Sunday, April 15, 2012


So, this is my Vintage Contest entry.  As usual Michelle-style, I waited until the last possible minute to get it finished.  I was hand sewing the hem in at five o'clock today!  I did get it finished and I did get the pictures done and submission entered. This was my first Pattern Review contest and I thought it was pretty fun.  It was also my first pattern review!

me and the munchkin
Pattern: $2 (thrift store in Reno)
Fabric: I used less than half the sheet $1
notions: already had on hand
total: $3 - this is a pretty cute shirt for three bucks :)

So, I made a vintage shirt out of a bed sheet.  It's not ground breaking.  I didn't do anything new and exciting to it, but I love it.

First let me tell you the pattern, it's Butterick 5285 from the 1960's.  I chose this one because it was my very first vintage make and I didn't want anything crazy to grade or anything like that.  So, I chose this and originally I planned on making it out of a blue and white chiffon type fabric.  Obviously that didn't work out.  The fabric was too lightweight and it was crap-tastic fabric.  No real loss there.  So, I went with a vintage bed sheet found at a thrift store in Reno.  It broke my heart to cut into this sheet.  Why?  Because I can't find sheets like this around here!  I have NEVER, EVER seen a sheet like this in Alameda!  Trust me, I have looked repeatedly for years and nope, no luck.  I found two sheets like this in Reno and I did let out a little triumphant squeal when I found it, but who cares?  I will never see those people who looked at me like I was crazy!  or the people who quickly guided their little ones away from the "crazy in the linens".

Anyways, I cut into the sheet <tear> and I made this shirt.  I love this shirt, I wish I had a slightly lighter weight fabric, but this was what I had on hand, so this is what I used.  I added extra width to the belly area (surprise, surprise) and used the rest as is.  The armholes were waaaaaay too small and I ended up having to shave off two inches from the bottom of the armholes, making the armhole facing obsolete.  Now, it would have been easy to just make a new facing.  But, I hate facings, so I decided to just use some bias tape like in the Sorbetto top.  It took a little bit of time, but I like it better than floppy facings (alliteration alert!).

The drawstring for the shirt was really poorly drafted.  You have this huge neckline and this dinky little drawstring.  It's slightly bigger than 12 inches.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Not wanting to cut into the bed sheet any further, I decided to use some twill tape that I had on hand.  I picked up a roll of this stuff for $15 from my favorite fabric store in San Francisco.  There are 144 yards of 3/8 twill tape on this sucker.  Very good deal!

Twill tape bow!
What I learned:
The only thing I had playing over and over and over again in my head was J. Walter Weatherman saying, "and that's why you always make a muslin"  Extra points to those who know what the heck I'm talking about.

Will I make again?
Yes, I would love to make this again!  I really do love this shirt and would like to try it in a lightweight cotton.  Also, with my little belly, I like boxy tops or tops that don't "hug" my middle with my jeans.  As of yesterday, I only had one shirt to wear with my jeans!!  As of tonight, I have two to wear with my jeans.  Hooray!

Instead of saying, "Cheese!" when you get your picture taken, my family like to say "Broccoli!" because my daughter's favorite food is broccoli (seriously, I'm not joking...)  So, this is me saying, "Broccoli!"


So, I named this dress Zooey, because I think it looks a lot like something Zooey Deschanel would wear.  I definitely like Zooey Deschanel's style, so that's a good thing.

I used Simplicity 2588 for this dress.  My pattern review is here.

Okay, so I love this dress pattern, but I was originally drawn to the blue version on the cover with the lace and the sleeves.  However, after I saw this post on Sew Weekly, I had to knock off the mod cloth dress.  This project is one of the reasons why I love sewing.  So, I saw this dress before the Sew Weekly post and I really like it...BUT I wanted it in a different color!  Then I saw this post and decided I needed to make this dress!

pattern: $.99 ( I love Joann's!)
lining fabric: 2 1/2 yards purple cotton $4
dress fabric: 2 1/2 yards flower cotton $4
notions: Already had on hand!
Total: $8.99!

So, the only real alterations I did was my usual grading from a 16 to an 18 at the waist.  After I had a baby, my little pooch turned into a pooch!  So, I need a little extra room there. Also, I added the tie to the neckline.  My husband thinks that the tie is too long.  I like the length, however.  I think it makes it more dramatic.  The only thing I don't like about the tie is the it causes the neckline to gape a little. 

The instructions were easy.  Everything went together pretty well and I like the possible variations that you can do with this Project Runway pattern. 

What I learned:
I learned that I should wait for DH to come home and help me decide how much of the hem I should cut off.  I got impatient and chopped off two inches and that ended up being about an inch too much.  I had to sew hem tape to the bottom of the skirt and then flip it to the inside.  It's still a little, itsy, bitsy too short for my taste.  I feel more comfortable wearing this with tights or leggings.  However, unlike the brown, sparkly dress, I have worn this a bunch since I made it (February!)

Would I make it again?
Yeah, I would definitely make this again!  I don't know if I would make it with the tie again, because I don't think I need two of the same dress.  I already have some ideas planned out.  Like knocking off this dress:

Right?  Just a little red piping and do the version with sleeves and I have a near perfect knock off!

I like this picture!  I was pointing at my daughter who was trying to climb a tree.  She is only four and pretty short and she was trying to climb this ginormous tree.  It was pretty funny.  Don't worry she wasn't in any danger!

Brown Sparkly Dress

This was my first make of 2012!  Annnnnd, it's April and I finished this in January.  Oops...oh well.

Annnnyways.  So, I got this fabric and wanted to quickly make this up.  I loved this fabric.  It's a knit fabric, it's a nice color brown, but the best part of all is that it's sparkly.

I decided to make Vogue 1224.  It's a Tracy Reese design.  Which, I don't have too much of an opinion on Tracy Reese or her designs.  Sorry!  I just don't keep up with things like that.  The reason why I was drawn to it was because it was a knit dress pattern!  I love knit dresses!  Seeing the reviews on Pattern Review and the cover of the pattern, I realized that I should probably lengthen the bodice and the skirt.

So, I started out by lengthening the bodice by three and half inches to the bodice length.  I also added a half inch to the bodice width and the to the top of the skirt-to make it gather a little more.  I also added two inches to the length.  So, basically I added 5 and half inches to the length of the dress.  However, it was STILL too short for my liking.  I didn't even have enough length to hem it!  I also added a half inch to the bottom of the skirt to make it flare out more and give it an A-line shape.

So, other than the short length, the elastic in the waist just was NOT flattering for me.  I HAD to wear that belt to make it wearable!  I do, however like the neckline.  I think that the gathering around the neckline combined with the dolmann sleeves looked really flattering on me.

After I took this picture (in January!) I wore the dress maybe once or twice more.  Yeah, this dress in going into the donate pile.

back-sooooo flattering, right? <insert dramatic eyeroll>
Pattern: $3.99
fabric: 2 yards at $2 a yard-$4 (it's from my favorite fabric store in Oakland.  They sell run offs at $2 a yard!)
notions: already had on hand
Total: $8

What I learned:
So, I learned that I like full skirts with a fitted waist.  I didn't like the bulk around the waist because of the elastic.  I like the skirt to flare out and this skirt (even after my alterations) just kind of hangs straight, which is fine, I just don't like it.

I also learned that I like the heavy neck gathering and the dolmann sleeves.

Would I make it again?
I would make it in a maxi length or, on the other extreme, I would take out the skirt part and add more length to the bodice length to make it a shirt/tunic.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upcoming challenges!

So, yeah, I was supposed to post some pictures and I didn't.  I have a good reason, though!  Since my last post I have been sick THREE times!  Needless to say, there was not much sewing going on and not much blog time going on.  I plan on posting two projects up pretty soon, though.

So, what is a newly healthy girl/sewist to do with her free time now?  Sign up for copious amounts of challenges!  (Jeez, of course)  Anyways, the first challenge I signed up for is the Pattern Review Vintage challenge!  I desperately need tops...desperately!   I only have one or two tops right now due to a recent closet purge.  So, I had an easy pattern that didn't require any grading (a skill I still want to learn how to do) and it just so happened to be a shirt pattern.
I decided to make it in a blue/white floral print I have.  It's one of those sheer polyester fabrics.  I loved the idea of wearing a camisole under the sheer fabric for the summer.  Right now I am planning on doing view B with the cute little sleeves, but I don't know how good that lightweight fabric would look with the elastic running through the sleeves.  If I don't like it, I will just take the sleeves off and finish the armholes with bias tape like the Sorbetto top.

The second challenge I signed up for is the Pattern Review's RTW contest.  I was pretty unsure as to what dress I would knock off for this one.  It was between two dresses: 


I think I am leaning towards the second one.  The first would be really easy to knock off because of the Mccalls pattern 6024 and I feel like actually challenging myself and really going the extra mile.  I mean I am planning on knocking off BOTH dresses at some point, so I just need to figure out when I want to do each.

The third challenge I am signing up for is the Kid's Clothing Week Challenge from Elsie Marley.  I am pretty excited about this one because my daughter's birthday is May 2nd and the challenge ends right before that.  So, I can sew some clothes up as birthday presents, but I will mainly be focusing on American Girl doll clothes!  Because I bought her Emily for a birthday present!  I see matching outfits in my near future!

Also I am signing up for Did You Make That?'s Pyjama party!  I am going to make VERY unflattering PJ's for my and my daughter and if there is time for the doll as well.  Those two can count for the Kid's clothing week challenge above.

Last, but not least, I am also planning on joining in on the Colette Patterns Spring Palette challenge!  I probably wont get too much done for it during the Kid's Clothing Week Challenge, but it's an 8 week challenge, so I figure that I can do it after all of that.

Phew!  That's a lot of projects coming up!  I am tired just thinking about it!  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to work on the vintage pattern contest right now!  That is due on Sunday!!