Archive | April, 2011

One million girlfriend points.

29 Apr

April 12, 2010

Some people really like pillows, I do not.  I sleep with one sometimes but, most often none because they hurt my neck.  Chris on the other hand LOVES pillows!  He can’t get enough, it’s like a mountain in his bed.  Around the time of his birthday I was reading the book “The Party Dress Book” (see right) and in it the author was talking about how she re-uses scraps from past dresses and puts them onto new ones.  This got me thinking…I have bags of scraps from my old projects.  Why I kept them I don’t know, but I’m glad I did!  The birthday present light bulb came on and I got to making pillows for Chris.

Here’s what I had to work with: grey suiting material and lining from the pants, black knit fabric from the green dress worn at Cass and Brendan’s wedding, some green fleece a friend gave me, and white and blue sheets from a Virgin Mary costume I wore to Chris’ annual Christmas party:

I scrapped the green felt right away because it didn’t match Chris’ room and started sketching out some ideas for patterns.  Oh, by the way, did I mention that while I spent my weekend making pillows for Chris he was in Vegas for a bachelor party?  I deserve one million girlfriend points for that.  The first pattern I came up with was a mix of the grey, black and blue in stripes.  I measured out some pieces, cut them up and laid it on the table.

This was a super easy project.  All I did – and you can do this too! – was put each piece together with the right (right as in correct side of the fabric, not the direction) sides together and stitch a ½” seam straight down.  The only fabric that gave me trouble was the knit because I forgot that a knits should be sewn with a zig-zag stitch and the straight stitch I was using kept pulling the fabric. Nothing too terrible, just went really slow and adjusted the fabric as I went.  Luckily I only had to sew the black pieces 4 times, for each side of the pillow, ugh.  After all the colors were together for both sides, I put those pieces together with right sides facing and made a ½” stitch around the outside of the whole thing.  I stopped about 2” from where I started to leave a hole for putting the stuffing in.   For the purple pillows I made way back when I first started, we used a pre-formed pillow.  This time I used stuffing.  Stuffing is much much cheaper ($3 vs. $20) but its not as sturdy.  Fine by me.  I, sloppily, hand-stitched the hole closed and voilà…pillow #1.

For the other two pillows I scrapped the black fabric and stuck with the easier fabrics.  The next pattern was angled lines using blue and white:

I followed the same procedure, ½” seams to connect the pieces and a ½” seam all around.  This pillow originally started out a lot bigger than it ended up being because of the direction of the pieces. When I sewed them together it became all uneven on the edges and I had to trim them back.  The pillows ended up being all different sizes, let’s not call it a mistake…call it abstract!

The third pillow was simply all blue, no pattern and took all of 10 minutes to make.  By the time I finished it only took about 5 hours total and they looked really nice!

Chris likes the pillows a lot and says the different sizes are actually good.  I like the idea of making things for presents; it’s more unique and personal.  I think I’ll start doing this for all the engagement/wedding/baby parties that are sure to keep popping up!


P.s.  As his other present I also had a custom comic made starring him, his roommate Tom, and me as the sexy reporter!  Cool, right?

If you ever want a comic made up, contact this guy, he’s awesome!

64 Steps (Part Deux)

26 Apr

March 30, 2011

My feeble attempt at making dress pants was becoming harder as I went on.  After barely making it through the back pockets with my sanity, I was getting started on the legs.  I was up to step 46 (only 18 more steps to go…) connecting the legs at the seams.  This is where the fabric will actually start to look like pants, yay!

I was hoping, really hoping, this would be easy since it was nothing fancy, pretty much one long seam all the way down.  I put the pants on the floor, lined everything up and got to stitching.  I get really excited when I get to the point where I can almost try something on.  So I did just that and many expletives later realized I did it backwards.  @&!?&!!!  The next 20 minutes were spent ripping out a 3ft long seam.  Not fun.  Luckily I was in the midst of my Mad Men marathon so I was happily distracted.  After finally ripping the entire seam, I laid the pants back down on the floor and REALLY concentrated on the instructions.  The right sides were together, everything looked like it did in the picture, I checked over and over.  Ok, deep breath, sew again and…you’ve got to be kidding me?!?!  Backwards again??  I took a break to cry and eat some cookies.  Tagalongs always help.

Hello gorgeous!

It took me a while to figure out what I was doing wrong, but once I did, it sucked.  I wasn’t sewing them backwards, they were backwards.  All because I didn’t cut them correctly at the start.  (Insert curse word of your choice).  Now I had to switch which sides the legs were on which really sucked because now the front of the pants didn’t quite match the back.  The color is off ever so slightly, but definitely enough to notice.  I can wear them and get away with it, especially to work because I assure you, the dental industry puts on no fashion show.  This was my biggest mistake so far and a good learning experience to ALWAYS follow the directions.

Now that the middle seams were done, the side seams were actually easy.  But next was the dreaded crotch seam!  I was worried about this the whole time.  Pants always seem to have a problem in this area.  They’re either too tight which pulls or too loose leaving you with a bulge and questioning if you’re a possible tranny.  You know how sometimes you think things are going to be really bad and the anticipation is worse than the actual thing?  That was the crotch seam.  It worked, just like the instructions said it would.  Amazing how I thought the legs would be easy but turned out to be the hardest and this was the exact opposite.  Oh sewing, you’re funny.

Next up was the waistband.  The ever so helpful, disgruntled teenager at Joanns was supposed to cut me fusible interfacing but did not.  For once, I had some luck and the correct interfacing was lying around my apartment.  Sewing knowledge 101: there are two types of interfacing, fusible and sew-in.  Fusible means when you iron it to the fabric is sticks right to it, sew-in, as the name implies, has to be sewn on.  Sew-in seems like a lot of extra work if you ask me, but I’m sure there’s some greater meaning to it that I will find out one day when I mess up in the future.  Attaching the waistband went smoothly.  The last step in the section was to slip stitch the waist on the inside.  Slip stitching is ridiculous, you have to grab one thread at a time, by hand and attach it to the fabric, just so the seam stays hidden – Wikihow will show you how ridiculous.  Slip stitching and I are not friends, not even acquaintances.  So I skipped to the next step and promised to go back to that.

Hems and cuffs at the bottom of the pants were next.  To my surprise, things went well, again.  To make the cuffs, you have to fold under the fabric and sew, several different times so that all of the edges look nice.  They came out good, but just a little too long.  No problem since I wear 5″ heels…oh wait…one more step.  Woo Hoo! I took it up another half inch and the length was perfect :)

The only thing left to do was the slip stitching, which I had been putting off, and to attach a few hooks for the fly.  I put on the hooks then figured I’d do some slip stitching while I spent some time with the handsome Don Draper.  After two hours I only made it about quarter of the way around the waist.  I held up the pants to check it out and the stitch was too tight, pulled the fabric and it looked worse than before.  Slip stitching and I are officially enemies now.  I still to this day have not fully completed these pants because of this.

By the time I “finished” the pants they were not the best, but not the worst.  They fit well, which is good and the length was perfect which never happens with my ostrich legs.  The only issue I had was that they did pull a little bit in the crotch.  So I did what I always do when I have a problem, had Carol fix it!  She told me it was too tight in the inseam and cut a few little triangles on the inside to ease the tension.  Much better.  Here’s a (blurry) picture from before she had helped, but you get the jist:

I don’t even know how long it took to make these pants, I think 2 months, but it felt like 3 years.  I think, for my first try at pants, I did an alright job.  After looking at the pattern again I realized this was an “Average” rating on the Vogue scale.  Just for that I am bumping my rating up to really awesome job for even completing something above Very Easy Vogue.  I’ll definitely make more pants in the future now that I have more experience, but I think I’ll leave the high end stuff to Alice + Olivia for a while.


If only I had this much patience

22 Apr

Read this fun article, from CNN, in honor of Earth Day:
Wearable Art Plucked from Trash

64 steps. (Part I)

22 Apr

After making 4 dresses it was time for a change.  Cass was nice enough to get me a gift card to Joanns for being her personal therapist during wedding planning and I had 5 whole months before the next wedding!  Pretty much a miracle.  December was a wash for sewing because I took another vacation (hard life) to a little place called Costa Rica.

This is the never-before-seen picture of me succeeding at surfing! Ok, so its not hard evidence since I’m still in the process of standing, but I have 4 witnesses that I actually caught that huge (2 ft) wave.

January.  Back to reality, time to sew again.  I picked up my next two patterns with the intention of making clothes for work.  I need to make things that I will wear more than once.  One was a blouse and the other – the subject of this post – was dress pants.  Let me rephrase that, Alice + Olivia dress pants (swoon!)  I’m a sucker for high end, name brand clothing, yet don’t own any.  Unless I switch my profession to kleptomaniac, I’ll be sticking to H&M.  This pattern was my attempt at getting more of those pieces in my wardrobe.

I was excited to get started on these, pants were going to be easy.  How hard could sewing a few long leg pieces and a waist band together be?  Cue laughter.

Looking at the picture above, wouldn’t you assume the first picture is A and the second is B?  Me too, but apparently that’s wrong.  I ended up buying the amount of fabric for A, when I was supposed to buy for B.  Dummy.  I realized this when I got home, but figured they couldn’t be too different since they’re almost the same pant.  I should know better than to try to outsmart the pattern.  Since I hadn’t bought enough fabric it didn’t quite fit the way they showed for cutting, but I moved some things around and made it fit.

Something that I learned, at the end of this project, is you should always follow the directions that are given for how to cut the pieces.  I thought as long as I stayed on the straight of grain I was fine.  Not true.  Sewing instructions show you exactly how to lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric for cutting – what direction to place the pieces, how many of each you should cut, if the pattern should be right side up or upside down, etc.

I’ll make a whole other post – or several posts – dedicated to breaking down pattern instructions.  For now, here is a snapshot of cutting layouts.

The material I bought was a grey suiting material.  Not stretchy, not slippery and easy to line up for cutting and pinning.  A quick look at the pattern and oh, good, only 64 steps.  64?!!!??!!  Are you kidding me?  This was my first clue that pants are not easy to make.

The directions started with making the front pockets.  I made it all the way to step 7 before I had to consult with Carol for help.  I find that sometimes the phrasing of the instruction don’t quite match with the picture, which confuses me.  I didn’t have my pants with me so I drew a sketch of my problem on a paper towel and wouldn’t you know, she knew what was wrong right away – I just needed to pull the inside piece up a little higher.  Simple fixes.

Next up was the zipper.  Zippers are something I am actually good at, so the next 18 steps for creating a fly (yep, 18 steps just to zip up) went pretty smoothly.  The one thing I found strange was that it called for a 14″ zipper, but it ended up being cut down to about 4 inches.  Strange.

Now on to the back pockets.  I already did the front ones so I anticipated breezing through this.  Nope.  The pockets were slightly different on the back and they had loops.  I hated the look of the loops and couldn’t figure out why they were there.  Around step 60 I found out they were for button closures, but by this point I had already thrown them out.  Whoops.  I was utterly stumped on how to make these new pockets and starred at the instructions for a few days.  Maybe I would have an epiphany of sorts.  No luck.  I had a breakdown of sorts instead.  I attempted to sew them…then un-stitched them.  Sewed again, only to un-stitch again!  Forget it!  I’m making the same pockets as the front.

The hard parts have to be over by now, right?  Just stitch the front to the back and I’m in the home stretch.  Except, remember that whole, not following the cutting instructions?  This is when that came back to haunt me.

For sake of short attention spans, I’m going to make this post 2 parts.  Is the suspense killing you???  No?  Ok.  Well just come back for part 2 anyway because visitor stats are fun!


Brendan and Cass are getting married!!

18 Apr

November 26, 2010

Let’s be real, everyone saw this coming a mile away.  Brendan and Cass are one of those couples you hate.  The one that you don’t just know they’re in love, you see it.  There’s some kind of aura.  They have those cartoon hearts floating around them, beating out of their chest and in their eyes.  Oh and did I mention they are both super skinny and gorgeous.  Yep, if I didn’t love them both so much I would hate them too.  And if this wasn’t nauseating enough, they are actually two of the nicest people you will meet.  Their door is always open, they’ll cook for you, give you drinks, come to your birthday party at a certain theme park in Jersey, probably even bail you out of jail.  If they didn’t get married it would be some sort of Shakespearean tragedy.  Lucky for me they did and gave me an excuse to make another dress!

Back in the spring, Chris and I were at one of my favorite places ever, Prospect Park, when I got the inspiration for a dress.  Here’s a history fact for you, Prospect Park was designed by the same architects who created Central Park and is considered their masterpiece.  My dad would be so proud I snuck some history into this blog.  We were standing around the pond watching all of the dogs play when a bunch of mallards swam by.  All I could think about was how pretty the green on their heads are and how pretty that would look as a dress.

I mean, look at that, its gorgeous.  Bright green, shiny, almost changes colors as they move.  Just perfect.  I sat on this color for a while before using it and then I found a pattern I thought would be as pretty as the color.

I went with dress D (top yellow box, dress on right).  A very simple, fitted, long cowl neck dress.  I wanted to get a fabric that was shiny, so I figured I’d be going with a woven fabric, but this pattern called for a knit.  Dammit.  Knits are like sweaters or jersey fabrics, not too fancy.  I found a picture of a Victoria Beckham’s Wool-felt Shift Dress from her S/W 2010 collection that was the perfect color of green.

FYI – If you want to buy this dress it can be yours for the bargain price of $1919.62!!!  Yeah, I’ll spend that much on a dress as soon as I’m married to David Beckham.  I ripped the page out of my Elle magazine and brought it with me to different fabric stores looking for a knit in this color.  No luck.  I found a bunch of woven’s in the right color but I couldn’t use them.  Then I found it, the perfect green…in the swim wear fabrics!  That’s right, the dress I made could double as a bathing suit.  Maybe I should start a formal beach wear line.

Shiny!!!  Oh look, there’s the orange dress behind it.  Multitasking.

In pet news:

This is Bruce.  Chris got him for me for my birthday.  He pops out every once in a while to watch me sew.  Actually I’m sure he’s thinking more, what the hell is that noise and give me food lady.

Back to the dress.  This is was SUPER easy to make, thank God, because the orange one took longer than expected.  No exaggeration, it took me 3 days to make this.  1 day for cutting and 2 for sewing.  Why can’t they all be that easy?!?  Now don’t go getting all excited thinking I didn’t run into any problems, come on its me after all.  Even though it is a sleeveless dress, the edges still need to be finished off with a seam to make them look nice.  I attached the fabric which folded over and made the edge of the sleeve.  However, it bunched up (grrrr).  I ended up clipping the inside seam to release some of the tension and pressed it a lot.  It did the trick or at least enough of the trick to hide the problem.  The length of the dress was perfect but I still had to make the hem at the bottom which was a problem because then the dress would end up too short.  The great thing about this fabric is that it didn’t fray.  I just left the bottom of the dress as is. Finito!…

Until I tried it on.  It was too wide – again knits always end up about a size or 2 too big on me.  And the green all over didn’t look as nice as I thought it would.  Solution?  A black sash along the middle.  A quick run up to the fabric store later, I grabbed a bunch of black fabric and started tacking it on.  And tacking.  And more tacking!  What I thought was going to be an easy fix ended up taking a really long time.  Since the black fabric was a knit, it kept rolling.  I had to tack it all over and it still rolled when I wore it.  Looking back I should have just taking apart the top from the bottom and added the black, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.

If anyone has a full length picture of me in this dress, please send it over.  In all of the hundreds of pictures from that night, not one was a good shot of the whole dress.  Here’s the closest I have:

The wedding was terrible.  I’m kid, I kid.  It was one of the most fun weddings ever.  Some of the things found at this wedding included: bagpipes, an ice sculpture of their dog (that really looked like a pig), not one but two dads that played accordions, home-made everything from centerpieces to jams to place settings to hair pieces even the bouquet, and…..a PHOTO BOOTH!!

I suggest they have a wedding every year!


Back to school

16 Apr

Tomorrow I start my “Learn to Sew like a Pro” class at FIT.  I’m stoked!  Bought a sweet notebook today, with black and white stripes and pink polka dots on the inside!!  In honor of this:

Aloha vacation!

15 Apr

November 20, 2010

When Chris’ cousin JB got engaged to Rachel, I couldn’t be happier….for me, because they live in Hawaii!! Aloha vacation. I knew exactly the dress I wanted to make and in what color. I usually keep a bunch of patterns saved on the desktop of my computer as a library for future projects. This Cynthia Rowley one kept calling my name:

I made the long version, isn’t it lovely??  The only thing I didn’t like about it was the little bat wings – they’re a little random, I think. I simply decided not to include them and the bonus is, less work for me! I based the color off a picture from my inspiration board that I had ripped out of Lucky Magazine with Jessica Szohr in a bright orange dress. What better color for a tropical wedding??

The wedding wasn’t until mid-November, but I got started on this dress at the beginning of October. I had another wedding two days after we got back from Hawaii that I had to make a dress for too, so I had 6 weeks to make 2 dresses. Fabric, check. Pattern, check. Zipper, check. I could do this!

This was my first long dress, so I had to do all my cutting on the floor since my table is round and always comes up just a little short on space.  Cutting on the floor is not awesome for your back, in case you were wondering.  Here’s how the fabric looked after cutting and before ironing (eek!):

Before I start sewing I take some scraps from cutting and test out different stitch lengths and tensions, so that it doesn’t pull or bunch. Better to get this out of the way before you have to start taking things apart – thank god for seam rippers by the way. This was another one of those slippery fabrics – the nice ones tend to be – and it was very thin, so I had a rough time finding a stitch. It ended up pulling slightly but not enough to ruin the look – good enough for me.

I hit a road block trying to figure out the back of the dress.  It’s a razor back style in which everything is attached – the neck strap is sewn right to the two back pieces, leaving some excess strap as a tie off.  Well, at least that’s how Cynthia Rowley does it.  I got frustrated, changed the directions and made it a collaboration piece – Cynthia Rowley-Duffy.  Has a nice ring to it.  Instead of sewing the neck strap to the back pieces I folded them over about a inch, sewed the fabric together and made loops to run the neck strap through.  I think this actually worked out better because it allowed me to adjust how tight the top was a lot more than if it was sewn in place.  I wonder if not learning how to do things the right way is going to come back and bite me in the ass one day?  Oh yeah, this dress had pockets too!  I was initially really excited about those but when I was crunched for time, they didn’t make the team.

The waist band was supposed to have a layer of fusible interfacing, which basically gives the fabric a little more stability and keeps it from scrunching or drooping.  Well, I mistakenly ironed to interfacing to the wrong side and had to toss those pieces, whoopsie!  I re-cut the middle and my waist band ended up with no interfacing – it really could have used it but no one noticed.

As I was finishing up the dress, sewing the sides of the skirt together and adding the zipper, that slippery fabric started causing problems again.  It bunched a lot on the sides, but there wasn’t much I could do.  Pressing out the seams on the inside so they laid flat helped enough to get me by for the day.  Since I knew Anna Wintour wasn’t invited to the wedding, I didn’t worry about it being scrutinized too much.

Even with a few mistakes, the dress came out great.  I picked up a few fake flowers from Michaels to add to my hair, grabbed some shiny gold sandals and I was ready to jet off!  12 hours of flying later and we were in paradise.  Played some golf, sat on the beach, did some yoga, then it was wedding time!

JB and Rachel

And at the request of Chris, a picture with him to make this blog “sexy”:

It was a gorgeous wedding, at a beautiful place that felt like we were in Jurassic park.  Actually, they filmed parts of LOST at there (I totally nerded out over that).  We finished off the trip with some shopping, more beach lounging and skydiving.  Oh, and if you ever go to Oahu, snorkel Hanauma Bay, you can thank me later:


(Insert actress) wore a gorgeous dress to the (insert award ceremony)

13 Apr

September 5, 2010

I took a break from sewing for a little bit. It was a combination of the stress from rushing the last dress, living on the water and having a new canoe, 9 stitches in my hand from putting it through a glass while doing dishes, and pure summer laziness. Random note: A fun thing to do when you have an injury is make up stories about it.  Some of my many tales were cage fighting, an alligator bite, and “you should see the other guy.”

Pinky's out!

Since I’m in my late twenties it wouldn’t be long before another wedding popped up. Low and behold, Chris’ co-teacher friend Jen was getting hitched. I originally started making this dress for that wedding, but it didn’t happen. Again, my time management needs work. Easy enough solution: look on the calendar, find the next special occasion, and tell everyone you were planning the dress for that the whole time. So was born my 2-year anniversary dress.

I had decided I wanted to make a nude colored dress. I don’t remember the exact inspiration, but I believe it was a dress Naomi Watts wore or maybe it was Gwyneth Paltrow, I forget, but (insert actress) wore a gorgeous dress to the (insert award ceremony). Yeah, that’s it! I stopped by the Huntington Fabric Depot on break one day and picked up the pattern and material.

A New Look pattern again? Wow, I really have a trend going here. I was making the one-shoulder dress (2nd from right) in nude with a black middle. The pattern is a “design your look” pattern meaning you can make about 5 or so dresses from the same pattern. Leave out an arm here, swap out the neck there, lots of options. Sounds all fine and dandy, but here’s the problem with that: the already confusing instructions become even more confusing. I know, didn’t think that was possible, right? There is no real distinction between the dresses, it just sort of shows you how to put everything together and you have to figure out whether or not each step/piece applies to your dress. It’s not the end of the world, but I spent a lot of time reading, re-reading, yelling at and reading the instructions again.

On a side note, the back of pattern envelopes tell you lots of important stuff.   What fabrics to use, notions (i.e. buttons, elastic, zippers, etc.), how many yards of fabric you need and any lining/interfacing.  Here’s an example from a blouse I’m currently making:

Use what they tell you, it does make a difference. The patterns are cut to lay certain ways with certain fabrics. Also, If you’re using a knit fabric (stretchy) you won’t need a zipper or buttons, but if you’re using a woven fabric (not stretchy) you’ll need closures or it won’t fit over your bum.

The fabric I picked was a knit, a SUPER stretchy knit,  I had such problems with this fabric you have no idea. Apparently – and I learned this later – knits should be sewn with a zig-zag stitch vs. a straight stitch. The back and forth motion prevents the fabric from pulling as much or moving around as you sew. My fabric kept getting pulled into the sewing machine! So. Annoying!! I had to start about a half inch in on every seam or that sucker would get pulled right in. I still haven’t figured out a solution to that.

Once I got the hang of the pattern and using the material I was able to finish it up just in time for our anniversary dinner. And I mean just in time. I lugged my sewing machine into Brooklyn and finished sewing it on my boyfriend’s kitchen table about an hour before we left. Time management, Karen! Get better at it! Here’s the final product:

I took in this dress A LOT. The stretch in the fabric made it about 2 sizes larger than I needed, but the good thing about the stretch was I could make it really tight! No wearing granny panties with this dress.

We had a nice dinner at Kajitsu in Manhattan. A Shojin cuisine restaurant a.k.a Vegetarian a.k.a Karen friendly. A little pricey if you ask me, but the 7-course meal was an experience. At times strange, other times unbelievably good! 3 years is coming up in a few months which means one thing, time to break up so we don’t have to admit we’ve been dating that long ;)


Mrs. Sarah-Jean Monastero

12 Apr

June 4, 2010

Sarah-Jean. Devoted blonde, Britney Spears fanatic, JETS fan extraordinaire, all around awesome person. I met Sarah in college at St. Johns University, while studying in the library…..I’m obviously kidding, it was at the bar of course! Although never roommates, we practically lived together for the next 4 years. She showed me what a flat iron is and I can never thank her enough for that. I believe it was around junior year – things are a little fuzzy from all the studying ;) – Sarah was so excited to be going on her first date with Shaun. Cut to about 7 years later and I’m getting the invitation for their wedding. So exciting! We had a small group of really close friends that stay in touch to this day, though not as much as we’d like, so this was the perfect time for a SJU reunion and the perfect opportunity to make a dress!

I really had no plan for this dress, just wanted to make something cute. I picked out a green and white floral pattern and stuck with the New Look Easy pattern since it went well last time. Why ruin a good thing?

This was my first time working with linings. I picked out an off-white color to match the dress but in the future I want to use more crazy linings. How cute would it be to have a black skirt with bright pink lining underneath?? There wasn’t too much to learn about linings, they’re pretty much cut to the same shape as the pieces they go with and the instructions show them in different markings so its easy to differentiate.

The thing about linings that I find annoying are they are more delicate, so they rip easy, burn easy with the iron and have a tendency to slip around when you are sewing them. I bet I wont complain about any of that once I try to tackle lace.

I didn’t leave myself nearly enough time to make this dress. If I didn’t have a job or workout or spend time with my friends and boyfriend, I could probably finish projects in a few days. On average it takes me about a month, month and a half, to finish a piece. I gave myself 3 weeks for this. Mistake #1.

Mistake #2. Button loops. The neck of this dress is a halter-top and it called for a closure of two buttons with loops. Loops are, to put it nicely, a pain in my ass. Basically you take a thin piece of fabric, fold it in half, sew that, then pull it through itself so the seam doesn’t show.  If you’re still confused, here’s a picture tutorial: Handmade Things

You know when the string on your sweat pants gets pulled inside and you have to spend an hour trying to get it back out? Its like that. Pushing and pulling fabric through a really small space.  I actually ended up getting these to work out, but I something else along the halter got messed up.  This is when I say, screw the pattern and make up my own rules. I sewed some extra fabric onto the ends of the neck and made it a tie halter.  No buttons, no problem!

Mistake #3. Ironing your leg.  Yes, you read that right I ironed my leg, two days before the wedding.  At this point I only had a small counter top ironing board and since I live in a studio apartment, I don’t have much space.  My kitchen table doubles as my sewing station and I ironed on the floor.  While sitting on the floor, I went to put the iron down and instead put it right on my thigh.  That felt great!  And is really sexy for a short dress:

The saving grace of this dress was the pattern.  I really liked the way the dress came out but it wasn’t fitting right in certain areas and since I finished it the night before having to drive up to Connecticut I didn’t have much time to tailor.  I simply tacked in certain spots within the green areas so the stitches were hidden and called it a day.

Off to the wedding!!

The lovely bride and groom:

And can we talk about her birdcage veil?!?!?  I’m obsessed.

Amazing wedding, amazing people, an amazing hangover.


When the clothes you try on suck, make your own.

11 Apr

April 17, 2010

My first solo project was a yellow skirt.  I remember seeing a mannequin in Target that was wearing a bright yellow pencil skirt with a black top and it looked awesome!  I tried on the skirt and it sucked.  So goes most of my shopping experiences.  That’s when I decided to make it.  Off to Joanns….

After the Vogue pattern, i decided to go really easy since I was on my own.  Hence the “1 Hour Easy” statement on the package.  Do you see that asterisk after 1 Hour?  Yep.  That’s for *sewing time.  So the actual time spent sewing is 1 hour, but that doesn’t include cutting, pinning, messing up, etc.  This is along the lines of those 30 minute meal books.  Cooking time: 30 minutes, Prep time: 4 days.  You lie Rachel Ray, you lie.  In all honesty, it took a few weeks with my schedule, but it really wasn’t a hard skirt to make.  New Look patterns, get my “easy” seal of approval.

There were two things on this piece that I had not attempted yet, darts and zippers.  My knowledge of darts ended at the bar and usually by missing the bullseye.  So I checked in with my friends Google and YouTube.  I learned two things 1) a dart is”A v-shaped sewn fold, used to shape the bodice to the bust or the back of pants to the waist. Long double darts with points at each end are sometimes used to taper in the waist of a dress” and  2) this lady knows what she’s talking about:

Thank god for YouTube.  I understood what was going on (for once) and the darts came out good!  The next hurdle was the zipper.  I just dove right into this and tried without any internet help.  Success!

See, the darts are there too too!  Finished it up with some hems and here it is, all done:

Why I wore a green shirt to try this on, I don’t know?!?  But look, it has a cute little slit too!

Ooohhh, I almost see a calf muscle there!  I’m pointing that because I need some proof that the torture I put myself through running is actually paying off.  Skirt success, calf success!!

Chris suggested I take it in a little so it was more form fitting and he was right (he’ll be happy to see that in writing).  It wasn’t just the typical boyfriend wanting to see me in something tighter suggestion, although that may have been part of it ;)

I wore this skirt to work and was so excited….until I realized that the fabric not only wrinkles, it accoridans up after the first sitting.  It just doesn’t stay looking nice.  I was and still am upset about that because I love this skirt.  Maybe it was only a partial success, but I plan on making it again in a better fabric.  I mean, who couldn’t use a bright yellow skirt to cheer them up in a dull office?



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