Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SAHM Style: How to.....

I'm far from what most would consider fashionable. I live in a teeny tiny farming town (which I love) and trends are slow to reach here.

I'm also a firm believer in 'Classics'. I tend to shy away from the latest trends (skinny jeans, for example. I'm just now considering buying a pair...and, from what I read on the internets, they may very well be on their way "out". Shrug) In "How to Have Style" Isaac Mizrahi said in how to have style "Sometimes a desired look is just wrong, especially when it comes to the trendy look of the season. Know when a particular style doesn't work for you & pass on it. Confidence & knowing what is right for you is 95% of style."

I also came across this little gem: "Fashion is in the clothes. Style is in the wearer." What I want is style. So, for the most part, I disregarded current trends and focused on what I will look good in. And more importantly, feel good in.

First things first: Basics. Tops, pants, shoes. I started by shopping tops that I liked. Basic, colorful tops.  When I buy new clothes, I really try to buy what will match something I already own. Which means that I own a lot of black, white & brown. Boring. I found myself drawn to jewel tones, so that's what I went with.  You could do the same for bold, pastels, warm or cool colors.

Next up: Pants. I have a few pairs of jeans already. Capris (which won't be used for fall, obviously), flares & bootcut. So I added trouser cuts, leggings (though I'm still not sure if they qualify as pants or not LOL), and, yep. Skinny jeans.

Shoes: I feel like I needed some more ballet flats (I only own a black pair) and a couple pairs of boots. So that was easy.The sequined purple flats? I'd probably never buy a pair, but I sure do love them!
Cardigans! Love them! They instantly upgrade jeans & a t-shirt. Not to mention, I am always cold.

Now comes the fun part. Accessories!! I'm sticking mostly with necklaces & scarves. I probably won't wear scarves around the house; they'd probably just get in the way, but putting on a necklace always makes me feel put together.


Now, this wardrobe won't be accomplished in a single shopping trip. And I won't be trying to get the exact tops, cardigans or accessories that I've found. But it does give me a direction. Now, if I happen to be at Target, I can buy a top or two & I know that if I stay within Jewel tones, it will coordinate with my other buys.

I'm compiling a list of style resources that I'll share in the next day or two! Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stay at Home Mom Style: On My Way

I've always been a jeans & t-shirt kinda gal. I was never bothered by skirts, I just...well, how do you improve on blue jeans??

When I was pregnant with my son, with plans of quitting my job when he was born, I promised myself that I would not let myself wear pajamas all day or go without doing my hair. It wasn't so much about vanity (ok, maybe a little) or lookin' good for my man (though that is a perk). It was about how I felt about myself.

Becoming a mother means losing yourself to a more worthy cause. All of a sudden, you are not your priority any more. You eat when the baby is sleeping, you clean with when the baby is sleeping, you wear clothes that make it easier to nurse. You carry a different bag. Function becomes more important than fashion. And I'm a firm believer that that's the way it should be. But it's about balance. I've learned--the hard way--that you can't take care of anyone else unless you're taking care of yourself.

For me, if I'm in lounge pants, I don't get anything done at all. I lounge. All day. I'm lazy. And then I feel gulty for being lazy.

So I get dressed. I do my hair. I put on makeup (some days it's minimal). And I recognize myself when I look in the mirror. It reminds me that I'm still me. Jenna. Not "just" Mommy to Shawn & Laila. The spit up on my shirt will tell you that I'm Mommy. The chocolate smeared across my thighs will tell you I'm Mommy. But from the shoulders up...it's all me. :)

I'm finding though, that my basic jeans & t-shirt uniform is starting to feel a lot like lounge pants to me.  So I'm looking to up my game, so to speak.  I created a basic fall wardrobe using Polyvore. (That's it in the beginning of this post). You'll notice it's still jeans & t-shirts. But accessories & layering take it to the next level. An easily attainable level.

This post took a totally different direction than I had originally intended, so we'll make this Part 1.  Next week, I'll post some great style resources, and share how I came up with my very own "wardrobe".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don't forget to vote!


Voting in the Sewing for Children Contest is now open! If you are a member of PR, go here vote. There are a ton of fabulous entries...but the lovely Laila & I...well, we would be ever so grateful for each & every vote :)

You have until September 10 to peruse the entries & place your vote!

Some exciting updates are on their way :) Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sewing Snippits

I have been sewing. Really, I have. Just not for myself. And not garments. I've been altering bags. Lots & lots of bags.  Adding zippers, changing strap lengths, removing & replaceing snaps. I'm really enjoying it & the income helps me fund my crafting budget. :) Next month I'll be working on 2 custom purses, and I'm really excited about that. 

I also put an order in at Fashion Fabrics Club. Shawn has outgrown his dress clothes (again!) so he'll be getting at least 2 new suits. And for good measure, I ordered 2 yards of a purple knit to make myself a top (probably from my TNT S4076) I also ordered a red wool Gabardine with hopes of making a cool weather circle skirt from Burda's Linda pattern.

And since it's hard to sew for yourself when you need to be sewing for others, I've decided to get back into embroidery. And I might even be delving into quilting.

That's pretty much it. :) Lots of sewing & nothing to show for it. But that will be changing soon. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Favorite Sewing Sidekicks



I tend to think of my notions as the under appreciated sidekicks to my sewing machine hero. (Now there's a great comic book idea)

Really, where would we seamstresses be without the proper tools? I gotta tell ya, when I started sewing I was amazed (and still am!) at what a small role my sewing machine plays when it comes to the overall picture of sewing.

How much time is spent sitting at the sewing machine? Thirty percent? Forty? If you include laying & cutting out your fabric, I doubt it make it to the 50% mark. It's something I'm going to have to think about. Maybe even record.

Of course, my iron would probably be number 1 on my list. But I don't LOVE my iron, I merely tolerate it. Someday I'll find my iron soul mate.
 

Ah, my Dritz seam gauge. The same one my mom had when I was growing up. It's utilitarian through  & through. No bells or whistles, but it works beautifully. The only thing that might throw a wrench in the works is if you unknowingly melt the little blue slider with your iron. Ask me how I know.  

A Syling Ruler. I went a long time without one of these because I couldn't ever dint hem at Joann's. I don't know if they were there all along (if it would've been a snake....) but one day I found them at the end of the yarn aisle. Whatever. I was just happy to have found one. These are absolutely fantastic when it comes to alterations & drafting. 


Magnetic pincushion. Again, the same type my mom had when I was growing up. I love that I can (almost) carelessly drop my pins in the general vicinity & they get sucked in. One word of caution, however. Don't drop them on hard wood floors. The explode pins in each direction; becoming a grenade of sorts.  

This is probably my favorite find. It's a Chalk Cartridge set. It comes with a rainbow of colors of chalk, a holder & a sharpener. I love the versatility that it offers as far as colors. And chalk is an ok way to mark. Unless you're marking knits. Then it's just annoying. It does rub off rather easily, but I've noticed that when I use this, it does have better staying power. 


 

This is my most recent "nifty notion" buy.  The Clover Stack 'N Store Bobbin Tower.  I even love it's name. :)  I've been using it for a couple months now, and I love it. It holds 30 bobbins & I imagine that you could add to it; it being a tower & all.  The one drawback, and I admit, it's really silly, but it is UGLY. I mean, green & yellow?!? I imagine that it's meant to be neutral as to fit into any sewing room ambiance, but wow. It makes me think of this:

Image Source
How about you? What notions could you not do without??

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Long time no blog....

Well, just as I had anticipated, July proved to be quite busy.  But in the last couple weeks, I've started up a whole new sewing endeavor. 

I may have mentioned it in passing before, but (prepare for a semi-long back story) when I was pregnant with my son and shopping for a fabulous diaper bag, I discovered Ju Ju Be.  And it was the beginning of a long love affair. I've owned nearly every bag that JJB has come out with & I've loved them all to varying degrees.  Right now my go to is the Be Hip in Fuchsia Blossoms

Hello, gorgeous.
To go along with the fabulous JJB diaper bags is a fabulous forum which has been termed the Pink Room. It's where all the JJB fanatics hang out & talk about bags, mommyhood, pregnancy, crafting, t.v....well, we pretty much talk about it all. We're quite the chatty bunch.  The Pink Room is also a wonderful place to buy & sell your gently used & well loved JJBs.

So, back to the 'new endeavors'. I'm going to be customizing these bags. Little things, adding zippers, resizing, strap alterations, things like that. So, while I'm hoping to continue to have time to sew for myself, I'll be sharing most of my sewing time with others. :)  I do have a few little projects still in teh early planning stages, but, well. That's what I've been up to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finished! McCalls 5791


As promised, here are some more pictures of the kiddos in their new duds. You'll have to forgive the so-so photos, they were taken with my point & shoot and despite them all being taken within an hour of each other, they were an odd combination of over & underexposed. Sigh

The dress & tie turned out beautifully, if I may say so myself. The pattern itself was quite straightforward. Which provided me opportunity to use a more challenging fabric. And challenging it was. I didn't have too much trouble with slippage (the glitter took care of that) but it frayed like crazy. I have to say, this dress was made possible by Fray Check. Thanks Dritz!!


I used this dress as an opportunity to try a couple new (to me) techniques.  I think children's clothes are a good time to practice for a couple reasons. 1) Children will likely outgrow the clothes before they fall apart. 2) The cuteness factor. Cute kids & babies make up for any shortcomings the garments may have 3) Kids are always on the move. No time to closely examine things like zippers & hems.

That being said, I inserted my very first invisible zipper on this dress and I must say, I think I prefer these over lapped & centered applications.  I can foresee, however, having troubles with bubbling at the bottom of the zipper in the future. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.


Also, french seams! The dress is fully lined, with the skirt lining being free-hanging. I love the results of the french seams & I only had to rip one out after sewing it on the right side. D'oh!


I also slip stitched the bodice lining to the zipper & skirt. And I'm pleased with how it turned out. I had enough confidence that I skipped the transparent thread. My consistency has improved dramatically. You can tell when looking at it when I took a break from sewing & came back to it, but all in all, it looks quite nice. My mom even told me so. 

As for the hem, I did a lot of looking at blind hemming techniques & even practiced on a few scraps of fashion fabric, but int he end I decided that it requires too much pressing and I feared scorching the dress on the very last step. On the other hand, I did not want to do the typical double turned hem. The "sportswear" finish would just not do for this little dress.


I remembered from the serger class I took last month that a delicate finish can be obtained by using a 3 thread stitch. So that's what I did. :) And I really like the results.

You can see pictures of the dress & tie unadorned (without the models) here.
..........

So, that's done with. 'What's next on my "To Sew" list?', you ask. Well, I'm currently working on my pencil skirt muslin for the Fun with Fitting-Skirts class over at Pattern Review. I also have another version of Simplicity 2199 cut out that needs to be sewn. And, is it terrible to admit that I've been doing some thinking about sewing for this Fall??

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sneak Peak

Ok. The dress & tie are both offically finished. I thought I'd post a sneak peak since I've been so scarce lately. :)

We're leaving for the convention tomorrow morning & the kids will be wearing their new outfits on Sunday, so I should have some modeled pictures next week.

Here's the front of the dress. I debated whether to leave the tulle stick out or lop it off & decided that I like having it peek out a bit. Though it does look lopsided in these pictures.


 And here's the back (see the invisible zipper? No? Awesome!)



Here's the label I designed for this dress. I think I enjoy designing the labels just as much as sewing the clothes. :)  
And of course, a matching tie for the big brother :) With coordinating label, I must add.


So there you have it. A quick look at what has had me chained to the sewing machine this last week.  I'll post all the nitty gritty details next week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lots of progress but nothing to share....yet.


I feel like I haven't blogged in forever. It's not for a lack of things to say, that's for sure. It's just that every time I sat down to blog last week, I though "I should be sewing, not blogging about sewing." So, that's what I did.

And my little doll's dress is almost done (with my very first invisible zipper). All that needs to be done is hemming. And I think I'm going to try using a blind hem. That will make for lots of firsts on this little dress. My first invisible zipper, first use of french seams. First time using tulle. More on all that later, though. 

Shawn's matching tie is finished, done in less than an afternoon. I swear, you spend more time turning & pressing than actually sewing when it comes to ties. It was a nice change of pace.

So, lots of unveiling to come. But for now...back to the sewing machine.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Simplicity 2599: FAIL.



I got it in my head that I needed to try sewing a woven top.  I'm almost 100% comfortable sewing knits, but fitted wovens are starting to freak me out a bit. The culprit: The Crepe. For anyone who wasn't a reader (and blissfully missed my awful muslin pictures), the Colette Crepe dress was the dress that just wasn't meant to be. Despite the fact that I sewed up no less than 4 bodice muslins, tried using 2 different fashion fabrics (FOUR YARDS EACH), this stupid dress just wouldn't let me win.  My beautiful fashion fabric is all cut up, staring at me from a ziplock bag. Taunting me.

Anyway. Simplicity 2599 was an obvious choice for 2 reasons: It was a "Best of 2010" pattern, it was pretty cute, and it wasn't super fitted, making fitting easy....or so I thought. 

I started with muslining a size 8 & it was huge. Way huge. So, I basted the shoulder & side seams in about an inch & that was much better. I must have gone wrong somewhere when transferring the changes to my pattern, though, because it ended up teeny tiny. Sigh.  Starting all over, I traced & sewed a size 6. Too big. Better, but too big. On to a size 4--the smallest size on the pattern. Again. Too big. I might have been able to live with the front if I used the elastic on view F (which was my plan anyway) but the back, oh my. The bag was just huge. I could pinch out a good 2 inches.

And that's when I gave up.  I'm tempted to try the Sencha--but honestly. I don't think the high necking & the cut-on cap sleeves would be flattering on me. For now, I'm sticking to knits. But I am perusing Ottobre as my next option.  Rumor has it that they are much more realistic in their fitting.

I'm not sure this could be officially considered a wadder, as it didn't even make it past the muslin stage, but it sure was a hit to my ego at first.  Then I realized, in this particular scenario, there really wasn't anything I did wrong. I really could have made it work. But I made a choice.  There were other things I would rather sew; things that in reality, have a more secure spot in my wardrobe.

Speaking of my wardrobe, I've realized that 99% of my tops are knits. I own 1...maybe 2 white button down shirts. That I've never worn.  And have no plans to.

So, why the big push for a woven top? I just don't know. I do have a woven dress that I hope to muslin shortly, though.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sewing for Children Contest: Entered!


Despite the fact that July is a busy month for us & despite the fact that I've enrolled in another class at PR (Fun with Fitting Skirts), I've decided also, to enter the Sewing for Children contest. In fact, I just officially entered.

I already had some clothes for the kiddos at the top of my to sew list, so I just held off to start until the 1st so I could be eligible for the contest. It runs until August 31st, but my own deadline is July 15, which is when the kids will (hopefully) be wearing their new clothes.  That gives me just under 2 weeks. Which should be plenty of time. We shall see. My already cut out maxi dress may have to wait, though.

I've menioned before, that we have an annual 3 day conveniton that we attend in the summer. Last year, I made the kids coordinating outfits. A sweet little pillowcase dress for Laila & a matching tie for Shawn. This year, I'm stepping it up a bit. :)

I'll be using McCalls 5791 for Laila's dress & diaper cover in a blue glitter polyester special occasion fabric.  Shawn's tie will be the same shade of blue, minus the glitter. 

I also bought 2 zippers for the dress-one invisible & one conventional. Ideally I'll get to use the invisible zipper, but just in case that proves to be too stressful, I can hand-pick the conventional zipper and still get a nice finish. I'm also toying with making matching shoes for Laila...but that just might be overkill. :) Then again, what better time to go overboard, right?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Simpicity 2219: Again

When my first version of this dress (which started out as a muslin, but turned out to be wearable) turned out so well, I set out to make my sister the same dress, but without the sleeves. I found a fabric that suited her to a 'T' at Best Online Fabrics on Ebay. They were very accommodating in sending me a custom invoice for my requested yardage. In fact, they only had 2 pieces left, which added up to more than my required yardage, so they actually sent me extra for free. Which is good because it turned out that I totally needed it.

This dress was a darn train wreck! I must've been overconfident, because I had to completely start over on the bodice not once, but twice. The first time I had to completely re-cut out the pieces (thank goodness I had that extra yardage!)

The first time, I was zipping right along. Got the bodice pieces attached to the lining, trimmed my seams (more like butchered the poor things) turned it right side out & discovered I didn't like how the center front 'V' looked. It just didn't lay right. Of course, ripping & re-sewing wasn't the easy option since all my seam allowances were varying widths. That'll teach me.

So I re-cut the pieces. And re-sewed the pieces. And I was zipping right along. I came to the point in the instructions for attaching the sleeves. Since I wasn't doing sleeves, I turned the page over to skip it. And what do you know? Lo & behold there are COMPLETELY different instructions for sewing the bodice without the sleeves. See, in Views A & B, attaching the sleeves finishes the outer seams of the bodice. No sleeves--no finish. Which I would have figured out had I spent more than 2 seconds thinking about the whole thing--or, gee golly, looking at the construction steps.  So, out came my seam ripper again.

And then I really did zip right along. The rest of the dress came together beautifully. Once it was all together I tried it on, since my sister & I are about the same size.

And my heart stopped. The bodice was low on the sides. You could see my bra! Like, a lot of my bra. My main reason for choosing this pattern was for ease of wearing. So, I took it off & set it aside. Later that night, laying in bed, it dawned on me. I have sloping shoulders. Significantly sloping shoulders. That would account for the low bodice. So, I basted the sloping shoulder alteration on to the shoulders. It certainly wasn't pretty, but it did the trick. And told me that I was the problem. Not the dress. What a relief!


All in all, it was well worth it. My sister loves her new dress & has plans to buy a new pair of shoes to match.  And as for me, I'm jealous of her new dress & am working on some alterations to make my very own sleeveless version. 
Oh. I almost forgot the finishing touch, the custom, coordinating label.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Baby Dresses


A friend of mine has a 2 year old granddaughter. She had bought a couple patterns & fabric to make some dresses but just never got around to it. When she found out that I sew (and that I enjoy it!) she asked if I would mind sewing up the simple patterns. I was kind of between projects, so I said sure.

She had picked out New Look 6576 & 6878.  The Cherry dress (6576) came together super easy & I love how it turned out. I really wanted to find cherry buttons (though, it may have been overkill) but couldn't find any that didn't look like tomatoes. So I stuck with boring old white buttons & used red thread for the buttons, buttonholes & hem.


6878 was a little more challenging. It has a zipper closure--which I did "by the book" and am pretty happy with how it turned out.  The "hard" part was attaching the yoke facing. The directions say to press the raw edge if the facing in 3/8" and sew on the outside in the seam (that attaches the facing to the dress). Theoretically catching the 3/8" hem on the inside. I'm just not that precise in my sewing (yet?) so, I whipped out my handy dandy transparent thread & sewed that baby  by hand. I think it saved me a lot of heartache in the long run.

So, now there done & on their way to their new owner. My friend asked me how much I wanted for payment & I have no idea. I had it in mind as a favor, and I didn't spend hours & hours on them or anything. They were kind of nice projects to do since they weren't real challenging & I didn't have anything else immediately lined up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Good to be Back....


Phew. Ten whole days without a computer.  I suppose I can't complain too much; I was able to surf the web & read blogs on my phone, but not being able to post or interact left me feeling out of touch. :) On the other hand, there were some perks. :)

I have so much to talk about! A few new notions, some new finished projects (three, in fact), and of course, the ever constant stream of plans & new items on the "to sew" list.

July is going to be a busy month! We have our annual 3 day convention & I'd like to carry on the traditoin of making Laila & Shawn a coordinating dress & tie (respectively, of course). I just ordered fabric for the dress & a slew of swatches to find the perfect silky coordinate. I'm also going to need to make another suit or 2 for Shawn.  All his pants are quickly becoming too short.  Since I was planing on sewing for them anyway, I think I'll hold off until July 1 to start & enter some of my creations in the Sewing for Children contest on PR.

Also, Sarah Veblen is offering a class (again, at PR) on fitting & altering skirts. I'm seriously considering taking this class. I think it would be a great experience.

Well. That's it for now. I just wanted to peek my head in & say hi!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sewing Snippits...

It's been kind of a rough week for me. All my key appliances seem to be boycotting. On Monday, I was practicing doing a rolled hem on my serger (for the class I'm taking). Everything was going fine. And then, all of a sudden, it stopped forming a stitch. And then came a horrible clanking noise. I did a little looking around & realized teh lower looper was hitting something.

I was all set to take it in to get serviced on Thursday, but my father-in-law came to the rescue. He was able to fix the lower looper rub relatively easily. And by the end of the day, my beloved serger was better than ever. Oiled, cleaned, tension correct. She's running beautifully. And I am so glad, because I was dreading having to use just my sewing machine on my next knit dress.

Also, my computer went on the fritz Thursday. Just up & quit working. So, I called my tech (who happens to be an 18 year old computer genius--he also built our computer originally) and he determined the graphics card was bad. So, he gave us one out of his computer & we're up & running (for now...since we're using his fancy graphics card, he can't play his games...so he'll be taking it back shortly LOL). So until we get our card, I'll be without my computer. I still have internet access on my phone, but I won't be able to post to the blog. So, please excuse the temporary radio silence.

I'm making a couple of baby dresses for a friend of mine's granddaughter. She had purchased the fabrics, notions & patterns, but just hasn't (& won't ) get around to sewing them up. I'm glad to help out, and they'll be quick little projects to keep the mojo going. That & I won't have to look up any complicated construction techniques while I'm without the internet.

So, there you go. Consider yourselves caught up. Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm posting again. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ruched Rugby/Striped Sailor Top

  

I just love it when seamstresses have clever names for their garments. I've never really been able to come up with anything, but this top ended up with 2 aliases. 

First off, the stripes made me think of those rugby shirts that were so pupular when i was in high school. After a google search,though. I realized that those all had thicker stripes. Oh well. The name sticks. 

Secondly, when I asked my hubby if he liked my new shirt ("I made it!!" I still get such a rush uttering those words!) he said, "Yeah. It's cute. You look like a little sailor." So. There you go. 

On to the pattern!

Another super fast project. As in one afternoon. With toddler & baby underfoot.  The pattern is actually a 1 piece download from burdastyle called the kimono tee.  To conserve fabric, I cut the pattern at the shoulders & cut the front & back pieces on the fold, making it a 2 piece pattern (plus the neckband). I also eliminated the waist casing and ruched the sides (but you can't really tell) 


The fabric is another clearance from Joann (I actually have it in purple, too). It's definitely polyester & maybe lycra...I'm not so sure it isn't swimsuit material. Anyway. It's a quick, cute top. If I make it again I think I will use something with a little more drape. The sleeves on this one don't quite flutter like I had in mind, though, it could be that the stripes just obscure it. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My First Self Stitched Outfit!


Here's the debut to my first complete outfit! It's been a long time coming...

The top was originally supposed to be Vogue 8669, but that went from UFO to wadder. Which broke my heart just a little because I had set out with such high hopes. I even drafted flutter sleeves for it. In the end, the fabric had ended up running (yeah, like panty hose! So weird!) clear out past the seam line at one of the armholes. I could have fidgeted with that, but the top really didn't fit me well. The other bummer was that the fabric color had been a perfect match for the wine in my skirt, so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find it again. A trip to Joann revealed that they still had the fabric in stock (and still on clearance!) so I grabbed a couple yards & McCalls 6034.

I cut a size Small (8-10) but should have done an XS. I took the side seams in about an inch and remedied that, but the shoulders are a bit too big. The pattern calls for a narrow 5/8" hem at both the back neckline & the sleeves. I handled the neckline ok, but the sleeves proved to be too much trouble, so I opted for a regular 5/8" hem. I also omitted the band since the top was pretty long as is. I used elastic thread (awesome!) and ruched the side seams a bit in order to keep the drape a little more consistent.
 
 

I cut my fabric out on Friday & finished it up on Saturday. Which, I think, makes this my fastest project to date.

The skirt is a linen that I found on clearance at Joann (I really prefer to buy fabric online as far as quality...but it's hard to resist when you're holding it in hand!). It is so soft & doesn't seem to wrinkle too horribly. It was a little sheer, so I lined it with a soft cotton muslin. 

I followed the guidelines in Sew What! Skirts to draft a basic A-line skirt.  When I tissue fit the pattern, though, it didn't meet my center front so I added an inch to the waist. For whatever reason, I ended up having to take the skirt in at the waist, though.  I may have been inconsistent in deciding where I wanted the skirt to be.

I hemmed & hawed over how I was going to handle a facing, a zipper & a lining. I found multiple tutorials on constructing various combinations of the above, but they all had one aspect or another missing. Then I realized that lining the skirt could offer a finished top edge & ditched the facing. I stitched the lining & fashion fabric right sides together & then top stitched. I slip stitched the lining to the zipper by hand, which turned out very nicely.

I'm so proud of my new outfit, but I must admit, my favorite part of the ensemble can't be seen when I'm wearing it....

a coordinating label!! I used one of my favorite fonts & printed it out on a colorfast fabric sheet! I'm pretty pumped about the idea of all my future garments having coordinating labels.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Confessions of a Seamstress in Training


Within the last week, I've bought 14.5 yards of fabric. Yeah. Wow. Three yards are muslin, but the rest are destined to become wonderful skirts & tops.

And because I've bought so much fabric this week, and I like to pre-wash it all before it goes into the stash, I've managed to stay on top of the household laundry. It's amazing that I don't mind doing the laundry when it includes new yardage.

I've actually finished my a-line skirt, but haven't shared it yet because a matching top is in progress. I'll share more on that later--it's a long, emotionally draining tale of heartache. Hopefully it will have a happy ending. 

My serger class had it's first chat last night & it was really good! I've been having a lot of trouble with the tension on my serger for awhile now...the upper looper is too loose even on the tightest setting. Jen said to try moving my knife over so it was catching less fabric. And it worked! My upper looper is still on the highest tension, which bugs me, but my stitch is really nice looking. I'm going to have to take my serger in for servicing soon, and I'm trying to get used to the idea of being without it for weeks on end. :(  Honestly, I'd rather give up my sewing machine, since I've been sewing more knits than wovens.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Toddler Dress Clothes--Finished!


My little guy (and my big guy for that matter) wear suits a lot (well, it doesn't seem a lot to us, but compared to most guys--I suppose it is.) We attend Christian meetings twice a week & work in our ministry 1-2 every week, so my little boy wears a lot of suits.  Typically, his dress clothes consist of slacks & a button down shirt, sometimes with a suit jacket or vest.


Needless to say, my boy is growing like a weed.  And buying new suits gets expensive. They are hard to find in the first place, and he's getting out of the sizes where they sell "sets" with pants, vest, shirt & tie.  So I made it my mission to find patterns for my little guy.


The pants were easy. The extremely talented (and generous!) Dana from MADE has been so kind as to share a pattern for kid pants. I've sewn these up twice now (both with a flat front) and I love how they fit. The legs are slim & make my little guy look oh so grown up! Not to mention her instructions are easy to follow & straight forward. Thanks Dana!

Finding a vest was more challenging. I spent quite a bit of time trying to find resources on-line for toddler suit vests.  I did find one helpful tutorial that explained how to draft your own vest from a dress shirt. That was very helpful, but I really prefer patterns at this point in my sewing.  They make me less nervous.  Anyway, I came across this vest pattern from Jocole on Etsy. And we all know how much I love PDF patterns. I didn't hesitate before buying it.


And I'm glad I did. It's a reversible pattern, but I used the same fabric for both sides. Next time I'll use a satin lining to make it even more RTW.  I love the end results & will be sewing more little suits very soon. :)
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