Sunday, May 29, 2011

My lovely Amy Butler Anna Tunic

I finally got some well needed sewing time. And while we've been working on that Vogue dress forever I'm glad to say I am very happy with the results and it went together very nicely. I think I spent a total of four hours on this one.
I have made this pattern before, so I had a nice idea how it went together. I used a very sheer navy cotton voile with a stretchy lace as an overlay and for the bow. The lining is made of white muslin. When making this version I made sure my lining fit very well and transferred those marks onto my navy fabric. That worked out well and I had a much nicer fit on this one.

Here is the back of the dress. The yoke did not match up perfectly, but I was scared to pick it out for fear of snagging the lace. I figured it was close enough. The buttons are just cheapies from Joann's.

One modification I made was the belt the pattern calls for a long tie belt. I originally wanted to do a belt with a lace overlay with a navy bow, but I had only bought a 1/2 yard of lace, and it just didn't pan out. So I made this belt instead. I put two hook and eyes to hold it shut in the back. The bow I made from a tutorial I believe I had seen for something else on The GOOd Life web site. Anyway I think it turned out quite well. I do think I will make the mail navy piece of the belt and use an interfacing. The belt is so think it wrinkles up a lot.
Here is a cheeky secret. I ran out of muslin so my lining was quite short. To add a bit of length I added some lace at the bottom. My navy is so sheer you can actually make out the lace. I think it is fun. This was a good dress making experience!

I even got to wear it out on a date with Mr. Thinks He Can. We went to Niko Niko's which was recently featured on the Food Channel, and one of our favorite spots, followed by The Hangover II. Not a bad night!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

That Vogue, It's a Comin'!

So Holly and I made some significant advancements in the dress today! Thank goodness, I was so defeated after our last sew party. With your finely tuned eyes, I'm sure you can see what is left to be done, but here are some updated pictures. We are both worried though that it will wind up too small. It's going to be close, and we won't know until we get the sides together.
Here is a view of the front. There will be some serious hemming, but please note the attached loin cloth! Boo-yah!

Holly has noted that the pattern must have been talking about hand sewing the bodice pieces together. I didn't know how to take a decent picture of what I'm about to describe, but between those top chest pieces there is a straight shot to Boobville. Some tacking definitely needs to happen. It may be nice for nursing mothers though if they just want to add a snap!

This is were we stopped this evening. We got the zipper sewed in. What zipper you ask? Only my best invisible zipper to date!

Also, I have the Amy Butler Anna Tunic in dress length with lace overlay on the yoke and belt cut out and waiting for me. I'm hoping with the three day weekend I will finally catch up enough to work on it!

Man, it felt good to get to sewing again tonight! What are you working on?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just let me sew!

With all the house remodeling and moving back and forth to storage and end of year at school stuff, I can't get it together. I am torn between sitting down for an hour and that navy Amy Butler Anna Tunic with the lace yoke. This week I promise myself I will get to it. And it is going to be fantastic!

FYI, Jenny is doing some Christmas in July classes I may need to attend. How cute are the slippers? How long until Christmas, funny enough I finally slow down around then!

Also, this weekend I got to go out to see the garden and made some delicious stuffed banana peppers with our freshly plucked peppers for dinner. I cut the meat mixture in half based on other ratings and cut nack on the salt a bit. They were fantastic! Now I need to figure out what to do with our zillion potatoes, green peppers and potatoes. I bet I can do it though!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Update on the dress

I don't have pictures for this update on the Vogue 1241, because as of last night we got as far as attaching the lining, flipping it right side out, pressing it, attaching the fronts along the front bodice piece...oh yes, all very productive... Then there was the loin cloth pieces. We spent much time staring at the pattern, attaching, unattaching and then staring at the pattern some more. Then my thread starting doing the bunching up thing again like it did with my fancy ruffle shirt. Luckily between Glee and a neighbor we were distracted enough to put it away. :-) We will get back to work on it soon. I'm hoping I have a lightbulb moment in which it comes together in the loin cloth area. Hopefully next time I will actually take some pictures as well.

A few things to watch out for if you are making this one. One of my bodice pieces came out much longer than the other where it joins up with the loin cloth. Also, one shoulder strap would up a lot wider. Easy fixes, but mysteries of the universe indeed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vogue 1241 update

We finally got to work on the Vogue 1241 I've been talking about for awhile. Mine went together fairly well. I starched the shantung which made it quite easy to sew. I decided to use the dull side as my right side. Holly used a blackberry sateen, and had some weird issues with the gathering, but overall we are doing OK. I took a few pictures as updates. I do know for sure though the picture on the pattern envelope does not do this pattern justice.

This is the dress placed together and laid out. This is as far as you get before you start working on the lining.

This is the dress without what we have dubbed as the loin cloth piece. That seems to get attached with the lining. This is my first time since my Crepe in attempting a lining, so I am trusting the pattern on this one.
So before you line the front of the dress consists of the bodice halves attached to the two side pieces along with the loin cloth. As crazy as these pieces looked cutting them out, it made a lot of sense after putting it together. I didn't adjust any of the pattern pieces for my short waist and if you ever get this pattern you'll see why. It really is a bunch of crazy pieces!

This is the two back pieces. I am hoping the gathers do not serve as built in muffin top.

I cut this pattern out in a larger size than I need to make up for the fact I may need to tailor it a bit after it is made. We plan on working on it again this week, so watch for another update!

**One hint, I got 1 7/8 yards of material for the lining and came up short by about 6 inches. Holly didn't come up short on hers. Use your judgement. I can tell I am going to have to make it shorter already.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer is coming projects!

I finally got my shipment from! It got delayed for two days, and when you are waiting for a fabric delivery that equals forever! I admit I went a little nuts.

First up we have the elusive Vogue 1241 that Holly and I (isn't team sewing fun) will both be starting this weekend.

I used black Shantung. I started cutting it out last night and I tell you what...those pattern pieces are crazy looking. It says easy though. As Holly and I like to say when sewing, "famous last words."

Next I got this lovely chiffon, which I have never sewn with before. I will be making Vogue 2850, which is an Anna Sui blouse. I am making the middle shirt there in the picture above.

Next is an inspired piece. I got a navy voile to make the Amy Butler Anna Tunic. It is fully lined. I am going to be making the dress length. I am going to use the lace (which is kind of stretchy) to overlay on the yoke and probably decorate the tie as well. I am also thinking of maybe using some white ribbon to embellish the bottom with a few stripes as well. I know what you are thinking, but I'm excited about this one. I'm so into navy lately!

Finally I am going to make Simplicity 2601 from this floral Voile. I love a shirt with a good peplum, which is flattering on me. After seeing Patty's versions and Dixie's Kite Day Shirt I became fully convinced. I'm not quite sure which version I will be doing yet, but I'm excited to get started!

I'm within a few weeks of summer break and more sewing time. Woohoo!

*Disclaimer: It was a dark and stormy day in Houston. All the pictures look a bit dark, but it was worth it to have some rain. It was starting to look like Dallas around here!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fancy New Ruffle shirt

I have been working on that dang ruffled shirt. I am nearly done. I have just the sleeve facings and hemming left, but as we are getting new counter tops in the kitchen this week, the contents of my kitchen are on my sewing table. Boo! So here is my update.
It looks really nice. The fabric was not hard to work with except for the needle unthreading a lot. Actually wouldn't unthread so much as separate and turn itself into half the piece of thread making a nest above the needle and the other half of the piece actually sewing. If anyone is familiar with this problem I would love suggestions!

If I did this same shirt again, and let's be frank I totally am, I would make the ruffles with a fabric with a little less body. I didn't mean for this shirt to look so formal. It is beautiful and I will wear it, but it is a little fancy for what I was trying to achieve.

So remember, I cut the back on the fold, and last time I did not use facings but bias tape around the neck. I think this is how this weirdness happened. See the gap in the facing where the button would go? Consider yourself advised. I did use some lovely French seams again. I was warned I'd never go back, and it may be true.
The good news? I got a little crazy on last week and am expecting a shipment tomorrow! Expect not 1, not 2, but 3 new projects coming up not including the Vogue 1241 that my super fun sewing friend Holly and I are planning to start in the next couple of weeks. I think the fancy material went to my head because instead of navy sateen I went with black Shantung. I got a few lingerie style ball point universal needles. Let's hope that stops the weirdness!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Bathroom: A love story

So this is a gratuitous use of a sewing blog, but I bet a few of you may have some suggestions.

My contractor just completed a remodel of my bathroom. No, it won't be mine for long as I plan to sell my little condo in the Heights. Once upon a time it was just me and two bedrooms and two bathrooms were a mansion compared to my apartment dwelling days. Then I met Mr. Thinks He Can and the condo got smaller. Then I met little bear thinks she can and the condo (and bed) got smaller.
How does a 40 pound dog take up a whole couch..from the top?

Anyway, it was decided we need some space. That means selling the condo and heading out past the burbs on to hopefully a good acre size lot up North. Yeah, we're extremists here.

I'm rambling. I have some gratuitous shots of my new bathroom (it can be yours for a low, low fee!) The walls are a light, light gray and the tile is Travertine. Can anyone suggest a shower curtain color? It feels awfully sterile in there. I have to keep it neutral though since we want to sell, and cheap because the shower won't be mine long enough to justify too much effort.

I added double sinks, oil rubbed bronze fixtures and painted the cabinets dark brown.
Up close of fixtures and new counter top. There is no natural light in there, I swear it isn't a dungeon.

New medicine cabinet and a dimmer for the lights since they tend to blind Whichever Thinks They Can that is laying in bed asleep.

Awwww, the shower. It is a walk in and it is beautiful. We moved the shower head up about a foot which makes the water pressure amazing and even a really tall person could shower comfortably.

Link to the shower pan and a shot of my white waffle weave shower curtain.

Gratuitous shot of the 2.5 inch drain that now even my long hair can't clog up!

So what are your thoughts? What color should I be using here?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A fancy new ruffle shirt

I was standing at the counter at Joann's admiring a woman's beautiful filmy material. She said she was using it to make a scarf. I said something along the lines that I was scared to use a fabric that fine and she said to me, "What do you think will happen? Will you break it?" Hmmm. Very true, what do I think will happen? Thank you whomever you were...

I had said earlier that I would love to make a fancy version of my ruffle shirt. I found a lovely (very cheap in case I break it) satin in beige with some nice sheer matching fabric for the ruffles.

As you can see this is Simplicity 2599, the same version as I had made in pink. I figured it was a familiar pattern to try some new materials.

It is hard to see but the satin fabric is a bit knobby, and the back is matte.
And this is where I nearly lost my religion! The filmy fabric seems to make my machine become unthreaded. I reminded myself sewing is a hobby I enjoy. I got halfway through this ruffle when it happened for the third time and decided that would be my stopping point for the day.

Overall the satin is not hard to work with. I starched the heck out of it, so it feels almost like construction paper. I used a ball point needle, maybe that's my problem? I checked the tension. I think I just need a good break from it, a little bit of time to think, some deep breathing exercises, and then I'll come back fresh at it tomorrow. Remember, sewing is an enjoyable hobby.