Sunday, October 14, 2012


Apparently I hulked out at work last week.
You're making me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Dang, I've had that shirt since high school! I wore it in my senior class photo. And though the tear is right along the seam, the fabric is in no condition to be made into a new, narrower seam. I think it is simply time to say goodbye to this shirt.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Late summer cherry Sorbetto

Boy, is that title misleading! It has been long time since I last posted, long enough that I appreciate the fact that you forgot this pattern is called the Sorbetto. The cherry part comes in because...well, the fabric is red. Did I really have to explain that part? Probably not.
Disneyland in Frontierland--our home away from home.

Michelle bought this fabric for me last summer to make her a summer top LAST summer. As in, 2011. Oops. Anyhow, I finally pulled it together to make her the top in August. 2012 has been a less-than-productive sewing year, as this top was the first thing I have made since all of my KDVS fundraiser crafts in April. It had been such a long time that I forgot many of my previous lessons-learned from other versions of the Sorbetto. Blinking determinedly and mouth grimacing through a bouquet of straight pins, I tried my darnedest to affix the sleeves (unwittingly cut sans seam allowance) onto the bodice. I don't care which algebra book you operate from, it wasn't gonna happen. Luckily there was more fabric to cut new sleeves as I muttered to myself about...well, let's just say it was a semi-violent muttering session.
Disneyland on the Mark Twain Riverboat--great for parties!
Aside from the sleeve complications/mental lapse, the shirt was straightforward and simple to construct. I'm still using bits of bias tape that people have given me instead of buying any new tape for projects, which is good and bad. While it is awesome to have all of that stock on hand (and for free), I'm quickly running out of desirable colors. Next up, shirts edged in puce!

I think this proves that there is still a place for Sorbetto in October! Or at least that's what I'm telling myself as I scrape through the watermelon lavender sorbet I made last weekend. It is OCTOBER, how are we still getting watermelon in our CSA box?! I hope to have an update next week on this adorable black and white dress I also made in August. Spoiler alert: history repeats itself.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Update coming soon!

You're right, I left you hanging.

I won't do it again. A serious update is in the works, see you before the end of next week!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

KDVS Fundraiser Crafts, final products

I didn't finish as much as I was hoping to in time for my fundraiser show last night (went well, thanks for asking!), but I think the crafts I did finish turned out super well. There was the KDVS Record bag with red appliqued letters and allllll dem bloomers. 

So the thing about bags is that they're so incredibly easy to make, but I have so many free bags (grocery shows, ag fairs, life in general) that I have absolutely no cause to make one for myself. Even though you know and I know that I would so much happier if my grocery bags were made of something other than stained canvas. You might recognize these fabrics from past outfits I've made (even the red applique).  
Any second now, Mario is going to shoot out and I'm finally going to catch him!
If I take note of anything about this bag, it should be the perfect length of the handles (17.5 inches/44 cm). I could pull the bag up on my shoulder or carry it by my side (arm extended) without it dragging on the ground. Awesome! However, I don't think I could wear it like a backpack (with one strap over each shoulder), which is what I need to do with all my grocery bags. That makes it a walking bag.
Mr. Lion says, "Put some damn pants on!"
The bloomers turned out well. As predicted, the yellow with the blue polkadots is summery and sweet, and Michelle's stitching does wonders with the theme "Your Beacon in a Sea of Sound". There is still one pair left in size XS for if you're feeling extra slender today. Come on, give it a shot!

KDVS Fundraiser continues until Sunday, April 29th at midnight, so be sure to pledge! If you're nice, maybe you can sweet-talk me into making you the most awesome bag you've ever owned. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

KDVS fundraiser crafts teaser

Hey there! KDVS fundraiser bloomers are in fact in the queue for "things to make before Monday the 23rd". I bought the fabric yesterday at Joann's, washed it last night, and cut all the pieces tonight. Lessons learned? 4 yards is exactly enough fabric to cut the pieces for five bloomers, one in each size XS-XL. It was unnervingly close and could have very easily been not enough, but we made it! Anyhow, I wanted to give a preview of the fabric that will turn into bloomers within the next week.
Isn't that great? I'm beyond enthused about how cute these will look when they're done.
Cute, no? So, the blue ribbon will be for the leg draws and I'm thinking of a similar blue for stitching the KDVS (usually on the left hip) with a little anchor beside it to play into the fundraiser theme "Your Beacon in a Sea of Sound". Yeah, I probably should put an actual beacon but I think a broader nautical thing is far more appealing.
One of last year's bloomers. I just found out that there is one pair left over (someone didn't pay their pledge?) that will be offered up this year again.
The game plan is to also make some bike straps (which I haven't done in YEARS!) and a record bag or two. Get stoked! Also, get healthy. I'm sick right now and it is terrible.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter dresses, part 2

I've been meaning to make Brycear a dress for quite some time (I think I decided that around Christmas?), but I'd been procrastinating because of the alterations I would need to make. I assumed I would need to make a full-bust adjustment on any dress I made for her and had been psyching myself out for quite some time. However, the FBA doesn't seem like something you could perform without the intended recipient being there for every step of the process. With that in mind, I figured that if the pattern was basic I could do most of those measurements and alterations in one day. I started out with Burda Style 108 from March 2011, which is the same pattern I used for my black, tan, and red party dress (which has the most wonderful and amazing border print known to mankind). 
Here's the front bodice panel. Two darts and you're done. Timber could make this dress.
The only wildcard was that the dress pattern only came in a small handful of sizes and to get the right size, I would need to perform some pattern grading. I used an article from Threads as my guide and gave it my best shot. Here is a picture of my efforts to be a legit seamstress who measures things in advance.
DON'T BREATHE! This was right before I taped all the pieces down to trace the modified bodice.
By grading the pattern instead of just trying to add some fabric at the seams, I was able to spread the added size throughout the whole pattern instead of just at the sides. The darts serve their purpose better when you have that kind of foresight, I'll tell you that much. 

I was expecting to have to make a FBA after that fitting, but Bryce was pretty happy with the fit of her swimtop muslin (which was light yellow with a hot pink zipper), so I just went ahead and made the dress from there. Of course, more adjustments had to be made sometime after midnight at the ranch, but she still had a dress to wear for Easter. A dress made in a day, yeah!
gettin' ready to catch stuff, Huck Finn style.
The fabric I used was one that Esch "donated" to my stash last year after she officially determined she wasn't going to learn how to sew. I think she got it at Bolt in Portland, and it is a cerulean x sky blue with white shamrocks. Very cute. I keep hoping she'll forget about some of the other fabrics she donated since her fabric trip yielded some smarter purchases than mine did. However, she brought up a certain fabric I've been going Gollum for on Sunday so I think I'm out of luck.
She looks happy because she got a lot of Easter candy.
I've finally graded a pattern! It is not my favorite thing to do, but I feel like it opens a lot of doors to patterns that aren't exactly "my size". You know what I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter dresses, part 1

Jenn was a real champ this time around and was very gracious about letting me take her picture in her seafoam Easter dress. Doesn't she look cute? I should have made her twirl in that full skirt...
Yep, I made her take to the field in heels. Nice sister, eh?
I used Butterick 6582, the same pattern I used for her "Mad Men" party dress and my Christmas dress (new dresses for every high mass!), though I used version C for the first time to create a full-skirted springy effect. This pattern has been getting some good use, being used three times in about six months! The full skirt was a bit unwieldy at times and it seemed to take forever to hem, but look at how it fluffs out...
So you can't see the skirt fluff out too much because she didn't want itchy legs. Can't blame her. However, I think this pose was used for Jenn's 8th grade graduation shots, too. Any word on that?
Naturally I used horsehair braid along the hem to give the skirt some life (like I even have a choice at this point in the game). Going into this dress project, I knew that both Jenn and her friend Sara had issues with this dress slipping off their shoulders at the Mad Men party (for which they both had someone make this dress for them) once the dress was made large enough to accommodate their busts. With that in mind, I made a pass at shortening the length of the neckline near the shoulder seam by folding the pattern to remove a triangle of space before I cut the fabric.
The parts shown in red are parts that I "removed" by folding the pattern over itself before I cut the fabric. And isn't my drawing awesome and totally to scale? I thought so. :) 
This seemed to keep the dress on Jenn's shoulders and I think I'll make the same alteration if I make it again for myself. It would probably also work to take the pattern down another size then do a full-bust adjustment, but I'm still avoiding those...
So this is the dress I finished Thursday night, then I started working on the next one which was ALSO long overdue...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2011 in Review!

It's leap day and I don't have someone to propose to, so I have to do other impressive things like beat my mile goal time (holla! yes!) and finally post my year-in-review. 

January !
2nd: Bethie’s tweed dress
12th: Scott’s Spice Pack
20th: Bryce’s fireplace
January was a “clean-up” kind of month. I had a lot of Christmas gifts to finish and deliver. I was really stoked about Bethie's dress, but I made the huge mistake of choosing brown tweed for the fabric. I am fairly certain she has never worn it because it is brown (and a little big, but who's checking?).

February !
6th: Chris’s bed pocket
22nd: Jenn’s skirt   
We went to Mexico in February, and that seems more impressive than finishing up a skirt (hemming it, really) and making a bed pocket.

March !
23rd Turquoise playsuit
26th: bedroom curtains & ties
27th: curtain ties (for the front room's curtains)
27th: Cate’s pillowcases
Ah, the first playsuit! Made a size too big in some cheap yardsale fabric. Oh, how I love it! And my best curtains to date. So pretty and remarkably even in the hem!

April !
6th: Michelle’s camel skirt
17th: 5 pairs of bloomers for the KDVS Fundraiser!

May !
But even if I didn't sew, it seems that I did wash a dog that month.

June !
12th: Michelle’s light blue net dress
16th: black w/ red & tan flower dress
30th: coral window pane romper
Wedding dresses and other lifetime goals! I'm still mega proud of the dresses I made for Michelle and myself for Clara's wedding, and I can't wait until the return of romper weather. It should be a good time for all. 

July !
12th: Michelle’s yellow playsuit
15th: two headbands (one of which matches Michelle’s playsuit)
24th: Orange/tan paisley Sorbetto top
 A Colette Patterns-heavy month, if I do say so myself.

August !
23rd: teal skirt w/ black/white/red buttons
31st: bed pocket for me
My teal skirt...why must you rumple so? I also need to do some serious fixin' on the lining, which I've shredded with my power stepping.

September !
2nd: Jenn’s Art Tote bag
3rd: Merril’s bloomers
22nd: Thrift storedress modification
30th: Blue BurdaStyle sleeveless top (never saw the light of day)
You guys haven't seen this shirt, but it is all around bad news. Susan is so embarrassed to be seen in it! I'm starting to think the buttons are cursed (they were used on my doomed Sencha blouse, too) since everything they touch turns to awful. Hrm.

October !
11th: Atmosphere bag (decoration)
21st: Jenn’s houndtooth wiggle dress
 Jenn didn't give me a picture of her in her houndstooth wiggle dress. I'll remember that. My atmosphere bag is pretty fun, though!

November !
12th: Stella’s skirt
12th: Cate’s sleep top (adorableness, why don't I have a picture?)

December !
1st: Michelle’s laptop bag
1st: Cate’s bloomers
11th: Bryce’s eye mask and bloomers
16th: Cate’s sleep top (I had to go back and finish the hems, then it was really done)
21st: CJ’s bed pocket (which he keeps at the ranch)
24th: 12 lavender sachets
24th: Bethie’s white eyelet top
24th: Claire’s summer fun dress
24th: My red/tan lace dress
Busy month, don't you think?

That is my 2011 in review. December was easily my most productive month and May the least productive (I was distractedly working on Michelle's blue dress for Clara's wedding the WHOLE MONTH), and there were lots of bedpockets and bloomers. Colette Patterns dominated the show with thirteen items (though eight of those were bloomers), and my own love of cutting out shapes for home decor purposes made a good showing too. (hello bed pockets and curtains!) At the end of the year there were over 40 notable things I had sewn. Wow! Good job me!

Now that we're entering March, any ideas on sewing goals for 2012? It's not too late!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Christmas Dress! Still can't make things fit...

I made a dress for Christmas! Actually I made a dress that I mostly finished in October or early November but never finished fitting until December 24th. That way I could wear it to midnight mass to look great for my walk of shame out of the Cathedral. (Don't look at me, it wasn't my fault!) Pictures of this scandalous dress are few and those I do have are oddly lit, but hopefully you'll get the idea...
Disregard my rumples--I just got off work.
I used Butterick 6582 (the same I used for Jenn's wiggle dress that she NEVER GAVE ME PICTURES OF) and layered this ~carnelian red lace/cutout fabric hybrid--it's too sturdy to be lace but too hole-y to be a cutout fabric, is there another name for it?--with a nubby, tawny boucle-type wool blend that I shrank the dickens out of. It can't get much smaller! Here's a mega-close-up of the fabric.
Yeah! You don't know what part of the dress this is! It is like one of those pictures that you keep zooming out of until you figure out that it was a super-close-up of an old milkshake.
For a wiggle dress, it is surprisingly roomy. What that really means is that I still don't have the fit issues worked out. It might be a fabric selection issue or my determined nature to only make things in the wrong size, but it seems unavoidable. I keep hoping that I'll outgrow my mismeasuring/sewing stage. Heck, I can bike in this "wiggle" dress, that is wrong on ten levels! Also, check this out.
It's not a tumor.
What is with that shoulder lift? Looks like I need to do some minor disassembly, poke around there with a chopstick, then press that seam into the suburbs of Sacramento. Citrus Heights, I'm coming for you!

Without the protective sweater; with the protective dog.
Hopefully I'll be able to post the "2011 in review" summary soon. Stay tuned! If things get really crazy, I might even let you know what I've been doing in 2012!

Rainbow Collection: Michelle's Birds-in-Your-Head Green Laptop Bag

I need to tie up Christmas stuff! Here goes...

Since Michelle normally negotiates for clothes all year long, I decided that I wasn't going to make her a dress or pantsuit or day-glo pantaloons. She had recently purchased a laptop, meaning she could once more go out and about and compute. "Excellent!," I thought, "I'll make a super-cute bag to lure her to coffee shops and parks and discotheques! Maybe she could even bring Olive along!"
Or not...

Then this seemingly innocuous laptop bag ate up the better part of November's craft time. I was following a How Joyful tutorial re-blogged by Craft: from Sew, Mama, Sew! I read through it a time or two with the diligence of a room full of Labrador puppies and figured I'd be good to go. It's a bag. Come on. Yeah. There were some...kinks to be worked out, especially with the amount of batting to be sewn into the handles and the final cut size of the foam padding that is built into the pockets and I'd rather not recall the bear that was turning the entire bag right-side-out through a two-inch opening. It became a huge trial because that cursed bag got in my head! Maybe it was me, I don't know, but I felt like there were parts when I should have just abandoned the instructions and followed my gut. I stalled and stalled and cursed and broke ~ five needles (those handles were death on my needles!) and finally wrapped it up with cattish finality on December 1st. By that point it was all I could do to trim the loose threads. I have enough extra foam and batting to give a go at another laptop bag (or something else with foam and batting), so we'll see how mouthy and irritable I am after that.
Never buy fat quarters unless you want to make quilts or really awesome laptop bag pockets!
All deprecation aside, the good part about this project was that it finally gave me a project to use a bunch of my smaller prized fabrics on. The inner pockets were made of some of my favorite quilting fat quarters and the outer shell was this (2009?) Echino fabric leftover from Bryce's wall hanging/curtain. The yellow handles and accent pieces were remnants from Michelle's yellow playsuit.
All in all, it is a nice little bag that should provide some level of protection to Burnt Chicken (Michelle's laptop). So though I didn't make an outfit, the level of intensity for this project certainly fulfills the Rainbow Collection: Green criteria. Besides, it looks dang good on Timber.
Technophobic dog says, "Get that laptop away from me!"