Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Well, that didn't turn out cute at all....

It does help to have an adorable model.

 The dress was actually hard to photograph outside - too much white to see the cute little pleats on the front.  I used the blue clouds portion of the fabric for the little cap sleeves. She's got a t-shirt underneath since it's still cold where we live.

Red and blue buttons down the back and a big bow!  Of course, I attached one of the ties upside down so that the reverse side shows.  Luckily, it's a tie.  Mimi didn't care.

You can kind of see the pleats here in this action shot.  She likes her long skirt and hasn't tripped on it yet (some stumbles, but no actual trips).  And we only got a couple permanent stains on this first wearing.  :)  Again, this was "Jane" from Petite Poche by Wendy Schoen.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hot, bags, and boats

It got hot here!  Like, in the 90's hot.  Great weather for my new linen shift and various other me-made-may cotton outfits from the past.  Today I'm wearing my Alabama Chanin forest green top and embellished skirt that I made in England from T-shirts.

On the bag front, the one I made is nice and cavernous, but a bit floppy for day to day use.  I might be able to fix this simply by making a new lining/innards, since that can be attached after the fact.  I still think I'll bring it on my trip next week since I tried it out in backpack mode with some weight in it (a six-pack of beer!) and it worked just fine.

However, this meant I was still in need of a bag.  My shoulders are hurting me more all the time and I really need to stop carrying weight on one of them at a time.  Backpacks are key.  But I'm vain, and wanted something that could still look kind of like a purse.  Enter amazon prime:


Dry erase marker for scale.

With these sorts of convertible bags, you can either have the straps cross eachother like on this one (i.e. each backpack strap goes all the way to the other side), which means you don't have issues with the whole thing flopping over if you grab it by one strap, or you do it the way it is on the bag I made, where the backpack part is all one one side.  That's where the floppiness is a problem - if I grab it by the backpack part, the whole thing kind of just squishes down until I put it on.

This little bag is more stable, but the fact that the straps cross over makes it a little harder to open the bag up all the way, particularly if it's on your shoulder.  Still - I don't plan to keep more than my wallet, keys, phone and a mini umbrella in here- it's so I have something to wear at the park when I'm running around after the kids.  And I like that I COULD squish in a small water bottle and sunblock if I have to.

On the sewing front, I haven't cut into my suiting fabric yet, but I DID finally cut into a lovely Michael Miller fabric that I've had in stash for something like 3 years:


Mimi NEEDED a new dress. She NEEDED it.  Okay, maybe I just needed to make her something sunny and pretty that she'd wear before she turned into a big girl.  This is almost (needs a hem and buttons) a full-skirted button-back dress with little cap sleeves.  It really turned out well and I only spent about 2 hours on it - I've made the pattern 3 times.  Tracing and cutting was definitely the longest part this time!  I traced a size 5, but Mimi really could have gone down a couple from there - I'm going to need to place the buttons so that they cinch up the back a bit but can be moved outwards later.  And I only attached one of the sashes on backwards!  I'm leaving it - we almost always end up cutting off the sashes anyhow.  The pattern is "Jane" from Petite Poche by Wendy Schoen.

Oh, I did do some other family sewing.  Mimi wanted two pairs of old knit pants cut off into shorts (very frugal, that girl), and then we needed to turn the cut off parts into dresses for her doll by cutting arm holes.  Jeanne wanted a t-shirt turned into a tank top, so I cut off the sleeves and did a little double fold thing on the cut edge, hand embroidering it with a stretch stitch.  She really liked it - kind of a little bit sporty with some girly edging.

Next up - I'm traveling next week so I'll bring my final AC skirt from my SWAP 2017 planning (good airplane work!).  After that I either need to work on the suits (ugh, wool in summer), or get started on my long-promised effort to really make a bodice and dress block/moulage.




Saturday, May 13, 2017

And another-

I had another long-in-stash project that I really wanted to get going on - a new bag/backpack for work trips.  I take a lot of 2-3 day trips on planes, and really only need my laptop, perhaps a craft, and 2-3 changes of clothes.  To avoid stress, I've been one-bagging it whenever I can.  But that means a fairly unattractive backpack and then I'm left with nothing really nice to take with me during the day to the meetings.

Enter the backpack/shoulder bag combos.  There are a few of these, the best seem to be made by a company called fjallraven.  They are basically totes where the straps can pull down and turn into a backpack.  Like this:





That's the bottom of the bag (not attached) on the right, and the top of the bag on the left.  I've had this interesting upholstery fabric in my stash for a bit - it was expensive but I really loved the print, so I bought 1/2 a yard.  That was enough to get me the front/back, and sides with a side pocket.  I'm lining it with the leftover Bemberg lining from my linen dress, although I haven't worked out the details of what sort of interior pockets I want yet.  Instead of a separate laptop compartment, I'm just putting in an elastic strap that I'll slide the laptop behind.  Saves more room for charger cords and shoes! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Linen, linen, linen!!!

Oh my goodness.  Each spring, when I'd get all the ads from J. Jill, Talbots, etc., I would roll my eyes and grumble about how I had absolutely no interest at all in all of the wrinkly, expensive linen slacks, tunics, etc., that they pelt at us.  But somehow, this year, I got sucked in.


This is some burnt orange linen, medium weight, from Mood.  I was inspired by one of the loose tunic things that they were blogging about at Sew Tessuti, so I took my favorite boatneck dress, opened up the darts, and just cut it out!

I lined it, which was a bit of a mistake.  I used Bemberg rayon - yummy, but the difference in drape was significant.   There ended up being pulling between the neckline and the armhole that was really unattractive.  So...I put in a pleat!  This seams to be my go-to solution for shoulder issues.


Deep-ish V in the back.  Arm and neckline topstitched, hemmed at around knee-length.


I'll try to get a shot on my tomorrow, but it is looking like rain.  :(