Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Disney Princess Goes Princess Peach - Simplicity 2813

Generally speaking, my family and I attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando every year. 

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2007
Our first MNSSHP. Obviously I'm no stranger to Princess costumes.
This year my mom and my sister are dressing up as Mario & Luigi, so naturally being the princess of the family they voted me to be Princess Peach. I knew I wanted to sew myself the costume, and a quick google search lead me to Simplicity 2813.

Simplicity 2813
 
Meant of course to be used for Disney Princesses Snow White or Cinderella, but it just so happens that Princess Peach's dress is incredibly similar in style to Cinderella's. Just a switch up of the colorway and you've got yourself a Nintendo Princess.

Princess Peach
Instantly I began plotting my dress and became ridiculously excited about sewing myself a Princess dress. Well, duh. I thought I would use glitter organza for the contrast pieces, but instead I used a shimmery organza since I couldn't find the glitter version. I also picked up some uber cheap pale pink costume satin for the main dress, fully anticipating it to be a nightmare to sew.
 
The pattern instructions either assume you just know to do certain steps, or my skillz have gotten so damn good that I've just set a higher standard for myself. The pattern barely tells you to press anything, much less to finish any seams. It's entirely possible that they don't tell you to because 1) you are likely going to wear this outfit once or twice, and don't need it to hold up well, or 2) because the bodice is lined they figure you don't need to finish your seams. For this reason I wasn't going to line it, but then I thought cotton would feel much better against my skin than cheap polyester. So things I did to bump up the quality were to press my seams open, press my darts toward the sides, and pink all my raw edges. Pretty standard things that weren't included in the pattern instructions. If I really wanted to be awesome, I could have understitched the lining too but the muslin I used to line the bodice took a pressing pretty well. I don't think I'll have any peekaboo lining issues.


I shortened the skirt by 16" to bring it up to tea length. I plan on wearing a petticoat with the outfit to boost the Princess factor. Plus, petticoats are just plain awesome. I shortened the bodice by 1/2" and used the smallest size for the neckline dip and strap widths, just because I tend to be small in the shoulders and I find patterns often make necklines too conservative for my taste. The costume satin surprisingly was not a nightmare to sew, though it does fray like the dickens. It also makes an awful sound while being sewn, like my needle is perforating the fabric. Which, it probably is. We'll see how the dress wears. I have the Halloween party as well as a Halloween ... party ... like a real one. Florida will likely be hot and schewtty, so the costume will probably go through a gentle washing between them.  Luckily I've got a wonderful bottle of Soak handy for things like this.
Dad came too.
In the end this costume turned out pretty sweet, albeit REALLY BIG.  I didn't want to redo the entire bodice, so I had Hubs pinch in the excess from the back zip.  I ended up taking out 4+ inches from the back, grading to zero at the waist.  If I had taken it in at the waist I really would have needed to redo some things since the overskirt puffs were already nicely sewn in.  It fit okay at the waist anyway.  The bodice front still gapes, a lot.  I'm only going to wear this costume this year so I'm just going to leave it as is.

One thing I am happy about is this was my first lapped zipper.  I've read tutorials but they still seemed confusing.  Funny that I should learn something like how to do a lapped zipper from a Big 4 pattern.

So. Much. Fun!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cake Patterns Hummingbird Flounce Skirt - UFO

I have wanted to make a Hummingbird skirt for a while, but I wanted to get through my current list of projects first.  As you may recall, I wrote about making a Hummingbird peplum top.  Which I did.  But ... something about it is ... off.  I've put it on a couple times, modeled for Hubs, and he says it's "fine".  Well, for some reason I don't feel like it's fine.  I think that the front waist raises up too high, and the back waist is too low because the front is raised by my chest dwellers.  So I needed to compensate for that.  For now, it's just a finished top that sits lonely in my dresser.  Cue lone violin.

Since I'm not making a coordinating Hummingbird skirt for my top, I realized that I could really use a nice black skirt for work.  Lightbulb!

I wanted to find black cotton sateen, but of course Joann's website LIES and my store didn't have or couldn't find their bottom weight black sateen.  There was grey, purple, and some other colors.  But black?  No.  Sad face.  I'm pretty sure the one I picked up was a Sew Classic Bottomweight Wrinklease.  I needed something that wasn't demin so it was work appropriate, and I wanted a dressier look.  This one has a soft feel to it so I picked it up.  Unfortunately it's only 44" wide, and it's a whore for lint.  Awesome.  I asked the cutting counter for 2 1/2 yards but there were only 2 left on the bolt.  I was still charged for 2.5.  Not that I'm bitter.  Knowing I would likely wear tights with this skirt, I also picked up some Ambiance Lining which is woven with magic and feathers.  I bought it in Blackberry, a nice deep purple, just for a fun little secret inside my pants.  Hahahaha.  Okay, let's move on from that now. 

Now my trick was to squeeze a Hummingbird skirt (with flounce) out of a measly 2 yards of narrow fabric.  I shouldn't have needed more than 2 yards, but that's on 60" width.  I said a prayer and started cutting.
Yes, I cut on my floor.
I did make it, but my waist band couldn't be cut on the fold so I have a seam in the middle.  Well, whatever.  I never wear shirts tucked in anyway.

I then had to cut most of the pieces again out of my lining fabric.  Instead of a true lining, I actually underlined all of my pieces.  Since the skirt is more form fitting I thought this would prevent any annoying wrinkles between the layers.  This also allowed the flounce to be underlined as well.

I proceeded to baste all of my lining pieces to my outer pieces.  Then came construction.  The first part to construct are the sides with the pockets.  Let me tell you.  I felt like maybe I am not good enough for this, because I could not understand how it went together.  I stared at it, willing the pieces to tell me their secrets of how to go together.  I read over the directions some more.  I made sure my pieces were all in their proper alignment, because the top side skirt has faint shaping to it.  I finally just dove in, as per the usual, and it all worked out.  As per the usual!  In the end, the pockets are really quite a cool construction.  And just like Steph says, you can take in the side seams and the pockets still retain their shape.  It's beautiful construction.

I hand picked the zipper because they are awesome.  I struggled a little bit with finishing the waist band during the stitch in the ditch process.  I stitched in the ditch, but the stitches did not fully catch the waist band on the inside.  I took it to work and finished the interior with some hand stitching.

Gorgeous.  Just look at that!  It's so freaking pretty.  I'm getting really good at this sewing stuff.
I didn't bother with measuring length but I should have.  As soon as I tried this on I realized it was far, far too long.  So ultimately this has ended up being a UFO.  It's quite sad and at some point I want to take it apart and see what I can do to save it.

TEARS. :'(

News!

Just to cover some "administrative" tasks, I've recently had surgery which kept me down for a while, and I've been losing weight very quickly which makes selfish sewing difficult when I shrink out of clothes within weeks! I've finally started to sew again and feel like I've come back to my happy place. I've been making things that can be easily altered to accommodate my on-going weight loss.

With that said, I've fallen IN LOVE with both of Colette Patterns' Myrtle and Moneta dresses! To welcome the coming Fall, I've also sewn the ultimate in cozy, a Lola dress by Victory Patterns. Let me say, I can definitely tell that my mad skillz have advanced. Not only did the many and complicated looking pieces of Lola come together like a breeze, my seam matching is BEAUTIFUL. I far exceeded my expectations of myself here!

In addition to my mad skillz, I've decided I really need to advance my photography on this blog. So I'm digging out our DSLR and becoming friends with it. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Recommendation & Giveaway!

My dear friend, Maria, has had her book published today! Check out this gorgeous cover!

Here is the description of In The Rearview:

When Meagan’s secret is found out, and she realizes there is no way to outrun her habit of cutting, she tries to work through it, and her depression, before she cuts too deep, making a mistake that can never be undone.
Meagan's problems aren't like every other adolescent's no matter how much she wishes they could be. Hers are worse. They've pulled her down into the depths of a depression that is anything but normal. She begins her pattern of self-harm as her depression threatens to drown her. She starts with one cut that leads to the next, and the next. After starting, it's apparent that there's no stopping, and Meagan spirals into a dark and cruel world she doesn't understand. Meagan cuts to feel better, but that comfort doesn't last long enough, and soon life is worse than it ever was before.
While learning to quit cutting Meagan faces life-altering obstacles and grows up in the process. IN THE REARVIEW is a story of pain, loss, confusion, and hope told through Meagan’s poems, journal entries, and a splash of narrative.
Maria is a very dear friend of mine and I can't wait to read her book! Maria Green currently lives here in Minnesota, despite its bitter winters, with her husband. She graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in English. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to read with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of sweet wine, craft, and spend time with her family. This is her first published novel. I'm so excited for Maria and encourage you to download the eBook! 
Speaking of... anyone who buys this book, in any e-version the first week it's out, August 19th - 26th, and sends Maria an email verification (screen shot your purchase confirmation, forward the confirmation email, take a picture of your computer screen - whatever works) will be entered into the drawing to win a pretty cool set of prizes. Send the emails to: magauthorgiveaway@gmail.com
There will be three winners. If you win there are a few things you will be getting. First, you will receive a gifted copy of Maria's next published book in any e-version that you prefer. Second, because there is poetry in this book, Maria will write you poem that is specifically for you. The winner can feel free to provide personal information or likes to make the poem more specialized, but that is not required by any means. Third, Maria will name a character after each winner in her next book. She says she cannot guarantee that the character will live, or be a good guy, but the winners will get to be a character in a manuscript! Fourth, and finally, each winner will get a mention, by name, in Maria's next acknowledgments page. 

You can find Maria Green on the web and social media:

Go forth and read!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Misc Shenanigans

Hi readers!  My sewing queue has been quiet for a little while, let me explain what's up.

First I went on a glorious and overdue trip to Florida to visit my family.  I got to spend time with the mouse, not to mention sunshine, and it was wonderful.

When I got home, I promptly came down with The Epic Cold of 2014.  I was miserable for another week.  Like, not a few crappy days and a few not great days, but I mean a full week of super craptacular days.  It wasn't fun.  I'm still coughing up a lung.  Being on the mend is exhausting, and I can't say I've wanted to do much besides lay on my couch.

Finally we reach today.  I have recovered some energy and my brain has cleared enough that I can function again!  However, there is another issue on the horizon.  Due to personal adventures coming up this year, I am cutting back on selfish sewing.  I am looking for projects to do for other people and have offered my services out to Facebook friends and family.  I have a couple bites, so hopefully something will come of those!

In the meantime, I still have a Coco on my to-do list.  I have the pattern, fabric, and even thread.  I just need to get around to making it.  I'm basically copying the gorgeous aqua funnel neck version that Tilly models.  So pretty!  Retro!  Yay!!

Also, now that Spring is around the corner I can finally start to think about making my Jasmine top again.  Last summer I bought pretty turquoise with white polka dot fabric from Gertie's Etsy shop and a nice white cotton for the contrast pieces.  I love the design but honestly I'm a little nervous that once I make it I will never wear it.  I'm anxious that it won't fit me properly.  I guess that's the point of sewing and fitting.  I should probably make a muslin first to check the fit.  Yeah.  That would be wise.

My mom and I on the monorail, on our way to the Magic Kingdom!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making a Frame Bag

A friend of mine saw on Facebook that I've been sewing up a storm and asked if I could sew together a frame bag for his bike.  Sure, why not?!

Google, of course, is a wealth of knowledge and he had already done a lot of research and knew what he wanted.  I had him make a card board cut out of the space where this bag could go.  He actually went about five steps further and indicated exactly where the zippers should go and where the velcro should go.  After a quick meeting I was able to get all the information I needed to make the perfect bag for him.

With the cut out I was able to create pattern pieces on Swedish Tracing Paper.  I then made a sort of muslin of the bag not only to make sure I was competent in assembling this thing, but also to measure how much fabric we needed.
I have to say, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I used a new technique illustrated in a book my mother in law gave me for Christmas to make a darted inner pocket.  This created a pocket with depth so things like a cell phone and keys.

I used Cordura 500 Denier fabric and heavy duty sport zippers.  There is 2" velcro on all sides for him to attach the bag to his bike.  My friend requested three pockets, the small one I mentioned above, a large main pocket and a lower pocket for tools and such.  Some frame bags have a velcro piece to separate these pockets, but he didn't need to have the option of combining the inner pockets.  My friend also requested a nice patch to be attached on either side for a bit of personalization.  I wasn't sure if my little Brother could handle this, in addition to the thick Cordura 500D fabric, but it handled like a dream.  All is takes is the right needle!  (With this knowledge, I just might revive my Haunted Mansion purse!)  We purchased most of the supplies from rockywoods.com.

Wanna see pictures of my masterpiece?!
Look how bravely he faces the snow!
Get me from my good side, darling.
Another addition I made to the bag was I lined the side panels and slipped thick pieces of foam between the layers to provide structure to the bag.  I am mighty proud of this bag.  I truly hope it is nice and durable, but time shall tell.  My friend also sent me a picture of the bag uniting with it's life partner:
Yes.  This I am proud of.  My friend has updated me to let me know the bag held all his belongings nicely during a long winter ride.

Yay!!

Cake Patterns Cabarita Top!

I've been eyeballing the Cake Patterns Riff Cabarita top for a while.  I already bought this adorable tonal knit from Girl Charlee just for this shirt.
I'm in love with this fabric.  It's gorgeous.  The color is hard to capture in a photo, so this swatch from Girl Charlee is the most accurate.

Cake's Riff pattern line is a condensed version of a pattern.  Simple instructions, plus the pattern.  Previous experience with knits (even better, experience with Cake Patterns) is recommended.  I wasn't 100% sure that I qualified for the project, but it didn't include any new techniques so I figured I would be okay.

Cake Patterns has an innovative sizing method where you basically trace your own size.  This keeps fitting adjustments to a minimum, which I think is pretty damn cool.  The bodies of women vary so widely, in size and shape and length and dimension, really Steph's patterns are quite genius.  This is exactly why I started sewing.  My body is so uniquely shaped that it can be hard to find off the rack clothes in the styles that I want.  Sewing allows for full customization.  What's not to love?

The only issue I had in making this top was attaching the collar.  Generally you pin right sides together, sew, then the seam gets tucked inside.  However the collar "rolls" and I was a little confused.  I think I did it right in the end, but we'll see how it wears.  Since my fabric is pretty lightweight I did add a lightweight interfacing to the collar.  I also handsewed a few tacks to keep the collar and the seam in the right place.  The collar is understitched to prevent the seam from rolling to the front, but I think the weight of the collar kept pulling it out anyway.

I also realized when I switched to my twin needle that I had been using my universal needle instead of a ballpoint.  Which explains why the stitches are a bit weird.  But, whatever.  It seems to be okay for now.

All in all, I made a top that is freaking adorbs and I love it!  I haven't gotten around to taking a legitimate picture, but I was growing impatient in posting this so here is a photo of me at work.  Here ya go:
I love this color so much that I bought a solid version for Tilly's new Coco pattern!