Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, my friends!!!  Here are my favorite things from this week:

The Hairpin wasn't exaggerating when they said I would read the medical report of Lincoln's assassination with my hand over my mouth going "oh my god, oh my god."  Full pdf text of the Surgeon's report here.

A great article from Yes and Yes on how to fight fair.  

This 1930s Jumper is STUNNING.

Tasia is releasing a trouser pattern!  Aren't her versions just fantastic?I have some black pinstripe fabric that would be perfect!

If you like going to flea markets and antique fairs, I recommend checking out this fantastic post by Liz.  It has great tips for how to interact with vendors and get good deals.

It's really fantastic to have a cook in the house when you want to have a picnic/movie date :)

Speaking of movie dates, here are ten good themes for movie nights!

I've been in a bit of a crafting slump lately, but after reading this, I got some new ideas and perspectives for my hobby.  Once I return from vacation, I'm throwing myself into a huge crafting extravaganza event (soooo exciting!!).  It starts July 2 :)

Well, Friends - I am off!  I have too many clothes packed and more than enough sunscreen to flood a city.  There will be a bit of radio silence for the next couple days, and then a bit more after that as I recover :)

Have an amazing weekend all, and I hope you get to enjoy the sunshine where you are!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N In The Summertime Suit

Friends, this week has been AMAZING so far.  Sunday I GOT THE MOST EPIC SURPRISE EVER (Mikhaela is the Queen of Kindness and Goodness) and then yesterday I was featured on the front page of the Sew Weekly!  Rob got to hear me scream obnoxiously loud and jump around twice this week - isn't he the luckiest? :)

Seriously. Awesome. Week.

Ok, now onto the suit...

I used Mrs. Depew's 1950's Inspired One Piece Swimsuit Pattern and I can honestly say that I will definitely be making this again.  I made the halter strap version of the pattern, but there is also a strapless version - boning can be inserted into the side seams of the bodice pieces to hold the fabric up.  Yay for not using elastic!  Yay for also not needing a serger for this project.  Since I don't have my serger (yet), I am always excited to come across knit patterns that don't require my owning one. 

This suit is actually my muslin, as the pattern specifically tells you to make one.  I bought some horribly expensive forest green swimsuit material and lining at JoAnn's - I think I about keeled over at the register.  I haven't paid full price for fabric in a long time, and since it was so expensive, I was easily persuaded into making a muslin so my final fabric wouldn't be wasted.  And wouldn't you know it, I had some similar material leftover from my adventure in NYC.  Leave it to me to make a cocktail dress out of swimsuit material.  If I ever have to go dancing on a gym floor that opens into a swimming pool with a young Jimmy Stewart, I will be set! 

I definitely had some fitting issues with this suit.  Because it needs to be a close fit all over the body, it took me about ten hours to complete this project.  Since it looked so different on my dress form, most of the fittings needed to take place on my actual body.  I was having some serious body anxiety at first.  I haven't been running enough, why do my abs look like that, holycrapamIreallythatpasty??? Swimsuit season gives me anxiety every single year without fail.  Who stands in the Old Navy and bemoans their hips and weird birthmarks and breasts that won't fit into bikini tops?  Me.  Always me.  I have a horrible time finding a swimsuit to be comfortable in for the summer, and it's not as though we can get through the summer without a swimsuit - it is just too hot to not throw yourself in some water at some point.  

So I became determined that this swimsuit would work for me.  I knew that I would be comfortable in this style of suit if I could just finish it.  I love halters (I feel more "secure), the tops of my thighs are hidden (HOORAY!!!!), it's a one piece (less sunscreen - yay for cutting down on prep time), and there's a zipper (no worrying about splitting a seam trying to get into it).  For someone who has issues with swim suits every year, this is the perfect solution.

Since this is a muslin, I let things get a little crazy, and I made some mistakes, but I'm still happy with the results.  I strayed from the instructions at several points, which I don't recommend doing.  I initially tried to get out of putting in a zipper - I seriously thought I wouldn't need one since I've never had a swimsuit that had a zipper and I've survived pretty well without it.  Once I heard the magical sound of seams popping as I tried to wiggle into it, I decided maybe zippers weren't such bad things after all! I added two hooks and eyes to the top of the zipper to close the gap between the zipper and the top of the fabric and also for extra security.  I like knowing that I won't have any wardrobe malfunctions :)

For my first foray into making a swimsuit, I decided it was better to be safe than sorry and cut out the pieces with a little extra wiggle room factored in.  After much doctoring, I know that I could probably get away with cutting out two sizes smaller.  The gusset was especially large, leaving me with much sagging in the crotch and bottom area.  I'm already self conscious about my bottom when I get out a pool - I'd rather not add to it if I can help it.  I probably took three inches off of the gusset and the back panels, leaving me with a smoother bottom area.  I originally thought small pleats would help, but tapering in the back panels and shortening both the panels and gusset worked out perfectly.  The bottom isn't as pretty as I like it, but there really isn't going to be anyone examining my seam finishings there!  Or at least there shouldn't be...

I also made adjustments to the halter strap.  I wanted to feel extra secure, and so I encased the straps between the shell and lining pieces instead of attaching to the top of the shell as directed.  This was all well and good until I realized how loose the strap was and had already done all of my top stitching around the neckline.  I decided to go with making a box pleat the the back - let's just call it a design element - to take care of the excess fabric.  I would eliminate this in the final version, but it works well for now.  

The one major problem that really bugs me is the weird flaps of fabric that exist at the bottom of the side seams.  In order to secure the shell to the lining (which the pattern does not call for, I believe), I stitched from side to side around the back of the suit.  I had originally tried to do stitch until the center front seams, but the excess fabric that gathered there looked wretched.  Now I have wings on the side that cannot be tacked down (the fabric bubbles out and makes my hips look wider).  I could probably fix this in the final version, and while I hate it now, I know I won't fix it because I love the rest of the swimsuit and in my mind that means "finished."

I wish I had listened to the directions when they called for French seams at certain parts.  Because the front shell is not tacked down to the lining in the front crotch area, it can be seen if the shell lifts up too high.  This is why it should be a French seam and not the crazy double-stitched seam that I used on the rest of the suit.  You can see an example of the seam finishing I used on the side seam below - I used the stitching as a decorative element, but also to hold down the extra fabric in the seam allowances.  I know better now and this will be remedied in the final version for sure!

This suit, while it tested my ability to work without illustrated directions and also forced me to address body anxieties, is one of my favorite things I've made.  I love the cut and style, the color is pretty fantastic, and it's so comfortable!  I don't have to worry about anything popping out - hooray!  This will be perfect for the vacation I am leaving for on Friday - lots of coverage in a hot climate while surrounded by family.  

I would definitely recommend this pattern to someone who is looking to make their own version of vintage swimwear while avoiding the bikini look.  I know I'll make a version of this in green and probably a floral strapless version as well - this might be my go to swimsuit pattern from here on out!

Friends, have you ever made your own swimsuit?  What were your thoughts during the process?  Let me know in the comments below!

Have an excellent week, my dears! XOXO

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mind = Blown

Friends, I don't normally get all geeky on you (haha - just kidding), but I felt these two things needed to be shared (via The Hairpin):

The amazing transit of Venus past the Sun - isn't that NEAT?!

Also, here's the most amazing thing ever: The Scale of the Universe.  

So spilling coffee on myself really isn't that big of a deal - yay perspective!

Have a great day all!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Diamond Jubilee or "The Teatime Top"

Friends, the Royals throughout history have always been on the cutting edge of fashion - I could not decide on a single look to attempt for last week's challenge.  Eventually I decided to focus on what I would wear if we met over a pot of tea.  This was a good idea since it finally convinced me to tackle the lack of white blouses in my closet (yay closing wardrobe gaps!).

I used the Colette Sencha pattern, version 2, as the base and I chose some sheer white poly from the stash as my fabric.  I used every ounce of this fabric, so I am slowly but surely using up my stash.  It feels so good to see the piles of fabric finally disappearing! 

The best part of this photo shoot? Double stuffed Oreos.  Wait - that doesn't look like tea...


Tricky, tricky - that appears to be milk instead!

Soggy. Oreo. Goodness.

And then I choked on the cookie.  That's what I get for calling it a Teatime Top and drinking milk. 

 I used seven buttons instead of the normal five because I wanted to reduce the gaps and I knew this fabric would be all over the place without the buttons to anchor it.  I've also added a white camisole underneath (I've had it since 7th grade!), but added lace to the bottom to lengthen it a bit under the blouse.  It would have appeared as a midriff camisole and that's not exactly the look I am going for if I am sharing tea with someone who lives in a palace.

I love how the neckline tucks appear with the sheer fabric, and I also love how the poly drapes out of the tucks - I think it's a lovely effect.  I eliminated the facings and used bias tape around the neckline instead.  I ended up hand stitched the tape as well as the sleeves.  The sleeves are a bit messy because the poly didn't want to play nice, but it doesn't bother me too badly.

I used this opportunity to break out my Lela Rose wedges from Payless.  They are ridiculously high, but I love being a giantess. I just need to learn how to walk in them properly now :)

Overall, I love this blouse.  I paired it with jeans and sandals for a night out on Saturday and felt completely comfortable.  I think I am definitely moving into a back button up blouse phase, and I am loving it.  I think there is something so classic about a row of buttons on the back of a blouse, and plan on making LOTS of these for work/play.  Have you ever worked on the Sencha pattern?  What is your favorite version?

Friends, I hope you enjoyed watching the Diamond Jubilee coverage as much as I did!  What a fabulous celebration to witness!

Have an amazing day all - XOXO!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Friday!!!

Happy Friday, my friends! 

Here are some things that are helping me to keep my sanity while we wrap up our fiscal year at work:

The most adorable piglet EVER.

I leave for vacation in two glorious weeks and I am definitely checking out all these tips from LearnVest (especially the ones on packing - eep!) before I go.  I'm also taking some pointers from this Yes and Yes article because I love traveling cheaply and comfortably.

I LOVE honey.  I have a problem and definitely consume more than my dentist would like, so this round up of delightful honey pots and accessories is a delicious guilty pleasure.

I totally cried.

I get to see the Bloggess TOMORROW.  So. Very. Excited.  I hope she lets me hug her.

I think I need a mini tricorn hat to wear while I am dusting the apartment. It's only appropriate.

Good gracious - I would love to make a snazzy little jacket out of this fabric and complete it with black piping.

Are you a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet?

It's Graduation Season!!

What have you got planned for this weekend?  Let me know in the comments!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Have a Temper OR How I Almost Came to Fisticuffs Over a Sewing Machine

Friends, there is a confession I must make:  I have a temper.  I get frustrated on a regular basis, and angry occasionally, but every once in awhile, I lose my mind with rage.  It's pretty epic.

Today I got so mad I told a woman that I hoped she died a horrible death. 

You're probably thinking, "JAYZUS.  This has nothing to do with sewing."

Except it has everything to do with sewing, because it involves the most beautiful machine I've ever laid my eyes on:

This morning, Mama and Papa Grand, Rob, and I all went to an antique fair.  It's a great time (usually), and I especially love seeing the people who are trying to sell broken Toy Singers for $200.  Ummm ... not so much.

 We are walking around and nearly done with the fair when Rob and I stumble across this being used as a display in a man's booth.  My heart drops - it's an instant case of LUST. I convince myself we have no room, not even for the price of $39.  Yes, $39. 

Eventually, both Mama and Papa Grand come over, they are trying to convince me to get it, I say we have no room, and Rob talks the guy down to $25.  Boom. Rob hands over money, kisses my cheek, and we both agree that this 1935 sewing machine will be a stunning display in the window of the sewing studio I'm hoping to open in +5 years.

Unless of course we can get the electric extensions working and then I will be using this immediately.

 Now, you may be wondering how this goes from such a glorious moment to one of complete horror.  In the 30 seconds (that's not an exaggeration) between Rob handing the money to the guy and us standing there, basking in the beauty of this machine, a woman comes up and wiggles into our little circle.  She asks how much the machine is, we say it's been sold - we've just bought it. She then pushes my mother's hand off of the extension and proceeds to try and look under the extension for a price.  She lets go of the extension almost immediately in midair.  The entire machine folds in on itself as the extension SNAPS closed so quickly that the cabinet is now damaged by the machine.

We all stand there in silence and horror as we reopen the machine and the once pristine extension is now marred with divots and scratches..

I nearly cried my eyes out, but I was so stunned that everything had turned so quickly.  The woman defensively says, "I was just looking for a price! She had her hand on it! " We say to her, again, "We JUST bought it."  "We told you it had been sold!"  She just stood there grinning stupidly at us.

The poor vendor said he would give our money back, but we said no, we're taking the machine.  The woman fled.


This is when the rage monster hit and I said, "Rob.  I need to go say something to that woman."  I follow her and wait until she comes out of another booth ... and then it was like the dragon was released.

Me: "I want to thank you for RUINING that machine I had just bought.  YOU RUINED IT." 

Her:  "Well!  HER hand was on it!" (meaning Mama Grand.  Note to people:  NEVER blame Mama Grand for anything.  It will not work in your favor.)

Me: YOU. ARE. A. C---." (Turns and walks away.)

Her:  "You are so rude!  Go to hell!"

Me: (Turns back around. Gets back in her face.  Rob shoves me away) "I HOPE YOU DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH!"

Yep.  And then I walked away again.  If she had admitted that she had done it, if she had apologized, I might not have been so upset. Instead, she chose to blame other people for what she did and damaged something that had just been given to me.

Rob stays with her to try and get her name so he can file a police report/charges in civil court to pay for the damages and repairs.  (Lawyers are sexy, y'all.)  She won't give it, so Rob goes to get the police, who wouldn't take a report and get the woman's name because it's a civil matter.  Once I hear that, I'm doubly glad I said what I did. 

As you can guess from the above story, my new year's resolution of less fighting with strangers went completely out the window.  It didn't have a chance.

After the incident, I went and sat in the car and shook for 20 minutes.  I apologized to Mama and Papa, but they were angry too, so it was okay with them that I lost my mind temporarily.  I also apologized to Rob, who kissed me and said he still loved me.  I'm lucky to have him, folks.

*Interruption: Mama Grand just called on the phone and told me she "almost pulled a Megan."  (I guess that's what we are calling it now?!) She's at the gas station and a woman was closing her gas cap with the same hand that was holding her lit cigarette.*

Friends, I do love this machine.  It's still stunning despite the scratches and damage it sustained today, and once we have a definite place for it, I will open it up and display it always.  I hope that my anger cools a bit so that I don't always think of the woman when I see those scratches, but that's hard to say: I've been known to hold grudges for at least a decade.  I also hope that my tale of sewing machine rage hasn't shocked you too badly as you are the last people I would ever wish to offend - I look at you as my friends, so I hope you'll forgive me for the language included here today.

I'm off to drink some wine and shake off today with a bubble bath.  

Have a fantastic evening all, and we'll resume with our normally scheduled happy Meg tomorrow.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Friday!!!

Hello, my lovely friends!  

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be wearing jeans, a sweater, and boots today.  I'm also wearing my pink button top (part of the new year's resolution), but I'm super toasty and comfy in all of my RTW gear.  I like Me Made May, but getting ready this morning was a joy because I knew I wouldn't be cold :)

Here are my favorite things this week:

I am going to put this list of 21 Quick Tricks to Feel Better Instantly in my cube.  And add Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia as #22.  

This picture made me so very happy.

My awesome friend, Becky, is opening a bakery in Chicago!  I'm crazy excited and proud of her - her treats are delicious, and I definitely will be ordering some for my birthday :)

I work in HR.  If you are currently trying to get a job, please look over these charts.  They will definitely give you a new perspective on interviews and potential employers.

Yep, I totally signed up for StickK when I read about it here.  I'm working on my goal of exercising three times a week, and if I don't, money goes to charity.  I never want to work out, but this is a great perspective to have on the subject and something I'll try and think about next time I want to avoid the gym.

I want to make this and put my face in it because I want to be immersed in the awesomeness of the goat cheese.  I love goat cheese.

An interesting article for us who blog: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet.  I would be curious to hear some of your thoughts regarding Flickr.  As much as I would like to, I just cannot get the hang of using Flickr - I'd rather use my Picasa web albums on Google (especially now that they have incorporated Picnik as the web editing tool! Thanks to Alessa for passing that AMAZING tip onto me!)

I agree with this entire post 100%. My favorite part is #6: Always touch your fabric.  I've learned this the hard way myself, and it's so very important!  

Friends, what are your plans this weekend?  I'm going to an antique show (don't tell Rob - I am pattern hunting - he thinks we are looking for furniture) and I also plan on getting pictures of my Sew Weekly Vegas outfit.  Due to amount of flesh that is revealed, it's essential that the pictures be taken in sunshine.  (If we are going to commit to this ensemble, it needs to be warm.)

Have a great weekend, all!!