Friday, January 31, 2014

Jungle January

I've done quite a bit of sewing thing month and didn't want to miss out on posting something for Jungle January. I did make an animal print top for myself but didn't love it. I can't locate it right now and it may have be place in file 13! Needless to say I am forced to post sew something for my all time favorite "person" to sew for...Barbie.

 I'd describe it as a swing coat. It's made with polar fleece using Simplicity 7601 circa 1991. The pattern is only two pieces and was super easy.

Here I added a faux leather belt (ie scrap of fabric)  for more waist definition and a more updated look. Expect to see more of this pattern using different fabrics. In a lighterweight fabric it could even double as a wrap dress!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Smokin' Decorating continued

I'm still making progress on the bedroom. I need to make two pillow shams to match the duvet cover and valances and one more decorator pillow. So far this year I have been all over the place. I've sewn home dec, fashion sewing and Barbie clothes. I don't think my sewing could be more eclectic than that. Right now my cutting table is littered with the remnants of everything I just named. The Barbies are the most visible with furniture, clothes and accessories. Enough about that. I'll leave you with a picture of the progress I've made on the home dec--two Euro and one decorator pillow.

I love the fabrics I chose as they look exactly like I envisioned them together.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Smokin' Decorating

What better time to work on my bedroom decorating than now. After all, the temperature is 23 below zero with the windchill. For the last couple of days I've sewn the valances for the windows. I'm very happy with how they've turned out.

I had my heart set on the trim, but was hesitant because I didn't want my bedroom looking like the "Biggest Little Whorehouse in Texas!" I do like the trim and am glad I used it. I picked up the entire roll of Wright's trim (12 yds) for a mere $4 at a local dollar store. Couldn't be that price with a stick!

Now I'm working on the duvet cover. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Barbie on the Brain

That's right I'm still in Barbie heaven.Who would of thought I'd still be at it. Every five years or sew I'd drag my Barbies out and either sew or knit them outfits. I have lots and would usually run out of gas before all were dressed. I'd put them back into their box and wait another five years or sew. Right before Christmas, the bug bit once again. I didn't immediately work on garments for them but the urge was still there. Little did I know that once I started I wouldn't be able to stop.

Each time I go into my sewing room, which is now strewn with Barbies in different states of dress, I am compelled to stitch a Barbie outfit before I get down to sewing for myself. Sometimes the sewing for myself never even happens! I've spent countless hours on YouTube and blogger discovering what other adult Barbie owners are doing. I tell you it is fascinating! I can't get enough. The houses, the furniture the, decorating. I'm all in! I actually rolled and restyled a Barbies hair and yesterday I pierced several Barbies ears and even made Barbie wire jewelry. I'm just having a ball. I already know I'll be building my own Barbie diorama and am trying to figure out how to paint my Barbie "studio" apartment. It's actually a three room single level house that it extremely boring. Stay tuned if you're interested and if not remember "it's my party."

Check out the jewelry I made.

Cute isn't it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sequin Pencil Skirt

I'm still in throes of sewing for my Barbies but I am still making time to sew for myself as well. I recently saw someone at my church in a sequin pencil skirt and immediately knew I'd have to have one of my own. The fabric is a sequin sweater knit from JoAnn's and was 60% off when I got it. I bought 3/4 of yard.

Today my photographer had even less patience than normal. It's freezing outside and the wind was brutal but we both persevered. The skirt is lined with tricot and for comfort I added a solid knit fabric for the elastic casing. I didn't employ any special techniques for sewing the sequins. I used a regular needle in both the machine and the serger.

The Cynthia Rowley sweater is the perfect compliment for the skirt. Barbie just had to get in on the action with her version!

It might be time for me to concentrate for some outerwear for both Barbie and myself!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Barbie OOTD Day 4

Even Barbie takes a day off and has "casual Friday."

For most of the day she lounged around in yoga pants in black Slinky and a multi-colored, strapless sweetheart neckline top. A super cute necklace and pink mules finished off her outfit. For a quick trip to the store she could easily add her favorite "moto" style jacket.

Here the top is worn over the strapless pleather mini dress. The moto jacket easily pairs with the top and dress for keeping warm on cooler nights. It's not over yet. More outfits to come.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Barbie OOTD Day 3

The Barbies and I are still here and having a ball. I say "Barbies" because they're are at least 50 in my stash including my original from about 1961! No she's not in the box but she's still just as precious to me. She might make an appearance on the blog before the year is out!

The husband thinks I'm crazy not as in "an old woman playing with dolls" kind of way but in a "I can't believe you're sewing those tiny clothes" kind of way. Barbies are littering the kitchen counter because the lighting is better. He's now accusing them of getting into the cake and stealing wine! He has gone so far as to suggest she might be partaking in the "world's oldest profession!" WTH. Barbie? Never. He was really tickled when I told him that Ken is considered "an accessory." I thought that's what all men are. LOL.

Here's a quick bit of Barbie history before we get into the OOTD. The first Black Barbie can on the scene in 1980 although white Barbie she did have a black friend, Christie, who was introduced in 1969. So what is the difference. Christie had visibly different facial features from the typical white Barbie. Today most white and black Barbie's are made with the same popular face mold.

Now onto OOTD...

Here Barbie is wearing a strapless stretch pleather mini dress. It features bust darts, a sweetheart neckline, gathered waist and velcro closure. I added topstitching along the neckline and removed 1" from the length. Unfortunately you can't really see her fabulous T-strap heels in an electric blue which match her earrings and ring. The pattern is Simplicity 7601 circa 1991. It does look rather "dominatrix" doesn't it?

Keeping on the theme of the wardrobe. Barbie has added the "moto" jacket from Day 1. Ever the fashionista, she added ankle boots and a belt (scrap of fabric) for a Matrix ala "bad girl" look! More tomorrow. Give Barbie some love if you like what we're doing!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Barbie OOTD Day 2

Today is day two of the six piece Barbie capsule wardrobe. It was by sheer accident that this ended up being a wardrobe. So without further ado here's pieces three and four of the capsule.

For a stylish daytime look Barbie is wearing a pullover featuring front with long cut-on sleeves, solid black back and elastic waist pencil skirt. She's finished her look off with statement earring and added a bit of "edge" with motorcycle boots. Of course she can't get her day started without coffee and maybe a tiny sliver of cake!

This time she let her hair turned the long sleeve top around to display the solid black back. The look...both stylish and edgy.

Finally Barbie has added the "moto" style jacket and amped the look up a bit by changing into stylish ankle boot for a date night with her main man Steve. His sweater is machine knit (by me) with embroidered initial and coupled with dress slacks. Do they look like a "power couple" or what? Look out Jay and Bey. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Barbie OOTD

I've wanted to make doll clothes for quite some time. Another blogger recently did and it finally pushed me over the edge. I have tons of Barbie's. People find out I like them and lo and behold more are gifted to me than I really want. I dug out a few and have been having a great time making them new outfits.

Here Barbie is wearing a "moto" style, cut-on short sleeved jacket. It's paired with a houndstooth ponte skinny pant and mid-calf boots. She also added "statement" earrings for a pop of color. LOL. Actually the "jacket" is a top worn backward. Both pieces are from Simplicity 1046. The pattern is dated 1990 so I'm sure it's OOP. Stay tuned. I'll be featuring a different garment everyday this week.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Did You Notice?

I didn't watch the Golden Globes but I did see pictures on the net of Kerry Washington. She was beautiful as ever but...

Her stylist or someone should have had alterations done to the "too high" bust points on that dress! I guess I am now officially a member of the "Fashion Fit Police."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lesson in procrastinating

This is what procrastinating gets you.

Last year I told him to get the snowblower fixed and to purchase the blade for our tractor. Any questions?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Once I get started

Remember the song by Rufus and Chaka Khan? It's how I feel about making bras. I've started and just can't stop. Could be that a few of my bras are looking kind of ratty. Today I tried my hand at dyeing a finished bra. After hearing so much about the Dylon brand, now available at JoAnns I figured, "Why not?" It's not as if I'm going anywhere anytime soon, what with 16" of snow on the ground!

Using Flamingo Pink dye, this is what I got...

Very interesting results. The lace took the color marvelously but the "Simplex" not so much. The "Powerknit" is more the color I envisioned the results to be. The hooks and eyes also took the dye very nicely as well.

Just had an interesting phone call. Andrea from Knit-Knac just told me I used the wrong kind of dye if I was expecting a uniform color I should have used iDye poly or Dharma Trading Co. Okay. Lesson learned. I also made sample cups using two different fabrics to make a Elan (530) bra. Using my "bra frame" was a tremendous time saver. Using one fabric I need to go down a size while the other fabric just needs to be trimmed down and reshaped. I love the "bra frame" and will save it and continue to insert and remove the cups to "audition" different cups. Stay tuned for another finished bra. I think I'm going to move all of my bra posts to another tab so that I can reference them more easily and visitors can as well.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Pin-Up Girls Shelley Bra Review

I'm bound and determined to make well-fitting bras for myself. Bra making is not for everyone but if you are not happy with the fit of RTW bras, what have you got to lose? Since my recent discovery of using a "bra frame" I'm even more excited about making more bras.

Pin-Up Girls "Shelley" bra review

Pattern Description:
Taken from the Bra-makers web page: The designer bra you've been waiting for from Pin-up Girls! This stylish full band bra can be made with or without underwires and features a power bar for push-ahead support, as well as a split lower cup for extra room. It has been specially designed to use with Simplex and other low-stretch fabrics, which give the best support and a flattering profile. This pattern is available in 90 sizes. Be sure to pick the size range that suits your needs. Each pattern has 20 sizes included in the envelope! The patterns have both French and English instructions!

Pattern Sizing:
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I didn't use the instructions as this is not the first bra I've ever sewn and I have a construction method I'm satisfied with. I will say that I did glance over them and advise that you follow the written instructions and not the pictures. Make sure you mark your pieces properly. I'm still confused by the instruction for the straps but like I said, I used my own method

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the 4-piece cup using lace. I don't like that the cup has a very "70's" shape and don't like that not enough information is given about how much to stretch the elastic when applying.

Fabric Used:
Simplex, Powerknit and lace. The Simplex is available from Bra-makers Supply. The service is wonderful but they are located in Canada and the shipping is somewhat pricey. The Powerknit is from Sew Sassy Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I used an E-cup but wound up removing about a 1/4" from the cup to take some of the "point" out. I used the band from the Anne St. Claire "Queen Bra Elite" pattern and added hook and eyes for the back 4 hooks high. I also drafted my own straps.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'll use the cups again now that I have the right shape and fit. This is a full-coverage bra and is not suitable for deep-v necks or otherwise cleavage "showing" garments.

I would not recommend this as a first bra-making attempt but if you're experienced I think it is a nice one to have in your stash. I'd also recommend reading this post.

Bra making discovery

I've been fairly quiet for two reasons. One is I haven't felt like blogging and the other is because I am on another bra-making binge. I've sewn at least six bras with only one fitting. That is a complete bummer. If you don't already know, You have to nearly complete the bra before you can try it on. Of course by then it's too late to make alterations. I've used up a fair amount of supplies and I'm desperately in need. All is not lost. I've made an amazing discovery and I hope this discovery will help someone.

The main problem in bra making is finding the correct cup size and shape. Like ready-to-wear, bra pattern sizing is strictly up to the designer. The easiest part to fit on a bra is the band. If you have bras that you've made previously with ill-fitting cups don't fret. Below is my solution to having to sew a complete new bra each time you want to try a different pattern.

Retrieve a previously sewn bra

Cut the cups out of the bra

Be sure to leave at least 1/4" of fabric around the inside "frame"

Remove wires if added

Now you have your very own "bra frame!" Construct new cups and attach to 1/4" seam allowance of frame using 3.5 mm stitch size and reinsert wire (if needed).

Actually I only constructed one cup. From it I was able to determine how to alter the cup and where. Although my frame is from a partial band bra, I used it for a full band bra and it worked like a charm. It was the first time I had success with a new bra pattern without using the "Goldilocks" bra making formula. You know the one...this one's too big, this one's too small, this one's just right. If you ever get into bra making, file this tip away for future use! You can easily remove the cups for future uses.

I'll be back in the next couple of days with photos and reviews.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and rest of this year is the same! Now it's time for a recap of my favorite garments from 2013.

I'm still having a love affair with dresses and skirts! I can't remember that last time a made a pair of slacks. I've made lots of leggings but in my book, those don't count. I only had a few sewing bombs.

A couple of garments really tested my patience but in the end, I showed them who was boss!

I attempted my first "knock-off" which I surely label a smashing success!

I also got "sucked in to" making a dress for my SIL. I hate sewing for people but sewing for her was a pleasure. I nixed the pattern and fabric she chose. I chose a pattern and fabric and she was agreeable at every stage. I'd sew for her again without giving it a second thought. The dress was a whooping success and fit beautifully.

I love sewing. I don't remember a time in my life when sewing wasn't an integral part. I love the garments I make and wear. At my pattern size (20), I like being able to sew and fit a garment as the designer intended. I don't have a TNT pattern that I am able to use to get me started. Each garment is started from scratch and is really a "crap shoot" as to whether or not it will fit.

My sewing resolutions for 2014 are to use fabric and patterns that are already in my stash. I also want to make more bras and panties and finally I want to sew some shirts for my husband. Not too lofty for resolutions but something I should certainly be able to accomplish!