Monday, May 14, 2018

Riverdale Skater Dress

This plaid skater dress reminded us us something that Betty Cooper would wear at Pop's to share a milkshake with Jughead, so I'm calling it the Riverdale Skater Dress! It was inspired by the gray plaid dress shown, which she spotted on the Forever 21 website. I wasn't sure I could beat the $19 price tag, but since I was able to use everything I already owned, that makes my version FREE, right?! ;)

I was pretty surprised to find ZERO skater dress patterns in my cabinet, but I managed through the challenge... I used the top of Vogue 8949 and the bottom of Butterick 6019. I had to make some minor sizing adjustments (she's a petite 5'1") and of course, pockets had to be added!

I was a little concerned about marrying the top to the bottom, but simply removing an inch from the top of the circle skirt gave me the matching measurement to the waistband. I also removed the back darts to give her some more wearing ease... you'd never know!
The fabric is lovely linen that I bought years ago when I belonged to an online fabric co-op. I had about 3 yards of it, which was more than enough. It was very easy to work with, and I lined just the bodice so give a clean finish to the armholes and neckline.

It's got that "twirl factor", too! We were going to go to the malt shop for the photo shoot, but the weekend ended up being jam-packed and by Saturday afternoon I was too exhausted (party pooper).

I really hope that she wears it and enjoys it... it's so sweet and simple and feminine!
We have a funny coincidental tradition of me making her a blue and white dress in the spring... Every time she is a little bit older, a little more beautiful, and fills my heart a little bit more than before! I'll have to find the old pics to share next time.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Copying: Crime or Compliment?

Isn't this Alexander McQueeen dress lovely? I love the way the two patterns of fabric are positioned vertically (with no seam at the waist) and although I have NOWHERE to wear it, I've always been a sucker for an off-the-shoulder dress!

It appeared in my Instagram feed quite some time ago and I just love it. I'm not crazy about the $700 price tag  though! So, I searched online and did some thinking, dug through my patterns and found some lace online that might work for it. I can remember where I bought it from, it's been that long!

But, I'm really perplexed... I'm feeling some guilt every time I try to get started on the pattern work. I'm a teacher, so there is no debating with me... copying is wrong! But, if I'm not trying to pass it off as my design, is it ok to knock off a designer? Perhaps I should make a dress that's "inspired by" this look, rather than a replica? On one hand, I really like the challenge of adjusting a pattern to create an exact "knock off". It would be time consuming, but gratifying (if it's successful). But, it would be faster and easier to just use an existing pattern with a similar "vibe". I'm not in a great place with my body these days, so investing a lot of time and trouble into a garment that I might not be wearing for a long time seems like a negative (IF I shrink soon).

So, if I were to take the "easy" way out, these are the patterns under consideration...
This one (McCalls 7466) is my daughter's pick. Very wearable, very similar. I could use the chevron lace and place it diagonal, like the stripes on the illustration. 
McCalls 4510 (OOP) came from a swap, I think. The wavy color blocking lines are fun, but would the linear stripes "clash" with the curves?

McCalls 7538 could be interesting, with the diagonals at the waist being a contrast. This pattern also has a scoop neckline (which I prefer), and the stripes of the chevron lace would make the "X" of the waistline even more defined.

So, what's your opinion... Is copying directly in bad taste or a form of flattery? If I use one of these pattern instead, which one do you favor?

p.s. The dress for my daughter is in the final stages and if the weather cooperates, I should be able to photograph it this weekend and post it in a few days! It SO super cute!!! We have a fun plan for the photo shoot, too!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Ok! Take Two!

Wow! I wasn't expecting the response I saw, and it made me SO happy! You like me... you really like me?! :)

So, let me explain. I left blogging when I decided to put my energy into growing my sewing business.  It didn’t take much to go from occasionally doing alterations and creating a couple dresses a year to a calendar full of appointments. Spring formals led into bridal season led into Homecoming season led into the holiday season... Add in a few stage costumes for fitness competitors and before I knew it, I’d been going nonstop for over a year without any breaks.

I’ve missed sewing for myself and my family. So, I flipped the “Gone Fishing” sign, and closed my doors... until August 1. I’m thirsty for something fun, so my daughter and I have a game plan!

She likes to shop, but that’s no fun with a mom like me. She’s grown up hearing me say, “I can make that!”   so, we’re going to make a game of it. She chooses a “look” she’d like to own, and I will create a similar version using only patterns and fabrics I have on hand!  May sound crazy, but it will be a great way for me to reduce my fabric inventory, and having her help tracing, pinning, and cutting will help the projects go faster (not to mention having good company in my sewing room)!

Our first project is already well underway, so my next post will have all the details! Here's a sneak peek... See you again soon! 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Is Anybody Out There?!?

Does anybody still follow this blog??? I'm debating about starting fresh or resurrecting this one...

It's nice to see where my sewing journey and the internet started... but, if I move will people find me?

So, if you're out there and reading, can you send me a sign? A comment, maybe? How about a "Hey, there! I love to sew pretty things, too!"

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I've Moved!!!

You can find my sewing posts at a new location:

I'll be posting sewing updates about important new projects there, or at my facebook page, Couture by Kristine. You can also follow me on Instagram at (you guessed it), couturebykristine

During my blogging hiatus, I've been sewing more and more for clients, so I rather than try to keep up with a blog and a website, it just seems easier to post all in one place. I really hope you'll "readjust your GPS" and keep following me in my sewing adventures. I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for all the encouragement, support, comments, feedback, and help you've given me.

Thanks and see you soon (I hope)!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

North of The Mitten: Pure Michigan

Upper Tahquamenon Falls, U.P.
I was born and raised in "the Great Lakes State"of Michigan, where people point at the palm of their left hand to show you where they live or where they've been, but that's just the lower peninsula. "Up North", at the top of "the mitten" is the Upper Peninsula, or U.P., for short. When you cross the nearly 5 mile long Mackinaw Bridge, you enter "Yooper" country, where you'll find nearly 200 waterfalls, the shores of 3 Great Lakes, 130 year old copper mines, and old growth forests that are hundreds of years old and hundreds of feet tall.

Beautiful is a start, but "majestic" is more like it! Hiking, biking, and paddling are my favorite activities up there, but we saw so many people touring the area on their motorcycles... you can view the scenery lots of different ways! Many roads travel alongside a great lake and there are many motels, hotels, and cabins available for rent in addition to all the campgrounds that we passed along the way. We visited 7 different campgrounds during our 19 night "loop" from our home in the lower peninsula, around the U.P. and then back down across the bridge again.

Rule #1. Do your research and talk to the locals!
I know my family, so I know that the kids start to go batty in the car after 4 hours, so I planned our campground visits accordingly. I read campground reviews on and made sure there were things to do and see in each area. I relied on a website I found called "Things to do in the U.P." along with a Facebook page called "Upper Peninsula Travel" when considering our options and making our plans.

What one person considers a "must see" might not suit your family. For example, there is a restaurant in Munising that many people said was great, but after trying it twice, we know we'll never visit there again! Basically, you know your family's likes and dislikes, skills, abilities, and ages. Read maps closely and check mileages, for both driving and hiking! If you need a stroller, consider that some hiking paths are wide and smooth, while others are narrow, hilly, and bumpy with tree roots. If you can't find the answers to your questions via Google, then call or visit the local visitor's center for detailed maps, attractions, and information. The best visitor center we visited was the Keweenaw Visitor Center, who offers a free smartphone app for all the local restaurants, attractions, and activities in the Keweenaw Peninsula! The Munising visitor center has maps of all the waterfalls, and I can't recommend strongly enough that you should purchase a detailed map of just the Upper Peninsula with mileages between towns. Gas stations and restaurants can be few and far between, and will elevation changes, your dashboard gas estimate may not be as accurate as usual!

If you're going to spend a day sightseeing, be sure to pack EVERYTHING. Swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, snacks, lunch, water, bug spray, sandals, walking shoes... and don't forget the camera!!! My favorite thing about the U.P. is the untouched wilderness... the silence of the forest path and the crashing of the waterfalls, the breathtaking beauty of the Keweenaw and Porkies where you feel like the only person for miles. Here are some of my pictures but, honestly, the real views are so much better!
Harbor Springs Marina (Lower Peninsula, near Petoskey) Lake Michigan

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Oswald's Bear Ranch, Newberry Michigan (Yes, those are Fruit Loops!)

Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Lake Michigan view at the Tunnel of Trees (if you love to motorcycle)

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point (Edmund Fitzgerald site)

Horseshoe Falls, Munising 

Laughing Whitefish Falls, Munising

Chapel Rock, Pictured Rocks, Munising

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Lake Superior, Munising
Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon

Bonanza Falls, Ontonagon
Estivant Pines, Old Growth Forest, Copper Harbor

Horseshoe Harbor, Copper Harbor (tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula)

Sunset at Lake Superior, Ontonagon (Porcupine Mtns in distance)

A rainbow over our camper in Ontonagon

Kitch-iti-kipi (The Big Spring), Manistique
Exploring a historic Copper Mine, Ontonagon

Mackinaw Bridge (Lake Huron)

Arch Rock, Mackinaw Island

Sugar Loaf, Mackinaw Island
I hope that my children appreciate the beauty of our home state, and continue to travel and explore it's far reaching corners. There's more than just beaches here... and while they did their fair share of complaining about the hilly hikes or lack of wifi, I'm pretty sure that we made some lasting memories along the way.

Please, by all means, if you have questions about Up North travel, just let me know! I'm happy to share more of our experiences!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Faux Liberty Blouse

I'll be perfectly honest: I love the look of Liberty fabrics, but not the price. When I came across this cotton print in a local shop this spring (as they were going out of business), I grabbed enough of it to make myself a pretty top.

Vogue 8747 (OOP)

This is my second time making up this pattern. I just love the way the center front curves slightly at the neckline and the gathers in the button placket.

There's really not much to tell you, as the pattern is very well drafted and illustrated. It didn't take me long to make, as I'd work on it here and there over the course of a few days. No hiccups, no problems, just a nice, easy, calm, stress-free, quick garment!

The finest details of the fabric is tough to see in the pictures, but there is a soft background wide stripe of seafoam green, and the print is a "contemporary" paisley, with soft pink accents. It's just lovely. The color scheme, the print, the weight... I think it reads very "feminine" and I really think it will be a nice addition to my closet.
You can kind of see the soft wide stripes here...
The neckline is perfect for a pretty necklace charm.
I'm working on cleaning up the UFOs in the sewing room, I've got two more patterns that are completely cut and ready to sew: a Vogue skirt and a dress. Summer is flying by too quickly!!!