Third place winner in the SuedeSays Rock Your Look Contest!

Yay!! I was just notified that I tied third place in the SuedeSays Rock Your Look Contest! I’m uber excited! Suede is a former contestant on Project Runway, and he now has his own line of patterns through Simplicity called SuedeSays. He had a video contest from April- May for everyone to use one of his patterns to make a design and show how you add your own spin and rock it. I debated between the romper on his pattern 2222 and then decided to go with the dress version since I can get more wear out of it, I don’t think I’m much of a romper kind of gal.

This photo is a little grainy, it is a still from my video submission (please ignore our roomba and the dog to the right). I found a really cute sparkly linen to use for my fabric, and it ended up looking kind of like suiting material (though much more fun). His patterns have 3 different looks to each; Edgy, Flirty and Classic. My look was more classic for sure since I could actually wear this to work with a sweater thrown over it. I replaced the buttons with some white pearl snaps. I didn’t add any studs to the look as the pattern called for, because studs just ain’t my thing either.

The pattern was easy to follow, the racer back and armhole were supported with bias tape ( not listed on the notations so keep an eye out)  the skirt and the bodice were attached with both a drawstring and elastic in the channel. I opted for twill tape for my drawstring, but I the closest I could get to matching my fabric was just plain black. It didn’t quite look right, and I think the belt pulls the look together better so it just got covered up in the end.

The only complaints I had about this look was that the armholes were pretty big, so when I adjusted these it ended up making the bust much smaller. The linen I used had zero stretch so each adjustment I made it pulled in the front, and it was a battle to find a happy medium between not pulling on the front opening to having gaping armholes. My finished look was a smidgen too tight in the bodice. Also, the bodice piece was very long and I have a short torso. Somehow I didn’t notice this until it was too late, so the top billowed out quite a bit, but I think different fabric could’ve made this effect work- the linen was very stiff. This was remedied again by my big belt, I just tucked all the extra fabric and drawstring under it and no one was any wiser.

The prizes I won included a Simplicity Autumn 2011 Catalog, and two patterns from the SuedeSays Autumn collection signed by Suede himself. I feel so honored to have been chosen as one of the winners! Although truth be told I am a little embarrassed of my video, I am no actress! I even wrote myself a little script so that I would cover all my bases when explaining my dress, and I wouldn’t allow my husband (who usually takes all my project photos) to tape it because he would have teased me. My very cool and nonjudgemental friend Ashley AKA Miss Jackson filmed it for me- thanks Miss j! If you would like to view my video checkout this link to Simplicity


New Look 6051- Project runway workroom tunic.. eh

Simplicity has a Project Runway line (LOVE that show!) and they rolled out this tunic. I thought it looked so cute- maybe I just really like the blue floral satic fabric they showcased it in. I couldn’t find any fabric that resembled this, but I did find this pretty black and turquiose charmeuse- the last bit on the bolt!

The tunic was relatively simple to make, it was a big rectangle with a hole for your head- kind of like a poncho. The sides sewed up to make it more fitted. The neckline had casing around it which I always seem to struggle with, I just can’t ever get it to line up and not pucker. The tunic also had a drawstring, there are two buttonholes which I always have fun making. To make the casing for the drawstring they called for bias tape to be sewn on the inside with a channel left open to pull the drawstring through.

I think my tunic resembles the pattern photo, however I don’t know if I am really crazy about the look. My husband thought I had made a kimono, and not that there is anything wrong with kimonos but that wasn’t really what I was going for with this piece. It was fun to make though, and it was cool working with a satic which I haven’t used too much up to now.

McCalls 6240, my faux Victoria’s Secret dress

There is a one shoulder cheetah print dress that Victoria’s Secret has had in their catalog forever, I have been drooling over it and waiting for it to go on sale (it was like $88 BEFORE taxes and shipping!!) I can’t justify spending that much on a little dress, especially one like this that is really only appropriate for going out to the clubs which doesn’t really happen for me much anymore. However, as I said in a previous post my friends and I were throwing a surprise Bachelorette party for my friend Jo- the surprise being the location in Nashville TN. The red Simplicity dress I had made with this event in mind didn’t quite work out as I had planned, so needless to say this dress would’ve been perfect!

Soooo instead of ponying up $88+ for the Vickies dress, I went on the hunt for a pattern to attempt to replicate it. What I found was McCalls 6240, and it is quite possibly the easiest dress I have ever made. The pattern is just three pieces, the front, back and the sleeve. It was all cut and sewn in about an hour and a half. I used the shorter sleeve and straight hemline, and I just made the dress all one piece instead of using the contrast band.

I found a really fun red leopard print from in a very sleek soft rayon knit, I actually like my print better than the Vickies version. It goes great with my red high heels too, LOVE red! I did the math, and I could’ve made three of these dresses (possibly more)  + the cost of the pattern for less than the Vicky’s one too! Not too shabby…

The theme for Jo’s party was hot lady gear and WIGS! We all went out and bought ridiculous wigs, and we had an absolute blast in Nashville! Here we are all hanging out in front of Elvis and out on the town, and one with Captain Morgan!

Bat wings?? No, its Mcalls “Laura Ashley” 6277

I have been eyeing this Mcalls pattern from the Laura Ashley line because the big drapey sleeves look so sleek in the drawn view (scoop neckline) on the pattern picture. After cutting the pieces and trying it on 20 times during the contruction, I felt like I could just take off and fly away with the gigantic bat wing sleeves for this dress! Needless to say I made quite a few alterations to this dress.

I found this bright fun printed rayon blend fabric that I wanted to use for this dress, and I decided to omit the lining for this dress all together. The material is pretty thick and not at all sheer, and it is very soft and drapey so it seemed unnecessary. Plus I’ll probably wear this in the summer and additional layers of fabric in the hot River valley summers = one sweaty gal! Not cute!

The contruction of the actual dress was very easy, it has three sections, a middle piece and the two sides. The problems came when I attached the sleeves and tried it on. The view for the V-neck dress had shorter sleeves and the view for this dress added about two extra inches on the length. I will go ahead and say that unless you have stretch armstrong arms these are way too big for the average woman and you should go ahead and cut the smaller ones. I couldn’t even get my belt around them, they got caught around my waist! I ended up spending way too much time hemming them shorter and sizing them down. The dress was also really long, I had to take it up about 2-3 inches as well. In the end I think my dress looks pretty cute, but it took way too long for something I thought would be a quick project piece.

Simplicity 2892- cute on top!

I love making dresses and there are many I have planned but sometimes you just want to throw on some jeans and a cute top. This top from the Simplicity pattern 2892 was so easy and I think its super cute especially in a pattern. I used the view D which was pictured on the front. You can also make a belt to go with this version but in my opinion the top would need to be made longer to accomodate a belt.

The top was very easy and relatively quick to make. The majority of the work went into the neckline. The yoke had a lot of gathering which was a minor challenge with this particular material. I had seen this blue flower printed cotton material at Joann’s and fell in love with it, but they only had 1.5 yards left so I snatched it up and decided it was just enough for a top. It is a thick rougher cotton material, definitely not a “laundered cotton” which they always put as a suggested material for these types of patterns. Why they put this I don’t know, its not like people have old sheets and yards of fabric laying around that they have run through the laundry 50 times just so that they can make them into tops and dresses and stuff. Sheesh.

Anyways, since the material was a little stiff, it didn’t quite gather and bunch too easily so I had to kind of scrunch it with my fingers as I sewed it up. It also had gathering for the top ruffle band, I had to use the same method when sewing this piece as well. The only real drawback that I had with this top is that the bias tape under the armpit seams was left exposed on the inside of the shirt, but since nobody sees the inside I suppose it didn’t really matter much.

I really enjoyed putting this top together and I have already worn it to work for casual Friday and I wore to get a sushi dinner last night with my husband to our favorite place Oishii on Bardstown road. I will definitely make this top again (in a softer cotton) and I definitely recommend it. Two thumbs up Simplicity 2892!

Paisley dress

I found this paisley print by Michael Miller, called Posh Paisley. It comes in many different colors but I loved this bright pink one. I’ve had this Simplicity pattern 2584 in my to do pile for a while and this fabric was perfect for it! Its a cute, casual dress that I can wear to work, hanging out on the weekends or for dinner and drinks.

It was an easy dress to make, the most challenging part was the yolk (neckline) but I had a lot of fun putting it together. After lining the yolk section, I mtched the notched sections and dot and sewed it onto the dress. After fusing the interfacing to the lining and sewing it to the outside, I sewed two straight lines down the center, and you cut all the way down between these to create the neck opening. The lining gets inverted to the inside, and then you just iron it out and it completes the collar. It was almost like a magic trick!

The sleeves were made by sewing in an inch wide channel and pulling through elastic. After trying it on, I fit the elastic to my arm so it wasn’t too tight or too loose. By itself, Chris thought this dress looked like a night gown. This was pretty annoying but I’ll admit (especially in this pic) that without a belt and some cute heels it does kind of look like something your granny would bust out.

I really like this dress, and I would definitely make it again. The pattern came with different variations so the next one I would try would probably be the version with the puff sleeves and tie waist.

Cynthia Rowley 2178…. WTF??

So I tried this new Cynthia Rowley pattern from the new Simplicity 2011 Summer collection thinking that I could wear it out for a Bachelorette party in May and yeah… so much for that idea. This pattern is so strange and ended up being so asymmetric, perhaps it was the crinkle gauze material I used which I have not worked with before, or maybe it was all the weird random pleats and gathering, I don’t know but it ended up being a hot mess.

In the photo on the pattern it looks a little Grecian Goddess-esque which I thought was pretty, but my finished product didn’t look like this in my opinion. The fabrics they called for ranged from linens, laundered cottons, and crinkle gauze to satins. In hindsight the satin may have been a better option for this dress as it woud have been more sturdy and clean in the pleating and gathering. The bodice came together pretty easily, the strap construction used interfacing and wasn’t too out of the norm. Then I made the Midriff waist section which somehow came out way to short. I used the same measurement on all pattern pieces but ended up having to recut this section longer, luckily I had enough fabric left to make these long pieces.

Next I made the weird skirt. It had one slit at the top of the waist (imagine a missing slice of pizza) this was to make one random dart. Umm alrightie… Then the pattern had gathering on one side near the dart, and then just folded pleats on the other side. Maybe I just messed this up somehow but the skirt ended up being so off center. If I could go back I would have skipped the gathering and just made plain and simple pleats ignoring the instructions. The hem was also strange, it had a ring of interfacing that was sewed around the bottom with facing. I guess this was to create sort of a hoola hoop effect and make the skirt flare out. Mine of course ended up being uneven in the back- hey why ruin my asymmetry theme?

Here is the full view of the dress. I am going to quote the movie Clueless and say that this dress is full of Monet, from far away it looks ok, but up close its a big mess.

In the end I could probably wear this dress out to a dark bar where people would be drinking and no one would even notice the imperfections, however for the experience and issues I had making this dress, sorry Cynthia Rowley I love you but 2178 gets a thumbs down. <PPHHHHTTTTTHH!!>