Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goal Rundown

I think the biggest statement I made regarding sewing goals for 2013 was to just sew what I wanted rather then participating in a lot of challenges and what not.  In that I was quite successful and plan to stick with that for 2014 and beyond.  Not that I won't be doing a few sewalongs or contests but don't expect me to do all of the challenges for any one blog. 

On that note here were the goals I listed at the start of 2013
  • Sew all of the projects for my sewing with knits craftsy class. All really as in all?  Oh wait I thought that said for all my craftsy classes just the knits one I did.  Honestly though I've only kept one of the pieces I made from this class in my wardrobe so I really don't think the class was worth the money.  Oh well live and learn.
  • Use the jeans craftsy class to recreate my beloved grey cords and hopefully develop a TNT pants pattern. Um does that say watch a few of the videos.  No well then nope didn't do this one.  I do still want to and hopefully I will in 2014 though if I'm being honest finding 2 styles of jeans that fit me well at Old Navy has really decreased my motivation on this one.
  • Sew all 5 unused Oliver and S patterns in my stash two of which I got from Santa this year.  They are badminton, book report, croquet, apple -picking, and school photoMostly done.  School Photo will be my sewalong contribution for the first Project Run and Play Challenge.  That just leaves Apple Picking and while I do love the pattern Emily currently does not so its on the back burning hoping that she changes her mind.
  • Make some summer separates for Emily similar to the winter SWAP. Sort of.  She was really into graphic tees this summer so I made a lot of bottoms that could work with any of these tops.  Truth be told though now that she is in school I prefer hanging her clothes as complete outfits to eliminate some of the morning arguments.
  • Find or develop TNT patterns for shorts, tee shirt, and pants. Effort was made on this front but we are not there yet.  I do still have hope though.
  • Sew the Colette Parfait for myself.  I made it to the muslin stage several years ago but didn't know how to alter it to fit.  Now I think I could figure it out but it will be a bit of a project. I unfolded the pattern and looked at it does that count.  As much as I like a lot of the Colette patterns they just don't fit me without a lot of effort.  I do like this one though so maybe this summer.  I'm thinking of doing the top part of the dress but with a gathered skirt.
  • Use some of my fun woven dress patterns with some of my fabric stash even if I don't need them.  Including the vintage dress pattern that I simply had to buy last year. I made the one I had to have and don't really like the way it looks on me.  The others not so much.  Oh well.
  • Make Emily's Easter dress.  Yes but as it turns out she still loves her heirloom one the best.
  • Make at least one complete project from the Alabama Studio Design book that my husband got me for Christmas.  I looked through the book a lot.  I also used the skirt pattern to make a print maxi but I didn't actually do the full on project.  I still want to though so maybe next year.
  • Sew the Manhattan Frock from Sewing Clothes Kids Love. No excuse just didn't get to this.
  • Have fun sewing and creating things that I enjoy.  Yes without a doubt.  I think I've come to terms with the fact that I sew for fun so it should be fun.  If I don't feel likes sewing one day I don't sew.  I've been really busy lately and that doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon but I'm sure I'll still find time to sew in 2014.  On that note I will post some 2014 goals at the beginning of January.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Um Awesome

So when the Kitchy Coo Lady Skater Dress started its blog tour I was a bit unimpressed with the pattern.  I mean its just  knit top with an aline skirt right?  Right?  But then why did everyone look so great in the ones they made?  I started to believe there was just something special about the pattern.  Something about the proportions, maybe the way it hits, maybe the neckline, maybe well who knows but everyone looked great but still I waited.  I mean couldn't I draft a skirt to go with my TNT tee pattern?  Oh wait just a second I don't even have a TNT tee pattern.  Then she put it on sale and I ordered the PDF.  All I can say is WOW I'm so glad I did!  I still can't explain exactly why this pattern works but boy does it work for me.
I mean it even works without my hands on my hips.  But wait this gets better.
Its even looks good when photographed from behind.  Now I'm pretty sure we all know that lots of projects do not get a rear view on the internet right ladies?
Now for the details.  I don't remember what size I made but i do remember that I made one in the shoulders and chest but went up a size for the waist and skirt.  I probably could have gotten by without this as the waist is a smidgen loose but I really didn't want negative ease in the waist.  The fabric is one of the fabrics that I bought in Paris.  It is super soft and drapes beautifully but I also knew it would leave nothing to the imagination if used alone so I lined the bodice and skirt with the weird cheap I don't really remember if its nylon or poly knit that Joann's carries.  Honestly, while I would never make a dress out of this fabric it makes a great lining.  My tights don't stick to it and it added some much needed thickness and stability to the bodice.  The only change I made to the pattern other then lining it was finishing the hem with a rolled hem from my serger.  This was done out of laziness but it looks nice as well.

So with that I give you my whole heated recommendation for the Lady Skater Dress.  I'm even considering adding the Penny Pinafore to my stash.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Sweater

I've been itching to make a sweater since I got back to my knitting this fall so I decided it was time to bite the bullet and give it a try.  Well sort of at least.  I made Emily a sweater.  I felt like for my first attempt something a bit smaller might be nice.  I showed  her 4 different sweaters on Ravelry and she picked the tiny tealeaves cardi. 
Before I went yarn shopping I asked her what color she wanted and she picked pink.  I ended up selecting a pink from the Lion Brand Heartland collection.  I really wasn't sure what she would wear it with until she came down stairs wearing her first day of school tunic with nothing else.  Um little girl its winter and we always wear bottoms with tunics.  We ended up agreeing on adding the pink jeggings I made earlier this season and this little sweater matched  perfectly.  Yeah its an outfit.
The pattern was nice and straightforward.  I felt like I knew what to do at each step which was a big win for me.  The only part that doesn't look great is the front band.  I need to practice my technique when it comes to picking up stitches.

I'm calling this one a win.  Now on to making a grown up sweater.  Neil got me a whole bunch of purple yarn for Christmas and a set of circular needles so I have no excuses left.  I'll be starting a sweater for me today but I would imagine you will not be seeing it here as a finished product for some time.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holly Jolly Dress

First off Merry Christmas to all.  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying time with your family.  I just got back from visiting my in laws and am looking forward to spending Christmas morning here with my husband and kids.  Now onto the dress.

My friend Meredith gave me a huge bag of Christmas fabric this summer.  Huge as in this dress didn't even make a dent in it huge.  My plan was to make all 3 girls (my 1 plus her 2) skirts but Christmas kept getting closer and I ended up deciding to push that project to 2014.  Instead I let Emily pick her favorite fabric out of the bag figuring I would work whatever she picked into a Christmas version of the Oliver and S Library Dress.  Not shockingly she picked the wildest print in the bag.
She picked the large scale holly print and then I paired it with the stripped holly fabric as well as some red and green solids.  I figured a dress out of the print she picked would be loud so I should go ahead and push it over the edge instead of trying to calm it down.

  If your still with me the patter was pretty great.  The construction seems a little weird but I stuck with it and it all worked out quite well.  The fabric was thin I'm guessing poly cotton blend vintage quilters cotton so it wasn't bad to deal with but isn't exactly lovely either.  Thankfully this style dress can handle being made out of a fabric that doesn't really drape well though it would be lovely out of one that did.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Maybe its just the fashion blogs I read but I've been noticing more and more sponsored reviews as of late.  You know the type.  The blogger gets something for free and then mostly raves about how great the product happens to be.  Now I am totally fine with this.  Truth be told I do the same thing in a heartbeat if given the opportunity but sometimes I wounder how genuine the raves are.  Its not that I think anyone is being dishonest on purpose but I think its hard for anyone to say less then nice things about a product that they got as a gift.

 So in a round about way that lead me to this post.  You see a few weeks ago one of the blogs I read was raving about fabkids.  Usually I would not have paid much attention to a post about buying kids clothes but Elijah seems to have outgrown 90% of his winter clothing and I just haven't been getting as much sewing done in general this season so I was caught at a weak moment.  It also helped that they were doing a buy one outfit for $39.95 get a second free deal meaning I could get each kid one outfit if I signed up.  I decided to go ahead and give it a go and figured while I was at it I'd write an unsponsered review here on my blog.

The site has creates a profile for each kid and then recommends a few  3 piece outfits that they think you will like.  Sounds nice and it is except that the recommended outfits didn't really suit my kids style as well as some of the other outfits on the sight.  Not a problem as you can pick from any outfits not just the recommended ones and I may not have done the best job on the survey being as many of the brands it references are far out of my kids clothes price range.  So here's what I picked.
Elijah's outfit consisted of a pair of knit pants, a striped shirt that says "Awesome all day every day", and bright green socks.  I was a bit worried about size since he is in the largest size they sell but everything seems to fit well.  The pants are actually not way to big around on him which is a win for us but could be a problem for someone who was a bit larger.  The shirt is amazingly soft and are the pants so he's sold and while I was worried about kids socks on a kid with feet bigger then mine they work too.

Emily's outfit consisted of a pair of leopard print pants, a cute shirt, and headband.  The pants are a little loose at the waist but stay up and have elastic cuffs.  The shirt has shoulder ruffles, sequins, and a lining under the applique so its not itchy.  I really didn't think a headband would work with her glasses but this one does.

I feel like I got a pretty good deal since I get everything for less the 40 dollars.  It seems like not all outfits are created equal though.  Some boys outfits come with 2 shirts and a pair of pants.  Some girls outfits have a top, leggings, and a skirt.  Others just have socks or a hair accessory.  The quality on everything we got was good though.
I also really like that the outfits come as sets being as I'm not nearly as good at putting together cute sort of matched outfits as I would like to be.  I think the site would be worth visiting for inspiration even if you never bought a thing.  As for me I plan on keeping my account for the moment but probably will only but things some months when they are running sales.  I like the clothes but at full price they are a bit more then I tend to spend on everyday kids clothes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hats, hats, hats

Lately I'm really loving knitting.  I think its because of the "I'm not sitting around watching bad daytime TV I'm knitting" factor.  I also like that it can be done in tiny bits of time which see to be what I've had the most of lately.  I'm working on a sweater at the moment but before I got the confidence to give that I go I made several hats.
This one is the Lucky 7 hat from Ravelry.  It was fun to play with the tighter twisted cables on this one.  It was only my second time working with cables and I have to say they are way easier then I ever thought they would be.  At least with the help of youtube.

This one was supposed to be for Emily but I got off a bit on the lace pattern and I think that is what made it bigger then intended.  It works for me though.  Its the Foliage pattern originally from knitty but the link takes you to ravelry.

This is Hermione's Cable and Eyelet Hat it was my first attempt at using a cable needle and it went together beautifully.  I actually made one for myself too using a size larger needle and adding a bit of length but sadly it has gone missing.  Emily is pleased with this one though.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Grovy Mama Skirt

Sometime in the 70s my mom made herself a leopard print wide wale cord maxi skirt.  I wore it a few times in college but the truth is my mom and I are very different body types so while we sometimes wear the same size in ready to wear clothing the same can not be said post alterations on a handmade item.  Add to that the problem that the zipper was broken when I first got in from her and you can see why it spent the last few years sitting in my sewing room awaiting the perfect project. 
I was thrilled to realize that with some creative pattern placement I was able to squeeze my altered to fit Vogue 1247 out of the skirt.  Well almost squeeze.  I had to use wide double fold bias tape for the waist band.
I also had to use fun pocket fabric again. 
This is my 3rd version of this pattern and I still like it very much.  Making a skirt from another skirt provided some new challenges.  There are a few strangely places seams from the original skirt but they blend in pretty well with the print.  I actually broke my serger on one of the side seams that was just to thick.  I also decided to use a regular zipper instead of an invisible one.  The other challenge with the cord is that my shirt sticks to it so quite a few of the photos made me look like I had quite the muffin top.  I real life this is less of a problem though since you can see that the top is just a bit baggy. 

All in all I'm very pleased with the skirt.  I got quite a few compliments on it the day we took the pictures.  I also think it will be fun to style this winter with brown or black leggings and some sort of long sleeve top.  Speaking of which I need to make a top to go with it one of these days. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Like I said yesterday the big challange for me at least when it came to making Emily's Wahoo dress was cutting out the pieces.  I took a few pictures of the process.
I cut all 4 gores using the same pattern piece.  Well actually I cut one with the pattern piece and then used that one to cut the other 3 but that is beside the point.  Even in Emil's size I could only get one gore per shirt because the gores are large enough at the bottom that they wrap around to the front of the shirt.  If you look closely at the picture you can see that the shirt is folded mostly in half with the front part pulled out.  Depending on the shirt size this can get too hard to position.  When that happens I cut right down the front of the shirt and remove the sleeves so that everything can lay flat.
For the front and the back I just positioned the pattern piece over the image that I wanted to use.  The shirts I was using were larger then Emily's size so this worked well.
I used one tee for both sleeves.  I cut from the back since the picture I wanted was on the back.  The only trick is to make sure you position the sleeve piece low enough to avoid the front neck band.
That's all for now.  Hopefully, I will get this one sewn up in the next few days so I can share some pictures of the process.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wahoo Dress

Our swim team is in the process of renovating a new facility and moving.  One of the things we did recently was clean out and move out of our old office space.  Just like a house it was full of years of stuff most of which was trash but some of which was good.   Among the good things were several years of leftover tee shirts that we ended up selling to members for $1 each.  While I was sorting them I had the great idea to make Emily a dress.
I decided to use the farbenmix Henrika pattern.  I knew the gores would allow me to use several images plus the front, back, and sleeves.  I'm working on making another one and a tutorial so pictures of the cutting layout should be up tomorrow.
 I've made the pattern several times now and its a great little dress pattern.  Construction wise it was no harder then sewing a regular knit dress.  The real challenge was fitting the pieces on to the tee shirts in such a way that the images looked good.