Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hawaiian dress shirt

Pin It  Spring has certainly arrived here in Anchorage, Alaska.  During the day we reach temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s so the snow that built up all winter long is slowly disappearing.  But at night, it gets down to the teens, so I would not call it warm quite yet.  From what people tell me, this has been a mild winter and spring has arrived a bit early.  I think the lower 48 sucked up the cold snowy weather that belongs up here.  But what do I know?  It is just my first year here and I spent most of the winter down in Georgia.



On Saturday, we enjoyed the Spring weather by going to the Eagle River nature center to hear a class on local woodpeckers and then went on a walk to enjoy the park and see some actual woodpeckers and the holes they have created in trees along the path.  It was a gorgeous clear day, but the trail was a bit treacherous with lots of ice caused by the snow melting and then refreezing into a slick sheet covering the path.




Also this weekend I have been spending my time finishing up the kids' Easter outfits.  Eli's was especially fun because he picked out a wild Hawaiian print fabric.  I guess the long winter has go to him and he wants to dream of a warmer climate. 


I used the same burdastyle boy's dress shirt pattern shown HERE and HERE but this time I had to make it two sizes bigger.  He has been shooting up this winter and those flannel versions are getting quite short on him.



Because Spring is still quite chilly and Summer could be a long ways off, I kept it a long sleeve shirt.
And I am getting better with the cuffs and am quite proud of how expertly I have sewn this one.  But it is my 4th time using this pattern so I really should be getting good at it.


I have written an official review of it over at Sew Cool for the Tween Scene because it does come in sizes for older boys.  If you would like to read about the details of the pattern, head over THERE.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Little Fox

Pin It I made it home for my youngest daughter's third birthday.  It feels great to be back in Alaska and no longer in Georgia separated from my family.  My last week in GA though I took advantage of not having kids around and did some major sewing for Isa's birthday.

I found some super cute fox and lady bug fabric at Joanns so I bought several of the coordinating fabrics to make her a complete birthday look.  I used patterns I already had on hand, the W pants and Beachy Boat neck shirt by Blank Slate Patterns.

Blank Slate Patterns

 All the knits that coordinated were in the colors that went with the fox fabric but were in totally different patterns or were solid.  And I wanted to create something of interest on the shirt.

Blank Slate Patterns


So, I bought a zig-zag pattern knit, a pink knit, and some sheer with little daisies.  All of these fabric coordinated with the twill fabric I used for the pants.  Then I set out to do some reverse applique.  First, I set out to find a good fox silhouette.  Good 'ole Google images was perfect for that!  I found a fox head, printed it, and cut it out.

Blank Slate Patterns


Second, I pinned a wide strip of the sheer on top of the cut front of the shirt.  I pinned the silhouette on top of all three centered.  I then stitched around the fox's head and eyes with a straight stitch.  Next, I cut the excess sheer off from the outside of the fox face and zig-zagged around the raw edges of the face.

Blank Slate Patterns


Third, pinned a piece of the patterned knit behind the fox and again zig-zagged.  Finally, I cut the excess of the printed fabric.  As you can see, I left the pink for the eyes intact and sandwiched between the two layers.

Blank Slate Patterns
 I did change the shirt pattern just slightly.  I used a knit binding on the sleeves and neckline and then faced the bottom hem.  I just like that look a bit more.  And the bottom hem is faced with the patterned knit so it will still look cute when it inevitably is flipped up.

P.S.  Project Run and Play is having inspired by animals week, so this was perfect timing.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Flipping the boat (boat neck, that is)

Pin It One of my favorite blogs I have found through Project Run and Play is Frances Suzanne.  It is written by two sisters who sew some of the most classically beautiful clothes for their nieces.  It is these two ladies that have motivated me to use piping in various projects.

Well, for several months they have been hosting a "flip that pattern" fun filled contest/sewalong.  I participated one month and decided to again.

March is the month of the Beach Boat neck. I already owned that pattern so I decided to make a button up shirt version.


 I cut the front as two pieces instead of on the fold and gave it about another inch on the center.  I also rounded off the corners next to the neck.


 Then I used contrasting knit to make a binding for the hem and around the front to create a placket for the buttons.  For the bottom binding, I used a decorative stitch to give it more interest and tack it down.
The original pattern has 3/4 sleeves and I wanted long sleeves so I made long cuffs in the same knit as the binding.  These few changes made the top take twice as long to sew as the normal Beachy Boatneck would take.  But, I do like the way it turned out and so did Isa.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A little too ...

Pin It  This is the final week of this round of Project Sewn and is the signature style theme.  And as I was looking over what I have made over the last two months, I have noticed a pattern.  Several of the items were either a little to fancy or a little too sexy for my lifestyle.

I am a mom of three great kids so life is on the go and sometimes sticky.  And I am an attorney in the Army which means I wear a uniform designed for men five days a week.  Thus, when it is time to create and dream about clothes I tend to gravitate to flowing feminine fabrics or fun and funky designs.  Anything basically to make me feel more like a woman.

But that ends up resulting in skirts that are probably too short for a woman my age.  Or blouses that show just a bit too much cleavage for picking up toddlers.



And this recent project turned out no different.

The skirt is from the new U.S. version of BurdaStyle winter 2014 issue, pattern #107 .  The fabric is a faux suede and it is lined.  The skirt looked a little short on the model, but burda's models are super tall and I always have to take inches off their hems.  So I thought it would be fine on my 5' 3" self.  But, it turned out shorter than I expected.  It has a higher waist too, so does that make it look shorter?



The top is from the English/European version of burdastyle's 11/2012 issue, pattern #112 with the sleeves of #113.  The fabric is a slinky polyester fabric from Joann's that was on sale.  I just loved the colors in this fabric and bought it with a particular top in mind.  That top is from the same pattern as a dress I made over the holidays out of a similar fabric that I purchased on the same trip.  However, the dress did not turn out spectacular and it is mainly because it needed a fabric with more body.  So what to do with this fabric that was meant for the blouse version? 

Those are mustard yellow tights ... my legs are not really yellow and I swear it looked good in real life.


I looked through the magazine and found #112 which was meant for flowing fabric.  It is a fairly easy pattern and the blouse is quite comfortable.  It is also long enough that I can wear it with leggings even though I shortened it by about 3 inches.  But one word of caution.  The slit on the front is really quite deep if you are petite.  I had to sew it back up because it almost went to my belly button.



Speaking of buttons, the slit does close with one fabric covered button.  I thought that was a nice touch.  I used some of the white fabric from the skirt for the collar to provide a bit of interest and wonder if I should have made the covered button white too.  Oh well.

All in all, I do like this outfit.  I am just a bit unsure where I will go in a white mini skirt and a flowing blouse.

If you want to go check out other lady's signature styles and/or vote for mine this weekend (Feb 28-Mar 2), go HERE.

If you are interested in hearing more from us, there are a couple ways for you to keep in touch!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Celestial Pullover

Pin It  Recently I tried out a new pattern for my ten year old daughter.  And I saw other women making the same shirt for them selves.  I checked out the measurements, and sure enough, the XL fit me.  How fun!  I decided to make one for myself.

The Project Sewn theme this week is to sew something to wear with a pair of your shoes.  I have these cute little boots with laces that I love.  I picked them up in Germany, where they have a shoe store on every corner.  They are lots of fun to wear, but are often pretty dressy.  So I thought it would be fun to sew something that is causal that could be worn with them.


Thus, I took the Figgy Celestial Pullover pattern and made it with a sweatshirt fabric with a funky grey and black print.  The fabric was a remnant and I barely had enough.


The turtle neck must be a knit fabric, so I used some soft, fuzzy knit I had in my stash. 


The shirt has wonderful pockets.


And, I have been wanting to participate in the leather accent trend.  But, I was not ready for the expense.  So I used a vinyl bias tape to trim the hems of the shirt.



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Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Classic with a twist"

Pin It Yesterday and today have been snow days in Georgia.  Actually, "ice day" would be more like it.   There is a lot more ice outside than snow and it is weighing down the trees and causing large branches to break. The roads are closed and work was canceled.

I definitely did not object and spent the day sewing a blouse.  I packed not only my sewing machine for this prolonged stay in Georgia, but also a bunch of fabric from my stash.  The fabric I used for this blouse was actually given to me by a friend in Germany and I did not have a project planned for it but really liked it.

At Project Sewn, this week is Pink Week and since this is the only pink fabric I had sitting around I picked it up.
I choose to use a pattern (#122) from my BurdaStyle Winter 2014 magazine I bought in November.  It actually was the debut U.S. version of BurdaStyle.  It differs from other BurdaStyle patterns/magazines in that the patterns come with seam allowances.


The blouse has interesting flaps on the shoulders.  They serve no function, but look pretty cool.  Burda describes the blouse as "classic with a twist".  If you don't like the flaps, they could easily not be skipped.

All in all, the pattern is pretty easy and I would like to make another in a solid color.  What I like about this blouse is that it is very wearable.  Often I sew items that I really love, but are not terribly practical for every day life.  This blouse is casual enough for daily wear.



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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A wrap dress for me

Pin It  This week at school/work, I have two papers due and one test and frankly, I was tired of studying.  I am really missing my family living across the continent and the paper writing was starting to annoy me.  So how did I cope?  I put my computer aside and sewed a dress I had been thinking about for a while.  What? is that not how you cope with negative emotions?

Back in January, Justine from Sew Country Chic wrote a post about the timeless style of Diane Von Furstenberg's wrap dress.  You can see Justine's finished version HERE.  Like Justine, I have always loved that dress and her post reminded me that I have a wrap dress pattern from Burdastyle that I have been meaning to sew for the last two years.

Then, I discovered that Project Sewn's theme this week is the Fashion Icon Challenge.  Well, how many excuses did I need to get working on that wrap dress that had been waiting for me???

wrap dress


The burdastyle pattern I have is called the 70s Wrap Dress 10/2011 #122.  The model is wearing a version made of organza.  But, there is also a very similar version called the Long Metallic Wrap Dress 10/2011 #123B that appears virtually identical except the length and the sleeve style.  The sleeves in #123B are fitted and have zippers at the wrist.  My #122 comes with two sleeve options: one that is full and one with a dart and zipper at the wrist.  I can only assume that the zipper sleeves are the ones that go with #123B.

 


For my fabric, I chose a cotton sateen with a slight stretch so I thought the fitted sleeve would be a much better option.  But the instructions for #123B did not include the zipper sleeve so I had to wing it.  I am satisfied with the way they turned out, but I am not sure if I did it correct.  I first inserted the invisible zipper, and then sewed up the dart.  Do any of you know which was supposed to be sewn first?


wrap dress


The dress is a true wrap dress, so it has ties on each side and a slit under my right arm.  You simply need to insert a tie into that slit and wrap the ties around into a belt.  I believe it is designed for the left side to be inserted into the right slit and then the right tie wrapped around your back.  However, I did not notice a flaw in the fabric until it was too late; so I have to have my left side on top.

flawed fabric
flawed fabric 
Strangely enough there was another flaw in this fabric too that I managed to keep to the facing.  It was missing some dots!

The main body of the dress is also lined with a self-fabric facing.  You simply base the facing to the lining and then insert them together.  The last step I did to finish the dress was to hand sew the lining over the arm hole seam allowance.


wrap dress lining


The pattern was relatively straight forward to sew and given that it is such a classic dress, I am sure I can find many different fabrics to use for a variety of looks.  This may become my go-to dress pattern.  I simply love the fit and I had to do very little to modify it to my shape.


wrap dress


In addition to the sleeve variation, the pattern comes with various flounce pieces that you could add to make the dress fancier.  I may try the neckline flounce for a version done in silk organza.


And guess what?  If you are reading this on February 7th, 8th, or 9th and you love my dress as much as I do, you can vote for it during the Project Sewn sew-along challenge.


wrap dress


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