie Pie from the modern My Little Pony cartoon. One of my girl friends linked me to a tutorial on applique so I could figure out what I could do better. It was super helpful! I decided in my next attempt that I’d try using thread that was close to the color of the fabric, which worked out really well. I was pretty happy with how the finished applique looked, that I did the embroidery too. The inner style lines I did in an embroidery thread  that was the closest match I could find in my stash, and I embroidered the eyes and the cutie mark on the flank. I think I could have done a better job with the eyes, but the cutie mark turned out pretty well.

So I’m satisfied with how the applique/embroidery turned out, I just need to settle on a skirt style for it. And then test out the embroidery on a swatch of sweater knit I ordered from Mood.

Penguin Pajamas

Penguin pajamas with Tater the cat and Cassie the corgi

Penguin pajamas with Tater the cat and Cassie the corgi

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