Monday, September 30, 2013

Finished: Marnie Dress from The Hour

If you recall, I said I was working on one of Bel's dresses from The Hour for the Copycat Challenge, and I still am! Draping and not using any sort of a pattern is fun and creative, but it's also much slower. Since I ultimately want to make all the dresses from The Hour and I just happened to find this gorgeous cotton fabric from my fabric shop AND I've been waiting for the perfect fabric to use for Bluegingerdoll's Billie Jean dress, I decided to go ahead and make a Marnie dress!

Marnie, as you may recall, is my new favorite housewife from the television show The Hour played the lovely Oona Chaplin.

Look I even did the pearls! Couldn't figure out the hair roll though...
This dress has been on my list for awhile, but it looks like lace or at least embroidery and I figured it would be awhile until I got to it, but then I found this gorgeous cotton print - yes, cotton! - at my local fabric store that resembled the embroidered lace. Perfect for me to start right away.

It's a heavyweight cotton, and I was afraid it would be too heavy, but I find that it works perfectly as a dress.

I used the Billie Jean pattern for this dress, and it sewed up so quickly and easily.

I cut a size 4 for the top and a size 8 for the bottom. I fall in between sizes so I should have cut a size 10 because there's no ease and while I working the dress up, I discovered that the back didn't meet. Oops.

Instead of adding a panel or additional fabric, I decided that I would just put the zipper in and hope for the best. There was a bit of stretch in the right direction so I figured if all else failed, I could just take a picture on the dress form and call it a day.

But somehow, when I zipped it up most of the way and then wiggled myself into, it fit! It's a little tight - okay, it's very tight - but I can sit and move and it's somehow still comfortable so I'm happy.

I did make another adjustment. The dress is meant to be off the shoulder and as I hate strapless bras and feeling like something is falling off my shoulder, I had to do something about that. I adjusted the front per Abby's instructions to pinch out certain areas and then I added several inches to make it go over my shoulder. I'm pretty pleased with the result!

Oh, and one more! Everyone complains that you can't move in wiggle dresses, but you can. You just need more ventilation. I added an additional 5 inches to this vent because I'm a fast walker and I have got to move quickly! (Or else I start hyperventilating for real.)

See the zipper? I'm calling it a design feature.
Oh so the fact that it's too tight also means something else: you can see the zipper. Usually that sort of thing makes me crazy, but I really like the look, and I'm thinking about exchanging my not-so-invisible zipper for a metal visible one that might really add a bit more to the look.

Additionally, you must forgive the hair. I put it in a sock bun and decided it didn't need bobby pins because I was only going to be out for five minutes, but the wind had different ideas. Oh well, I've never been known for my impeccable hair anyway.

This is officially my second wiggle dress and I think they're so fun to make! It's so interesting how at the right angles, you looking stunning and gorgeous but then you turn and you're like, "WOW, is that all my ass?"

But it is, and it's lovely and everyone has body parts sticking out in wiggle dresses. How can you not? I suppose it's like that with all clothing, but wiggle dresses are just better at showing it. ;-)

Stay tuned for my Bel dress! I should have it up this weekend.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finished: 1940s Style Mae Blouse

You guys, I finally made something! It's been almost a month since I've posted a finished sewing project. I've been working hard and I have a lot of sewing and knitting projects going on, but also real life and my job has stepped in and I've been so busy.

(Also, I keep noticing in articles that saying you're "busy" is now being called a humble brag - it's not. Saying I'm at home knitting with my Netflix at night is my way of bragging. Who brags about working all the time?!)

Anyway, exciting news: I made a blouse! It's my first ever blouse, and I'm pretty proud. When I saw the 1940s style Mae blouse released from BlueGingerDoll, I knew right away I had to have it. Me being me, I thought to myself, "Well, scallops are too hard so I'll just make it a v-neck. And buttons... Nope. Wonder if I can make that a zipper?"

Of course, then it's not the Mae blouse, it's just a general, somewhat boring shirt, so when Abby decided to do a sew-along, I decided to leap in and figure out scallops and buttons. And they worked! Mostly.

So there's no ease in this, and as I fall in between sizes, I cut an 8-10-12.

I used a quilting cotton with a vintage print for the fabric, which I'm not particularly fond of. It's fairly stiff, which I obviously expected, but I'm wondering how this blouse would look with something with a bit more drape and give to it.

Also the print, which I picked because it's vintage, makes it a bit too vintage. The boyfriend summed it up fairly succinctly: "Oh, are you making another outfit for when we move to the farm?"

Of course, when I finished, he changed his mind: "Wow, I love it. Your boobs look great."


The fabric choice isn't bad, it's just not my usual style. (I bought because it looked vintage, not because I loved it. Terrible mistake.)

On to my new skills: Scallops! So when I first started sewing, I tried making a scallop-waisted skirt and failed miserably. However, this time I followed Abby's tutorial for perfect scallops and they came out perfectly! I couldn't be happier with my sewing.

Actually, I followed all of her sewing tips and tricks so this blouse is probably the most well-made thing I've ever sewn. Definitely check out her sew along.

Not perfect, but not bad for a first try.
Also, buttonholes are surprisingly easy. I was worried about measuring and getting the length right, but the machine does everything for you. Very simple. Attaching the buttons is slightly harder because if you're even 1mm off, the fabric pulls. It's an easy fix, but mildly annoying.

So I did encounter a strange problem while sewing the Mae blouse. When I put the finished blouse on and pulled the front of the shirt down/shoulder seams to the center, the front looked gorgeous but the back buttons puckered. When I pulled the back down/shoulder seams back, the back laid flat but the front neckline puckered.

Figuring it would be easier to fix the front rather than the back and the buttons, and figuring that the problem was too much fabric in the front, I ripped out the shoulder seams and took out an inch or so of excess fabric front the front of the blouse.

Of course, that meant that the neckline was moved up and I lost part of my scallops. It was very, very sad.

Minimal puckering, sans a few scallops.
Of course that also makes the blouse look a bit more matronly. The top still puckers, but it's not as bad as it was before.

Does anyone know what caused that? User error? Something I need to change with the buttons? Do I need to make some sort of adjustment before I cut out the fabric? Was it just that my buttons were off and I needed to move them and I ruined my scallops for no reason??

I still love the top and I'm considering this a work in progress! Or at least, a learning process for my next Mae blouse.

LinkConnector Validation

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crafting Group Tackles Terrariums!

Have I ever mentioned how I was not a girly-girl growing up? I hated the color pink, couldn't understand the point of crafting, and mostly just wanted to play war with the other kids. Sewing and knitting seemed like terribly ancient things, and after all, if I wanted something, why wouldn't I just buy it? (Or, you know, have my mother buy it?)
Don't be fooled by the dress.

Now I prefer staying home and figuring out how to make things myself. And crafting can be directly traced back a few years ago to Rachel, who always dragged me out to Brooklyn to create. She was an art student and does artistic things at work so my attempts were quite pitiful in comparison but it was tons of fun. She's also the one who got me into sewing! But then she had a baby and moved far, far away. (sob)

So my crafting has been slacking, but then both Ashley and Naomi separately told me they wanted to start groups in the NYC area for crafting and I knew I had found my crafting fix! This past weekend, Ashley hosted a terrarium making party at her apartment. Naomi was there and brought 2 non-blogging friends (who seem lovely despite the lack of blog), Amanda also came, as did Hillary, Ashley's non-blogging roommate.

Did anyone take any pictures? Of course not. And for those unaware, my boyfriend has been out of town for the past 6 weeks on assignment so my pictures are not well lit, well framed, nor will you be able to make out details. But at least you can see what I did kind of?!

Anyway, Ashley purchased all the supplies. She has a lovely backyard with a table, chairs, and a trellis with grapes growing on it that shielded us lovelies from the sun where we hung out and ate cake and made terrariums.

Side note: She also purchased organic soil and warned us there were bugs in it, and then mentioned that her mother got ringworm once from organic soil. Everyone else just seemed to accept this and move on, but I was horrified. I also had an awful nightmare that night where I was laying a bed of organic soil and bugs were slowing eating my legs off. Turns out I just had 3 mosquito bites.


Last year's terrariums.

I made 2 terrariums last year, with mixed success as one died. But the other is still alive! After I made those two and posted about it, I bought a 3rd container and decided to document everything so I could put up a photo tutorial... but then the plant died so there was no photo tutorial.

The bf kept wondering when I was going to toss my dead plant, and I kept assuring him that I would re-do it very, very soon, but yeah, that didn't happen. So he arranged all my dinosaurs to "worship" the fallen plant. They fell over too. It's a very sad terrarium.

The arrow points to the dead plant... that I still have. Sigh.
But now I have happy terrariums!

From Purl Soho
When I was at Purl Soho with Naomi recently, I saw this needlepoint canvas (above) that screamed death and destruction. It appeared that the cardinal was taking over the world, that the world was burning, and that someone was fleeing while burning and screaming in pain. I asked Naomi what she saw and she said something to the effect that it look like a nice spring or summer day.

Clearly my mind works differently. (And we were both wrong, me way more so, as it's entitled Cardinal on the Corn - I thought the corn was burning embers.)

Anyway, I decided to go with my original death and destruction idea and put the overturned pot in my terrarium, along with fat, happy cardinals.  I'm not sure what happened to the humans, but the cardinals have taken over. Also I thought it would be fun to hide the cardinals, as they're sneaky and evil, but that means you barely see them. Look closely!

In my second terrarium, I went with a much happier scene. I have a lovely pink cactus, some kind of succulent (that my cat LOVES to uproot) and some adorable ladybugs.

Yes, that's a coffee pot.

I'm very pleased with my terrariums, and mostly I'm so happy group crafting is back in my life. Somehow I'm supposed to wait a month for the next one. Hopefully it involves Halloween things!!