Monday, January 31, 2011

The Greatest Photo Ever Taken

This is probably my favorite picture ever. I took it on my cell phone last year, at the end of February. Those are my birthday flowers on the table. It is so excellent, and T-Rex looks so regal.
If you remember my frame that I refinished, this is the picture Andrew promised to paint in oil paints and then hang it in the living room.

He looks so stately, until you notice his tongue hanging out of his mouth a tad.


PS I finally made a muslin for my military dress, and I am going to use it, but it looked so terrifying that I didn't take a picture of it. I hope to at least cut out the pieces tomorrow. I helped with Cooking Club's first meeting today, where they made a pizza bagel, and Sewing Club is on Wednesday, and tomorrow morning is my doughnut party for kids who have ten or more homework passes (One HW pass is for a week of completed homework, and only replaces one assignment- these are the eight kids who do so much homework that they never use their passes and just save them up. I love them; I would have been that kid too, saving them just in case! I used to save stickers and never use them. That kid!) Long and busy week ahead, but I want to get some sewing done!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

February Goals

First, I have to recap my January goals to see if I made any progress:

1. Cut out coat fabric and baste to underlining- CHECK!
2. Make Stephanie a birthday dress- CHECK!
3. Make a 70s sundress- CHECK!
Extra bonus- learned how to add bra cups to a dress
4. Make the hilarious pajama set- CHECK!
Extra bonus- I made a pair of slippers!
5. Make a pair of gloves- I have them cut out and one thumb is partially attached. (That sounds like the lead in to all those horrible medical shows I love)
6. Draft pattern for my military-inspired dress- I bought some thread to match (bronze green) and I plan on doing that this weekend.

February Goals!

1. After putting out both of the quilt I made for the pajama photo shoot, it made me look at them closely. I love my quilts, but they are made to be used, and they get washed in the machine. There are quite a lot of seams coming apart, so I need to mend them.

2. Sew the outer shell of the coat, Vogue 755.

3. Make this dress, Simplicity 2918. I am going to make the one on the left out of this blue geometric fabric. The squares are made up of squiggly lines, if you look closely.
4. Make this dress, which I have made before here. I wear that dress all the time. It is cute, but loose and comfortable and it has pockets. I bought this fabric over Xmas at that giant fabric store in Portland, and I already had a bunch of grey buttons.
5. Make this dress, McCalls 5972. I want to make the one to the right because it has an interesting collar.
6. I want to finish my gloves too, and sew in my labels into everything I have made. I always forget to do that.

7. I also bought the Pendrell pattern from Sewaholic. I am so stingy- it was hard to actually pay more than a dollar for a pattern, but I love Tasia, and it is good to support independent pattern designers, too! It might not get here from Canada for awhile, so that might be a March goal.

8. Super important! I just bought my and Andrew's tickets to Oregon for Anna's wedding, so I need to hem my bridesmaid dress!

So, we'll see. I am always open to making things on a whim, as well, so who knows!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I random number generated some winners, and none of them wanted the same patterns, so that was super easy!

The first winner is Marie, with the blog A Sewing Odyssey! She wanted Simplicity 8955 and the McCalls in the same picture.

The second winner is Riange, of RiAnge Creations. She wanted Simplicity 3989 and 4252.

The third winner is Katherine, of Something in the Way She Sews. She wanted the 34 B Butterick and Vogue.

Great! Winners, if you could email me your mailing address to mollysewsblog (at) gmail (dot) com. By Saturday morning would be wonderful, since then I could mail them on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A little coat progress- underlining complete!

I must admit, cutting out the wool was stressful. It all fit, and I made no mistakes because I took my time. The front pieces were the worst, because they are gigantic- the front is the bodice and skirt and sleeve all in one piece. So as I was distracted laying it out singly and cutting it twice, I look up to see my "helper" helping stink up a hundred-some dollars of wool. What a brat! Look at him studiously ignoring me!
All the pictures are a little dark, since it's night. The light blue is the flannel underlining, the dark blue is my wool.
It worked out perfectly, since I now have each piece with no marks on the wool, and all of the marks on the flannel in marker. The pattern has about ten million marks you need to transfer: darts, slits, seam allowances that change on a whim, button placement for 15 buttons, etc. I basted it on the machine, of course! I spend all my patience on 6th graders at school; I have no patience for slow sewing!
This is the interfacing I am going to use. It is Pellon Shape-Flex, a woven fusible one made from cotton. I am pleased. My sample gave it nice bit of stiffness, but not too much. You do have to fuse it with a damp cloth, but that's fine.
The coat is going to be super warm! It still has nice, heavy drape and isn't really all that bulky at all. I'm excited!

My next project, and second to last January goal: making a pair of gloves. The pattern is the glove I deconstructed and traced; the fabric is an eggplant/aubergine purple. It's pretty- the light is bad.
Don't forget to enter the giveaway, if you haven't already! I will be drawing names tomorrow or Thursday night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Slippers- Simplicity 7424

I bought this pattern at one of those great estate sales where the people desperately want to get rid of stuff, instead of overcharging for junk. I got this, and an apron pattern, and my sewing box pattern and a bunch of zippers and stuff for like $2. Cool.

It is Simplicity 7424 from 1948. It gives you the two styles of slippers and then a million transfers for embroidery. I know how to do some embroidery, but I don't like it, so I left that off. My fabric is busy enough, as well.
Look at the instructions! One page, tiny font, no pictures (except the eight embroidery stitches you need to use)! So I was left to puzzle this out on my own.
Here are all of the transfers. It looks like the original owner made a pair of medium sized slippers and used some transfers, but there are so many left. I wonder if they would even still work 63 years later?
I made the medium, since they were already cut out. I cut 2 soles and four sides for each foot. Then I sewed 2 sides together along the foot hole and repeated for the other 2. The i put them together and sewed the toe and heel seams. At that point I got stumped and thought that I had ruined it all.

Then I figured out how to turn them right side out, and it was fine. I sewed the soles together and turned them out. Then, instead of basting the top part, I just sewed the two pieces together along the bottom, to secure them. The pattern wants you to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Then I slip stitched (or whip stitched?) the top to the sole. However, when I got near the toe I saw that there was much more fabric for the top than the sole, so I made some random tucks near the toe to use up the extra fabric. See below.
For the second one, I learned from this. When I basted the top together, I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance and trimmed the extra away. This made it fit perfectly together. So #2 look much nicer.

When I was done I showed them to Andrew. He said they looked nice but this (pointing to the whip stitching) looks kind of.... Then he said "Why don't you just?" and turned them inside out. I was like "Oh, duh, they're reversible!" And that made them look so much better.

Inside (or right) side out below.
Medium ended up being kind of baggy (for size 6 feet), but I can wear them with socks, which is good. If I make them again, I would make a small, and make them out of a warmer fabric. I think I saw some fake sheepskin at a fabric store recently, that would be delightful.

The used maybe 1/4 or 1/2 a yard of fabric and the machine sewing took maybe and hour, and the hand sewing took 1.5 episodes of Rome, so maybe another hour and a half. I am slow at hand sewing.

It was fun! Everyone should make some slippers!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway, if you want some patterns!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pajama Par-tay!!!

In case you've forgotten the spectacle I have been working on this week, here is my pattern and materials:
It was all simple to make, but I did make 5 pieces total: curler cap, top, "panties" (that's what the pattern calls them!), and a pair of slippers.

I was absolutely incompetent at rolling my hair in curlers, so Andrew helped me. He is so wonderful, and it's so nice that he willing supports all of my insane plans. Sorry that these had to be in my bedroom, but I would not wear this in public(!) and they are supposed to be pajama!

Reading a trashy romance novel, actually one that I own and like. Anyone else read Eloisa James?
My curler cap, proudly supported by real curlers.
The back. The top has three buttons, which are hard to make out in the busy print. Being a genius, I did the curlers before I put on the top. LOL.
When T-Rex saw me with the curlers he started barking. HAhahahha. He wanted to bite my feet in the slippers as well. I will do a separate post on the slippers, which were fairly easy and fun to make.
The "panties"!
The full ensemble!
Laughing at Andrew's suggestion of some not so family friendly poses
Anyways, it was fun to make. My arms and legs are freezing, but my body and head are warm.

What DO you think???

200 Follower Giveaway!

I have some vintage patterns that I will never make, in a variety of sizes! I will choose three winners next Wednesday. All you need to do is be, or become, a follower and then leave a comment with the two patterns you would like best!

On to the sizes: (left to right)

McCalls 38 B, Butterick 30 B

Simplicity 32 B, Simplicity 32 B
Butterick 34 B, Vogue 34 B
Simplicity 34 B, Simplicity 34 B
Simplicity 36 B, McCalls 36 B
Advance 36 B, Simplicity 36 B
I hope these fit and appeal to some of you. There is no reason for me to have patterns I will never make!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exciting technology

I finally bought a tiny memory card for my phone, and was able to put the pictures on the computer. Some of them are funny and random, and I'll post from time to time.

These are the two (main) stray cats that I have been feeding. The girl across the street used to feed them on her porch, but then she moved maybe two months ago. They weren't her cats, she was just nice and fed them.

So now they are mine. Or as much mine as stray cats that Andrew won't let me adopt can be!

This is One-Eye, who I have recently decided to call Uno. Get it? He really does only have one eye. There is fur where his left eye would be. A very striking cat though! He knows T-Rex is a moron and keeps his distance.
This is my beloved favorite, who I call Snickers, like the candy bar. Snickers is smart and awesome. He has been super tolerant of T-Rex, never once ripping his face open when he acts like a moron. He lets the dog smell him, and jam his face up in his whiskers and so on.

Sometimes he runs, like today, when the dog came barking and lunging out the door, apparently to snatch a mouthful of cat food from the stray cat. Really, fat dog? You want to eat cheap-o cat food, instead of your expensive dog food I buy for you? Jerk.

Snickers is smart. He learned my schedule, so he knows the best time to wait for me to feed him. I took this today. He was waiting for me nearby, and then when I parked he came over. He lets me pet him and everything. XOXO, I love Snickers! PS, Snicks has half a tail, so I guess they are both "interesting" cats!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hilarity in Progress

Don't pee your pants laughing (or do, actually) but these are the pajamas I am making, in this pink and green wiener dog fabric, with the yoke trim in green pom-poms. Ahh!
I am making the center view, with ruffler diaper shorts, a puff-sleeve baby doll top and the curler cap. How monumentally awesome!

I am nearly finished with all three pieces, and I have a little left over fabric. Therefore, I dug out this awesome 1948 pattern I got at a garage sale in Oregon a few years ago. To complete my ensemble of ridiculousness I am going to make view 3, the black ones in the center, but without embroidery.
I hope you are as excited as I am- there will be some HILARIOUS photos on Saturday!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stephanie's Dress with Pictures

Fortunately, Stephanie's dress fit very well. She wanted her photo shoot to follow the evening out, to show the versatility of this dress.


Looking for paparazzi. Finding none.

At the Carousel Bar, where Stephanie got her picture taken with the piano man.
At the bar, which looks like a carousel and spins slowly.
Suffering for fashion. She wants you to know we were all wearing our coats and laughing during these pictures.
See, it has pockets!
Admiring chimp art.
Pretending to order food at a bar.
Not denting the hood of her own car.
It was fun and I'm glad she likes her dress!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

70s Sundress Pictures

This is the pattern I used, McCalls 4534 from the 70s. It was dated, I think 1975. Contrary to how it appears, the cape is sewn in to the neckline, so I left that off and made the girl in blue. The fabric and pattern were gifts from my mom. The fabric has tiny white flowers.
It was in the 60s and somewhat sunny today, so it was much better for pictures. We stopped to take pictures on the way to the library, in front of my favorite mansion on St Charles Avenue. I call it the Wedding Cake House, since it looks like one to me- very elaborate and frou-frou.
I understand the logic of having front center seams, since the skirt is cut to be shaped without making darts. But I always feel like you get that weird line, and it wants to settle between my legs, instead of being smooth. Pah.

Isn't this house awesome?
The print loses some of the details in the pictures. It has an empire waist seam, and a top-stitched yoke that makes the straps. It was my first attempt at adding padded bra cups, which was fairly successful. I can take little credit for these puppies.
I think it is somewhat snug, but Andrew is quite pleased. He seems to think this dress is very sexy. I guess most of what I sew are not-tight, work dresses. Maybe I should continue my running, which I have not done one single day in the new year. That would make it a bit looser.
The back. I think the lack of darts contributed to those pulling wrinkles. I have never done a sway back adjustment, but this dress could have used one. I handpicked this zipper too, and it looks good, but not awesome.
Overall, I am mostly pleased with this dress. When the weather warms up, it will be nice to wear around. And any dress that doesn't require the torture of a strapless bra is a win in my book!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Birthday Dress Details

There are a only a few sewing techniques that, after I learned them, made me say OMFG that made my life SO MUCH better!!! Learning to use the Singer Button hole attachment would be one; pick-stitching a zipper would be the second. I am totally a convert. Now I can simply and successfully close a garment with buttons or a zipper and know that it is going to look splendiferous! It's exciting.

Tomorrow night we are going to get drinks and do Stephanie's photo shoot, but here are some details before the dress leaves my possession. I actually tried to do some finishing and nice details. I don't care about such things, but it makes a gift nicer.

I hemmed it by hand and finished the raw edge with ribbon.

I did the same for the neck facings. You can see the big stitches of my zipper; I am still amazed that pick stitches hold it in so securely.I even added a hook and eye at the top! (Now you are probably just saddened at the level of slacking on my projects for myself). The side seams and armholes are still pinked. I like pinking. I know some people say it's lazy, but I like how it looks, and any vintage dress I've ever bought had pinked seams. Good enough for me!
If it wasn't for the flash, the zipper would have been entirely unnoticeable. Score!
Three day weekend in honor of MLK, so hopefully I can get some sunlit pictures of my sundress too! Have a good weekend!