Monday, November 9, 2015

Orange is the New Me

Sew, the fall weather is finally here in Memphis.  We won't have it long, but to have it break us out of the wretched heat is always a wonderful situation.  I didn't start this latest excursion because of the weather, but I thought it was a fitting choice to enjoy the beautifully cool morning and sunny afternoons.  As with almost everything I make, it starts with the shoes.  Life is about shoes.  If you don't agree and think it's something more complicated and ethereal, I feel so bad for you. :-)

I actually purchased these shoes several months ago in a different color (kinda midnight blue). At that time, I originally picked these up (I like unique) but returned them because the box said the shoes were red, they didn't at all look red to me, and I thought it would be hard to find a red fabric that went well with the color.  But then, the wretched store had these on sale.  That was all she wrote.  I went to the fabric store the next day for fabric.  Almost got a pinstripe (I thought the stripe was the same color as the shoe, but I was wrong) but then put it back.  I went back to the fabric store and found this orangy knit that I thought was perfectly devine.  At that point, I knew I wanted a sheath dress and some sort of unstructured jacket.  I was planning to make them all in the same fabric, but soon thought that would be a bit much.  I was started to think I would look like the Great Pumpkin in the monochrome color. 

After consulting my DD who is also an infrequent contributor to this ranting, suggested I find a being or taupe fabric that  I could use a s a contour band at the bottom and put 3/4 sleeves with the similar ban at the bottom of the sleeves.  
Well, I liked that idea and knew that I definitely wanted the band on the dress.  I was less committed to the band on the sleeves becuase I am always hot so most of my dresses are sleeveless. But this contrast meant going back to the fabric store! Because I had already searched the first store I knew I had to try a different locale.  So, off I go to the other side of the city in search of the perfect contrast.  And find exactly ONE bolt that would work with the orange. (Here is where I insert my rant about how terrible Hancock's is when it comes to decent apparrel fabric options!)

But the one piece I find appears to be pretty perfect.  My boyfriend took the photo and I guess it didn't matter that my eyes appear to be closed.  Those things are irrelevant to a man who doesn't want to take a photo of you and your dress first thing in the morning anyway.  LOL

I used these patterns.   Mccalls 6282, I made view C.  I cut off about 4 inches from the bottom of the pattern piece and used that as the contrast.  The other change was that the dress is lined.  Even though this fabric is a thin knit, I knew I didn't want the entire dress lined.  Initially I wasn't planning to line it at all, but because I didn't want to make facings (I was planning to wear the dress the next day!) I knew I needed something.  I also didn't want to scavange through my pattern stash in the hope of finding some lining fabric that would work.  So, since the fashion fabrc was pretty thin, I used that for the lining.  I also only lined it half way. I just felt that would work out better.  And it did!  It turns about that the thiness of the fabric really required something more.  The dress also had these side gathers.   I have put them in other garments (I've used this pattern a couple times before).  I put them in this dress and my first fitting showed they weren't flattering on me.  So, I took them out. I'm glad I did, it's a much more sophisticated look I think. 
 As for the jacket, I chose view A. You can't see it from the pattern views or my wearing, but it has the cutest peplum in the back.  It was super easy and I love the final look all together.  I wore it to work and got so many compliments.

This is incredibly comfortable.  I plan to make it all again in another knit, perhaps a print if I can find the right one (online!!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Queen Elsa Birthday!!

DIY Queen Elsa Birthday Outfit
Well in usual fashion someone in my family has something special coming up and wants a special outfit... guess who's phone rings?!? :-)
My dearest loving Other Mother called me a few weeks ago because my niece was turning 6! (OMG where has the time gone!?!?) Any who, she just HAD to have another outfit creation from Auntie Chris! Previously, we created a tutu with her name embroidered on the shirt. Well this bday had a theme and one can only guess what it was... FROZEN!!
Now I can admit I absolutely adore Frozen... I mean is this not total diva?!?!
With my twisted DIY mind I wanted to make her a diva and still look 6! So here's where my research began. I as usual went to Pinterest to find ideas and see what was out there. I could find Elsa costume patterns, and tutus that were "inspired" by Frozen, but nothing that gave me the look I was seeing my head. So, here's my take on the Frozen Birthday Queen! LOL (gotta find a better name)
Ice Queen Tutu Dress
Start with measuring the waist of your Ice Queen to determine the size of the elastic to cut. For Taylor Grace I used a 22 inch piece of elastic.

I wanted the skirt to be very full and this is a sewn skirt so I kept the entire 3 yrds of tulle. To determine the length of the skirt I also defaulted to a size chart from Pinterest. For her length, since this would be three layers total I cut the teal tulle to 12 inches and the purple tulle to 9 inches.

Then using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, I stitched a gathering stitch along the top of each layer.

Gathered Tulle
I gathered each layer to the 22 inch elastic length and then cut the satin to about 10 inches.

NOW, this is where I am COMPLETELY honest and admit that I screwed up... blame it on my catching up on Scandal while I was sewing!!!

For the satin top layer I didn't cut it correctly originally and had to had gusset inserts to make it a correct circle skirt. (the mess up was I totally just put the two sides of the satin together and sewed a seam and it was just a boxy skirt, DUH ME! LOL it needed to be a circle to go with the tulle)

So to give you the correct step, measure for a circle skirt and cut it out in the satin fabric. Don't sew up the side seams of your skirt, we need to create a casing for the elastic. I used a large 2 inch fold over to encase the elastic and the extra seam allowance will allow you to attach the tulle layers neatly all together.

One inch below the top fold sew a single seam from one side to the other to create a casing to insert the elastic.

Take a safety pin, pin the end of the elastic and run it through the casing you created at the waist. Once it's all the way through, gather the satin so the elastic is showing on both ends so you don't lose it in the casing. Lay that flat on your working surface.

Fold over to create elastic casing and attach tulle


You should now have the two colors of tulle gathered and the satin. Here's where it gets fun! LOL

Lay the tulle layers down and flip your remaining seam allowance over from the satin fabric. I then pinned the tulle layers to the sating seam allowance below the elastic casing, end to end.  Leaving the waistband out of the way, I serged the three together creating a clean seam on the underside of the skirt.

Next, I put both sides together to create one back seam for the skirt. I did leave the tulle out and stitched (on my serger) together the waistband, elastic, and satin fabric together.
Flip it all over and there you have your skirt! :-)
For the bodice, I used the Ice Queen pattern from the supply list. Although it is only made for up to a 4T and Taylor is in a 7/8. I only wanted the bodice portion to add to the t-shirt.
So cutting the bodice piece from the satin I added inches to each side to get the piece to match the size of the t-shirt.
After cutting, I embroidered Taylor's name on the front bodice piece.
Then using the sliver/platinum tulle, cut it in half and ran a gathering stitch to create the cape portion.

I ironed down the top of the front and back pieces of the bodice, before sewing them together on one side.
Pin the gathered silver/platinum tulle to the top of the back bodice piece. Then sew up the other side seam and topstitch the whole piece to the t-shirt.
The added stones were just glued on using E-6000. (cause I love that glue and I had it!!)   

All in all it was a cool project and I think I earned some more Coolest Auntie in the WORLD points!!

Happy Birthday Taylor Grace!!!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I just can't find...

Ever find yourself starting a conversation with this line??

I just can't find... a perfect jacket, a really cute skirt you have in mind, or a perfect dress for a party.
Well I couldn't find the perfect weekender bag.

Okay I take that back. I HAD the perfect bag and 5 years, at least 50 trips and random in town events later it was headed to the weekender bag graveyard. So, I started my search for the perfect, simple bag... Why didn't someone tell me this was impossible for less that $400?!?!

All I wanted was a classic, clean line bag that was spacey and not too big or too small.

Again, why didn't anyone tell me it was impossible!?!?!?

So my gears started to work and I searched and I searched...

I found this...

and this...

and this...

But not in my budget.

So I did what we all do in this situation. I went to Pinterest.

And no offense to those that like them, but I HATE floral printed quilted bags... and that's all I kept seeing. So I took matters in to my own hands.

I found this free pattern that was the exact shape that I wanted. Weekender Bag Pattern

Since this was my first try I didn't want to just jump out there with an expensive real leather and I was not a "bag guru" yet. So I visited old faithful, Fine Fabrics. I found this faux leather that was pretty thin, but I planned to use a very thick interfacing with it to give me the stability I wanted.
The pattern was very straight forward and once I printed it I noticed that is was slightly smaller than what I was looking for in my bag. So I graded out the pieces to about 14 1.2 inches.

I picked this pretty purple satin for the lining

This was going REALLY well and I discovered that I could use a candle to seal the edges. I just lightly ran the cut edge along the flame to melt the edges to prevent fraying.

Of course I had a "design inspiration" while working and I embroidered my initials on the front of the bag.

I love the final product! It's just the size that I wanted and it's one of a kind! Now I'm totally confident in buying a more expensive leather and trying this again!!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Corset Makes Sense!

Well, it's January of a new year and I should probably talk about my organized plan for destashing my stash, or doing something more useful with my time than fixating on the next sewing sequence.  But, that's not me so I will just start by talking about what I love doing more than anything else - sewing! And by sewing, that usually means something I don't have or something I want more of in my collection.  That brings me to this divine little number.  I saw this pattern, Butterick 6151. 

I thought this was simply lovely.  I have never owned a corset and I thought this was something I should have in my possession. (Because, I personally think every woman should own and wear a corset!)  I also thought this was an interesting take for Butterick.  They suggested using upholstery fabrics! Well, now, that was enough of a challenge for me. I found this photo of the corset paired with this most divine skirt and thought, oh how I would love to wear this combination someplace.  I don't have this skirt (yet), but don't put it past me!

So, I found this simply fabulous fabric and thought it would be perfect for my corset creation.  I did initially look at upholstery fabrics, and while I found a few, nothing really jumped out at me.  But, then one day, while minding my own business at JoAnn's, this delightful piece just called me.  It's either a bottomweight or a denim.  I'm not sure which, but it had some weight to it and a bit of stretch and I loved the pattern.  
This came together very easily.  There is boning in (most) of the seams.  I say that because I think the instructions told me to put boning in all the seams, but honestly, I didn't have enough and I was determined to get this done so I could wear it out this weekend.  That meant I needed it before the coupon hit (LOL).  So I decided that boning needed to be strategically placed! And so I did.  I think it works.  I will add a photo of me in it as soon as I can force my daughter to take one.  

I decided to line it with some gold cotton I had in my stash and I really like how well it came together.  I could have added carriers to it so I could do the belt thing, but I didn't really think I wanted that.  It felt a little too "Missy Kitty" and Gunsmoke to me with all that extra hardware.
I think it's a little vampish and sexy and while I will certainly wear it with a jacket of some sort (Its cold everywhere, including Tennessee), but it's like having a secret that everyone kinda knows but not totally.

And this is me and my favorite comedian this weekend.  As you can see, I paired this with my favorite leather blazer.  I really love this new addition to my weird collection of stuff!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What's on the table?

So after being beat up for several months by a person who will remain nameless (if you read over the other posts here it won't be a mystery for long!)

I'm starting off with the only resolution I have... Sew more!

I have to confess it's not like I haven't sewn at all... just haven't posted it!! But I also had a "valley moment" with my sewing. I went through a total lack of motivation for my craft :-( After a New Year moment... I'm back on the wagon!

For this year we will profile "What's on the table?" and I would love to hear the same from our readers!!

What's on your table?
What's in the "I'm cutting that out today" stack?

I'll post as we go along and see how it all turns out.

My first what's on the table project is this Simplicity 2413 (inspired by project RUNWAY) pattern I've had for so long and just hadn't found the right fabric to make it click for me... and then I went to "our store".

Any one who sews in Atlanta knows about Fine Fabrics in least I think that's Duluth :-) Well they are the Mood fabrics of the south and with some great prices to boot! I walked in and found this amazing selection of wax cloth at the store and had an inspirational moment. I instantly knew I had to have it!!
This was my pick! I love the purple and blue in it!
So that's my first What's on the table?... Can't wait to show you guys the final project!

What's on your table?!?!?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Up All Night

I love blogging about my sewing sessions.  I actually laugh at myself (often) at the obsessiveness that often takes over my sewing self.  Here is yet another example of the land of Crah Crah, where I have assumed residency.  I completed this fantabulous moto jacket last week.   After finishing it on Wednesday, I decided that I needed something to wear to work for Friday. Now a normal person would probably not have made that kind of decision. But, if you knew me, you'd know I am so far removed from normal.  I grabbed this cute pinstripe earlier in the week and knew the moment I saw it that I wanted a sheath dress out of it.  I've seen a few versions on Pinterest so it was in the back of my mind for a while.

I really loved this pattern and thought it would be perfect.  But, the best laid girlfriend unexpectedly dropped by to drop off some paperwork. A full hour and a half later, she left and here I am.  Well, now I realize, after looking at my fabric and the pattern, that I don't have the mental or I thought, physical energy to make THIS dress with THIS fabric.  The pattern has a bodice and skirt and with this fabric (pinstripes) I need to pay attention to placement and how this is sewn together.  I just didn't want to think that hard. SOO, I looked in my pattern stash (and my DD had the nerve to challenge me about ALL my patterns!) and found another similar sillhouette. 
I liked this one, and better yet, two, maybe three pieces to place.  It was already 10:00 when I decided on the pattern, so I needed simplicity.  LOL.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I also started a phone conversation just as I started this dress.  The good thing was this helped to keep me awake while sewing (they were on speaker so I didn't have to hold the phone - LOL).  The bad thing was this kept me working longer than I probably would have!  But, my obsessive behavior needed little boosting.  I knew I was planning to wear this Friday and that was all there was to it. Besides, this was Project Runway night and I said I would always try to create something on the night of the show because I would be appropriately motivated. 

But I always need what I buy and wear what I make, so I think my process for choosing is perfect.  LOL. 

The other pattern had a matching fabric belt, and I liked that so I made that as well.  I loved this and was quite proud of my crazy inner sewists who decided to start this thing at 10:00pm on a Thursday and this photo was taken at 9:00am the next morning!
And although I wasn't smiling (again) I wasn't totally exhausted when my DD took this photo. 
 Now if I could just get her to pay attention to backgrounds so that random things like my neighbor's GARBAGE RECEPTACLE isn't photo bombing my pictures!!