Sunday, June 30, 2013

What’s in a Name?

Turns out, wielding an iron in this unbearable heat is less than pleasant.  So the sewing on this dress is progressing slowly.  But each stitch does bring me closer, so slow progress is better than none at all!  

And this sweater is almost finished – I just have to find or make myself some suitable buttons.

So many unfinished projects! 

But I just had to do something creative this weekend, even if I am adding to the unfinished pile, so I started another sweater.  Since there are only a few inches of yarn to hold at this point, it is not terribly hot to handle.

I have a purple obsession, so this yarn was an obvious choice.  However, I do not believe I ever noticed the color name:  Velveteen!  How yummy is that!?

The pattern is from A Stitch in Time, Volume 2.  It will eventually have a contrasting collar and floral embellishments if all goes well.

And now I am off to hand wash some sweaters - might as well put the heat in the apartment to good use . . .

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Winner of the Pattern Pyramid Giveaway is . . .

By random number generator, the winner is . . .Brigid of Boyer Family Singers!  Congratulations! 

I will be contacting you soon about getting your pattern goodies to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered.  And happy stitching!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The End of a Long Week

It was quite a week - I feel as though I barely had time to breathe.

One of the lawyers I work for decided he wanted to move offices a couple of weeks ago.  Translation:  he wanted me to move everything down the hallway.  Other than the heavy furniture (which I absolutely refuse to touch) there has been a massive clean out that is probably about 10 years overdue.  I am so tired of shredding documents and moving files!  There was also some crawling around and untangling computer wires and fending off generations of dust bunnies.  Yick!

The process is still not finished, but this week was spent frantically trying to catch up with actual work that was put aside while accomplishing a long overdue “Spring” cleaning/purge.

Rifling through all those old documents at the office reminded me that I have some old pictures that never made it to the blog!  Namely, this dress!

These are some photos from back in March.  I never got around to going through them, and since I have been boring everyone with construction stuff lately, I thought I would share one of my more adventurous makes.

When this dress was completed back in 2011, I was sure I had made a huge mistake.  The print scale was so much larger than I anticipated, and all those swirls completely mask the interesting style lines of the design.

Turns out, this is one of my favorite garments to wear.  It may be a bit loud and obnoxious, but sometimes something different is just perfect.  And now I have an excuse to make another version in a solid color!

The weekend is going to be spent trying to keep cool!  There will definitely be some sewing; I am not too sure about the knitting needles - yarn and high temperatures do not always go together very well . . . and the sewing room could certainly do with some Spring/Summer cleaning and organization!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 2787
Snood:  Made by me, Perky Snood
Shoes:  Miz Mooz
Fishnets:  Hue

Earrings:  Macys
Bag:  Harveys Seatbelt Bag

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hand Stitching and Underlining

This linen/cotton blend is extremely sheer.  And while that works for many designs, a slim fitting dress is not one of them, in my opinion!

I decided to go with the green satin as a backing.  Those butterflies needed a bit of foliage as a backdrop!

I am currently hand basting my pieces together.  This time around I decided to cut the fashion fabric first, since it is more stable than the underlining I have chosen.

And the sleeves will be a single layer of the linen.  I am using French seams for those pieces.  The cuffs will probably be underlined – but those pieces have yet to be cut, so I am still not sure about that!

In the mean time, I have quite a few darts to stitch!

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Unexpected Find

I just love pleasant surprises!

Last time I was in JoAnn Fabrics, I picked up some bemberg lining, and while I was waiting for my fabric to be cut, I thought I might as well peruse the fabric selection.  I generally head straight for the lining section, grab and go, before I choke on all of the polyester.

But low and behold, there was a lovely linen and cotton blend with some pretty butterflies winking at me.

I purchased a few yards with no particular project in mind.

And before I made it home, I had an idea for the fabric.

McCalls 5106 is from the Sew Weekly pattern/fabric swap I attended many moons ago.  It did not have a pattern envelope, but thanks to the Vintage Pattern Wiki, I can share the original colored illustration with you.

I plan on substituting the sleeves from this blouse.

Which means that a muslin is necessary.  I am also grading up the dress pattern, so I want to be sure that my vision will work before I cut into the lovely print.

The fabric is quite sheer, so I am going to underline it with some rayon satin I have – I just need to decide on a color!

What are you working on these days?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Last Chance

Just a quick reminder that Google Reader is going to disappear very soon – July 1st, in fact.  Where the heck does the time go?! 

The change from one to the other was very simple, and I managed to get that done back in April.  But I just forced myself start using Bloglovin’ a few weeks ago.  And surprisingly enough, I like it!  To be perfectly honest, it took a solid week before I was completely comfortable with the change, but I think I am going to end up liking it more than Google Reader.  Reading a blog in its original format is so much more interesting!

There are certainly other options out there, but if you would like to give Bloglovin’ a try, this is just a reminder that you can follow me here.

Do you have a new favorite RSS reader?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Another Giveaway!

Does everyone remember Karen’s Pattern Pyramid Giveaway?

Well, the journey continues for many of those patterns . . . some are original, and many others are new to the group.

There really is something for everyone. 

I am very tempted by this crazy jumpsuit.

These 70s patterns are fabulous, as is every hairstyle.  I would keep the middle one (an excellent color-blocking option), but I am sure I will sit on it for years, and it deserves to be made into an awesome dress.

I will be snagging these.

But to ensure that this giveaway goes on forever, I have added six more.

Some vintage . . .

A bit of contemporary . . .

And some summer basics . . . .

I may throw a few others in the mix, depending on how many will fit!

Now for the rules:

Anyone, anywhere can enter the giveaway by posting a comment before Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. PDT - BUT you must have an active blog. (Reasons to become obvious.)

I will randomly select one winner.  Each winner will pick one or two patterns to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to that person, who will pick a pattern for themselves, host their own giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner . . .

No way am I going through 30 patterns, ensuring that every pattern piece is there. This is pot luck!
Please don’t email me for specifics on the 30+ patterns.  Take your chance!
If you’re a winner, I would love it if you could make a small contribution to The Brooke. This is a charity close to the heart of Catherine, who so generously provided the initial lot of patterns that started this whole bit of fun.

Lily Pad

My new dress is finished!  I am not sure a girl can ever have enough cotton summer frocks!

As I have previously mentioned, yellow and I have a contentious relationship.  My mom reminded me that this yellow fabric was used for Mr. Tino’s Mad Hatter costume (he looks stunning in any color!).  But it was originally purchased for Butterick 4512, and has certainly come in handy.  I have some bits left, and will definitely keep them in the scrap drawer for future use.

Just like the yellow contrast, this blue print was made for quilting.  I have had quite a bit of luck using quilting cotton for apparel sewing – mostly, I would guess, because I expected it to behave as a stiff cotton with quite a bit of body.  Full skirted dresses from the 1950s and 60s are made for this kind of fabric.  On the other hand, I would never use a quilting cotton for a design that required drape of any kind!  The prints are sometimes too cute to pass up, but no matter how perfect that bow print would look in a 1940s style, I know I will not be happy with the finished product because of the limitations of the fabric.

This particular print is directional, which always makes me nervous when cutting a circle skirt.  In this instance, I decided to go for it.  To make things even easier, and since I had the extra yardage, I cut the back pieces on the fold – no need to match the print!

It has been so very windy lately, which makes for an interesting photo shoot - the majority of the time is spent pushing my hair out of my face.  But I suppose I should be glad the sun is shining.

My knitting needles have been getting a bit of a workout lately, and hopefully I will be able to find some suitable buttons and finish that as well!  Must fight the summer slump . . .

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 5748
Petticoat:  Made by me, self-drafted
Shrug:  Ann Taylor Loft

Shoes:  Franco Sarto

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I first became aware of Simplicity 9025 when a costume designer made me my very own version for a role in Pirates of Penzance.  The lines of the bodice are lovely.  And it is always fun having costumes made especially for you.  However, sometimes things do not go exactly as expected.  The designer put me in . . . yellow!  The horror!!  In retrospect, it was a very pale yellow with flowers, so it could have been a whole lot worse.  Years later I was put in a polyester mustard yellow which was less than flattering to my skin tone . . . which was SO much worse!

Looking back at the pattern envelope, I cannot decided what this pattern was meant to be.  Is it a bridal gown?  The picture shows a woman holding a bouquet, so perhaps it is.  But the illustration is holding a fan, so perhaps this should have been in the costume category?

The pattern sure has come in handy, though!  Just last year, I used the sleeves to make this velvet dress much more wearable in winter weather.

And then there is my first attempt with this pattern, made of quilting cotton (which was my go-to fabric choice at the time).  As fun as it would be to swan about in a full length princess dress, I thought a shortened version would be much more suitable for daily wear.  Not completely convinced that I wanted to let go of the over-the-top girly style, I added some ribbon and lace.

I remember quite vividly that this dress was my first experience with a failed invisible zipper.  If I had been reading sewing blogs at the time, I would have realized this was not completely my fault.  And with a bit more experience, I never would have attempted this style and expect to zip myself into something this fitted with an invisible zipper – not without an extra set of hands!

Unsure exactly what to do, I made my first lapped zipper with a hand picked zipper.  So much better!

Do you have any failed zipper stories of your own?

Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 9025
Shoes:  Chelsea Crew
Necklace:  Dabby Reid

Bag:  Harveys Seatbelt Bag