Archive | March, 2012

Well I’ll Be Damned – It’s A Sleeve!

28 Mar

so proud of my sleeve
Well, what ya look at that?

Argh, sleeve!
My sweater has a sleeve!

yeah, sleeve!
Sleeves are awesome!

I think it’s safe to say I’ve got a pretty good handle on knitting in the round. I still have some areas I would like to improve – namely, pulling the yarn between the needles (I’m still getting little gaps occasionally), but I feel pretty good about my progress. And hey, a sleeve came out of it! Short rows, knitting in the round, lacework… and all!


It is a little tight, but not uncomfortably tight (I can still easily fit my hand between my arm & the sleeve). I’m not one to wear long sleeves (other than sweaters and hoodies), so I’m not too concerned about layers. And I haven’t blocked it yet, obviously, so I may be able to squeeze a little more room out of it.



decreasing at the elbow

I love the lacework & the decreasing at the elbow.

There are some boo-boos, though 😦



But you know what? I think it’s pretty good for a first try! I’m trying not to think about the fact that now I have to knit the OTHER sleeve lol. At least I can get more practice out of it, I guess 😉


As a side note, here is my next sewing project:
Next project - shirtwaist dress!
It doesn’t look like much, but there are actually 10 darts in that thing… and I haven’t even started the skirt yet. Eep.


Completed: Colette Parfait

27 Mar


Damn, y’all. I know I was all pumped about getting my Spring & Summer wardrobe‘s ass whipped into shape, but I didn’t realize I was going to rip through it so fast. WOE IS ME, WHAT IF I RUN OUT OF FABRIC.

Anyway, I made a Parfait! And this fabric… it might even be more delicious than it’s namesake (I know!). I bought 2 yards of this stuff… 4 years ago, I think? I had plans for some shitty sundress, but thankfully went into hoarder mode & it’s sat on my shelf since. It is the most amazing, soft, silky cotton voile I have EVER put my hands on… seriously wish I could cut a little swatch to mail to all of you. It feels sooooo good! And I’m not even a “purple” person (although, for some reason, everyone else seems to think I am. Must be my dark hair?), but I just love the purples & greys in this fabric. Love love love.


I’ve actually made this pattern up before – here’s the Craftster link. This time ’round, I size down to a 2 and omitted the pockets and facings. The top & midriff are lined with a lovely white batiste. I was afraid the skirt was going to be too sheer to wear without a slip (or underlining), but guess what – I have on TURQUOISE underwear in these pictures and ho ho ho I don’t see them at all! I will, however, approach direct sunlight with many precautions.

I don’t have much else to say about this pattern except pay attention to that cutting layout! The majority of those pieces are cut on the fold. I think the fabric requirements are pretty generous, though – I still have nearly 3/4 yard of this voile left. Although I didn’t cut the facings, I don’t think they really take up that much fabric, you know? 🙂

Check out this picture of me – I look pissed lololololol. Honestly, I was just testing the camera to make sure everything was centered and the light was good. But I crack up every time I look at it so I’m going to share my mean mug with the rest of the world. THERE YA GO.



If the left side of my back looks weird, it’s because I photoshopped my (turquoise)bra strap out. Photoshop is so magical, y’all.


I love the button straps, but now I’m wondering if I should have sewn the buttons on with black thread instead.


Parfait - buttons
The under-buttons are clear – why waste a pretty button that won’t be seen??

Parfait - lining
Bastiste lining 🙂

On a side note, does anyone know how to determine if a fabric is lining fabric or not?
Polka dot fabric
I bought this stuff at an antique mall over the weekend – dots! So fun! But this fabric is totally stumping me! It’s not super slippery like traditional lining fabric, although the sheerness makes me pause (seems too sheer to be apparel fabric). The part that confuses me is that it’s textured. Does lining fabric ever have texture?
FWIW, the fabric is 100% poly. I bought it because it was $1 and, eh, I can use it either or. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I just think it looks really obvious and kind of tacky when people use lining fabric as apparel fabric. So I don’t want to make that mistake! Thoughts?

Anyway, enough of that blabber. Summmmmmmmer!

Completed: Embroidered Silk Shell Top

22 Mar

shell top

And another one down!

I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but I picked up this silk turquoise skirt at my favorite thrift store about a month ago – at half off, it was $2. And it was plus size, and long, which meant lots of fabric for me to play with. Silk for $2? I’ll take it! I was able to salvage some giant pieces of fabric, plus the lining. And the zipper, for about 5 minutes (until I forgot that there wasn’t a zipper stop and I immediately pulled the zipper off the teeth. DERP.). I know the tag says ‘dry clean only,’ but I washed a little swatch of the fabric in the sink & it didn’t seem to be an issue at all – no water spotting, no weird shrinkage. Anyway, I had enough fabric to make the little top in Simplicity 4400 (which, I might point out, is the very first vintage pattern I ever bought – at the same thrift store, no less!). I was even able to finagle the pieces so that I kept the original skirt hem intact. Yeah!

A word about this pattern (and every other vintage pattern I’ve ever sewn up) – there is still ease in vintage patterns. Lot and lots of ease. Notice the size on that pattern is for a 32″ bust? My bust is actually 36″ – and the top fits me perfectly. I have noticed this a lot with vintage patterns, so do what you will & make a muslin (or tissue fit, like lazy me :3).

To keep this top from being *too* simple, I embroidered a rose by the right shoulder:
Silk Shell Top - embroidery
I got the design from Hoop Love Vintage Transfers on Flickr – a GREAT embroidery pattern resource! To transfer the design, I laid it over a sheet of wax transfer paper and traced with a pencil. The stitches here are split stitch (on the rose) and back stitch (on the leaves & stems). Oh, and if you are apt to try this – make sure you staystitch those curved seams before you start! It’ll keep them from stretching out with all that extra handling 🙂 I probably should have serged my edges too, since this silk frays like nobodies business, but you know me… livin’ on the edge & shit.

As a side note, can we discuss these wtf directions?
Silk Shell Top
I’ve never seen this before – it’s a dart, but without the dart legs. I have to make my own dart legs. How intriguing!

Ok, anyway, back to my top.

Construction was fairly simple & straight forward. I opted to hand-pick a center zipper (instead of the machine-stitched lapped zip in the directions) and did not topstitch the facings, as I wanted the top to be simple so the focus would be on that embroidery. The top sewn as-is ended up being too billowy for my tastes, so I added vertical darts below the bust for a little shape. I originally planned to wear it tucked but I think I prefer it untucked now! Unfortunately, the arm holes are a little on the tight side but, eh, I think I can deal.

Silk Shell Top
(huh, I really need to re-press those dart tips!)

Silk Shell Top

Silk Shell Top

BONUS: Tucked!

Silk Shell Top

Silk Shell Top

Silk Shell Top

Silk Shell Top

Silk Shell Top - handpicked zipper
Hand picked zipper – I got a little obsessive & tried to match the stitches up on both sides hahaha

Silk Shell Top
Remember when I said I broke the zipper that came with the skirt? Well I found this one in my stash – and it matches perfectly! Talk about a happy accident!

Pretty pleased with this little top – I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this summer. The silk is so deliciously soft, and I just love the color!

Silk Shell Top

Completed: Simplicity 8345; the Daisy Sundress

20 Mar

Hi everyone! Apologies for my bout of silence all week – I found myself feeling ill early in the week, and regulated myself to crafts that involved sitting on the couch with little to no concentration (paint-by-numbers, if you’re curious. HOLY SHIT I love those things!). Despite my best efforts, I spent the entire weekend sick 😦 I did drag myself out of bed long enough to catch as estate sale on the other side of town:
Estate sale finds!
$5.50 for the whole box! There’s about 2 yards of fabric in there (it’s very sheer – almost like cheesecloth – so it’ll need to be underlined), plus the book has lots of sewing-related newspaper clippings 🙂 The house was totally awesome – unchanged since 1961. Beautiful pink bathroom, original kitchen appliances, knotty pine dining room, and orange & green shag carpet!

Anyway, THAT took all my energy – seriously! I got home, crawled into bed, and slept for the rest of the weekend. Being sick sucks, yo.

Then I woke up on Monday morning with a migraine. LOVELY. So I called out of work, slept the migraine off, and tried to make some use of my day later in the afternoon.

So here’s my meager project after a weekend of sick – the daisy sundress!
Also totally approps for the first day of spring, amirite? 🙂

Daisy Sundress
I used Simplicity 8345, a simple sundress with princess seams & a scalloped neckline. This dress was seriously easy to sew up, albeit with a strange order of assembly – you put in the zipper first, then sew the shoulder seams, then insert the neckline facing, then sew the side seams together, then put the sleeves on the side seams, then sew that whole mess to the front/back mess. Kind of interesting!

I did make a few small changes – my first princess-seamed FBA, which was sort of a disaster. Oops. Blame it on poor ol’ sick me 😦 Everything fits fine, but I should have divided my addition of width to both the front & side front panels, not just the side front. My seams are WAY too front & center, and I feel this dress now has the magical ability to make me look both flat-chested & wide on top. Oh well, live & learn I guess. lol.

Daisy Sundress

I also sewed my sleeves up a little differently – they are supposed to be faced. LOLWUT. Who faces sleeves in a sundress? Well, I’m sure people do, but not me! I just hemmed them as normal and omitted the facings. Boring facings! The sleeves are a little tight, I might add. Not a lot of room for movement there, oh well.

I also cut like 6″ off the hem. Knee-length, my ass!

Daisy Sundress

Daisy Sundress
I do like the scalloped neckline. So pretty!

Daisy Sundress

Daisy Sundress

Wanna know the best part about this dress?

The fabric was a BEDSHEET! trololololol

Daisy Sundress - scallops

Daisy Sundress - zipper

Daisy Sundress - unzipped!
I didn’t have a matching zipper, so I used dark green. Again – stash-bustin’ 😀

Daisy Sundress

I guess there’s not much else to say about this. It’s a sundress. I’ll wear it in the sun. Or something.

Spring :)
And look – spring is already making an early start here in Tennessee 🙂 SO GREEN. SO BLOOMY.

Daisy Sundress
Happy first day of spring, y’all!

Completed: Cheetah (mock)Wrap Dress

13 Mar


wrap dress

The Leopard Wrap Dress? Well, first of all – it’s cheetah, not leopard. Oops! I still like the fabric, though! 🙂 Secondly, it would appear that my wrap dress is actually a mock wrap dress – double oops! And wouldn’t you know, I didn’t even realize it until I got about halfway through the directions and saw that there was a zipper in there. Yep, even with cutting the pattern, I did not figure out that this wasn’t a true wrap dress! Oh well, I find wrap dresses kind of hard to keep closed, especially with slinky fabric like this – so let’s consider this a blessing in disguise 🙂

That being said, check out my cheetah print mock wrap dress, guys!

Cheetah Wrap Dress

I used Simplicity 6268, which I can’t seem to find anywhere on the internet, sry2say. I picked this up a couple of years ago at the flea market – in a bag full of sewing supplies for something like $5. The fabric was given to me by my best friend – her grandmother was cleaning out her sewing room so I ended up with a LOT of this fabric (5 1/4 yards, if you’re curious. And yes, I have leftovers! Lots of leftovers!). It’s not something I would typically buy for myself, as it’s some class of poly and pretty drapey, but I LOVE how the finished dress turned out and it seriously does not wrinkle at ALL. I think this dress would be great for traveling – very wash & wear!

Since my pattern is for a 33.5″ bust, I was afraid I’d have to do some adjusting, but a quick tissue fit showed that everything fit fairly well. I’ve noticed a lot of patterns put extra (excess) ease in their garments – which is awesome for me, because that means I get to snap up all those cute little 32″ bust patterns and they fit fine! HA HA! Like I said, this one fit with no alterations, other than the length. See how short the skirt is? This is after I added 1.5″ to the hem & I used a 5/8″ hem (instead of the suggested 1.5″ hem). This baby was supposed to be SHORT! I don’t mind short, usually, but not with a flowy dress. Especially not a dress I plan on wearing to work. So, if you get this pattern, consider the length.

On a side note, I just have to share this because I felt pretty freaking brilliant:
Cheetah Wrap Dress
I ran out of tape, so I sewed the tissue pieces together! I got the idea from Liz haha. And no, I still haven’t bought more tape. Need to get on that.

Cheetah Wrap Dress

The tie belt is actually supposed to be sewn to the sides & tie at the back – I ended up sewing my pieces together to make a long belt, and it is not attached to the dress. I think tying it in the front makes it look more like a wrap dress, plus now I can wear different belts if I feel so inclined 🙂 I think cheetah (and leopard!) go with all kinds of colors, so it makes the dress much more versatile.

And can I just point out that I took these pictures after I got home from work – at 5:30! Daylight Savings, I looove you! Plz to stay with me forever, thnx.

Cheetah Wrap Dress

Cheetah Wrap Dress
I just love the shape… I think it is super flattering. I want to make more of these!

Cheetah Wrap Dress
See? The zipper 🙂

Cheetah Wrap Dress

Cheetah Wrap Dress

Cheetah Wrap Dress
The zipper also came from my stash – I think I ripped it out of something I used for the fabric. So basically, this dress was free. Yay free dresses!

Cheetah Wrap Dress
I love the little tulip sleeves.

Cheetah Wrap Dress
I did end up putting a small snap at the overlap on the bodice, for a little extra modesty. The dress is not immodest by any means – I don’t think the lack of snap would cause a wardrobe malfunction or anything – but the extra security is nice. You know, so I can splay myself across the couch & eat Italian Ice & not worry about the girls getting a sneak peak. Not that I was doing that last night or anything.

Cheetah Wrap Dress
Also, it was WINDY outside yesterday! See? WINDY!

So happy with my new dress, even if it’s not really cheetah or a wrap 🙂

Cheetah Wrap Dress

Completed: Colette Pastille

12 Mar

Well you guys, I defeated the Pastille pattern! Wheeeee me!

I actually feel pretty good about this dress – I wasn’t totally crazy about it when I saw the pictures in the book (I think the coral color of the fabric – while lovely, just looks waay too much like the model’s skin. It would have been better suited for a lady with a darker complexion), but I think that the overall shape, if properly fitted, is actually quite flattering. And while it really lends itself well to a print, I think it would make a sweet little basic black dress, since the shape is unique enough in itself 🙂


Fitting… fitting this thing was weird. I already glossed over the process in my last Pastille post, but to summarize – while I pretty much *always* need a FBA, this pattern did not require one (didn’t figure that out until after I’d cut & taped all over the tissue though, arhghhghh!!). Actually, the finished measurements were just wrong – I cut a size 2 and the bust measurement was much closer to 36″, not the 34.5″ the book says. Consider yourselves warned!
The next fitting problem I had was with that damn back… I didn’t take any pictures of my muslin, but it billowed out all over the place across the upper back. I mean, it plain made me look like I had a hunchback. I eventually concluded that the upper back was longer than the front, so I did a 3/4″ swayback adjustment at the lengthen line that tapered to nothing at the side seams. That pretty much fixed it!


The rest of the dress fit fine with no other adjustments.

I actually tried to make this dress without the facings for my first go-round, but those sleeves are way too curved to handle bias tape. So back to facings (although mine are interfaced with cotton muslin, not fusible interfacing). I tacked them down as best I could since they like to pop out; sewing the trim at the neckline also helped. Rather than do fancy finishing work on the inside, I opted to finish the raw edges with a simple serged seam. I wanted the making of this dress to be quick & painless!

There *are* pleats at the bottom of the dress… I think doing those took the longest! I followed the handbook directions & thread traced all the lines, using different colors of thread for the various fold lines. It worked beautifully, but pulling out aaaaaall those threads was a pain in the ASS. No tips for making it go smoother (I don’t regret thread-tracing; it really did make lining up those pleats a breeze), just be prepared to spend some quality time with your seam ripper 🙂

You can’t tell due to my super duper busy printed fabric, but all the darts & seams actually line up perfectly. Just trust me on this one 🙂

I also would like to point out that my hair needs a dye job something fierce (I actually had a hairstylist examine my roots the other day & declare that I’m naturally dishwater blonde – which blew my fucking mind. I’ve always been a brunette, wtf?!). If you’re thinking, “Whatever, your roots don’t look bad!” that’s because I ‘shopped the shit out of them teehee 🙂

The dress looks best with a belt, in my opinion. Wish I had a yellow belt, but the one I have on hand is too neon yellow for this print & the thrift gods have been ignoring me lately in the belt department.



Pastille - neckline

Pastille - pleats at hem
The hem ended up being way too long for me, and I’d already sewn in the pleats, so I just flipped up the bottom of the hem & sewed it to the inside. This is why my pleats are at the very bottom of my dress. I think it worked out fine!

Pastille - zipper
I am really proud of how my zipper turned out! Basically perfect!

This whole dress was a great/cheap stash bust. Feels good to cull that shit down! I didn’t have *quite* a long enough zipper (I think mine was 20″ instead of 24″ or something), so I have to pull the dress over my head to get it on hahaha. Oh well!

So what do you think? Pastille – yay or nay?

Planning Ahead: Spring/Summer 2012

9 Mar

I actually was not planning on making one of these posts – considering I have a sweet swatch/planning board – but I’ve been admiring all the pretty planning posts across the web (I’m looking at you specifically, Sallieoh!) and what can I say, I got inspired.

I’ve already started pushing out some Spring/Summer pieces – here’s a collage I made for visual demonstration:
stuff i've already made
(lol like those jeans are gonna be worn at ALL come the heat/humidity. I can pretend!)

I need more, though!

So I scored my fabric and patterns – and may I point out here that it is lovely to have all this stuff uploaded into one place! – and spent an embarrassingly long time putting together pretty little collages. Because Sallieoh can’t have all the pretty, dammit.

Fancy dresses:
bombshell dress
I bought the course, I have (most of) the materials – I need a Bombshell dress! I’m thinking birthday dress 🙂 I originally planned on making this with that beautiful silk Shantung you see in the corner, but I am also really inspired at the idea of it in this pretty tropical cotton.
Side question: my local fabric store doesn’t carry spiral steel boning 😦 Where do y’all source yours? Specifically, where can I buy this stuff and NOT pay $6+ shipping? Shipping ripper-offers! BLECH.

wrap dress
Don’t look at her arm; I know it’s creepy but I didn’t know what else to do with it.

Plaid high-waisted capris – I think I have enough of this plaid (I hope!). Mine will be shorter, more like pedal pushers. I want to put welt pockets in the back as well.

Plaid shorts! Mine will be shorter than this, I just liked the pose of the leg-person-thing.

I plan on making quite a few of these! I love this pattern, it uses very little fabric & it’s so flattering on 🙂

shell top


(this one will need to be underlined; it is pretty sheer)


A shirtdress in southwestern cotton (everyone I’ve shown this fabric to thinks it is fug. Too bad!)

I got caught up in the spirit of the post & made a little image for my upcoming Pastille too 🙂
Oh, and speaking of the Pastille – I got the zipper in last night, and the fit is surprisingly awesome. I think it looks pretty flattering (so far – I still need to hem it!) and would translate nicely as a simple black dress. Something to ponder. Hopefully I will have pictures to share soon!

Looking at these pictures really makes me pumped for my next season of sewing! I know this is a lot to take on, and I’m not going to worry if they aren’t all completed by the time the weather turns cool again. This is also going to kill most of my stash – which is awesome, because I need to cull it down a lot 🙂

What do y’all have planned for your upcoming seasonal sewing?