Sunday, April 21, 2013

Coral Mad Men Megan Dress

My Mad Men Challenge 2 dress is done, and just in the nick of (graciously extended) time! :)

My Mad Men Challenge 2 dress is "inspired by" two of Megan Draper's coral dresses on the show.

Love the color, length, and short sleeves :: Source here
Love the fitted bodice, pleated slim skirt, and of course, the color! :: Source here
So here is my finished dress:

Pattern: Simplicity 2588 (Project Runway)
Design Elements: neckband, raglan pleated sleeves, fitted bodice with princess seams, slim skirt
Fabric: Coral "Special Potpourri" double-weave fabric from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL

I was somewhat worried about the "slim skirt" with my pear shaped body, but I knew this would be a great fabric for it! Also, I really wanted to push myself to stick to the "Megan look", which would definitely be a slim fitting skirt.

I graded the skirt out several sizes from the waist to hips, but actually had to take it back in a few sizes once I tried it on. This will be good to remember for future makes with this pattern - I only need to grade out one to two sizes for the hips, even though the "measurements" would lead me to believe several more. I was somewhat sad that in the skirt taking in process, I lost my pockets :*(  Oh well - perhaps I will go back and put them in another time.

The back view is a little wonky - I forgot to press it before the pic - looks better IRL :)
Also, for some reason I have discovered that I love putting in zippers with the "invisible zipper method" even if they are just regular zippers.  I found this out after doing it TWICE by mistake - once in this dress, and once in my Polka Dot Dress. I liked how it looked, so I just kept it that way, but now I'm wondering if I remember how to put in normal zipper the normal way - lol. Good thing I just got Sunni's Mastering Zipper Techniques Crafty class to help me!

After the first few pictures, I remembered we had an old typewriter in the corner - and of course, I had to use it for some "authentic" takes!

In other news, I am getting very excited for Me Made May! I've got some new garments in the works (like a Deer&Doe Chardon Skirt) and I am really motivated to make them. You will definitely see this dress in the mix! I mean really, it's a perfect teacher dress :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Me-Made-May 2013 Pledge

I am so excited for my first year of Me-Made-May 2013! If you aren't familiar with this challenge, Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know hosts this challenge each year to encourage sewists to wear their me-made garments exclusively for the entire month of May!  Obviously that is a tall order, but the goal is customizable for each individual to determine what they think they can accomplish, while having fun of course!

This is my pledge:

"I, Sally of thequirkypeach, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least four me-made garments each week of May. I also pledge to make one new garment for every week of May (5 garments!)"

While I would love to be able to wear something I made every day, I just don't have a wardrobe of me-made garments big enough to fill that challenge yet! However, with a little creative mix and matching and a few new garments, I think I'll be set to reach my pledge.

Also, I have the top half of my Mad Men dress finished :) You can see the pile of fabric next to it that I hope to pare down with some of my May makes! So many ideas!!! Okay - back to sewing :)

Some of my faves! I'm thinking bow-tie blouse, another easy tee, and a dress with a cut out back!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Floral Stripe Chiffon Top

Today I'm back with another version of the Leanne Marshall for Simplicity (1690) Top!

After the instant success and constant wearing of my first version, I decided to give it a go in a woven fabric! But not just any woven fabric, a black with tiny floral print stripes sheer chiffon! This little number has been in my stash for quite awhile! Mind you, I have never made anything with chiffon before, or anything "sheer" for that matter so I was a little apprehensive... but it worked out great!

Here was my simple process:
1- Sew the side and shoulder seams
2- Try on for fit - great!
3- Serge side and shoulder seams
4- Serge along neckline and sleeve edges
5- Fold under serged edge, press, and topstich sleeves and neckline
6- Serge lower edge - press up 1" - topstitch hem
7- Wear on a sunny day!

**EDIT** I totally forgot to mention that I changed the neckline from the pattern - my first version was great, but a little wide on the shoulders (I have pretty narrow shoulders, mind you) so for this version, I cut the shoulders narrower.  I also decided I wanted a lower scoop neck, so I used the extremely precise method of putting it on the dress form and chopping away until I liked how it looked :) It definitely fits the bill - no sliding off the shoulders at all!

Detail - Neckline
Detail - sleeve
Detail - Inside Out :)
I really love this pattern - don't be surprised if you see more of these tops from me :) Although, looking through my pattern stash, I have so many fun things I want to make!  For example, I had a moment of weakness and ordered all three new Deer&Doe patterns! Ouch my wallet - YAY my pattern stash! I cannot WAIT to get started on these amazing looks! Très bien :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicago Meet-Up

On Easter Eve, five Chicago area sewing bloggers met up for some fabric shopping and chit chat in the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston.  It was lots of fun! Everyone wore something they had made themselves, and we were even getting compliments from other customers in Vogue :)

Left to Right: Gail from Today's Agenda, Debbie from Makizy Sews, Lisa from Polda Pop, Mari from Disparate Disciplines, and me :)

We perused the wonderful bolts at Vogue's Fabrics for quite awhile - here are my finds:

Hunter green stretch lace - matches a cotton knit I have in my stash - I'm thinking lacy t-shirt :)
Navy blue rayon something - super light and silky - only $3//yd!
Coral cotton fabric - labeled "Special Potpourri"? It's two layers of fabric woven together!
Avacado green stretch sweatshirt fleece (the inside is cobalt blue!)

The sweatshirt fabric has already been sewn up into something amazing I hope to show you soon! 

And the coral fabric was a perfect find for my Mad Men Challenge 2 dress:

I'm thinking a Megan Draper mash up, or a "What Would Megan Draper Wear" dress, based on the following three looks:

Definitely more spring-time appropriate than my previous idea! And coral is one of my favorite colors!

At our meet-up, Mari and I also spent awhile hunting through the assorted buttons box - they were $1 a cup! It was like a treasure hunt, digging to find matching buttons! Here's my booty: (probably shouldn't say that on the internet)

Arrrggh! My faves would be the pink mtn goat, the anchors, turquoise squares, and yellow/white buttons!
After we were all shopped out, we walked down to the Brothers K cafe for some refreshment and conversation! All in all, a very fun day and I hope we can have another one soon!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Giveaway Winners and a New Look

Hello readers! It is time to announce the winners of the Spring Break Fabric Giveaway Challenge!!!

When all was said and done, I finished FOUR completed garments in my five days of sewing over Spring Break :) They were:

1940's Sew for Victory Dress
Yellow Chevron Easy Tee
Easter Dress
Boxers for the Hubs

As I sit here typing this, I have just finished another item from my goal list, but you're going to have to wait to see that one!

That means I can give away FOUR of the five fabrics - so here goes - the winners (as chosen by the ever fair Random Number Generator) are...

Comment #12 - Carlee!  You win the yellow / white twig fabric!

Comment #11 - ybat!  You win the teal / green ikat fabric!

Comment #13 - Hazel!  You win the houndstooth fabric!

Comment #6 - Sue!  You win the red-orange check print fabric!

I will be contacting all the winners for a mailing address so I can get your new fabric to you right away :) If you are a winner and haven't received an e-mail yet, it's because I don't have it! Please e-mail me at thequickypeach (at) gmail (dot) com - thanks!

Also, I've been making some changes around the blog - please let me know if there is anything you would like to see :)  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Boxers for the Hubs

Confession time - in my three years of sewing many many projects for myself, and a few for others, this is the FIRST finished project I have made for my very own hubs :(  Wah - wah.  However, can I say there have been two attempts, so it's not all bad.

I once tried to make him pajama pants... yeah, those are still a UFO. And I cut out a button down shirt for him, only to realize the fabric had some sparkle in it. Yeah, he's not wearing a sparkling shirt, unless it's made of mithril

But back to the boxers - isn't this the most awesome print?!

A month or so ago I met up with fellow sewing blogger Mari from Disparate Disciplines at a fabric shop/school in Chicago called The Needle Shop - it is super cute! We both found fun fabrics and agreed to make boxers out of them for our guys :)

Apologies for the major case of hair in face. Instead look at all the cute fabric!!!
Of course, she had sewn and  blogged about them within days... me, not so much. However, due to super motivation from my Spring Break Giveaway Challenge I pulled it out and whipped these up in an hour or so.

I used Simplicity 2741, mostly because it was $1 and I would rather pay money than do the math of drafting my own boxers pattern - and it was only one pattern piece. I made size medium, which fit pretty well - I did have to shorten them, which was fine b/c I only had 1 yd of fabric anyways.

My big mistake was not remembering that this fabric has a one directional print when I cut it out.... but who says it has to be one direction - maybe some of the bunnies prefer hanging upside down.  I also accidentally cut through the fabric with the serger I'm still learning how to use, but oh well! We'll pretend that's an embroidered L - for "Love" right?  No one's going to be looking anyways :)

Speaking of embroidery, I just won an amazing giveaway from Juli at Sweet Little Chickadee - it's a whole set to get started with embroidery! Along with the thread, needles, and scissors, I chose a tea towel and the pattern "Chinatown" since the hubs and I get Chinese takeout at least once a week :) I can't wait to try it out! Thank you Juli!

And speaking of giveaways, this is your last chance to enter my Spring Break Fabric Giveaway Challenge! The final count of sewn projects is FOUR! (technically, I finished these boxers on April 1st) Click on the link above to go to the post, where you can enter to win some fun fabrics. Thanks for all the encouraging comments along the way - I'm proud to have finished all I did!

And keep an eye out for another make for the hubs coming soon! Whaaat? I know. I must really love him. Two whole garments :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blue and White Medallion Dress

Hey friends - I made a dress!!!

This is my "Are You Impressed?" face :) Also note the crazy hair... purposeful, of course
This is a rehash of the very first dress I ever made - Lisette Simplicity 2209. I purchased this beautiful blue and white cotton sateen fabric around the same time, but as I already had plans to copy-cat  the yellow jacket, I figured it would be too much to also duplicate the dress...


But here it is, 2 years later! What can I say - great minds think alike?  Or I am just subject to marketing.  Oh well :)  I considered a few different patterns over the past couple years, but I finally decided to return to my first sewing pattern love.

Since this was the first dress I made (two years ago), I figured I would up the game and make some design changes, you know... now that I am older and wiser and cleverer and - shall I go on?  But, as these things normally go, only some of them actually worked out. Oh hello high horse, I suppose I can get down now :)

Here's what I wanted to do:

1. Lower scoop back neck
2. Fuller skirt
3. Add pockets
4. Fully lined inside (no facings or bias tape)

Here's what actually ended up happening

1. The lower scoop back neck - success!!! I just cut the back neckline lower until I had it about where I wanted it, and by golly it worked!  *I read a great tip in Gertie's book that you need to make sure the middle of the scoop neckline is perpendicular to the floor - otherwise you will get a slight V instead of a scoop.

2. Fuller skirt - also successful! And also aided by Gertie's book - I used the slash method (afterwards those pattern pieces were waving aroung like octopus tentacles! Lol :)

3. Add pockets - half successful! There is a pocket on one side.  However, I still have to figure out how to add a pocket when you also have a side zipper! I think I started to figure it out, but at that point I just wanted to be DONE! Ever had that feeling?

4. Fully lined inside (no facings or bias tape) - let's be honest, the real reason I wanted to line this dress was because I really really don't like facings - especially after dealing with the ones in my 1940's dress (I think they were too small and always kept flipping out). In any case, I had an adventure with this dress, oh yessirree.

My plan was to use this amazing technique by the Slapdash Sewist for fulling lining the inside of a sleeveless dress.  I used it for my Polka Dot Dress, and frankly, that's the best looking thing I've ever sewn :)  My plan was just peachy until I tried to turn the dress right side out. Friends, let me warn you now - this technique only works if your back bodice is two pieces.  It's like trying to find the end of a circle, as opposed to a U.  After turning my bodice in circles a few times, I realized my mistake, swore a little and threw it on the ground!

Later, I came in and decided to have a go at a bias tape finish around the neck and armholes. I knew I shouldn't have, as I am never happy with how they turn out, but gosh darnit I was NOT making facings.

Well, as you have probably guessed, the bias tape did not turn out well, therefore leaving me with my last option (and the original intent of the pattern) - facings.  I really should have looked at the facings in  my first dress before I went on this entire escapade because they are actually great! They are sewn down around the armholes under the bias tape so they can't flap around! Genius, I tell you! If only I would have recognized it earlier, it would have saved me a lot of seam ripping :)

I did end up leaving the skirt lined, which feels very nice and helps reduce static cling. I have a few serged seams in this dress, thanks to my awesome sis-in-law who is letting me borrow her serger for awhile :)

Also, the armholes are still lined with bias tape - in this case YELLOW bias tape :) They were all out of white (too many ppl making Easter dresses, I suppose) and I'm so glad, b/c this pop of yellow is my favorite part of the dress!

So there you have it! I really love this dress and can't wait to wear it more! It fits me like a glove on top and is nice and flowy on bottom. I will definitely be keeping this pattern on the top of my pile - maybe next time I will cut a center back seam so I can do a full lining and have pockets on both sides :)

Also, this dress makes the THIRD finished item in my Spring Break Fabric Giveaway Challenge - be sure to head over and enter to win one of five fun fabrics!