Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Thomas Bag for my boy

Ever since my boy saw the Kitty Bag I made for my girl, he had been hasselling me to make a bag for him too. I had some remnant Thomas fabric left so I grabbed some green cotton twill scraps, quilting cotton scraps and black nylon straps in my stash and made him this bag within an hour:

He was pretty happy with it and now it houses his mittens and winter hat in the mud room wall. More stash busting! Yay!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Little White Dress project: 2 fails already!

I'm a bit sad. I was all enthusiastic about making the Little White Dress. However, I already wasted time on 2 failed white dresses already. One was a new pattern that I haven't sewn before; the other a Tried-and- True one. One looked okay except it was too short; the other - looked horrible! I am all out of that white fabric and I have nothing to show for it!! Sigh......

Now I'm scrambling to find another pattern and another white fabric that would work with the pattern. I'm really out of choices for white fabric in my stash now. I'm hoping this next one will work - oh please work before I start having a temper tantrum!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts on the Little White Dress

As mentioned before, I have entered the Little White Dress Contest by Initially I thought I could just transfer my thoughts/ideas for the Most Versatile Black Dress to the LWD. However, after looking over the white fabrics in my stash that fits the contest criteria (not much) and the patterns in my stash, I think I need to revise my ideas.

For example, the LWD with my current fabric choices will not to able to fit the following criteria:
- all sesasons
- suitable for a funeral (well it's not black!!)
- suitable for running after 2 young kids (well, it's white and anything white is not suitable for childminding!)

So I have revised my requirements for this LWD:
- suitable for the office (e.g. no cleavage on show)
- suitable for semi-dressy and dressy occassions

I'll keep looking through my pattern stash and the web for ideas.......

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I entered the Little White Dress Contest!

I know I know. Just earlier I was writing about making The Most Versatile Little Black Dress. Not long after I posted that, I found out there was a Little White Dress Contest on! What a coincidence! I thought perhaps I could transfer some of my ideas about the LBD into the LWD.

The one worry I have is the fabrics. I have vowed to not buy any new fabrics until my current large stash reduces to half its size. I don't think I have a lot of white fabric in my stash that fits the rules for the contest:
"The color should be pure white or similar; e.g. white, bone, ecru, light beige, cream, champagne, eggshell, vanilla, ivory, etc. Gray, silver and tan ARE NOT allowed. A tone on tone design is ok but fabric with other colors / prints are not acceptable."
I just had a quick look and I think I only have 3 choices of fabrics that fit the above criteria. I haven't even looked at possible linings yet. I really don't want to buy new fabrics so I'll have to be creative with what I have I suppose.

As for the patterns, I have lots of patterns in my stash so I'm not too worried about it. I just need to look through them all, note down the yardage needed and see if I have enough fabrics (out of the 3 choices) to make it.

 I'm quite looking forward to this little challenge!

In search for The Most Versatile Little Black Dress (LBD)

Like most women I'm always on the lookout for the most versatile Little Black Dress (LBD) - but of course I'm looking for THAT sewing pattern that can give me the most versatile LBD. I have accumulated a large quantity of sewing patterns in the last 15 years of learning to sew. I think this is the year that I make that versatile LBD. I have made/refasioned black dresses but they just didn't seem to be as versatile as I want them to be. For example:

1. The Safety Pin Dress. This is a nice cotton knit long sleeves dress that I pinned the safety pins to. It's actually pretty versatile. I can just take out the safety pins and wear it for the office (a bit short but with a jacket and opague tights it should look okay), to the bank, to school events, or even a funeral. With the safety pins I can wear it to a cocktail party, birthday dinner, company evening functions, etc. The only drawback is that it is long sleeves so it's good for all seasons except the summer.

2. The Black Sweater Dress. This is a great versatile dress except it's only for winter. It's super warm so not good for the other 3 seasons.

3. Stretch Velvet Halter Long Dress. Nice but not versatile. Obviously only for special occasions in the colder seasons.

4. Refashioned cotton mix stretch knit Tabot Dress. I really like wearing this dress in the summer. It's a good weight stretchy ribbed knit that doesn't require me to wear a slip and retains its shape. It's great for running after 2 kids. The only drawback is the ribbed knit material and the white trim on the neckline and armholes make it not polished enough for the office or funerals.

So after looking at these black dresses in my closet, it makes me wonder: is there really an LBD out there that is so versatile that one can wear it:
  • In all seasons
  • For all occasions - the office, funerals, special occasions, lounging, running after kids, etc.
  • Can be machine washed and tumble-dried (okay I can relax on the tumble dry criteria)
  • Requires no ironing
  • Can retains it shape for years
  • Doesn't go out of style
  • Is made of a material that can look polished and casual at the same time
So what do you think? Do you think the ultimate versatile LBD really exists out there? Do you have a versatile LBD that you would like to share?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Refashion: Slip dress to DIY Wedding Dress

It seems that my current obsession with making wedding dresses is not going away any time soon. I think it's one of these milestones that we sewists have - jackets, fitted shirts, pants, jeans, swimwear, panties, bras, special occasion dress and then there is the Wedding Dress! What a wonderful opportunity it is for a bride to be able to make their own wedding dresses for their big day?

To fulfill my obsession, I decided to make a simple wedding dress first. A refashion would be quicker I thought.  I looked through my wardrobe and found these two cute white bias slip dresses from more than 10 years ago. I bought it in a rush for a friend's wedding. I had just come back from Europe and didn't have all my sewing stuff with me to make a dress. I just went to a nice boutique close to my office and bought these 2 slips dresses. They were on the clearance rack and fit me fine so I bought them. I think I got both of them for $30. I wore them to a couple of weddings and a formal bridal shower with different colour cardigans. Then I didn't look at them again for 10 years.

The top dress is made with a nice translucent tonal floral polyester material. The under dress is a just a white crinkle polyester satin. Slip dresses were all the rage in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They are not so popular now but I still like them. I personally like simple wedding dresses and I thought I could dress them up a bit to make them more wedding appropriate.

I dug through my fabric and notions stash and found this lovely lace trim. I actually forgot that I had them. I bought a lot of trims/ribbons when a local fabric store closed down a few years back. I had just enough of this trim to embellish my slip dress.

I basically just sewed the trim straight onto the neck edge with a straight stitch on my sewing machine. The whole Refashioning process took 30 min. With the right accessories, shoes, and hair, I think this would make a lovely dress for a bride who loves simple, romantic dresses. If I were to get married now, I would love to wear something like this for a romantic summer wedding.

I can also wear it off the shoulders like this:

This little project has really whet my appetite. It was so much fun! I think I'll make more Wedding Dresses later this year. Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stash Busting: Fabric scraps became Custom Handmade X'mas Cards

I think I have mentioned before on this blog that I have way too much fabric and scraps. In order to bust my stash/scraps further, I used the little scraps that couldn't really be used effectively on garments to make these Custom Handmade X'mas Cards:

They were super simple to make. I already had some blank white cards. I cut out the boot and triangle shapes from whatever stash/scraps I have, put some interfacing on the back and then sewed the shapes to the card with straight stitches on my sewing machine. Then I added some star stickers on them for decoration.

This little project helped me think out of the box in terms of how I could use every little scraps of fabric I have in a creative fun way. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with more ideas for the stash/scraps in the future!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Relic Found! My homemade Wedding Dress muslin

I posted in Aug 2012 that I had made a wedding dress muslin in my first year of trying to teach myself to sew. Yes I was crazy and delusional! The wedding dress muslin didn't fit me properly (the chest was tight but the waist and hips were too big) but I was able to squeeze into it. I had zero skills in altering sewing patterns then and I just moved to southwestern UK with limited sewing resources. I decided then that perhaps I wasn't skilled enough to make my own wedding dress. I packed it up and didn't see it for a long time until this past holiday season, when I moved my sewing nook into a sewing room again. Yay!

After 2 kids and some 15 years I just can't fit into this dress anymore. And I should have ironed it before taking a picture but here it is:

It was made with some cheap slippery white satin that was a nightmare to sew. And the waist and hips were too big but I am just so happy to have found this relic!

Now that I have seen this poorly constructed wedding dress, it makes me want to sew a proper wedding dress that would fit me now. I have lots of evening dress sewing patterns and some stretch satin in my stash so it's do-able. I just need to reassure my hubby that I'm not asking for a 2nd wedding/vows renewal by making another wedding dress. It's just one of these milestones that some sewists like to achieve.