Monday, July 29, 2013

Blue roses, darling ranges

Continuing with the trend of ostentatious monikers for moderately mundane garments.  Now with a sprinkling of alliteration!

I think it's pretty obvious that this is yet another darling ranges dress.  Every time I make this pattern I tweak it a little bit.  Next time I'd like the skirt to be a bit fuller.  Or maybe a lot fuller!  Also, pocket fail!  They're oddly positioned for the shape.  If they were more slanted towards the floor they would work.  Duly noted.  

The fabric (oh!  The fabric!) was a find at the thrift.  For a cool dollar fifty I just couldn't pass up the pretty print... even though I could see it wasn't in great shape.  It turns out I totally underestimated how badly preserved it was.

In addition to the weird discolored stripe running along one edge there were several small holes... and one big one :P Based on the print, obvious poly content, and poor condition I can't help but wonder if this is real vintage fabric.  I think people have a tendency to call anything from the thrift vintage.. but I'm pretty sure this shit's actually old.  Kind of cool and kind of crappy all at the same time!

I originally thought I'd be lucky to eek out a blouse but through some creative pattern placement (no cutting on the fold happening here!) I managed to get all the pieces for this dress with just a few scraps to spare.  Seriously, there's barely enough for quilt scraps!

I think the fit is pretty good in the bodice.  I think I raised the neckline just a smidge, as I sometimes do when making this pattern.  Even so I pretty much always wear a camisole under it.  As opposed to, you know, just puttin' it all right out there.

The skirt is not such a great fit.  As I mentioned above, a fuller skirt would have been nice.  The skirt fits just fine in reality, but the pockets are not as useful as they would have been if the skirt was fuller.  Facepalm!

I've made this pattern so many times that there's really not much more to say about it.  Except that it's great!  I love it.  It's just perfect for climbing ladders...

Or dancing.  Yes this is how I dance and it's why my husband never takes me dancing =(

Or even doing Scarlett O'Hara impressions.  Bad Scarlett O'Hara impressions.

My life goal is to make a dress out of curtains so that I can actually say "I saw it in the window and just had to have it!"

Total cost: maybe $3
Notions: buttons and bias tape... and interfacing.  Seriously, interface the button placket, just do it!  You're welcome.
Happy: So very
Make again: I feel like after so many iterations it'd be crazy to keep going... or maybe it'd be crazy to stop?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday


The same but different...

Coming soon...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dino Daze

My little baby boy (because he'll really always be my baby) has started preschool.  It's actually preschool/summer camp; a short half-day program to test the unfamiliar waters.  He seems to like it so far and so do I, from what I've seen.  Bonus: they do themes for each quarter.  This quarters theme?


I swear they couldn't have picked a better topic if they'd called and asked "So what does the boy really like?  What is one thing he is totally obsessed with and never tires of? If he were to donate the largest collection of something to the Smithsonian, what would that something be?"  That's right.  Dinosaurs.

I went to the local fabric store specifically for dinosaur fabric and was pretty disappointed with the limited options.  This desert camo-esque fossil fabric is the best I could come up with.  There was one other fabric I liked that had stripes of cartoon dinosaurs and now I'm wishing I'd grabbed some of it as we'll because, of course, he loves his Dino shorts!

I got a yard and a half to make sure I had enough to get good placement since this print is very large for such a small garment. It was waaaay more than enough.... Now what to do with the excess?  I'm thinking a pair of treasure pocket pants since obviously summer won't last long (today being a cold, effective reminder of this).

I managed to get a big focal dinosaur on each side: a triceratops on one side and T. rex on the other...  I believe.  I don't have them in front of me and I'm no paleontologist so take that for whatever it's worth.  Unfortunately that's about all the thought I gave to pattern placement.  The back looks a little odd with two Dino tails coming right out of the center back seam.

The front is significantly more unfortunate: there are heads coming out of the seam on both sides!  Awkward...  Almost as awkward as this picture :P

I used the kickin' back sweats pattern from Sewing for Boys and just shortened them to be shorts.  I wish I'd shortened them a bit more since they came out rather longish but hubby says it's fine so it shall stay as is.  Remember if you're making this pattern up in a woven fabric it's got to have plenty of ease.  When I made the Boy's knit shorts I pinched out something like four inches (or so!!) but for these I used the full width of the original pattern. I can't remember now if I'm using the 4/5 or the 6/7 but it's the same size I used last year.  

I sewed up the crotch seams first in the French fashion (are French seams really French at all?) and then flat felled the inseam.  This is pretty much my M.O when it comes to this kind of pattern.  For me it's just easier than sewing the legs first then sticking one inside the other.  I do wish these had pockets but I couldn't work out how to add pockets without messing up or covering up the pattern.  With the dinosaurs being centered on the sides I couldn't add side seam pockets or patch pockets and the Boy hasn't quite got the hang of back pockets yet.  Then again what does he need pockets for when he's got me?

Mission dinosaur shorts: accomplished!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Not too deep into the jungle

I've always felt like animal prints just aren't for me.  See?  This is where blogging leads.  Peer pressure guys. It's bad.  

I found this slinky, shiny, XXL leopard print top at the thrift and bought it in a moment of clothes-by-the-pound insanity.  I hemmed and hawed about what to do with it, but in the end I was so in love with this make by Lladybird that I decided to try something similar.  I didn't have the pattern, and even if I had I doubt I would've gone to the trouble of a full lining.  I just bound the seams with bias tape.  I thought I had black (turns out I do, it was hiding) so I used the darkest color I had which is sort of cobalt blue.  There's a facing for the rounded bottom piece and some self made black bias tape around the neckline.  The black is also some weird slippery poly bought ages ago at tr thrift. Needless to say, making bias tape out if it was a nightmare.  I also used it for the facing and the undercollar since fabric was in short supply.

I also did bound buttonholes.  Shoot me now.  Seriously.  This is some crazy, slippery, fraytastic poly and those buttonholes were nearly the death of me.  The thought process?  I'll do bound buttonholes for practice.  I'm sure that's the sort of thing I'll want to know how to do.  WTF?  That was not good reasoning.  On the bright side this was before I tackled welt pockets and they are a (comparative) piece of cake.  What's the moral here?  I'm not really sure.  Let's move on.

I originally intended to modify the Darling Ranges dress pattern (as if I haven't already done enough of that) but when I laid out my modified pieces it was pretty clear that they would not all fit on the available fabric.  I dug out my Simplicity 2174 Amazing Fit pattern (just the bodice pieces actually) and started tinkering.  I cut the back on the fold instead of in pieces (I'll talk about why that was a mistake in one moment) and modified the heck out of the front piece.  I changed the neckline from square to V, added enough extra for a placket, and cut two instead of one on the fold.  For the collar I tried to trace the collar of a blazer I have that I really like.

Let's just take a moment to talk about that collar.  These pictures do not do it justice.  It looks editorial here: Cheetah print jacket with ridiculously large, awkward collar.  In reality, it's awful.  It sticks up, gapes, I don't even know what it does but it's definitely not right.  I have an idea, though, to try handstitching it down.  Ripping stitches in this fabric is just not an option.  Life, it's far too short.

You can see here the weird way it moves.  You can also see the notch.  Do you see the notch?!  I was very excited about that.  The fact is that the collar should've been cut a little curvier round back.  It's too close to straight and that's why it doesn't lay right.  I'm pretty sure.  Next time.  There will always be next time (won't there?  I think so...  I love me a good blazer for work).

Onward.  The back.  Ugh.  The original pattern fit so well, so what happened here?  I seem to recall adding some ease while cutting since it's a jacket instead of a fitted dress.  I think one of two things is going on here.  I either added too much ease or should have cut two back pieces.  The original pattern has a curve along the center back which, I suppose, is preventing this trainwreck you see here.

I don't know, maybe it's not so bad.  After all I have to move my arms around so I suppose there should be some extra fabric there, yes?

The peplum is the part I think I like best.  It's subtle but gives just a little extra pizzazz (did I really just use that word?  I think it's past my bedtime).  I like the curved edge, I like the way it flares out from the waist just a tiny bit and skims over the midsection.  I am definitely brainstorming how I can use this again 

And there you have it.  A cheap knock off of an awesome jacket.  In the end I'm not all that unhappy with it.  It was a cheap way to try out this pattern idea and I will come back to it when the weather cools down a bit (too hot for layers right now).  I really do see lots of potential here.  Plus I have a (moderately) wearable cheetah print blazer for when the mood strikes, and occasionally it does.  Can you expect to see any more animal prints sneaking their way into my wardrobe?  It's probably too soon to say....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Brainzzzz and radishes.

I felt like there were at least enough pictures here to warrant a whole new post about pajamas, but this is the last one for a minute.  Promise!  The boy was in desperate need of some new summer pjs seeing as how his Super Mario set has seen better days and that's really all he has.  What can I say?  Summer is not a lengthy visitor in these parts.

I found a tee shirt at the goodwill outlet that was stained and had the neckband cut off.  It pretty well looked destined for the landfill but soooo soft so I snatched it up for a few cents.  

Can you see the crazy print?  It's some kind of steam punk hot air balloon drawing with a brain hot air balloon.  I know right?  (On a side note; hot air ballons = steampunk?  I still can't quite figure out the rules here.  End tangent.)  This pretty nearly became a tank top for moi but being such a good mommy I made the sacrifice and I think it was worth it.  

There was no pattern I just sort of eyeballed it.  The front neckline has a bit too much fabric but its not so bad I'm thinking about changing it.  I finished the neckline and armholes with strips of the same fabric and my lucky 85 percent rule.  I honestly didn't hem the shirt because I couldn't find my grey thread. I did buy a twin needle though so theoretically I could.  Would you like to know the fastest way to break a twin needle?  Let's just say: always remember to reset your machine to a straight stitch and leave it at that shall we?

The red shorts are made from an old tee of mine.  I never wore it because it was a bit on the short side.  The fabric is pretty thick so it's perfect for shorts.  The shirt had a scoop neck and a neckline placket so I was worried I wouldn't have quite enough.  Sometimes I'm amazed that the sewing gods don't just smite me where I stand, slapdash as I am sometimes.

I was kind of in a hurry (it wouldn't do to be late for the pajama party would it?) so I took the sweatpants pattern from Sewing for Boys and pinched out lots of room until they fit on the fabric I had.  Luckily they turned out just the right size. I kept the original hem so all I had to do was sew up the crotch and inseams then fold over for the elastic waistband et voila!

That means this whole outfit was thrown together in about an hour for almost no cost (I think the shirt was 25 cents give or take).  Quick and dirty and completely reloved <3 p="">

Best of all he actually likes his new pjs.  It's so nice to finish something for him that he actually wants to wear.  Zombies are a big thing with him right now so really anything with brainz are A-ok!

As for the radishes... Well, he had fun picking them...

Cleaning them...

Smelling them...

But he never did eat one.  Apparently he'll stick to the braaaiinnnzzzzz!