Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mother's Day gift plans

So, my Mom is awesome. She's sorta beyond words awesome and my Hubby agrees. She's sweet, and giving, definitely my best friend and she makes it completely obvious that she loves me to the moon and back about a hundred times. She's getting a new top for Mother's day and she got to pick out everything about it. Yay! She picked out this pattern which is New Look 6648. It will be made out of bamboo jersey from The Bamboo Fabric Store. I'm using the 100% bamboo flat jersey knit in navy which doesn't look navy on the screen but most certainly qualifies as navy in person. I'm excited about the bamboo, it feels wonderful, is supposed to wear beautifully and I think it's one of the more expensive fabrics I've sewn with (shows how cheap I am, but I am an awesome sale shopper!) I think it will be great. I'm making a muslin (hopefully) this weekend to tweak the fit.

Now I realize that I'm lucky to have an awesome Mom. I also happen to be double lucky because I have an awesome Mom in Law. So awesome, in fact, that the "in Law" here is only for your benefit because I also call her Mom. She's wonderful. She's sweet and loving and adorable and I LOVE HER TO PIECES. My Hubby and I were actually married before I met his family (yipe!)- it was a quick engagement and we eloped, so the day I met his mom we had been married almost exactly a month. That was scary for everybody, but I think we all feel great about the family we've got now. Here's a picture of MIL and I. Awww!

So since she and FIL live far away, I don't get to see them often. I have so far been hesitant to make her clothes because I'm not sure if she'd like clothes made by me because I'm not sure about size, style and whether or not she'd actually like to have something homemade. I ran this by Hubby and he seemed to think there was no question and that she'd love something, so I'm going to make her tops for Mother's Day too. She loves to golf, so I'm working on a golf top. I read reviews about the Kwik Sew golf polo out there, but I was unimpressed with the PR reviews, so I drafted my own. Now.... I may yet be purchasing a pattern (if I have to go that route, it will be the Jalie one though) but so far I've got it drafted and cut, so we'll see if my end result becomes a wadder or not. I picked out some really adorable pink knits for the tops. Here they are.

From Grillo Originals

The funny thing is that I realized the darker pink bears a very striking resemblance to the beloved PINK VS top that I talked about before which she and FIL picked out for me for Christmas. Ha! Hopefully that means she'll like it, it may be a bit too bold but Hubby says he doesn't think so.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Am I the crazy one?

So today I have been digitally snooping around shopping to find some styles to copy this summer. I'm not very creative, so I usually need to shop in online stores that will put the whole outfit together for me like Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Saks even... they're all good about giving me some semblance of style without me naturally having any.

While I was poking around the Saks website I found that they have a "most popular" section which is neat. That way I can look at things that are actually selling (so in theory they look good on real-ish people, right?) and I was dumbfounded. First of all, I was right about being able to find good styles in the most popular section, there are a few great Diane von Furstenburg dresses, some neat Burberry polos, a great Ralph Lauren dress (if it weren't white) and a really sharp looking Prada dress.

Here's where I got dumbfounded: that Prada dress in all its simplicity is selling for $625.00, and it's on a best sellers list, so apparently that's what it's going for. Now I understand the value of well made pieces in a wardrobe, especially something as versatile and classic as a LBD but seriously?! Do you even know how far I could go in a fabric store with $625 to play with? I guarantee I'd come out of there with way more than a measly LBD even if it was made out of some outlandishly luxurious and therefore expensive fabric. Don't start at me with the brand thing either- I work in the advertising industry so I know exactly what it takes to build a brand and yadda yadda yadda - I'm still not sold on why I need a Prada anything over a non branded but exactly as well made alternative.

Continue the dumbfounding with looking at the prices on all the rest of the pieces on the same best sellers list. Admittedly, I usually choose stores to snoop based on the fact that I won't be tempted to shell out the cash for the already made version, but I find it hard to believe that even if Hubby was raking in a cool million a year (which goes a long way where we live- not quite like living it up in NYC) that I would be able to justify this kind of purchase- $625 for a knit dress. Or $195 for a Burberry polo (though understandably that Burberry check on the outside might be necessary to be allowed to schmooze with the other wives in whatever posh country club we would be members of...) Nevermind the fact that in this little fantasy land these purchases would fit reasonably into our clothing budget, I still don't think I could do it. Just knowing what else I could be doing with the money would make me sick. 47 yards of Loro Piana suiting anyone?

So here's my final point and I promise I won't abuse any more parentheses. As someone who can go into a fabric shop with $100 and come out with a garment worth substantially more, aren't I lucky? All of us sewists are, because when we make clothes that have awesome couture finishes and details even on the simplest of garments and we're making things with absolutely custom fit, we are spoiling ourselves completely rotten in a way that our non-sewing sisters just can't get without some amazing sale shopping or some major cash dropping. That's good stuff in my book!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Apparently me stating that something is "next up" keeps me from doing it. Aaargh. In the meantime, I've been sidetracked into two new projects (Mother's Day is coming and I have both a wonderful Mom AND a wonderful Mom-in-law that both deserve lovingly hand-made gifts.) AND I've discovered something fascinating that's been on the web forever, I can't believe it has taken me this long to find it.... ready?
I'm not sure what the rules are for using pictures that aren't mine so I'll not touch this, but just quickly click on that link and tell me this dress isn't awesome. I'm in love. One dress (modified skirt, really) with two looooong tabs/straps and seriously, the variations are endless. I have got to make myself one!

When I get around to it, this will surely be my summer go-to outfit. Hubby often gets annoyed when I get fixated on a specific awesome article of clothing and pretty much refuse to take it off. I will take it off long enough to wash it, but then it goes right back on. First, it was the t-shirt I got for running my first 5k. I don't have a photo of the shirt, but here's me looking dorky finishing the race. I had never been a runner, so training for and finishing a measly 5k was a seriously self proud moment which is why I have such an attachment to that t-shirt. I wore it every day for about 2 weeks (washing it while I went to work...)

After that it was a t-shirt I made from BurdaStyle that was just so incredibly comfy that I couldn't take it off. It was made out of some kind of jersey knit I guess, it was thicker than "jersey" brings to mind, but super stretchy. I can't find the photo, but it's turquoise with Japanese writing on it. I studied Japanese for 2 years in college and am disappointed because a) I couldn't figure out which way was up on the fabric and b) while recognizing some characters I don't have the foggiest idea if this even made some kind of sentence or statement or what. Ha!

The most recent clothing item of adoration is the Victoria's Secret PJ sweatshirt top thingy my awesome MIL&FIL got me for Christmas. Hot pink and rediculously comfy I wear it all the time. Hubby gets especially annoyed if I sleep in it and then proceed to wear it the next day (come on, I only do it when we're hanging out at home and I'm sewing all day- ha!) Now I sound gross, but that top is great it makes me comfy and happy. It's kind of like this one, same pattern for sure but mine is brighter pink and has silver stripes. Really I'm too old to wear this in public (not THAT old, mind you... just too old to go around in college girl attire.)

So, long story short, the dress will surely be the next clothing item obsession. It will count as different "outfits" if I tie it differently every time I wear it, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Next Up

As it turns out I might not be as crazy about that dress as I originally thought. I wore it yesterday (sorry, no photos yet- Hubby left early and I got home late). When wearing it for a whole day I discovered that I was constantly yanking and pulling and adjusting to keep my bra from showing in the back. I've been trying to work my head around a way to fix this for the current dress- for the pattern the obvious answer is just to raise the back. The change wouldn't be much, maybe an inch or so- and frankly if I have my hair down it will cover any problems, but I find this annoying.

So. Deciding on my next up project is my next dilemma. Hubby has been angling delicately for me to cut another shirt for him, he wore his green one yesterday and sent me a text to tell me how much he loves it (awww). His only beef with these shirts is that the collar isn't as thick or as stiff as his other ones. This guy prefers a ring of cardboard around his neck and I can't talk him out of it. The interfacing was already so thick that I had to take my fusible interfacing and make it into sew-in interfacing with some muslin, it was impossible to turn the corners with it fused. So here's my next plan of attack- use the same interfacing fused to muslin insert, but also insert an exactly cut piece of interfacing into the sewn and turned collar and fuse it to the upper collar (the part he cares about most) before inserting and sewing the other. Ugh. These shirts make me so happy because they turn out looking so great, but then the whole collar thing really brings me down. Anyway, chances are he's getting a new shirt at least cut this weekend. Here are the fabrics again, I think he'll be getting the grey and black one. I'm making sleeve changes and some minor fitting tweaks too otherwise I'd just get all of the cutting out of the way. Never mind the wrinkles, I pre-wash my fabrics when I get them but I loathe ironing so that gets put off until just before layout.

In other news- I'm extremely excited because this weekend I will meet for the first time with a sewing group that I've organized here. When reading Erin's post about Little Dresses for Africa I hopped on over to and inquired about a sewing group around Denver (there are some around the US that regularly get togeter to sew these little dresses). Alas, there wasn't. That's when my genius plan was born! I work by myself and tend to be sort of a homebody so I've recently decided it's about time I became more social and found more people I have common interests with rather than having my circle of frieds limited to the wives of my Hubby's friends (not that those ladies aren't awesome, just that we don't have as much in common as our hubbies do). So I put up a post on Craigslist and lo and behold, I have a sewing group. We're meeting Saturday to go supply shopping together since there are a couple newbies who will need help picking out the correct supplies, then we're all getting together the following Saturday to sew some pillowcase dresses! I was extra plesantly surprised to find that there were two gents among the people who responded to my post. Yay for men who can sew (or want to)!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dress- DONE!

March already? What happened? I finished my muslin for this dress about a week and a half ago. Good thing on that muslin too, as Hubby pointed out it "showed my religion" so I added a bit of ease in the hips. The top fit beautifully, so that's good to note. I wound up making a size 12 and adding almost 4" of ease in the hips. It's probably a little too much at this point, but there's nothing worse than a tight dress to make you feel chunkier than you are, so for now it will stay as is.

This is the back view- no, the bow is not crooked. It wasn't fastened in the first photo, but this dress looks so blah without a body in it that I decided no to mess around with the photos that much. You'll have to wait 'till I wear it to work Monday and force Hubby to take better photos (with a body in it) to see how FABULOUS this dress is. I'm completely smitten with it. There will be many more where this came from.

And here's the front. Again, "meh" on the hanger- yowza on the body.

This is actually the first dress I've ever made. I've made lots of pants, some skirts, lots and lots of tops... never a dress. I bought this pattern when I first discovered A Dress A Day and wanted to sew it as a Christmas dress in red with a black lace overlay over the top but never got around to it. I'm glad now that I didn't get around to it then. Over the last two years I have discovered the value of tracing patterns rather than cutting them out and I've really cemented the value of muslins in my stubborn little head. So it turned out a million times better than it would've.

I did line/underline the top part, but not the bottom. The whole thing is basically cheap poly fabric, but I think it looks and feels nice anyway. It should be a sturdy go-to dress. I had to line the top because I was afraid it would be see-through but when I thought more about it I realized that I didn't want the pink to show on the neckline so I put the facings in over the lining, serged their edges and sewed them down where they belong. It worked out to make an interesting inside anyway. I would say the inside looks like a basic cheapy kind of dress really, but as I said, it should stand up to a lot of abuse and it looks rockin' so I'm happy with it.

Now I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to make BWOF 09-2008-114 in a blue cotton but with a v-neckline or 09-2008-124 which I bought some fake suede leopard print stuff for. Fun times! We'll see what happens next.