Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Halloween or "Look at me! I'm the King of New York!"

Well, my choice of Halloween costume was made easier by the addition of my constant accessory: Crutches.  So, with that in mind, I had two choices: Tiny Tim or Crutchy from Newsies.  Seeing as I am not comfortable running around saying "God Bless Us, Everyone" and waving my crutch around, Crutchy became my obvious choice.  Besides, I can easily imagine a young Christian Bale putting his arm around me affectionately.

I wanted a vest and I wanted knickers (I wear knickers now because knickers are cool).  I used the Simplicity 2556 Vest Pattern (loved it - highly recommend) and Diana Rupp's Sew Everything Knockout Knickers Pattern for inspiration.

I also had a desire to make this a completely refashioned outfit because my new and spiffy fabric closet is already overflowing.  Oy.  I started with this suit jacket that Rob was going to donate.

It was, however, in less than ideal shape.  It had been left on a windowsill and the sleeves and back right shoulder were greatly discolored.

This was going to be my main fabric for the vest.  I was able to lay out all the vest pieces on the shell fabric, and even got some of the pieces cut on the fold out of sleeve fabric.

The knickers were going to be made out of a pair of suit pants I had gotten less than a year ago.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of tucking the left pant leg inside of a knee high boot and the fabric was destroyed.  I ended up cutting off the bottom of the pant leg, cutting out the cuff pattern from the leftover fabric, sewing the cuff on and polished it off with button and buttonhole closure.

I finished the outfit as I was walking out the door to go a costume party.  I can honestly say I have never made buttonholes so quickly.

The full outfit.  My vest made out of the suit jacket and knickers made from the suit pants.  The shirt was an old shirt - I removed the pocket with the monogrammed initials and voila!  A long sleeve button down for moi.  I'm wearing tights under the knickers in this picture because it was a little chilly and I'm not able to wear a coat and use crutches.

I spent the night chatting with my lovely friend, Becky from Becky and the Beanstalk ... who was dressed as the awesome Amy Pond... and who mysteriously appeared with a police baton.

Mystery solved.  AMY POND HAS GONE ROGUE, Y'ALL.

Close up of the fabric... note to self: Remember to check what kind of fabric you are working with before you start cutting.  I assumed, silly me, that I was working with wool... oh no, it was 100% silk and it started unraveling as soon as I started cutting.  Making this vest was a complete adventure after that.  

I finished every seam just to keep the pieces from falling apart.  Even with all that effort, I still developed a huge hole at Becky's... thank goodness I was in the home of a seamstress and was able to repair right away.  Whew!  Crisis averted.
The lining pockets and most of the outside pockets were kept in tact and used in the vest. 

Making the knickers was a snap compared to the vest.  I know that they will need to be worn with heels and a fabulous shirt in the near future.

"Look at me!  Ain't I pretty?  It's my city - I'm the King of New York."

Since Halloween is tomorrow, Happy Halloween, Friends! And enjoy the fabulous day after candy sales if you can :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Loungewear or "The Outfit of 1,000 Yawns"

Friends, this was, without a doubt, one of the weirdest weeks I have ever had.  I was going merrily along my way, when *BAM* I got summoned, and then selected, for jury duty.  Next thing I knew, my week was GONE.  Up every morning to try and sneak in some hours at work before heading to the courthouse, and then leaving the courthouse after 6pm, getting stuck in rush hour traffic, and finally getting home late in the evening ... only to do it all again the next day.  Oy vey!  Needless to say, my Google Reader has been running rampant while I was gone, my friends think something happened to me, and apparently I missed out on some important world events while I was sequestered. 

By the time it was all over last night, I was exhausted.  Thank goodness I had a new outfit to snuggle up in and sleep the day away!

...and by snuggle I mean "laugh at Rob while he stands on top of a filing cabinet to take pictures"

For the fabric, I used some old flannel bedsheets that have indigo snowflakes printed all over.  OMG FLANNEL I LOVE YOU. I used the Wear Anywhere Yoga Pants pattern from Diana Rupp's Sew Everything and the ever versatile Colette Sorbetto pattern (with the Sew Weekly sleeve addition) for the top.

Why "The Outfit of 1,000 Yawns"?  Because as soon as I put this lovely loungewear on, I was yawning.  It was practically snake yawning where I could have swallowed a whole animal.

 I had epic tears rolling down my face and exhaustion set in.  I was trying to sleep standing up.  Which I've done before.  In a bar.  Don't judge me.

I wanted to make a tank top and mini bloomer set instead, but once the wind hit 50 mph this week and the waves hit 25 feet high, I knew winter was coming and I needed to be prepared.  Apparently we are supposed to have the worst winter ever this year (but I think the weatherfolks say that every year).  Bring it on, winter!  I'm not scared of you ... much.


I hope it is still warm where you are, Friends, and I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!!

PS. When they say bring a book to jury duty, do not bring James Michener's Texas or you might be sleeping on the table.  It is slightly embarrassing when you re-enter the courtroom with weirdness on your face.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

McCall's 2011 Holiday Collection

All I can say, is: "Yes, finally!"

As in, "Finally!  Footie pajamas!!!" 

Happy Holidays, Family.  Go pick your flannel now.

Yes, Friends, the McCall's Holiday Collection is out, and M6475 promises to bring joy and happiness to the Grand family this year.  While this was my favorite of the whole collection, there were several others that caught my eye:

M6463 is fabulous.  Simply fabulous.  I love the polka dot print they used, but I LOVE that neckline.  A smashing little number for New Year's Eve, perhaps?

I am digging this off the shoulder number.  The red striped version of 6462 feels summery to me, and I could see this design working great in daring print.  Why be subtle?  Show off those freckled shoulders, girlfriend!

While I love this pattern and the raglan sleeves featured on the red and blue versions, I feel like the other two styles of M6460 are nearly identical to Colette Patterns Macaron.  Thoughts?

Ok, at first sight I thought this pattern wasn't for me.  After looking again, I fell in love with the cream version of M6467.  The ruffles!  The glorious ruffles!  I fear the other styles featured with this pattern would make me look a bit pregnant, but if I could have ruffles and my waist defined, then I am sold.
 Loving the one shoulder action on 6466 - especially with some sheer fabric or lace from my stash.  Give me some poofy skirts any day!
 So this week's challenge for the Sew Weekly is loungewear, and had I seen this M6472 pattern before beginning my current project, this would be it.  The hooded nightshirt with a pair of Colette Mini Bloomers.  This may still happen, just not this week. 
 Oh, McCall's...I see what you are trying to do here.  Sneak those weird flaps/pockets/wings back into style.  Not happening, Bud.  The rest of the skirt versions of M6471 aren't so bad.  Just say goodbye to the wings already, k? K.
 For M6470, I would never have thought to make the shirt in a satin, but I am really loving how it comes off here.  I would normally look at this and think jersey lounging shirt, but in satin, it becomes something I could wear to work or out on the town.  Well played, McCall's... well played.

I do have a beef with this pattern.  Why does the model look so angry?  I know that M6464 wants to be like Simplicity's Amazing Fit patterns, but it doesn't come off as well here.  The drawing representations aren't as clear, specifically with the dress skirt styles.  Why not draw versions of each dress like you normally would for any other pattern?  Showing each version in its entirety works. 
M6465 is a good learning pattern for a beginning sewer.  Simple construction elements and even some ruffle sleeves would make for a great first project for someone looking to sew.  I think more advanced sewers may skip this pattern altogether for something with a little more pizazz.

 I never considered making a bolero in sparkly fabric until I saw M6461.  Now I think it is a brilliant idea and I may pull out one of the bolero patterns in my collection now and create a long sleeved version.
 As much as I try and resist pieces that do not define my waist, I love the idea of showing off some of my new NY fabric with M6468.  I love the larger version that scoops below the waist - I think this may be one of the first patterns I buy from this collection.
 While M6469 is not for me, I think those who are attracted to empire waists may like the added details featured in this pattern.  The different sleeve variations, as well as the option for layering on the shirt front and back. 

This pattern made me laugh out loud. I wonder what video game they are trying to replicate without getting nailed for copyright infringement?

And finally... this quilt (M6482).  THE OWLS ARE ADORABLE.  Seriously love the little bits of argyle that have been added.  I may need to learn how to quilt.  Any tips on how to start this learning process would be greatly appreciated!

Friends, what are your thoughts on this new collection of patterns?  Any that you love or hate with a fiery passion?  Let me know in the comments!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Musicals or "That Ol' Devil Moon Dress"

There was a summer when I was a young lass when all I did each day of summer vacation was watch Finian's Rainbow.  Seriously.  I already had a fondness for Fred Astaire movies, and I knew Petula Clark's songs, but this combined both of their talents and made me just the happiest camper.  Eventually, Papa Grand intervened and told me to go out and play.  But Father!  I am learning about leprechauns and love on the riverbank and what credit is! 

This song always stuck with me, and now that I'm older, I think my crush on the Woody Mahoney in this movie explains my current celeb crush on Jason Bateman.

For those of you who actually know the movie, I was originally planning on doing Sharon's laundry dress from her scene with Ogg the leprechaun.  Then I remembered that I have a wedding on Saturday.  A black tie wedding, no less, and I desperately wanted to make a dress for that.  How could I combine both the Sew Weekly challenge and my own personal dress challenge?  Easy: Black lace.

In this song, Sharon wraps herself in her black lace shawl (which made me desperately want a shawl at the time) around her lovely flowered dress.  So I need lace and flowers and it needs to be fancy.  Got it.

And here is the result:

Black satin dress with gold and black lace overlay on the bodice and sleeves.  I used Simplicity 2444/Project Runway pattern and I cannot believe how well it turned out.  Overall, this dress took me about seven hours, including cutting time.  It came together like a dream! (And there are pockets.  Everything I make from now on will have pockets because POCKETS ARE AMAZING.)

Normally, I would've been rocking my black satin pumps with this outfit, but these uber comfy flats worked much better with my crutches.

I chose to tie the sash in a small bow in the back so the front of the dress had more of a cummerbund look.  It also cinched in my waist so I couldn't hit the buffet so hard (being on crutches also helped with that).

The lace overlay was surprisingly easy - I just flatlined to the satin and then used simulated French seams on the inside of the bodice so I did not have lace scratching me all night.  I did not want to be the girl at the wedding who looks like she is dealing with a flea infestation.  This is a fancy affair, y'all.

Here is the whole gang.  Don't we look smashing?  This may be the only time I ever see my friends this dressed up, and vice versa!

There was an insane amount of food.  Truly.  AND THEN THERE WAS THIS CREAMSICLE THINGY.

It was perfect.  And it was on a stick. 

The whole gang and the bride and groom.  Love this picture.  We've been playing bar trivia together for years now, and they are some truly fabulous (and smart) people.

It was a great night.  My dress was right in line with the black cocktail dresses around me, and the lace gave it that extra touch of glamor I wanted.  I'll definitely be making more versions of this pattern in the future!

I've got to say, it's times like these that make me so happy I can make my own clothes. Final cost of this dress: $38.  The black and gold lace was already in my stash and ready for the perfect Steelers...I mean, Musical... cocktail dress.

What is going on in your sewing stash, Friends?  I've been out of the loop with no Internet, but now I'm back and catching up on my Google Reader.  I hope you've all been doing well!  

It's late here, so I wish you good nights, and fabulous days tomorrow!

Friday, October 7, 2011

...And The Adventure Comes To An End: The Pink Travelling Dress

Eventually, I had to come back to Chicago. 

Here is my dress for the Think Pink Sew Weekly Challenge: Vogue 8489 with my lovely Juliet fabrics.  The dark pink is some scrappage from the Doodles dress, and this fabulous paisley knit has been patiently waiting in my stash for some love.

I have a lovely backdrop.

Ah, moving... could there be a better way to convince people to throw things away? I think not.

Pardon the hair and the face - we had just arrived back from C-Land, and I was looking for items that I might need to survive the first few weeks of camping.

 The paisley/flower print is a bit sheer, so I am wearing a slip underneath... but in order for the lace on the slip not to show through the neckline, I need to wear my vintage slip tube top.  Which is pale pink.  Winning.

I search frantically for my fabric and patterns! NOOOOOOO!

There are no fastenings on this dress, but I had to keep taking it in on the back seam to make sure it fit properly and there wasn't bagginess all around.  It is taken in enough to make me feel like a circus performer when putting it on and taking it off.  Voila!  Meg appears.

Close up of the fabrics and tube top.  I love the different shades of pink and the way the dress flows when I walk.  It is incredibly comfortable!  The hem is sketchy at best, which I can live with.  Because it flows so greatly when I move, the hem doesn't lay still enough to attract attention. 

This pattern was a breeze to put together.  I am already plotting what version to make next, possibly with some of the fabulous prints I bought in NYC...

but before I can do that, there is a great deal of unpacking to be done. Hellooooo, weekend!

Have a great Friday, all! And enjoy the sunshine if you've got it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The NYC Adventure may have ended at LaGuardia...

...but the Cleveland Adventure was just beginning!

Off I flew in a baby plane towards the great state of Ohio, and I cannot tell you how glad I was that the plane was not full.  Whipped my scarf off, claimed two seats, and proceeded to pass out.  Total amount of sleep at the end of the flight: 4 hours. 

I longed for a shower and bed, so off I went in a taxi to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Cleveland.  I just want to take a moment to say that the two ladies at the front desk saved my life at least four times.  First, they let me check in to my room seven hours early (OH KING SIZE BED, I LOVE YOU), they told me breakfast was still happening (bagel with peanut butter ... feeling stronger all the time), they found me a sewing kit when a groomsman knocked on my door an hour and a half before the wedding with a button emergency (no vests were harmed in the making of this wedding), and then they called me a taxi to get to said ceremony.

Where was Rob, you ask?  Rob, who was supposed to meet me at the hotel to go to the wedding, was stuck in an elevator in our sublet.  With our last load of items.  Sooooo close to being done!  He eventually showed up for the reception, and then we both crashed at the end of the night...

...but before we could sleep, we needed to celebrate!!

My fabulous friends, Becky and Alex, got married.  And I cried three times during the ceremony. 

The bride was stunning - seriously lovely and a complete trooper for getting married outside and not shivering in her dress! 

The groom loves her so much that he used his vows to save her life from a bee. 

They are truly one of the finest couples I know, and I couldn't be happier for them!

Well, you KNOW I had to make a new dress for this occasion, considering my lovely friend is a seamstress and all :)

I had snagged this fabric at a huge Hancock Fabrics sale, and I fell in love with the shiny purple plaid at first sight.  I wanted to challenge myself a little bit more than usual and added piping to the armholes and neck edge. 

Isn't she beautiful?? 

I needed something quick and simple since I still needed to finish my pink traveling dress, my Spanish Harlem dress, and the super secret dress for the NYC Adventure.  I found New Look 6643 and it looked perfect.

If I couldn't line up the complete plaid on the sides, I tried to line up part of it.  I like to tell myself it could be worse, considering I was sewing this before work each day. 

Becky apparently disagrees.  Either that or we are imitating fish.

When Rob finally arrived, I snagged him for this picture.  What can I say?  I love showing off my piping work.

This is what happens when you try to polka on a stress fracture.  I LOVE polka and there was a polka band present.  *sigh*

The leg situation is sad, but isn't the fabric pretty?  I love shiny fabric.  Love love love. 

The final post of this wondrous adventure will hopefully be up tomorrow, and then I will show you the fabulous pink travelling dress.  I know it's somewhere around here...
Have a good night, all!!!