Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Orange Bikes

I love the new Weekends line by Erin McMorris.  I first found the Go By Bike print, and ordered some of the grey and the orange.  Since then, I've seen some of the other prints too.  If I had a beach house full of wainscoting and whitewashed furniture, I would decorate my main living area with this line.  But alas, no beach house for me.  So instead, I made a bag!

Main fabric is Go By Bike
Pocket fabric isWild Rose in orange from Olive Rose by Valori Wells
Lining is Kona charcoal
Pattern is Multi-Tasker Tote by Anna Maria Horner

First and foremost, I love this pattern.  The bag comes together is such an ingenious way.  It is very rare when I don't know how to construct a bag or garment from just looking at a photo.  But a photo alone does not do this bag justice!  And the directions are beautifully written.  Every step is very clear and easy to follow.

This is actually the second time that I made the multi-tasker tote.  My first tote wasn't as funky and fun, but I really love this one!  It's all about the fabric this time. :)

I chose to sew this bag  basically just as the pattern is written.  I didn't make the straps as directed for my first tote, because I was afraid that the design was too weak for the tote.  But the strap design is a great part of the bag design, and after sewing one of these totes I could tell that the strap casing technique as AMH wrote it would hold up well.  I did use only 1/4" seam allowances for my handles, though.  The pattern is written for 5/8" seam allowances, but I wanted a wider strap without having to cut them wider. :)  I sewed the rest of the tote with 5/8" seam allowances.

I also included just 1 interior pocket.  This is more of a day bag for me than a purse, so multiple pockets weren't necessary.  Besides, with 4 exterior pockets there is little need for any interior pockets!

A close up of the fabric.  I think these bikes might be one of my most favorite prints ever.  I'm such a sucker for whimsy!

The grey bikes became a pair of bermuda shorts.  But they ended up WAY too big. :(  While I'm on the subject, why do patterns sew up so ridiculously different from the measurements?  I've come to expect it form the big name companies, but this was an Indie pattern.  I'd love to have garment measurements rather than model measurements.  Then I could choose how I want my garment to fit!  Ok, rant over.

It's not worth deconstructing the shorts to take them in, so I will probably buy another 2 yards for a new pair.  I suppose the first pair could be sleep shorts.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Recipe (I made mine chocolate cake, not brownies)

Enjoy the day!

(And we would sincerely appreciate prayers and positive thoughts that we sell our house today.  Yes, I'm leaving cupcakes for the Open House!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy, happy day!

Hmm, what's in the box?


I was so excited to find this box on my porch today.  I had no idea it would arrive so quickly!  It was just days ago that Monica at The Happy Zombie gave me the exciting news that I won a fat quarter set from her amazing Christmas line, Happy Holiday.  I can't wait to get started on my Christmas quilt!  Thanks bunches for hosting such a great giveaway, Monica!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love Frock

That's what I'm going to call this dress from now on.  I used the burgundy memento print from Amy Butler's Love line and a simple white cotton for the accents.  And I LOVE it. :)  I think this is my favorite dress in my closet, and certainly my favorite garment that I've made.

And some shots of the detailing:

Top left: Collar, front pleating, button placket and belt
Top right: Close up of the bottom of the button placket and the belt
Bottom left: Back pleat
Bottom right: View of the back

I found the directions for this dress to be a little bit tricky. I had the directions written by the pattern maker (links to pattern and instructions here), and then Grosgrain also included step by step instructions for each day of the Frock By Friday event. In the end, I followed the pattern writer's directions and referred to the great photos on Grosgrain.

As a note, I didn't find that the 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric was enough. I chose to use the burgundy print for both sides of my belt, so I did have enough. Next time I think I'd buy a 1/3 yard.

The button placket was my first hiccup, but google helped me out. ;) Because the pattern came from Bernina, the pattern writer referred to a few garment construction techniques from Bernina. A little bit of web searching and I found a really great explanation, which resulted in a pretty snappy placket!

I also found that the sizing was off by quite a bit (why can't they give finished garment measurements?). When I first tried the finished dress on, it looked like a burgundy potato sack! I didn't want to deconstruct the entire thing, so I took in the sides with basting stitches until I found the right fit. I ended up taking in the sides by about 4 inches total!! This resulted in a slightly different look for the cuffs. I also took about 3 inches off of the hem. Looking at the pics, maybe that was a tiny bit too much. ;) Oh well, it's not like I show off my runner legs all of the time!

The belt really helped to pull the look together. I was able to do less fitting on the sides because of it. My last "alteration" was to wear the cuffed turned up. I'm not actually sure how the dress was meant to be worn, but I looked like a floral football player if I didn't cuff them.

Despite the extra researching that I had to do, the stitches that I tore out, and the extra alterations, I do love this dress. I wore it out for my birthday and never once got the goofy "I hope my dress doesn't look Suzie Homemaker" feeling!

If you decide to give this project a try, I would suggest following the day by day instructions on Grosgrain. Knowledge of garment construction isn't necessary, but I did do some extra research before I tackled the more detailed parts of the dress. There are a lot of great tutorials on the web, so take a few extra minutes to look into them. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Skirt Addiction

Wow, I think I can officially add skirts to my list of addictions.  Maybe it's because they are such a great way to use some fabulous fabric.  Maybe it's because they are so simple to create.  Or maybe it's because there are so many options when making them.

I headed up to my closet this morning with the intention of pulling out the top left skirt.  I wanted to take a few pics to post here and also over at Skirt Week!  But while I was in my closet I found 3 other skirts that I've made and never photographed or blogged!  The really fun part of Skirt Week is that you can enter a skirt that you just finished sewing, or something that you made 3 years ago!  So here we go, a mini tour of my closet:

Top Left: Awhile back I used this fabric to create a bubble skirt.  I wore it once, but wasn't really in love with it.  So last week I pulled out the bubble hem, took in the sides, and added a wide solid band to the bottom.  So much better!  I'm wearing it right now, and loving it.  Fabric is Dolce Grey Marilyn by Tanya Whelan and the bottom band is kona-coffee, i think?  No pattern, just a simple gathered skirt with a zipper back and solid colored band at the bottom.

Top Right: This skirt was made from the Barcelona pattern by Amy Butler.  The pattern has 2 options: tiered A-line or simple A-line.  I choose the tiered option for this, because I wanted to use a batik and I liked the idea of soft edges around the skirt.  I could stare at this fabric for hours.  The batiking process left a great all over pattern, which is highlighted in the brown sections.  I find it so much fun to follow the pattern through the blue areas, too-this is probably the most impressive batik I have ever seen!  This skirt is fully lined and has a zipper in back.

Bottom Left:  Double gauze!  A good friend of mine traveled to Japan last summer, and brought me back some really great fabric!  I gave her a few ideas of the designs that I'd like, and she brought me back 4 beautiful prints.  Three of them are still in my stash, waiting for the perfect project.  There's a great shot of what this print looked like before I cut into it here.  I started off by cutting the first tier of fabric at 1.5x my waist measurement.  Each subsequent tier is 1.5x the length of the previous tier.  I hand gathered the tiers, serged the edges, and finished the bottom with a rolled hem.  Each layer was lined with bleached muslin before gathering and the waist is 3/4" elastic.

Bottom Right: Another Barcelona skirt.  This time I used a grey corduroy and altered the pattern a bit.  I found that the blue skirt was a bit high waisted for me, so I took about an inch off of the top of the pattern.  I also took the hem up about 2.5", but because of the lower rise, the hem hits at about the same spot as the blue version.  This is a great skirt for the fall.  Fabric was purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.

I've already entered 2 skirts in the Skirt Week challenge, and the limit is 4.  I guess I need to decide which of these will make the cut!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Did you see it?

Last week my Coffee Date Dress made it onto the Grosgrain blog!  I feel almost famous now. :)

Here's the post, in case you missed it.  Eeek!

(And be on the look out for pics of my most recent Frock By Friday.  I think it's my favorite hand sewn garment to date!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Addy's Birthday Skirt

This was actually Addy's birthday skirt from last year.  I intentionally made it long so that it would last through this year.  And it's a good thing I did, because she entered her 2's much shorter and a bit "bulkier" than she is leaving them!  It always seems that within a few weeks of her check up, she hits a growth spurt.  So then I don't *really* know where she is on the height/weight curve.

I got the original idea for this skirt when I stumbled on this tutorial.  See, back when I found this tutorial I was just getting into the whole blogging thing.  I didn't really understand what they were, how often they were updated, etc.  I didn't even start using google reader until last fall!  So when I found the Round About Pocket Tutorial, I made a mental note of it and went on my merry way.  Then I got the idea to make Addy a birthday skirt with the (then) new Amy Butler line.  And I knew that it HAD to have a cute petal pocket on it.

I freehanded the petals, and instead of bias tape for the pocket edge I just topstitched.  The ruffle at the bottom was pleated by hand.  I really love this skirt, and I'm so glad she's getting another summer out of it.  The only bummer is that the petals have to be ironed down flat after each washing.  Although I usually just leave them all crumply. :)

The pocket detail:

The ruffle detail:

And some action shots: