Sewing

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I had three amazing friends in college and the last one is got married Memorial Day weekend in Denver. Well, technically, I’m the last one, but I don’t count because I don’t want to get married. Anyway, Ali told the bridesmaids to get a gray dress. Any grey dress. Long. Short. Dark Gray. Light Gray. Grey. Whatever you prefer.

I thought about it and I kept coming back to the idea of making my own dress. I’ve been fairly successful with garment sewing and I needed a challenge. I started planning and pinning on Pinterest and I soon had an idea of exactly what the dress would look like and what fabrics I would use. I wanted lace and tulle and something super feminine and pretty. This was my inspiration: minus the bow and plus sleeves: Dress

The pattern was easy. I would start with the Colette Macaron, which I already owned, but had never made. Then I would just add a simple tulle circle skirt. I did some heavy Googling to find people who had made the Macaron with a lace overlay. All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go had made the perfect version and it had a keyhole back! I wanted a keyhole back! I found out how to create a loop from thread for the button on the back. I Googled Couture finishing techniques. I Googled putting in an invisible zipper even though I’ve done it before, but I wanted/needed more confidence. I Googled the best ways to work with tulle and make a circle skirt. I basically did a TON of research.

Once I had done all of that, I needed to find fabric since my local shop doesn’t carry the special occasion fabric. I thought about ordering from Mood or somewhere online, but I would have to buy swatches first. I didn’t want to wait that long. So I gave up and went to Joanns. They actually had quite a few options. I found a good lace, a good lining, and some decent tulle there. Overall, I was pleased with what I came out with.

Next, I had to mess with the pattern a little. Colette patterns are drafted for people who do not have my shape. I was hoping that with a decent bra, I wouldn’t need to do a small bust adjustment. I knew that I would need to lengthen the waist though, so I added two inches. Then I had to mess with the pattern pieces a bit since I was using a lace overlay with a side seam plus the keyhole back. Overall, it wasn’t too hard and I think I only had to re-cut a couple of small pieces. I cut VERY carefully because of the pattern of the lace, the edges, and just not wanting to mess up in general. I drafted the circle skirt, which was super easy. I had already decided that I would bind as many seams around the lace as I could so it would look nice, so I also cut some bias binding strips.

Then I got started. I dedicated an entire weekend to the dress and I spent the majority of it in my sewing room. I think a took a break to teach a class. 🙂

I started with the bodice because I figured the circle skirt would be the easiest part. I was right for the most part. I took my time. I sewed slow. I thought. I stopped. I looked. It took forever. I sewed down all of the binding by hand. I pinned like crazy. I was careful.

It turned out beautifully. I was sooooooo proud of it. I tried it and on it fit. Ideally, I would have made a muslin especially for a project like this, but the fabric wasn’t expensive and I could always go out and buy a dress, so I chose not to. The fit was snug, but if I took a small seam allowance, it would be OK. I’d size up next time and do the small bust adjustment. I could have added another two or even more inches to the waist. If I hadn’t added the two that I did, it would have been an empire. I was pretty disappointed in that, but unless I wanted to start completely over, I had to leave it, so I did.

I didn’t even take much of a break and I went right to working on the skirt. Six layers of tulle does not tame easily, but I managed it. And I put in the invisible zipper, which was not fun AT ALL. It looks easy, but there are little things about it that definitely do not make it easy. I was successful, though, and I think it would be easier without tulle. There bottom side seam lines up when the zipper is zipped, but the top one is off by a bit. I’m not sure what happened there, but it’s going to be hidden by a belt, so I let it go. I actually think I ripped it out once and decided if I didn’t work out the second time, I wasn’t going to bother with it. I left the tulle unhemmed and used a rolled hem on my serger for the skirt lining.

I ordered a wide black belt, hot pink shoes (the bridesmaids had different colored shoes), jewelry, and a black clutch. The outfit was totally finished and accessorized.

Are you ready to see it?

 

Dress

 

Dress

 

Dress

 

Dress

 

Me Made May - May 28th

I’ve participated in Me Made May for a few years now and I’m pretty happy with how it’s been going. I finally packed away a bunch of handmade clothing that I never wear. I hope to get them out again someday and re-purpose some of the fabric. Until then, I’m pretty pleased with my current handmade wardrobe. I wanted to challenge myself to not repeat something during May and I got close, but not quite. I could have done it, but there are things that I just love wearing that I wanted to wear again. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all!

Here is my breakdown:

May 1st

May 1st – Crafty Weekender Screen Printed Target V-Neck Tee and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 2nd

May 2nd – P4P Carefree Cardigan in a Joann’s Tribal Knit and Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 3rd

May 3rd – P4P Women’s Raglan in Stretch Lace from Kaplan’s and French Terry from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 4th

May 4th – Julia Cardigan in a Jersey Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 5th

May 5th – P4P SOS Pants in a Ponte Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 6th

May 6th – Modified Wiksten Tank in Cotton + Steel Double Gauze from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 7th

May 7th – P4P Everyday Elegance in Anna Maria Horner Rayon Challis from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 8th

May 8th – P4P Boyfriend V-Neck in a Jersey Knit from LDG Showroom and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 9th

May 9th – M4M Megan Dress in Ponte from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 10th

May 10th – M4M Mama Mya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 11th

May 11th – P4P Carefree Cardigan in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company

 

Me Made May - May 12th

May 12th – Love Notions’ Sybil Skirt in a Floral Ponte from LDG Showroom

 

Me Made May - May 13th

May 13th – P4P Grandpa Cardigan in Joann’s Sweater Knit

 

Me Made May - May 14th

May 14th – P4P Women’s Raglan Add On Pack in Floral French Terry and Burgundy French Terry from Raspberry Creek Fabrics and P4P Layer Me Up Tank in Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 15th

May 15th – P4P Peg Legs in Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 16th

May 16th – P4P Free Spirit Tank in a Knit from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 17th

May 17th – P4P Pumpkin Spice Dolman in Sweater Knit from Joann’s

 

Me Made May - May 18th

May 18th – P4P Layer Me Up Tank in a Slub Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 19th

May 19th – Morris Blazer in Ponte from Girl Charlee and Pleather from Wildflower Weston

 

Me Made May - May 20th

May 20th – P4P Grandpa Cardigan in Sweater Knit from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 21st

May 21st – Wiksten Tova in Anna Maria Horner Rayon Challis from Stitch Lab and Free Spirit Voile from Bon Bon Atelier

 

Me Made May - May 22nd

May 22nd – Linden Sweatshirt in Katrina Rochelle Knit and Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers and Crocheted Slouchy Beanie

 

Me Made May - May 23rd

May 23rd – P4P Sweet Tee Dress in Knit from Hobby Lobby

 

Me Made May - May 24th

May 24th – P4P Pumpkin Spice Doman in Sweater Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 25th

May 25th – Self Drafted Skirt in Rayon Challis from Fabric.com

 

Me Made May - May 26th

May 26th – P4P Women’s Raglan Add On Pack in Floral French Terry and Burgundy French Terry from Rasberry Creek Fabrics and P4P Layer Me Up Tank in Jersey Knit from Girl Charlee

 

Me Made May - May 27th

May 27th – M4M Mama Mya in a Tissue Knit from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 28th

May 28th – Part 1 – P4P Summer Kimono in Crepe from Fabric.com and P4P Peg Legs in Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey from Modern Makers

 

Me Made May - May 28th

May 28th – Part 2 – Modified Colette Macaron Bodice and Self Drafted Circle Skirt from Joann’s Lace, Lining, and Tulle

 

Me Made May - May 29th

May 29th – M4M Mama Maya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee and P4P Carefree Cardigan in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company for Plane Travel and P4P Sweet Tee Dress in Knit from Hobby Lobby for Grilling

 

Me Made May - May 30th

May 30th – Sewing Swap Sybil Skirt in Cotton Jersey Knit from Swap Partner Courtney Hartley for Errands and P4P Peg Legs in Riley Blake Knit from Missouri Star Quilt Company for Lounging

 

Me Made May - May 10th

May 31st – M4M Mama Mya in Jersey Slub Knit from Girl Charlee

 

As you can see the M4M Mama Mya was my favorite since I wore the white one three separate times and the gray one once. I would have worn the gray one more, but I didn’t make it until May was almost over. I’ll try to keep posting on Instagram of the days I wear something I’ve made and then do a monthly recap here. It won’t be every day like May, but I do pretty well most weeks.

Carry On Bag

 

In fall of 2015, Mom said she needed a bag to carry her serger in and she was going to make one. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I said I would make one with her and we planned to do it at the next retreat we were going to be at together in January.

We chose the Carry On Travel Bag from By Annie. I had never made a By Annie bag, but Mom knew people who had and said it was doable. I figured that if I could make The Weekender, then I could do this. We ordered the finishing kits and Soft and Stable from By Annie’s site. To be on the safe side, I measures our sergers and made sure they would fit in the bag. They wouldn’t. Oops! But all we had to do was increase the width by three inches. I went to work on the quilt math and figured out which pieces would need to be cut different and how much more yardage we would need. Once I had that figured out, we needed to buy fabric.

Mom bought her fabric from her local shop. I had fallen in love with the new Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis line. It was supposed to be available before January, so I ordered it. Then I waited for it to ship. I waited some more. I emailed the seller. I waited. I emailed again. Then it was December and I hadn’t had any communication, so I decided to deal with that later and buy other fabric. My friend and I were going to make a trip to Missouri Star before Christmas and I decided I would find fabric there. I ended up buying some Allison Glass fabric and I was super excited about it.

After reading all of the instructions, we were a little intimidated by the quilting that would need to be done with the Soft and Stable. We had never quilted Soft and Stable and it was just a lot of quilting. So we decided to have it long armed, which was the best decision ever. Mom had no problem getting it quilted quickly so I could pick it up while home for Christmas and cut it before the retreat in January. I got it cut the weekend before the retreat. Both of us were a little intimidated by the cutting because of the number of pieces and the fact that we had changed the dimensions of a lot. I double and triple checked everything.

Mom wasn’t able to attend the retreat because we had a sick family member. I wasn’t going to work on the bag without her, so I brought other projects and the bag had to sit until our next retreat at my place in April.

Everything worked out for the retreat in April. Mom was able to attend and we focused our entire weekend on that bag. It worked out really well. We ended up cutting everything correctly!!! Well, Mom had a few pieces that were too wide, but they could be cut down and would have been correct if our webbing had been wider. We also re-cut some stuff because we wanted to use a different fabric for the accent or binding than what the pattern called for. We both had plenty left over to allow that.

The instructions were pretty good. I would say they were better than The Weekender. A few things were frustrating and there were things we didn’t like and would do differently next time (As if there will be a next time. Ha!), but it all totally worked out. We both ended up with gorgeous bags. Mom followed the pattern and used binding to finish the edges. I’ve done a bag like that before and hated it, so I decided to line mine. It worked out great, too. Mom didn’t cover her straps because the webbing she ordered matched her fabric well, but I covered mine like the pattern calls for.

Our main suggestions of things to do differently would be around the lining and seam allowance. I would be nice if when you looked inside the bag, the fabric was consistent. The pattern is written so that it’s not and kind of looks like a jumbled mess. It’s still pretty, but not ideal. The seam allowance throughout the pattern is 1/4″. That’s not appropriate for a bag. It should be at least a half inch. I get that the 1/4″ works well with binding, but it would be better to sew the half inch and cut it down once the binding is attached. We ended up doing that and our bag was a bit smaller, but it would have been a pain to try to keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance with all of the bulk.

My suggestion is for the zippers. I HATED her zipper finishing method. My mom thought it was kind of cool because it creates a little ridge that is kind of like faux piping, but it’s really hard to make it work on the inside so the seam allowance is completely hidden. I want my bag to look 100% finished and that method did not do that. I did it for a couple of zippers and said screw it for the main zipper and I’m glad I did. It was just weird.

When you are making a serious bag, during the actual bag making, you’re like, “What did I do to myself? Is this worth it?” But once you have a finished product, you’re like, “This is the best thing ever. Totally worth it!” We both felt that way about this bag since it took ALL weekend. It was the only project we both finished, but worth it. And it was great to get to do it together.

Oh…my Blueberry Park fabric arrived in March, so I still could have used it for the bag, but I would have had to get it quilted and cut the pieces out. And then I would have had two sets and I don’t think I could bring myself to make another one any time in the near future.

HEY!!!!!!

So I’ve been terribly bad lately and haven’t posted in FOREVER. I needed a break, though. I’ve kept this blog updated for years mostly for myself to keep track of things I’ve done. Besides life getting in the way (kitties, family stuff, teaching, work, etc.), I started 2016 with the goal to keep even better track of things I do from a sewing perspective. One of those is tracking completed projects, so this blog became less important to me since I was tracking it there. However, I stupidly forgot that there are other people who care about seeing what I do and they have not so gently nudged me to get back at it. So here I am! (I’m very happy and appreciative that they gave me that nudge.)

Let’s talk spreadsheets!!!!! I love spreadsheets. I love organization. It’s a perfect union. You know what else is great? Google Drive. I can store my spreadsheets (and many other things) there and access them whenever I want to from my laptop or phone. I love technology.

Some of you may know that last year (I think), I started a spreadsheet of all of my patterns and books, both digital and print, and a list of fabric that I own. I know there are Apps out there that help you do this, but I’m really fond of spreadsheets. I’ve kept that going and I have approximately 230 yards of of fabric in my stash that I haven’t yet used. The crazy part is that I have a pretty small stash if you start looking around at everyone else’s stash. Think about how many yards of fabric you have in comparison to mine. Scary, right? Basically, I need to buy more to keep up. Haha! I don’t have an exact number because that includes random cuts that may have a yard and 11 inches and I calculated it using a yard and a quarter. Or a layer cake – that’s a little more than three yards, but I just calculated three. The total number of cuts/pieces/items is 241. The list has come in handy many times when I was in a fabric shop and trying to determine if I needed to buy something or not. Elizabeth will be happy to hear that the biggest portion of my stash is from Modern Makers. 🙂

 

Fabric List

 

I also have a link to an image of the fabric and notes.

For patterns and books, I have 315 of them and 179 of them are digital. All of the digital patterns or books are stored on my Google Drive so I can access them for fabric requirements if needed.

 

Patterns and Books

 

I used to have a column with a link to the website, but I got tired of adding it and ended up never using it, so it’s currently hidden.

Starting this year, I’ve added a Sewing Spend, Sewing Income, Sewing Finishes, and WIPs spreadsheet. I’m not going to tell you what I’ve made and what I’ve spent, but I am ahead right now! I have made 102 things since the start of this year. I didn’t start all in 2016, but I finished them in 2016. There have been 110 days in the year so I’m not quite at a project a day. And I have 54 WIPs, so I have plenty to keep me busy.

 

Finishes

 

WIPs

 

I hope that gives you a little insight into how my weird brain works. For me, these lists have been very helpful, but I could see how they could be overwhelming for some. I find them calming.

Sometime I don’t want to do anything but watch Netflix or Amazon Prime , but then my crazy little mind can’t do that without making me feel guilty for not being productive. I know…I have issues. People wonder why I’m so productive. It’s because I can’t stop. I have to be doing something…pretty much always. I fill up my entire day with activities. Work, gym, sewing, cleaning, whatever. Don’t worry. It’s not just me. My dad and my sister are the exact same way.

 

 

Crocheting

 

Anyway, I have a gray slouchy hat that I wear all of the time. It’s my go to accessory if I don’t want to shower on one day of the weekend. But I need to expand my options. I’m really into this color – along with the rest of the world. The hat took no time to whip up. I really like how it fits and lays. I added two extra dc rows to give it a bit more slouch, but I’m not sure if it needs it. I like this pattern even better than the one I made before. The pattern is The Hadley Slouch that I found on Ravelry. The gloves were also super easy, as the pattern says. They are the Simple Fingerless Gloves, also on Ravelry. Finally, the boot cuffs were also super quick to crochet and also from Ravelry. I love Ravelry – can you tell? The pattern is the Scalloped Boot Cuffs. I haven’t worn the gloves or the cuffs yet, but the hat has gotten a couple of wears already. It’s not quite cold enough for the other two, but I’m sure it will be soon.

I think I’ll do some more crocheting. I really enjoyed it and I seem to get really into it during the winter. Look forward to more projects like that.

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