March 27, 2009

I caved.

Went to Joann's after work today to get some fabric glue, and some of those post-bound scrapbook conversion things. Hanging out with Cassie tonight and the plan is, as usual, to watch stuff (tonight, it's Twilight) and craft. So I'm going to cover some scrapbooks with fabric. And fix the ones where the posts are busted. While there, I saw that they were having basically a 2-for-1 special on those DCWV stacks that are so horrendously tempting for me. And I caved, because of this. It's cute, it's recycled, it's practically perfect for my abundance of outing club-related layouts.... and then for the second one I got this because it was fun and colorful and glittered and screamed summer at me. Bad Becky.

On the plus side, at least I'll get some of those scrapbook covers knocked off today. Hopefully.

No Friday Favorites today. Since I went back to the garden center and lost a big chunk of my day, and I have a bunch of cleaning to do, no time for a post longer than this. Will try to catch up next week.

March 24, 2009

Reviews: BWOF 3/09 #106, and the latest issue

FINALLY finished this one on Sunday. I swear, this blouse had it out for me-- it just did not want to get sewn! First I had trouble figuring out how to put the yoke on, which still didn't end up lying quite as flat as I'd like. Then I had trouble figuring out what the heck to do with the sleeve cuffs, but I got some help there (more on that later in the review.) Then my experiments on scraps revealed that my machine and this fabric was not going to come together in a nice-looking buttonhole. Then, I finally thought I was done....and discovered that the hem on one side of the front had somehow ended up an inch longer than the other side of the front! Fortunately, I still like the results...

Pattern: Burda World of Fashion 3/09, #106
Pattern Description: Fitted tunic-length blouse with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and drawstring neckline.

Pattern Sizing: 36-44. I made the size 38.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow? It was a little harder for me, since this was my first BWOF pattern, and I'm used to instructions that are fully spelled out (or just winging it on clothing reconstructions.) So I had a little trouble sorting out the collar and the cuffs-- but I got some hints from Christina on how to do the collar, and she was kind enough to also give me her suggestions on how to do the cuffs!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the drawstring neckline! It's such a unique feature, and I like that I can adjust it to whatever I want-- higher for wearing by itself, lower for layering. I did have a bit of trouble with getting the yoke to work right, but that was more me not yet knowing my way around a BWOF pattern than anything else, I think.


(And here you go, Rose, a glimpse of my henna'd up hair... not a very drastic change at all, and better seen in the sunlight.)

Fabric Used: some kind of light grey cotton or cotton blend that was sitting around in my stash--I think someone gave it to my mom and then she passed it on to me, because this was NOT a color I would have bought on my own! (Incidentally, this one puts me at 4/6 out of stash used vs. fabric bought this year. I'm catching up!)

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I'd definitely sew this again--if only to work out the couple of issues that I had sewing it, so I can make it even better! And yes, I'd recommend it.

Conclusion: This one's a keeper. Flattering fit, and it would be easy to customize the sleeves for a different look.


And that's the end of the review. Just one more note about those buttonholes I mentioned-- I did machine- sew the ones for the drawstrings, though I kind of wish now that I hadn't because they're kind of badly placed and skewed. For the ones on the front of the blouse, which doesn't have an interfaced front facing, I ended up following the instructions from CraftStylish for how to hand-sew the buttonholes. The results were much nicer than my machine would have made them (the test ones had a huge gap between where they started and ended, and were puckering the lightweight fabric badly)...and I was surprised that they were actually kind of fun to do. Not saying I'd want to do that all the time, but it was a nice, relaxing TV-watching project.

Also, over the weekend, I got the April issue of BWOF. Sadly, this one didn't have nearly as many things that jumped out at me as the March issue did. For one thing, one of the main features was on wedding dresses. Since I'm as single as it gets/burned out on wedding sewing at the moment for obvious reasons, this set of patterns was overall pretty useless to me. Unless for some reason I have an urge to dress up like Giselle from Enchanted. It's pretty safe to say that nothing in this collection was screaming "dream wedding dress" at me. And, I have to say, jumpsuits? Seriously? I mean, face it, just because two things can be merged together into one article of clothing doesn't mean they should. And jumpsuits are for babies who are constantly having to be changed anyway. And the Dharma Initiative. (Mmmm, Sawyer.) Any article of clothing that requires completely stripping down to use the toilet should be forbidden. The section on basics was ok, and I know sometimes they have to be made, but those type of garments generally don't jump up and down and scream "ooh, sew me! sew me!" At least not to me. (I will admit, though, that these pants are promising.) The kids' clothing section actually had some really cute stuff, but I don't have any kids to sew for, so skipping that. (Other than to say, in the words of the Simpsons, "D'oh! A deer?" Lol....) Normally I'd be all about the bright colors, and this skirt is rather fun, but the elastic on the bottom of this jacket makes it scream 80s at me. And in my closet, 80's = run away at least a decade or two back. There were a couple other of tops/dresses I like, but they're so low-cut, and styled in such a way that I don't know if they'd look right with a raised neckline, that I don't know if I could ever sew them.

So, most promising to me was the India-inspired collection. I like the hippie-looking tunic, and this dress is just so pretty, and I think I already have the perfect crinkled fabric to make this blouse (which I've been trying to figure out what to make out of it for something like a year and a half! And this would be to wear over something else, of course.) So not a total loss on this month!

On a completely random note, I think it's past time for me to change the picture on my blog header. I hope I can remember how to change the colors!!

March 20, 2009

Friday Favorites, Episode 42

Going to be a long one this time, since I have stuff saved from the last two weeks. So in no particular order...

Ok, that's it for today... my big project for today, since my time of not working on Fridays is probably over (starting back at the garden center tomorrow), was experimenting with henna to dye my hair. And my time for letting it sit is getting close to done, so I have to go wash mud out of my hair. And then maybe I can go sew!

March 17, 2009

Now that it's over...

...I can finally show what all I've been working on over the last 6 months or so for my friend's wedding that was this past Saturday. So I made 3 of the bridesmaids' shrugs (all but the girl to the left of the bride)....



...sewed on at least half of those little blue beads on her dress (I wish I had a picture of the train, but I'm at the mercy of my friends on photos, since my camera was being completely uncooperative that day and refused THREE sets of rechargeable batteries, one of which being fresh out of the charger!), as well as that insert in the halter top, made 5 sets of the jewelry that the bride was wearing (as well as her mom's earrings, which can't be seen)...

...sewed the blue ribbon on the edge of her veil...



...and hemmed the front of her dress shorter so that her blue shoes could be seen. (Cobalt blue is her favorite color and she really wanted it in her outfit!)

Whew! I think that's everything. So that's what I've been doing nearly every Sunday since October. I'll admit it was getting kind of stressful near the end, especially since stuff kept coming up that I wasn't originally supposed to have to do-- like the third jacket, and her mom's earrings. And I really hope I never have to put that much work into one wedding again unless I'm the bride! But I'm still glad I was able to help her out with her day-- it gave me the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her beforehand, and since she and her new husband are leaving for his home Down Under today and it'll be at least a couple of years before I see her again, that was definitely a good thing.

Even so, I'm glad I can just focus on making stuff for myself again for awhile!

And some exciting news-- Gwen at After the Dress... recently had her 100th post giveaway, and very generously decided to give away a gift certificate to Spoonflower, as well as some help from Etsy designer Miss Black Pepper with making a design for it. And I won!! So now I just need an idea for some custom-printed fabric. I'm thinking it might be cool to do something with sunflowers, since they're my favorite and it's hard to find fabric with them that doesn't look all country or cutesy. So it would be nice to have a sunflower dress in a print more appropriate for a 28-year old instead of an 8- or 48-year old... Must think about this.

March 13, 2009

I'm not dead yet!

Decided to skip the regular Friday link roundup this week... spent the entire day running around like crazy for day-before-wedding bridesmaid stuff, and I'm dead tired. But I have done some crafting this week, really! Worked on the BWOF blouse a bit, did some more work on that Alabama Stitch-inspired reconstructed top (which will be a slow project, but it's kind of relaxing), and started reconstructing a dress, which will hopefully be for Easter. No crafting this weekend, though, since the wedding's taking up all of tomorrow and Sunday will be just trying to have the energy to get through church and my ensemble rehearsal! Maybe Monday...

March 7, 2009

Daisy Chain Purse





As you can see, I finished my purse yesterday! So here's the finished result. I tried so hard to get the print on the flap lined up with the rest of the bag... oh well. But clockwise frm the top, you can see the finished bag, the inside (already loaded with my stuff), the cell phone pocket, and the book pocket in the front.

Here's my Pattern Review:

Pattern: The "Bellagio" bag from Studio Kat Designs

Pattern Description: Purse with external pockets and flap variations.

Pattern Sizing: one size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were a bit confusing for me in some parts-- I couldn't make sense of their method for attaching the bias tape at all and ended up just making up my own technique.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Like: The shape, the basic style, the functionality of the pockets, the cable tie supports-- it feels like it'll be sturdy for awhile.

Dislike: There's way too many layers. My machine flat-out refused to sew the top of the sides onto the front/back, and I ended up having to fudge my way through it with hand-sewn upholstery thread stitches. I managed everywhere else on the bag with the help of a denim needle-- it was just too much with the 2 layers each of fabric/lining/batting, and multiple layers of bias tape on the edges of each. Also, as I mentioned, I found the instructions for applying the bias tape to be a bit confusing.

Fabric Used: An Amy Butler cotton (from the "Daisy Chain" line, I believe), a hand-dyed muslin for the lining, and purchased bias tape.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:I like bigger purses so I have room to carry a book, so I enlarged the overall bag by a couple of inches. Also ended up having to piece the bottom together because I mismeasured. I also covered the webbing for the strap with the outer fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'm undecided. As I said, I liked the shape, and the size (with my resizing) is pretty much perfect for all of my essentials. I'm also a big fan of the outer cell phone pocket--perfect size! But with having to edge every single piece with the bias tape, plus the thickness issues, the construction was kind of a pain. If I make this again, I'll probably keep the same size/shape and see if I can figure out a different method of construction.


Conclusion: The end result is nice, but it may take quite a bit of work to get there. Consider yourselves warned.


Took it out for its first test run today, and it really is just about the perfect size for my essentials. (Yes, a book is essential. I guess I just won't be reading any very thick ones in here!)

Other progress for today: Made a dent in the BWOF blouse-- a pretty good one. I probably could have finished today, except there's no buttons in the house that I like with it. Also realized that I probably should get some new jeans for work-- a couple of the pairs I wore last season for it have significant holes in them ATM. So I went to the thrift store and found 3 pairs that fit!! And some books. And some cds. Heh, heh.

Sisterhood Award


I'm rather late at responding to this one, but this was kindly passed on to me by Sharon at Adventures From The Sewing Studio.

(I'm guessing the pic is supposed to be traveling pants? Anyway...)

Ok, rules time:

  • Place the award logo on your blog.

  • Nominate 10 other blogs which show "Attitude and/or Gratitude"

  • Link to the nominees on your blog post.

  • Comment on their blog that you have nominated them.

  • Share the love and link to the person who nominated you.

Not sure I'll end up with 10, since I know this has been floating around for a couple days at least, but we'll see how it goes. In no particular order...

1. Gwen at After the Dress... I absolutely love her Friday Confessions, in which she does a sewing-related "confession" and does an informal comments poll to see what other sewers do, then posts the results the following week. It's a lot of fun to follow. And another thing that I think is really cool about her blog is when she has momentous blog occasions (blogoversary, x00th post, etc.), instead of the typical handmade object or leftover supplies, she's given away things that really benefit people-- the last one was a gift certificate to a company that sets up microloans to help people in third-world countries start sustainable buisnesses for themselves (she's got two loans out for seamstresses.)

2. Alviana at Sewn By Alviana. The girl's not afraid of color, which makes me very happy! And she puts out some great stuff, including a few recent items that were very influential in my deciding to jump into the Burda World of Fashion thing.

3. Hilary at the gleam of rose tea. Her style is way more vintage than me (unless you count the 60s-70s, which tend to inspire me a lot more), but she has a great eye and I can't help but be inspired by the things she posts. And she's an amazing photographer!

4. Christina at StinaStuff. I remember how difficult it is to keep up with crafting while you're in college, and am amazed at how often she's able to put new stuff up! And she's also got definite graphic design talent, so it's fun to see her latest projects for that.

5. Sarah at In A Nutshell, Anachronism. Another college student crafter who turns out some incredible formalwear! And I can't help but smile every time I see her blog description-- "Embracing 'lost arts' that aren't really lost...and learning about life while finding them." So poetic.

And that's all I can think of for now, since several of the people I had been thinking had already been nominated. Oh well... getting it means this blog's supposed to have attitude, and that means not always following the rules, right? ;-) Besides, I want to get back to my sewing!

March 6, 2009

Friday Favorites, Episode 41 (the late edition)

Technically, it IS still Friday, so...

Since it's getting late, just going to run these off quickly. On myLifetime.com (found via another site, but I can't remember if it was One Pretty Thing or Whip Up), I liked this laminated paper chandelier. They used an old book, which I thought was fun. Creativity Prompt had a video tutorial for a fabric covered hardbound book. Sigrid shared some hints and tips for using Burda World of Fashion patterns and what they don't tell you to do-- quite good timing, since I just cut out my very first BWOF pattern today! ThreadBanger shared some ideas for a dress pattern similar to the famous black dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Craft Tutorials shared some tips for finishing craft projects in general, some of which I knew, but others I wouldn't have thought of (like using a hairdryer to get rid of those pesky hot glue strands!) Antoinette made a great Flickr slideshow tutorial on turning a men's shirt into a shirtdress (and I love her men's shirt refashions, so I was happy to see this!) And at ScrapHappy, she did part 2 of her "Scrapbooking on the Road" miniseries.

3 Wardrobe Refashion picks this week: Ellsea's Susan Pevensie costume (from Prince Caspian) that she made for her daughter completely out of thrift-store stuff, some appliqued jeans from the same person, and Meghan's tunicy-dress thing.

Hopefully I'll get some time to post again tomorrow... the time just got away from me today. The good news is, I was very productive. Finished my new spring/summer purse, got the aforementioned BWOF cut out (that drawstring blouse I was raving about in one of the more recent posts--ended up just using a piece of stash fabric because the men's shirt didn't have enough fabric), and starting a reconstruction (not the men's shirt) that was inspired by a song and this book. More details on that to come. Plus I have an award (thanks to Sharon) that I need to post about. But now I need to get off the computer and get some sleep!

March 3, 2009

R-O-C-K in the USA!

Since I had a little time to kill, decided to assemble one of my leftover pages from the scrapbook weekend this afternoon. (I'm afraid I'm getting very used to being able to do stuff like this, and that going back to working my secondary job will be a major shock!)
So this is from last summer. The occasion should be obvious.

Just a couple of little details. Since I'm trying to play around a little more with embellishment, decided to try some dimensional stuff on this page. I had 2 pieces of the flag paper so I glued the stars from the second page onto thin cardboard (came for free in a pack of patterned paper) and cut them out, then layered them on with some of those pop-dot things. Doubled as a good place to write on page 2.

When I started scrapbooking, I was a broke teenager, and would frequently do things like just cut strips of paper and glue them around the edges of photos rather than actually mat them, so I could make the paper go further. That frame around the title is me reverting to my teenage habits-- I didn't want to cut a piece off of a full sheet of cardstock, so I used my xacto knife to rough-cut a rectangle out of the piece I was already using or the second page, and then covered the hole with a photo. Shh!

March 2, 2009

Goodies!!!

Got two things on Saturday that I was very excited about.
The book was one I picked up to get enough on a recent Amazon.com order to get the free shipping--figured it might help me with some of the stuff I've been having trouble with to get a really good finished look, like getting jackets in linings and such. I'm actually excited to try some of the hand-sewing stitches in here!

And I was quite excited to FINALLY start getting my BWOF subscription!


I'm still sorry that I missed February's hippie-clothes feature, but I really liked some of the clothes in this issue, so I'm going to post links. (Skipping the menswear, kid's clothes and plus sizes, since it's highly unlikely I'll be sewing any of those any time soon.)

1. I'm really not sure how to define my style-- I haven't boiled it down to one or two words or a phrase yet. But one of the things I've liked for a long time are vintage-looking jackets-- there were a couple my mom made in the 70s that I used to wear all the time, and this one I got from the thrift store in 8th grade that I looooooved--it was black velveteen with covered buttons and patch pockets, and I wore it all the way up until sometime in college when the back finally split open. I guess the fabric rotted, because I hadn't really changed sizes (and it had always been just a tiny bit too small for me anyway, but I loved it too much to get rid of it.) But this jacket reminds me very much of that one--my jacket's pockets didn't have flaps, but they were that same rounded shape.

2. I think this dress is just adorable. I probably won't ever sew it, because it's only offered in petite sizes. (Nicole, if you're reading this, this is SO you--it looks very swing-danceable!)

3. I. Want. This. Blouse. When flipping through the preview online, this was the one thing that really made me hope that my subscription would start this month! I guess if I had to boil my style down to a couple of words, it would probably be something like "Boho-buisness-casual"-- I like some more tailored-looking things, like the aforementioned vintagey jackets and pants that actually fit me. And I have to wear some stuff like that for work. But I love stuff that looks hippie and/or medieval fantasy movie-inspired, and I still love my jeans and fitted t-shirts! Anyway, the point of that ramble was that the drawstring neck on this really combines that whole hippie-medieval and tailored look, as far as I'm concerned. I'm actually going to attempt this one as a reconstruction-- took one of my men's shirts from the last thrift store run (the blue one) and tore it to pieces last night. I'm going to try it as the shorter version, so I'm hoping that allows me enough fabric... I may need to fudge it a bit with the collar.

4. I'm trying to decide if I like or hate this skirt. The pockets interest me, but between the boring basic grey and the pleats, it might be a little too high school uniform for me. Maybe I'll stick with the pencil skirt version.

5. I'm loving this knit tunic--it's got such a mod 60's feel to it, with that neck piece. But it pretty much demands to be made out of a really good graphic print, so I'll have to keep an eye out for one (pretty sure nothing in my stash would quite work.)

6. This dress is so pretty, though I would never make it in pink. But I don't think I could pull it off--it looks like it would be way too low-cut for my comfort.

7. So if I ever get an urge for a trench coat the next time I watch Casablanca, I'm covered.

Speaking of Burda patterns, I'm feeling quite happy with today's new BurdaStyle pattern. It's been awhile, sadly, since one of theirs really jumped out at me-- the last two weeks have been just variation how-tos on previous patterns, and while I appreciate the restyling tips for versatility, a couple weeks of that in a row were just disappointing. And then before that it was either accessories that I could easily figure out on my own, stuff for Valentine's day (yuck), or men's clothes, which I have no reason to sew-- I don't think my brother would like any of their stuff, and the styling is a bit young for my dad. But this fits into the vintagey jacket love very well, and also looks very Anthropologie to me, which I also like.

So I guess I should actually say something about what I've been doing, besides drooling over these patterns, huh? Well, I spent nearly all afternoon and evening on Saturday sewing a purse and watching movies. I was hoping to finish the purse, but the bias tape edging took forever to do. And then I only got one side sewn on yesterday afternoon, because I was away from home too much. That, and while I think I'll like the final look of the bag, I'm really not liking how it's constructed--too many layers of fabric/batting/bias tape makes my machine very unhappy, and having to hand-sew the tops of it together with upholstery thread and using the machine table to help me shove the needle through all of the layers without stabbing myself makes me unhappy. And, as mentioned, I tore up a shirt in hopes that it will cooperate and I can try out that BWOF blouse without spending any money on it or using up stash stuff I might actually want to wear! But I don't think I'll get any of that sewing done today... despite having a snow day from my teaching, I still have about half the work left to do on some serious cleaning that needs to get done so I can beat down my recent allergy attacks. Yes, this is craft-related, since the headaches have been keeping me from sewing!