Monday, March 31, 2008

Wardrobe Contest Update #3

Here's a look at the next items I'll be finishing up for the PR Wardrobe Contest. This is "Flower Power" from Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens. Mine is a little different from the model in the book. I used the flamingo print fabric to make the ruffled capri pants and white batiste for the top. I wanted my top to be a little bit more casual and funky than the model, so I decided to go ahead and smock it in black. I was worried that I wouldn't be happy with it, but once it was done, I really liked it. I played around with various buttons and beads for the embellishment, but I think I'll just go ahead and make the bullion roses. I can match the bright pinks in the flamingo print!

And this a sneak peek at the third top in my Wardrobe collection. This is going to be "Golden Sands" also from Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens. I'm really just using the model in the book as inspiration- there are lots of changes which I'll share later when the top is finished. I'm off to get some work done!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Couldn't Help Myself!

I bet you've been wondering if I ever got those 297 french knots done. Well, um, no. But I did get 99 done last night while watching CSI Miami. So here's a look at 99 french knots. They sure do jazz up the poodle, don't they? Maybe with the help of a couple more episodes of CSI I can get the other two poodles done and get this dress finished before the child gets to high school.

Something awful happened this past weekend. My sewing machine broke! I had to take it in to the shop. Thankfully, they had it all fixed and ready to come home on Tuesday, and it's back now, but that meant I had to go a whole weekend without it, and that meant no sewing! So of course I had to console myself by buying fabric. (I guess I could have consoled myself with chocolate, but fabric is much more fun and less fattening!) So, from left to right above, we have a lovely black and aqua cotton print which will be a cute summer skirt for me. Then we have two black and pink cotton prints which will be subbed into my Wardrobe collection for the Princess.

And speaking of subbing into the Wardrobe...

The pink leopard print is just not working for me. I found this cool flamingo print in my stash last week and it's speaking to me much more clearly than the leopard right now. In fact, I've already started a pair of ruffled capris for the Princess out of this fabric. They're going to look so cute with the white pique top, AND I found some embroidered flamingo appliques lurking in my sewing room which will just look darling on the white top with these capris. I haven't thrown the leopard out completely, but it will probably make a much smaller appearance in the Wardrobe than I had originally planned. Maybe as a trim or contrast somewhere.

In any case, I better get it in gear, because I only have three Wardrobe pieces completed and two in progress. Even if I count the two WIPs, that's only half the Wardrobe!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wardobe Contest Update #2

I've finished a third item in my Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest collection. This is McCalls 5306, elastic waist shorts. The pattern is a simple, straightforward shorts pattern with no bells or whistles. I used a pink dotted cotton print. In order to tie it in to the Pretty in Pink and Black theme, and to jazz the shorts up a little, I added 1/4 inch black and white gingham ribbon stitched down over the side seams. I tacked an eight inch length of ribbon to the ribbon covering the side seams right at the stitchline where I machine stitched the hems. I tied these into bows, hand sewed through the centers to make them "permanent" and then trimmed and fray-checked the ends.

I'm pretty pleased. This is the last of the "easy" pieces planned for the wardrobe. I really need to get started on one of the smocked pieces, or I'm really going to run out of time. If only there were about four more hours in a day....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Daylight Savings Time and the Hollywood Waist

Well, it's Daylight Savings Time again. I love Daylight Savings Time. Who doesn't love having all that extra daylight at the end of the day? To me, a long lazy summer evening is one of life's simple pleasures. Last year, DST started early and ended later in the year than usual. And as much as I love the "longer" days, it just kind of messed up my internal clock for the year. Something seemed "off" to me. Well, when I heard that DST was starting early again this year, I was kind of worried. I didn't want to have that strange uncomfortable feeling again this year. And let's face it, the Spring change- leaping forward- is always the toughest change to deal with. When you "lose" that hour, it messes you up for days, maybe even weeks. Well, it does for me anyway. But this year, the change hasn't seemed to affect me nearly so much. Maybe it's because I've been desperate for Spring since Christmas, I don't know. I'm just glad to have extra daylight when I get off from work. Now I'm just waiting for that "change in the air" that signals that spring has finally arrived.
Have you seen the latest issue of Threads? There's a wonderful article entitled "The Inside Scoop on Hollywood Waists." I was so overjoyed to see this article. I LOVE a high waist. This style is just perfect for me, and, I think, for a lot of people. The article states, "Much of fashion is about illusion, and Hollywood waisted garments shine when it comes to making you look taller and thinner simply because there's a longer expanse of fabric between the elevated waist and the hem of the garment. And they give the waist more definition, which emphasizes a small waist and slims a thick one." Who doesn't want to look taller, slimmer, and tiny-waisted? I do! I have always loved this style. I have a pair of RTW black pants with a Hollywood waist that I love to wear to work. Usually, I wear them with an untucked sweater or top, so you can't even really see the high waist. But that high waist is important, even when you can't see it. It smoothes me from waist to hip and eliminates unsightly bulges and lumps that I get when I wear lower waisted pants. And, they are Comfortable. I much prefer to have my pants anchored at my waist rather than my hips. And they are Modest. I don't have to worry if I bend over to pick up something, or if I sit down, that the color of my underwear, or worse-my crack, will be on display for the whole world to see! And if I wear them with a tucked in top, the higher waist is very flattering to me. I am long through the body and my legs are short and rather stumpy. The Hollywood waist makes my legs look longer and more slender and balances the upper and lower halves of my body. I just can't say enough about this style. The Threads article offers tips on how to get the best fit when making your own Hollywood waisted pants or skirts. It also talks about silhouette and proportion (finding the right waist height). The article even gives a list of suggested patterns to try and offers some design ideas spice them up. This article alone made this issue of the magazine a winner for me!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back-Smocking Done!

Back-smocking is complete on the poodle dress! Now the pleats all lie nice and even and there's a nice texture to the areas around the poodles. It should look even better when I pull out the pleating threads. Now it's on to the french knots. I counted the knots on the smocking plate this morning and there are 99 knots per poodle. That's a total of 297 french knots!!! I guess I better get started tonight.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wardrobe Update

Not a whole lot of progress has been made on the Pretty in Pink and Black wardrobe, however, I do have two pieces complete:

Simplicity 4147 in black cotton with white dots, edged in hot pink satin ribbon.

McCalls 5306 in white pique trimmed with hot pink rick rack. Both pieces turned out okay. These are the "easy" pieces, though. There is a lot of work left to be done.

I'm also still working on the poodle bishop.

I've added the bottom border- a simple repeat of the lower white row of the top border, and it seems to work just fine. Back-smocking has begun and I think it will go pretty fast. It's mindless work that can be done while I watch TV. This dress is a gift for a family friend and it needs to be finished before the child outgrows it! So with that, I'm off to back-smock some more!