Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Back to basics (which of course means stripes) - 3/31/15

Why, oh why is Spring refusing to come?  I so badly want to put away my boots and sweaters, but the weather just isn't cooperating.

grey and black - 3/22/15

I didn't realize quite how bad I've been about my "daily" photo until I checked the date on the last outfit photo I did, which was over a week ago!  Anyway, here is last Sunday's outfit, which is one of my staple sweaters.  It's getting a bit pilly lately though, and I've never had good luck with sweater shavers.  Any recommendations?  How do you take care of sweaters?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why do I keep making little girl dresses?

Honestly, I think I have a subconscious desire to return to my youth, because I keep making this short fluffy little dress, and it's just not working.  This time I used a used a textured fabric that I picked up at JoAnn's, which John thought looked like a burlap sack.  It actually is a lot itchier than I thought, but I forgot to pre-wash it, so it could potentially soften up.

The top of the dress is the free Hemlock Tee pattern from Grainline Studio, which is intended to be for knit fabrics, but works well for wovens as well due to the looseness.  I added two gathered rectangles to the bottom, and was fancy by cutting the top into a high-low hem, but I think it would have looked better if I had just done straight across.  I also think the fabric is just too thick and stiff to work well.  Next time (yes, I'm determined to make a dress in this style that actually works!), I think a light knit fabric that drapes is the key.  I also have finally figured out that I don't like dropped shoulders on myself.  I just don't think they are as flattering as a fit-in sleeve, and it's such a relief to figure it out, as it's always been nagging at me in the back of my head whenever I wear a shirt with dropped sleeves, and I could never put my finger on it.

Also - bangs!  It's been at least 5 years since I've had them, and I wanted to mix things up a bit, so the other night I when chop, chop.

Red! - 3/14/15

I love stripes, and stepped it up a notch with this shirt, which has some fun striping going on.  I also got a chance to wear my red booties, which I love, but I don't actually wear red that often, so I break them out every chance I get.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

African Wax Print Crop Top - 3/8/15

I've had this African wax print cloth in my stash for a few years now, which my mother-in-law brought back from Ghana.  I had forgotten how nice and easy it is to sew cotton, and I made up this shirt in an evening.

I used a Burda Style pattern, the cap sleeve crop top, with a few modifications.  I lengthened it slightly (both front and back), but it's still short enough that it would expose a sliver of stomach.  As a woman now in my thirties, with a stomach that I'm not particularly fond of, that's not super desirable, but I do like it with another shirt under it as well.  I made self-bias tape, following this great tutorial, but it was quite thick and stiff, so an exposed binding around the neckline was a better application than the instructed hidden binding.  I attempted to follow the instructions to enclose the bottom of the armscye with the bias tape, but it was again just too thick and unwieldy, so I just serged the edge and turned in once.  My final modification was to sew the seam up the back instead of leaving it loose.

It's definitely a different style from what I normally wear, but it's fun to try something new once in a while.  I think I might try the pattern again, adding just a touch more length, and using a more drapey fabric so that it hangs a bit more.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A circus tent of a skirt

A while ago I bought this crazy big dress at a thrift store, because it had a lot of fabric to it, and it was a beautifully soft silk.  Examining its insides revealed it was already a handmade garment, but it was sewn very beautifully.

I attempted to make a top out of the top half, but it wasn't coming together well, and ended up on the reject pile.  I've been wanting to try a full skirt silhouette for a while, and this dress presented the perfect opportunity.  All I had to do was cut off the bottom below the second ruffle, and then fold over the flat section to make a channel for elastic.  I then cut a piece of elastic to the proper length, inserted it into the channel, sewed it up, and voila, a skirt!  I have officially determined that it is not a good look for me, style-wise, and John called it my circus tent skirt, due to the stripes.  I'm debating what to do with it now, and I might try to revamp it yet once again.  This is is the garment that keeps giving!

Even tomboys like a twirly skirt every now and then!

A five-year-old mime - 3/5/15

A bit of an odd title today, but that is exactly what I feel like in this outfit.  :)  Tired of always wearing black shirts under things, I figured I would add a bit of interest with some stripes, but I don't think it quite worked.  Anyway, today's outfit features a me-made dress that didn't quite turn out as planned.  The fabric is a light-weight wool knit, and I thought I would make a cute little dress I could wear with tights and a shirt in the winter, and just by itself in the summer.  Unfortunately, it ended up just a tad too short.  Even John, who usually tells me I'm too conservative in my skirt length, agreed it wasn't appropriate without leggings.  It may be relegated to a bathing suit cover-up in the summer, but we'll see.  I did dig through my stash to see if I had any coordinating fabrics I could use as a border (color-blocking, anyone?), but I didn't have anything that would work.  

The pattern is self-drafted, and the idea is sound, but I definitely would make some tweaks.  I only had a yard of the fabric, so the skirt isn't very full, so I would make it fuller next time, as well as lower the waistline at least 2", and lengthen the skirt another 2".  The top is a basic tank shape, and the skirt is two gathered rectangles.  I was wavering on whether to making it a higher waist or a drop-waist, and I definitely erred on the side of too high.

In an effort to improve my sewing skills and the quality of my finished product, I also spent quite a bit of time on the neckline and armhole bindings.  I did the usual knit finish of doubling up the binding and sewing it to the edge, and then I went an extra step and folding the outer edge of the binding around the trimmed inner edge of the binding and top stitched it to the dress, entirely enclosing all the raw edges.  I'm pretty sure there is a term for this technique, so please let me know if you know it!  Anyway, it does add bulk, but it just looks so nice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Best Commercial Ever

grey vest - 3/3/15

So you may remember this dress I made a while ago, which I wasn't sure I was happy with anymore.  I made it using a coat pattern, but I always wore it belted as a dress, but that caused weird bulging in the back.  I debated adding darts in the back to alleviate that, and had relegated it to my sewing room awaiting alteration, but decided to give it another try.  I actually wore it on Sunday as a vest, and loved it so much I wore it again on Monday.  John and I also went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Sunday, which was amazing, and John bought me this beautiful necklace there, which I couldn't wait to wear.  Stay tuned for pictures of the flower show - I have lots!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

soft velvet - 2/26/15

The last time I wore this jacket (way back in the Fall), I remembered how much I liked it and wanted to wear it more.  Somehow it took a few months to get it back in rotation.

muted green - 2/24/15

I'm really trying to be better about actually taking photos, but I can definitely say I've hit a slump!  Anyway, I do have a few from last week that I haven't posted yet.  Part of the issue is that I work from home about 3 days a week now, and trust me, most of the time those outfits should not be seen by all.