Monday, August 10, 2015

Deer & Doe Belladone: Achievement Unlocked!

Belladone

I bought this one last year when I had to have the Bruyere, but was intimidated since it was marked Intermediate and more fitted the Reglisse, and people had had issues with getting the back to lie flat. Lay flat? I can never remember.

Anyway, I finally mustered up courage, traced it out, muslined the bodice on a bedsheet and....determined the 44 was too small. So then I went back, retraced the 46 (the last size! I don't think of myself as all that large, so D&D is really limiting herself with that size range, I'm afraid). Re-muslined the bodice and the darts are crazy high, just like in the other patterns I've tried. This time I actually took the time to move them on the pattern. I shortened the horizontal dart by 2 inches and moved it down about 5/8." I shortened the vertical darts by an inch.

Belladone

The fabric I chose is a cute kind of moddish, kinda calico-like print. I think it's probably just quilting cotton, so it doesn't have great drape. It's cute up close, but drab blue-grayish from a distance, so I definitely wanted to do a contrast bias-binding around the cut-out to make it pop.

I made like, 5000 yards of this bias-tape from a sheet that was in my stash, and then I was digging around in my notions and discovered I had one packet of navy-blue piping that was just about a perfect match--score!

Belladone

So, I did two new-to-me-techniques in this dress: 1) used piping. It's not perfect, but it went ok and 2) did an exposed zipper. I used the tutorial on Threads, and it took my about 1.5 hours of re-reading the tutorial and struggling with basting and unpicking and taking Soren to potty. I finally was victorious! I ran in to show it off to Bil, and he said, "Ummm, you know you put that zipper in backwards, right??" I don't think he can quite believe it was on purpose, even after I told him. :)

Belladone
Zipper!

Belladone

So, it came out a bit baggier than I'd like, but I guess I'll have room for eating. Maybe the 44 would be the right size if I just did a FBA to give the girls more room? I'm not sure what the answer is.... For my back fitting issues, I just overlapped the two upper-back peices an extra inch or so.

Belladone

I didn't bother tracing the hem facings and just did a bias tape facing and then went ahead and flipped it up a little higher for a cute contrast. I didn't have any trouble working it in, and it would have been a bit long for my tastes if I hadn't.

As far as a pattern review: The pattern pieces seem well-drafted to me--everything went together well--notches matched, etc. The darts are crazy high, but that just seems to be how all D&Ds are drafted.

The instructions were sparse. I about hyperventilated when I started, but after figuring out the bodice the first time, it was easy the next couple times. There was no information on what SA to use for the arm or neck bindings, so I just kinda winged it. I'm pretty sure my pleats are incorrect. I did them a different way to start, but then that didn't seem to be what she was saying to do in the instructions, so I changed it to match the picture. I think I was correct originally.

I wouldn't recommend this to a new sewist because of the lack of instructions, but an adventurous beginner with some experience can figure it out.

Belladone
Guts shot--looks a little nicer than mine normally do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Fawn Lady Skater

Fawn Lady Skater

I made yet another Lady Skater, this time in fawn fabric that I bought last year from Girl Charlee. Yes, I'm sure it was intended for girls' clothing, but I don't care!

Fawn Lady Skater

Since this is the 15th-million iteration of this pattern, there's not much to say, except that I sized up, and it still wasn't enough. 

Spinny picture!
Fawn Lady Skater

The front is too tight, so between that and the swayback adjustment that should have been made and wasn't, the back is a mess. I probably won't wear this one without a cardi. Sigh. 

Fawn Lady Skater

I did decide to use some fun coral-colored lace I picked up at the thrift store or a garage sale (it was marked 2/$1 at Woolworth's--haven't seen a Woolworth's in a very long time!) to trim the hem for a bit of fun. Right in the middle of the lace, it had shrunk or something--the lace was noticeably about 1/2-3/4 the size of the rest of the lace. There wasn't enough continuous lace to use otherwise, so I ended up cutting out the shrunken section and reattaching. It's not perfect, but I"m happy enough with how that part turned out!

Lace hem

Fawn Lady Skater

My assistant didn't want to stay out of the way. 
Fawn Lady Skater

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Oliver + S Garden Party Dress

Garden Party Dresses

I bought a couple of the Oliver + S girl patterns last year in a sale and decided to try out the Garden Party Dress with scraps left over from my latest Reglisse. I cut out and sewed two size 6-12 mos dresses to use as baby gifts.

Garden Party Dresses

The pattern instructions were wonderful, as is typical of Oliver + S patterns. I had a bit of trouble with the placement of the front contrast band. I believe I must not have marked something when I traced off my pattern since I couldn't see exactly where I was to place it and ended up 1/2" or so off, which then meant I had to fudge getting the front and back together and trim a 1/2" off the bottom to make it up.

Garden Party Dresses

I was aggravated with myself because I cut out one of the lining pieces against the grain and didn't notice it till I had sewed it in. It's pretty obvious since it has stripes :-) But I was too lazy to rip it out.

When I was to the point of sewing up the side seams of the second dress, I managed to knock some lever or button off and that caused my screen to go blank. I thought my machine had decided to die. Thankfully, after a trip to the Babylock store, it turned out not to be broken at all. At least my machines got their yearly servicing out of it!

I used buttons from some elderly lady's random button collection I bought at an estate sale. Soren helped pick them out. I also learned to do a chain stitch.

Garden Party Dresses

Garden Party Dresses

Garden Party Dresses
Mr. Can't Stand to Be Ignored

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Owl Hat

Owl hat

I needed a quick gift and decided on the Who? pattern by Penguin Purls. I used a mystery yarn that I think came from the thrift store; I think it might be acrylic, but it was the right color and looked to be the right weight.

I think it turned out super cute! I got off in my decrease count and had to rip back to the ribbing, but it was a very easy knit. I'm pretty sure it just took one day. The hardest part was deciding what to do about the eyes. I decided to go for subtle, and just did beads for one owl. I'm really pleased with it, and I will definitely be making this one again!

Owl hat
Top--decreases done correctly!

Owl hat
Modeled by Soren (adult sized).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Reglisse dress, take 2.

Reglisse Dress

I wanted something quick and cute to dip my toes back into the sewing water, so I decided to make another D&D Reglisse dress with some cute fabric I had either thrifted or gotten from a garage sale sometime last year. I thought it was really cute with streaks of several different colors through a light gray.

Reglisse dress
Close-up to show fabric

I had hoped to self-line the skirt since the fabric is quite sheer, and I had a lot of the fabric, but it turned out to be about 1.5" too short to cut the skirt peices on the fold (as called for), so then I didn't have nearly as much large space as I had intended. That's also why I have a seam down the front and back of the skirt.

I guess it's ok I couldn't line it since a floaty circle-skirt isn't safe to wear in Oklahoma.

Reglisse Dress
Great flare!

I should have remembered to go back and check my notes from the first time I made this. It's soooo short waisted! After I finished it, my mom pointed out that the darts were completely on top of my boobs. Oops. Maybe next time I'll fix it? (Who am I kidding, probably not.) Also, in the picture below, it looks like my bra is showing, but it's the SA flipping up in the armpit. It's pretty thick, and I did give it a thorough pressing, so I think I may have to tack it down.

Reglisse Dress
Those darts--hahahahaha!

My stash of bias tape really suffered in the fire, and I haven't yet built it back up to its former proportions. So, I didn't have any tape that would be enough to do the hem and the neckline. I finally realized no one would see the neckline, so I could use what I wanted.

I ended up using an electric blue for that and a yellow for the hemline. They were perfect matches to the colors shot through the fabric.

Reglisse dress

Reglisse Dress
Yellow surprise!
Reglisse Dress

The boys had to photobomb of course

Reglisse Dress
Incidentally, Will is wearing mama-made shark pajamas from Christmas.

Reglisse Dress
And Soren is wearing mama-made shorts from last summer. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sew Liberated Gathering Apron: A Review



I fell in love with Sew Liberated's Gathering Apron the minute I saw it. I don't know if it's because I I aspire to having chickens or what, but I think it's really sweet. So even though I rarely remember to use one of the aprons I already have, after the fire, I decided to treat myself to the pattern during one of her sales, and then didn't make it for a year.

I finally got it out last year and did a test run with some quilting fabric. I wasn't too happy with how it came out. The prints were busy, so all the cute details (that took FOREVER to make) were lost. Also, I hated the process of making it, and it took about 10 times longer than I had planned for it to.

So I needed a gift for a swap this month and decided I could make up the Gathering Apron again, this time using a dark blue linen (I think--it's very soft, but looks and feels like linen to me otherwise) that I had thrifted at some point.

Gathering Apron

Gathering Apron
Got one of my straps twisted and didn't know. Oops!

I think it came out pretty cute, although the dark blue still obscures some of the detailing, but it's much better than the print version.

On the second run, I can officially say I just hate making this pattern. It's so extremely fiddly. The directions themselves are good, but as I'm going through, I keep thinking, "There has GOT to be an easier way to do this...." for basically every single step. And there are a lot of steps. The end product is nice, with all enclosed seams, etc, but.... it's a lot of work to get there, and I'm just not sure an apron warrants all of that.

Closeup Rightside:
Gathering Apron

Closeup Wrongside:
Gathering Apron

The pattern is well put together, and the parts fit together. The directions make sense, though sometimes I had to read steps a couple times and minor directions (like to press) are left out. There is a video tutorial that I used last year to understand what was happening with the gussett. So, the pattern and instructions work, just be prepared to futz with it for hours. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hiatus: I've been knitting!

In October, I decided I was finally going to conquer knitting. I had made several attempts before over the years, but it just never took. I decided rather than working on something that I didn't really need or care about (dishcloth, scarf), I just needed to jump in and take on a garment. So an internet friend walked me through choosing a pattern (Wonderful Wallaby Sweater) and what needles and yarn to buy, and then I made it! It actually was much easier for me than knitting a scarf since it was almost all stockinette in the round. I finished it at Thanksgiving, and then made a second one for Will in time for Christmas, then made another one for Soren, and I've been in a knitting frenzy since then.

It's such a nice, portable little hobby, unlike sewing! However, I think it's definitely cut into my sewing mojo, as I have spent all my mental energy on knitting, reading about knitting, and planning future projects.

Diagonal lace socks

Torrent socks

Untitled

Braiding Sweetgrass socks in KP Hawthorne kettle-dyed

These are all from May and June!