Thursday, April 28, 2011

Updated picture of my yellow floral "tunic"

When I first blogged about this blouse, I had made it to wear during pregnancy. Except it ended up too tight so never got worn then. When I tried it on a month or two ago, I decided the hem was too long. (I always think tunics are cute but never seem to like them on my body.) It then sat in my mending pile for awhile until I finally got around to fixing it. Aren't alterations a pain?

What do you think? I really like the new length, and only have issue with the warmth of polyester fabric during summer months.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simplicity 2668 - Brown w/ white polka dots baby dress

Surprise! Rachel's and my Easter dresses matched! You might be rolling your eyes or think it's super corny, but I have always wanted to do that if I ever had a daughter. It just seems special to me. And it's not like every dress in her closet has to match mine. She'll probably think it's really un-cool 10 years down the road, but for now it was fun.

Notice her dress has a little bow over the left shoulder just like mine. I did the bottom panel in pink to make it girly and young. I bought some white lacy trim to stitch where the two fabrics come together, but decided against it at the last minute. Also notice the pink bias tape I used to finish the armholes. That was just for fun.

Here's the story on this dress. I procrastinated and finished it up right before midnight on Saturday. Sunday morning rolled around and we weren't running early. (We never are, really.) I figured we would just take pictures after church like we did last year. I wasn't thinking about the fact that Rachel is a baby and her dress would be wrinkled and spit up upon several times, nor that she'd be exhausted when we got home and only interested in going to bed. So here we are a few days later after a fresh washing and pressing, but still looking ever so smart and sassy!

This pose cracks me up. It's a little blurry, but I love how she appears to be dancing.

This was suppose to show you a close up of the bow, but getting a baby to cooperate during a photo shoot is so difficult. I finally gave up.

I still want to get some pictures of us both wearing our matching dresses.

BTW, my Vogue 1176 dress was featured on Vogue's facebook page. I'm not a huge facebook user, but I think the pattern pages are so fun! I've discovered some new talented seamstresses through them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vogue 1176 - Michael Kors brown w/ white polka dots dress

This is my Easter dress for 2011. I didn't get one made last year while I was pregnant and was determined to finish it this time around. (And for the record this was completed by Wednesday evening, but I was asked to help out at my church's AWANA club meeting that night, so am just getting around to taking pictures today.)

Gorgeous, right? I LOVE this design. It's simple, sophisticated and a little retro all at the same time. The pattern was a dream and all fit together perfectly. I couldn't wrap my mind around how that front tucked area worked until I actually had the fabric cut out and followed the instructions.

I knew when I first saw this pattern that I wanted it in a polka dot like the envelope dress. Only I couldn't find a polka dot in grown up colors for anything! I looked for months before finally locating a few on I bought this one and another in navy and white. They were both 100% cotton, but this one was a bit beefier so I went with it. The lining is a silky polyester something or another that I've had forever. It raveled like nobody's business but was thicker then normal lining fabric so was easier to work with.

Since this dress has a full lining, I decided to fit the lining first and eliminate any need to muslin. Then I could just cut the polka dotted fabric out and stitch it up without any issues. The problem was, the main fabric and lining fabric are totally different and did not behave in the same ways. I got the lining to fit like a glove and then had to totally refit the main body fabric to have it tailored to my form. I let this seam out and pulled that one in, over and over, and it is simply an answer to prayer that this thing fits and all the seams lined up. Honestly!

Here at the side is the invisible zipper. I restitched the bottom part below the waist seam several times and finally had to throw it in the dryer on hot to get the fabric to shrink back to normal.

I added the pink shoes for a little pop of color. And also to match Rachel's dress, which you shall see soon.

Oh, I just love this front bow area. SO CUTE! The fact that this is a Michael Kors design just has me brimming with pride. I don't know that many designers, but I certainly know him, and I am tempted to tell people this is one of his dresses without any further information. I won't, but I'm tempted.

Notice how the width of the top pleat is exactly the same as and lines up perfectly with the shoulder strap. This is fantastic drafting, people. This is the kind of detail that makes me happy.

Okay, here are the changes I made:
1. Took in the front bust cup seams 1/4" on the lining, and then had to really pull in the one vertical bust seams on the outer fabric. It is not at all a fitted seam and if you want a good fit you are going to have to adjust yours as well.
2. Shortened the length by 3" and eliminated the back slit. I always eliminate back vents when possible - just my personal preference.
3. Interfaced the neckline facings. Really, this is a must IMO.
4. Cut down the width of both bows by 1 1/4". They looked a tad disproportionately long to my eye.

And since I knew I'd be cold in church, I bought a white cabled cardigan at Target the other day to match. The buttons were plain and casual, so I replaced them with a bit of bling. JoAnn's is currently having a 50% off sale on buttons. I toted all my summer projects there in 3 large shopping bags and stocked up!

I love this dress. Truly. I haven't been this excited about a finished project in a really long time. It fits perfectly and I feel so pretty wearing it. It has restored my confidence and I'm back to loving this hobby once again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

May Burda picks

Guess what showed up today in my mailbox? My oldest came running up the driveway grinning from ear to ear and shouting "Mama! Your fabric magazine is here!!!" Haha. He knows me so well. I was excited to see it, even though I watch for the preview each month on the Russian Burda site. Here are my picks:

Dress 106 is suppose to be for tall people. I'm not tall, but it will be easy enough to shorten. I always like clothing that has tummy ruching - it's ever so flattering. That neckline looks a little low and will need to be raised. This is for a knit and will be saved for winter sewing.
Cute, right? I'll probably opt for a less loud print.

Okay, jacket 113 is by far my favorite design in this month's offerings. Honestly, I've not been this excited over a jacket pattern since this pattern back in 2008. I like fitted jackets with lots of details. This one looks pretty perfect. In fact, I already bought some army green textured cotton fabric from JoAnn's with this jacket in mind. I'll be purchasing the buttons at the next 50% off sale. After all, it takes 20 buttons! I might as well get them half price.

Here it is, all made up in denim. I just LOVE it!Top/short dress 114 is cute with skinny lace trim inserts and a smocked neckline, with some blanket stitch thrown in for more interest. The smocking directions definitely have me scratching my head, though.
Long skirts are not something I like to wear. My legs are my favorite feature, so I usually like to show them if I'm wearing a skirt or a dress. However, I really like the dyed fabric treatment described in full detail in the directions for this skirt. I'll certainly be trying it, but most likely on a shorter style.

Vogue 1176 was suppose to be completed last night, but that silly side zipper has given me fits. I had to dampen my fabric and throw it in the dryer on hot in order to get the fabric back to its original non-stretched state. I'm skipping a girls night out tonight to get it finished up. Good grief! It's looking adorable though, so is worth all the hard work. Pictures tomorrow... I hope!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gratuitous baby pictures and thanks

Thanks so much to everyone who chimed in on the breastfeeding issue. I just wanted to let you all know that I have NOT decided to stop nursing. I had my milk tested and it has higher calories then formula so there is no reason to switch. The pediatric endocrinologist also gave Rachel a clean bill of health. I suppose there might be a few more visits to specialists in the near future, but I have decided to stop worrying about her weight and just enjoy her for the joy she brings us.

I bought this dress last summer in anticipation of having another large baby. When she was born I was a little sad that so many clothes I bought her would never be worn. However, since she's still very tiny, I am finding that lots of them are fitting this spring. (This dress is size 0-3 months and hits right at the knees.)

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I have changed my pattern choice for my Easter dress. I decided not to make Vogue 1174 right now since the top has to fit so snugly and the girls will be shrinking down to regular size after I'm done nursing. Vogue 1176 was my next choice, and aside from a few minor fitting issues, it should be done by tonight. Then it'll be a race to see if I can get Rachel's dress completed by Sunday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

McCall's 6243 - The Patricia dress

Two weeks ago when my friend Pat was over for her sewing lesson, I happened to mention that my newest project contained several exposed zippers. She expressly let it be known that she was not a fan of the trend; that in her opinion zippers ought to be kept on the insides of garments and not used as decoration. So, as this dress has not one but three exposed zippers, and also because I enjoy being ornery from time to time, I have named this dress after her. Ha!
It's pretty loud. Feel free to get your sunnies!

This pattern is designed for a knit. But for some reason I got it in my mind to use this stretch cotton sateen in lieu of that. You'd think I would be smarter about it, seeing as how I have had more then my fair share of wadders lately. It certainly did present a number of fitting problems, but in the end I'm happy with it.

This fabric was purchased from Ebay and the zippers I ordered from They have a HUGE selection and you are sure to find just exactly what you want. (It makes me feel so special to order things from NYC.) I also ordered the perfect zipper to match this dress, but will have to find some other project to use it for.

On of the main problems that came up was the bagginess of the fabric under the bust. I remedied that by adding in vertical darts and pinning them in with the help of my dressform. That thing is so handy! When I restitched the panel under the darts, I had to cut off some of the sides to even them up. The front is actually a really good fit.

Aren't those bright pink zippers fun? I moved the front zippers 2 inches in from the side and shoulder seams. I also widened the neckline slightly because it was choking me a little.

The back is a little tight. I have purposefully put on a few pounds in the last few weeks. My daughter is very skinny and every time I bring her to the doctor for a well baby check-up, the doctor can't seem to talk about anything but her weight. She now has to be seen by a dietitian once a month and it has been recommended to me that I pump and add formula to breastmilk and feed it to her in a bottle. This is a pain and will take me a lot longer to feed her. The dietitian also said I could give up the breastfeeding and just do formula - she seems to think my milk doesn't contain enough calories. I don't want to do that either. I have issues with some of the ingredients in formula, not to mention it is very expensive. SO, all that to say I have been trying to eat more calories and more fat in order to boost the fat in my breastmilk. We shall see. I am having it tested at a lactation center on Tuesday. It would be awesome if I could solve the problem through my diet, but there is also the possibility that she has some sort of hormone imbalance. Tomorrow we go to the pediatric endocrinologist to see about that. Big sigh. I really don't love doctors.

Too much information for you?

Here it is on Her Highness and the fit is great. Notice that I had to add darts to the back as well.

Besides the fit issues, the inside finishing was a lot of work. ALL the seams except for the shoulders were finished with bias tape. The zippers were sewn in by hand and then the fabric around them was zigzagged to the zippers with hot pink thread. I finished the neckline and armholes with even more bias tape.

Whew! I'm ready for a new project. Up next is Vogue 1174, which will be my Easter dress. I found the perfect little matching sweater, so it has been approved to be worn to church. I'll be making and posting a muslin in the next few days. I'm very excited to sew my first strapless dress!