Monday, July 28, 2014

The Maxi Dress

I had wanted to make a maxi dress since the beginning of summer. A while ago I picked up a McCall's M6074 pattern at Joann's during their $1.99 sale. I also found a nice quality remnant at my favorite local fabric warehouse. I thought I was all set. Turns out, nope, not so much. The pattern required almost 4 yards of fabric, I had about half of that. A reasonable person would buy new fabric, but I decided to make it work.


Let's discuss the photoshoot first to get that out of the way. Actually there were three photoshoots and my husband put his foot down and informed me there will be no more. :) I have many many pictures, but just a few where I am not blurry. The ones where I smile and look all pleasant, no go. The ones were I have a smirk on my face or making wings with my arms are the ones in focus. :)



Ok, let's discuss the dress. :) At first I planned to fold the sides of the pattern to make it more narrow. The pattern had two pieces, front and back, but they were not cut on fold which of course resulted in a dress made out of four pieces. I didn't like that. I thought with the big flowery print the extra seams would look messy. I cut it on fold, which worked fine in front, but the back was two baggy. I decided to add darts in the back to make it more fitted.




Since it was a "make it work" project and I don't have a dress form, I had my husband pin the darts on me. I  evened them out and made them symmetrical, but overall he did an awesome job. :) Not sure how I feel about the gigantic bouquet on my derriere. :) But I am just going to roll with it.
 
The pattern instructed to just fold the edges on the neckline and armholes down and stitch. What?! I didn't like that, so I made narrow binding for both. Overall, I am happy with the dress, even though it took me longer then an hour to make. The fabric is very soft and drapes nicely. I have been wearing it quite a bit.
 
 
 
  






















Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A New Persimmon Dress and Tips for Sewing with Silk

I bought a piece of silk a little over a year ago. It was an impulse buy. I was up with the baby in the middle of the night surfing the internet. Not something I recommend if you are on a budget. LOL. I fell in love with the fun pattern on the fabric - crazy wacky bright characters on yellow. What not to love. I knew I wanted to make a dress for Ania.




I used the Persimmon Dres pattern by Willow & Co. Hayley of Mouse House Creations is the designer. I had this fabric in mind for the dress as soon as I saw her first sketch. I eliminated the front panel. I simply folded the seam allowances on two pieces and taped them together. Easy Peasy.

 
 
Who wouldn't want a dress with a woman walking a pet pig.  On a separate note, I am trying to shoot my pictures in a manual setting.  Pretty exciting stuff, except almost all of my pictures are slightly out of focus. I tried to convince Ania to reshoot, and her response was, "You are kidding, right?" I left her be.
 
 
I am in love with this dress, it is so me. I wish I can convey somehow in pictures how wonderfully it drapes and flows. It almost has a fluid quality to it. It feels so, luscious and,well, silky. I just want to cuddle it.
 

We are also very practical here. Dry clean only, delicate fabric is totally an appropriate choice for making kids clothes. :) As much as I love the dress, making it wasn't as much fun. I had to take a deep deep breath a few times and just walk away. I have sewn with silk before (this dress), but I have never sewn with such delicate, hold-your-breath-or-it-will-warp type of silk. I should have done a thorough research and learned from others. But what fun is that. I did consult my bloggy BFF Mie and her advice was definitely helpful. I thought I would include what I have learned working with silk. It certainly is not an complete list, but maybe it would be helpful for a few of you throwing caution and common sense out of the window in the name of fashion. :)
 
 
1. My struggles began with cutting the pattern pieces. Silk is delicate and will stretch and warp if you breathe on it, never mind approach with scissors. After fighting it for a good half an hour, I had an idea of placing it on top of another fabric. I used an old sheet, placed my silk on top of it and cut a away. Speaking of cutting, you need to half super sharp scissors. Dull scissors just don't cut it. (Excuse the bad pun)
 
2. Use size 8 or 9 (60, 70) needle and make sure it's sharp.
 
3. While stitching, make sure not to pull the fabric, it stretches easily and you will end up with a wavy, unattractive seam.  Also, you pretty much have one chance to get it right. I learned quickly that silk doesn't like to be manipulated much. I do not advise to unpick seams, at least not more then once, it's a sure thing to see precious fabric deteriorate in front of your eyes. Increase your stitch length slightly as well.
 
4. Be careful when ironing. Use silk setting. Be very careful using a steam option in your iron. You don't want the fabric to get wet. If you have a iron that leaks I would avoid it all together. If water gets on silk, you might end up with water stains. Silk also loses it's fluid quality after getting wet. It simply doesn't drape as nicely.
 
5. Hemming silk is a different beast. I experimented with a few different methods and learned that the handkerchief seam works the best. Fold you fabric once (the fold needs to be very narrow) and stitch. Fold it again, and stitch. You will end up with two rows of stitches in the back, but I believe it's a small price to pay for a nice hem. When hemming, go slowly and meticulously, carefully feeding the fabric through. Do not pull. I was in a hurry to finish, and ended with the hem that was wavy and generally abysmal. Since there is only one chance with silk, I had to cut it off and start again. Good thing the dress was long enough for me to do it. 
 
That's about all I can think of. Garments made from silk are stunning and luxurious. But the project can also turn into a complete disaster in a hurry, and all depends how much TLC you are willing to give it. :) I am happy with the results, and might even tackle a dress made out of silk for myself. Might. :) Good luck and happy sewing!
 
 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Cosi Swimsuit by Sewpony and a TUTORIAL

I am so excited to be one of the Cosi Swimsuit by Sewpony blog tour participants. I couldn't wait for the pattern to be released! I love making swimsuits and there are so many awesome options to choose from. Add a little imagination and you are guaranteed to have one of a kind bathing suits that fits your taste and/or your child's personality.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Annivesary and a HUGE Giveaway

Recently several of my bloggy friends were celebrating their blogging anniversaries, which made me curious to find out how long I have been blogging. I remembered that it was approximately two years, but wasn't for sure. Turns out my first blog post was in June 11, 2012. Well, we need to celebrate. But first let's talk blogging - the good, the bad and the ugly. :) I thought it would be fun to go down the memory lane and revisit a few things. If you are not interested in reliving the memories with me, scroll down to the Giveaway. It's awesome. So let's start. Click on the picture if you want to see the original post.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Matinee Dress Pattern Tour

I am excited to be part of the Jennuine Design Matinee dress and top pattern tour. I signed up for the tour a while ago and was thinking of all kinds of dresses I can make. The pattern is adorable. On Tuesday, I realized that my post was due on Friday, and not next week as I thought. Oops. I might have said, "Oh, crap!", heard an audible gasp from three children and had to apologize profusely for using a bad word.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Caroline Dress for Preschool Graduation

Ania came to me two weeks prior to her preschool graduation and requested a dress. She explained to me that I needed to make a dress for her because I love her. Apparently, buying a dress is not sufficient to show love. :)


Ania's graduation was bitter sweet for me. I am excited to see her growing up into a smart and beautiful little girl. On the other hand, I can't believe she is going to school. Somehow, I missed a lot of Ania's baby and toddler years. It seemed that I was either preoccupied with Eli's constant ear infections, or I was having a difficult pregnancy, or being sleep deprived, or just trying to make it working full time. Meanwhile, Ania was not an easy child - strong willed and temperamental (I don't know where she gets that:) ). Here we are, my little baby is not so little any more.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mulberry Tunic as a Dress

I wanted to make a dress version of my pattern for Willow and Co.,  Mulberry tunic, for  a while. I thought it would be an easy remix, and the result will be cute. I was right. :)