Thursday, September 27, 2012

striped baby dresses

It's so cute I'm gonna die!

It kind of matches the diaper cover, but are stripes and gingham allowed to mix?

Big pink buttons.

Tummy time!

I love the bright beachy stripes =)

She's trying to get away!

So cute 


Inside (just as pretty as the outside!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

they call me mellow yellow..

Not often, though, since this is the only yellow piece of clothing i own.

I've always felt pretty confident that yellow is not my color, but if there's a color yellow I can wear this just might be it.  It's saturated but not too bright.  Sort of a sunflower color or turmeric.

The inspiration for this cardigan is here at  It's obviously not much of a replica since the original is crocheted, a raglan, and a hoodie whereas none of those adjectives describe this sweater.   Nonetheless, I wanted a lacy cotton cardi and this was the impetus.

I can't recall every actually buying anything at Anthropologie but I love browsing there.  Why?  Because almost everything they carry is the type of thing you could make. 

It took me a long time to decide what stitch pattern to use; I wanted something all over lacy but not too delicate or geometric.  Finally I decided to use a modified version of the pine nut lace chart from Elizabeth Freeman's Torreyana shawl on Knitty.  I fell in love with this shawl as soon as it was published and made one that eventually was given to a friend going through a tough time.  I fully intend on making another one because the lace patterns are just beautiful and the shape of the shawl is perfect.

der, I didn't realize I missed a button!
I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I've had a lot of trouble designing set in sleeve caps but I broke down and bought Knitwear Design Workshop and I think the result speaks for itself.  My only qualm is that I should've bound off less stitches in the first inch and done more decreases in the body of the sleeve cap.  Live and learn eh?  Once everything was sewn up, though, it doesn't make much difference.  The pieces just looked funny before sewing.

 The yarn was salvaged from a thrift store sweater.  It was a very large, very cabled men's pullover so there was a ton of yarn there.  There's quite a bit more.  I see a matching shrug for little Miss Em and maybe a hat and/or a scarf for me...  Though I'm afraid that might be waaay too matchy matchy.  

I took a tip from Lladybird and reinforced the button band.  She used ribbon but I used bias tape because that's what I had.  I sewed it on by hand and then sewed on the buttons and reinforced the buttonholes with my sewing machine.  It really made a huge difference in the button band not gaping at all (my second biggest problem with hand knit sweaters after sleeve cap shaping).  
It's the same pink paisley I used already for a wrap skirt and another darling ranges inspired top which you haven't seen yet.  I love this fabric it's so pretty!  I still have just a bit left, maybe a baby dress?  I haven't decided yet.  It is my precious.  I must hoard it forever use it wisely.

Those buttons were in a huge bag of buttons I got from Goodwill for 99 cents.  They're glass (?) shank buttons.  Yes they match =)  Yes there are lots more matching buttons.  Yes they're mostly non plastic/cheap buttons.  Best thrift find every?  Maybe.

I love the lace pattern.  It's so organic.  It's a three stitch, four row repeat and so easy.  I did have to modify it to work without decreasing though.

Button.  Nom

And fugly buttonholes.  Isn't the fabric so sweet, though?  It's this little secret splash of color.  And it works!

Now it just needs to get cool enough to wear it.  Anybody else getting excited for the change of seasons?

Rav page here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

darling revisited.

The pattern should be all too familiar by now... or is it?  Yet another Darling Ranges (not) dress.  This time, since I'm obviously not pregnant (hopefully it's obvious anyway) any more I modified the front the same way as the back.  That is, instead of being big gathered rectangles under the bodice pieces instead the pieces are fitted and shirt length.

A bit too fitted, unfortunately.  This is the first time I've used this pattern since having the baby so I wasn't sure what I was doing.  Obviously the biggest issue is that another (larger) FBA is in order but a bit more room in the hips would be good too.

All in all, though, I'm pretty enamored of this shirt.  Perhaps someday it will actually fit =(

I actually cut the back as one piece so I wouldn't have to worry about pattern matching or any such silliness. I think it'd be really cute with the top back bodice split into a yoke sort of deal.  Am I going to make more of these with a revised pattern?  You bet! 

Look at those pretty insides!  All flatfelled seams except for the underbust seam...

...and the set in sleeves.  I couldn't figure out what kind of seam finish would work here so I just zigzagged the seam allowance.  It makes me sad they can't be all purdy like all their neighbors =(  

Isn't there a better way?

Pattern: Highly modified Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen
Fabric: Some yardage from the thrift, about half of what was there.  A thin, crisp, cotton I think.  $4 or $5 for the whole thing and I used about half.
Notions: Buttons from the stash. Free since I don't know where they came from.  I certainly didn't pay for them.
Techniques used: Buttonholes, flatfelled seams, bias tape neckline and bound seams
Hours: A few...  Not really too bad, though
Will you make this again? So many times.  I'm pretty sure
Total cost: Half of $5: so $2.50
Final thoughts: I love it, I hope I lose some weight and can wear it all buttoned up proper

Monday, September 10, 2012

dyeing is a type of mending right?

i dyed this shirt as per my long ago stated intentions and have been mending the same pants as always.  honestly it's a small miracle that these pants still exist; they're close to disintegrating.  they're older than my children.  i'm also expected to sew a button back on my hubby's favorite shorts, although i have a sneaking suspicion that if it doesn't happen in the next 30 minutes it may get put off until next monday.  (oooh, the suspense!)  and that concludes this weeks obligatory sewing!  on to the fun stuff =)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

skirt of many colors

I used to wear skirts and dresses all the time (you know, back when I was young, childless, and ahem, lithe) and I envy all the sewing bloggers that get to dress up all the time.  Of course I remember it took some practice to incorporate skirts into my wardrobe (the epic quest of getting dressed used to take me at least 30 minutes every morning).  That being said my goal is to incorporate more pretty, fun and functional (see what I did there? hah) pieces into my wardrobe.

Requirement number one: pockets are a must

And this skirt has great big pockets.  It started as a 4 XL gathered skirt so there was plenty of fabric to work with.  I slit the skirt up the side, cut several inches off of the top, and sewed the edges down with bias tape.  The seams on the patchwork made it too bulky to handle any other way.  Then I cut a waistband out of some grey floral I had stashed.  I cut the pockets from the fabric I cut off the top and finished the tops with the same fabric as the waistband.

You can see both here...  I'm not sure if the floral looks too random, but the skirt is so busy I don't think it's too obvious

Busy busy busy.  


Of course heels aren't sensible shoes for the playground, but this skirt really looks better with heels because I have short legs and this is a long skirt.

Of course requirement number 2 is: 

In case intruders intrude...

And wish to engage in battle...

A ha!  Gotcha!

And mommy remains ninja master of this house...  for now

And requirement number 3: twirliness 

This skirt only gets a 2.0 for twirl factor.  It's flared out at the bottom but being a double layer of heavy rayon it's just too substantial for serious twirliness.

Maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

paisley wrap skirt

 Let's be honest...  It's about time I made something wearable.  Not perfect, not even nice, just wearable. After the Butterick 4988 train wreck I needed something more or less failproof.  Well, more or less is right.  I drafted a simple wrap skirt from an amalgamation of online tutorials.  Basically it's 1.5 * my hip measurement cut into 3 segments which were then sewn together.

I did add pockets a la Little Heartbreaker Pants, flatfelled seams, a partial lining and bias tape on the hem.  Unfortunately I forgot to add seam allowances into my clever little equation up there so the skirt doesn't quite reach around the full 1.5 times and the pockets are too narrow to put my hands in.  Fail.

But look at that pretty pink paisley and flowy tie.  Despite it's flaws I like it; I wore it all day at the park playing soccer (not really) but running and playing and having lots of fun and it's very comfortable and I think it's pretty.

Even after an hour of chasing around a 3 year old with a soccer ball it's looking all right.  I think I'll add a belt loop on the side to keep the ties in place though.  They migrate, especially with lots of sitting and standing.

The fabric was a "vintage" top sheet from Pottery Barn.  I paid full price for it: a whopping $5.  I saw it and it had to be mine.  I couldn't take the chance of waiting for it to be half price.  The lining was leftover from something else.  I'm hoping I can wear it through the winter with tights. 

instagram collage of our fun day at the park

I've never had a wrap skirt before, but I intend to make more for this awkward postpartum period.  Now that I have my pattern pieces, all I need to do is add seam allowances.  ha. freaking. ha.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

damn you butterick 4988

It's not for the faint of heart.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, other than that this pattern was 50 cents, uncut, and my size.  I think my recent fascination with Jane Austen has drawn me towards this sort of top, though I'm not sure why.  Something about the buttons, neckline, and poofy sleeves.

Only now do I see that this pattern is less Jane Austen and more Louis VIII.  The sleeves are so puffy it looks like they're stuffed with marshmallows. 

 And can you see those wrinkles under the bust?  It's because the top fits in the bust and nowhere else.  I checked the measurements and didn't think they were too far off, but the bust is tight and everywhere else is loose.

The top is constructed with princess seams so I feel like it should be pretty easy to take in, but where to start?  I'd have to rip out and take in the facing first because, while the bust fits, there's some major upper back gaping.  And those damn back wrinkles that I always get when I wear woven tops!

Oh my God, just look at those sleeves!  But to add to my frustration the entire bodice is easily 4 inches shorter than I consider wearable before hemming!!  So even if I did fix the sleeves and the sizing I would still have to find a way to lengthen it.  I do have a little over a yard left of this fabric, but honestly is it even worth it?!

Oh yes, and there's an  inexplicable flare out at the bottom.  So not only is it too short but it flares out like some kind of crazy anime outfit.  As a matter of fact made up in the right color scheme it might be full on Sailor Moon status.

Do I dream of dressing up like Sailor Moon?  Maaaaybe....
At this point I'm ready to consider this a muslin and move on with my life.  Unfortunately while I've read a lot about fitting on the interwebs I don't really know how to make more complicated changes to a pattern using a muslin.  Or rather, I have a guess and I'm just not up for that kind of commitment right now.  I'm keeping this as a learning tool, though, and hopefully will return to it someday soon.  You know, when I'm bored (hahahahaha).

Basically I need to rip it apart and make some alterations which I can translate to new, muuuuch longer pattern pieces

I think that the most concerning aspect at this point is that the shoulders are seriously elasticized.  Meaning that the only thing keeping the bodice in place is friction and faith.  With a baby constantly trying to get in my shirt and a toddler who just likes to roughhouse that's not enough assurance.  

On the bright side I did successfully lengthen the button band.  The original pattern has the button band stop about belly button height (Is that weird?  Yes.  Should this have been a warning sign?  I think so.) but I prefer a more traditional length (as in, uhh.. the same length as the shirt).  I figured I'd hem it together with the shirt bunow I'm thinking there's a better way to do it.  I intend to consult with Sewing for Boys as it's the only sewing resource I have that's helped more than it's caused me trouble.

I actually think that it's gotten me into trouble, though.  It makes me think I'm a better seamstress than I really am, thus leading to moments like this one.  What needs to happen is those girls need to write a book called Sewing for Women.


And I think that's about all there is to say about that.  Unless you've got something funnier: let's hear it!