Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break Fail!

Well, my goal was to post a lot over spring break.  That obviously didn't happen.  I did lots of sewing though!  My biggest problem, as usual,
 was taking pictures...I was the only one home for most of the day, I didn't bring my dress form home with  me, and it was way too cold to go outside in short sleeves!

Now I'm back at school but it's still very cold.  Until it warms up, my dress form will have to do!

This is Simplicity 2936, view D (the purple one) with some alterations.  I love this pattern--only 4 pieces, very versatile, and easy to put together!  My only complaint is that this pattern has a TON of ease.  I cut my usual size 12 but ended up taking it in to probably about a 10.  

I extended the back darts all the way to the hem because there was so much excess material at the bottom.  I also left the elastic out of the sleeves because I feel like puff sleeves make my arms look bigger.  I thought that maybe they'd just get that draped effect but I should've known that quilting cotton wouldn't drape well!  Instead I cut off about 2 inches from the bottom and added a huge dart at the top to make them more fitted.

Finally, I hand-sewed some pretty lace onto the neckline and the sleeves.  I planned on doing two rows around the neck but I thought it might be too much.

I'm really happy with how this top turned out!  I like the neckline and the fit, now that I've altered it.  I think I might try view C, with the tie-sleeves and the collar, sometime in the future.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wardrobe Basics

I've been thinking about the practicality of the things I sew.  I'm getting better about making separates instead of tons of dresses, but there are a few key wardrobe pieces that I'm missing.  I'm going to try to alternate basics with fun skirts and dresses so I don't get burnt out!

Here's what I'm missing:

1.  A black pencil skirt.  I already have Butterick 5249 in view A all cut out, I just need to find some black suiting.

2.  A black slip.  Not exactly a difficult project and I'm sure I could do it without a pattern, but I might use "The Undies Book" just for fun!

3.  A pair of trousers that actually fit.  I recently bought Simplicity 2562 and I'm hoping the contoured waistband eliminated my swayback issues.  I always get that gap in the back no matter how well pants fit me elsewhere, and it drives me crazy!


4.  More lightweight blouses.  I usually wear solid t-shirts with colorful skirts or jeans, but I want some more tailored tops.  I have the patterns and fabric for two different ones which should be done in the next couple weeks!

That's not too ambitious, but I'm sure I'll add more items to my list.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Blouse Refashion

I found this top at Goodwill a couple months ago.  I loved the lightweight cotton and the ruffles but it was a couple sizes too big and crying out for some color!

The top had a side zip, but I decided to turn it into a button-up.  I cut straight up the center, between the ruffles, and applied lace to the inside like in the picture below.  That gives the buttonholes a little more stability and covers the raw edges.  I lapped the right side over the left and made buttonholes.

Then I removed the sleeves and sewed up the sides to fit.  I had to reshape the sleeves a little to fit the new armholes, then I sewed them back on.  Quick and easy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: "The Undies Book"

I first heard about this book on Casey's blog and I immediately started looking for it!  I've been interested in making pretty underthings for a little while and I found this copy for about $15 on EBay.  

The book is divided up into two sections: Section One deals with fabrics, fitting techniques, and sewing techniques.  Section Two has patterns and directions for 25 different projects.  The information in Section One is a little dated in terms of available fabrics, as the book was published in 1976, but the fitting and lace insertion techniques are still very valuable.  

The patterns included are: five underwear patterns, pettipants, pants liner, four bras, three girdles, five slips, one pair of adorable cami-knickers, three camisoles, and two knitting patterns.  I'm particularly drawn to the slips since they're an unreasonably high price in most department stores.  The patterns are 1/4 size and you could enlarge them by taking them to a copy shop and enlarging by 400%, which could be pretty embarrassing, or copying them on tracing paper with 1" blocks.

Each pattern lists materials needed, tools needed, and the procedure with very comprehensive directions and illustrations.  

While it's usually easier to judge a project by a photo of the finished garment, I think these illustrations are adorable!  Maybe I'll get around to making something from this little book while I'm on spring break. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Forever Dress

It's finally first ever dress for a paying customer!  Granted, the customer is a friend and not a random stranger, but still!  The only people I've ever made clothing for other than myself are my boyfriend and my mom, and those were pretty loose garments.  This dress is very fitted.  Because of that, it took me four months to finish!  It's not that the directions were complicated, it was just the fitting process that took so long.  Luckily I got my dress form for Christmas, otherwise it would've taken much longer.  My friend, Melanie, is tiny...I had to set my dress form to the smallest setting possible!  Enough want to see some pictures, right?

The pattern is Butterick 5319.  Melanie and I went to JoAnn and she picked out the pattern and the fabric.  The dress has a crossover bodice, side zip, pockets, and is fully lined.  It also has a sash, which I made, but I prefer it without.  The dress looks adorable on Melanie but I'm still not 100% happy with it, which drives me crazy!  The left side, where the zipper is, doesn't line up exactly and the zipper sits a little low.  I unpicked the zipper twice to improve the fit, but the final time the sides just didn't line up.  I cut the seam allowances too short when I attached the bodice to the midriff to be able to fix it, so oh well!  It makes me mad that I'm giving her something that I'm not completely satisfied with, but I know the errors are probably more obvious to me than to other people...right?

I did some decorative embroidery on the lining just for fun.  I love when RTW clothes have little details like that so I try to add them into my clothes too!  My boyfriend ordered those cute labels for me for Christmas.

On another note, I found a spring jacket this weekend at Gap, which means I'm not going to make one!  I'd rather make cute floaty blouses and skirts anyways.  Speaking of, I visited a Hancock Fabrics that's about 30 minutes away on Saturday.  I'd never been there before, and I was so impressed by their selection!  I picked up these beauties:

Quilting cotton for Simplicity 2936, view D (the purple one).


Green patterned rayon for Simplicity 2601, view E (middle row, left).


I've never felt rayon before, let alone sewn with it.  It feels so luxurious!  The price wasn't bad either, about $7/yard on sale.  I cut out the pattern for 2936 (only 4 pieces!) but I probably won't get any sewing done until spring break.  Only a week and a half left!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mom's Birthday!

Here are a couple little things that I made for my Mom's birthday, which was last Thursday.  Happy birthday, Mom!

A little zippered pouch, made with scraps from my stash and this wonderful tutorial.  I love the canvas-like outside fabric.  I have about 4 yards of it!  I got it at a vintage shop, but I haven't made anything with it other than this.  I'm thinking about a bag for spring, maybe view B of Simplicity 2685.

I visited a little bead shop that just opened up in November, and the owner helped me make these earrings.  The total was only $10 for both pairs!  I really jewelry making, but I don't think I can afford to pick up another hobby!

I know I've been saying this for weeks, but I'm finally almost done with Butterick 5319.  I'll post pictures soon!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Aw, shucks!

The lovely Amber of The Evening Tree has nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award!  Thanks, Amber!

To accept, I'm supposed to list seven things about myself.  Ready?

1. I can't do a cartwheel.  Honestly.  It's pathetic.

2.  I was born in San Francisco, but we moved away when I was very little.  I love that city!

3.  I'm an avid reader and will read just about anything that's put in front of me.  I (almost) always have a book with me in case I have a couple spare minutes.  Right now I'm on "The Pillars of the Earth" by Ken's great!

4.  I also love traveling, although the only time I've been out of the country was to go to Canada.  My dream destinations are Greece, Ireland, and Australia.

5.  I (technically) know how to play all percussion, string, brass, and woodwind instruments!  Oh, and piano.  I'm a music education major and we take classes on all instruments to be certified to teach.  Bassoon was fun, trumpet was terrible.

6.  I used to row crew in high school.  I loved it and I was in fantastic shape, but it took up too much time.  I'd love to pick it back up again someday!

7.  I have a ridiculous pattern collection.  I can't help myself when JoAnn has sales even though I think my pattern drafting skills are sufficient to alter the patterns I have.  I also have about 120 vintage patterns that I got on eBay for about $25.  Maybe we'll do a giveaway at some point?

Now for some nominations!  I'd like to learn some more about these bloggers:

Kristie from Above the Clouds

Wendy from Le Petit Dejeuner

Leisl of Leisl Made

Molly of Molly's Sewing and Garage Sale Adventures

Cecili of Sewing and So On

Verity Clothing...I couldn't find her name.  Oops!

Sarah from The Forty Acre Wood

As you can see from my blog roll, there are SO many other bloggers that I think are incredibly talented and creative.  As far as I could tell these ladies have never received the award before!
So that this isn't an entirely pictureless post, here's my next planned project.  I've been on the lookout for a navy blue spring jacket in the stores for a couple months now, and I just can't find what I want!  Being dissatisfied with the selection in stores is actually one of the main reasons I sew.

I think I'm going to use this pattern, 127 from Burdastyle 2/2011.  I love the shoulder epaulets and the buttons on the sleeves.  I might leave off the top patch pockets...we'll see.  I still have to find the perfect fabric, but I'm going to be a good seamstress and make a muslin of this one first.