Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Change is in the air!

I have to admit I have not been doing a lot of sewing lately. I have been doing a lot of figuring out my life. So right now I am working on a project called "Project ME!". And what I am doing is getting healthy and in shape! I want to feel better and looking better will be a nice bonus.

So .... I do still plan to write about sewing when I do some. But if you are interested in following the Chrissy project check it our here:

Hope you are having a fun and fabulous Wednesday!
Peace Out - C 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Giselle Dress Pattern Review

When we were on sabbatical in NYC I got to meet Kati of Kate & Rose and I knew we were meant to be friends. We have only met in person once and just sporadically email and chat on-line but we are kindred spirits. Our connection is the love of the peasant style. She has designed many peasant style patterns and I have made them. Her latest line, "The Midtown Collection" has just come out and the first one I have made is the Giselle Maxi Dress.

Since I live in GA and it is already hot I made the sleeveless maxi version. Just look how pretty even the line drawings are.

I decided to take a chance and go full out crazy hippie lady with my fabric selections.

 The top fabric is Tula Pink, Field Fox Trot in Dusk. The bodice fabric is Tula Pink, Field Pony Play in Dusk. I have a serious navy and lavender thing going lately so I had about 4 yards of each of these laying around. They were clearly waiting to become this dress.  And two pairs of pajama pants for the Divine Miss M.

I will say I love the style of this pattern, and I am happy how the dress turned out. I am going to make some modifications on my next one. But the fact that I am already planning my next one is a good thing. It is over all great. With a few minor changes.

So the basics are:

  •  I used quilting cotton
  • Cut out view B 
  • size XL
I will admit downloaded patterns are not my favorite. It is a lot of printing and taping. But this one was worth the extra work. Especially when you add in the instant gratification component of downloading.

The only flaw in the pattern is that the back bodice was way longer then the front (see picture). I decided to just cut the back piece shorter to match up with the front so it was easily solved.

I will also admit I only sort of glanced over the directions. I am sure they are great. But I am stubborn and like to put things together my way. Which mostly usually works.

The other issue I had was that the XL was WAY too big in the armpit. I had to take in the sides two inches each. But I do need the boob room up front on the XL so now I know how to handle that differently next time as well. I will make the top pieces of the front bodice a wee bit longer to allow for a little more space for the "girls", while taking in the sides.

I am too lazy to make a muslin so if you are not as lazy as me or are more thrifty with your fabric you should make a muslin of the bodice. It would be worth your time to get it just right.

 A mistake I made was that the fabric was not evenly gathered, it is fuller in some spots than others. I decided once again I am too lazy to care.

I gathered it and sewed it together at the same time on my serger.

IF you do this I would suggest you attach the skirt to the bodice BEFORE you sew the side seams together. Gathering and stitching on the serger when it is round does not work.

Again this is something I would do differently when I make my next one. This was a judgement error on my part.

Let's ignore the fact that I look a little forlorn in this picture. I was melting! Sweat was pouring down my back as I was running back and forth to my camera on a tripod.

I think this dress is fun. It will get worn a lot this summer. But I think the skirt would look better out of just one fabric or with more tiers? Or something? Thoughts?

Here are some outdoor close ups

Yes the ties are another fabric. I had these ties already made from a previous project. I did not end up adding them to that project so I thought it was thrifty (and somewhat lazy) to add them to this dress.

That face I'm making is my: "it is still May! why is it so damn hot already? and of course my AC is out!!!" face. The AC gets replaced on Tuesday thank goodness!

All in all I would give this pattern an "I love it!" rating. It was quick and easy and had no major flaws. I typically think of patterns as a starting point. It will be easy for my lazy self to adjust and make it just perfect. And that is what I like, easy with great results!

Well I am off to see if there is any way to escape this hot house. Today is the last day of school, can we say POOL tomorrow?!?!

Peace Out! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sweet little Sundress for a sweet little girl.

I LOVE making stuff for Miss M. I will be so sad when she no longer wants me to make her things. Maybe that day will never come, but it is likely it will. My good machines are in the shop and I am sewing on my back machine. Which is not a great machine. It thread barfs a lot and has tension issues, but I powered through on this project and am taking a break until I get a smoother machine back.

This is my favorite little girl's dress pattern.
McCall's M5613.

It is sweet and little girly but also modern. Can be made in any fabric and is easy to fit and easy to sew.

I make view B and this one is the fifth one I have made.

I like to line the bodice, which makes it look nice and finished. Also helps to make sure the top is not see through if you have a thinner fabric.
I bought this pony fabric a while ago for Miss M and just did not get around to making her anything. Last week I had a little free time so I busted out my pattern stash and realized this would be perfect.

The horses are more upside down than I realized. I did not look at it too hard and thought they were a little more tossed than they really are.

However when M looks down at the dress the ponies look right to her, so it works. And she mentioned several times, I LOVE this dress. Which is really all that matters.

Of course since it is new she HAD to wear it today. And of course since it is a sundress it was only 46 this morning. Which is extra weird for GA this time of year.

But she made it work. She paired it with a florescent yellow cardigan, knee socks and sneakers.

Here she is testing out the pockets.

I have a fun sundress cut out for myself but I just can't sew it with this crappy machine. I am off to cut out some more fun projects so that when I get my machines (maybe just one will survive) I will have some fun projects just waiting to be sewn.

Happy Friday!! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

A funny little project

Yesterday I was teaching a sewing class at my local yarn shop Sheepish. While I was packing up my gear I thought about the fact that often when I am heading home from class, my iron is still hot! Sometimes I put it in a cardboard box. Often I just wing it and hope I do not burn myself. Herein the problem = hot iron needing to be transported. And I like to solve a problem when I can so I did. I made and insulated tote just for my iron.

Basically I took 2 fat quarters, and two pieces of fabric insulation (the stuff you put inside oven mitts) and made myself a little "hot"tote.

This is the bag empty. And a student last night pointed out that it would make a great wine carrier. Or a shorter version would be a great lunch tote.

It is true you could do all sorts of cute stuff with this simple concept.
There is my "hot" iron in there all cozy and snug.

It is a bit of a tight fit. But I wanted it to protect my iron in transport as well as keep me from burning myself.

This is what it looks like with the iron in it. A little wonky but it does the job.

So maybe sewing will solve a problem for you today! 

Peace Out - C 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Summer Skirts Part 2

Here is Miss M modeling one of her new skirts that she wore to school yesterday. She managed to wear a long skirt, tank and cardi and not look like a tiny version of an old lady. This is actually a pretty good combination. Except the shoes of course but hey have to wear comfy shoes to school. And apparently we are going shoe shopping later.

She loved all the skirts I made her. Actually she LOVES this one and really really likes the other ones, to quote her more exactly.

Here is today's outfit. A little more casual and laid back. She said that since it is the day before spring break she wanted something "vacation-y". I think the flip flop T-shirt conveys a feeling of vacation. The palm trees help too. She wore sandals today since she does not have P.E., well I hope she doesn't who can keep all that crap straight?

This skirt was made using the same fleece pattern. I sewed this one on my regular old sewing machine. However I did sew all seams with a teeny tiny zig zag stitch. If you sew a stretch fabric with a straight stitch the stitches will break when the fabric tries to stretch. I could have used the serger but my serger needs a tune up and I was just not in the mood to fight with it. And this is the only one I cut out single layer. It was just too difficult to tame to do double layer.

The waistband of this skirt is simple exposed elastic. It is a cool blue and black stripe-y elastic, but solid colors look cute this way too.

To attach the waistband you just sew the elastic into a circle. Then you sew the elastic onto the skirt right sides together using a zig zag stitch and then flip up your elastic and wow you have a cute skirt!

More summer clothes are in the works! But next week is Spring Break so don't worry too much of you don't hear from me for a bit.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Summer Skirts, Part 1

Summer is here! We pretty much skipped spring. So if you live in the south you know that you get about 3 days between when you turn off the heat and turn on the air conditioner. And they are the same three days where you have the heat on in the car in the morning and the AC on in the car in the afternoon.

I have had "make skirts for M" on my to do list since November. I made her one back in November when it was still oddly warm and then it got cold and I let them languish on the list for a few months.

Back in September she got a cute little maxi skirt at a store. And while I love it I realized that is so crazy easy I could totally make her one of those. So I did and now she has a total of 5, 3 of which I made yesterday.

Here is the first one.

Made in November hence the boots and sweatshirt. This skirt was well loved all winter and I think she even played in the snow with it on one day. 

The 2nd one I don't have a picture of. So here are some pictures of us shopping for fabric.

Look at all that fun elastic! 
Where's M?

I can't seem to find her!?

Fun Fur!
Ok back to skirts. So I took her store bought skirt and laid it out on a piece of fleece. I traced it and added a seam allowance to make the basic skirt pattern. I used fleece because I have a ton and it is cheep. But I like it for a simple pattern like this because it sticks to your fabric and you don't need pins. Since the fabric I was using to make the skirts is knit and is temperamental it was nice to have an easy to deal with pattern material.

M and I have much different taste. But if we have to pick something for each other we can always do it spot on. She loves wearing white. She looks great in it but then she runs and jumps and plays in the dirt. And well her white stuff turns playground worn fast.

Such is life! I like the giant butterflies with the smaller butterflies on top, but I would not have necessarily chosen this for myself, however I would choose it for her all day long.

Some people just have a style and a palette. I used to fight it and try and do something different or encourage her to do something different but I gave up that battle. You love what you love.

Someone once asked me "Isn't it exhausting to be that bold all the time?". My answer to this day is NO! It is just how I roll, and I would guess that M would say the same thing. I am proud of her for being bold and sticking to her guns even when I don't love what she picks. However you do have to stick to the butt and boobies covered rule! I do have some limits.

This is the pattern laid out on one of fashion fabrics that M picked.

This fabric is slick. I think it is a poly blend but is stretchy and fun and will be nice for our suddenly warm weather.

For this particular skirt I did a waistband. Basically I cut a strip of fabric and encased the elastic in the band. The elastic was 1.5 inches wide so I doubled it and added .5 inch on both sides for seam allowance, so you cut a 4 inch wide band, the length of the waist of the skit. Then I attached the band (with the elastic inside) to the body of the skirt.

I did this skirt on the serger but I did the other two on my good old regular sewing machine. I will explain in Summer Skirts part 2 how I sewed the different types of knits.

See how the waistband looks nice and finished. This is exactly how the store bought one looks.

I saw them again and was almost sucked in. Then I made myself go home and make them.

Funny thing is that the store bought cost and the homemade cost are almost exactly the same. But it is pretty fun to pick out your own fabrics and make it fit just right.

I have some plans to make some similar skirts for myself.

Speaking of which I would rather be sewing than typing. So Peace Out! For now....


Monday, March 10, 2014

Chair, covered in chairs

We have been re-doing the house because of the burst pipe. We are finally finished with the walls and all the important stuff. But making some of it all new and nice made the parts that were left look old and sad and dirty.

We have decided to replace all the sad and old with the new and colorful.

My husband bought this chair as part of a set about 10 years ago. We have two of these chairs, two ottomans, a couch and a love seat. One of the chairs has been designated as Mama's comfy chair.

I have set it up as a little reading / working nook. Got myself a nice lamp and a basket to keep all my stuff in.

I could still use some more storage to make this a real work area. But I decided to go ahead and make this chair not look so sad. Fortunately the stains do not photograph as obvious as they are in reality.

 I wanted to just pop the bottom off and staple the fabric on for both the chair and the ottoman.  But the screws were pretty much stripped and would not let me do that.

Because I ran into this problem, I decided to go ahead and make a slipcover. The advantage of a slipcover is that I can take it off and wash it. Since it does have a white background I decided this was the best approach even if it meant it was more work to complete.

Getting this project done has been on my to-do list for about a month. And never letting it get to the top was not making me happy. Therefore I was determined to be able to cross it off by the end of the day today.

Look how much more cheerful this chair looks now. And it is funny a chair covered in chairs! This fabric is from Ikea and was only about $5.00 a yard.

The back pillow was the easiest part, strangely. I put a zipper in the bottom of the cover and smooched the original pillow into the new cover.

For the bottom of the chair and the ottoman I made just some easy pull on covers. The weirdest spot was were the arms meet the chair cushion. It is a tight squeeze, but I managed to wiggle it on there and get it all setteled.

Now my comfy chair is not only comfy but is also cheerful and is on the list of my favorite spots in our house.

There are lots more things that I want to spruce up and get off my to do list. But I am happy as I check this project off.

Peace Out - C

p.s. even with all the problems this project took me about 4 hours to complete. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding what to start on.