Thursday, January 27, 2011

Miami Dress

"Welcome to Miami, bienvenido a Miami..." (Will Smith, anyone?)

Another dress out of my pile, another love/hate relationship with the print. This one is so bright that I couldn't quite capture the true color with my camera.

The yellow is a little brighter in person and the orange is a true "traffic cone" orange. The fabric is a densely woven cotton blend of some sort, unlined. It was a pretty big dress so I had plenty of fabric to work with.

I was intrigued by the prairie point detail around the neckline - it took someone awhile to space those so evenly. They might be cute at the bottom of a skirt or on the cuffs of jacket? No?

I removed this label and reattached it to the new lining.

Like the last printed dress this one needed some solid to break it up. Trying to match the orange was a challenge. I thought I might have to steal some crossing guard vests but I found a cotton that was pretty close.

I cut the waistband on the bias but it may not have been the right choice. There are some wrinkles and a little stretching that bother me.

I love this style of neckline. I think it can be so flattering and elegant (even with this crazy print.)

I reused the zipper but I still need to find the right buttons for the closure on the neckline. I like the result and would happily wear it out dancing in Miami if it weren't a size too small!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy day!

I just got a happy email from Sarah over at Ohhh Lulu letting me know that I was the winner of her generous giveaway! Sarah makes gorgeous lingerie and she is sending me a pair of her beautiful handmade ruffle bloomers. You can see more of her work on her blog or in her etsy shop.

Thank you so much Sarah!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

70's purists may want to look away...

So I'm not sure if I'm committing a crime of sorts by cutting up these vintage dresses. Part of me feels like I'm taking apart a piece of history that should be preserved. Anyone care to weigh in? The back story is that the owner of the dress shop buys these dresses in bulk lots. Apparently she doesn't even really look at all of them, just buys by weight. Then she sorts through them to pick out the ones she can sell as is, some she throws out if they are in really bad condition, and the ones in between she gives to me. So far I haven't worried too much about completely restyling them using this sundress pattern but I'm sure some would say I should try to preserve the style.

At any rate, I pulled another one from the pile and stated ripping seams.

When I first saw this one I thought it was beyond hideous. The print was dizzying, the fabric was thin and had a strange orange tinge to it, and it was narrow so there wasn't a heck of a lot of fabric to work with.

There was plenty of fabric in the collar though! Once I took it apart I found that it was made of two layers of fabric - the underlining was a sheer orange fabric (cotton blend maybe?) hence the strange orange glow to the dress. I removed it and replaced it with a white cotton to brighten up the pattern (which actually started to grow on me.)

It seemed to need something to "ground" it so I added a gray band at the bottom and a little ruffle along the top.

The print is really quite pretty, I think.

The band also added length (I was running out of fabric) and it weighs the skirt down nicely.

I brought it outside to try to get it in a better light. The people at the post office next door wonder about me, I'm sure.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sewing for the girls...

There's nothing like snowy, slushy, yucky weather to make you want to sew...skirts? It must be a craving for Spring. I've had these skirts on my make list for some time now.

First up, the adorable (and popular) Insa skirt from Farbenmix. This is such a great pattern! I decided to eliminate the yoke portion of the skirt to shorten it a bit. I didn't love the way it hung so low with the yoke included (though it may be more suitable for a different fabric and for older/taller girls.)

I loved these bright cheery colors (I've now forgotten the line of fabric though!)

A version in Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms for girl #2. (She's worn it three days straight - I think she likes it!) Really, these skirts came together so nicely and quickly - even with the hand-gathered ruffles (I really need to buy that ruffler attachment!)

Next up was a skirt I've been wanting to make for myself. The Reinvention Skirt from Maya has such an easy breezy feel to it. I thought it would be perfect for spring (or earlier layered over leggings.) I also love the idea of using those worn out t-shirts we all have languishing in our bottom drawers!

I added a doily just as Maya has done, an underskirt, and a little ruffle along the overskirt.

I used the existing t-shirt hem on the underskirt and left the hem on the overskirt raw as well as the ruffle edges.

Unfortunately, I made it a bit smaller than I had intended. I wanted something a couple of sizes larger and just a tad longer. It's a bit clingy for my taste but I love the basic look of it.

I definitely plan on recreating the same skirt in a larger size. When the warmer weather rolls around we'll be ready!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pattern and Texture

I recently completed another scarf, my favorite so far. I stuck with a fairly neutral color palette, mostly cream and tan, with a little gold mixed in. This one gave me fits when it came time to photograph it! I still don't think the color and texture are truly reflected but I did my best!

The size and shape make it suitable as a wrap or a scarf. I backed it with a cream microsuede so it has a nice weight and drape to it.

Silver beads are tucked in with the ruffles.

Oh those shell tucks...I think I'll be making these again soon.

Random quilting with metallic thread.

Rows of grosgrain ribbon stitched to white cotton.

Pretty cream lace over linen.

Doily, of course.

I really like the way this turned out. The colors seem to work nicely and it was fun to make! I'll be adding this one to the shop as well.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blue Gingham

I felt like it was time to rework another dress. I have about 10 or 12 left to do with a deadline of April so I'm trying to stay on track. Next up was a blue gingham high-necked dress made from very thin cotton - almost felt like I should line it but I didn't. It had a bit of "Little House" appeal to it so I felt a little bad cutting it up.

The front opened at the buttons along the left side.

The waist was just a thin elastic sewed to the inside. It was losing it's elasticity so I replaced it with a new one.

I decided to take apart the front and move both the ruffles and the buttons to the center of the bodice.

I also took it in a few inches and lowered the neckline. I used bias tape on the insides of the neckline and armholes rather than make facings. Finally I shortened the skirt by a few inches.

I think the result is cute and definitely wearable.

My Lola seems to like it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Are you really going to save that?"

I know I'm not alone here...I think most sewers (of any kind) are loath to throw away any scrap of fabric, no matter how small. I also think quilters are especially compulsive about this. We all seem to have that box/basket/bag of teeny tiny bits of fabric that we just *know* we'll use someday. My sewing life began with quilting so my box is always teeming with scraps that stare at me woefully, waiting to be used. So every now and then I take them out and make little things that don't really serve a purpose (yet).

I made a bunch of these little (slightly wonky) log cabin blocks. They've each got a piece of batting behind them but the edges are just turned over and machine-stitched down. They're like little 3 inch quilts.

Not quite sure what to do with them yet.

Mount them onto card stock and use them as greeting cards, maybe?

I've thought of making a series of coordinating ones and framing them together in one frame.

This is my favorite, I think.

But for now I'll just hang onto them. Because I just *know* I'll use them someday;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tucking shells

I just started working on another scarf and decided to try some shell tucks. I've never tried this technique before but I've seen it in a few books and the results are always interesting. I had some crinkly gold-ish fabric that I thought would be perfect for tucking. I made 1/2 in tucks spaced 1 in apart and then hand stitched the tucks down at 1 in intervals (does that make sense?)

Here's what the back looks like:

I'm happy with the result and it has already been pieced into a scarf. It adds an interesting texture to the piece.

Speaking of texture...these two bedheaded beauties couldn't stay out of the picture this morning.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Patchwork, a little different

I do my best to give handmade gifts for the holidays. Most years I give at least one full-size quilt (usually to a family member.) This year it just didn't come together as I'd hoped so I instead made a few smaller things including several patchwork scarves.

...and now I'm hooked. I've always loved piecework and traditional quilting but there is something so liberating about using non-cotton fabrics and embellishments. I tried to manipulate the fabrics in some way - by quilting, beading, ruffling, layering organza or tulle, etc.

Brown lace layered over textured fabric (above); gathered tulle over light pink silk (below).

I loved this subtle bridal lace (also layered over textured fabric).

Loving doilies right now.

More bridal lace.

This ruffle technique is so much fun.

Quilting with metallic thread.

More quilting.

Overall, I really like the effect of the different colors and textures. I plan to make more of these because it's a great way to try out techniques on smaller pieces of fabric. I may actually use this to overcome my fear of fabric dye!

Adding this one to my shop, likely to be followed by others...