Crazy for Coco Puffs!

Haha! That makes me laugh.

Ok, let’s get down to business. I purchased Tilly’s Coco dress pattern some time ago. But, for whatever reason, it languished in my stash. I also had this awesome ponte stripe knit that I had slated for a jacket. It also languished in my stash. And…that’s where being on a fabric diet gets ya. You get hungry and you just need to sew. Something. Anything. Coco puff anyone?

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My attempt at striking a model pose. Oh, yea, I’m hot. Do you see my quad muscle? Damn!

Seriously though. I absolutely adore this pattern. Simple, cute, and I can imagine it in a lot of different fabrics. In fact, inspiration for my next Coco came via an Armani ad today – I can just see it made up in a lovely black wool blend. I may do a woven fabric hack in the near future.

Let’s talk shop at bit. The pattern goes together quickly. The style lines are very flattering. I did shorten the pattern, but I could probably add the length back in. Pattern matching the stripes was a beyoch. It took for-ev-ah to get the sleeve matched up. But, I think my efforts paid off, if I do say so myself. What can I say, I’m a bad Betty.
And…here’s a better pic.

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Not a very flattering pic. My hubby was the photographer. He’s fired. May need to re-hire my 6yo.

Great Gingham Goodness!

I feel redeemed. My Great Gingham Goodness Archer saved me. I have been stalking gingham shirts on Pinterest. Obsessing about a version for myself. And perfection came together in the form of fabric and an Archer pattern. What can I say? I L-O-V-E this shirt!

However, I cannot lie, the shirt did give me a little heartache. Shall we discuss? I cut this out several weeks ago. Part of my binge and purge weekend. It sat a few weeks and I sewed it up last weekend. I *tried* to match the plaid, but alas, it’s not perfect.

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This fabric was a PITA. I did not like sewing with it – sort of a light weight cotton poly blend. Neither of my machines liked it very much. I redid the collar twice – didn’t like how the collar stand was sitting. That’s the thing about sewing – my perfectionist tendencies get taken out via my seam ripper. I am anal retentive – I would fixate on that collar stand – and we can’t have that, can we?

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I did modify the sleeve. I made it short sleeved. I extended the cuff piece by a few inches and made it flip up. I think it came out pretty cute. You can see I did pleat the sleeve a bit – that was pure laziness as I cut the cuff a smudge too small. What do you do? As Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work.”

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I made my 6 yo play photographer. She wasn’t very helpful. Alas, good help is hard to find these days. I did get a sort of a decent pic out of the bunch. I promptly fired her afterwards.

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The “I Hate You” Dress

This dress has been vexing me. I know it turned out cute, but I hated it the whole time I was making it. Have you ever had a project like that? Argh. So frustrating.

Let me tell you my tale:

On a dark and stormy afternoon (really, it was – VA summer rain showers are no joke), I was trapped in Jo-Ann’s, buying fabric (this was B.D – before diet). I purchased some great light weight denim thinking I would make a pair of trousers. I took it home, pre-washed it, and folded it up and gently placed it on the fabric horde pile. There it waited for two weeks.

Then, inspiration struck in the form of Melissa’s Adler. Omg! So cute. I needed a blue shirt dress in the worst way. I dug out my Simplicity 2246 Lisette dress pattern. I have been meaning to make this up – so I ran with it!

I cut a straight size 12. From there, everything went badly. Inspiration, you cruel mistress.

How do I hate thee, let me count the ways:

1. No boobs = redoing bust darts all over to get a decent fit
2. The hem, carefully measured and pre-ironed, with one of my best invisible hems ever, ended up being about 2″ longer on one side – WTF! I can’t figure it out. Unpick, redo.
3. The right arm is too tight. I’d like to say it’s my perfectly chiseled arms, but let’s face it, it’s flab.
4. Said right arm gathers got caught and folded under – unpick, redo.
5. No buttons in the stash – run to Joann’s, pick buttons, return home. BTW, do you know how hard it is to go into a fabric store while on a fabric diet? Awful!
6. 6 button holes, one off-centered. Unpick, redo.
7. Button holes too far apart, back to Joann’s for 6 more buttons so I don’t have a wardrobe malfunction.
8. 6 more button holes. Two off-centered. $@)”€¥#%!!! Unpick, redo.
9. Finish armhole edges by serging. Crap. Fabric folded under again! $&@@)@)@%%+^!!!!!! Unpick, redo.
10. The back side is a billowy, unfitted shape. Maybe that explains the picture on the envelope. Add belt, call it done.

Yup, it was a dark and stormy night.

PS – Melissa’s Alder really is cute – check it out! I’m going to try again, but this time, with a Grainline pattern!

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I may be smiling, but it’s only because my co-worker volunteered (you know, after I asked) to take my picture. Ha!

Dieting and Binge-ing

Ok. I gotta fess up and come clean. I have a problem. I’m a hoarder. Yup. A fabric hoarder. Gulp. There. I said it.

I know. I know. Every seamstress has a stash. What’s wrong with that? But see, you all are enablers. I see your pretty stashes and jealously long for that print you have squished in between that woven navy and the striped knit. Like I need another piece of fabric. Argh you vixens.

So. Starting today. I am going on a fabric diet. I had my last piece yesterday (yup, bought me piece of yellow gauze – I couldn’t help it). I am going to sew through my stash and try to get my fabric off the floor of my office. I need to lose about 10 lbs in 60 days. No purchasing any fabric for 60 days and I must use up enough fabric so it will fit in my existing storage areas. I realize that 60 days doesn’t sound like a long time, but let’s just start with a reasonable goal.

On binge-ing.

Last weekend, after recovering from some horrible, awful, nasty virus, I got a super burst of energy. What did I do with that energy? Pay attention to my kids? Hang out with my hubs? Clean the house? Go for a run? Nah! I binge sewed! In two days, I made two t-shirts for me, sewed two granny sweaters for my girls, cut out four knit projects, an archer shirt, and a shirt dress. That’s right, I got my sewing on.

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Here are a few of the finished projects:

My oldest has a favorite sweater. She’s been wearing it for two years almost every day. Like a little old lady. It’s too small, but she wears it anyway. In an effort to get her to wear something that is a little less tatty, I traced it off and made her a new one, cut it out, and finished it before she changed out of her PJs. She promptly put it on, and hasn’t taken it off since (she sleeps in it too – oh, yeah, and played tennis in it). Here she is…so cute!

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I also made a simple tissue t-shirt for myself. I used BurdaStyle Chill Dress 11/2013. The armholes are ridiculously big, so I sewed the up at the end.

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Comfy and quick.

60 days to go. Hope I don’t go crazy!

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Confessions

Note: This confession is a little overdue. I’ve been ill for the last three days, so I haven’t had time to bare my soul. Perhaps it was retribution for what I am about to confess.

I pledged 365 of no ready to wear. I made it to July. Sigh. But before you judge, let me explain myself – I have a very good reason.

I went on vacation recently and all of my beer drinking, wine drinking and bourbon drinking caused me to put on a few lbs. All the food I ate didn’t help either! Needless to say, my clothing is a little tighter than normal. Plus, I haven’t taken dry cleaning in for ages, so options are also limited. I know this sounds like an excuse, but hear me out!

I got dressed one morning. I put on a pair of trousers. A nice blouse. A belt. Kitten heels. I looked good. But, I didn’t feel good. My pants were too tight and my muffin top oozed over my belt like a too tight sausage casing. Yup. One of those days.

I suffered through the ride to work, three meetings and some random office gossip before I decided that I just couldn’t take it any more. I argued in my head, “You can make four hours to the end of the day. Suck it up.” But folks, I just couldn’t suck it in any longer. I ran up the street to Target, bought a simple skirt, and drove back to work. And I felt much more comfortable.

And that, my friends, is how my no RTW pledge was broken. Pitiful.

In an effort to redeem myself however, I did make a new shirt last weekend. This is BurdaStyle magazine 9/2011 #128. I was a little doubtful about this shirt – but the unusual pleats at the shoulder drew me in. I also found this fabric and was immediately in love. My husband told me while sewing it up that I just need to add a rod and I’d be a pretty curtain in an old lady’s house. I told him, “Wait and see, wait and see.”

When I came down dressed in the morning for work, my hubby said, “Yeah, that is nice.” Ha! I was vindicated!

A peak at the inside. I serged the side seams and bias bound the arm hole facings.

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And a close up of the pleat:

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My nail polish even matched (ironically, Essie’s Sew Psyched)!

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The only modification I made was to shorten it by 3 inches and completely ignore the collar construction instructions (cause they sucked).

I like this shirt – a departure from my normal look, but I think it works in my wardrobe. (Though, I probably could have sucked that gut in a little, haha!)

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Well, now that I am feeling better today – I am going to sew my little heart out. I made a slouchy sweater for my oldest this morning and it was a huge hit! More to come on that one!

Pretty on the inside

It has been a little bit of a tough month for me at work. You know, one of those months where you doubt yourself and have to stop and take measure of who you are. That’s where I have been for the last three weeks – evaluating myself as a professional, a leader and a woman. What did I come up with? I’m pretty on the inside. And I’m ok with me. This realization didn’t come without some tears (thank you Kristen for not laughing at me when I started crying mid-run), some encouragement (thanks to everyone who took the time to cheer me on) and some laughter. I realized through all this that I’m a work in progress, but it’s a good work in progress.

What does all this have to do with sewing? Well, two things, really. I needed some shorts and I purchased the Maritime shorts pattern from Grainline. I seriously love Jen’s patterns. I printed, cut, and sewed a beautiful pair of shorts. Only to find out – waaaaay too big. I cut my size based on my waist measurements – but alas, I was swimming in them. Pair number 2 – also excellent sewing. But also too big. But I can get away with wearing them. And lastly, pair number three. Fit is good, sewing quality is good. Like Goldilocks said “these are just right.”

So, point 1: sometimes is takes a few times to get it right. Point 2: I realized I don’t show you much of the inner-work of my clothing. These babies are pretty on the inside too! Not perfect, but damn good. I mean seriously, look at that flippin’ fly!

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So. Sewing is a like life, if you stick at it, it usually goes your way.

Tackling Trousers Again!

Ya’ll know my troubles and tribulations with trousers. Trust me, there have been many. So far, there are only two made me pants still in my closet. Two pairs of my jaile jeans ended up in the donate pile due to length and fabric. My attempt at several Burda pants ended up in the trash (pooling butt and legs). My Named trousers faired no better. What’s a girl to do?

Make lots and lots of muslins!!! I drafted one from scratch and adjusted a little each time for a total of six muslins. I’ll save you the gorey details, but I learned that you can google things like “saggy butt sewing” and “fabric pooling crotch” and actually get helpful information! Who knew?! At any rate, my six muslins didn’t really yield a workable sloper. Sigh. I think I need professional help.

So, I did notice that the Clover Pattern had a similar crotch curve to my muslin making. I have to say, I have a love hate relationship with this pattern. I made a pair about a year ago and it was an epic FAIL. I was reluctant to try it again. I decided to actually CUT the pattern – yes, that’s right – CUT the pattern, not trace it off. Seriously, plain old lazy and again, that love hate relationship. I’m not sure it’s good to be mad at a pattern before one starts. This time, I cut a size 4 vs. a size 6. My waist is 30″ = size 6. But most patterns end up HUGE on me. I took a chance.

These babies sew up fast! I made my first muslin in about an hour or so. And look – wearable!
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I wore them out to dinner that night – and noticed that there was some extra pooling in the front. I came home that night a googled it (isn’t the internet amazing????). I discovered that others noticed that the front waist is higher than the back waist. Ah. I took my cut out pattern and cut away some of the excess waist. I graded about 3/4″ from the center front to the side seam. And, I cut # 2. (heehee. I am so sophomoric.)

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Pretty good. Yes. I notice the whiskers in the front and the pooling on the back of my legs. And the fact that I should suck my gut in when taking side pictures. But, they fit me like a glove and my ass looks good. So, tradeoffs. I do think that there is some weird pulling at the side seams. I can’t figure that out…perhaps its me? I always seem to get that. Overall, I’ll be wearing these bad boys and I also plan on making more.

Added bonus? I got more compliments on these trousers at work…so, maybe we sewists are just hard on ourselves? I do think they look better in person than in the picture.

Oh, and one more….Burda Shirt Draped Tee – 3/2010. I took about two inches out of the center front. It’s still huge. I think it makes me look huge. Perhaps I can wear it as my swim cover up. It’s super easy to make and I got to use jukibaby to do the hem…I will say I had a LOT of trouble with the machine because this was a tissue weight knit and it kept wanting to eat it up.

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PS. I found out that the local Hancock’s is closing…so I did buy a ton of knit fabric on sale…you know, to experiment with my new toy!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!