Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Butterick 5450 Pictures

I tired to get a few more picture today of my shirt, but balancing the camera on the deck railing proved to be quite trying.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finished: Butterick 5450

I finished another top! I am just going to do a quick post tonight because I hope to get some better daylight pictures tomorrow. It seems no one at my house is too enthusiastic about being my photographer so I have to beg and plead for them to take my picture. Tomorrow, when it's light outside I can balance my camera on the deck rail and get some better picture.

Here's the pattern I used, which is Butterick 54550.

I am not going to go into lots of details in this post because I did write a rather detailed pattern review which can be found here.   In the post with better pictures I will provide a few more details if anyone is interested.

For tonight, here's the pics. Sadly, these were the good ones, if that's even possible. Happy Sewing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Simplicity Patterns!

The summer patterns for Simplicity are up on their website. I was hoping for some more Lisette patterns, but sadly I was let down. Oh well, hopefully there will some more Lisette's the next time patterns are released.

First, I really like this Project Runway pattern, which in my opinion could make a cute retro modern sundress. I think if I did make this dress I would widen the straps just a bit so there would be some bra strap coverage. Other than that it looks like a really cute pattern.

Next is another contender for a super cute summer sundress. The pattern envelope picture is quite matronly and a tad bit 90ish though, but the line drawing redeems itself. I really like the interesting seaming with the striped fabric. I do think the little jacket is cute but I have found unless you're quite flat chested jackets like those tend to stick out in strange ways.

 Lastly, is this day to evening pattern that I love for one reason and one reason only. Bows! I love the shorter version and once again it would make a super cute dress for spring. I do have three and a half yards of blue gingham that might just work.

Sadly, there are only three patterns from the whole collection that I can see myself picking up and sewing. There are two, yes two, jumpsuit patterns. I can say that I have never really even considered wearing a jumpsuit, much less using my free time to sew one. I can't say the same thing about a romper however. I really wish that they had a pattern for "regular" shorts with preferably a fly front rf a side zipper. (I think I recall seeing a McCall's pattern, but I'll have to double check.) I know there is most likely a group of pattern purchasers who want elastic waist knee length shorts, but I'm pretty sure the pattern companies have that demographic covered.

I also wish that there was more top and blouse patterns that aren't designed for knits. It seems that for every one top pattern there are ten dress patterns. Don't get me wrong, I adore dresses, but sometimes I do like to wear separates.

What do you all think of the new collection? Does anyone else wish there were more "normal" shorts patterns and a few more tops to choose from? Am I being too picky and a negative Nancy? Wait, don't answer that last one...
Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Vogues!

Vogue's summer patterns are now up on their website and as always there are some winners and some losers. Here are my picks, thought, comments, and snide remarks regarding their latest collection.

First up is a dress by Kay Unger. If you look at the line drawing this dress has some interesting seaming and gathers, but as usual Vogue managed to mask them by choosing the busiest fabric they could get their paws on. I have been wanting a to make a little black dress and this pattern might just fit the bill.

Next, I LOVE this little dress and jacket combo from Tom and Linda Platt. I don't really love the yellow, but I envision the dress in navy and the jacket in red. I definitely plan on picking up this pattern at the next Vogue sale.

Next in the lineup or perpetrators is a Vogue easy options pattern. I would make all of the dresses included in this pattern, though I would choose the shorter length for my versions. The main reason I love this pattern though is it includes a halter dress with a fitted skirt.

The next dress is a very easy Vogue that has a cute back to it. I can see this as a great little summer dress that could be paired casually with some flip flops or sandals. The pattern calls for a lining, which honestly I am not that big of a fan of, so hopefully I could leave it out. I prefer my dresses to be unlined and if need be I will wear a slip. ( I am also pretty sure that the majority of women my age don't even know what a slip is, but that's a story for another post.)

Now, for the patterns that just make me shake my head in astonishment and wonder.

First, I don't even know what this thing is supposed to be. Vogue says that it is a dress, but I think I am going to exercise my right to disagree. I believe this is some sort of elaborate invention that allows one to parachute without actually using, you know, a real parachute. You just leap from the plane,hold the sides of the dress, and drift slowly to the earth.

This next pattern is so terrible I am not even going to try to describe it's hideousness. A picture really does say a thousand words.

There is a new apron pattern being released,which I would normally snatch up in a heartbeat, but after inspecting the drawing and discovering that mass amounts of bias tape are required, I think I'll pass on the pattern. I do love aprons, but if bias tape is invited to the party I will be politely declining my invite.

I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about the newest Vogue collection. What do you love? What do you hate?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things I've Learned Since Beginning to Sew

1. Sewing stuff multiplies at an exponential rate First, you buy a few pieces of fabric, a couple spools of thread, and the basic notions. At first, you think that one shelf in the closet is more than enough space to store your stuff, then one day you'll blink and realize that sewing stuff is stuffed into every nook and cranny that you can find. Fabric, zippers, buttons, thread, it all multiplies, but patterns, oh patterns, they multiply like rabbits. Soon, I'm going to need a self storage unit.

2. Patience Pateince is a virtue, and sewing will help instill that virtue in you. Sewing is a slow process that requires a lot of attention to detail. The seam ripper is the ultimate reminder to be patient as you're sewing and not slip into road runner mode. In today's instant world it's nice to sometimes slow down and enjoy doing something that requires time and attention to detail.

3. You will never look at RTW clothes the same Since beginning to sew I have gained an entirely new prospective on store bought clothing, particularly the fabric content that the clothes are made of.  While I'm not anti-polyester, I have realized that it's not the priciest fabric in the world and its crazy to spend $30 on a top made with less than $5 worth of polyester. Now when I go shopping I closely inspect the garments, paying attention to seam finishes and little details that made said item catch my eye, but usually leave the store with a mind full of ideas but empty handed.

4. Bias tape is evil It looks all sweet and innocent sitting in that display shelf at Joann, but once you get it home and out of the package it's true colors begin to show. If you do manage to wrangle it into submission and look lovely on something such as an armhole there is a 99% chance that the other side will not turn out as nicely. Perhaps one day bias tape and I will be besties, but for now we're in frenemy territory.

5. Your sewing scissors should be guarded with your life Make it clear to anyone who lives in your household and anyone who dares to come near your house that your sewing scissors are off limits. Say it like you mean it! If someone cuts paper with your scissors this gives you the right to disown them if they're a family member, divorce them if they're a spouse, or if they're a friend, force them to do all of your bias tape sewing for a year.

6. Your house will never be as clean ever again Who has time to clean when there's stuff to sew? Not only will you lose all interest in doing things such as mopping the floor you will also have much more stuff to dust around. ( See number 1.)  If it gets bad enough I'll just give Clean House a call, but over my dead body will they "declutter" by getting rid of my handmade clothes.

What about you all? Have you learned any interesting things while sewing? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Finished: McCalls 5977

I finished another cute top just in time for the whether to begin warming up. If it seems I have been sewing a lot, I have been on spring break with quite a bit of free time. I have decided that all clothes deserve to have a name, after naming my last creation my modern Ellie May shirt. Though not as cute I think I will name this top my "dinner mint" shirt, as it is strikingly close in color to those pastel mints that you get as some restaurants after dinner.

Now, for a few sewing details. The directions for this shirt are pretty clear and simple, though I chose not to follow their directions for the neck and armhole binding. I also chose to cut two of each ruffle, sew right sides together, and then turn so that I wouldn't have any visible stitching lines on the ruffles. (The pattern instructs you to narrow hem the ruffles.) As for sizing this top runs HUGE! I cut a 14, which is a size smaller than my measurements suggests I need, and it looked like a very spring-y potato sack when I tried it on. I will keep this pattern in mind though if I am ever going to participate in a potato sack hop and want to have a far more stylish potato sack than the other contestants plain burlap.  I ended up taking off 2 inches on each side seam to get a closer fit. I should have cut a 12, but a 14 was the smallest size my envelope had. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finished: Simplicity 2593

The forecast says that it is going to be in the upper 70s this weekend, so what better way to celebrate than sew a cute spring top? The originally intended to make view A of the pattern, which features a really awesome rolled tube like collar. However, no matter what I did I could not get the collar to lay as nicely as the picture on the envelope. Since the collar must be slipstitched on, and I am not too fond of hand sewing so far,  I opted to leave it off. Version B is the exact same shirt sans collar so I just ended up with a different view. If I am ever feeling overly patient one day I may attempt to sew on the collar, but for now I am satisfied with how it turned out.

I don't really have any fun details of the construction, by leaving off the collar there are only two side seams, hem, neck binding, and armhole binding that must be applied.  As for sizing I cut a 14, one size less than what my measurements suggest. The top is quite roomy though as a 14 has a finished bust measurement of 42". Because it is so roomy it does look a little strange with jeans. I think I will call it my "Modern Ellie May" shirt, because, you know, all clothes deserve to be named.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Matchy Matchy

Look at any wedding party picture and you're sure to find one common theme amongst all of them; bridesmaids who are all sporting identical colored dresses with perfectly dyed to match shoes. A wedding party is the only time in most women's lives they will don such a matchy matchy ensemble.  However, it wasn't that long ago that women wore much more matchy-matchy outfits than we seem to like today. Must your shoes and purse always match? I can imagine that if you asked that question a few decades ago you would have received a collective yes from women everywhere. If you presented that very same question to my generation though you would most likely get a mixed bag of responses. It seems that women just don't match their clothes the same way anymore. In the 60s most wouldn't have taken a second look at a woman wearing a perfectly pink skirt suit with a matching hat, shoes, and bag. Now, such an ensemble would likely get you noticed, and potentially come across as a bit costumey.

So, why have a suddenly developed an interest in matching clothing and accessories? Well, it goes back to the post I did a few weeks ago on fabric scraps. I have been thinking about making headbands and bows to clip on my shoes from my fabric scraps.You see, I am the kind of person who would leave the house wearing a dress, a matching headband, bows on my shoes, and if I were going to school that day, a pencil case that matched the outfit. I love the matchy matchy look. If given the opportunity to leave the house decked to the nines in a head to toe one colored outfit I would do it in a heartbeat.I don't always know when I have too much of a good thing.

Being able to sew does give me the opportunity to wear outfits that go far beyond the realm of the typical coordinating clothing. I guess the question is whether or not I should exercise my ability to create all sorts of matching accessories. (Yes, the idea of a perfectly matched bag has indeed crossed my mind, but I have been able to suppress that idea for the time being.) I think that if I do make the accessories I should limit myself to one same fabric item at a time. I could wear a matching headband or bows on my shoes but never both at the same time. This doesn't mean that I don't want to leave the house over-accessorized, but I am attempting to exhibit some sort of good taste when it comes to dressing. What do you all think? Is a matching bow for my hair a slippery slope to looking like a perpetual bridesmaid? If matchy matchy is okay, what is the dividing line between tasteful and overdone? I'd love to hear some thoughts and opinions.

In sewing related news, I am almost finished with a Cynthia Rowley pattern and should hopefully have some pics of it tomorrow.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finished: Lisette Dress

Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please, the Lisette dress is finished! I feel the overwhelming need to share with you with pictures of the dress before the details, so here we go.

I am SO excited about this dress! For one, this is the first dress that I have made, so I am ecstatic that it came out more than wearable.I ended up leaving out the side zipper because I don't really have too much trouble getting it over my head. If I make it again I think I will add the zipper. The instructions call for a side seam lapped zipper, and I think I need to practice inserting this type of zipper on a muslin before I try it on my good fabric. Also, I ended up cutting out a size 14 all over and I think it fits much better than my muslin (which was a 16) did.

I highly recommend this pattern. The directions are the best directions that I have ever worked with in my short sewing life. There are "Lisette tips" sprinkled throughout the pattern along with a reminder to finish seams and recommended methods for doing so included throughout the whole list of instructions. If all sewing directions were written this well it would be much easier for beginners like myself to learn to sew.

The bodice has two darts in the front that overlap in the center. It should be noted that it is imperative that you mark the left dart first, stitch, then press before you ever mark and make the right dart. Also, it seems to me that the armholes are a bit deep and there could be some potential for some side bra show.

Tomorrow I should be able to get some better pictures outside while the sun is still out. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thrift Store Fabric Finds

Today, I rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn to go to some estate sales and thrift stores with my mom. Actually, by crack of dawn I mean 8am, but it's a Saturday and I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. Thankfully, my early wake up time was not in vain however, as I found some adorable vintage Pyrex with a snowflake pattern, two good cookbooks, and, perhaps of the most interest to you readers, fabric and vintage sheets. There seems to be one Goodwill that consistently has fabric and it didn't let me down today. I also picked up three bed sheets to use as muslin fabric. You can buy a sheet at the thrift store for $2 and it contains significantly more fabric than $2 worth of muslin from Joann would.

I found five pieces of fabric today that just had to come home with me. They had more fabric but I am not too inclined to bring home yards and yards of itchy mauve or mustard colored 70s polyester. Tomorrow, I may try out a "burn test" to see what the content of my fabrics are, though I think I have a pretty good guess already. If you have read some of my previous posts you may know that I don't like to buy fabric without a specific purpose in mind, but I have decided that thrifted fabric is an exception to my self imposed rule.

I have just under two yards of the green fabric on the left, which I think is cotton. I have exactly two yards of the flowered fabric on the right which I think is a cotton shirting of some sort. Both of the fabrics are 44" wide. I think the flowered fabric would make a really cute blouse from a vintage pattern. The green fabric was $1.50 and the flowered fabric was $1.25. Here is a close up shot of the flowers.

 Next up is this pretty royal blue fabric that is about 50" wide and I have just over two yards. I think that this fabric is some sort of twill. It feels like it would be a good fabric for a jacket. This was the most expensive of the fabrics at a whopping $1.75.

Lastly are these two lovely fabrics that I am pretty sure are linen. They feel like linen, look like linen, and wrinkle like linen. They're each 44" wide and I have 2 1/2 yards of the yellow and 2 1/3 yards of the taupe. These only cost $1.50 each.

That's a lot of fabric for only $7.50! Does anyone else like to buy fabric at thrift stores? How about sheets to use just for their fabric?

I have been working busily on my Lisette dress. After looking at the pics of my muslin I decided to cut a size 14 everywhere. This helped to raise the waist up to where my waist naturally is, but it is quite snug through the bust. I know the only way to really fix this is to do a FBA, which I intend on learning how to do, just not on this dress. I have cut out my good fabric, sewed all the darts in the bodice, sewed the shoulder seams together, made my facings, and finished the seams on everything that should be finished thus far. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a finished dress to show the world.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog. Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lisette Pattern Progress

I finished the muslin of the Lisette dress that I started yesterday. I made it from the exact same fabric that I made my Vogue retro apron from.  This is the first time that I have made a muslin.

I cut a straight size 16, which was the size indicated on the envelope that I needed. However, after trying on my muslin I have came to the conclusion that I need to be cutting a smaller size based on my upper bust measurement and doing a full bust adjustment. The shoulder area and the area just above my bust is too loose and I can pinch out excess fabric. Since I don't know how to do a FBA yet, I am not sure what my strategy is going to be to get the bodice to fit better. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate the feedback. The waist and hips of the dress fit quite well however, which leads me to believe that this pattern contains less ease than you would typically find in a Simplicity pattern. If you typically size down when making a Simplicity pattern it may be wise to first attempt the size that it indicated you need.

This dress was super, super easy to assemble, though I did leave off the facings, bias binding, and hem since I was really just testing for fit. The bodice front has two very interesting overlapping darts, the back bodice has four darts, and the skirt front and skirt back each have four pleats. I should also note that I omitted the zipper in my muslin and as a result have been performing contortionist acts to get it on and off. The final version will most certainly contain a zipper, which must be inserted into the side of the dress.

The instructions for this pattern are EXCELLENT! I am very very impressed with the details and tips that are included throughout the pattern, including suggestions and specific directions for finishing seams. Make sure that you follow the directions for the darts on the front bodice piece exactly, as it does matter that you make the left dart first and then the right dart. When I finish my final dress I will write a pattern review with more of the construction details.

Finally, here are the pictures of my muslin. I would love to hear any suggestions that anyone may have on how to make it fit better without having to do a FBA.

As you can see there is extra fabric that quite a bit of extra fabric that needs to be removed from the shoulder area. Though I don't have a picture of the back there is also some fabric that needs to be removed from the top of the bodice. Is it possible to cut a 14 in the should and a 16 everywhere else? I think I will work with it a bit more tomorrow and make another muslin of just the bodice.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Lisette Pattern

Yesterday, I decided to make a "quick" trip to Joann during the break between my classes. This proved to be a not so bright idea when I got behind some lady wanting to return what seemed like 100 things, all of which seemed to be purchased on separate receipts. I am pretty sure it is easier to be issued a credit card with a two grand limit than it is to return something where you will receive a gift card in the amount of two dollars. So, after being in line for about 20 minutes I was finally on my way back to class.

Simplicity patterns are on sale this week for $1.99, so I decided to see if they had any of the new Lisette patterns in stock yet, and they did. I ended up coming home with one, 2209.

I also came home with two pieces of fabric to make the dress with the different colored bodice and skirt. (They did have the Lisette fabric that is on the envelopes for $10-$15 a yard, but I didn't fall in love with any of the prints.) Have you ever been so excited about a project that you decide to put everything else you're working on away and start the new project? Well, this dress is that project for me. I want my dress, and I want it now! However, I also want a dress that fits well. So, I have decided that I am actually going to make a muslin, something I have not done before. The muslin is going to be the exact same fabric as the last apron that I made, which will firmly put it into the unwearable muslin category.

I am so excited about this dress! I hope all the others projects that I have cut out already don't get too mad at me for cheating on them. When it comes to sewing projects I just can't seem to be a monogamous woman. So, I'm off to chop into my pattern and then slice and dice my fabric with my machete sewing scissors.

In conclusion, have any of you ever became so excited about a project that you put everything else aside? Also, does anyone else have any plans to whip up any of the designs in the Lisette patterns? Happy Sewing!

UPDATE: I finished my bodice muslin tonight. Tomorrow I will finish the skirt and do a post on it. So far, I believe that the Lisette patterns have less ease than other Simplicity patterns as I cut a 16 and it is quite snug. The bodice also has very interesting overlapped darts that meet in the middle.  Stay tuned as there will be more updates to come. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vogue 8643

I finished something! I finished something! I finished something! The apron that threatened to eat me alive yesterday has finally been tamed.

The pattern is Vogue 8643, which is a retro reprint featuring five different aprons from 1952. I made view D, which is the one in the top row in the middle. The fabric is a vintage bed sheet I picked up from Goodwill for $2. If I remember correctly I believe that the sheet was a full size, but I had very little waste as this pattern calls for 3 1/4 yards of fabric. I still have one more sheet with this exact same print, but I think it is destined to be used as fabric for a non-wearable muslin.

If you read my last post you will certainly remember my near breakdown over how confusing the directions are. I found them to be very sporadic and it was quite hard to follow along with the steps that you need for your particular view. Also, the directions for attaching the tie ends are crazy. If I made this particular apron again I will be inventing my own method. I have already cut out view C from my prized piece of vintage fabric, so hopefully I won't have as much trouble with those directions.

I love aprons, and this one is no exception. If you love aprons too, give this one a try, that is, if you can justify over 3 yards of fabric for an apron. Happy sewing and have a good night!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Little Update

I have actually been sewing!!! No, I don't have any finished objects to show you, but I do have the following jumble of words for you to read, if you feel so inclined to stick around.  I'd love it if you would!

First, I did use up a few of my fabric scraps. I embellished a dish towel with a cute strip of fabric and a hot pink bow made from fabric. Plain dish towels are just so boring, ya know? They need a little pizazz, a little sparkle, a little something something. It's a good thing I don't own a Bedazzler. I'll show everyone once I make a few more and get a picture.

Secondly. I also made 2 pot holders, but I have yet to attach any binding to them. I think I am going to make my own bias tape as a way to use up some more smallish fabric pieces. One of the potholders I pieced together, using a "square" that I had drawn as a template. Should you ever decide to do this yourself, make sure that your square really is a true square. Start with a non-true square, piece four pieces together, and watch your square transform into a pot holder that belongs in a fun house. I'm still going to use it however, as you live and learn.

Thirdly, I thought I would ramble just a bit about the apron that I am currently slaving over. Before we go any farther in our apron discussion, allow me to show you the lineup of perpetrators.

She's the one in the top row, in the middle. That's the one that has been taking all of my sewing time and makes me want to pull my hair our of my head. Look at that smug look on her face. She knows that she wrote the most confusing set of directions ever known to man. She may look all sweet an innocent, with that devious smile plastered across her vintage red lips, but she's meaner than any third grade playground bully you will ever encounter. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me announce to the world that I am having some serious troubles with this apron. First, the directions are so sporadic that you need a GPS just to find your way around. Since I don't own a GPS I must get out my compass, put on my finest sailor outfit, and transform myself into Christopher Columbus for a few minutes in hopes of landing on the correct step that I need. Much like the explorer himself I seem to not find exactly what I was looking for, but land on something else and deem it good enough.

 These directions are a hotter mess than Charlie Sheen. Once I do find the direction that I need I can't seem to wrap my mind around what it is exactly that I am supposed to do. I have muddled my way along so far, so hopefully I can do that a bit more and have a finished apron. For an apron, there are quite a few steps and a lot of pieces, but hopefully I can successfully complete it as I already have an idea in my head for another one. I have also cut into a prized piece of vintage fabric to make one of the full aprons,so fingers crossed that those directions have already completed the 12 program for confused directions.

In other sewing related news, I have learned that one should never ever lay their pincushion in a pile of thread scraps. Threads are attracted to a pincushion like lint to a pair of black pants.

This week I hope to finish the apron, or allow it to eat my alive, whichever comes first. Happy Sewing!!