Monday, July 25, 2011

A tale of two tulip skirts.

I just love the Wiksten Tulip skirt. I think I was looking through the archives on the Wiksten made blog when I came across it. At the time, I was afraid of buttonholes and had only mastered the A-line skirt with the elastic waist and one wrap skirt. I recommend both of these patterns.

So, the tulip skirt was put into the back of my mind until a few weeks ago, when I came across it again. This time I was ready but I was being cheap. The pattern and instructions are only available in the Winter 2008 issue of Stitch magazine. The issue is out of print but is available for digital download. I would also recommend printing out the corrections for the pattern before you start cutting.

I didn't make a muslin as I didn't have enough scrap fabric lying around. Also, I could not justify spending money to buy fabric for a muslin. I wanted to see if I could just tweak it as I went along. So here's my first try:

Not too shabby.

I cut a large and made no alterations except using coordinating fabric for the pockets and waistband facing. Perhaps I should have taken pictures of that. Oh well. I used Alexander Henry's Camellia in Metal. I bought a yard of it a few months ago for stash building. I used brown twill from Joann. I think it was going to be a purse at some point before collecting dust at the bottom of my fabric bin.

I loved the skirt, but it was bit wide in the hips and waist could stand losing an inch. So for my next skirt, I took off a half inch on the waist and hips. Now it fits wonderfully.

Much better this time.

Sorry that it looks wrinkled in the photo. I wore it today. This time around I used navy stretch twill from Hancock Fabrics (only $4.99 a yard). I bought the buttons a while back on Etsy. They're wooden flowers. Very cute.

I added pockets to both skirts. I used the pocket from Vogue 8645. I used Alexander Henry's Poppy Box in Lilac (leftover from another handbag) for the pockets. Again, this is something I should have photographed. Initially, I used this fabric for the waistband facing, but I cut against the grain (I only had a little piece of fabric left). That's a big no-no. The waistband facing would not stretch when I tried to sew it. Big fail. Luckily, I had plenty navy twill left to redo it.

I top-stitched everything on both skirts. The pattern requires a lot of hand sewing but I got lazy. I also lengthen the ties.

Overall, I love both skirts. They're comfortable and the high waist is actually quite flattering. I'd like to make one out of corduroy but Texas only has 10 minutes of winter, therefore it is pointless.

Another shirtdress to add to the mix.

So, I'm going to add another contender into my short-list of shirtdresses. It's the McCall's 4769:

At first glance, the envelope pictures look like of blah and unimpressive. The dress almost looks a bit matronly. However, I'm willing try anything because I want a shirtdress badly (I just figured out buttonholes---a whole new world was opened to me).

The pattern has a lot of favorable reviews on Pattern Review. It's a fairly popular pattern. This is one of my favorite interpretations so far. Also this one.

Initially, when I considered making a shirtdress, my first thought was to use the Amy Butler Liverpool pattern. I even had fabric picked out:

Kumari Garden: Tara in Stone

I like it but seems a bit busy. Don't know if I like it enough to wear it all over. Maybe as a skirt.

The search continues...

To Sew-A-Long or not to Sew-A-Long?

Or is it, "sewalong"?

So, Colette Patterns is having a Rooibos Sew-A-Long next month.

I've never participated in a sew-a-long before. I've always wanted to. It sounds like fun.

However, Rooibos is my least favorite of the Colette Patterns line. Something about it just seems "meh" to me.

I did find some awesome stretch twill @ Hancock Fabrics for $4.99 a yard. I am tempted.

I finished my Wiksten Tulip skirt #2 yesterday. Am wearing it today. I also finished my Colette Violet last Thursday. I will post pictures eventually.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vogue 8645: View A

This pattern is awesome. I made both versions but this entry is about my first one. I made this dress over two months ago.

Vogue 8645

This is my first try with Vogue patterns. I admit I was quite intimidated with Vogue patterns. They seem to be much more intricate than the others in the Big 4. I don't actually remember how I came across it. I think I was randomly searching the Pattern Review website. Anywho, it looked awesome. I figured I would give it try.

The hardest part was fabric selection. I wanted a yellow dress but I wanted a specific shade of yellow. Nothing too bright or too golden. I wanted something banana-ish. I couldn't find poplin in that shade so I settled for quilting-weight cotton. I used Moda Bella Solid in 30's Yellow. I got it on sale at Fabric Depot. My second choice was Kona cotton in banana. The second dress (View B) was made using Alexander Henry lawn. There will be another post about that one in the future.

I lined the dress in cheapy poly/cotton broadcloth I bought from Hancock Fabrics for less than $2 a yard. Once washed, it's actually nice and soft.

At first, I was wary of the pattern sizing. I've used a New Look pattern before and when I tried to make something according to my measurements on the chart, the dress was a tent. I was afraid of this happening with the Vogue.

I did some searching and found that Vogue doesn't have as much ease as some of the other Big 4 patterns. I took this into consideration and made one size smaller. According to my measurements, I should be a size 18 but I made a 16 and it fit perfectly.

I had a similar experience with a McCall's pattern. That one I made in a size 14 and it fit perfectly.

Ease is such a funny thing. This is why I prefer to use indie patterns as their measurements seem to be more accurate.

Anyway, here's the dress:

Not too shabby.

Did I mention that yellow is my favorite color?

I made this dress with no alterations although I should have added an inch to the length. It's swingy, so I have to watch it when the wind blows.

Me likey.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How do I choose?

I'm ignoring my sewing queue for the moment. Sure I need to hem two dresses and finish the collar on my second Sorbetto...maybe I do need to put buttons on my Violet...but I need to decide on which dress I want to make next.

Originally, I wanted to make a Crepe, but I can't decide on fabric. I want to make it more casual so that I can wear it more often. Austin is not a get-dressed-up type of town. Rarely do I need to wear anything more than a sundress to be considered "dressed up." Even then, I'm still overdressed.

Also, I really, really want to make a shirt dress. I have the Lisette Traveler dress and the Amy Butler Liverpool patterns. I don't know which one I like more.

This one?

Or this one?

I do know that I want this next dress to be either navy, brown or eggplant (or plum). I'm interested in solids not so much prints. I find that although I love a lot of the cotton prints I've seen, I would not want to wear them.

Most importantly, I want this to be a cheap project. These dresses require 3 - 5 yards of fabric, not including any lining (if I choose to use lawn or voile). I can't really afford to splurge on fabric that's $10+ a yard. In fact, if I can find nice fabric for around $5 a yard that would be ideal.

Argh. Decisions, decisions.

Time for bed. I'll obsess about this more tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspiration: New handbag time

I've long admired the handbag patterns on i think sew but I could never quite figure out which pattern I liked the most. But most importantly, I could never decide on which fabric to use.

Or when I do decide on fabric, it's always an out-of-print Alexander Henry fabric that is damn near impossible to find. Today is no exception.

While browsing through the pattern reviews section of Sew Sweetness, I came across her version of the Junia Bag and I instantly fell in love with the pattern. I need a large tote for my upcoming Chicago trip and this bag would be perfect.

As usual, the fabric I want to use is an out-of-print Alexander Henry fabric. Why didn't I start sewing in 2008? That seems to be the year all my favorite fabrics came out.

 Cinzia. Available in two places.

I've found it on a fabric site that I've never used before. I'm wary of this. But I really want this fabric. I also found leather purse handles courtesy of Etsy. If only I didn't have a billion other projects already in the queue.

If for some reason I can't get the above fabric, this one is readily available and would also work perfectly:

Yoko. Available everywhere.

Decisions, decisions.

Work in Progress: Colette Violet

I'm so excited right now. Or I will be once I get home from work ;)

I picked up the Colette Violet pattern on Saturday, along with some beautiful cotton shirting from The Common Thread. It was an unexpected treat from my husband :)

I'm so giddy, I can barely contain myself. I've wanted this pattern for a month now. I have most of it cut out already and I will probably start sewing it today.

More pictures to come....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baby Quilt

I made this "quilt" a few months ago for some friends of mine.

I honestly don't know what possessed me to do it as I've never made anything resembling a quilt before. I tried to follow some tutorials I found via google but I kept failing miserably. Then I came across a pattern from Kwik Sew. I love Kwik Sew. I just wish they had more modern pattern styles.

Anywho, after procrastinating for over a month and agonizing over fabric, I finally finished the quilt. Turned out great and my friends loved it.

Not too shabby.

You can read my review of the pattern here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Colette Sorbetto in Alexander Henry

About a month ago, this pattern was all the rage. It still is to some extent. Just google search "colette sorbetto" and a million links will pop up with variations on this super simple top.

I've never actually sewn a Colette pattern before although I do own the Crepe pattern. It's been collecting dust for about 5 months now as I haven't found just the right fabric for it. Yesterday I ordered some swatches from Mood so maybe next month I'll have the fabric of my dreams for this dress.

Anywho, when the Sorbetto pattern popped up, I was all excited about it. My only problem: I could not figure out what fabric to use. I don't have a large stash of fabric quite yet. The pattern only requires 1 1/2 yards of fabric but for the life of me, I could not decide on anything.

That's the most frustrating thing about me when it comes to sewing: I can be eager about a pattern all day long, but if I don't know what fabric to use, then it's dead to me.

So for the past few weeks, I ignored the Sorbetto and grew increasingly jealous of all the nice ones I saw online. I came across this fabric (out of print, of course...I always want what I can't have) on Etsy:

Brooke Poppies in bright by Alexander Henry

Immediately, I knew this would be perfect for the Sorbetto top. It's actually poplin, not quilting weight cotton---also perfect for a top. I could barely contain myself. The day after I received my fabric, I made the top (sans muslin--I walk on the wild side sometimes):

I used store-bought bias binding. I'm still a bit too lazy to make my own bias tape. That will change in the near future. According to my measurements I cut a size 14 (Colette pattern sizing is close to RTW) and added 1 1/2" to the length. The fit is great. The fabric is great. Me likey.

With this Colette pattern win, now more than ever, I want to make the Crepe. I think this fabric would be excellent as I'm in love with eggplant and various shades of it right now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inaugural Post

So, it's been a while since I've had a blog.

This will be my first blog dedicated to a hobby.

My mom taught me the basics of sewing when I was a kid. I never had much interest in it aside from the occasional patching of clothing or replacing of buttons. Four years ago, I wanted to give some friends a going-away present as they were moving out of state. I was broke but I was struck with a sudden burst of creativity fueled by a felt ninja I saw on Shana Logic. So I made a ninja. Then one ninja turned into many and so on.

I found that I enjoyed making felt critters but alas I was still to broke to buy a sewing machine.

Skip to last year....

I bought my very first sewing machine: a Brother LX-3125, one of cheap ones from Wal-Mart. I figured it would get me started. I didn't use it much last year (read: wedding planning) so it collected dust until around Christmas. I made a couple of Buttercup bags and read a lot of blogs. Not much else.

January and February I discovered BurdaStyle and attempted to make the Anda dress, which resulted in two big fails. I thought it would be a great idea to sew with knit since it was so cheap at Hancock. Bad idea.

 Bright pink knit. Bad idea.

Well, not too bad. It's just a shapeless, Pepto-pink tent. There needs to be more practice before jumping into knits. I should have started with cheap broadcloth.

Sometime around March something clicked. I kept at it, determined to make this sewing thing work. Everything I now know about sewing, I learned from google searches. I've come a long way since January. I hope to go further.

Since I know that I drive my husband crazy with my constant blathering about sewing, I created this blog.

We'll see how this goes.

This is only a test

testing, testing, 1, 2
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