Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I can't believe I built stuff!

Hello readers!  I't been forever since I posted here on the blog.  
I'm still around and still sewing.  Only now I have another obsession hobby, building! This sort of became my middle-of-summer sewing replacement, since my sewing room is in an attic, and it's very hot up there.

Last Christmas I bought myself Ana White's book, the Handbuilt Home, which has had me dying to try building.  This summer we cleaned out the garage and bought the needed tools.  My first project was this headboard.  I had been looking for a basic black wood headboard for quite awhile, now my quest is at an end.  I was shocked how easy and fun it was!! 

Building seems just like sewing to me. Cut raw materials up, fasten back together following directions. I like how clear Ana's plans are, very easy to follow.

So with that under my belt, I took a huge leap and went for the project in the book that I loved best.  Since the time my teens were toddlers I've been salivating over the Pottery Barn Bedford Project Table. The price was outrageous though. So now for the price of the shipping alone ($150), I have my own project table. 

I love all the storage built in here. Two people can sit across from each other.  It's perfect for drawing or crafting together.  

Now that the weather's getting cold, I'm back in my sewing room. Hopefully next summer I can build a new dining room table, like this one.  Check out Ana's site for all kinds of gorgeous, free furniture plans.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Finished Gertie's Bombshell Dress!

Here is a project that's been on my list for a year.  The Sew Retro Bombshell Dress, which is a class on Craftsy taught by the amazing Gretchen Hirsch.  

I had purchased the class as soon as I saw it, then the materials, some of which I had to order by mail, like spiral steel boning.  I finally felt ready to tackle this project this summer.  I knew it would be a challenge for me with all the hand sewing and new techniques.  I had to make sure I had plenty of patience ready, before tackling this one!

It went very smoothly though, while watching the detailed videos.  I knew it wouldn't be a quick project and that was okay.

I chose this cotton fabric because the pattern calls for something heavy enough to support the boning and cups, but not too heavy to drape at the front.  I also liked the vintage feed sack look of this print.

I like the detachable strap!

I've already worn this out on a date with my husband, and I love the way the dress stays up so well.  No tugging or worrying.  Thanks, Gretchen,  for showing me these new techniques for a perfectly engineered dress.  It's my favorite dress I've made!

Now that I'm on a roll for challenging projects, next up my first swimsuit!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Finished Colette Taffy

Hello again!  I'm getting really far behind in posting my finished projects, really because I hate taking photos of myself!!  

Yesterday I was on my way to my yearly IEP meeting at the school, and I always try to look smart for that, so I had James snap a few photos in the driveway.

Here is my version of the Colette Taffy Blouse.  The pattern for this is included in the Colette Sewing Handbook.  This is my second make from the book in recent weeks.  I also made the Meringue Skirt, which of course I need to photograph.

This blouse was fun to make and definitely fun to wear.  The sleeves are ginormous circles.  I made this in some type of light polyester that has a nice silky feel.  I got it when I ordered "navy voile" from Fashion Fabrics Club.  Usually I have overwhelming success shopping there, but once in awhile I get a fabric I wasn't expecting.  This one worked out perfectly for the Taffy though.

The sleeves are kind of crazy, I like them.

I highly recommend The Colette Sewing Handbook. It has so many patterns, techniques and beautiful full color photos.  I only have one gripe to mention.  I really wish the patterns were printed on real paper instead of tissue, so they would be easier to trace and keep.  I wasn't able to trace my meringue skirt pattern, and had to use the original tissue pieces because the ink on the tissue paper was too light to see through the tracing paper without losing my mind.  Luckily my skirt fit perfectly in the size I cut and I won't need a larger size.  

Speaking of skirts, I am honored to be a judge again for Crafterhours Skirt Week!!
Check out all of the amazing skirt tutorials to jump start your summer wardrobe.  
Then make sure to vote for your favorite skirts in the reader's choice poll coming up!


I'll leave you with this photo of my ninja and me:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sunny Day Laurel Dress

Well the sun has finally come to New Hampshire.  

Yesterday I had a fire going, it was raw and rainy, 40 degrees.  I used that time wisely and finished another Laurel Dress.  Today it was in the 70's and I got to wear it!  Hooray!!  

So I have to stand in the mud to have my photo taken, I'm not complaining!!

This version is in Voile by Anna Maria Horner, bought (on sale) at Pink Chalk Fabrics.
This time I used my self-drafted collar from my previous version.  I also used the keyhole opening idea from the Laurel Extras download (love that!!).  

This time instead of using pleats to shape the waist I drafted in two front darts.

I also used the underlining as suggested in the pattern, it worked very well.  I used a soft cotton and it compliments the voile very well.  This is going to get tons of wear this summer, it's very comfortable!

I got this second one done just in time to enter the Colette Laurel ContestThe Flickr group is full of great ideas for customizing this versatile pattern.

I'm having so much fun sewing for myself, I kind of flaked out on Kids Clothes Week.  Oops!!  I hear now they're actually having it four times a year though, so that's great news, and they have a new blog up and running!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Colette Laurel Dress

Colette Laurel Dress

I've been looking to expand my skills in changing up a basic pattern, and Colette's latest release, the Laurel Dress, seemed like a perfect starting point.  It's a basic shift dress with all kinds of options for customizing.  For this version I actually made a muslin (a real muslin y'all - out of muslin!!) and that was worth the effort because I was able to really try out some ideas.  I wrote on it with a sharpie, ripped it apart and stuff!  I knew it wasn't ever going to be wearable so it gave me freedom to experiment.

Fabric used: Navy brushed twill and red linen "look"
I'm a submarine sailor's daughter, I can't help loving anything remotely nautical.  At least I didn't put an anchor on it.

So for this version the changes were:

- I added pleats at the front sides to add waist definition
-I changed to short sleeves
-drafted a peter pan collar using Gertie's tutorial in her book an also online
-added a bunch of trims like ric-rac, strips of bias, and machine embroidery

The machine embroidery is what almost KILLED the dress.

Let me explain, I worked on the dress over about a two week period due to my time constraints, being a mom of 4 kids.  Everything was going as planned and I was proud I had taken my time.  As a last step I wanted to embroider the swallow and hooped up my finished dress.  Disaster!!!  Let's just say I ruined it.  I actually had to cut off the whole lower portion of the dress.  There ain't no seam ripper that can get out machine embroidery stitches.  So yesterday I took it out when I had a few free hours and had to "Make it Work".  I added on to the lower portion and used the accent trim to hide the join.  The second time I got smart and embroidered the bird separately, then added it as a patch.  If I ruined the project again, I couldn't take it.  So I think it worked out well in the end!

Are you sewing a Laurel Dress?  They even have a contest running until the end of April!  
Check it out!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Frankendress finished

"Send Help, I'm snowed in."

 I finished the franken-Tiramisu dress awhile back and was never able to get any satisfying photos, but I am just posting these anyway.  I might never get around to taking any more photos!!  Cabin fever is really setting in now...we have at least 3 feet of snow covering our yard still, no joke!

That ball of fur is my dog, Angus, FYI

Part 1 of this post is here if you want to see the progress.  I began with a Tiramisu dress, and didn't like the bodice, so I cut it in two and attached Jalie 2449 as the bodice.

 I'm happier with the dress now.  The best part about it is how it feels like pajamas.  I really didn't have any long sleeved knit dresses in my wardrobe, and they are very cozy for winter (or a winter which never ends).  The only thing that bothers me is the pockets.  This is a real heavy/thick interlock knit ($1 a yard!) and the pockets add a bunch of bulk at the hips I'm not crazy about.

In other news, my sewing studio in now complete! I don't know how I fit 4 machines into my little space, but I have an embroidery machine now.  I've been playing around with it a bit and I think it will be such fun to embellish some of my sewing projects with.   Here is one of my first test samples:


Perfect Polo

I've been sewing like crazy this month but completely absent from the blog.  My photo-taking mojo is gone.  It's just been too cold and gray!  Please excuse the bad photos, I just had to post something!!

It's the Perfect Polo pattern made with knit fabric from Girl Charlee.

This was about as much posing as I could get out of Travis.

This is a pattern I can see myself using again and again.  The directions were straightforward, the placket was a bit confusing but came out fine in the end.  This polo would be great in many colors and patterns. 

AND.....A little bird told me that the KCWC Spring 2012 is coming up soon!  Are you on board?
Click on the link below to get the details!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Star Wars Pajamas

I just wanted to quickly post about these pajamas that I made the week between Christmas and New Year.  I love these so much!!  The pattern is the Sweet Dreams Button Up PJ Set from Peek A Boo Pattern Shop.

I love the piping around the neckline and sleeves.  I'd definitely recommend this pattern.  Travis got to choose his own fabric this time.

Here is one of my recent Instagram photos.  
If you love instagram too find me and we'll hook up --  I'm CraftyNHmom on there too. 
Here's a clue as to why he wanted this fabric, Darth Vader.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tiramisu Dress Rescue in progress..

The last week or so I've been avoiding my sewing room. Here's why...

My miserable looking Tiramisu Dress!

I've made two attempts at making the bodice fit. I tossed my first try and started over. I still have this wrinkly weirdness at the under bust seam. I think it has to do with the gathers being wrong somehow. I've checked out the Flickr group for the Tiramisu sew along and it seems like the people who have this problem are the medium or small busted ladies. I'm average in the bust dept. so I started fiddling with this seam, and the more I adjusted the worse it looked!

Then I started to wish there were no gathers at all to mess me up. I mean it's a stretchy knit fabric anyway. I thought back to a top I had made from Jalie 2449 that fit really well. So instead of tossing my Tiramisu into the pajama drawer, I had the idea to combine those two patterns. That way I get the bodice I like on the really pretty Tiramisu circle skirt.

Here is the shirt alone, which I quickly made while I was kicking this idea around:

Here I made a chalk line at where I'd like to combine the bodice and skirt. I measured up 2.5 inches from the bottom waistband seam since that part is still pretty straight.

Snip, snip!

Snip snip here!

Surgery begins!

Then it was time to pick up Travis at school!
To be continued...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Operation Incognito - Sewing for School

Our school has a really awesome fundraiser each winter!  It goes like this...

Each class has a theme such as "Let's Go to the Movies" or "Let's Build Something", and each child brings in one or more items for that theme basket.  The baskets are wrapped in clear cellophane and raffled off at the Winter Festival.  This is a great fundraiser because each item is donated and all of the money made from raffle tickets goes to our school and directly benefits the kids.

My preschooler's class theme this year is "Let's Dress Up".  I specifically wanted to donate an item that was fun for girls or boys, since we all know boys sometimes get jipped in the dress up department.

I found this sewing pattern at just the right moment!

Get yours here on Craftsy!

It also comes with instructions for a yellow felt envelope to keep it all in, but I had only smaller felt pieces and I also wanted to position them so they will all be on display in the theme basket.

Travis really wants to win one of the baskets this year, he's saving up his money for tickets!

First project of 2013 - Cozy Sweatshirt Tunic

Here is a casual project that's been on my to-do list for quite awhile...

It's a quirky tunic length hoodie, European style! The pattern is Deborah by Mamu Design
Warm shirts are at the top of my sewing list right now. Christmas sewing is over and now it's just plain old winter. This hoodie fits the bill perfectly because it's cozy and fun. It also has a pocket for my ice cold hands!
I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern except shortening it just a bit. I could have fitted it a bit more as it is baggy in the waist. I may do that later on.

The fabric is interlock from Fabric Fix in Manchester, NH and the floral knit is from Girl Charlee.

I'm really not sure what to make next. I have project overload right now. I might need to make a list and prioritize so I don't waste time staring at my stacks of patterns and fabric.

 Recent acquisitions include: Sisters of Edwardia blouse and tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns, Angel Bootcut Jeans by Angela Wolf (which I am a little afraid of). I also got a few new books for Christmas including this amazing fashion book that I can't pull myself away from!!