Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pattern decisions.

It's bed time, but I wanted to post a list of patterns. This way if I lose the post-it that I wrote my ideas on at least I'll have them somewhere more permanent.

So here goes:

I was waiting for Colette patterns to release their Fall 2011 patterns before I made my definitive list.  I love all three patterns, however, I'm leaving the Peony dress off the list for now. I have a crap-ton of dresses already. I need more separates in my wardrobe.

Also, I just started on my Traveler dress. It's great how it coincides perfectly with the Fall Palette Challenge.

I still haven't completely decided on my color palette as of yet, besides the sprucey green I'm using for my Traveler dress. My goal is to pick a color palette and make each item of clothing for each color of my palette (6 colors total). I've already decided to make the Pretty bag out of a navy/beige polka dot dress that I bought off ebay a while ago.

Looks navy and sprucey green are two of my colors so far. Berry and mustard might be tossed in there as well.

I'll be looking for fabric when I go to Chicago in a couple of weeks. I also have my Mood fabrics groupon so fabric for this project is covered. I don't have much of a stash at the moment but I have enough scraps to make something work if need be.

I will post more on these lovely patterns later.

Bag time.

In addition to 5 new projects for the Fall Palette Challenge (which I will post more on later), I want to make a new handbag. Handbags are my favorite things to sew. They're not nearly as stressful as clothing and I can make one in a day.

I've checked out a couple of patterns from I think sew. This time around I don't really need a huge bag. Medium-sized will do just fine. Although I've made a couple of pleated or gathered handbags already, I'm really liking this one. I think the polka dots and corsage sold me.

A messenger bag would also be nice. I like this pattern.

Last weekend we went to Ikea out of boredom. I bought some fabric, a first for me. I hadn't been to Ikea in so long that I had forgotten that they sold fabric by the yard.

Patricia, the only Ikea product name I can pronounce.

I like the fabric. I'm not quite sure which pattern would look best with it. I'm partial to the messenger bag, but I don't know. I have a couple already and I don't really use them all that much. Also, I don't know if it will coordinate with my fall wardrobe planning. We shall see.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Color palette! Yay!

I tried out this awesome site, COLOURlovers, to begin work on my fall color palette. Ten minutes later, my palette is complete.

Or, so I thought. Here's another to consider:

Yay! This palette challenge is fun so far ;)

What a coincidence!

So, yesterday I was posting away with color palettes and thinking deep thoughts about my fall was out of the blue really.

Then today I check out the Coletterie blog and they've just posted about the Fall Palette Challenge.

It's like they read my mind or I a had a vision. Tee hee.

Anywho, I think I might do it. I'm already making a dress with one of my colors. I may as well go ahead and participate.

This will be my first time participating in some group sewing thing. Usually, I avoid group ventures. But I think this might be fun. Maybe. We'll see.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More color palettes!

All are from Design Seeds:

I love this site! It's actually soothing to search through it.  A similar shade of green is in all them. This sprucey-seafoamy-light tealish color is my favorite shade of green. It's the green I'm using for my Lisette Traveler dress. I think this will be the foundation for my fall color palette.

Fall wardrobe time?

Lately, I've contemplated whether or not I should bother with planning a wardrobe for the fall/winter. It's not that I don't want to, it's just Texas never really gets that cold. I think I wore my coat 3 times last "winter" (winter in Austin is a joke). Most of the time, I can get away with wearing the same clothes all year around with the addition of a light jacket or sweater. There have been times when I've worn flip flops in December. I've worn shorts on Thanksgiving.

So, the thought of all the fantastic wools, plaids and other staples of a cooler-weather wardrobe just make me sad instead of giddy. What's the point?


I'm going to do it anyway, or at the very least, make a valiant attempt. Right now, I'm perusing color palettes courtesy of Design Seeds.  I like this one:

and this one:

And even though this one looks more like spring, I just had to add it. I love the colors.

I think for the fall, I'll kept my pattern selections simple and manageable. I  just want about 6 pieces (dress, skirt, light jacket/blazer, two shirts and coordinating handbag). That seems simple enough. I've never made a jacket before. I think that will be the most challenging aspect of this whole wardrobe experiment.

But first things first. I have Kris' messenger bag all cut and ready to be sewn. I'm also going to try and squeeze in Simplicity 2246 view A (made with the same lovely green shirting that I used for my Colette Violet) before my Chicago trip in two weeks. After seeing Rachel McAdams walk around Paris in shirtdresses (I saw Midnight in Paris last weekend), I decided that I HAD TO HAVE ONE.

Now to get back to work...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sis Boom Jamie

Let me just say, my very first zipper application was a pleasant experience thanks largely to the Sis Boom Jamie pattern.

You can do it!
I apologize for my pictures being sub par. I took them with my camera phone. I've worn this dress twice (or three times) since I finished two months ago. Yet I'm never close enough to a camera to take a decent photo.

Zippers (regular not invisible---haven't learned that technique yet) and buttonholes were once causes of great sewing anxiety for me. They both seemed terribly complicated and I didn't want to devote the time and energy to learn how to do it. Also, most of the online tutorials that I read weren't exactly clear. I was frustrated and annoyed, so I avoided both of these.

But then I saw the Jamie dress, courtesy of the sew a long (flickr group) hosted by Sew Sweetness a few months back. I was quite enamored with the pattern. The dress was beyond cute and looked fairly simple---except for the zipper. That kept me at bay for a while.

As my luck would have it, I came across some out-of-print Alexander Henry fabric that would be perfect for the Jamie dress.

Alexander Henry Brooke Poppies in Pink

You may recognize it as the same fabric I used for my Colette Sorbetto but in the pink colorway. I love this fabric.

With this fabric in hand, I sucked up my fear of the zipper and downloaded the pattern.

I love the Sis Boom Jamie pattern. It has photos--color photos--of all the steps. It's clear. It's simple to follow. I didn't tear my hair out or cry. I was beyond impressed.

According to the instructions, I had to install the zipper using a glue stick. That was ingenious. Sure, some sewing purists would scoff at that notion, but I didn't want my first zipper experience to be a time-consuming pain in the balls. I do appreciate a good shortcut. Now, of course if I were making a dress out of silk or something delicate and/or expensive, then I wouldn't dare use a glue stick. But on cotton poplin or quilting cotton---hell yeah.

The dress turned out beautifully (psst, the glue washes out with just a spritz of Resolve). I love it. I just want to prance and twirl around in it for all time.

Ignore my bathroom.
It's a little short on me due to the fact that I mis-measured the size of my rectangle for the skirt. I can't really bend too far over but I do have to watch for the occasional breeze. I did buy a cute coral-colored cardigan to wear to make it work-appropriate.

This is one my favorite dresses. I've already made another one in Lecien lawn, but I have yet to hem it.

Next, I want to make the Sis Boom Rebecca shift dress. I already have the fabric in my stash.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Three things.

While I'm impatiently awaiting the arrival of my buttons for my Simplicity 2246 (view C); I've started work on my new sewing project: Simplicity 2365 (view D).

I love this shirt so far. I'm using some cotton (poplin, I believe) that I found in the discount section of Hancock Fabrics. It's off white---not quite cream--more like winter white with a bit of stretch. I love white shirts.

The pattern itself has been good to work with so far. The instructions aren't the clearest in the world, but they aren't too confusing. The shirt comes together rather quickly. At the moment, I'm working on the band/collar. All I have left are the sleeves and buttons.

Next, I purchased my first Groupon! It's a $30 groupon (I only paid $15 for it) to Mood Fabrics. I have no idea what I plan to use it for but it doesn't expire for a year, so I have plenty of time to decide.

Finally, I've found a "new" (well out-of-print) wrap dress pattern, whose skirt is eerily similar to that of the Colette Crepe. It's McCall's 5314, a wrap dress with a full skirt:

I'm quite enamored with View B. I like that the bodice has princess seams and set-in sleeves. It's perfect. I plan on buying this pattern next month--as I've already blown through my sewing budget for this month. I may end up using my Mood Fabrics groupon for this dress. We'll see. I have a swatch of some burgandy poplin (I ordered this swatch months ago) that would be perfect. I need some berry--wine--cranberry--redish dresses and shirts in my wardrobe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making progress.

It's so far, so good on the Simplicity 2246 shirtwaist dress. All I have to do now are buttonholes/buttons:

Not too shabby.

I used brown stretch poplin (the color is called "potting soil") from Joann. It wasn't my first choice, but I'm on a budget. I also had a 40% off coupon. I really wanted a brown dress. I'm a big fan of earth tones.

The pattern is great. I cut a size 18 with no alterations except adding pockets. After trying on the dress, I realized that I should have just made the bodice a 16 and graded to an 18 for the rest of the dress. The shoulders and bust area are a wee bit baggy. However, I do think it will look better with buttons.

Speaking of buttons, I almost had another meltdown last night at Joann. This dress requires ten 1/2" buttons. This dress is also a weird shade of brown (the photo makes it look normal) thus making it damn near impossible to find matching buttons. I like things to match. That's just how I am.

I wasn't looking for the exact same shade of brown for the buttons, but I wanted something close or at the very least, coordinating. I *finally* found some buttons, but only 8 of them. Only 8. I walked up and down that aisle for 15 minutes just to make sure I didn't overlook them. Damn you Joann. Damn you.

I briefly considered buying unfinished wood buttons and painting them to match but quickly came to my senses. That's just obsessive crazy talk.

Once I calmed down, I realized that fabric covered buttons would be my best bet. I found some online for cheap, now I have to wait for the next few days for their arrival.

Other than that, the dress was easy to put to together. The instructions were great (albeit a few typos here and there). Overall, I like it. I will probably make this dress again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm calm now.

So, after my previous Colette Crepe meltdown, I decided to put that pattern aside for now.

Sometimes, it's better to do that rather than plow ahead on a project that you're not too sure about anymore.

Instead, I've decided to start work on a shirtwaist dress. Yes, that means I finally decided on a pattern: Simplicity 2246: the Lisette Traveler dress.

I'm making View C, the shirtwaist dress. So far, so good. The measurements on size chart are accurate. The ease isn't so much that I have to go down 3 sizes. The instructions aren't baffling. I really like this pattern so far. I do plan on adding pockets and making a matching belt.

I went ahead and purchased two more Lisette patterns (the Portfolio 2245 and the Continental 2059) and 4 regular Simplicity patterns on Friday as Hobby Lobby was having a 99 cent sale.

Looks like I have enough patterns to keep me busy well into next year.

I want to finish this dress, Kris' messenger bag and perhaps a shirt before my Chicago trip next month. I think I can do it without losing my mind. But, we'll see.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So, I was all ready to start on my Colette Crepe. I washed and ironed my fabric. I gave my muslin a final try-on to make sure everything was as it should be. I got out all my pattern pieces and started placing them on the fabric...that's when I discovered that I lost a pattern piece. It's piece H, the back sleeve facing. It's gone. Poof! Disappeared.


This "beginner" pattern is becoming more trouble than it's worth. I've had the pattern since January and I've obsessed about it ever since. I couldn't decide on fabric until 2 weeks ago. I made the muslin but I changed the waist darts 4 times before I was satisfied with the fit. I compared my muslin to all the other muslins in the Colette Patterns flickr group. I read all of Gertie's Sew-Along multiple times, agonizing over all the adjustments that I would have to make. Honestly, there weren't really many adjustments to make at all, but that didn't stop me from over-analyzing.


I could just line the bodice---which isn't a bad idea considering how much I loathe facings. But that could complicate things as I like following pattern instructons if it's my first time using the pattern.

Perhaps piece H will show up. At this point, I don't know if I want it to show up. I've lost interest in this dress.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Junia bag

I just finished my ithinksew Junia bag and matching Caroline clutch!

I am quite pleased.

The Junia pattern is straightforward and easy to follow. The pattern comes with two sizes. I made the smaller of the two. I like that the gusset comes to a point at the sides. This little detail takes a step above a regular tote bag. I used nylon purse straps that I bought from Joann, but they are also available online here. Initially I wanted to use leather handles but my fabric spending was already out of hand so I had to take it down a notch. The straps are lovely and were only $3.99 (on sale).

I used Pellon Craft fuse for the interfacing. It gets the job done. I'd like to try a woven interfacing one of these days as I've read that it wrinkles less.

For my fabric I chose cotton canvas (Ojai in taupe) by Alexander Henry. Clearly, I'm a fan. It's hard to find now (of course), but Etsy never lets me down. I used Kona cotton (in stone) for the lining.

Now, I'm sick of making bags. This is my third one in a week (well fifth if you count both clutches). I still have to make Kris' messenger bag, however, I'm going to take a break to start work on my Colette Crepe. I've just finished the muslin and I found the almost perfect brown poplin for it. Originally, I wanted some rich chocolate brown poplin from Mood Fabrics, alas I'm on a budget. If this dress was less than 5 yards of fabric, then it wouldn't be a big deal. Oh well. Joann had brown poplin and I had a 40% off coupon. That works for me.

I should probably clean my sewing area but after all this bag sewing; I'm in desperate need of a nap.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Birthday bags!

My sisters' birthday is August 28. They aren't twins (but are eerily similar). There's a four year age gap. Anywho, I decided the most cost-effective route for presents this year would be to make handbags for both of them. I bought the sewer friendly combo pattern (no written instructions, just photos) for the Lindsay and Melanie bags. It's an excellent deal. My middle sister picked out the Lindsay pattern. Since my youngest sister didn't really care which pattern I used as long as she got something, I would make the Melanie bag for her.

The Melanie bag is HUGE. I printed out the pattern and it looks more like an overnight bag. If my sister traveled, then it would be perfect. Of course the dimensions are clearly printed on the pattern, but sometimes the size just doesn't register until you see it.  This simply would not do.

I went ahead and made the Lindsay bag for my middle sister. Another great thing about ithinksew is that you get 5 free patterns when you purchase one. So I made the Caroline clutch for her as well. I haven't finished the one for my youngest sister yet. It takes 20 minutes to make, maybe even less.

Lindsey bag and Caroline clutch

Recognize the fabric? I used Yoko by Alexander Henry and black Kona cotton. I used white Kona cotton for the body of the clutch.

Since I decided against making the Melanie bag, I needed another option. Then I remembered that I already cut out the pocket tote by Jen Giddens (in black duck cloth) a few months ago. I had some Amy Butler fabric left over (Temple Tulips in Azure) to use for the lining. I like this pattern as well. It was my first time using one of Jen Gidden's sewing patterns.

I like how both of these bags turned out. I haven't made a bag since April. Now I'm working on my Chicago bag. Everything is cut out and interfacing applied---I will start sewing tomorrow.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lola Goes Shopping

Lola Goes to Work

a better photo

 So, this is my Lola Goes Shopping bag by Izzy & Ivy Designs. I used Blakely in Smoke and Poppybox in Lilac, both by Alexander Henry. It seems as if that's the only designer that I use---yeah, pretty much.

I made this bag back in April, a week before my trip to Seattle. It really wasn't that complicated just a wee bit time consuming. The bias binding took forever to finish. It was also my first time using bias binding so there's a few mistakes here and there, but overall the bag is great. It's large enough to carry all of my stuff.

I like my bags to be sturdy, so I followed the pattern instructions and used canvas and interfacing. The canvas helps the bag keep its shape without feeling too heavy or bulky. I've also tossed this bag into the washing machine--twice--and it's held up both times. Not too shabby.

Maybe one day I'll make this bag again. Of course I have to find the right combination of fabrics. I lucked out with the fabric I did use as both of them are out-of-print (of course).

Now, I'm off to make sleeves for Sorbetto #3 and to start work on the Junia bag. I just ordered some Nani Iro Molly cloth from Hart's Fabrics (for only $10.99 a yard---I thought it was a typo since everything else by Nani Iro is $20+ a yard). This may become Sorbetto #4 if the sleeves for #3 work out. We'll see.

So many sewing projects. Not enough time and money to finish them all.
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