Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cabarita Coverup???

My grandparents came all the way from West Virginia for their annual summer visit and while they were here my Grandma decided we should make something out of the 4-way stretch swimwear spandex knit I bought ages ago when I first started on my knit sewing adventure. It had a beautiful big chocolate and white stripe and was a dollar a yard. Who wouldn't buy a million yards of it??

Her idea started as a skirt with those "V's" so I could throw it over my swimsuit and be cool and comfy when I got out of the pool. I told her they were chevrons and would make a neat skirt. After some thought, I talked her into a dress coverup since it would cover all of me in one go. She agreed and I grabbed my Cabarita top pattern since it already had built in sleeves and a handy chevron layout.
EVERYWHERE online had been talking about how 4-way stretch knits really stretch and had to be cut down to get the proper fit. I figured if I cut mine actual size it would stretch out and be a lovely slouchy cover up.
I cut it out simply lengthening straight down and zipped it up really quick not bothering to hem the bottom or sleeves. I tried Kadiddlehopper's new technique for the V part of the neckline and zigzagged the front neckline down. This was a quick cover up project for the pool...
In case you can't tell this sucker couldn't be any tighter if I had spray painted it on. You can see every lump, bump and curve under it. My pool coverup turned into vavavoom time... not exactly the look I was going for.
On the plus side I now have my own version of spanx. It also make me realize I love these big stripes and really want to try this kind of dress again in a not so clingy fabric and with better finishes. Grandma thinks the whole thing needed to have the "V's" She really liked them!
So that's my last dress of July... how did the month go for you sewingwise?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Sewing Thoughts

Hello Fellow Sewists,
  On Wednesday I was trying to figure out what to post, how to get all my work done, and if I should go swimming with the not-nieces and nephew. As you can see, I chose work and swimming. I spent the 35 minute drive into town thinking about sewing, priorities and wearing what we create.
  It is so easy for me to get caught up in my own little world surrounded by my fabric piles, thinking about all I have to create and want to make and I forget to actually go out and WEAR what I have made. This past ten days my grand parents have been visiting and as my grandma, (who is the one who taught me to sew) and I puttered around my sewing room and I showed her my latest projects she kept saying, "You can only wear so many clothes."
So yesterday I went out and wore my clothes. I actually got to wear TWO of my handmade items since I wore a dress as my swimsuit coverup then changed into a handmade top.

So how about you? I know I'm in a very unique situation here, since I live in the middle of the prairie and work from home but do you ever find yourself lost in your sewing/creative space? Do you ever need to remind yourself to get out and enjoy the world and the creations you have made?

I also have an idea to bounce off of you. Awhile back I was reading a lot of articles on how lopsided the media portrayal of beauty is and how blogging is so refreshing because we see the diversity of womankind. Connected to this new idea of actually WEARING what I've made, (I know! Revolutionary!) I would like to do a series called Real Women, Real Dresses. Candid, action shots of all us everyday women wearing our everyday dresses doing our everyday life. But I need your help. Since I live in the middle of nowhere I don't see many people, dress wearing or not. I want you to send me photos of candid, in action, dress wearing. They can be of you, of kids, of some random lady walking down the street. You can even send me a link to your blog post if it's something you've made. Submissions should be sent to my email which goes something like emsewcrazy at yahoo dot com. If/when I get several I'll do a blog post and keep doing posts as long as I keep getting photos. So what do you think?
Shot my G-ma took while we were at the lake visiting my brother.
This was the morning after I jumped off the iceberg and all I wanted
to do was go swimming again instead of going home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Prison Maiden Dress

I believe either Mission Impossible or the James Bond theme music is playing right now...

 As I was walking to the mailbox in my brand new dress my father hollered out, “What are you? A prison maiden?" Apparently the new dress code for inmates is pink and oatmeal stripes made from a Hummingbird top and a Tiramisu skirt. Now you too, are enlightened, as I was. But when I saw this pin I knew a simple tee was not what my new fabric was destined to be, even if the finished result was inmateish. 
easy to do with hummer top and tira skirt
As I said, I used my 35 Hummingbird top for the bodice of the dress. I do not know why, unless it is because the fabric is so lightweight but the waistline rode up a little higher than I wanted. 
Somehow I figured wrong and cut my Tiramisu skirt waist too big. Maybe I should have checked the measurements of the pieces before I cut... ;) I stretched the skirt according to the directions to get the correct drape and serged off the extra 1 inch of skirt at the side seams, tapering down for a super fit. No visible evidence of my booboo. I added woven pockets again. The dress went together super quick and is a comfy fun everyday dress. It passed the trampoline (kinda) and road trip (totally) tests. My only complaint is the fabric was too see through so I had to make a slip for the skirt. Now I will leave you with the fascinating saga of my prison break!
What are you looking at! Why do you want to know when I
bought this fabric?
BUSTED!!! Caught buying fabric and breaking her stashbusting pledge! Leader fails and panic ensues as fabric
starved seamstresses run for the shops. (sounds like a pretty good news article to me.)
Lalala, look at me twirling in my twirly skirt... Are you dizzy yet?

PRISON BREAK!! Fabric addict escapes and runs for the hills. 
Help me dirty doggy, you're my only hope! ;)

Well, I hope that brought a smile to your face. I sure had fun setting up a photo shoot based on a prison break theme. 

While we should always try to do our best and not give up; sometimes we fail, give in to temptation, and fall short of our goals and expectations. Thankfully the consequences of this failure had very little adverse effects since it didn't really have a chance to sit in my stash and I got a very wearable dress out of it. I hope your stashbusting endeavors are going well. If they're not at least you know you aren't alone at falling off the bandwagon. Watch out for the fabric police though! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

12 Dresses Stashbust

A couple summers ago I was given one of the best skirts ever! It fit me perfectly, matched all my “nice” tee shirts and was comfy to boot. My mother said I should make another like it. 
But wait, Emily, it’s Dress Stashbusting month and last time I check skirts were not classified as dresses. Don’t worry! I made 12 dresses when I made this skirt! Hows that for a mind bender! I saw all these adorable dresses on Pinterest and really wanted to do something with them. 

Since making clothing is my first instinct I immediately started brainstorming what to do with them. And since I couldn’t choose I needed something I could do with ALL of them. 
Why yes, I am wearing 12 dresses at once.

I saw my skirt hanging in the closet and some red ribbons I’d been “saving” in a bag and knew what I was going to do. 
Part of my stashbusting goal was to make a conscious effort to use more of my ribbons and trims in projects and I’m happy to say I used up all but two tiny ends of these silky red ribbons. 
At the beginning of this year I was given a large bag of fabric and lace yardage by a lady who was cleaning out her sister’s house. I think that is where this purple piece came from but I’m not totally sure. I used every bit of it up in this project so I’m counting it as a stashbust. The white fabric, waistband lining and zipper were all out of the stash too.
I cut the waistband from my altered jeans waistband, straightened the fabric edge, then folded the semi-sheer fabric in half lengthwise for the width of the skirt. Fully lined and fabric used up! I pleated the skirt to fit on the waistband and inserted the zipper in the serged side seam.
Can you see my invisible zipper? No, my work is complete.

Before I did all that I cut a piece of white fabric the length of the skirt and evenly divided it. I ended up with 12 sections. I printed out the dresses roughly the same size and since there was NO WAY I was going to embroider on a fun summer skirt I traced them on the fabric with a permanent red pen we had lying around the house. I ironed it to help set the ink. According to my test swatch this should keep the ink from running.
I measured and drew a line across the bottom of the skirt to line the fabric up on. Then I sewed the ribbon over the raw edges of the white fabric and my “border print” was done. 
And that’s that! Fun new summer skirt decorated with some of my favorite things! How's the summer sewing going for you? I took a break this week for a quick trip to see my brother working at a camp in Montana. He made me climb this thing! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Hummingbirds: Part 2 The Skirt Edition

It's nice to be back after an unintentional blogging break. First our modem blew up so we had no internet for 24 hrs. Then I caught a summer cold that went straight to my head. Plus I'm dealing with wrist/hand pain which I'm assuming is carpal tunnel related which meant as little typing as possible. To top it off my grandparents showed up and at that point I gave up trying to blog last week. 
But today is the beginning of a fresh work week and I'm happy to be back at it with part two of my Hummingbird pattern review. (psst, Part 1 here)

I made two skirts during the sewalong. One of each view. I cut a 35 waist size and a 40 hip size. 

The first was some home decor weight fabric I'd had in the stash for several years. I bought it on sale because I like the color and pattern. It turned out to be a louder skirt than I expected but I'm glad to have it out of my stash and a wearable garment.  It already passed the "give five kids a bath" test.
Why do I love fabrics that hate being photographed? The colors are truest in the last shot
It sits on my hips and I did a lapped zipper insertion since I didn't have a matching invisible zipper. Do yourself a favor and go watch Steph's video on inserting zippers. It will change your zipper insertion for the better!
 I'm about 5' 10" and I cut this on the longest length. With a one inch hem it sits right at the end of my knee. I love my thighs but don't believe the whole world needs to see them. Plus I have enough trouble trying to sit like a lady in this length of skirt!

Skirt with Flounce

Purty polka dot piping.
I couldn't help myself. I was loving all the piped versions popping up during the sewalong and after Susan posted a tutorial I had to give it a try and show off that beautiful seaming myself! I used a whole package of navy and white polka dot double fold binding that I cut in half. Since the back was feeling left out I exposed the navy zipper teeth.
I quit fighting my body, which looks best with things sitting around my natural waistline, and took in each side seam about two and a half inches. I did part of this during the mid fitting check but sewing the waistband made it loose again so after it was finished I zipped down the side seams again to get the final shape. This brought the flounce up higher which prompted the men in my family to gasp in shock when they saw the back of this skirt. They think I look like I'm pooping fabric and have threatened to not let me leave the house in it.
I did peg this skirt and love how easy it is to walk in with the flounce. 
Flounce in action. Funny looking isn't it...
Now if only I can get the guys to agree... :D

Final thoughts
This is a great straight skirt pattern that is easy to adjust mid sew to get the shape and level of tightness you want.
 I hand basted the curve of the flounce at the tip before
pressing up to hem. This helped TONS
Don't let the flounce scare you, the directions are very thorough and I was able to insert mine with NO PROBLEMS.
Pocket Understitching, Anna's House
Pocket Wave, Understitching for Anna's House
POCKETS!! The pockets are wonderful and the way you construct them is brilliant. They also take such a minimal amount of fabric that you can use all those little bits of fun prints that you've been hoarding. With the understitching they don't flip out to the outside so you can be as crazy and mismatched as you want to be with them. 

My only disappointment is that I used all fabrics I had on hand and coordination was not a consideration so my peplum tops don't really work with my skirts... I'm working on this gross error and hope to have some more mix and match pieces soon.

So, do you like and wear straight skirts? Any tips for sitting like a lady?? Hope you all have a great week. Stashbusters, I'll be talking to you later this week!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy Hummingbirds Part 1: The Top Edition

I just finished the Hummingbird Sew-a-long put on by Cake Patterns. Since I pre-ordered the pattern I got sorted into Anna's House.

I cut out three tops and finished two of them in time to count for the sewalong. I'm going to take them one by one.

Hummer 1


My first hummer I made up with some stash knit that was cut crooked off the factory spools or something. It wrinkles and hangs funny and is impossible to get any kind of grain lined up. I LOVE the color though and it is a nice weight so I used it to test the pattern's proportions.

See all the neckline wrinkles.
First, I was worried about the neckline being too low so I cut it higher. It was unneeded. The binding did something funny so I turned it to the inside and topstitched it down. Then it wrinkled after the wash.
The only thing I do not like about this pattern is the sleeve binding pieces are not wide enough. They were super messy and tiny and terrible.
Verdict 1: Proportion, fit and color are good. Change the sleeve band width and leave
neckline alone. Perfect top to wear everyday around the house when I'm feeling
the need for fun casual. I may have already worn it and gotten grease spots on it...

Hummer 2
PINK CAMO!!!! It was a cushy rib knit that made me break down on my stashbusting pledge. I figured what better way to further girlify camo than make it into a peplum top. It was SUPER stretchy but it still came together easily. I love the way it drapes down in the front. I may take it in a bit but I'm waiting to see how it works this fall/winter layered over other pieces.
I decided not to use the sleeve bands on the longer length but just turn up the hem. The neckband went on beautifully and I had fun using a decorative topstitch. I used the wrong kind of stabilizer on the hems and my machine hated to sew through it. I managed to get through the sleeves but ended up hand stitching the peplum hem during The Princess Bride. I would make sure to get some good stabilizer because you WILL need it to keep the rib knit from stretching out of shape while you hem it.

SHH, I'm hiding til fall.
Verdict 2: LOVE THIS!! While it took a bit of careful handling to make sure the rib didn't stretch out of shape, this top
came together beautifully. I can't wait until the weather cools off and I get a chance to wear it out and about.

Hummer 3

Pink for Anna's House!
I made this from a thrifted jersey sheet and it was wonderful. I cut the sleeve bands 2 1/2 inch wide which gave me a finished band of 1 inch. Much nicer than my first top. I haven't decided how I will hem the peplum after the debacle with the last two.
Look, I'm a fluttery bird!
Verdict 3: LOVE THIS! It went together quickly with no problems since I'd already tested everything. Being
a solid color it goes well with everything and the bright color is so cheerful. I wore it for the 4th.
In Summary:

  •  Maybe I've gotten more familiar with Steph's sizing but I found this top to be the easiest pattern yet to find and trace to my size and put together. 
  • I think everyone has said it but I LOVE the new heavy duty paper it is printed on. It is so easy to trace and fold back up. She also printed all the shirt pieces on one piece and all the skirt pieces on another. This made it so easy to make sure you hadn't missed any pieces when tracing.
  • The solid tops are begging for embellishment or jewelry but also work well plain.
  • My favorite thing of all is how I feel in them. I live in a ranching community and jeans with tshirts or western button front shirts are ALL YOU SEE. EVERYDAY. I can wear these floaty peplum tops with my jeans and feel fabulous, like I'm wearing a dress without wearing one. That's a win in my book.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Dress of July

How great a stashbuster am I? I can turn stash into a dress without lifting a finger. Well almost...

 My little sewing buddy came for a few days and we went to town! This lovely seersucker print was chosen to make her "a dress with a big poofy skirt". In three days I supervised while she sewed a dress, petticoat, sash and hair accessory.
We made a braided flower through a tutorial found on Pinterest. 

We used Simplicity 3426 because it had the required poofy skirt and a simple bodice top. The v neck in the back does not come down as low as the pattern artwork makes it seem. Instead of facings we lined the bodice so she wouldn't need to worry about the top being see through. It also gave her good practice on sewing darts since we had to make 12 of them. I must say she did a very good job!

One reason I love vintage patterns is their size ranges. She is tall for her age and these "Teen" patterns give the height and width needed without adding the bust room built into women's patterns. 
 It came together really well. I made sure to take lots of breaks so she wouldn't get tired and was always ready to go back to it. The sash was just an extra long tube we sewed together and turned right side out. I did sew sheer ribbon as carriers on the sides to help hold it in place.
Curtsying in her petticoat.
If the twirling is any indication, I think she likes the dress.
Even the kitty thought she looked lovely.

Photoshoot is over now!!
I wish all my fellow Americans a happy 4th of July tomorrow and a good week to the rest of the world.
Happy Sewing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

July Stashbusting: The Dress Challenge

Hello Stashbusters!
  It's time for another challenge month! We've had a rest in June and now it's time to get back into the competitive spirt and make some dresses. If you don't feel like sewing one for yourself find a little girl, a friend or even your dog to make one for. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
Here's the rules:
  • Make a dress.
  • In case it slipped your mind the bulk of your supplies must be from the stash. Extra point if you use a pattern from the stash.
  • Since we're all over the globe it must be appropriate to your climate right now.
  • It must be made this July and entered in the appropriate link party on Cation's blog.
Whelp, I think that's about it. We try to keep our challenges simple around here at Stashbusting Headquarters... 
For inspiration I've flooded our July Pinboard with some of the most fanciful dresses I could find. If you're really into vintage styles you can check out some of my favorites on my personal Lovely Vintage Patterns board.

But what about June? Cation's opened up a link party for ALL our stashbusting makes thus far that haven't fit in any of the other link parties including June's Theme. So go! I'm looking forward to seeing what you've all been up to. 
Speaking of what you've been up to, I finally made it back around to the Flickr pool and chose some favorite creations popping up over there.

Sewing Cake Hummingbird
Blogged Here

Sewaholic Robson Trench - Underlined
Fabulous lining!
Moomin Troll
Stash as wall art!

Minimum Viable Pirate Adventure Kit
Baby Pirate Bag
Another long sleeved shirt!
Fabulous Shirt!
There's lots more but I don't want to run too long... go look for yourself. Even if you don't have an account you should still be able to see the photos. Am I right Flickr experts?

To end this post and celebrate our six months of stashbusting I have a poll for you! Hopefully it works right... Catch ya later!

What have been your favorite Stashbusting Months so far?

Random Announcements

Hello World, (or more precisely the little pieces of the world that read me)

In case you don't know, or haven't done it yet; (cue the dramatic death music) Google reader is dying tomorrow and all your blogs will be lost to cyberspace unless you continue to follow us; me particularly, on other platforms, like Bloglovin (cue happy rescue music).

Next, my wonderful team, PatternPatter is having a Christmas in July Blitz. This is when we flood the Etsy marketplace with patterns in 24 hours. This month we have a theme for our listings and of course there are lots of sales and all that jazz going on. Lucky you can see it all in this handy Blitz Thread. So if you are feeling Christmassy or looking for things to keep your kids busy this summer, go check it out.

Third, I've started a monthly newsletter for my Etsy shop. It will give you notice of sales and other money saving things like that as well as lots of vintage sewing news and advice... at least that's the idea.  If you're interested in vintage sewing, you should leave your email in the comments below so I can add you to the list.

But wait, I'm not done plugging my business yet! If you don't think you have enough vintage sewing blogs to follow please pop over to the PatternPatter blog and take a peek. I am the main editor and gather posts from fellow teammates that all relate somehow to vintage sewing. Yes, we are trying to sell you our patterns, (because our families threaten eviction if we don't do something about the piles) but we really just want to share our love of this great old sewing stuff and infect you with our pattern mania! (hide the crazy laughter in the background).

Ok, thanks for bearing with me, I'll be back later today with our July Stashbusting Announcements. Two posts in one day. Aren't you lucky!