Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Countdown

It's going to be close this year... but isn't it every year?

Got this blocked and ready to wrap yesterday. It's a cowl for my mom that can also be pulled up and worn as a hood. Because my mother, like most children, won't wear a freaking hat in winter.

It's cold here, people! I'm hoping this will convince her to bundle up a bit more.

Still to go? Two and a half hats, some pyjamas and a bookbinding project. Then all the stuff I'm planning to give people late. MUST CRAFT FASTER.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why I'm Not Naked Today

I found this skirt on my last thrifting trek, and even though it was too small, fatigued around the yoke seam and overpriced, I fell in love with the print. I recently picked up a book on 80s textile prints and I think it's influencing my fashion decisions...

So I hacked off the yoke with my trusty seam ripper, folded over the top towards the front and attached it to a wide elastic with two rows of stretch stitch while stretching the elastic to the length of the fabric. That last part was HARD. I finally figured out how to keep tension on the top fabric using my elbow, but I'm not in a rush to try it again.

In the end I got a cute skirt that fits and that I'll actually wear. Success! Just don't look at my stitching too closely...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Smaller Project on the Go

So, as you've probably noticed, I really like making things for my little second cousin. She is totally adorable and awesome, but also managed to come along at the right time in my crafting career for me to actually finish projects.

A while ago I came across a giant collection of children's patterns from the early 60s. Even though I don't usually do kids' patterns, these were completely irresistible. Some of the 8-12 year old stuff is just amazing. I want it in my size! There were only a couple patterns for the 2 year old set (the bean's only 1, but growing FAST), including the slips, nighties and bloomers above. Who makes a slip for a 2 year old? Apparently mom's in the 60s.

I thought, given the right fabric, View 3 would be super cute as a jumper in winter and a sundress in summer. Looks pretty cute already, right?

I had this floral cotton print in my stash. I have no idea where or when it's from, but I think it used to be my mom's? She doesn't remember it either though, so it really could be anything. The print reminds me of the 70s children's picture books I had growing up (I'm from the second batch of cousins, lots of hand-me-downs). I fell in love with the print, but before I prewashed it had this weird stiff, shiny surface. After a run through the washing machine it's so much softer and looks like normal dress weight cotton. I was surprised to find I had enough fabric to also cut out the little bloomers! No ruffles though... Those strike me as a tad impractical if there isn't a party dress needing some serious pouffing.

I was all set to start sewing Monday night after getting my Sew-Along stuff finished for the day, but I found I need some elastic, green thread and seam binding. I haven't had to buy any notions for a specific project in ages, they're usually just lying around. Maybe I'll actually bother getting the piping for Brian's pyjamas while I'm at it? I'd really like to have those finished for Christmas eve.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Working on a Sew-A-Long...

...And actually getting somewhere on it thanks to my awesome friend Natalie!

We decided last month, while in the end-of-term trenches, to give Gertie's Crepe Sewalong a try. Last week we met up to search for fabric, and Natalie got some great purple check. I found a 5 yard section of a crazy atomic nautical print in my stash before heading out, so I ended up only shopping for Brian's Christmas pyjama fabric (which needs its own post!). I have no idea when the yardage is from, but it was only $7.99 from the local thrift shop. A huge savings on buying new for this dress. I still need to get something for the sash though, maybe a shiny navy fabric? I was thinking red or green but it might be a bit much.

Today we met up to sew our muslins and work out fit issues. The bodice on this dress is a little short, which is great for me and my high waist. The only things I had to change were the depth and position of the front darts. The grey lines are the original dart placement, and the red ones are my adjusted darts. The side dart was still too high so I lowered it about 3 cm. Now I have to trace the new darts back onto my traced pattern and shore up the angles of the side.

This is my first time sewing a bodice muslin before jumping into a project. It was a lot of work, but I'm thinking it's worth it for the better fit. I've never had the bust darts on a garment be in anywhere near the right place, so this will probably be the best fitting dress I own!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Long Overdue Finished Project

I finally took some pictures of a dress a made waaaay back at the beginning of summer. Those of you who know me in real life see it pretty frequently, since it's probably my favourite project ever. For everyone else, this is my bedsheet dress!

I made it out of a great throw-sheet-thing I found at Goodwill on half off day. I think it was $2? It's a very open weave cotton, but not sheer, with a block print dye design, and some white paint highlights on top.

This is also the project that got me interested in matching seams. All of the matching on this dress was entirely by chance, since all I tried to do was keep the flowers at an even height for the hem. This proved difficult since all the flowers were a slightly different height from the edge of the fabric.

All in all I'm really happy with the way the fabric worked out for this dress. I especially like the pocket hidden in the bottom flower in the picture above. The pattern is Anna-Maria Horner's Socialite Dress, which I've used once before. I highly recommend this pattern for beginners, since it's a simple. pull on dress that's really easy to wear. And it has pockets, which is a total deal sealer for me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Boardwalk Empire

We started watching Boardwalk Empire when it first came out, but I had to take a break once it got heavier on the violence. It was a little too high stress during end of term, and in the midst of a family disaster. That said, now that I'm done for the term (as of today!), I think I may have to take it back up again if for nothing else than the clothes.

The lingerie shop in particular had me sighing, and caused me to seriously consider having a go at this little gem from my collection. I'm choosing to ignore that it's a couple sizes too small...

As is this wonderful duBarry, but the lines on it are just breathtaking.

I can't wait until I get a little better at this whole sewing thing, and feel up to trying my hand at resizing. Being a curvy gal is not always the easiest with vintage patterns.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mourning Cabinet

The final week of school is not doing me any favours right now, so you'll have to excuse my spotty posting. This is my final project from my digital print class, made with various transfer and print techniques and assorted vintage finds, including a cabinet made by disabled war veterans (possibly from the 50s?) and a Crown jar from 1957. That and lots of images from vintage patterns and sewing books. It's based around expectations of mourning placed on women.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ikea for Fabric?

Our couch died a few days ago. It's no longer is so much a couch as a pile of rubble with a cushion on top and some arm rests. So we started our new couch quest with a look at the Ikea website, which is apparently full of interesting fabric. I know I've gotten some very nice fabric there in the past for sewing bags and the like, but the new stuff they have up on the website is just fabulous. Best of all, a lot of it looks to be quilting weight instead of upholstery, and way less expensive than a lot of quilting fabric with quirky prints.
I think this bird print is the one Zoe used for her lovely Bird Blouse. At $2.99 a yard, some of this may follow me home next time I'm there.
This citrus floral from the same line would be great for a dress for my little second cousin, or a spring apron for me. Mind you, I use my aprons more for printmaking than baking... A blouse maybe? It would also be a great base for a spring quilt.
Some of the other fabrics I just like because they're so different. I'm not sure what I'd make out of them, but the thought of being able to redo my couch covered in song birds is pretty great. Mostly I like the idea that great fabric pops up where it's unexpected. It has the potential to make the already dangerous trip to Ikea that much more tempting.
None of the fabrics are available online, but you can click any of the images to check if they're in stock at your local(ish) store. Or just keep the textile section in mind next time you need a new fold out futon.