scarves

The time since I last posted has been filled with a variety of things. I’ve finished the last of my knitting UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) with the exception of my blanket, which I’m still slogging along on. I have an informal goal to do at least 4 inches every time I work on it, but some days I don’t feel like working on such a large project. I’ve knit a few more ruffle scarves, which will be available in Raeosunshine Pets‘ auction the second week of February. I’ve listed a few random items I somehow missed in my shop, and I’ve sold an item (not made by me, sadly) that I had hanging around for ages at a much better price than I expected on eBay. I had a birthday yesterday (I’m 34 now) and I took myself shopping for new fabric, new yarn, some new knitting needles, and some meat at Mattie’s request that was “not chicken.” We eat a lot of chicken.

The fabric, once pre-washed, will be made into another pair of pajama pants for me, and I have a fun idea for a new scarf using the Edgar pattern I used with that bulky green and yellow yarn last month I think it was. I’ve got rainbows on the brain, and if you know anything about me, you probably know I love bright colors. I think after I get another few inches done on my blanket I will start on that project.

I’ve also started going through my grandmother’s cedar chest a little at a time and seeing what’s actually in there. I’ve pulled out about ten dresses and one blouse in various states of completedness, and I am betting there are others because I still see more fabrics pinned together into rolls and stuffed into bags in there. Everything I have taken out so far needs to be hemmed, only has some of its facings, a few things are damaged.

Some of the more interesting pieces in the chest. A blouse, a colorblocked dress, plaid dress with schoolgirl pleated skirt, and completed dress with rip in one sleeve.
Some of the more interesting pieces in the chest. A blouse, a colorblocked dress, plaid dress with schoolgirl pleated skirt, and completed dress with rip in one sleeve.

I’m hoping I can finish some of the dresses though it’ll likely be with bias tape or some other type of matching fabrics for facings, but need to look at them more in depth first.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Hopefully my next post will be showing you some completed items!

M6697I first saw this pattern while browsing on eBay and I knew I had to have it in my collection. Shortly thereafter, I was shopping for fabrics to use in it. Unfortunately, the only two fabrics I could find at Joann’s when I went that were similar in stretch and weight were in purple and black. I had initially wanted something with more contrast between them but purple and black was an okay combination so I went with it. It looks good in the pattern envelope, so why not?

The pattern sat on my sewing table for a while- a few months. I kept picking it up in passing. I had the fabric. I had the pattern. But I still hadn’t made the dress. Finally yesterday I laid my fabric out to start cutting. I wasn’t thinking about how many panels this dress must have to make the stripes but once I started cutting I was wondering if the cutting was going to take all day- There were I think 10 panels in the dress I had to cut.

M6697Front

 

The actual construction went smoothly and easily. There’s not a lot to it besides making sure the pieces go in the right order, and There aren’t any even moderately difficult techniques used in this dress. You sew the front panels together, sew the back panels together, sew together at the shoulder and side seams, and then made a narrow hem at the arm- and neck-holes and hem the bottom. Sometimes I skip out on hemming the bottom on knits but this was dragging the ground a bit so I had to.

M6697Back

 

I really love how this turned out and the color combination worked really nicely. If this wasn’t such a stand out design because of the striping, I would make this again. Its super comfortable and I love it!

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.

gown1

I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!

gown3

This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.

gown4

Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.

 

 

gownAbout 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

You might remember if you’ve been reading for long that I sewed up View E of this dress a while back. I sewed it out of an inexpensive green stretch velvet for a friend’s prom-themed birthday party and it turned out almost perfect. I realized a few days ago I have never had a maxi dress in my life- the only long dresses of any sort I’ve had have been at least semi-formal. I decided to fix that.

This pattern was not the one I first had picked out for this fabric. The one I initially bought it for is not bra strap friendly, and as an F cup, I need to be wearing a bra. This is my fabric, all ready to cut. Its more turquoise than blue in person. I wish I had the room for a huge cutting table so I wouldn’t have to fold my yardage back on itself when pinning and cutting, but I make do with the space I have. 🙂

ReadyToCut

 

View C is the full-length version without sleeves.

S1612Envelope

 

Its got the twisted back with that lovely opening, and a knotted center front. When I sewed View E of this dress, it was really easy, so I expected this view to be easy too. In a way it was. If I had followed the directions properly and not skipped a step (if this pattern says baste, for the love of all that’s holy, BASTE!) it would have gone together smoothly and easily. Instead I skipped a tiny step, and spent ages undoing my work to go back and do it because the issue could not resolved otherwise.

All told, I spent about 3 hours on this dress. I did have a break when we went out for beer and dinner, buut did the hemming when we got back and my head cleared a bit.

S1612CFront

 

I LOVE how it turned out! So comfortable and the fit is fabulous!

S1612CBack

 

The only thing I did not like was the back is just low enough I had to rig up some elastic to pull my bra strap down so it doesn’t show. Otherwise, a wonderful dress and pattern, and I love it!

S1716Simplicity 1716 has two different necklines, two different top lengths, as well as two mini-dress variations, and three different sleeve options. I opted to sew up View D, which is the cowl-necked mini-dress, but to use View A’s sleeves. The fabric I chose was one I had bought sight unseen with this project in mind, but after trying to use this same fabric type for another project several weeks ago, I wasn’t sure it was going to pan out. I really loved the color though, so threw caution to the wind and jumped in.

I cut the pieces, and figured since there were only a few, I couldn’t very well mess it up. I started off by sewing the two back pieces together by their outer edges instead of their inner ones. That should have been a sign of things to come. I should have stopped there and picked it up another day, but I really wanted to wear it that afternoon, so I slogged on.

IMAG0774I got the darts in okay, and I got the shoulder seams and side seams stitched without a problem. Then I moved on to stitching on the sleeves. Easy, right? Nope. I sewed them on inside out. Ripped them out, sewed them on again, this time right side out, but I succeeded in stitching one on upside down. If this has been a woven fabric, it would have been no big deal to rip out all of these stitches, but in a knit, its difficult, and its so easy to put holes in the fabric instead. I put a few into it while I was ripping out all of those stitches.

Anyway, eventually I got finished with it, and tried it on. Due to the instability of the fabric I used, it actually created a much softer, drapier fit because of it and I really, really like how it turned out.

I paired the mini-dress with the purple skinny pants I made last week, and I could not have been happier with the outcome. Sorry for the weird almost-full-body selfie, it was the best I could do without a camera since the image stabilizer finally went on mine.

So despite the difficulties, and the things that went wrong, the bad fabric choice, I still love the outcome and I’d be glad to have a second one of this same pattern in my wardrobe. I’m also loving the solid colors I’ve been using lately.

The belt came from a Chinese reseller off of eBay- I actually bought three of them, one black, one white, and one red all with different ornamentation. I’m apparently at that in between weight where regular sized belts are too small but plus sized belts are too big, which leaves me elastic belts that all seem to come form China.

Anyway, Simplicity 1716 View D was a winner!

mattieiMonths ago, I mentioned we were going to a prom-themed party for a friend’s birthday. I had my dress under wraps, and was going to reveal it with photos from the party right afterwards, but it slipped my mind completely. Yesterday I finally remembered to ask the photographer for permission to use a few of his photos in my blogs, and got his website link to full give him credit. Matt Rondel took the photos, and you can see more of his work here.

The photos we’re in don’t show the clothing that well, but they’re still fun photos and I want to share them. My dress has some really fun detailing around the neckline, but as it was chilly, I kept my capelet (McCall’s 5006) on all night and stayed warm.

The capelet was made out of leftover fabric from my dress, as well as some gold satin I had on hand already. I used scraps of velvet ribbon to make the ties to fasten it that I had in my stash already.

My dress was made from Simplicity 1612 View E, after I fell in love with seeing this version in a fantastic border print. I liked the simple lines of the dress overall paired with the interesting neckline and figured why not? I really wanted to do the dress in royal blue, but couldn’t find the right type of fabric in that color so went with this forest green instead. Overall for my dress and capelet, I think I spent about $35 to make both.

Mattie’s shirt is made from Simplicity 7330, View 4, and is called the “3 hour shirt” on the envelope. It was actually a lot easier to make than I was expecting, and turned out really well. I also learned a few new techniques for handling facings while sewing it, so it was pretty much a win-win across the board.

Here’s two more photos form the evening for your enjoyment.

girlslegs mattieguys

 

 

I had a lot of fun that night, and am happy with how everything turned out. 🙂 My only complaint is I had made these fantastic earrings to wear that night, and I forgot them at home. When we arrived I noticed someone else’s earrings, and immediately realized mine were sitting at home, in the holder, and not in my ears. 🙁

capeletI did a lot of sewing the last few days, but unfortunately, I can’t share the most exciting parts of it with you yet and that’s driving me crazy. I stitched up my prom dress for Joann’s party in November with only a few weeks to spare, plus I whipped up a really quick capelet using my leftover dress fabric, plus some other stuff in my stash to line it. I will show you the capelet though, as it doesn’t give away anything about my dress except color and fabric.

I based the capelet off of McCall’s 5006, view G or H, but I only went as far as cutting out the fronts and back piece using the pattern and ignored the rest. I had a few small pieces of black velvet ribbon in my stash which I used for the ties, and I used some gold satin that I have no memory of buying from my stash to line it. Its one of those fabrics I want to use up to get rid of it, but can’t think of many applications where I’d actually want to wear it. I also made a small gold clutch, and am going to go with gold sandals.

I also cut the pieces of the pattern out for the polka dotted top I showed you a mock-up of in this post on Sunday, and put it together on Tuesday. It turned out really cute, and I love it- its exactly what I expected, even though I altered some of the construction methods to finish off the neckband and armbands in a way that would be nicer than what was called for. This shirt was super easy to put together, and it took me about an hour and 40 minutes from start to finish. Part of that time was me ripping out a seam because the upper shoulder edges and center back edges on the back of the shirt are almost identical, and I stitched them together wrong and had to rip it out. I also had to restitch my sleeve cuffs on one sleeve twice as I completely missed snagging the cuff’s fabric on the inside of the sleeve when I stitched it in place.

I finally remembered to check and see if I have a matching zipper for the maroon dress I made months ago because after trying the dress on after I made it, I discovered the zipper sticks really bad, if you can zip it up at all- obviously that is not conductive to wearing it. Unfortunately, despite the fact I have literally 200 zippers of varying sizes and colors, I do not have one in a wine or maroon in the right length so will have to actually go out and buy one for it some time.

Anyway, here’s the top I did today, in a horrible dimly lit mirror shot. I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but my camera took a crap on me, so right now its pretty much cell phone pics (sadly mostly in the mirror) unless I can get Mattie to take them for me. The fabric is actually navy blue with light blue dots, though its hard to tell in this awful photo.

I also did some new mock-ups this evening for a new pattern I recently picked up- I love leggings, and while I have two pair, I feel like I could use a few more. The pairs I have are black and grey, wit the black ones having huge metal grommets all over them and the grey ones are studded up the side seams. The grey ones are more versatile of the two, but the black ones can be hard to wear because of the grommets.

The new leggings I will be making fall into two places- calm and quiet, and crazy and wild. View A from McCall’s 6173 features a waistband and zipper, as well as zippers at the ankles. I chose two crazy fabrics for that view, with black and purple zebra stripes, and bold leopard print that channels my inner Peg Bundy.

The other view I like has an elastic waist, and no additional detailing. I’ve chosen a plain black rib knit for one pair, and a tan and brown houndstooth pattern for the other pair. There is a third view in the envelope, which features extra length so they are bunched up around the ankles. I don’t really care or that view.

4I also did a mockup of a mini-dress I have in my stash that I initially purchased for the top variations. But I’m thinking the mini-dress will be a great with leggings (its too short for me to wear otherwise- I’m not comfortable showing that much leg) and the teal colored rib knit I found will be great for it. I could wear it with either of the tamer leggings I’ll be making, as well as the two pairs I already own. Really trying to give myself some wearable Winter options that are still cute and fun while hopefully not freezing to death.

Tomorrow I will see about working on another of the tops I have had fabric for for a while and maybe knock something else out of my stash.I’m thinking of working on one of these variations of Simplicity 2365 View D as I really like the shirt I’ve already made form this pattern, though I did a different view- the one with the short sleeves. I’m not sure which fabric I want to dive into first though I do know the next time I do this pattern it will turn out better then before as I have a better understanding now of some of the finishing techniques used in it after making Mattie’s dress shirt.

I’d also like to see what I have in the way of bigger knit scraps that might be usable for other small projects and see about maybe listing them on eBay. Figure if I sell off some of them, I can make a few bucks and clear some room out in my fabric drawers. I need to pick up a few Priority mailers from the post office when I mail out patterns I sold tomorrow and see how much I can fit into one of them.

 

 

 

I lost all self control the other day and I made an order for some new fabrics. Initially I was only buying fabric for my prom dress (Have I mentioned that yet? I can’t remember.) and for Mattie’s dress shirt for prom. But then I saw some other fabulous fabrics and I had to have them. I tried really hard to not buy them, but yeah… You know how it is, right? Anyway, I have two shirts I absolutely adore and would love to have a few other versions of them. One however is a really summery shirt, and Summer is coming to an end, so I decided to skip out of making another version or two of it for now. The other shirt I love though is more suited for other weather, depending of fabrics used. My first version (link in previous sentence) was made with a very light weight shirting material and is perfect for Summer. Its so light I worry about it being ripped to shreds when the dog jumps on me, but amazingly that hasn’t happened. Maybe the fabric is tougher than I think it is. Anyway, I want to make two other versions of this shirt, but do the shorter length of it with longer sleeves (View D) and maybe do one with the sleeves tacked up and one with them down all the way. I found two fun fabrics, both novelty prints, that I think will be great for this. One is a brown color with postage stamps bearing messages of love, and the other is a lime green with colorful buttons all over it. I think they’re both going to be super cute, and very wearable with both jeans and solid colored skirts. I only drew the mock-up with the sleeves tacked up, but I’m sure you can imagine them all the way down.

3

 

I also ordered some solid color Kona cotton (I love this stuff!) to make two new ½ circle skirts. I thought I loved the full circle skirt, but after making a ½, I was pretty much over the full circle. I chose fabrics in charcoal grey and in coral (which I’m hoping is as pictured, more orange-y than pink) and I can’t wait for them to get here. Oddly enough I think I might be able to wear these versions of the shirts paired with the skirts I did mock-ups of here. That will be a win!

Now, about prom. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, my friend Joann is having a prom themed birthday party in November, and Mattie and I were invited to in the fun. It took me forever to decide on a dress pattern. I knew from the beginning I was going to be making my own dress, but choosing was hard. The dress I’m making is long, sleek, and has some rather interesting shaping and detailing front and back around the neckline. I’ll have to find a strapless bra, which will be a challenge to find one that fits, but the dress is gorgeous. I only wish I had been able to find the fabric I chose for it in a royal blue- instead all I could find was hunter green, but I think its still going to look fab. I was only able to find one person online who has made this dress, and she ran into a few issues, so hoping I can get this baby finished without any major hang-ups!

I went out to get Subway for dinner, so I stopped by Walmart on my way there and grabbed a zipper to dive in and finish Butterick 5350. When I got home, I stitched the zipper in, and hemmed the bottom. I was a little worried about the dress not zipping up, but there was no reason to be worried. It not only zips up, it actually fits really well. There was even an added bonus to the slightly adjustments I made to the fit of the bodice- I can literally get away without wearing a bra (no need to worry about bra straps showing) and still be supported enough unless I decide to go running, which is highly unlikely.

Some of the changes I made from the original pattern are as follows.

  • I ended up adding a small pleat to the lower edge of the bodice towards the outer side of the front. This was to take up some extra fabric that didn’t line up with the skirt. Considering I have no idea what size the skirt was originally cut as, I wasn’t surprised to see that there were some small issues with lining things up.
  • I added a front center seam to the bodice. This was due to me not checking to see which side of my fabric was the fold and which wasn’t. My bodice front pieces were supposed to be cut on the fold. They weren’t. Dumb mistake, but easily worked around.
  • The waist of the dress is actually supposed to have two bands, one above the other. I apparently never cut both or if I did, I threw the other one out with the scrapped bodice. Leaving one out gave the dress an empire waist, which I love.
  • I cut the cap sleeves 2 sizes larger than the bodice to give me a little more coverage. Its only a difference of about a inch of fabric width on each one, but I think its an improvement.
  • B5350-front-finish

 

I like that the length is short enough to be a little flirty, but not so short as to be totally immodest and make me wonder how much leg I’m really showing. I also love the cap sleeves, which were maybe the easiest “sleeves” I have ever and probably ever will make. They were simply slight ovals, folded in half, and stitched onto the bodice. It also reminds me a bit of an older dress style with the capped sleeves and empire waist, but not sure when. I’ll have to research that a bit.

B5350-back-finish

 

I’m really proud of myself for actually having my two back pieces line up perfectly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that actually happen before, so it feels like an accomplishment. The only thing I’m not super happy with in this dress is the pockets. I added pockets to the dress in my first go at it, but I didn’t think to shift them down a little when I re-made the dress, so the pockets sit a little too high. That’s fairly minor though as I’ll probably never put more than my car keys in them anyway.

And finishing this off lets me mark one thing off of my list of projects to re-make before Summer arrives! If I have the orange corduroy jacket here at the house, I’d like to tear it down next and get it ready to wear come cooler weather.