Thursday, March 31, 2011

Does this count as 'upcycling' ?

Behold! Old jersey sheets! Tattered and stained and not really suitable for use anymore, so, what are they now? my dress! The only really problem is the over the fullness of time, the bottom sheet got washed more often than the the top, leaving them slightly different colors.... However, me thinks if this ends up fitting, I will pop it in dye, and no one will be the wiser. Except for the fact that I am posting this on the internet....

anyhow.. a few minor modifications to come. I didn't get the shoulder right, and the skirt really isn't as full as I'd like it to be. Once I get all the primary pieces cut out, I will see how much I can turn into godets. I do enjoy experimenting.

Now, for the MMM finale: The dress that started it all!!!! This is not to say this was my first project, nor even my first wearable garment. I've been sewing ever since I could hold a needle, and when I was seven I made a skirt that I wore around. I made clothes and costumes (as in full on Elizabethan gowns) in high school, but this dress, made right after I graduated from college, was the first thing that was a real day-to-day garment that didn't look homemade. (I'm drawing a distinction between homemade and handmade, i.e. that random strangers can't tell sewing is my hobby.) (thinking back, it may have something to do with the fact that I FINALLY read the directions for the invisible zipper and put in it properly. Also... interfacing..) Its also a batik, and a fabric I bought the summer I was working at G-Street. (New Look 6557)

And as you may wonder how I, who has complained about the weather every day for weeks pulled off a sun dress... I will share my secret.. yoga pants.Fold them up over your knee, and no one will ever know. Since they, like the skirt are cotton, there was some major static, so today was actually a two-fer, with my choir skirt (me made!) acting as a slip.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The best laid plans...

No sooner do I announce my grand intentions, then I get inspired by something else... Thus, last night was spent drafting my own version of Alabama Chanin's tank dress. I think her work is just lovely, but I don't have 3K to drop on one.

I'd been getting bored of the seersucker, which usually means I'll play with something else for a few days, until I can get myself excited about the primary project again. So, out I pulled my rarely used dummy (it manages to be both too small and too large, depending on how tightly the tape was pulled) but I felt that its fitting issues wouldn't be a problem for knits, popped on a pillow case, basted it to fit, drew on the bodice pattern I wanted, and cut it out.

I then transferred it to butchers paper (which I forgot to get pictures of) andadded the trapezoids for the skirt.  BUT THEN!!! (bum bum BUUUM)

When I went to lay it out, I found I was about a yard short of my lovely red knit. So, crash, bang, boom and shot to smithereens were my plans to sew it up tonight and wear it as a final hurrah for MMM on Thursday. (I very nearly broke down and bought fabric for it this afternoon -- as in walked around the store clutching a bolt of royal blue knit, as I picked up the bias tape and tailors chalk I actually went there to buy. However, I was good, and decided that if I can't have it for Thursday, then I ought to at least pretend I'm going to respect my own arbitary limits and NOT buy new fabric until I've finished stash busting.) (Other than that green viscose from the other day.....) (Also, I thought it might be a good idea to muslin it, to make sure the skirt is as flowy as I'd like -- although I can always add godets if need be.) Ahh well. So much for my plans. (bah and a great big humbug)

Now, MMM update:
Another cotton top - also, for all I was talking about having bunch, there are really only three, and the third is somewhat inappropriate for even the loose standards of my office, so something different tomorrow...

(I felt the need to share Goshu and I looking like crazed psychopaths) Anyhow -- this is yet another frankenpattern. From the bust line down, in the front, its is the same as yesterday's sunflower shirt. The bust and back are from Simplicity 0595, and the band across the back is all me. (shaping and lizard buttons too!)

Also, for anyone who is curious, I added a picture of the back of the sunflower shirt to yesterday's post.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Posting about all my unworn cotton tops the other day made me realize I ought to just suck it up and wear them. Then, this morning it was just slightly above freezing, which I took as a sign to get my act together, so here we have the sunflower shirt. What you can't see is how the ribbons come together in the back and a four-piece sash, as I forgot to get a picture, and frankly standing around without a sweater is chilly.

It is yet another of my batik quilting cottons, aquired during the summer I worked at G-Street Fabrics. (So not only was I in a fabric store, with an employee discount, I was in the calico section, i.e. quilting cottons. Its a miracle my entire salary didn't go right back to the store. However, this was right before starting grad school, so I had to be good.)

Anyhow, its a self drafted pattern. (but based off a shirt I owned)

EDIT: Here is the back, with the four ribbon 'bow'.

Monday, March 28, 2011

planning, plotting and an accidental break-fast

My stash-busting goal was to make at least ten items with stash fabric before buying anything new... and I have failed. (bum bum BUUUUUUM) Friday I was on one of my organizational kicks, and decided I needed a shoe rack, so off to the home store, where I spotted king-sized pillow cases, in green, on massive clearance. And not just any pillow cases, from the brand of sheets I love and have to restrain myself from cutting up and turning into dresses. (Its viscose, which you wouldn't think would be that special, but I just love these...) I got all the way to the cash register before I remembered I wasn't supposed to be buying fabric, and then decided to hell with it. I'm still going to make up the stash things, and ever since I saw Very Prairie's version of Vouge 1152 as a shirt, I've been lusting after my own, and here was the very clearance pillow case for me.

Then! digging through my pattern stash (hmm -- does pattern stash busting count?) I came upon Butterick 4790, which I always liked, but never quite enough to make up. It always seemed a little to 'here-is-my-chest' -- but then I realized, if I do it without piping and all in one fabric, it will just be a quick dress with nice shaping. (you'd think I'd figure this out earlier, considering how much I tend to stray from the recommended ideas patterns come with.) (In my head its a dark green batik with nifty buttons. I know. How very unusual for me.)

Then, unrelated to both, I have been formulating plans for the lovely black dress, which I think I want in the same leaf green as the pillow case. Its not really very different from McCalls 5292, which I already use as a frankenpattern basis fairly often. The current plan calls for it to be ready for a wedding at the end of May, so I'm also thinking of holding actual construction until the first so I can participate in the Pattern Review Knock-off contest. This is the first one that actually fits with something I was planning to do anyway -- so I think April will be for muslins and calculating the yardage of all those pleats.....

MMM Update: Tuxedo jeans again. Someday it will be warm again, and I will wear pretty things and post them because this is getting just too boring for words. And in case you were curious, today's socks feature potatoes wearing sunglasses.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

chugging away.

MMM: Same old jeans

Actual Sewing: finished the darts in the scrappy triangles, and am now putting in the zipper.

I need to get some kind of binding to put around the edges, and then figure out what I want to do for the straps... and it will be done.... hopefully before April. (but then, I have a number of cotton tops I've made and have not worn, as they are simply aren't warm enough for the office... so... hrm. yeah. I know, I'm a huge bum, but a warm and comfy one, so hey, whatever.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sock Chickens and Sock Monkeys

Yesterday was another two outfits sort of day -- the first was the standard jeans (also seen today, below) followed by this. It is the same frankenpattern combo described here. I wore it to a student showcase at my dance school (I did waltz). I'd hoped to post exciting action shots, but the people running it forgot to take pictures, as they were prepping for their own secret skit. (which was in fact quite funny) However, c'est la vie. It went well, and my dress is pretty, with that, I can be content.

Anyhow, I think the chicken socks add a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole outfit.

As for today -- the jeans again. It was well below freezing today, and it going to get worse over the next few days. I'd really hoped to get some warm weather so I could show off some of my lighter weight things (i.e. more sundresses) But its looking like its just going to be layers upon layers for the foreseeable future. Anyhow, I cannot take credit for the sock monkey slippers -- but I felt they needed to be shared with the world.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coming back out of hibernation....

it got COLD here.. (there was snow this morning!) do NOT approve. Anyhow, being cold-blooded in the manner of a lizard, I shut down. But here I am again with at least some MMM updates. (I didn't document Wednesday, despite TWO MM outfits -- I was late for dance class and had to change quickly (goodbye outfit one) , and then came back gross and tired (sianora outfit two). The first was the standard jeans, so nothing new there. The second is a dress I haven't yet posted, but will get a picture of Friday when we do the performance thinger.


Here is Tuesday and Thursday.

If you think today's looks awfully similar to one last week, you would be correct. different accessories today, but they don't show up in the picture. you can however, see my ever so snazzy rain boots.

Tuesday's is a self drafted pencil skirt made from a single piece of border print eyelet that I lined with white to make the pattern pop.

the lining (backing?) is tacked onto the eyelet by hand all the way around -- to attach it to the skirt without altering the hang I sewed it to the top selvedge opposite the border print, and then folded it down the meet the edge. (then, darts, waistband, hemming, etc...)

Monday, March 21, 2011

love at first sight

Me thinks this needs to be replicated. The original is rather small (23 inch waist) but.... love love love it. Black really isn't my color (not that this stops me from wearing it) so I'm thinking maybe navy blue. Or you know, green. who knows.

I have two actual vintage dresses, both of which were my grandmothers. However -- she is 5'2 and I am nearly 5'10, so there are a few fit issues -- but I made the brown one work. (i.e. it had generous seam allowances so I let it out a bit so I could breathe.) I managed to get the black one zipped up all of once (I think I had been sick that week, and so was smaller than usual) but as the waist line it so hopelessly high, I've yet to attempt anything.)

I get very jealous when Grammy tells me about walking into stores, and these lovely creations being freely available in all the sizes. If only I had a time machine. (hmm.. period appropriate currency too, as I doubt they take visa in 1955.)

MMM update:
jeans again, -- not the tuxedo ones, the other ones. And the rest of the outfit is the violet shirt and black cardigan from the rock-on pose day. I will photograph it later, but the excitment just isn't there at the moment. I know. but it was cold and rainy. new and exciting things when it gets warm again.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

putter putter putter

Friday fjldsfjlksdfjlkdsjfl Saturday fjdfjdlsfjl;sdfj;dl Sunday

Here we have the past three days...
Friday, MM dress, also batik, also new look 6557 (like the red dress)
Saturday, between laundry and high winds, it was only the coat, and I didn't even get a picture wearing it. yes, yes, its annoyed with me too.
Sunday, the capris/shorts/pants whatever we're calling them things. (Today was a low-key cleaning sort of a day. highly successful, but not so much a day for sundresses.)

In actual sewing news:

The seersucker progresses, slowly but surely. I pressed and tacked all the seam intersections to keep the bulk to a minimum. Now I'm just playing with fit to determine what needs to be altered, pulled in, let out, etc... stripes REALLY show any errors, so this may take a while. no pictures, because, well, I'm being a bum. c'est la vie.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally got enough time to do the next row of scrappy triangles. As anticipated I like the double row -- but all the seams in such a lightweight fabric will require some sort of backing to keep it from lumping up. Due to my killer sway-back, me thinks I will need to turn some of those squares into trapezoids (use your x-ray vision!) but otherwise, its coming together nicely. (Except, with the proportions, its starting to look like it ought to be a dress, instead of a top -- but I really don't have enough fabric -- just doing real straps is going to be pushing it -- perhaps another project....)

And, MMM update from yesterday and today.

In both cases, just the skirt. (oddly enough, both are actually self-drafted skirts I originally made to be floor length and have since shortened) Anyhow, talked about the brown one last friday, but the purple is another of my lovely batiks :) I've always thought the patterns looked like chromosome pairs, so I tend to think of this as the DNA skirt. Its a regular old six panel skirt with an invisible zip closure.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thats right, I make dresses with quilting cottons!

So, technically its not warm yet... but I love this dress, so I wore it anyway. Its a frankenpattern, as so many are -- more specifically the bodice is a modified Simplicity 2884, and the skirt is McCalls 5292, which I find to be quite full enough for every day wear. The modification was changing the back from a standard halter to crossed straps. I just find it more comfortable not to have pressure on the back of my neck all day. Also, although you cannot see it, there is a side seam pocket on the right side around knee level. I loves me some pockets.

The fabric itself is a cotton batik -- as it gets warmer, you may start to see my adoration of them (technically the fabric from the red dress is made by salting the material after its been dyed, but really, I get them from the same section of the store, so I'll lump that one in too)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life keeps getting in the way of sewing.

On the left we have yesterday's (March 13th's) outfit -- me made lace shirt and jeans. cardigan and tank top are RTW.

Today, as it was rather cold and frankly I need to do laundry, all I had was the coat.

Its supposed to slowly warm up, so hopefully I can start to get skirts into the rotation on a more regular basis. (also, maybe do my laundry... which is more difficult than it sounds, as this requires quarters and my building has no change machine. so... I need to make it to a bank. yeah.)

Anyhow, fairly soon, the sewing machine and I will have some happy fun and get back to the scrappy triangles. (This is not helped by the fact that I got a hold of the sequel to the book I was reading the other day - Stones into Schools. yes yes, advertising, but is a good cause.)(Thanks Em!)

totally unrelated. ITS PI DAY!!!!!!! Can't wait for 4 years from now, when its 3/14/15 -- there will be parties at 9:26 and it will be amazing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Made them... so it counts

What? What? Peeps? Yes, I know, they aren't fabric, but I'm not at home. I AM DOING SCIENCE.

so, first, a quick MMM update: The tuxedo jeans again. I know, I know, but facing the TSA with a skirt seemed like a poor choice. Plus, its colder here.

now. science. Specifically.... Peep S'mores, or as we call them S'meeps. All tasting notes are provided by a Miss P, to control for individual preference.

Materials: Graham crackers, Hershey chocolate and rabbit peeps.

Method one: Stove

Stove roasted peeps resulted in a pleasant heating of the shell while maintaining some texture in the center. The radiant heat of the newly cooked peep was sufficient to melt the chocolate to a desirable viscosity.

Additionally, it was found that unlike standard marshmallows, peeps will not support more than a brief period of flame before self extinguishing.

Method Two: Microwave

Slightly softened the graham cracker, but imparted a slightly chewy texture to the peep. The chocolate was fully melted, as did the eyes, which previous experiments have found to be indestructible.

Method Three: Oven

Surprisingly, the oven produced the least pleasant S'meep experience. The graham cracker was too warm for immediate consumption as well as having a slightly burned flavor that was found to be distasteful. The consistency of the peep changed from a semi-solid to a near liquid contained only by its sugary purple shell.

Stove s'meeps were considered to be superior to alternate preparation methods. However, general consensus agreed that all methods were inferior to standard s'mores.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Here! There! and Everywhere!

Current state of the Seersucker:

Its made out of all the scrappy bits I had left over from a previous project. However -- for all that I like it better in this picture than in person, I'm not particularly happy with it as is. This is in large part due to the fact that I like defined waists -- happily, I have enough scrappy bits left to do a second row of the little triangles, and since from the bust line down its more or less just pinned in place, I figured I would make it up, pin it in place and see how that looks. (Odds are good I will end up with the double row in the final) I'm also not sold on plain shoulder straps, so, maybe scrappy triangles there too....

and, MMM:

Yesterday, tuxedo jeans and RTW top, (Its getting a bit dull photographing them over and over) and today, MM skirt with RTW top and cardigan.

The skirt is basically a drindle with a bit of a yolk and a ruffle at the bottom. As it is made of cotton gauze, its lined with another layer (although that one is cream) as I prefer not to be totally transparent when I go out into the sun. The skirt is actually a refashion of my own work, as originally it was about ankle length. The real problem? "about" ankle length -- it was about one or two inches above, which just looked like it was too small for me. (Being 5'9" its easy for things to look like I got the wrong size, even if I meant it that way) so, shortened it up to a bit below my knees, and frolicked away.
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