Archive for May 2014

Do I Look Like I am Wearing a Paper Bag? Nah. It's Fashion.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Continuing on my Indie pattern journey, I picked up the Paper Bag Pant from Sewn Square One.  I fell in love with the picture on their website: high-waisted and cuffed below knee.  Worn with heels, this would look killer.  I completed these pants early in the week however, it has been down-pouring here for the last three days (and forecasts claims more rain on and off for the next several days!).  I was hoping to catch the sun along the river for photos but it was too wet so forgive the indoor pictures.

Experiment: Sewn Square One's Paper Bag Pant
                    Size: Small

Materials:
1.5 inch elastic
1/2 inch elastic
2 1/4 yards of unknown tan material
Light tan Gutterman Thread

Procedure:
As always, I pick up fabric when I find deals and steals. This tan fabric was found for $2.00/yard therefore I could not pass it up. I bought a whopping six yards. It has been in my stash for over a year.  If I had to venture a guess, I would say it is a nylon derivative with some added stretch.  It reminds me of the fabric that the hiking pants the unzip to become shorts are made of...who knows?  It worked fabulous for this experiment.
This pattern is a very simple design.  I loved the detail of the waistband which, I think, hides the elastic waist.  With my first version of the waistband, I followed the directions of the pattern.  FAIL.  I diligently ripped the seam and cut a new waistband.  There was no saving the old one since this fabric frays easily.  With the new waistband, I made it completely separate (The pattern directions have you make the waistband while attaching it to the pant).  I attached it to the pant and filled it with the 1 1/2 inch elastic.  Sewed it shut and viola!  Much prettier, much easier.

The pattern has a lot of room around the hip area.  I went with a size small based on my measurements but definitely could have gotten away with the extra small.   Do I hear a pair of floral print  or some other wild print paper bag pants in my future?  I opted for the crop pant with elastic below the knees.  This material is light, making it perfect for the warmer weather.  I choose not to put the pockets on the side.  After seeing the amount of material around my waist, I know the pockets would not have been flattering on me, maybe a smaller size and different fabric.

I am loving Indie Sewing month. My next project is the Emery Dress.  There are so many great versions out there that I know I will like this pattern.  I have several summery cotton florals in my stash that will work perfectly.  I should also mention that the 3rd edition of the Perfect Pattern Parcel is out!  More Indie patterns and helping education.  I literally just bought the Bombshell pattern like 3 days ago and there it was included in the parcel.  Of the patterns listed, I am drawn to the Jorna dress.  I am less excited by the other patterns but I am sure I just need a wallop of creativity and these patterns will yield something fabulous.  My creativity has been running on empty for last couple of weeks.
I recommend this pattern.  It is fun and funky.  My husband has dubbed these my pirate pants.  Arrgghhhh!  Despite that, I think these are bananas.  They will debut today at a birthday party.

Happy Sewing!
Annie

P.S. I'll announce the winner of the giveaway contest tomorrow!

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Sew Indie Month: My Dandelion Dress and a Giveaway

Thursday, May 22, 2014


May is Sew Indie Month.  It is all about promoting independent pattern companies and encouraging seamstresses to try something new!  I happen to own a lot of Indie patterns.  I cannot put a finger on a favorite cause they all provide a modern perspective and it usually always results in fabulous clothes!  The first Perfect Pattern Parcel contained the Dandelion Dress.  This is a sheath dress with raglan sleeves and princess seams.  So clever ... I love how they describe the difficulty as 'Spicy' -- makes me want a margarita!
 

Experiment: Dandelion Dress 
                      Scoop Neck Version, Size XS

Materials:

3 Yards Blue Wave Cotton
4 yards Navy Bias Tape
Grey Gutterman Thread
Navy Coats and Clark Thread







I enjoyed the clever design of the pattern.  The raglan sleeves and faux princess seam give a nice hip-hugging effect.  The bodice dart on the left side of the dress was a giant pain in the rear.  After I completed the bodice I tried it on (Woo-who!), realizing that the dart was all-kinds of crazy funky.  I unpicked it, sewed it, and it still was cray-cray.  It took THREE more times of ripping the seam and re-sewing before I nailed it.
I had this grand plan of adding pockets on the outside and finishing the top of the pocket with the navy bias tape, but I really got into sewing and suddenly I had inserted the zip.  Oh well, next time.   I decided to use the navy bias tape to add an element that popped.  After my pocket forgetfulness, the arms and hem seemed like the best place to add it.
I did line the neckline with bias tape but after another try-on (two fittings!?! Holy Cow -- I'm on a roll!) the neckline looked silly.  I folded it under.  I also noticed that I probably needed a slight swayback adjustment.  And for more emphasis - next time!  I am happy overall with the fit and the look of the dress.  It is 'spicy' or rather, on closer inspection, 'wavy'.
I do have a soft spot for dresses but in this Sew Indie Month -- I bought Sewn Square One's Paper Bag Pant pattern and The Closet Case Files' Bombshell swimsuit.   I also downloaded Swoon's Scarf Neck cardigan -- I actually made the cardigan before I made the dress.  It was a colossal fail.  I used some black knit I had in my stash that was difficult to sew. I prevailed -- in the end, I looked like a drape experiment gone bad. A sea of black knit.  Trying to remedy the situation made it worse as I hacked off way too much.  *Sigh* At least the pattern is taped together for the right material and adjustments.
Now for the good part: a giveaway.  I know the month is almost ending but I am so happy the semester in done and that summer is here.  That means s much needed sew-cation!  To celebrate I am giving away a $20 Gift Card to Fabric.com.   That way you can choose some great fabric to sew up a new indie pattern you may have waiting in your stash.   You can enter via Rafflecopter below.  It will close on May 31st at 11:59 pm, Central Daylight Time.  All are welcome to enter -- enjoy!

Happy Sewing,
Annie





a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I Found a Bird's Nest Outside my Kitchen Window - What Did You Find?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I am so glad the sun is shining. The gray, cold skies have moved on (So sorry my Southern Hemisphere friends!).  We have a little tree outside our kitchen window and a couple of days ago while doing the dishes I noticed a bird's nest.  There is a robin and her three little chicks in our tree.  The chicks are so tiny and make the sweetest little sound.  It is fascinating to watch the robin feed the little chicks and see how protective she is of the nest.  We have become quite protective too, peering out the window to make sure all is alright.

Experiment:  
Simplicity 2444
View A
Size 8


Materials:
3 yards pink and orange batik
1/2 yard of homemade double fold bias tape
Gutterman thread

Procedure:
I have been in a sewing funk these last couple of weeks.  The funk crept in after I made this dress.  I think it came because I have been going a mile a minute and I really need to slow down.  The past couple of weeks I have cut several patterns but have not had the desire or energy to sit at the sewing machine.  Instead, I have had my nose in the book Outlander.  I started it a while ago but could not get passed the first 100 pages.  Well, I got past and suddenly, I needed to know what was going to happen. 

After devouring the book and promptly getting the second one from the library, I gave some of my hobby time to the sewing machine.   Man, oh, man do I love this pattern.  Double darts at the waist - genius!  I am picky when it comes to darts because I have suffered from a pointy boob bodice when I have carelessly sewn a dart (Thank goodness this hasn't happened in a while!).  Pleats and pockets -- huzzah!  Girly to the max and totally work functional.
I lengthened the bodice by a half inch but followed all the directions.  I do not like the center seam in the skirt and when I make it again, I will cut on a fold.  I really want to try the caplet and the bow.  I can now see why people give this pattern such rave reviews.  This is my first Project Runway pattern (Speaking of Project Runway, it is back this summer. I cannot wait.  Although I miss Michael Kors with his fabulous critiques and spot-on comments!) and I wonder if all the patterns are as kick-a$$ as this one.  I have a couple of more in my stash which means they will either live up to the awesomeness of 2444, fail miserably, or in the best case scenario, end up producing a so-so garment.
I wore this dress to Mother's Day brunch.  My son wore another version of Made by Rae's Parsley pants that I made him (He has asked for a pair of shorts using the same pattern with Star Wars pockets).  The restaurant is right on the river near this fabulous train bridge.  It was such a relaxing day filled with love, patterns, and fabric (gotta love my boys)!
I plan on sewing this week.  Now that I have the book done, I think my brain needs to exercise some creativity.  I plan to make a knit maxi skirt with a folded waist band -- I was inspired by a lovely lady in a chevron maxi knit skirt who sat in front of us during church this morning.  I also want to make Disparate Discipline's Dandelion dress in the following fabric:


I am a sucker for dresses and this is great for Indie Pattern month.   I should also let you know that I am super self-conscious  and as such will not post weekly round-ups of my Me-Made-May outfits.  Instead, I will do a collage at the end of the month showcasing my spectacular me-mades!

Anywho, I have rambled enough.  Hope your week is golden!

Happy Sewing,
Annie

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May the 4th be with You

Monday, May 5, 2014

I can't claim to be a Star Wars fanatic. In fact, I hadn't even seen the Star Wars movies until I met my husband.  As a child, I was far more into musicals with grand dresses and lovely dancing rather than sci-fi epics.  I ventured into Star Trek because my father enjoyed watching it.  Fast-forward to 10 years later:  I have a husband who was shocked I hadn't seen them and took it upon himself to school me in Star Wars history.  Now, I can claim that I have seen all of the Star Wars movies.  It also doesn't hurt that I have a little boy whose favorite character is Anakin.  We have watched all the movies (edited). Lego Stars Wars specials, and the Clone Wars cartoon (Hello!  Ahsoka Tano kicks some major butt!).

There is a fundraiser for the Arts Council in our area called Blend on the Bayou.  It is an outdoor event that features the Men who Cook (they provide all the food), the Men who Mix (the lovely guys pour a mean cocktail), and the Men who Brew (Home brewers make a keg a beer for the event).  My husband brews beer as a hobby and serves it at this event.  He made a tasty White IPA called Pale Rider that smelled of grapefruit and was full of hops.  About a month earlier, I realized that Blend was on May fourth and I knew I needed to make a Star Wars dress to wear.


Experiment:  McCall's M6741 (View D)
                      Size 8

Materials:
1 3/4 yard Star Wars cotton
1 1/2 yards white cotton
3 yards white lining
Gutterman white thread

Procedure:
This is one my TNT patterns (Embarrassingly, I had to look up what that meant. Sigh!).  I made it a previously and the simple design lends itself to many cool ideas.  I knew I had wanted a Star Wars themed dress but I wanted it to be subtle.  The Star Wars material has been in my stash  -- I meant to make my son a pair of PJs but the fabric had a different idea.
My original sketch for my husband included the Star Wars theme in the middle but he thought it would look cooler on the sides of the princess seams.  I think that advice was spot on.


I made the dress and had intended not to line it but after trying it on and the white revealing a little too much, I dashed out for white lining.  I found this great tutorial on YouTube in which the process of lining a sleeves dress is shown.  That was key because those McCall directions were sketchy.
  
It did end up slightly big in the bust and hip area (3" of ease in the bust area -- thanks so much McCall - I would need a super-duper wonder bra to jump 3 freakin' inches). Somehow, I do not recall this from the last time I made it.  It could be I did a renegade dress hack in which I adjusted on the fly last time.  Well, when I make another dress from this pattern, I must remember to adjust.
The photo above was meant to show the Star Wars print but I think it captures the silliness and overall fun time we had! Blend on the Bayou is always wonderful and money goes to a worthy cause.  I mentioned I am an adventurous eater so I had rabbit risotto, fried alligator, and crawfish potstickers -- it was delicious.    Good friends and wonderful art -- a fab party on the bayou.


May the 4th be with you (a day later!) --
Annie

PS  For the super nerds (like me!):  May the Mass*Acceleration be with you!

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Its a Beautiful Day for a Bike Ride

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seriously, I really am always the last to figure out a trend.  My students usually scratch their heads and echo, "You've never heard of that!?!"  I bought the Pattern Parcel #1 the first couple of days it was offered.  See, I am a little better when it comes to sewing . . .which is why I finally get the Lady Skater dress enthusiasm.  I'm just a wee bit late to the party.  Better late than never, right?


Experiment: Lady Skater Dress
Size 1

Materials:
Remnant of pink knit
Clear Elastic 
Gutterman White Thread

Procedure:
I followed the crib sheet directions but imagine that if you need visuals, then Kitchsy Coo has you covered.  I cut the pattern the evening before.  I made a muslin of the bodice as suggested and got worried since the it was so small.  For the muslin, I used some left over knit from another project.  Luckily, my fabric had a good amount of stretch.  I finished this project rather quickly the next evening.  I even set the sleeve in the flat.  Huzzah!

The knit I used was found in a remnant bin -- I don't even know what to call it.  It is stretchy like jersey but has the feel of a light sweater knit.  I had to have it for two reasons: 1. pink!  my favorite and 2. the price! a gob of fabric for $5.   The fabric is a little sheer and I did not notice that until I tried on the dress -- good thing I have slips handy (I think I need to make more in a variety of colors -- any good slip patterns you know of?).

I can see why people love this pattern.  Knit! It is easy to sew and wear through the seasons with the variations in sleeve length.  It can be casual or dressy.  I need casual dresses for the summer in the south.  It is hot, humid, and sweaty during those months!  My husband thinks it is a tad on the too pink side and suggests a belt for contrast but a girl can never wear enough of her favorite color!


If you get the right fabric, you could make a dress in which you feel like you were wearing your PJs all day.  This is another pattern that I could go nuts with if I had the right fabric.  The evening I finished this dress, I trolled Girl Charlee and Wanderlust for some kooky knits. I found lightening bolt fabric, selfishly for me!  I promised to make a little girl version of this dress for my niece -- in a nice cheetah print.  Looking into my crystal ball, I see that in the near future there will be a knit order.
I wore this dress all day.  I picked up my son from school, grabbed the dog (Yes, I have a chihuahua.  Milo is his name and he is the boss.  Before we lived in a small town, we lived in a cramped apartment in the middle of a busy city), and we all went on a lazy bike ride.    The kind of bike ride where the breeze is nice and you stop to chat with the people you know along the way.  

The month of May ushers in the end of the semester and the start of the summer holidays.  I will get a tiny break before the summer term starts and I am going to immerse myself in patterns, fabric, and notions. This weekend I promised my son a new pair of shorts with Star Wars pockets.   It is a good excuse to whip up a geeky outfit for myself at the same time!

Happy Stitching --
Annie

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