Wednesday, August 28, 2013

dress finished in time for a wedding!

go me! i finished the dress in time for the wedding! actually with a few days to spare. this feels like a record for me because i'm usually a very slow sewer. i traced the pattern and cut the fabric last wednesday night and i finished hemming and sewing on a hook and eye last night! and the wedding is on friday. i really can't believe that i'm not going to be hemming it friday morning, because i thought that would most likely happen. i am very pleased with how it turned out, too. i'm going to get some nice photos that day, so i'm going to wait until then to post photos, although i know you're on the edge of your seat, right?!

a few notes on construction and the changes i made: the bodice is retro butterick B5748. i cut a 12 grading out to a 14 in the waist because the last dress i made was a tad tight in the waist before i let the seam allowance out a little. i ended up having to take in the top part of the bodice back at the zipper in order to get a good fit. i did a center back invisible zipper instead of the side zipper that the pattern called for. i also drafted facings rather than doing a lining because this fabric didn't really need a lining. plus i'm wearing it to an outdoor wedding in august, in the south... for the skirt i realized i didn't have enough fabric to do a full circle, only had a yard and a third left so i modified a really old See&Sew pattern, number 5237, which has a 3 piece gathered skirt, and i just shortened it. and i copied the pockets on a RTW dress and added those to the side seams. worked like a charm! and it wasn't even difficult! but things like pockets really seem to impress anyone who doesn't sew. and maybe i can get away with not carrying a purse to the wedding and can just use the pockets. also, i did not look at the pattern instructions at all. pleased to say, i've been sewing for a little over a year and i can construct a dress without butterick holding my hand, yay!

i've got to say that i think i'm happier about this dress than i have been about anything else that i've made so far. and i can't wait to get some good photos of it. ok fine, i wasn't going to post these, but nobody likes a pictureless post, so here are the lame iphone photos i took in the bathroom mirror - that was before i hemmed it. you can see a better view of what the fabric looks like in the previous post. it's now hemmed and ready to go!


i'll be back with some better photos soon! plus i won a lovely giveaway from little dress kits! so that will be in the works =) and i've ordered more fabric for some projects that are swimming around my head. and i've been doing a little selfless sewing on the side. my sewjo is back in full effect.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"Retro" Butterick B5748 in navy paisley

sometimes i go for a few weeks and get zero sewing done and other times i stay up til 3am working on a project. last night was one of those 3am nights. (i don't have to be at work til 10am, so it's not quite so bad.) when you're on a roll, you're on a roll.

Butterick B5748

no i haven't finished it yet, but i've made a nice dent. i'm doing the version without the bow and slit detail. wednesday night i traced my pattern onto my swedish tracing paper (awesome stuff, bought off amazon), cut my fabric, and stay stitched. thursday night i did the darts (using my masking tape method again), basted side seams to check the fit, looked ok, then i did the neck and arm seams, and a lot of pressing. that's where i stopped. up next is some understitching, then side seams, then skirt, possibly adding pockets, then zipper, them hem. when i break it down like that it doesn't seem like too much. i'm usually a fairly slow sewer. and i don't like to give myself deadlines. i have enough deadlines at work, that i like to have zero deadlines in my hobbies.

butttt, there's a friend's wedding next friday. i have several dresses that i could wear. but it's always more fun to wear something new to a wedding. plus there's a good chance of getting some nice photos taken. so, can i get this dress done in time? i probably shouldn't have decided to start this at the last minute. but i still have a week. so maybe i can get it done?

i think i bought this pattern during a 99 cent sale and i bought the fabric back in april. it's medium weight and opaque so it doesn't really need a lining, plus i'd rather not do a lining if i don't have to. the pattern calls for a lining. i considered finishing with bias tape, but decided to do facings instead. i know a lot of people hate facings, but i still like them! i just drafted my own facings based off the bodice pattern pieces. it's really not hard at all.

fabric in the center

i don't think i have enough fabric for a full circle skirt. i think i have a yard and a 1/3 left. what should i do: half circle? 2 front box pleats? gathers? and i think i might throw in some side pockets - if i have time. yeah, i'm not really sticking to the pattern! i didn't even bother to look at their instructions or their fabric cutting layout. although i was pretty careful to not get 2 of the paisley swirls placed right on certain parts of the bodice, if ya know what i mean ;)

i apologize for the 3am bathroom mirror headless selfies (at least my nails looked good, right!? what, you didn't even notice?), but i just wanted to post some progress =)

this is just with the sides and back pinned. i really love the scoop back. hopefully i'll make a lot more progress this weekend. and do let me know what you think would look best for the skirt style! if all goes well i could be wearing this to a wedding next friday. no pressure!

do you always wear a new dress to a wedding? and do you like to sew it yourself or  do you stick to store-bought? if i get this done, this would be my first me-made wedding attire. (again, no pressure, right?)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

stripey dress

i posted one little preview photo of the top of this dress wayyyy back in may, and i think i finished it sometime in june? can't remember, but regardless, these photos are long overdue since it's now... august!!! i know i know. but at least i have worn it twice!! that's a record, as i'm still in the "i-just-sew-things-but-then-never-wear-them" phase of my sewing. yeah that top i posted about in the same blog post from may... never wore it out of the house. i feel like it looks like nurses' scrubs? i went to all the trouble to french seam the sleeves and bias bind the edges, but i'm not a fan of it. i'm thinking if i rip the sleeves off and re-cut the arm holes to make it a racer back tank top style and then bias bind those arm holes, that might help it become wearable? whaddya think?

excuse my tangent. so i never posted photos of this dress, which i actually do like although the stripes are kinda loud and it feels a little "jamaican maaan"... ("I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don't take no crap off of nobody!" anyone? anyone? is it sad that the most i know of jamaica is from the movie cool runnings? but that's such a good movie! you know you like it.) i was hoping to get some nice outside photos, but these inside ones were the best i got.

the fabric was suuuuper cheap from and i didn't notice when i ordered it that it's not a cotton knit. i was expecting a soft cotton knit. major surprise when i opened the package! it's some stretchy poly lycra blend that could easily be a swimsuit. i hated it at first. but it was so cheap i decided to just go ahead and use it, because if i hated the result, i could pretend it was just a muslin =)

i made up my own pattern and used my super new swedish tracing paper, which rocks by the way. get some. i decided to be lazy and made the front and back bodice exactly the same! - since it's so stretchy it didn't matter, and i like the scoop in the back. i referenced a RTW dress and tank top as a starting point. oh and if you missed it, i totally aced the side seam matching, but the only side photo i have is the one i posted here. for the skirt i just did a big ole rectangle and gathered it. i had enough to make it a maxi, but when i held it up those stripes were just overwhelming. i knew i'd never wear it. so i chopped it off. and when i say "chopped" i mean i carefully laid it out a measured it and painstakingly cut it shorter and then did a very tidy job of hemming it. 

the bodice is fully lined with the same fabric because it made the fabric feel more substantial and it solved the issue of how i wanted to bind the neck and armholes. (i first typed "arm and neckholes" ha ha, that makes it sound like i have multiple necks but only one arm. love it!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

elephant pillow for a friend

i actually sewed something this weekend, go me! ok don't get too excited, it's just a pillow. but at least it's something! 

a friend of mine is having a birthday on friday and she loves elephants, so i knew i wanted to make her something elephanty. i searched for elephant prints and decided on this one: Valori Wells Karavan Marrakech Peacock. the elephants are pretty large in this print so i decided a cute pillow was the way to go. after conferring with some sewing friends, i decided to do a coordinating fabric for the back, and i picked this Valori Wells Karavan Savannah Peacock

i ordered a half yard of each fabric and actually you could get a whole pillow out of one half yard, so i had enough to do a second pillow, but decided to save the fabric and maybe i'll make her a boxy makeup bag or something with it for christmas.

the last pillow i made i discovered you really have to interface your fabric or the polyfill will try to start poking through your fabric, which leaves little fuzzies everywhere, and that's no good. this time i was going to buy some cheap white fabric and interline it rather than using fusible lightweight interfacing, which i thought made the fabric feel stiffer than i wanted. but then i was at joann's getting an invisible zipper to use (i picked a matching light blue), and saw they had a set of 2 pre-made pillow forms 50% off. so i decided to just save my time and use the pre-made ones. (plus this gave me another pillow form to use for another friend's birthday coming up in october.) the pillow forms are 16" square, which is exactly what i wanted.

And here's the final result, sitting on my bright red sofa, which will not be its final home. my friend has a mostly purple color scheme, so i think this pillow will fit much better in her house because there are purples in the elephant print, plus did i mention, she LOVES elephants.




i really hope she likes it.

almost forgot....

gratuitous dog photo! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

and then what happened to july and the beginning of august?

i'm really dropping the ball on this whole blogging thing lately. and i haven't been productive sewing-wise either. i've just been super busy. i should try to squeeze in 15 min a day to sew, but it just doesn't always happen. i should also squeeze in some time to exercise, but that's only been happening maybe once a week lately. ahhhhh.

i have been hanging out a lot with this little girl. she's precious. just the sweetest little thing ever. and she's making sooo much progress from the time we picked her up from the shelter in may.

but this is not a blog about my dog. it's supposed to be sewing focused. so here's the only thing i've made lately. and i whipped it up in one evening. little baby pajama pants for my cousin's baby that arrived several weeks ago. the fabric is a soft flannel type. i used this free newborn pants pattern from Made by Rae. i highly recommend it. it was very quick and easy. of course i don't know how well it fits because i didn't have a baby to test it on and my cousin lives on the other side of the country. i'm hoping the pants fit the baby and i have my fingers crossed that she'll snap a picture of him wearing these. but i know she's a busy new mama.

i have a million projects in my head and there are pattern pieces all over my sewing room floor and i just got in a package of some fabric that i'd ordered. i was dreaming up a dress to wear to a wedding at the end of the month, but who knows if i'll be able to crank that out in time. i am so slow. 

i seriously need to set aside blocks of designated sewing time. if only i wasn't sitting in an office all day, right! but i have been keeping up with reading all of your lovely blogs. ella (the dog) likes to play outside in the evening so i usually sit on the porch and read blogs while she sniffs around the backyard. (she doesn't understand games like "fetch" or taking walks on leashes yet). maybe i should set up my sewing machine on the back porch and get in some sewing time then...