Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vogue 8634 + glittery skirt = Holiday outfit

Here's the outfit I made to wear to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert we attended on December 22. They play rock music so I wanted something a little edgy but Christmas-y too.

These 2 fabrics were bought independently from each other. The top is made from a cranberry wool knit from Fashion Fabrics Club and the sequined cranberry stretch wool fancy (whatever that means) is from Hancock Fabrics. I have a ton of the wool knit left over and will probably do some sort of skirt with it. They were both easy fabrics to work with and the top was simple enough to be finished in a day or so.

The skirt was a good two week ordeal. I should have just done a simple straight skirt from my TNT straight skirt pattern but no, I seem to like to complicate things. The top was so simple that I thought I needed something with interest for the skirt. I muslined a skirt from Burda but the fit was way off and I didn't feel like doing the necessary alterations to make it work. Then I cut the fabric for a pleated mini using my TNT waistband. Well, the waistband did fit but the pleats did not take to the fabric well. And no, I did not muslin that one first. Then I had to salvage it somehow so used another pattern for a straight skirt that I'd not made previously and had to add 6 darts to the area under the waistband to make it work. The zipper I'd sewn into the center back and foolishly not tried on until after the waistband facing was completely hand sewn in place stuck out at the bottom like a tail, and no amount of fiddling with it could get it to lay smoothly. It was moved to the side seam where it now behaves itself. After all that I chose not to line it and added some wide ribbon to the inside to keep the sequins from scratching my skin/tights and to act as a hemline facing. However, I really should have lined it because the fabric bags out in the bottom when I sit down for 5 minutes. I may or may not fix that little issue but for now it is going in the back of my closet so I don't have to think of what a nightmare it was to sew. It's a good thing I made the top first because otherwise the skirt would have been in the trashcan.

I wore this outfit to the concert (and did not have the shortest skirt there by far) and also for Christmas Eve with my husband's family. They didn't say anything about it so I'm thinking they thought my skirt scandalously short and chose to ignore my festive clothing completely. What do you think - can a 30 something mom of 3 get away with a mini skirt if she's wearing dark tights and boots with it?

I am cleansing my palette from the nightmare skirt with a very fun little lined jacket. It is coming along s-l-o-w-l-y but now that Christmas is over I hope to finish it up quickly. And we are going to see Les Miserables in early January and I was suppose to make an entire outfit for that as well. It's not happening and I've got to figure out something else quickly.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Simplicity 2459 - Black baby overalls w/ apple embroidery

I have had these overalls completed for at least 2 weeks but haven't gotten them posted until now because:

1. I'm in some sort of blogging funk and don't feel like it.
2. This garment attracts SO MUCH lint that every time I put it on the baby she is instantly covered with hairs/dust/threads (maybe I should vacuum more...)
3. Taking pictures of something black on an uncooperative model isn't easy.

These aren't the best pictures ever but oh well. I'm going to have to live with them so I can cross this post off my to-do list.

This fabric is a small wale corduroy from Hancock fabrics. The only tough part of working with it was the cutting layout. More on that later. Rachel is a skinny baby, as I've mentioned before. I cannot find any pants to fit her because if they fit in the waist, they are super short in length. Good thing I can sew. I made these in an x-small for the width and a medium for the length. The straps could stand to be a little longer as they're already buttoned at the last button hole.

Please ignore the Target bags. It's about impossible to get a picture of her not turning to look at me!
I liked the elastic casings at the outer legs that you might be able to see if you stare long enough. The back straps meet in a V which I also though was cute. I did NOT LOVE the snap tape at the inner leg seam. Ugh! What a pain! Plus, she wiggles so much when I'm trying to re-snap them that it's not any easier having diaper access that way. The next pair will not have it.

Now because of the evenly spaced apples, I had to be careful when laying this out that the apples continued the same spacing across the center front/back of the legs and the bib. If you look back at the top picture, you will notice that the apples along the outer leg seams are a lot more clustered. There was no way around this.

I am planning to make this again, maybe in denim. The ruffly dress from this pattern is also really cute and is the reason I bought it in the first place:

Friday, December 9, 2011

December Burda picks

I told you last month I'd be purchasing the magazine for December as well. If you are interested in where I get them, I order from GLP International. They charge $10 per issue, and that's with the shipping included.

The reason I had to have this month's copy is because of this coat:

I love all the seaming, the Peter Pan collar, the oversized pockets. I really want the exact ivory color as seen on the example, but lighter color wool coatings are hard to find. There seem to be an over-abundance of dark and muted colors available from the online fabric stores I frequent, but hardly any bright or light hues.

Skirt 105 is also a pretty, flattering style. It reminds me a lot of this skirt, but without the front ruffle. I also very much like the skirt suit they've created with the shortened version of 104, but think all the beautiful seaming on the jacket is lost by using such a textured fabric.

Dress 107 is gorgeous! Love the intricate tucks of the bodice, fitted & shaped midriff panel, double ruffled sleeves. There are a few things I'd tweak about it - mainly those front gathers below the midriff panel and the unnecessary vertical seams in the front and back bodice.

Faux fur jacket 113 is the sewing course for this month. I have seen these little fur jackets popping up everywhere lately and want one too! It should be an easy project to whip up using some fabric that's been languishing in my stash for at least 5 years.

 Lastly, I really like the looks of gown 129, even though I have no where to wear it nor any possible reason in the future to need an evening gown. Maybe I could use it if I cut it knee length...

The January preview is already online here, but there's really nothing much that interests me in it. Perhaps this is the last copy I'll purchase for awhile. Are there any of your favorites that I've missed?

I was going to post Rachel's new overalls earlier this week, but she got them dirty before I could take any pictures. Kids are so messy! Anyway, they have been laundered so I should be able to snap some pics later today.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Butterick 5521 - Mixed materials sheath dress

I saw a picture of this Johathan Saunders dress on Michelle Obama months ago and absolutely adored it. The mixture of fabrics really resonated with me, and I knew I wanted to make something similar.

However, finding the right materials proved something of a challenge. I had the black leather already in my stash, and was able to purchase the black wool gabardine quickly, but the dark gray tweed was a challenge. I thought I had some at one point but it sold out before my order was cut (an online purchase.) All of my local stores had some in polyester, but if I was using leather and wool for part of the dress, I really didn't want to use polyester for the main body. Just when I had given up the search, look what I found at the Goodwill secondhand store:

It was a Ralph Lauren 100% lambswool gray tweed maxi skirt in size 2P which was too small for me even if I liked wearing maxi skirts. But the fabric was LOVELY and at $2.99 I couldn't pass it up. I was just barely able to squeeze out the necessary pieces to make my dress, and had to put a vertical seam in the back bodice area that is hopefully not very noticeable.

And no, it is not an exact copy of the inspiration dress but I am okay with that since I didn't have to do any pattern drafting. (It was really cold and windy the day these pictures were taken. My face is saying oh-my-gosh-I'm-SO-cold-hurry-up-and-snap-the-picture-already!) I did make a muslin and only had a few minor tweaks at the hips and center front bodice. The pattern did not call for any interfacing and I didn't put any in, but now I'm wishing I had along that center front slit. As is I had to spray some starch on it to get it stiff enough to hold its shape.

I have this thing about sleeveless winter dresses. Maybe it's because I like long sleeved dress a lot, I don't know. Anyway, my plan was to include sleeves even though my inspiration dress didn't have any. I cut some out and stitched one to the dress but really didn't like the looks of it. By this point, of course, the bodice had been completed and the zipper was in. This forced me to iron the SAs in on both the dress and lining and stitch them together invisibly by hand. 

I think this was a good project for my first go at sewing with leather. The amount necessary was relatively small and didn't make me quite so nervous of making a mistake with it. At first I glued the leather SA to the outside leather where it gets folded back, but that was noticeable from the outside. So I found our rubber mallet and hammered them down instead.

Here you can see where I had to piece the center backs together because of fabric limitations. I hated to do it but now think it blends in perfectly. Also, this pattern was top notch for having all the various pieces come together neatly. Notice how the width of the flanges is the exact same as the distance between the back skirt darts:
The leather flanges were backed in the same black wool as the dress sides.
Here is the pattern envelope picture:

This dress fulfills item #5 in my fall/winter must haves list and I absolutely adore it. I have two more projects almost complete including some overalls for my little girl. Hopefully I'll get at least one posted by Sunday. I hope you all have a really great weekend!