Sewing, Knitting, Dogs

Friday, July 03, 2015

Bulls Eye!

I love a good wrap dress.  But, you know what's better than a good wrap dress - a good faux wrap dress.  After making my first version of New Look 6301, I knew I needed more. 

This fabric was one of the quickest turn arounds in my history of ever!  I bought the slinky ITY from Fabric Mart, it arrived in late February, and I cut it out and sewed it up at Spring Retreat.

On this version - because my Expo Wrap gapes just a bit. I did some fancy alterations.  I literally sliced through the front bodice pieces in 2 places, from neckline toward side seams.  I didn't take photos - so I can't show you.  Then I overlapped the fronts about 3/4" total.  This effectively shortened the length of the cross over, but left the side seams the same.  Result:  No gaping in this dress!

I also lengthened the ties so I could wrap them around and tie in the front.  I may have originally added length to the skirt portion, I generally do.  I'm 5'9" tall and my height is from my waist down.  I generally have to shortened from the waist up.

All-in-all, I love this dress.  It's fun and flirty.  I have used the skirt pattern to match with other bodices since then (I might be behind in blogging).

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Just Another Lady Skater

There really nothing to see here.  Just another Lady Skater Dress.  I don't use the bands on the neckline or sleeves - can't be bothered.  

This was cut and sewn at Sew Camp back at the end of March.  JB - who rarely notices my clothing - said this dress looked good when I wore in on vacation in Spain!  

The fabric is pretty floral with bright blue flowers all over it.  Along with some red, pink and white.  I bought this at Fabric Mart - and honestly - it was a pretty quick turn around from purchase to garment!

I need to remember to raise the neckline - or at least widen the shoulders when I make this pattern.  This dress is comfortable and easy to wear.  I'm in love with florals this year.  Pretty soon my closet will have nothing but floral dresses in it. 

Just a few out-takes.  JB and The Musical One thought it would be fun if I posed with Hank the Heron - too bad it's blurry.  I like the dress in black and white - if anyone sees a print like this - please let me know!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Sketch It Up!

I have never really been a sketcher of my sewing plans.  I've always kept a project books - something with lined pages, where I could jot down the pattern number and notes on machine settings, alterations, etc.  and always a swatch.
But no drawings. 

Earlier this year, I saw 110 creations and snapped up a copy.  My first project in that book is the blue lace skirt - which is still unfinished.  I've been keeping the individual pages up to date, but not the chron list.  

Last month - I was able to tack a week in New Jersey on the end of Spain vacation.  During that time - I spent some time in The Cave and got the change to meet Jenny.  Jenny had literally just launched and introduced her Curvy Sketchbook.  I reached out to ask her to purchase one.  Jenny brought me one, but wouldn't let me pay - nice that one, but don't tell her I said so ;)   

I think I'd like to do a little compare and contrast and point out my favorite features - because honestly - they are both great resources for keeping track of what you have made, are currently working on and things you wish to make.

101 Creations - Measurement Chart
Cashmerette Measurement Chart

Both books contain measurement charts with the same basic measurements.  101 Creations includes shoulder width, rise and sleeve length.  Cashmerette includes bicep, thigh, waist to knee and inseam.  Cashmerette also has room to keep measurements for up to 5 additional people that you might sew for.

Cashmerette - Project Page

101 Creations - Project Page

Both books have project pages - Duh!  that's the point.  Again - both books have much of the same information.  But there are differences.  I didn't do a great job taking photos, but you can find samples of 101 Creations or Cashmerette - both ladies took better photos and staged them, etc.  

In this section, there are things I really like in one book over the other, such as:

  • Cashmerette - front and back of a curvy woman who looks more realistic
  • 101 Creations - project title front and center and a watermarked page number so you can easily keep track of how many finished projects you've done during the year.
  • Cashmerette - place for a swatch
  • 101 Creations - section for Accents and then gives suggestions (piping, applique, lace, etc.)
  • Cashmerette - focus is on the drawing.
  • 101 Creations - Notes for next time. 

101 Creations has a needle change record that I will never use.  I buy needles in bulk, change them at the start of every project and toss the old needle into an old pill container.  

Cashmerette has a fabric inventory that I will never use.  I don't want to know exactly how much fabric there is in my house.  It will just make me feel guilty and honestly - I don't need a hobby that makes me feel that way.  

Both books have pages for pattern inventory - that might come in handy - but I'd rather be working on making my drawings not look like they were done by a 4 year old.

All in all - while I really like the page layout of 101 Creations, I prefer Cashmerette - I just like the way the model looks.  All the basic information is there and I really like having a dedicated space for a swatch.  You can see my drawings aren't great and I'm not going to start trying to draw in the pattern of my fabric as well.

As I said previously - I bought 101 Creations and was gifted Cashmerette - but opinions are my own.  I hope you found them useful.  

Monday, June 01, 2015

My Least Favorite ESP (aka - Crazy Dog Lady Dress)

 Through no fault of the pattern, this is my least favorite of my ESP dresses.  And it has to do with an unfortunate photo I took of the finished dress at sew camp - sometimes you just can't un-see something. If you follow me on Instagram, it's likely you know what I'm talking about.  I'm not putting that photo on the internet again.
This was also my (very) late entry for the crazy dog lady sewing challenge.  I love that this dress is subtly dog themed and you have to really be paying attention to get it.
I've worn this dress twice to work now, and it's comfortable and easy to wear.  I love the fullness of the skirt and each time, I've paired it with my red cowboy boots, red belt and cardi and my Dudley tribute necklace.

Close up of the fabric - those are paw prints surrounded by bones and my Dudley tribute necklace.  This necklace was a gift from a friend when we lost Dudley, I had another friend, put it on a different chain, and you can't see them, but there are 3 rough cut rubies on the side of the chain to symbolize the 3 remaining dogs.  While we only have 2 dogs left, I feel all 4 of them when I wear this necklace.

Do you have a piece of jewelry that reminds you of a person, beloved pet or moment in time?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ESP Picnic Dress (B&W Collection Dress 1)

This is a picture heavy post and I'll keep the comments to a minimum.   This is the first dress is what I'm calling the B&W Collection - a collection of 4 dresses all from black and white prints there were started to making packing and dressing on vacation easier - but I didn't get them finished.   

This is my newest ESP Dress - the picnic dress - now with lowered neckline

This dress is comfortable and easy to wear

I think - slowly - my photos are getting better

I really like my first ESP dresses and they have been in heavy rotation since finishing them.  But I found the neckline a bit too high.  So - I reached out to Decades of Style and asked how to lower the neckline.  I lowered the neckline on this dress 2" and it's just about perfect for me.  Other alterations:  placed center front bodice slightly off center and narrowed the sleeve width by 1.5"

The back fits better than this - but I was moving.
Also - in all honestly -  I could make the bodice a size smaller.

You can kind of see it in the photos above, but this dress has a 2" hem and then I added wide hem lace. 

Decades of Style, graciously, gave me permission to share the information.
That's amazing customer service - at least in my book.

Without further ado - here are the screen shots and instructions from Decades of Style.  (I was not compensated - just a very happy customer!)

First, here are your Front Bodice and Sleeve pieces as is in the pattern

Step 1. Line up the pieces at the front neck corner lining up the seam lines as best you can

Step 2. Extend the line from the top of the sleeve down into the Front Bodice as shown in pink

Step 3. Decide how much you want to lower the neck line and draw it from the center front over to meet the line extended from the Sleeve

Step 4. Draw from the new neck corner down to the Sleeve notch

Step 5. Cut along the newly drawn lines separating into 2 pieces as shown in pink

Step 6. Move the piece from the Bodice sleeve seam over to the Sleeve piece and attach

I hope you find this helpful!  I have to admit - it was a bit scary doing this alteration, but it worked!  And it was fairly easy given the instructions and screen shots.  Now - my neckline really looks square - where in the first version, not so much.  

What's the scariest alteration you've ever attempted?  And did it work?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

French Floral ESP Dress

I made this dress way back in March at Sewing Retreat.  On day one of retreat - I tag teamed 2 blue ESP dresses.  So far there are only photos of one. 

As is my habit, I traced all the pattern pieces.  Also habit is to take 1.5" out of the back length - I'm very short from my neck to waist in the back.  Finally - the last thing I do routinely is to add length to the skirt.   I made one muslin of the bodice only before cutting out 'real' fabric.  

The muslin showed that I needed to move the side darts down slightly, move the shoulder darts forward and - I felt - the sleeves were too full.  You can see from the photos that my sleeves are very wrinkled from being stuffed in a cardigan.  ( I forgot to modify the facings to match the fact that I moved the shoulder darts forward, but nobody knows!)

This dress is very easy to wear.  Even though the skirt is quite full, it doesn't feel horribly full and I think that could be based on the thinness of the cotton fabric.  And yet, it feels full, feminine and flirty.  Those are important qualities in a dress for me.  

I swear the hem hangs even, regardless of the fact that it doesn't look like it does in the side view.  Remember how I mentioned that I added length to the skirt?  Well - I added as much as my fabric would allow, which on this version was 4", then I took a 2" hem all around.  I don't recall  how large of a hem the pattern calls for - but I think adding length was a good idea.

On me, I feel like the neckline is quite high.  I reached out to the Decades of Style team and honestly - they were prompt and incredibly helpful.  I'm so very pleased with the customer service.  I have another version cut and mostly sewn up - but vacation got in the way.  Speaking of vacation - I wore this dress to Gibraltar and the Statue of Liberty and she did very well.

Verdict - I will make more versions of this dress.  What's your favorite style of dress to make over and over?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sew, You Want to Retreat

My view for 4 days at camp
Many of you followed my 'graming of sewing retreat or sewing camp.  A few of you expressed an interest in having a sew camp in your area.  I think there are many, many ways to do this.

learning the secret of matching the seam over the invisible zipper
If this is something you truly are interested in doing - I would encourage you to reach out to your local chapter of the ASG (American Sewing Guild).  In most locations you can 'sample' up to 2 meetings before joining.  do it!  Find out what the groups are interested in - see if you can check out their local website.  I hear lots of people saying "but they are all quilters in my location" or there really isn't anyone who sews.  check anyway - you might be surprised.

pair o' matching aprons
If most of the Neighborhood groups are truly composed of quilters - start your own neighborhood group.  Find a location - my NG meets at a local senior center for free.  Other NGs in my area meet at fabric stores, libraries and members homes.  There are no rules - do whatever you are comfortable with and then make yourself visible.

4 days of finished sewing
Once you've established a group of sewing friends - then you can find a location for a retreat.  Retreat can mean many different things - I see a bunch of Spoolettes who get together regularly and sew together.  If you can find a free location for a day of sewing - yea you!  Libraries are great for this.  

Can someone unpack me?
You'll always forget something!
After you get it all together - there are some things to think about when sewing socially.  Sometimes having a nice space to cut out is where you want to put your energy, sometimes you want to help and get help and sometimes you just want to be productive.  Figure out the best way to corral your supplies and have your projects organized.  For me - I learned that cutting garments prior to retreat, putting everything I need in a ziplock bag with the pattern makes being productive so much easier.  Grab a bag, sew it up, rinse and repeat.  Also - having portable storage for all the things you need regularly when sewing is helpful.  I have a caddy that holds marking pens, chalk, scissors, buttonhole cutter, button spacer, etc.  I just have to grab the caddy and I should have everything I need.  But I always forget something - last time it was my seam ripper!

That should get you started.  Let me know if you need any virtual help in setting up a sewing group and then organizing retreats!  Happy sewing.