Simplicity 8040

Now, I just said a few posts ago that I was trying to document a few projects quickly, and I’m already flagging. A lot of that comes from my dissatisfaction with my photography, but I’m going to plunge a head regardless. So without further ado, a1940’s era make: Simplicity 8040.DSCN5386

Overall, I’m thrilled with how this dress turned out. I made it of a nice cotton print. It wasn’t with the other quilting cottons in the store, but it’s about that weight, and I think it works well for a day dress. In keeping with the idea of a day dress, I made a few changes to the pattern. I chose not to interface the collar and I shorted the sleeves.DSCN5387

In retrospect, I would make a few more alterations. The dress is a little loose in the waist, and given the desire for a trim waist in the 1940’s, I’d grade the pattern down a size from the bust to the waist. Also, this pattern is infamous for a very pointy seaming detail that’s hard to sew. I ended up actually hand sewing the points, as I couldn’t get them to lay properly with machine sewing. However, due to the small, busy pattern, you can’t even see the detail! So it was a lot of toil for nothing! I’d straighten out the seam line to eliminate the point if making this again in a print.DSCN5394 The final issue I had was the neckline. I should have anticipated this, as I saw it noted on several pattern reviews, but the neckline is very low. I ended up adding two buttons, but after I had almost finished the dress, so they’re not really supported properly and cause the neckline to warp a bit. Not enough that the casual observer would notice anything, but I noticed…

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On a side note, aren’t the buttons lovely! I salvaged them off a thrifted garment!

Overall, though, I was very happy with how this dress turned out, and wore it to a dance at a local WWII weekend. Thanks to the cotton, this dress was lovely to swing dance in, despite the heat. I will probably make another one next year for the same event, making the changes noted above, and perhaps choosing a dressier fabric!

DSCN4991And now excuse me, as I ride off into the sunset!

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Blue Re-do

Recently I went thrifting, looking for materials for a few upcoming events. I found what I needed, and I’ll share that later. But I also found this out-dated dress for 50 cents! I fell in love with the color, and the fact that it was made of rayon, and not some sort of poly-blend.DSCN5377

I did not fall in love with the large sleeves, unfitted waist, scalloped hem, skirt-top combo look, etc. I wasn’t even sure how I felt about the soutache braiding. But again, 50 cents.DSCN5375

I had a free morning, and started to play around. I was originally thinking of separating the top and bottom and making the skirt portion into, well, a skirt. I figured the sleeves would have enough fabric to make make a narrow waistband. But something happened once I removed the sleeves: I started to really like the top half. So I cut off the scalloped edge, and sewed the skirt on the top. DSCN5379For the back, I eliminated the button placket (I forgot to photograph the back before, but it was closed with self-fabric covered buttons) and inserted a new zipper starting around mid-back. DSCN5382I chopped off nearly a foot of fabric from the bottom of the skirt to bring it up to knee length and hemmed it by hand. I added some bust darts into the bodice to help with shaping. Finally, I managed to cut some bias tape from the discarded sleeves to bind the armholes. DSCN5384

I’m so so happy with the results! The Blue Re-do, as I’ve dubbed it, makes me smile and is very different from anything in my wardrobe. Now I just need a party or fancy shindig to wear it to!

McCall’s M7093

Today I have a shirt to share that I absolutely love to wear. goodRhymes aside, I hate how it photographs. It’s a breezy, unfitted top made of a cotton gauze, and I feel good when I wear it, but I took pictures on breezy day and apparently it fills out like a sail. Not a good look.

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Ready to set sail! (This isn’t even the worst shot…)

But I like wearing it a lot, and I like the extra work I put into the construction.

See, the pattern suggest contrasting colors for parts of the shirt, which I liked. But I couldn’t find two fabrics that complemented each other and spoke to me. Instead, after cutting the side panels and sleeves, I used the end of an unsharpened pencil to stamp gold polka-dots on the fabric.DSCN5356 It’s very subtle, especially from a distance, but feels so special when worn. I also took the time to finish all the seams properly, with french seams and double-folded hems.

Bottom line, I still quite like this pattern, even if it’s not the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn. I cut a a size 22, but it has a lot of ease, so I think I’ll downsize to a 20 the next time I make it, to reduce sail potential. I might also try view D, which is a tunic and therefore beltable…good2

Simplicity 1614

I have a new favorite summer top!DSCN5358

This is Simplicity 1614 version B. I made this once years ago out of quilting cotton, and it was just a little stiff. I mean, I wear it sometimes, but didn’t love it. This one, however, is made of a light and breezy printed rayon and is wonderful and drapey. I actually bought the fabric for a different project, but changed my mind. So I rummaged through my patterns and decided to revisit. So glad I did! I sewed up a size 20, and found the fit good, except the back strap. DSCN5360I think I’ll shorten it by about an inch next time I make this baby. (And believe me, there will be a next time!)DSCN5362

Very quick and easy to sew, even with making my own bias tape.

My favorite part of this top is that I took time to sew little straps and snaps inside the shoulders.

This way I can snap my bra straps in place! I tend to stay away from tanks because I don’t like my bra showing, but these snaps have worked like an absolute dream. I think I may need to go through my wardrobe and sew them on everything I own!

Beautiful Beaded Bracelets!

DSCN5292I’ve known you could crochet with beads and wire for years, and have tried it in the past, but was never super happy with the results. But then I crocheted three chains with beads and braided them together, and quite like the results!DSCN5284

I used clamshells over the ends of the wires, and then attached my findings to them. The biggest problem I had with these was estimating how long to make the chains, as I wasn’t sure how much the act of braiding would shorten them. But I estimated all right; it turns out I was right on with my first try, discounting the clasp: Oops! So this guy’s a little looser than I like, but still perfectly wearable 🙂 DSCN5281

I made both of these bracelets in under an hour! A fun, easy craft if you already know how to crochet!

Earrings that I made and like

DSCN5307Hi! I have been doing a ton of crafting, and very little blogging recently.  My goal in the next week or two is to share a number of quick posts about things I’ve made. First up is this pair of earrings!DSCN5300

I was inspired by a number of tutorials and images I saw on Pinterest, but I didn’t follow any particular directions. If you’ve ever picked up a pair of pliers and some wire, you can make these, but they’re very different from any other pairs I’ve personally made. I hope you like them too 🙂DSCN5296

Tiny Foxes

Recently I sewed a basic t-shirt with some remnant fabric from Jo-Ann fabrics. It’s a fun shirt, and I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of wearing it.

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(sorry for the poor quality shot…)

But I’ve gotten even more joy out of what I made with the scraps: Tiny stuffed foxes 🙂DSCN4758

They are super easy to make, and would work with any fabric that has cute animals on it. The how-to for these cuties is pretty straight forward, but just in case you want to make your own, here goes!

  1. Cut out two of the animals, leaving a generous border.
  2. Face the pieces together, right side in.
  3. Sew around the outside, leaving an opening.
  4. Turn right side out (use something pointy like a dull pencil or chopstick to help!)
  5. Stuff with other smaller scraps or poly-fil, and neatly stitch closed.DSCN4754
  6. (optional) Have far too much fun placing them in your herb garden 🙂DSCN4753

A few tips and ideas:

  • If using a stretch fabric, like my foxes, make sure the pieces you cut out have the stretch going in the same direction.
  • If there are a lot of curves, clip the fabric outside the seams carefully (don’t cut through your stitches!) to make for smoother turning.
  • Stitch or glue your finished tiny creatures to a pin and wear for a dash of whimsy =^.^=

Pretty in Pots

I should be doing some serious spring cleaning. But I’m not. I have made a start on spring-cleaning my fabric stash, but got a tad overwhelmed, and so the living room is more of a mess than usual, with bits and bobs of fabric into piles that make sense to me, at least.

Instead of finishing that project, I took a look at all my plants (and I have a lot!) and decided to do some indoor gardening. I had two empty pots and two plants in desperate need of re-potting. But remember; I’m procrastinating here, so I couldn’t simply re-pot and be done with it! No! Instead, I painted the pots! And I’m in love with how they turned out!DSCN4774

I used some cheap white house paint I had around for the base coat, and then free-handed the designs with some gold acrylic paint. I looked at henna designs and some mandalas on pinterest, and did some sketching to get my hand and eye in, and then just went for it! Very fun and liberating 🙂

I re-potted my arrowhead, but I need to get some more potting soil for my aloe.  I really like how the shape of the arrowhead leaves compliment the patterns I painted!

Why I Take My Glasses Off…

When I started this post, it was supposed to be about my new dress, yet another simplicity 1620. However, looking at the pics I snapped, it’s just a reminder to take off glasses when taking pictures.

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I guess it kinda looks like I’m from the future, walking around with an HUD embedded in my specs!

To be honest, I never really like pictures I take of myself (and really, who does like pics of themselves?!), and I don’t like taking pictures of me, but I do really like documenting the things I make.

So I am going sharing the bleh pictures, because it beats going back out to my tiny apartment balcony wondering if the neighbors are peering out from across the parking lot wondering what the heck I’m doing, which is what retaking them would entail!

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Look at the usual print! Ignore my glowing glasses!

And of course the one picture where my glasses haven’t censored my eyes is the one where I said, “Whatever. I’ll just act goofy ’cause I already feel like an idiot!”DSCN4763

Oh, and I do love my new dress! This pattern is a go-to favorite, and at this point only takes me about 2-3 hours to turn out, hemmed and everything! And this fabric is a simply silky knit from Jo-Ann fabrics and is a kind-of-dated, kind-of-steampunk paisley print that I kind-of-love, and which I look forward to rocking for a while 🙂

Super Quick Earrings

Spring is here! Almost. It’s still dark when I get up for work, but now there are trills of birdsong swelling up around the dawn. It’ll only be a little bit longer now till everything is GREEN again, and butterflies dance over fields of hay studded with chicory blooms.

But I couldn’t wait for the real butterflies. So I made these!DSCN4738

They are super easy, and consist of exactly one step. Glue shiny things to earring backs. Done.DSCN4750

The shiny things in question are actually iron-on’s from the clearance bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’ve never been prone to use iron-on’s when sewing, as they usually mean hand-washing ahead, but I loved these butterflies so bought them without a firm plan.

Then I realized I already had glue and earring posts, so these lovely spring earrings were born. And they only set me back about 75 cents!DSCN4739

Now I have to look around and see what else I can make to sing out “Spring!”