Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Sewaholic Pattern

My new fabulous yard offers a plethora of wonderful backgrounds for blog photos.  Observe the antique shed. Could look urban or rustic.  Very versatile.
Next we have this lovely wood fence with accompanying...what is that called anyway?  Chicken wire?  Vine latice?  Obviously some sort of hybrid of the two - there is vine growing on it nonetheless.
Okay, okay - this isn't a blog about my yard.  Let's get to the sewing.  The shirt dress was the first thing checked off my September to-do list.  This Alma Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns was the second.  I have a long torso - so belts don't always look right look ridiculous on me when I tuck my shirt into my pants.  Unless the pants are high waisted, (which is supposedly in style, and yet I can't seem to find anywhere.)  In sum: I'm always looking for shirts I don't have to tuck in.  I love the Alma Blouse because it has a tie belt and thus, no tucking.  Stats are below.

Pattern: Alma, Sewaholic Patterns
Fabric: Linen blend (from JoAnn's)
Time: A weekend.  It was a slow start.
Other interesting facts: There is a zipper in the side.
Changes for next time: I will add and inch to the torso length. 

I had never done a Sewaholic pattern before - although I have loved Tasia's blog for a long time, especially when she writes about running her own business.  My secret fantasy!

This shirt also reminded me how I never quite put an invisible zipper in perfectly.  There is always some weird little gap or bunched fabric.  I'm determined to get it right in my next project (Colette's Clover pants) even if I have to hand pick the thing!

Overall good experience.  I would try another...maybe the Cambie Dress next time.  We will see...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Have Dress, Will Travel

As Gus so aptly pointed out, most of my "recent" entries have started with "I know it's been a long time..."  Yes, I have once again fallen off the blogosphere.  And once again I reemerge, hopefully to stay.  Back in September 2012 I lined up several projects.  I'm happy to say, I have FINALLY finish some of them.  Here is the first: the Lisette Traveler Dress. 

I made this shirt dress primarily for work.  I've worn it several times, and it performs wonderfully.  My first graders were full of compliments. The soft linen fabric does wrinkle a bit, but nothing a little starch can't fix.

This photo also shows our awesome new baby blue front door with stained glass!
Here you can see the gathering on the sleeve - a feminine touch that is absolutely necessary for me when using this masculine brown stripe.  I have the tendency to look a little man-ish if I go with straight menswear shapes. 

I may try this dress again in a fabric that doesn't wrinkle.  It would be great for traveling (as the name suggests.) I'd love to throw it in a suitcase and go.  This version works okay - most hotels have an iron for post-suitcase straightening out.  It's comfortable, long enough, and can be worn with heals or flip flops.  Other belts work nicely as well.   What's your favorite travel outfit?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pinterest Pots

Big news from 3 months ago...we got engaged!  In a beautiful historic park.  Other big news...we moved! To a beautiful historic home facing said historic park.  So naturally, I wanted to begin a little herb garden.  And what do herb gardens need, but pots.

"Flower pot" is one of my favorite search terms on Pinterest.  I've been particularly enamored with chalkboard pots - so the name of each herb can be scrawled on front.  I found these little metal buckets at Home Depot and painted a thick band around the middle.  For whatever reason, the only chalk available was giant sized children's sidewalk chalk, so I couldn't quite scrawl - had to go with more of a neat print. 

Now I just move the pots around, still figuring out where I think they look the cutest. 

My second flower pot project (also a Pinterest find) involved a couple of fat quarters of fabric and Mod Podge.  So far I've covered a 2-inch pot and a 4-inch pot.  I ended up wasting quite a bit of fabric as I wrapped the pots, so I'm working on a pattern for both sizes before I wrap the rest.
I've been keeping cards and papers I need for wedding planning in the bigger pot.  I'm thinking about a candle for the smaller pot.  For now, they are a great alternative center piece for our new dining room table!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I'm trying something new this fall: multiple projects at once.  I've been inspired by Hurricane Isaac - during whom I made a little mental back up plan for prolonged sewing outages: cut all pieces for the next few projects.  The outage (thankfully) was only one day, but the impulse to get several things going at once still lingers...

Here is what I'm working on for fall.

Shirt Dress (for school)

When I decided to give sewing a serious try...back in 2010...I intended to download the Coffee Date dress off Grosgrain's Frock by Friday series.  Instead, I accidently downloaded a shirt dress.  It was a disaster.  Photos later.

This put me off shirt dresses for a while... but now I'm ready to get back in the saddle.  With this dark brown pin stripe linen blend.  On the dress, the stripes will be going in the other directions. Obvi.

Tea Length Dress (for an October wedding)
Victory Patterns
Okay.  I'm a sucker for a sweetheart neckline.  The Macaron dress was the original catalyst of my sewing appetite, seen here, so you can imagine the DROOL when I saw the Ava pattern by Victory.  (Side note...I love independent pattern companies!)  I plan to make the Ava every which this round is just the beginning. 

I'll be making it out of another Egyptian gift fabric.  Gus made more than one black and gold selection while abroad - a nod to the Saints?  Also Steelers compatible.  Makes for a versatile fall wardrobe. 

Blouse (for school)
So I have been blessed with a long waist.  I don't know if blessed is the right word, but anyway.  This means that most pants look funny when I tuck in a shirt.  Consequently, I need blouses that look nice untucked... which can be a bit tricky.

Not so if you sew!  As I said earlier, I love me some independent pattern companies... and one I haven't tried yet is Sewaholic.  Luckily my Alma Blouse pattern came in the mail today!  First up is View this linen blend.

Much better than last September's line up...which ended in a sewing hiatus of six months.  Commitment: history doth not repeat thyself. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Presents from Egypt

Over the summer, Gus went on a whirlwind adventure to Egypt - touring the pyramids, the white desert, the Nile.  While sleeping in a dorm at my summer job, I awoke to a text from him at 4:30am - a picture of his head in front of the Sphinx.  You can imagine my jealously.

But leave it to Gus...all my jealously evaporated when he arrived home and showered me with gifts... most of them of the fabric variety!  This fantastic printed fresco fabric has the feeling of lightweight cotton, but is considerably more durable.  Fresco is a very lightweight wool...I found a good description at The Gentleman's Gazette.  I guess its no surprise that Egyptians have perfected hot weather fabrics.  Sorry this picture is so yellow.

My current philosophy of sewing patterns is to choose something with elements I haven't tried before.  With that in mind, it was time to add a wrap dress to my repertoire.

Pattern: Vogue 8646
Fabric: Fresco, gift
Belt: Banana Republic
Closure: Tie on the inside panel, hook and eye on the outside panel.

I finished this dress last Saturday and I've already worn it twice.  It debuted at the Ira Glass event at LSU on Sunday night.  Three cheers for public radio!  Then I wore the dress to school on Monday (the day before Hurricane Isaac put us out for a week.)  It did very well in the humidity.  I did have to pin the neckline together.  I plan to add a snap at the neckline to keep it in place without worry.

I'm excited that my sewing fluency is growing.  I was happy to be able to look at this fabric and decide what to make with it - sans agonizing over pattern choices and worrying about the quality of the finished product.  Now if only I could get my blog background to stop changing to random things...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Navy Blue Licorice

So yes, it's been quite a while since I've posted.  Between a job change, a summer away from home, and a broken sewing machine, both sewing and blogging have been on hold.  And now here I am, off work for Hurricane Isaac... hoping I can finish this post before the lights go out.

Good news... my wonderful boyfriend has agreed to be my blog photographer.  He did a great job last Thanksgiving and shares his work again here.  Neither of us are masters of the Nikon D40 yet, so it took us a little while to figure out the manual focus was off, but alas, the photos still look nice.  The wine prop was his idea.

This is my first project from the Colette Patterns Sewing Handbook - which, sigh, I got for Christmas from my brother Bob.  It's taken me way too long to get started!
Pattern: Licorice Dress - Colette Patterns
Fabric: Brocade (is what it said in the store. It feels like Silk Crepe.)
Lining: Bemberg Rayon (best lining EVER - breathable, washable, seriously check it out)

I bought the fabric at Fabric Place Basement in Framingham, MA back in December when I was home for Christmas.  Fabric Place was this old fabric store in downtown Framingham that was around since the 1940s.  I remember wandering around the winding rooms as a kid, getting lost, bugging my mom, etc.  It recently went out of business and Fabric Place Basement opened... which I must say is AWESOME.  I spent way too much in way too little time there.  I would get a part time job there cutting fabric if I still lived in Massachusetts.  Just for fun.

I've got to say... this dress is the best thing I've ever made.  It was intended for the First Day of School, but would have been too warm given the lining and Louisiana weather.  It fits perfectly (I cut a 6 top, 8 waist, and 10 bottom) and feels comfortable and professional at the same time.  I'm smitten.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Yellow Polka Dot Blouse

Pattern: Sencha
Fabric: Silk, $9/yd
Buttons: Vintage
Cost: $20

The photo above has some crazy light...but I kind of like it.

This garment is a synthesis of firsts. Components:

1. First Colette Pattern ever purchased... now almost two years ago. My first attempt at the Sencha blouse was an awful failure - between my inability to deal with the silky polyester and making a size way too small because I was used to crazy design ease. I have finally made a fitting version of this top!

2. First time using silk. Yellow Polka Dot Silk - my favorite purchase from shopping in NYC. Though tricky at times, completely worth it. Silk feels so much nicer than synthetics! Almost burned it a couple times with the iron as well... but crisis averted.

3. First major machine malfunction... right in the center of the front collar too. I nearly lost it. The needle kept breaking... I finally figured out it was hitting the presser foot. A week at the shop later...

Normal light:
Back view:
I'm finally back into sewing, after a long hiatus. I'm excited to start working through the Colette Sewing Book my brother gave me for Christmas - and use the $200 worth of fabric I splurged on at Fabric Place Basement on the same trip home to Massachusetts. Fabric Place has amazing stuff - and completely takes the excitement out of the Joann's that just opened in Baton Rouge. While I love to have an option other than Hancock... sigh...just a little boring.... ;-)