Archive for September, 2012

September 21, 2012

Cheers to the Freakin’ Weeken’

Drink to that yea-uh yea-uh! I hate Rhianna but I’m a sucker for that stupid song!

Now I don’t want to do anything else on the weekend but sew! And I’ve got my eye on a few projects that are supposed to be EASY! I have a wonderfully crafty co-worker, Chickerbp! I love that name, don’t you? She graciously bestowed upon me a copy of Sewing in a Straight Line: An amazingly resourceful and fun book full of really cool projects that can all be sewn in a straight line and without any tissue paper nightmare patterns. I read the whole thing cover to cover when I got home from work and I really think I can do this. In fact, a few months back, I made the one hour skirt from this book through an online tutorial. It stunk royally, but that was a sewing lifetime ago!

One of the projects that intrigues me is a shirred maxi dress. I did not know what shirred meant three days ago but I do now and I’m shirred I can do this! The weather has started to change so a maxi skirt may not be necessary but I can throw a sweater over it and I would love to have one of these. I like the idea of walking around in ONE giant piece of fabric! I have never worked with elastic thread but I’m looking forward to it! I will head over to Joann’s tomorrow and get thee started on what I hope is a successful crafty weekend! Bottoms UP!

September 18, 2012

At Laaaasstt…..

Birds sing sweet songs, the blue sky seems bluer, fireworks light up the sky and I made a skirt! Not without complications of course, but hells to the yes! So let’s waste no more time and share the details. Here is the skirt I plan to make: It’s  a knock off  inspired by a JCrew skirt. Cute! LOVE JCrew, don’t love the prices.

Friday 4pm: Our studio closes up shop two and a half hours early for the weekend. A sign that maybe I’m supposed to make a beeline for Ikea and grab some fabric before all of the southeast visits the store on the weekend.

Friday 5:30pm: Ikea fabric is purchased. Two black and white fabrics, contrasting in pattern. Traffic sucks, this better be worth it!

Friday 7pm: Fabric is washed and ready to go.

Friday 9pm: Made dinner of red beans and rice, french bread and a great bottle of wine that my brother brought over.

Friday 11:42pm: In bed and getting some rest for what could potentially be a long and dangerous road ahead.

And it’s Saturday. I’ve got plans to spend the day with my brother, who is in town on business, and we are off to visit the Center for Puppetry Arts to see some Muppets and Fraggles, you know, touristy things you do in your own city. But that’s not until 1pm so I think I’ll try to get a head start. This was one of those patterns that requires no pattern, just your measurements. I pulled out a skirt that is a good length for reference and started with that. Easy Peasy, Pumpkin Pie! I cut the four pockets and two rectangle skirt pieces and I’m feeling good.

I get those pocket edges sewn on like nobody’s business and then BAM! What is deceiving about the photo above is that the right sides of the pockets are NOT together! So I get out that seam ripper and try again. It’s 12:45 and my brother will be at my place in 15 minutes. I’ll rip seams until we leave. I thought I had learned in grad school that it doesn’t pay to get ahead!

Go to the puppet center. We see Big Bird and some other creepy puppets but all I can think about is this skirt. I return home a few hours later and put the pockets right sides together and sew. All the while, I’m following the visuals provided on the website and realize my layout doesn’t quite look like the layout in the picture. What have I done wrong now! DARNIT! I’m supposed to sew two pockets to each side of the skirt instead of all four pocket pieces to one side. How did I miss that! I think I assumed a pocket consisted of two pieces. Get out the seam ripper!

At this point, my confidence is shattered. I’m home alone, on the verge of tears of rage and too embarrassed to look at anyone especially my cats, who have witnessed this maddening mess. I’m so glad I didn’t purchase that Vika ikea desk system! I do not deserve it.

I’m not a quitter. Forging ahead even if this POS looks terrible. I’m going for it.

I rip out a second set of seams and fix this again. I guess after you hit rock bottom all you can do is go up so from here on out, things are looking better. And then it happens! I see a light, a bright shining luxurious light, in the form of a pocket! It is the most glorious thing! I attempted a pocket a while back and it wasn’t like this! Oh so beautiful. I can’t stop testing it out.

And it just keeps getting better and better! Fabric aligning, folds working, pressing seams and then the elastic. Well, that didn’t go as well as planned, I guess I didn’t fold over enough of the waist band and now the elastic won’t fit through. Don’t know if this is bad protocol or not, but I’m cutting the elastic down. whatever, it’s fine. I am the one who has to wear this thing!

And now it’s time for fit. Fit is hard. I’m on the short side: 4’11” just an inch taller than a legal “Little Person” so fitting is a little tricky. What I like about this pattern is  the sides lay flat so it’s not too poofy! After fighting with the elastic a little I go for it. Quick sew down the seams, finish up all your access threads and…VOILA!

What I love about this is that it feels very knock off Kate Spade inspired! Who is all about dots right now. In fact it’s her pattern of the month! Can you believe this! Moi! Finishing a pattern that I can actually wear! It’s bold and sturdy and I can’t tell the back from the front but as the great Buddy the Elf once said, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I Don’t Care Who Knows It!” –

September 15, 2012

And We’re Off!

My previous post mentions that I planned on tackling a sewing pattern from the SEW Workshop book by Diana Rupp. BUUUUTTT!! I want to make a skirt. I finally decided to learn how to use pinterest even though I have had it for months now and I am beginning to see the beneift. Okay, I get it. It’s like having a mood board in the clouds! And while scouring the pinterest boards yesterday, I stumbled upon a knockoff J.Crew skirt that seems easy enough and I think this may be where my weekend takes me.

I have attempted to make skirts before. In fact I have made 3, oh wait, no 4, and only one was a partial success. The first skirt I made from a Simplicity pattern. It had pockets and was part of their “Learn To Sew” series. That was a complete disaster. My husband was out of town that weekend and it was the perfect opportunity to turn the house upside down and try to make this skirt. When he called to say he was on his way home, I felt like a teenager trying to clean up all the hidden beer cans and cigarette butts from a wreckless house party. However, instead of beer and butts, I was cleaning up fabric. Ahh, wild times in your thirties.

Then there was the double layer Burda skirt in the gorgeous navy blue jersey knit: FAIL. The SEW Workshop Wrap Skirt, which went well until the ‘wrap’ part didn’t work: Operator Error! And finally a 1 hour skirt, which took 3 hours and was too see-through and puffy to wear.

My husband is out of town again this weekend and I feel like getting back in the ring and fighting a title match!

ME vs. some sort of fabric I have yet to purchase!

And, I am thinking I may head over to Ikea since I’m getting off work early today and see what they have. Ikea fabric is super sturdy and easy to work with. I also don’t feel like traveling 20 miles to the nearest Joann so Ikea it is. 

September 14, 2012

Sew, you think you can So!

Patience, that will be the death of me. I have none when it comes to certain things. I do not like to wait for anyone or anything. I really want to be patient and sounds like St. Monica is the patron saint of patience. I’ll name my next cat Monica (boy or girl) if I can figure out this sewing thing. Plus, I can relate to Monica Gellar’s competitive and neurotic nature: Success!

I’m trying to decide on a smart first attempt. I’ve read tons of blogs, yea, yea, light-weight cottons, I get it. eeek. Where are the chiffons and silks, pretty knits and flowy things! I hope this blog will slow me down and help me recognize my problem.

I have a few books with patterns and I think it’s best to start there instead of spending more money when I have at least 10 patterns sitting in front of me. I have the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook. I received this for my birthday about 6 months ago thinking it was the perfect beginner book. It is so NOT a beginner. It focuses on custom knit wear patterns, which I famously failed at with a beautiful navy blue knit fabric that was on clearance and probably the last of its kind on Earth. It’s a fun read but it has since been shelved and will remain there until further notice.

And then there’s SEW Workshop. A lovely little book by Diana Rupp. She is so patient, she should change her name to Monica. I attempted four patterns in her book and three were a success. Although, the three winners were non-fashion accessories: a pin cushion, which took way longer than it should have, a zippered pencil case, which gave me the confidence to sew the wrap-skirt: MAJOR FAIL, which forced me to swallow my pride and sew the tote bag, which is cute but fits a slim folder.

I have had my eye on a few of her patterns and I think I’ll start here. The great thing about this book is that she walks you through the patterns, which I find to be rare. I can knit like a crafty fool, but there are specific directions on how and what order to do things. Sewing patterns do not do this! That’s why I like Diana. I think I’ll start with her Cuddle Up Cardigan. The weather is starting to change and I want something I can wear in the next few weeks. It looks awfully big and I was thinking about making a miniature with some scrap footage to test out my skills before I go spend some money. There is no pattern but you make one. I have mad Illustrator skills and I think I can lay this out in 5 minutes between projects tomorrow and then attempt to scale it down and build a mini. hmmm. Who is the smart one? Stay tuned and I’ll try to take pictures of a master at work for all of you who are looking for a sewing mentor.

September 10, 2012

A Girl, A Sewing Machine, and an Idea!

It’s been 9 months since I last posted. Did I have a kid?  Don’t be silly! I’ve been working two jobs to support a shopping habit and now I’m a girl walking around with a cool Coach Willis bag in Vermillion, a chic on the cheap wardrobe and a fried head of pink, purple and blue hair! Life is grand! I set out a year ago to get rid of the pre-teen wardrobe I had been sporting since, well, my pre-teens. It’s been an amazing journey and I have the blog and wardrobe to prove it. I’ve slowed down a bit and try to only make a purchase when I HAVE to have something, like this polka dot top from Urban Outfitters that I added to my collection last week. I plan on wearing it with a blazer, skinny jeans and my pink patent Jem and Holograms looking heels. Cute for work and date night with my husband.

I’ve also found that I gravitate towards more unique and one-of-a-kind pieces. Who doesn’t want to pick out their own fabrics and feel totally unique in wardrobe choices. I would like to have a little more say in what my clothes look like and there is no one to do that other than myself! So, I have decided to take up a sewing challenge.

I don’t sew, no one in my family sews and I’m not patient so I’m the perfect candidate for this new challenge! 

Actually, I took a sewing class when I was maybe 12 and I was Terrible, with a capital T. I made a pair of floral bellbottoms and my instructor had to finish them for me since I was taking too long and the class had been over for a half hour. I was the only girl who didn’t get to make a scrunchy with my left over fabric and elastic. Sympathy, please! While girls were sewing Barbie clothes and taking apart their dresses and putting them back together, I was listening to the Beatles on my parent’s record player and running around outside playing kickball with the big kids. I kick myself now for not being a more motivated twelve year old. However, had I forced myself to sew, we would not be sitting here with this wonderful blog!!! whooo hooo, I win!

Sooooo, I purchased a sewing machine about a year ago with high hopes and dreams to teach myself sewing. I have made many failed attempts at clothes, however, I have made a pillow and a car owl. (yes, car owl, an owl that sits next to me in my car. He’s my wingman!)

But it’s time to get serious. I have purchased a few books to teach me fashion sewing, which I have failed at and I even purchased a few patterns at Joann and Hobby Lobby, which I have also failed at. Do you see a pattern? And I don’t mean sewing? But it’s time to get serious and start making some dang clothes!

I purchased a pattern from ebay a few months back that I LOVE and this dress is the incentive and grand prize if I make a few successful garments first. It’s a Vogue Alice + Olivia pattern. I dream big my friends! I have a spring wedding to attend in 2013 and I like to believe that I can make this for that wedding.

And there it is! I plan on attempting a garment or two a month to help prepare me for my Spring Sewing Olympics, 2013, Atlanta. I have a few patterns on my radar but here’s the other twist. I have no sewing space. If I do sew something, it is spread out across 2 to 3 rooms of our small condo. I’m in the process of organizing and finding the right space to sew in. I have a sewing machine but it sits next to two computers, a printer and a wobbly desk. Stay tuned as I share this scary and exciting experience as I attempt to create a truly unique wardrobe. And! If all else fails, I can still shop!