April 26, 2013

Week 4: A (possible) Interview Shirt

"Build it and they will come" as they say, so I built it and here's hoping. This week's project is from Vogue V1282:

I like the skirt and might make it when we start getting into fall weather but the shirt is the reason I bought the pattern.  It's so classy and sexy.  I really like cowl necks and I love that this one has a v-neck leading into it. 

This pattern was one of the strangest I've worked with.  It's an "easy" pattern by Vogue and it was once I got started.  The weird part was the pattern itself.  It was one pattern piece (unless you count the strips for the armhole support) and it was massive.  Here it is taking up pretty much my whole bed:

It looks like one of those ugly dolls.  I studied the directions, I manipulated the paper, I drew it all out and I still couldn't see how this giant wombat of blue fabric would become a shirt.  In the end I just had to trust the directions and go with it.  It felt more like origami than sewing but Donna Karan (the designer) knew what she was doing and it turned out well:
The fabric is from Michael Levine Loft in LA and is super soft and slinky (is that the right word?) feeling.  I had to take it in at the shoulder seams but other than that it was really very easy to put together and I feel very professional in it.

Week 5:  A party dress for my birthday!

April 20, 2013

Week 3: Wear Your Vegetables

I finished my shorts!  I have seen floral shorts all over Pinterest and in Lucky magazine and thought "I'm not too old for that!".  I found this pair on Pinterest and it acted not so much as inspiration but more confirmation for the type of shorts I had in mind:
I think they're cute, even if they do sort of remind me of 90's swim trunks.  Anywho, when I found these shorts I figured maybe my version might actually qualify as... in style?  I went with Simplicity 1879 by Lisette.  I'm not really interested in the dress or shirt but the shorts looked cute, comfy and a good length (you don't want too long with a floral or it can look like you're wearing curtains):

So hard to tell from the envelope but they seemed worth a try.  So the fabric.  I think I have mentioned before that I have been massively blessed with fabric.  This amazing vintage radish patterned fabric was given to me by a friend of my mother-in-law.  It's a mid-weight cotton that works perfect for these shorts--just thick enough not to show through but still flexible. 
Seriously, how rockin' is this fabric?  I love vintage botanical.  I don't think shorts are what the designers had in mind but it's their loss because they turned out so cute and have inspired a new category of clothing I like to call "Veg-tro Awesome".

 In this last picture you can just barely see the side zipper.  I don't know why but I have been zipper challenged lately and this week's project was no exception.  It required a slightly lapped zipper that for some reason took me forever to figure out.  I think the next project requiring a zipper will be preceded by some online tutorials on zipper insertion.  I also cut the wrong pattern size out but since I trace all my patterns onto dressmaker's paper first it wasn't as huge a blunder as it could have been and I am so glad I measured it out before I cut the fabric.  The yoke has a facing that is supposed to be the same fabric as the rest but I ran out so:
The inside of my shorts is lined with Star Wars.
Week 4:  a sleeveless shirt for me.

April 15, 2013

Fashion Drawing


Last year for my birthday my mom bought me this:

The Fashion Sketchpad
I do not draw well.  I admit it freely and I am ok with that.  The cool thing about this book is that it has female figures and you simply draw clothes around them.  It has plenty of margin space for taping fabric samples, making notes, etc.  Anyway, it's a pretty awesome sketchpad for fashion sewing.
This weekend we were in Henderson, NV for Jared's XTerra half-marathon and my parents' 10K.  The girls and I tagged along but stayed at the hotel during the race.  It sounds hectic but I actually had a great time with my girls.  I am working on a pair of shorts and am concerned about crotch-fitting so I brought a few sewing books to study as well as a Lucky magazine and my sketchpad in case I got any ideas.  Abigail saw it and asked about it and when I explained the idea of fashion drawing to her she asked me to draw some blank little girls for her.  Here's a couple of outfits she created:
How awesome is my kid?!  The one on the left features a gold skirt with a blue lace band that I have been asked to make and be sure it's super-twirly.  Oddly enough between my stash and my mom's we have both gold fabric and dark blue lace so sometime in the next couple of weeks she will be wearing a skirt that she designed which is about the coolest thing ever for a kindergartener (or anyone for that matter).
This is something I want to encourage but, like I said, I am terrible at drawing as you can see by my mutant little girl drawings above.  So I looked up a kid's fashion drawing template, printed a bunch and made her a fashion sketchpad of her own:

I gave it to her with a pack of new colored pencils and she loves it.  It will be fun to see what she comes up with and what (if anything else) she actually wants me to try and make.

April 12, 2013

Week 2: Play Clothes for Abs

Awhile back I started looking at a blog called Lil Blue Boo from a gal in Palm Springs.  She has her own line of children's clothes, posts enough free tutorials to make her crazy-popular on Pinterest, and is a recent cancer survivor.  She also sells patterns for some of the girl clothes.  Well one weekend she posted that the money from any patterns bought during a set time frame would be donated to a different family dealing with cancer.  Crazy-awesome, right?  So I picked up a couple and found them surprisingly easy to sew, very cute, comfortable enough that the girls always wanted to wear them to bed and an excellent use of left-over knit fabric and old t-shirts.  This time I went with "The Perfect Short" and "The Racerback Tunic/Dress" patterns.

Perfect Short PDF Pattern and Tutorial- 6M to 14 Years via lilblueboo.comRacerback Dress PDF Pattern and Tutorial- 12M to 10 Years via lilblueboo.com
First I made the shorts.  I used Sergio (my serger--don't judge me) for everything but the hem and I was able to bust out 6 pairs in one day (4 for Abs and 2 for Stella).  It sounds impressive but the pattern is 3 pieces that can be cut out a few at a time if you use a rotary cutter, the directions are simple and few and with a serger it goes very quickly.  My favorite pair used an old t-shirt from our church in Orange.
Next I tried my hand at a new pattern, "The Racerback Tunic/Dress" that I cut a bit short and made into a shirt.  My first attempt was going well until:
Ummm... yeah.  If you ever wondered what a kid's tank top would look like if you took out the side seams and sewed the front sides to each other and the back sides to each other--this is it.  It looks like a bad attempt at a bolero.
Well it got better after that and I upcycled three old t-shirts into new tanks for Abs.  I don't have a pic of the one I'm wearing after it was sewed correctly but here are the other two as well as a couple of the shorts:

The girls love their new clothes and I love using up fabric scraps and awesome old t-shirts.  I might make some tough-and-tumble play shorts for her later but this week was all about the knits.  (By the way, I feel I should mention that the reason I didn't make anything for Liv is that she has TONS of clothes.) 
I was done by Wednesday night so I finished up a skirt that just needed to be taken in (yay!) but has been sitting in my sewing box for a few months now.  It's the one I made for the sewing class forever ago that I turned from an elastic band to a zipper A-line.  For some reason I really love this skirt and couldn't bear to throw it away.  The adjustment didn't turn out perfect but it is totally wearable and I still love it.
Week 3:  a pair of shorts for me.

April 05, 2013

Week 1: Belle Bow Blouse

I did it!  My first weekly project was the Belle Bow Blouse by In House Patterns.  I used a purple crepe de chine and I think it turned out pretty well.  I had some pattern fitting issues (probably due to the fact that silk is impossible to cut straight) and ended up going with the bow after all. 

I like it but I am not sure about the billowing under the bust.  It might be due to my shrinking-into-oblivion chest or maybe it's from changing the pattern slightly (it's a print-out and I accidentally printed it at about 85% instead of 100% but rather than reprint thought I'd just go with it... not the best idea).  Anyway I will definitely make it again though probably with the collar next time and with an easier fabric to deal with.

I really enjoyed pushing myself to finish it this week.  If it hadn't been for the challenge I would definitely have shelved this one over and over again--the fabric was difficult, I am always intimidated by buttons, the fit wasn't right, the collar was cut incorrectly, etc.  BUT I pressed on, corrected mistakes along the way and ended the week with an awesome new blouse to wear on my date Sunday night.

Week 2:  Play clothes for Abs.