Monday, May 31, 2010

Butterick 6956- Halter top

I had about half a yard of fabric left from my latest dress, so I decided to try to make one of my vintage patterns, this one for a halter top. The whole thing is not quite unwearable, but it is far from being a masterpiece of sewing.

I hemmed the bottom seam on the machine which made it very stiff.

It is very fitted- to almost corset-like proportions, yet the bust only fits with a strapless bra. Sadly, that's more me than the pattern's fault.

The strap ended up slightly uneven, so the center back seam twists to my left. I noticed this after I cut the extra fabric off, of course.

The zipper is mediocre. If I worked at a factory, it would be docked from my paycheck. :(

Oh well. One less piece of fabric laying around and one slightly wearable top.

Executive decision

The flowy dress pattern won in the poll, but I had something else in mind for it. A tiny floral print or a leopard print... so I made an executive decision and made the dress with pockets.

The only problem came from not realizing that this pattern went down to a 6. I usually just cut out the smallest size. This time, my butt was too big! It was so tight and the fabric has no stretch. So I had to let out the seam allowances on the sides and center back. That mostly fixed it, but if I were to make it again, I would make the skirt in an 8.

Back view:
Front view:
The pleats around the neck and the pockets are hard to see on the dummy (which needs a name), but are more visible on. Once again, real pictures will have to wait until stinky Andrew comes back from his trip. Hee hee.

Next up is the other Butterick pattern in an animal print rayon. It sounds tacky, but just wait- it'll be good!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I saw a sign...

I decided last night, after looking at how much this china costs on ebay, that if I went back today and it was still there...then I could think about buying it. AND IT WAS!! The woman wouldn't go to half, so I bought it for $200. Which may be somewhat financially unwise. My justification: a dinner plate alone on ebay is usually about 75 bucks, plus shipping. JUSTIFIED!! :)

Further justification: According to my mom, that breaks down to about 9 dollars a piece. That's walmart cheap! LOL
Look how awesome the border is. Does your china have a griffin sticking its tongue through a skull? I doubt it. How sad for you.

Total loot roundup:

2 dinner plates
2 salad plates
2 bread and butter plates
6 berry dishes
4 soup cups plus saucers
2 teacups and saucers
2 espresso cups and saucers
1 set of sugar (with lid) and creamer

32 pieces! Yay!

If you are jealous, as you very well should be, it is Wedgwood Florentine in turquoise and there is always some on ebay. I wish you luck!!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Garage Sale Loot

I guess since it's Memorial Day weekend, there was only one estate sale. I took the dog to City Park and walked him; we chased a squirrel, but did not catch him.

This is my long-term china pattern. I only have a few pieces because it is terribly expensive, but it's my goal to have the whole set. It is Wedgwood Florentine in turquoise, with fruit in the center and a border of griffin. It is so awesome, the color is beautiful, and the pattern is edgy rather than overly feminine. At the estate sale they had maybe 18 pieces of it for $295. I don't have three hundred dollars to drop on fine china at this point in my life, but I will go back tomorrow to see if it's still there and to maybe cut a deal. Wish me luck.
I got this chair for 10 bucks, which was overpriced. The people running the sale seemed borderline hysterical, so I didn't even bother trying to negotiate. I like the upside-down heart cut-outs. I have three chairs, now, that need to be stripped, refinished and given a new seat. My new skill goals!
I also got the pink Pyrex in the center for $1. I really love this style of Pyrex, and it seems like no one else does since I always pick some up for cheap.
I also did some cleaning, some sewing, and so on. More on the sewing later.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Last Day of School!

Today was the last day of school for the students. I survived my first year of teaching! Yay! I took some pictures, in case I feel nostalgic in the future, but for now I am just ready for summer.

The state also released their test scores yesterday, and they all did SO WELL!! I am so proud of them. 17 percent of them scored "Advanced" which is the highest ranking. That is wonderful! 89% got Basic or higher, which is what the state expects as a minimum. I am happy about that.

I have been sewing a bit too, but I'll save the pictures for the finished project. Right now they are just strewn across the table.

Here's my finished disco dress, since I never did post one!
A real photo shoot will take place when Andrew comes back from NYC...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poll- Which pattern works for this fabric?

This is my fabric I got at Jo-Ann tonight. And before I get started, can I just say that the Jo-Ann on Veterans Blvd in Metairie, LA is so full of the rudest employees imaginable. I was in a time crunch to get home to watch Glee, but I need to just drive farther and go to Hancock fabrics. And I waitressed for years, so I am very generous in overlooking a little bad attitude here and there. Anyways, look at the fabric. It is some kind of semi-shiny slinky polyester. It's nice and light for summer wear.
So, which pattern would look best for this fabric?

First up, view C, the girl in blue, minus the contrast band. The skirt has a nice fluttery shape for the weight of the fabric.
Second choice: This pattern, which has such cute pockets!

Anyways, vote in my poll!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I used a new foot!!

This is my pattern, Butterick 5217. I made view D, the girl in red.

This is my fabric, a very lightweight white cotton with little raised dots. It's actually the same type of fabric as my other, flowery blouse.

Here is the front:

It's pretty cute and loose. I chose it as my first modern pattern attempt in a while, since it's meant to be loose. I accidentally cut the front for a different view so it is shorter. So I tapered the front to the back, so the back would be a little longer.

I also changed the pattern to make the back button up. It's a cute detail and I like it. Yes, the buttonholes are slightly uneven, which makes the back look a little wonky. I doubt anyone who doesn't sew would notice.

The buttons are a dark teal and are ceramic. Aren't they cool? They were part of a whole bunch my aunt sent me.

I also busted out the foot hemmer to give it a try. I was inspired by Susan's blog, where she gives tutorials on using the different feet on her vintage machine, which is the same one as my machine. I practiced on a scrap for a minute or two, but I am nothing if not impatient.

As you can see, my hem is a little wonky as well, but the foot is awesome. It makes the tiniest 1/8 inch hem. The picture above is bright, since the flash caught the foot, but it spirals the fabric under, so all you need to do is feed it in straight (my problem, apparently).

At this point, having been sewing somewhat seriously for about a year now, I feel like I could call myself an "intermediate" sewer. I know how to work my machine, use different feet, make buttonholes, set a sleeve, draft my own patterns, and so on. Granted, not all of these areas are perfect, but I am making progress. I still suck at putting in zippers, but that is because I like to rush and hate basting.

Cheers to progress!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden green

The green beans are shooting up insanely fast- they sprouted up about 2 days ago and are already almost five inches tall.
I call this Darwin's Garden. It's all of my leftover herb seeds tossed together, it gets a mediocre amount of sun- it is the survival of the fittest! At this point the basil seems to be winning.

This is one of the cherry tomato plants; I already ate two that were ripe!

I also read an article in the paper Saturday's paper about vegetable varieties that thrive in Louisiana heat, which seems necessary. Most of the plants that are big seems fine, but the little ones are struggling. Next year, I will plant the seeds earlier.

I've also been sewing- more on that later!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Holy Moly!

I've made some progress on my polyester dress. Having never attempted to match stripes, I am quite pleased with my work. The off part under the armpit is because of the side-boob dart.
The pattern pieces for the facings were gone, so I made them myself. At one point I sewed one on backwards, put the other on correctly, the sat down to watch tv while picking out the wrong one. I stood up, looked at it, and realized I picked out the one that was on right. Yeah, girl!
I bought some Butterick patterns on sale at JO-Ann. Omg, I had no idea patterns cost 14-18.95 each! Jeez, who would even pay full price for that? They are all "super easy" and "easy." I could draft them myself, but these were on sale for 1.99.
I like all of these styles. The red blouse up top will be made up first in a light, white cotton. Somehow, I am going to make it button up the back. That should be easy enough.

Andrew has gone to visit his family for a week (aka abandoned me) so I bet I will get a lot of sewing done. Plus, it's the last week of school, so all I need to do is show up! Yay! Free time, how I have missed you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

French Twist

In the morning:
Last time I wore this blouse, I had my hair down and maybe 2 people commented on it. This time, I pulled it up and about a million people commented. The cute detail like the collar and ruffles are more obvious with my hair up. One of the 7th grade boys said "you look like an old-fashioned person," which is somewhat insightful for a 7th grade boy.

After school. It held up all day! What a miracle. Thanks to Elnett, the greatest hairspray on the planet. It came out in the US about a year ago and all of my magazines were raving about its magical wonders. I wanted to see if it was true, and it was! I love it! In the US, you can only buy it at Target.
It gave me curls again!

And I even got a picture of the back this time!

Anyways, sorry to be boring. I used to try to do this with my hair all the time when it was longer, and I always failed, so this is new and exciting.

Parting note:
(6th grade students of mine talking about my hair)
First one: Look, she has a French twist.
Second one: It's because she speaks French!

Sorry about the underlining, I don't know how it did that, so I can't fix it. This weekend I am going to slap together the 70's dress. So far the darts are a go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bean there, done that

The lighting is bad, but here is the location of future beans. Andrew built the bed with wood that was just lying around, and the future bean poles are old window bars that were leaning against the shed. They probably were torn off after hurricane Katrina, so I doubt the landlord will care. The only cost was for topsoil and the beans.
Here is my frame!! I love it. I bought it at a random junky garage sale where everything he had had water damage. It was bare wood with a bunch of nails and staples in it and was kind of mildewed.
It took three coats of Honey Oak stain and then three coats of clear varnish to give it a nice gloss. I think the picture shows how gigantic the frame is- easily 3' x 3'. I think it is beautiful.
As you can see, it has lovely carved details on the outside edges. Andrew is going to paint a life-size portrait of the dog for it. I took the best picture on my cell phone, which I can't get to upload onto the computer. He is sitting in my green armchair on an afghan in the sun, and is staring at the camera with his tongue stickling ever-so-slightly out of his mouth. I love that dog, he is my baby.

Frame wrap-up:

Total cost: 20$ (5 for frame, rest for brush and stains)
Time I procrastinated finishing it: 13 months (egad!)
Actual time invested (labor): 3 hours


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The public has spoken!

Well, ladies, I guess we are going with the blue version.

The plus side is the blue and grey are the same pattern, which I opened and pressed. Since they are the same piece with and without darts, I will be able to baste the darts, see if it screws up the stripes, and then go from there.

It also has a pattern for a 3/4 length blouse, which I think I will make at some later date.

Since the fabric is so stretchy, so you think I could omit a zipper and just pull it over my head?

This is OUR dress now, so feel free to chime in with advice and judgement! :)

Also, Andrew and I just made a new raised bed in the back yard and planted green beans. It's now pouring, so maybe I'll have pictures tomorrow!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Striped Dress is Finished! (with pics)

So, the dress is finally done. The waist is unfortunately snug, due to not cutting the skirt front on the fold. Other than that, it's pretty cute. All pictures were taken by Andrew in City Park, which is beautiful.I am going to try to make better photo shoots.
The dog is gnawing on his foot, I think he stepped on a stinging caterpillar.
From the side.
The tie in the back. My hair looks nice in the back? Wow. You can see how the upper back is soo poofy over the shoulder blades. That will be fixed in the final version.
The front, which is cute.

Minus the sausage feeling around my waist, I like it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pattern Poll- Come and vote!

I finished the striped dress yesterday, but the weather is rainy and gloomy, so no pictures quite yet. I also sewed down the facings on the sleeves and the neck. I pinned up the hem to let it sit overnight and to think about it, but I like it as is.

To refresh your memory, here is the fabric I will use. If you look at yesterday's post, you can see all of it. These are to show some detail.

Choice 1- Blue dress

It has a one piece front, to minimize matching the print, and a few darts for fit.

Option 2- Grey dress with belt

It also has a one piece front, and no darts, so the print will be intact. However, it might look very sack-like.
Choice 3- Pink dress, but without the sleeves

It would be semi-fitted with that one long, diagonal dart. The stomach looks kind of poofy, even in the sketch.
Anyways, vote and let me know. I'll make whichever one is in the lead by Tuesday or Wednesday, probably!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garage Sale Loot

I of course went to bed at 9:30 instead of finishing the dress- it looks less smock-like on a person.
Andrew modeling a funky polyester I got at a garage sale. Stay tuned, I am going to make a poll for which pattern to use with it. The flash dulled the colors, they are even brighter!!! 1 dollar.
These were 10 bucks but sooo cool. They are 4-5 inches high and made of painted metal. Aren't they cool?
This semi-frightening painting is on canvas. Parts of it are made 3-D with yarn and stuff. Andrew is horrified by it and was trying to talk me out of it, even after I made it clear it is going in my classroom. It looks loosely Inca/Maya/Aztec enough for world history. It was 10 bucks, which is as cheap as a poster.
Andrew, modeling our new towel-apron covered in giant, scary pansies.
And that is all for today!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend goals and giveaway dress pics!

Look! Cheryl (my giveaway winner) got her dress and it fits and she likes it- how cool is that?
You can read her post on it here: beep!

I have been staining a picture frame that I bought at a garage sale last spring. It is on its first coat of clear varnish, so i hope I can finish it up this weekend and get some good pictures. It's a really awesome, seemingly hand-carved frame that's maybe 2 1/2 by 3 feet.

My blue striped dress is nearly finished. If I can find anything not-horrifically bad on tv tonight I will finish the hand sewing- sleeve and neck facings and the hem. It is definitely falling into muslin category. Since I screwed up and didn't cut the skirt front on the fold, the waist is extremely tight. I feel like a snausage. But I am learning about what to adjust for the final version, which I picture in a nice eggplant purple fabric with a lining. And I never do linings!

I also want to do the hand sewing on my cape. It still needs the armhole and neck facings sewn down and the bottom hemmed. This sounds like a weekend of hand sewing, which I dislike. Boo.

On a happier note, my frame is awesome and maybe I'll go to some garage sales. Plus, the students have exams this coming week, so all I need for Monday and Tuesday are typed up lesson plans. That is so much more free time!!

School happiness:

Not only will I have my own classroom next year and not move from room to room with my stinkin cart, I will only be teaching 6th grade!! Yay!!!! Or as my boyfriend puts it, half as much work for the same amount of money. Lol. Next year will be infinitely better! (9 more school days!!)

Well, that's my life for the last week. Hope yours is good too!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I felt super lazy this morning with my hair, and didn't feel like making the ends tuck under after blowing the top dry. So, I pulled it up in a French twist, which is amazingly easy now that my hair is so much shorter. After a whole day of school and French Club after school (I am the only sponsor :( because no one else speaks French) my pins were de-braining me. Well, that's what it felt like! But, look- when I took them out I got half-curls!!
I wish I had gotten a picture of the back, but the camera was dying and trying to turn itself off. My hair is very unwilling to curl, so I was excited.

In case you can't tell, I haven't been sewing much. I have merely been lounging around enjoying the 80 degree evenings before it heats up more and the AC goes on until September.

I hope everyone is having a a good week!

P.S. I did not make this dress. I bought it for 20 bucks at Target in XS without even trying it on, and shockingly, it fits pretty well. Other than making my hair look ginger, it's a nice hot weather dress.

P.P.S. I didn't wear it to school! Not appropriate!

P.P.P.S. My winner of the Little House on the Prairie Dress is Cheryl! She is a history teacher as well and likes to sew, so I chose her! Hopefully, she will send us a picture of the dress being enjoyed! Go visit her blog: