Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Dress - I Used a Pattern!!

So I've mentioned before that I have a hard time understanding how to use patterns. For some reason, all those written instructions and strange shapes just become a big confused jumble in my mind. More often than not, it seems they end up just way over-complicating even the simplest task, I don't get it.

But, now that I've been sewing for a few years, I thought I'd give patterns another try. I did use a pattern for my regency dresses, but it came with online pics and help which I probably used more than the pattern itself. It felt like cheating, and I knew eventually I'd want to try a real pattern from the store, with no online help! A while ago I was browsing my local fabric store and a 99 cent pattern caught my eye. It was one of those "See and sew" types that are supposed to be simple and straight forward, so I figured if I was going to try it again I might as well go for an easy one! The pattern was B5307:

Here is the final result!

I did end up making quite a few changes. The first thing I knew I'd need to alter a bit was the neckline, I could see right away just from the cover that I'd be majorly flashing people if I left it the way it was, since I'm rather well endowed. So I thought about doing a panel of some sort, but I suddenly had the idea to add a pleated ruffle! I decided to use the contrasting fabric I'd planned to use for the waistband, and voila.

The next problem was that the fabric I used was actually a decor fabric, ha! I had ordered several yards for another project, and ended up using something different for it. So I had this thick, bulky (gorgeous!) fabric just sitting there waiting to be used for something. Seeing as I'm on a fabric diet, I decided to go for it. But, this super thick fabric doesn't exactly gather all that I decided to pleat it at the waist instead. I also just prefer pleats to gathers in general, and I love the result!

Ok, here's my favorite part!! Notice where my hands are??

IN POCKETS!! Yes, my dears, this darling has pockets. Oh how I love pockets in my dresses, and now I know how to add them! I used this tutorial to help me add seam pockets, and I'm sure I'll be adding them to every garment possible in the future, especially skirts and dresses. I was able to go to an event the very evening I finished the dress sans purse because I had everything I needed in my pockets. :-)

Lastly, I actually did not include a zipper and opted instead to just sew the back all the way up, as I figured I could just as easily slip it over my head with much less fuss. I was right. ;-)

[As an aside, you might be wondering what that white thing in my hair is...

BIRDS! Aren't they adorable? I just love hair doodads, there's something about sweet little birdies perched in an!]

Look Ma, no unwanted flashing cleavage. :-D

I wore my new dress all evening to an event, and it was surprisingly comfortable. (I was worried about the decor fabric being a bit scratchy or hot, but neither were a problem at all!) I'm glad to have finally used a real pattern, like, from the store, and I enjoyed it. It actually wasn't too bad or too confusing.

I do wonder, though, do people really need a pattern piece to tell them to cut a straight 5 inch strip of fabric? (See the contrasting fabric at the bottom of the short dress on the pattern cover.) Really? Tell me people don't really take the time to actually cut out the pattern piece and pin it and painstakingly cut the fabric using that and all, right? That's the kind of thing I think confuses me about patterns...I see that and think there must be some complicated thing I'm missing because they have you doing a bazillion steps. Then I realize later, no, they're really just trying to get you to cut a 5 inch strip of fabric so many inches long, and I marvel at the enormous waste of time! Anyhoo...I was certainly happy to have the pattern pieces that weren't just straight strips of fabric or big rectangles. ;-)

I'll leave you with one final pic, my little cat Berlioz wanted to join in on the fun, and thus quite appropriately situated himself atop the piano.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Organized Fabric Makes Me Happy!!

I've been working on cleaning up my sewing room for the past week or two, that was my "big project" for this month. I'm pleased to report that I have folded nearly every piece of fabric I own (that wasn't small enough to fit in my scrap collection) into a 10"x 7" rectangle so that it would fit on my fabric shelf, AND allow me to actually close the door fully! It is also, of course, sorted by color...I LOVE seeing that rainbow of fabrics, it puts a huge smile on my face!

I have a few before shots, but I didn't think about taking them until I'd already started so they're not quite as bad looking as it really was to begin with.

Top Shelf BEFORE

Top Shelf AFTER


Middle AFTER


Bottom AFTER

The door is CLOSED! :-D

Aaahhhhh, sweet organization! I love it! And now, it's time to go on a fabric diet so that I curb my fabric collection before I run out of room. ;-) I'm not going to buy new fabric (unless it's for a specific custom request) at least until Easter - it can be part of my Lenten penance, lol. I am looking forward to using up some of the gorgeous fabrics that I rediscovered while organizing, I think I have plenty to last me!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New(ish) Design - The Olive Apron!

So I came up with this apron design several months ago but I'm finally getting around to posting about it! While browsing Netflix for something interesting to watch, I came upon the adorable Pushing Daisies and soon fell head over heels in love. If you haven't seen this show and you love gorgeous fairytale-like, color drenched eye candy, go watch it!! The costumes are just beautiful, retro and slightly over the top, just my style.

In the second season, one of the characters named Olive Snook (played by the adorable Kristin Chenoweth), goes to a convent and while twirling on a hill top, à la Sound of Music...

...her full skirted apron completely captured my attention and inspired a new apron design. I couldn't get it out of my head until I'd made it with my hands!

I loved the combination of the slightly dropped waist with the full, gathered circle skirt.

And that is why I've named this style Olive. :-)

I exaggerated the dropped waist a bit, added a bit more fullness, shortened the skirt and eliminated the bib as I just wanted a half apron. This was the result:

That was the first attempt, it's available on Etsy here.

Then I made these as well, also available on Etsy:

Etsy listing here.

Etsy listing here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


As you can see, I've given my blog a facelift! Now it matches my sewing room and makes me smile. :-) I just love chandeliers and damask, what can I say? I've also updated my packaging, stickers, business cards etc to match as well. I do plan on keeping up my blog more frequently, I'm going to aim for a blog post a week. I've already been making a few new apron designs that I haven't mentioned here, so blogs about those will be coming up soon.