Thursday, March 15, 2012

pride cometh before a fall

Yep, I screwed up.  I was on a high from two things, my simple skirt, and a wearable muslin of the newly popular renfrew.  I'm remiss to show the renfrew, cause it's in a drab olive knit that I had on hand, it's kinda blah.  But, the point being, it fits really well, and it was really easy-see a theme forming here?  I like easy.  Ha.

I had bought some nice white bemberg rayon on my fabric adventure, along with the cutest black/white polka dot foldover elastic, with the intention of making a short slip.  I checked out both the Gertie's instructions and Sewaholic's instructions and figured it's 2 rectangles and some elastic, how hard can it be??

Well, methinks I'm terrible at math, even the most simple equations possible.  I carefully cut out my fabric, cut my elastic, even my pretty lace, pinned, sewed lovely french seams and all.  The dialogue in my head went something like this:  lalala, i love to sew, lalala, i'm making something easy, lalala, i'm gonna have the cutest slip ever...

But what happened when I started to put that sucker on, those words left me-quickly.  I miscalculated somewhere and it was TIGHT.  Sigh.

I took the dog for a walk, thought about my options, thought, hey, maybe godets?  Make it kinda swingy, that way I don't have to undo the elastic at the top.  But, can you believe, in all my sewing books, and online, I couldn't find ONE godet tutorial?  WTH? 

Ok, impatience setting in.  Next, decided to watch the telly and unpick the elastic.  Did it.  Cut a 3rd piece of rayon to add to the other two, making the circumference 43".  Guess what?  After I sewed it all together-It.Still.Didn't.Fit.

I'm done.  I have no idea what I did, but I do know, I screwed up two three rectangles of perfectly good rayon, to have something that does not work.  The slip is now crumpled where I threw it in a fit of self-pity.  It will be in UFO status until I have patience to deal with my math skills.

Please tell me I'm not alone in these simple mistakes?

 one day, my pretty

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

taking it easy-an ode to the elastic waist skirt

Last week, I was recovering from having all four of my wisdom teeth yanked, and forced to lay on the couch for hours on end.  Sounds great to some, but I have itchy hands.  I can't just be still.  After a whole day of painkillers and Dr. Who, I got stir crazy.  I couldn't look at any more blogs without the pang of jealousy-people are creating and I'm not, wahhhhhhh!  I had to make something, but it couldn't be too strenuous.  (I fancy myself to have a pretty high pain threshold, but damn, at 35, getting your wisdom teeth out HURTS).

Enter the elastic waist skirt.

We've all made this item on the journey to zipperland, and mostly it's viewed as simplistic, amateur, even frumpy.  In my obsession quest to improve my sewing skills, sometimes I get hung up on techniques-trying new ones, or making a piece more complicated than it has to be.  The elastic waist is a stepping stone, and I'll admit, I've raised my nose at it, but, I'm changing my tune, and gonna sing it's praises...

-it's easy (duh)
-it's quick
-great stashbuster
-you can eat loads of food without hurting (my favorite, hehe)

These are all loveable traits, no?

Decision made, I thumbed through my handy dandy fabric index and picked a fabric.  Time to stash bust.

In the past, elastic waist skirts, for me at least, have produced an unwanted "pooch" in the front-not pretty.  Luckily, I happened upon a genius tutorial, that eliminates that yuck bump, found here, by making the side waistband flat instead of gathered.

I pretty much followed the tutorial exactly, except she makes her skirt as a straight rectangle, and I wanted a smidge of an A-line.  So, I cut two pieces, 24" for the waist each, tapering down to 26" for the hem.  Per her instructions, the pockets are supposed to be sewn in 4" below the waistline.  With the A-line shape, I had to taper the pockets as well, or they wouldn't line up with the top.  When the waistband is sewn the top of the pocket is caught in the seam, so it doesn't flop around.

still aligned 4" from the top, just slightly tapered at sides

A couple of Dr. Who's later, and all done!  Oh, and I got this fabric, about 1 1/2 yards, at a vintage store for about $5 ages ago.  Everything else came from my stash.

throw on a tank or t-shirt-good to go!

pockets are always good

see the flat part? and the pocket tacked down by the waistband?  

All in all, very easy make, satisfied my need to finish something, and I wore it to the great fabric district adventure on the weekend.  It holds up quite well while shopping :-)  

I could see myself making quite a few of these for summer, doing a little stash busting on fabrics that might not be right for other garments (i'm looking at you, quilting cotton).  Cause, in my day to day life, errands, walking the dog, etc, I'm not going to get gussied up, I want to be comfy, but cute, too!

In wisdom teeth news, today's the last day of antibiotics, tomorrow I can have some wine!  Happy dance, happy dance!

Monday, March 12, 2012

fabric district adventure

Yesterday, I met up with a few fellow seamstresses to shop the LA fabric district.  Two of the lovely ladies I met at the Colette shindig a couple weeks ago, Sandra and Nhi, and another gal, a fellow blogger, Amity.  I met them at 9:45 AM, and we didn't stop until 4:00!  By the end of the day, we were seriously worn out!!

We started out at "The Loft", the discount part of Michael Levine.  Michael Levine is really 3 different stores, one is for apparel, across the street is the home dec, and above that "the loft".  The loft is filled with bins and bins, overflowing with the discount fabric, priced at $2.50/pound!  You really have to be in the mood to dig, and there's really no telling what you'll find.  I've walked away empty handed before, but yesterday I scored a couple great pieces of fabric.

   the loft

I tried to shop with specific items in mind, but I'll take what I can get at the loft!  Here's my stash from there:

top left:                                                                
black/white striped stable knit                              
1.5 yards/60" wide    
thinking a renfrew, maybe with a boat neck...

top right:   
black sheer lawn              
2.44 yards/60" wide                           
bottom left:                                                         
yellow slinky (did a burn test, think it's silk!)     
2.83 yards/44" wide                                          

bottom right:
black/white striped silky (burn test looks like a man made something or other)
2 yards/60" wide

The total cost for all that?  $6.50!!!

After that we headed across the street to the apparel Michael Levines.  I had some very specific things in mind to purchase:

top left and right:  
stretch lace and jersey-planning to make a white renfrew with a lace overlay and tiny peter pan collar

bottom left:
bemberg rayon-gonna make a slip

bottom right:
dotted swiss-not gonna be white for long! think an emerald green violet blouse...

After lunch, and some serious browsing at other shops, Sandra led us to this amazing trim shop, Target Trim, on the edges of the district.  I'd never been there before, but it was fantastic!

They are rows and rows, and shelf after shelf of trim of every imaginable kind.  Blew my mind.

 just a few aisles

look at all that foldover elastic!  all those colors!

Last but not least of my purchases, for a (as of now) secret project going on, some nice lightweight denim:

It was a blast shopping with these ladies!  It's funny, cause we really didn't know each other well, but there was no lull in conversation, and we learned so much from each other.  There's definitely another meetup in the future.

me, Amity, Sandra, Nhi

As of now, I've got all my fabrics washed and logged, tomorrow, I'm getting down to business-cutting!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

finished pendrell

I was determined to finish my first Pendrell a couple days ago, and I did it!  I stayed up pretty late finishing, but I blame Dr. Who for distracting me.  I made Version B, kinda.

I took a thrift store dress I scored for about $2, ripped it all apart and made the pendrell out of it.  Initially, I was just going to refashion the dress, but in the end decided to farm the fabric instead.  It's 100% rayon, and really drapey.

before-very little house on the praire

tiny flowers

I used every available inch of this fabric!  All the panels came out of the skirt-barely.  And the sleeves for...sleeves.  I fancy myself pretty clever, too, cause I used the actual hem of the skirt as the hem of the shirt-woohoo!  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough fabric to make the top ruffle on the sleeves, and I didn't want a tank top, so I made B, sans ruffle. 

I know the shirt is supposed to be drapey and have a lot of ease, but I didn't care for the way it looked after I was done.  So, I took it in about an inch total on each side.  I swear I took my measurements correctly, but next time I'll go down a size.

My dear husband got me a serger 3 years ago, and after some initial playing around with it, I put it away, where it's been gathering dust.  It just scared me.  After telling this to Nhi, one of the ladies I met at the Colette event a few weeks back, she told me I was being silly.  She's very matter of fact and ordered me to go right home, dust it off and use it!  My husband thanks her, ha!  So I did just that, and I'm so glad I did.  I read through the manual, watched the DVD, watched a bunch of youtube videos, and practiced on scraps.  And, then I DID IT!  The knife on it still scares me, but surprisingly, the threading and tension wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I finished all my seams with it.  Now, what do you do with the ends??


-cut a size 8
(was a bit too loose, so ended up taking 1" off each side (next time, a size smaller)
-took 5 inches off the bottom 
(which eliminated the need to take in the hips, since it's a pattern for pear shapes)
-one ruffle vs. double ruffle

This particular shirt included a couple firsts for me:

1. This was my first Sewaholic pattern, and it was a breeze to sew up.  I'm really late on the pendrell pattern, lots of other bloggers have said the same thing, but I'm happy to concur.   

2. Never sewn princess seams before-that was easy!

3. Serger!! 

I'm really happy to be adding another wearable garment to my puny wardrobe :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

ben venom

Have you ever seen this guy's work??  If I was ever going to quilt, I want to do something as badass as this.

I saw a few images of his work a couple months ago and it blew my mind.  Aside from the historical interest, quilting kinda bores me (sorry, no offense to quilters!)  But this, I like.

Oh, and this is a baby quilt. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And the giveaway winner is...

Well, it would be Ms. Stitcher, cause she's the only one who entered!  Maybe that's what happens when you only have a few followers, hehe.  Ms. Stitcher, please make sure to show off anything you make from the book-the projects are so adorable!

 Hedgehog phone case-just too cute

Now I'm off to finish my Pendrell-it will get done today, it will get done today, it will get done today...