"Why in the world did you pick this name for your blog?" ...so glad you asked...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Me Made June '11

As you may or may not have noticed, I have added a new button to my side bar.
I have admired the hand made and hand sewn wearables of others through blogs and Flickr for some time now, but have only recently begun to make a real effort to create some of my own (complete with blog posts and Flickr pictures).
I just happened to stumble upon a blog hosting a month long celebration/challenge of wearing things you yourself have made.  This challenge can truly be tailored to fit your own desires and I have made my own little commitment.  It's small, but still a stretch for me because my handmade wardrobe is so small right now.

My commitment for Me Made June '11 is to wear something made by me, whether it be clothing, accessory or bag at least twice a week for the duration of the month of June.  I also want to make at least two more items of clothing for myself this month.

I'm going on vacation starting this coming weekend for a week and not bringing along the sewing machine.  So, while I will be able to hold myself to my two items a week, the creating of two more wearables this month may be challenging with a full week gone.
I am really excited to get inspired by everybody else's pics and to have the chance to possibly discover some new patterns, specifically for shirts, pants or shorts.  (I've got dress patterns out my ears.)

Good luck to me!  and everyone else participating.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lisette Traveler Dress - View C

My adoration of Michael Miller's script fabric from his Antiquity line is now all sewn up in this dress.
This is the second time I have used this pattern (Simplicity 2246).  My first attempt was for View B and this dress is View C and my definite favorite.
There's so much to gush about when it comes to this dress.  Are you ready for the love fest?  Here goes.
I love the little puffed sleeves, just enough gathering to make the cutest little puff you've ever seen.
I love how the darts fit me.  I was so concerned I'd have to make some sort of adjustment for my small bust,  an adjustment which I really didn't have the slightest idea how to make, but I didn't need one at all!
I love the tips on how to make the darts lay flat.  I was really concerned about the possibility of a pucker at the end of them, especially in the back, but there's no pucker.  yay!
I love the skirt.  It's flat in the front on either side of the button placket and then gathered the rest of the way around.  Easy to attach and flattering.

I would probably love the collar if I hadn't sewn it on upside-down (one and a half hours of botched work!!), but I think only you and me will know about that.  I'm pretty sure no one else will really notice.

PS.  My original post about my plans for this dress is here.  I still want to make one in bold colors like I originally intended... maybe with some simple bias tape around the collar.  :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lisette Traveler Dress Review

Pattern Description:  From the Lisette web page - A trio of contemporary takes on the classic shirtwaist dress. All three versions offer interesting styling options and are seasonless when worn with tights and boots in cooler weather or belted in warmer weather.

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 22
If you've never sewn Simplicity before and you are a 2 or 4, do not be afraid to go ahead and try it.  A 6 in this dress is like 2/4 in stores.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did with the exception of my own alterations. 

Were the instructions easy to follow? Excellent instructions! This dress is the most involved I've tried and there were several things I'd never attempted before, but the "Lisette tips" and just clear overall instructions made me feel like Leisl was there guiding me through it.  I really felt, as I got to about the halfway point, that there would be nothing but success waiting for me at the end.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? To be honest, a shirt dress is really not my style, but the photo on the envelope of a belted View A totally inspired me.  I don't have anything like this in my closet, so it seemed the perfect candidate.

I love the curved hem on View B. the one I made, and I really like the dainty gathers at the shoulders for all three Views.  Thank you soooo much Leisl for allowing me to not be nervous as to whether or not my sewn sleeve piece was going to be exactly the same as the armhole on the body. The gathers are forgiving and cute.  What more could you ask for? 

Fabric Used: I got some light blue chambray from Fabric.com for $5 a yard.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I graded from a size 6 on the top to a size 10 at the waist and below.  I hate it when buttons pull, so I wanted plenty of ease around my derierre.  I can sit in it without anything pulling and that's exactly what I wanted.  I think I lucked out with the sizing and the cutting of the pattern because I really wasn't very scientific about it.
I don't care for banded collars, so I made a substitution by using the Flour Pleated Collar Tutorial found at Sew Mama Sew, recommended by Made by Rae.  The instructions for this were few and assumptive.  I made it work, but I had lots of questions.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! I already have the dress partially sewn in View C and can't wait to post the finished product here and on Flickr.  I could also see a cute flannel plaid in view B for winter.  Can't you see it?  with leggings, boots and a chunky scarf?

Conclusion:  Versatile, classic wardrobe builder, advanced beginner level with professional looking results if done carefully.  I had a really great experience with this dress and I am so thankful to have a pattern that teaches while you sew and creates a feeling of success for me.  That's what keeps me motivated to learn more and sew more!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweet Silhouettes

If you have ever thought about having a silhouette made of you or a loved one, I have a recommendation for who you should give your business.  I don't know how I stumbled upon Blue Clara, but working with this amazing and talented shop owner has been nothing but a pleasure.
I emailed her a photo of my then 18-month-old girl (she's now 3) and shortly received a file with her silhouette.  I was told to preview it and request any changes.  I'm a picky person, so when someone tells me I can change it if I want, I usually take advantage of that offer.  I asked her to take some stray hairs off and clean up the look of the curls at the nape of the neck.  I was afraid I was being too particular, but she sent back four options for me to choose from and reiterated that I should be completely happy before she mailed the final product.  I was completely satisfied with one of the four pictures she sent and we've had our eldest daughter's silhouette framed in a lovely oval frame for a couple years now.  It's one of my favorite things to walk by in my home.
I've been counting down the months until the baby turned 18 months so we could get hers done.  I sent in a request to Blue Clara and even though she's on vacation from her shop doing some home improvements, she told me to go ahead and send a pic.
I ended up sending two and specifying that I wanted the face from one and the hair from another.  She got the proof back to me within a couple of days and, oh my goodness, she had blended my pictures perfectly!  She even showed me my two girls side by side so that I could compare and make any changes I wanted on the second one.  No changes needed, though.  She really hit it out of the park this time and my heart just melts when I see my girls together.

I just can't recommend this service enough and I also encourage you to consider this, if not for display in your own home, then as a gift option.  Father's Day is coming up and parents and grandparents alike would swoon over these, I'm sure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Third Time's the Charmer

Have I been put under a spell?  I feel light-headed and giddy.

I told my husband that I would be wearing a dress I made out on our next date.  Now, of course, there's always the Jamie Dress, but I meant a new dress, one I would make from the many patterns I'm waiting to come to me in the mail.  Well, it turns out, my husband got a babysitter for tonight... and he didn't tell me until this morning when he called from work... and I don't have the pattern I was planning on using, or the fabric for that matter.

McCalls 6112 and Michael Miller to the rescue!

I had a vague idea of using Michael Miller's clown stripe in citron for an easy-wear dress.  I had my two yards washed and ready to go for whenever the inspiration and the time came together.  Then, I had an epiphany while browsing flickr  a few days ago that THIS was the pattern I had to use.

It was stylish, simple, comfy looking and, best of all, downloadable.  And this picture clinched it. 
Today, after my husband called, I got to work printing and taping and cutting.  Once I got everything (including the fabric) cut out, the rest was an absolute breeze.  
I wish I'd gotten some better pics for you, but the babysitter was literally getting out of her car in my driveway while I opened up my Mac and snapped these.

This is View C (no slits in the arms and including pockets) with the band on the hemline added by me.  I used a size 4 on the top and a 6 on the bottom and I think that worked out perfectly.  

It was sooooo comfortable and I felt soooo cute tonight all at the same time.  And can you tell I kind-of have a crush on the pockets?!  I'm very glad I read some reviews of other girls who said they wish they'd gone ahead and done the pockets.  This is my first dress with them. Yipee!

I could tell all the girls at the restaurant and the movie theater wanted my dress.  I could just tell.  :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Patterns Out My Ears - pt. 4

Don't worry, I'm not going to continue this series past this post. I have about 10 patterns total that are just for me that I've never made, but I won't go through each one....

I bought fabric enough to make 5 items and I think that's more than enough to keep me busy for a while. (I've still got a business to sew for.)

The pattern I think will come together the quickest is this one. It's a Project Runway pattern.

These patterns are designed to encourage mixing parts and pieces. After all, the show was all about creating something that was unique and individual.
Every time I see a finished product of this pattern on flickr, I ohh and ahhhh. It was only a matter of time before I got one for myself.

I'll cut to the chase and tell you my plan. I want to do the first top on the upper left and the fabric I chose for the it is  Amy Butler's Sunspots from her Love collection.  Not only have I been eyeing this pattern for a while, I've also wanted Sunspots ever since the collection came out.
I'm probably going to showcase the neat shape of the yoke by making it a solid color.

I have high hopes for some instant gratification and a top I can wear all summer!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Top Week - Entry 3

Here it is! My final entry for Spring Top Week.

The inside of the bodice, front and back, is lined in pink. Nobody but me will see, but it feels sturdier lined.

There's elastic in the pink casing under the bust but none across the back. I took a page out of some of the children's patterns I've used and did a button/loop closure in the back. Originally the back was cut straight across, but I decided that looked to... straight. Now they slope slightly diagonally down to the middle and it looks much more flattering.

Don't ask me what kind of pose this is...

I loved, loved the fabric from the little Zutano pants my daughter grew out of and I wanted it for myself. I cut apart the pants and used two pieces for the halter. The knit feels comfy on my neck and the owls get a feature spot. :)

It's amazing what buttons with no use can do for the cute factor.

I'm very happy with this top and I'm happy to add it to my wardrobe. It was nice to get to use some fun fabrics for me and not just for my kiddos.

Patterns Out My Ears - pt. 3

Cynthia Rowley patterns are pretty popular, and for good reason.  I don't know how the instructions are, but the finished pieces look modern and simple.  I've had one for quite a while, but I was too scared to try it.  I recently bought one more and won four more from a blog giveaway.  (yay!)

This is the one I'm most interested in making first.  I don't care for the open shouldered sleeve design, but I like the 3/4 sleeve and I LOVE the slit in the back from the neck to the waist.  I love it so much that the fact that I can't wear a bra with it isn't going to deter me. I'm small and don't need much support.  I have some stick-on cups that I rarely use and I think it would be worth it to wear them with this as an occasional date dress. 
As far as fabric choice, it needs to be something with a nice drape and I'm thinking solid color.  I'm not educated enough in fabrics to know off the top of my head what I want, so I'll be walking the aisles in Hancock's feeling every bolt.   I think that definitely needs to be a no-kid trip.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Patterns Out My Ears - pt. 2

Second installment today of the wardrobe evolution of Sara.

It's strange thinking about and perusing fabrics to create these clothing pieces.  I feel like my fashion sense is still developing. My best friend in college really helped me start thinking about style and I'm still trying (at 30) to build a wardrobe of things that I really LOVE and not just things that are ok and fit.  I want to have stylish options in a varied color palette.  I want comfort without sacrificing looking smart and put together.  I want some fun pieces and some conservative classics to ground everything.
A few of my favorite places to browse are Anthropologie, Ann Taylor and online, Shabby Apple.  I can't afford to shop at any of these places regularly and it's been difficult to think about just buying one piece every once in a while that meets the goal and fits the vision of the whole wardrobe.  it's easier to see something at Target and think it's cute and see it's $15 and just grab it.

Ok, sidetracked... What I'm intending to get to, is that the fabric choices I make for these tops, dresses and pants are very important.  I'm used to just picking whatever quilting cotton I think is cute for Eden or Arielle.  I'm going to have to branch out in fabric type as well as pattern.   I'm going back to my inspiration stores to re-educate myself in fabric choice.  I'm not going have a closet full of quilting cotton.

Alright, on to the next pattern and my vision for it.  This is the Liseete Passport Dress and Jacket.

I don't really see the jacket and the dress being worn together. I prefer a cardigan with a dress, personally. This dress could just look very plain and tailored or the vintage feel to the pattern could really be played up. Those darts could get lost in a busy print, so I'd love to do a solid color fabric or something that reads solid from a short distance. View A is all one fabric and View B is two different prints for top and bottom. I'm undecided. I'd like to do both, but first I might just pick one of Amy Butler's beautiful solids, let the design speak for itself and embellish with accessories.

I've already got a nice staple khaki jacket from Ann Taylor in my closet, so I don't have another idea for this one right now. I don't think this jacket is lined either, so it's puzzling me what type of fabric it would be ok to see the back side of if I left the jacket open.  This piece will probably be put on the back burner until I discover a need for it.

Part 3 tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Patterns Out My Ears - pt.1

Or at least, that's what I will have when they all arrive at my door. I have recently, if you didn't already know, begun a passionate love affair with the thought of sewing clothing for myself. Like so much else about sewing, I've had misconceptions for quite some time about doing this. There are reasons we pay other people to design and sew clothes for us, right?

 Here are some misconceptions I had: 1) Sewing ANY type of garment is terribly difficult. 1a) If it's not terribly difficult, then it's probably just a sack with some elastic. 2) All handmade clothing looks obviously handmade (in a bad way) and leaves much to be desired in the way of fashion. 3) Only people without enough money to spend on real clothes (and teenage girls in home ec.) try to sew their own. 3) It would be impossible for me to ever get a piece of clothing sewn by me to fit me right unless it was the aforementioned sack with elastic.

After successfully making two dresses for myself that are both flattering and fashionable (Thanks Kay Whitt and Sis Boom!) I am crossing my fingers and hoping that Leisl Gibson and her Lisette patterns for Simplicity will not only continue the trend but teach me more skills to continue to build my confidence in sewing for me, myself and I.

I have to be truthful here, it's taken a lot of Flickr looking and blog reading for these designs to grow on me. I'm kind-of ashamed to say it, but I just think they look too mature for my taste. I don't think of myself as a trendy dresser, but these pieces were almost too classic for me. Now that I've seen them in several different fabrics on several different body types and accessorized various modern ways, I'm convinced that I can make them fit my taste. And, let's be honest, even if I hated them, I really still should sew all of them just for the amazing instructions I know come with them. I learned the most to date about sewing children's clothing when I sewed my daughter the Ice Cream Dress because of Leisl's great instructions and design. I really can't go wrong.

Here's what I'm envisioning...

This is the Traveler Dress. I want to do view A in either a chambray (like the picture on the pattern envelope) or maybe a textured print like a woodgrain or crosshatch and accessorize with a wide belt and cute flats.
I want to do view C with contrasting top and bottom.  Something bold like kelly green on the top and navy and white chevron stripe on the skirt or muted grey polka-dots on the top and a solid mustard yellow on the skirt.  That's the kind of thing I would see in a catalog and think "ooooo, I want that"  I would accessorize with a thin belt and wedges or peep toe heels.

Part 2 tomorrow. :)