Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Swing Dress or "The Lurking UFO"

Friends, lovely reader Amanda posted this in the comments section of the UFO Skirt to Dress Refashion:

Nice work! I see you're also participating in the Swing Dress Sew-Along, which would be a UFO project for me except I haven't yet cut into the fashion fabric (just the muslin)! Have you been working on yours? Or maybe you posted it and I just missed it :) I'm working on 2 UFOs for this week's challenge, whoopee!

I knew I was forgetting something!  I had totally blanked on using the swing dress as my UFO. I wanted to put together a post with pictures...of my completed pattern.  My goal last night was to finish putting together all the pieces of the pattern that I had printed off at home (is that sad or what?).  Well, as much I would have liked it to, it didn't happen.  I was beat after running (marathon training has begun again - huzzah!) and just stretched while watching the movie, Timer.  I completely missed the boat on the Swing Dress Sew Along.  I wanted to participate, but seeing as how I still haven't begun work on my boyfriend's final Negroni shirt from the MPB Sew Along, maybe Sew Alongs aren't for me?

I'm not one to sew on much of a schedule.  I do try and get as much done during the weekends as possible since my time tends to be a little more open.  Weeknights are just too crazy with work and now running to have consistent available time.  I try and do little bits here and there, like this morning for instance: I have a sweater that I want to take in on the sides, so with the five minutes I had extra, I pinned the sides on my dressmaker's dummy, Emmy.  When I get home, if I have another few minutes pop up, I'll grab my tailor's chalk and mark it up proper.  Do any of you split up your sewing time like this, taking hours or minutes between steps as time becomes available?

So, Amanda, we can finish this whole Swing Dress Sew Along thing together!  Before the week ends, I'm determined to get the pieces together and some fabric cut out. Better late than never, right? Bravo on working on 2 UFOs for this week - I can't wait to see your finished projects!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Little Modesty Goes a Long Way

Happy Tuesday, Friends!  Ever since seeing the challenge of completing our UFOs, I have been rummaging through my refashion pile.  In the pile was a project long forgotten: the pregnancy shirt.  Now, I am not pregnant but you would not know it with this in its original form of a dress.  I used view B of this pattern because I loved the sleeves and this was one of the few patterns I had in my collection at that time.

I also had this fabulous maroon fabric that I picked up off the JoAnn's clearance table so long ago.  I figured, why not put the two together?

Friends, it was a disaster.  I don't know what I did wrong, but I looked pregnant and my assets were on extreme display.  I wore the shirt out once and then put it back in the pile, wondering what I could do to make it a little more modest.

Last night, I had an epiphany - why not put the vintage slip tube top I created a few weeks ago under the shirt?

Voila!  The pregnancy shirt turned out not so bad after all.

I like the back neckline and the pleats on the shoulders.  Elastic and pleats - who knew they could work so well?

Pleat detailing on the front.  Maybe it would lay flatter if I used a different fabric?

Finally, a big arms picture!  Because I am no longer afraid of falling out of my clothing.

Have you ever added detailing to a shirt to make it a little more modest?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: UFO (Unfinished Object)

It was difficult trying to choose ONE project to finish for this week's challenge. I finally settled on this skirt that I have been carrying around with me forever.  I found it in a fabric box when I worked in a costume shop and once we realized it was a half finished garment, I was allowed to take it home.  It's been travelling with me ever since.

I apologize for the blurriness of the pictures.  It is a floor length skirt with a pink waistband and pockets!  It was obviously a labor of love for someone but after working with it, I completely understand why it never was finished.

I cut off the waistband and areas with the pockets, and feeling confident, began pinning.

By the end, I had gotten rid of the front darts, taken the back darts out and put them back in, readjusted the zipper twice from the actual seam to a random slit I cut in the dress so it would look somewhat straight, re-hemmed, and made a fabric belt that was a near disaster because the fabric was disintegrating in my hands.

The skirt to dress project took about 8 hours.  To me, this is entirely too long for a refashion because I have made clothes from a pattern in less time.  I finally finished it around 10pm last night, and here it is:

I think the fabric is gorgeous, but I am going to have to attack it with fray check when I get home today.  The straps I added help with holding it up and it means I can wear regular undergarments (yay for not having to go strapless)! 

Can you see how crazy this zipper is?  It was practically wrapped around my back before.  This fabric was all over the place on my body!  Taking out the front darts helped, and the belt just helps to accentuate the waist. 

Close up of the bottom - I love color :)

In between getting crazy frustrated with the dress, I went through my items that I received at my clothing swap the night before.  I got some lovely pieces of the clothing, like this mustard tunic:

I loved the color and cut, but there was one minor problem:

One button!

So I went through my stash and found these marbleized shank buttons...and here is the result:

Happy dance!

Did you get any sewing or refashioning done this weekend?  Post your links in the comments!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vogue Patterns Summer Collection - Thoughts?

Friends, I received a lovely little email reminder that the Summer Pattern collection was available from Vogue.  Well!  Of course I could not resist taking a little peek... and I came away a little disappointed.

This dress has got some crazy bat wing details coming out of the side seams.  I don't know about you, friends, but I for one could not pull this look off.  I feel like it is trying to be an updated version of a toga, but putting draping in unflattering places.  I want to draw attention away from my hips, not towards that area.

Again, this would draw too much attention to my hips.  Is it bad that I am not completely wild about their fabric choice on the model? 

Vogue, you're killing me here.  What am I supposed to do with those wings?  Or are those pockets?  I could carry my groceries home in this.  That is one way to do strength training for the marathon!

No, no, no.  This is going to be on an Ugly Pattern list someday.  Jumpsuits have a short lived life, which is why I'm going to make my romper from my McCall's pattern and wear it during the summer before it goes out of style for 20 years.

I am iffy about this.  I think I may have too many curves to pull off such a slimming style, but I love the neckline.  So interesting - I would love to see more details like this in patterns!

I don't know.  It could work.  I'm just not feeling anything about it.  The jacket has draping details that are nice, but I know for a fact that I cannot carry off a skirt like that. The sheath dress has an interesting detail, but I feel that with a little drafting, I could alter a sheath dress pattern that was already in my collection.

I usually check out the pattern collections for their Vintage Vogue options, because these are affordable reproduction(ish) patterns!  Who wouldn't be excited?  Well, I don't think I have many places that I could wear the number below.  Is it just me, or is this dress a wee bit Cinderella at the ball? 

I like the colors they used for this, and I would probably shorten the hem to make it more attractive on me.  I like the draped neckline and band in the middle - though I would probably make it in one fabric rather than several.

Ok, these are the patterns that I love:

The fabric choice has totally swayed my opinion in this pattern.  The colors work so well and the neckline is almost a V but has some curve to it, as well as gathering around the side panel, that I find intriguing.

I ADORE this.  I have developed a new love for wrap dresses and this is simplistic and divine.  Love the neckline with a passion.

And finally, Vogue redeems itself with this Vintage Vogue pattern.  I will take one of these in green silk jersey, please.

Friends, what are your thoughts?  Please let me know your opinions - I would love see what you think of the new collection!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Pattern Covers! Or "I was out drinking last night and this is my brunch outfit"

The challenge this week was to "not judge a pattern by its cover."  I picked this pattern, which I have had for at least five years, from my stash.  Why have I not created anything from it?  Because the model looks angry...and slightly vampire-ish.

I won't lie, I really love seeing patterns with people on the front smiling, or mid twirl, or even drawings - I feel these are "fun" and show me that the clothes are "fun."  This model does not appear to be having a great deal of fun.  She gives a slight smile in two of the pictures, and her posture is unsure or bland.  I also want to speak with whoever did her makeup as they made her eyes entirely too dark for a pastel outfit (in my opinion).  She is fair haired and fair skinned and her eyes draw all attention from the outfit and any other distinguishing features.  I feel as though she went to a concert the night before and came home at 6 am and then her family woke her up for brunch and her mother said, "Why don't you wear that outfit in your closet that we bought you for graduation so many years ago?" and because she was exhausted (and maybe a wee bit hungover), she did it.  These pictures show the result.

And so this pattern shall be known as "I was out drinking last night and this is my brunch outfit."

I decided to jazz it up a little, since I am not able to pull off pastels convincingly, and use a floral fabric that I had just a wee bit of....and here is the result:

I even have flowers on my wedges that match the flowers in the fabric!  I love happy accidents.

I swear the zipper is not this wonky in real life - I think it is the way I am posing.  I love the back of the shirt because it shows off my awesome birthmark.  It literally looks like someone took paint and put a hand print on my back when I was wee little.

A better shot of the top.  I will say that it came out a little more *ahem* busty than I had anticipated.  I am thinking of adding some lace to make my assets a little more discreet...

Fabric close up!  I'm so glad I had enough for this shirt - it feels so summery to me! 

Are any of you sewing for summer already?  And do you have any fabulous pattern covers in your stash?  I would love to see them!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Confession

Friends, I have a confession to make:

I bought a t-shirt. 

Now, this may not seem like a big deal at first, but I am trying to keep to my New Year's resolution of not buying any manufactured clothing and making everything from scratch or what I already have.  I could not resist the urge to buy this t-shirt because it was so epic: it had to do with redheads, or gingers, if you will.  I cannot resist "redhead" items.  I've even bought a book about redheads:

So I could not help myself when my friend, Juliet, alerted me to this awesome shirt:

I am completely justifying this purchase by saying it was an early birthday present (way early since my birthday is in July) and it was a shirt that I could not possibly make. 

Thanks Juliet for the tip!  I've gotten a ton of compliments and laughs over the shirt.

Even though I still feel a little guilty about breaking my New Year's resolution, my enjoyment with this shirt more than makes up for it.

Have any of you been successful at keeping up with your New Year's resolutions? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lace Remnants

Friends, I have a large fabric stash, but I also have a very large lace stash as well.  All sizes and colors rest in a box in my sewing room and tonight I decided to pick through it.  I am in the process of turning this sweater below into a cardigan and I wanted some lace embellishment... 

I was thinking something like this lovely sweater refashion at iCandy, but I was not finding any lace that really fit the idea.  I continued searching through the lace and I found some very interesting remnants:

OK, this piece is fabulous, aside from the fact that someone took random pieces and flowers out from the centers, making it difficult to create a uniform piece.  I looked at it for about ten minutes before getting out the scissors, and now I have this:

 Some uniform pieces that could be added to various projects.  I really adore this lace.  It's made from something akin to embroidery floss so it feels durable.  Here's where I am stuck - I don't think it would look quite right on the sweater, but I desperately want to use it for a project.  I am thinking it might look lovely pieced together on a pillow?  Or perhaps on a tote? Or on pockets of an apron?

The possibilities are endless!  I am going to have to sleep on this, I think :)

Have a fabulous night, all!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The St Patty's Dress: Sew Weekly Green Challenge

 The Sew Weekly Challenge this week called for a green outfit, of course!  And in honor of St Patty's, I whipped out this pattern that I have had in the stash for quite a while. 

I did not think too clearly when choosing the pattern, or else this thought would have occurred: "Meg, it's a wrap dress.  You are going to need an obscene amount of fabric, especially since it is a one-directional pattern."  Of course, this thought did not really cross my mind until it came to the point of cutting out the skirt pieces.  In order to make everything fit, I took three inches off the hem and took in the side seams by 2 inches each.  That was a first for me!  I kept hoping that the dress would actually be wearable considering how crazy my cutting got.

I think I was really really lucky that it turned out the way it did!  I was a bit amazed how much volume the skirt still has even though I took so much off before cutting.  I cannot even begin to imagine the madness that would have ensued with all of that fabric - lots and lots of twirling at the office, I'm sure!

I took a cue from my Colette Crepe dress and made the sash in a contrasting color.  The pink matches the lovely roses in the fabric and I am so happy when things turn out like that.  I am loving the big bow in the back...

The reason I chose this particular pattern was the sleeves.  I love the way they are portrayed on the pattern cover and I thought they would be incredibly romantic in this fabric.

I added a little something for modesty when I wear this to work.  The pink frothy lace peeking out is actually a tube top made from a vintage slip.  Now, I know one should never alter vintage slips, but it was my grandmother's and I could not wear it around my hips and I was not about to get rid of it.  So I decided to flip it around and give it a second life under some lower cut outfits.  I love the lace detailing!  This slip wasn't in the best shape when I got it, but after piecing it all back together and putting it through the sewing machine, I'm rather pleased with the results.

I hope all of you lovelies have a fabulous and safe St. Pat's!

The Most Comfortable Dress Ever

I love bedsheets for many reasons.  No need to hem, already been washed, durable, and probably soft from many tumbles through the dryer.  For this project, I had some grey jersey sheets that I had been holding on to from when I had a full size bed.  I was not about to get rid of them because I just knew that someday they would make a perfect dress.

I whipped out the pattern below from my stash (and I highly recommend this pattern because it was very easy to work with)...

And made this!  The blue version above lured me in with it's romantic sleeves and tie... but I did not realize the length was going to be so long.  I shortened the hem by 9 1/2 inches!  I threw on my grey rain boots and felt like I matched Chicago's weather.

The back view...only one seam running down the middle.  I did not have to make any adjustments to the dress besides the hem - it fit perfectly the first time!  I love when projects turn out like that.

This is how I wore it to work - turquoise necklace and earrings, blue sweater, and also a blue and green pashmina.  I love that the dress is such a basic grey that I can pair it with any other color and still feel stylish.  Also, this is, without a doubt, the dress that will get the most wear in my closet because IT IS SO COMFORTABLE.  I sat in my cube all day and it was like wearing pajamas.  It was delightful. 

Friends, I cannot recommend using bedsheets enough for your projects, especially if they are jersey.  I've got my eye on the blue jersey sheets in our linen closet right now because they are getting a little threadbare in spots....but not so much that I couldn't find some fabric to work with (tee hee!). 

I'm also excited about my bed sheet collection because I won a lovely giveaway from Luv in the Mommyhood!!  I won Re-Sew, a fabulous book about turning your thrift store treasures into crazy stylish items - I AM SO EXCITED!  Thanks to Shannon for being fabulous and wonderful and offering this giveaway.  Her blog is fantastic, so if you haven't checked it out, please do!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Windy City Dress!

I was honored to be a guest contributor at the Sew Weekly for the "Local Color" Challenge this week!
Please stop over and see my Windy City Dress!

Many many many thanks to the lovely Debi for suggesting me for this challenge - you are the best!

Work Distraction!

Friends, I regularly read Craft Gossip for inspiration and tutorials. I love that they feature articles for all sorts of crafts, from embroidery to knitting to fabulous things that can be done with Super Glue. Today, however, was the article I have been dreaming of seeing...

The Girl Creative just posted a tutorial on how to create sailor pants for little girls!  Now, I know what you thinking: Meg, you are not so little anymore.  Dear friends, I know - but I am feeling so inspired by her directions that I think I could possibly create an adult size pair of pants with these instructions!  Of course, I may have also lost my mind...but I have some denim blue corduroy that has been sitting in the stash, unused and unloved, for years now.  I am imagining myself in a pair of blue sailor pants, walking down Navy Pier, eating a churro....*happy sigh*

And now, I am completely useless at work.  Is it time to go home and sew yet?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Winter Sewing...Finally

I have come to the conclusion that winter here lasts entirely too long.  Sewing all of these lovely summer outfits has begun to depress me a bit, so I broke out some projects from the "refresh" pile and got sewing on some winter items.

My Mom gave me this lovely green sweater, but sadly, it got wrapped around the center of the washing machine and stretched out.  So...I definitely had to take it in more than I originally thought!

I took it in on the sides and sleeves and it is oh so warm and lovely.  My cubicle at work is a little chilly so this is a piece that will be well used before warmer weather arrives.

My sister gave me this green track jacket she no longer wears.  I took a patch I bought on my trip to Ireland in 2007 and stitched it on.  Yay!  A jacket to wear in the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle on April 10. 

While not exactly winter wear, I layer t-shirts all the time to deal with the cold.  It is very rare that I feel comfortable enough to take off my coat in restaurants and so I've resorted to wearing four layers at all times.  This t-shirt holds a special place in my heart because it truly is a vintage tee (thanks Dad!) and pays homage to my hometown: Cincinnati!

Enjoying my new (re-sized) shirt and eating Girl Scout cookies while watching the there a better way to spend a Sunday night? 

The boyfriend smiles even though I have eaten all the cookies.  I bought him his own box of Thin Mints so I could eat my Tag A Longs in peace.

And finally, a sweater refashion idea I got from Suzannah at Adventures in Dressmaking...
I added lace to a $5 sweater from H&M and it has made it so much more wearable!  I love layering it with long sleeve shirts.

I'm all glowy and orange ... like my bottle of Dayquil.

Have you done any "winter" sewing?  Post a link in the comments so I can see your lovely things!