Monday, May 11, 2015

Wedding Projects: Groom's Vest (Simplicity 2346)



Last week I shared my list of projects I'm working on for our wedding next month. I'm happy to report I've finished another one and to share some pictures with you (I'll make sure to share some great photos of him actually wearing it after the wedding).

I decided I really wanted to make some part of Phillip's outfit for that day, but I didn't really want to make a dress shirt (making a the Negroni shirt for him was quite an undertaking!). I decided to make his vest but wasn't really sure how difficult it would be. Turns out, it was pretty easy!

I picked up this wool herringbone at Mood fabrics in LA when I went down to buy my wedding dress fabric. I got some dark gray China silk to line it with. On the advice of my sewing teacher, I added a fusible tricot interfacing to the wool before sewing it up to give it some extra body and stability.

I decided to make a little custom tag to commemorate the day. I whipped this up with some felt and red embroidery floss and stitched it to the lining.

This is the pattern I used: Simplicity 2346 bought during a $1 pattern sale at Jo-Ann. It was really basic and simple to make, which was good since this was my first men's vest. I debated a bit if I should kick it up a notch and make bound buttonholes instead, but I decided to make it a bit easier on myself and just do stitched ones (see? I'm being practical!). I considered using some vintage buttons but ultimately just used covered buttons for a clean, more formal look.

I had a bit of trouble getting the edges pressed crisply at first since the wool was so springy. I understitched the lining as much as possible but it still wasn't pressing perfectly flat. I used this home-made clapper that my Erin gave me and it worked great! I just ironed with lots of steam and then pressed the block over where I had just ironed for about 5-10 seconds and I got a really good crease that I couldn't get with just the iron.

Here's the vest with the shirt and bow tie we bought. I think it looks really sharp!

Closeup of this awesome bow tie- purchased at a vintage store in downtown LA (whose name I forgot, sorry!).

Anyway, I'm really chugging along on these wedding projects now. It seems there's nothing like a looming deadline to light a fire under you! I'll be sure to share some more progress soon!

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Wedding Project Checklist


  For those of you who didn't know, I'm getting married this June (in about 2 months!). We got engaged in December of 2013 and while I've been collecting things here and there, I hadn't really gotten into full-on wedding prep mode until 2015 finally arrived, but believe me, the pressure is now ON! Being me, I've decided to DIY a LOT of things for the wedding. Here's a list of what I hope to accomplish:

1. Make my dress
Status: In- progress, materials purchased
This (not surprisingly) has been my most stressful project so far. I found a vintage dress online that I fell in love with and wanted to copy. I looked all over the net for a pattern that would work, finally found it, and then asked the amazing readers of We Sew Retro for some help in getting my hands on the pattern.

A very nice lady in Oklahoma was sweet enough to trace her pattern off for me and send me a copy (for which I am so amazed and grateful!). I worked on grading and adjusting the pattern during a sewing class last fall. I got it fitting pretty well but I wasn't super happy with the bagginess on the shoulders from the dolman sleeve.

I took a break from it around Christmas and was considering going with a different dress style altogether. I started another sewing class this January and my teacher advised me to keep the original style but change the sleeves to set-in for a more flattering look. I am currently in the process of sewing it up and I'll be sure to share a more detailed update soon!


2. Make my veil
Status: Materials purchased, needs to be made
I want to make a birdcage-style veil with a bow, similar to this one but with a smaller bow.
(source: onewed.com)

3. Make a petticoat
Status: Materials not yet purchased
 I love the idea of a colorful petticoat showing underneath a dress like in the picture below. I purchased this a pattern to make one, but I still might buy a ready-made one instead. Any thoughts?
 (source: ruffledblog.com)
4. Sew Phillip's vest
Status: Pattern purchased, materials purchased.
I found this nice charcoal gray wool herringbone at Mood Fabrics in LA, which will soon become a vest with the help of this pattern. Needless to say, I will not be adding any zippers or appliques!

5. Make matching hair accessories for the bridesmaids
Status: Materials purchased.
I ordered some gray petersham ribbon from Britex fabrics that will be made into hair bows for all of the bridesmaids, similar to this photo:
(source: ruffledblog)



6. Make paper flowers
Status: Materials purchased,  in-progress

(source: prettypetals)
7. Make our cake topper
Status: Done!
This was a joint effort between Phillip and I and it turned out so great! I'm going to wait to share that one with you after the wedding, when I can get some photos of it actually on the cake, but it was inspired by some great ones I found on Etsy similar to this:

 (source: LolliPopWorkshop on Etsy)

8. Make a fabric garland
 Status: Materials purchased, not yet made.


9. Make chair signs
Status: I'm still deciding how I want these to look, but I plan to get them done soon!
(source: BHLDN)


10. Make a getting-ready robe
Status: Materials purchased, in-progress.
I purchased some of this adorable cotton lawn by Melody Miller for Cotton and Steel for my robe and this pattern from Atelier Joy from Craftsy.com. The robe is currently in-progress!

11. Make a family wedding photo display
Status: In-progress
I thought it would be really fun to have some family wedding photos from both of our families on display. I've got most of the photos and info together and I'm working on framing them all.


12. Fabric Bunting Garland
Status: Materials purchased, not yet made.

(source)

So...am I crazy?

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
 Size:14
 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!



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