Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall Sewing - Floral Pencil Dress

A few weeks ago I started this dress, which was a super quick sew.  I "drafted" the pattern (I always hesitate on such a simple thing, but I did do it from scratch), which was just a simple knit tank pencil dress with contrasting neck and arm bands.

It was complete except for the hem, and Saturday morning I quickly finished that up so I could wear it to a bridal shower that afternoon!  The body was all sewn up using my serger, but I just did a zigzag stitch for the hem.  Someday I'll get a coverstitch machine, but for now, that's my preferred knit hem method (I don't like fussing with a double-needle, even though it looks better).  


The best kind of sewing - quick and easy, but looks fabulous!  Eddie always likes to photo bomb, so of course I have to add one in with him.  Also, I really should wear 5" heels more often - check out my calf definition!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My mad dash to a pop-up gala

For the second year in a row, I attended a pop-up gala that my town puts on every year, where everyone wears white, it's a secret location that you have to walk to while bringing your tables, chairs, real dishes and silverwear, dinner, drinks, flowers, candles, everything.  It's a complete knock-off of the Dinner En Blanc idea, if you're familiar with it, just less pretentious.  It sounds kind of silly and like a lot of work, but it is really fun.  Anyway, last year I thought about making a dress, but ended up going shopping a day or two before.  This year I was determined to either buy a dress or make a dress with plenty of time to spare, but like usual, I ended up waiting until the last minute.  I actually bought fabric a month in advance, but it sat there and stared at me for a month.  The week before, I spend an absurd amount of time looking at Pinterest trying to get inspired, but I just couldn't make up my mind!  I even tried to frame it as a Project Runway challenge in my brain to motivate myself.  Needless to say, I would be awful on that show because I don't work well under pressure.  A few potentials I came up with are below, and you can see the run the gamut.

Part of my struggle was the temperature.  Last year it was super hot (I think it was still like 95 degrees when we went home at 11 p.m.), but this year the high for the day was in the low 70s with the low in the 50s.  I didn't want to be too cold, and all the pictures of white dresses I was looking at were soooo summery, when I'm really feeling fall now.  I finally settled on doing a modified Marilyn Monroe dress like the first picture.  I started with the new Esteem dress pattern from Cali Faye, which funnily enough is based on the second to last dress above. 

I played around with the pattern pieces a bit to try to turn it from a princess seam bodice to a gathered v-neck, and in the process, realized I was basically designing the wedding dress that my mom rejected as being too casual and I ended up returning


At this point, I was starting to get nervous about time (I started sewing at 6 p.m. on Friday for an event at 7 p.m. on Saturday), so I scrapped using the Esteem pattern, because I was worried about fitting the bodice properly with the crossing pieces in the back.  Instead, I just made it a halter.  Tying things up in a bow is a great way to get everything tight enough!

At that point, I just started playing around with pieces on my dress form and making it work!  The fabric I bought at JoAnn Fabrics, and it was a very lightweight poly satin something or other.  Since I was definitely not going to get away with a bra, I wanted to make sure the top was supportive enough, so I used a heavier weight cotton to line both the cups and the waist band.  I did not do any ruching with the lining, but unfortunately you can see my darts through the top layer a bit on the cups, and the waistband is a touch too big, so you can see some vertical folds.  Oops.  I also didn't have a white or near white invisible zipper, so I had to use a regular cream zipper.  Not my finest work, but hey, the dress closes and it's not terrible.  I am pretty proud of how nicely the insides turned out though - all seams are enclosed except for the skirt side seams, and I did a tight zigzag stitch on the seam allowance because the fabric frays like none other (not enough time to switch out the black thread on my serger!).  I also zig-zagged the tie edges and the hem, just for speediness.  

I finished it up with 4 hours to spare, just enough time to whip up some gelato!  Without further ado, here is the completed dress and a few fun photos of the evening. 



Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer 10x10 Challenge - day 2 & new Summer top!

You may have noticed I've fallen off the bandwagon on documenting my summer 10x10 challenge, and spoiler alert, I kinda fell off in real life too.  There was a lot going on with life, including a stressful weekend which had a canceled trip to go to a funeral, so I'm giving myself a bit of a pass on that one.  

Day 2 was another work from home/errands day, so I broke out the top I rushed to sew up and my favorite distressed jeans.  John claims I'm too old for them, but I just think it's smart to have ventilation when it's hot outside!  I also recently got the plastic Birkenstock sandals and I'm in love.  They are like a slightly fancier version of flip flops, and super comfy.  

Details on the top!  I've had this light-weight seersucker for at least a year or two and I kept changing my mind what I wanted to make with it.  I came across this picture on Pinterest, and decided it was perfect:

I didn't notice until I was underway that it's actually a picture of a baby dress - oh well!  I think it turned out pretty cute.  I completely winged the pattern by starting with the bib portion, which was doubled up with the fold along the top, and then gathered a trapezoid for the bottom front.  I basically did the same total shape for the back, just extended to account for the front wrap-around.  Totally clear, right?  I enclosed the gathered seam in the two layers of the bib and french seamed the sides, so the insides are all pretty.  Add some bias tape to finish the armholes and straps, and voila!  It does stretch out a bit as I wear it, so I may end up shortening the straps, but all in all, a successful make!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer 10x10 Challenge - day 1

I kept it simple for day 1 of the Summer 10x10 challenge (Monday).  It was a work from home kind of day, and I don't think I left the house all day.

Outfit:  black twist-front tee, distressed jeans

Thoughts:  I recently bought this black tee because I wanted a black tee with a tad more interest than a basic tee.  I've worn it a bunch already, as it helps elevate my everyday look while still being super comfy!

Summer 10x10 Challenge!

I've done this a few times now, but I'm currently participating in the #summer10x10 challenge hosted by Style Bee and Un-Fancy.  The basic idea here is to take 10 items of clothing and wear only them for 10 days, and there can be a lot of reasons for doing so.  I'm mostly just bored with my summer wardrobe so far, and want to be more intentional about, so no big overarching goals this time around.  I noticed as I started pulling things together I was going more neutral than usual, so I decided to stick with it and only do black/white/a touch a denim this time around.  These are very common colors for me, but I don't usually go that long without some color in there as well, so it will be interesting to see how it goes!

I'm technically on day 3, and doing well so far!  I'll probably do a couple of posts along the way with my daily photos and any general thoughts along the way.  Have you ever considered doing a challenge like this?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Polka dots, flowers, and birds, oh my!

I bought this fabulous reversible jacquard fabric from Emma One Sock a year ago, and have been debating what to make with it ever since.  I debated a skirt, a tank top, and a reversible cami dress, but I eventually settled on a simple shift dress, which would be perfect for the two weddings in three weeks that I just wrapped up.

I ran across the picture below on Pinterest, and of course I can't find any info on it now, but it was a designer dress from the 60s, and I loved the simple shape.

I started with the bodice pattern of the Burda Style stretch slip dress, which I modified by straightening out the top and leaving out the back darts.  For the skirt, I just did two rectangles with deep pleats lined up with the bust darts.  In the inspiration photo, the pleats are actually lined up with the sheer panels, which are lined up with the outside of the straps.  Because I wasn't doing the sheer panels, it didn't look as intentional to do the pleats there, and the shape was a bit better moving them in as well.  I added in-seam pockets, so I didn't have to deal with a purse - I always add pockets when possible!  This was also a last minute sewing project, in true Laura form, and I finished it up a couple of hours before we left for the first wedding.  I did have an excuse though, as I was working on a special project for the bride earlier that week. :)

While I love how it came out, the pleats have the unintended consequence of making me look at least 7-8 months pregnant.  Not ideal.  As long as I stand up perfectly straight, it's good, but in all the pictures where I was at the end of the line of people leaning over, yeah, not so much.  I'm debating either cutting it off as is into a tank top, or taking it apart and making a super simple cami out of it (a la Odgen Cami).  What do you think?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Sewing - Shorts (by accident)!

I've gotten bad about posting lately again, but I managed to take some photos of my most recent make this weekend, so figured I would get it up on the ol' blog!  I've been wanting some loose, light-weight cropped pants for the New Jersey summer that has descended upon us, so I figured I would finally break out this fabric that I got from Britex Fabrics years ago, and could never decide what I wanted to do with.  Amazingly enough, they still have the fabric, which is great, because I could not remember what it was made out of at all.  I thought it might be polyester, and it turns out indeed it is a stretch polyester crepe.  I'm not a huge fan of polyester, but I really loved the fabric, so I got it anyway!  I still have some left, so I may make a matching Ogden cami as well.

I had just done some minor alterations to my never-blogged Sallie jumpsuit (adjusted the waist elastic and rehemmed), and realized that the pattern would work perfectly with the fabric.  Unfortunately, when I was figuring out the fabric layout, I made a stupid mistake, and they ended up shorter than I wanted, so after I finished them, I decided to just cut them off into long shorts.  They are a little more sporty looking than I was originally going for that way, but they needed to be about 6-9" longer than I originally cut them out to work properly.

Other pattern adjustments - obviously I left off the top. :)  I am always fiddling a bit with the rise on my jumpsuit version, which is weird since I'm short, but I wanted to have a lower rise on the shorts. My initial plan was just to shorten the rise and add an elastic waistband casing on top, to preserve the pockets.  They were still a little too high of a rise though, because I didn't want to mess with the pockets too much, so I ended up doing an interior facing for the elastic, which worked out very well.  I could have done with a touch more room through the hips though, as my fabric wasn't quite as stretchy as the pattern called for, so the pockets are a bit smushed.  I may eventually take them out.  All in all though, a good addition to my summer wardrobe!

And while not directly sewing related, I do want to share a few photos from my day on Saturday.  We went to Innisfree Garden in New York, and it was so lovely!