Friday, April 29, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: In My Easter Bonnet or "Royal Wedding Refashion!"

Friends, this challenge turned out MUCH better than I had ever anticipated.  I was quite nervous about making a hat because I own no hats.  Well, I own baseball hats, but those aren't quite "dressy" enough ... even when covered in sequins.  You've seen them, you know what I am talking about.

After my journey to Cincinnati, I brought back this lovely little number:

 That fabric!  Those buttons!  Those shoulderpads!

Well, I was mostly done with the outfit refashion when I realized I still needed a hat.  What to make a hat out of?  Silk was not going to be able to stand properly on its own, so I needed a foundation to cover and decorate.  And that is when Meg the Klutzy intervened.  I kicked over the garbage can in my sewing room, and out popped these two beauties...

Shoulder Pads!!! 

I pinned them together, added some black trim around the edge, made three fabric flowers, disassembled a broken, unloved necklace and stole its beads, and added some fabulous blue flower bobby pins from a high school dance to hold it all in place!

Here is the hat with the new fabulous outfit!

I took off the sleeves, repurposed the shoulder pads, stitched the jacket and skirt together at the waistline, added a black ribbon belt, created a V neck line, closed the jacket front, inserted a zipper in the left side, added the leftover buttons to the dress bodice, and hemmed the skirt. 

I. Love. It.

A close up of the fabric and buttons - I like that they are closer together and are so sparkly.  I think it gives this outfit a little pizazz!

Throw on a black blazer, pop that collar, and I am stylish and ready to go to work!

Me with the television - Will and Kate are about to kiss!  Squee!

I got up at 3am CDT to watch the entire wedding while finishing my hat- and friends, it was FABULOUS!  Kate was stunning in every sense of the word, and Will was oh-so-romantic when he wouldn't turn to look at her until the last second!  Harry was quite the rascal and the hats were marvelous to behold.  I had the best time chatting up my sister in Texas, who also woke up at 3, and talking about the guests, the dress, the romance - I had a great time, sis!

It was all so magical :) 

Monday, April 25, 2011

The McCalls Summer Pattern Collection

Friends, patterns are like candy.  Sweet, sweet candy that come in all shapes and sizes and in any color or feel you want.  Big pieces, little pieces, tender morsels for that special occasion or your everyday staple.  I love patterns.  Pattern sales at Hancock Fabrics will kill me every time because there is always something to be made or dreamt of...

Except this time.  This time the candy was a big bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and I got "grass" "porcupine" and "wingnut."  Nothing tasty to be had!  Let me explain...

The Vogue collection also featured these crazy hip pockets/wings/parachutes used for slowing down race cars...and I am still not a fan. 
 The short version of this dress is okay, but I am just not seeing the long version working.  I'm sure I can be proven wrong on this one if someone made a fabulous one, but honestly?  I feel that with a pattern you already have, you could lengthen a bodice to dress length and add ruffles.

This is boring, but I understand that sometimes we do need the staples in our wardrobes... I don't feel that we should have to pay $12 for a basic pattern, though. 

When I see this, I think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman... before Richard Gere starts buying her clothing.
Infinity dresses are neat...but I've found tutorials online for these.  If you want to make one and you have some fabulous fabric screaming to be used, check out this tutorial from Sew Like My Mom.  Her steps are clearly outlined - love! 

Another Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman" dress...I like the version without the cut out best, but it resembles many other sheath dress patterns.  If you like the cut out, it would be a worthy investment, but I'm afraid I would lose things through there.  Or, I could look at it like another storage area.  Like a purse.  Only it can't be ripped off my shoulder.  You know what? Strike that, I love the cut out.  I'm going to build a zipper compartment in there, I swear. 
Whoever designed this pattern should be ashamed.  I know they googled "Pillowcase Dress" and then decided to print a pattern based on someone's tutorial.  Bad McCall's - I expected better from you.

I felt strangely let down when I saw these patterns.  I get so excited when these emails come out, because after the fabulous new additions to the Colette Pattern line, I had high hopes that the other pattern companies would step up their game.  I am going to keep my fingers crossed that the next email celebrating a pattern collection will contain peppermint patterns and sour patch styles and not ABC gum.

Friends, I would love to hear your opinions on the styles McCall's has put out.  Do any of them ring your bell?  Make you cringe?  Let me know!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Easter Bonnet...

Happy Easter to all who celebrate, and hope those who celebrate Passover had a pleasant one as well...

I have just returned from being with my family in Ohio, and my Mom was kind enough to pass along some of her fabulous outfits that she never wears anymore.  This one below is definitely getting used for this week's Sew Weekly challenge!

This is an incredibly beautiful, 100% silk jacket and skirt set.  Check out those shoulder pads!
I feel very Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.

Close up of the blue silk with leaves...and those buttons!  I must keep them because they are fabulous!

It is going to be an adventure, but I love a good challenge :)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Photographer is Rebelling

A few months ago, I decided I needed some more blouses in my closet.  I've been making a boatload of skirts and dresses, but have been neglecting the blouses and shirt patterns waiting in my stash.  I pulled out the recent purchase of McCall's 5522 and thought View A would be a lovely addition.  I had some polka dot fabric in my stash and got sewing...

Well, I hated the first version of the blouse.  It was too big, the shoulder seams did not match up with my actual shoulder (which makes me think I made need to do a shoulder adjustment for shirt/dress patterns from here on out), and the collar made me look like I was a priest.  I have officially dubbed this "My Priest Shirt."

The other night I pulled it back out of the pile.  I had put too much effort into it to consider it a lost cause just yet.  I adjusted the shoulders, took in the sides, and made the collar not so stiff.

I also took a houndstooth skirt that has been in my family since the 80s and gave it a new hem and button closure.  Yay for being wearable!

And then I asked Rob to take pictures.  Here is the story:

"Rob, does the combo of polka dot and houndstooth go together?"

"Yyyyyeaaahhhh..." (said in a very strange voice....)

"Dude, Rob, why are you lying to me??"

"I'm not lying to you!"

"Your voice got really weird.  Let's try a picture where I am smiling.  It doesn't work as a combo, does it?"



"Just take the picture."

Here are the fabrics next to each other...not so awful, but I think I may avoid this combo unless I am feeling like a trendsetter.  Usually, I just want to be wearing something clean.  I don't know if you call that trendsetting or lazy.

Hello, new button!

"Rob, will you take a picture of the collar?"

"Rob, that is the WORST picture of me ever.  Delete it."


"Fine.  But please take a normal one.  Just of the collar.  Not my face."

(Notice the attitude finger)

That's amore :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: What's on TV? or "Rhoda Morgenstern has arrived in Chicago."

The Facts:

Fabric: 2 1/2 yards of vintage patterned cotton, 2 1/2 yards white cotton for lining, and 1/2 yd orange cotton for waistband and neck facing.
Pattern: BurdaStyle Chiffon Kimono Dress
Year: 2010
Notions: None!  It originally called for a zipper but I can wiggle in without it :)
Time to Complete: 4 1/2 hours
First Worn: April 2011
Wear Again?: Most definitely!

Friends, saying that Rhoda Morgenstern is not a fashion icon would be denying head scarves their due respect.  This woman put head scarves on the map as a serious accessory for all time...

If you have any doubts, just google "head scarf tutorial" and see how many recent videos pop up to show the many ways to tie these wonderful pieces.

Rhoda never shied away from patterns or color, making her an idol for me - paisley never looked so good, ya'll!

The blouses, the tunics, the skirts...Rhoda was an trendsetter in Minneapolis and New York!

She had the flair and confidence necessary for bold looks, and I knew I had to make my own outfit based on her.

I had this awesome fabric in my stash, but it was a wee bit see needed to be flat lined before I could make anything wearable with it.

It also had a few...ahem..."problems."  I have absolutely no idea what that is, but I am going to hope for a coffee stain.  Either way, I had to cut around a few of these areas, but managed to eek out enough fabric for a dress.

The dress.  I put it on at first and was so disappointed.  It was entirely too long, the sleeves came down to nearly my elbows, and it showed entirely too much skin (which meant I couldn't wear a bra.  Well, I tried that look and it was NOT pretty, so that was not an option). 

It literally looked like I was wearing someone else's clothes.

So I got cutting.  Maybe I got a little too much into cutting and took six inches off the hem.  I took the sleeves up so they began at my natural shoulder and not halfway down my arm ...which meant I actually had to gather parts of the arm hole and it adds for an "interesting" look.  I think it is one of those mistakes where you look at it and ask, "Can I live with that?" and at that point, you answer "Yes."  I also stitched up the center two inches to give me a little more cover up and allow for some undergarments to be worn.

I did not have any headscarves, but I had a pashmina that needed some love.

The finished product.  What was a dress is now a tunic...and I think I love it.  I am especially fond of the contrasting waistband and neck facing - I think it makes the orange in the fabric pop!

The full look.  These pictures were taken in between lightning flashes, so the lighting got REALLY crazy at points.

Rhoda flexes her fashion muscle and shows that she has no need for zippers.

Fabric gathers up close.  I need to come to terms with the fact that I am not comfortable wearing dresses that do not have a waistband at my natural waist.  I am, however, totally comfortable wearing these as tunics. 

My photographer.  I told him I would give him a shout out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reason #297 Why I Love Magpie Mimi

Yesterday was seriously awful, ya'll.  Let's just say I hate least when it comes to money.


I come home from this awful day, and it was like the Fates were saying, "We are looking out for you today.  Here's a bundle from the UK."

My Sew Weekly swap package had arrived!

The fabulous Magpie Mimi sent me all of these lovely things from her stash!  She wrote me a beautiful note detailing all the treasures she included, and I could have cried at the kindness of it.

Included in this fantastic bundle of kindness:

- a darling flower brooch with some sparkle in the middle (currently featured on my coat for all to see)
-a length of sequin, which is AMAZING because I was in Hancock Fabrics over the weekend looking for red sequin trim and they were sold out!!!  Again, Magpie Mimi saves the day!
-a lovely length of pink ribbon - fabulous with the pink fabric I just got
-some pearl beads and red beads - big plans for the red beads - I'm thinking head scarf? Rhoda would approve.
-orange, yellow, and pink crochet trim - LOVE LOVE LOVE.  My signature color and it is crocheted?! Mimi, it is like you crawled in my mind and saw exactly what I needed.

I love yellow, and this yellow trim (I hope you can see the detail) is going to work PERFECTLY in one of my upcoming creations (sooo is soooo pretty in real light, I swear - I just have an awful camera).

And my favorite part....BUTTONS!  Yellow. Bow. Buttons.  I squealed out loud and Rob thought I had dropped something on my foot.

The purple buttons (a beautiful deep purple from a dress that Mimi loved dearly) were a definite highlight.  I started brainstorming about a Colette Pattern dress (I think it is Ceylon?) with buttons down the front.  *Happy sigh*  Romantic, indeed.

I also am in love with Mimi's button packaging.  Seriously.  This adorable little pouch with ribbon stole my heart.

So Mimi, thank you for taking what was a seriously awful day and making it fantastic.  Your kindness truly touched my heart, and I will treasure these items for a very long time.

With gratitude,

I was also given the opportunity to send the lovely Kat a package - all the way to New Zealand!  I was like an excited kid at the Post Office...hehehe!  Mailing sewing notions around the world...

this swap was a fabulous idea :)