Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Term: "Blah-der"

It's not a wadder because I didn't ruin it during construction and it's wearable. It fits and is well made. The bamboo knit it's made of is a high-quality fabric and was not cheap. It looks exactly like the picture on the pattern envelope and is comfortable.

But, when I put it on, all I can think is, "Blah. Meh. Whatever." (I made view A, in navy blue bamboo knit). I am not bothering to post a pic of me in it.

So, it's a "blah-der". I will wear it at home, and it might serve as a nightgown.

I could kick myself because I knew better. Pleats or gathering at the waist is a no-no for me. But, I have had this pattern forever and watched so many others make really cute dresses. "Everybody's doing it... I want to be cool like them!". I got up in the craze, what can I say? It wasn't the fabric's fault either, this bamboo is super soft and exactly what the pattern calls for. Sizing? Exactly what I usually do, and it's not too big. But, it makes me look bigger than I am, and who wants that?

So, I will chalk this up as a lesson learned, and move onto a new project. I am in need of an exciting challenge, and have an idea in mind. I am going to dig into the fabric and pattern stash, and return with some garments that make me excited to sew and excited to wear. In public.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Last Disney Dress!

Knowing it was going to be crazy hot and humid, I wanted to make something light and flowy. Something easy to throw on, that wouldn't be binding or heavy. I have had this Vogue in my pattern stash forever, but always put it back when I see that big bow sash. There's just something about it that makes me... hesitate. So, I made my own version of it (the red one in the shorter length without the sash) of Vogue 8469. And, I love it!!!

The fabric is a rayon batik that I bought from Ressy's co-op last year. I wish I had bought more, as it is so soft and lightweight. The pattern has you line the whole bodice, but since I wanted to keep it ultra light, I skipped the lining and made my own bias tape instead to finish the neck and armholes.

It's the kind of dress you can toss on and where anywhere, dressing it up with accessories and a wide belt. I wore it breakfast at Chef Mickey's where we had a chance to see all the main characters!

The black and white floral print dress (shown below, with Ariel) is Vogue 8380, and was made last summer. Another comfy cotton dress that you can't go wrong in! The princess breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Castle was one of the best meals of the week (Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast! Yummy...) and was a lot of fun!

My last Disney vacation picture I want to share is from a small shop called "Castle Couture" where only YOU can appreciate this...

Isn't that cool? Couture garment construction underway!!! I want this sign over my sewing room door:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Disney Dress #2: Tracy Reese for Vogue

I picked up this pattern very recently, knowing that I had plenty of knits in my stash and that this kind of dress would get lots of wear, regardless of Disney. With a couple inches of length added, of course.

Tracy Reese Vogue 1224

The knit I chose to use for this version came from Joann's a few years ago, a nice ITY jersey in a cool black and white Stripey floral print. My fabric reminded me a lot of the envelope version. Here we are, dancing to the drum band at our African Safari Grand Gathering dinner.

I used my serger and cover-stitch machines for most of it, and made just one other small change during construction. The instructions tell you to make a self-fabric tie to attach to the end of the neck elastic, that come through the casing and tie in a bow. Instead, I stitched the ends of the elastic together, created a much shorter fabric bow, and stitched it to the elastic at the casing opening.

I will make this one again, most certainly! It's quite comfy, comes together quickly, and is perfect for funky knit prints!

*in the very first top pic, DH is wearing the cotton Islander shirt I made and posted about before the trip. Another winner that goes in the TNT pile!*

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dressing for Disney #1: Butterick 5351

I've had this pattern in my stash for awhile now, and knowing we were headed into Florida mid-July, I figured that a nice cotton sundress would be perfect!
Butterick 5351
I used 2 yards of orange/pink/yellow cotton plaid (purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics a few years ago), and used view D (strapless with a hem ruffle). It went together very quickly and easily, and the only change I would make would be to add 1-2" to the bodice length to accomodate a FBA.
Little Miss is wearing one I made, too!

It was very comfortable to wear, and I already owned the tan belt, which was a perfect match for the sandals in my closet! The night I wore it, we (all 13 of us) were headed to dinner at the California Grill, which is a fabulous steak and sushi restaurant on top of the Contemporary resort. 
My husband's family! Celebrating 45 years!

In a brief Disney review, we stayed at Bay Lake Tower, which was just next door to the Contemporary. Great suites, with wonderful views, lots of restaurants and food options right there, and the kids *loved* the pool! Monorail, bus, and boat service made getting around to all the parks fairly easy, and we were only a 5 minute walk from the Magic Kingdom.

So, to recap... Great pattern. Loved the dress. Memorable dining experience. Great hotel. Super hot vacation.

Dresses in Disney World!

Just flew home last night from the Most Magical Place on Earth! We had a wonderful family vacation, and I have lots of dresses to show you that I stitched up before the trip! But, for now, I'll just leave you a couple of pics, and I will update with details very very very soon!

Lots of  "Made by Me" garments in just these pics here! It was HOT, but we had a very memorable week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life's A Beach!

My bathing beach beauty!

Pattern: McCall's 6317, view B

Fabric: 1 yard of knit "BEACH" terry, purchased from Ressy's co-op a few years ago. So wonderfully easy to match up the print, and it pressed great, too.

Modifications: Sizing was great (I traced the 7, knowing I'll likely be using this patten again and again). I placed the CF on a fold, eliminating the front button placket. (Buttonholes in a knit? On a swim cover-up? Nope.) I used skinny elastic in the casing, instead of creating a tie, and used a strip of scrap to tie a bow and tack it to the front. Lastly, the pattern says to do a 5/8" narrow hem around the neck and the bottom of the skirt, but I serged the edge and folded the 5/8" over once, stitching it down was easier, being a knit. I left the served edge exposed at the skirt hem (it's a swim cover-up. Did I mention that?)

Overall: Winner!!! A nice and easy (rainy day) quickie project that will definitely serve it's purpose. She loves it, and I am always happy to sew something she likes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Press & Seal = Button Sorter!

Yesterday when I was looking for 1/2" buttons for DH's new shirt, I had to spread out and sort through the mix bag I have. I found what I needed (see this post for the new shirt), but hated to scoop all those buttons back into a mixed up bag. I don't know what made me think of it, but a little bit of Press'n Seal quickly kept the buttons sorted and organized!

Because it has a tacky side, I just pressed the buttons onto the plastic in matching groups, leaving the right half empty. When I folded over the right side onto the left, I pressed in the empty spaces between the groups to create little pockets, and pressed onto the groups to keep them in place. Seal up the sides, and slide into a page protector or folder.

Mix bag is now sorted by color and organized by size, and I am ready for the next time I need a set of buttons without having to dig! Genius, right? Ok, maybe not "genius", but pretty smart...

I <3 Islander!

Islander Classic Sport Shirt, pattern 202

I picked this up last September at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. It claims to incorporate industry techniques (like smaller seam allowances), and I was interested in making something a little different for DH. It's taken me almost a year, but I finally opened the envelope last week!

Sizes Medium - 3XL are included, so I traced off the XL according to DH's chest and neck measurements. As much as I hate tracing, I am really glad that I did, because I think this has the potential of being a TNT! The fit is perfect, aside from the normal length alterations, and shortening of the sleeves to show off "the guns"...

I used 2 yards of 58" wide cotton shirting (also purchased at the expo, but 2 years ago!) and proceeded to stray from the instructions. First big difference in the Islander pattern is the use of separate pieces for right front and left front. Not "cut 2" like the big 4, because of the facing for the front button placket. I compared the pattern pieces and did a double layer cut anyway, then removed the extra fabric from the CF of the left front pieces. I should've done it the right way, since I was working with a plaid... (and it really is pressed, just looks a little crumpled since it is way too big for my dress form!)

Having made plenty of shirts for DH, I was very familiar with the "usual" process, but, was nervous about stitching with such small seam allowances. The only 5/8" SA were the side seams, with all the others being 1/4" and 3/8". My needle plate is clearly marked, so it wasn't any more difficult, and REALLY SAVED A LOT OF TIME because there is no need to trim SA after stitching. And, with smaller SA, there was much less bulk in the curves and tight spaces of the collar and band. This is most definitely the best and cleanest looking shirt collar I have ever made! Actually, it's probably the cleanest shirt inside and out that I have ever made. The instructions tell you exactly when to incorporate your serger (crazy idea?!) and they are well illustrated, too.

My only slight "thumbs down" is in regards to the hidden pockets, just because I think they look a little different. Easy to stitch, but maybe it's the print playing with my eyes. DH is also not a fan of any front pockets, but I can easily join the top and bottom front pieces seamlessly on the next version. (buttons on the front pockets, or not? I'm not sure...)

I don't know how many new "industrial techniques" I learned, but I am beyond happy with the final product, and already plan on making more. I have some White Ralph Lauren shirting that would make for a really nice all-purpose-with-jeans-or-khakis type of shirt!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top 10 Things I've Learned This Summer

10. I had no idea that "Mighty Beans" can fit through an M&M dispenser. This is something only a 5 and 8 yr old can invent when Mom & Dad are busy outside painting the deck.

9. Taking a bite of an apple is a great way to speed up the removal of a loose tooth! And the movie "Tooth Fairy" may give little kids the false impression that the real Tooth Fairy looks like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Poor kid...

8. Replacing an above-ground swimming pool liner is actually not very difficult. Messy, yes. Rocket science, no.

7. Converting your kitchen into a dance club (complete with black lights) is also not very difficult, and quite a hit with the 8 yr old birthday crowd. However, I had no idea that so few girls could be quite that LOUD.

6. Hosting a "Garage Sale" is a huge pain in the butt, where lots of lonely retired folk like to stop and chat, and lots of guys in trucks come looking for tools. The guys are nice enough to pretend to be interested in the tables loaded with toddler toys, but do not feign interest over the table covered in fabric and patterns.

5. Selling stuff on eBay and Craigslist is way way way way way way easier (and more profitable) than hosting a garage sale. Check out the Christmas dishes I sold on eBay for 10 times the garage sale price!

4. No one ANYWHERE wants to buy a large plastic spring horse, in excellent condition, for not much money. I don't get this at all, sine I had one just like it when I was little (I called mine Seeya, like See Ya Later, I am leaving on my horse now!) and I rode that sucker until the springs broke! That's what she said. Oops. Totally inappropriate. ;)

3. Little kids are fearless and learn things very quickly. 8 days of swim lessons, and they were doing things we've been begging and bribing them to do for the last 2 years. We are now swimming without the Spiderman floaty, nor the Princess scuba mask. Yay!

2. Staining a deck with a roller is much, much faster than trying to use a paintbrush. Taking advantage of the early morning and early evening hours is also a good idea. And, if you have to work through the afternoon, make sure you put on sunscreen.

1. My sewing appetite is much bigger than my sewing life. I have garments to be photographed, and so many patterns and fabrics laid out ready to press, cut, sew... But, my summer plans have gotten in the way. When all this other fun slows down, I will have some great things to share with you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Prom Dress 2011 (Better Late...)

Better late, than never... So I finally decided to end the pity party and grab these off of Facebook.
Pattern: Vogue 8360
Size: 12
Fabric: Stretch Satin (3 Yds) and embellished lace (1/2 Yd.) from Haberman Fabrics, Royal Oak MI. Lining (3 Yds) from Joann's.
Notions: 7" Invisible Zipper, Bra Cups

All the work with this dress was in the embellished lace. Strategically laying out the pattern, removing beads/sequins and tying off the remaining threads... But, it's also what makes this dress so gorgeous.
Alterations: you can't see it on the pics, but the dress has a keyhole back with a very low opening. This was the trouble area, because she wanted it low, but not to gape open. It might be why the front pleats are pulling, because I adjusted and took in the center back seam twice, but there was no pulling when I was done. This was my main point of frustration with this project...

All in all, a very pretty dress and very easy to make. The front gathers make this dress flattering on many shapes.

In other news, I have 3 more dresses to show you, but I've been too busy with summertime-home/pool-ownerships duties to blog about them! I will do some photo sessions this week, and get my blog up to date!