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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Burda Style 07/2011 #115


I wanted to make myself something to wear for Violet's first birthday party and I had the perfect fabric in my stash.  Since I was making this last minute a week before the party I decided on a simple skirt design, Burda Style Asymmetric Skirt 07/2011 #115.







I would like to note that the skirt doesn't droop like it does in the pictures.  When I tried it on, it looked fine and you couldn't tell that I used a lining unless you saw the underside of the skirt.  With that being said, let's continue!

The skirt consists of one pattern piece and then a rectangle piece for the band, so it came together quickly.  The most difficult part of this project was working with the fabric I selected because it was lightweight jersey.  When I finished sewing the two main pieces and tried on the skirt, I realized that it was almost transparent!  



I was bent and determined to finish this project and not waste the fabric so I went to JoAnns and searched for fabric to use for lining.  I needed something knit and something a little slinky so the lightweight jersey wouldn't cling to the lining.  The only thing I found was swimsuit lining so I bought it and took a gamble.  My gamble paid off and the skirt was a little bit more opaque.  I attached the waistband, only to realized I cut it in the wrong direction of stretch....doh!  I left it attached for now...it "works" but I need to switch it out for rib knit fabric instead.  As you can see in the picture, the lack of stretch made the skirt bunch up in some parts.



My skirt came out okay, albeit not as cute as I thought it would turn out...whatevs, now I have a comfy and stylish lounging skirt.  I'm just glad that I finally made something with this fabric that has been sitting in my stash for a year even though it's not the oldest piece of fabric that's been sitting in there.


p.s. - I did shorten it about two inches so it looked like the skirt on the model in the picture.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fiesta, fiesta! (Cora's Maxi Dress Numero Dos)




I really loved the first dress I made using this pattern so I decided to make another in a shorter length.



I had a hunch that it would probably be longer than my knees but I didn't bother shortening the bottom tier.  I figured I could make a giant hem and call it a day.  After I finished sewing the giant hem, it was still longer than I wanted but I figured I would leave the length in case it ever shrank after being washed.

I didn't really think the construction of this dress all the way through because I didn't consider what the fabric would look like chopped up.  Once I started assembling the tiers I noticed that the print didn't match and the colors were slightly off.  I freaked out for a few seconds and then I convinced myself that it really wouldn't matter because no one would really pay that much attention and notice.



When I constructed this dress, I made some modifications to the bodice and the bodice assembly.  I didn't sandwich the straps between the ruffle and the bodice (like I mentioned doing in my other post) because I thought it might make it difficult to insert the elastic.  Instead I made the casing by flipping the ruffle over the bodice (see pictures below) and top stitching...I then attached the straps afterward to the inside of the bodice.  I also added a casing at the bottom on this dress.  I used single fold bias tape and I sewed the bottom to the bottom bodice seam allowance and then top stitched the top of the casing.  I used 1/2" single fold bias tape, however in retrospect, I should have used a larger size.  I like the elastic at the bottom, I think it helps ad a little shape to the dress.  I intend on going back to my full length dress and adding an elastic casing at the bottom.





I love the outcome of my new dress, it looks so festive, hence the name of this post!









Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Violet's Birthday Dress




I bought the fabric for Violet's birthday dress and I started playing around with ideas on how to design her dress.  I had an idea of what I wanted to make but when I saw the Marrakech Dress Pattern, I scrapped my idea and bought the pattern for $5.  I didn't pay attention when I bought it so I didn't notice that the pattern only included sizes 2T-5T....and I needed a size 18 months for Violet.  I figured that I could grade down the pattern myself or cut out the 2T and just take it in a little.  I taped together my pattern pieces and started cutting my fabric.



As I began to assemble the dress I realized that there were quite a few things off with the pattern pieces.  I am not sure if it was because of a printing error or what happened, but the shoulder parts were off by 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch.  The front skirt and back skirt pieces were oddly shaped, the front had a curved hip and the back a straight hip.  Also, the pleated neckline piece was too short.  My neckline for the 2T measured 23 inches and the piece for the pleated neckline was only 38 inches long.  The instructions do not indicate how large the pleats should be in order to make the pleated piece fit, so I pleated and pinned it twice before I realized that the piece was too short.  There was no way for it to fit like the photo.  Luckily I had some extra fabric so I cut more and extended the band.



One of the main reasons I purchased this pattern was because I fell in love with the pictures used to show off the dress.  The hot pink layers of tulle looked so pretty and I wanted to recreate the same dress.  I was disappointed to learn that the instructions don't include how to make the tulle circle skirt(s).  Instead, the instructions say to use google search to find online tutorials on how to measure and cut circle skirts.  Additionally, the skirt pictures that are included in the instructions look like they were recycled from a previous pattern and they don't show off how the pleats are supposed to look.  I really felt like this pattern was quickly thrown together for the sake of being able to make the STYLO Magazine publishing date.


Currently the pattern is priced at $2 which I think is a bit more reasonable considering the limited sizes and the lack of instructions and pictures.  This dress came out cute but I can only say that I used the bodice pieces and the inspiration from the pattern because I had to make a lot of changes to "make it work".



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Going Boho - Cora's Maxi Dress Pattern Review


I'm a sucker for long billowy dresses, so it was love at first sight with this pattern. I actually own a RTW dress that is a similar style; however, it's too long to wear with flats and it's strapless (which means I don't wear it often).




The fabric is linen from JoAnn's.  The pink color is almost the same shade as the two skirts (the Cascade and the Mabel) that I recently made (with fabric I also bought at JoAnn's).  I might be obsessed with this pink.



This pattern is rated for an intermediate beginner however I think anyone can make it.  The most difficult part of this dress is gathering the tiers and sewing them.

The pattern is well written, however there are a few things I would change if I were to use it again.  I followed the instructions on attaching the bodice ruffle to the bodice and I found the casing to be a little bulky.  I would probably sew the bodice ruffle to the wrong side of the bodice and the flip it to the outside to sew the casing as instructed.  I think it would reduce the bulk and make it easier to thread the elastic through.  Also, you could attach the straps between the two layers.  To secure and reinforce the straps you can top stitch them as directed in the instructions.  Another thing I would change is adding an elastic casing at the bottom of the bodice (to match the one at the top) instead of only sewing two rows of smocking stitches.  The dress just hangs and looks like a maternity dress on me.



All these gathers look cute but they are a pain to sew, especially when you have soooo much fabric.  I used my walking foot and lots of pins to keep the gathers in place as I sewed.  The pattern calls for top stitching above the gathers but I opted to use my serger to trim and finish the gather seams.  



I really love the dress (even though it took more than 5 yards of fabric!).  And of course I had to make a flower crown to wear in my dress pictures.  I didn't think my pictures would be complete without one...I mean, come on...who doesn't love flower crowns?  I will show you how I made my crown in a separate post.  



This is probably my favorite thing I have ever made...I love the dress so much that I might need to make more.  Perhaps I will make a matching version for Violet.  :) 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cascade Skirt - Pattern Review


Last summer I saw a gorgeous Cynthia Rowley skirt (shown below)and I looked for it online, only to find that it was waaay too expensive and it was sold out.  I knew that Meg Nielsen had a very similar pattern, the Cascade Skirt, so I bought it and decided to make my own skirt.  (On a side note, Simplicity just released a pattern to make the Cynthia Rowley skirt.)  


I still have a little extra around the middle from baby weight so I made made this a size inbetween pre-baby and my current size (in hopes that when I finally lose the weight, it will fit better).  I thought the skirt would fit okay, but I was sooooo wrong.  The skirt wraps around me and it covers in the front but it doesn't overlap enough to keep me covered if I need to run after my children.  To fix my problem, I made a Mabel skirt in a matching color to wear under.  I'm petite (towering at 5' 1") but I decided to keep the full length because I like the dramatic look of the skirt.







Meg's pattern is extremely well written and very carefully thought out.  I love the simplicity and the professional results with the french seams. 

I followed all the directions for the skirt, except I think I messed up on the placement of my waist band.  I didn't transfer the pattern marking and I think I didn't align it correctly, oh well...c'est la vie!  I also used my rolled hem foot to make my hem.  Using my hemming foot may have helped me save a little time but not much.  I think sewing the hem is the most time consuming part of the project, especially if you're using silky fabric.  I would like to make a few more Cascade skirts, perhaps in jersey and shorter in length.    

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DIY Duct Tape Tablet Cover


Our tablet case broke so I went shopping for a reasonably priced replacement and didn't find anything locally for our tablet.  Apparently if you have an Apple tablet you can find a ton of tablet covers on sale.  I was a little overwhelmed by the online selection of cheaply made tablet covers, so I decided to make a new tablet cover and call it a day.  

I found a duct tape tutorial that provided great basic instructions so I used that and changed a few steps to make construction easier.  Please note that my tutorial is specifically designed for 10 inch tablets like the Google Nexus 10.

First things first, you need to gather your supplies.



Supplies:

1. Duct tape (1 print or 2 coordinating prints)
2. Measuring Tape
3. Craft knife or Scissors 
4. Scrap Fabric or Muslin (roughly 1/3 of a yard) 
5. Self Healing Cutting Mat

6. (Optional) Permanent Marker (in matching color), Q-Tip and Rubbing Alcohol

7. (Optional) Rolling Pin


Tutorial:

1.  Measure and cut out your fabric (don't forget to iron out all the wrinkles before you cut).  Cut a piece that is 10.75 inches wide by 22 inches long (mine is actually 24 inches long but I think that length is too long).  The fabric will be used to create a foundation to layer the duct tape and create the appropriately sized cover.  

2.  Start tearing off pieces of tape tape that are about 10.5 inches long.  Slightly overlap the strips as you work your way down your fabric.  Repeat this process on the back side of the fabric.  Feel free to use a coordinating print.  (I don't recommend making the strips long enough to fold over because it creates bulk at the sides when you go to add your border, so trim the strips that are too long.)  When you're finished, use the rolling pin to flatten the duct tape on both sides. 


3.  After both sides of the fabric are covered, we are going to add a border around the edge.  This will seal off the sides and create a clean finish.  Take a piece of duct tape a little longer than your side and leave half of the strip hanging off the side so you can wrap it to the other side of the fabric.  Trim off any excess duct tape.  [I opted to use the whole strip of duct tape (instead of folding it in half) because I wanted to keep the print.  (I used a black sharpie along my border edge to cover the white parts and lightly brushed rubbing alcohol on the parts where I marked the border.)]


4.  When the border is finished we are going to place the tablet on top of the fabric.  Fold the fabric over the tablet and extend it about an inch or an inch and a half over the top of the tablet.  Pinch the bottom of the fabric to create a crease.  We are going to use the extra part at the top to create a top flap.  You can add tape to the sides to keep the flap up or leave it open like I did.  I chose not to add tape on the sides because it would mess up my border print.  If you do add tape, you might want to add some on the inside as well to keep the duct tape from touching your tablet.


5.  To keep the fabric folded and the top flap down, we are going to create a strap to wrap around the cover.  Take a 22 inch piece of tape and fold it in half.  Wrap this piece loosely around the cover.  My tablet is less that half an inch in thickness so I didn't need too much room (you can insert your tablet in the cover when you wrap the strap around to make sure it will fit...I had to guess because I didn't have the tablet with me, hence the paper "tablet" in the picture).  


6.  Once you have the strap wrapped around, take a small strip of duct tape (that matches the back) and use it to tape down the end of the strap.  You can trim down the strap if you need to, in case there is some overlap at the ends (we don't want that bulk).  



...and voila!  Fin! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mabel Skirt x2


The moment I saw this pattern I fell in love!  I know I say that a lot about the patterns I buy.  I love the variations and the professional looking result of the pattern, as well as the close fitting flattering fit.  I own a few paper patterns for knit pencil skirts but they require elastic at the waist and that is not an area I want elastic digging into right now, so the Mabel pattern is perfect for me.  








After I bought the pattern I joined the Mabel sew-a-long and I planned to make a printed summer skirt, but then I realized I needed to make a second skirt to wear under the Cascade Skirt (for coverage reasons).  I'll share more on the Cascade Skirt in a different post.  I made the printed skirt out of a ponte roma knit and the the plain skirt out of jegging material.  I followed the pattern directions, except I used my coverstitch machine to sew the lining to the seam allowance.  I should not have done that, because it decreased the stretch in my waistband.  I can still slip the skirts on so it doesn't bother me, however I know better for next time...stitch the lining down on the sides (in the ditch)!




On a totally unrelated note, I have been having issues with my Elna 444 coverstitch machine.  When I get to a side seam, the stitches skip.  I tried playing with the thread tension and the foot tension but the stitches still skipped when I got to the bulky side seams.  I redid the hem of the pink skirt 3 times because there were too many skipped stitches and I knew that the skirt wouldn't last 3 washes.  I finally searched online to try and find a solution.  I found a great suggestion on a forum, which suggested using woolly nylon.  I didn't have matching thread so I only switched out my needle thread.  I did notice less skipped stitches so I left the hem in this time. #muchannoying #verytrouble #suchlaborious #endofrant 




I love this skirt and I'm already dreaming up more variations!