Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter dress: Simplicity 4224

I did make an Easter dress… From scratch, in spite of and because of my crazy schedule… I say in spite of and because of because at times, it really is a both/and thing. I sew despite being busy, and because of how busy I am, if that makes any kind of sense at all. The sewing gives a measure of sanity… It’s something that is really and truly calming… especially the things that don’t involve fitting. When it’s just the work of hands making something 2-D change and morph to live and breathe, it’s exhilarating.

When I get to use my hands to make things for others, I am giving them a piece of my heart and I have an unparalleled way to show love. I get to connect with generations- the one that is forming now- and those who have passed… and it all happens with a needle and thread.

Ah, waxing poetic…

You don’t want ot listen to me ramble, you want to know about this dress…

The fabric started life as 3 yards of "jade" Calvin Klein cotton with lycra from fabricmart... long sold out now. It has a definite right and wrong side, and I used the wrong side with the right side for the sake of matching, serendipitously PERFECTLY with a suit I already have. It's the best. Everything came from stash, and so my numbers are happily changing... one of these days I'll have a real, working table over on the side.

From start to finish(in the current form) it took about 4 hours, including the pattern alteration that gave me my fun time kick pleats… which, already, have proven to be completely worth it. I do want to go back and add some embellishment and redo the facings to add some lining and make everything fit how it really should. The pleasant thing- a truly lovely surprise- was the fact that there weren’t ten million and four alterations needed concerning the princess seams… I don’t know if it was the pattern, forgiving fabric, a combination of the two, or just… magic… but I will re-use these when it’s finally time for me to make a sloper.

I did, however, wind up taking the thing in by at least 3, if not four inches total on the sides, which was a bit frustrating. However, it stayed on my body without the elastic mentioned in the instructions, and I didn't have to do the pull-up-constantly maneuver some strapless dresses require. I like the drop waist, and it twirls. It's a win, to be embellished later.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stashoholism Confessional

(props for the term go to The Slapdash Sewist)

I confess… And I have pictures.

Well, it started when I went to Hancock’s for a thing of hem tape… and it was all half off. I walked out with 4 things of trim. I meant to get 2. That’s nothing compared to the amount of damage I did when I saw the $1/$2/$3 table… I bought much of what’s now in the baby blanket stack I showed earlier this week, and a set destined for an apron, which didn't make it into a photo but which you will see soon- probably going to be a wedding present before the end of the year, and some prints for my stash and my sewing buddy... At a third to half the original prices for most of it. That makes it better, right? I saved almost twice what I spent. I get points, right??

If it had stopped at Hancock’s I’d probably be okay, but fabric.com had to go and take an

additional 20% off of my entire cart of deeply discounted pretty fabrics for Spring… so I added some more yardage to the stash. Maybe not as deeply as the Hancock’s stuff, but the thing is I think I’ll sew it all up before the summer is over. Somehow summer sewing is on my brain at the moment, and I won't get too much time to do it in so I felt the need to go ahead and stock up. While the sale signs were up. I can tell you, of the… 20ish yards of fabric that have made their way into the stash this month, I paid full price for a whopping half-yard.

These prints were just too good to pass up- Wild World Bon Vivant in cornflower on the left and Atlas Carnation on the right. Both vaguely reminded me of Istanbul, and I wanted those colors in my closet for spring and summer... As I rarely feel that way about prints, I gladly paid the final price of $3.14 a yard for it( on sale and then couponed too... WIN!)

The solids? Well, I didn't expect the little bit of polish/sheen on the pink broadcloth, and we'll see how it washes, but it's probably going to be a dancing skirt/dress. It pairs well with the carnation print, so they'll play nice at some point. As will the far left blue with my cornflower print , which is described as a lightweight cotton blend twill... It's airy enough to make me think of spinning like a little girl. There was also the white shirting which feels wonderful and has a pattern for a dress shirt ready to go, and an oxford cloth and a pinstripe... More summer dresses.

And here's to posting more. There was a fair bit of catch-up to do, which I have done this week, but this is my stress relief and cheaper than therapy so I see more sewing continuing to happen too.

Even so, it’s time for a fabric diet. Here’s to making cards, using what I have, and only buying notions for a while.

Any tips?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Simplicity 2580

I did more pattern alterations for this dress, which began its life as Simplicity 2580... It had a collar treatment that would have looked best in plain white with my choice of knit, but I really just wanted to sew, not shop, so I eliminated it. I also lenghtened and widened the skirt of the dress... You guessed it. For twirl factor. We're going to pretend that I took pictures of the alterations... I was really just too excited to sew to do it in real life.
I've got some alteration for this one in mind to draw the waist in, but its debut was belted at a dance. The goal is just to add definition and a little interest to an otherwise simple design, and I think a waist detail would do that beautifully and there are some big scraps to make it with. Just enough to make me feel a little more fabulous in it!
It does have more shape when on the body, and I think it'll be re-appearing as much as I can get away with it because it's SO comfy. I'll play around with seaming-maybe princess lines- to add some shape and more fullness in the skirt and make this one again for sure- the top options that come with the pattern are awesome and it fits really well. It's well-suited to knits with some heft, and I have a few of those in the stash!
The amount of work it'll take to make me feel awesome about the dress is totally worth it- photos on the hanger aren't doing this one justice.

Well, off to continue with this game of catch-up and write 2 sermons... oh, and there's an Easter dress on the dockett too... and about 4 million other things between me and finals. I'm thinking I'll update my list in the queue to include UFO's... if nothing else, it'll remind me to post about them.

Oh well, back to it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter dress... Yes, it IS 5 days away...

Well, I could finish a long-loitering UFO, McCall 5801, or I could cut into some new fabric…

We’ll see. This IS Holy Week, the worst time ever for me to decide, oh, a new dress for Easter. But the one I’m working on? So BROWN… Maybe if I don’t have to buy anything. And I choose a really simple pattern. That I have. And have fabric for. Hmm… Shouldn’t be too difficult.

Option from scratch: Simplicity 4224, view B. I would add kick pleats at the princess seam(5 minutes of altering the pattern for lots of fun? Yes please!), and maybe white(or straight contrast) trim at the hem, drop waist, and as a rosette. No tie belt. I have everything, I'm pretty sure, and it's a pretty straightforward pattern... 6-pc Princess bodice and a skirt, as I would make it, with 4 pleats. Even if I lined the top(I hate facings) I don't think I'd make it too complicated.

Or am I crazy?

We shall see...

Monday, April 18, 2011

The best baby gift

Although I'm at the age when everyone seems to be getting married, not yet babies, there are still family and friends who are a little older and are having children. I can think of 3 since January and 2 due this month without trying hard, and of at least 1 more before the end of summer, and that's without trying hard.
That's a lot of baby showers, y'all.
My mom passed down a great tradition though, and it's to take flannel, make a square from a 1-1/4 yard cut, and turn the edges under with mitered corners for an oversized swaddling blanket. The few extra inches have proven useful for making these multi-purpose, and the flannel is great year-round. I have a stack that has been augmented by season-change sales at Hancock, which means less expensive than normal, and about 20 minutes each will turn these into useful gifts- How cool is that?
And here are 2 finished blankets that I want to embroider with monograms before sending on to their new homes... with an extra or two included, perhaps. Somehow it just means more because I cam make these with my own two hands... and I really like the feeling of using a skill I have been fortunate enough to acquire to share. This is just too good to keep to myself, so I'm blessed to share the love.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Simplicity 4881

Alright, because I'm still not feeling 100%, you don't get to see my smiling face, but pictures really are looong overdue.
I altered a pattern...
Then, from my Frankenstein of Simplicity 4881, made this skirt out of a yard and a half of mystery black knit that came in my first-ever fabric bundle from Fabricmart. Funny how the things I bought to sew from there are still all whole pieces of fabric, but two of the bundle cuts are finished garments....
Since finishing the skirt, I've worn it out dancing, oh... 3 or 4 times? I've decided the twirl factor isn't quite there, although it has plenty as I tried to show, so I cut gussets to add to it out of the very little fabric remaining after I cut out the skirt. My version is lined in a thin black jersey knit, and has washed really well. And the elastic waist, although not the most polished of things, has been great to move in for dancing.
By the time gussets are in this, I will be well again, and I'll be sure to get twirly pictures.

Hope you're enjoying the day!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Check it out!

The queue is updated.... next come links.

And photos are on the schedule for as soon as I do laundry and kick strep throat in the butt.