Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Modified Glass Onion

When we moved to Big Piney, WY three months ago, I was sort of greiving my loss of Goodwill and some other favorite thrift stores I often frequented {read: visited nearly everyday}. It was really missing the experience of discovering hidden gems for mere pennies. When I was finally coming to terms with my new way of life, sans thrift stores, someone told my husband about a thrift store in a town 5 minutes from Big Piney. It couldn't be that good though, right? I mean there are only 1500 people to donate, its not going to be good, thought I. 

I was sooo wrong! It is a super fun thrift store, and its pretty big. My little heart did a happy dance for sure. The best part is they have a decent size fabric section full of vintage fabric and pure gems! Life crisis averted. I have found so many fun things in their fabric section, one of them being this purple, weird, wool like fabric, backed with a smooth and silky polyester. It is super cozy and perfect for winter. I would never find anything like this at a big name store. And I paid $2 for an entire yard of this mystery fabric. Score!

Some fabric you just know exactly what you want to make with it - and that was the case with this stuff. Shwin Designs has this pattern called The Glass Onion Top and it is a definitely a go to of mine. I think this is the fourth top I have made from this pattern, but my first long sleeve version. Instant love.

This pattern is called the Glass Onion Top because in the original pattern, the back is two pieces that curve and overlap, giving it two layers, like an onion! While I love the original pattern, hemming curves is not my favorite thing, and I also didn't love how in the wind the back flaps would expose Avery's back. In case you didn't know, Wyoming is sort of windy. So I came up with an easy solution to fix both problems I was having.

I drafted a new back yoke, using the original pieces to get the scoop just right in the back, and the length just right so it would match the seams from the front yoke. 

Then I simply cut two skirts, instead of one. And actually in this particular shirt, since the fabric is think and doesn't drape well, I reduced the width of the skirt for the front and back by one inch on the fold. I did this to reduce extra bulk and extra puffiness that my thick fabric would be prone to doing.

Can you tell my model is watching TV during this photoshoot? Hey, whatever gets her to hold still for me, right? Right.
This is the first thing I have made in a while that I am absolutely in love with. Sometimes it can be really hard to make the right fabric choice with the right pattern. I don't normally get both parts right, but sometimes I get lucky :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Miss Ruby Tuesday

Let me introduce you to the Miss Ruby Tuesday dress, aka "The Only Knit Dress Pattern You Will EVER Need." I was, once again, super honored and excited to be selected as a pattern tester for this dress. The designer of the pattern, Ann with 1 Puddle Lane Pattern Studio really did a great job with this one. There ended up being 4 revisions on the bodice. I can't imagine redrafting a pattern 4 times, but I am so glad she is a perfectionist, because this dress fits like a dream.

There are all the sleeve options you can imagine (sleeveless, faux cap sleeve, short sleeve, elbow length, 3/4 sleeve, and long). There are a few skirt options too: full circle, half circle, and gathered. 
The dress I sewed up as a tester is a 3/4 sleeve, half circle. I have a little tummy pooch from bearing 3 children and, you know, being a human person who likes food a lot, so I was worried this dress wouldn't be flattering on me. Silly me. Not to toot my own horn, but I don't hate myself in this dress. Just sayin'.

Part of the deal with pattern testing, is you have to submit semi-pro, modeled  photos of garment. That meant I, as in myself, had to get IN FRONT of the camera and model?? This was way out of  my comfort zone. In one way, I really hated this part, but in another, I'm glad it forced me to actually have some decent photos of myself to show my kids 20 years from now. Look, I did exist, kids!

I commissioned my husband, Steve, to take the pictures. He was 100% on board when I told him we should go into the Wyoming mountains to do it. If I even mention the word "mountain" he is there in a heartbeat, ha! I think he did a pretty dang good job with the pictures -  and best of all, he made me feel totally beautiful during the whole process. And lucky for us, all 3 kids fell asleep on the drive to the mountains, so these pictures were taken without any children distracting us, it was kind of amazing. 
I don't always do selfish sewing, but when I do, its probably going to be another version of this dress!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mini Button Up

I really like pattern testing. Lately I have been doing quite a bit, and the latest pattern I tested was by a designer that is seriously admire. Lil Luxe Collection! Jessica's designs are so fashion forward and her patterns are a sewers dream. It was such an honor to become part of her testing team for her new collection.
One of her latest releases is the Mini Button Up Blouse. And tomorrow is the last day you can grab it for 30% off. I LOVE this shirt so much. Its classic, stylish, the fit is spot on, and like I said, her instructions are flawless.
I actually got this fabric from the local fabric shop, in my tiny town of 500 people. It was sort of exciting to find something there and know exactly what pattern it would pair perfectly with. And bonus points for me for having the exact color of pom-pom trim on hand. Love happy coincidences like that.

The only modification I made was lengthening it about 1.5" inches. Avery is tall for her age, so it definitely wasn't a pattern issue, just a super tall and skinny thing. One of the reasons I love sewing her wardrobe; custom fit baby!
Have I mentioned that I love this pattern? It has so many professional touches and details. I have always felt a little intimidated by collar stands, but Jessica takes the fear out of it and makes it so simple. It doesn't get better than this pattern my friends.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Make It Mine Challenge!

I am participating the the Make it Mine Challenge this year, hosted by Whimsical Fabric. Basically, they give you three fabric line choices, from Art Gallery fabrics, that you must feature in your designs, and you can enter multiple projects. The winner gets a Janome sewing machine and tons of beautiful fabric, gift cards, and free patterns. It was a no brainer to compete in this.

I was naturally drawn to the Curiosities line. It took me a good while to figure out exactly what patterns to use and with which fabric. I am happy I took my time when ordering the fabric, because I am in love with how my projects turned out. I have also never sewn with Art Gallery fabric before, and I must say, it was so nice. I may be addicted.

My first outfit is the City Girl Romper by Lil Luxe Collection. I modified it slightly by adding sleeves. It was the first time I had ever drafted a sleeve pattern from scratch, and there were definitely some outtakes before I got it right.

My second project is a knit cardigan. I used the Aster pattern from Willow and Co. My love for this pattern runs deep.

My third project is the Limon Dress, also from Willow and Co. They really put out some amazing patterns.

Those pleats!!

All three fabrics are from the same line, so they all coordinate perfectly. I wanted to create different looks using the same pieces, and layering is a great way to accomplish that. I had some left over fabric, so I made some accessories also. Namely, a fabric necklace with marbles inside, a hair bow, and an infinity scarf. So fun for fall!

Now for the fun pictures....modeled! Avery was such a good sport. It was actually really cold during our photo shoot, so she tried her best to not shiver during it all. Poor girl.


I really loved creating these interchangeable outfits, and participating in this amazing contest. Even if I don't win, Avery has some awesome wardrobe staples now, I have some dang cute pictures of my growing girl, and I got learned some new skills. Can't beat that.

Off topic true story: while taking these pictures, in the Wyoming wilderness, we quite literally heard a bear roar/growl pretty close to us. That quickly wrapped up our photo shoot. "C'mon, into the car, in the car, hurry, hurry." I was totally freaked out, especially since it was just Avery and I. When we got in the car Avery said, "Whew! That was close! We won't get eaten now, mom." My heart is still racing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Art Museum Trousers for Dutch

My little guy has one pair of trousers that he wears every Sunday. They are the only ones that fit his skinny little body well, and the only ones he looks adorable in. Unfortunately Dutch has outgrown said pants and has been wearing high waters to church for the past couple of months. Its so funny when I compare his wardrobe to my girls'. They have at least 8 dresses each that they could rotate between each Sunday...and Dutch has one single, solo outfit. I sort of love how minimal it is with boys and really, how little I care about what he is wearing.

That said, I couldn't deny anymore that the dude needed some new church pants. I looked online (since I can't physically shop anywhere now that I live in very rural Wyoming) and didn't really find anything I liked. Old Navy had a decent option, but they were $17 bucks! So I decided I would make him some new ones, and learn some new skills while I was at it, since I don't sew pants that often.

I researched a ton of patterns, and finally settled on the Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers. It was the most expensive pattern I have ever bought, but the great thing about patterns is I can use it over and over again as he grows. So I look at it more as an investment, plus an opportunity to become a more well-rounded seamstress. At least that's what I'm telling myself, and my husband. 
To off-set the cost of the pattern, for the fabric I up-cycled a pair of thrifted pants I got for a whopping 25 cents. Score!

Friday, August 28, 2015

E+M No. 19 Dress

Why, hello there! Remember when  I was blogging about my sewing creations on a regular basis? I went on a short little hiatus from sewing due to the fact that we moved to WYOMING!! With all that goes into moving across state lines (with three small children), there was no way I could justify spending my time at the sewing machine. It was a sad time for me, in a lot of ways. But the craziness of the move is now over, and I have been super busy sewing up a pre-school wardrobe for my little Avery. So stay tuned, those blog posts are coming soon.

About a week before we got the news about our move to Wyoming, I was honored to be a tester for E+M's No. 19 dress. I was assigned to do the size 2 with the short sleeve option. It can also be made sleeveless, cap sleeves, or a flutter sleeve.

Picking fabric is always what takes me the longest. I finally settled on a rust rayon fabric I had in my stash. I love how flowy rayon is - I think it was perfect for this pattern.

I love the way the elastic casing was designed in this dress. It makes it so the top of the dress drapes so nicely. And those pleats! I love little details like that.
Definitely a keeper of a pattern. So glad I was able to be a part of the testing process.