Tag Archive | sewing pattern

The last successful sewing project

Remember that wedding I went to this summer? Remember how I told you that I had sewn a new dress for it? Remember when I used to blog three times a week? Yeah, I suck. But hey, I’m here now.

So about that dress. I had fallen in love with a vintage Vogue reprint.

Vogue 8789

It looked like a good wedding-y type of dress for a summer wedding. But it was also an evening wedding, so I felt like the fabric needed to have a little sparkle. I chose an Asian print — cherry blossoms on a plum background with a touch of shimmery gold here and there.

One thing I particularly loved about this pattern was that the facing was actually part of the bodice piece. Sheer genius. Why aren’t all V-necks made this way? Tell you what, from now on, that’s what I’m going to do. I just had to finish the edge and then fold it in and tack it down. Brilliant.

One thing I did not like about this pattern was the armhole facing. The pieces are weirdly shaped and continually want to flip out, even with understitching. I think I would have been better off just binding them in bias tape. And that’s what I’m going to do if I ever make this pattern again.

But I may not because this thing is a fabric monster. 5.25 yards. That adds up fast. This dress turned out to be much more expensive than I had intended. With the look Mr. Gren gave me after I bought the fabric, I kinda feel like I should wear it everyday just to make it worth it.

I’m also coming to the conclusion that, while I like the idea of this style of dress, this particular silhouette is perhaps not the most flattering on me. To really give that dramatic look I need a tiny wasp waist and, let’s face it, after three kids, that tiny waist may never come back. I’m thinking princess lines are going to be my go-to from here on out.

As I said, this thing takes over 5 yards of fabric, and obviously, the majority of that is in the ginormous skirt. But one can’t just leave those swathes of fabric hanging from the body. If you’re going to do that, you may as well just pin Miss Ellen’s portieres over your shoulders and call it a day. So, I am wearing not one, but two petticoats under this sucker (both of which I made myself and I will write about some other day). I probably could have even gotten away with a third, but in this day and age, people just aren’t accustomed to dresses that poof, so I figured it was best to go the conservative route. Or something.

Even big girls like to twirl.

You may have noticed in the pattern drawing that there is a cummerbund as part of this look. And you may have noticed that I am not wearing one. I made it, I did. It’s gold. Remember how I don’t have a wasp waist? Yeah, Vogue, your one-size-fits-all cummerbund: bad idea. Even with the couple of extra inches that I added on. Even with it being cut on the bias (that gives it some stretch). At that point, it was the night before we had to travel and I was out of fabric, so… ya get what ya get. I made the executive decision that zero cummerbund was a better look than being slowly sliced in half. Personal preference. You can do what you want. I won’t judge.

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In other news, today is Rana’s 7th birthday! No homemade presents this year, but I did buy her a tiny little sewing kit of her very own. Singer has these cute little pink and black tackle boxes that come with a few sewing “essentials.” I had already bought a few a la carte and decided to swap out some of the ones that came in the box with the ones I had chosen because I liked them better. I also included three fat quarters so that she will have her very own fabric to work with and not just my scraps. I hope she loves it!

Shopping spree

That’s right, I spent money just because I felt like it! So take that 10-months-of-unemployment-followed-by-a-part-time-minimum-wage-job! What led me to feel so fancy free? Mr. Gren got moved up to a full-time position at the ol’ home improvement warehouse. Woo hoo! Still minimum wage, keeping our little family of five comfortably below the poverty line. But hey, it’s more income than we’ve had in a year, so it’s kinda like being rich. So I cast off the shackles of our self-imposed Austerity Measures to buy things for my very own self instead of for the kids’ selves, which is normally where the money goes.

First stop was the thrift store. That’s right; I’m really cutting loose. I poked around through the book section and found a couple of sewing books to add to my collection. There are all kinds of helpful things like making welt pockets, bound buttonholes and how to properly line a dress. I’m looking forward to improving my sewing techniques.

I've heard of Nancy before.

Then, I hit Joann’s for a pattern sale. I’m still not going to pay full price for anything. I’ve been moping around with nothing to sew for myself because my fabric stash does not match my pattern stash. Potentially, I could add several more pieces to my wardrobe, if only I had patterns suitable for the fabrics I have on hand. I spent a good hour flipping through the pattern catalogs, marking down the ones that caught my eye. And, miracle of miracles, the store actually had all of them.

Soon, these clothes will all be mine! Muwhahahaha!

While I was at the store, I needed to find some fabric for the pajama party sew-along. I spent another hour cruising up and down the aisles, feeling stuff, looking at fiber content, debating… I finally settled on a soft, drapey cotton in aqua. I would have liked something with a pattern, but it’s hard to come by outside of the quilting cottons. And quilting cotton to me feels like sheets, and sheets on sheets sounds like a lot of friction when I’m just trying to get comfy in bed. So, drapey aqua cotton it is. Although, I had this horrible vision just as the lady was cutting it, “Oh man, pajama pants in this are going to look like scrubs!” Ack! Not the look I’m going for. I’ve got some ideas to (hopefully) break that association.

New jammies by the end of the week!

I was so excited about all my new patterns that I didn’t sleep well at all that night. All I could think about was what I was going to sew first. The next morning I wolfed down my cereal and then set to work straight away on the peasant blouse. The sewing is all done on it and now I’m working on a crocheted trim. I’ll put up pics of that next week. And, theoretically, there should be plenty more sewing goodness in the weeks to come!

Oh, and my grand total for all of this: about $30. Big Spender, baby.


Summer Jam!

It’s only (barely) spring, but we’ve still got to think ahead a little bit, right? The nights are not quite as frigid as they have been and I’ve been noticing that my flannel pajama pants are just a weensy bit too warm these days. I love my flannel pants. I made them in November 2010 and they go down in history as the first — and only — pair of pants I’ve ever made for myself because I am a big chicken and scared of making pants that should actually fit I’m waiting until I have time to make a muslin. They’re so soft and comfy and… faded. And not at all flattering (I know, they are pajamas, but still).

Taking a picture of your own legs is really awkward. Try it.

They’ve still got plenty of wear left in them, but, what with the weather warming and the desire to escort frump out of my life, I’ve been thinking that I need a new pair. Probably a pair that won’t have a crotch hanging halfway to my knees. Unless I’m going for harem pants, in which case… hm, that could be kind of exotically cool. Maybe? We’ll see. Losing my train of thought here. Oh right! Summer pajamas. Need them.

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs Did You Make That? and Karen proposed the idea of a pajama sew-along. Well, how about that timing! I’ve kinda been wanting to join some kind of craft-along and here’s a great opportunity. Check out my fancy little sewalong button on the right! Swanky!

This is the pattern I used for the green pair.

Watch out; I think she bites. (McCall's 5248)

It served me well enough the first time. I am debating, though, whether to go with the pants again in a more lightweight fabric or maybe the nightgown. Sometimes my shoulders get cold, so I don’t know. At the risk of impropriety, does anyone else have any pajama-related opinions? I will say, that if I do end up making the nightgown, I am not going to model it here. 😉 Oh, I’ll take pictures; just not with me in it!

The other debate I’m having with myself, is how to add a little more glamor to my life. When I’m lounging around in my pajamas I want to feel like this:

Maybe I need more feathers in my life.

Not this (which is often how I feel):

Right down to the red nose and frizzy hair

There’s just that tricky point of practicality. I’d be much more reluctant to make breakfast in satin and feathers. Might have to save that one for later. Anyways, I’m supposed to turn out a pair of p.j.’s by 28th April, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite Summer Jams.