Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Sewing Loot

My mom gave me a bunch of patterns, which are cool. These are the blouses, and you can click on each picture to enlarge it.
Then three dresses, which are all super cute in different styles.
My aunt Sherry gave me the two dresses on the left, my mom gave me the freaky pajamas and cap pattern, and I bought the last one at St Vincent de Paul. It's eighties, but also kind of forties styled.
Mom also gave me a jacket pattern for Andrew, and some vintage buttons.
She also made me a ham and sleeve for pressing! Yay! I sewed them up after they were stuffed, so the weird shaped ends are entirely my fault.
We also drove up to POrtland and went to Fabric Depot, the largest fabric store in the USA. It was fun, especially if you like sewing with cotton. It was almost too much to look at; after awhile, I started getting that museum feeling, where you're sleepy and have looked at too many things. Or is that just me?
A cotton lawn from Fabric Depot.
A cotton mom found at Goodwill.
A cotton from Fabric Depot.

I'm excited for a new year! Everyone have a Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A hand-picked zipper

The pictures are a little blurry since they're from the ipod. My mom helped me finish my lingering purple dress from November and rip out the zipper on my red velvet dress and re-do it. Although, after doing it again on the machine, it still was lumpy and noticeable. So Mom helped me with hand sewing the hem on the puple dress and I finally tried a hand picked zipper.

I thought doing a zipper by hand would be a gigantic PITA, but it turned out to be a piece of cake. You only need to know how to do a pick stitch. I guess I'm a convert; it looks great!!!
It gives you big stitches on the inside, but the zipper is totally secure! Wow!
There's lots of tutorials around for learning this technique- I used the one from Threads here.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas- I'm having a great time in Oregon with my family!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Red Velvet Dress

While cleaning for the arrival of Andrew's family, we put a bunch of stuf in the attic and found a big white, fake Christmas tree! How fun! I bought some ornaments and made Andrew the Grinch help me.
This is my red dress, which I sloppily hemmed on the machine last night and finished this morning. I did not, of course, finish it on time for the work party on Saturday. It's done now, however.

These are parish decorations on the way to work. I desperately wanted my picture with one, and my friends and I look some hilarious pictures. Nothing says Christmas like a giant shrimp and a candy cane!!!
Everyone really liked the dress, and while shoddily made, it is really striking. Due to the red velvet, mainly. It fits perfectly, since it was the second time making up this pattern.
On to the shoddy construction: I steam ironed the velvet, which shockingly didn't ruin it; I seriously f*ed up the zipper and had to rip it out and re-do half of it, which then led to; the back being entirely uneven, as you can see below. Geck. I'll fix it somehow (without doing the zipper again). Oh, and then I hemmed it on the machine, ran out of bobbin thread, threaded it in a different red and then finished it- this morning.
I really like the dress, and I think I like velvet a lot too. I'll do something else in velvet, for sure. I also like the tacky white tree, that was free! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Last night I felt inspired to make a dress for the holidays, something red. I went to Jo-Ann with my 40% off coupon in my hand, and I didn't like all of the red fabric; it was too shiny. Or stretchy. Or stiff. Or cheap-looking. A real Goldilocks dilemma here!

The I noticed they had red velvet and I went over to rub it. The 12.99 version felt stiff and cheap, like something you would use for Xmas decorating purposes. The 26.99 version was soft and wonderful and drapey. I bought the latter, since I only needed a yard and a half. With my savings, it will be a beautiful, red, velvet dress for less than 30 bucks. That's why I love sewing!!!

I will be using the same pattern as this dress. I remember thinking I wanted to remake it as a little black dress, but why not a little red dress instead? Yeah! Black is so boring.

I am going to whip it up on Saturday for my work Xmas party, then on Tuesday for the last day of school with my santa hat, and then for the family Xmas on the 26th!

Hopefully, I will have awesome results on Saturday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sewing Club

With a 26th student in my honor's class, my room was getting really crowded. Well, crowded if I want to keep the desks in partners, which I do. So I got rid of my filing cabinet, and I wanted to get rid of my big cabinet too, which has all the sewing stuff in it. The principal agreed to let the sewing club use a room that is only used for lunch detentions.

Today we moved all of the stuff up there, and I brought the Necchi machine to school. I had a hard time threading it, which of course made the girls ask me why I couldn't do it. LOL, it's not my machine I use normally, I just bought it for sewing club. I did get it threaded and it works, but I can't figure out how to get it off of a zig zag. Oh well.

I think it is the perfect machine for learning to sew (minus the exquisitely complicated threading system) because it is so old that it only goes medium slow when the knee pedal is pushed to its limit. No girls will sew over their fingers! (knock on wood)

We are still working on pajama shorts, and I guess we will finish them after the new year. Wish us luck, they definitely need it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Revised Goal 6: Complete!

Well, originally I was going to make an awesome dress for New Year's Eve. However, Andrew has decided to ruin it for me, and is going to New York to visit his family and do some job interviews until January 9th! Cruel! His logic: "Well, I was going to be stuck here alone for 2 days while you are in Oregon." Hmph, leaving me here with the dog for 12 days is obviously better! So now I have no use for a cool dress, since I'll be sitting at home with the dog, drinking alone. Boo hoo, ha ha ha ha. Ok, enough whining.

So, I revised my goal into making Andrew and myself fleece pants for lounging around the house. I have a pair of ugly, grey, fleece pants that I have had since high school (going on 8-9 years maybe). When it gets cold, and I'm still being stingy and refusing to heat the house, I wear them every day when I get home from work. Which clearly is gross, since I then wash them once a week maybe. Thus, instead of wasting precious hours of my life trying to find a similar pair for a reasonable price at the horrible mall, I decided to make some.

I took my fleece pants and traced them, and made a rough approximation. They fit fine, since the waist is elastic.

Back, with the print, which is monkeys holding flowers and cupcakes.

Andrew's have some random print of bears and bear tracks. They did turn out kinda big and poofy, but he said he wanted them looser than his other ones. They are long enough for his spider legs, at least. Also, he refused to show his face because he doesn't want to be on the internet. Too bad I've definitely posted his picture before.

Anyways, he's happy with his (part of) Xmas present, I like mine, and now I have more wonderful fleece pants!

Total cost: $20 for the fleece, which was 50% off, and the elastic.
Time spent: 2 hours maximum, for cutting and sewing both pairs.


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Hmm, I am so bad at typing. I have to look at the keys. The 6th graders are better typists than I am. When I typed the title, it said Gloce! That's what I get for not looking.

Anyways, I wore a pair of my garage sale vintage gloves to work today, for the cold car ride. By the time I got to school, several of the seams had split open. I have been thinking about finding a glove pattern lately, so I took the opportunity to use some tiny scissors and pick the gloves apart over the course of the day. The students were writing and editing paragraphs comparing monotheistic religions, and it is boring watching people write.

(I have already made about 600 typing errors. I am not bad at spelling, I am bad at controlling my fingers! I won a spelling bee in elementary school, spelling animal correctly after the other girl spelled it aminal!)

So, I am going to trace the glove onto paper and label it correctly. Then I am going to sew up the one I ripped apart for practice, because they are nice gloves.

Do only crazy people want to make their own gloves?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some progress...

I washed and dried my flannel, and cut out all my underlining pieces, and then transferred all the marks in sharpie. I still need to pre-shrink the wool and cut them out and then baste them all together, but it's a bit of progress!
The dog was cold, so I put him in his jacket and wrapped him in blankets. He spent the whole evening like that!
It's reaching freezing at night, so I brought the lemon tree in.
It's dark every night when I get home, so I don't know when I'll ever take pictures of the Swirl dresses.

In French Club tomorrow the kids will be trying to make crepes. I made the batter tonight, but they will cook them and fill them. That should be fun!

Oh, and I feel like this is an uglier version of my cape from American Apparel, which also cost 155$. Mine was maybe 50, since I bought nice fabric...

This was cool! Sam liked my cape so much she went and bought the same pattern to make one of her own! I can't wait to see it!

That's enough for now!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Monkey Paw!

Here's the promised pictures of the Thanksgiving Glove Dyeing Debacle. In the future, I will try not to be a giant moron and dye LEATHER gloves in HOT water on the stove. Andrew was making me fun of me and my thought process yesterday in the car and I was laughing until I couldn't breathe. If I had thought about it for one second, I think I wouldn't have two monkey paws.

Now, I don't know if they give you wishes, but I hope so!

(For anyone who has never read the short story, here is a link.)
Not only did thy shrink to child-size, they also dried rock hard with twisted fingers. Shockingly, neither Andrew nor the dog enjoyed being poked with the monkey paw. T-Rex tried to bite off the rigid, mutant fingers with no success.
Here are two tiny bell pepper from the garden. Andrew said they tasted gross, but the dog and I enjoyed them.
I also hemmed both of my Swirl dresses. I will wear them Monday and Tuesday and then post pictures. I bought flannel for my coat underlining and washed it, so I will start cutting those out today too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Goals

It is officially December and I need some new goals. Last month was very successful, as it forced me to finish projects in a time frame. I will finish the purple dress this weekend- hand hemming that whole skirt has made me slightly despondent. I had planned on doing it while I watched the Closer, which is my most favorite, beloved show, but instead I sat like a lump on the sofa and just watched it. Oh well.

I wrote these last weekend, and am just getting around to typing them now:

1. Make T-Rex a fleece jacket (done)

2. Treat wool for Vogue coat. I read some post I can't find about doing it in the dryer with het towel to steam it. Has anyone tried this? I'm going to try it with a bit first, to see.

3. Cut out coat pieces in wool and flannel underlining. I decided to underline it because it will be super warm, and I can transfer all the marks onto the underlining in pen and then be good to go. I hate tailors tacks, and will not mark up this expensive wool with chalk!

4. Hem last 2 swirl dresses.

5. Draft my own pattern for a military-inspired long sleeve dress. The fabric is a olive green peach skin from Vogue fabrics.

6. Make a flashy dress for New Year's Eve.

So, that's probably more than I can handle, but I will try!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A fleece jacket for the wienie dog

Somehow the dog knew I was making this for him and spent the whole evening giving me baleful stares, aka the Stank Eye. I traced his previous jacket, which was much too short. If I remember correctly, it was a medium sized dog according to the pattern. It was tiny and only covered his back about 2/3 down, and not his sides. Here is the first version.

Same as the other one, it is two different types of fleece, so its reversible. It closes with velcro. After I made it and tried it on him, the butt part stuck out oddly. So I added two tucks along the top stiching seam, so it curves down like a dog saddle.
This side is dinosaurs, and I cut it out so that there is a big T-Rex right over his back. Hee hee!

It's a super quick and easy project that took around 30 minutes. The dog isn't too happy now, but he loves his jacket when it gets cold. We also recently discovered it makes him much more willing to go out and potty if it's raining. He is such a priss!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nov goal 2 complete: the blue flowered dress

This came together very quickly last night. All I did today was put in a zipper and sew down the neck facing.

I wanted to take the pictures next to these stone lions in City Park, but some jerks were having weddings photos taken there. Idea thieves! Instead, we went to the canal on Bayou St. John, where the water always looks clear and blue.
I took the bodice from a vintage Butterick pattern. This will be the third dress that used that bodice. I made the neckline into a scoop neck and re-drafted a facing to match. I also made the short sleeves into elbow sleeves in honor of fall.
Somehow the pieces magically matched themselves, since I never take the time to do things like that.
The skirt is just a big rectangle that I gathered using the Ruffler. You must always capitalize The Ruffler because it is the most intimidating attachment. However, it is magical. I gave it a little kiss because it saves so MUCH TIME!
I love this fabric, and the simple lines of the dress make it just right.

Now, I just bought some fleece and I'm going to make T-Rex a coat that better fits the frame of a wienie dog.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Andrew and I had a fun Thanksgiving here, with just us and the dog. We still made a whole dinner, of course!! We made my mom's stuffing, his mom's stuffing, a turkey, cranberries, yams, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole and gravy. I think gravy is my favorite food...

Earlier in the day, I decided to use the stove-top dyeing method on my Rit box. It would have worked perfectly except I used way too much dye so they look more black than green, and....
the gloves were leather! Duh! I am a moron. When I fished them out, they had shrunk to little toddler-hands size. I can only give myself a duh for that one. I forgot to take a picture, I'll post one later.

The purple dress is ALMOST finished. I tried to hem it on the machine and it looks like absolute shit. So now I am going to have to hem the whole *((%$@% by hand! It is like 12 feet of fabric! I was going to do some of it yesterday because I thought I was getting 2 Closer episodes in the mail from Netflix, but I had the queue all wrong. I got Rome season on for Andrew because he is obsessed with Roman military history. He will talk your ear off if you get him started... He is so funny because little details that are wrong or illogical make him crazy. For example, we were watching Pirates of the Caribbean on tv and they run back and forth and succeed in flipping the ship upside down. Then when they turn right-side-up, they try to shoot each other and Andrew says "Ugh that wouldn't work. The powder in the guns is wet." LOL!

I was going to use fabric covered buttons, but they were not working. Instead I am going to use these cloudy red vintage buttons. The contrast is much less noticeable in person.
And, I made a waist stay like I said. I love purple and red together. I had a purple and red swimsuit when I was maybe 8 and I loved that thing!
I used some of my credit card miles to get a ipod. It's one of those things that I would like, but never have the money for, or the desire to save up for it. I have been playing Angry Birds for hours, so that explains why I have very little sewing done for the week.
Look what I just slapped together in about an hour. I need to buy a zipper tomorrow, but other than that it's finished. I love the fabric! I used an old pattern that fits well and has nice sleeves and I redrafted the neckline to get more of a scoop. I also used my gathering foot on the skirt, which was AMAZING! Such a time saver!
I hope everyone else had a good Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bridesmaid Dress Purchased!

I went to David's Bridal with my list in hand, and I rooted out about ten dresses that were possibilities. The one with flowers on the shoulder looked really cheap and tacky in person, and they didn't have one in my size. So I tried on all of them and ended up with two long ones and two short one.

Then I tried them on again and eliminated one of the short ones. The construction was shoddy. The lining of the strapless top was trying to roll over the edge.

In the end it came down to two. This one, with a cool neckline, a tie at the waist, and a snug skirt that flares out at the feet. And this one, strapless, with a draped chiffon skirt.

It was a tough call, since my mom is in Oregon and couldn't go with me (wahhh), but I eventually decided on the one with straps. It fit better, and I liked the sash and the fitted skirt. It makes me look slim, but there are gathers on the neckline to give some faux-fullness to the top. That and a super padded bra.

Anyways, they ordered it and I should have it around New Year's! Yay!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My week in pictures

This is the pattern I am currently working on, with the 3/4 sleeves.
Bodice.The thread matches pretty well, I think the flash just made it look weird. The pattern does not call for interfacing for the front yoke, but I read a really helpful review on pattern review, and decided to interface it. It is super stiff, so I know it will hold even after the dress is washed several times.
It needs button closures for the bodice and hooks for the front flap. I am also going to try Tasia's advice and make a waist stay. Since I used cotton sateen, the skirt is incredibly heavy. Try to ignore the filthy living room in the background.
Then I murdered my first two lemon babies to make a pie. They are super juicy- two lemons gave me over 1/2 cup of juice!
Andrew was playing with fire making a sauce au poivre for the steaks.
Here is some hilarious student work. Sometime I just can't resist taking a picture. Here are some intriguing, anatomical-looking fireworks...
And, I can't even begin to imagine what an iron pillow is? (Plus, the question should say history, instead of religion)
Hope you liked the pictures! I get all of this week off for Thanksgiving, so I will be sewing and hopefully finishing both of the dresses for my November goals!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Argentine Presents

Andrew went to Argentina on a business school trip and brought me back some presents.

He bought me a cool scarf, earrings, some random candy and the number one dessert, supposedly, these little cakes called alfajores argentines.

Cool, huh?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cape pictures, finally!!

Here is the pattern, Simplicity 3122, from 1949. As you may know, this has been a work-in-progress for years, since 2007, in fact.

Here are some previous posts:

This project was way beyond my skill level when I embarked upon it. I can definitely say it has made me a better seamstress. I now know how to logically problem solve, make welt pockets, line a coat/outer garment and more.

Plus, it is awesome, and it is certainly something no one else has, or will ever have.

On to the photos! I took them in a cemetery near our house, and the sky is accordingly gloomy. I think it gives the pix a nice autumnal look, since its really about 60 degrees out and I have worn a jacket 2 days so far this fall.

Wearing it unbuttoned:

This was just funny to me. PS, I love these boots so much, they are awesome.
Hands in pockets, although the pockets are really tiny. If I made it again, I would make them bigger.
From the side, you can see how it gets longer in the back.
This picture shows the collar, and the awesome buttons, the armholes, and how you can see the lining in that back, which is cool because I like the color I picked.
The back has a great shape.
Look, no hands!
And, to flash you the lining:
So, what do you think? Was it worth finally finishing? I say yes, but I would love to hear your opinions!