Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sartorial Sunday - Easter Dress Edition!

Because I like to torture myself, I decided to change up my Easter dress plans at the last minute. My family goes to an out-of-this-world brunch at a local resort every year, and we dress up and take pictures and pretend we're that put-together every other day of the year.

So it was clearly important that I make the right choice in garments ;)

Enter the Colette Laurel! I was sold on the idea of a simple, classic dress that was easy and quick to sew, and would be a platform for variation. Because I can't seem to make a pattern as-is. Plus, you know, there's the contest running right now.

I spent Saturday evening on my porch, cutting out my PDF pattern, with my trusty kitty sidekick to help eat the tape. I absolutely loved the fact that I only cut out 2 pattern pieces, plus some bias tape. Seriously. Doesn't get better than that.

I knew that I wanted to use this fluid Italian linen that I had picked up at a local shop for an absolute steal. I might even go back and get more! And I knew that I wanted my version to have some pizazz, but I wasn't quite sure what that would be. I was reading Anna's blog over at Paunnet and saw the post about Deer and Doe's new spring line. BOOM. The Datura blouse. That neckline embellishment. Kismet!

I drew in a lower neckline on my pattern piece and then used a diamond quilting template to draw in the triangles. I drew in one large v-shaped cutout in the center back as well. One of the versions of the Laurel is lined, but I wasn't planning to line my entire dress, so I created facings for the front and back bodice out of a Laura Gunn floral cotton. The facings actually do double duty so that I didn't have to sew bias tape to the armholes. Woo!

The sewing itself is very easy - bust darts, back darts, side seams, zipper. But my sewing was made more difficult by the fact that the size I cut was all wrong. I cut a straight size 8 based on my bust measurement. Because that is really the only part of the dress that is fitted, I wanted to make sure that was accurate. But the dress was enormous when I sewed it up. Seriously, I could have fit 2 of me in there. I ended up having to take about 3 inches off each side seam, and 2 inches out of the center back. That's more inches removed than my measurements call for as compared to the listed pattern sizes, so I'm a little confused. But it all turned out ok.

Another edit that I made was that I didn't include a zipper. I planned on installing it all along, and then I hit midnight and I was no longer interested in doing that. The dress slides over my head just fine. However, you would not be able to get away with the if you left the neckline as the pattern calls for it, because your head wouldn't fit.

All of my seams are French seams, so there are no raw edges. It the cleanest the inside of my garments has been! I do have to hand-stitch the bodice facings down to the dress, but I ran out of time to do it for today's brunch. I am a little concerned that the facings might show through the bodice as a wrinkle, but I think as long as I do a good job tacking them down that it will minimize the potential problem. 

I made my own double-fold bias tape for the neckline and it's the first time I've wished that I had a bias-tape maker, because I burned my fingers no less than 57 times. Ok, maybe it was less. The back has a button from my grandmother's button stash to loop it all together.

Opinion of the dress? 

I like the 60's mini dress vibe that I get from it [I had to cut 3 inches off the hem, plus sew a deep hem, to get that look]. 
I don't like my terrible top-stitching skills. 
I like that I had thread that actually matched the linen.
I don't like that I had no idea how to measure how much bias tape I'd need for the neckline, so I had to redo that maaany times to get it so that it wasn't droopy.

I do like that it's figure flattering without being in your face about it.

An accurate representation of the color!

I don't like that I'm not sure if it's the best style for my body shape, so I added a belt [after brunch...unlimited mimosas people!]. Also, sometimes the neckline looks weird in photos if I don't pay attention to my body position.

Overall, I'm excited to fix my sizing issues and make some more versions. Next up, sashiko embroidery embellishments!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sartorial Saturday - Change of plans!

I went from this...

Deer and Doe Sureau

to this...

Colette Laurel

plus this...

Italian linen

to get this...

Colette Laurel plus modifications

to wear for my family's annual Easter brunch!

Check back tomorrow for a special holiday Sunday version of Sartorial Saturday! Mainly because I'm still sewing. But also because then I can pose in my dress in front of a smorgasbord of delicious foods ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sartorial Saturday - Vintage Embroidered Skirt

About a month ago, I mentioned that I had a project in Stitch Summer 2013. The magazine wasn't out yet, so I didn't want to give all the details up.

But Stitch Summer 2013 hit the newsstands this past week!

I submitted my project idea back in September 2012 - a basic skirt made special with hand-embroidery. I sent along a picture of my Nautical Striped Skirt and a sketch of my proposed embroidery and they accepted it. Yay!

The editor and I went back and forth on colors for the project. I originally wanted a navy blue skirt with ivory, light gray, teal, and mustard embroidery. But apparently navy doesn't photograph well [duh, Rebecca], so the Art Gallery Empire Yellow was my second choice.

The skirt itself takes about an hour to make...but the embroidery took me a little while. Ok, it took me a lot of a while :)

It certainly never gets old seeing my name in print! And I'll certainly be happy to see my skirt again after almost 6 months apart.

Have you ever embroidered a handmade or store-bought clothing item?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New fabric organization!

I purchased a cabinet from Target with some birthday cash money. In teal. Because it's fun!

Ares helped me put it together last night.

It has a super strong paint smell still [which I expected from the reviews on Target's website], so I'm airing it out for a few days before I fill it with fabric!

My apparel fabric never stays on the shelf I have it on now, so storing it inside of something will be super nice.

Speaking of apparel fabric, I picked up some new stuff on sale the other day at a local shop [along with some other fabric...]. From left to right there's Italian linen that I got at a steal, and is very fluid; Laura Gunn Garden Wall Wee Spring in Natural that I've been eyeing since last year for a cute blouse for fall, and a Robert Kaufman dobby dot! Now the question becomes, what do you think I should make with these?

Happy Wednesday! Halfway to Friday. Unless you're me and you too have Friday off to organize your sewing room ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pantone Quilts Challenge: We have a top

Green is my favorite color.

I spend the majority of my free time quilting.

Um, hello Emerald Quilts Challenge, aka a match made in heaven.

When Ali announced the challenge this year, my gears instantly started turning as far as what to make. Luckily, I've had the below idea simmering in my mind for over a year [literally, this was uploaded to Flickr in Feb 2012]:

It came to my mind after seeing the quilty/bloggy world blow up with Retro Flowers quilts last year that it would be awesome to do a gradient/ombre effect within each petal.

I made my own templates for a 16" finished block. The templates are essentially a drunkard's path block that has then been segmented - much like how I made my Twirling Clamshells pillow. It took me a moment with some math, and then a few more moments with pencil, paper, and a ruler, and voila!

Each segment has three drunkard's path blocks and a log cabin block. Each color measures 1.5" wide at the sides. I traced the templates and then cut the fabric out by hand. My color choices aren't all perfect, but I only had so many green fabrics to work with. After I pulled all my green fabrics that worked, I divided them up and took a black and white picture to check the value.

I think I did ok!

The backgrounds are all low-volume white prints. And my 2nd color [as per the challenge rules] was black, so I added the square into the center as I was stitching the four blocks together. I actually really like the square, because in my opinion it makes it less flowery, and more something else. Don't ask me what else though...

I haven't yet perfected the even seam allowance as I'm sewing around curves, so there are some hairy spots in the blocks if you look closely, but overall I was surprised by how well everything matched up.

Not here though. Sad times.

I plan to back the mini in this awesomely amazing curtain panel that I got at IKEA. I have two panels, and this little quilt will use up about 1/3 of one of them, so I can't wait to use it on another project. It's so perfect!

When I do get to quilting it, I plan to do something very dense, as this 32" square quilt is destined to hang on the wall someday.

Quilt Top Stats:
32" square
Fabrics used: Architextures, Pearl Bracelets, Kona solids, Oval Elements, Annie's Farm Stand, Robert Kaufman Pima cotton dots, Lizzy House Jewels, Peacock Lane, vintage green pin dot from my grandma, etc

*Entered in the Pantone 2013: Emerald Quilts Challenge in the Quilt Top Category

**Linked with Fabric Tuesday and Show and Tell Tuesday :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VMars, anyone?



I'm sorry to shout, but I'm so giddy that I might pee my pants.

So if you too loved that show and were devastated when it was canceled, please consider pledging. It's been less than a day and there's almost been $1 million pledged!

Alright, that's the end of my PSA. We will be returning to our regularly scheduled sewing programming.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Do sewing machines throw temper tantrums?

I'm working on a project that was due, like, yesterday.

It uses velveteen and metallic thread. My sewing machine apparently HATES metallic thread.

I've adjusted the tension, I've changed needles, I've offered a sacrifice to the sewing gods...

Regular thread works just peachy.


Any thoughts on a possible fix?

In other news:
I just received word from Shannon, the editor, that Stitch Craft Create magazine is ceasing publication. The current newsstand issue [Spring 2013] is the last issue. I really liked this magazine! It's a sad commentary on the state of print journalism in this day and age.

Plus I had a project that I made for the Winter 2013 issue that will obviously no longer be published.

The plus side for you is that now it will be a tutorial for the blog!

Happy Wednesday :)

*Linked with WIP Wednesday :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's my birthday and I'll sew if I want to -

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend with quite a few fabulous things:

Pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill where you make them yourself at your table. It's located at the Florida park where the Fountain of Youth is at!

Shopping trips at IKEA that included yards of that black and white texty number fabric as well as a curtain panel that I'll be using to back a quilt [that I'm so excited about!].

An out-of-this-world delicious meal of chicken/apple/brie wraps and gourmet mac&cheese with bacon.

Lots of kitten naps.

A bowtie collar for Ares :)

And of course, some sewing! More work on my Pantone Emerald challenge. I'm waffling on arrangement of my teardrop shapes.

I prepped for sewing a Grainline Scout tee in this black lace.

And I worked on several projects that I'm not allowed to show all of yet, including this little bit above.

Now for some PSAs:

1. My younger sister is a freshman in college, and is a journalism major. She just had to start a blog for one of her classes, and since her goal is to work for a fashion magazine, her blog is all about fashion. Feel free to pop on over to Classmade and say hello!

2. My mom is trying to destash some of her Creative Memories and Stampin' Up supplies, so I set her up an Etsy shop. If anyone dabbles in those crafts as well then feel free to see if there's anything you want. If you do want to purchase something then you can use SEWFESTIVE15 for a 15% discount on your order.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

No projects, just some thoughts

Have you all seen the Fuck quilt? Or the gun quilt? Or the rape quilt? What about Annabel Rainbow's naked quilts?

How about Thomas Knauer's set of fabulous blog posts about all of these conversations surrounding thought-provoking quilts [you should scroll between posts from the end of February to the present]? Or his very irate response to the reactions of some of the above quilts?

I spent hours reading through all this material.

I followed the process of the Fuck quilt as blocks were sent to Chawne. I didn't bat an eye. To tell you the truth, it didn't get any particular reaction from me.

Fuck is a word. Just like any word, its meaning changes with context. Is using the word "fuck" any better or worse than calling someone ugly? 

This is why I am reeling from the commentary about the Fuck quilt hanging at QuiltCon. I didn't go to the show, but there have been comments ranging from the fact that it's a disgusting word, to the fact that it makes the quilt no longer a piece of art, to the fact that someone isn't a fit mother if she gifts a quilt like that to her son.

Of course, there are plenty of people who are encouraging of the quilt as well.

My problem is this: at what point is this community no longer celebrating creativity if we try to impose the artistic, social, religious, academic, personal, moral viewpoints of a few onto the majority? That's what the dissenters are suggesting. That this quilt doesn't have a place in our community. And even worse, maligning the creators because of that!

Some people journal their thoughts. Some people have long discussions with friends. Some people go to political rallys. And some people spend hours, time, money, emotion, skill, and perspective on quilts.

I'm not really a fan of applique, but I would never go to someone and tell them that their applique quilt is disgusting, ugly, and not a sight for anyone's eyes. I can still recognize the workmanship and craft that went into the project. I can even want to improve my own skill at applique so that I can take a technique that might not be my favorite and use it in my own creative process in a way that suits my desire to make. Why can't we celebrate fellow makers?!

If you don't like something, that's ok! If you do like something, that's ok too! We can all exist in the same space :)

Now you all know:
I think all the quilts at the top of the post are fabulous in their own way.
I celebrate the creative ideas in this community.
I take the time to understand the reasoning and the journey behind the concept.
I appreciate those who disagree, but do it in a way that is respectful of the right to open dialogue.

Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments, but please do so in an adult manner. I do not tolerate mud-slinging.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dreaming about sewing instead of being at work ;)

I have been itching to keep working on my Pantone 2013 Quilt Challenge entries. But I have to do some work before I get to play!

That means I have to get this custom Potter Pattern hoop out in the mail [it just needs to be packaged!].

And I have to finish a magazine project using this print from AMH Field Study velveteen.

Plus, I'd really love to take a nap :)

**Linked with Quilt Story and Show and Tell Tuesday