Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finally, some sewing loot!

On Friday after work I was able to go to that estate sale of the two spinster sisters who loved to sew. I am sure that it had already been picked over quite a bit, but there was still a lot of stuff. 

There was a whole room of fabric, but it seemed like they hoarded solid, bright colors in heavy polyester. Ick. I found six prints that I liked. 
 The blue and pink flowers are sheers, a magenta flower print and the blue rectangles is a heavy 60s style poly. Who knows... The light green has a nice faux Asian print and then blue polka dots. So the fabric was $15, but it's definitely enough for six dresses.
 The trims were $3 a card, so I only got three. Just for reference, the cards are like a foot long. Each of these trims are about an inch wide. Shades of blue, Murica red white and blue, and a hot pink with flowers in the center.
 There were two pattern cabinets full of patterns and they had them organized by style. It was mostly 60s-90s heavy. I wonder what they did with their older ones? Or they got into sewing later in life? It was fun to dig through and everything was a 32/34 bust, so that was cool.
 Some dresses, a nice costume pattern, some embroidery guides.
 Nightgowns, a Swirl style wrap dress and the "romance on a bridge" one just made me laugh.
Unopened tracing paper and a nice McCalls with an elastic(!) waist! I'm definitely making that one!

There were also just rooms of clothes they had made for themselves, but none was really my style. Just tons of solid bright colors and short sleeve boxy blouses. There was also a strange hipster girl with a tri-pod camera taking pictures of things in an artsy way. That was interesting. 

All in all, some good loot! I think the total was like 35 bucks. Yay!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Leapingly Lovely Leggins

Since I had leftover knit from my Renfrew I just made, I decided to try out my legging pattern, McCalls 6173. There are two versions: one with side seams and one where the leg is all one piece. I made the second. I bought this on sale at Jo-Anns for 99 centimes.
I declined to read the instructions, of course. I am TOOOO smart for that! (You see where this leads...) So then, since there was no waistband piece, I just folded it down over the elastic and stitched. Then I went to try them on and OH my god I looked like a recent entry on "people of walmart"!!! They were soooo indecently low and made quite the magnificent muffin top. I took some pictures to show Andrew later for laughs and then ripped it all out. I then made a normal waistband and they look fine. 

I modeled them for with my matching shirt for dramatic effect:
 I made an extra small and they are too tight. I foresee blowing out a seam in the near future. Also the back does not accommodate my butt and when I sit it slides down too much.
 I think next time I will try the other version with side seams and see if that fits better...
 So that pattern was a dollar, the fabric was a gift and I already had the elastic, so let's say the leggings cost $1. Nice!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Knit Renfrew for spring!

Last week I wanted an easy project to follow on the heels of an epic fail, which I will post later in the week. I decided I would make a Renfrew with some of the knit fabric I received from Alicia last month. So here is my pattern, I made the cowl neck but with short sleeves. 
At first when I wore it I wasn't happy with it hardly at all. Now, looking at the pictures, I like it more. For some reason I made a zero instead of a 2. The sleeves are a little too tight. For future reference...

Close-up of the neck, which is nice. 

I think I could use a little more ease in the bust, so that back wouldn't pull like that. Again, should have made a 2.
I used a knit needle and that's about it, since my machine does not do anything other than straight stitch. Finishing with the bands solves the problem of horribly home-made looking hems. I had Andrew take pictures and as we went outside he was confused as to what I had made. So I think it looks store bought. its certainly not worse than anything from Forever 21!

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April Giveaway Winner!

The winner for April's giveaway is SunnySewing! Sunny, please email me your mail address at mollysewsblog /at/! Thanks for entering everyone!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Cambie Bridesmaids Dresses

For background, here is everyone helping me choose the fabric from four choices. I ended up going with a celery green silk dupioni from Fishman's Fabrics here in Chicago. The lining is Nude Bemberg rayon. The fabric came out to about $75 per dress, which is way nicer and still less money than a David's Bridal anything!

I decided on the Cambie dress long before; actually, I let Stephanie and Vicky choose between that and the Lonsdale and that's what they wanted. Oh, I am so democratic. 

Here are some under construction photos when the dress was almost complete: here

My mom made Vicky's dress, as they live near each other. It looked wonderful! 
 I made Stephanie's a sewed in the zipper the morning of the wedding, thereby forcing my mom to sew the lining to the zipper. Both dresses had to have the lining shorted a bit; the silk poofs out because it is crisp, but the lining falls straight so it was handing out a little. Mom fixed that as well. Thanks, Mom!

Steph reading my poem selection by ee cummings

Nice side view

before the ceremony. What great bridesmaids!
They looked great and the dresses turned out exactly as I wanted! Yay!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sewing for Stephanie's Wedding

Now, this is a little behind the times, since Stephanie got married the weekend after I did. MMMhhhmmm, such a copy cat. :) So we stayed with them in New Orleans for the week in between, which was great. Andrew and I got to hang out with all of our parents before they headed home and enjoy the New Orleans sunshine.

I did do one productive thing that week though! Stephanie had a St. Patrick's Day themed wedding reception during the Irish Channel Parade, so she wanted two green sashes made: one for the wedding the night before and one for the party. A friend from work was supposed to make it for her, but didn't, with no explanation  So I looked around online and found a sewing studio where you could rent a machine by the hour, called Sew Fabulous in the Riverbend. I called and left a message and both ladies called me back really promptly and I was able to go the next morning and make the sashes with the fabric Steph had.

It was super cute inside
 Maybe I've been in Chicago too long, but I was expecting an hour to be like 30 bucks or so. Wrong, it was only 10! And the owner came by and was super friendly and helped me with the second sash. It was fun! The also do classes for all levels and then open studio time, too. It was really cute and the sashes turned out fine.
The owner helped me with one sash and I was out the door in less than an hour!
The ceremony was at Steven's parents house for a small group and then there was a big crawfish boil to celebrate with everyone. Stepahnie bought her dress the day before my wedding when we stopped in Trashy Diva (a vintage-style clothing store) the day before my wedding. I bought my rehearsal dinner dress and she bought her wedding dress! We made this sash more like a cummerbund to match the shape of the midriff of the dress. It turned out a little bit big, because Stephanie and Steven were at the ceremony where he found out where they are going for his residency(!) so she couldn't be there to try it on.
 At the ceremony, where we all cried.
 Crawfish boil fun! Andrew destroyed his shirt, but Stephanie kept her dress nice, which is a feat!
The parade wedding party was the next day and she had a different dress, so it got its own sash. This one was more like a long ribbon-type sash in a brighter green. Steven had an awesome green suit, as well!
So cute!

See, it matches the wig!
Their cat clawed up Steven's face the day before the wedding, which we just covered with a little makeup. However, there was a face-painter there, so Steven had some wolverine claw marks painted on. So funny!

It was a super fun weekend! Congrats to Steph and Steven! Yay!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April Giveaway

Here is April's giveaway!

While these are pretty tiny, they all have very simple lines and would be easy to grade up, I think!
Winner gets all four patterns and I will mail them anywhere.

 McCalls 5129 pattern for making costume bonnets, one size. Would anyone like to be Laura Ingalls Wilder for a day? lol. Also, McCalls 7662 (30-32 bust)for a simple A-line dress with patch pockets.
We also have Simplicity 9526 (28 bust) and 9521(22 waist 28 hips): a dress/tunic in an A-line or an A-line shorts/skirt that can also be overalls. Haha.

Leave a comment to enter by Monday night at midnight! I also listed some more patterns on my etsy shop, too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Trench-coat for Spring! Robson patten testing

While I was hard-core procrastinating on my wedding dress, I received an email about pattern testing from Tasia at Sewaholic Patterns. I have done pattern testing a few times and it is always super fun: knowing a secret before everyone else, being helpful, making something cute, a free pattern...etc. So I was like "aww yeah." In the past I did pattern testing for the Minoru jacketCambie dress, Alma blouse one and two, and Thurlow shorts. Those were all fairly simple and came together quickly. It's important to note at this point: it was mid-January, about 5 weeks out from my wedding with the dress not started, and you don't know what the pattern is until you are chosen. 

So I get my email and find out its for a trench coat. Hmm. I might be a procrastinator, but I am not a quitter, and thus I continued on. I made Andrew that birthday trench a few year ago, so I fully understood the time commitment needed. (Note: that is the only thing I have ever made that made it to Burda's best of the month thing.)

 Here is the sketch for the Robson coat:

Buy it here!

So I proceed to make the coat, which is made from a cheetah print quilter's cotton and underlined with beige polka dot flannel. Since it is unlined, like any true trench, the seams are bound with beige binding, and then hot pink after I ran out. It is quite a coat... very flashy and yet neutral. I have yet to wear it out of the house and not have someone comment on it!

I think I am going to hem it a bit shorter, but other than that I really like it. Sewing it was exactly as predicted and I didn't really have many changes to suggest; her instructions keep it simple and are infinitely better than the Vogue one from Andrew's coat.

 Cuff details:
 It's double breasted and has rain flaps, not that you can see them.
 Wearing it open feels a little too creepy-flasher:
 However, I did have to flash you once to see the inside, which is the fuzzy flannel. The arms are the only part bound in hot pink. I bought three or four packages, but I should have got one more.
 Belt loops, belt, inseam faux-welt pockets:
 The back has the trench flat and a button and epaulet shoulder tabs.
 Collar and front flaps. My buttons are beige and disappear magically.
It is not a difficult pattern. I think an advanced beginner could do it. It just takes more time. You just need to be able to do buttonholes, top-stitching and binding seams. If you can do those, then you're golden! I would say it cost about $60 because I underlined it, so that was twice as much fabric. It used about 4 yards. I finished it during pattern testing by making myself sit down and sew an hour each day. It probably took about 10 hours and then it took me a month to sit down and sew on all the buttons. OH hand sewing, so easy to procrastinate!

Overall, it was a fun coat to make and now I have another jacket to wear for the in-between-ness of Spring weather!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sewing My Wedding Dress: the Skirt

 Finally, here is the construction of my skirt! My final inspiration was a mermaid style skirt, which is the look I wanted with the vintage McCalls pattern that I just could get. Finally, I gave up on that waste of time and I pulled out the pieces to Vogue 1183, that I had recently used to make a wool dress. The skirt was about right for the waist and hips: seams, not darts and it fit decently, if I added a bit of room.
So I made a muslin, adding about an inch at the center front and back so that it wasn't as tight as the wool dress (duh I am not a 6!). Then I tapered the pieces in at the knee and flared them out into a fan shape at the bottom. Then I added a godet to the center front. As you can see below, since it was cut on the fold, it lacked the flare of the other points. The godet gave it the same shaping, while also eliminating the need for a center seam. 

BG: before godet

Masterful iphone pic
At that point, I had about 2 weeks until the wedding so it was like "Let's go!"

The skirt is three distinct layers. China silk lining, silk charmeuse underlining with the shiny side in, and then of course my top layer of lace. After some internet snooping, I decided all the layers needed to be distinct to give the best floatyness. 

Here you can see the flare of the final skirt and the center godet. 
Here is a close-up of the joint. I did a really wonky job on the two lower layers, so for the lace I did french seams on one side and then top-stitched down the left side to be sure there would be no puckers or bumps.
I made french seams on the lace skirt, but did not finish the seams on the underskirts because they are hidden. Lol, I never finish seams, why would my wedding dress be any different?
french seams
Somehow I miscalculated on the French seams, though and it ended up being too snug. The lace was tighter than the silk layers beneath. It was really only tight over the widest part of my his, just below where the zipper ends. I would have just left it as is, since time was getting short, but I felt like it was distorting the lace and might tear it. I ended up adding a tiny insert to the center back seam below the zipper, which you can see between the red pins in the picture below. Very hard to see, and no one would even notice.
I was able to use the scallops on the hem, which turned out to be the perfect way to hem the lace. It gave a very nice finish and I am really happy with the final look. The underskirts are both machine hemmed in a shoddy and molly-like way. Aka, no one can see them! ;)
I hemmed it at just the right length where it looked nice with the heels I bought for the ceremony and then still didn't drag on the ground after I switched to flats. Bam, genius!
See, works with flats too!

Nice swish when I walked

Overall, I would say it cost about $300 and I am not even going to guess how long it took if you count all the muslins and fittings. I am super proud of myself and am happy to say "I made my own wedding dress!!!"