Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A while back I bought some cute cotton batiste or lawn.  I really wanted to make a top and shorts pj set.  I searched for a pattern I liked and while reading my ginormous blog roll, I stumbled upon the Collette mini bloomers.   I hadn't tried one of her patterns yet, it was free, and it fit the bill. It took forever cutting and taping the pieces together.  I hated it and I think it's why I haven't tried a BurdaStyle project yet.

 The french seams and elastic casing.

The shorts came together pretty quickly for me though, which is insanely slow.  I used my walking foot for the first time.  The fabric shifted a lot so I thought it would be fun trying out the foot.  I used french seams throughout, even on the curvier seams which proved to be a little of a challenge.  I was not happy with the drafting of this pattern.  It seemed the pieces didn't match up all that well, but because they were pj shorts, I just improvised.  
I love the elastic casings at the waist/hip.  I think it is super cute. 

I couldn't decide which picture was best so I posted them all.  Sorry.  I also have a picture of me wearing the shorts, but The Boyfriend did not want me posting it.  I don't think it's that bad. Its just a mirror (ie. MySpace) picture from about my belly button down to mid thigh.  They aren't even that sheer.  

Hopefully I'll find a top pattern to go with these shorts. I'm thinking maybe peter pan collar and button down.  with elastic in the hems of  short, gathered poof sleeves.  Any pattern suggestions?  I'm willing to modify or do some Frankenpatterning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Nautical Knit Vest: Simplicity 2603 (modified)

I am falling in love with stripes.    I told myself I'd never wear horizontal stripes again, but I am breaking that promise to myself.  On Saturday (it only took me 4hrs!...I'm very slow) I made a cardi/vest using Simplicity 2603.  I've made 3 cardi/wraps using this pattern.  One for me, 2 for my mom. I will post pictures eventually.  Its really a great pattern.  A little tricky in some places (mainly attaching the front to the back at the shoulders/neck.

My vest was inspired by my friend's cardi/vest.  She was wearing it the last time I saw her and I thought, "Cute! I can make that!" I also have been seeing stripes all over the blogland, (SharonSews and A Sewn Wardrobe are just two) and I really wanted to jump on the bandwagon.  I originally wanted to find a stripe for a boat neck knit shirt, but I hadn't been able to find anything I like.  Last weekend I went to Hancock to look and they only had one stripe mystery sweater knit in the value section for $4.00/yd ($2.00/yd with coupon!).  It was rather shear, very drapey, and extremely unstable, but I thought, "What the hell! Let's give it a try!" And it was only 33" wide...Weird, I know.  I immediately thought of a cardi/vest when I saw the fabric and bought 4 yds thinking I could make 2 items from it.

So basically I took the pattern, chopped off a good deal off the front drapey section (I can take pictures if someone wants to see what I did, but I forgot to document the process.  Just ask).   I also scooped out the armsyce a bit because it was going to be sleeveless.  Additionally I used Amanda's  tutorial on adding bias tape to the arm holes to finish the seams.  The tutorial was really good, but the armholes stretched like crazy.  I just re-serged part of the side-seams closing up the armholes a little more.

 I am really happy with the finished project.  Because the vest is very Forever 21, I didn't bother finishing any of the edges.  Just left them raw.

I think I'll right a review on PR later.  I could write 4 now.

Thanks Nancy for becoming my newest Follower1 The last two dresses she has made are awesome!  Check out her strapless dress. I can't wait to be able to make a dress like that one day with all that structure built in to it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Flowy Voile Shirred Skirt

(I would never style the skirt like this.  I just needed a quick picture of me in it.  I look freakishly disproportionate).
I finally finished a UFO!  This winter, I wanted to make an elastic waist short summer skirt. I had a gift certificate to SewMamaSew and bought some of  the Anna Maria Horner voile.  I love the feel of this cotton, btw!  I decided it couldn't be too hard to draft a skirt (as in cut rectangles..).  I wanted to line it so I used a bright purple Bemberg rayon I had on hand.  (I wish I would have saved it for a jacket lining).  The elastic I originally used was 4in wide and very stiff.  My machine hated sewing on it and the project turned to be a big flop.  I was so proud of my first narrow hems too! It was devastating....really, I'm not joking.  I ripped the skirt apart twice!

I decided that shirring was the way to go.  It is easy and I achieved the results I wanted.  I salvaged the skirt! I think I'll wear it occasionally, but I think it makes my butt look big. (too bad it is too short for work).

This wasn't inspiration for my skirt, but the colorway and the style is similar.  At least I'm sort of on trend.  Haha...(And mine only cost about $16, probably the most expensive garment I have made to date.)

Free People skirt originally selling for $68, on sale at for $48. 

Aaaannddd....Cenetta of The Mahogany Stylist is my newest Follower! Thanks! She makes lovely garments for herself and even has her own business making clothes for people!  Check out her latest creations!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Streamer Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

Sorry if you aren't interested in these kinds of posts. Saw this dress....thought it was cute....linked to my blog for a chance to win it!

The Streamer Frock Grosgrain Giveaway

The end!

Stripey Summer Beach Cover-up

This weekend I made something! A beach cover-up, that was originally going to be a dress.  It's Simplicity 2865, a Built By Wendy pattern.

I got this fun fabric from my one of my favorite sewing instructors.    I'm finally making my way through her stash.  On Tuesday, I'm going to a friend's house because she is moving and wants to get rid of some of her fabric. I have the best friends!

The color isn't quite true, but it was the best picture I could get in my apt.  

Here's the back and the close-up of the front.  You can kind of see the shirring too.

The Review from PR:

Pattern Description: 

Misses Knit dress, mini dress, or top. I made the minidress without the weird collar.
Pattern Sizing:

4, 6, 8, 10, 12. I made the 10. 

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

Mostly, I made some adjustments! I added shirring to the sides to camouflage some of my mistakes!

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I did not use them for the most part! Woohoo! I did not use them for the first side inset and should of because I made some big boo-boos. The staystitching and clipping instructions for the inset worked well for the second side. I should have done that the first time instead of trying to pin together a very thin, rolling fabric and serge.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like the idea of the inset, but it was really hard to install. I pretty much constructed the whole thing with my serger except for the topstitching and hem. I would probably redraft the pattern to not include the inset. I think I would like it better.
Fabric Used:

Miscellaneous (cotton, poly, ?) jersey knit. It was very thin, rolled like a B*****! I got it for FREE though from one of my sewing instructors. I loved the crazy bright stripes. Reminded me of the 80s and Rainbow Brite.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The inset I serged was a disaster and I tried to fix it a number of times, but just couldn't. Instead, I sheared the fabric for 3 inches on either side of the side seam, about 3 inches deep to hide my flaws. It worked pretty well. To put on the binding, I just folded it in half, WS together, and with raw edges even, I serged it to the neck and arm holes. I changed the order of construction to make it easier to serge. I straighted out the hem mostly, because for some reason (probably my hasty cutting) the bottom pieces did not match up well. I used steam-a-seam in the hem and then topstitched.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would sew it again without the inset. I would like to make a simple tank top.
I would recommend it to people who are very experienced sewing with knits and have the time to set in the inset properly.

Its good enough for a beach cover-up. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Muslin Updates

On Thursday the Boyfriend kindly pinned me into my muslins I made for the fitting class and took pictures even though he really wanted to watch Crazy Heart. (He didn't do that great of a job, but it was greatly appreciated). He was so nice about it and didn't even prick me with a pin. That's love....

Here's the muslin for the dress.

Close ups:

Like I said before, I made it too big in the waist thinking I would need some ease there. The back looks like crapola too. I no longer have to do FBAs. I didn't realize that the weight I lost about a year ago came off my chest. And I guess when I was exercising more in May, I had lost some boobage too. :( Oh well, at least it will make fitting clothes easier.

The Palmer/Pletch McCall pattern top looks janky too.  Not too bad in the front.  Even though its pulling a bit in the high bust area. The back, looks too big, but a better pinning of the back seam and a less wrinkly muslin will help.   I hand washed a gorgeous black and white batik silk that my former sewing teacher gave me because she was destashing.  I would like to make it into the P/P top.  It will be my first time working with silk.  Wish me luck!

Edit:  I went to class yesterday, and the changes the instructor made to the dress really helped.  It felt like I had to make 100 fit changes.  She spent a lot of time with me, and I felt bad for the other students.  The instructor basically says what she thinking and told me my hips were hollow. I know I have boy hips, but using the word hollow?!?  It made me giggle, but sad at the same time.  I will hopefully let you all know the changes that were made when I make my second muslin.

For the blouse, the back did look better when she pinned me in it.  Found out that working on a computer, the 50lb backpacks of my youth, and sewing has already given me a bit of a rounded back :(  She added a shoulder dart to back piece, and the top looked so much better in the back.  I think good enough to cut into real fabric!  Hooray!

And thanks to Stephanie for "following" me! Also, thanks to all the anonymous readers (I do know some of you!) for subscribing to the blog via Google Reader.  :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

To Do List

My sewing queue is very long right now and I do not have the time to make everything I want. I am very very slow.  Everything seems to take hours upon hours to complete.  I get very distracted by the T.V. or the internet or cleaning or Pearl.

I am taking another fitting class  with some friends (Hi Julie and Barbara!) Julie and I are making the same sheath dress. It's McCall's 5753.  I am making the v-neck sleeveless version to get a good fit.  I started with a size 10 and graded to a 12 at the hips (really my low butt and thigh area.  I have no hips!)  I also took a wedge from the neckline which worked great at preventing gaposis.  My instructor told me not to do a sloping shoulder adj. yet, but looking at the muslin, I definitely need one.  I knew it!  I also cut between the 10 and 12 at the waist line to get some ease, but that was a bad idea.  It is too big.  I have no idea how the back fits because I cant pin it up myself.  I need to get the Boyfriend to  help.  I also need to take about 1in. from the bodice length.  So many adjustments!

Before the Saturday I will hopefully get to measure and make a muslin of McCall's 5661:
I made the muslin and I think it fits!

I'm going to be making the red.  It is very fitted and I think it will be a great jumping off point for redrafting to make other styles.  It buttons up the back which is very retro.  I love that detail.

I also have this Simplicity 2446 cut out in a wearable muslin fabric:

 And have 1/2 of this dress made.  I F'ed up the zipper.  I'm going to take it out and see if it fits without.  I love the dress and hopefully it will all work. It will go really well with my denim jacket.
And finally I want to make these shorts in a light khaki.  The ones with the pleats and the cuffs (View E).

And a vintage blouse and more dresses and.....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two more followers!

Thanks to Angela of RiAnge Creations and Rachel of Shoes and Sewing for becoming my newest Followers! I hope you will find my blog entertaining.  Angela has a really awesome, funky style.  By looking through her blog photos, she loves prints!  A woman after my own heart!  Rachel has great style.  I LOVE her creations and her ability to "knock-off" just about anything Anthropologie sells.  Anthro. is probably my favorite store in the entire world. I would love to get a job designing or buying for them one day.

And because I think posts without pictures are rather blah, here is another picture of Pearl!

Baby Pearl wearing leg-warmers.  She hated them.  I made them from a pair of gloves.  Yes, those are the glove fingers.  I cut off the fingers of the gloves and then cut off the tips.  

Sacramento Antique Faire

Last Sunday the Boyfriend, Pearl, and I went to the Sacramento Antique Faire.  Pearl and I had a great time...the Boyfriend...not so much.  He gets bored and really wanted to be watching the World Cup instead.

I got some great stuff though!  All sewing related!

Here is the vintage pattern I bought.

It was complete, but used. I love the neckline and the gored skirt.  I didn't realize the skirt had so many pieces. I just love all the little details.  Miss Zella (the owner of the pattern) must have been a tall woman because she lengthened some of the pieces. :(  Since its already chopped into, I don't feel bad using the pattern).  

WTF are "12 inch Dress Placket slide fasteners" or "Neckline Type slide fasteners?"  They are listed as notions on the bottom of the pattern.  

With the pattern I got a grocery list:

A super cute birthday card (from "Secret Love," who I think is Zella's mom):

And a very important letter from Zella's mother.  This is what it says:

I also bought some basic grey bias tape, some green polka dot and red polka dot bias tape and cute red and white vintage lace. The red polka dot bias tape is M.I.A. I think it could be in my car or in the Boyfriend's room somewhere.  It was my favorite notion find so hopefully it will turn up soon. 

The Boyfriend left the Faire with an Irish song book for $1.  Every song in it is very depressing.

It was a great morning!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

UGLY pants! and 2 new Followers!

These Marc by Marc Jacobs Diamond Stripe pants are on sale right now for $187.60 at shopbop.

Get 'em while you still can!

Ugg.  I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Thanks Kari and Megan for becoming followers of my blog.  Kari has been a friend of mine for a few years.  She is an amazing knitter!  I wish you all could see what she has made.  Megan is cool because she too has an old Schwinn.  Go vintage bikes!

An Apparent Green Thumb

I have a little container garden outside of my apartment.  I am growing lots of herbs and some tomatoes, miscellaneous peppers, and strawberries!  The beginnings of my garden are picture in this post and in this picture. Look how tiny my plants are.  These pictures was taken at the end of April/beginning of May I think.

I bought the gnome at Target.  I am a little obsessed with garden gnomes.  The cute ones, not the creepy ones.  Some of you may ask, is there a difference??? Yes, yes there is....

Check out my garden now!
The sage, oregano, and thyme (behind the sage) grew!!! I bought some parsley too.  Parsely doesn't seem to think my thumb is green.  

My tomato plants are giant (for such small containers).  They did need cones though, so I went out and bought some on Friday.   There are 2 kinds of basil behind the tomato plant on the left side of the picture.  It's all hard to see.  Can you make out a small strawberry?

Here it is (taken a few days ago)!

My strawberry plant today!

I picked it!

And ate it!

  I was multitasking talking to the Boyfriend on the phone, eating a very tart little strawberry, and taking pictures of myself eating said strawberry.  Bet you can't do all that at once?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ZigZag Color-Explosion Cynthia Rowley Dress and a new Follower!

I would have posted sooner, but the internet has been down at my apt. since Thursday or Friday. I finally finished my Cynthia Rowley dress (Simplicity 2406) and I think I like it.  I'm actually not sure if it will actually get worn in public because 1) it is very bright and 2) I never have a place to wear a more dressy dress.   I'm not sure I love the sleeves either.  Is the  cut-out detail really me?

I have a real problem picking out fabric.   I like crazy prints on the bolt and tend to  not like them once they are sewn up.  I buy a lot of printed shirts, skirts, and dresses (mostly in florals), but I tend to stay away from prints when I sew clothing because I am realizing that I do not have the best eye for matching the right fabric to the pattern.  I also do not pick out the right fabric weight.  I am getting better with practice, but why can't I get it right already!?!?

I'll write the full review on P.R. soon. Maybe I'll post it to the blog as well.  It seems to be my M.O.

I really need opinions on this dress... especially from those of you who know me best.    I wouldn't want you to be embarrassed by me.  Al,  I doubt you would ever wear something like it, but do you think I can pull it off?   How about from my other readers?  Would you be caught dead in this dress, in the daylight no less, or should I stick it my closet until next Halloween and go as Pebbles from the Flintstones?

More pictures:

The cut out sleeve.  Because I chose a fabric with more drape than suggested (a horribly shreddy polyester semi-silky print from Joann's) the sleeve flop a bit.  I am very proud of their construction though and thought the directions were easy to follow. 

The side and the back view.  I LOVE the pockets.  I was actually confused by the instructions because I had never inserted a pocket this way and just followed along blindly hoping they were right.  I was very pleased how they turned out.  

(Don't you just love the Boyfriend's shoe and other crap emerging from his closet?)

This is what happens when I move in the dress.  I NEED to wear a bra with this dress, but the back is open.  I thought it would stay more closed than it does.  Because the dress has so much ease, I may just hand stitch the back up to just above my bra strap.  Any other suggestions that don't require major reconstruction.  Any picking of seams (I know this!) will cause major shredding.

And finally......
Thanks to Kristine for becoming my newest Follower!  Kristine has made some really beautiful garments and really knows how to get a good fit too.   Check out her blog!