Baby room additions

Hello all, yes I have been MIA as usual but to be honest I really haven’t been doing much sewing lately. I refuse to sew any garments until after the baby is born (gotta get this big belly under control first!) and as far as sewing baby clothes we have received soooo many in our showers and from our family that the motivation is just not there. As a teacher my time is already stretched thin, and with baby preparation, baby classes, baby showers, thank you notes, doctor appointments, etc.. its all I can do to just kick my feet up and relax at the end of the day while I can. I will save my baby sewing for Halloween, which I am super excited for! Imagine the possibilities..

I have however made a couple of stuffed animals for the baby’s room. We are doing sort of a sock monkey/sock animal theme so I wanted to make a sock animal addition. I found this adorable pattern online for a sock lion and I had to give it a go. Mine isn’t quite as cute as the one in the tutorial, in fact I’d say he is bordering on the line of slightly ghetto, but that’s okay. It is the first sock animal I have attempted and I found him to be a little challenging, mostly in all the hand sewing and hiding seams, particularly the stuffing seam at the crotch. I tried to use a slip stitch for this part but the hole was just gaping as this point (that’s what she said) and the sock was wearing thin so I had to just make it work. I also chose to use safety eyes since I had a bag of them from previous projects and I wish I had just stitched some eyes on instead, as they are a bit too big for his head.
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The most fun part was obviously the mane, this involved wrapping yarn around a piece of card board and sewing it together in a string and attaching around his face. It is the final touch to making him an actual lion instead of a skinny cat! Despite his short comings, he fits in nicely with the other sock animals in our baby’s collection. I may or may not attempt another, there are so many great sock patterns out there!

The second animal I made was a big crocodile from an old pattern found at a yard sale Simplicity 5778. I have previously made the hippo for another friend for her baby which turned out pretty cute so I thought we’d give the croc a go.
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There were a lot of pieces to cut out for this gal (I made a lady crocodile) but I found that it all pieced together nicely with no major issues. The only trouble I ran into was inserting the mouth piece, somehow it ended up a bit too small so I had to alter it and add some length to fit in the head.
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I made a few changes along the way, mostly just to give the croc some more personally. I gave her eyelashes and again used the safety eyes I had on hand. I put a tongue in her mouth, and for some reason the pattern only had the gator with two teeth which I thought would look strange. I made a bunch of other teeth but still fell a bit short, she has a “big bubba” grin, at least its a bit comical. I used soft minky fabric in bright green and hot pink, and pink rick rack for her back scales. She is pretty large, almost three feet long. Since she is so big I am planning on using her for monthly baby photos to use for a scale of how big the baby gets.
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The nursery is just about ready and stocked with plenty of diapers and wipes and supplies, I will post some nursery pictures soon! We only have three more weeks until her arrival, it is pretty surreal to imagine having a daughter in such little time. We are getting both nervous and excited! Getting sleep while I can…zzz..
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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!


Simplicity 1612, back to my knits!

It has been a wile since I have made a knit dress, which is unfortunate because I have so many of them in my stash in a lot of fun prints! I used to make a LOT of knit dresses, and now I remember why! They are so soft, comfy and forgiving, but still really cute! They can be dressed up or down, and with the right style you can even wear one to a wedding if you want. I know people are deathly afraid of knits, however there are endless tutorials online to help you deal with troublesome details like neck bindings (luckily this dress didn’t need one!

This dress is Simplicity 1612, one of the new patterns for knits that Simplicity released this year. It has such a cut keyhole around the neck line, and the back is also really pretty with a cut out and necktie. I used a super soft knit that has an ikat print in charcoal and cream. I love that this dress can be worn both casually and a little more dressed up since it has the neckline details. My mom just turned 65 so I wore this out for her birthday dinner. Happy birthday Ma!

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I followed the directions on this one exactly as they were listed. It wasn’t difficult putting the bodice together, however there were a few instructions that they sort of clumped together. So just be careful to read everything thoroughly and use the picture diagrams. I cut the dress in a 12 and it just happened to work out and fit perfectly. That never happens!! I was stoked, other than just taking in the sides a bit I had virtually no adjustments to make.

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The keyhole is a little big, so beware if you are a little more busty. I have never really been shy about showing off some cleave but if you are then I would take it uo a little bit and add a little more length to the bodice. I guess I am just a little hussy!

I did my best t match up the print, but there were a couple places that it was slightly off. This seems to be an eternal problem of mine, matching up prints! Bah!!

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Isn’t the back so cute? The main issue I read about in other reviews of this pattern was the facings and how they just kind of hang inside the dress. I would classify these more so as self liners than facings, the bodice facing is the same pieces made up as the right side, and the back was a rectangle that encases the straps and elastic on the back. I ended up tacking both of these down at the side which worked out great. The back peeps out a little with movement, but it isn’t anything major.  Another version that I love is blogger Nikki’s dress, I love the print she used- it looks like yarn knitted together. Super cute!

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Speaking of cute, harper wanted to get in on the blogging action. She’s so stylish! I don’t know anyone else who pulls off wearing white better than her 🙂


Cynthia Rowley 2512- weekend skirt

This is a skirt I made before my trip but I am just now getting around to blogging it. Traveling gets in the way of a lot of things, not that I am complaining! After I saw the version of this skirt made my Mimi G, blogged here, I pretty much had no choice but to shamelessly copy and make one myself. I used a cotton twill with a turquoise chevrony- zig zaggy print. I really like his material because its nice and soft but it still has substance and shape to it. No need to line it either which is a plus in this heat!

 

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This is in front of our newly bloomed crape myrtle tree in the front yard, I thought it looked pretty!

Anyhow, back to the skirt. I made a couple changes to it based off the other reviews I read. I added extra length onto the ties because everyone had said it was too short to tie into a bow. This worked out just fine, but now I am kind of on the fence about the bow, I think it may be a little too fussy for me. I may just end up wearing it in a knot. I also omitted the pockets because I didn’t want to add any extra bulk, it already has a lot going on. I took away some of the gathers especially in the back since a lot of the reviewers noted that it looked like they had a bubble butt. I don’t need to add anymore junk to my trunk!

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Unfortunately I think the front and back are a little unbalanced, I even ended up having to take the hem up in the front because it was hanging lower than the back. The ties pull a bit at the zipper in the back but its nothing that will cause any wardrobe malfunctions… I hope.

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All in all I think its a cute skirt and is comfy for running around on the weekends, like this lovely one! Happy Saturday!


This is for the birds!

I just finished making this dress, Simplicity 1878. It was a pattern that I picked up in a $0.99 sale, and I just now decided to try it out. It is a simple shift dress style, but has an open neck style. I made this with this Michael Miller bird print, it seemed cute and whimsical to me at first, but now I’m thinking it may be a little juvenile. Oh well, it will be an easy running around town dress… no judgement at the grocery store!

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This was a very easy dress to put together. I like that the style is straight up and down so it is easy to throw on and wear. I opted to omit the interfacing around the neckline, because good Lord I hate interfacing… However, if I make this again I do think it needs it, the neck is open but it really needs a bit of stability to stand up. Mine kind of flops over a bit, boooo.

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Overall not a bad pattern, I would make this again with some minor changes. It kind of has a bit of a 70’s feel, like something Twiggy would wear.


Get Down and Derby!!

Yesterday was the famous Kentucky Derby, and as a local Louisvillian I felt compelled to host a Derby party. I used to attend the Derby in the infield in past years, but for those of you not familiar with the infield antics there is usually lots of drunken debauchery including topless ladies and public urination… nothing but class! That ship has sailed for me, and unfortunately the next step up from infield is box seats, millionaire’s row and such- a bit outside my price range. Though I hope that we will get to go and do Derby right someday, I would love to make a big fabulous dress and wear and awesome hat!

It was also a rainy day, so the comfort of my own home seemed like a great alternative! Of course I had to make a Derby dress for the occasion, and I found this vintage neon print of a horse racing scene and I was super pumped. There was only 1.5 yards of this material available from the seller, so I snatched it up and went back to my old faithful Simplicity Passport dress. I’ve made it a million times and its so easy to wear, I figured with only a yard and a half of fabric I had no room for mistakes. I think it turned out really cute!

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It was a tight squeeze getting the dress to fit a yard and a half and still showcase the print, but I somehow managed. I had no construction problems, but I do think I could take the waist up a bit. I plan to wear this dress to the race track at some point so I’ll fix it before then. Check out our fabulous mascots for the evening, I named them Kriss Kross in honor of the fallen 90’s artist. May his backwards pants forever live on!

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The party was a blast, Chris smoked ribs and pork butt, and I made Derby pies and lots of yummy appetizer. Two of the big hits were my mini hot brown bites (think mornay sauce, turkey, tomato, bacon, and parmesan cheese… (delicious ridiculousness! recipe here) and shrimp orzo salad. I have had a major obsession with orzo pasta lately, this recipe is great. It makes a ton and it is a nice light side dish. I was hoping there would be some left over so I could take it to work for lunch this week, but no such luck!

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True to the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, we had much gambling throughout the day and night. We watched each race and sold each horse for a dollar out of a deck of cards by number, winner taking the pot. I only managed to win one race on a horse named Stephanie’s Kitten… $8 whole dollars! However, my winnings were quickly confiscated when the dice started rolling for a never ending game of Philly three’s. It is highly addictive… not sure I can recommend it on a clear conscience.

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Our friend Joey’s perfect roll of the evening… that dog.

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Despite the rain, we had a super fun time with great company. Even Harper enjoyed herself!

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Happy Derby everyone! Looking forward to next year 🙂


Gaud bless ‘Merica!

I tried out the new Cynthia Rowley pattern, 1688 and made it up in this very soft red, white and blue plaid. Very patriot y’all! This dress has a sweet heart neckline, contrast straps and and bodice detail.

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It turned out ok, although I will say this one was a bit of a struggle. The bodice ended up slightly too big and billowy since I have a bit of a shallow chest. I added an extra contrast band to the back because it just didn’t look right to me with just the front band alone. This made matching up the waist seam and the contrast bands more of a challenge, and hence a lot of seam ripping and hair pulling. I think I can add an odd little dart near my armpits to fix the problem, but the straps ended up being slightly too short by accident. I am afraid taking it in on top will make the armholes really small. I can always bust out the seam ripper and make the straps longer, but for now… I rest.

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The back plaid doesn’t line up on account of having the cut the side down slightly to accommodate the zipper, which also makes me a little nuts on this one. Gah!!

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I used a navy blue invisible zipper to match the contrast band, but I think it s too dark for the rest of the dress.

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For a first run at this dress it went ok, probably should have made a muslin. But I live on the edge y’all, Yee HAW!!


Lisette shirt dress… take 25!

Ok I think I have an addiction problem with this shirt dress pattern… this is seriously like the 5th version I’ve made. I just wear all of them so much that I figure I can’t go wrong with another! I found this vintage plaid shirting with a silver metallic stripe weaved in the grain and I immediately had a vision of this shirt dress. I know I need to branch out and try new items but for some reason I just haven’t been really drawn to many of the new patterns that have been released this season, and that is cross the board on all the companies. A lot of them look very similar to patterns I already own so I figured hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

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The good thing about making the same pattern over and over is that it sewing it becomes a piece of cake. I sized this up 2 sizes bigger than normal because the shirting material doesn’t leave much room for stretch or movement. I didn’t really follow the directions but if you are making this dress for the first time they are pretty good. For the collar pressed under both edges of the opening after turning it right side out and top stitched it right onto the dress. I found this much quicker and easier than lining up the raw edges and catching the fold. It also looks much more clean and finished. I also omitted all the interfacing the dress calls for, this is a casual dress so I don’t think having stiff plackets and a collar is really necessary.

 

 

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I love how it turned out, I think its definitely more of a spring print but whatever I don’t care, clearly I have spring fever in January. I wore it out last night with sweater tights and boots and it was a-ok!

I would tell you that I probably won’t make another one of these Lisette shirt dresses, but we all know that is a big fat lie- its a tried and true! I keep hoping that they will release more Lisette patterns since I love so many of the ones they have available but I guess time will tell.

 


The Aztec dress

This week we have had unusually warm weather for January, yesterday was a high of 70. I know this will be short lived and I am way jumping the gun, but it has me giddy for spring and new fun dresses! I found this amazing tribal/Aztec knit on Etsy and I found myself envisioning it made up in Simplicity  2443. This has a simple silhouette with a gathered skirt and a racer back.

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I’ve made this dress once before in a peacock print blogged here, and I totally forgot what a pain it was to attach the bodice to the straps. I used a solid black knit that I had in my stash to add some contrast to the straps, I had hoped I would be able to leave off the interfacing however this knit was super flimsy so there was no way around it. I think the interfacing made the straps fit a little strange, and I about lost my cool trying to get the racer back sewn in nice and even. I ended up just top stitching it on and it still is lopsided and less than great… grrrrr… I may go back and try to fix it before I wear this in warmer weather, but for now I plan to wear a sweater over the dress so I am going to give it a rest for now.

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Other than the back I love ow it turned out, I am totally digging the tribal print trend right now. Its bright and fun, and this dress is super comfy. I can’t wait until spring gets here! Here’s hoping that ground hog doesn’t see his shadow in a month.

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Cynthia Rowley 1783

Hello friends, I am back from my sewing hiatus! Its been a busy school year and I’ve pretty much been running around like a headless chicken. However despite the madness I have finally graduated with my Masters and have some “me” sewing time over this Christmas break. Not to mention a much needed little getaway trip to Nashville the next couple of days- super excited! He also just graduated with his MBA so we are both ready for a little R and R 🙂

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Aww aren’t we so cute and studious?

Anyhow, I have been working on the Cynthia Rowley skirt of the newer pattern 1783 and finally got to finish it this week. After seeing Suzy’s version in denim I became obsessed and had to shamelessly copy this great skirt. I LOVE the big front pockets and the front pleat. She had switched her pleat to the back, but I stuck with the original instructions and kept it in the front. I made mine as simplistic as possible and used a hook and eye closure only instead of a button. I also left off studs and embellishments and just used blue thread that matched the denim. I wanted this to be more of a basic piece in my wardrobe.

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The construction of this skirt was very easy, and I actually found that the zip fly instructions were much simpler than the last zip fly project I made on my Thurlow jeans. This of course may be because I made two pairs and have some zip fly experience under my belt, but it seemed to be more straight forward on these. One thing that did throw me was the patterns requirement for a 7″ zipper. This is waaay too long! I already had a 7″  denim zipper that was perfect for these that I found at a flea market, so I stupidly turned a blind eye and used it. Although the skirt zips up and down perfectly fine and you can’t see any gaping holes or anything, there is about 3 inches of zipper extending on the inside of the skirt. A 4″ zipper would have been much more appropriate. Surprisingly no one else seemed to notice this problem on the other reviews I read for the pattern? Strange oversight…

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The only other alteration I made was narrowing the hem of the waist line. I have such a short torso the 2-3″ hemline was way too thick and swallowed me up. Overall I am happy with my skirt, it will take me through winter and summer alike. Can’t go wrong with multi seasonal pieces!

I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

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