Thursday, February 27, 2014

Project Sewn - Peplum and Cardi (Signature Style)

I was so close to naming this post, AND I'M DONE, because I didn't think I could possibly finish these pieces before the link up deadline for Project Sewn this week, but I did it!  I know I don't have to sew along, but really, I just had to.  Project Sewn is one of the only reasons I make time for any items for myself.  It's more challenging for me to make items for myself than the kids.  I need to learn more about sewing for women - which means I need to sew more for me!  end of rant/babbling.

The theme for this week is your Signature Style.  I knew from the start that I wanted to try out the Ladies Caroline Peplum/Dress and Julia Cardigan sewing patterns from Mouse House Creations.  I haven't sewn something like either before and it looked just like something I'd gravitate to at the store.  

I bought this beautiful floral rayon challis in the redtag section of JoAnn.  I've only found rayon challis in that section.  Where the heck do they hide this stuff at regular price in the store?!?  Unfortunately there was not enough fabric left to make the dress, so I went for the Peplum.  I made it sleeveless because I think sleeveless tops are more versatile.  I can wear them year round, just with a cardigan when it gets cold.  

The top is unlined.  I finished the armholes and neckline with red bias tape, a first for me.  I had to take in the seams quite a bit and it's still a bit too big in the front.  This is likely due to the fabric choice, but I couldn't help myself.  I'm the worst when it comes to using the right fabrics for the right patterns.  I just fall in love with things and try to make it all work instead.  Some day I'll learn…

The cardigan is pretty darn cool.  I made it with the same sweater knit I used for this Plantain tee.  I ran back to the store and they had just enough left to make this.  It's tough to see in the pic, but the cardigan is made with an oversized collar that drapes so beautifully.  I really like it and can't wait to sew up the extended cap sleeve version.

The back is super great too, since it covers a lot of the tush!

So here we are, the end of sewing along for Project Sewn this season!  I'll try to keep up the motivation for sewing for myself while waiting for the next season to begin.  There is so much I want to learn about sewing women's patterns!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Betty Skirt

I'm so excited to let you know that the wonderful Shaffer Sisters have debuted their first pattern e-book today, the Betty Skirt! 

The skirt features a deep yoke with several skirt options.  There are instructions in the pattern to make a gathered skirt, 8-pleated skirt, 16-pleated skirt, or skirt with center placket.  SO many options!

I was lucky enough to be one of the testers for the 8-pleated version.  This is the kind of pattern that I love.  I only had to print one pattern piece, and that was the pleating template.  The yoke and skirt could conveniently be cut with my rotary cutter.  The four pattern options are also organized efficiently so that they are easy to find and print out as needed. 

The Shaffer Sisters have made sure that every possible fit issue could be avoided while sewing this pattern.  There are helpful diagrams and size charts to help you measure and cut for the perfect size.

I had fun picking out fabrics for the skirt. I had just enough left of the floral sateen from this dress to use for the yoke.  The pleats are really allowed to shine with the solid pool fabric, yet I was able to put some personality into the skirt with the floral yoke.  The skirt is absolutely adorable on my girls and they have requested to wear it several times - I suspect because it twirls nicely with all the pleated fabric and is fancier than most skirts I've made them. 
And they're totally into fancy right now.
I can't wait to try out the pleating again and maybe sew up a skirt with a placket!  If you wan to know more about the pattern and show them some love visit Pattern Revolution and the Shaffer Sisters.  
The pattern is available on craftsy for $5 (regular price will be $9) through the weekend (Sale ends 11:59 AM MST Sunday, February 24). 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Project Sewn - Shoe Inspired

For a long time now (4 months?) I've been trying to sew up a pair of skinny corduroys using the Skinny Jeans pattern from Sew Liberated.  I've had the fabric and pattern, just needed motivation.  This week on Project Sewn, the theme is to sew an outfit inspired by your favorite pair of shoes.  This outfit is not necessarily inspired by my boots, but was made so that I have more to wear with them.

These boots are pretty beat up.  They were the first pair I ever found that didn't have a giant heel, weren't made of glossy pleather, and could zip all the way up my calf.  There was a bad trend for boots at the time.  Now it's really easy to find a pair of riding boots, but I'll probably hang on to these until they fall apart.

Back to the outfit - The skinny jeans.  What a slight disaster.  

I picked the totally wrong fabric for the pattern.  I bought the corduroy fabric online.  It was listed in the stretch bottom weight section so I thought it'd be perfect.  But it turns out it should've been called a knit.  I should have stopped sewing once I noticed it was so stretchy, but I kept going.  So essentially in the end, I made leggings with pockets and topstitching :(  Oh well, I'll wear em anyway and try again with denim.  

I paired a short sleeved floral Plantain tee with the pants.  I made a size 38 graded to a 40 (at least those are the sizes I think I did?), which turned out to be more comfy than just sewing a straight 38.  I've never thought to combine sizes before, but all the cool kids were doing it so I gave it a try.

I also added a bolero that I had knit to the outfit that you can see in the top pic.  I want to love this outfit, but I don't think it's the most flattering.  It is comfortable though and I will wear it with the boots anyway!  Hopefully I'll find a nice sturdy yet stretchy woven to try the pattern out again.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Project Run & Play Wrap Up

If you've been keeping up with me lately, all this will be old news to you.  I had a lot of fun sewing along to season 8 of Project Run & Play.  It is always a little difficult to come through with a look for each week, but I managed.  It's not that I lack ideas, just time - as we all do.  This season I had the idea to sew each week's look to match the others, so they would come across as a proper collection. Here's each week's look and the themes:
The first two looks included the same colors and fabrics, but the rest of the looks were a stretch to call it all a collection.  They do have a common bright blue theme though, my favorite.

The biggest news from it all is that I won the Signature Style sew-along look with my version of the Esmee Dress!!!  I could not be more excited.  The level of sewing in the sew-along pool is tremendous.  I definitely think the wonderful floral fabric and my happy model helped me get a win.  That means I need to stock up on more beautiful fabric and make more adorable babies, right hubby?  Ha. 

The kind words everyone has sent about the dress has been the best part.  The sewing/blogging world has some of the nicest people - especially those that follow project run & play.

This week they are asking for submissions that will be voted on to earn an open spot on season 9 - I was going to put my signature style up for contention, but went with my Downton Abbey inspired dress instead.  Mostly because it's freaking adorable on my girl and she is infatuated with it.  Though she also wants to wear the Esmee dress every morning also.  She's definitely developing an opinion on clothes - the fancier the better!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Valentines

It's week 2 of Project Sewn with the theme of sewing something PINK!  It just so happens that I had a plan for sewing myself something pink for valentine's day this week anyway (and I'm sure several other people did too).  Anyway, another week, another knit top and cotton skirt.  This wasn't my ultimate plan, but I still love the result. 

The shirt is another Plantain tee.  I had planned to make a dress following the tutorial on Deer and Doe's blog, but ran just short of fabric for the skirt portion.  I may hack up this shirt later and make one if I get more fabric, or stay with the shirt since I can wear it with a skirt or jeans.
The shirt has a special surprise in the back!  I added heart elbow patches that were personalized by my kids! :)

Over the weekend I gave the girls a square of white fabric and some pink markers and asked them to make me a valentine.  One kid was totally game and drew me all sorts of things - mostly people with long arms and legs standing up-side-down with hats on.  At least that's what she told me....

The other one sat for maybe one minute, drew a few lines and dots and said she was finished.  Good enough for me.  I cut a heart patch from each drawing and sewed them on with pink thread.

The skirt is a simple paper bag skirt with pockets that I made following Sew Caroline's sew a skirt ebook (which I won on instagram!!).  I know how to sew a skirt, but tend to forget how to get my fabric measurements and then have to go google it.  I love having this ebook to turn to when I need a refresher.  It also comes with the perfect pocket template!

And while my husband was snapping a few pics of this outfit, the girls were begging to jump in.  They even reminded me that they were wearing things I sewed them so they needed a pic taken.  Cute, and how can I say no.  We barely have any pictures of us together! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making Time for Fancy Dresses

It's the final week of Project Run & Play and I managed to sew along.  Hooray!  Huge achievement at the moment.  The theme is Signature Style, the most conflicting theme for me (and maybe others?).  I don't really want an exact signature style.  That might be really boring if I make the same things over and over again.  One thing that stays consistent in my style though is my love for mixing fun prints with lots of color.

It took forever for me to decide what to make.  Then one day I was looking through patterns at Craftsy for the first time and saw it.  The Esmee Cottage Dress by Amelie & Henri.  

I was swooning over the split bodice with the pleated ruffle.  It reminded me of my favorite feature on my wedding dress.  I was also drawn to the lining trimmed with lace peaking out from the pleated skirt. I love dresses like this, but they take too darn long to sew.  I like quick and easy for the most part.  But this pattern had me determined to make time for a fancy dress!

I had fun mixing prints with this dress.  The fabrics are all from JoAnn Fabrics.  The beautiful floral is a sateen that I ran out and purchased after seeing Sarah use it to make fabulous host pants.  The print reminds me of the beautiful garden paintings by Monet (my favorite artist).  The front of the dress is pleated all one direction like the pattern.  However in the back I sewed the pleats running towards the center V back.

Since the dress is fully lined, it's just as pretty on the inside as the out.

I used the lining fabric so that the vibrant pink damask was showing with the wrong side out, so it was more subtle to allow the wonderful floral to be the star.  I had the lace trim in my stash and I thought I would never find a reason to use it.  I need to do something like this again with my other trims!

I used the same lining fabric for the hidden side pockets, though with the right side showing.

A few things on the dress pattern - it's rated for a beginner and isn't too difficult, but I had a hard time understanding the directions a few times.  If I was an absolute beginner there may have been a bit more seam ripping involved in the construction.  Also, I didn't see a size chart to help me pick which size to cut out.  I made a 3T and the bodice fits great, but the length of the skirt turned out way longer than it was supposed to.  But my girls are low on the height chart for their age.  The printing, piecing, and cutting of the fabric went really well though!  Also, I have seen some previews of their 2014 patterns and can not wait for their release!

And with my signature look, that wraps up my sewing along to this season of Project Run & Play.  It's been fun following along with the other sew along looks and competitors.  Everyone has brought their A-game for sure.  Make sure to vote!  It's been a tight race for once.

Also linked at:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Project Sewn - Fashion Icon

Project Sewn has started again!  And I'm attempting to sew along.  I have so many ideas to fit the themes each week, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up.  We'll see.  This week's theme is to create a look inspired by your fashion icon.  Right now my icon is Zooey Deschanel.  My actual every day look does not necessarily reflect this since I'm super lazy getting ready for work lately and throw on whatever.  However, if I was magically given her wardrobe I would comfortably wear every piece with enthusiasm!

I would call Zooey's style "hipster cat lady" - the highest compliment.  She wears a mix of classic clothes and vintage, but could pull off any quirky print.  Hopefully the correlation to her style and my look is easy to understand, but if not let me break it down.

I started out by making a Plantain Top out of a grey sweater knit and threw in a granny-like floral peter pan collar.  Check one for vintage and quirky.

I mean, seriously.  That collar.  
I'm ecstatic it turned out like I pictured.  It was self drafted after I brought up the neckline in the pattern a bit.  The collar is sewn into the neckline and shoulders.

Next came the skirt.  Zooey wears a lot of full or a-line style skirts.  I wanted to make a full skirt that would echo her classic styling.  She's collaborating with Tommy Hilfiger on a line right now, which made me think to make this pleated skirt with a navy and white polka dot print.  The skirt was made using a tutorial from over at One Little Minute (I highly recommend you check it out).  I made a chevron skirt before so I was confident it would fit well. 

The must-have pockets in the skirt are a fun yellow heart print that was gifted to me by the kid's great grandmother (from her stash).

So there you have it!  Hope I captured vintage, feminine, and classic all in one look!  My only regret is that I didn't paint my nails to match my outfit, one thing Zooey never overlooks.

Check out the competitor looks for this week.  They are ah-mazing!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chevron Peplum

Though I totally love the last Penelope Peplum I made (and wear it all the time), I was pretty sure it could look better on me.  But I wasn't sure what to do - a shorter/longer skirt?  different sleeves?

I started out by picking a really thin chevron knit from Girl Charlee that I thought had a nice drape that wouldn't add bulk around the portion that connects to the bodice.  I was also drawn to the black and white in the fabric.  I don't usually wear neutral colors, but thought this would look a little more dressy than most of my knit shirts.  Plus black and white are perfect for making accessories with color (like red) really pop!

I'm really in love with this fabric - it's incredibly soft and drapes just like I hoped it would.   But I'm not sure if the print is the best?  It was tough using the chevron in the gathered skirt and trying to match it to the bodice, but I think I did well enough.  

I love the cap sleeve way more than the 3/4 sleeve on me.  I cut the skirt the same size as before, but liked it long so didn't hem it.   Best decision - more like a peplum tunic now.  I see why Kate released a dress version add on to the pattern.  I want to make one next!