Friday, April 27, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Circle Skirt or "The Running Around in Circles Skirt"

Friends, it is a miracle that this skirt got made at all.

This will be the third weekend in a row that we are busy away from home, not to mention that our weeknights have gotten so busy that my sewing time is nearly extinct.  I miss sewing - I use it for stress relief and without that release, I've gotten a little crazy. 

I had a three hour time window to make this dress on Tuesday night - from drafting the pattern to cutting to hemming, it all needed to be done within that time frame.  You cannot even imagine how surprised I was when this skirt actually worked out!

This skirt is yet another couch covering from Mama Grand.  She really likes covering couches, and who am I to stop her?  I get all of the fabric cast offs and that makes me happy.  You know what else makes me happy?  Poofy crinolines

Mama Grand was skeptical that I would ever find a use for this fabric.  Little does she know that I have used all of the upholstery pieces she has given me in the last several months.  I cannot wait to see the look on her face this weekend when I show her all of my recent couch/drape creations.  Winning. 

To be fair, this fabric is a little insane.  There are so many different shades of blue, plus rust, cream, and white scattered throughout, not to mention the crazy shapes, both geometric and flowery.  The shapes help to add the little bit of character that I require from all of my garments, and I have tops in most of the colors, making this a very versatile bottom! I paired it with the Jasmine here because the Jasmine was clean.  Laundry will be the death of me yet. 

 I still have plenty of this fabric left over (apparently it was a very big couch), so I plan on making either a pencil skirt or a jaunty little jacket.  The great part about working with upholstery fabric is that it holds its shape so well because of the stiffness.  I did throw this fabric in the dryer, and yet it still retains its shape.  Brilliant, I say. 

I was so glad that I was able to finish this piece in three hours, and I got big help came from the sneaky bit below:

The sewn-in interfacing for the hem of the couch fabric made for a most perfect waistband.  I just cut off an even amount of the un-interfaced fabric above it, folded it over and machine stitched it on.  BOOM!  Waistband magic.  Unfortunately, we did not have hem magic.  It's pretty messy (machine stitched also) and un-ironed. There wasn't even time to iron.  I'm so ashamed.

Overall, I love this skirt.  It is a circle and totally fabulous to spin in (but most of you already knew that).  I can definitely see myself making many of these - they are super easy and quick (obviously), and this project helped me get over my fear of sewing related math.  I hate math.  This math, however, yielded a lovely result and thus, it's okay math.  Not great, but okay.  We don't want math to get too cocky.  

Friends, are you big fans of circle skirts?  Do you have closets overflowing with these swishy bits of wonder?  Let me know your experiences below - I would love to hear them!

Have a great weekend, all!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner!!

The lovely Susan, who said the Colette Parfait is currently her favorite pattern (and she made such a fabulous version), wins the goodies! Susan, I've emailed you for your address :) Congratulations!

Stay tuned for more giveaways - someone may have found a $1 vintage pattern bin at an antique store last weekend and may have bought the store out...

(don't tell Rob, k? K.)


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Childhood or "The Boot Slappin' Denim Flappin' Girl Scout Father Daughter Hoedown Skirt"

Friends, do not judge me for what I am about to show you:

I don't know what is worse: the denim vest, the denim prairie skirt with the lace ruffle, or THAT HAIR.  The hair is the reason I'll never go back to having a pixie cut - because then it turns into a bowl cut.  OMGNO. 

This is my NO face.

 I used some denim that I had found in the remnant box at the Needle Shop to make up Colette's Meringue Skirt.  I thought it was only fitting to honor that hideous denim ensemble (with lace bits) by making a fabulous scallop skirt.

This skirt whipped up in no time!  From start to finish, I think it took me three hours... and it only took that long because I got distracted by the Hunger Games soundtrack (which is AWESOME).  

 A close up of the scallops, which turned out pretty well since I followed the directions in the book.  Sometimes, when I follow directions, things work out - and I like that.

There were no tears involved in the making of this skirt, which is more than can be said for the epic denim ensemble.  Every other picture from before the hoedown has me standing there with a tear-stained face.  I got in trouble for something - probably hurting my sister, which is what you do when you are 8... and just want to get out on the dance floor so you can dance to Achey Breaky Heart.

Oh, memories... drowning them away with a Sweaty Betty.  I have no idea what that is exactly - Rob had it in the fridge and I stole one.  Now I just need a mechanical bull and it will be an epic night, y'all.

Have a great weekend, all!  And don't overdo the denim - it can only end in tears.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Because you are so fabulous... a giveaway!

Friends, thank you so very much for all of your kind comments on my Michigan Avenue Ensemble!  It was so fantastic to come back from my college reunion and find all of your responses!  I may have gotten a little teary, I cannot lie.  I also did a happy dance.  You are all too kind and I'll be responding to those comments today :)

In the meantime, though, how about a giveaway?

I'm giving away the Michigan Avenue Ensemble patterns (Vogue 5542 and Advance 8781), 3+ yards of fantastic pink and white cotton, and 4+ yards of pink and white scallop eyelet trim (two pieces, one is 3+ yards). This is a giveaway for all of you, my amazing blog followers, wherever you may be.  I'm shipping anywhere in the world, and even universally, if you have a postal system out there.

The deal: you must tell me your favorite pattern (at this moment) in the comments.  I, for one, just made my first Renfrew and it blew my mind.  I'm completely in love with it and have been wearing it almost every day. What pattern did you recently make that you fell in love with?

Giveaway is open until Wednesday, April 25 at 11:59PM CDT.

Good luck and thank you again, my darling friends :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Local Color or "The Michigan Avenue Ensemble"

Friends, this outfit makes me so happy.  I would say that 95% of that happiness comes from the skirt being SO FLUFFY.

Top: Heavy rose pink cotton from stash, Vogue 5542 (Ebay)
Skirt: Heavy cotton/upholstery tulip fabric, via Mama Grand;  Advance 8781 
Crinoline: $25 from Dethrose Vintage at the Randolph Street Market

I know it's Springtime in Chicago when the tulips appear.  Mayor Daley was serious in his attempts to beautify the city and so all of the flower beds on Michigan Avenue are filled to the brim with blooming tulips.  It is simply intoxicating seeing all those colors as you walk down the street!

When Mama Grand passed along this tulip fabric to me, Michigan Avenue sprang to mind.  I knew it would be perfect for this challenge, but I didn't know if I wanted to make a dress or a skirt.  I just wanted to show off the border print as best as possible.  It ended up that I had exactly enough fabric for the Advance skirt, and since I hadn't used this pattern yet, it worked out perfectly.

The pink cotton was also in my stash.  I had originally set it aside to be used as a lining for a Simplicity skirt pattern, but since that pattern had yet to make it to the cutting table, I thought perhaps this challenge was a little more pressing.  It also matched the skirt, which made it all the more difficult to resist.

I love stash busting - it might just be one of my favorite things. 

We were able to take these pictures on the little flowerbed islands in the middle of the street.  Cars were rushing past us the whole time, and one even honked at us.  I forgot my New Year's resolution of no street fighting for a moment and yelled at him.  *Sigh*  I really am trying, I swear.

Looking north on Michigan Avenue.  Hello, Hancock Building!

Facing south on Michigan - you can just see a corner of the Wrigley Building rightthere.  

Rob wanted another photo of me sniffing the flowers, but as I leaned over, a bus drove by and my skirt flew up in the air - thus the awkward pose below.  I hope the passengers on the bus liked my crinoline!

A close up of the skirt.  I love how the pleats turned out in the end, though the side seams are a bit wonky due to trying to fit around the pleats.  I was willing to accept that the pleats wouldn't be perfect on the sides as long as they looked good in the front and the back.  The skirt also started out seven inches longer, but I chopped that off in order to have the skirt hem and crinoline hem be somewhat even.

The top was just a mess.  I was hoping that I could throw it together quickly, but it ended up taking four hours on its own.  I am not good at resizing vintage patterns, I'll just put that out there.  I think this top was originally meant to be loose, so when I added the extra inches to take it from a 34" bust to my 37 1/2", it became even more loose.  It was swimming on my dress form.

I had to tear out the front princess seams three times.  Finally, I decided to bring the front of the bodice in by adding a pleat a la Sorbetto.  This took care of the huge amount of fabric in the front, and then I went back to tackling the princess seams.  I managed to finally line everything up near its necessary location, and though the princess seams are still off, they match and I am happy with that.  Once I had the blouse fit through the front and the sides, I realized that this was supposed to be a loose blouse and I had managed to take away all the wiggle room.  Boom!  Add buttons to the back a la Sencha and we are set to go.  I also used the Coletterie's tips for bias trim for the neckline and armholes.

The buttons are peachy in color and are 1" wide.  I love the look they create!

My photographer wanted a picture of me crossing the street.  Here I am posing in the street.

Apparently, that was not what he wanted - he wanted me to walk normal.  This is me pretending to walk normal but really it looks like I am throwing a tantrum or something.  I might have been running to get out of the way of cars.  Or to yell at that guy.  Or that's just how I walk, which I hope isn't the case because wow, I look silly.

Since it's been a bit chilly lately, I paired the ensemble with my long green cardigan, which matches perfectly with the leaves in the skirt.  Yay for not having closet orphans!

Running around a city in heels is hard.  Few people can do it well, and I am not one of those people.

But alas, no rest for the wicked - someone was DETERMINED to get a picture of me wearing an apron and holding a vacuum cleaner.  He would not let it drop.  At all.  It was getting pretty annoying, but finally, I gave in.  

His direction: "look like you just won a unicorn made of puppies."

"We are so fresh and so clean clean."

Feminism: 1960

Feminism: Present Day

Yep.  He got his picture, but I got mine too, AND I got a martini.  So there.

He did get me back, though...

The ceiling, from my point of view, for the rest of the day.  That martini was a whopper.

Thanks for reading all, and I hope you are having some sunshine and flowers where you are!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: VIP or the Striped Satin Shirt

Friends, Mama Grand likes to say that I have a problem keeping my mouth closed in pictures.

Sometimes I would like to think I prove her wrong.

...and then sometimes she is TOTALLY right.

For this challenge, I decided to FINALLY tackle the fabulous piece of striped satin that has been floating in my stash for several years.  He'd been sitting on the bench long enough - it was time to come out and play.  Since I've also been oogling Debi's fabulous creations using Simplicity 3688, I went ahead and busted that pattern out of the stash as well.

I LOVE how the stripes match up in the center of the blouse. 

The blouse is comfortable, and the front pleats give it just enough definition to make me happy.  I used a hook an eye for the back opening, even though I hate sewing them on.  HATE IT. 

The blouse was incredibly easy to put together.  I machine stitched the sleeve and bodice hems, though the pattern called for hand stitching.  No, sir - this is going to be a short and quick project for me.  It really only took about 2-3 hours, including the necessary hand sewing on the neck binding.  

My friend, Steph, tells me I have chocolate on my teeth - and so I finally close my mouth.  

 Overall, I love this blouse.  My only hesitation is that I don't know what to pair it with from my wardrobe.  Since I am only making each pattern in my stash once, and not returning to it until all patterns have been used, it may be awhile before I can get to the pants that Debi loves so much.  I really am determined to use all of these patterns once if I can, so I'll begin the stash search for a high waisted skirt, perhaps? 

Have an amazing day, Friends, and I hope the weather is warmer where you are!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Me Made May, or shall we say...


'I, Meg the Grand of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear completely Me Made Awesomeness each day for the duration of May 2012' (excluding running clothes, socks, and skivvies...for the time being). HOORAY!
Yep, I am participating, and I am so flipping excited.  When I participated in Me Made June last year, I had a limited amount of clothing that had been altered/made/refashioned.  I think I can safely say that my wardrobe has exploded since then.  I've been successful so far this year with wearing one Me Made garment a day, but I am looking to push myself a little farther and do a whole outfit, all the time, for a whole month.  This challenge is perfect for me, especially with summer right around the bend.  

I am going to let myself wear refashioned/upcycled/altered clothing as part of the challenge, though I am going to limit those articles as much as possible.  I am also not going to attempt to survive the month without my running clothes (I need moisture wicking, y'all), same goes for my skivvies and socks.  Other than that, my outfits are going to be epic exhibitions of my passion for sewing.

I am excited.  Like whoa.

Interested in joining?  Check out Zoe's oh-so-fabulous post here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Pantone or "The Jose Cuervo Gold Margarita with a Splash of Gingham" Dress

Friends, working on this dress had me craving a serious margarita. I didn't even post this on the Sew Weekly due to my "meh" feelings about it. 

Fabric: Some lovely opaque gold and "margarita" green gingham curtain material from Textile Discount Outlet
Time: 6-8 hours

Version B of this pattern is a sleeveless dress, but I don't do well with sleeveless.  I prefer sleeves any day, and since I stayed up until 12:30am putting these together, they were staying on.  I also lengthened each tier of the skirt by three inches in order to make sure the hem did not hit me mid-thigh. 

Friends, I had such high hopes for this dress.  Off the hanger, it looks amazing.  The fabric shines and shimmers, the ruffles stand at attention and spin beautifully, and the sleeves are intricate and fun.  

Once I put it on, though, we got all kinds of problems... like the inability to bend over without having a wardrobe malfunction.

It's also extremely baggy up on top.  I don't think the wardrobe malfunctions would be nearly as common if it fit my shape a bit better. I think I should have looked more closely at the pattern envelope - it looks a bit loose on the model, but I had no idea HOW loose.

To put it mildly, Rob is not a fan, even though it does spin so pretty.

"It has a square baggy shape on top and a triangle on bottom.  You typically look best in a dress that accentuates your hourglass shape.  If you didn't have the fabric belt, it would be entirely too boxy."

Friends, I have to agree.

The picture below basically outlines the issues Rob had with the dress.  It doesn't flatter my torso and it makes my hips look larger than normal.  I think that might come from not ironing this dress AT ALL and just hurrying to be done with it, but even so, I like the skirt portion even if I am not wild about the top.  I like form fitting but I thought I would give this pattern a try.  I was lured in by the skirt - it's the skirt's fault.

To be truthful, he also made the point that the sleeves don't really work for this dress. I can see now why this dress works better sleeveless as it lets the skirt have the spotlight - when I look at it now, I almost don't know where to look.  There is no one focal point, when the focus should really be on the fabric.  The style might be too busy for the fabric I chose.

The fabric is so pretty, but in the end there was barely enough for this dress.  The middle layer of the skirt is pieced together rather poorly in the back.  Because of the drape of the fabric, you can't really notice it, and it's well hidden under the top tier.  I had originally planned on making a vintage Butterick ballgown, but no matter how I laid the pieces, it just wasn't going to work.

A close up of the sleeves.  The sleeves are great, the skirt is great, but when combined with the lackluster top, I guess I am not so in love with this dress.

So here is my game plan for fixing this dress into a piece I love:
  1. Stitch the front closed.  I like covering my bosoms
  2. Detach the skirt, add more pleating in the back, take in side seams
  3. Put skirt back on, but open left side seam for a zipper
  4. Find gold fabric and make a wider fabric belt
Friends, have you ever made something that you loved the different parts of it, but hated it when it was all put together?  This might be my first time in that kind of situation and I am trying to wrap my head around it.  
I am off to get a much needed margarita :)  Have a great night all!