Friday, December 31, 2010

Rescued Sweater Recon

I found this sweater at Goodwill a few months ago.  It was huge and long, but I could see the potential in the cute covered buttons and embroidery!  It's also 100% merino wool.

Before (I was a little overeager and had already ripped a sleeve off):

I chopped off the bottom below the buttons, resized the body and sleeves, reattached the sleeves with a little gathering at the top and at a 3/4 length, and made a bottom band out of the extra fabric.

I'm really happy with how it turned out!  The buttons aren't functional, it just slips on.  I thought about adding some colorful embroidery over the existing embellishment, but I think it'd be too much.  What do you think?

Next up: Simplicity 6459 in this gorgeous blue vintage-looking cotton.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Corduroy Dress Disaster?

Well, I guess I should've taken the advice of other reviewers on this one.  I got this brown baby wale corduroy at JoAnn about a month ago and I knew I wanted to make a shirt dress.  I researched shirt dress patterns and even though a bunch of people said the collar on McCall's 4769 was really difficult, I figured I could handle it.  I was so wrong!  The collar stumped me for a good three hours even with the help of my new dress form, Matilda.  I've never made a collar with revers before.  The way I'm used to seems so much easier!  Eventually I ended up fudging it and doing my own thing which sort of works.  Looking at these pictures, I realize just how obvious the discrepancy is between the sides.  Oh well!

Otherwise, the fit of the dress was surprisingly good.  Usually patterns are a little short waisted on me but this hits perfectly.  I chopped a good 5 inches off the length even though I did view E, the shorter length.  I like the sleeves even though they confused me at first.  I did have some issues with fitting the sleeve into the bodice matter how much I tried, I couldn't fit the sleeve in without at least a little gathering showing on the outside.  The bodice is also a little big on me, but I don't mind the extra space so much.

I like the look of this dress and I'm mostly satisfied with the finished product, but I won't be making this pattern again and wouldn't recommend it to others.  There must be an easier shirt dress pattern out there!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sketchbook Cover for Dad

My dad told me he wanted a new sketchbook for Christmas, but I wanted to find a way to personalize it a bit.  I found this free tutorial at Bloom and adapted it for an 8.5" x 11" book.  I used a quilting cotton from JoAnn's and some fusible fleece, and did some simple embroidery on a few of the leaves.

The thin brown border wasn't intentional...the tutorial was fantastic, but somehow when I basted it together and tried it on the sketchbook for the first time is was about .5" too short on the top and bottom.  Agh!  I added the brown linen to compensate, but it isn't as neat as I would've liked.  Oh well, I don't think my dad will be too critical.  I think next time I'll make one for my planner!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to life!

Whew.  I guess it's been awhile.  Actually, I guess it's been a full quarter.  School kept me pretty busy and then I got mono around Thanksgiving.  I'm home for break now (and feeling much better!) and I'm working a lot but am still finding time to sew.  I whipped up my version of Simplicity 2512, the immensely popular Cynthia Rowley skirt, in about 2 days.

The only changes I made were eliminating the tie and the binding at the hem.  Instead, I finished the hem with some yellow lace from my Oma's stash.  I sort of made up the technique...I'm not sure if it's legit or not, but it works!  I also added a tiny bow at the front to cover up my less-than-perfect binding.

I tried my first-ever handpicked zipper, and it worked okay.  It looked good until I tried it on and realized that the fabric didn't quite meet all the way at the top.  Oh well!

I love this pattern and will probably be making it many more times.  I'm thinking a spring version next, or maybe one in some pretty brocade.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I went to the coolest store yesterday.  I was expecting to find some unusual fabrics, but wasn't super impressed by the fabric selection.  It was all pretty pricy and nothing was that exciting.  I did buy two older Vogue patterns for $5 each, 8554 and 8443, and as I was checking out the woman said that the "warehouse" was through the double doors behind me.  

I really wish I would've taken a picture of this place, but I didn't have my camera on me.  The warehouse doesn't have any fabric, but it's an enormous room stocked full of shelves upon shelves of notions.  The friendly guy working there said that 99% of their business is online, and they sell to Macy's, Dillard's, and other huge companies along with lots of local tailors and smaller boutiques.  They had plenty of stuff for  home sewers too, and a huge clearance section.  

The loot:

One huge bag of buttons, including really awesome vintage metal ones, for $4.  They just hand you a bag to fill up and the buttons are sorted, so I got about 10 or 12 of each kind I liked.  

8 zippers for $2, and 2 spools of elastic thread for $1 that I didn't take a picture of because everyone knows what elastic thread looks like.  The tan zipper in the photo is 40 inches long!  I have no idea what I'll ever use it for.  Unfortunately not very many invisible zippers were on sale, but that's alright.

I could have spent hours in there wandering around and looking at all the threads, trims, lace, and buttons, but I had limited time.  They also sell sergers, sewing machines, irons, and just about any sewing accessory or notion you could ever want.  However, I've been searching for hook and eye tape forever and they didn't have that.  

$7.40 for all those notions plus $10 for 2 patterns is pretty darn good.  Afterward I dropped $60 at JoAnn on fabric and didn't feel so great about my thriftiness anymore!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Frilly BurdaStyle Top

I got behind on taking pictures AGAIN, then realized I had to get a card reader to go with my new macbook, so I finally took some pictures of things I've made recently.  I'm going to post about them one-by-one so I have something to write about!

This is blouse 119 from BurdaStyle 8/2010.

Not the most flattering picture, I know...I need to enlist someone to be my photographer!

I've never successfully worked with this kind of light material before.  It's 100% polyester, but it feels like chiffon.  I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, but I did a couple things differently.

I did pintucks instead of bigger pleats like the directions said.  I suppose I could use a pintuck foot; they aren't perfect, but I think they work.  I also did the ruffle a little bit differently, by folding it so there were no raw edges showing and stitching it first right side of the ruffle to wrong side of the blouse, then folding it over and topstitching.  I'm not a fan of the raw unravelling edges look.  I used the selvage for the sleeve edges so I didn't have to hem them.

Finally, I used this tutorial over at Threads to finish the hem.  It's a couched edge, and I'm definitely going to use it on future projects!  It wasn't perfect this time and I actually did it backwards, but I think it works.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm bad at this...

So I'm not too great with updating regularly.  I do have the excuse of moving back into my apartment at school this week.  I haven't done any sewing for about a week, since before I left.  I just started cutting out the pieces today for the Coffee Date Dress (BurdaStyle) in one of the African fabrics I wrote about earlier.  Hopefully I'll get it finished in the next couple days!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer at the Country House Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

Summer at the Country House Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

I really love the little details on this dress.  The piping, the lace peeking out the bottom, and the perfectly-matched buttons are wonderful!  A classic and easy piece to pull off.

Serger Contest!

Here's my entry.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

The Stretch KnitWit: An Epic Poem

There once was a girl
Who was not a sewist.
She loved to play outside all day.

She swam and she swung
‘till the sky grew dark
And her mom called, “Come in, Becca May!”

Still something was missing,
She needed much more.
She wanted to make something new.

So one day she decided,
“My poor dolls need clothes!”
And she started collecting balloons.

She snipped and she trimmed
‘till she had a small top,
Then a dress and a skirt to match.

She dressed up her dolls
And to her great surprise,
She was asked to create a whole batch!

After her and her friends
Outgrew their doll phase,
She still felt the need to create.

Watching her mom sew
She came up with a plan
To prepare for her very first date.

“Will you teach me?” she asked,
With great unease
Of the hulking white whirring machine.

The next day they began
With a trip to JoAnn
And the place made her feel quite serene!

Despite her fears,
She turned out a skirt
And from then on she was persuaded,

But she had many issues
And broke lots of needles.
Her initial successes had faded.

She loved the dolls’ clothes
Because balloons can stretch.
She wanted that in her own clothes.

But each time she tried
To sew with stretch knits,
She ended up saying, “this blows!”

The fabric would stretch,
Contort and unravel.
She just couldn’t get it to behave.

Then one day someone said,
“You just need a serger!
You must have been born in a cave!”

Once the girl heard
Of this magic machine,
She knew she must have one herself.

But on closer inspection
Of prices online,
She threw that plan back on the shelf.

For now she was in college,
And there was no way
That she could afford such a prize.

So she kept on sewing
And messing up hems.
Stretch knits were to be her demise!

Then she learned of a contest
On “Sew Mama, Sew!”
That just might stop all her headaches,

“A serger!” she cried,
“It’s just what I need!
I could finally make Vogue 1178!”

“My stretch knits would fit
And chiffon wouldn’t fray,
My seams would all be so pretty!

My future children
Would just be so glad
That ‘Sew Mama, Sew’ took pity!”

“Please,” she said,
“Make my sewing as simple
As making doll clothes from balloons,”

“When posting on Craftster
About my projects,
I’ll no longer feel like a buffoon!”

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Fabric!

I'm super excited.  Why?  Because a friend from high school just brought over some fabric from Uganda!  She was there for awhile working with a rehab shelter for women and children, and she learned that her cook was also a seamstress.  She was trying to raise enough money for a new sewing machine to further her business while simultaneously supporting her brothers and sisters.  Megan decided to sell this women's creations to her friends in the U.S., and I asked about purchasing raw fabric.  I got 3 yards of 3 different wax fabrics for $10 each, and the seamstress earned enough to buy a new machine!

My only problem is that I'm too afraid to cut into them!  I'll have to figure out some really fantastic projects...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunburned Seamstress

So I just got back from a trip to Rehoboth Beach and I got sunburned...badly.  Oh well, I have another week to get some projects done before heading off to Boston for a week, where I hope to find some good fabric stores!  Also, my first issue of BurdaStyle came while I was gone so I'm excited to work on some of those projects.  First up, however, is a skirt I promised for my mom.  I'm just copying an existing pattern of a skirt she loves in a tan linen with embroidery.  Another project for this week is to finish up my entry for the "Sew Mama, Sew!" serger contest.  It's going to rock.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer projects!

So I procrastinated taking pictures for awhile because I'm a terrible model.  Tonight I got my reluctant mom to help me out, so here are some things I've made over the last couple months.  I'm going to try to be better at taking pictures regularly so I don't overwhelm myself!

First up, New Look 6864, view C+D+I+L.  I tried it awhile ago in some black satiny stuff and it was a disaster.  I love this mosaic-like fabric but I think it would have been better on a less complicated design.  You can't really see the neckline details here, but I still like it!  My only change was to add a second waistband of the same width.  Next time I'll just cut the waistband twice as thick, but as it was it looked babydoll-ish and I'm not big on that style.

Next is Simplicity 3850 for the shorts and the camisole pattern from "Alabama Studio Style" for the top.  This was my second time working with the shorts pattern (my first attempt was with denim).  It's turned out pretty well both times, but I changed a few things this time.  I added patch pockets on the back instead of the fake flaps on the pattern, I made the leg a little wider and longer so I could cuff it, and I took in the waist just a little bit.  They're a lot cleaner and more comfortable than my first try. 

I absolutely LOVE "Alabama Studio Style" by Natalie Chanin.  They have such inspirational designs and the pattern is a great base for making your own designs.  The cotton top was actually my second attempt at the camisole.  I conquered my fear of buttonholes, which originated the first time I tried to do them on my mom's old machine.  It's so much easier on my Babylock!  Those 12 buttonholes were a breeze.  Next time I'll make the straps thicker.

Here's the first attempt of the camisole top.  It was inspired by an Anthro top...I did gathering with elastic thread vertically and horizontally on a panel slightly bigger than the regular middle panel.  It turned out ok, but it's definitely a prototype.  I have some changes in mind for next time!

The fabric looks like it's washed out towards the bottom but it's just the camera.

Finally, these last two are both from Butterick 4914.  I love this pattern, and I made the blue one back in the spring.  I did some hand embroidery around the armholes because I'm hopeless when it comes to finishing the edges of jersey.  Any suggestions?

I could probably stand to take in a little at the sides of the red's a little baggier than I'd like it to be.  I also added a neckband type thing on this one, but it ended up a little high.  Oh well, better than too low!

Thanks for looking!  My future posts won't be so massive.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The beginning!

So.  I never thought I'd create a blog, but here I am.  The main reason for MayMade's creation is the inspiration that I've gotten from the enormous sewing/blogging community.  It seemed so exciting, I just wanted to be a part of it!  Also, as loving and supportive as they are, my parents/friends/boyfriend are never that interested in my creations.  Sure, they complement me and all, but I need more!  I need to talk patterns, fabrics, and notions with someone.  I need constructive criticism.  Hopefully through this blog I will improve as a sewist.  Join me as I hone in on my skills and delve into other new, exciting, and very intimidating art forms.  Random tidbits about school, flute practice, and life will most likely be thrown in too!