Archive for March 2014

Liebster Award

Monday, March 31, 2014




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?

Cheers!
Annie

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Cool…lots in Cincinnati!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


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
Materials: 
Yellow seersucker
Gutterman white thread


Procedure:
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!
Annie


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Bonjour Coco!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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
Materials:
2.25 yards of maroon ponte
Gutterman Maroon Thread

Procedure:
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.
 
Conclusion:
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 --
Annie

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.


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March PreLab

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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!
Annie

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And the winner of the Sew Grateful Giveaway is......

Saturday, March 1, 2014





There is so much to be grateful about.  Thank you to all who commented.  I enjoyed reading all the comments about what the sewing community is grateful for...I am grateful for all the wonderful people in the sewing community who inspire and provide words of encouragement. 

[Although,when I logged into Blogger this morning I found lots of comments had vanished and pictures on my blog were missing too! Here is my rant about Blogger: I am annoyed with you!!  Bad Blogger for disappearing comments, posts, and pictures (Luckily, my science training has engrained on me the process of saving and backing up).  Maybe I should move to Wordpress -- thoughts?? ]

My trusty sidekick helped me draw the winner...



Christina Gilman!  Please email me ( casehanks@gmail.com ) your contact information so I can mail this off to you.

 

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