Category Archives: Sewing, etc.

The Sentimental Brown Gingham Western Shirt

Oops. I was certain I was standing completely in the shade when I took these pictures. Oh well, this one isn’t too bad. (Stop explaining and apologizing for bad photos, Lynn)

This might seem a bit strange and contradictory, given that I am highly attracted to bright colors and I often lament the fact that so many people are “afraid of color,” but I actually do like brown. It might be at least partly because my mother said I look good in brown. It’s not like she always dressed me in brown when I was little though. I have been picking out my own fabric since I was old enough to point. But anyway, I don’t want to be always surrounded by it like in my dull brown living room but for clothes I like brown as well as all those crazy bright colors and sweet girly colors that I wear so much of the time.

I was in the little quilt shop in a nearby town and saw that they had some really nice quilting weight gingham in about a dozen or so colors, including this brown and I got an Idea! I don’t usually wear anything western styled, not because I dislike it exactly, but more because I don’t want to be mistaken for someone who is into the whole country and western sub-culture. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; it’s just not me. However, in developing one’s own personal style it’s useful to dip into various different cultures and styles… Oh screw it. I don’t have a “personal style”. I just get lots of different ideas and I make them and wear them.

To make this shirt I used the body of New Look 6078 because it fits really nicely (except for one part which I’ll get to in a minute) and I like the curve of the hem – not too much, just right – and I used the sleeves, front band and collar from McCall’s 4922 and I drafted the front and back yoke from scratch. (very simple, actually) I was a little worried that I would have a lot of trouble making the collar fit because it’s a very different kind of collar from the one in the New Look pattern but it went together perfectly. In fact everything about it worked out beautifully. I’m really, extremely happy with the way it turned out. The only thing that is not quite perfect is that it’s a wee bit snug around the hips. I could probably get an extra half inch if I picked apart the side seams and darts and re-sewed them but I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble. It’s not like the buttons are about to pop off or anything like that.

Here’s the back view.

And a close-up of the buttons. I suppose an “authentic” western shirt would have snaps but I love these buttons and I wasn’t trying to be authentic. I just now noticed, looking at the picture, that they are a little off center on the band. Dammit! I guess I should have made vertical buttonholes but horizontal ones are less likely to come unbuttoned if you accidentally make them slightly too big.

Plaid!

(I had a much more clever title for this post when I was thinking about it yesterday but I forgot what it was.)

I like plaid but I am a little bit afraid of it. I wasn’t always but then I started reading sewing blogs and discovered that one is expected to match the plaid not only across the front but also the sleeves, at the side seems, and pretty much everywhere. It all seems so overwhelming now. This time I tried, I really did but I didn’t account for the bust darts which make it pretty much impossible to match the sides and the sleeves. Oh well. My experience has been that nobody notices those details unless you point them out, and the sewing bloggers never read my blog anyway so why stress over it.

I have just one comfortable, casual long sleeved shirt made of lightweight cotton that is perfect for days when it’s cool enough for long sleeves but still too warm for really warm clothes. I wear it a lot when the weather is like that so when Denver Fabrics had a sale on shirting I bought three pieces. This is the first one of those. I love this fabric, the colors and the texture. It has heavier threads running through it, sort of like in a “ripstop” fabric but at irregular intervals.

Just for fun I thought I would try a more animated pose than my usual and (unfortunately, perhaps) it turned out to be the best picture.

And here’s a view of the back yoke.

This is another New Look 6963. My third and I still haven’t used any of the sleeves that came in the pattern. (but I will) I love this pattern but there is one thing about it that I don’t like: it has a back neck facing instead of a yoke lining. I made the first two with the facing but I made this one with a proper lined yoke. You can see the first one here. I haven’t photographed the second one. This pattern has two different backs. The bug shirt has a pleated back. This one has darts that you can just barely see in the second photo.

Thank Goodness It’s Monday?

It was sort of a sucky weekend. There was no Big Bad thing that happened, just several small and medium bad things that felt hugely bad for some reason. I guess it actually started the middle of last week with the antique indigo stretch denim that I didn’t get. I did search to see if I could find it anywhere else. I couldn’t but even if I had found some the same color on another website there wouldn’t have been any way to be sure it was the exact same thing. The denim I missed out on had 35% stretch. Most online fabric retailers don’t tell you the amount of stretch and in my experience “stretch” denim is usually not actually very stretchy at all. Maybe 5%?

Anyway, as I said, I did order some of the light blue stretch denim. (20% stretch) It was supposed to arrive via US Mail on Saturday. But Friday, as I was headed out to go buy groceries, I noticed that our mailbox had fallen down. There used to be a huge problem with mailbox vandalism in our area so we made a super vandalism resistant mailbox. It totally worked for vandalism prevention but it weighed well over 100 pounds so I couldn’t put it back up by myself. We decided to buy a new, lighter weight but still sturdy mailbox to replace the old Superbox but didn’t have time to put it up until Saturday afternoon so we didn’t get any mail Friday or Saturday. This is not a big deal. I wouldn’t have got around to doing anything with the denim for several days or possibly a week or two anyway but still… I was expecting it on Saturday.

Saturday I went to a local quilt show. That should be fun, right? Well, it was nice. I did enjoy seeing all the gorgeous quilts. But there were two things that partially spoiled it for me. First of all, it seemed like I was the only person there who didn’t know anyone else and I felt alone, left out, and a little like I didn’t belong there. There was one woman there who started a conversation with me but she saw someone she knew and abandoned me mid-sentence. I can understand that. I really can. When you see a friend in a public place you don’t want to let her get away without talking to her, but still, it sort of made me feel like I was still that little girl who was only good enough to talk to if there was no one else around.

The other thing… I’ll be honest, a big reason why I even went to the quilt show was that a local quilt shop that I’ve been to a couple of times said on their Facebook page that if you stop by their booth at the show you could get a 25% off coupon for their store. 25% off? That’s huge! Well, I stopped by their booth and I didn’t see any coupons. The person attending the booth was talking to someone and I didn’t want to interrupt so I walked around a bit more and came back and she was still talking. I hung around for a bit and finally gave up and left without a coupon. It’s just as well. I certainly don’t need any more quilting cotton and yet I’ll probably buy some from eQuilter pretty soon because they have several fabrics that I’m finding particularly irresistible right now. But you see, this was a multi-level disappointment. Thursday I went to visit my brother for a while and I refrained from going to the the quilt shop over there in his town because I knew I was going to get a 25% off coupon from this quilt shop over here. And I like the selection of fabrics at Sager Creek Quilts better. (I don’t like their website and have never ordered from it because their images are too small and I can hardly see what I’m getting.)

The people who work at the local quilt shop are all very nice and one lady in particular is especially friendly and always seems so happy to see me, it makes it a pleasure to go there. Without the coupon as an excuse though, I probably won’t go there at least until next spring. Sager Creek Quilts, while they have a better fabric selection, the guy who is usually working there when I go there (I think he is the owner or is married to the owner) is sort of dour and reserved. Not really unfriendly but not fun and makes me a little uncomfortable to try to talk to him so it’s usually all business when I go there. It’s almost an hour and a half away so I probably won’t go there again anytime soon either.

Finally, to top off this less than fun weekend, my granddaughter was sick yesterday. She was supposed to have her 1st birthday party. I wasn’t excited about the party itself. There would have been a bunch of people there I didn’t know or barely know but I’m disappointed for her sake and sorry she’s not feeling well.

So that was my weekend. I’m actually glad it’s Monday but I’m a little nervous, wondering what else can happen.

She Who Hesitates Doesn’t Get the Fabric

I have been looking for some stretch denim that is actually noticeably stretchy for ages. I found some black denim and made an amazingly comfortable (if not exactly fashionable) pair of jeans but no one ever has any faded blue stretch denim. But finally I found it! [rays of heavenly light, angels singing] Girl Charlee, which very helpfully gives the percent of stretch, had two nice stretch denims: one, a “light indigo blue” and the other one “antique indigo”. I really wanted the antique indigo but I waited several hours trying to decide whether I wanted to get some of the light blue also or only the antique indigo. I decided to get only the antique indigo but when I went to order it they only had one yard left! (Oh the humanity!)

Naturally, I was devastated but I ordered some of the light indigo denim. I will keep checking. Maybe someday they will get some more? I have one big complaint against Girl Charlee. They are one of those online fabric retailers that only sell in whole yard increments. I am sure that this contributed to my not getting the fabric I wanted. How many of the people who ordered the antique denim had to order more than they actually wanted? 3 yards instead of 2 1/2 yards, for example. Perhaps there would have been enough left for me if other people hadn’t been forced to buy more than they needed. I have learned my lesson though. Never hesitate to buy fabric.

Showing Off the Sewing, Worthy or Not

For a couple of weeks I was feeling uninspired and didn’t know what I wanted to sew so I decided it would be a good time to sew something boring and practical: a denim skirt. I know you can’t see the whole skirt – not a very good way to show it off – but in the pictures it looked a lot longer than it actually is so I cropped off the bottom of the picture. It’s actually about mid-calf length. (I would rather have taken these outside because the flash does me no favors but the neighbors are putting a new roof on their house and I could just imagine them saying, “What’s that crazy lady doing over there taking pictures of herself?”) Anyway, here it is:

I made the blouse about three or four years ago. It’s a Kwik Sew 3511. I never go tucked in because that emphasizes the granny gut. (which I’ve had all my life and I hate it now as much as ever but somehow it is a bit of a relief to be old enough to refer to it as a “granny gut”) I really like the way the whole outfit looks.

Here’s a detail pic. (The color of the denim is more accurate in the first picture.) I’m not happy with the buttons but I wanted to get it done and not go on a long frustrating search for “exactly the right buttons” so I just used a couple of leftover 5/8 inch shirt buttons I had, thinking, “I can always replace them with some nice ones later,” but I probably won’t bother.

And the pocket with the hidden opening. I’m always very afraid to show the insides of anything I sew. This is really a leap for me so be kind. (Yes, those are hand stitched buttonholes. Because I can. And it’s fun.) (I did not make the quilt.)

And finally, a less “dressed up” look with the skirt and a top I made a couple of months ago. I didn’t show off the top when I first made it because I felt like it was a FAIL. The fabric, a cotton/rayon blend knit, is sort of twisty and it made the hem uneven, but I sort of like it anyway.

I am now back in a sewing mood and want to make 10 things at once. I just finished a blouse this morning. It has long sleeves so I’m going to wait until the temperature drops a little before wearing/showing off that one. I am getting ready to start a rain poncho, which I will need soon. After that more long sleeved shirts, I think. I have some plaids that I am eager to get into.

Not Sewing

Updated

I have not done any sewing (not counting a little quilting) in more than a week. In my entire sewing life that’s not unusual. There have been times when I went for several weeks without sewing. When I had what people like to call “a real job” there may have been months long sewing droughts. (I really can’t remember.) But now, having spent many months of always having at least one project in progress, and having not done everything I had in mind to do this summer, it’s a little disturbing to not be working on anything.

I am in that confusing between seasons phase. With temps still in the 90’s F, I have been in the mood to keep on sewing summer dresses but because I know it won’t last much longer I don’t want to sew something I might wear once and then put away for six months. Today it’s cool and feels very much like fall so I should be inspired to start fall sewing but still, I don’t know what I want to sew next. The cure for this of course is more shopping and I have a couple of ideas – things I could get excited about right away – that would require purchasing more fabric but I grew up in a penny pinching household and I still have that instinct. I feel guilty about every purchase, even necessary ones. Besides, I have extremely limited storage space for fabric.

So maybe I should just forget it for a while and spend more time working on the quilts, one of which I really, seriously need to finish because it was supposed to be a Christmas present two years ago. I lost my enthusiasm for it because it’s not looking as great in reality as it did in my head. But I will finish it. Other than that, I’m working on a baby quilt that is coming along pretty fast and I have a couple of tops planned (one already started) that I could work on. So it really wouldn’t hurt to just work on nothing but quilting for a while but there’s still that voice in my head saying, “Sew something. Come on, hurry up and start something else – a dress, a blouse, pants. Come on, sew, sew, sew!”

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I just found out about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge yesterday (Thanks Rochelle) and it just so happens that I do have cat fabric in my stash – two pieces, in fact. One is from my mother’s stash. I’ve already cut up part of it for a quilt top but there’s about a yard left and I want to match it with something else to make something to wear but I want it to turn out to be something I love so I’m not going to rush into it. The other cat fabric is some I purchased this year and already know what I’m going to make with it. The colors are spring not fall but I’m thinking of making it for the challenge anyway.

The Last Dress of Summer?

I took a whole bunch of photos using the timer on my camera and most of them were too close and I don’t want to go back out and set up again. So, here’s my close-up.

And here’s the one halfway good picture that shows almost all of the dress.

This is another Simplicity 1882, my second and probably last. You can see the first one here. I wanted more skirt so I cut it a little bit wider and added pairs of pleats to both the front and back. I still didn’t get the fit of the bodice quite right. Overall though, I like it.

This fabric – the abstract print and the color combination – is a little different for me. It’s funny how we occasionally find ourselves attracted to something that we normally think of as “not my thing”. I was originally thinking of having the trim match the lighter green but I couldn’t find that exact color. I still think it might have been better with the lighter green but I’m satisfied with the way this turned out. This was one of the older pieces of fabric in my stash. There’s something especially satisfying about going to the “bottom of the stash” and finally finishing something I bought a long time ago.

I have three more dress projects that I had planned to make this summer but now it’s September and, as always, I’m torn between making “one more dress” (because, after all, it is still in the upper 90’s and will be for at least another week or two) or moving on to the fall sewing. I know I have some fall and winter fabrics in the stash but right now I can’t make my mind focus on them and think about fall sewing. Hmmmm… maybe a multi-season top…

Tiny Top

A little top I made last week. The pattern is Simplicity 2668.

The pattern shows it as a dress but made it a little shorter and when I saw her crawling around in it I’m glad I did. A dress would be a problem for a crawling baby. This was a very old (20+ years) scrap of fabric. I was disappointed that I didn’t have enough to make matching bloomers. I still do have a small strip of it left but not enough.

Here’s a picture of her wearing it. (with her mom, my daughter-in-law) She was happier than she looks in this photo. She was smiling just a second before. The colors in the first photo are more true. The colors of the little top are washed out in this photo, even though everything else looks fine.

I Don’t Have Anything To Say But I’m Going to Talk Anyway

Some days I have absolutely nothing to say and other days I have too much to say and no energy to say it and I start to think, “Why am I still doing this? How much longer will I keep doing this?” If Blogger would make one or two more little improvements I might switch back to that. I would miss my links page though. But I need to work on that some so, I don’t know… maybe I’m just getting tired of the whole thing. On the other hand, I want to have something for those times when I do really have something to say. And I like being part of a “community” even if I am destined to always be the weird, lonely girl that almost everyone ignores.

This week is the hottest this year so far. They are forecasting triple digits for this weekend. Everyone is complaining and yeah, I am too a little bit, but I really don’t mind all that much. Now I feel like it’s really summer, not just a perpetual spring. I know I’m making that sound like a bad thing. Of course I am more comfortable when the temps are in the 70’s and 80’s, but it’s August and it’s supposed to be hot. It’s hard to explain. I guess I’m more comfortable (in a different sense) when things are the way they are supposed to be.

I have really slacked off on sewing. I haven’t started one of these yet like I had intended to do. I have been working for over a week on a baby dress that I could have finished in a day. But you know, it’s like that sometimes. Sometimes you feel inspired and feel an urgency (which in my case is almost always imaginary) and other times you just can’t stay interested. Maybe it’s because it’s August. Is this the lazy month?

It’s also the month that school starts. Not something I have to deal with anymore, thank goodness. It always seems wrong to me that school starts in the middle of August. It’s supposed to start in September, the day after Labor Day. Anything else will always be wrong.

We started watching The Strain. I have mixed feelings about this show. It has a little too much “gross horror movie” stuff for my taste but it is also interesting enough that I want to stick with it to see what happens next. The new season of Haven starts soon. I’ve been seeing ads for it. I sort of feel like they started to lose me last season but not completely. I still want to keep watching.

By far my favorite series that’s on right now is Defiance. Here are two behind the scenes videos.

A Stashing Good Time

Back in April I had about a dozen projects that I had decided I absolutely positively must finish by the the end of May, or the middle of June at the latest. I had no real need to have them all done by any particular date. I just decided that I wanted to and somehow “want” turned into “have to”. Well, you know how life goes. Actually, looking back through my archives I see that I got five of the things done by the middle of June and one more by the end of June. I’m going to call that “not too bad” for an overly ambitious goal.

Funny thing though, after my self-imposed deadline had passed all sense of urgency left me. I relaxed and slacked off, and sewed a few things that weren’t on my original “list”. Now I’m thinking about those things a little bit now but also thinking, “It’s the middle of August. Does it make any sense to sew a bunch of summer dresses right now?” Well… maybe one or two.

Here are the ones that did not get done.

The brown fabric is destined to be a Vogue 8577, which I talked about a little bit here. That would be a good one to make right now. The colors are more fall than summer anyway and with a cardigan and tights I could wear it until late in the season. (I don’t have a cardigan of the right color though so that would mean more shopping.)

The lovely yellow and orange floral is going to be similar to my most recent dress. The aqua polka dot is going to be a blouse. This and the piece directly below it, which is also going to be a blouse, were not really on my “must get done” list but I was thinking about them and when I was feeling very ambitious I thought maybe I would sew these too if I got all the other stuff done.

The fabric on the lower left is printed with antique sewing machine and sewing related ads. Isn’t this the most awesome fabric? I think it’s going to be a Vogue 8811. (also mentioned in the first linked post) This could also go into the fall. The green and orange fabric, lower middle in the picture, I have had for a number of years. Originally it was going to be a Simplicity 2957 but after using it for the batik ferns dress I have changed my mind. I like that dress okay but not well enough that I want to use the pattern again. So now I’m thinking Simplicity 1882, with a little tweaking. I’m feeling rather strongly about doing this one next simply because it’s been in the stash for so long.

And here’s one more:

These all go together. Or maybe not? I was planning another New Look 6209, sleeveless this time. The print would be the front panel of course, the dark fabric for the main part of the dress and the dark orange for the yoke. But then I started feeling a little chicken about it – like this is going to look all wrong. Then this morning when I got the fabric out to photograph I started thinking again, “This will work.” Then, “Wait! Will it?” So indecisiveness. Big time.

But that’s not all. I have recently become aware of a couple of needs (Yes, actual needs) that I do not have fabric for. I also have a $10 off coupon for eQuilter that expires at the end of the month. But, eQuilter does not have the right kind of fabric for my two needs. I do hate to let that coupon expire though…

A New Favorite

It seems like I always start these posts apologizing for the photo. This one isn’t bad but I wish it was better. The one that would have been the best was out of focus. In this one the breeze is blowing the skirt around and it’s a little far away to see details but other than that I guess it’s okay.

This is what they call a Frankenpattern – bodice from one pattern, skirt from another. I keep making this same basic shape of dress (which is probably why all the sewing bloggers ignore me) but these are the dresses that I wear the most so it makes sense to sew more of them instead of something fashionable that I wouldn’t wear as often. Overall, I’m very happy with it. It has a side zipper and it’s one of my all time worst zippers but I never re-do zippers because I figure there’s a one percent chance it will be any better after the second try and a 50-50 chance it will be worse.

The buttons are from this bag o’ buttons. This bag had a lot of one of a kind and two of a kind buttons and it turned out that there was only one of the buttons I originally had in mind to use and only two of my second choice. The only ones of which there were three were the ugliest ones, so I pouted for a while and thought about buying buttons but I finally decided to just use the ugly buttons. I quickly got used to them and now they don’t seem so bad.

As I was starting on the buttonholes I realized that, since there’s a side zipper, these buttons don’t actually need to be functional but it was too late and it’s okay. For some reason, I like that they’re real even though they don’t need to be.

The fabric is lightweight and crisp with a nice tight weave, which I find to always be the case with batik fabrics. I like batik prints but it’s the fabric itself that I love and I wish I could find traditional florals and fun novelty prints printed on the same kind of fabric but that seems to be very rare.

So, bottom line, I love this dress. It couldn’t be more perfect for hot summer days. If we ever get any of those again.

Bugs!

If you hang out here a lot you might have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for bugs. Oh, I have no desire to get up close and personal with them but I do find them quite fascinating. So I had to have this fabric from eQuilter. I am in dress mode this time of year but I almost immediately knew this fabric had to be a New Look 6963. (I wish I could show you what the background color really looks like. It’s an amazing color that you just can’t see in a photo. It’s bright but not insanely bright. It’s just a really interesting color.)

NL 6963 is one of my unused patterns that I wrote about earlier this year, one that I didn’t think I would get around to using anytime soon. Surprise! It’s my new best friend. (Well, among patterns anyway) It was fast and easy to make and it is loose fitting without looking like a sack. Well… everything loose-fitting looks somewhat like a sack on me but it’s much better than my former best friend big shirt pattern. (What did I ever see in that thing?) And I love love love this shirt!

Instead of going on a long frustrating search for “the perfect buttons I picked some navy ones from my button stash. I cut some bias strips to finish the armholes and they turned out better than my usual. My only disappointment is that identical bugs ended up side by side on the front. I would prefer that they were more random.

(The pants are new also but they’re kind of awful and I’m glad you can’t see more of them in the photo.)

Red, White, and Blue… and Some Other Colors

Even though it’s not patriotic themed fabric and not only red, white, and blue, ever since I bought the fabric I have been thinking of this as “the 4th of July dress” but I could just as well call it “the angst dress” because I have had several “issues” with it that have caused me a bit of angst.

First of all, I mostly avoid white and very light colored fabrics. I would love to have one of those lovely white peasant/hippie dresses but I’m always imagining clothing disasters involving massive quantities of barbeque sauce or blueberry pie or the like. I haven’t ever had a huge clothing disaster of that type but if I ever did it would happen to a beautiful white or delicate pastel dress that was my favorite. Another issue with the light colored fabric is that I felt it would need a lining but extra layers are to be avoided in Oklahoma in the summertime. (In an age when girls are wearing see-through leggings as pants is it terribly old-fashioned to worry about back-lighting?)

I originally planned to do an asymmetrical top thing with this fabric but, since I had never done anything like that I decided I needed to make a test dress first – what most sewing people call a “wearable muslin” but I just call it, “trying out a new pattern or idea with cheap fabric before I risk the precious fabric.” Well, the test did not go well. I can probably fix it so that it will be wearable, at least as a house dress that will never be seen in public.

I was still going to do the asymmetrical thing with this fabric but at almost the last minute I sort of panicked and decided to do something safe. I got out dear, trustworthy, tried and true, Kwik Sew 2671 and made some modifications to the bodice and added elastic to the waistline. And, here it is. (All fashion photos should include a cat’s ass, don’t you think?)

It’s not the most flattering thing I’ve ever worn but I actually like it when I’m just wearing it and not looking at pictures of myself in it so I guess it’s okay. I did line the skirt with white cotton batiste. I had originally planned to use cotton lawn but I waited until I was almost ready to start sewing it before I went shopping for it and my source for discount cotton lawn was sold out and all I could find was $13 a yard and my inner cheapskate had a panic attack. The skirt with the lining is heavier than I’m used to and I keep thinking maybe I should have done something different – something with less fabric in the skirt but really it’s not bad.

Here is a close-up of the fabrics (from eQuilter) and trim. (There is a center back seam because I didn’t have enough of the button fabric to lay both pieces on the fold.) The rick-rack was a last minute inspiration. The fabrics told me they wanted rick-rack.

I don’t know if I will actually wear it on the 4th of July, as I have been planning to do for months. We’re not going anywhere so I don’t know if I want to wear it just for hanging out around the house. If we have chili dogs, like I’m thinking about doing, then no, definitely not.

UPDATE: The background on the lighter fabric is a very pale aqua, not white.

A Few Fashion Things

Are Leggings Really Pants? No they are not! Leggings are not pants no matter what skanky looking teenage girls say. Yes, they are comfortable but if you’re going to wear them at least wear a tunic that’s long enough to completely cover your butt. Is that so hard? Seriously?

Make your own tights. This is something I never thought of doing. They have seams, of course, but those are nifty. The problem would be finding the right fabric – something with spandex but not too thick, which leaves out most cotton because I have yet to find a lightweight cotton spandex fabric. So, I don’t know if I will ever make those or not. I’m not a big fan of being wrapped up in nylon.

Your Brain On Shopping. I do like to shop. Sometimes. I like shopping without a plan – the “just window shopping but I might buy something” kind of shopping. The author of this article says, about shopping for clothing, “I feel overwhelmed by all the choices.” I am the opposite. I make almost all of my clothes but on the rare occasions that I have gone shopping for RTW clothing I always felt disappointed and frustrated that there were so few choices. Oh yes, there are a lot of stores with a lot of clothes but none of them are what I want. It all looks alike to me.

A silly hat. Oh, I don’t know if I’d ever have the nerve to wear this but there’s a part of me that says, “Every woman should wear a silly hat at least once in her life.”

Unembellished

I had envisioned this with rick rack but after much desperate searching I came to the conclusion that the exact color of rick rack that I wanted does not exist. So, feeling quite disappointed, I went ahead and finished it without embellishments. But now that I see it finished I actually sort of like it plain. In fact, I think I might love it.

I used a blouse pattern, McCall’s 6076, view A, as a guide for the bodice, laying the center front line on the fold, and used a skirt and pockets from another pattern. And, as you can see, I cut an appropriate neckline. I finished the neckline and armholes with bias tape. I like that better than facings except that I can never make it lay flat and neat.

When I saw the fabric at Walmart I instantly fell in love with it. The flowers are dandelions!

It’s what Walmart calls “quilting cotton” but it’s actually a lighter weight than typical quilting cotton and, much as I love quilting cotton, this is a better weight for the really hot summer days. I’m going to be wearing this a lot. It could do with some accessories and I quickly tried adding a couple of items that I have on hand but when I saw the pictures I didn’t like the result but I might look around and see what else I can find to go with it. Still, I like it just fine as is.

Blue Is For Girls

This is so unbearably adorable I can hardly believe I made it myself.

It’s just a little big on her, which is perfect. She should be able to wear it for most of the summer. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3776. This is the second one of these that I’ve made. The first one is here.

Wardrobe for the Real World

A couple of weeks ago Jenny posted this excellent advice for wardrobe planning. It’s about sewing but it could be applied to purchasing RTW clothing as well. But I think it is a whole ‘nother level of problem for people who sew. It’s the clothes you imagine versus what you will actually wear.

I am always getting ideas. I get half a dozen or more ideas every day and it actually sort of hurts that I can’t make them all. But I am getting better about making clothes I will actually wear instead of making clothes that I love but that don’t suit me or my lifestyle or that I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing. Recently I actually refrained from buying a gorgeous fabric with pink roses on a white background because I figured it would likely end up being “too pretty to wear”.

It’s harder to get inspired to make the clothes I need, such as a particular color of slacks or skirt to go with a blouse that I made without regard to whether or not I have anything to go with it. Making slacks is rather boring and sometimes it’s hard to find the right color in a fabric that is acceptable to me. So this is sewing that gets put off while I sew more tops that won’t go with anything I already have. This is another great thing about summer dresses. They don’t need anything else. The only thing you have to worry about is what shoes to wear.

Roses and Lace

OMG! I LOVE this dress! I love the fabric, the colors, and I love the lace.

You might recall (if there was anyone actually reading this) last week I gave you a sneak peek of what I was working on. Well here it is, completed.

I used the bodice of Vogue 8789 and the skirt and pockets from another pattern because I don’t think I would be comfortable with the super-full 50’s skirt. It’s not perfect but the fit in the shoulders is better than my first version of this dress. When I first sewed the bodice front together the top edges of the lace came together perfectly but the bottom edges were about 3/8 of an inch off, which caused me a few moments of minor panic but all I had to do to fix it was pick apart about an inch of the center seam and about the same of the lace and just tugged on the lace a little and sewed it back together. So now it’s almost perfect.

I haven’t used lace very many times and this dress makes me think I should use lace and other embellishments more often. I remember my mother once criticizing someone we knew for not allowing her little girls to have ruffles on their dresses because they were “too hard to iron.” What I got out of that is that pretty is worth a little extra effort. It’s never been that I mind the effort either in sewing or taking care of the clothes. It’s just that I always think, “I never go anywhere to wear anything fancy.” But I wore this dress to Atwood’s and Walmart yesterday. This is not too much for everyday. There is a lot of territory between plain and fancy. And besides… there are no rules regarding when and where we are allowed to wear lace.

This ‘n’ That: Thursday Sewing Edition

[tap tap] Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? [chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp…]

I don’t have anything new to show off this week. I feel like I’ve been slacking off. I don’t have any particular schedule to keep but I always impose deadlines upon myself and end up feeling bad about not meeting them. Why do I do that?

Here’s a “sneak peek” at what I’m working on now. I took this with my phone. I was sewing on this lace and suddenly thought what a lovely picture it would make and I had my phone in my pocket so…

I had a bit of trouble getting the lace to line up correctly and a lot of trouble getting the darts to look just right but I finally decided that “as good as it will get” will just have to be “good enough” but after that I felt less motivated to move on to the next step and the next so I’ve been sewing on it just one little step a day.

I wanted to have another little baby romper, like this one, done by this weekend but I haven’t even started it yet so it’s probably not going to happen. I do feel this one is fairly urgent because babies grow so fast and I don’t want her to outgrow it before I finish it.

Maybe because of my slacking off on the current project, I’m not feeling quite so much urgency to get ten things finished by June as I did a couple of weeks ago but there are two or three more dresses I really want to get done soon. After that maybe I should concentrate more on quilts. Maybe.

Somewhere – I can’t remember where now – I came across a sewing blogger who had made a quilt dress out of scraps. I already sort of had the idea to do something like that. When I was six years old I begged my grandmother to make me a quilt skirt so of course she did. Now, I think about doing something like that but at the same time think it’s too crazy or too silly or too “poor farm wife” or something but seeing that someone else has done it… Well, still thinking about it. I do have a lot of little scraps.

And the ideas keep coming…

Batik in the Woods

I have had a long series of sewing projects that didn’t turn out quite right – that had some little detail, or in some cases not so little, that came out wrong and un-fixable or so much work to fix it didn’t seem worth the trouble. Or maybe my sewing has always been that way and it’s just bothering me more because I’ve been reading so many excellent sewing blogs lately. However, I have heard and read many times that it is bad form to point out all your mistakes and shortcomings so I’m going to try to stop doing that.

I went to the back yard for this modeling session. Yes, this is literally my back yard. (That’s supposed to be a “gazing dreamily into the distance” pose.)

The pattern is Simplicity 2957. I bought the main fabric at eQuilter two or three years ago and this is what I always planned to do with it but I put off getting some contrasting fabric because somewhere in the depths of the black hole (a.k.a. my closet) I have a small piece of solid fabric that I think is the right color. Finally, a couple of weeks ago I bought this dark red-purple batik from a local quilt shop.

(Please note, this might be the only time you ever see my shoes in a picture. My Birkenstocks just happened to almost match the dress so I wanted to show that once in a while I am coordinated even if it is by accident.)

This pattern has a sash in back but I hate sashes so I dealt with that in my usual way – elastic. I made four casings using standard bias tape and used quarter inch elastic. And, of course, I also added pockets because this pattern has none.

I like this dress even though, as I hinted above, it’s not perfect. It’s a nice, comfortable everyday dress and it’s just a little bit different (for me).

Some of you might remember that this was one of my unused patterns that I wrote about a while back. That’s two down already so it’s looking pretty good for my lame non-commitment to sew at least three them this year. (The first one is here) Stay tuned, as they say.