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!!!


Mccalls 6744

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.

 

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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!

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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!

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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!


Pattern Runway Kimono dress

I have recently acquired some fabric from local yard sales around town and I got a bunch from a lady who lives in the St. Matthews area of Louisville.  She is apparently a big fan of the color blue (UK fan maybe?) so I now have several blue pieces in my stash. This fabric is some sort of silky blend, obviously synthetic. I was not particularly crazy about the little red and yellow paisley print, however it was about $1.50 for two yards so I figured why not? I have some other silky fabrics from my Paris trip that I am hoarding for the right project, and I really wanted to try the pattern runway kimono dress because I have seen so many cute ones and it looks perfect for slick material that can be a pain.  I planned to use this yard sale material to make a wearable muslin but I actually ended up liking the dress much more than I originally planned!  Somehow this dress lessens the frumpiness of the material.

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Please excuse the wrinkliness… those side seams could REEEALLY use a good press! Anyhoo this dress was as easy as they say it is, I love the big sleeves (although they do gape a bit if you are self conscience about a bra showing- just a heads up) and the blousy bodice.  It is super comfortable too, can go wrong with an elastic waist, right? I used the facings even though I usually can’t stand them. The inside of the sleeves is highly visible so I felt there was no getting around them. They ended working out just fine but I did tack them down with just a plain old straight seam, I think it looks just fine.  I didn’t follow the directions for the elastic casing, I read some reviews and many people found these confusing and unnecessarily complicated so I just used the seam allowance and it worked out as planned.

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The little button I used was a flea market find, there is a booth at the flea market that sells bins full of commercial buttons, this one came in a set of three, but I don’t think he will miss his buddies too much 😉  I didn’t want to mess with making a buttonhole on this finicky fabric so I just sewed the keyhole up and made a faux button appearance. I don’t think I will wear it open so it doesn’t matter! The necklace coincidentally is also a flea market find. Basically this whole ensemble cost under $5.00- pretty sweet! I think it looks cute belted too.

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Overall I am happy with the way my dress turned out, I made this whole dress in a straight medium. The next one I will probably sew the bodice in a small and grade up to a medium on the skirt.  I am really itching to use my black and white bird fabric from my Paris fabric shopping spree.  Maybe I need to reel myself in a bit…. gah fabric burning a hole in my pocket!!

 

 

 

 


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 🙂


Cascade skirt- easy and breezy

I have seen several of Megan Nielsen’s Cascade skirts popping up in the sewing blogosphere and I was getting flowy, wrap skirt envy! I also keep seeing the designer Thakoon’s fabric appearing in projects, particularly this awesomely trippy navy blue cotton print. Lauren at Lladybird used it on her fantastic culottes, and I also saw it featured on Grainline Studio’s page to make up these adorable pajamas. It is true what they say about how soft and fluid the fabric is, I am in love! I knew it would be perfect for the cascade skirt, I mean the name is cascade- that’s what this fabric does!

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This skirt is super easy to put together. Yes you will deal with a whole lot of fabric and an extremely long hem, but it is a no brainer. Just as everyone else has said, you can truly trust the layout guide which Megan created for the skirt. At first it all seems kind of backwards because you have to fold your fabric in half instead of long ways, and then you just follow the grain lines. It all works out, I promise! I chose to make the full wrap version which wraps around the back and ties in the front. I love the design element of the skirt with the long ties. I did have to cut a significant amount of length off the back, this thing was down to my ankles and it looked kind of ridiculous at first. I think I cut about 6 inches off!

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I really love the french seams and the rolled hem, they worked perfectly with this fabric. The slit in the front could be a little risqué especially in a big breeze, but if you were really concerned you could strategically pin it. I just wore mine to the local music festival called Forecastle here in Louisville and I took no precautions! However, there were a lot of hippies and people running around in bikini tops and not much else, so I figured a little leg wouldn’t offend anyone. Here are a couple fish people I met this weekend:

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I had a blast, and I stayed (somewhat) cool in my skirt. It was in the 90’s after all! I definitely see more of these in my sewing future!

In other news Project Runway season 12 starts on Thursday! Bring on ladies night fully equipped with wine, snacks and cattiness! Yahoo!!

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The Parisian Lonsdale

This weekend I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer and I had to make up a dress with my new fabric from Paris. I decided that the purple/white geometric cotton fabric would work well with the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress so I went nuts and started cutting. This pattern looks like it would be complicated with all the ties and halter action with loops in the back and whatnot but I found this to be a pretty straight forward dress to assemble. The directions on the pattern were great, more so the picture diagrams. I barely read any of the directions because the pictures explained it all, well done Ms. Tasia!

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I m pleased with the fit overall, however there is a good bit of gaping in the bodice area. I definitely will need to go back and tweak it a bit. Sucks having to go back at this point and put in a dart or possible just pinch it in a little but it is what it is. I think it could possibly be from having a fuller bust and these patterns are adapted to pear shapes, or I may have just cut the bodice a size too big, or maybe both? Lesson learned for my next one though.

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Somehow when I was cutting I missed the little rectangle pieces for the loops so I created my own, I think they may be a tad long but they are functional and not too shallow so they work. Chris tied my bow for me, isn’t he sweet?

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I really love the skirt on the dress, the pocket are super cute, and I love how it flares. I think it could be cute as a skirt in its own right.


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!


Kid in a candy store!

Bon jour friends! We have just returned from a two and a half week trip to Europe. It was an incredible experience, we saw so many impressive sites, met so many interesting people, and ate sooo much good food! I think I gained 10 lbs in Rome alone. This was a family trip with my in-laws, all together we were 8 people. Quite a large group for such a big trip!  We all had a great time, but I am happy to be back home and continue my summer break 🙂  Much sewing time will be had!During the two and a half weeks we went to Athens Greece, Rome Italy, Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, and the last leg of the trip Chris and I went to Paris on our own. Paris was so much bigger and bustling than I expected, and it was cold! Everywhere  else we went was HOT, we were sweating and sunburned the whole trip and then arriving in Paris we had to get out our jackets and jeans again. Truth be told it was nice to get a little break from the heat before heading home, it is muggy as crap here!

So Paris… ok let’s get down to it. The fabric shopping was unreal! I have never seen so many shops in one place with such a unique fabric selection. And it was so reasonable! I think the most I paid was like 15 Euros for 3 meters, sooo cheap! I did my best not to go crazy since we had to pack it all in our suitcases to bring home, but I ended up with 5. That’s not too bad is it? We went to the cluster of stores below the Sacre Coeur and started at the Tissus Reine. This store had all its fabric precut in 3 meters and you just pay a flat price for the bundle. I found some ridiculous deals in there!

 

 

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View from the street:

 

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A wall of buttons!

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There were many little hole in the wall shops that had drapery and upholstery material, sidewalk sales, notions, and little shops with all sorts of trim. My favorite shop by far was the Marche Saint Pierre, it was 5 stories high of every sort of fabric or sewing supply you could think of, it was a bit overwhelming! What I loved the most about the store was the displays that they used to showcase the fabric. Here at home all we have is Joanns, Hancocks, and other big box type stores. The displays that they put out are usually dresses made from simplicity patterns or little quilted bags. At Marche Saint Pierre they had all sorts of  over the top costumes! Some were really cool, and others were down right creepy…

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This guy will keep you up at night!

 

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Yes, I think I went a little nuts! Luckily Chris was pretty amused by how much I enjoyed fabric shopping and didn’t pull in the reins too much. He even helped me carry my bags, fabric gets heavy! Here are the spoils of my shopping trip, I pretty much just went for pieces that spoke to me and that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find at home.

This is a shiny satiny material that Chris actually found first. I love the retro printed flowers, I’m seeing this one for a fancier dress that I can wear to one of the weddings we have coming up in the next couple of years.

 

 

 

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Here is another slick, satiny fabric that I found. I generally avoid this slippery material because it is hard to work with, but I couldn’t resist these beautiful prints.

 

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Here is a plain old cotton, but I adored the purple geometric print. This will look so cute on a full skirted dress.

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This is another geometric print I found but it has such a cool border print. Not quite sure what I will use it for yet, but it will need to be fabulous!

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This one is a mystery fabric, some sort of polyester material. Chris picked this one out, I am loving the birds!

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And finally, here is a slinky knit that I found last minute on a sidewalk sale as we were heading back. Only 1.50 Euros for 1 meter, it was coming home!

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Ok so I know this is already an excessively long post, and everyone hates looking at vacation photos but I just have to share some of the highlights! Feel free to stop reading now if you’ve had enough 😉

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Arrivederci!!

 


Zig zags and paint

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.

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I really love how it turned out, I think this dress may be coming with me on my trip to Europe. Bonjour!

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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 😉

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Love local celebrities!