Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

Summer.  Fun.  What else could describe Dixie DIY's Summer Concert Tee?  

Experiment: Summer Concert Tee
                       Size: XS

Materials:  2 Yards of remnant blue-marbled knit
                  Coats and Clark light blue thread


Shopping for knit fabric at my local shop can be frustrating.  It is hit or miss as to whether or not they will have what you want.  Anywho, when you do find a knit you like, it is magnetic and there is ooo-ing and plotting.  I always look at the remnant table -- those forgotten fabrics folded up always cheer up when I stop by.  This blue marbled knit was being a tad shy, hiding underneath some home decor fabrics.  But when I found him, I knew.  Not enough for my Lady Skater dress but the perfect amount for the Summer Concert Tee. 

The tee is a rather easy sew.  Easier with my walking foot and twin needle since I do not own a serger.  I did add 2 inches to the front of the shirt - being a thirty-ish mom, I do not feel comfortable in a crop top.  I also folded the sleeve-band to shorten it since the drafted version would go past my elbows.  The trickiest part of this project was the neckband.  It was not tricky because of lack of skill but rather, a lack of stretch in the fabric.  I started with the drafted neckband and ended up picking it apart.  I then added 2.5 inches to the neckband and that seemed to do the trick. 

 If I sew this again, I will lengthen the front piece by a couple of more inches and I will also reduce the back by at least two inches.  You can see in the collage above that the back piece hands well below my flat bum.  Despite the length issues, it is comfortable.  I have been traveling this week and I finally had time to finish this on Sunday morning.  I wore it all day -- it stood the test of errands while making me look much cooler than I am.  

Speaking of errands, I scored a whopping 10 yards of various fabrics today at a much reduced price and my son bought a orange fish and named him Finn.
Yea, it's already hot here!  This is the perfect tee to pair with jeans or skinny pants, a cute pair of shoes, and off you go! Thank you Pattern Parcel #1.  If you have little girls, PP#2 is perfect for you but only for a few more days!

To fabulous sewing this coming week!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My, Oh, My Dolly Clackett Maybe Muslin

Tipi.  Horses.  Yep, this vintage fabric I scored from an estate sale a while back had it all.  This fabric kept murmuring, "Make me a dress! A dress!"  I imagined this vintage cotton had a faint southern accent and the kind of sugary sweet hospitality that causes you to spontaneously say 'yes' to whatever is being asked.  I could not deny that request and thus, my Dolly Clackett dress was born.
Roisin over at Dolly Clackett is so creative when it comes to sewing dresses and naming her blog posts but it is her shoes that steal my heart.  

Experiment:  Simplicity Lisette Dress, pattern 1419
Size: 8
View A with the sleeves

3 yards Vintage Cotton (feels like some kind of blend)
Gutterman cotton thread in an off-white color
Fusible interfacing
Yellow seersucker scraps for pockets 

I picked up this pattern on a whim during a $1 pattern sale.  The dress has pockets and a vintage vibe with a full skirt.  Paired with my snakeskin (faux snakeskin) shoes, it does make a dynamite outfit.

I did make a muslin of the bodice.  This seems to be the hardest fit for me to get right.  (I think the sewing universe is nudging me to learn to make a bodice sloper...).   Well, the muslin fit ok. Not perfect, mind you, but acceptable.  My son was on spring break last week visiting his grandparents so I wanted to get as much sewing as I could squeeze in.  Hence my excitement after the bodice muslin.  I listened to Veronica Roth's Divergent on my Ipod and sewed to my heart's content.  Cut the vintage fabric, sewed, got into Tris and Four's adventure, finished dress, smiled at the accomplishment, tried on dress and -- bhwahhh - hah-hah -- instant let-down.
I  added a couple of side darts (illegal sewing or common fixes for those that screw up!) after I had sewn the zipper and hemmed the darn thing. I did not bother to try on the garment while sewing -- curses at being focused.  The darts sort of helped -- they took in excess material (Shocking, I know).  I also added a polyester horsehair braid at the hem to give it a little structure. 
I am going to call it a wearable muslin  (See the look above -- that is my 'hmmmm, gotta get over it' look).  A muslin needs work and this pattern clearly does (Again, I hear the Sewing God's telling me to make a sloper but I keep putting them off because of all the other sewing projects that I want to start.).  I do like the dress.  The shape. The pockets.  It will be a pain in the rear because the fabric wrinkles at the slightest movement (Ughhhh, ironing) -- but I can't wait to wear it.
My son loves, loves, the new Nikon D80 and has offered to take pictures. I have a seven year old photog.  I think he did a good job (and so did my hubby!).  Spring is finally here.  I finished my Dolly Clackett dress and Divergent.  I've gotten sucked into the YA saga and, hopefully, I will found out what happens (Insurgent) to Tris and Four during the next sewing project, my Summer Concert Tee.

I shared this on Make it and Love it!  Hope you enjoy.
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Prelab

I cannot believe that April is here.  Wow!  March was draining.  I lost two weekends because of travel.  Nonetheless, I completed a couple of projects (Coco and Tania). I wanted to sew more but am content with what I created.  As a bonus in March, my brother had a Nikon D80 that he was not using so he let me borrow it!  Fancy camera means better pictures.  I am so thrilled.

Hmmm, April plans...I got 'em.   I bought the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1.  It included some amazing patterns and some of the money went to help schools and education. The second Pattern Parcel is arriving soon.  The Lady Skater has been on my 'to-sew' list and as a bonus, I got pretty Ava.  I was pleasantly surprised by the other patterns included which means more scheming!

April Plans:
  • Little Lady Skater
Image of Taupe and Pink Ditsy Cheetah Cotton Jersey Knit 

My darling little niece turns eight this month and I promised her an awesome dress which none of her friends would have but all would want!  She picked out a cheetah print knit with hints of pink from Wanderlust Fabrics -- very stylish. 

  • Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY

This super cute cropped tee has that easy-breeziness about it.  It was included in the Parcel Pattern #1.  I spied a wonderful soft knit (pink - gah, I am so girly sometimes) in a remnant bin which fits the bill. 

  • The Monthly Stitch: Double Challenge
I am stumped.  Usually, I have too many ideas.  I have a creative block when thinking about this challenge.  As soon as I get more tracing paper, I want to trace out my Emery dress and maybe I'll make two!  All around the blogosphere are amazing versions of this dress.  It is my style -- girly with pockets and acceptable for work.  I also think the Lady Skater would work nicely as doubles.  But alas, I have not made either so this may be a daunting task.  Compounding that problem is that I need separetes -- i.e. blouses (I am really excited for Jennifer Lauren's Afternoon Blouse), so maybe another couple of Cocos.  *Sigh* Decisions, decisions.  I think this may be a last minute kind of challenge.
  • House of Pinheiro Name Tag
I don't quilt or embroidery but when Rachel from House of Pinheiro facilitated a name tag swap, I was down.  How fun!   I was paired with an amazing gal in Northern Ireland who sews and practices yoga.  Can't wait to make her a stylin' name tag!

I better get moving, er, I mean sewing!

Happy Stitches,

Monday, March 31, 2014

Liebster Award

Amanda from Wear.A.Wyatt nominated little ole' me for a Liebster Award.  Sharon Elle from Sewing Diet followed mere hours after.  Lovely ladies with lovely blogs.  Mucho gracias.  The origins of the award are somewhat hazy but from what I gather, it is there to promote new blogs and expose readers to other blogs!   It is a giant chain letter -- be warned -- I was never good at the chain letters that went around in email. 

Here are the questions Amanda and Sharon Elle proposed:

1. What made you start to blog?

I started my blog to share my sewing adventures and sort of have a place to be accountable for my growth in sewing.   I am not someone who sews and blogs all the time - - I work full-time, I am a mother and wife -- sewing is my fun!  I had read lots of blogs before and figured why not? I got something to say. I read a lot of blogs and most of them show these stellar stunning projects.  Again, I mess up regularly so I blog about the hits and those misses too.

2. What is your proudest sew & why?

Besides the moment when I realized my clothes didn't look like zombies had made them!?! Well, it would have to be the time I made my son a pair of trousers and a bow-tie for my brother's wedding. He looked adorable.  It made me proud because he loved it sooooo much.

3. Have/would you, considered a career involving sewing, if so, in what capacity?

Ooohhh -- sounds fun, but me?  Maybe in a parallel universe.

4. What would be the ultimate sewing challenge/make you dream of completing, Why? 

I have a 'to-sew' list that is a mile long and it grows by the day.  My dream would be to find perfect fabric for all my patterns, achieve the perfect fit, and have the time to do it all!  Then show off my hella-good looking clothes!

5What's the biggest faux par you've had with a sewing item? 

This happens quite regularly.  However, I did sew a tunic in a particular light blue with very light flowers printed on it.  My husband had a chuckle and did not want me to wear it out.  He pointed out it looked like a hospital gown. He is right -- it is a dead ringer for a hospital gown.   That did make me edit my eye for fabric choices from then on.  So now I ask, 'Will I look like a curtain?' or 'Will I look like a ....?'

5 Random Facts about me

  • I am a nerd and went to school for a very long time.  It took me almost seven years to get my PhD (Atmospheric Chemistry -- woot, woot!).  And guess where I am?! -- still at school!
  • I have traveled to 45 of the 50 states (and yes, my travels include Hawaii and Alaska).
  • I can ballroom dance.  Cha Cha Cha!
  • I read on average about 20,000 pages a year.
  • I don't watch TV but I do have a soft spot for British comedies (Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley) and drama/crime shows (Sherlock, Midsomer Murder, Inspector Morse, Monarch of the Glen).
Here are my 5 nominees I admire and the questions I am interested in:

Lauren from Lady Sewalot.  
Inge from IngeMaakt
Elaine from What Diana Did Next
Tracy from Tracy Sews Happy

1.  Why/how did you choose the name of your blog?
2.  What fashion icon do you take inspiration from?
3.  What is the most difficult fabric you have worked with?
4.  What is your proudest sewing moment?
5.  What is your least favorite thing about sewing?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cool…lots in Cincinnati!

TMS March challenge was Miss Bossy Patterns.  Out of 72 votes, the winner for my March make was the Tania culottes.  Close behind was Gertie's Shirtwaist dress.  The Tania culottes have been in my stash for a while (since the pattern was released).  This was the  excuse I needed to make them.  Or should I say that I was bullied into it!  Either way, it worked out perfectly.

Tania.  She is a clever genius.  Well, let me rephrase, Megan Nielsen is a genius with her Tania pattern.  I am not the short-wearing kind of gal.  Shorts make my already stick-like legs look even more twiggy.  During the hot, humid summers, I can be found living in easy breezy dresses.  But after this pattern, I have had a revelation! This summer I will be sporting my Tanias.

Experiment: Tania Culottes
                       Size: XS
Yellow seersucker
Gutterman white thread

Ok, ok -- I know I had previously showed another fabric that I was to use.  And I did.  I had these started within the first week of the month. But when I went to insert the zip when, wowza! they were incredibly small -- child-size small.  Oh, my beautiful fabric!  I looked for the cause, realizing slowly that part of the pattern was printed to the correct scale and part of it was not. Pooh printer.  Pooh PDF patterns.

At least I had a practice round.  Back to the lab and to my stash.  Tucked away was a nice yellow seersucker in just the right amount.  I had previously made my son a pair of trousers and a bow-tie with this fabric.  I made sure on the second print that everything was scaled correctly. And voila:

I had read that the Tanias are incredibly short, so I cut an XS with the length of a large.  They are still a smidge short but I can live with it.  Because of the length, my legs still have a twig-like appearance.    Next time round, I will lengthen even more where it will fall to my knees.  I also lengthened the crotch by a half of an inch. 

I have come to realize that drafted waistbands don't fit me very well.  I went with the waistband of the pattern but I don't like it.  It sits wrong or maybe it is right and I am not a fan of how it looks or feels.  Should have gone with my gut and drafted my own...or I should have made a larger size and took in before adding the zip. 

All in all, I am happy with my culottes.  They have a certain cheerleader or tennis vibe with a still cool-to-be-out-and-about-town in them.  You could dress them up or take my route, pairing them with tennis shoes, and rockin' the heck out them!  After a stressful 12 hour drive, my son and I arrived in Cincy to a joyous family reunion with a large, loud dinner.  I was in town to visit my new niece, Ana.   

My fabulous brother agreed to be the photographer and he took some great pictures of me in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. In the background you can see a white steeple, that is the church that I was married in!  I love the neighborhood of Over the Rhine -- it reminds me of such happy times and all the crazy things I did as a child!  My sister, brother, and I had such a good time, tromping around Over the Rhine and we topped it off with a barbeque, a fire, excellent wine, and lots of loud conversation while our children played.

I return to Cincy on Friday and hope to have my Dolly Clackett dress done for more interesting pictures.  I am using a new Lisette pattern from Simplicity that was on sale for $1.  The dress also features a vintage fabric that I got at an estate sale -- horses, Indians, and cowboys.  

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bonjour Coco!

The word 'coco' reminds me of so many things I like:
  • Chanel perfume
  • Chanel fashion
  • Coconut oil which I slather over my face every night and use on my hair
  • Almond Joy bars 
  • Girl Scout Samoas
  • Sweetened flaked coconut which make the most divine cookie bars
  • Coconut milk for curries
  • Coconuts for tropical drinks
  • ......and now a sweet little dress from Tilly 

Coco is a versatile lady!  I love this pattern because it fills a void in my closet: tops and blouses.  Plus, who can resist a simple comfy dress with pockets!  

Experiment:  Coco Dress
                    Size: 2
2.25 yards of maroon ponte
Gutterman Maroon Thread

I decided to tackle the dress as my first foray with Coco.  We have such crazy weather here in the Southern United States that the Coco dress is a perfect winter to spring transition.  To illustrate, it was a sunny 75F (24C) on Saturday and on Sunday a cold front barreled through bringing with it freezing rain and a high of 38F (13C).  
A fabric splurge led to the purchase of maroon ponte and since maroon is one of the colors of the university I work for, it seemed like kismet.  The only down side to maroon ponte is that is maroon... a lot of maroon.  I have my Coco completed for over a week! I put her on and all I saw was maroon. She sat on my dress form taunting me.  Hence, my need to jazz her up a bit.  

Fabric paint, stamp, wicked cool design?  Tried it on fabric scrapes with no luck because the fabric is too dark.  Contemplated adding a fancy ribbon around the bottom to break up the maroon -- couldn't find a ribbon I liked.  Applique? Never tried it.  Beads around the neckline? A lot of hand-stitching. I even cut out contrasting pockets but it looked silly (silly in the sense: 'Oh, that looks so homemade!').

I eventually settled on this prefab applique that you set with an iron.  It was the shape I wanted around the neckline and added the pop of color to break up the maroon.  I may even add another on the opposite side at the hemline.  I love the way it turned out!
 Tilly is quite correct when she tells you that this sews up quickly!  I am a sew junkie and really like fast easy projects.  It fuels me for the longer more difficult projects (Ummm, Dolly Clacket dress!).  I confess that shift dresses aren't my thang, but the pattern has the oh-la-la top variation.  I also have to give a huge shout out to Tilly for her great directions.  This pattern and directions are perfect for the beginning seamstress.  I didn't really need the directions and when I did look at them I know I detoured a little.  Tilly suggests sewing in the flat.  I used my bias tape method to set the sleeve and I sewed the sleeve in the round.  I also used lace hem tape (in more maroon!) for the hem.
I wore my Coco (complete with a new hair cut) to give a lecture and it stood the test of the day.  It was cozy and stylish.  The shoulders are a smidge long on me so that the sleeves are slightly below where the should be. If I make another Coco I'll have to pay attention to that.  I didn't muslin this so it is my own fault.

I really want to make the top.  However, it requires finding a right fabric.  I want a cute Breton stripe top.   What d'ya think of the funnel neck version?  Personally, I am not a huge fan.  It looks like it sits awkwardly on your shoulders.  I am sure there are adventurous seamstresses out there that will make a kick a$$ version.  I just don't think it would look very good on me.

Happy Stitching --

P.S.  I shared this project on Make it and Love it.  You should go check out all the other cool things other bloggers have made.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March PreLab

Happy Mardi Gras! In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a celebrated season that begins in January. It revolves around food, parties, parades, drinks, and more.   As my Mardi Gras holiday ends tomorrow (which also means no more King Cake -- probably good for my waistline), now is as good of time as ever to plan sewing for March.

The clear winner of the Miss Bossy Pattern is the Tania Culottes!  Thank you to all who voted.  Here is my chosen fabric:

Makes me smile because it reminds me spring is on the way.  Warmer weather, flowers, bike rides, margaritas in the moonlight, barbecues, and a trip to Cincinnati to see my new niece!  I look forward to making the culottes.  I am not a fan of shorts but it is genius (total genius!) that the culottes look like a skirt.  

Let's not forget about the Shieldmaiden challenge:

Capes, tunics, shields, and swords -- this sounds like a play date from heaven for my seven year old son.  He will be ecstatic!  Maybe a cape?  Linen tunic?

And the Dolly Clackett dress celebration ?
This is the perfect excuse (as if I need one) to make a geek-goddess dress (science or math fabric!?! or should I go with the superheroes? or some kitschy fabric?)!

Or one with a vintage hankering can partake in Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Challenge:
Well, at least March will not be a boring month!  

Here are a couple of projects I am working on:
I have this nagging feeling I am being too ambitious but sew what!?! A girl can dream, plot and scheme -- and stay up late into the night sewing! 

Happy Stitching!