Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I've Lost My Freakin' Mind...So, What's New?

So, the next challenge was titled - Office Memo - Black & White! This Vogue Pattern (9172) was the required pattern.  We could use whatever top we wanted to complete the ensemble.  Originally, I found this beautiful black and white fabric that I was planning to use.  As I thought about it (which means I trolled Pinterst late every night),I decided that black and white stripes would be the way to go. But after a quick search, I knew I would not find the fabric I wanted in the store.  SOOO, I got the bright idea to take black and white fabric, cut it into strips, sew them together and then cut the pattern from that.  This really wasn't difficult, but it wouldn't be me if there weren't mistakes. So, in looking at the inspiration piece, I liked that the stripes were at an angle.  Sew, I wanted that design feature as well.  Because I'm not that smart, it didn't occur to me that cutting my strips at an angle was NOT the way to go because when I then sewed them together, my fold of the fabric was all mishapen.  I was barely able to get all the pieces out of the "created" fabric! 
 What an idiot!! But, undaunted, I got it all cut out. I LOVED the final result. I knew before I started that I wanted a pop of color for the shoes.  I ordered a pair of yellow pumps from Zappos.  But when they arrived, they felt heavy and clunkly on my feet. I decided to try my local Dillards and to my delight these pumps were happily waiting for me.  I loved the color, less banana yellow, more chartreuse. It's funny that I picked this book to use as my photo prop.  It just happens to be the current criminal law handbook that I use in my practice! Wasn't that fortuitious?

I was also very lucky that my darling daughter was in town this weekend to hang out with me and attend a fashion show my sorority hosted.  She was the photographer and since she is a model AND sews, she was the perfect choice to stage these photos.  I chose the outside location sorta accidentally.  I wanted to take some shots in front of a local mural, but the one I wanted said MEMPHIS and was all black and white.  But, I drove to this one by mistake.  By the time we got there, there wasn't going to be much daylight and of course this was the day the submission was due (because I am ALWAYS last minute lucy!) so I decided we would make it work.  It was actually perfect.  Not only do I LOVE what the mural says, but the pops of color were a perfect backdrop to my black and white.  So, all these unplanned elements came together quite nicely.

And to top it all off, I WON the 3rd challenge round in the Pretty Girls Sew (http://prettygirlssew.com/rae-2016-challenge-3-voting/) competition.

 I also made the top using this wonderfully simple Burda pattern. Burda 6838.  The fabric was way thinner than I wanted and yes, had I the time (I didn't because I made this Thursday morning around 3:00 am, I could have doubled it.  But it worked out ok in the end I think.  LOL..

So, now it's on to the 4th and I think final challenge. RippinAintEasy Sewing competition  4th Challenge ALL THINGS ANKARA Thehellip
We have a "freestyle" challenge now.  We can make whatever we want as long as we use Ankara (African/Wax Print) fabric in the piece.  I'm excited! I used to make things all the time when my children were young using African print.  The options and choices are SO much better now than they were back then.  So, stay tuned!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Militarily Inspired Mayhem!

I'm still standing!! Whew! Its so funny how these things take on a life of their own.  Really talented women doing some amazingly creative things with patterns.  I'm so impressed with all of them.  I feel lucky to still be in the running.

Well, it's done and submitted!  WHEW!! This one was really a test.  McCalls 7330 was the second required submission in the Rippin Ain't Easy Sewing Challenge. http://prettygirlssew.com/rae-2016-challenge-2-military-inspired-jumpsuit/

This pattern was a challenge for me in unexpected and expected ways.  First, I do love jumpsuits, but honestly structured ones aren't my favorites. My body (in its currently questionable state) isn't really designed for a structured pattern like this one.  But, since I didn't have access to my favorite model (my daughter) I had no choice but to make it for myself.  What was difficult about this one was that I knew my waist measurements were not where they should be based upon the pattern.  I tried to compensate for that in my cutting.  The problem was there was no real way to adjust the pieces until you put the pants to the bodice.  That's when I realized just how warped my mind is about my current size. At any rate, I spent the next three days trying to get the size right.  I rarely create something that I'm not thrilled with.  I was not thrilled with this one.  But I finished it in enough time to submit it for the contest.  I just hope enough folks will still vote for me to keep me in the contest.  The next two items are really cute and I would love to create my versions of them both. But, if not, my motivation to get back to what I love has been rekindled.  I made this dress Thursday morning before going to work, so I feel ok about it in the end.

McCall's 9175.

This was incredibly quick.  I woke at about 5:00. Started this at 6:00 and was in it and at work at 8:00! I got this fabric at Fine Fabrics in Atlanta and I knew I wanted a dress with cuffs from it. This was totally fun and I love the way the neckline came out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Still on the Island - Round No. 2

And then there were eight!  So, my last post was about this contest and my earnest desire to make it, at least to the next round with my submission.  I reached out to my friends and family and urged them (actually I was begging but I think I was pretty cool with it!) to vote for me to keep me in the contest.  Well, here I am and as the title to this post suggests, I'M STILL STANDING!! So, if anyone has aimlessly wondered aroung the blogisphere and happened upon my isolated musings, I thank you for the vote.  While, I didn't win (and I'm not sure whether that was most votes or more likes for my version of the garment) I'm in for another round.

Image result for yippee meme

So, the next round is afoot.  We have been given our instructions. And our assignment, 
Image result for your assignment meme


 I've found my fabric and now the clock is running!  I'm excited about this next challenge and once again, hope I actually finish this in time!  For me that means finding someone who can actually take photos that pass muster.  Ok, here we go

Saturday, March 12, 2016


As I said in my last post, I needed motivation to do again what I love.  I don't know why I fell into a slump (well I kinda do, but it would take too long to explain) but I needed a push.  Well, here it is.  I was invited to the RAE (Rippin Ain't Easy) Sewing Competition.  The 8 amazing women (and me) have submitted our take on one pattern (Vogue 9077) and now it's time to vote.  

VOTING ENDS AT 9:00 p.m.



Win, lose or draw, I have to say, this was fun.  And I am so impressed with all of the versions the ladies created.  I know there are tons of ready to wear clothes out there, and sometimes, it really makes more sense to just go to the store and purchase something, but being able to "make it your own" is so much fun.  I am certainly not as creative as these ladies, but I am inspired by what they have created!  Happy Sewing Sisters!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A funny thing happened on my way to maintaing my sanity.  Sewing is my passion and until recently how I acquired all of my clothing. But lately, I've felt very unmotivated. I have a series of habits.  For example,  I make a coat each year for my birthday in November.  Well, my birthday coat didn't get made until late December.  And I haven't sewn a single garment since then!

I kept telling myself that I have to get to work, but the motivation just wouldn't show up.  I'm not really certain why, although my personal life is a likely culprit.  As I sat scrolling one night on my cellphone, I ran across a post about a sewing contest.  And wahlah! I thought, that's what I need.  Something that forces me to sew.  Plus I like the challenge of making and submitting something for consideration.  An email and an upload later, I find myself in the Ripping Ain't Easy (don't you just love that title?) contest.  Now, I love winning anyhing.  I never win anything. LOL.  Sew, while I would love to be the victor, I'm ok with just participating.  Having said that, PLEASE don't let me be the first person out of the contest!!  That means the public votes on the best look!  So, please 

Seriously, there are 8 other talented, delightful ladies in this contest and if they are like me, it's the self motivating challenge more than anything else.  (BUT I REALLY DON'T WANT TO BE THE FIRST VOTED OFF THE ISLAND!! 

Sew, the first challenge is this lovely Vogue 9077 Shirtdress.  
V9077, Misses' Dress

I have selected my fabric, cut it out and I'm ready to sew.  I have a few ideas on how to "make it my own" as that is the contest challenge.  I will of course post pictures around the submission deadline, March 10, 2016.
Voting starts MARCH 12, 2016

I'm not ready!  

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!!!!