Archive for September 2014

Selfish Sewing: An Anna to Groove In

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lately, the fam and I have been listening to 70s and 80s music.  It all started when we saw Guardians of the Galaxy.  My boys like to read comics.  I, on the other hand, do not (Give me a book ay day!).   My only exposure to the Guardians was in Marvel books I read with my son.  The movie did not disappoint (Dance off anyone?).  And my son thought the soundtrack was bananas.  Yep, he turns it up loud and sings along. So, if you like Piña Coladas or getting caught in the rain, well, at least I will be grooving the maxi Anna dress.



Experiment:
By Hand London's Anna Dress
Variation 1
Size 4

Materials:
3 yards of cotton turquoise print
1 yard of cream colored cotton
Mettler light gray thread
Mettler cream thread
22" invisible zip cream colored

Procedure:
Rachael of Imagine Gnats declared this Selfish Sewing week and since I was very good at a ton of selfless sewing this month, I needed to reward myself.  High on 'to-sew list' was a maxi length Anna.
I love this print.  It contains colors that I would never gravitate towards but my son convinced me to try it out.  I actually cut the whole dress out of the print and sewed up the bodice, however, when my husband saw it, there was a very pregnant pause and scrunching of the face, followed by "Too much."  I am not gonna lie:  I was bummed.  He's right.  Five yards of this print and I would look like a wayward curtain who had broken free from Bed Bath Beyond.  I found some cream colored cotton in my stash (yea for stash!) and churned out a bodice.


Goodness -- sewing with this much fabric is an exercise in patience.  I was not gifted this virtue therefore it involved a lot of "Oh Hell!" and "Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea!" under my breath.  And hemming this thing -- err, an act of torture with so much fabric to keep track of...  I had to hack off several, oh let's be real: 4 or 5 inches, in order for it to fit me length wise.  Next time, I'll adjust i on the pattern.


This dress is rad (It has a thigh high split!).  I am going to selfishly say that it was worth it and selfishly say it's hella cool. 
It's not like I need a Selfish Sewing Week since I sew for myself.  But one of the many things I like about the blogosphere, and blogging, is the community, the inspiration, and the push you need to finish something from the most unexpected places.   By Hand London -- this is a genius pattern.   


Here's to Piña Coladas and selfish sewing!
Annie

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Selfless September -- When You Sew, It Doesn't End

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I sort of have a habit.  A sewing habit. A sewing habit and a notebook full of things to sew with sketches, swatches, and inspiration.   Jess from The Sometimes Sewist dedicated September to selfless sewing.  This was the perfect motivation for me to take my notebook, dust off some patterns, and surprise my family and friends.  

Experiment: 
PiePie Designs Cherry Pie Skirt
Sizes: 3T and 12

I have three darling nieces.  When I visited my family in Cincinnati this summer I hit up a ton of fabric shops.  The oldest niece picked out the red puppy print fabric below and requested that I make her something special.  It only took Auntie Annie two months to find the time.  Geez, I sound pretty bad.  It is a shame I didn't start earlier because this pattern could not be more simple.  It also offers a variety of options to change the basic skirt including adding ruffles or making reversible.  Total time was a little over an hour from cutting to sewing -- mainly because I get distracted -- more episodes of Midsomer Murder appeared on Netflix and I watched the new Muppet movie (Best part is Kermit singing cheesy 80s style ballad: Check it out)! 

I loved this pattern so much that I dug out some scraps and sewed my 2-year old niece a fun skirt to play in.  It is made of flannel perfect for the coming fall months.  This pattern is now a go-to scrap buster especially in the wee-sizes since it does not require a mad amount of fabric. 


Experiment:
April Rhodes Staple Dress
Size: Medium

My version of the Staple dress is in high rotation in my wardrobe.   It is comfortable and has pockets!  I didn't think I would love this dress as much as I do -- it's not my silhouette but it is flattering with the elastic waist and it is so easy to wear.  I knew it would be a perfect dress for my mother. The Staple dress in red flower cotton blend would be a great fall transition dress  - wear it with tights or a turtle-neck underneath.
 I didn't have enough fabric to make a bias collar so I finished it with pre-made bias tape (don't hate -- it is easy and available!).  This version features the straight hem instead of the mullet hem. I added 3 inches to the length.  My mom does not like short dresses -- her style is more tea length to maxi.  I wish I could be there when she tries it on but I live so far away that I will have to settle for knowing what a surprise it will be when she opens the parcel!

Experiment:
Create Kids Couture Taylor's PJ Pattern (It's Free) 
Size: 6-12 months

This is by far my go-to pattern for kids PJ pants.  The patterns is free (FREE -- did you hear that!?) and ridiculously easy to sew.  My new nephew, Georgie, has some new pants thanks to a remnant sale at Hancock Fabrics and this freebie.

I will happily gush over this pattern! I have several more of PJ pants that I must sew before the end of the month for various friends.  This pattern also helps to make wonderful Christmas presents with just the right amount of special.  My son literally has a plethora of PJ pants (mostly in the Superhero genre!) thanks to Kids Couture.

Whew!  See, sewing doesn't end.  No worries though -- I did just make a few people smile and that warms my heart.

To more selfless sewing this month!
Annie

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She Blinded Me With Science, Well, Subtle Science

Saturday, September 13, 2014


#Geekyconfessions.  I am a self-professed nerd.  Nah, that is probably not true -- plenty of people have called me a nerd throughout my life and I embraced it.    I am not ashamed that I love science and math.  I like to read.   I love fantastical sci-fi epics whether it be a TV show, movie, or book.  Here are several of my geeky confessions:
  • I read 4 books of the Game of Thrones series. That's several thousand pages (at least I am a quick reader).  WTH?  How is it possible that the plot barely develops in 1000s of pages? I Wikipedia-ed the other books to read a synopsis of the plots.  I am still scratching my head.
  • Outlander -- Errr, where do I start?  Blah, blah and more blah. Why would you bother with the TV version?
  • When in grad school, a roommate got my husband and I hooked on Smallville.  I am pretty sure I have seen all the teenage drama that accompanied Superman growing up in Kansas (Boy, there was a lot of drama and aliens!!).
  • I resisted seeing the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit as long as I could...I can remember reading The Hobbit in 4th grade and hating it.  I reread it with Jules, my seven year-old, this summer and didn't mind it.  Love the movies -- Jules and I are plotting what costumes I should make for the 3rd movie!
Experiment:  
Simplicity 1419, Lisette Round Trip Jacket
Size 8
Materials: 
2 yards South Sea Imports Atomic cotton
Cotton Interfacing
Gray Thread 

Procedure:
Huzzah!  Chemistry fabric makes the ultimate nerdy jacket.  My Dolly Clacket dress from Lisette's 1419 dress is a staple in my wardrobe.  When I made it, I tossed the jacket pattern aside.  But since I saw Elizabeth's, from Sewn By Elizabeth, wonderful version of this jacket (and dress!), I gave it a second thought.  Further, I only had two yards of this precious fabric.  I did not think twice and began cutting.
An advanced beginner could handle making this jacket.  I had a little serger boo-boo and knifed through the sleeve.  I fretted for all of two seconds realizing that I could save it.  As such, under the sleeve there is a tuck on both sides.  I have to say that the tuck looks like it is part of the design.  The angled lapels rock (look at how they line up -- Woot! Woot!).  I added two hook and eyes under the lapels to keep the jacket closed.
I love the ruffles. If I were being really critical, I would probably lengthen it a tad.  Adding some length would cause it to fall at my hips.  After MMM14, I realized I needed more functional garments.  This jacket is light enough to throw over a cami or dress.  
Now for my #geekysewingconfessions

  • Colette Patterns.  I want to love you but you take sooooo much work to fit.  Too much work. Too frustrating.  
  • I dislike hemming but I dislike hand-sewing even more. 
  • I refrain from buying every Indie pattern just because it is new or there is a sew-along (Believe me I am tempted and always trying to convince myself I need a new pattern).   I wish I was a blogger that could afford every new pattern but the reality is that I know my body and I know my style.  Some Indie patterns suit me and others would be a waist of time and money because they would never be flattering or I would never feel comfortable.
  • I want to sew my own geeky wardrobe.  This really isn't a confession since it should be obvious.
Happy Sewing!
Annie










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Kimono Crazy

Friday, September 5, 2014

When I found J Crew chiffon on sale for $0.75/yard from FabricMart, well, I had to have gobs of it.  After it arrived, I was stumped and couldn't wrap my head around an idea.   I went on to another project.  Now that the semester has begun, I have little brain synapses devoted to creativity.  I pondered using the chiffon for a full-length Anna then decided against it because of the slipperiness of the material.  By Hand London did a kimono tutorial that sent my creative brain-cells into hyperdrive.

Experiment:
Kimono
(By Hand London Tutorial used.  Sew Caroline has a free pattern to download.)

Materials:
1 yard and a bit of J. Crew gray floral chiffon
Gutermann Thread - light gray

Procedure:
This is a true lazy seamstress project.  All you need is a ruler, tailor's chalk, space, and some dreamy, drapey fabric.   I followed the BHL tutorial and just added length to the bottom.  I eyeballed it, guessing I would have to say it is about half to three-quarters of an inch.
Who knew that I needed a kimono!  If I were walking past this in a boutique, I would probably glance, feel the fabric, maybe try it on but in the end, pass it by. 
Since I made it, swoon, sigh, I *heart* my kimono.  I am tickled that I took the time to make it.  And it effortlessly fits into my wardrobe.  Perfect to throw on over a pair of jeans or dress up a drab skirt.  Instant Bohemian chic.
My son inspires me.  He is an adventurer -- always up for something new.  Good thing I have him to remind me because I would have passed this by....

Happy Sewing -
Annie


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