Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I need this dress to live!

The title is a variation of something cute my nephew said the other day. He and my sister were in Toys R Us and my nephew saw a train that he simply had to have. He's four. He worships Thomas the Train. He grabbed a train and refused to let it go, exclaiming for all of Toys R Us to hear: "I need this train to live!"

Tee hee. I feel you nephew. I just came across a dress pattern that I need in order for my life to be complete:

McCalls 6503

I'm particularly drawn to this variation, View B:

View B
I actually love all four variations, but this one is so cute and simple. I'm a fan of simple. I missed the pattern sales at both Joann and Hancock Fabrics, but that did not deter me. I bought it anyway, braving horrible Austin holiday traffic to make it mine.

This dress would be awesome if I made it in the same colors as the Kate Spade dress I fell in love with two weeks ago:
Liana Dress by Kate Spade

McCalls 6503 is next on my list. Currently, I'm elbows-deep in polyester crepe as I try to finish my Colette Licorice dress in time for New Year's Eve. So far, so good I guess. After this experience, I will probably never settle for polyester crepe again. It's not bad, it just lacks something that I can't quite describe at the moment.

Here are a couple of things to keep in my when using polyester crepe (or almost any 100% polyester fabric):

  • Use sharp needs. Microtex to be exact.
  • Cotton thread is best. It's less likely to cause puckering.

I'm glad that I stumbled upon those two suggestions or you'd hear me cursing from a mile away.


I am so ready to be finished with this dress. I made two muslins. I changed the sleeves which required more work than I initially expected. Making this dress has been exhausting.

Not to say that the Licorice dress is complicated and time consuming. It is not. My almost insane desire to have it fit perfectly and to rid myself of the bell sleeves have made this a stressful sewing endeavor.

I really need to take it down a notch.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Year's Eve ideas

So, the hubby and I are going out for New Year's Eve. We go out every year, but this is the first time that I'm able to make a dress for the occasion. I have a million ideas going through my head. I'm getting overwhelmed to say the least.

I want to make something relatively simple but classy and stylish. I already have the shoes which limits my color options to eggplant, plum and black. I'm one of those people that needs everything to match.

Gallery Mary Jane by Sofft

I bought the December issue of Burda Style Magazine hoping to make this dress:

Burda Style 12/2011 (107)

I like this dress...a lot. I bought some black crepe but I'm still hesitant to make this dress. The instructions leave much to be desired. I've read through them a couple times already and I got a headache both times. I don't know if I have the patience for such an undertaking even though the dress seems really simple.  Also, empire waist dresses almost always make me look pregnant. There will possibly be a sew-along next month, so I may give it whirl then.

I also thought about the Colette Licorice dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook.

Colette Licorice dress

Something about this dress just doesn't do it for me. I love it in theory. It seems like it would make a great party dress but I don't know. It seems a bit matronly. Perhaps it's the sleeves that just aren't doing it for me.

While browsing on Pinterest, I came across this lovely dress by Kate Spade:

Liana Dress by Kate Spade

This dress reminds me of the Colette Peony pattern. I would make mine with sleeves and all black. I would nix the gathers in the front skirt in favor of pleats. That would be too cute.

I know that I need to post photos of my Peony but I'm not feeling photogenic right now and I also need to make some adjustments.

It never dawned on me before that I would need to make adjustments for my shoulders...until I made my Peony. The dress fit marvelously except for the neckline. It rises up over my shoulders as if it's too large. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.

I consulted my Busy Woman's Fitting Book by Nancy Zieman (thanks Half-Price Books)...too bad I didn't consult it before I finished the dress. Turns out, I should have been making adjustments for my square shoulders. D'oh! I think the boat neckline of the Peony dress makes this adjustment more necessary which is probably why it never dawned on me to make it before.

A black Peony would be excellent. I could get more wear out of it. Would it be too plain? Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Brainstorming: Handbags Part Deux

Another bag that I've wanted for months:
Globetrotter Tote from Shabby Apple

It's sold-out now. It was around $55 when it was on the site. I thought that was a bit much for a canvas bag with faux leather handles. I still wanted to buy it, alas I procrastinated and missed my chance.

The thought of recreating it did cross my mind. I figured I'd have to draft my own pattern. I had no desire to do that. I caught a case of the lazies. I wrote the idea down in my sewing notebook for later use.

But in a zippy twist of fate, I came across a pattern.

NapkittenPattern on etsy I am going to make this bag. I have some canvas in the stash already. I also thought about making it out of plaid coating fabric or perhaps even tweed. Denver Fabrics has some for around $14 a yard. I'm looking for leather handles etc.

I'm keeping my projects to a minimum this month. I plan on making this dress for New Year's Eve. I already have my shoes. I have my copy of Burda Style magazine just waiting to be traced. I ordered swatches of crepe back satin. I'm excited.

I only have the zipper and hem left on my Colette Peony. I could have finished it tonight but I'm suffering from a case of the Mondays. Once I finish that, I will get started on my bag and my New Year's Eve dress.

We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Brainstorming: Handbags

I want this handbag:

Fossil Vintage Re-Issue Satchel

I cannot afford this handbag. Well, I could afford it, it just wouldn't be prudent. It's $188 on Zappos and $208 on Fossil. Just a little more than I'd like to spend right now. Of course, I've already checked ebay and it's still a bit more than I want to spend.

So, my cheapy brain has come up with an idea: I can make this bag. Not with leather, mind you. But with fabric. I could also use faux leather but honestly, I would prefer to use fabric. The only leather I would use would be for the handles. Those are easy to find and not too expensive.

I have some Alexander Henry floral fabric that would be perfect. I'm thinking of using Kona cotton in place of the leather. I also plan to omit the top zipper as I never use them on the handbags I already own.

I plan on drafting the pattern for this one myself. If it works out, I'll post it as my very first tutorial.

Another bag that I like and would like to own:

Tommy Hilfiger Canvas Travel Tote

This one is more reasonably priced but I can live without the Tommy Hilfiger logo. I don't really like the shape of the bag, but I what I really like is the canvas, webbing and leather handles. I could make something similar to that. I thought about using the Grand Revival Emma bag pattern and striped grosgrain ribbon. I already have plenty of canvas in my stash. I would use purchased leather handles on this one as well.

Aside from lusting after handbags, I've been working on the Colette Peony dress. I'm using the red-violet poplin that I bought from Fabric Mart for $1.99 a yard. I honestly like the poplin so far. The color is great. Although it is a bit on the thin side, I still like it.

I hope to finish it today.

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