Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There's a Reason I Don't Cook Much

I don't cook much because I just don't care for it. I'm not very good at it- probably because I don't do it often enough, and I especially hate cleaning up afterwards. I also tend to hurt myself.

Yes, I burned myself on the upper oven rack when I reached in to remove a tray of french fries from the bottom rack. Ouch.

On the other hand, don't I look good in my new top made from McCalls 5522? I'm looking so sharp no one will even notice that little 'ole burn on my wrist.

Here's the scoop:

I made a muslin of this top months (maybe even a year) ago. I tried it out because it was so similar to Butterick 4985, which I had tried and not been 100% pleased with. I still loved the look, and I thought I'd give the McCalls pattern a go because of the multi bust cup sizing- no FBA!!! The muslin fit great! So why did I let it languish so long before making it up for real? I don't know. Maybe because I have the attention span of a gnat and I got distracted by other projects? Or maybe because I had selected slippery poly satin for my fabric and I was too lazy/chicken to work with it? Maybe both?

Well, last week I decided it was time. I pulled out my fabric- this lovely blue leopard print poly satin (that sounds so tacky, and maybe it is, but I love it!) and the pattern pieces. Thank goodness I found them all together because I'd never put them back in the envelope after making the muslin! Shame on me!

Anywho. I was going to share details, right? I made view B, cutting a 14 through the shoulders (and the sleeve cuffs) and a 16 from the underarm down, using the D cup pieces. I usually morph to an 18 at the hip, but this top is a little short, in my opinion, and the size 16 muslin fit fine, so I decided not to worry about a wider hip. When I make it again, I may add an inch of length through the waist and I'll have to decide then whether to go wider at the bottom. The bottom half of the blouse is princess seamed, so it shouldn't be a big deal to add a little extra room at the hem.

I followed the instructions pretty much to a T except for the bust ruffles. The pattern indicated a 5/8" hem on the outer edges of the ruffles. I did a 1/8" narrow hem (On satin! I am so tickled with myself!) I just thought it would look nicer and give the ruffles a more RTW finish.

I went back and forth on the ruffles. When I first tried the top on (before the sleeves were attached) I got a bad "70's baby blue tuxedo" vibe. But after the top was finished, I decided I really like the ruffles.

The satin, an inexpensive find at Hancock Fabrics, was surprisingly easy to work with. I expected a real fight, but all I got was a need for a few extra pins. I worried about pin marks and marks left from gathering threads, but no problems there either. (Just to be safe, I tried to only pin in the seam allowances whenever possible- just in case.)

I'm so pleased with the finished top and the experience of making it that I've pulled out two other poly satins from stash: a purple stylised "zebra stripe", and an aqua "dot" print. Oh, and I have a solid apple green, too! I haven't chosen patterns for them yet. I want to try something a little different. But I will definitely make M5522 again! I love it! If you have it and haven't made it yet, go for it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Duro Strikes Again

During my days off I finished this:

McCalls 5458, or as I like to call it, Baby Duro. I used 100% quilting cotton that I'm pretty sure I picked up at Hobby Lobby last summer, and I made the size 6 once again. The Princess loves it- even more than the first one. It's a little big on her, but I hope that it will still fit this spring and that she can wear it with a tank top and capri leggings underneath.

Once the Baby Duro was done, I cut out a new project for me, McCalls 5522.

I'm making View B, the one pictured on the model. My fabric is a dark blue leopard print satin. So far so good. I am in the process of attaching the sleeves and once those are on, all I will have left to do is add buttons and button holes. Unfortunately I don't have any suitable buttons in my limited button stash, so I will make a run to the local Walmart tomorrow to see if by some miracle, they have something that will work. (I'm not holding my breath.) I'm afraid it may be this weekend before I can get to a fabric store to find just the right buttons to finish this project up. I will not be idle, though. I've already picked out New Look 6647 as my next project:

I'll be making the short sleeve version with contrast trim (shown in black and white.) I hope to cut out the pattern pieces and make the FBA tonight. Stay tuned for progress reports later this week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Frogs in Space!

Finally! Here it is, Frogs in Space!

Made from Simplicity 2836, the HSM shirt, this is the latest shirt for my little man, Bryan. Once again, I omitted the pockets and let the novelty print take center stage. I love it, and he does, too, so it's a success.

There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on the last couple of weeks. I've just finished up a huge project at work and I've taken a couple of days off to relax, so I hope to have a few things made and posted here in the next week. One thing that's been speaking to me is this fabric:

I'm thinking a dressy blouse to be worn with a high-waisted skirt in red. The problem is that I haven't yet picked out a pattern, and I don't have a red skirt. I don't even have any red fabric in my stash to make a skirt. But I do have this and I'm sure it would look fine with black or grey, too. While I'm mulling this over, I've already cut out a new Baby Duro for the Princess. I plan to start stitching that up this afternoon.

So with that, I'm off for a nice relaxing afternoon with my sewing machine.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flappy Halloween

The Flapper Dress:

Yes, I actually wore this get-up to work on Friday. I got compliments, though. My co-workers seemed to like it well enough. A lady at the grocery store even told me I looked pretty authentic. I doubt she was around in the '20s though, so I'm going to take that with a grain of salt.
Anyway, on to the the sewing specs. I started with Simplicity 5190, a long OOP pattern for a very slight A-line dress with a V-neck and flutter sleeves. It's no longer available on the website, and I'm too lazy to scan it right now. It was designed for wovens cut on the bias, but I decided to go with this black knit with gold shimmer. I added one inch of length across the bust and eased the extra inch in at the side seams. To make it a "flapper" dress, I stitched three tiers of 4" chain fringe around the bottom. That's a total of about 5 yards of fringe, and guess what- it's heavy. I think it actually pulls the dress down about an inch, maybe an inch and a half. Oh, well, it's a Halloween costume, not a dress for everyday. In any case, I love the fringe! I noticed I had a little swing in my step all day and I just love the look and feel of all that fringe swishing around my knees! You can't really see it in the photo, but I topped off the top tier of fringe with a strip of holographic gold sequins to cover the header. I also added sequins around the V-neck and along the edges of the flutter sleeves. I completed the ensemble with black fishnet stockings, black T-strap shoes, a feather boa, beaded choker, and a headband made out of black ribbon embroidered with gold beads and thread.
Thankfully Halloween is over and I can get back to sewing "real" clothes. I had about a yard of the black and gold knit left over and I cut out Simplicity 4076, the scoopneck version with neckline gathers. We'll see how it turns out.