Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finished: Regina Mills / Once Upon a Time Inspired Dress

My obsession with the wardrobe on Once Upon a Time continues!

And it's even better this time around because I've been taking draping/drafting classes at a local university, so obviously once of the dresses I needed to make immediately was this red dress.

I've been teasing pictures of this dress on instagram for a few months now, mostly because I've been ridiculously busy with work/class/knitting designs, but I'm so happy I found time to make this dress.

When I say I made this dress, here's what I mean:

1. I studied the scenes to make sure I knew exactly how the dress was shaped, cut, and moved. I say this like it was hard work, but it was quite enjoyable research.

2. Once I had a sense of the different elements that went into it, I decided what I liked and didn't like and how I wanted mine to look. I changed out the fabric, as it looks like the skirt is jersey. I have a few ideas about what the top is made of, but either way I figured a woven fabric would be more flattering, at least for me. Then I modified the pleats near the shoulder, changed the sleeves (not that you can tell, as this version is sleeveless), and added a waistband.  Then I sketched all this out.

3. I drafted the pattern, which meant some draping but a lot of math and rulers. I had some help from my amazing teacher (because drafting collars isn't fun), but I did it all proper-like, and I did not wing it like I usually do. Guys, I cannot tell you how simultaneously annoying and rewarding it is to do things by the book. If you're new here, I typically hold something up and decide it looks close enough so to constantly iron and measure and do math is a bit of a challenge for me... but then, of course, it comes out perfectly the first time, so I suppose it's worth it.

Yes, that's right. Everything matched up exactly, and it took only ONE time sewing. No seam ripping. Ever. It's like magic.

4. I cut up my ruffled maxi skirt I made a year or so ago (because I decided I hated it, mostly because it's cut on the grain) and I really had to get creative at times to make this work since I didn't have enough fabric to make it exactly how I wanted - but I think it's perfect for a working muslin / summer dress.

And let's be honest, this dress is pretty amazing, right?

I want to make the next version with sleeves, and perhaps just a touch longer. Any longer than its current length, and it will need a vent in the back - which is cool, as long as I'm not cutting up old skirts and have plenty of fabric on hand.

I'm also considering making the neckline a bit higher... but I feel like it's pretty perfect as is. And I mean, maybe I'll just buy a bra that dips down really low in the center front so it's not an issue like it is now.

Okay, things!

So since I AM designing and drafting patterns, I really want to be able to share them with you guys, but I have no idea how to get them into the computer. Any recommendations or experience with sewing software?

Assuming I get the whole computer part figured out, I'll need testers for the dress. Sign up here to get more information (probably this fall!) if you're willing to test this out for me.

I know I put up a quick tutorial, but you may or may not have noticed that my lazy 30s gown has a few design issues. Luckily, I now know how to get around those problems, but again, I can't put the pattern in the computer just yet. So sign up if you want to pattern test that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Finished: Simplicity 8013 (Or Something Like It)

Have I mentioned my love of robes on here before? I think there's something incredibly romantic about walking around the house with a flowing gown trailing after you. I don't know if i made a post about Downton Abbey and the robes on that show (and I'm too lazy to look), but I've wanted one ever since I saw the first season of that show!

But robes were never really feasible when I lived in NYC. Now I live in a rather chilly house (thanks to central air and a low thermostat) so I figured what better time to make a robe than now?!

I first saw this pattern, Simplicity 8013 on Allie's blog, and I became obsessed, and I even made the poor sales girl at the store dig through boxes of patterns to find it in my size. It calls for 10 yards of fabric, by the way!

I decided to go for flannel fabric because it's not as bulky as fleece, and I decided to go for the roses because I'm currently obsessed with Once Upon a Time so it seemed close enough to the fairy tale world for me!

The fabric was kind of an issue. I didn't want to order 10 yards because holy cow, that's a lot. So I tried ordering 8 yards, but then after 2 weeks, Joann's canceled the order and said they didn't have enough. I re-ordered with 6 yards, and it came a few weeks later, and it's perfect and wonderful.

Except it wasn't enough. Especially since it's a patterned fabric. Oops.

I probably would have gone back to buy more if I bought it at a fabric store, but ordering fabric online is SUCH a hassle that I decided to make it work.

Which brings me to the alterations I made:

Obviously I converted this into a robe so it opens in the front. No zipper.
I added pockets.
I added darts in the back bodice to bring in the shoulders a bit.
I only cut out the back skirt, the front skirt, and one side skirt, which I then cut in half, so the skirt is not as full as it should be. Additionally, there was no room to gather the back skirt so it's a bit flat, but I think it looks fine.
I put bias tape around the bodice instead of lining it.

The length, somehow is perfect. The sleeves, also somehow, are perfect. The top is a little large, though I knew it would be from the pictures. I might try to add a bit of coverage there (if this weren't a robe, of course).

I cannot wait to sew up something else with this pattern (and maybe get the yardage correct!).

(Anddd maybe next time I'll get better pictures. It's super hard using a tripod and the timer!)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Edwardian Skirt Muslin

Guess who got out their sewing machine finally and made something?!

So this is a muslin so it's not super exciting, but I drafted this whole thing by hand (and with some large text blocks as a guide!) before sewing it up, and I have to say this is probably the best sewn object I've ever made.

Was it the material? The fact that I'm older and wiser? The fact that it was a muslin so all pressure was off?

I don't know.

But let's discuss, shall we?

Some background: I really wanted to go as an Edwardian/Victorian lady last year for Halloween. That clearly didn't happen. But I bought a huge excess of material to do a skirt and jacket so I could practice before making a proper piece with super expensive fabric.

(I'm still not done with the jacket. Stupid sleeves.)

This year I decided that I would resume my sewing and wear it this year. And I would have worn it out had my sister not got called into work, thus canceling our plans. Maybe next year and I'll have the jacket all finished in time?

Anyway, I didn't cut the front piece on the bias, which I must do next time. It just flows so much better.

I measured myself and cut out the waist perfectly, but somehow when it's all pieced together, it ended up too large. That seems to be a habit with me, and I'm not sure why. (Initially, I measure it out perfectly, plus seam allowance. Then I cut it out and I panic because it seems too small. I decided to go ahead and sew it together anyway, and then it's way too large!) Does anyone else have that problem?

I also put in pockets, which added to the bulk in the front. As it's supposed to flare out and emphasize the hips, I wasn't too worried about it, but maybe I'll leave those out for the next time?

All of the pleats are in the back, to emphasize the rear. I have a pretty hefty rear in general, but it was not large enough! I have a bit of padding under there, and I'm more than obsessed with the size.

I want to make another one, but I want to make it in more of a lighter, silk fabric and maybe without the butt pad. I'm not sure how it would look, but maybe I'll go for it anyway.

I really love the look of this, but the fabric makes it seem so old fashioned that I feel like I can't even attempt to wear it out in public without being out of place. But maybe the next go around, with more modern fabric, it will look a bit airier?

Has anyone tried this before?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Finished: Fall Hats!

Um, are you guys tired of me posting about knitting stuff here instead of sewing? Because I'm tired of it. I'm sorry.

But this is the last knitting post for awhile, and I know I have some knitters on here so I just wanted to share.

I designed 4 different hats over the last month or so, and I'm super proud of them. They all use Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn and they all use US size 11-15 needles, depending on the pattern.

It hadn't even started to cool off when I started thinking about these, so I was instead imagining what my idealized fall is like: bonfires, back to school shopping, apple picking, and lots of cables.

So with each of those things in mind, I designed hats around those themes, and I just love them.

Arosa Slouchy Lace Hat
Chutes and Ladders Hat
Wild Bramble Hat
Adirondack Basket Hat

AND I mostly wanted to post now because I'm hosting a Knit Along for the Arosa Slouchy Lace Hat. Like it? Want to make it? Want to make it with me?

Check out my post here for all the details, grab your supplies, and sign up to be a part of it. We're starting Monday, September 28th, and all level of beginners are welcome. (I'm even doing some video tutorials for the newbies!)

Otherwise, go favorite the hats on ravelry or add them to your queue. I hope you guys love them as much as I loved making them!

(Also, for the non-knitters, I also make these on etsy!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Finished: Rockaway Cardigan!

So I'm officially all moved out of NYC. I still have a few things back there, and I plan on visiting, of course, but it's really great to be out of the city. It's not so great to everything on boxes, but hopefully unpacking won't take me too long.

Earlier this year, I came up with the Rockaway Cardigan, and it's one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe!  It's cotton, so I wear it all the time in the summer and even more now that the temperature is starting to dip. I really love it.

I took these pictures on Coney Island, right before I left and I think they turned out so beautifully. Remember when I used to only model things on the roof? Haha, I really like branching out and finding (unpopulated) locations.

Here's the ravelry page if you want to heart it or queue it up. And if you buy it before the end of tomorrow, you can get 30% off with the coupon code 30FOR30.

OH, so I'm offering the 30% off coupon because I turned 30 a few weeks ago. I've just been so busy that I didn't really have time to celebrate and I kind of forgot about it until just now haha. So the code works for everything in my shop.

Anyway, if you're not into knitting, you can buy it finished in my etsy shop. The 30FOR30 works there as well!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finished: Catalina Beach Sweater (And a Giveaway!)

So I'm moving in a few weeks, and I've packed away my sewing machine in my mind already, which, oddly enough, makes me really sad, even though I haven't sewn in a few months. I guess the good news is that I'm itching to sew so I should have new objects by the end of September. Maybe.

Anyway, I've been knitting.

This is the Catalina Beach Sweater, and I am so in love with it.

I apparently have a thing for chevrons because that's all I've been knitting lately. This is clearly no exception.

I designed it at the end of July, and I probably unconsciously made it a sweater so I could still wear it for fall. Although, seriously, it's 95 degrees today - it has been for awhile, and I feel like I'm going to die.

But I managed to make it to the beach anyway!

Designed to be worn on those cooler, summer nights, the Catalina is knit with cotton yarn and designed with lace eyelets and chevron.

It’s oversized, with enough ease for you to slip it on easily over your swimsuit – or your button down.

The shoulders are dropped, giving it a casual vibe, and the sleeves stop at the elbows – perfectly cool for all seasons.

You don’t have to retire it at the end of the season. It’s perfect for layering in the spring or fall, over a t-shirt or a button down, and it’s perfect for school or work.

And even though it's 95 degrees, I dressed up like it's fall and modeled it, just for you. I hope you love it.

I'm giving away one copy of the pattern, designed by We All Knit Here (aka my knitting blog), so if you love it as much as I do and you want a copy, leave a comment below saying so!

If you just want to buy a copy and get started today (or bookmark it, whatever you do), here's the ravelry page. Use coupon code CATALINA50 for 50% off until August 25, 2015.

If you don't knit and you want me to make you, I will! Here's my etsy page for that. Use code NEWCATALINA for 15% off your custom sweater until August 30, 2015.

The giveaway ends August 22nd at midnight EST - and I'll contact the winner on Sunday so make sure I have a way of contacting you. Winner contacted - thank you to everyone who entered!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quick and Dirty Tutorial for my Simple 30s Dress

So I've promised a tutorial on this dress for awhile, and I've been lacking. (And those asking have been so, SO patient, thank you!)

This is a quick and dirty tutorial. I want to do a proper PDF pattern for it, but that's not going to happen until next spring. Sorry, I just can't do any better than this right now.

But the good news is that if you know how to sew and have done a little bit of drafting before, you can pull this together because this really is a simple dress.

So here we go.

Seam allowance is half an inch. I also tell you to use your measurements (and you should), but go up an inch or two because this is meant to skim over your body, not fit perfectly - after all, we're going for simple so there's no zippers.

I sewed this in rayon, and I used between 3-4 yards, as the skirt is cut on the bias. You'll also need 2" elastic that's 2-4 inches smaller than your waist measurement.

#1 is the top. You'll cut out 4 pieces at 12" by 16".

#2 is the waist. You'll cut out four bands. So take your waist measurement, plus 2" and divide by 2. So my band is 3" x 16".

#3 is the front skirt panel. This is cut on the bias! You'll want it smooth across the front - so half your waist, plus 2" (ex, mine again, is 16"). You'll have to measure how long you want it to be/how long floor length is for you. Then, when measuring down, I made a slight taper out at the knees, with a total increase of 10" - 5" on each side.

#4 is the back panel. You'll cut out two on the bias.  Add an inch long dart in the middle, taking out an inch or two, depending on you and your body. Now, this is going to have more dramatic tail; we're doubling the waist at the bottom - again, flaring out from the knees.

For the top, you'll stitch each side together 7" from the bottom - leaving a v-neck (and v-back, and room for the armpit). You can adjust how roomy you want everything to be if you'd like, whether that means more or less coverage for you. Then stitch together the shoulders, gather the seams as much or as little as you'd like, and secure the ruching. (For example, once gathered, my shoulder seams are 6".)

Sew the two pieces of waistband to each other to create a casing for the elastic.

Now, since we're using elastic on the waist, there's going to be some ruching. If you want, you can just sew the waist to the top and let the elastic pull and gather however it may, you can also tuck in the excess fabric on the sides, or you can gather the fabric on top underbust and make it look nice and controlled - it's up to you. But you'll need to attach the top to the waistband - making sure to leave room to insert the elastic. (But don't insert the elastic yet!)

Put in your dart, and stitch the skirt together, and then stitch the skirt to the waistband. You're almost done! Just insert the elastic, sew it up, and there you go!

And, you know, finish your seams and hem and whatnot.