Friday, December 14, 2012

Who doesn't love to support a children's hospital?

Have you seen Wonky Wilma?  I learned of her from Scruffy Badger, and instantly fell in love.  Janet of Kitchen Table Sewing created the pattern and will email it to you for a donation to the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity.  Our family is a big supporter of Arkansas Children's Hospital, and we all adore elephants, so I signed up immediately.  Coincidentally, my office had a "white elephant" party on the calendar, so I thought it would be fun gift that one of the young moms in the office would grab for her little one!

Wilma is only slightly wonky, in fact I think she is adorable!  I made mine with Minky ears, tail and foot pads, and used a funky print for the body that allowed me to place an eye-shaped pattern in the eye area and avoid using buttons, making it safe for little one who may want to eat a button.

My kids -- who are really too old for stuffed animals -- fell in love with her.  My daughter plans to make one for her white elephant party next week, as well as another for herself. My eleven year-old son begged to keep this one.  I now wish I had given it to him and just bought a gift card for the exchange.  As in the past, I was sorely disappointed with the office party.  Very little imagination was put into most gifts, and unfortunately, the person who opened Wilma was a young man in his 20's, who behaved as an unhappy toddler would when he saw the contents of the package.  He has probably already thrown her into the trash. 

I feel terrible that I wasted the little treasure on someone so unappreciative of handmade gifts.  I suppose I am spoiled, because anyone I've ever gifted in the past has been so happy to receive it -- or at least they were gracious enough to act as though they loved the gift.  Oh well, as we say in my business, "Lesson learned."  My daughter and I still plan to make a few of these for little people we know will enjoy her, and I think it is a wonderful gift that Janet has given to both the hospital and to those of us who sew. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Minutes a Day to a Jacket (New Look 6736)

Encouraged by the very creative and prolific Rhonda of Rhonda's Creative Life featuring my little blog, I am sharing the latest project that has kept me just a little bit busy...

Truly, I began this project with just five minutes a day, because that was all the time I could spare, until my time off around Thanksgiving.  I finished the lining and handsewing Saturday morning and wore it Saturday afternoon to run errands.

I've had New Look 6736 for quite some time, in fact, I believe it is now OOP.  I love the long version of the jacket and hoped to try out the sizing with a "wearable muslin" on the shorter jacket, with the intention of making a longer silk version as an evening coat.
With only a few minutes a day to sew, the short version took me way too long to even consider the silk version, especially since I intended it to wear tomorrow night.  I do love the fit of the short jacket, though, and am ready to make the silk version when time permits.  Just have to find the right fabric...

Fabric: a multi-color quilter's cotton, that is a bit busy for most clothes I would wear, but for weekends or running around town it makes a really nice little throw-on jacket.  Shades of indigo, beige, lots of black.
Lining: I added cling-free lining (pattern is unlined), but with cotton, lining is a must. 
Other: Added buttons (3 vs. 1), bound buttonholes, and in-seam pockets (for my phone)
Interfacing: Shout-out to Pam Erny's LOVELY interfacing...after my last experience with Pellon, I immediately ordered several types from Pam's shop and am so pleased with them: very professional look and feel, and quite easy to work with.  I will definitely replenish my interfacing stash from her shop!
Changes: I may nip in the waist a little bit -- it seems a bit baggy in the picture, but it is so comfortable to wear!  The princess seams would make it a fairly easy alteration.  Also, the sleeves seem long in the photo -- I didn't notice that when I wore it, though.  Maybe I spend my time with my elbows bent. 
Wide Collar: I like the look and feel of the wide collar -- but would wear a scarf if it's chilly outside.  With our unseasonably warm 60/70F days I haven't needed one. Not sure why it looks so wrinkled in the shot below -- maybe it's just the mannequin.  It is fine when I'm wearing it.

No other pictures worth showing...the pattern is so busy, it's tough to see any details!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Homecoming Dress wrap-up

My nice camera is MIA...I am very sad because it was a gift to myself a few years ago and I think the SD card had our Paris pictures on it.  As a result of the missing loved one, we settled for my husband's iPhone camera, which he swears "takes great pictures." Not sure I agree.

Good news is that the dress was finished by the 10th, in time for the peformance on the 11th, washed for the dance on the 13th, then washed again for another wearing at the National Honor Society induction on the 24th.  Sadly, I have few pictures of the last event, since my husband was out of town and I only had my Blackberry, which takes terrible pictures.  However, I am thrilled that she has worn the dress three times and has declared that it is her new "go-to" dress for concerts!  I'm always happy when the "big event" dresses get more than one wearing, even if this was an easy-big-event-dress.
I know, it's hard to see any details.  And from far away, it resembles a slip (my mom asked what she was wearing over it)!  But it is lovely and simple and apparently comfortable.  I think our version fits nicer than the cover model's version (which resembled a loose potato sack).
  • All seams were of the French variety, since (a) the satin frayed terribly and (b) the lace was transparent.  I even left the darts un-cut for fear that they would fray away completely.
  • The stretch satin from Hancock was a pleasant surprise!  It was a nice weight, gives a little when she sits down -- which is quite a bit if she's wearing it for a concert.  The only downside was the fraying, but any satin I've sewn with has given me that trouble.
  • The self-made "stay tape" that I concocted with pieces of black interfacing were a terrible disappointment.  I have bad luck with fusible interfacing, so I am going to try something other than Pellon before my next project.  The lace was surprisingly stable, so I probably didn't need it to begin with, and I pulled all the interfacing off before I completed the dress.
  • I love the lace - as mentioned, it was easy to work with and it's simple and elegant. I hope I have enough left over for a future project for ME.  I would even consider making myself one of the other versions of the same pattern.
  • The only alteration to the pattern was to lengthen the skirt.  A shorter length would have been fine for dancing, but since she wanted to wear it while playing the violin in a chair (and in some instances on an elevated stage), we decided an extra couple of inches would be best.
Here are some really nice pictures of her and her chamber group at the event.  Photos are courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the kind and talented photographer they hired for the evening, Stephen Ironside.  She wouldn't allow us close enough to snap any shots, so we got creative and asked the photographer to be our surrogate.  It's a gorgeous setting!  She gets to go back for another performance in December...I'm hoping that she won't need a new dress.

Stephen Ironside Photography

Stephen Ironside Photography
Stephen Ironside Photography

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homecoming 2012 - McCall's 6460

The dress is coming along nicely.  Thank goodness it is "EASY", because Stephanie decided she needed to have it on the 11th instead of the 13th.  So I lost almost one full Saturday's worth of sewing...  I can't complain - she got a violin gig at a fancy museum event, so she's gotta have a new dress! Who would deny her that?  And she gets to wear the dress twice -- I already feel better about it.

The muslin came out pretty close - I cut a 12 with a 14 bust, but with all the nips and tucks, we decided to cut a straight 10 instead.  The cup-size options eliminated the need for an FBA, and we were pleased with how well the muslin fit!

I dragged myself into Hancock Fabrics in search of a black satin that wasn't too cheap.  Most of the stuff I've sewn with unravels so fast I'm afraid I won't have a garment when I've finished.  Ended up with a "stretch" satin, which had a nice weight.  I think it will be fine, although I did zig zag every single bit of the edge to keep it from falling apart.

Unfortunately, no black stay tape at Hancock, so I settled for a black fusible interfacing that I applied to the seam allowances. 
It's hard to see from the picture, but the lace is really quite pretty.  Delicate and not too busy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homecoming 2012 - Preliminaries

I count myself lucky that I have a 16 year old who actually wants me to sew for her and is even proud to wear home made special occasion dresses outside the house!  I usually get about halfway into the project and decide that it would have been easier to just go buy something.  But in the end, it's a great mother-daughter experience and I'm happy that she wants to include me in the process. 

This year, she has decided that she wants me to make McCall's 6460, view C:
It's EASY, I had it in my pattern stash already, and it required very little fabric.  Seemed like a slam-dunk.  We had originally intended to make it for a wedding where she was to play the violin, but the bride wanted everyone in navy and we just never found anything that fit the bill for this one.

Last weekend we picked out a lovely lacy black mesh from Gorgeous Fabrics for the contrast (yoke and hem), and since Stephanie was in love with her latest toenail polish, she picked a bright magenta/fuchsia crepe-back satin from Vogue fabrics that matched her little piggies perfectly as the predominant color.  She generally has a very pleasant sense of style, so I didn't give it much thought.

They arrived on Friday, and I didn't say anything, since it was her pick, but imagined something from a trashy bordello instead of an elegant evening dress.  What a relief when she told me later Friday night that she didn't want to look like a hooker and can we please go with plain black satin instead? 
Delicate Floral Motif Nylon Lace - BlackCrepe Back Satin - Fuchsia
 lac5875 ( & SR-CVS-Fuchsia (

I was picturing something closer to this for the end product:

So we have revised the search.  We will keep the black lace -- it would be easiest to mix it with a black satin, although it would be more fun to find a nice dark purple or something with less contrast to the black than what the fuchsia has. I guess another black dress wouldn't hurt, would it?  Young ladies and violinists always need black dresses.

Drop dead date is October 13, so I will have to shop locally.  BLURG!  Our fabric store choices are limited...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Blog Story

Welcome to my blog! 

I am an intermediate sewist with intentions of making herself a highly fashionable, well-fitting wardrobe.  In reality, most of my creations are for my teen daughter, who looks much better in everything!  Once in a while I manage something for myself, less often for my husband and son.

Because I tend to forget new techniques as soon as I learn them, I am starting this blog to help me keep track of my creations and all the lessons learned along the way.  I also hope to get feedback from the fabulous creative community of fellow sewists/sewers/tailors/seamstresses.

My full-time gig funds my forays into the world of textiles, but it also keeps me rather projects and posts will probably be infrequent as I struggle to keep up with my day job and busy family life.