My summer is quickly coming to a close with the new school year approaching in a week. I have definitely enjoyed my time off this summer, but I am ready to get back into a work routine. After a while one feels the need to go back to being a productive member of society! Well I say that now, bet I change my tune in a couple months! But anyhow, I am now on a mission to sew projects that I can wear to school and be cute but comfortable while I work. I keep seeing fellow bloggers whipping out Mccalls 6744, it is a super easy dress for knits. It has an elastic waist, I made the version which is a faux wrap. I love the gathered detailing on the shoulders and how it isn’t too fussy to wear, a lot of times wrap dresses just get annoying with all the adjusting and ties.
This was soooo easy to make! The elastic casing just sews into the seam allowance , and the shoulders are gathered together with small channels of elastic. I didn’t bother sewing the “wrap” part of the skirt because it crossed over far enough that here was no fear of flashing anyone! I made this in a super soft rayon knit from fabric.com, I think they still have it if you are interested. It is a navy blue aztecy type print on cream. It is very opaque, so no worries on your undies showing through!
I think it would look cute with a belt, but last night I just wore it with this bright necklace and some flip flops to a picnic/fair in town. It is so hot and muggy right now, I just didn’t feel like messing with accessories!
I think this will make a great dress for the school year and it could even go into the fall season with a sweater and boots. Done and done, on to the next project!
Last night I attended my friend Tina’s surprise birthday/painting party, and it was a total blast! She loves dressing up so everyone was to show up in cocktail attire for the occasion. This of course made me excited because I just finished my chevron “zig zag” dress, and I was itching for a reason to wear it. I found this retro inspired polyester material at our local Hancocks and I couldn’t leave the store without it, even though I generally avoid working with this type of fabric. I decided to make McCalls 6115 which is about as an easy of a dress to make especially with this finicky fabric. Its pretty much two panels with a channel to run the straps through. I did my darndest to match up the stripes, however this dress is a pretty big sack when its all said and done so I had to take it in quite a bit. Matching up the stripes became less of a necessity and more of an impossibility. I ended up belting the dress anyhow so I don’t mind it too much.
I really love how it turned out, I think this dress may be coming with me on my trip to Europe. Bonjour!
While at the party, we all had to cover our sophisticated outfits with aprons to avoid getting splattered with paint. It was well worth covering my dress, I forgot how much I enjoy painting. I used to do quite a bit of oil painting, but when I started school a couple years ago I just didn’t have the time for it anymore. It can be a very time consuming hobby! However, now that I will have the summer off and I finished graduate school I plan to get in at least a little painting time! The theme for the painting party was the Louisville skyline with bubbles floating about in the sky. I decided to deviate my theme because I wanted to hang it in my sewing room, so instead of bubbles I painted spools of thread.
It turned out kind of meh, we had to finish within a limited time frame as it was a painting party and it ended up a little sloppy and kindergartenish as a result. I may go back and try to fix it up later on, although this was done with acrylic paint. Here are all the other painters’ finished masterpieces, they all turned out great and we had so much fun!
I really enjoy painting natural scenery and using a lot of texture when I paint. Here are a couple of paintings I have done that are hanging up in my house:
All this art is really getting my creative juices flowing, I’m really getting excited to start creating this summer! Oh and on a completely unrelated side note, check out who I met at a local art fair recently- Gunnar from project runway! He was so friendly and kind, he didn’t even mind me asking for a creeper fan pic 😉
Love local celebrities!
This weekend was the big yard sale event for my local neighborhoods, over 100 houses particiapted this year. I went with my mother in law, Chris, my sister in law Rachel and a couple friends to find treasures. I was not disappointed! I just accepted a position teaching math (which I am super stoked about) so I was mostly looking for math games and tools for my classroom, but then we ran into a woman who was selling bins of fabric and patterns. I pretty much squealed and started diggingthrough them like a little kid. The lady seemed pretty ready to get rid of all of it so she offered up the whole lot a $1 a bin. We pretty much got them for free, it was ridiculous!
Now don’t get me wrong, not everything in this grab bag was a winner but I did find some cute stuff (and some pretty hideous stuff too).The majority of the patterns are mostly little kid items which I don’t have too much use for yet, maybe someday. However, get a look at these gems buried in the stash:
Now I am certainly no belly shirt kind of girl, but I do like the simple button down on view D. Who can’t use a button down shirt or two?
This pattern appealed to the Paris Hilton dress up my dog part of me. Look at that raincoat, how stinkin cute! I also like the t-shirt with the frisbee pocket on view F. However, I don’t know if view B is supposed to be a hoodie or maybe a ghost costume, but the dog looks like a member of the KKK in the picture. That just ain’t right.
Ok so I am a sucker for cheesy Christmas crafts. Look how cute they are! Meet Mr and Mrs Claus! I am so making this in December…
This Santa on the other hand is just down right creepy. I mean he doesn’t even look like santa, he’s a full size elderly man wearing a bathrobe. He’s definitely not pulling off the Hugh Heffner look well.
Hey girl, check out my demented dolly hair bow! don’t I look fly?
This is actually a pattern for Barbie clothes, there were a couple in the bin but I thought this one was too cute. How stylish are these Barbie outfits? I wish they were actual people patterns because I’d totally rock these looks!
This was the oddball lingerie pattern that just didn’t fit in with the rest. Its pretty zsa zsa though. Mee-yow!
I don’t know what is more awesome, the fact that they have 100 pictures of this boxer short pattern of the two 80’s models with matching haircuts. Just wow
The fabric selection had a few conversation starters too, besides the 5 different cat prints that I found. This was a pattern printed right on the fabric with directions for making “Mama Bunny with babies”. Though a bit strange, I have never seen something like this before.
There was two panels of this dogs playing poker print. Again, just wow
My mother in law also found this fabric at another yard sale, $1.50 for 3 yards of vintage yellow and turquoise gingham. I absolutely love this! I may have to whip up one last sun dress before it starts getting chilly out.
Good day of bargains in the neighborhood! I’m looking forward to the next one 🙂
In honor of this evening’s new Mad Men episode I decided it was time to post my “Peggy Dress”. I think I’ve seen about 5 other versions of Peggy’s infamous black and white plaid dress, but my favorite is hands down the dress made by the lovely Julia Bobbin. I love her modern take on the sleeves and the buttons but maintaining the shape and the curved collar. This is a dress I had to have in my closet!
To make my dress I used McCalls 5792, the view in the lower right hand corner with the collar (funny enough it is in a black and white houndstooth in the drawing… destiny?)
I had to make a few alterations in order to capture the essence of Peggy that I was going for. In this pattern the collar meets in the front on the left side of the neckline, but I wanted the collar to curve around the front and meet in the back. This was a pretty simple fix however, I just swiveled it around to the back and lined up the closures in the back center. I also had to create my own little sleeves for this dress, this was also rather simple to do, I just used the sleeves from another pattern and made my own, and altered them down until they fit just right. Finally, I had to create my own bias belt for the dress, this was a little challenging because I ended up having my belt come out a couple inches too short due to a lack of a beefy piece of fabiric left over after cutting out the rest of the dress. I made the belt line up in contrast to the rest of the plaid so that it would stand out, so I ended up having to match up the extra inches and sewing them justright so they would belnd in. It certainly didn’t turn out perfectly but it isn’t noticable.
A few dislikes/ issues I had while making this dress was obviously the plaids not lining up perfectly. This is always a struggle I realize and the back seam not matching up I can live with, but the collar ended up being on an angle from the rest of the dress, I was hoping it would mimic the belt. Oh well… Also this dress had a side zipper, this wouldn’t have been a big deal but I don’t particularly like side zippers. On this dress it was especially a more annoying installation since I added the sleeves. In the end I was pleased with how the zipper turned out though, so no harm no foul. Lastly the bodice ended up being bigger and more bunchy than I would have liked, I think this is what bothers me most about the dress. I may try to take it in a bit later on but for now I have other projects on my list.
Issues aside, I still am fond of my Peggy dress and I will wear it proud as Peggy would at Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce. In fact I wore it today at my Honor Society induction, here a picture my Mom took (though it was quick and not the best view)
In other news, our little chickies finally arrived last week! Unfortunately of our 6 chicks we ordered, one was left off the shipment, and one didn’t make it through the first day so we have four girls for now. We will be getting replacement chicks in a couple weeks though, so our brood will be one happy egg laying bunch! Meet our chicks Farrah, Frankie, Pumpkin and Jamal:
And the cluck hut
I realized today that I have not made any new posts lately, and ironically I have a bunch of finished sewing projects to add but I haven’t had much to time to coordinate with my man and take photos of them yet. So on that note today I am adding a post of a project which I can be the photographer, Harper’s new dog coat! It hasn’t really been all that cold this winter (not that I am complaining) so she hasn’t gotten much wear, but she still looks cute.
I used McCalls 6455 which is a very easy pattern, great for a beginner. One thing I will say is that this is the first dog outfit pattern I have used that I actually had to size down, usually these patterns are small even when they say that they can be used for “larger” dogs. This pattern had huge sizes and even an extender to add to the belt for a larger chested dog (or more ahem… rotund dogs). So for those of you who have Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Great Danes or any other massive breed of dog and you like to dress them up then this pattern is perfect.
I used a faux houndstooth fleece, and a lot of black bias tape around the edges, and velcro for the closures. I am finding that velcro isn’t the best bet for Harper because she has such a thick neck it comes undone pretty easily. I’ll probably add snaps or buttons to this to make it more secure.
On unrelated non-sewing news, my husband and I decided to jump on the backyard chicken trend and start our own little flock. Fresh eggs coming our way! We started building our coop, which we have dubbed “The Cluck Hut” and painted the frame today since it was so gorgeous outside.
We ordered our chicks, 4 different breeds, which will arrive mid April to their new digs. We wanted to wait until it warmed up a bit since chicks are sensitive to cold weather, we figured it would be good and warm by then. Three of the chickens will be our good eggs layers, one buff orpington and two plymouth rocks. The other breeds we ordered for fun- one is an Easter Egger which is of South American decent and can lay green, blue or pink eggs. The last two chickens are silkie bantums, they look like little muppets! Check it out:
Hee hee hee.. can you tell I am excited about these chickens?? More to come on the ladies later!
Ho ho ho!!! Give me some bacon!
Ok I know the dog costumes are getting out of hand especially since I have an 80 lb labrador retriever that most people probably wouldn’t dress up like a Paris Hilton dog, but this Santa costume was too cute to pass up. Our local JoAnns had a $.99 McCalls pattern sale the other week and I wanted to stock up on some craft patterns, especially Christmas decor since we don’t have much other than our tree and some nutcrackers. So while looking through the Holiday patterns online, I stumbled onto McCalls 6259. This pattern is obviously for a much smaller dog so I had to make “big” some adjustments.
For the body I referenced her jaildog costume to scale it up. The fabric I used was a stretchy red velvet so it had much more give that just a plain cotton. For whatever reason I have had a huge stash of this white fur material in my sewing closet, so it was time to be put to good use! The belt was black bias tape that I doubled up, and the buckle was off an old belt that I was planning on giving away.
The construction of this costume was very straight forward. I didn’t even bother hemming parts of it because the material doesn’t fray or curl, and let’s be honest.. its a dog costume. I don’t think Harper will be too critical about it. I used velcrow for the enclosureunder her belly and the hat. I think she may need some help from safety pins on Christmas day though since it pulls open when she sits or rolls around.
I think she looks like one festive doggie and I anticipate many treats in this Santa Dog’s future!
Now that winter has rolled in I am really trying to avoid the jeans and sweater rut that tends to happen with cold weather and laziness. I really love to wear leggings and boots because they are so comfy and always look cute and stylish, but I don’t have too many tunics. I have a weird complex with the length of items I wear with leggings, they aren’t tights so I don’t feel like I can wear anything too long or too fitted because I feel like I am wearing pants with a dress. On the other hand, leggings are more or less spandex pants, and if you wear something too short then it looks like your ass is hanging out or you just forgot to put on your bottoms. This is where the tunics come in, not too long, not too short. They are the goldie locks to leggings! I recently saw The StitchyWitch’s post on McCalls 6167 and I was totally inspired. I love how her version turned out, its cute, casual and comfy, but its a nice variation from jeans. I wanted to make this in a more lightweight material, so I found this white shirting material on fabric.com. It is real airy and has textured purple, blue and white dots, and it was on sale for like $3 a yard- booyah! I think it is still available right now too if anyone is interested.
I actually really enjoyed making this tunic. Lately I’ve been making super easy projects so it was nice to have something a little more challenging. I have made the Simplicity Lisette shirt dress 2246 previously, which btw I LOVE- I have worn the crap out of that thing! So having one shirt contruction under my belt, this one wasn’t too bad. The collar instructions looked a bit boggling upon first examination, but luckily they included a good picture guide. I actually think that the method they provided to piece together this collar is way easier and less hair pulling than the Lisette dress. I’ve been wanting to make another version of the Lisette shirt dress and I may reference these instructions once I get to the collar.
The cuffs were something new for me, they had the slit opening on the sleeve like a men’s shirt and had to have a “continuous lap” binding- maybe this is a common sewing term but it was my first encounter. The cuff was easy enough, it had to be folded in half, sewn and inverted. I can see how this instruction would be confusing but I brought my patience to the sewing table and got it workedout quickly. Unfortunately when I cut the slits on my sleeves I forgot to flip the pattern piece over so the slits would match up with my right and left hands- woopsies! Oh well, I like the look of the shirt with the sleeves rolled and tabbed better anyways. Live and learn…
And speaking of the tabs, I loved this feature on the tunic! As you can see, as usual I substituted pearl snaps for buttons. I am obsessed with these western style snaps, I just think they add so much more pizazz to a piece and are much easier to deal with for easy wear.
I am looking forward to breaking out my tunic in public, I am really pleased with the way it turned out. The beauty of these shirt based pieces is that you can remake them over and over again and make them look completely different each time. I am already planning on finding a cute bright plaid to try out on this pattern, I may add the pockets next time too… Here is one last shot in front of our very fake and very vintage Christmas tree, it has seen much santa action over the years. My upcoming planned projects will be very Christmas themed and (poor) Harper might be getting a new doggy christmas outfit! Stay tuned…
I have been rocking my $100 Singer for a while now, and I think it is getting to the point where it is hanging on by a thread <pun intended nyuk nyuk nyuk>. The bobbin is good for about 3 or 4 runs and then the thread pulls itself loose and I have to stop what I am doing and open up the machine and start messing with it and tricking it into working properly. I have tried everything, the tension, tightening and loosening the little screw on that plate thingy, nothing works for very long. Needless to say it is driving me nuts! Now that I have my new Serger that runs so well and makes such good clean stitches I really have the bug to upgrade to a sleeker, higher end, computerized model. However, good sewing machines (especially with all the features I want) come at a price- usually a high one. Lucky for me my husband is in the market for an upgrade on his hobby too- a new kayak playboat- so we struck a deal 😀 I get a new sewing machine and he can buy a new kayak. Guess we will be eating a lot of ramen noodles for a while!
My dear friend Jo heard about my quest for a new machine so she graciously lended me her Baby Lock Decorators Choice to test drive for about a week. This machine is fabulous! It has all the features that I am looking for: drop in bobbin (no more struggling and tighting screws), over 200 stitches including 3 alphabets and even a cute little crocodile stitch, automatic threader, automatic cutter, start and stop self stitching without the footpad- sorry don’t know the technical term, dual needles, and it can sew through layers of heavy fabric. It also has tons of accessories, and something she was sure about which I have now confirmed through usage; if you make a mistake or do something wrong it will pop up a message telling you what the error is and what to do to fix it. Pretty bad ass!
Here is the threading trail for the machine- it reminded me a lot of my Serger.
For my Mom’s birthday I used McCalls 6338 to make her the casserole dish carrier. This pattern had called for hot and cold prequilted fabric, but I couldn’t find any. The regular prequilted fabric was crazy expensive so I opted for terrycloth instead. Since she will probably use it for things other than casseroles as she doesn’t really make casseroles then I think the terrycloth lining will work fine. This was the perfect project to test out on Jo’s Baby Lock since it had so many layers of thick fabric, I wanted to see if it could handle it! Well let me tell you, the Baby Lock sewed through these layers like a champ! Here it is in action:
And through a layer of terrycloth, and three sheets of cotton:
And the finished product, not as sturdy had it been made with quilting but I think my mom wll like it:
Overall I am really enjoying the Baby Lock Decorator’s Choice. The only complaint I have so far is that since the bobbin drops in and the thread stays down with it, there tends to be kind of a sloppy start to the stitching because the ends get caught up, but its not a big deal, it can easily be pulled out and snipped.
I have looked for it online and have had some trouble finding it so I am not sure if it is even an available model. It is also pretty expensive, about $800. There are some models I have been looking at that are similar, the Brother IS Innov series have gotten great reviews on Consumer Reports, however the one that I think I am pretty dead set on is the Brother PC 420. It is very similar to the Baby Lock DC, all the same features, 294 stitches, and it is a Project Runway Limited edition so there is an added feature to create and program your own stitch. Not sure how it works or how much I will use this feature, but it sounds really cool!
This model has tons of great reviews, and it costs about $450-$500, more reasonable than a Baby Lock. I saw a lot of really cool embroidery machines, however I only use my machine for construction of garments and crafts and I know I will never embroider anything. If anyone has used this machine or has any other recommendations I would love to hear from you! I am trying to stay in the $500 range.
On a final note (off topic) my SuedeSays prizes finally arrived! I received the 2011 Simplicty Autumn catalog and the two Fall SuedeSays patterns yesterday, all signed by Suede. The patterns are pretty cute, I really like the jacket and the flowy bohemian top. I’m still enjoying summer, but these patterns make me look forward to Fall outfits!
This has been one HOT ass summer in Louisville, we’ve had heat advisories and humidity that can melt tires. I have been crazy busy with school and work (the reason why I haven’t been posting much lately) but since I am stuck in these places for so many hours its nice to have some cute summer friendly outfits to wear while I am there. My downtown office is air conditioned, but since I work in a cubicle I find that in order to maintain my sanity I need to get out at lunch and go for a walk. Pants are just miserable in this heat so I have been trying to make more office friendly dresses. This McCalls 4769 pattern is a button down dress and it has a bit of Marilyn Monroe flair to the skirt which is so chic! I have really been wanting to try a seersucker number for a long time now so this one made the cut!
I chose the sleeveless version as obviously this one provides the most relief with heat. I really really like the eyelet dress that the model is wearing, I have never worked with eyelet material and this is really inspiring to me. Oh well, I guess I will just add it to my growing list of projects… maybe someday!
I used orange seersucker since it seemed like a fun sunny summer color. Seersucker is kind of an oddball fabric, clearly it is made with cotton but since it is striped and has ridges it also wrinkles easily (but not as badly as linen). The plus is it is not heavy and won’t made you feel constricted. I decided to go with orange pearl snaps instead of buttons- can you tell I am obsessed with snaps? I just think they are so fun and add more spunk to a garment than buttons. These matched perfectly too!
This dress took me a while, but mostly because I haven’t had too much time to focus on it. It was kind of a pain, I cannot lie. I have made a button down dress before- posted https://mystitchnbitch.wordpress.com/category/shirtdress/. It was not difficult to make or interpret the instructions, but this dress was so interface happy it was unreal!! There was interfacing in the collar, both plackets, and the facings for the collar and plackets all of which were long and narrow and had to be adhered in sections for incremental amounts of time. The time I spent adhering the interfacing was ridiculous, I refilled my Rowenta with water three times because the steam was flowing nonstop. I also let these dry overnight before sewing them because I just don’t like to work with wet pieces. Frankly, I think it was way too much interfacing, the next time I make this dress I would limit the interfacing to the collar and plackets only. I also noticed a lot of reviews on this dress people said they were confused with the directions for the collar attachment, I thought it was pretty straightforward, and if you had problems following the directions you could easily just wing it.
The main dress pieces were simple, just normal darts in the bodice and attachment to the skirt. Now that I have Brother Sergio, I have been using him to finish all the seams and hems that I possibly can to make my garments more professional. This dress has pockets, and I decided I would go ahead and serge them on along with the front and back skirt seamed. Woopsies… I ended up messing up and the knife cut the pocket edge too far, it left a big hole at the bottom of the seam pocket. I used my Singer and fixed it by straight stitching outside the tear, but the effect left an odd pull on my seam. I don’t think it is too noticable though, I asked my husband to zoom in and take a close up of the flaw and he didn’t know what I was talking about until I physically pointed it out to him. I guess this just goes to show that we are our own worst critics.
In the end I am very happy with this dress, the bodice is a little bigger than I would like, but at this point it is not so big that I am going to spend anymore time making alterations- too many other projects, Next!! This is a cute dress, great for work or a brunch on a hot summer day. I would make this again in the eyelet fabric they featured but with less interfacing next time.