Sunday, January 31, 2010

UFOs and Prep Work

Kitty Mittens is 100% complete. The smocking, that is. I haven't begun construction of the dress because I want it to count as part of the Stash Fabric Contest beginning tomorrow over on Pattern Review. I'll be using the pretty pale pink corduroy that you see behind the smocked insert.

Now that Kitty Mittens is done (and the dress is easy- shouldn't take long to complete) the next UFO in the line-up is Crab Happy from Little Memories.

As you can see I have one crab complete (except for the bullion smile) and one crab well underway. I don't know why I never finished this one. Perhaps the Princess wasn't crazy about it?

This is definitely a summer plate, though. Once this one is complete I can imagine it inserted into a little sundress or overalls made of seersucker. I happen to have a nice turquoise in my stash. Wouldn't the orange crabs just pop against turquoise?

Since I was holding off starting a new sewing project in order to be eligible for the Stash Contest, I went ahead and traced and made a muslin of BWOF 03-2008-115, the "work dress" from SSSP.

I've had my eye on this dress a long time- ever since the magazine came out. I've put off making it because I was afraid this was a design that was meant for skinny girls. But you know, the pattern goes up to size 46, so obviously Burda meant for me to make it (even though I did grade out a bit to a 48 at the hips.) And frankly, this style- long and body-skimming with no waist seam, and lots of darts for shaping at the waistline- is just the kind of design that flatters me the most. My muslin was quite promising. I may take the bodice in ever so slightly at the side seams on the actual garment, and I'll definitely raise the slit in the neckline to cover the bra band, but other than that, it fit great. I made a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust, and I added a whopping 1 and 3/8" of length through the waist. These adjustments combined with grading out to the next size (48) at the hip were all of the adjustments I made.
I'm very excited about getting started on this dress. The fabric, a black and white stylized floral poly, is coming from stash and will count for the contest. I'm on the lookout for a special button for the neck closure. The dress has a very retro flavor to it and I want just the right button to set it off. Any ideas?
I'm off to tissue fit the Vogue dress to the Princess and check the width of the insert against the pattern. I may need to stretch it out and block it a little wider. I want it all ready to go so tomorrow when I get home from work I can cut out the dress and start sewing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kitty Mittens Update

The kitties have faces!
I added backstitched outlining to the faces around the eyes and for the noses and mouths. I also added whiskers- how cute! You can also see the flowers on either side of Center Kitty. I still need to add clothes pins to the mittens and a cable border at the top and bottom. I have already begun the backsmocking and it's going quickly. I think this is going to be finished very soon!

I pulled some pale pink baby wale corduroy out of my stash for this project. There's not quite enough to make Annika as planned, so I had to look for an alternative. I'm thinking about putting the insert into this little OOP Vogue dress:

It's a simple, short sleeve A-line dress. I might make it sleeveless so the Princess can wear a turtleneck under it. I'm picturing it with tights and pink ballet flats.

The weather is getting nasty here- we're expecting up to an inch of ice tonight and snow on top of that. I just hope my power stays on so I can see to smock and sew!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1st SSSP Substitution

I'll be swapping out S2694, the play dress, for S2579, View B (short skirt version, maybe sleeveless.) I'm just not in love with S2694 and S2579 is floating my boat right now.

Plus, I have a really nice Asian inspired quilting cotton that would look so cool made up into this. I'm already running ideas for trims through my twisted little brain! (There is ribbon trim on the waist inset.)
And that's right, I said quilting cotton.
The stash contest is starting up over at Pattern Review on Monday. I hope to get a couple of SSSP pieces completed so that they will count for the contest (total yards sewn- I'm not deluded enough to think I have a snowball's chance of winning!) And I might detour from my sewing plan and make a piece or two that isn't on the plan, but that I already have fabric and a pattern for.
Gotta bust that stash!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SSSP Officially Underway!

Shannon's Spring Sewing Plan is underway with the very first piece, New Look 6831.
I'm making view D, the cap sleeve version with a V-neck and attached ties. I love the look of this simple little blouse.

I made a muslin last night. I started with the size 16 and made a 3/4" FBA, and I added 1" of length through the waist. The fit was... um, interesting. I decided I need to make a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust. I also need to narrow the shoulders (I would have cut a 14 there if the 14 and 16 had been printed on the same pattern piece!) and I'll have to add about 1/2" of extra width to the sides of the back piece at the hem (I'd have cut the 18 there, but it was printed on the other pattern piece along with the 14!) Oh, yeah, and I had to angle the dart up slightly. Sheesh, I think I'm going to need another muslin!
Once I get the fit issues ironed out, I'll be cutting this out of a pretty pink print sheer that I've had stashed away for a good six or eight years. It's time to get it out and make it up! I plan to wear the finished blouse just like the model in the photo- with a pretty cami (preferably with lace edging) peeking out of the V-neck.
Wish me luck! I think that if I can get the fit down on this one, it will make a nice TNT pattern.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Is That a Light I See at the End of the Tunnel?

Look at Kitty Mittens! It's starting to look like it might be finished by the end of the month after all!

As you can see, all the kittens are done (except for face details), the clothes line is done and the mittens are smocked. I still need to add clothes pins, face details, flowers, and simple cable borders to the front of the insert, and then I need to backsmock. That should go pretty quickly, though.

Last night I decided to make a prototype Bento Box block. I wanted to test drive the design, but mostly I wanted to see how the size was going to work out.

This block is 12.5" including seam allowances. I think it's perfect. Each band is 2" wide when finished and that seems to be just the right size to show off the beautiful Dolce prints. I used some purple and blue fat quarters I had on hand for this test run. I think they look pretty good. The Princess really liked them. She's asked me to make some more and make this up into a real quilt for her, so you may see more of this later on.

I'm off to do some prep work on SSSP. I think the first two pieces will be BWOF 03-2008-115, the work dress; and NL6831, the woven top. I have both patterns on hand and fabric for both projects in stash, so it makes sense to start with them. Stay tuned for progress!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Shannon's Spring Sewing Plan

It has been unseasonably warm here lately. That fact combined with the fact that I just don't like winter, has me chomping at the bit to get started on Spring Sewing. I've decided to give up on cold weather sewing and get started making some things for spring. And besides, I'm so slow, I better get started now if I want something new to wear when spring officially arrives!

So I present to you Shannon's Spring Sewing Plan, or SSSP for short.

My plan (loosely) consists of 7 items: 2 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 work dress, 1 play dress, and one jacket.

Here you can see my tentative storyboard. I have one woven top (NL6831), and one knit top (NL6648). I have one skirt (BWOF 01-2009-132) and one pair of pants (BWOF 09-2009-113). The plan is for each top to go with both bottoms. For my work dress, I'm thinking BWOF 03-2008-115, and for the play dress I'm considering S2694, the sundress version. I actually have two jackets on my storyboard. I can't decide which one I like best, so I might make both. S2443 is the cool new Cynthia Rowley pattern from Simplicity, and the "denim" jacket is BurdaStyle 02-2010-109. Both jackets need to go with all four top and bottom combos and both dresses.

As always, none of this is set in stone and any one of these pieces could change with no notice. As a matter of fact, I just ordered the new Hot Patterns Weekender Track and Field Cargo Pants and the Wong Singh Jones Kyoto Skirt so who knows?

So is anybody up for a sew-along? Feel free to borrow my plan, or better yet, come up with a custom plan that works for you. Anything goes as long as we all have fun sewing and we all have something pretty to wear come Spring!

In the meantime, smocking continues on Kitty Mittens. I'm thinking when it's all done, I'll put it into this dress:

The Princess still likes the smocked kitties and wants to wear them, and this little dress is suitable for an older girl. And we've made it before, so I know it goes together easily.

Well, I don't want this year to turn out like last year, when I blogged mostly about what I wanted to sew rather than what I actually did sew. So I better get going and sew something!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And Kitty Makes Three

Meet Left Kitty:

All three kittens are finished now, but I'm not done. Not by a long shot. There are still flowers to smock, and mittens, and the clothes line, and borders. Sheesh! Will this thing ever be done??? I keep telling myself that the most intensive part is done, but this plate just seems to go on and on!

Maybe this weekend I'll get a chance to play around in my stash and see what I have to make this up into a dress. I can't wait to have this project finished!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Say Hello to Right Kitty

Right Kitty is wearing a lavender dress and has bright aqua eyes. This photo isn't quite as clear as Center Kitty, but I promise more pics after the insert is complete.
I smocked most of this last night while watching Criminal Minds (excellent show!) I started smocking at the feet and worked my way up. When I got to eye level, I ran out of the light brown floss I'm using for the kitty fur! Disaster! Luckily, after ransacking my sewing room this afternoon, I found an extra bobbin of it tucked away in a small box where I'd stored some flosses that were set aside for a different project long ago. Whew! I was afraid this was going to be put aside as a UFO indefinitely! Fortunately I was able to finish up Right Kitty while watching the premier of Project Runway 7 tonight.
This weekend I hope to get Left Kitty done. I haven't yet decided what color her dress will be. Blue? Yellow? Coral?
Temperatures are supposed to be pleasant this weekend. I plan to take some photos of recently completed projects, so maybe I'll be able to share the final results of the sheath dress. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Here, Kitty Kitty

I was able to get Center Kitty completed last night while watching TV. I still need to add some backstitched detailing to the face: eyes, mouth, and whiskers. I'll probably just wait and do all three at one time once I finish smocking Left Kitty and Right Kitty.
I promised a co-worker that I'd try watching American Idol tonight (I've never watched it.) Maybe I can get another little kitty smocked while I watch...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dolce Arrived!

Dolce arrived on Friday! Wow, that was fast! It shipped on Wednesday and arrived (USPS Priority Mail) on Friday. Each collection came attractively packaged together in a zip-lock plastic bag, and was labeled with the colorway name.
The fabrics are folded so that you can see each one in the package, and all the edges are pinked. Aren't they beautiful? I love it even more than the pictures online! I will definitely be ordering from the Fat Quarter Shop again!

I cannot wait to cut into these! I'll be making a Bento Box quilt, but I need to get my hands on some suitable white on white fabric for the contrast first. Stay tuned for this project coming (hopefully) soon.
In the meantime, it is still much too cold to go outside and take photos of any recently completed projects, but the weather is supposed to warm up this week, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
While I wait to thaw out, I've decided to drag out some UFOs and hopefully get them finished. The first one up is this, Kitty Mittens by Ellen McCarn:

I appologize for the crooked photo, but you get the idea. I already started this little picture smocked plate a while back. I don't remember exactly when.

Looks like the Princess and I decided to change it up a bit and smock three girl kitties instead of two girls and one boy. You can see I've already started smocking a girl kitty in a pink dress in the center. I think I had planned to put this into a light pink corduroy jumper. I'll have to check and see how much fabric I have on hand. There may not be enough for the Princess, and she may think this is too baby-ish for her now. In which case, I have a cute little niece that would look adorable in this.

Let's see if I can get this little plate smocked by the end of January...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The temperature is dropping here and I'm feeling sluggish. Too sluggish to sew, but not too sluggish to think about sewing and all the things I'd like to make. So I'll share with you what's inspiring me right now. All of these dresses are from ModCloth.

I love this grey dress. I think Burda had a very similar style in a recent issue... except as I recall, theirs had sleeves. Love the pleats!
This one might be a little young for me, but then again maybe not. I love the collar, the buttons, the pockets. If you look closely, it's a plaid. Adorable.

Here we go- a grown-up dress. I. Love. This. The neckline is gorgeous, I love the long skirt, and the peplum is fabulous. I love the brooch, too. I would so totally wear this. Any suggestions for suitable patterns?

And finally, could this be any more flirty and feminine? There's just something about chocolate brown and pink. Sigh...

I am so ready for spring- and spring sewing! Hmmm... Three of these four dresses are sleeveless. I think I'll go do a couple of push-ups.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Present for Myself!

I got myself a present today. I ordered this:

And this:

And this:

That's right, I ordered all of the Dolce fat quarters! Thirty four of them! That's eight and a half yards of fabric! Enough to make two quilts. I'm so excited!
You can check out these fabrics and tons of others at the Fat Quarter Shop.
Well, the pink sheath dress is done. Don't expect pics anytime soon, though. It's too cold here to take pics outside right now and we're expecting daytime highs in the single digits later this week. I really don't have a good spot to take photos in the house and I can't get a well lit shot indoors anyway. But someday in the near future I should have several finished projects to share.
As for the pink dress, I don't really like it. There are still some subtle fitting issues, which I'll share later when I have photos to illustrate, but the main problem with it is the fabric. I pressed the living daylights out of that dress and it's still sloppy looking. The fabric just didn't want to cooperate. Oh, well. It was a wearable muslin, right? I'll probably wear it once or twice just because I did put in the effort to finish it, but I'd really like to make it again out of something else.
In the meantime, I'm off to do something I hate- mending! Ugh!
Oh, yeah. Happy New Year!