Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a great night and a festive New Years day. We decided to keep things a little more low key this year so we invited friends over to our house for champagne and snacks, and then we headed to the neighborhood watering hole to ring in 2014. It was a fun time and we had a pretty big turn out! Since our neighborhood bar the Air Devils Inn (or ADI as we affectionately call it) is not <ahem> the highest caliber of places, I decided to make a fun but not too over the top New Years dress. Bring in Vogue 1337, this is a very 1980′s style dress with a blouson bodice and fitted skirt.

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I kind of threw this together last minute so the bodice is a bit more blousy than I intended, I would probably scale the top down a size if I decide to make this again. I made this in a forest green heavy jersey knit, it was a chilly night so I wanted it to be warm! I love the pleating on the shoulders, however the pattern called for clear elastic inserted in the seam of the sleeves. This boggled me as the elastic really didn’t seem to serve any purpose, there was no elastic sizing guide for the sleeves (only the waist) and it did not indicate any sort of tension or stretching the elastic while sewing it in. I would assume the elastic would be used to give a gathered effect, however this didn’t seem to be the case so I just omitted it. For the elastic in the waist I just used some elastic I had in my stash instead of clear plastic, it works just fine!

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Unfortunately my hem wouldn’t lay flat, it just refused to be ironed into submission. Oh well! It was certainly comfy dress and I did plenty of running around and dancing to the juke box in it. I would make it again, nothing like having easy knit dresses to throw on!

In other news, check out my new sewing toys I got for Christmas from my In Laws! While yard sailing they found this amazing rolling fold out table that fits perfectly in my sewing room. No more scooting around the kitchen floor and crawling around while I cut my fabric! It has already made a world of difference in my sewing experience. In addition to the table they also found a huge cutting mat that fits exactly on my sewing table. Now I can actually use my rotary cutter! I think if I had used it on the hardwood kitchen floor Chris may have crucified me.

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But wait, I am not finished! They also found me a sleeve ironing board which is something I have been dying for! Its the little things, am I right? Oh and my sister and law and her boyfriend bought me an Ott-lite for  a high definition sewing view. How spoiled am I? Maddie decided to check it out too :)

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I hope that the holiday season treated you all well, and I am looking forward to seeing all of your creations and inspiration for 2014! Cheers blogosphere!

 


A reindeer dress and a Bumble hat

Hello friends! Sorry I have been so quiet the last month, the first semester has just wrapped up at school and I am officially on Christmas break. Thank you Lord! For the holiday season I really have been wanting to make a reindeer dress, and I found this reindeer knit at Girl Charlee, (also comes in red and green). It was love at first sight! This is cotton jersey, and is pretty light, but not too sheer. We are having unseasonably high temperatures right now so this is just right, I hate getting all bundled up in the winter and then sweating my ass off inside.

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There is nothing super fancy about this dress, I used the Colette Laurel pattern because this print needed something simple without too much detail breaking it up. I eliminated the darts in the front and back by folding down over the front darts and cutting the back piece smaller than my regular sizing. Since this is knit fabric it really didn’t need the darts and shaping anyhow because it is so stretchy and form fitting. I matched up the print on the sides and made it a bit shorter than I normally would cut my dresses because I wanted to wear it over leggings.

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I was so excited for this fabric that as soon as it arrived today I immediately started cutting and sewing it up so that I could wear this dress to dinner tonight with my In Law family. I finished this dress in about an hour, that might be a new record! A lot of it I just serged together which definitely saved some time. Here is my Christmas tree, I am so happy to finally get some time off and take a break!

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Oh and speaking of Christmas, I have one last share- check out the amazing Bumble hat my mom crocheted for me! I wore this fantastic piece to an ugly Christmas sweater party last night with my Bumble sweatshirt, he was quite the hit! I found a free pattern for him here in case you want to make your own. She used special yard that looks like fur flying everywhere, I am kind of obsessed with this one! (Clearly my Bumble obsession is reaching new heights)

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Have a wonderful holiday season!


Stuffed octopus and minky blanket

My dear friends Johanna and Dave just had their adorable (and tiny!) baby boy Denver, and he is just too cute for words!  He was due November 23, but he just couldn’t wait to come join the world and he arrived on November 4th. Luckily we threw a baby shower a month before, and I had time to make him a minky baby blanket and a stuffed octopus to match. A while ago I went to the quilting and sewing convention here in Louisville, and I found two adorable panels of under the sea creatures, mermaids, and pirates. I really don’t make blankets or quilts so this was new territory for me. I found this tutorial for making a minky backed blanket. I made sure to wash both the quilting panels and the minky for to reduce any weird shrinking, hopefully it won’t get too warped after another washing. On the same note- its a baby blanket and meant to take a beating!

 

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I added batting in the center to give it more weight as it is about to get cold real quick! I laid my layers completely flat and pinned the crap out of it so it wouldn’t shift while I sewed my edges together. After trimming the edges, I turned it out and ironed the living hell out of this thing to get it to lay just right. Then I top stitched around the edges. I considered doing some quilting stitches around the panels but it looked cute enough at this point and I really didn’t want to mess it up. I’ll try my hand at quilting some other time, like say in another 20 years? Ynuk ynuk!

I really loved the orange octopus on the panels so I figured that this blanket needed an orange minky stuffed octopus to go with it! Duh! So once again I scoured the internet and I found this free stuffed octopus pattern by Melly and Me. I did alter it a bit, I wanted it to be much bigger so that Denver could grow into him. And what is cooler than a big stuffed octopus? Not much!  I cut a wider radius around the head pattern pieces, about 2-3 inches bigger and longer. I also made the legs much longer and curly at the ends. I stuffed him with polyfil as I went, and used white cotton patches with embroidery stitching around the edges and plastic safety eyes.

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And now without further ado… Mr. Denver James himself!!

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I don’t think that it can get any cuter than this little guy! He is so beautiful and we are so happy and excited for our friends. You all are wonderful parents!

Before we part I want to share one last thing, this is a video from the baby shower of the “Having a baby Relay”. It starts out a little slow but gets hilarious at the end. A great baby shower relay game if you are looking to throw a good one!


Bumbles Bounce!

It s time again for my favorite holiday and ridiculous costume making! Even though it is Halloween, Chris and I decided to borrow a couple Christmas characters this year. My all time favorite Christmas movie is Rudolph the red nosed reindeer (the stop motion animation, not the cartoon) and the Bumble is by far the coolest character, Yukon Cornelius is a close second ;) I figured we could double up and make some fun Christmas cards with the photos in a couple months.

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See the resemblance? These were actually pretty easy costumes to make. I made pajama pants with an elastic waist out of white furry fleece from joanns. I just used an old pj pant pattern I have had forever, pj pants are so easy and comfy I really should make some flannel ones for the winter.  For the top, I just used a long sleeved shirt in my drawer as a pattern and sewed it up super quick. I serged all the seams inside so that it wouldn’t be itchy from the fur edges.

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Obviously the Bumble head was the challenging part, but I got him put together in just a day. I started with a cheapo hat that had a brim, and I glued blue felt around the mouth area. Then I cut two pieces of the furry fleece, each big enough to stuff with polyfil and stand up, I glued these on the brim as well. Then I stuffed them full (well, not TOO full- it was kind of heavy!) and sewed the head closed. His face is a piece of foam with blue felt glued on and white felt for the eyes. His nose is another smaller piece of foam with blue felt t give it dimension.  I sewed this piece on the head, and glued on white felt teeth. Voila! The Bumble was born!

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Yukon Cornelius was much easier, mostly because i didn’t have to make most of it. We just found an old blue jacket in Chris’s closet, and I had a black elastic belt. I made his ice pick out of cardboard and duct tape (very fancy) and found a toy gun at the dollar store. His beard is actually crocheted, I found this free pattern online and my mom crocheted it up. She modified it by making his mustache longer with some wire to make it stand up, and she made a red hat with ear muffs to attach to the beard. I think it turned out great, it was pretty hilarious!

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We wore our costumes to a party at glassworks, and we had a total blast! Now that Halloween is over, I am hoping to get in some regular sewing time, my school schedule has been very time consuming so far this year and sewing has been put on hold out of pure exhaustion. Who’s ready for Thanksgiving break? This gal!


Stash busting

These first few weeks of school have been crazy busy, so in effect my sewing time has dropped to only the weekends. Now with football season and yard sales and other various events going on even my weekends are pretty filled up! What’s a sewer to do to satisfy the sewing itch? Well, whip out quick and easy dresses, that’s what! This is just good old tried and true Simplicity 2059, easy and fast to make, but very functional and comfortable for daily life.  This is a great stash buster dress, which is something I really need to start doing. The growth rate of my stash is far high than my sewing rate. #Sewistproblems

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This is a super light weight and sheer feather print knit that I have had in my sash for well over a year now. Its such a cool print, I felt it was time to do SOMETHING with it. Since it is so sheer I have been holding out for the right project, but it really never came along. I decided I would just make this simple dress because it doesn’t break up the print at all. Instead of making a neck binding, I just lined the entire dress with a white knit underneath. Its a good weight now, especially for the fall transition. I wore this to school with a blue cardigan and flats this week, I can see this going well with boots and tights too.

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Next on my project list is the minoru jacket. I’m pretty excited about it, I am ready to try my hand at a hooded jacket- new territory for me! I have a black twill and a cheetah print waiting to be cut… who’s ready for the cool weather? This gal!


Hawthorne on Hawthorne!

Ah yes, once I finished my new Hawthorne dress I felt compelled to pose in front of Hawthorne Ave in our neighborhood.  It was fate!

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I made my Hawthorne in a turquoise plaid chambray.  I absolutely love shirt dresses, and this is not my first so I found the construction to be very easy.  The tough part was matching up the plaid. I actually ended up having to switch sides for my buttonholes in order to match it up just right. I think the placket on the skirt looks a little stiff or off somehow but I guess I can deal with it.

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Colette Hawthorne

 

I really like the little collar on the Hawthorne, it gives it a vintagey look with the flared skirt.  I read some reviews where people didn’t like that it was in three pieces and would have preferred it in one, but this really didn’t bug me too much. It assembled nice and easy without too many adjustments.

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I used these turquoise  buttons that I bought at the flea market in a grab bag, I had to dump out my jar and find all the matching ones. Luckily there were plenty of these and they matched my colors just right. I made my dress a little loose in the bodice, mostly for comfort.  I find that overly fitted bodices in shirt dresses can pull in weird places and give you “peek-a-boos” between buttons.

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Check out my matching plaids! I’m always happy when my matching works out as planned :)   This is a great dress, and a good one if you are wanting to try out a shirt dress for the first time.  It is definitely less complicated than some others I have tried.  Colette is the best y’all!


The Saltspring dress

Okay yall, I think this hands down may be my favorite thing I have made this year.  This is the new Saltspring dress from Sewaholic and it is the best pattern ever! Ironically I was kind of meh about the pattern when it first came out so I was hesitant to take the plunge, but then I kept seeing so many adorable Saltspring dresses pop up on the blogosphere.  I love the tie straps and the pockets, and the elastic waistline is super comfy!

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This dress was super easy to make, I didn’t even really follow the directions too closely to be honest. This dress has a self lined bodice, with the lining being slightly shorter than the bodice fabric to create a billowing effect. I used a heavier cotton material from Hawthorne fabrics, this was actually a quilting cotton but after a run through the washer it softened up nicely and got a nice flow to it.  Since the cotton was heavier I didn’t want the top to billow out as much so I took off about an inch from the bodice piece. I also made a bigger channel for my elastic to create a more defined waistline, and I eliminated the zipper. With the extra room and stretchiness from the elastic, a zipper seemed a little too fussy and unnecessary.

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See? Just a little bit of billowiness :)

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And POCKETS! Nice roomy pockets. Love!!

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I wore this dress to my brother in law’s 30th birthday party and I had two requests for versions of this dress. I think it is one of those patterns that looks good on everyone, and makes you feel good. It is easy to wear and can be made in a variety of fabrics. I think I may try it out in a knit if the right one comes along.  I also wore this on the first day of school last week, I told the kids I made it and they oooh’ed and aaahh’ed. Gotta impress them early!  My new students are wonderful btw, I am super excited for the rest of the school year.

But back to the dress, I definitely suggest you try this one. I think it is a great one for all ages, and the maxi version would also be super cute in a nice light flowy material.   This one is a keeper people!!!


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