Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas


Here is an update on what I’ve been sewing lately. 

A lot of bird ornaments.  I had plans for a few dozen.  Made a single dozen.  IMG_0542 (1280x853)

Gold dress.  Size one.  My dear friend named her darling baby Goldie.  She must have known a little gold dress was coming at some point.  The goldenrod silk dupioni was stashed from a wedding party I worked on a decade ago.  IMG_0539 (1280x853)

IMG_0532 (852x1280) Snow White.  Lu wears either Belle or Cinderella most days.  I wash Belle at least every other day.  We added Snow White into the rotation.  (Hoping to make a mini Rapunzel during January or February.)  Lu got her for Christmas.  She was thrilled, put it on right away, and didn’t take it off again.  IMG_0529 (853x1280)



Two of these smocked ornaments.  Really, these are so fun and the options are endless.  I love that if you sew contrasting fabrics you get the diamonds alternating.  They are just so much dang work to get the quality I expect and like.  I have three more ready for beading that I’m going to try to do for next winter.  IMAG0791 IMG_0547 (1280x853)

Yes, I’m taking pictures from the dirty laundry.  Here is that velour skirt I mentioned a few posts back.  Bird wears it with cute striped leggings I made to coordinate some t-shirts I bought.IMG_0544 (1280x853)


This is another skirt I made for Bird to go with a RTW t-shirt and leggings or tights. She has worn it once and the ruffles are already snagged in places (center front).  I don’t think it will last long but I got the ruffles on sale for a really good price and they are so easy to sew I don’t mind a short life.IMG_0543 (853x1280)

And last, I made myself a Christmas outfit.  I made the skirt Saturday night before Christmas because I found the ruffles on sale for a good price.  At 10:30 I realized I liked my skirt but didn’t really have a proper shirt to go with it so I make up some stashed fabric in one of the blouse patterns I made recently.  My mom gifted the stashed fabric to me a couple of years ago.  She bought it while she was in Vietnam.  I think it is likely a silk/cotton blend.  The biggest problem was that she bought it from a street vendor and the sun had faded portions of it.  I ended up cutting around a lot of faded parts but made it work.  IMG_0548 (853x1280)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Finery

Today was the first time the kids put on their Christmas Finery.  The girls dresses are both a bit big in the bodices.  They are narrow little people.  I’m not sure I’m going to alter them though because the silk won’t be forgiving to take out stitching later.  They’ll be able to wear them for a while.  Maybe even a little next Christmas.  Brother wasn’t thrilled with his bowtie last night but after wearing it today declared it is fun and cool to wear a bowtie.  Phew.  I think I’ll clean/repaint my door this week.  

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Unimpressed Lu

I spent the morning hand embroidering the motif on some material for the front of Lu’s Christmas dress.  I showed her the flowers. 

Mama: Look at these pretty flowers!  These are your flowers.

Lu: I need dress part. 

Good point. Good point.  No more other sewing until Christmas dresses are done.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The Loser this week is this skirt.  I was suspicious that it may turn out feeling matronly and it turned out feeling matronly.  The pattern went together fine.  I lined it and put a grosgrain facing in.

I hate it. I put it in the give-to-charity pile already unless any devoted readers would rather have it.

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The winner is this lovely top.  The fabric is from Yellow Bird Fabrics.  It is a stretch cotton that I only had a yard of because I bought the end of a bolt.IMG_0042 (853x1280)The pattern is Butterick 5610 (sz 10).  I love this pattern.  I want to make it a few more times.  The next time with a contrast yoke/sleeve part.  The front attaches to that flattering front yoke curve at these pain the the rear corners.  After it was finished, this was the best part of the pattern.  While sewing, for sure the worst.  I changed the construction to avoid hand stitching the sleeves at the bottom. I sewed the sleeves hem right sides together & then the side seams of the sleeves.  This meant I couldn’t easily do the neckline in one continuous line.  This still seems better than handstitching the bottoms together (lining and fabric).  Next time I’m going to do the neck line first, the the bottom of the sleeves (still flat) pulled through the open bottom yoke, then the underarm seams and then I’m going to proclaim myself a hero.        

Here is the token crappy cell phone self portrait into a cruddy mirror.  Its becoming a nightsew signature style.  Love. IMAG0760

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In the sewing room/closet this week

I’ve been sewing some for myself.  There is some wool/silk I really want badly but is a little spendy from Yellow Bird Fabrics that I was hoping would be on sale for Thanksgiving.  They were closed the weekend of Thanksgiving. 

So I bought this fabric at JoAnns for a really great price and made this instead.  It was on sale, then I bought the last of the bolt so I got 75% more off half of it then I had 25% additional off in coupons.  Fabric ended up costing $5.88, plus a $.99 pattern & a $1.80 invisible zipper.  The lining (which wasn’t called for in the pattern but was added in a late night decision) was a little stiff but it was leftover from a project years ago.  Total $8.67

Occasionally I sew something very affordably to make up for the ridiculous expensive other things (ahem, Christmas gowns) I sew. 

The pattern is Butterick 5640.  I added a full lining and modified the construction to avoid all hand sewing.

IMG_0029 (852x1280)  IMG_0031 (853x1280) This is the lining view. IMG_0033 (790x1280) IMG_0035 (853x1280)

Here are two crappy cell phone self-portraits into an antique discolored mirror.  Quality I give you. 

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I also made this the other day.  I actually cut it out a few weeks ago but I lost the instructions.  I kept thinking they would show up but they didn’t.  Finally I just got down to business and made it.  Such a cute sew.  The neckline is a really nice shape and depth.  Sleeves have little tucks.  It wears really easy—I took it off my body to take these pictures so it is a bit wrinkled.  The pattern is Simplicity 1915 and I would definitely consider making another view.  I’m annoyed that I didn’t line up the ruffled to center perfectly but the fabric pattern camouflages it fine.  Cotton from Yellow Bird Fabrics.IMG_0036 (853x1280) The hem dips in the back.  IMG_0037 (853x1280)I made this last week. The pattern is Simplicity 2147.  I’d make this again and again too because it takes so little time but is a nice easy wear.  This has been washed and dried and looks lovely.  It is loose in the body but quite fitted in the yoke and under the arm.  Again, the fabric is from Yellow Bird Fabrics.  IMG_0038 (853x1280) IMG_0040 (853x1280) Also looks lovely and more tailored with a belt.  IMG_0041 (853x1280)

I also need to take a picture of an easy knit skirt I made Alison to go with some after Thanksgiving sale tees. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Dress #1

Halfway done.  Except buttons.  I still have to decide what I’m doing for sure with the buttons. Oh and decide on the length of the bow in back.  

IMG_0011 (853x1280)This has been SO delightful to sew.  I love working with silk dupioni. It may be my favorite fabric except for the crazy fraying.  I love the whistle it makes as it is cut, the rustle as it goes together, how light it feels for how rich it looks, the slubbiness, the oversaturation of color, the light clean pop sound the needle makes as it pierces, the body and sheen.  Love it.  Really, this is why I’m making these.  My satisfaction—because there is nothing practical or necessary about this sew for the girls.  100% frivolous.  I’ve tried to stay with washable and easy wear fabrics so much that I was starting to feel a bit stifled.  

Bird hasn’t tried it on since the pink was added.  Its a little big up top. The hot pink and avocado feels oddly festive, like a natural mutation of Christmas green and red.  When I get it on Bird I’ll try posting more pictures.  

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Cream Sister Dresses

I made Lu a similar little girl dress to go with the cream dress I made Bird recently.  It took two tries, but it came out in the end.  The first time I used my serger for all the seaming and I don’t think I’m a very precise sergerist so things didn’t line up as well as I find acceptable.  Determined this had cuteness potential, I went back and got some more rib knit from JAs and tried again.  This time I seamed with my coverlock so I could pin and fiddle more.  So worth the effort.  The first dress became my wash cycle study (machine wash and dry).  It is a darling dress on Lu, cozy, dressy, washes up easily and nicely.  The pattern comes from Ottobre Issue 6/2011, design #3, "Cosy Winter”.  This is another issue I’ve sewn a lot from—packed with goodness.  The body is made from a really nice ponte knit I purchased locally at Yellow Bird Fabrics.

IMG_9991I snapped this picture of the girls in church (I know, not reverent.  It was during prelude music).  As ever, I need better pictures but this is as good as I can do.  IMAG0724

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Real Pictures

I made Bird try on the dress and model for me.  It is always nice when you get real pictures of things.  On people not hangers at 1 in the morning.  However, these days my 7 year old real pictures are feeling more and more contrived. 

IMG_9876 (853x1280) IMG_9880 (853x1280)Silly play shows the dress better though I’m not quick enough with my camera to catch up.  I’m trying to dive into knits a little this week after being inspired by KCSC—a lot of cute knits out there.  In addition to my cream dress (knit success#1), I made two pairs of leggings in navy for school (knit success #2), one of which she is wearing.  They turned out cute and I’m finding knit to be real forgiving to work with.  Bird loves the leggings because she says they are cozier than the ones from the store.   I think the drape of the single jersey makes them feel luxurious though they may not be the hardiest pairs.  IMG_9887 (853x1280)   IMG_9889 (853x1280) IMG_9891 (853x1280)Also.  I feel badly with all the dismal and downright disastrous weather across the country to bring attention to ours.  But really, can you believe this Halloween week?  Could potentially be the warmest Halloween in recorded history and we are enjoying it.IMG_9892 (853x1280) IMG_9896 (853x1280)

Happy Halloween!

News to look forward to:  Have you seen all the Farmer’s Wife Quilts making their way around the internet.  I’m starting one and hope to finish it sometime in 2013 (at my quilting rate this timeframe is ambitious).  I also have a hand-pieced hexagon project I’ve been working on here and there that I need to share.  It looks promising that I’ll be done with that one by the time I’m 2013.   

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cream Dress

This is a dress from Ottobre, Issue Winter 2010.  It calls for a lightly felted wool but I made it out of a quality cream ponte knit.  It is a fast sew.  Satisfying.  I love the ruffly trim at the neck and the wide turtleneck collar.  I’m interested to see how it fits on.  I think if I made it again out of a knit I would try to omit the zipper entirely.  I imagine there is enough give and this collar is wide enough to pull it over, which would make this dress insanely quick.  It is a size 128 for Bird.  Hopefully it stays clean longer than one wear.   IMG_9871 IMG_9872

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Halloween (almost)

Today was the first of our Halloween parties. Naturally, I was frantically sewing/crafting the last minute accessories for Queen Elinor.  Bird loves her costume.  I didn’t hate it.  I think the resemblance is good and if you knew who Queen Elinor was you would potentially recognize Bird.  (Did you pay attention for the 10 minutes she wasn’t a bear in a movie you maybe saw once?)  

I wish the green of the overdress was less Kermit. 

I’ve been wishing that I had put a seam down the top of the sleeves to help me shape them better.  By the time I realized the limitations of the sleeves they were cut out and I was not going to buy more kermit fabric. 

So far there isn’t a pattern out there for Queen Elinor—limited demand I’m sure.  I made this with some dramatic drafting modifications to McCalls 5499.  I made an unlined underdress and then a lined overdress because that was the easiest way I could wrap my brain around what needed to happen with that queen’s sleeves that didn’t require me rolling any hems on those extreme convex curves. 

My darling girlfriend drew and cut out the pellon-super-stiff-and-expensive-stuff for a crown.  We had worked on a crown last week when I was helping mostly chatting with her while she worked on her own amazing costumes.  She made a Max of The Wild Things, Goldilocks, and Olivia the pig.  I need to see if I can post her costumes here because they should be shown.  Anyways, it was nice because I was running behind and I could just come home and cover that crown with gold taffeta without thinking.  I was busy with spray paint.  Making my chains and my gem’s setting gold.  (Yup, there you have it.  I sprayed my accessories gold.  Quality.)  I did find time to freehand some scrolling on my crown.  It was my favorite part of the whole construction and the first time I’ve utilized my new machines free motion embroidery features.  It was so fun and I’m trying to think of other things I can do. 

These aren’t the best pictures.  I’m hoping to find time tomorrow for some that are better.  There you are folks.  Happy Halloween. 

IMG_9843 IMG_9856 (852x1280) IMG_9857 (853x1280) IMG_9865 (853x1280) IMG_9867 (853x1280)IMG_9870 (853x1280) Lulu didn’t want to wear her dress today.  She really preferred Belle.  She did love getting candy so I called it her candy dress with hopes that she will put it on again.   It was pretty cold, even with her velveteen hood.  Fingers crossed that Halloween is warmer.IMG_9849 (853x1280)