Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pencil Skirt

This continues my series of posts about projects I've made but haven't yet photographed.  This skirt is Butterick 5466

This pattern is awesome.  I've made it twice, the second to be photographed later.  I made view C, minus the belt.  It only had 3 pattern pieces.  My second version of this skirt is a print, so I love that there aren't a lot of seams to interrupt the pattern.  

Another awesome thing about this pattern is that it takes a very small amount of fabric- only 1 yard of 60" wide fabric.  This fabric is a light weight denim from Joanns.  I got a killer deal on it- it was 30% off, plus as a teacher I get an additional 15% off, and then this was the end of the bolt so I got another 50% off.  So I think the fabric for this skirt cost me under $3.  Am I a bargain shopper or what?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Good from afar...

... but far from good.

Here is my Pendrell blouse, hanging on the door.  The fabric is a pain to photograph, it looks better on, but it's 8:00am and I'm in no shape to be photographed!  So just trust me on this one that it looks totally fine when you step back. (and no, I haven't hemmed it yet, ignore that!)

This is the problem with my blouse when you take a closer look:

To explain all that's going on here, I need to explain the fabric first.  It's a poly crepe de chine I got from Fabric Mart.  One reason I like buying fabric online is because it's never exactly what I expected, but it's usually better and I feel like it pushes me to try new things or to afford better things than I could get in a brick & mortar store.  At first I really enjoyed this fabric, it's really crisp, and it makes a satisfying little noise when you cut it.  Plus it's reversible and that alleviated a lot of stress!

When I first cut the fabric I had no problems, but the more I worked with it the more it started to ravel.  I remember standing up at one point and being covered by the little ravel strings.

As I said before, I wanted to push myself and try French seams.  They weren't that bad, took a bit longer, but not as much as I expected.  However, because my fabric likes to ravel so much, what happened is that those little stupid fringy strings stick out in the French seams!

I'm not a perfectionist, so I thought I could live with it, but I can't.  Sigh.  So I'm going to have to rip out the French seams, pinking shear the fringe real close to the first seam and then resew the second seam.  I was so excited to make this blouse, and so excited about my fabric, and so excited about finally conquering French seams, so I feel really defeated right now.  I'm setting it aside for a few days until I feel better about tackling this.

I can't bear to end this post at such a low point, so I leave you all with hopeful optimism for my next project.  I'm starting this cardigan in a tan/gold pinstripe knit also from Fabric Mart.  Here's to success!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Photo Journey of Failed Photography

Does the fact that I can't photograph myself mean I'm the living dead?

10 second camera timer and I sneeze at last second!

I was sad today because I thought I looked really cute.  But I only got one compliment.  One.  And I work at a school, so I see like 300 people everyday, plus I have 15 girls in my class who worship my fashion sense.  But only one comment.  Sigh.  So I decided to put it out in blog world!  This would've been a great idea, except I couldn't manage to decently photograph myself. And then I realized that the terrible pictures were actually quite hilarious, so I'd like to share:

Weird close up that includes a total bra shot.  Not sure how this photo happened.

And in between awful pictures I'm going to make you read about my outfit!  Mwahaha!  My top is a simple long sleeve black T, my boots are aerosoles that I got for only $30 online, and I'm of course rocking these awesome pink tights.  My necklace is a cool steam-punk style that my mom had made for me for my birthday.

Me failing at channeling America's Next Top Model.  Plus my bra is still showing.

My skirt, however, is sewn by me!  I got a ton of 80s and 90s patterns for 29 cents each at the thirft store in my hometown, including this one from 1989.  I personally think that there's a lot to be said for styling, so I wasn't put off by the cover illustration.  

I was, however, under the impression that I was making a wrap dress.  But then, as I stared confusedly at the directions, I realized it was a skirt with a separate wrap top.  I tried to get on board with it... but.... I'm not a big fan of the wrap top as it has really loose sleeves, especially in the armpit area.

But after cutting off a whopping nine inches from the hem, I declare the skirt a success!

Probably the best shot!  You can see my awesome pink tights.  But my bra is still there.

The skirt is a black flannel with white polka dots.  I know that flannel is an unusual choice for a skirt, but it was in my stash, and I like it.  Makes it feel wintery.

Another decent shot, trying to be pensive again.  Bra is still glowing!  My bra isn't even white, it's skin tone, you'd think it would blend in.

In the meantime, I finished cutting out my Pendrell blouse.  Woohoo!  I'm making myself do french seams, I've never done them before, so why not now?  The tutorial at Collette Patterns explained it simply enough, so I think I can do it!

Pendrell, all cut, and draped over a chair.

So enough blogging and onto sewing this bad boy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mamma Mia Dress

This dress has a good story, and you know I love a good story.

I made this baby back in January.  I was going to New York for the first time to visit with 2 friends who moved back east.  We were going to have a girls weekend in the city and see Mamma Mia!

Wearing my dress to work today and rocking these awesome tights!  Sorry for the messy room, we're doing a lot of household rearranging.

I'm a San Diego girl and my idea of "winter" is not real winter.  But be damned if I was going to be under dressed at a play! So I whipped up this dress.  And when I say I whipped it up, I mean whipped it up.  The night before I was supposed to go to New York, I sewed most of the dress (instead of packing) while hanging out with the neighbors who came over.  Then, the next morning I got up and packed, hemmed my dress, and brought a needle and thread with me and hand basted the collar at my friend's house the night before the play.

But lucky for me this was seriously the easiest dress I ever made!

Here I am on the right wearing my dress in Times Square before Mamma Mia (under a coat, scarf, and hat, and over tights, leggings, socks, boots, and a long sleeve T shirt):

And now a word about the pattern (Butterick 5523)...
This was my first knit garment.  I was unreasonably afraid of knits for a long time.  I don't know why, this was insanely easy. I followed the pattern, except I found the waist elastic to be unnecessary (and I was in a rush!). I also left off the tab detail on the back.  Ironically, that's what drew me to this pattern, but mine wasn't coming out right and I decided I didn't care.

Overall, I'm super happy with this dress, and I got tons of compliments!

In the meantime I'm in the cutting stages of my Pendrell blouse.  I hate cutting out patterns.  I have a vintage pattern from the 70s that's precut.  I guess that's the advantage of buying one size.  Cutting is just so tedious and has no gratification!  But I have a 3 day weekend this weekend and with any luck I'll be sharing finished pictures soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Birthday Dress

Completed in time for me to wear to school on my birthday!  Simplicity 2369 in matte jersey (first blogged about here)

Yes, that's a weird look on my face, but the best shot of the actual dress.

So a bit about sewing this dress...
This is my first complete garment made of a knitted fabric.  I was afraid to work with knits, but that fear proved to be unfounded.  I found this fabric to be very forgiving.  

A problem I did have, although self imposed, was working with my narrow hemmer foot.  I just discovered I had one, and decided to use it, but man did I have problems.  The hem came out kinda wiggly, I'm guessing because of the stretch of the fabric, but I actually liked it and, again, found it to be forgiving.  And somewhere in the process of using the narrow hemmer my bobbin thread got tangled on the bobbin.  No idea how I managed that one.

Back view.

Some reviews on patternreview said that a few pattern drawings were backwards.  I don't know if it was that or my own fatigue, but I had a heck of the time putting all the pieces together.  I got so turned around with the wrap and all the pieces and being inside out and I had to redo one seam 4 times because I kept getting it all wrong!

A more natural smile, but not the best view of my dress!

All that being said, I am overall very pleased with the result and received loads of compliments today.

Edit: I don't know why I thought this was my first knit pattern, my first was Butterick 5523.  But that was a really stable double knit while this one grew and stretched everywhere so I guess they just seem like different creatures.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A little teaser...

Just in time to wear tomorrow on my birthday I finished my wrap dress!  I'll take pics tomorrow morning and post when I get a chance. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A skirt with pockets

Proof that I really do sew!

Due to a combination of lost camera charger and a falling apart computer (since resolved with found camera charger and new hot pink laptop), I have almost no pictures of anything I've sewn.  So I've resolved to have G man take pictures of me on my way off to work when I wear things I've made.

This skirt is probably the item I wear most.  It's McCalls 5591 in style B, but without the sash.  I love this pattern.  I have a denim skirt in style A (which has yet to be photographed, one day soon) and I bought some black cotton sateen waiting to be made into another skirt like this.

One of the best things about this skirt is the wide, roomy pockets.  The girls in my class even noticed how much I could stash in my pockets and asked me where I was buying skirts with pockets, because they wanted skirts with pockets too!  I replied that I made it.  They were in complete awe and asked if I would make them skirts too!  That just tickled me!  Why don't they make uniform skirts with pockets for little girls?

And now a moment about my outfit in it's entirety... it was super cheap!  Said and done, I think the skirt cost me maybe $10.  The fabric is a super cheap poly/cotton broadcloth from Joann, maybe $2 a yard, 3 yards, total, making it $6 in fabric.  The pattern was 99 cents, I think my mom gave me the thread in a little kit and I bought the zipper and the interfacing.  The shirt is Ann Taylor Loft, given to me by my neighbor/good friend who is constantly cleaning out her closet and passing goodies on to me. And those awesome shoes were only $10 on clearance at Kohls.  And these aren't some cheapy shoes either.  I'm on my feet all day so I only buy quality shoes, and boy do these shoes have a coushy soul.  I wore them all day at work today and was perfectly comfortable.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Movie weekend

I'm still sick, ran a low fever today, so sewing is still at a standstill.  I didn't finish my wrap dress in time for the bridal shower, but I hope to finish it for my birthday on Thursday.  Honestly, I have such a small amount left I need to just suck it up and do it.

In the meantime, I had a good time watching old movies!  I now get one of the FX movie channels so I've been having a good ole time with that.

One of the movies I watched and loved was A Good Woman.  It's not really an old movie, from 2004, but it's set in the 30s.  I had never heard of it, but I really loved it.  It really reminded me of The Importance of Being Earnest, and since they're both plays by Oscar Wilde I suppose that makes sense!  But I loved the fashion in this movie, this dress in particular:

Of course her stupid cone full of fish hides part of it, but it's a wrap dress with a really cute ruffled collar, in black with white polka dots.  And the ribbon on her hat matches the print.  This movie also made me want to wear more hats!  I think I may have a similar pattern in my stash, I can't find the pattern I'm thinking of online, so I'll have to take a look through my patterns.

And check out the movie poster, I love this also!  I may need this for my house...

Another movie I enjoyed this weekend was Holiday for Lovers.  It's kind of a silly movie, but nice because I don't mind walking away and doing other things and coming back to it.  It's from the late 50s so it has all those great 50s dresses.  I couldn't find a good picture of my favorite dress in the movie, I could only get the top half:

Just imagine that same print, but with a classic 50s skirt and a fairly open back.  Super cute!

AND I bought my FAVORITE movie, Pride and Prejudice, on Amazon and it came on Friday so I've been enjoying that this weekend too!  Not too much to say there in terms of fashion, except I think all the dress they wear would be super cute if they were knee length.  I have a 90s pattern, again I have to look it up again in my stash and I'm too sick and tired to seek it out, but it looks very similar on the top to a lot of the dresses they wear in P&P.

So here's to feeling better so I can share some actual sewing with you soon!

While I'm on the topic of old films, I'd like to point out that my blog background constantly reminds me of the bookshop scene in Funny Face:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And.... fail.

After months of thinking about starting a blog, and years of reading blogs, I start my own only to very quickly stop posting consistently.  Fail.  The kids in my class have been sick a lot, out for a week at a time, and whatever they have finally caught up with me.  I'm that weird in between sick, not sick enough to stay home, but sick enough that I'm miserable at work all day and crashing when I come home.  No fun!  So my wrap dress is taking a break.  I'm too "sick" for dishes or laundry pretty often, but you know I'm sick if I'm too sick to sew or knit!