Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Postponed Day Tripper

I bought this fabric months ago and planned to make myself a lightweight pullover for summer, but that didn't happen.   It's now October and I finally got around to making my day tripper.  I can still get use out of it in out California fall/winter weather, however it would have been ideal for the summer.

I chose the shortest length because I have a short torso and I didn't want it to be too long or baggy looking.   

The sleeves are about 2"-3" inches too long, so I'll have to shorten the sleeve length in my future variations.  In this picture I folded the ribbed cuff over to make the sleeve look shorter than their actual length.

This pattern was such a breeze to sew and I probably could have cut and sewn everything in 2 hours if I didn't have any interruptions. 

I'm extremely thrilled how this sweater turned out.  It looks great with the leather ponte leggings that I bought last fall.  The relaxed fit of the sweater makes the leggings look a bit more casual and wearable...but still edgy and trendy.

I love this new sweater so much that I'm tempted to make more using this pattern.  :)

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see ya next time! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Star Wars Kids

I have a confession...I am secretly a huge Star Wars fan!  I know it's shocking news, but it's true.  Phew, now we can continue on with the post.  

In August I helped plan a bridal shower and I suggested a Star Wars theme.  Much to my delight, the soon-to-be bride and groom liked the idea!

I had a lot of fun looking for Star Wars print fabric.  I wasn't sure what patterns to use for the children's clothes, so after going back and forth with myself, I decided that a plain design would work the best for each outfit.

For Nik, I made a pair of simple shorts (pattern here) with the Star Wars fabric he picked out himself.  I love going fabric shopping with him because he is beginning to understand the whole sewing process and he loves looking at the fabric with me.  He now says, "Mommy sewing"'s so cute to hear those words.

For Violet's outfit, I used the Piper dress pattern.  I seriously love this pattern.  It's an easy sew and it's very versatile.  I was too lazy to make my own bias tape so I just used plain bias tape from the store.

I had some trouble sewing the bias tape over the collar because it was bulky and it didn't lay smooth.  The problem wasn't horrible enough for me to sew it again.  Perhaps with a good pressing the bias tape will lay flatter.

I love both of these outfits, the fabric is so geeky and fun.  I foresee more like them in the future!!

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 "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.