Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mint Bow Dress and 31 BITS Giveaway

Hi there, blog readers, and HAPPY EASTER!!!!! So today's dress has been a long time coming - it's actually been finished since early March, but today it was finally warm outside - a perfectly sunny 75 for Easter :) So after an awesome church service, a ridiculously filling brunch with family, and of course a nap, what else to do but take pics for the blog!

This dress was made with Simplicity 2444 - a Project Runway pattern that's become a favorite of many sewing bloggers, including the famous Roisin of Sew Dolly Clackett. BTW, embarassing moment - I totally thought her name was pronounced like the dried fruit "raisin" but with an "o" sound. Turns out, it is pronounced "Ro-sheen" - much prettier :) Derp! Thanks Ashley for setting me straight there ;)

The fabric is "Adorable Retro Bow Print Cotton Fabric by Ascher" from Gertie's Etsy Shop.  Adorable indeed - bows and ribbons with polka dots, I mean come on. It has been in my stash since last summer, waiting for the perfect pattern inspiration to come along. I decided to pair it with this classic fit and flare shape dress and let the print take center stage. I love the darts, pleats, and little cap sleeves!

So I have to pause for a minute with the dress details to tell you about my bracelet :) Did you know that I occasionally work at a boutique that sells handmade goods? Pretty perfect for a sewing type, although I admit, I can get pretty critical of sewn items that have been finished poorly - such a snob! Lol! Anyways, this bracelet is from the boutique and was supplied through an amazing company called 31 BITS. From their website:
31 Bits is a socially minded jewelry company with a new spin on business. Not only is 
this jewelry fashion-forward and made from recycled paper, it's empowering women in 
Uganda to rise above poverty! 31 Bits has taken a holistic approach to development, 
providing each beneciary with a sustainable monthly income as well as education 
programs enabling each woman to start her own business in Uganda. Every 31 Bits 
purchase impacts a life! 
And even more awesome, their name 31 BITS comes from Proverbs 31, one of my favorite Bible passages, where it describes a woman of noble character who works hard to love and provide for her family! How cool! The bracelet I'm wearing is called Mermaid Lagoon. Keep reading for a 31 BITS GIVEAWAY!

Okay, back to the dress! Here are the details:

Pattern: Simplicity 2444

Fabric: Ascher Bow Print - Mint - Cotton Poplin (no longer available) // Posh Lining in White

Notions: Invisible Zipper - White

Sizing / Alterations: 12, graded to 14 at waist / hips // Pinched out about 1" at center of front bodice piece so it wouldn't gape like my first version - worked wonderfully :)

Construction Notes: Inside is fully lined, except sleeves - serged sleeve seam allowance to lining edge at armhole to finish. The hem of the lining is embarrassing - don't machine hem a slippery fabric in a hurry, if you can help it! Unfortunately I had a wedding shower to go to, and only three minutes, so..... not that any of you have ever done something like that ;)

After posting a couple photos of this dress on Instagram, I was told it would be a great entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett competition, so I had to find me some cute stairs and a door for pictures! There is an adorable set of town homes near us that I have always thought looked very European and they worked perfectly for this photoshoot setting :) Check out all the adorable Roisin inspired dresses in the flickr group!

Hi, don't mind us - we're just going to use your picturesque front door if that's okay ;)
31 BITS GIVEAWAY: The Daphne BraceletTo enter the giveaway, just comment below and let me know what color Daphne bracelet you would prefer! You could also relay any stories of horridly or hilariously finished garments right before wearing to an event :) Come on, I can't be the only one! The giveaway closes Friday, April 25th at 11:59 PM CST with the winner announced soon after on the blog. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Blue Floral Simplicity 2451 Skirt

Hello friends! 
They say "third time's the charm" and it must be true for this skirt pattern (although I quite like the first time and the second time too, so all three times are charms? That doesn't quite work...)  This is the Simplicity 2451 skirt pattern and I know I'm not alone in making multiples of this versatile design (ahem... Morgan... ahem ;)

Hey look at my smiling mirror face :)
This skirt cute pleats on the front with pockets, and darts for shaping in the back. I have only made Views C and D, the straight or tulip shape, in three various lengths. This one falls right in the middle of the other two. It's almost exactly between the C and D cutting lines on the pattern. It even has a tiny vent in the back! Not sure how useful that will actually be...

Here are the details:

Pattern:  Simplicity 2451 Skirt, View C/D

Fabric: Blue Floral Cotton Sateen, with a bit of stretch I think from Joann's but I don't really remember. I actually cut out and started this dress back in the fall (of '13) and then decided it was too spring-y and waited until now to finish it.... oh brother.

Notions:  9" Metal Jeans Zipper - Blue

Sizing: 14 at waistband (fits perfectly), graded out to an 18ish at the hips?  It started bigger and I took in a bit at the side seams and back darts. 

I have had the weirdest issues with this skirt on the back pieces in the last two versions. There seems to be an excess of fabric between the lower edge of the waistband and where it hits the middle of my bum - I think I need to adjust the dart shape, perhaps to account for the large curve outwards between my waist and bum? I attempted both lengthening and widening the darts, but it didn't exactly fix the problem - any thoughts on the issue?

Design Changes: As in the last two versions, I straightened the lower edge of the waistband. Just folded the pattern piece under so it was less of a curve. Also used an "exposed" zipper instead of invisible or lapped.

Construction Notes: The insides are quite cleanly finished with serged edges :) Skirt is unlined.

And now a few photos where you can actually see the waistband ;)

I would definitely wear this skirt with shirts tucked in or untucked, but this sweater is a bit bulky to go untucked. I imagined wearing these awesome yellow tights with it the whole time I was sewing it, but they turned out darker than I had imagined - super mustard and not so lemon. Oh well! And the striped Keds are a personal favorite - I really love stripes with florals!!! How about you? Any prints you love to pair???

Monday, March 31, 2014

Navy Hearts Sureau and Tutorial

Hello friends! Today's make is the Sureau Dress by Deer and Doe. We're going to go ahead and call it a wearable muslin, although it will probably never get worn due to the cheap cotton fabric I used to make it not being pleasant to wear whatsoever :( This was definitely a tale of perseverance - I spent a looooooong time attempting to fix the neckline gape and nothing really seemed to work. I ended up with these seams that kind of resemble raglan sleeves, which somewhat fixed the gaping problem, but the whole shape of the neckline is kind of off now. Next time I make this dress, I will redraw all this on the pattern piece before cutting, but hey! That's what muslins are for, right? ;)

Here are the details:

Pattern: Deer and Doe Sureau Dress

Size: 38 at bust, graded to 42 at waist

My Shape: Tall (6'), pear shape, narrow shoulders, long torso

Fabric: Quilting Cotton from Joann's - Navy with Cream Hearts

Size Alterations: None, really, except fixing that blasted neckline

Design Changes: Added cuffs / bands to sleeve - I just can't stand loose baggy long sleeves.


1. Cut out the sleeve. Cut a sleeve band / cuff on the bias - I used the button placket as my pattern piece, but you can measure around your arm where the sleeve ends to make it the perfect size - just don't forget to add a seam allowance.  I cut this piece on the bias to give it a tiny bit of stretch - that way it fits snugly around the arm but isn't uncomfortably tight :)

2. Fold the sleeve, right sides together, and stitch the side seam. Finish the edge.

3. Fold the cuff in half, wrong sides together, and press.

4. Unfold the cuff and put the short ends together, right sides together. Stitch this edge. Press open.

5. Stitch a long (I use 4 length) stitch along the hem of the sleeve, but do not backstitch at the beginning or end. Gather the sleeve end by gently pulling the bobbin thread from each end until it is the same length as your cuff.

6. Refold the cuff longways, wrong sides together. Match the seam of the cuff to the seam of the sleeve - pin.

7. Evenly space the gathers along the sleeve hem and pin to cuff

8. Stitch the cuff to the sleeve. Check for any errors, then finish the seam.

9. Turn right side out, remove any remaining visible gathering stitches, and you're done! :)

I absolutely LOVE the bodice design with the faux button placket and gathers - that is what motivated me to keep truckin' with this dress - I really do want to make it again, and work out the issues with the neckline. Also I need to make sure the zipper isn't too long, or stiff - it kind of makes the side of the skirt stick out funny on the one side - oh well! MUSLIN! :)