Monday, March 31, 2014

30:60: Project 8, 9, and 10: Puttin' on the Ritz

Friends, I love dressing up.  LOVE IT.  I especially love dressing up for parties and weddings because that means I can make new things to wear!  Of course, I do have the bad habit of waiting until the last minute and finishing my wardrobe the day of, but it all works out in the end (or at least that is the case so far!).
Project #8: Sewaholic Cambie for Meryl's Black and White Birthday Bash
So the party was black and white themed, so everyone there was dressed to the nines. When I first got the invite to the party, I knew I would be making a Cambie with this obnoxious black and white plaid from my stash. This fabric was the WORST. There were so many snags that I had to cut pieces out very carefully, throwing out more than a yard and a half that was completely ruined. Could I have saved it for something else? Probably - but it wasn't worth the hassle of fighting to cut pieces out.

Me, Meryl (the lovely birthday girl), Becky, and best friend Stephy (in her Anna dress)

She's got legs, she knows how to use them.

I am already a professed fan of the Sewaholic Cambie pattern, but I decided to mix it up this time and make Version A without the gathers in the skirt. I ran into a problem early on in that I misplaced the pocket pattern piece for the Version A skirt. Whoops! I substituted and shaped the pocket piece from the Hollyburn skirt to fit, which works fine enough, only to find the pattern piece for the Cambie after the dress was finished. Le sigh. 

Even though the pockets don't fit perfectly, I think it still came out well. I wish that my white cotton lining didn't show so much, but it doesn't bother me enough to shelve this completely.  I'll definitely be wearing this dress again, probably to work with a colorful cardigan before Spring is over.

Batman (aka my friend, Travis) wanted to be my prop for some photos. This photo is acceptable because he isn't trying to lick my face or stick his beer in my armpit. #friendship

A close up of the plaid.  I tried so hard to plaid match down the center front but eventually settled for things being a little off. This dress was giving me enough headaches between the snaggy fabric and fudged pocket, so I picked my battles and let the fabric shift where it wanted to go.

I'm still a huge fan of the pattern (as you'll see below), and I liked this version very much!

Now that I've found the correct pocket pattern piece (which had slid under the ironing board during the cutting out stage), I can definitely see more of these happening in my closet down the road.  I may even try another plaid - shocking, right?

I will be taking a brief break from sewing any more Cambies right now, as within two weeks time, I made another (Version B this time):

Project #9 and #10: Sewaholic Cambie and McCall's 6044 Go to a Wedding
Friends, meeting the family of your significant other can be a little stressful, so why not be comfortable and make something for yourselves to ease the experience?

This past weekend, I accompanied Josh to his family's wedding in the area. Several weeks ago, we had chatted about me making him a shirt for the event, as well as a dress for myself.  

I went shopping for his shirt fabric with the lovely Mari, and used some emerald poly crepe from my stash for the Cambie.  There was enough for a full lining even, so I had very little leftover at the end.

The fabric for Josh's shirt is a very light gray cotton/rayon shirting blend, and it is so smooth and soft. Josh and I had discussed colors that would work well with a navy suit, and both agreed that gray was much better than white. 

We needed to make a few adjustments to McCall's 6044 as Josh is quite tall (6'5"). The length ended up working out well (could have been a smidge longer in the body - will have to remember that for next time), but we added 4-5 inches in the arms so he could stretch out comfortably.

A little wrinkled, but we were sitting and dancing and these things happen.  The fit across the shoulders was spot on, and the collar didn't choke him at all, so I felt like this shirt was a victory. I did fudge up the top stitching around the collar points (per usual), but other than that, I was very pleased.  It also helps that he is so tall and I can't get close enough to look at my shoddy job on the collar when he is wearing it.
My dress also got a little wrinkly, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

The color, style, and pockets were perfect for impressing his family, but I have to tell you: his aunt was a Home Ec teacher who taught sewing for MANY years, and once she started examining my gathers, I broke out into a cold sweat. I was so glad I had packed deodorant in my bag.
(She gave my gathers a passing grade and said they were all very even. WHEW!)

Poly crepe is a little tricky in that it immediately wants to start fraying all over the place, so I put my zig zag stitch to good use on this piece.  I was unsure about needing to add a skirt lining, but I was afraid the fabric would have been a bit too sheer without it, and I didn't want to risk giving his family a show.  Adding the full lining took a little longer than I hoped, but I still managed to finish the dress with an hour to spare before we had to leave.  (I got to wash my hair and put on a decent face - high five!)

Friends, do you ever find yourselves using special occasions as a reason to get out the sewing machine? Do tell in the comments below!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The 40s and 40s Dress

Friends, this is a very belated outfit post.  During the summer of 2013, after my love and I had been dating several months, he took me to a fabulous party that was themed "40s and 40s." You dressed in the 40s style while drinking a 40 ounce beverage, which is pretty fantastic idea for a party.

To get in the proper spirit of the party, I made a dress from Simplicity 1587 with some fabric I had picked up in an antique mall in Ohio.  The fabric felt like a poly-silk blend, and was absolute butter in my hands after ironing it.  It was ridiculously glorious.

The only issue with the glorious fabric would be that it liked to shift around quite a bit, meaning that the skirt in these photos isn't exactly centered.  Whoops!

I love the style of the dress.  The top allows enough room to be comfortable, the sleeves have a bit of vertical gathering, the waist is cinched enough to give me some shape, and the skirt flows beautifully.

I was so taken with the vertical gathers on the sleeves that I may try this on a Renfrew at some point.  I think it would be a nice hack, and that pattern holds a near and dear place in my heart.

The absolute best part of this dress is the fabric.  It's pink, navy, and white, with pink beer steins on it.  IT'S AMAZING, and perfect for a party where the beverages will be plentiful.

Now that warmer weather is around the corner, I anticipate wearing this dress quite often, but in the meantime, here's a photo of the initial wearing:

Have a marvelous day, all!


Monday, March 24, 2014

30:60: Project 7: The Wearing Of The Green

Friends, St. Patrick's Day in Chicago is a big deal.  We dye our river green, Clark Street is basically a war zone of drunkeness, and everyone and their mother claims to be 100% "Chi-rish."
I grew up in Ohio, in a town where you wore green to celebrate or you were allowed to be pinched by anyone you encountered that day. While Chicago goes out of its way to celebrate, I did not know if this aspect of my childhood had followed me here, and to be honest, I didn't want to find out!
A few weeks ago, I bought the lovely Hollyburn skirt pattern during the Sewaholic Birthday Sale, and decided to pair it with some heavier twill for my first go round. 
And the twill? It was the most enticing shade of green.

This skirt took no time at all to finish. I think it took four hours total from cutting out to finishing, which is my ideal time for creating a garment.  My time is precious, and being able to make such a polished piece in a day makes this skirt a new TNT pattern for me!

Because the twill is heavier, the skirt holds it shape and is a little less drapey than future versions may be (purple crepe will probably be the next version you see here).

I paired it with my McCall's 5929 blouse and rocked this outfit at a very important meeting at work.  At one point, we had to go around the room and say one interesting fact about ourselves, and I said that I made my whole outfit. I somehow manage to find ways to talk about sewing in HR meetings ... *high fives to any other HR seamstresses out there*

My favorite part of this skirt is definitely the color, which works with so many of my new blouses!  I think I'm going to treat the skirt as a neutral color when trying to pair other things with it.  I imagine I could come up with several brightly colored outfits that way :)

Friends, I want so many more versions of this skirt in my closet.  Besides the purple crepe, I'm plotting denim and perhaps even ignoring the directions and trying stripes or plaid (because we all know how much I love plaid).  Also, I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many skirts with pockets in your closet.
Pockets FTW!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

30:60 Project 6: It's Raining Jasmines

Friends, this is my third Colette Jasmine this year, and I think I am more in love with this pattern than ever.  Since I'm on a quest to bring more solid color separates into my wardrobe, as well as fulfill my dream of a closet full of bow blouses, I decided to pair this pattern with some unloved light blue satin in my stash.

Why unloved, you ask?  Well... there's the issue of the mysterious red markings (which I managed to hide under the arm so they aren't as noticeable)...

...and also the goo from the price sticker that the Hancock Fabrics employee stuck right in the middle of the piece she had just cut for me.  (THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS, HANCOCK)

I managed to hide the sticky part on the back of a sleeve, so again, not as noticeable, meaning that this unloved piece of satin can be worn without trying to awkwardly block imperfections in the fabric.

I love this pattern, I love pairing this blouse with high waist skirts or trousers, and I finally love this fabric.  

Friends, how do you deal with fabric imperfections? I'm working on Project 9 right now, and the fabric is a complete snagfest. I have a yard left over, and I'm pretty sure it's going to be tossed in the garbage rather than go back in my stash. I cut my pieces out of the non-snagged areas, and was that ever a pain! Hopefully the end result is worth it.  Fingers crossed!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

30:60: Project 5: Something Bold and Blue

Friends, I am in desperate need of solid color separates, so when I came across this scrap of blue poly in my stash, I paired it with New Look 6808 (View B) for something that I could wear all year long:

On it's inaugural outing, I paired it with the Running Around in Circles Skirt.  I love having more blouses to wear with this piece!
(Of course, I also dropped a piece of food directly on the front during its inaugural outing. UGH)

I'm very pleased with the fit of the blouse, though the poly will be a little rough during the sweaty summer months.  Humidity and I don't get along very well.

I used a zipper from an old project, so I only needed to shorten the opening by a few inches to accommodate the shortened zipper.  Yay stashbusting!

The blouse is fantastic, and fills some closet gaps very well, but let's be honest:  I'm completely in LOVE with the color and wouldn't care if it filled any gaps at all.  What can I say? I'm really a sucker for Tardis blue :)


Monday, March 10, 2014

30:60 Project 4: A Birthday Bag for Lizzie

Friends, I love the BurdaStyle Charlie Grocery Bag pattern.  It's so easy to make and customize, and also relatively easy to make reversible (I just top stitch the pieces together).  I decided to make one for my dear friend, Lizzie, who celebrated her birthday this past Sunday.

I used plaid remnants from a pair of shorts I made last year for one side.  I thought there should be at least one tame side to the bag to counter the awesome colors on the other...

Because I didn't have enough of the bohemian print for the front and back pieces, I added some color block elements.  It's kind of funky - I'm digging it.

The full spectrum of color.  I love the design, and Lizzie loved it, too!  (That's the important thing, right?)

My lovely Lizzie (center).  Happy Birthday, Lizzie!!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

30:60: Project 3: Not exactly purple ... more like magenta

Friends, I have kicked my dark purple streak for Project #3 of 30:60...but I've definitely fallen hard for magenta.
I acquired McCall's 5226 several months ago, and immediately fell in love with view C (boat neck with V in the back).  Since the pattern I bought is for a 34 inch bust, I had to make some adjustments on my end.  I decided to try my hand at enlarging with a satin remnant that I picked up from the Textile Discount Outlet.  (Remnant bin - third floor - my version of heaven)
Now that it is finished, I will freely admit I am quite in love with the color and style.

The V in the back is flattering, but definitely needs to be pressed before each wear.  Also, the darts need to be pressed back into shape.  Satin seems to have a mind of its own sometimes - it never wants to lay as flat as I would like.

The biggest shock of all (besides the fact that I actually managed to fit this well) was that I had a zipper in my stash to match the fabric.  *High fives self*

For my first foray out with it, I paired it with my black and white houndstooth skirt (altered hand-me-down) and some black tights.  I also wore a black sweater in the office - we aren't supposed to have sleeveless shirts.  

Pardon the wrinkles, please.  I had been sitting for many hours.
(Thanks to Liz for taking my photo!!)

I can't wait to see how this looks paired with my Simplicity 3688 trousers.  And I think I need to make a fabulous little jacket or bolero to pair with this.  Do I have more magenta in my stash?  Because I think this might become a new favorite color of mine...
and my mind is off and running!
Have a marvelous day, all - stay warm!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

30:60 1 and 2: Purple Everywhere I Look

Friends, I am really on a purple kick lately.  I cannot get enough of that color.  It's still dark enough for winter colors, but is still enough of a color to get me through until Spring.

March 1 (Day one of 30:60!)

Project #1: a leather asymmetrical clutch

Leather working is definitely going to be my new favorite thing. Now that I've had a taste of it in Leather Working 101 at the Chicago School of Shoemaking, I WANT TO DO MORE.  Better yet, I have a partner in crime for these classes and leather working adventures: the lovely Michelle.  Michelle is super thoughtful and bought us both Groupons to try the 101 class on Saturday morning.  After I arrived, I started picking out my leather pieces, and settled on a large scrap of purple and some smaller bits of lime green.  I just gravitated to these colors immediately, so I decided to go with my gut and make the Joker clutch :)

Michelle chose a fabulous black leather with some light blue accents.  So so pretty.

Michelle's finished purse.  LOVE!  We ended up making the same style, but there were so many things you could do.  We both really loved the double straps on the front of one of the sample pieces. but decided to add wrist straps as well.

Karen, our wonderful teacher, photographed all of our final products.  I was very proud.

I learned how to punch holes, glue, rivet, insert eyelets and snaps, as well as create a strap for the clutch.  It was fantastic.  I can't wait to go back and take the sandal making class with Michelle.  Summer has to come someday!

Up close and personal.  This isn't a color combination that is normally in my comfort zone, and I think that is why I flocked to it so hard.  I am using this year to mix up my style, and I think this is a great addition.

Project #2: Butterick 5605

I cut out Butterick 5605 ages ago, but never got around to sewing it.  Something about the construction of the bodice seemed too outrageous for me to attempt, and so I kept it shelved for quite awhile.  Cut to yesterday, when I thought about making an outfit for my friend's birthday party, which was themed "Deceased Rock Stars" (he was turning 27).  I decided to tackle this pattern finally after figuring out I wanted to be Patsy Cline (because she was awesome).

Sadly, due to a snowstorm that hit two hours before I left for the party, I scrapped the Patsy Cline idea and just went in the dress without a character.  The hair and shoes would never have survived the trip to the party otherwise.

Here is where I tried to get a full photo of the dress but was instead nearly crushed by Jerry Garcia (the birthday boy).

I really really love the back of the dress.  I used one of the purple buttons given to me ages ago by Magpie Mimi for the closure, and I adore the open back look.  I went for short sleeves instead of 3/4 since I will want to wear this in summer.

 The fabric is old cotton bedsheets, also seen as a skirt and top on February 3.

The bow belt has been sadly underused in my closet.  I love how it looks here, and I also love the purple wool thigh highs.  I threw on my blue cardigan (refashioned) when I was chilly.  I love the purple and blue combination, and I plan on wearing it often.

Speaking of purple and blue...

Best friend.

March 2

Heading out to grab treats so best friend and I can watch the Oscars in comfort.  I'm wearing my flannel Lisette top, my blue cardigan, and my jeans.

Stay warm, all!  And enjoy the Oscars if you are watching!