Scuba Batwing Top

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Scuba! I got this awesome thick scuba knit in the garment district when I was in New York a few weeks ago.  I bought it in two colors, and my initial plan was to make a colorblocked sheath dress out of it, but I knew that if I didn’t also make something with some body I would be wasting that scuba!

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That time I finally made something for someone else

Earlier this summer, I was suffering from a self imposed fabric buying ban.  I was saving up to pay the tuition on a web development class which I am currently taking- so I had to pinch some pennies and curb my insatiable desire for MORE FABRIC.  Let me tell you, it was trying.  I focused on sewing down my stash, which has gone fairly well so far.

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White Lace Wiksten

Times have been a bit tough over at the Crafty Foxes Sewing Club of late.  Not only is Sarah Grey moving away to the wild wilderness of Michigan (on the map I’m pretty sure it’s just labeled “thar be quilt shops”). But we are also losing our other favorite Sarah to a new job down south. I tell you, we’re going to be a sad crafty bunch when these lovely ladies depart.  The only upside to this is that there is some serious stash cleansing going on.  Sarah hooked me up with this gorgeous white lace a couple of weeks ago, and I knew it was time to conquer my fear of white fabric.
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My Mad Men Challenge 3 outfit

Julia Bobbin is putting on this great Mad Men Challenge.  This is the 3rd year she’s done it, though I didn’t get into Mad Men until this year so I guess I’m woefully behind the times.

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Joan, of course, is my inspiration. Gotta love those pencil skirts!

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I’ve been wanting to make a cherry red tie front blouse for months, and I finally found the perfect color of rayon challis online.

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The top  is the Fran Tie Shirt by Named Patterns.  I love their patterns and I thought the kimono sleeves were also very sixties.  I got a bit ahead of myself with this pattern, though.  The directions are really not great, which I knew going in and decided to forge ahead anyway, and this is the first button down shirt I’ve made (well, I suppose there’s a Banksia in my past, but that guy had no cuffs in sight….).  I might have been all fine had it not been for that slippery rayon challis!  So I struggled quite a bit with this guy, and the end result is really not my best work.  So yeah….no details shots, guys.  I’ll still be wearing it just ah….please don’t look too closely at the button plackets!

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The skirt is a revamped Charlotte Skirt from Christmases past.  I made it out of some wool suiting many months ago when my skillz were not quite up to today’s standards.  It had pinked seams, a hideously attached waistband, a very visible invisible zip, and most importantly it didn’t fit right.  One of those sad, never worn and never blogged makes.  I knew I wanted to pair the blouse with a pencil skirt, so I decided- why start from scratch?  I whipped this guy off the reject pile and went for it.  The first fix was to improve the fit.  This particular pattern has never worked very well for me.  It has sort of a kangaroo pouch effect in the front below the darts.  So I googled around until I figured out a fix- just lengthen and widen the darts.  That really seemed to do the trick.  Who knew it would be so easy??

Then I just serged up those seems, reattached the waistband, and put a neater hem on it.  All in all, much improved.

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Thanks for putting on the challenge, Julia!  It was a blast! Can’t wait to see what everyone else makes.

My Fall for Cotton Blouse

I entered my first sewing challenge! It was the Fall for Cotton Challenge put on by Lucky Lucille and By Gum By Golly.  I haven’t quite mastered the whole editing-the-sidebar thing, so I’m leaving off the button until I figure that out….  

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I used this excellent tutorial from Coletterie to make the surface cording for the front.  It’s pretty easy to do and creates such a beautiful effect. I had a hell of a time turning the cording inside out until my mother pointed out that I hadn’t trimmed the seam allowance down enough (I was at home for the weekend).  If only I could always benefit from her sewing wisdom….

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The pattern is the Bow Tied Blouse from Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing.  The blouse itself is really easy to make, though my attempts to draw a new neckline made it a bit more off the shoulder than I was intending…. so I won’t be wearing it to the office anytime soon, but it works fine for something more formal.

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I created the design by just pinning the cording directly onto the blouse (see my extremely professional pillow dress form above ha ha….).  The first half was easy….making it symmetrical was the real struggle.  I think next time I will create the design on paper first, and just turn it over for the mirror image so that it’s perfectly symmetrical and draw it onto the fabric with chalk.  Seems like I spent hours trying to get those loops the same size….

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Sarai’s tutorial suggests hand stitching the cording down from the front, but I found it much easier to do from the back.  The only problem with that was that my pins kept slipping out.  My  mother had the excellent idea of using painters tape to hold the cording in place while I stitched it down.  It worked pretty well- though in the end I used a combination of tape and pins.

The fabric is an organic cotton sateen from organiccottonplus.com. I bought it after reading a review of it on Lucky Lucille.  It really lived up to her glowing review.  I also bought some of the same sateen in navy which I used to make my second Belladone, but this color (Baltic Sea Blue) had a much more beautiful buttery sheen than the navy.

Blair Batwing Shirt

I finished up this sweater last week and I’m in love with it. Took about 2 hours to whip it up from start to finish- super easy.

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I’m also in love with this fabric. I had no idea what i was going to make with it when i bought it, and I still have a ton left over so you’ll be seeing more of it soon. I’m thinking Charlotte skirt.
I was a little afraid I would get some kind of mariachi affect from the sleeves. So I intentionally positioned the stripes the other way, but in retrospect I think it would have looked fine either way. The shape of the sleeves is great- I love the way they taper at the cuff.

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Can’t wait to make more from Named!

Datura

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I finished this dress several weeks ago but it’s taken me a while to blog it.  We just moved to a new apartment and have been without internet for quite a while.  Comcast can’t seem to get their shit together on this one…  On the upside, we’ve all been spending a bit of quality offline-time reading, cooking, exploring our new hood, and- in my case -sewing.

This dress was the main project that I made in the class I took at Laura’s Sewing School in Arlington.  The website is sort of terrifying, but I decided to take the class anyway and I don’t regret it!  Laura is extremely skilled and I learned quite a bit in the class- definitely feel like I got my money’s worth.

The dress is a slightly modified Datura by Deer and Doe patterns.  The pattern is for a blouse, but I lengthened it into a dress and used a zipper as the back closure instead of the button placket. I also lowered the darts- an alteration I’ve never made before but Laura recommended it and I think it fits great.  This was not a particularly complicated pattern, but the class was a real back to the basics review for me- I learned to trace patterns better, cut better, pin better, press better, stitch better, just do everything I’ve already been doing but BETTER.

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I was once again tempted to buy a yard of Liberty Lawn for this dress, but I satisfied myself with the Liberty Lifestyles for the front panel of the dress, and used a navy shot cotton for the yoke and back panel.

Laura showed me how to do exposed zippers.  It’s so easy- I get the feeling I’ll be doing this quite a bit from now on. I decided to do it upside down so that it zips from the bottom, and I really like the effect.

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My boyfriend Dan took these pictures in my parent’s garden while we were visiting last weekend.  We took advantage of all available props.

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