Modern Barkcloth

01-dress6I find nothing more inspirational than a gorgeous piece of fabric – the possibilities that can transform a flat material into a dimensional beauty is endless. That’s why when Rhonda (from Rhonda’s Creative Life) asked if I would be interested in sewing something from a barkcloth fabric panel, I jumped at the chance.

As soon as my fabric arrived I went to work deciding what my next creation should be… the word anything holds lots of prospects! The panel itself was 24 x 56″ wide, with the print running down the entire length of the material. That meant that most garments would need additional fabric to complete the look. Keeping this fact in mind and since I only had one panel, I knew that I had to carefully plan out my idea – so I did something I rarely do…. sketch out my ideas (don’t judge the drawing, I do not claim to be an artist):

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The ‘winning look’ was a modern-looking, off-the-shoulder, lined dress that no only showcased the material best (I like how I could make it sprawl up the shoulder), but was also the most flattering because of the contrasting side panels. The winner? Burda 7514 (unfortunately it is currently out of print, but I have seen it for sale on eBay).

01-dress1aIt has been ages since I worked with a Burda pattern, but was happy to find that the fit is still as wonderful as ever – I only needed to make a few small tweaks in the bust and along the back for the best fit when working with the muslin.

For my final version, I opted for a black crepe material to use with the contrasting side panels and dress back – this was the closest in ‘texture’sheen and drape to the barkcloth panel. Overall this was a great pattern to work with, but it’s important to make sure that you reverse the pattern pieces when cutting out the lining (and watch your serger while sewing…. note to self, stop binge watching Netflix while sewing). Best of all, I love the end result – it’s totally ‘me’ and will be perfect to wear this spring when it (eventually) warms up. Too bad I didn’t have enough material left over to make a matching bag!

Be sure to stop by Rhonda’s on Monday where you can check out the other challenger used their panels and vote on your favorite finished garment.

 

Coming Together Perfectly

01-blind hemSometimes sewing just doesn’t go your way, and other days everything comes together perfectly. Not only did my (third, yes, third) lining come together without a hitch, but I managed to insert a perfect invisible zipper (without the invisible zipper foot, on the first try, and in about 10 minutes) plus made a beautiful blind hem with the foot I forgot I owned (#5…. now that I remember I have this one, I’m going to have to use it more often, it’s so much easier that stitching by hand!).

This means that this project is not just complete, but finished photos have been taken (I had to take advantage of our 70+ degree weather while we had it!), and the big reveal will be this weekend! Stay tuned this Sunday for more!

Linky Thursday

Create your own retro look when you sew up a Mabel Vintage Handbag.

There’s no reason not to decorate for Valentine’s Day when you can create a pretty pillow in just 10 minutes.

Not only does this tutorial teach you how to create an armband for you phone for working out, but keeps it’s touch screen ability and has a cute little pocket for your key.

Learn how to pronounce some of the trickiest sewing words.

I’ve been itching to make a few dolls lately. This tiny little Josephine looks like a quick and fun project to start with.

Give a gift to Fido this Valentine’s Day. This cute treat bag holder doubles as a “Poop Bag” container that slides onto your dog’s leash.

A new take on a classic bag – the Cargo Duffle.

Get ready for spring by sewing a quick and easy skirt – not only does this tutorial have printed instructions, but a video as well, making it perfect for the beginner sewist!

Stash your love notes in a cute little fabric box that only takes 30 minutes to sew!

Need a new bag? This cross body version looks easy to sew and casual enough for every day.

Learn how to create a sweet, asymmetrical jacket for a little girl just by using a t-shirt as your pattern (you can even use the same technique for yourself).

Protect your laptop in your favorite fabrics when you stitch up a quilted case (I love the handles on this one).

Download a free pjshorts pattern and enter to win 1 yard of each print from the Circa 52 collection.

Sewing Fail

01-oopsThey say, “the third time’s the charm”… and in the case of the lining I’m working on this week (more on that project next week), I’m hoping this saying rings true. Yes, your guess is correct, I’ve made a lining to a dress twice already and managed to screw it up both times.

The first lining was beautifully constructed, the seams were finished, and everything lined up perfectly…. it was only then that I discovered I cut it wrong. After a trip back to the fabric store, I arrived with more material, cut it the “correct way”, and then chewed it up with my serger (finishing the seams) when a piece flopped in the way of the blade (photo on the right). I resisted cutting and sewing a third lining yesterday because I don’t believe in sewing angryfrustrated because it only causes more mistakes.

The moral of the story? We all make mistakes and there’s always more fabric so get out there and sew! Now, it’s back into the sewing room with a bright outlook on the day. Hopefully, today runs much smoother! What’s on your sewing table this week?

Leather Camo

01-camoshirtYesterday, I had a stopping point in a big project that I’ve been working on, so I thought I would have enough time to work on the Trifecta Top that I mentioned yesterday. While the pattern itself should be quickly sewn up, the materials I selected (a knit that likes to roll every time you touch it and pleather) were a booger to work with…. so the top that I thought would take an hour to sew turned into much, much more.

The most time consuming element? That pocket. While I am extremely pleased with how well it turned out (I declare it perfect), stretch pleather is not a friendly fabric to mold into shape – however, I did find low heat & a press cloth along with a temporary spray adhesive helped immensely.

I’m very pleased with the end result…. Taylor (who specifically requested this shirt) is on the fence saying she feels like Rubberman from American Horror Story (as seen on the cover art) and how would the shirt look in short sleeves? Grrr. I may take this version for myself (and cut off the 2″ she made me add to the hemline, I don’t feel that it was necessary to add more length) and see if I have enough materials for a cap sleeve…. I dread making that pocket again, though!

 

 

Trifecta

After a weekend full of activities, the most that I was able to work on was cutting into my fabrics for my Trifecta Top. I’m actually not in a rush to sew this one up because, unlike the eastern half of the country that is facing a tremendous amount of snow, we have climbed back up into 70s (and who wants to wear leather sleeves during spring-like temps?). However since this one is on cue to be sewn very soon, here’s all the info on my next project:

Pattern: The Trifecta Top by Kitschycoo
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Fabric: Army Camo Cotton Knit and Faux Black Stretch Leather from Girl Charlee
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Total Cost:

Pattern….. $8.00
Fabric……. $16.25
Notions…. stash

Total $24.25

Sleeveless

Our family lost a very wonderful woman this week with the passing of Bret’s grandmother. As we prepared to return home for services, I decided that I needed something new to wear as I’ve worn the same dress on several other occasions. I spent the day looking for something appropriate…. only to come home empty handed. While I realize that in the retail world, it’s almost spring, finding clothing that is appropriate and has sleeves is almost next to impossible.

Oddly enough when I returned home, I saw someone post an article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal last week on How Dresses Lost Their Sleeves. Basically what it comes down to is that designers are lazy (it’s too ‘hard’ to add a sleeve) and say that consumers opt for comfort (I suppose that is why designers believe we should be wearing pajamas for formal wear?) over ‘constrictive clothing’…. Apparently sleeves have become too constrictive? Psshhh.

Sadly, the time I spent shopping could have been spent working on something appropriate to wear that fits well and has sleeves. Lesson learned.

Edited to add: While on my mini-rant, I neglected to point out that while men get sleeves in their clothing, apparently, there is a push to stop covering their penises. I guess sleeveless doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Linky Thursday

These little zippered monsters are cute by themselves, but are also perfect for stuff little gifts inside.

Valentine coasters so cute that you’ll have a hard time putting a drink on them!

Cute (but not girly) Valentine shirts for boys is hard to find, so why not make your own?

Forget about making those tutus from elastic and tying on strips of tulle. This tutorial is the ‘real deal’ and absolutely gorgeous.

If you know someone who got a sewing machine for the holidays and they are still looking for a good beginner project (or you just need a new bag yourself), send them over to check out this easy tote bag tutorial! Looking for something a little more structured and zips? Then the Baker Street Bag is just for you!

Keep toddlers busy at the table with your own dry erase coloring mat.

If you plan on traveling abroad this year, chances are you’re going to need something to keep your important documents, money, etc. together. This travel wallet is a great storage solution.

Need a new cosmetic bag that’s different from anything else you own? This version is a great way to vertically store your make-up and brushes (you will probably need to translate the page for the instructions).

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Spruce up your living space with a little love decor with this fun, Wreath Heart pillow.

Leggings have become my favorite way to wear ‘pants’ around the house. Now you can make your own with this tutorial.

Protect your Kindle in style with a pretty cover.

Recycling plastic bags means finding storage for them when they’re not in use. Now you don’t have to hide them in a drawer or cabinet, instead make a pretty, yet functional hanging plastic bag holder!

If snow and ice are back in your weather forecast, you’ll definitely want to whip up a fleece ice scraper mitt this week.

It Came!

01-magazineThe Finnish magazine that I ordered, Kotiliesi Käsityö, arrived in the mail yesterday. This magazine is new to me so I couldn’t wait to see what was inside! 

So what do you get with this craft magazine? Of course I can’t translate the articles, but there is some great ‘eye candy’ with trendstyle reports and the photos of the projects look very much like an issue of a fashion magazine. The 1/15 issue has 64 knitting patterns – some of which really make me wish I could knit… I could totally use a pair of nubby socks and a few of the cute sweaters (this also appears to be a bridal issue so there are several wedding accessories included as well as children’sbaby’s knits). There are only 6 sewing patterns in this magazine, but it was the 8 that made me want to give it a try. Although I’m not intending on 01-patternssewing a bridal gown anytime soon, I can totally see this as a prom dress (if we can’t find one this year ‘off the rack’) and I adore the workout clothing designed by Named Clothing.

The patterns themselves are very much like every other sewing magazine – you must trace the item you want to make off the ‘road map’ that is the pattern sheet… I am still trying to determine if seam allowances and hems are included, though. Sizing for each pattern ranges from small (bust 30″, waist 23″, hips 33″) to XL (bust 46″, waist 39″, hips 48.8″) so there’s quit a bit of range included.

As for instructions, there are no illustrations (aside from the pattern piecescutting layout) – just text… and it’s in Finnish…. so you’ll either have to attempt using translation software or muddle your way through the sewing process. In all fairness, most of the patterns are fairly easy to figure out so construction looks to be pretty straightforward. I’m very excited to give this issue a try!

For those that are interested in ordering this (or other issues) you will need to send an email to asiakaspalvelu@otavamedia.fi with your shipping information. They will invoice you (roughly 14 Euros) a bill with your magazine.

A Big Haul

01-ikeaThe ‘long weekend’ brought lots and lots of things – mostly fabric!

I had my first experience at an IKEA this weekend and all I bought was this fabric! I couldn’t resist – I’m totally attracted to face prints plus it’s wonderfully colorful and a great home decor weight. I’m thinking this will make a fabulous statement bag, I just need to find the right pattern that shows off the print.

My order from Girl Charlee arrived yesterday as well. I have always wanted to get on on a bargain lot sale and since I already had to make an order, I tried to time it so I might get one (this was a first quality lot, too). Ever wanted to know what you get? Here’s what was in my bundle (all are one yard cuts):

01-bundleThe top row are all cotton jerseys… I love this entire row. For me, this is what made the entire purchase worth it. The second row are all French terry. I’m not as wild about the prints in this row, so some may become ‘muslin’ material. I did wind up with two cuts of the pink floral print which may eventually become a springy hoodie. The last row is a mix of materials. The first three are lycra spandex (?) and could easily work for swimwear (I have two cuts of the brown polka dot that I have no idea what to do with), the next two are very soft burnout (It might make a nice Oslo, but I have already bought new material for that… see below), there is also a yard of white fleece (yuck), and a thin mystery knit that has very little stretch. Overall, totally worth the price I paid (which comes out to $2/yard)!

I also purchased some ‘by the yard’ fabrics for a few upcoming projects:

01-fabrics1The material on the far left is the main reason I made a purchase to begin with – stretch pleather! This will become sleeves on a shirt that Taylor has asked me to make. The next is a charcoal knit that is a fairly close match to the sweatshirt material I have already started embroidery on (they will eventually become a High Five Hoodie). The next is a grayteal sweater knit that is destined to become another Oslo, a fun knit plaid that is either going to be a pair of leggings or a new shirt, and lastly a bit of stretch denim (no project intended so far).

Whew, all this fabric means that I’m going to be one very busy lady! Lets just hope I don’t get ahead of myself in projects and can’t find the time to work everything in!