12.22.2010

The Holidays!

It's probably no surprise to you because of the lack of posting, but life is crazy right now!  I work in a chocolate shop and there is a little thing called Christmas coming this week, plus the hubbs and I are traveling to North Carolina to visit our stubborn past due, but soon to be born nephew.  There was a derby game last weekend (we won!) so life's a little hectic.  I'm officially giving myself a sewing break until the New Year.  I haven't finished the Sixth Dress, but I'm so close!  I will greet you with images my dress success in the New Year!

Happy Holidays sewists, friends and family!!!
Love, Sandy

12.16.2010

Stash Busting the Lining

Between snow and working late and laziness, I still have not run out for more fabric for the lining for this dress...so I turned to my trusty stash and dug up whatever black fabric matched best/was on top of the pile:


 Ten more darts later I was up and running:



I'll admit there were some construction steps here I didn't quite follow and just blindly trusted.  There's this extra part to sew between the lining and the bodice that make the collar pop:

(fabrics look good together, don't they!?)

But between lining and right and wrong sides together then right and right sides together my spacial skills weren't quite up to the task.  It reminds me of when I made the dinosaur costumes and had to add the scales to the tail then turn everything inside out.  It was a mess.  Anyway.  So I just blindly followed along here, fingers crossed, whiskey poured.

 
 
It didn't help that I used a double sided interfacing on that extra panel part, when they just called for one sided.  Things got a little sticky.  Also.....some of the paper was unavoidably attached to the interfacing because it was between seams and presses and stuff so the collar is a little stiffer than it needs to be.  Like really stiff.  Like it's excited to see you.  But I think it turned out pretty well, and maybe I'm the only one who will hear the paper crinkle as I put it on.  Pop that collar, gurl!
 

The directions called for understitching but I didn't quite understand what that meant (I'm a visual learner!) until I was falling asleep in bed last night....Forward, ho!

12.14.2010

Sleevies

I've had to skip a few steps because I don't have the lining, and stop before a few steps because I'm too lazy to switch the thread colors (black to red for the skirt)....so I made what was in between all those things: SLEEVES!

The construction was pretty straightforward.  Take a sleeve, fold it, baste it, fold hem under twice, baste it, sew it.  It's worth rementioning though that I really was too lazy to switch the fabric and broke one of my cardinal smartie pants rules:


6) Baste stitch for gathering with a thread that's a contrasting color.  


Black on black is a little bit of a bitch to seam rip and I'm pretty sure I lost five years of good sight.  I ended up top stitching the sleeve hem twice (in two neat & parallel rows) because I missed picking up a tiny sliver of the hem underneath and absolutely could not bring myself to seam rip anymore!


But they are done and they are cute:


(not sewn in)

I really like sewing with this sateen.  It's pretty lush and, I don't know, kind just does what it's supposed too.  I've gotta' go get some more for the lining fabric....

12.13.2010

The Thing About Darts

Oh man, the thing about darts is thank god I love them.  There are one, two, three, four, five....twenty-six.  Twenty-six of them in this dress.  Five on each bodice half, so ten.  Plus the same on the lining, twenty.  Plus six on the skirt, twenty-six.  It's a good thing I appreciate what they do for a lady *wink*



Way to show some cleave, Shosh'!

12.10.2010

Let the Cutting Begin!

After I got all the fabric I needed last night and I wouldn't wait to dive right in and mess around with pattern paper for the first time in, uh, forever.  The Fifth Dress pattern was traced and the Fourth Dress pattern was printed on computer paper.  Where is the sexy?  Oh yeah, here it is:


*crinkle*crinkle*, baby!

I know I'm doing the right thing because I didn't panic at all when cutting this red sparrow fabric, which is what I usually did when trying to find a use for it.  Also, do you see how perfectly/barely the bodice pattern pieces fit on the red sparrow fabric?  It was meant to be!  Good thing I had a back up plan for the skirt....


 and the sleeves....


This pattern paper had a hilarious G-rated typo on it, too:


Aw yay!  Smiles time!

Anyway, I know I'm trying new things with each dress...zipper, sleeves, lining, stretch.  This time?  Awesome design:



The only bad thing is that I didn't read the instructions very carefully so I have to run back out and get some lining, son of a bitch.  The top is lined.  Some reviews said you can easily go without, but the forecasted high is going to be two degrees next week.  T. w. o.  Two as in more letters in the word than degrees on my thermometer next week, so um yeah, I'm opting for the extra layer of fabric.


****

Question for you:  So I mentioned for the fabric I got for the skirt and sleeves were stretch-y.  Stretch is what the pattern called for anyway, right?  But I looked at the fabric schematic for a while and the line up they suggested had the stretch of the fabric running lengthwise.


My special amateur sewing intuition told me it should run widthwise, though, and I boldly cut the pattern pieces that way.  Did I make a mistake?  I just folded the fabric with selvedge to other edge, rather than selvedge to selvedge and it all fit and I saw that it was good. 

12.09.2010

Sixth Dress Fabric

Don't worry, you won't have to drool over my mad photoshop skills anymore.  I have the fabric, in the flesh, and you can see for yourself how great this dress will look:




I got a little fancy with my fabric this time.  I wish I had gotten the same style in fabric for both, but they are close enough.  The hot momma red skirt is a stretch poplin and the sleeves a stretch sateen.  I wish both had been sateen, but that wasn't an option for this last minute shopper.  Fortunately, they are similarly shiny, so it doesn't look weird.  I did have a pencil skirt made in gray poplin that I LOVED, so maybe I can recreate that magic here.

The stretch is not too strong, they are both sturdy fabrics, so I'm happy to revisit my old nemesis on somewhat kinder terms.

12.08.2010

Merry Christmas to Me!

My parents sent me my Christmas gift and she is beautiful!:


Woo hoo!  A dress dummy.  Thanks mom and dad!  I will definitely get the fit right now.  And hemming, oh my god, I can't wait to hem with this thing.  Life just got 1000 times better.  Apparently Nicole was a conspirator, and I appreciate all the thought guys....shucks.  She arrived on the second night of Hanukkah, so I have named her Shoshana in honor of this cross-holiday gift. 

I was a little worried about the dum--er, Shoshana--because the box reads size 10 to 16, and I'm on the cusp, but I have no worries anymore because I learned this box is a damned dirty liar.

If you continue reading this post, you certify that you are either not my mother or you won't get upset I opened my Christmas present early.  Thank you for your compliance.  This is a legally binding agreement.

Here she is in all her glory!!!!!!!


Aw yeah, looking good Shoshana!  These things are so wild, check out the inside:


Also, here is a creepy picture of the dummy that I can't just keep on my camera at home.  Like I said, creepy.

Pretty couch, though.
ANYWAY, she starts a little skinny.  You should eat more, Shoshana.  I got her all dialed up to size and here she is!!!

 

What a heroic camera angle!  She's beautiful!  I don't fully trust my own measurements (see exhibits First through Fifth), so I'll have to call Lauren in to make sure she's where she needs to be.  But in the meantime....sigh....it's great.

12.06.2010

The Votes are In!

I stayed up pretty late tallying the fabric choice votes last night, and it was unanimous!  The red sparrows have it!!!!  (Sorry Nicole, I took that one fabric off the table after I photographed it...too summery.)


GOODY!  I was SOOOOOO hoping you suckers would pick this one.  My subthlimankinyoual messages worked!  I've had this fabric longer than I've had that circle skirt.  I've always wanted to work it into something, but have been too scissor shy to cut into this precious yardage.

Speaking of yardage, I mentioned when putting these fabrics up for a vote that I didn't have quite enough of this one and that I'd use black fabric on the back to make up for the lack of sparrows.  Well, thanks to the magic of photo editing and my stunning lack of photo editing skills, you will see what my plans are for this dress:

Before



AFTER!

How do you like that?  I even found a little bird stamper for the bodice.  I'm a genius.  I hope the dress comes out as cleverly.  So the sleeves will be black, the front and back of the bodice are in sparrow, an the dress in hot momma red.  Black...sparrow...hot momma.  Got it?

This dress is no longer strictly a stash buster since I have to buy the black and red fabric, but that can be done on the cheap.  SO EXCITED!  Off to le fabric shop!

12.05.2010

Finito!

Nicole's wrap up--so cute!

With a quick pressing of the sash and hemming of the skirt, my dress was completed! Happily, it looks much more like a dress now than a you know what. And I love the two sash options - patterned or plain.







In the spirit of twelvedresses, here's my recap!

*Kimono Dress Report Card*

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS: I agree that this was a super easy pattern, which was great for a beginning sewer like me. Not too many pieces, not too many spectacular tricks with the sewing machine, and the use of elastic thread was super fun. Although there aren't any errors listed for the errata for this book, that should be updated to include the correct dimensions for the interfacing. Everyone who has made this dressed and blogged about it online comments that the sash ties as written are too short, but I wonder if the model in the book only had the sash knotted once and has a scary skinny waist...either way, if you want the sash to look like the one in the book, you  have to add several inches on either end. Take that into account when you're buying fabric, because it wouldn't work out on a bolt 45" wide.

PATTERN SIZING:  I'm a small lady, so this dress ended up being pretty big on me, which I expected. Individual sizes (S,M,L, and XL) rather than size ranges (S/M and L/XL) would be a nice touch, but I see why they went by the wayside with the crazy pattern sheet included in the book. Be prepared to wrap the bodice points around to the back side of the dress to make this sucker fit. I also still need to add a few stitches by hand to the front of the bodice, where the neckline meets. I think that'll help keep the dress in place a little better.

FABRIC CHOICE:  While I initially really liked this fabric on the bolt, I would choose another fabric pattern/color if I were doing it again. I'd also choose something more drapey than a light cotton, but I still don't know what...most drapey fabrics seem to sheer and fiddly to sew with for a newer sewer like me. But yeah, both Sandy and I broke the rules and used cotton, even though the pattern didn't call for it. It's just so hard when that's the fabric type with the most pattern options. I blame society.  [Ed. Note: Word.]
FINANCIALS:
Pattern: Free, if you get the pattern from a friend or the bibliotheque!
Main Fabric: $28.50 for 3 yards, but I wonder if 2 1/2 or so would have worked
Sash Fabric: $3.05 for 1/2 yard of sash fabric (patterned purple) and 1/4 yard of contrastic or facing fash fabric (plain purple). I got a little extra to have enough, but would have needed a lot more to have a longer sash, since the fabric pieces are 45" wide.
Notions (thread for dress and sash and double sided fusible interfacing): $4.22 (I bought thread for the sash, but found that I didn't really need to, as all the stitching ends up on the inside. I did cheat, though, and edge stitch the opening closed instead of whip stitchin it by hand. It was late and I didn't feel like learning a new technique.)
Total (with tax added in): $37.74

PERFECT OCCASION:  Casual warmer weather dress, eating sushi in the park. I think this would look cute with leggings and boots, but it's definitely not a warm dress for the winter.

WOULD I MAKE THIS DRESS AGAIN?: Probably not, because I like to have new experiences and would like to try a different pattern, but it was a fun experience and seemed very manageable for a working gal to finish up in a month during an few evening or weekend hours here or there. I think it'd be a pretty hectic weekend of sewing and nothing else for me if I were to attempt it over a Friday-Saturday-Sunday, but a more experienced sewer would be able to finish it, no problem.

Thanks to Sandy for inviting me to share my experiences this month with you all and to S+L for the sew-along idea and fun pattern!

Oh my gosh, my pleasure!  I think it looks great, Nicole, and I'm so happy that we were able to work together on this.  I like your length better than mine.  You're so technical...your hem is actually straight!  You ready to do another one sometime soon?

12.04.2010

So close!

Helllloooooo, Nicole!
 
While fnishing up my dress by the end of November didn't quite happen, I was pretty darn close.




I spent the better part of two evenings working on the sash, which turned into a little mind mystery because of the interfacing. As Sandy previously mentioned, the interfacing dimensions given in the pattern are incorrect, as you need to cut a piece 22 inches wide on the fold, so it's really 44 inches wide. I ended up having to cut two separate pieces of interfacing and overlapping them slightly, as the piece of interfacing I got wasn't wide enough.

After I figured out that conundrum, I realized that I didn't know when to fuse the interfacing to the fabric - before or after I attached the sash front to the sash back? I wasn't sure if I could sew over the paper and then be able to remove it, so I decided to go ahead and fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the sash facing and then sew it all up. Luckily, my plan worked! It was a little sticky to sew over and I had to decrease my tension and hand feed the fabric through, but it all worked well. I then spent the next hour or so turning the entire shebang inside out. Have you ever tried to turn a 7 foot long tube inside out? Yeah, it was a pain.

So, by the end of the evening, this is how the project was left. The sash has yet to be pressed, and the dress has yet to be hemmed.


But I'm so close!

Stash Busting: Exposed!

Matt and I don't have cable, so you'll have to excuse the trashy E! True Hollywood story headline.  I needed a fix.

So, I've been digging through my culled fabric stash and have a few options.  Whew, picking out fabric for this dress...talk about an emotional roller coaster:  At first I was excited because I only need 7/8 a yards of each of two fabric.  Yay!  Then I saw the pattern recommended cotton knit or crepe.  I don't have a healthy stash of those.  BOO!  Then I saw some great outcomes in cotton on Pattern Review.  Especially here.  I have some cottons.  YAY!  Then I went back to my fabric stash and saw the Beatrix Potter fabric.  AH!  And then I saw this version of the dress.  Wild!  SO MANY EMOTIONS!

But now I feel confident moving ahead with cotton options.  The dress has a zipper so I'm not too worried about losing the stretch, plus cotton will make a nice stiff collar and crisp sleevey folds. 

Without further ado, here are your choices:

FIRST!  Red sparrows.  The color is more correct in the bottom image.


SECOND! Blue flowers that look like blue leopard print.


If you/I select either of the above fabrics, I'll buy black fabric for the skirt.  I also don't have enough fabric to do the whole bodice in the above, so the black fabric will be used for the back of the bodice too.  I think I like this plan.

THIRD!  I only chose this because I have a lot of it.


FOURTH!  Little Black Dress time?


FIFTH!  From a former failed dress project.  OH MAN was it ugly.  I ripped it to shreds before I took pictures.  Good instinct.



If you/I choose any of the last three fabrics, I have a gray for the skirt, or same fabric throughout if I make a LBD:



Alright, Gladiators.  Make your selection, post in the comments section to do so.  Here's a recap:


Good luck!

And if you don't like any of these, consider a purpley satin (Thanks for the offer Kat!...let's please raid our fabric stashes together sometime!)

****

E! Exclusive Extra! (Did it again...):  If I make this first Sixth Dress successfully and have the confidence to do so, I'll attempt a second Sixth Dress in the future.  Sleeveless version with this combo!:



But that will have to wait.  Holy shit, I love this silk so much.  I think I stole it from my mom's stash and I've enjoyed just looking at it all these years.  I think I would die if I actually got to wear it.  (Look, just because I used to not sew doesn't mean I could be without a solid fabric stash.  Troof.)\

I'm out for the weekend!  Enjoy updates on how Nicole's Kimono Dress ended up, let me know your fave fabric choices and I'll see you after the weekend!  Thanks Nicole for you uberfantasic posting.  And I'd love it just as much even if it didn't buy me time to do other things this weekend: two derby scrimmages and the ole work holiday party.  This is how we do it.

12.03.2010

The Sixth Dress--Revealed!

Oh. Em. Gee.  I know I say this every month, but I can hardly believe how the dressy mcdress dress time has flown!!!  Half way!  I'm not going to lie, I'm itching to sew something like a coat but just don't have the time.  Next year?  Twelve of them!?  Whaddaya say?

Anyway, are you ready to see the dress??

......wait for it..........

I feel a skosh badly because I stocked up on patterns early in the game and have two just sitting there, waiting to get made.  Sadness.  But seeing as how it took me a month to create a "Weekend Sewing" dress and December is ripe with obligations that will keep me even busier, I put Colette's Macaron pattern* and McCall's "Perfect Shirt Dress" on the back burner YET AGAIN, and opted for something totally easy.  I hadn't made a Vogue pattern yet and since I consider myself and Vogue to be the pinnacles of sophistication *belch*burp* it was a easy decision. 


So, you can see the number of different styles that can be acheived here.  Me thinks I'll have to make most of them one day, but I'll start with the fitted skirt, longer sleeve version:
I even like the color combo here.  A lot.  But the color combination decision will be made up for me this month.  With all the time obligations of the season there are also the financial obligations, and this dress is going to officially be a "stash buster".  I'll be searching high and low for what in the hell I have enough fabric of to make a dress out of.  If I have more than one option I'm asking for help from you.  And I'm really hoping I have more than one option.  Please Lord let it be so...I know I have enough in a Beatrix Potter hand me down and I really don't want to be stuck with that.


*Um, hello!?  I have been searching high and low for orange polka dots on a purple background, with a matching purple solid for the body to make this dress in to no avail....anyone have any leads.  I'm seriously thisclose to using this fabric because the colors are exactly right.  WHo knew...I thought complementary colored polkas would be too easy to find.  Alas, this is my vision, and I will not give up so easily.

12.01.2010

20-Sided Die

JAIMIE!  Under no circumstance is your husband to read this post.  This is as much about a gift for him as it is for your son!  Do. not. let. him. read. this.

Okay, family business aside, back to the post. I'm not going to lie.  I had to look up whether dice or die is singular for the post title.  Is that bad?  (It's die.)

ANYWAY, as you may have heard, the superexcitingnews in the family is that there is a nephew on the way, just next month.  With all the sewing I'm doing lately, I just knew I had to make something for him.  As progressive as my family is, a dress probably it's the best welcome gift for this little tyke.  But a 20-sided die is. 

My husband and brother-in-law are pretty laid back for the amount of grief we all give them.  You see, they both play table top games.  They have both blogged about it (here and here), and they have even planned my nephew's first trip to the "nerd store"--as we lovingly refer to the dork emporium of table top game accessories--soon after his arrival to this world.  Though neither of them play a game that involves 20-sided die (as Matt has scolded me on several times now), they will both appreciate the reference made with this one of a kind baby toy:


A 20-sided die!  Self-drafted no less, if you can't tell.  Though maybe you can from this angle....*groan*....


Hee hee hee.  Anyway, it was a fun little experiment, full of lots of thread snipping.  This was a thready em-effer:


All the numbers were machine stitched by moi.  Another self-drafted part of the process (again, though, that picture above gives it away hard core....did you see the "8"?  Oy.) 



But it's all done for the holidays.  Happy birthday, Merry Christmas little baby!

11.30.2010

THE FIFTH DRESS!--ALL DONE!

 
TA DA!!!!  Last day of the month, crazies.  What do you think?  What?  That's my sexy look and my photographer asked for sexy.  

Okay, here's a slightly better view, sorry for the lighting issues.



I know some of you will have to pardon the navy blue dress and black stocking pairing above, but that is how I roll.  When you are dressing in Wisconsin in November, you are trying to cover every square inch of skin before you can even begin to worry about matching. 

Back to the dress...It's hard to tell the length, looks a little longer in the back, no?  Here's a more eye level view of the skirt length:


For as easy as this dress was to sew though, it came out fine.  Not great, just fine.  You can see above that not only is the cheater band a little wonky (my bad), and below you can also tell the neckline is too.  It's wide and falls off the shoulders a bit much.  (Strapless bras, here you come!)  I blame the pattern a bit--it is a quickie weekend project--but also my fabric choice for how this falls.  I'll get into that in my Report Card . 


Pssst--it's also worth mentioning that these picture were taken after a wear and a wash.  A plus about the washing?  It shrinks up the elastic waisting a bit.  Awesome!:


****

I'm excited to see how Lauren and Nicole's dresses turn out!  This month's dress was supposed to be a Sew Along for the three of us, but I think we settled for a "Sew Near".  We tried getting together to do some tandem sewing, but it just turned into a gab fest.  No complaints.

****

*Fifth Dress Report Card*

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS: Super easy to follow, with cute drawings to help along the way.  My only complaint is the measurements given for the sash fabric and interfacing were too small.  They would have never worked.  You can read more about that here.  Additionally, the picture given for this dress in Weekend Sewing features a much longer sash than the pattern would make, so if you want that length buy even more fabric.

PATTERN SIZING:  Since the pattern only comes in two sizes (small-medium and large-extra large), be prepared to do some finessing.  The great part is that you can try on the bodice after it's been mostly sewn together: no pins to stab at you!  The skirt will follow the bodice measurement.

FABRIC CHOICE:  I like the fabric pattern a lot, and was glad I could find an exact navy match for the sash and cheater band on a separate shopping trip.  I decided I don't love the contrasting fabric for this project though: it has an off white background and the main fabric only has white, but that's my bad and I'll live (by never tying the sash with that fabric facing out).
The big takeaway from this part of the review, though, is this: don't use a straight 100% cotton fabric for this dress, so matter how much you've convinced yourself it's drapey.  It is not, in fact, drapey.  The book does not call for cotton, so if you listen to the book and try not to pretend you know better, you should be fine.  I blame the awkward neckline fit on my poor fabric choice.

FINANCIALS:
Pattern: $18.15* (the cost of Weekend Sewing on Amazon.  Keep in mind it includes oodles of other patterns.)
Main Fabric: $30.30 (Including shipping.  I need to buy less expensive fabrics.)
Sash Fabric: $4.34
Notions (double sided fusible interfacing): $1.11
Total: $53.90 (or $35.75 if you just want to check the book out of the library.)

*  I didn't include the cost of paper to transfer the pattern on this, as I found water logged wrapping paper does the trick just as well, and I'm sure we all have that lying around.
PERFECT OCCASION:  Going out dressed as adult triplets with Nicole and Lauren.  Terrifying, or fantastic???

WOULD I MAKE THIS DRESS AGAIN?: I would, but I don't think I will.  It was totally easy and definitely doesn't need to take a month to make.  There are just too many dresses I want to make out there.  If I did do it again, it would be in a different fabric.