Thursday, April 14, 2016

When I have several projects planned, especially when I have the accoutrements waiting for me at home, I tend to daydream. If I could only have more time to sew!

First you may be wondering about my absence. I read once that a good blogger doesn't acknowledge a lapse in writing because it's boring for new readers to see. I promise more interesting content further down and by the end of this post you'll have totally forgotten about the boring stuff!

In early 2015 my marriage started to crumble. It was a long and difficult process. I fell into depression, but I also had a lot to do so I had to stay functional. We had to sell our house as part of the process, so I had to begin packing, cleaning, and all around preparing for the sale. As part of this, my biggest vice had to be packed away. Sewing. Creating. Not that I was in the mood to do much other than imitate an armadillo hiding under blankets, but once the work on the house was done, I was emotionally and physically spent. It was awful. Fast forward, I moved into my own apartment and situated myself in a new life. Instantly I was much happier! However with all the changes, it took several more months to muster up the energy to start sewing again.
Peace out, world.
I have some selfless sewing projects to do, but in order to get my sewjo back I wanted to start with something selfish. Preferably easy as well. I had been lusting over an awesome bird print dress on Modcloth, but when it finally went on sale (read: became affordable) it was sold out of my size. That's okay, most of the dresses I love on there have colorful, funky prints, and are of a fit and flare type silhouette. Enter, my fast becoming favorite, the BHL Kim dress.
I found myself some similar, even better and more colorful fabric, and went full speed ahead!

Michael Miller Flock Birds, Navy
The fit could still be improved, but I'm head over heels in love with this dress.
Now I find myself getting excited over my projects again. My next project, which has since been put on the back burner, was just as mind-blowingly exciting as every other project my brain concocts. I won't go into detail now, but picture this; Bruyere mashed with the pleated full skirt of McCalls 6696. Indigo, polka dot chambray. YELLOW WOODEN BUTTONS. Holy buckets, this makes me so excited.

Okay but we can't get too excited over that just yet, because I booked a trip to visit my family in Orlando so obviously I need to make summery things first. By May.

Ever since I saw Heather Lou's 70s maxi dress, I've had it pinned to copy. For whatever god knows reason I decided that I MUST MAKE THIS NOW FOR FLORIDA RIGHT NOW MUST BE NOW. Oh, and to make it even more challenging, I'm going to ombre dye it.
First things first, I had to find the pattern. Heather uses Butterick 3407, but it's a hell of a pattern to find. JK, I did find it, but it was like $35. #nope. So I spent like two solid days scouring Etsy, Ebay, Google for 70s maxi dresses. (Because god forbid I wait longer than RIGHTNOW to do something.) Vintage maxi dresses. 70s dresses. Boy, did I go down a rabbit hole in this search! Also, 90s is now vintage. Isn't that sad? I'm pretty sure my mom made me some of the patterns that I came across on Etsy. At least we poured over them when we spent endless hours at the craft store looking at those giant pattern catalogs. I finally found this pattern, and having compared it to Butterick 3407's pattern pieces, I think they are pretty similar. At least as close as I was going to get.
Vogue 1530
This pattern shows the straps crossing in front (which are then tacked down together), but they feed through a casing in the front which causes the front to be all sorts of billowy, so I don't see why I can't just not cross them to have the same scoop neck effect of 3407. In fact, 3407 has that same option. Bonus, instead of the elastic back of the 3407, this one is straight across and ends in spaghetti straps in the back. Strapless bra still required, but weight of the dress is no longer on my neck.

I was a little concerned because I didn't actually buy this in my size (do vintage patterns ever come in "my size"??? no), but I figured with all the extra ease for the billowiness, there should be plenty of room for my ladies. I measured the pattern for the finished measurements, and sure enough there is plenty of room.

Since I'm dip dying the dress, I bought a simple white bamboo rayon jersey material, which is presently sitting in my dryer just chomping at the bit to be cut into. Actually I'm the one chomping at the bit, but for now I have to stick to daydreaming until I can get my paws on it later tonight!

Finally, a Beautiful Bruyere

Saturday, March 28, 2015

As soon as Deer & Doe released the Bruyere pattern, I was smitten. Completely in love. I'm not really one to wear button down shirts because being short waisted they are often difficult to buy in RTW that fit.
Of course the beauty in sewing is the ability to make items that are tailored to my unique shape, but button down shirts are also fairly intimidating. I've made items with several patter n pieces, so that wasn't intimidating, but all the detail in a button down shirt was. The collar, the cuffs, the shape, the buttons, and let's not forget - the topstitching.

I bought the most delicious light grey and white dot fabric from Blackbird Fabrics (sold out, but still available in navy/white) and knew the fabric and Bruyere were a match made in Heaven. I wanted to be sure that my Bruyere turned out perfectly, so I made a muslin to check the fit. I traced the pattern several months ago and my weight has dropped since then, so my muslin was a bit loose. I also found that the sleeve dropped off the shoulder quite a bit, so I shaved about 1/2" off the shoulders.

Even after having my muslin put together, it took me quite a while to actually sew my shirt. I was intimidated by it, so I favored easier and faster projects over my dear Bruyere. Finally one weekend I decided, we're doing this!!
I discovered that making a button down shirt is very satisfying! This is by far my favorite thing that I have ever made, and I plan to wear it far more than actually appropriate. I'm super impressed with myself and see more button down tops in my future. Yay for advancing skillz!!

Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I read on Tanya's blog about the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge, and instantly knew I had to be part of it. It's no secret how much I adore my pugs, even my blog is named after my sweet Lily.

The challenge is to sew something dog related, or something for your dog. The ladies hosting the challenge have some really awesome sponsors for the prizes, which only sweetened the deal for me to participate.

I had a lot on my plate during February, so I had a hard time thinking of what I was going to make for this challenge. I sort of wanted to make something for myself, but I just couldn't fit another project on my plate. I decided I would make something for the Pugs and scoured my scraps stash for inspiration.

I found scraps of one of my Myrtle dresses (listed on my Top 5 of 2014 list), as well as scraps from my Nettie bodysuit (not blogged) for a pop of solid color to break up the print. I decided to make little matching dresses for my girls. I thought I would be able to draft a pattern based off one of their existing outfits, but that day I simply couldn't wrap my head around it and googled a pattern. I found this website, chock full of various styles all for free, and decided on the Winter Dress pattern.

Due to the sizes that the girls fit into, I only used the bodice portion of the pattern and cut them shorter to allow for the skirt. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted a solid piece to break up the pattern so I made a faux belt which I attached at the waist seam and side seams to secure it in place. I then gathered a solid rectangle for the skirts, and turned and stitched to finish the neck and arm holes.
These are the most adorable things I've ever made. It's a shame Miley prefers being a nudist, because they are both awfully cute in their dresses. It reminds me of when my sister and I dressed up in matching dresses for Easter.
I definitely found inspiration in seeing what everyone else has made. In particular, Heather's pug Alder shirtdress. This was the same fabric I was looking at when considering making something for myself, but seeing Heather's dress made me want to make something with that fabric too! I've already purchased the fabric, hopefully by next weekend I'll be working on a new pug themed Sewaholic Granville shirt.

I've Been Featured on Layla's Elaborations!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just a quick note to bring your attention to this post, written by my friend Layla, about yours truly. I'm so honored that she asked to interview and feature me on her blog. She's doing a series featuring some of the awesome, inspiring people in her life.

Layla herself is pretty damn cool, and sells gorgeous handmade jewelry that can be found on her website, Layla's Elaborations.

Be sure to check out her jewelry, and her feature on me!

Mimi Blouse in Owls!

A couple months ago this rayon owl fabric from became super popular among some of us on Instagram. I saw it on someone's feed and knew I had to have it. 
RAYON OWLS. They look like smart owls to me! Smart enough that it's possible they all hold jobs delivering mail to lucky wizards or something like that.
I knew I wanted to make a button down blouse with a collar. I initially wanted a button back, Peter Pan collar top, but no patterns really stood out to me that seemed appropriate. For Christmas however I bought myself Tilly Walne's book Love at First Stitch, Demystifying Dressmaking. I drank that sucker up. First, Tilly is just a doll and we need to be friends. Also the patterns in the book are just adorable. Enter the Mimi blouse! 
As per my usual, I stalked the interwebs about the Mimi blouse before I made it. Many people mentioned that it has quite a lot of ease in it, good for tucking in and blousing, however I prefer a bit less ease in my tops. I ended up making a blouse two sizes smaller than my measurements indicated but I was confident that I would be comfortable, able to tuck it in, while not having excess ease that I feel is unflattering on me.
I have decided that fusible interfacing kind of sucks, especially on facings. I always use woven interfacing but wanted to preserve the fluidity of the rayon. I wanted to keep my blouse soft, not just to the touch but also to the eye. I decided to try using muslin as sew in interfacing and it worked pretty well! It keeps my collar nice and "soft" while keeping the neck and front facings comfortable to wear.
The size range in the book does not extend too far, but with this blouse and some of the other patterns in the book there is enough ease that there doesn't need to be much grading of sizes going on. (I have also made the Margot pajama pants from the book in my proper size according to my measurements and they're quite loose!) I did however grade the sleeves out to the largest size at the bottom because I find sleeves can be a bit tight there for me. As they are now, they're quite comfortable to wear.  
Blue and orange, one of my favorite yet unexpected color combinations.
This blouse has a ton of sweet details that makes me very proud to have made this top. Besides the obvious Chelsea collar and button down front, there are gathers at the front and back yoke, sleeve cap as well as a sweet tulip pleat detail on the sleeves. I find the blouse to be on the short side however so this may need to be lengthened for most people.
I absolutely adore this top and it is now part of my work and casual wardrobe rotation. Have you peeked in Tilly's book? It's darling!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Well, plans change.  Priorities change. Newer, shinier things come up!  Well, nothing is really shinier than my plans for a gorgeous Bruyere and Gingers.  But LOOK AT THIS FABRIC!

Owls!  Somehow I see these as Smart Looking Owls.  Smart Owls that obviously need to be made into a shirt to be put on my body.  A shirt with buttons.  And a Peter Pan collar.  See?  This is how my makes materialize.  They just come to me in complete (though sometimes blurry) visions.

Also, Tilly, the genius Tilly, made Cocos out of sweatshirt fabric.  Being that we've had negative bazillion degree weather, obviously I needed to copy this genius idea.  Since I already needed to order the owl fabric, and offers free shipping on orders over $35, I went ahead and added some sweatshirt fabric to my order.

One project I hadn't mentioned in my post listing upcoming makes is the Watson bra.  I thought I had purchased a kit from Blackbird Fabrics when they first released Watson bra kits, however I was anxiously awaiting a package in the mail after I knew all the kits had been sent out when I realized that I never received a confirmation email for my order.  Somehow my order didn't process and I failed to notice until that moment.  Wah-wah.  I waited unpatiently while new kits were restocked and have been following the Watson Sew Along posts.  When the new kits came out I quickly snagged one and verified that my order had gone through.  They were sold out, again, within a day of being posted.  Whew!

I have also promised reviews of two blouses (three, actually, but one was already planned) for the Curvy Sewing Collective to be published in March, so those will need to be underway as well.  This is in addition to the two pajama pants promised to Hubs, a copy cat shirt and chaise cover promised to a friend.  I need to get my butt moving!  Did I mention that I will also be reviewing the Watson bra for the CSC?  So, yeah.  Off we go!

A Last Minute Coco

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lately I've been really busy, and when I have had time to sew or craft it is to wrap up projects I have for other people.  Honestly, I needed a quick selfish sewing fix.  I also wanted a new dress.  Because.  Reasons.  My Tilly and the Buttons Coco (unblogged, but briefly mentioned) is now much too big to wear, which makes me sad because I wore the crap out of that adorable top.  It's in my alterations piles, but making is much more fun than altering.  Plus, I hadn't yet made the dress variation!  So, I promptly made my way to Joanns for a quick fabric fix for a quick dress fix!

I picked up this reversible dot/stripe knit from Joanns.  I made my Plantain out of the turquoise colorway so I already knew how this fabric behaves.
I debated whether to use the striped or dotted version on the outer layer of the dress.  Ultimately I decided on the dots, using the stripes as contrast where I could.  I wanted this dress to be really quick and easy to fit into my limited time, so I decided to make the dress with french seams and flip the inside out for the contrast trim.
Also shown, my new cutting mat!!
I couldn't decide which size to make, or if I should grade between sizes because I was a little bigger in the waist than the size 6.  In the end I went ahead and did a straight 6 with no alterations.  I'm really glad I went with this because it fits really well!
Pardon the bathroom pic.
I'm pretty happy with how the hem and sleeves turned out!  The lines all came out nice and straight.  This fabric is also super soft and comfy with an 82% rayon content.  Mmmmm.  It's like work pajamas!  I wore this out for a girl's night and everyone thought I bought my dress.  Yay!
Shortly after I made this, Tilly posted about sewing winter Cocos from sweatshirt fleece.  What a great idea!!!  I promptly ordered some sweatshirt fleece to make a super cozy version.  I'm happy to know I can whip out a new dress in a few hours.  Can't wait!