Monday, February 29, 2016

My entry for the Little Red Dress Contest - Butterick 5247 again!

I stared at my stash fabrics and my stash patterns for a long time to figure out what I want to make for the Little Red Dress contest. I have lots and lots of red fabrics and great patterns to make 5 red dresses! I was pondering if I should make something really sophisticated or something very practical. Eventually, practicality won over elegance.

In keeping with the theme of the contest, which is 'empower women to take charge of their heart health', I wanted to make a practical dress that I can use for healthy outdoor winter activities (hiking, playing in the snow, etc), general day to day activities of a mom, and even lounging around the house. Most of the sporty, practical, utility dresses I have seen at the shops are all in muted colours: black, grey, taupe, navy, blue, etc. Why not something in a vibrant colour?

This is a lipstick red Polartec material. I have LOTS of it! I have this material in black, green , brown and red. I love this material. It's warm and moisture wicking and has 2 usable sides: the soft fleece side and the coated firmer side. I took advantage of the 2 different sides to make my dress.

The pattern I chose was the tried and true Butterick 5247 (See previous creations here and here).  As this is a dress I will be layering, I used size 14 (otherwise I would have used size 12). It is super easy to sew. I drafted a kangaroo pocket for practical purpose. I used the firmer coated side for the main body of the dress and the fleecy side for the pocket and the cowl neck. 

I look pregnant with my hands in the pocket!

It's not the most glamourous little red dress but it's definitely something that's very useful for me. I have already worn it out for a day and was very pleased with it. I think it will get a lot of use in the colder months!

You can read my review of this pattern at PatternReview.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I've entered the Little Red Dress Contest!

I was browsing through the PatternReview site and saw that they are having a Little Red Dress contest. I LOVE RED! So I signed up for the contest. However, after reviewing the dresses in my closet, I realized that I have lots of Little Red Dresses already!

Red Ponte Knit dress Refashion
Red stretch lace dress

Red sparkle knit dress
 Nonetheless, I have lots of red fabrics in my stash and I have to use them somehow. I went to Pinterest to look for inspirations. I want to make something that I will actually wear on a day to day basis, not just some special occasion gown that requires lots of work but never get worn. I want it to be useful, versatile and beautiful too.

My first thought was to make yet another sweater dress. I have made lots of sweater dresses and I wear them often in the colder months. I was thinking perhaps I could make one with my stash wine red sweater knit but add a slight twist to it:

Then I thought perhaps I could do a sporty dress with the Polartec Windbloc fabrics in my stash:

And then I looked at the big roll of red boucle fabrics in my stash and thought I should make something that can be worn to the office:

Finally I saw my tomato red ponti fabric and thought, 'why not a wrap dress?':

What do you think? I really don't know what I want to make for this contest! And time is ticking along! I don't have much time left to ponder on what to make that is useful and beautiful for me to wear. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Self-drafted fitted pants pattern take 2: Another pair of corduroy pants

Whenever I drafted a new pattern or tweaked a commercial pattern to my liking, I always end up making too many garments with different fabrics from them. It's no exception with my recent self-drafted, elastic waist pants pattern. It's still very cold in our part of the world, so I decided to use some stash wine red corduroy (with a little stretch) and make another pair of skinny pants with it.

It all came together very easily. This corduroy has a little more stretch than the winter white corduroy I used that time. So the skinny pants are a little loose. No matter! It's comfy and warm and I love the colour. I hope to wear it often until May!

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And here is how I'm wearing it in the snow and slush:
For some reason this photo, taken with the timer is super blurry!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Patchwork jacket - Simplicity 3962

My fabric scraps box has been overloading for a while. So I chose some scraps and made a Patchwork jacket! I picked a rainbow brocade, a black brocade, a small houndstooth wool, a red plaid wool, and a black sparkly wool boucle. For the rest of the jacket I used this thrifted grey wool flannel that I had felted last year. I want the jacket to be warm!

I used a stash pattern Simplicity 3962. I have made a tropical wool jacket with this pattern before and I liked it. This is a great pattern as it comes with different cup sizes and the shoulder princess seams make the pattern easy to alter if necessary. The pattern is very straight forward and easy to use. I didn't even look at the instructions.

I used size 14. Since the scraps were of different weight, I used a lightweight fusible interfacing for the entire jacket. This turned out to be not such a great idea since the grey felt was already quite thick. The front facings and the collars are way too thick and doesn't lie too flat. Even the sleeves are a bit too stiff. Oh well! I'm wearing it anyway. Perhaps if I wear it more often it will become softer??

What I didn't consider when I was auditioning the scraps together was that the collar would obscure the top front fabric. I will remember that next time. Also, I think the shoulder pads are a tad too big for my already broad shoulders.

I'm looking forward to wearing this tomorrow to see how practical it is!

My Pattern Review for this pattern is here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sewing Pattern Destash Sale!

For too many years, I have too much fabric, too many unopened patterns. Although I have stopped buying new patterns for a while, I still have way too many of them! And my hubby has finally given me an ultimatum: Clean out the sewing area so it's not a hazard for adults and children! I have bags and bins of fabric lying on the floor, boxes and bags of unopened sewing patterns everywhere. It's time to clean it all up.

I just have too many patterns and I need to admit to myself that I will never have enough time to sew all these fabulous patterns that I have accumulated. I should let other sewists enjoy them! I started by going through my Vogue patterns - the unopened, factory folded ones. I have put them on the Sewing Pattern Destash Facebook page and my own Facebook page. Check here if you are interested. Next I'm going through the other brand's unopened, factory folded patterns - Simplicity, McCall's, Butterick, Burda, Kwik Sew, etc. I will be adding more unopened, factory folded patterns on my Facebook page every week. So do check it out from time to time if you are interested in getting some cheap unopened patterns! ;-)

Friday, February 5, 2016

MAGAM Feb project - Refashion 2 Brocade cushion covers into a Brocade Jacket

My son is attending a Chinese New Year party tomorrow. A few days ago, he asked me to make him a Chinese Brocade Jacket because all the other kids will be wearing something like that. I thought it wouldn't be a problem since it should be pretty easy to find Chinese Brocade fabrics in fabric stores these days.

So a couple of days ago I went to my usual fabric store but they had only a couple of very feminine Chinese brocade fabric. They said they only stock them for x'mas but not for Chinese New Year (??). I even went to a few Asian malls in my town but they only have Chinese New Year garments for babies.

Just when I was panicking about what to do, I suddenly remembered that a relative gave me a pair of Chinese Brocade cushion covers from their trip to China. I was so happy to have thought about that! They had been sitting in the basement collecting dust for a few years. They were made with a teal, masculine looking brocade:

The cover was wide enough but not long enough. Thank goodness I have 2 of them. I had no pattern so I just decided to wing it. I researched briefly online the design of Chinese traditional jackets. They were all quite boxy. I just drew the design on a piece of paper and started cutting. I was quite fearful when cutting because I knew I have only just enough to make 1 jacket. I did make lots of rooky mistakes because I was rushing through it. I ended up having to do lots of hand sewing to cover up my mistakes. I 'sweatshopped' my way through and here is the result:

I didn't have enough for the facing, the collar and the binding of the sleeves. I used some scrap blue taffeta for that. I wish I could have fully lined the entire jacket but I ran out of time. I was hoping to do proper Chinese knot buttons for it too but the darn brocade just kept fraying when I was doing them. I decided to just add hooks and eyes for the jacket. Perhaps when I have time later I will try to find some satin in similar colour and make the knot buttons.

I'm just happy to have made a jacket for him for the party tomorrow! I hope he enjoys wearing it too!