Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Malory Archer!

Friends,I am a regular watcher of the cartoon, Archer.  To give you an idea of my Halloween costume, here is a screen shot:

Photo found here

Oh yes, Malory Archer was my target for Halloween.  My friends and I dressed up as the cast for a party on Saturday.

From left to right: Woodhouse, Krieger, Lana, Sterling Archer, Moi as Malory Archer, and Cyril

 I personally think that Zoey made the best Malory:


I'm not really crazy about all the pieces of my costume together.  I used Simplicity 6197 and made up the jacket, blouse, and skirt.  Everything came together rather easily, but I was feeling definitely overwhelmed with sewing all the grey.  WHERE IS THE COLOR??
 I used an exceptionally drapey polyester that I bought from Hancock at the last minute.  It worked really well for the skirt, okay for the blouse, and a near disaster for the jacket. 

 I didn't have time to line the jacket because it took all week for me to get enough motivation to even sew this outfit together.  I might finish lining it because I imagine it would be cute with a Sencha blouse and some jeans.  The shirt might get worn again with a cardigan and pencil skirt, and the skirt has already been paired with a sweater for an easy peasy work outfit.  All of the pieces on their own could work in my wardrobe.

While I was not a fan of this mess of an outfit, it served its purpose ... as did the crazy wig that was allllll over the place.  I got to run around saying "This is how we get ants, people" and drink a ton of Autumn sangria.  By the end of the night, I was speaking in accents and eating delicious apple cider cake

 Ugh.  The top is way too loose in the front, but that is part of the design and the way the darts lay. The darts come from side seam at an angle lower than I've ever seen, so it doesn't make for the most flattering front.  

I hope you'll forgive me for the craptacular pictures, but I'm not really feeling like putting on this entire grey outfit again.

The only thing I like is that it wasn't a "slutty" Halloween costume. Yay for not being slutty!

Friends, what was your favorite Halloween costume ever??  I don't think I have one, so I'm definitely going to need to remedy that next year!


PS.  Many hugs to all of you on the East Coast - I hope you are all safe and well from the madness of Sandy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Epic Weekend with Fabulous Ladies!

Friends, this past weekend was seriously epic.  Saturday was spent napping (I love napping) and finishing the Glinda dress for Rob's three year old niece who currently LOVES The Wizard of Oz:

I used McCall's 6381 for the pattern, eliminating the long sleeves and making sheer sleeves out of the netting.      I'm not going to mince words here: the netting was a pain in the ass.  The sparkly dots managed to gunk up 10 (!!!!!) needles, effectively destroying my stash of needles used for sewing delicates, as well as two heavy duty needles that were used for attaching the skirt to the bodice.

I had bought some pink sequined trim to add to the dress, mainly to use as cuffs for the sleeves, but it also worked perfectly on the bodice.  I originally was just going to make the dress with the satin foundation and the chiffon over-skirt, but the netting adds a great deal of pizzazz to it - something every little girl needs (even if it makes Aunt Meg cry)!

 I cut four sleeve pieces and doubled them up, right sides together, to create the epic puffs of wonder below.     The edges were gathered and the pink sequined cuffs were added.  

The skirt layers were attached to the bodice separately as it was impossible to gather and stitch to the bodice all at once.  I encased the layers of seam fabric in some bias tape on the inside of the bias so Jojo wouldn't get scratched by all of the netting.  All inside seams on the bodice and each seam on each skirt piece was French seamed - lots of work, but I'm hoping it will help the dress to last - especially that chiffon layer!  It was shredding in my hands.

 Each skirt layer was hemmed separately for a more princessy look - Jojo can pick up each layer and swish around the neighborhood to her heart's content :)

For a little extra, I made Rob's sister a bow clutch for her birthday and sent it along with the dress.  Not as sparkly, but just as fun, I think. I used leftover pieces from the Nautical Ginger skirt.  Scrapbusting, FTW!

Sunday began with a most delightful breakfast companion:


Debi sent me a message saying she was going to be in Chicago, and as we were both free Sunday morning, we met for a most marvelous breakfast.  I seriously love Debi - she has a kind, fantastic heart, heaps of talent, and is a fabulous lady to share a cup of tea with on an Autumn morning.  Next time, Debi, I'll come to your hometown and we can have a cup of tea there.  I think that would only be fair, right? :)

After leaving Debi, I journey north to meet with the oh-so-fantastic Michelle of Will Knit for Food:

Confession:  I was totally nervous about meeting Michelle.  I mean, have you seen her blog?  She knits the MOST BEAUTIFUL things like socks, wee little cardigans, and sweaters (which she then models on the streets of Dublin #jealouslikewhoa).  She also sews!  She's a complete package of awesome, so I was a bit intimidated by her at first.  She made me feel at ease by being crazy kind and giving me a present that was so geektastic, there are no proper words for it but SQUEE:


We are meeting up tonight for some more knitting adventures, so I'll be investing in some needles to start these lovelies asap!

On Sunday, we met at Windy Knitty, and that place is just wonderful!  Their yarn selection was so vast, and so well organized.  It was like a very colorful, soft kind of heaven.  We had exceptional service and conversation with the two shop owners/assistants - there was much laughter as we (read: everyone who has completed a project larger than a cowl - not me - I still got to laugh, though!) compared projects and talked about the upcoming Vogue Knitting Live!  (I'm not going, but it sounds like the best thing ever.) After purchasing some skeins for upcoming projects, we departed and headed for the nearby Sifu.

Sifu was a disappointment.  We perused their selection, which was scattered around the shop, and we weren't even greeted or acknowledged, even though we were obviously interested in browsing.  There were many people gathered in the back (apparently for a brunch?), but I got the feeling that I was very much an outsider when I attempted to see what was going on.  We left without making any purchases, and though we had been looking forward to a possible Sci-Fiber Friday in the future, I am thinking I might pass on that idea.

We were still itching for some yarn, so we headed to Sister Arts Studio.  I love SASI, but I'm totally biased because I've taken all my knitting classes there and Donna and Alexis are fantastic teachers.  I walked in with my project needs in hand, and Donna led me straight to the yarn I needed.  Donna was able to assist even though she had an event with at least 10 children happening in the front and back of the store.

After Sister Arts, we were in need of sustenance because yarn shopping is exhausting :)  Off to Starbucks for cool refreshments, conversation... and cookies.

And then we took silly pictures, because that was the only proper thing to do!

Stupid sunglasses.  I was crossing my eyes, too, but you can't tell.  Blergh.

A kind passerby took this awesome photo of me squeezing my new friend.  I'm hoping there will be many more photos like this in the future!  And more silly face ones, too - those are equally important.

Here are some shots of my yarn purchases:

Windy Knitty: Black Berroco Vintage for the Bright and Breezy Kimono

and some gorgeous green Rowan Lima for the Miss Marple Scarf (Sister Arts Studio).

After Michelle and I parted ways for the day, I headed home to prep for a night out with Lauren, a great friend from high school!  We walked on Navy Pier and then came back to my place for dinner, wine, toasted marshmallow milkshakes, and lots of great conversation about the world today :)

All in all, a marvelous weekend with fantastic ladies!!  Hooray for meet-ups and days filled with conversation :)

Have a fantastic day, all!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sometimes I Wonder Where I Get It From...

...and then I see pictures like this and there is no doubt in my mind.

I just love my parents like whoa.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, my friends!  I just got laughed at by a conference room full of women at a la Mean Girls when I was waving my arms to turn on motion sensor lights in an office.  It has now crushed my spirit for a little over 10 minutes.  So this is what I am looking at to cheer me up:

THE BEST COMIC IN THE HISTORY OF COMICS.  (Seriously - click, drag, and be amazed)

Tavi teaches Jimmy Fallon how to do bitchface.  Hilarity ensues.

I find myself sewing in my underwear often, especially if I am fitting a garment every few steps.  I'm glad to know I am not the only one!

If you love going to the theater, please read the review of Cyrano de Bergerac from a guy who has never seen a play - you won't regret it!

How to win over Tom Hanks.

8 Affordable Castle Hotels.  Yes, please!

These Sewing Sentiment illustrations are just darling.

It's that time of year again when Hocus Pocus returns to TV #joy

And then this, something to make us all smile at the end of a difficult work week:

FEET.  (I lol'd)

Have a great weekend, all!  I've got big BIG plans and it's going to be awesome :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

All About The Flannel

Friends, first of all, THANK YOU for all of your lovely comments on my UFO Red, White, and Blue dress!   It means quite a bit to me that you take the time to comment on my little blog here, especially when I've struggled to finish a project like that dress :)  Many hugs to you all!

Now that Autumn is officially here, and Winter is starting to creep in, I've pulled out the flannel stash because it is time to start sewing for warmth...

and by sewing for warmth I mean "sewing flannel tops with short sleeves."  Seriously, Meg, what were you thinking there?

I used Simplicity 1879 - Lisette Top that I love so much for this shirt, but I didn't have enough flannel for the longer sleeves!  I decided to just make it anyway and I can wear a sweater over it.

I used a fleece scrap for the front and back yoke facings, so this shirt is SNUGGLY.  The plaid doesn't match on the sleeves, but I don't really mind.  It fills a gap of comfortable and warm shirt that can be worn in public and not be embarrassing.

I've already worn it three times in the last three weeks so I'm thinking this might be a wardrobe staple for the next few months.  I wonder if I could style this to make it work appropriate?  Challenge accepted! 

Friends, do you sew flannel shirts to get you through the colder weather?

Have a great day, all!

PS.  Managed to figure out the Blogger issue - I ended up switching to Google Chrome and it's smooth sailing so far!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mama Grand Comes To Visit...

Friends, I love when Mama Grand comes to visit.

 I take her around to see the sights, eat some great food, and go shopping, of course!  This time, we took our shopping urges to the the Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen.  Mama Grand was SO EXCITED/HORRIFIED when she found the same fabric that had covered my parents' first couch and chair set.  It was seriously awful stuff - the colors of pea soup and wheat on burlap fabric.  We had a great laugh about that :)

Oh, and I totally made her and her friend cowls to wear around town.  (I've updated my Ravelry page - yay!)

 I found some AMAZING remnants there - the blue satin will be a skirt and the white satin will be the bow blouse from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing.

 The wool plaid will be pants, and the denim will probably be made into some Thurlow trousers.

 The embroidered upholstery fabric will be a sheath dress (of course), and the brown pinstripe will be made into pants for work. 


I also took my Mom and her best friend to tea at the Lobby of the Peninsula.  In short, it was amazing.

 I had the most delicious chai tea, and the food was positively glorious!

 The cream puff dessert was possibly my favorite...

 because of the delicious little surprise inside :)

 It was a wonderful experience to share with my Mom, and I will definitely treasure it for always.  Now I just have to think of a way to top it when she comes to visit next!

We also went to the Robie House in Hyde Park, which was interesting.  I'm not much of an architecture buff, but I can appreciate the skill and talent that Frank Lloyd Wright had.

Pizza for lunch, Chicago-style, of course... and lots of menu coloring.

We polished off our weekend with a trip to Quest Theatre's Male Order Brides.  Chicagoans, this was high quality theatre, very well done, and FREE!  We enjoyed our melodrama and popcorn throwing, though some of us got more into it than others...

I got popcorn dumped on me twice during the first act.  The villain was not going to get a chance in the second act, you know what I'm saying?

Sunday arrived and Mama Grand departed - Love you, Mama Grand!! Come back and see me soon :)

  I was able to get some sewing down before the weekend ended, so expect to see pictures of my new trousers if Blogger stops hating on me!  Have a marvelous day, all :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blogger Issues?

I'm having MAJOR blogger issues - any time I scroll my mouse across the composition area, it distorts and moves the text and pictures without my clicking on anything.  It's like I've dipped my finger into the screen and am just swirling the words around like paint.  Is anyone else having similar issues?

Monday, October 8, 2012

UFO: Red, White, and Blue

Hooray for UnFinished October, or I would never have revisited this dress.  I originally started it for the Sew Weekly "Red, White, and Blue" Challenge in July, but it just never got finished.  I lusted over the pattern forever (New Look 6000), but I eventually became so exhausted by the fabric that I had to call it a day. After trudging through the instructions and dealing with pattern placement for eight hours this weekend, the dress was FINALLY finished:

 Holy cannoli, I'm so glad I spent so many hours on fabric placement, even if it did take forever.  The main problem occurred when the fabric on the left panel was on grain, and I cut the right panel on the bias in order to make the center design.  IT WAS A PAIN.  There's a tiny bit of weird rippling as I struggled to match up the designs, but once I accepted that as an inevitable part of sewing this dress, I was fine with it.

Because I had to work with bias and on grain pieces, the hem was a disaster.  I must have chopped off three inches, making this a very short cocktail dress instead of a work appropriate sheath.  I can definitely wear this in the winter, though, because it's made out of upholstery fabric and is extremely heavy.  It's lined with a white cotton sheet for a bit of protection against the upholstery fabric.  I am a delicate flower, after all.

 I am in love with the zipper and fabric placement.  IN LOVE.

 The collar on Version D calls for a button, but I decided not to put it on just yet. I'm afraid the button might distract from the obnoxiousness of the print ... and I am just in love with the print.  I knew I had to buy this when I came across it in a thrift store in Missouri, and while I originally wanted it to be pants, I really love it as a dress.

The fabric does have some issues from sitting in one place too long.  You can see a pale line stretching across part of the fabric, but I think it's well hidden by the edge of the white hounds tooth spots.

Overall, I love how the dress turned out and I'm glad I pushed through to completion.  Would I make this pattern again?  Definitely.  It's a comfortable basic sheath dress that offers a unique collar option that I love ... and it's a great pattern for using up upholstery material :)

OK!  One UFO down - at least eight more to go before I'll consider this month a success!  No pressure there...

Have a great evening, all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sugar and Spice and Some Things That Are Nice...

Friends, it's been a crazy two weeks!  Between getting sick, visiting with friends and family, and eating some really amazing food, I've been making gifts!

I'm terrible at remembering birthdays and sending gifts on time, so here is a little zippered pouch for my niece's birthday (that was last month - eeep).  It's the perfect size to hold all of the fabulous technicolor nail polishes I got for her :)

 My friend's baby shower was on Friday, and since she and her husband are both gingers, I made this little doll for their soon to be arriving baby girl.

 I used Simplicity 1900 for the pattern, and used embroidery for the eyes, nose, and mouth as instructed.  It's so adorable!

 I took a picture of her sitting in my cube at work.  Recognize the flower?  It always makes me smile :)

 I got to take a break from gift making to hang out with the fabulous Liz.  We went to the Randolph Street Market, where we both snagged some goodies.  Yay for finding vintage patterns in my size! 

 Isn't Liz the most fabulous dresser?  That coat is made of sunshine and dreams, folks. 

 Liz found this delicious teal box while we were there.  It was in fabulous condition!

 I also got to spend some time yesterday with my lovely friend, Jamie, who lives in Portland, Oregon.  We went running in the morning (OMG 4 MILES) and then got together later for fajitas and to watch Rumble2012 with Bill O'Reilly and John Stewart.  Love you, Jamie girl!

I am currently in the middle of working on my Red, White, and Blue UFO from July... and it's a doozy.  I think I just need to hem it and add a hook an eye to make it wearable!  Is it bad that after working on it through the entirety of North and South (with my favorite man, Richard Armitage) AND Restoration (Robert Downey Jr. in some seriously ornate clothing) that I just want to throw in the towel?  I think it's killing my motivation to sew.  Maybe time for a break to make some trousers or a blouse?  

Back to the grind, folks - need to make lots of goodies before Mama Grand comes on Thursday!!

Have a fabulous week, all!