31 January 2012

New Look 6885

 Guess I could have ironed it before taking pictures, eh?? I'm trying to get pictures up of all of the dresses I've made for myself. Bad pictures, of course, but pictures nonetheless. :D I'm wearing the dress over a navy vneck shirt, but normally I just wear a cardigan over it and probably a scarf around my neck.

New Look 6885

Pattern Description: I used the G top  

Pattern Sizing: 8-18  

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? yes  
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I had hoped it would have more cleavage coverage, but no dice.

Fabric Used: Linen blend

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I wish I had realized how fitted the top would be over my bust and how low cut it would end up being. If I had realized this, I probably would have made the bodice longer and the straps shorter. Too late now.  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? No, I like this dress, but I always have to wear it with a scarf or something because of how low cut it ended up being. It was one of my first adventures with a sewing pattern, so I just didn't have the knowledge at the time to know that it wasn't going to look the way I had hoped.  

 Conclusion: Not a pattern I would use again, but it's a really cute shape and would probably be good for someone who is smaller chested.

The Lace Neck Onesie - TUTORIAL

This is a really quick project that will leave you (and your baby!) with a really CUTE onesie. Adding lace can add excitement to a plain onesie or even cover up a stain!

-Onesie, I used a long sleeve white onesie from Wal-Mart. I looked for a thrifted one, but couldn't find the right size with long sleeves at my local thrift store. 
-Lace, I used a 2.5" wide lace trim.  You can use different kinds of lace for this. However, I gathered my lace down the center so I used a symmetrical lace. 
-Matching thread
-Gathering foot (not required)

 One of my favorite sewing things is my gathering foot. If you don't have a gathering foot, you can do this the "manual" way. I set my machine to it's longest stitch and tightest setting. 

 After gathering, I had around 7" of gathered lace.
 Pin to the neckline of your onesie
 I pinned the lace so that it start and ends right under the shoulder overlaps.
 Sew on using a zig-zag stitch
Some more tips on picking out lace: because it's going to be around your baby's neck, don't pick a really stiff lace. You don't want it to be very scratchy, it might annoy your baby :)

Thanks to Megan over at MeganMakesCute for the pictures of her baby, Abbey, in the lace onesie!  The tutu Abbey is wearing is a one layer variation of my petticoat tutu, you can find the full tutorial for the two layer tutu here.  For the baby version, I simple skipped the bottom layer of tulle!
Questions? Comments?  Post them! Seriously! Let me know what you think.  If you use this tutorial, comment with the link so that I can see your work :)
Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow me so that you don't miss the next Lace Your Way Through Anything tutorial!

Happy Birthday, Abbey!

So, the beautiful daughter of MeganMakesCute recently celebrated the big ONE! 

So, I threw together 1980 Simplicity 9501. 
It's a little big on her, but I think it will be perfect as soon as the summer comes :)

 Pattern Description:
1980 Toddlers' Super Jiffy Sundress and Bloomers: Self-faced sundress with front button trim has straps criss-crossed and buttoned in back. Bloomers with elasticized waistline casing have elastic leg casings forming self ruffles. Sundress and bloomers have rick-rack trim. 3 pattern pieces.

Pattern Sizing:
Toddler Size 2

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, it was a really simple pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern is adorable, it was really quick and easy.

Fabric Used:

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't use rick rack because of the pattern of the fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe one day when there's another small child in my life who needs a birthday present :)

Super cute!

29 January 2012

Let's Talk Organization

Being organized is really important for crafters. Here are some of my tips

Fabric . . .
When I buy fabric, I always try to take a quick picture of the wash instructions. When I get home, I write down how much fabric I bought, what it is, and wash instructions on a little pieces of paper and pin it to my fabric. Additionally, if I have a pattern in mind for the fabric, I'll write that down, too. That way, when I get to it, I can remember what it was that I was dreaming of doing with it :D Large amounts of fabric are folded and stacked. All small amounts of fabric are folded and stuffed into two little bins

Notions . . .
I have three boxes. I don't mean huge boxes, I mean small, cute boxes. One box contains all of my trims: bias tape, hem tape, lace hem tape, piping, and ribbon, (except for the laces of which I have very large amounts, those are on large spools and live with my fabric). My next box is the box you can remember from this post, contains all of my buttons, snaps, eyes, hooks, eyelets, and elastic. My last box is my actual sewing box. It contains all of my threads, bobbins, presser feet, needles, pins, etc etc. When I go anywhere for sewing lessons and all, I take this last box. 

Buying Patterns . . .
Vintage Patterns-
So, I recently placed an order for two vintage jumper style dresses from etsy.  When I was placing the purchase, I also considered buying this dress from the vendor.  My heart was saying 'it's only three dollars GET IT!!!!' and then my brain was saying 'It's a size too small... anyways, don't you have a pattern that has the same shape/darts/sleeves/collar/etc??'  
The pattern I wanted to buy ---------->
The pattern I own. In a size 42, bust 46
Do you see what I mean? Anything that the Butterick contains that the McCall's doesn't, I don't need a pattern for. So, Even though it's only three dollars, I don't need the Butterick pattern. 

This is where organization comes in handy. I have ALL of my sewing patterns (including the vintage ones I picked up for 10cents that totally could never fit me, but I thought they were cool looking) on a pinterest board. For most of them, I pulled scanned pictures from various places all over the internet. For the ones I couldn't google pictures for, I took pictures with my phone. For all of the retro patterns, I've included the size info. This means that i didn't even have to pull out my bin of patterns and pick through them to figure out whether or not I really did have an very similar pattern already. I quick scan through my pinterest board let me see that I definitely do already have a pattern like the Butterick pattern. 
I also have a wishlist board for patterns I like and wouldn't mind owning. I only started this board a week ago, so there's not much on it yet. ha! We'll get there, though. The board includes a lot of current patterns, too, which brings me to the other half of buying patterns.

In-Print Patterns -
Except for New Look patterns (which are $4/each), I don't pay full price for patterns. Simplicity and McCall's patterns will often go on sale 5 for 5 at Joann and Hancock Fabrics. Butterick patterns normally go on sale for $1.99/each and Vogue patterns occasionally go on sale for $3.99/each. A lot of people think that sewing is going to be cheaper than buying ready to wear. That's not true. However, you should definitely try to save yourself some money by purchasing your patterns on sale. I normally keep a running list of patterns I like and I'll buy them all when they're on sale.

Storing Patterns . . .
Purchased Patterns -
My patterns live in two bins like this one. This bin is my "for me" patterns. This includes all of my in print patterns that I purchased for me, all of my vintage patterns that are my size, and all of the vintage patterns that aren't my size but I love them and might grade them out for myself one day haa. The other bin includes: childrens patterns and vintage patterns which are way to small to grade out, but they were cool so I bought them.

Internet and Self Drafted Patterns -
So, for patterns which did not come with an envelope, I store them in envelopes I make from scrapbooking paper (12x12). This includes patterns I printed, patterns I had to draft from internet tutorials, patterns I came up with myself, and patterns made from copying other clothing items.

So, take your paper and fold it in half twice in order to establish the center point. Then, fold two opposite corners in.

Fold the bottom edge up, about an inch and a half past the center. Fold down top the same way, I winged it with the bottom and then folded the top to match.

And there you have it. All of my envelopes are about the size of a McCall's envelope, and they fit all of my pattern pieces beautifully :)

So, that's how I stay organized. Honestly, putting all of my self drafted patterns into these little envelopes was one of the best things I've ever done for my sewing organization.  I have drafted the same cardigan from t-shirt pattern twice because I forgot that I had made a full pattern for it previously. Now, all of my patterns live in envelopes. 


15 January 2012

Butterick 5307 - VINTAGE!

Image from here, I'm feeling too lazy to photograph my envelope

Pattern Description:
Butterick 5307; 1960s; Misses' and Women's One-Piece Dress. Semi-fitted A-line dress has contrast or self front and buttoned tab with top-stitch trim. Jewel neckline. Three-quarter length, short sleeves or sleeveless. Optional purchased belts and scarf.

Pattern Sizing: Mine is bust 46

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, I did not have any problems with the instructions. I had to think a little about how the tab went together, but it wasn't hard to understand once I slowed down and actually read it. This was my first vintage pattern so I was nervous, but it worked out just fine. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Normally I only spend change on vintage patterns.  I spent $3 on this pattern! Big spend (for me!!) I bought it because 1. it had sleeve options and 2. I love the little tab at the neckline.  I have sooo many scarves.  Most of them are pashmina/shawl scarves which I wear almost daily, but I'm always at a loss about what to do with "fashion" scarves. This dress is my answer!

Fabric Used: Linen (thrifted)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I took in the waist about two inches to get a little less of a bag-dress look. I shortened the dress by about an inch or two.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might, I really like this pattern and it went together very easily.  I'm always really nervous about sleeves, but these worked out just fine. Definitely one of my favorite dresses. I might make it in a more neutral color.

Conclusion: When I bought this pattern, I was so excited about it that I went straight home and pulled out all of my fabric to find something that would work. I'm very pleased with it!

Terrible pictures, I know. Plus, it's pretty impossible to get a flattering picture in a mirror using a phone camera! Haa, whatever. You can see that I did not add the button on the tab, I've decided to use brooches instead.  The top stitching isn't very visible in the pictures, but I did use a darker thread for it, so when  I wear the dress the top stitching on the front is very visible :)

Detail pictures: 
 I used lace hem tape for the bottom hem and the sleeve hem

 I pinked all of the edges and the front two seams are top stitched.

 I used hem tape to cover for the hem on the facing. The zipper is a vintage metal zipper. :D

04 January 2012

Odds and Ends

 So, it's been a while since a comprehensive update. So, I'm just gonna run through some odds and ends I've been working on, finished, etc!
First, I won this giveaway over at The Feisty Redhead from the Sew Mama, Sew giveaway day.  Ah! I'm super excited about both of the patterns and the burdastyle measurement cards! How useful! :D
 For those who have been reading for a while, you know that I've been working on princess dresses for my niece. Oh, and matching doll dresses.  I used Simplicity 2817 for the Cinderella dress, I'm in the process of working on Simplicity 2065 for Rapunzel. I'm used Simplicity 5705 for both of the doll dresses.  You can see in the below pictures my niece wearing her dress and her doll with the matching dress.  The picture to the right is the doll dress, without the skirt puffs, with a panel down the front to kind of mock up the inset on the actual rapunzel dress. I used charmeuse for the doll dress. The actual dress will use the same charmeuse and an organza for the skirt overlay and sleeves. The actually dress, of course, will be laced up the front and include the lace trims, but that was entirely too much work for a doll dress and I had a hectic week.  I have, however, cut out most of the pieces for the rapunzel dress.. because I was hoping to have enough of that burnt rose colored charmeuse left over for the next item on this post . . .
 I posted this cape a few months ago. The pattern is for an unlined cape.  I had added a hem tape and bias tape to kinda clean up some of the seams.  The construction seams were pressed and stitches. Because I used a really heavy fabric, I figure that lining it was not especially important. I couldn't find a lining fabric color I liked, which is important because the lining would be exposed rather frequently. So, without a lining fabric I liked, I decided whatever. Besides... I always wear cardigans, so I wouldn't have itchy wool against my skin, so whatever, right? No, the wool and my knit cardigans just had too much friction, it just wasn't going to work out like that because my movements were uncomfortable.. It just so happens that the charmeuse we picked for the Rapunzel dress... was perfect, like so perfect it's ridiculous. AND, we bought the fabric based on 40" and it was 54, so with some layout changes, I had just enough left over fabric to line my cape. and make pockets. :D Left pic, cape before any lining or hem tape, so you can see that the inside is exposed whenever i like, you know, move my arms!  Left Pic, the lining pinned in. I stitched most of it in by hand via whipstitch. :) I'm soo pleased with how it turned out! Isn't the color perfect??

 The only issue was that I snipped the fabric in a little place when cutting the thread. oops. aahh, I stitched it closed but it still bothers me. ha Each sleeve was essentially a triangle. The long edge along the bottom of the cape had hem tape on it, which I had applied before and decided to keep. I machine sewed the bottom edge, along each edge of the hem tape, for two lines outside. I like the way it looks. I carefully removed my original hem after putting the new stitching in. The two remaining sides of the triangles were hand stitched in. The edge along the back of the cape was turned and whipstitched. The edge along the front of the cape was carefully pinned under the facing and then all of the layers were sewn together, except where I put in the pockets and the slits for the belt. I ran a stitch down the center seam of the sleeves to hold the lining in properly so that it wouldn't droop. All in all, it has a much more finished looked now and I'm very pleased with it.  It's much better than the original unlined cape, and it looks much less homemade now. I'm glad I had enough of the charmeuse, since I wouldn't have done it without a fabric I liked.

 My next project is to work on a dress with a challis I have. I used this fabric many many months ago to make an obi belt.  I love it.. and I'm not sure what to do.
My initial choice pattern is Simplicity 2145. . . except (oh yea), this pattern (as all of the project runway patterns only goes up to one bust size smaller than I need. The whole thing is so frustrating because I'm pretty sure if I went to try on a ready to wear size 22-24 dress, I would be drowning in it, but when I'm sewing, my bust normally needs that size (and then taken it at the waist or paired with a belt, depending on the cut). So, the finished bust measurement is an inch or two short of my actual bust measurement, so I think I would need add around three inches. I'm not sure what would be the best strategy for this, since the top is a cowl. I think the best plan would be to add two inches straight down the center and then another two inches in the back (which can be taken out, if needed, with relative ease).  I'm not sure, though, I've never done it.
All of the other patterns I've looked at that have the look I want and in my head would look good in challis.. oh, they're stretch only. Which leads me to something else that annoys me. I'm really trying hard to go with more structured garments vs the knits that I'm comfortable in. A lot of my clothes and styles actually make me look bigger than I am because I'm so focused on down playing the size of my chest. I think that more structure would be able to smooth everything out. However, the Khaliah Ali Collection from Simplicity . . . most of the dresses are for stretch materials! So, I can't use them with my challis. waaahhh yea, I know. I might cut out the pattern for 2145 tonight and see how I feel about it, maybe I'll use some scrap fabric to mock up the bodice and see how it looks, but being a cowl neck I just really don't want it to end up too right over my chest aaahh Suggestions? has anyone made this pattern?

I'm hoping to get another Lace Your Way Through Anything tutorial up this week. I'm also considering doing another pattern giveaway. Any thoughts? What would you like to see in a giveaway?