Sunday, December 11, 2011

Make and Take

I had a very fun Saturday, this past weekend.  I went to a little cooperative venture for three businesses VERY close in proximity. the Red Thread Shop, where I made a sweet Christmas Ball Cozy in red sock yarn. This was my first beaded knitting project, and it turned out very nicely... I threaded beads onto the yarn before casting on, and then just pulled one up and knit it in, occasionally. The ladies at The Red Thread are very interested in having you sit and knit, stay and hang out... and served warm cider and cookies and coffee. They have a large, convenient range of basic yarns and a small variety of lovely luxury offerings, not to mention a perfectly wonderful place to knit!! 

Next, we had lunch served by Great Harvest Bread Co., which just happens to be next to the Red Thread Shop... I had a Turkey Cobb sandwich, which was delicious... everything I eat there is amazing... annnnnnnndddd, they just happen to have a coffee drink named after the owner of the quilt shop my next projects were constructed in! 

Kelly Ann's Quilting is right across the street from The Red Thread and Great Harvest Bakery. Here, I made a very sweet little woolen brooch with a few sequins and some jingle bells from some beautiful hand dyed wool felt... super soft and luxurious stuff...

I also made this little Christmas Ornament with some craft felt  and sequins and embroidery thread with a jingle bell.... I think I was the only one to really make one of these in the whole group of ladies! I did some hand embroidery and then attached the sequins and sewed on a backing with a simple blanket stitch. This project seems perfect for little seamstresses... I wonder if I could get my kids to do the project, Kelly Ann sent the templates for the felt home with me... very kind!!! 

I also bought a kit for a little table topper in some Christmas fabric that matches my house... It looks simple enough... The quilting fabrics here are GORGEOUS... and they offer machine quilting services, as well: an option for that quilt top I made last summer and never bothered to make a quilt out of...

I had a great day of Making in Color!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Gift Project

My sister came for a visit during the Thanksgiving holiday and we had a talk about a Christmas gift for me to sew for her. She was wearing a VERY cute cream t-shirt with a ballet neckline, three quarter sleeves, and a very cute navy, orange, and gold print... We were talking skirts, that I feel I look better in them and that she wishes she owned more... and then she said: "Like this top: I'd love to have a new skirt to go with this in navy with an orange edge at the bottom." I said, "What kind of fabric, denim, finewhale corduroy?? And would orange bias tape at the bottom do?"

She looked at me and said, "Why are you going to make me one?" And I of course, said, YES, and measured her... asking how long she'd like it, and writing down her measurements and making a small sketch... she wants a buttoned waist, gathered skirt, and mid thigh length with that bias hem... Really, there's no simpler skirt to make, even if I make it slightly A-Line!! The truth is I hate picking gifts, I'd much rather consult with my recipient and make sure they love it. Not much on the surprise front, perhaps, but at least the gift is actually loved!

I've already purchased the orange bias tape while at G Street Fabrics. I suppose I just need a zipper, now. I also have a little bit of navy corduroy already, I'll see if it's enough!! This may be a very ECONOMICAL gift as well!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coral Silk

I found a bargain!! I went to G Street Fabrics and found some 4ply silk on sale for a VERY good price, and then almost the whole store was discounted %25. I had to call home to ask hubs to find out how much fabric I needed for a sheath pattern I'd just purchased. NOW.. this is not to say the fabric wasn't still kinda pricey, it WAS. I spent $65 bucks on the pattern, fabric, and notions, including two different ribbons for belts, one green for Christmas, one red. I have a white fabric flower to wear at the waist with the ribbon. I also purchased 1/4 yard red charmeuse with a white polka dot for a bowtie... this stuff was 49.99 a yard, so... I figured it'd make a good Christmas present!! The bowtie pattern was on the LA Times website, and I bought the little three piece bowtie clips at an Etsy site (I bought a bowtie, too!)... 

I'm a little nervous about this dress... it's quite sleek, not the best for my body type, but I think it'll be nice. I just need to make a muslin this time!! Make absolutely sure the fit is right! The pattern only calls for a lined bodice... I think I may line the skirt, too, however, since it's silk, and it'll cling. I'm nervous about that... not really knowing how and all! I did find this very thorough tutorial on lining a skirt with a vent from A Fashionable Stitch.

Pattern Change for the Plaid

Well, I've cut the plaid... it's become a jumper, there's probably enough left for a purse of some kind... and lining enough as well. My pattern has princess seams... and I used the size for my bust measurement, but my shoulders... my over bust measurement isn't  ginormous... so I had to change the princess seam by quite a bit. You know what? I should have made a muslin, but I hate making muslins!!! 

What's a muslin? It's basically a practice garment out of cheap fabric... so you can make alterations before you cut your fashion fabric. I didn't do this, but I absolutely SHOULD have. I did make decent alterations... I made the neckline deeper, took in the upper bust line... and narrowed the shoulders a bit. This is a fully lined dress, so the dress will be VERY simple to construct... Then a white button down shirt, or a tshirt, grey tights and black leather boots and maybe a black belt at the hips!! NOT a turtleneck, they don't flatter me.

Pattern Number: Simplicity 2868

Project Cost: $20, but there are leftovers for a purse

Project Time: 6 hours

Note to Self: Girl, make a muslin!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black Lace and Cream

Here is my lovely new skirt! I think it turned out to be a very pretty skirt! Here modeled by me and my Red Poppy Blouse

Pattern: M5523

Project Cost: $18

Note to Self: Hand wash, and wear a waist cincher!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plaid Dress, Planning

Wow, look at this pattern! It's beautiful, refined, flattering! I love the new patterns with lots of options for altering for cup size or curviness... so convenient, as I'm not so wonderful at changing patterns yet. I hope it works in this fabric, I really want a warm flattering dress, and I really love this plaid. I need perhaps more solids in my wardrobe, but I'm a sucker for prints and plaids and stripes! This is a nice flannel from JoAnne's, they've discontinued it, I think. I can't find it on the website now. 

Today I'll start cutting it, I think! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicago Yarn

When I travel, I buy yarn as a souvenir... usually sock yarn. This yarn I bought on a trip to Chicago to visit my sister... I also taught her to knit on that trip! I'd put off making socks for awhile with this yarn. I think because I wasn't sure how the colors would work up and I was nervous to pick a pattern. I finally decided to just make a toe up vanilla sock with a short row heel and just enjoy the colors, and I do!

Notice my peacock blue velour jogging suit! I'm a real suburban housewife, I promise!

Here are a few reasons to buy sock, or lace, yarn as a souvenir (or just as a gift for ME):

1. Easy to pack in a corner of your suitcase or stuff into your purse, or if push comes to shove, into your bra to carry home.

2. The more local the yarn the more memorable and evocative of the area it will be, so choosing a yarn that reminds you of the locale is a fun exercise in creativity. Combine that with the thousands of sock patterns available, you can pick something that evokes the feeling of your trip, perfectly, even if it was full of detours!

3. It's relatively inexpensive. Yes, a ball of sock yarn can be pricey, but it's just one or two small balls.

4. Finally, you'll get to think of the trip the whole time you knit the socks AND every time you wear them, much more useful than a knic-knack you stick on a shelf.

Damson Jacket

FIRST A DISCLAIMER: I know this jacket is too small for me, I do not care... I will shrink. So there.

So, anyway, purple wool, simple, slightly deconstructed jacket.  I bought it,tags still on, and a matching pair of pants, at the local Goodwill. I knew it didn't quite fit, and I knew I didn't care... as I'm working out regularly and losing weight like it's, well, most of the things in my house (so I suck at housework, nobody's perfect). I couldn't resist the color, and it's really beautiful, so I figured I could find SOMEone to wear it! Me first...

And look, it just so happens to be modeled by ME, with the Silk Poppy and my reconstructed Grey Skirt!

I do not like slacks, and think I'll probably turn the pants into a wool skirt, buuuuuuuuuttttt, after I lose enough weight to WEAR them, I might change my mind!

Cost: $5

Note to self: Girl, get to the gym!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blue Silk Flower

You know what? These are addicting... just as fun as knitting socks, only almost instant gratification... I used the scraps from the skirt lining and a vintage button, soooo pretty. This one I singed the edges of the petals using a candle, while I watched a kind of disappointing movie with hubs Sunday night...

Won't it look smashing with my pin dot blouse? When I finally make it???

Project cost: $0.25
Time: 30 min 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Big Plans

Next Project is a skirt. I bought this MAGnificent black on cream brocade woven at JoAnne's. Lots of drape and it just happens to look amazing with my new Poppy flowers... I think it's gonna be smashing, but should I put in some black piping or bias tape on some of the seams to really make it pop?

Here is the same lining I used on the first legacy skirt: a beautiful bright blue synthetic... china silk isn't cheap... sigh... BUT, I think I'm gonna need a turquoise blouse to wear with this skirt. And probably a cream wool skirt to go with that. Sorry, rabbit trail.... 

And beside that is a lovely chiffon, black with a tiny pin dot... which will look amazing with the copper skirt and the black lace brocade skirt as a blouse... OH, now I'm gonna need a black camisole (add it to the list! Fortunately I already have the pattern for THAT, mmmmmm black charmeuse, REAL silk this time...) 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Legacy Skirt #1

This was my first venture into Meemaw's wonderful stash... a wool and linen blend, in a gorgeous copper hue.  It's perhaps the least scary of the fabrics that Meemaw had bought for the wardrobe, excepting perhaps the turquoise flannel(interlining for a coat, perhaps?), which is still really good flannel! I lined it in a turquoise synthetic... and used a turquoise hem tape, which makes me happy
every time I put that skirt on or cross my legs! This skirt was made last fall, and I've lost 20 pounds since then, so I'll need to fit it to my new bod, but I think it was a marvelous debut for Meemaw's Legacy wardrobe.

It's definitely wool, but perhaps has some linen or silk, but it's rustic... not refined, so I thought a refined silhouette would be a nice juxtaposition.  Plus, cute with my new brown shoes, right?!?!

I had fun with the finishing, and will use this lining for more of the skirts in the wardrobe, including the next one..... more silky fabric scrap flowers?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bonnie's Legacy

My husband had a grandmother who was a sewing genius... she had a fabric stash any good home sewer would kill for.  It's no wonder, as she used to own two different fabric stores in Texas. Her name was Bonnie and she was one of those people who could hardly sit still for two seconds together, energy to spare, all the time. Meemaw made my wedding dress as a wedding gift, and it was as beautiful inside as out: and gorgeous white dupioni with chunky lace (I did bead it myself with little tiny pearl beads!!!). About eight years ago, she had me go through her fabric stash and get whatever struck my fancy. I've always had a taste for luxury, so I chose the best (OK, I had no idea it was so luxurious, then): gorgeous silk and woolen suitings, some beautiful silks, and a bevy of teal and copper fabrics that all coordinated beautifully.  I was aware that my sewing skills did not merit the use of these amazing fabrics, but I knew one day I'd love to have them in my wardrobe so I took them home and put them in a suitcase and would get them out to pet occasionally. Meemaw passed away about two years ago, and I think it's high time I put those fabrics to good use! My sewing skills have progressed to a point that I'd not hesitate to try just about any pattern, adjust it to fit me and make something marvelous...

These are the fabrics that coordinated... along with a copper wool that I already used.

And these are the ones I'm planning on using for garments, soon!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Everyday Mitts

Our house is COLD in the winter, warm enough when you're moving about being all domestic, doing housework or cooking, but downright chilly for sitting and knitting or blogging or reading or sewing. SO, I wear mitts in the house... even though my fingers aren't covered, wearing the mitts makes my whole hand warmer which keeps me comfy and the heating bills at a reasonable level. I made these last winter.

I have been on a green and brown kick for a while, so they go with lots of my casual clothes, like the outfit I threw on this morning...

 Since we're being all colorful on my blog, I did my eye makeup to match today, too!

Pattern: KIS Mitts by April Klich

Project Cost: Nothing, used scraps from other projects

Time: 3-5 hours, I can't really remember, it was last winter, I know I made the pair in one day.

Note to Self: Great Gift knit!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Red Poppy Blouse

I love this blouse... though it was a challenge to make.  This is my first silky, slippery fabric project, and I think I did alright.  If I was to be persnickety, I should have marked the pleats more precisely, and perhaps lengthened the blouse slightly above the bust line, but as the fabric was $3 a yard, it was a sort of practice run or muslin to determine fit for my nicer fabrics. The collar is interesting, but it was challenging to figure out how the heck to sew it!!! I still may need to tweak it a bit, and I've already tweaked it twice!!! I really want a simple shell pattern to make with a moderate scoop neck and swingy, full sleeves with a pretty cuff.... THIS pattern was a bit challenging to make, but the blouse is infinitely more flattering than a simple shell, and it looks just as stunning under a jacket, and looks amazing all on it's own!

Project cost: Approximately $4, Polyester Joanne's silky solid

Time: 12 hours... pinning was meticulous, both for cutting and for the pleats. Hand finishing time consuming, but as I like handwork, it was fun the whole time!

Pattern:McCall's 6399

Note to self: I need a Dressmaker's Dummy for pics and fittings!!! Loved ones please note Christmas Present idea.

Bonus: Silken Poppies

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Boucle is Delicious

I love thrift stores... I love finding something wonderful for almost no money, and I love taking things that aren't quite right and making them right... a la Sixteen Candles (why oh why did she cut up that pink prom dress to make that pink disaster for prom????) This skirt's fabric called to me at the local Goodwill... such a pretty boucle, a misty, purpley grey background with lovely orange and purple and red and gold boucle yarns popping out... I just couldn't resist, even if it was inches too big... It was only $4!!! So, I put in a movie one night, and pulled it apart... taking out zipper, cutting three inches off the side seams, opening up the waistband seams... Then yesterday, I put it all back together again! I fused thin strips of interfacing to the stitch line on the boucle... it's so stretchy, after all... sewed up the right seam, sewed on the zipper (I almost had to replace it... getting it out of the garment was very difficult). I'd like to mention here, invisible zippers are so easy to put in a la the Sew Serendipity method... Then I just re-hemmed it, did some hand finishing around the zipper, took out the old label (it's MINE now!), and threw it on!

It's fabulous!

Project Cost: $4

Time: Approximately three to four hours in total, but I was dawdling... 

Note to self: Mama needs more boucle in her wardrobe!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silk Poppies

Well, I've been busy... I bought some burnt orange silky material at JoAnne's for a blouse... and from the scraps I made these pretty silk flowers... I also bought buttons at G Street Fabrics in Alexandria, VA for another project that is in the works... I'll not elaborate, as of yet, because it's a massive undertaking and it may never get started! Burnt orange is one of my favorite colors. I'm a fan of bright, saturated color, and I have green eyes and auburn hair, so warm autumnal colors look best on me, not to mention make me happy!

These flowers are extremely easy to make, and there are a million flower tutorials online, but I'll just quickly outline what I did... I'm sure you've all made paper hearts, fold the paper in half, cut out a half heart shape, unfold and, voila, a pretty paper heart.... This is very similar... only I folded the fabric in half, in half again and in half again to make a pizza slice shape, then just cut the wide end of the wedge in a half circle shape. When unfolded the fabric makes a scalloped circle. I just took five or so of those scalloped circles, folded them in half and then in thirds to make a fluffy pizza slice and arranged a fluffy silk pizza. Then I just sewed the centers together with a needle and matching thread, added a pretty button to the middle and voila (again!) a fabric flower.  I liked it so much I made two:

Project Cost: I'll estimate $1.25 per flower, for the button and fabric only, a clip or pin would up the cost slightly
Project time: less than 10 minutes per flower

Monday, October 31, 2011

First Post

Hello random People out there! I've decided to enter the blog world once again... And the only things that make me tingle right now are things I make... or things that other people make, or stuff to make things with, or COLOR... and to that end:  I love teal, turquoise, robin's egg blue, peacock blue, and any variation therein... I love plummy purples and burnt oranges and fresh greens and rich golds... and I love them passionately...

I love to make things.  I knit, sew, draw, garden, cook, and paint liberally.  I have an interest in natural dyes and herbal medicine and the moon and well.... lots of things, but at the moment, I'm all about the CLOTHES! I'm a complete disaster: messy house, messy hair, messy mind... but I'm fun! So, hang with me and listen to me gush and brag and tell you what I'm learning!