Tag Archives: silk

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt in Silk Cotton Voile

15 Apr

 

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have had a good Tax Day (ha!). I have another finished sewing project for you today — the newly released Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.

 

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Let me start off by saying how much I love my finished skirt. It is flowy and feminine and manages to be elegant and casual at the same time. The first chance I had to wear it was this past weekend when we took a mini vacation to New Orleans. I wore the skirt while strolling through the French Quarter and then eating the best brunch ever at Restaurant R’evolution — beer battered crab beignets, ’nuff said. Then we headed to the Audubon Zoo and I swished about in my fine skirt among all the animals. I am pretty sure I overheard some of the zebras singing its praises.

 

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I love the seam lines of this skirt — I wish Tasia had released this pattern a few months earlier as it is very similar to the self-drafted one I made in August for the Grand Summer Ball (that skirt has since been sacrificed to make other projects). Of course, I like her version better.

 

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My fabric is the delightful “Georgia” silk-cotton voile from Sawyer Brook Fabrics. It has a smooth hand and a great drape for a project like this. It is a bit sheer so I lined it with white Ambiance Bemberg, also from Sawyer Brook. Because both my shell and lining fabrics were only 43″ wide, I had to have 5 yards of each, meaning this was not the most economical project ever. But I know I will wear this skirt a lot this spring and summer. In fact, I am thinking about wearing it as part of my Easter outfit this Sunday.

 

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Now let’s talk construction — this was not the easiest make ever. Because many of the seams are cut on the bias, you have to be very careful to stabilize those edges before handling the pieces too much. I wish for the sake of beginning seamstresses that the pattern instructions called for this. I used extremely fine fusible woven stay tape from Emma Seabrooke on all my bias seams.

I also wish she had outlined other possible seam finishes for various fabrics. I used French seams for the shell and stitched and serged seams for the lining. The French seam caused a small hiccup at the point in the front but it was pretty easy to make work.

 

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I substituted the curved waistband from the Megan Nielsen Tania culotte pattern as several reviewers noted that the included straight waistband tended to gape. I also replaced the prescribed regular centered zip with an invisible one and I attached the lining to the zip by machine.

 

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For hemming, a very sweet local seamstress (who does alterations in her home), marked by hem for me and I stitched it up using 1/4″ Steam-A-Seam for a clean and even finish. I used the rolled hem on my serger to hem the lining about 1″ shorter than the shell.

Overall, I love my new skirt but beginning seamstresses should proceed with caution before cutting this pattern out.

Thanks for reading along and have a happy Easter!

 

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Elisalex and The Leggy Roses

10 Mar

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Hi, friends! Ready to see another finished garment? This is one of my favorites so far. The fit is great and I am proud of my construction techniques. I am also entering it in the PatternReview New To Me Pattern Company contest and the Sew Dolly Clackett contest.

I think my version looks very similar to this one on the BHL website.

I think my version looks very similar to this one on the BHL website.

First let’s talk about the pattern — Elisalex dress from By Hand London. This is my first time using a pattern from this company and I was pleased with the experience. I recently got over my worry that the Elisalex dress would make my hips look even more gigantuan. There are a ton of great versions and hacks of this dress around the internet. Dolly Clackett has made 15 versions as of this writing (as best I can tell)! Seeing the dress on women with shapes similar to mine made me feel better about trying the pattern.

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When I got the urge to make a dress a few weeks ago, I started browsing patterns and fabric. I selected a few potential patterns then found the fabric, and knew it would be a perfect match for the Elisalex dress. The fabric is a Thakoon silk/poly blend brocade with a crisp drape. I purchased it as a roll end from EmmaOneSock, which I think has to be my favorite fabric store of all because of the unique and high quality selection she offers as well as her wonderful customer service. The black background is scattered with what appears to be roses on first glance. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice that all the roses have female legs!

For the lining, I chose a hot pink silk charmeuse from my stash. I used a walking foot for the lining construction and this was a lifesaver!

Garnished with a beautiful matching azalea bloom.

Garnished with a beautiful matching azalea bloom.

I had right at 1.375 yards of this 55″ wide fabric and was temporarily disheartened when I saw the Elisalex called for 2.5 yards for the sleeveless version of the dress. After reading lots of reviews and blog posts about the dress, though, I decided I could probably squeeze this dress out with some modifications.

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My major modifications were to shorten the skirt by 10″ and to take in the hip seams by 2 sizes, tapering back to my size at the waist. As a result, I was able to get my dress cut out of my length of fabric. Yay!

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Alright, so for all the alterations I made to get this great fit:

1. There is a helpful sew along for this dress on the By Hand London website. They recommend choosing your size based on your waist measurement then adjusting the bust to fit, if needed. I made a 3/4″ full bust adjustment to the US10. In the final version, I had to let out the side seams 1/4″ each and add 1/2″ to the front bodice length, so I think next time I will make a 1″ FBA and then compare the length to my current pattern. I will also lower the bust point a little next time.

2. I moved the shoulder seams forward by 1/2″ at the armscye and 1/4″ at the neckline.

3. I took a 1/2″ wedge out of the back neckline to prevent gaping. This seems to be a common alteration for most people who make the dress.

Now let’s talk about construction modifications:

1. I drafted a neckline facing because I like the way it looks and it prevents lining from peeking out at the neckline. I finished the edge of the facing with my serger (and hot pink thread), then I edgestitched it on top of my bodice lining pieces and then treated them as one for the rest of construction. Next time I will make an all-in-one facing to include the armholes and I may consider finishing the edge of the facing with bias binding.

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2. I made a full lining instead of only lining the bodice. I cut the lining skirt a little shorter than the shell skirt and cut it a little more slender at the hips as well. After attaching the bodice lining to the bodice shell, I attached the lining skirt to the bodice lining.

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Look at the matching of the waistline across the zipper and the pleats at the princess seams!

3. I used a tutorial in the recent Threads magazine (#171) to install the zipper — a lapped zipper completely done by machine in a dress with a full lining! This is an awesome technique and I am so glad I found it. I strayed from the directions only in that I hand picked the overlap because I like to give my fancier garments a small element of handwork. And handpicking always works better for me since I can really get the waist seam lined up straight.

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4. I hand stitched a nice blind hem on the shell fabric. If you are making this pattern, add a small allowance at the side seams for the hem. On such a tapered skirt, the turned up portion of fabric is smaller than what you are stitching to so adding a little ease in the hem at the side seams fixes this and prevents puckering.

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So those are the gory details about my latest project. It was definitely a satisfying make and one I think I will cherish for quite a while.

Like I mentioned before, I have entered this dress into two different contests. If you are a Pattern Review member and would like to vote in that contest, your chance starts on 3/18 and ends on 3/24. As for the Dolly Clackett contest, I think my dress suits Roisin because it is one of her favorite patterns and the fabric is very quirky, like one she would choose.  I also paired the dress with some fun shoes — hot pink heels — another trademark of the aforementioned lady.

Mr. Homemaker prefers the other side of the camera lens :)-

Mr. Homemaker prefers the other side of the camera lens :)-

And just a note on the scenes in my dress photos. All these were taken by my sweet husband at our local bay front park. This is one of my favorite times of year because everything is starting to bloom and the azaleas are coming out. Thanks for reading!

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Grand Summer Ball Ensemble, or Vogue 8849 and a Self-Drafted Skirt!

8 Sep

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope your weekend has been a fun and productive one. Mine has been very busy but I have been hammering away on the sewing machine as much as possible. A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended the annual fundraiser gala for the hospital where I have privileges. I always look forward to this event because I love any excuse to get dressed up and be “fancy.”

The event takes place at the beautiful Marriott Grand Hotel, right on the shore of Mobile Bay. I love visiting the Grand Hotel (and have since childhood), because it is old, Southern, and charming. There is lush vegetation everywhere, the staff is friendly and gracious, and the whole atmosphere is very relaxed.

 

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As I have been honing my sewing skills in recent years, I have begun to enjoy creating outfits for specific occasions, and the Grand Summer Ball was the perfect opportunity. I first started dreaming up my ensemble around the end of last year but didn’t actually finalize my plans until about two months before the ball. But no matter how much I plan and brainstorm in advance, I was still stitching a hem and sewing in the zipper the day of the event (but with plenty of time to spare to get ready).

Want to see a picture of my handsome date before I go into the details of the outfit (and I might get a little wordy)?

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Alright, now on to what I wore. First, I decided I wanted to wear separates this year — long skirt and top. I started with Vogue 1310, a Chado Ralph Rucci number. You will notice that my colors are similar to those in the pattern photo; I think this is why I initially gravitated toward this pattern. I muslined the skirt and it was awful! The wrap tie created a huge poof across my midsection and it just wasn’t flattering.

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So I decided to draft my own skirt. I wanted something that would skim my hips then flare out at the bottom. I relied heavily on my copy of Patternmaking for Fashion Design (given to me by a sweet friend who was a fashion major). I started with creating a basic one-dart skirt sloper (one dart in front and one in back). Then I closed the darts and transferred the fullness to the hemline, pivoting at a point around knee-level.

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I also added a godet to the back center seam for extra fullness. I decided to create the V-shaped yoke as an added design feature. I cut the yoke on the bias thinking it would skim my hips better but I think this just created more trouble with ripply seams (even though I interfaced the seam lines). I added a simple 1″ waistband and handpicked a centered side zipper. The clincher with the skirt came when I realized that somehow part of the back hemline was 2″ shorter than the front, resulting in a skirt that hit at my ankle instead of grazing the floor like I had planned. Overall, the skirt was wearable and served it purpose, but it isn’t my most favorite make and all of its silk may get repurposed at a future date.

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On to the top. It is my favorite thing that I have sewn so far and I am so proud of it! I started with the bodice of Vogue 8849 and made 4 muslins before I got the fit just right. For construction, I referenced this blog post by Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics, who described her experience of sewing a lace bustier during a Susan Khalje class.

I started with a base shell of some sort of poly satin. Then I constructed my boning layer from muslin and inserted 6 channels for spiral steel boning along the bust princess seam lines, back dart lines, and side seam lines. I used boning casing to house the boning and these supplies came from Corset Making Supplies. I then hand-basted the muslin to the shell fabric and treated them as one for the duration of the construction.

Next, I cut my lining from the same fabric as my outer shell, then sewed the lining to the shell, right sides together, along the top seam. then I inserted the boning and sewed the lining to the shell right sides together along the bottom seam. Once turned right side out, I had clean-finished seams along the top and bottom and two open ends. These open ends were important and you will see why in a minute.

Next, I placed the bustier on my dressform for draping the lace. This is the most use I have ever gotten out of my form. I decided I wanted the lace edge to run along the bottom edge of the bustier, so I positioned the lace as such and started pinning it to the shell layer underneath, easing as I went. Because lace is very moldable, you can shape it over the curves of your body without having to use seams and darts. If you look closely at my detail photos, you will see the seams of the bustier shell underneath but no seams in the lace. I was very glad it worked like this because I was terrified of having to match lace patterns!

For the top of the bustier, I folded the lace over to the inside and did not try to use the lace’s border here. Next, I started tacking the lace to the shell/muslin layer by hand, using the open ends to access the area between the shell and lining. This was the most time-consuming part but also the most enjoyable. I have never been much of a hand sewer but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making this bustier. I worked on my handstitching in the evenings, at the office between patients, and any other time I could squeeze in. All total, I probably spent 4 hours tacking the lace down.

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Next, I hand-picked a centered side seam zipper. I used the advice in Ann’s blog post and used a full-length dress zipper instead of a separating zipper. The longer zipper makes it easier to get in and out of the bustier and to zip yourself up in it without help, and the long tail is tucked up inside and snapped to the zipper tape. The bustier was finished off with a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.

And let me tell you how marvelous it was to wear! I didn’t spend all night hiking my top up or worrying about wardrobe malfunctions. I didn’t put a waist stay in yet, but I plan to add one soon. Photos from the event can be found here, here, here (with my sis), and here. I purchased my garnet necklace from the Etsy seller Alison Storry.

My fabrics were all purchased locally at Ely’s Fabric Warehouse in Mobile, Alabama. They have a nice selection of formal wear fabrics and lace. The skirt is made from a beautiful crimson silk charmeuse and the bustier’s shell and lining are poly satin and the lace is a beautiful, heavier-weight lace with a finished border along both edges (sorry I don’t know my lace terms).

While I will have to revisit my skirt drafting skills, I will definitely be making more iterations of the bustier top in both casual and dress versions. I think even this bustier can be dressed down a bit, perhaps with jeans for date night or like I wore it today to church.

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If you’re still there, thanks for reading about my mini-venture into couture sewing. Stay tuned for more!

In-House Patterns Blossom Blouse

9 Aug

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have been busy sewing/baking/creating tons of wonderful things. I have been sewing a good deal but have recently had some minor computer issues with my 1-year-old iMac (read: failed hard drive that is requiring replacing), so blogging has been a bit difficult lately. Luckily, I had already uploaded these pics to WordPress before the screen of death descended on my computer so I do have one project to share with you.

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A little while back Alexandra of In-House Patterns (you may remember her Belle Bow Blouse I sewed up previously), contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out her new Blossom pattern. Since we all love a freebie and I know Alexandra drafts an excellent pattern, I quickly answered in the affirmative and she sent me the pdf file.

With this pattern, she tried something a little different with the tiled pdf pages, and I must say I love it! Instead of having to fold and cut and overlap pages to make the pattern page, you simply butt the printed pages up together and tape them — no cutting or folding necessary! This is awesome in my mind since I hate cutting with scissors (I am a rotary girl). The only drawback (if you can really call it that), is that the printed lines do not extend all the way to the edges of the paper — they stop within about 1/2 inch of the edge — so you may want to fill those in before you cut. But I didn’t and everything worked out just fine.

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I pulled a fabric from my stash for this top — a luscious tan silk charmeuse with black polka dots of varying sizes. I picked up two yards of this dreamy fabric two years ago in Atlanta at Gail K’s. I can’t tell you how important it is to use a drapey fabric for this pattern. I considered using a cotton lawn but that would have been a disaster. You really want something that floats and moves around your body. And if you enjoy petting it because it feels so good, that’s an added bonus 🙂

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While the Blossom blouse is not my typical style as I go for more tailored or fitted clothes, I think Alexandra did a good job of designing this blouse to look loose and airy while not having a maternity look. Especially since there are separate pattern pieces for different bust cup sizes, you don’t get a lot of excess fabric draping out from under the bust (or the tent effect!). On a side note, our downtown has been quite the tourist attraction this summer so I thought I would join the fun for these photos and mingle amongst the shopping visitors 🙂

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As I found with the Belle Blouse, this shirt is also drafted very close to the pattern measurements. I cut the medium and it fits well overall but I could probably use a tad more room in the upper bust/shoulder area as it pulls a bit when I move my arms forward, but this isn’t a surprise as I have broad shoulders.

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Everywhere else fits great, and as usual, the directions for finishing are wonderful and even include some techniques I had not seen before.

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For example, the directions tell you to sew the sleeve hem band on right side to the wrong side of the inside of the sleeve then turn it out and fold it up then topstitch in place on the right side of the sleeve. What a professional looking sleeve!

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Alexandra also drafts the pattern without excess seam allowances so pay attention to this (she mentions it clearly in the directions). I love this since I hate trimming seams.

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The only change I would make on my next version would be to create an inner back yoke piece instead of the back facing. I just think this would look cleaner.

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I would also raise the neckline as there is no way this top would ever be decent on me without a cami underneath. Style thought: this pattern in a longer version would make a great swimsuit coverup.

So in summary, the Blossom blouse is a wonderful new pattern by independent designer In-House Patterns and I highly recommend it!

Me Made May ’13 — Part 2

20 May

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Well, the month of May is almost 2/3 of the way done and I’m proud to report that I am holding strong on my Me Made pledge.  I have even managed not to repeat any items so far!  I will likely have to repeat something this week, though, as I am running out of items and I can’t sew fast enough to keep up (but don’t think I haven’t been trying!).  So without further ado, here’s May 10-19:

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Me Made: Sandra Betzina Vogue 1045 blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Cole Haan purse, New York and Co. necklace, red patent flats

 

May 10 (Friday) — We joined some friends and attended our local annual Rotary Steak Cookoff.  While the location was moved this year because of threatening weather, the grills were still going strong and we enjoyed tasting lots of different steaks.  In this photo, I am posing with my friend Catherine in front of one of the team’s displays.  It was too funny not to have a photo-op!

 

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Me Made: Renfrew #1
RTW: Kluster necklace, Citizens jeans, coral Cole Haan wedges

 

May 11 (Saturday) — Since this was the first weekend my husband and I have had to ourselves in a while, we drove to Pensacola, Florida (just across the state line) and had lunch at a cute little burger joint downtown called the Tin Cow.  They also had delicious milkshakes and I can’t pass up a milkshake.  After our lunch, we went to Joe Patti’s to pick up fresh sea scallops for Mothers’ Day dinner, to Four Winds market for steaks, and then met up with Matt’s dad and sister for dinner at a local Italian restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1808 shorts
RTW: New shoes T-shirt from Nordstrom

 

May 12 (Sunday/Mothers’ Day) — For the majority of the day, Mr. Homemaker and I piddled around the house doing chores and preparing food for dinner guests.  That evening my parents, sister, nieces, future brother-in-law, and friends Leslie and Danny came over for surf and turf.  Matt grilled the steaks and I prepared the scallops from Ad Hoc at Home that I have posted before as well as a Caesar salad and baked potatoes.  My sister brought bread, dessert, and sweet tea.  It was great to spend time with my family and friends.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Simplicity 2648
RTW: LOFT jacket, Nordstrom belt, Cole Haan wedges, The Limited necklace

 

May 13 (Monday) — Back to work this day and wearing a pre-blog Simplicity 2648 in a ponteroma knit.  This dress is a little big now but it’s okay when covered with a belt and jacket.

 

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Me Made: Vogue 8032 top
RTW: Old white belt, Nordstrom pencil skirt, Nine West pumps

 

May 14 (Tuesday) — Sorry for the blurry nighttime iPhone photo.  This day was just business as usual with a full day in the office.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Margarita Tank Top
RTW: Citizens jeans, black flats, Kenneth Cole necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 15 (Wednesday) — My day off was spent sewing a new top (see May 17), getting a hair cut, and seeing a house with my realtor.  This tank top was refashioned from one of my husband’s old T-shirts using the A La Mode Margarita Tank Top pattern.  I haven’t blogged this top but I think it is a nice little pattern for a tank.  Next time I make it, though, I will lengthen it a bit and lower the arm holes a tad as they are a bit constricting.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921
RTW: Kenneth Cole ponte pants; red patent flats; Kenneth Cole necklace

 

May 16 (Thursday) — Back to the office this day but nothing exciting to report.  This Jalie 2921 is unblogged and largely unworn because I don’t like the ties.  But when I pulled it out to wear it, I decided to try wrapping the ties around and knotting them in the back and I loved the effect it gave the top so I think this will be getting a lot more wear now.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged, brand new Simplicity 1664 top
RTW: LOFT capris, Kluster necklace, Donald Pliner red patent slides

 

May 17 (Friday) — TGIF and the weather was beautiful so my stepson and I put the top down on the convertible and drove to the local Marriott Grand Hotel to take pictures of my brand new Simplicity 1664 top.  Can I just tell you, I LOVE THIS TOP!  It fits true to the pattern sizing (must be because it is a “Threads” pattern and not standard Big 4).  I didn’t do a full bust adjustment, just graded one size up in the bust area.  It sewed up really easily and was completed in 2 evenings’ time.  I will give it a dedicated blog post soon.

 

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I offered Kris $5 if he could catch a mullet jumping in the background of one of my photos.  Well, I owe him $5 now — can you see the fish?

 

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My handsome stepson/photographer, Kristofer

 

 

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The grounds at the Hotel are beautiful.  Mr. Homemaker and I try to find a reason to have a weekend staycation there at least once or twice a year.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Nordstrom chambray shirt, Silpada necklace, Frye shoes, old belt

 

May 18 (Saturday) — I have been on call this weekend so that keeps me close to home and pretty free of major plans.  On the up side, though, it allows lots of time for sewing and other crafty pursuits!  I whipped up this skirt to wear in the span of about an hour and that included time spent waffling about which size to cut and measuring the pattern pieces.  You can read more about my experience in my last post.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Vogue 8887 halter top
RTW: Nanette Lepore skirt, Kluster necklace, Steinmart shoes

 

May 19 (Sunday) — This is also a new, unblogged top — Vogue 8887.  I sewed this halter up in a silk I got on sale from Sawyer Brook.  This pattern gave me fits and I am not 100% happy with the final product.  At least in this photo you can’t see all the things that drive me crazy.  I will try to get this one blogged soon, too.  My husband snapped this photo in the middle of our picturesque downtown.  Our city swaps out the flowers on all the street corners regularly but the May planting is always one of my favorites with the star-gazer lilies.  We even have flowers on top of our trash cans 🙂

Well, that’s all for now.  We’ll see how many more days I can hold out before I have to repeat something!  Thanks for reading 🙂

Me Made May ’13, Part 1

10 May

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Well folks, I’m about 1/3 of the way through Me Made May and I have to say I’ve been doing pretty well.  I haven’t repeated anything yet and I have even worn two me-mades that I have yet to blog (but I promise I will give you more details soon!).  So without further ado, here’s my Me Made May days 1-9.

P.S. You can follow my Flickr MMM set if you want to see daily updates.

 

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Me Made: Cambie Peplum Top
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Cole Haan wedges and clutch, and Kluster necklace

 

May 1 (Wednesday) — Sorry for this lousy photo that I took with the timer on my camera after dark. I wore this on my day off while doing volunteer work and running errands.

 

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Simplicity 1796 View D
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old white belt, Cole Haan pink patent pumps and wristlet

I also wore this dress on May 1, for date night with my husband.  I will blog more about this pattern soon, but I have to say before my mother calls me that it came out waaaaaaay shorter than I anticipated.  I was hoping to end up with a cute, easy knit dress for the summer but unfortunately it will be reserved for occasions where showing a bit of leg is more acceptable. I’m sure my mother will ask if those occasions really exist 😉

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Me Made: Sewaholic Lonsdale
RTW: Boden cropped cardigan, camel flats

May 2 (Thursday) — On this day I had to travel to Destin, Florida, for a board meeting.  Since I was staying at the Grand Sandestin Complex, I decided a sundress was in order but because conference rooms are cold, I topped it with one of my favorite cardigans. The night culminated with an impromptu gathering in my condo for pina coladas!

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Me Made: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Elie Tahari ponte blazer (love!), silk shell, Kluster necklace, and Via Spiga blue suede pumps

May 3 (Friday) — I didn’t get to stay at the beach long because the very next morning I had to get up early to drive back to the Pensacola airport to fly to cold and rainy St. Louis for another work conference. I know most people opt for comfort when traveling but I also like to look put together so my Hollyburn, ponte blazer, and low-heeled pumps fit the bill. This photo was taken in the mall in St. Louis after I got my Nordstrom fix 🙂

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Me Made: Vogue 8603 skirt
RTW: Boden cardigan, Limited shell, Stuart Weitzman pumps, Tessyla necklace

May 4 (Saturday) — I was still in St. Louis (obviously) on this day, attending the conference.  This is my favorite Me Made May photo so far.  I have just learned to use the filters on the Flickr app on my iPhone so I had a lot of fun sprucing this shot up. Thanks to my excellent employee, Lesleigh, for taking the shot for me!

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Citizens of Humanity jeans, Via Spiga blue suede pumps, Kluster necklace

May 5 (Sunday) — What do you do when you are stuck in the Atlanta airport for 2 hours?  You take silly pictures for your Me Made May Flickr set! I finally got home that night around midnight and boy was I glad to see my husband and my own bed!

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Me Made: Knit Peplum Top
RTW: Ann Taylor denim jacket, Womyn ankle pants, camel flats, Kluster necklace

May 6 (Monday) — Back to the office and my regular routine after a delicious but short night in my own bed. My husband and I joined a friend from residency for dinner after work.

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Me Made: Sewaholic Renfrew Cowl Neck Top
RTW: White pants, Cole Haan wedges, Kluster necklace

May 7 (Tuesday) — Typical day at the office. Looking forward to my day off the next day 🙂

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Me Made: Yet-to-be-blogged Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt
RTW: CAbi top, Reef flip-flops, Silpada necklace, Ray Ban sunglasses

 

May 8 (Wednesday) — Whew!  My first real day off to relax in over 2 weeks!  I enjoyed it by hanging around the house, doing a few cleaning chores, but mostly SEWING! When my husband got home from work, we went out to dinner at one of our favorite Italian places and had a nice, quiet dinner together. We stopped at one of our local public piers to take this photo on the way to the restaurant.

 

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Me Made: Consignment shop silk skirt altered to raise hemline ~8″
RTW: CAbi top, chambray shirt, Cole Haan peep toe pumps, Tessyla necklace



May 9 (Thursday) — This is the first item that is not made by me but has been altered by me.  I purchased this 100% silk skirt from a local consignment shop last year sometime because I loved the fabric and shape.  What I didn’t love, though, was the mid-calf hemline.  I marked my desired hem length using a yard stick then marked another line 4″ below.  I then serged the skirt off at the longer length.  I turned up the serging and pressed then turned up the shorter marking line and pressed this as the new hem.  I then hand stitched the hem in place.  For the lining I followed a similar procedure except I just stitched a narrow machine hem. I am guessing from the tag (Rickie Freeman Teri Jon Nites), that this skirt is from the 80s or 90s, but with the updated hemline, I think it has a definite Kate Spade vibe. I have always worn it with a basic black top but this go around I was comparing it to various other things in my closet and got the idea to pair it with my chambray shirt.  What do you think about the outfit?


Well, that’s it for May 1-9.  What’s your favorite outfit so far?  Favorite photograph?  I’ll be back soon with more good stuff to show and tell!

The Date Night Dress

9 Jan

So here it is — my big sewing accomplishment from the New Year’s holiday.  I am so pleased with how this make turned out.  I didn’t copy a particular RTW design but I do think it looks a lot like some Kate Spade dresses I have seen.  What do you think?

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Necklace: Nine and Co.
Clutch: Cruise ship duty free shop
Shoes: Donald J Pliner

This dress is made from New Look 6457 and I used one of my NYC fabrics — a luscious silk Dupioni/Shantung with a white background, large grey and black paisleys, and scattered black and dark cobalt/navy sequins.

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It is trimmed with black satin (self-made) piping at the princess seams, neckline, armholes, waistline, and hem.  I finished it with a handpicked lapped center back zipper and handstitched invisible hem (with grey lace hem tape).

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My first lapped and handpicked zipper!

As far as alterations go, I used the bodice front pieces from Simplicity 2648 (see Peplum Top from last week) because I knew they already fit.  I lowered the front neckline 1.5″ and the back neckline 3″.  I took 0.5″ off the bodice length.

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I added piping to the princess seams because I like the look, although this wasn’t called for in the pattern.  The pattern called for a gathered, Dirndl skirt, but I wanted something with a cleaner look, so I cut the pattern skirt pieces but converted the gathers to box pleats in the front and regular pleats in the back and lined them up with the princess seams.

I learned several new techniques while making this dress — how to make piping from scratch, how to insert a lapped zipper, how to handpick a zipper, how to insert a zipper guard, how to apply hem tape, how to insert a hook and eye, and how to insert a dress lining without any hand stitching (yay!).

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I fully lined the dress, the bodice with a stretch satin because it feels so good slipping on and off, and the skirt with Bemberg rayon.  I hemmed the skirt lining by machine and frilled it up with grey lace hem tape to match the dress skirt.

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I applied a zipper guard to keep the zipper from eating up the lining or dress fabric.

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On the dress’ first outing, my husband and I went to one of our favorite “fancy” restaurants in town.  Toward the end of the meal my husband said a casual hello to another man as he was walking out and told me “that’s Larry the Cable Guy.”  I was like “Oh, okay, huh?”  After a moment of my husband explaining things to me and after we had paid our tab, we met “Larry,” who is really Dan, outside the restaurant, chatted for a few moments, then snapped a pic so I could show y’all that this dress also attracts celebrities 🙂

 

 

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Here is a view of how I wore the dress for its second outing (to church and brunch), plus an action shot of me ironing some invisible fabric.  I topped it with a chunkier necklace (The Limited), RTW black ponte jacket with leather trim (Elie Tahari), and black suede tall boots (Stuart Weitzman).  And fresh hair and make-up.

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So while there are a few things that are not perfect about my dress, I will not be pointing those things out to you and I dare you to spot them (well, I don’t really dare you, but you know what I mean).  I am so glad I have finally made something substantial I am proud of and will wear over and over again.

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And because I promised a glimpse of what’s on my sewing table, Gertie’s shirtwaist dress, as a shirt with a peplum (are you tired of those yet?).  This is a wearable muslin and if it turns out, I will be making the dress next.  What’s on your sewing table?

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