Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pattern Review: Burda 9780 Toddler jacket

I love sewing for my kids. Unfortunately they have lots of hand-me-downs from friends that are in pretty good condition already, so there is no need to sew more clothes for them. My daughter just had a growth spurt in the last couple of weeks and her clothes are getting shorter and tighter. Her spring jacket that she wore all last Fall is now above her navel. And there were nothing in her size in the 2 local thrift shops. I guess I had to make her something myself! Oh how I relished this opportunity!

I'm still on the pledge to sew from stash fabrics and stash patterns. Fortunately I had accumulated some kids' patterns in the last few years. I dug up Burda 9780 and thought it looked cute. I also found some remnant coated yellow cotton fabric that I got from the cheapy bin a few years back that could work well as a windbreaker material. I know the pattern called for knit fabrics. But with the kimono sleeves I thought I could make it with a stiff coated woven material.

I had to sew it up really quickly because it had been raining on and off last week and my toddler had nothing to wear. I didn't even look at the pattern instructions. I just took out the fabric and the pattern pieces and started cutting. The pattern pieces seemed straight forward enough and I was able to sew it up pretty quickly. I didn't have enough of the yellow fabric and had to cut the sleeves shorter by about 3 cm. I want the jacket to last at least until next winter so I lengthened the front piece to almost the same length as the back, used a zipper instead of a button front to add more width, added a storm flap in the front as well to make it more rain/shower proof. I also made the hood a bit deeper by added 3cm to the front of the hood. I put in elastics into the front edge of the hood as well.

When it comes to the lining, the only kiddish fabric in my stash that wouldn't show through the yellow cotton was this white cotton flannel with numbers on it. I actually didn't have enough and had to cheat. The sleeves linings were pieced together and not all in 1 piece. I figured no one would notice anyways.

I'm quite pleased how it turned out. My daughter has already been wearing it for a few days and it didn't seem to stop her from being her usual active-exploring self. It hasn't rained for a few days so I will need to see how it performs when it rains. Let's hope she won't stain the jacket/lining with mud/food too soon!! LOL!

Friday, April 12, 2013

I signed up for Me-Made May'13!!! Panic starts here!!!

That's right! I have signed up for 'So, Zo...'s Me-Made May'13 challenge!! Panic now! I have even set a higher challenge for myself this time around that I will wear at least 2 self-made/self-refashioned garments each day!!  Arghhhhhhhh!!!!

But seriously, I really enjoyed it last time around and I hope to be more organized this time and remember to take pictures of the outfits in the mornings before the kids wreck them. My daughter likes to smear food on my hair/clothes all the time. If I don't take the picture first thing in the morning then I will have no chance for a good picture of the outfit.

I'm also panicking because in my part of the world, I honestly have no idea what type of weather we will be having. Last week it was raining and above 0 Celsius. But the last 2 days it was freezing and snowing! I remember a few years back it was still snowing until the middle of May but then a day later it was in the mid-teens and we were in t-shirts and shorts. I guess I need to make some sure I have some layering pieces for different outfits. I think I'll have to add some lightweight jackets/cardis to my Spring/Summer wardrobe this year. I'd better look through my fabric stash and pattern stash right now!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Odd Ensemble Part 2 - Pattern Review & Refashion: Simplicity 8764 Vintage-Inspired Dress

Remember that odd nun dress ensemble that I thrifted last week (see post here)? Well, I had refashioned the red-knit-sleeveless-button-down-duster part of the ensemble! I'm pretty happy with this 'Vintage-inspired-Rockabilly' dress! I was able to use the red duster as well as remnants of the black part to make up this dress (there wasn't enough red material to begin with).

I was looking through my pattern stash for inspiration and I found Simplicity 8764 from 1999. I think I had made a strapless dress with it a long time ago but I didn't wear it much and donated it soon after. The fit was fine but I was constantly pulling the dress up that became a nuisance. This time though, I thought I would add straps to this dress so it would be more secure.

I cut the dress front and back and I barely had enough. I had to cheat on the top because there wasn't enough fabric for the top. So I used the remnant of the black nun dress to create a band on the top. I sewed the button front opening shut. I used a zig-zag stitch to stitch on a 3/4" elastic around the top band. Then I zig-zagged elastic again to the straps and made the straps crossed at the back. I look at my button stash and found these plain black buttons that would fit the theme of the dress. I also created a back centre seam to take the extra material in. Everything was from my stash - I was too lazy to go out and buy anything anyways!! LOL!

The pattern was very easy and quick to sew up. It calls for a shelf bra but I didn't do it because I figured I would have to wear a strapless bra anyways. However on hind sight, I should have done a full slip because the knit is a bit thin and if I don't wear the right type of panties the panty lines will show. I really like these simple clean line patterns that allow one to add/customize them to one's own liking. I'm pretty sure I will use this pattern again to make some other knit dresses.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pattern Review: OOP Mccall 9295 dress

This is an out of print McCall's pattern from 1998. It was one of those those 90's simple, clean line style knit dresses. I like simple and easy to sew and I like sewing with knit so I snapped it up right away.

I chose to make the halter long dress. It was super easy and fast to make! I made it with some black stretch velvet that I found at the cheapy bin in my local fabric store. I had just enough to make the dress. I lowered the neckline a little (so that it doesn't look like the dress was choking me), did my usual short waist adjustment and shorten the hem a little. I added a shelf bra inside the dress but I still need to wear a strapless bra for the dress to look okay. I had to shorten the straps a lot to fit my frame. The back is a little low for my taste but at least it didn't show my bra. It wasn't supposed to have a back slit but I added a high back slit so that I could walk and dance.
I do like this dress. It was super comfortable to wear. I usually try not to wear long dresses because I'm short and broad. But this one seemed okay. I wore it to an office X'mas party and some gala. It may not be the super party dress of the decade but sometimes one just can't go wrong with a simple black velvet halter gown!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Odd Ensemble Refashion Part 1: Nun dress to Party dress

I bought this odd ensemble from a thrift store a couple of months ago. I can see why no one was interested in it. It's like someone in the design department just gave up and had the manufacturer tacked 2 completely separate dresses together at the shoulders and under the arms. It was only a few dollars and I thought what a bargain for 2 good size separate cotton knit dresses in colours that I like!

I took apart the 2 dresses (just a few threads) and started working on the black dress first. My hubby saw me wearing it and asked me if it was a nun's dress. I knew that the dress was crying out to go to a party! LOL!

First I chopped off the dress at above the knee. It was already looking a lot better. Next I changed the mock neck into a boat neck. I sewed a piece of clear elastic at the neckline with a zig-zag stitch to prevent it from stretching further. I also reduce the back width by 3cm.

I couldn't decide how to embellish the dress. I wanted to use what I already have in my stash instead of buying some new trims. So I decided to move the year back to 2011 and try to embellish the neckline pins! I actually don't have enough safety pins so the neckline looks a bit sad and sparse. I guess I have to buy some more safety pins after all. I figured that the safety pin embellishment is not too permanent - if I decide to change the neckline later I can easily do that.

So what do you think? Too DIY looking? Too 2011 all over again? Or passable as a party dress?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yummy Persian grilled chicken recipe....and a Persian recipe website

I have always loved Persian food - ever since my good friend brought me to her mom's house for an authentic Persian feast almost 20 years ago. I've been trying to find a good Persian restaurant in town and I was also googling for easy Persian recipes. I think I've found the blog for me: Tumeric and Saffron by Azita. I have only made 1 of her recipes so far and wow! I was running out of ideas what to make each week with chicken for my family and I found her recipes. I had a quick look at what I had in my fridge and decided to make her Persian grilled saffron chicken (Joojeh Kabab) recipe. It was soooooooooo delicious! Since then it has been in regular rotation in our family meals. Her food pictures are also really gorgeous which makes it even more enticing to try her other recipes!

If you like Persian food or just want to look for new recipes for your chicken, go visit her blog and have a look!