Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Christmas Dresses

In November, I found a porcelain doll with red hair, so I bought her for Maddie's 4th birthday, which wasn't until March.  She was wearing a pretty green velvet dress, so I decided that my 3 granddaughters all needed dresses just like that for Christmas.  Naturally, I did, too.  So I ordered 10 yards of hunter green stretch velvet and started cutting.

The girls' dresses were absolutely adorable.  You can see that with Maddie twirling here on Christmas Eve.

Of course, I had to make myself a matching dress.  Actually, I made two (which were both rather similar), because I had so much fabric.  Also known. in my friend GMarie's words, as "Just how big do you think you are???"  So here are Nora and Freya with me on the day after Christmas, which was (naturally) another Christmas day.

But this has to be one of my favorite pictures ever of me with one of my grandchildren.  I look fully humanoid, and Freya (age 8 months at that time) was doing her best adorable act.

I should note that this fabric was insanely heavy, and somewhat difficult to work with as a result.  Each of my dresses weighed over 2 pounds.  But the girls and I were all really warm!

So....Christmas sewing displayed, only 4 months late.  Mission accomplished....

Happy Wednesday, everyone (I checked my calendar to be sure)!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Face Masks in Stressful Times

So, I haven't really been sewing much in the past month or so.  Sure, I stay at home most of the time, but I became really disturbed when the governor told me I have to stay home.  See, no one has told me what to do since I was 16, and I don't like it.

Still, I stayed home to shut my kids up.

And I sewed face masks.  First I sewed 10 of them for Cass and Jeff.  Shannon made this headband for Cass, so the elastic won't pull on her ears.

 Then I made some for Kellie and her husband.  Go ahead and read his caption.  It's really humorous.

Then I made some for other people.  (The tiny one with Winnie the Pooh on it is my favorite.  It was for a 2 year old girl.)

I probably sewed about 50.  That isn't all that many; I know lots of other people are making many more; some are selling them, and some are donating them.  But I'm just not really feeling the love for my machines right now.  So I'll get back to it when the mood moves me.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Stay well!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Thanksgiving dress!

I know Thanksgiving is 3 weeks past.  But that's the way life has been going.

So, I had this beautiful fabric in a bundle I purchased in September.  It's a stretch fabric, with lace overlay attached to the backing, making an elegant look really easy.  I chose to make a princess seamed dress with a high-low hem from the Vogue V9199 pattern.  I have used this pattern before, and was certain of the fit.

It's an easy dress to make, with no zipper required.  The one thing I don't like is that Vogue didn't draft a neckband for the dress, instead directing you to turn the edge under.  Sorry, guys, that's kind of a cheat.  So, having learned how to draft a neckband at September Sew Camp, I put that education into action, and fixed the problem.

Here's a picture of the family before dinner, which is a prerequisite for getting fed at Thanksgiving!  As usual, our best friend came with his sons, their wives and children, and an extra guy who was alone, along with my daughter's roommate, whose car was broken and couldn't get home to Ohio to celebrate with her family.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Sewing

I've been absent of late.  There is just so much to do between end of year tasks and preparing for Christmas.  But I made 3 sets of gifts for people that they really enjoyed.

First, a set of 12 Christmas Tree napkins for my oldest daughter's mother in law.  She loves Christmas, so what better way to help her celebrate?  (Plus, I sewed them entirely on my treadle sewing machine.  I'm not sure why; it just seemed like fun.)

Second, a set of 4 each placemats and napkins for my youngest daughter's kitchen table.  It was an old tale that she picked up secondhand, painted a cheery turquoise, and always has set up with placemats.  So I searched for a Christmas fabric of an appropriate color, and made them for her.  I'm really pleased with my color match from 650 miles away.

Third, stuffed Christmas trees!  I found a pattern for these, and had just enough of the green fabric to make 3 trees.  Of course, I gave the first 2 to my son's kids, and the little guy hugged his and raced off to play.  The third I kept for my daughter's eldest.  I was delighted when I realized that with a little creative cutting and a different fabric, I could make a smaller tree for the baby, who is just shy of 7 months old.  Machine washable, soft and squishable, what more could anyone ask for?
 (Little guy ran off with his tree before I could take a picture; this one is his sister's.)

I'm also in the process of making matching green velvet dresses for me and the 3 little girls.  It's slow work; the fabric is really heavy.  Heck, my dress weighs in excess of 2 pounds.  That's a lot.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Vogue Dresses: 3 from 1 pattern

I have a business trip to New York City coming up tomorrow, and I needed new, "modern" business wear for the occasion.  I went to an upscale thrift shop nearby, and scored a Calvin Klein suit jacket for $15; the fit was perfect, so I snagged a pair of Saks Fifth Avenue pumps for $7 while I was at it.  No reason to skip the good bargains, right?

Anyway, I knew I had a plaid piece of fabric at home, and thought that might mike a great business dress to go with the jacket.  I also had a pattern which Shannon used to make a court dress a few years back; other than needing to cut it 2 sizes larger than hers, it was perfect.  But since I hadn't made it before, and wasn't positive that I would get the sizing perfect, I decided to make a test dress from this paisley, which I loved.  It was a little too big, so I took it in.  I love it with my jacket.

Then I made a gray version from a lightweight cotton, a size smaller.  I gave it a test wear one day, but wasn't thrilled with the skirt. However, it did look good with my jacket.

So when I made the final version, I went with a slightly flared skirt.  And since I was short on fabric, there is no collar.  I'm absolutely delighted with my pattern matching; it's almost perfect.  And since I have not really played with plaid before, and, further, plaid requires very close matching in 2 dimensions. I thought I was pretty smart here!  This one is exactly what I had in mind when I bought this jacket.

So I sent all of these pictures to my daughters, and to Jeff, who works for a Giant American Corporation.  The girls voted for the paisley; Jeff voted for the plaid.  Patrick likes the gray best, but since I have to sit for 6 hours, the straight skirt isn't ideal.

So, that's what I've been working on these days.  No more sewing for at least a week; it's time to live through Thanksgiving!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Real Compliment

So, I went to the supermarket this afternoon; not really a surprise, I do believe that most people have that experience every so often.

It was not too cold, about 33, so I was wearing a long leather coat and some shoes I needed to try out, along with a dress that I made at Sew Camp in March.  It was my first raglan sleeved dress, and I made a complete muck of it, stitching the sleeves together at the shoulder before ripping the seams out and starting over.  Not my finest hour, but I do like this dress.

Anyway, I was paying for my chicken, milk, london broil and bread (that's all I bought), when a woman walked past me, pushing her heaping cart of food, and said, "I like your dress!"  I was stunned.  She had to be at least 20 years younger than me, so it really made my day.  She';ll probably make me smile for about a week with that offhand comment, and she didn't even realize it.

This is the dress, which I think I showed you back in April; I used the same fabric to make a little dress for Maddie, which she wore on Easter.

Oh, and the shoes?  I need to go to a business meeting, and found these Saks Fifth Avenue heels at an upscale consignment shop for $7.  Seven Dollars!  I was able to walk in them, and they make my feet look very delicate, so while I have another pair to try out, right now these are the front runners for said meeting (in NYC, which always requires a lot of walking).

Friday, November 15, 2019

Narwhal Jacket in Action!

I went on vacation with my daughter's family, and brought Nora her new jacket.  As soon as I pulled it out of my luggage, she grabbed it, put it on, asked me to snap it closed, and wandered around indoors wearing it.

I guess she likes it!

Oh, and that guy she's hauling around by the arm?  Despite the fact that you think his name is Donald, she assured me his name is "Duck Goose."

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A Bigger Narwhal Jacket!

Nora outgrew her narwhal jacket which I made her last year.  Why is that not surprising?

To recap, I got upset last year when, on Black Friday, it was 14 degrees and my daughter was putting her daughter in the car without a coat, because "they can't wear coats in the car!"  My dear friend GMarie later clarified for me that it's because jackets are too puffy and the kid could fly out of the car seat.  Whatever. This kid has a winter-long runny nose and cough, and I don't think it's right that she should be going out without a coat.  So, Ryan found me this cozy and pretty fleece, and demanded that I make something awesome out of it; a toddler's jacket it became!

I used the same pattern, S8759 from Simplicity.  Sadly, the pattern stops at 24 pounds.  So I added a little in girth, about 4" in length, and made a new one for this year.  Here you have Tigger modeling it for you. 

I did a great job of matching the narwhal pattern for the pockets; I have to thank GMarie for inspiring me to try.  Seriously, have you seen her mad pattern matching skills?  The lady is awesome.

 Excuse Tigger's tail blocking your view of the back; I hung it off Hepsibah to show it to you a little better.

I used plastic snaps to close it.  I did put some ribbon on the inside of the closure (which isn't really a placket, but I have no other word for it) for reinforcement, because I'm always afraid those snaps will pull right through the fabric.

And look at my nifty new labels for the children's clothes!  As long as I'm making them, I might as well flaunt it a little bit, right?

I'm going away with Shannon's family for a few days at the beginning of next month, so I'm going to bring this jacket along and give it to my girl then.  She will b very happy, I"m sure.  She seems to just love everything I make her.

Happy Weekending, everyone!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pink Boucle Skirts

In one of the bundles I bought during the September Sew Camp, there were 6 pieces of skirt fabric.  Six!  That's a lot of skirts, leaving me drooling at the prospects.

One of the pieces was a lovely pink boucle.  I decided it would make a great A-line skirt, but when I cut it, I discovered that there was enough left over for a pencil skirt as well!  The down side of boucle is that it needs to be lined, at least in my opinion, in order to hang correctly and not stretch out with wearing.

So I started with the A-line skirt, using Simplicity pattern #S8885 (which I've made several times since I bought it this summer).  I lined it with a charcoal gray, diamond patterned lining fabric that I had around here.  An invisible zipper, and Boom! Done!  Since this skirt was lined, I didn't bother with either a waistband or facings, which makes it a little easier to finish.  I added a piece of black and white trim around the hem, but I'm not honestly certain if I love that detail.  It might just come off at some point.  (This picture was taken before I attached the trim, thus the part still hanging on the floor.)

The second skirt was McCalls #M3830.  Very simple, 2 piece skirt with darts front and back.  Nothing fancy, nothing special, just very classic.  I used the same lining for this skirt, and an invisible zipper.  In both skirts, I anchored the lining to the skirts by stitching in the seam line for the first 3" down from the top.  That prevents it fron deciding to turn itself inside out or otherwise get twisted in the wash.

Speaking of wash, I cut 4 identical pieces of the boucle, and finished all 4 edges of each 5" square.  I left one on the laundry room window sill, washed one by hand and laid it flat to dry, washed 2 in the machine and put one through the dryer while the other was also laid flat to dry.  I was delighted to see that all 4 were still identical after washing, which means that I don't have to take these skirts to the dry cleaner (which would probably be the kiss of death for them in my house).

And, I bought myself some garment labels; sometimes I even remember to use them! (And isn't that lining pretty?)

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

4 Yards of Green Linen....

....yields so many things!

At the June Sew Camp, I got 4 yards of this green linen border print.  It's a really nice fabric, with plenty of body and drape all at the same time.  The first thing I did was make a Simplicity dress (which I've made 3 other times, as well).  I had some brown gauze on my shelf, so was able to use that for the waist ties (which are 4' long sashes sewn into the side seams, and wrapped around back before being tied in the front).  The picture in the mirror is me wearing it on the way out the door to fly to Kellie's house for a long weekend; the picture hanging gives you a better idea of how the pattern changes from the top to the bottom of the fabric.

I've been working on a maxi skirt pattern for a couple of months; I've made 2 previous ones, trying to get the waist and length correct.  Who knew that it would be this hard?  Finally, the weekend before last, I felt that I had it figured out enough to cut into the green linen.

I'm really delighted with how the border flows around the hem of the dress, while it isn't obvious that it doesn't exactly follow the curvature of the hem.  The pattern gradation from hem up is more evident in this skirt; I really like the change in the flowers over the distance from waist to hem.  I'm a little less delighted that Hepsibah is evidently shorter from waist to floor than I am;  I might have to make her taller.  This pattern is really easy; it only takes a couple of hours to assemble.  (I've also made several above knee length versions from this pattern, so you know I like it).

Finally, I fussy cut an 8 gore skirt from the remnants at the opposite end of the fabric, because I couldn't see throwing out so much fabric.  I like it.

There wasn't a long enough piece to make a waistband, so I put in a facing.  And the flowers are upside down, but that's OK.  It makes them look a little like modern art.

I figured out earlier this summer that facings would stay in place if I "stitch in the ditch" along the seam lines to hold the facing in place, and said stitching won't show.  Well, except from 4" away, where no one should be anyway unless they want me to clobber them. ;-)

So, green linen border print!  I'm so pleased with these garments!

Happy (late) Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, October 7, 2019

Apple Festival Dress!

I bought this pattern at a sale in either February or March, and have really wanted to make it since.  This weekend, the fabric and pattern came together for a nice soft dress from a pretty thick knit purchased in a bundle at the September Sew Camp.

The pattern is for a "mock wrap" dress with raglan sleeves.  It isn't complicated, but the directions for the dress were: Because they call it an "amazing fit" dress, they instruct you to baste it together entirely with the seams on the outside, try it on, adjust the seams as necessary and try on again, until the fit is right.  Then you're to mark up your pattern pieces, take it apart and sew it together properly.  OK, I get that they're telling you to fit the dress to yourself, but why not baste it together so the seams are inside, as is normal, which still enables you to try it on?  Then, if it needs adjustment, you can put it on inside out and mark up the dress on the inside, and from there mark up the pattern.  Not just duplicated work, but extra work.  I hate when people don't think things like that through.

The fit on this pattern was good, if you follow your measurements.  They have different front bodice pieces to configure to each individual's contours; likewise, the back comes in slim fit, normal fit or curvy pieces.  All of that is thoughtful, really, and does contribute to making the fit very good.

Another thing I didn't like: the instructions said to cut pieces of bias tape, stitch them to the neckline, then fold under and sew down.  Instead, I cut 1.5" wide pieces of the same fabric, folded it in half and serged along the neckline, then topstitched it so it would stand up.  A little stretch along the neckline pieces will surely make the fit that much better.

I have a piece of fabric which I purchased in June that looks very much like the dress on the front of the envelope, so this dress will probably make a reappearance next spring.  Meanwhile, I'll b wearing it to an apple festival with several of my children and grandchildren on Saturday.  They had me at apple dumplings and cider.  There might even be a picture of me wearing it; you never can tell.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

What I wore Thursday

I made this top about 3 weeks ago, and the skirt last Wednesday.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't dream of wearing a top with little spots on it (to me, it looks almost like the starry sky out in Wyoming at a new moon) with a patterned skirt.  But the colors were so close to the same that it all just worked out.

I used a pattern I've had at least a decade for both of these.  The Simplicity  S4368 was an entire wardrobe pattern, with the top, skirt, pants and a jacket, and created by Threads magazine (judging by the envelope, anyway).  I've never made a non-stretch, pullover top before, and so was nervous about this one, however, the rayon performed very nicely, and looks good.  There are little pintucks at the neckline to give it a little shape.  It can be worn tucked in, as Hepsibah is modeling, or loose.  My preference, if worn loose, would be to add a belt over the top, so I retain some waistline definition.

  The skirt is a twill with a slight stretch and plenty of body.  The skirt fits closely to the hip and then flares out a fair amount, and I love this profile.  I've also gotten the invisible zipper insertion down pretty well, and I love how the tab hides with this fabric!  I've made a couple of skirts with this pattern since rediscovering it about 6 weeks ago, and 3 versions of the top.  This outfit felt good to wear, despite the fact that it turned cold Thursday, but this top is done for the season, as are its twins; even with the heat running, I feel the chill.

I'm going to try to post a little more here, but time passes by.  I'm currently working on a few pieces to take on vacation with Shannon's family in a few weeks.  You know the boys are going to be despondent without their personal chef around!

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Introducing Hepsibah

Many years ago, somewhere around the time I was born, my grandmother, who was a very talented artist and seamstress, made a 4 foot tall Easter Bunny.  True to her quirky style and sense of humor, she named this bunny Hepsibah.

I loved Hepsibah.  She was around for my christening (at 6 months old, in my grandmother's house, with my mother), and every Easter for many years.  At some point, Hepsibah stopped coming out for Easter; I really don't know what happened to her, but I'm certain she's in a landfill somewhere.

So, I've been thinking about getting a mannequin to help me with figuring out what fabrics want to be, and to make taking pictures of finished objects easier.  When you only have yourself, getting a good picture becomes torturous.  Plus, it's 65 degrees and cloudy here, and, being September, the weather is only going to get worse.  Those are the rules: in December, it's darn cold, and in January, venture outside without 6 layers of clothes at your own peril.  And my autofocus is having issues figuring out what's me and what's the background when I take indoor pictures, so I have many blurry photos.

Anyway, the new Hepsibah is here to try and help me; she's very close to my size.  But if the original Hepsibah were still around, you know I'd be trying to figure out how to fit dresses over that upraised arm, because those pictures would be awesome!

Happy Sunday, everyone!