Sunday, September 23, 2012

The "Business or Pleasure?" Skirts

Friends, eleven days ago, you were kind enough to give me your opinions on what I should make with this fabric here.  Shortly after I posted about my fabric, the oh-so-fabulous Maria of Denmark emailed me about her Yasmin Yoke Skirt and asked if I wanted to give it a try with the comic strip fabric.  After emailing back and forth about my body measurements and the measurements of the skirt, I was definitely ready to try this pattern.  I will admit straight out that I avoid PDF patterns at all costs, mainly because I can never put them together properly.  My BurdaStyle PDF adventures usually end in tears and thus, I do not make BS PDF patterns anymore.  Maria's pattern, however, was a piece of cake to put together - she adds circles in the corner of each page so you can align the pages better.  This worked like a charm!  I was able to put the pattern together without any issues.  I also appreciated that some of the pieces fit all on one page and didn't require putting together. 

Once I got down to cutting out my fabric, I liked that Maria pointed out in several places that seam allowances are not included.  Sometimes I have to search for this information in BS patterns, and I start the project completely frustrated. This is probably the first pattern that has spelled out so clearly the suggested seam allowances - based on my needs, I ended up adding 6/8" to both skirts' seams. Once it was cut out, sewing it up was a complete breeze.  Maria included pictures of the steps with the instructions clearly spelled out, helpful for any level of sewist, but especially one who has not used PDF patterns before.  I think this is an excellent PDF pattern for a sewist who is ready to try their hand at it: easy to put together, easy to follow, easy to sew.

Once I got to sewing, I loved it so much that I ended up making two versions!  

First, "Pleasure":  The Comic Book Skirt


 OMG I LOVE IT.


 To make it more "comic strip" like, I added a black band at the bottom to match the black yoke at the top.  I love how it turned out, even if the polyester was shredding as I worked with it. 


 I hand-stitched the black band closed on the bottom, as well as the facings on the inside.  The inside facings were made with leftover pieces of the comic fabric, just to add some more character to the innards. 


 Up close shot of the fabric... I think this might be the most colorful and most boring series of single-frame comics ever.


 While the pattern calls for an invisible zipper, I did not have any in my stash.  Instead, I grabbed a hot pink normal one and I love the little pop of color in the black.


 Second version: "Business" or the work skirt.


For this version, I used a pinstripe suiting that has a TON of stretch in it.  This definitely caused some issues down the line, but all manageable.


I love skirts with pockets, because sometimes I just don't know what to do with my hands when I am talking to other professionals.  Yay for pockets on my new work skirt to solve that problem!
 

The front has a weird wrinkle running across, but I plan on tackling it with an iron later.  I was also having issues with the lining that I added.  The lining has no stretch in it, so attaching it to the bottom of the skirt via slip stitch was nearly a nightmare.


This is my attempt to hide the wrinkle.  It will be conquered - it will just take more steam, and then more steam on top of that. For as fabulous as this skirt turned out, I'm willing to invest some time ironing.
 

I also made this blouse to go along with it.  I had some extra navy poly in the stash and decided a blouse was in order.  I used Simplicity 2659 and altered it to include a keyhole with hook and eye instead of a zipper. 


Front pleating details up close.  They are a little bit off kilter, but I can live with it, especially since winter is coming and I'll be wearing some sort of sweater with this for most of the season.
 

Flanges details up close.  I love how these look!  They add a ton of pizazz to this sleeveless shirt, and I might just Frankenstein them onto another shirt pattern in the future.


 The back zipper.  I used brown since it was the least garish zipper I had in my stash.  I am pleased with how easy it went in and how well it looks now.


I slip stitched the lining to the zipper.  I added a lining so I could wear it with tights during the winter since the suiting is nice and heavy already.
 

The slip stitched hem. It's a mess, really, pulling upwards because the suiting has so much stretch and the lining does not. I think I might need to separate the two and hem each on their own while tacking the lining to the shell at the seams.


Friends, I cannot recommend this pattern enough.  It's versatile, can be made with so many fabrics for so many occasions, has different length options, you can add different linings for the pockets and skirt, and even do color blocking if you wished. I fully plan on making a flannel one before it starts snowing here.

Thanks again to Maria for making such a wonderful pattern!  I'm definitely loving the "Business or Pleasure?" additions to my wardrobe! 


XOXO,
Meg

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Jersey Knit Bow Blouse

Friends, I love making things out of knit fabric, but for the life of me, I couldn't understand why I had yet to discover a jersey knit bow blouse pattern.  I eventually decided to alter a pattern on my own and see what happened.  I used Simplicity 5645 from 1964 (view 5), some knit fabric I had gotten from Girl Charlee, and after a few hours, my experiment was complete. 


 I absolutely LOVE IT.  I wore it to work today, and it was comfortable, yet professional.  I can dress it up for the office, or dress it down for casual nights out.  It might be the most versatile piece in my wardrobe.


 In order to get the proper fit, I took it in about three inches on each side, took off an inch off of the shoulder, altered the facings and stitched these to encase the tie and neck seams, gathered the sleeve cap, added a cuff to the sleeve, and gathered lower edge of the sleeve.  I kept the darts as the pattern described, and basically followed all the essential directions for construction.  It took approximately three hours from start to finish, so I am definitely seeing more of these in my near future!


The only issue I have is that the cotton jersey is a bit thin, so I'm wearing a nude tank underneath.  This just adds to the snuggle factor - I am swathed in jersey wonderfulness.

Friends, have you ever altered a pattern for knits?  Let me know in the comments!

XOXO, Meg

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicago Meet-Up Extravaganza!!

Friends, I had the most glorious Saturday.  I got to hang out with some very lovely ladies: Liz of Zilredloh, Tasha of By Gum, By Golly!, Nancy of Buddha Bear Studio, and finally, the lovely Lladybird herself, Lauren. Lauren was visiting Chicago, so we all gathered together to explore the best that Chicago can offer in textiles with her.  Liz was so lovely to coordinate, and we kicked the day off with a glorious swap at Bite Cafe.  The French Toast was amazing, in case you are ever in the neighborhood.

Speaking of amazing, I was totally in love with Tasha's gorgeous sunny blouse...


... and Lauren's luscious leopard dress.  


Nancy wasn't able to join us for the fabric shopping, but we kicked things off at Fishman's Fabrics!  


 We definitely spent a good 45 minutes in Fishman's, most of it by the sale wall, but even then, the prices were a bit out of my range.


Liz's skirt is DIVINE, y'all.  She's perusing the cotton prints, where I saw the most delightful print with neon green telephones all over it.  I didn't buy it ($10 a yard for a thin cotton wasn't really in the budget for the day), but I definitely admired it's quirkiness.
 

 After debating over some fabrics, we decided to try our hands at Vogue and see what they had in stock.


Vogue Fabrics has a remnant room that is my version of heaven.  We spent the most time there, sorting through the masses of affordable, glorious fabrics... I have no idea how I've never been there before!
 

 After buying enormous amounts of fabric and notions, we journeyed back to the car where Liz had a little surprise for us...


 Perfection.  The most delicate, delightful treats that my mouth has ever known.  The gingerbread with vanilla buttercream and the hazelnut with nutella filling were everything that a girl could ever dream.  Many thanks to Liz for exposing me to macarons, and for giving me some to take home!

(They are hidden in the fridge.  Rob, sit back down.)


 Celebrating the delicious morsels that words could not describe...


After savoring our macarons, we headed over to Loopy Yarns, where, as a beginning knitter, I was completely overwhelmed and took no pictures.  After enjoying some final drinks and some hummus nearby, we parted ways.  I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to spend the day talking about sewing, life adventures, and tasty treats with these amazing ladies.  It was definitely a day to remember!


Thank you ladies for a marvelous day, and to Liz especially for coordinating!!  I'm so glad to know all of you :)

XOXO,
Meg

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What happens when you buy a tube of fabric?

Friends, I met some lovely ladies for a meet-up yesterday (post and lots of photos to come tomorrow), and while at Vogue fabrics, I picked up a lovely burgundy knit for $1.29 a yard.  This morning, I discovered that the piece of knit fabric was actually a tube.  There was only one thing to do: put it on and have some fun.



It's a very heavy knit - I started sweating immediately ... but I guess that happens when you put yourself in a tube four yards long.


 I had visions of being a very trendy sarlacc.


And then there was dancing.


Have a great Sunday all!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

...Or I should say "change":

I got bangs.



I haven't had bangs like this since seventh grade, and I am definitely loving it :)

What do you have planned for this weekend, friends?  I've got ten projects that are begging to be completed, so it's going to be a weekend full of sewing for me ... and I am so excited about that!

Have a great Friday, all!  Do something fabulous for yourself today 

XOXO,
Meg

PS Thank you for all of your suggestions for what to do with my piece of fabric!  It's approximately 45" across, so I am working my way through your suggestions and my pattern stash to see what I can match.  I am definitely leaning towards a skirt or a bolero now, based on what I have on-hand, so the options are  really exciting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What To Make With This Fabric?

Friends, I have one yard of the most amazing fabric ever, and the time has come to find a project for it...


...but what could I make with one yard of the craziest, most boring comic book strip fabric ever??


(No, seriously.  Some of the panels say, "Oh!  We're having my favorite for dinner." )

Since it's only one yard, and it's a very light cotton, I was thinking perhaps the lower bodice and skirt fabric for the Macaron, but there isn't nearly enough.  I also think a blouse might be a bit overwhelming, but I'm wondering if there is a pattern out there that might change my mind.  I need your help!  What do you think I could make with this epic fabric?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)

XOXO,
Meg

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adventures on Interstate 55...

Friends, it's been a crazy couple of weeks.  I've been doing some sewing in the downtime between family visits, but most importantly, I've been practicing my knitting...


Knitting and purling like a rock star in my parents' house, and I found out that I can easily knit in the car without getting sick!  This is quite a feat for someone who gets carsick at the drop of a hat.


Heading to visit Rob's parents this past weekend gave me lots of time to knit, until my phone exploded with an alarm while we were on the highway:


...and my first thought was: "The knitting needles to go into the back seat so one doesn't end up in my ribcage if a tornado hits the car."

It was raining so hard that we couldn't see the car in front of us, much less a tornado coming at us. Thankfully, we were able to get off at the next exit and took shelter at a Comfort Suites (I tweeted them a thank you).  Of course, I'm shaking like a damn leaf and trying not to panic, but in my moments of fear, I dropped a ton of stitches in the hotel lobby and ended up frogging the whole thing.  After waiting two hours, we got back on the road and began making our way to Missouri once again.

The storm left behind some beautiful weather, perfect for a county fair and pork butt on a stick.


Food on a stick aside (but seriously, deep fried Snickers are AMAZING), there was much crafting happening while we were there.  I finished two blouses for Rob's niece, Jojo.  Both were made with McCall's 7676, but I eliminated the facings and used bias tape instead.


A blue version made with some larger scraps, complete with criss-crossed straps in the back.


I also refashioned this shirt of my great aunt's...


into this smaller version of adorableness, complete with appliqued embroidered bits from the blouse.  I made a pocket out of the old pocket, and just recut the pieces on the front so I didn't have to recreate buttons or buttonholes.  Easiest refashion ever?  Quite possibly.


I really love the rainbow colors - and the seersucker fabric, too!


Hello applique/plaid matching!


I managed to pick up some goodies for myself while I was at it... I think the antique stores nearby are the best in the whole world.  I found two dress patterns in my size (HOORAY!), and a men's tie pattern that will definitely be made for Papa Grand for Christmas.  It also has a bow tie pattern included, but someone who I co-habitate with does not like wearing bow ties.  


On the way back home, we stopped at an antique mall so I could browse for a half hour, and of course I found a pattern in my size and a 2 yards of fabric.  Total price: $3.00


I usually never browse jewelry, but as I walked past a rack of brooches, I found this delightful bow one and snatched it up for $4.50.


All of the needlework books were in a plastic bag marked $1.  SOLD.


Once I get my skills up to par, I want to make this shell with crocheted trim...


this pleated dress...


and this delicious little cape. 


Friends, what is the best thing you ever ate on a stick??  let me know in the comments - I'll have to hunt things down before all the street festivals end here!

XOXO, Meg

PS.  Thank you for all your kind comments regarding my last post about my brother.  I feel very strongly that suicide needs to be talked about, and people need to know they aren't alone.  I'm sending hugs to all of you that have been touched by such tragic events or those of us who have ever felt depressed or alone; I'm thinking of all of you today.