Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pink polyester goes fairytale

Oh what a sad dress I pulled out of my refashion pile. I had been avoiding this one and considered giving it back to Barbara (dress shop owner) telling her it was a lost cause.

From a distance it doesn't look too bad. There's lots of fabric to work with, and pink is my favorite color (I know I'm a 7 year old girl stuck in a 33 year old body.) But trust me.

There were discolorations (these looked like burn marks from an iron?)

And ink. It's hard to tell in the photo but the person who made the dress originally had used a pen to mark the darts and all the seams and the ink bled through everywhere. But I had a plan.

Enter weird experimental dress bodice that emerged from my scrap box.

The skirt portion of the dress was in better condition than the torso but it still showed some stains so I added a layer of this pretty bridal lace. I didn't bother to hem it because it doesn't seem to unravel or fray (I thought about adding bias binding of cream silk - should I have done it?)

I reused the dress zipper - I would have preferred an invisible zipper (mostly because I just learned how to put them in and am exceedingly proud of myself) but this one works fine.

One of my favorite cotton stripes as a lining (I swear I bought a full bolt of this on sale and it's almost gone.)

So in the end I'm pleased with the result and the fact that I put my experiment to use.

I know it's not a style that would appeal to everyone but my inner 7 year old girl (and my real 4 year old girls) love it!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Dress CPR and jeans fail

Oh I've been in a funk. I've been suffering from "too many things on my list to do so I won't do any of them" syndrome. So I'm afraid I don't have anything earth-shattering to share.

(On a brighter note both my washing machine and refrigerator are again fully functional!)

I'm not quite sure what to say about this dress in it's original form. It's one of the refashions I'm working on for a dress shop in town. It is/was teeny tiny with the smallest neck opening I've ever seen.

It was definitely homemade and in rough condition.

It was nice to work with such bright colorful fabric during this crazy stretch of rainy weather!

So I took the easy way out and made a skirt from it. I added a pink waistband (reused the dress zipper) and evened off the hem. I really wanted to change the neckline and keep it as a dress but it was just so small that there was no room for error. It's a cute skirt though! I'm planning to make a small handbag out of the leftover fabric.

So, jeans. I was so excited about Peter's jeans sew-along. I reeeaaally wanted to make a pair of perfect-fitting white jeans for summer.

My chosen pattern, McCall's 5894. Good reviews on PR, looked promising, started with a muslin just in case. I compared the measurements to a pair of jeans I like and found the rise to be much higher in the pattern.

So I started cutting up the pattern to lower it.

And this is as far as i got before the entire thing went into the trash in a fit of frustration. None of the pieces matched up and I cut away most of the important pattern markings, duh. Oh well, live and learn, right?

So I plan to try again with Vogue 2907. It's got a much lower rise so no adjustment there, and I like the shape of the leg better.

So let's hope the return of the sun around these parts brings about a burst of creative energy!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Scrappy little house

My scrap box was starting to look a little threatening again so I made a (barely perceptible) dent in it by making another house. I love how unstructured these are (the process, I mean.)

Garment-making is still so new to me and I get easily discouraged when something doesn't turn out quite right. So to have the freedom to just be creative and enjoy the process of "making" is nice.

I've been hanging onto that turquoise button for about 8 years now. It was waiting for a home!

That number print is one of my favorites. I have about a yard of it stashed away for something special (don't know what yet.)

We were rewarded at the end of a dreary, rainy day yesterday with a little magic. My son has figured out how to raise one eyebrow - and make me crack up without fail:)

Happy Mothers' Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Don't get too close to me...

I've been busy killing off my appliances one by one. I was briefly thrust back into the dark ages with the loss of both my washing machine and refrigerator in the same week. Please excuse the drama but this is a big deal when you have a five year old and two four year olds.

But my sewing machine is fine so it isn't all that bad. On to more jackets!
McCalls 5525 has been frantically trying to get my attention. I figured it was time to give it try while I was on my jacket streak (if you consider two jackets to be streak.) These pictures were taken with my phone because my camera has jumped on the malfunction bandwagon.

I chose a soft grey suiting (mostly polyester, I think) and a bright fuchsia lining. It's not quite done and I hit a few snags along the way (you might notice my jacket will button opposite from the one shown on the envelope.) Despite the snags I love it! I just need to hem it and add the buttons/buttonholes.

A peek at the lining in the pocket. (By the way, the pockets in this pattern are ridiculously shallow - if anyone plans to sew this one I would definitely recommend making the pocket bags twice as deep!)

Happy weekend everyone!
Jackie :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nice and easy

I almost feel silly sharing such a simple project but I am for two reasons. 1) It is the simplest top I have made in a long time (two pattern pieces!) and 2) it's a great, versatile top that will go with almost anything!
I picked up McCalls 6078 during a sale a few weeks ago with plans to use up some grey (super-stretchy) knit I had already. (Oh, this stuff was a pain to sew with!)

But it made for a really pretty top! (I made view B.) I usually avoid knits because I cringe at the thought of hemming them. But I suppose it gets easier with practice?

I added a band of black organza to the bottom (I had some bias strips left over from another project.)

I sewed the strip to the right side, turned the hem and then top-stitched it down. It weighs the hem down nicely.

These aren't great photos (and I took them prior to hemming) but I'm including them just to give you an idea of how it fits.

I definitely foresee this top appearing in my closet in a few different colors! I highly recommend the pattern.

By the way, I'm still hoping for some takers on the Pay it Forward game!

Jackie :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Can I make something for you?

One of the things I love about sewing blogs (and the wonderful people who write them) is the generosity and sense of community they bring.

I've learned almost everything I know about sewing from browsing the internet and I would be lost without this community. A tutorial on hand-worked buttonholes? Click! Zippers? Gotcha covered! Origami cranes as hair clips? Sure!

This generosity extends to sharing their work as well! I learned about "Pay it Forward 2011" from Oonaballoona and I was so in!

So it works like this: the first five people to comment on this post will get a little package from me containing something that I've made (that you, hopefully, will like!)

The catch is that you must agree to do the same, hence, "pay it forward".

Sound like fun?

I don't tend to get more than a comment or two on my posts so we'll see how this goes:)

Ok, GO!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My most favoritest thing ever...

...that I've sewn for myself so far!

I finished the jacket I've been working on for Sherry's RTW Tailoring SewAlong and I couldn't be happier with the result. I have to (sheepishly) admit that I didn't even come close to taking full advantage of the sew-along and the amazing guidance that Sherry provided. She really went to great lengths to dissect a tailored jacket and explain how to produce a professional result. I knew I wouldn't have enough time to spend on a complicated jacket so I chose a simpler design - no pockets, no lapels, no darts. But don't get me wrong, Butterick 5469 is a great pattern with several variations and I will definitely use it again!

This is the shell before I put the lining in (and before I realized I didn't buy enough fabric for the facings - oops!)

Which is why my jacket has a (sort-of) coordinating stripe inside.

I had completely finished the jacket before I decided that it really needed something to define the edges. I don't know what it is about the print but it just didn't look right so I added the green ruffle after the fact.

I couldn't (didn't want to) take the whole thing apart so I cut 2 inch bias strips, folded them in half, made ruffles, and hand-stiched them around the edges. )If I do this again I'll sew the ruffle into the seams.)

My first fabric-covered button.

It's the look I wanted and it's comfortable, yay! You can check out how the other sew-alongers are doing here.

(Do you like my whale?)

Jackie :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Oh muslins. They make life so much easier but so much more difficult. I swear I have sewing ADD and almost never sew the same pattern twice. This poses a problem when it comes to muslins.

But, I'm determined to do this right and it was definitely a good thing I checked my jacket pattern for fit. I've already added two inches to the length so it doesn't button across my boobs (not very stylish, I guess.)

I also added about 1/2 inch to each princess seam in the bust so it lays a bit straighter (as per Sherry's suggestion.)

And I redistributed the ease in the sleeve cap to favor the front, rather than the back, to eliminate the drag lines across the shoulder. I could probably use a forward shoulder adjustment but I've never done one and I'm not quite ready to try.

Other than those issues I love the shape and fit!

I decided to underline the shell pieces with white muslin. The fabric is a quilters' cotton and it's a little too lightweight for a jacket, even with the lining added, and I think the muslin will help it wear better too.

I layered the main fabric over the muslin as I cut the pieces to make sure they were identical then I stitched all around the outside 1/4 inch from the edge. It really gives the fabric a nice weight and feel, and the white behind it also brightens the print.

I'm on to piecing the jacket shell and I can already see an improvement in the fit as a result of the pattern adjustments. Hopefully I'll have more to share soon!

Jackie :)