Friday, February 28, 2014

Spring 2014 Pantone Colour Trends - Not for me!

I just checked the Pantone Colour Trends for Spring 2014. It's all very pastel-like. I don't actually think I have any fabrics in my stash that are in these colours. I could do some fabric dying but these Pantone Spring colours actually don't look good on me. So I suppose I'll just ignore these 'colour trends' and look for some spring-like fabrics in my own stash to add to my 2014 spring/summer wardrobe.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Final Feb is Red Month project - A Little Red Dress Refashion

It's the 2nd last day of February and I managed to squeeze another red garment to finish off the 'Feb is Red Month'. After all the hardwork on the muslins and nothing to show for it, I was ready to have a project that I can actually wear. And I chose knit - because knits have rarely failed me. I was almost always able to salvage a knit garment even if it didn't fit properly at first.

This is a RTW red ponte knit dress I bought with a gift card. Someone gave me a store gift card for X'mas and I didn't know what to do with it. So I went to the Clearance rack and found a few things. This XL dress was huge on me but it's a Red Ponte knit!! My favourite colour and my favourite kind of knit!! And it only cost $4.97! Don't worry I haven't changed my consumption habit. I'm still Thrift Store girl at heart. This is a rare occasion because of the gift card.

Anyway, I used the knit dress in Butterick 5146 as a base, added cap sleeves and changed the neckline slit. It has a slight a-line which suits me well. I thought the neckline looked a bit bare, so I rummaged through my notions stash and found a faux leather strap and buckle set. I thought it might jazz up the dress a little. So this is how it turned out:

 (oh I forgot to clip the thread ends...busted....)

But wait! That's not all. If I want to wear some elaborate jewelry with this dress, I can wear the dress backwards like this:

I'm really happy with this dress - it's red, it's knit, it's travel friendly, it's versatile for work and play.  I can even layer it with long sleeves tees and leggings for the Fall. It's definitely my favourite Little Red Dress thus far!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Feb Blogger Swap Reveal - So Excited!!!

Inline image 1

After seeing the Blogger Swap Reveal posts on the sites of bloggers Miche (Buttons and Birdcages) and Martyna (Spoolish), I eagerly joined the February Blogger Swaps. I was paired up with the Thrift Store Stylist Extraordinaire Katie (Thrift your Heart out). I was soooooo excited when I received her package that my kids thought something was wrong (yes I was acting like a 5 year old all giddy and jumpy!).

I wish I had taken a picture before I unwrapped the little presents because they were all beautifully wrapped and each one attached with a sweet handwritten note card.

I received:
- heart-shaped Valentines candies (just in time for Valentines Day)

- a gold/red polka dot blouse (so sweet and so much refashioning potential - Yes!)
- a Simplicity sewing pattern (a lovely blouse pattern - perhaps I can use it for the polka dot blouse?)

- a 2 pack coaster that have spaces for little photos (how about for the kiddies' photos)

- a blood red lipstick (every girl needs a blood red lipstick!!)

Thanks so much Katie! This has been so much fun!

I had sent a little package to Katie too. You can check it out on her blog: Thrift your heart out.

You can check out the other February Blogger Swaps participants packages too:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My first 2 muslins - A Great learning experience and A Disappointment

I had never made proper muslins before. Almost all the clothes that I had made for myself so far have semi-fitted waists, which meant that I only had to fiddle with fitting the chest, back neckline and arms. I knew from making pants that I have a short front waist and high hips at the back. But I wouldn't have to worry so much about these areas if most of the non-pants clothes I have made were empire waist dresses/tops, loose fitting clothes.

I wanted to make a nice fitted woven sheath dress so  I decided to make proper muslins using the new McCall's 6887 (separate pattern pieces for A/B/C/D cups) and Simplicity 2404 (Amazing fit series with separate cup sizes as well). Both of these dresses are very fitted with fitted waists. It took a lot of adjustments, re cutting, resewing, etc. I don't have any cheap muslin fabrics so I just used my good linen blend and cotton twill fabrics.

It was such a learning experience! They were not wearable muslins, but I learned so much. For example, due to my high back hips, I had to make a sway back adjustment, even though I have a flat seat. Who knew? I thought sway back adjustments are for ladies with nicely rounded bottoms! And then I learned that I had to fold out the neckline because of my barrel upper chest. I carefully transferred all the adjustments onto the paper pattern. Most important of all, I also realized that with my rectangular body, it's best for me to wear slightly A-line dresses with undefined waistlines. That made the exercise of making muslins for the 2 patterns useless in the end.

Now that I had done all the' muslin-ings' and corrected the paper patterns, I'm not so keen on making the actual dresses anymore. It's almost like once the puzzle had been solved, the thrill of discovery was finished. Now I just want to do a muslin on another 'unexplored' pattern in my stash instead of sewing with that same pattern again! Isn't that just a waste of my good fabrics and my time? So although I learned a lot with the 'muslin-ings', I'm also a bit disappointed about it because I spent all this time and nothing to show for it! Oh well!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Refashion: Hot pink self-stitched jacket makeover

Okay, this is not a red garment. But hot pink has a lot of red pigment in it, right? Anyway, I made this Hot pink cotton sweatshirt jacket a few months back. Hubby said it was a bit stumpy on me and I didn't wear it much. It's such a shame because I like the material and the colour. So I thought I could refashion it a little to make it more wearable.

I figured that the bulky sleeves probably make the jacket very stumpy so I cut about 7cm off the sleeves, hemed them, created inverted box pleats and then added a black button to it. I think it looks a bit more modern and wearable now:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Blog-spiration! Another Amazing Blog to enjoy and learn from

Since I'm a self-taught sewist, I learned my basic sewing techniques from books in my local library (not much on sewing) and lots from the internet. There are many wonderful, generous Bloggers who are willing to share their experience, knowledge and techniques on the blogsphere. I'm soooo grateful for those bloggers. One of the blogs that I am obsessively reading lately is StudioFaro's 'Well-suited'. She is an amazingly knowledgeable lady from Australia who posts these intriguing pattern puzzles weekly for sewists to solve. There are many lovely patterns that I would love to learn how to adapt from my tried-and-true patterns that I have already tweaked for my body. She has truly inspired me to think more out of the box, and try to take bigger risks in modifying the designs of my TNT patterns.

Go check out her weekly pattern puzzle now! Thanks StudioFaro!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Refashion: A Tiny Red Dress becomes A Bigger Tiny Red Dress

The February is Red Month theme continues! This time it's a refashion for my little girl. I was given this cute little dress and my daughter loves it. It's actually a dress for a 12-18 month old but she insisted on wearing it even though she is almost 3! The dress hit at her hip and I could hardly pull it over her head. My daughter is a very messy eater and refuses to wear a bib at meal times. But she loves this dress so much that she would wear a bib when wearing this dress.

So I thought I would do a quick refashion with this dress so that she can fit into it comfortably. First, I needed to chop off the very tight top part:

Then I used some remnant red stretch fleece and some hot pink ribbed knit (both used in this project) to make a bigger top to be attached to the bottom skirt. It took me about 45 minutes for this whole project. I hope she likes this new version of her favourite dress!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Red Faux Suede Purse Prototype

As the February Red Month theme continues, I have made a prototype of a cross-body purse that I actually need. I have been needing a good, sturdy, large enough cross-body bag for my stuff and my toddler's stuff when we go out. My old purse is on it's last legs and I haven't seen any suitable purses at my local thrift stores.

I thrifted this upholstery grade red faux suede from my local thrift store last year. I had always planned to make bags/purses out of it. There is almost a metre of this fabric which is lucky for me because I should be able to make a prototype or two out of it.

I have been thinking and planning in my head about this particular prototype for a while. I like cross-body bags because I usually have to struggle with 2 active willful kids and I have no arms left for a purse. I also need a purse with many compartments so that I can store call the coupons, library cards, points cards, little crayons and stickers for my toddler, a basic change of clothes for her, a small pot of homemade moisturizer, my phone, a tablet, and of course my bulging wallet. I know that's a lot to carry around all the time but I'm with my toddler all day long so I don't want to have to pack and unpack stuff all the time.

This is how it turned out:

It's okay but not exactly how I wanted it to turn out. First, it's not big enough for all the stuff. Second, since it's a prototype I just used whatever I have in my stash for the lining. I use a medium weight denim as the lining for the outside zipper welt pocket. And then I used a coated cotton for the inside lining. All that has added a lot of bulk to the bag. If I had use a good sturdy polyester lining fabric the bag would be a lot less bulky.

Although I'm not completely pleased with this one, I'm happy that I tested out the ideas in my head and I learned a lot about making the zipper welt pockets. I test wore this bag today and it's okay. So I'll just have to do some minor design tweaks and change the lining fabric to something more appropriate.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lessons learned from Altering Men's Dress Pants/Trousers

My hubby has lost a lot of weight since he embarked on a healthy eating lifestyle a few months ago. He asked me today to help me alter a bunch of dress pants so that they  didn't look like sacs on him.

I opened up the waistband of the dress pants and discovered that men's pants were made so much better than commercially available women's pants! The centre back seam is sewn all in 1 piece (from the back leg to the waistband to the waistband facing) for easy alteration. I just don't understand why they don't make RTW women's dress pants this way.

The blue chalk line is the new centre back seam. Look at how generous the seam allowance was! One could gain 3 more inches to the waist without having to buy new pants!

Once the new seam is sewn, the waistband facing folds down neatly covering all the mess:

After some pressing and stitches to close the facing, it looks almost good as new!

I'm very happy to have altered my hubby's pants. Not only does he have more dress pants to fit him but also, I will be stealing tips from the construction of these men's pants for my own pants creations in the future!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pattern Review: My Red Lace Valentine's Dress! Butterick 6771

Lace dresses have been all the rage these past couple of years. I'm happy to say that I have made my own little lace dress too!

For the last couple of years I have only been creating garments/accessories/decor stuff using stash patterns and stash fabrics. This one is no exception. This dress is based on Butterick 6771 (published in 2000) and with a red moderate stretch lace that has been in my stash for at least 8 years. It was one of those off-cuts in a cheapy bin. I made the short dress with a redrafted neckline and no sleeves. I was going to add sleeves but hubby said it looked better without sleeves.

I chose size 12 but it was a little loose. Knits are all different in stretchiness so I was happy that it has a centre back seam which allowed me to tailor the dress a little more instead of just tweaking the fit with the 2 side seams. The dress came together very quickly. I would have loved to use clear elastic to stablize the neckline and armholes but the shininess of the elastic was showing through the lace so I opted to just fold it back and stitched on top. The stitching is very obvious to me but hubby said he wouldn't have noticed if I didn't point it out.

I was going to lined the whole dress with this gold moderate stretch knit but I wanted more versatility for the dress. Without a sewn in lining, I could wear the dress with a black slip or a nude slip underneath.

The dress is very comfortable (that's why I like knits!!) and easy to wear. I'm sure it packs very easily too. Now I have a new Red Lace Valentine's dress to wear! I just have to arrange for some babysitting for Valentine's Day......

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February is Red Month!

I can't believe it's already February! We are in the 2nd month of 2014. Where did the time go?

This month's theme is Red. This means I will concentrate on creating garment/accessories with the red fabrics in my stash. I'm hoping to create something nice for myself and my daughter in time for Valentines day! It's already Feb 6! I'd better start looking through my fabric/notion/pattern stash now!

Do you have any sewing themes for each month?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Little White Dress - Finally finished!

After 3 failed attempts for the Little White Dress contest, I finally made one that I considered good enough for the contest. Here it is:

It's based on Butterick 6076 from 1999. I had made 2 dresses out of this pattern before (see this post).

I had put additional restrictions on my entry to this contest: only use stash pattern and stash fabrics. I barely had enough of this almost white linen mix fabric for this little dress. Since white linen is quite translucent, I used some remnant white broadcloth for the lining and the foundation (I barely had enough of these as well). I did my usual short waist adjustment and shortened the hem. I lost a little weight so my chest area is not squished anymore.

Here is how I imagine the dress going from the office to a dinner date:

At the Office, I would wear a belt with professional looking shoes and a navy blazer:

For the dinner date, I would take off the blazer, add some jet black self-made necklace and ring and a little black purse:

The versatility of this dress doesn't stop here! With a bouquet, self-made pearl necklace and bracelet and some bling bling shoes, this simple dress can become a simple wedding dress:

I'm pretty happy with this Little White Dress after all the fails and tears. I can finally breathe a sigh of relief! Now I need to go and tackle that pile of mending/repairs that has been growing.....