Monday, December 31, 2012

Monthly Roundup: December 2012

As the year winds to a close, it's time to look over the last month, and see how things fell out. Since I spent 2 weeks of December travelling and visiting in Texas, my sewing time was pretty limited. Still, I managed to make a few things.

I made:
1) Crocheted Mary Jane slippers x2 for me and Myra
2) Burda 9648 dress for Myra
3) Tanit-Isis 50s shrug for me
4) Crocheted Infinity scarf x4 as teacher gifts and for my mother
5) Cake Patterns Tiramisu dress for me
6) Burda 9648 costume for Myra
7) Sewaholic Renfrew top for me
8) Crochet Infinity Scarf for mom
9) Crochet Mary Janes for Myra and her stuffed dragon
10) Shieldmaiden Cowl for me (it still needs buttons and blocking)
11) Crochet Snowflake Earrings as a Christmas gift

Most of my crafting this month was in the car, hence all the needlework. Still, I sewed 6 items, knit 1 and crocheted 10. Crochet is fast. I sewed up only 11 yards of fabric. Despite that, I got some pretty awesome projects done and I think all of them are going to get much use.

For the month of January, I am really excited to be participating in Jungle January over at Pretty Grievances.
Pretty Grievances
I'm planning several things in my head, to include some mother-daughter jungle matching, so stay tuned for the fun. I also have some utilitarian sewing that needs to happen, like kid PJs and dress pants for the boys. Some of that I probably won't blog. How many pair of PJs do you really want to hear about anyway? So, if blogging is spotty don't worry, I'm still sewing!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Haul

Well, we're mostly unpacked and the epic laundry pile is slowly getting done, so I thought I take a moment and share some of the fun things I brought home to my sewing room.
Under the tree, I found some really fun sewing and knitting books. I've already read through the LBD book, and it is really fun. The book doesn't include patterns - rather, you draft your own shoulder princess seam sloper and then adapt it to make 3 classic LBD styles, a sleeveless sheath, a flowing classic wrap dress and a slinky strapless number. As a bonus, there are instructions for a simple cropped jacket and a hat to complete your look. Super fun! The Famous Frocks book does include patterns for knockoffs of 10 classic iconic looks - From Marilyn's white halter number to Jackie O's classic sheath. Each pattern also includes instructions for a variation for each pattern. I'm also excited to have Brave New Knits, which I got for my sister last year, and liked so much I put it on my own wish list.

But there was more fun stuff that wasn't under the tree!
Mom did a bit of de-stashing, and she gave me her Burdas as well as an assortment of Sew News, Vogue Pattern Magazine and a few other pretties. The Burdas are mostly from the mid-2000s, and they are all full of things I'd like to make. Front and center is the 03/2009 issue that I have been on the hunt for. It's in German, but since Burda instructions are incomprehensible anyway, I'm probably better off without them. And it's fun to see the advertisements in the German issue.
But I saved the best for last... Mom gave me two boxes of patterns, spanning three decades and all sizes, ages and genders represented. Many of them have sentimental value for me, since Mom made most of my clothes in those days, so some of my favorites are still here.
But this one might be the most epic. I made the skirt from this pattern in my Home Economics class in the 8th grade. The rest of the class worked on Tee shirts and PJ pants while I sewed up my 5 pocket jeans skirt. Good times. I made it out of hot pink denim with a blue paisley pattern printed on it. It was, to use the vernacular of the age, totally rad. I wish it was still around. I'd love to peek inside to see how well it was sewn. I remember loving it very much.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Little Princess

Hey all! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! We had a lovely time in Texas and really enjoyed the time with family. Since I was away from my machines, I didn't do any sewing, but I did get a ton of knitting and crocheting done on the drive. That's a long stinking drive.
Here are a couple of pair of slippers I crocheted at Myra's request. One pair was for her, and one for her favorite cuddly toy, Baby Dragon. I also wanted to share some pictures of the Princess Merida ensemble, now that Myra has opened her gifts.
She is one happy little girl! The dress is my version of Burda 9648, which I blogged about here. The wig and sword are purchased. My sister gave Myra the bow, and it is seriously awesome.
It's actually a Marshmallow shooter, that Varina detailed and painted bronze.
Here is a closeup of the "scrollwork" which Rina did with hot glue. Amazing, right?! Myra adores it beyond all things.
Altogether, between the dress, the bow and the sword, Myra had a pretty great Christmas. Mine was pretty awesome, too - full of sewing and knitting goodies. Once we've unpacked from the trip and sorted through the rubble, I'll snap some pics and share. I'm having fun seeing what everyone else has been doing for their holiday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sewaholic Refrew, with sparkles

I recently bought this sparkly knit from Mood, with the intention of making a colorblocked top with metallic sleeves. Then I saw this fabulousness by ladykatza and the fate of the sparkly knit was decided.
Yes, another Renfrew. I love this pattern. It fits well, is easy to sew and works with a variety of fabric weights. I'll be making it again and again. Hope you don't get bored...
This time, I made it from a heavy metallic poly/spandex knit, purchased on Mood's website. I just looked and it appears to be sold out now, which is a pity, as I wanted more. 
This stuff is so lovely. It has the weight of a high quality ponte knit, so it sewed very easily and it skims the body rather than clinging. The metallic threads are not even the slightest bit itchy, which is some sort of engineering miracle. I actually sewed it with the wrong side out, as it was less silvery and more like a graphite color. Me likey.
As you all know, I am completely incapable of sewing the same pattern over and over again without making some sort of change. This time I elected to skip the hip band in favor of a plain hem, which I lengthened in the back for an attempt at a hi-lo hemline. I'm on the fence about how I fell about this. I think it works better in a more unfitted style, and perhaps in this top, it just looks like I am incapable of sewing an even hem. I'm giving it a few days in the magic closet to see what I think and if it still strikes me as odd, I'm going to hack it off even. What do you think?
Myra had to photobomb. She's cute.
As we are leaving for Texas bright and early tomorrow morning, this will likely be my last sewing post for a while. I'm planning on taking my needles and hooks, and I have a few yarnie projects to share with you, so I won't be totally silent, but it's likely to be quieter around here until the New Year. I hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe holiday season.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gingerbread Boy update

Today I had the chance to visit Logan's class, to see what is happening with our Gingerbread friend and give you all a little update! Logan's teacher, Ms. Baldwin was blown away by all of the cards, notes and pictures that Logan received from all over the world! We are all so grateful to all of you who took the time to send something for the kids to enjoy. So, here is how it works...
When the kids get a new card or note (Ms. Baldwin "delivers " a few each day.), they first make a note of the location on their map.
Many of the kids have family and friends in the US, so there are plenty of sightings stateside.
Europe was well covered (Thank you!!!) and even a few in Asia and Africa.
There were a couple of sightings in Canada, which are all from you guys, and one in Alaska, who is just barely hanging on to the map.
And check out Down Under!! Y'all, every single one of those is one of my readers!! You guys are amazing!! I think Gingerbread Boy likes your balmy summer weather.
Each child also has an individual logbook, where they record the Gingerbread Boy sightings. Logan is showing you his.
After that, the cards go into a binder that the kids (and parents) can peruse. Over half of the cards in the binder are addressed to Logan! You guys rock!!!
Here are just a few of the cards and letters that Logan's class received. I blurred identifying info, but I bet some of you can spot yours!
I really enjoyed looking through all the cards and notes. You all were so creative! I loved all the descriptions of what the Gingerbread Boy was doing, and the interesting sights he saw.
The kids also made Gingerbread houses, in hopes of luring him home. So far he's enjoying his travels far too much!
Here are Logan and Ms. Baldwin in front of the US map. She told me that the kids are really enjoying learning about new places and things from all of your cards. Thank you so much!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Princess Merida's dress: Burda 9648

Whew! Just a few days before we leave for Texas, I managed to get Myra's Princess Merida dress finished.
I'll post proper modeled photos after she's opened it for Christmas, but for the moment, hanger shots will have to do. As a reminder,
This is the dress I was attempting to copy. I think this comes pretty close, while still being playtime friendly. The pattern I used was Burda 9648. The most critical design change I made was to use a knit fabric - panne velvet and metallic jersey from Hancock Fabrics. Since I used a knit, I omitted the back zipper and used a band at the neckline rather than facing or lining.
I changed the neckline to a square shape just like Merida's. Her's is trimmed in gold, but I just used the metallic knit as the band fabric. The band is mitered at the corners, and the finished width is 1/2 inch.

For Merida's belt, I was loath to make a separate piece that Myra would likely just lose, so instead I pieced a waistband and strip down center front of the skirt. These are all 1 1/2 inches wide. I initially thought it would be easiest to applique the gold knit onto the skirt, but this knit is quite thin and unruly, so piecing was a better way to go.
The bottom of Merida's dress is decorated with a wide, beaded and embroidered band. Beading and embroidery seemed a bit much to me for a dress up dress, but my metallic knit is pretty bling-tastic on it's own. I used a 4 inch wide band with a coverstitched hem. Since the skirt is gored, the band is shaped rather than just a plain rectangle.
A better view of Merida's square neckline
I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, and I hope my wee lassie likes it, too. I'll let you know.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cake Pattern Tiramisu

I have a new favorite dress.
May I introduce you to Tiramisu by Cake Patterns? You've probably met her before, but this time she's mine. This pattern - it's true love.
I used a ITY knit that was a lucky find at the Hancock Fabrics sale area. It's nice and beefy, but still has a sumptuous drape. They pretty much never have nice knits at Hancock's, so I was thrilled. The gentleman working at the cutting table told me that he had been waiting to see what classy lady (his words, not mine) chose this fabulous fabric.
Of course, this classy lady fabric had to be Tiramisu. Can I gush a little about how great this pattern is? You choose the bodice based on your upper bust measurement, and each size has 4 different variations that you choose based on your full bust. If you don't fall within the ranges that Steph has drafted, she includes lines for making additional bust adjustments right on the tissue. The midriff bands are also personalized based on your bodice and skirt sizes, so if you are two different sizes on top and bottom, that is all taken care of for you as well.
Did I mention it has pockets? I love a dress with pockets. I did naturally make a few very minor alterations. I lengthened the skirt to the largest size length line. Steph has made shortening and lengthening the skirt so easy, since the pattern pieces are nested so that you just extend the line down or up a size or two. So easy! I also widened the sleeve bands and used my coverstitch machine to bind the neckline instead of the band provided in the pattern. For fit, I thought I would need a little extra length over the bust, so I added 1/2 inch before I cut, but I ended up taking it out when I basted the bodice for fit. Steph reminds you to baste for fit a couple of times in the pattern instructions. So helpful!!
The skirt is nicely full. It is perfect for free movement, but not so much fabric that it gets in the way or looks costume-y. I've worn it all day, wrestling and chasing kids, doing chores, running errands and pretty much abusing it in every way I could think, and I was comfortable through it all. But still pretty. I love pretty dresses.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Tanit-Isis Shrug...

I love my houndstooth shrug immensely, even with it's imperfections, so I was ready to cut into my "real" fabric.
This is a lovely piece of mohair/silk knit that my mother gave me. I believe she picked it up at Waechter's Fine Fabrics while on a visit to North Carolina. It is absolutely divine, and I wanted to make it into something special, but not so special that I wouldn't wear it often.
And that I why I chose this pattern. I think it works as well with jeans and a tee shirt as it does with a black pencil skirt and red lipstick. This time I left the sleeve length as drafted (this is the size medium). It's definitely a little longer than a 3/4 sleeve, more like bracelet length. I like it.
For the closure, I again didn't want to risk a buttonhole in this fine knit, so I sewed on a wee snap and attached a pretty lace covered vintage button over the snap. The color of the knit is quite unusual - lilac in some lights and pale pink in others - so I was surprised to find this button that coordinates so well, both in color and style.
I am completely thrilled with this shrug and I know it will get a lot of wear, but there will be more to this story... I still have a yard of this knit, and while I was considering finishing options, I posted my conundrum on Facebook and Ann suggested facing the edges with silk chiffon, rather than using the bands as per the pattern.
I tried out a few options and I really like the look of the chiffon facing, particularly with some crystal seed beads decorating the edge. I'd like to make this again, in a more special occasion version, doing just that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Burda 9648 dress

I mentioned that I was planning to make a Princess Merida dress for Myra for Christmas. Myra told me that she wants the blue dress that Merida wears in the scene in which she is presented to her suitors.
Since there isn't a commercial Merida costume pattern yet available, and the likelihood is that the more popular green dress will be the one featured anyway, I was on my own there. I also want Myra to be comfortable in her gown - Merida is heavily corseted - so her dress will be made of panne velvet with accent pieces of gold mesh knit. Of course, first I needed a pattern, so I hunted through the stash for a simple, flared dress that I could alter to suit this look. I came up with Burda 9648, which has the shape I wanted.
I made it up in a polka dot jersey for Myra to try out. Since the final dress will be a gift, she doesn't know it is eventually going to be a Merida dress, so I didn't lengthen it, but I did alter the neckline and lengthen the sleeves to try those out.
For the neckline, I just squared it off in front and finished it with a mitered band. I made the band quite narrow, but I think I may widen it just a teeny bit in the final dress.
I'm very pleased with my alterations so far and with the overall fit of the dress. Myra often requires a petite alteration above the bust (like mother, like daughter), but this fit her quite well as drafted.
Despite the fact that this is a Minnie Mouse dress, my little Merida is still shooting arrows at every opportunity. Looks like her reach is comfortable.
It twirls well, too. Next I need to decide how I'm going to do the gold accents. The mesh I'm using is fairly sheer, so I'm thinking that I will applique the belt components onto the skirt, rather than piece them. A separate belt would be more authentic, but she'd just lose it. The neckline will be banded in the gold mesh, and I'll finish the hem with a deep gold band, just like Merida's. Her's is heavily decorated with braid and beading, but I don't think that will be practical for a 4 year old, so Myra's will be plain gold.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monthly Roundup: November 2012

November was a challenging month in many non-sewing ways, but I work out my stress in my sewing room. So, I got a lot done.

I made:
1) Ottobre Woman 05/2007-1 blouse for me
2) Ottobre 03/2011-20 skirt for Myra
3) Ottobre 06/2012-13 cords for Logan
4) New Look 6130 top for me
5) Ottobre 03/2004-9 top for Myra
6) Sewing For Boys Good Night Sweetheart PJs x 2 for the boys
7) Ottobre 03/2004-9 top for Myra
8) Go To Leggings for Myra
9) Ottobre 06/2012-12 jacket for Duncan
10) Gnome hat for Myra
11) Vogue 1059 pants for me
12) Tanit-Isis 50s shrug for me
13) Crocheted Scarf for me
14) Ottobre 01/2012-21 overalls for Duncan
15) Ottobre 04/2010-1 tee x2 for Duncan
16) Simplicity 8170 PJs for Myra

That comes out to a total of 19 sewn garments and one each knit and crocheted. I sewed up 20 7/8 yards of fabric. It felt like a pretty balanced month, which is nice. I've noticed that I often get into phases of simple sewing or complex sewing, but there was a bit of everything this month. There was lots of kid sewing too, as the seasons change and they grow.  I think the garment I am most pleased with is Duncan's jacket. It is warm, snuggly and cute. It makes me smile every time I see him in it.

All that sewing and stuff was fun, but the best part of the month was when this big package arrived from my BSF (Best Sewing Friend) Carrie.
Can you believe all the amazing vintage patterns and fabric!! I had been having one of those days, you know, the ones where you'd like to just curl up in a corner and wait for it to end, but you can't. And then this package came and totally perked me up. I'm already tracing...

For December, I probably won't get a ton accomplished. We're spending half of the month in Texas (YAY!!), so I won't be doing much sewing, if any at all. The only holiday sewing on my plate is a Merida dress for Myra. No other gift sewing this year. Before we go I'd like to sew up my mohair Tanit-Isis shrug and some more PJs for Myra. I'll start in on some of that once I finish this dress I just traced. I need some selfish sewing right now. That doesn't sound too demanding for the two weeks I have and that sounds good to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ottobre 01/2012-21 overalls

Duncan's next desperate wardrobe need was for pants. Since we lived in Texas when Logan was this age, we don't have many winter clothes to hand down, and while Duncan has tons of shorts, long pants are few and far between.
These overalls from the 01/2012 issue of Ottobre caught my eye when the issue came out. I love the 70s retro vibe they have and they look so cozy! Last year the smallest size was too big for Duncan, but this year they are just right!
The fabric I used is a stretch twill that was hanging out in my stash, provenance unknown. I only had a yard and a half or so, so it was perfect for small guy overalls. The color in the above pics is the most true. It is a military green, reminiscent (to me at least) of fatigues from the world war era. I used a cotton batik from Hancock for the facings and pocket linings.
These overalls have so many cute details!! I'm not usually a fan of a centered zipper, but that big zip front and center makes these. The topstitching is great as well. I used my Singer to topstitch, with Upholstery weight thread to make it pop.
Ottobre's instructions for inserting the zipper were great. It was all done by machine - no slipstitching the facing to the tape! And it is so clean on the inside. When I first read the instructions, I had no clue what they wanted me to do. I went forward with faith, and it came together perfectly, but there were a few moments... If you are making these, I posted a little picture on Flickr of what the facing assembly looks like. You can see it here.
The front pockets are lined, which is a nice easy way to get a clean edge, I used the same fun batik that I made the facings out of, and you can just see the edge peeking around the sides of the pocket.
In back is another set of patch pockets. The waist is snugged in with elastic and the straps are held in position with a little beltloop. I love the way this looks, but it is also very functional. The straps stay where they need to be without sliding off Duncan's shoulders.
We tested them out tromping around at the park, and they are awesome! I was worried that the slim fit in the leg would be troublesome for climbing, but not at all. He was all over the place, typical Duncan style.
When I put on his overalls yesterday to check the hem, I realized that the shirt I was planning for him to wear these with (a cute striped henley) was now too small. So I made him a quick raglan tee (Ottobre 04/2011-1, the Papana tee) in some leftover yellow interlock. Looks like shirts for Duncan are next up on the agenda...
Linked up.