Monday, March 16, 2015

Some Back-to-School Sewing

   I was finally able to take classes full-time this semester, which has been something I've been working towards for the last year and a half. I decided to make myself some new school accessories to start the year off right! 
   My first project was a new book bag with some of the new Charley Harper canvas. I loved the bright yellow and the cute bird motif. I lined it with some sturdy blue cotton duck canvas from Jo-Ann and added a little striped pocket inside.

 My one big regret with this project is not using some cotton webbing inside for the straps. I don't use any on the tote bags I've made for Hello Camellia and they've been fine that way, but this canvas is much softer and more loosely woven so the straps have stretched a lot with use.  I might even take it apart one of these days and fix that.

My second project was a simple little pouch to hold my pens, pencils and such. I made it with some more duck canvas from Jo-ann and then appliqued some pencils on the front with wonder-under. The lining is a solid teal cotton. This thing is so useful for keeping all of my odds and ends together in my bag- I seriously love it!

My last project was a case for my new kindle fire. I used some of this awesome fabric from the first Cotton and Steel line (I'm seriously obsessed). I initially bought a pretty complex PDF pattern on Etsy for this project but when I made it up it just looked awful and the holes were in all the wrong places. I threw it away and started over again, making up my own pattern this time with a much simpler design. Much better!

   I purchased one of my school books as an e-book for the first time. It's working out pretty well, I just have to remember to keep the kindle charged!

These will be some of my last non-wedding-related sewing projects for a while. I'm now knee-deep in wedding dress making. I hope to share some of my progress on that soon.
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sewing Project: Pattern Testing the Felicity Dress

A couple of months ago I was asked by the lovely and talented Jennifer Lauren to test out her latest pattern, the Felicity Dress. It's a really cute little spring/summer number with gathering at the neckline and bias-bound neck and armholes. It comes as a PDF pattern, which you can print out at home. I found it really simple and straightforward to sew up and I was able to complete it in just a couple of days.

I used a pale linen-cotton blend fabric that I got for Christmas for this dress and decided to offset it with navy gingham bias tape. Choosing the right bias tape was quite an ordeal for me on this one- I actually went so far as to make bias tape in a gray and white polka dot fabric and then scrapped it because it didn't look quite right. I was then going to use a solid gray pre-made bias tape, but it seemed too boring, and then I finally decided gingham was the way to go.

If you've never made your own bias tape you should definitely try it. It's a lot easier then you would think, all you really need is one of these little thingies. The Colette Patterns blog has a couple of great tutorials here.
I also decided to make a little matching sash to add a little more gingham to the mix (I made it a little bit too long though, oops!).

The most difficult thing on this pattern, for me, was sewing in a lapped zipper. I don't really make them that often and for some reason I was sewing them a completely different way. I had to re-sew it a few times (which is why it looks pretty wonky in the photo), but I did finally figure it out and now I learned something new!

I made view 1, which has a circle skirt (you can also do a gathered skirt). I love circle skirts! The best part about this one is that it has pockets.

 Fabric: pale blue Cotton/Linen blend
 Alterations: Added 4 inches to hem.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sewing Project: A Charley Harper Moneta

  Hi everyone! As you may know, I'm a huge fan of the artist Charley Harper, who did many illustrations in the 1950s and 60s. You may remember I found a cookbook at a thrift store that was illustrated by him and I felt like I hit the jackpot! Needless to say, I was so excited when Birch Fabrics came out with a line of fabrics featuring his artwork. The only thing that kept me from buying every one of the designs was the rather high price (like $17 a yard!). I did, however, make room in my budget for some of this knit fabric to make myself a dress, and here it is!
 One of the reasons I used to justify this fabric splurge was the fact that I knew that I would get a lot of wear out of it. The Moneta pattern is absolutely one of my favorites! It's really quick and easy to sew and the dress is cute and really wearable- great for those days when you want I a cute outfit with minimal effort (or isn't that every day?). I made this dress several months ago and have worn it many times- usually with this exact same belt and cardigan!
 I sewed this dress on my serger and it came together in a couple of hours. I used my machine to hem the sleeves, hem, and neckline with a double needle stitch. I decided to make the design very simple to let the fabric stand out on its own.

One thing I would suggest is making sure you have the right needle for this project. I used a ballpoint needle, size 16. I was having trouble with my needles at first tearing my fabric (they were new, still in the package, but were from the 1970s or 80s- I had inherited them). I messed with the tension, the stitch length, everything with no success and then I finally went out and got brand-new needles and then everything was fine. Needless to say, I threw the rest of those old needles away! Also, if you're using a double needle to hem and having issues, I would suggest buying one specifically made for knits (I bought this one). I was having a lot of trouble with the "universal" double needles skipping stitches and generally being a pain, but the "stretch" twin needle sews knits perfectly!

Pattern: Colette Patterns Moneta Dress
 Fabric: Charley Harper for Birch Fabrics Organic Knit in Red Eye Vireo
 Size: Large
 Alterations: Added 4 inches to hem.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year! PS: I'm Still Alive!

Oh my gosh, I have certainly been neglecting my little blog here, haven't I? Just in case you were anxiously awaiting my posts, and wondering it I went and fell off the face of the planet or something, I'm still here!  I've just had the most terrible case of bloggers block for the last couple of months. Have any of you fellow bloggers experienced that? I wanted to post, and I felt guilty for not posting and not keeping up with my favorite blogs. For some reason I just couldn't muster the energy to post anything. I finally gave myself permission to just not worry about it decided I would post again when I wanted to. It didn't help that I had so much going on: I finished up my first semester back at school, was working on my wedding dress (more on that soon), working at my restaurant job 6 days most weeks, trying to get Hello Camellia in shape for a big craft show, and not to mention Christmas!

Anyway, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Are you all as excited for 2015 as I am?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sewing Project: The Cat Lady Dress (McCall's 6955)

This dress is my submission for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, hosted by my friend Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy. This particular projects is even more special because I used my very first self-designed fabric! I thought it would be fun to make my own custom fabric for this project and utilize some of my newly-acquired Adobe Illustrator skills. I wanted to create a vintage-inspired design reminiscent of 1950's handkerchiefs. It took me about a week to draw out the design on paper, trace it in Illustrator, and create a printable design. Once I got it to my liking, I ordered some fabric swatches from Spoonflower. If anyone would like, I can post a more detailed description of how I created the design and the fabric printing process.

I chose this pattern, McCall's 6955 for this dress, because I wanted a fairly simple design that wouldn't detract from the fabric. I'm happy with that choice, because this is a very straightforward pattern to sew and I think the shape is flattering on everyone. I did have to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice (another "first" for me) because the initial muslin was super tight around my chest. It took me a couple of tries, but now it fits very nicely. I added darts on the sides in the process and that really helped the fit.

Here's a better view of the fabric:

The pattern doesn't include pockets, but I decided to add them because pockets are awesome (especially on dresses). I used the pocket piece from the Sewaholic Cambie pattern, but I think I placed them a little bit too low. Oh well, they still work!

I have a bit of a thing for bows, so I tend to add them to everything. I wasn't sure if it really needs the bow in this case, so I made this one removable. What's your opinion- bow or no bow?

Naturally, I included Ruby and Bosley in the fabric design. Can you see the resemblance?
I also added some black piping to the waistband just to give it a little more detail. I originally wanted to add piping to the neckline and arm holes, but since the dress gets sewn together at the shoulders seemed like piping would get really bulky and hard to sew nicely.

In fact, the piping did create a problem for me at the waistband. When I first sewed the invisible zipper in it was really, really hard to zip up where that section came together. Even after I finally got the zipper up it promptly came apart the first time I tried it on and I had to unpick all of the sitches and re-sew it. The second time, I sewed a bit farther away from the teeth on the section where the piping came together. The result is that the zipper shows quite a bit, but the dress is much easier to zip up, so I'm ok with it. Anyone have a better solution to this problem?

Pattern: McCall's 6955
Fabric: main: Spoonflower cotton sateen
lining: ivory cotton sateen
 Size: 16 (with full bust adjustment)
 Alterations: Added pockets, lengthened hem by 4 inches (version A), lowered back bodice
Trims: Piping and Petersham ribbon bow
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait to see everyone else's Cat Lady projects!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wanna See Our Engagement Photos?

On a very hot day last month, we met our future wedding photographer, Shannon at Disneyland and had our engagement photos taken. I was really hoping to take our photos on the Small World ride, since that's where we got engaged and it has a lot of happy memories for us, so I was really glad when Shannon agreed to my idea and was just as excited about it as I was. We planned it a few months in advance hoping to choose a time when the park was less crowded and when the day came, it was over 100 degrees in Anaheim! Needless to say, I was worried about looking like a big, sweaty mess, but Shannon did an amazing job and they came out really nice despite the insane heat! Thank you Shannon!
 You can see them all here on Plum Jam Photography's website.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sewing Project: The Blue Bow Dress (Simplicity 1207, 1955)

Hi friends! I'm sharing one of my favorite new projects today. I started this dress several months ago with some great light blue cotton I picked up at The Fabric Store during our blogger meetup. I loved the color and the way the weave gives it a nice texture.
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