Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pillow Gallery

Way back in 2009, Christy from Sew Much Fabric, Sew Little Time made a great skirt from the coolest fabric I'd ever seen.  Even though cards and chess aren't my thing, I was drawn to this fabric--such cool colors and graphics and...PRETZELS!

I sent Christy an email, asking if maybe, just maybe, she had any scraps left.  She DID!  And she sent them to me!  Finally, three years later, I used the biggest piece to make a pillow for the guest room bed.  The pretzels didn't make it onto the front of the pillow, so I immortalized them on the back.

I love this little gallery of a few of my favorite vintage prints!  Maybe one day I'll follow up by getting some up swatches up on the wall as well.  It's a shame to keep them stashed away in a bin.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rickety Rack, Please Talk Back

In the middle of a refashion and looking for input!  I've had this vintage Sanibel skirt for bloomin' ever and decided today is the day to shorten it up and make it wearable.  It started out as knee-length, and I took off about five inches, making it much less dowdy!  As I was measuring, I realized it had been hemmed once before, so I Googled and up pops this:

I had been planning on adding a bit of white trim...

 ...but now I'm considering other colors.

 These are all trims I had on hand.  I'm a little way of rick rack looking too...I don't know, Raggedy Ann?

But I do like that pink!

Then I found the mother of all rick racks! (When did I even get this?)

Maybe on the edge to make a scalloped hem?

One more!

Which do you like best?  I swear I try to be more sophisticated sometimes, but I can't help myself when I come across these Lilly-esque prints! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Leopard Spotted

I've always liked a good leopard print, whether or not it happens to be trendy.  Note I said a good leopard print.  People often consider animal prints tacky, and they certainly can go very wrong, but I think they can also look very elegant and sophisticated.  This particular print also reminds me a little of the amazing fabric Christian Siriano used for one of his collections which was reproduced from a photo of a Mediterranean coastline.

I picked this fabric up at Gaffney's last summer.  It's a good bottomweight with a slight stretch.  I knew I wanted to make a straighter skirt, but I didn't want to take any chances with an untested pattern, so I used McCall's 3830 which I used a few times before

Of the versions I sewed previously, I prefer the one to which I added a waistband, so this skirt also got one.  I feel like that adds an extra bit of adjustability to a skirt which you don't get when you finish off the waist with a facing. 

And since I like to show off the inside as well, here is a shot of the hem and seams.  I love having a huge stockpile of thrifted seam bindings and Flexi-Lace so I can add in those little extra touches!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fabric Addiction

I went for a wander around JoAnn Fabrics the other day.  I paged through the New Look pattern book, smelled all the candles, and finally went looking to see if any fabrics caught my eye.  Blue and orange is one of my favorite combinations lately, so I grabbed this off the shelf the second I saw it. 

When I got to the cutting table, the sales clerk asked me what I planned to do with it.  My answer, "I have no idea," brought a round of laughs from all present.  Fabric-a-holics, you understand.

I bought two yards, but I am not sure if it's destined to become a skirt or a top.  A top may look a bit like scrubs, especially if worn with white pants.  Which gets your vote?

P.S.  The shoes I posted the other day are from Kmart and are just $15 right now.  I got them in both black and brown and wore them yesterday for the first time.  They were quite comfy for completely flat shoes!  Kmart has a lot of very cute shoes right now.  I would get these if I wore heels:

Or these if they would stay on my feet:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shoe Bee Doo


Cute or not?  What say you?

I'm looking for a more summery pair of shoes, but I don't like having a lot of foot showing.  My feet are long and thin and not pretty.  I also tried these, but they were a bit much for me:

What sort of shoes are you wearing this summer?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

To a Tee

Not to be a broken record, but whenever I sew something from a knit, I talk about how knits scare me.  They're slippery and stretchy and unpredictable, and for the most part, I avoid them.  But paging through pattern books, I am always drawn to a few designs for knits, and I promise myself I will keep trying until I get more comfortable and can sew knits with impunity!  I've also been wanting more printed tops, so when I saw this fabric, I grabbed some and went looking for an easy tee shirt pattern.  Practice!

I settled on New Look 6856.  It looked extremely easy (no sleeves to set in!), three pattern pieces, and I like a boatneck.  First things first:  What stitch do I use?  My mom always says to use a shallow zigzag.  I've done so successfully in the past, but when I started to read through the directions, I noticed a line about "stretch stitches built into many conventional machines."  Hmm.  Might I have a strech stitch and not even realize it?

Turns out I have a jersey stitch.  I tried it on a scrap of my fabric and liked how it behaved, so that's what I used for constructing the tee.  I also read about overlock seams, but that requires a foot I don't have yet. 

For the most part, sewing the tee was a cinch.  The side seams and the hems took about ten minutes.  The neck, though, that gave me trouble.  I understand the concept--you have to stretch the neck band without stretching the body of the shirt--but I haven't mastered the skill.  After much ado, I finally managed to do a respectable job.  The back isn't as smooth as I'd like, but it will do. 

I don't think the top turned out to have as much of a boatneck as I first thought it would be.  I checked photos of other finished tees on Pattern Review and had to laugh, because no two necklines look the same!  I think there was some improvising going on!

One important thing to note is that I didn't add even a smidge of length to this top.  It is designed to be a generous length.  Hooray for New Look!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

African Sunset

Back with another finished project!  This time it's Simplicity 2372, which is one of those sportswear patterns that doesn't look all that interesting on first glance.  The ensemble on the model did not appeal, but I wanted to give the top a try, because I'm always looking for simple patterns for cotton tops to wear in the summer.  In cases like this, I immediately remove all the pattern pieces unrelated to what I'm sewing and mark the envelope accordingly.  The cats love to have a pile of tissue to romp around in!  You can also use the pattern tissue as, well, tissue paper for wrapping little gifts.

The fabric is an African print I bought at the thrift shop, two yards for four dollars.  I wasn't actually crazy about the print, because I kept thinking of it as either bows or wrapped candies,but cutting in the other direction mitigated that, and now I really like it! The state of the price tag tells me I prewashed this at some point.  It's especially important to prewash ethnic fabrics like this, because you never know what sort of dyes they used.  I usually dump in about a half cup of salt for the first wash, to set the dye. 

I am pretty pleased with the result! 
I lined things up pretty well in the front...

...and in the back!

 There was one flaw in the fabric, which I didn't notice until it ended up right in the front.

I wore the top, as is, and it didn't seem too noticeable, but just to make myself feel better, I zigzagged over it with some matching thread, just to help it blend in.

My only problem was figuring out how to wear it.  The darkest color in the print is actually navy blue, but I don't own any navy bottoms.  I tried it with black for the pictures, but that seemed too stark.  Finally, I ended up wearing it with brown pants and a brown, beaded necklace.  I thought that did a nice job of warming it up!