Archive for ‘sewing’

October 1, 2012

Chiffon: The Fabric of Your Life!

Sew I had a little sewing adventure recently that I thought you might like to hear about. It was not necessarily a wearable success but I learned more about sewing this weekend than I have over the last few months.

I told you about Sewing in a Straight Line in my previous post and how I really wanted to make a maxi dress from it. I bought some really nice fabric to make that, but then I saw a really beautiful chiffon blouse in the book as well and figured I was ready to sew with something other than cotton!

I’m loving the polka dot craze right now. I’ve always had polka dot clothing. One of my favorite pieces was a pale pink and black polka dot tank that used to make me think Bettie Page, but now it’s not just for the goth chicks. It’s become a high-fashion statement. I found a beautiful navy and white polka dot chiffon at Joann Fabrics and even though it was more than I wanted to spend, I couldn’t not have it. I read a lot about sewing with chiffon, choosing the right needle, practiced some french seams and decided to go for it. French seams, sleeves, everything was going well and then I must have forgotten that I have a chest or something because when it was time to put it on for last fitting, I could not get the dang thing over me! hahaha Chiffon does not stretch! But I didn’t panic, instead I had a brilliant idea that if I cut it down the middle, I could wear it as a cardigan? hahaha Silly Christina, Trix are for kids! That didn’t work either.

So I ended up with this half cardigan with beautiful seams and gorgeous fabric. Ugh, I kick myself for not trying this out on cheap fabric first! hahah I’m so impatient!

However, I just can’t let this fabric go so I had a second sewing adventure and a first reconstruction garment that I think redeemed myself a little bit. I’ve had this awful American Apparel dress (if you are a toothpick) or shirt if you are a normal person. I’ve worn it a bunch as a longer shirt, but it’s annoying to wear. However, it was super cheap and I thought it might be fun to re-fashion it. I’ve thought for awhile about how I could take this shirt apart and finally came to a conclusion during that awful Saints/Green Bay game yesterday. My inspiration came from this super cute top that I just purchased at ModCloth.com

I love the sheer dot top part of this top. It feels vintage and classic with a twist. So I thought, I could do that with polka dot chiffon. And guess what! I DID! It was tough and not nearly perfect, sleeves may be a bit uneven, but it’s wearable. So wearable that I’m wearing it to work today. Oooh la la! A cure for the Monday blues. Check it out! Saints may not have won this weekend, but I did 🙂 (such a nerd, I know!)

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.