The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

What's Up: To Hoochie or Not to Hoochie

I'm back!  We had a great vacation with my dear friends out in rural Pennsylvania.  We fed ponies, went for hikes, played in a creek, checked for ticks, talked and talked and drank wine and talked, and Malinda and I were able to squeeze in two long runs along my favorite trail through the woods in spite of my injured butt.  To spite my injured butt might be more accurate, although I think I know who will win this one in the end.

So the hoochie question . . . I whipped up a dress before I left for our vacation.  It was a crazy idea to sew a dress when I should have been packing AND it was Father's Day, but Devon got even with me by sending Cora up every 5 minutes with some silly question like, "Ask mama where she put the salt." (It was right on the counter in front of him.) Or, "Ask mama where the big container is hiding." (Ditto.)  But is was doable craziness because I was simply refashioning a favorite t-shirt.  I'll write up a tutorial on this one as soon as I can get some better photos, but here's a sneak peek:

Like my attempt at a hoochie mama pose?  I think I look pained . . .

I cut off my head in this one because I couldn't figure out how to get rid of that weird splog in the upper part of the picture.  I love the 3-inch elastic on this because it makes me look like I have a waist (I don't).

The dress turned out a little more "fitted" than I intended but it has grown on me (ha!).  Devon thinks I should make six more like it!

I finished off Catlin's order on Monday evening (1 new skirt, 3 re-worked skirts, 1 dress and two tops) but I was in such a hurry to get it to her that I forgot to take pictures.  Dumb dumb dumb.  I'll try to find a way to snap a few when I drop her last thing off.  I really want to show you the horizontal peating with contrast fabric that I used to fix a skirt that was too short.  Thank you, Boden, for giving me another idea to steal!

My client Jen gave me a challenge a few months ago.  She has an unused bumper (as does every other family with children) that she wanted to turn into something she could use.  We decided on a pillow, and then Jen sent me a picture of a cute little owl pillow.  So here's Owl #1 from the bumper:

I'm going to make two friends for this little gal this week as Jen likes things in threes, all slightly different.  I based the design on a tutorial from Make It and Love It.  The only problem with making things like this is that now Maisey and Cora want their own!  I guess I know what I'll be doing with our unused bumper.

This week I'll be finishing up the owls and making a muslin of Spencer's six-panel skirt.  Hope you all have a great week!

What's Up: My new love affair, four skirts

No, I'm not cheating on Devon. Not even tempted.

I've been mildly obsessed with teals and other blues for the last year so it's about time my fickle color sense strayed.  My new love affair is with this color:

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Sherwin Williams calls it SW6979 Verve Violet.  It's not quite what I think of as violet, but it will have to do.  I tried calling it magenta, but everything I found online in that color had more pink.  So, my new love will have to go by Violet unless someone gives me a better name.

I first discovered it in Brandon Mably's Scales in Grey:

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And then in Jane Dixon's Primitiva collection:

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Jane Dixon Wavy Stripes with Purple and Orange

I just ordered this lovely jersey fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics, which is not exactly THE color but it's close:

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Fireworks in the Sky Jersey - Magenta/Gray/Black/White

On Saturday, Cora and I had a Ladies' Outing and went to the Constructor Craft Fair at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn and then to a nail salon.  It was Cora's first trip to a nail salon and she was fascinated by it all: the chairs, the water tubs, the hot towels.  I had a pedicure and she got her nails painted like this:

And what color did a choose for my toes?  You got it!

Maisey didn't want to be left out of the photoshoot of our dedos and dedos de los pies (I've always preferred the Spanish words for these things), so here are her chubby hands:

And lest you worry, the band-aid is not a real injury.  Or, it was a real injury about three weeks ago but it is long healed at least in the physical sense.

Well enough about my new fling, let me get down to the work of this last week.  I'm going on vacation with the girls in a week to visit my best friend Malinda and her family in rural Pennsylvania (very rural: her nearest neighbors are all Amish farmers).  So I'm working hard to finish up my spring orders before I go.  This past week I drafted, cut, sewed, fitted, and finished four skirts, which has to be a record for me.  Before you think I'm super human I'll confess that I had help: Grandpa took the girls to the zoo one morning and I paid for a babysitter to come a second morning.  I'll post pictures of the skirts on the lovely ladies who ordered them soon, but here's a preview:

Ann Marie's skirts
Denise's skirts

I'll write up the what's and why-for's when I post the skirts on their respective ladies this week.  I tried out some new techniques that those of you who like to sew might find interesting!
This week I plan to sew Jen's second dress and complete Catlin's summer order.  I've got a lot I want to get done before the vacation, so wish me luck!

What's Up: New Dress, New Service!

I mentioned in my last post that I made a new dress for myself.  It's a Simplicity 2580 in jersey fabric that I bought from I love this pattern!

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I made version C but I omitted the sleeves:

It came together easily with my serger - I think from start to finish it took about 4.5 hours, and this includes the time it took to trace the pattern and cut the fabric.  I cut the fabric as I sewed so that I wouldn't have to deal with too much curling, but the fabric stayed quite flat so I probably didn't need to do this.  Going down a size from my measurements was about the right fit and the only adjustment I made was the take in the dress at the center back seam so that it hugged my back waist a bit more.  One of the details that I like about this pattern is the use of a loop to go from a cowl neck (version B) to a v-neck (version C).  Like this:

I was also interested to see how the cowl neck was constructed - it's actually a doubled piece that mirrors itself.  After it is cut you simply fold it in half to make the front bodice.  This gives a bit more coverage in the front and also eliminates the need to finish the front neckline.

I didn't match the print across seams on this one but I did try to be intelligent about how I cut it out so that the print would blend.  I plan to make this again as a top and I think I'll try the halter version (E & F) as well.  I like that this pattern makes a great boppin' around dress but would also work well as a sexy cocktail dress.  I've already got one order for this dress from a client and a second is thinking about making the plunge!

I tried something new this week in working with a client.  Bryn ordered two skirts earlier in the season (see here) and was feeling a bit unconfident about matching them with her existing tops.  So I offered to come over and go through her spring/summer clothes to see what we could find.  So on Saturday afternoon Bryn cracked open a bottle of wine and I had her try on skirts and tops and dresses.  I was looking for three categories of clothing: 1) pieces that were due for retirement, 2) pieces that could be mixed/matched differently, and 3) pieces that needed help before they would work.  I only found one thing in the 1st category for Bryn (a drab Ann Taylor skirt that had lost all shape) but we found lots in category 2 and 3.  Like most people, Bryn isn't just one size, so she has lots of tops that need to be taken in at the waist so that they fit better.  She also had a great Boden dress that somehow made her look matronly.  But when we adjusted the shoulder, it suddenly looked sexy!

I've been doing this alot lately with my own wardrobe - altering for size or altering for style.  It's a great way to cheaply breathe new life into your closet.  I think everyone has pieces in their wardrobe that they've been hanging onto because they love them even thought they don't quite work.  I love the fun of thinking creatively about these pieces so that they can be fulfill their potential.

This week I'll be finishing off Denise's skirts and Catlin's summer wardrobe.  I also plan to start Ann Marie's skirts once the fabric (finally!!!) arrives.  I've got some reinforcements coming in to help with the girls (thanks, Dad!) as I have a lot I want to get done before my vacation on the 18th.

Hope you all have a great week!