Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I was going to dress up for work today, but when I put on my old costume from high school, it was super wrinkled, and A took one look and asked what in the world it was. It's a queen costume in faux shiny satiny sea green (under dress) and royal blue (over dress) with silver trim. My mom made it for me from Simplicity 8725. I didn't even realize this pattern was out of print until I tried to find it just now!

Anyway, I didn't wear it, and by the time I decided not to, it was too late to lace myself into my Renaissance Festival costume, so it was a no-go today. Maybe I'll dress up for the kiddies this evening. I don't even have a pumpkin. I'm thinking about running out to get one and just leaving it on the porch not carved up, so I can cook it up into a pie or something later. Yum!
In addition to being Halloween, today is the last day of Blogtoberfest. (Yay Blogtoberfesters!) Did anyone post every single day? Including today, I've blogged 22 out of the 31 days in October, and I'd say 71% is pretty good. I started this blog on May 27 of this year, and in the last month, I've doubled my total posts since May. Craziness.

From now on, I'm going to write three posts a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I'll toss in an extra one if I've got more to say. :) Every day is a little too much for me, although I'll definitely participate in Blogtoberfest again next year. I really enjoyed it, and I loved looking through the other Blogtoberfesters' blogs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pinterest Parade #3

Lately, I've been preoccupied by coats. It's getting cold, and that tends to happen this time of year. I always have trouble finding coats that fit too, believe it or not. I really want a coat that covers my butt, but I can never seem to find something that fits in the shoulders but doesn't strain over my hips. I've been considering sewing up my own, but it's a little late for this year, and I don't really have the skills to do so yet. So I'm just oggling the coats and thinking that maybe I'll be good enough to stitch one up next year. Here's my Pinterest inspiration:

Ruffles down the front, and A-line from the waist.

Bustle-type ruffles on the back. I could do some inverted pleats on the back instead, to add some volume to the bottom of the coat.

Simple lines, but I love the scarf feel of the collar, with one side pulling through the other. I could also eat this color up, it's so delicious.

This coat is the exact shape I want. Everything about it is just lovely, except the color. White coats plus black dogs = always looking slightly dirty. Plus, I'm a clutzy, messy kind of person, and I can never keep white clean. Now, this jacket in gray with white buttons, that would be lovely.

This is the pattern I'm considering using for my jacket next year (Vogue 8346). It's kind of perfect, right? Just a little shorter, and another color. I might sew ruffles along the bottom too, maybe with an extra layer of ruffles on the back, just above the first layer. I could do a removable faux collar too, for extra warmth on super cold days. I'm excited just thinking about it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On My Project List

So, my project list just seems to keep growing and growing. Here's what I have on it right now:

Hem A's Renaissance cloak
Finish pink pinstriped Ginger
Sew red wool dress
Shorten vintage seafoam green dress and remove lace
Re-hem circle skirt (the hem is all out of wack, since I apparently didn't hang it long enough before hemming..whoops!) and add pleats
Make pillows for the bland loveseat
Embroider wedding album cover
Bind 2012 calendar for A (annual Christmas gift)
Knit scarf for my sister (told her I'd do this last year)
Knit scarf for my mom (she was admiring the one I made myself)
Cover keyboard base for A (essentially a piece of 1x4 that she'll use to raise the keyboard up to the level of the wristpad)

How many projects do you have in the works, or are you planning on finishing by the new year? How many do you think you'll actually finish? I'm not really sure about myself. Not really sure at all...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sales and Thrift Stores

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping. It's getting to be an addiction, and I think I really need to stop until I've sewn up the fabric I already have. It's just that I go to the store meaning to just get some muslin for pillow forms and cording for piping, and I find fabric that's so gorgeous and on sale, I can't resist. :)

I bought three yards of this patterned rayon. The drape is just amazing. I wanted two yards each of the dusty rose and the blue and white dot fabrics to make sheer blouses, but got just over a yard and a half of each. I bought them even though there's not enough for a long-sleeved blouse, and I might see if the other JoAnn's has more of them. If it doesn't, I'll just make short-sleeved blouses instead. Anyway, all three fabrics fit perfectly into my Fall Palette, but they're not exactly fall weather fabrics. Ah, well. I don't regret them at all!

I also stopped at one of our local thrift shops. I was anything but disappointed at the selection of their craft section. I'm excited to try out this Built by Wendy Simplicity pattern. I might use one of the fabrics I just bougt to make it up. I also found a tracing wheel, embroidery needles, lots of cool/pretty buttons, snaps, and tiny eyelets. I got it all for $3, which amazes me, because I never win anything and I never find anything for a steal. :)

I'm still working on my Ginger. Why I decided to use a pinstripe fabric I will never know. All those tiny stripes to match up! Also, I've discovered that it's slightly stretchy in one direction, which I'm hoping won't be a problem. :(

Monday, October 24, 2011

Much Love Mondays - Hair

Welcome to Much Love Mondays! Every Monday, I'll be sharing something I love about my body, and then I'll be handing out compliments like candy at a parade (can you tell I like parades?). It sounds kind of odd, I know, but if you bear with me through this long post, I'll explain.

One morning last week, an idea suddenly popped into my head fully formed. That happens sometimes; I'll walk around experiencing life, reading, watching, taking it all in, and an idea just sits forming in the back of my mind, and when it's ready, it pops up and introduces itself.

This one was born from things I've read on Sal's blog, Already Pretty, and on a blog/website called Olivine's Charm School, which I found through A Beautiful Mess. Wow, that was a whole lot of links for one little sentence. I've read so many things about how very few women can honestly say that they love everything about their bodies, and even the most "ideal" women have something they would change about their bodies if they could. There is so much body hatred/loathing/shame out there, and the inspiring women whose blogs I mentioned above are trying to break through that and help other women love the bodies they're in.

Julie Wray (of Olivine's Charm School), wrote a series of posts called "In Full Bloom - A Self Care Ritual Series." One of the things she wrote about was journaling and affirmations, where she suggests that you write a love letter to yourself that you will receive at some point you choose in the future. She also suggests that every time someone says something nice to you, you should write it down in a little journal, which you can then read whenever you're feeling down. I love this idea, but I'm going to change it up a bit, post it here to get each week off right, and share the love with you all.

Let's start with hair. I cannot tell you how many times I've received compliments that are variations on the theme, "I wish I had curls like yours, but you probably can't stand them!" My hair and I have a long and volitile relationship (that's another post altogether), but I really do love it, and while I love other women in straight hair, I think that my curls look perfect with my face.

My hair is never the same two days in a row. In fact, it can't be counted on to look the same two hours in a row, and I kind of love that about it. I'm a geminii; I can't help it!

I almost always wear my hair down (it's longer now than it's ever been), but when I do decide to put it up, my hair will stay without much work, and without any extra products like hairspray. When I take out the pins at the end of the day, it still stays up by itself! I'm growing it out to at least 24 inches, so I can donate some of my beloved hair but still keep it long for myself. I know. Selfish. :)

Also, I don't wash my hair every day.

Haha. No, really. I don't. This is my day two hair. My day three and four hair is similar, but, you know, different, because it's never exactly the same.

But enough about me. What about those other ladies out there with gorgeous hair? Casey, I adore your hair, and I love how creative you are with it. After discovering one of your hairstyle tutorials, I did my hair like that at least once a week for the rest of the summer. Check this girl out!

Oona, not only are you an extremely talented (and creative!) sewist (sewer? seamstress? I'm undecided about which term to use), but you also have amazing hair. I love seeing other girls rock their curls rather than trying to tame them. :) Back when I was dissatisfied with my hair, I used to wish it were curlier than it is, and I would have killed for hair like yours (one of my cousins has hair just like this, but white blonde, and I used to be soooo jealous of her!).

I read a sewing blog once and forgot to save it to my blog reader, but the author had the most beautiful long, straight, gray hair I've ever seen (if you know who I'm talking about, please let me know!). If my mom is any indication, I won't be going gray for a very long time, but when I do, this woman will be my hair muse.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Five Things

I've seen this floating around on other people's blogs, and I thought I'd try it out. Five things you probably don't know about me:

1. I hula hoop. Yes, I'm 27, and I own 3 hoops and have my eye on acquiring at least four more. I hoop with a few other people every Thursday evening, and I love every second of it. :)

2. I spent the first half of this year denying that I was 27. I want to be 26 forever. Before I was 26, I really just wanted to be 26. I don't know. It was like a magic age.

3. I've never left the country (And no, Canada doesn't count. You didn't even need a passport to go to Canada back when I was driving my sister over there to drink!). I've had a passport since 2006, when I graduated from college, and it's my dream to use it before it expires!

4. I hate television, but for some reason, it has become perfectly acceptable in my mind to watch old episodes of pretty much anything (and by old I mean anything that played at least a day ago!) via the Internet or Netflix on my iPad. Don't ask me why. I really don't understand it myself.

5. I have never drunk a cup of coffee. Yes, you read that right. I'll leave you in what I know is a state of shock over that. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

McCall's Patterns - Winter/Holiday 2011

The new McCall's patterns have been released. Have you seen them yet?

M6463 was my favorite at first glance. The chic neckline, the smooth line down the middle and the gathers at the hips all make for a great, modern dress.

But then I saw the back. No, not the back of the bodice. That's as adorable as expected. I don't know why, but the gathered skirt in that fabric makes the model's body look odd, and you know from the front view that she's not at all strangely shaped. Maybe it's just the hand of the fabric they chose, but either way, not my favorite any more.

I do like M6462, but without a serger, I'm a little wary of sewing with knits. It is pretty cute, though, don't you think?

I'm not a fan of the huge, baggy shirt version of M6461, but I could be interested in the bolero or the cardigan-style jacket.

I was a little surprised by my favorite. I love M6464, the Palmer/Pletsch sheath dress. I think of Palmer/Pletsch patterns as only useful as slopers, but this dress is actually really wearable. Think of the ways you could play with it! (It's a perfect canvas for fun details like the corded pintuck scallopsbias bands, and surface cording shown on the Colette blog.) It also has cap, 3/4 length, and full-length sleeve options.

And, just for fun, M6485:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Late to the Party: Sewing Productivity Project


I am chronically late to the party. Every party, even the parties that aren't actually parties. I just now discovered Tilly and the Buttons' Sewing Productivity Project. How have I missed that? I suppose the how of it is irrelevant, as I intend to participate even though it was clearly ages ago. :)

I'll report back in... well, November 1 seems like a good date. I'll do a Blogtoberfest recap and sewing productivity report all in one. Yay!

Monday, October 17, 2011

In My Blog Reader: A Beautiful Mess

Just a short note tonight. I spent most of my evening watching Pan Am and tracing the Ginger pattern, and I really need to start getting to bed at a reasonable hour so I can walk my dogs in the morning.

However, for your viewing pleasure, I'm linking you to one of the blogs in my reader. I have a terrible memory for pretty much everything, so please don't ask me how or when I found Elsie. I'm so glad I did, though. She writes a beautiful blog called A Beautiful Mess, where she writes tutorials, posts photos of her beautiful outfits, posts recipes (I haven't tried any yet, but the photos are gorgeous!), and writes about owning a vintage shop, among other things. Her style and enthusiasm are inspiring, and it's refreshing to read what she has to say.

Also, the colors in her outfit today are just gorgeous. Red and pink (in my fall palette!), with mustard yellow. So much pop and joy in one outfit!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pan Am Love and Inspiration

I've been watching Pan Am, and can I tell you how much I love the show? I know that some people are saying that it's like Mad Men, but without the oomph, but I think it's better. I've only watched one season of Mad Men, and I liked it, but there's not a single character I identify with or even like. I don't really feel a need to watch any more seasons of it. On Pan Am, I don't have trouble finding a protagonist I would like in real life, and that makes me want to watch every episode.

Also, the clothes are super cute. :)

I love both of these dresses. The neckline on the blue one is gorgeous, but I think it would be more flattering on me if it were slightly wider or lower. I love the black and red dress too.

I love Christina Ricci's character, and I also love this dress. Shorten it a bit, and I'd want to wear it every day. :)

Okay, so maybe I want everything in her wardrobe, including this green cardigan over that gorgeous green black? floral dress. The little satin ribbon at the waist is perfect too.

What do you think of the show? Love it? Hate it? Think it's a Mad Men wannabe, or exactly what you wished Mad Men was?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Trip to JoAnn

Today, I went to JoAnn to buy thread and a zipper for my Colette Ginger. Here's a photo of the pink mystery fabric with gray pinstripes and the gray lining from my stash that I'm going to use for it. I took a photo of that tonight:

While I was there, I also bought a yard and 7" (all that was left) of this gorgeous navy-on-white fabric. I saw it, and I couldn't resist. I have no idea what I'll make with it, but I'm in love. Maybe a skirt, if I can find a pattern that only needs 1 1/3 yards. In my haste to get it home, I forgot to take note of what it is, but I think it's a cotton broadcloth (I could be entirely wrong...I'm not good at identifying types of fabric yet!). If you've seen it and can recall, let me know!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Embroidered Wedding Album, Take #1

Note to self: blogging while traveling (even for work) is not actually possible. Always schedule blog posts ahead of time.

I'm getting a lot from Blogtoberfest, but after all the fun blogs I've found through it, the most valuable thing I think I’m getting from Blogtoberfest is inspiration for blog posts and a better understanding of what I need to do to post regularly.

Today, I’m just sharing the big project I’ve been working on. I’m embroidering the cloth that will be the bookcloth covering the photo album I’m making for our wedding photos. I’m dong it in gray-work—our colors were gray, green, and white, so black-work or red-work doesn’t really make sense. J It will look a lot like the save-the-date that I sent out before the wedding, sort of a page of doodles about our relationship. I obviously still have a lot of work, but I’m loving the way it’s turning out so far.

I’m excited to get home and start sewing and blogging on a regular basis again! Back to our regularly scheduled program this weekend. I hope you all have had a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pinterest Parade #2

I'm looking for fall inspiration, because every day, I'm either too cold or too warm. Need to start layering better!

Love the cuffed jacket sleeves, sheer-ish tights, boots, and scarf. Cute, but not too wintery.

I love this skirt and 3/4-length sweater, and the tights are great too. Not so sure about the hat... :)

I want this coat. A lot.

More layering, and cuffed sleeves on a jacket again. These girls are smart. I need to get myself a jacket!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blogtoberfest Goals Update

I did not post yesterday, and I'm not going to apologize for it, Blogtoberfest, because I was in Illinois, spending the weekend with A and I hadn't prepared a post in advance. When your spouse is long-distance, you simply don't spend time blogging when you're together. :)

I'm going to be out of town Wednesay through Friday, but that will be for work, so I'll have no problem posting. :) What that does mean, though, is that I won't have much time for sewing. Just tonight (after cooking dinner...a girl needs to eat!) and tomorrow night.

We are 10 days into October, and I thought I'd do an update on where I am with my October goals.

1. Complete my Circle Skirt Sew-along skirt. Completed and blogged about here. Casey also wrote a blog with the other sewists who participated in the Circle Skirt Sew-along, and they were so inspiring! I still think I'm going to add the pleat for a little extra something, but I'm really happy with the way it fits. It could also stand to be slightly shorter, but to be honest, I just can't imagine picking out the miles of hemming and re-doing it. I'll wear it all the time anyway, and I'll just cut down the next one. :)

2. Sew a red wool dress. I have the wool and lining and the vintage pattern I'm going to use, but I need to pre-wash the fabric. If it says "dry-clean only," can I hand-wash it anyway?

3. Put up photos of the sheet dress. This is done too, and blogged here. Love it!

4. Sew the Colette Ginger in the pink mystery fabric with gray pinstripes from my stash. This is going to be my next project. Hopefully, I'll be able to start it tonight (after dinner).

5. Bind at least one book every week. I haven't even touched my book binding table, and we're 10 days in. I'll probably scramble to bind four books at the end of the month!

6. Write a blog entry every day of the month. Umm...well, this goal is now to write a blog entry every day except October 9. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Circle Skirt - Completed!

Yay! My circle skirt (and first piece for the Colette Fall Palette Challenge) is finished!

Because of the wedding (and planning, and honeymoon), I started the skirt pretty late in the sew-along, and the only reason I was able to finish in time for the party was that the timeline got pushed back a bit. Some things are just meant to be. :)

One of those things was apparently not in-seam pockets. I stitched the side-seams together, realized I'd forgotten to insert pockets, picked the seams apart, and then proceeded to stich them together again the next day (without pockets). At that point, I just decided that this skirt was not destined to have pockets.

I used some more fabric from my sheet dress to make bias tape (my first time!) to finish the seams, and I'm so excited about how it turned out. So pretty.

I forgot to finish the raw edges of the patch before I stitched on the waistband, so I ended up pulling a few threads attaching the waistband close to the zipper and finishing it, then re-attaching those inches of waistband. :) Silly mistake, but it's all right now.

I didn't have the time to add the pleated strip at the bottom, but I'll be doing that early next week. Hopefully more pictures to follow, and another project soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shoe Clips: Yea or Nay

This is a completely random post, but I thought it would be fun for a quick weekend post. I just bought a super simple pair of nude pumps from Target last week, and I was thinking about making them a little more exciting with some pretty shoe clips.

The thing is, I'm not really sure if they're actually that comfortable. They don't sound comfortable. Something clipping inside your shoe, rubbing up against your tender toes, creating blisters.

They're super cute, but are they uncomfortable? Downright painful? And if they are, are they worth it? Any experience? Any opinions? Would you try them out if you haven't yet?

P.S. I found all of these gorgeous clips on Etsy...the photos are links to their webpages, and the names of their shops are below each photo and also linked. Please click on them if you love them! Etsy artisans are wonderful, and supporting them is even more wonderful!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

JCrew Lonsdale

I just got an email from JCrew (I'm on their list because I bought my sister's bridesmaid dress from them), and when I clicked on it, I discovered this:

Isn't it pretty? Doesn't it bear a striking resemblence to Sewaholic's new Lonsdale pattern?

That's all I have to say about it. Except that I really need a copy of that pattern in my life. It's so adorable. It's so Marilyn! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sewing vs. a French Film, -or- The Names of Love

I didn't sew today. I was planning on finishing my circle skirt, but I didn't even touch it. Instead, I went out with some old friends to see a movie downtown, which we followed with dessert (mango sorbet...yum...). It was a French film called The Names of Love. It was about an exuberant girl who takes "make love, not war" to a literal level and sleeps with right-wing conservatives in order to win them over to the left. She meets a scientist, and unlikely as it seems, they fall in love. I loved it. It made me laugh, and a few times it made me squirm in my seat...the kind of squirming you do when the character does or says something that they will probably regret later, and you know they're about to, but you can't do anything to stop it. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a film at one of the downtown theaters. It was probably Juno, which gives you an idea of how long ago it was. It was a nice way to spend the evening. And I can always finish my skirt tomorrow. I hope you all had a wonderful evening as well!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blue Daisy Dress (aka sheet dress) - Photos

Finally! I have my camera back, the weather is beautiful, and I wore my dress to work today, so I have photos for you. I wore the dress under my navy sweater with my new nude pumps, but when I got out of the office, it was gorgeous enough to lose the sweater, so sorry, no "multiple ways to wear it" post today. Definitely something for a later post.

Dancing. Or...figuring out how to use the timer on my camera... :)

Figured it out! This dress fits like a dream. Dream, I tell you. Are your dreams slightly snug around the ribs? Mine are.

And of course, a photo with the dogs. I adore them. They adore treats. You can see Onyx, but you have to look closely to spot Siri's brown nose and white paws. She's such a good girl! At least, she is when she sees a cookie.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lessons in Creativity

Lesson of the day: When having an inspiration block about an outfit, just talk to Mom.

I'm working on my Circle Skirt Sew-along skirt, and I'm happy with how it's coming along, but I've been having trouble with thinking of a way to make it into moe than just another blue skirt. I told my mom I'd been thinking about doing little pintucks at the bottom, but that obviously wouldn't work (or would be more trouble than it's worth), since the hem is a circle and pintucks are sort of straight. :) She suggested making a long bias strip and pleating it, then sewing that to the bottom, because a pleat cut on the bias would move with the shape of the hem. Genius, I tell you. I looked for a picture of what I have in mind when I got home, but I couldn't find anything quite like it. I guess that means it's pretty original. Or maybe I just need to think of better search criteria. Either way, the closest I could come was this pink top I found on Pinterest.

I think I'll only use one row of pleats instead of several, and I'll probably put it about an inch or half inch above the hem. I'm also not sure if I'll go with really loose pleats like these or more crisp pleats. I guess I'll just see what works, yeah?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pinterest Parade #1

Today I'm sharing three of my favorite pins from this week, a mini-parade of inspiration. As an aside, wouldn't it be amazing if you could go to a fashion show that was set up like a parade? Fashion bloggers would march past tossing candy to little kids, followed by floats carrying models in famous (and new!) designers' collections, and the owners of pattern companies (especially the small ones like Colette and Sewaholic) would dance by wearing their newest designs (with a little help from other seamstresses, because one or two people cannot wear all the designs they create!). It's so much fun in my head. :) I'll be the host/announcer.

I love the color and fit of this skirt, and the lace top is gorgeous, and that belt just pulls it all together spectacularly. I don't know what it is about white/cream lace and seafoam green, but it works. Hm. Actually, people always say you should use nature as your inspriation, so maybe that's why this works. The sea green topped with pale lace that mimics foam. Yup. Well, even without the analysis, it's gorgeous. :)

I just discovered Tanesha, who blogs at Girl with Curves, through a post by Sal at Already Pretty, and I love her. Her style is gorgeous, and she practically glows with confidence. She's also the same hourglass-pear shape as me (lots on the top, more on the bottom, and not much in the middle), and it's so nice to get inspiration from a girl who deals with the same fit issues!

I know I'm a little late to the game, but I just started watching Project Runway, and my favorite outfit showed up in episode 8. I would replicate this outfit head to toe, minus the sunglasses indoors. :) I especially love that bright stripe of goldenrod at the bottom. I'd look terrible with that color too close to my face, but it's perfect at the bottom of a skirt like this. Love.