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Romper: Love or Hate?

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Hmmm.  As you can tell by my last few blog posts I am in LOVE with Seamwork magazine and their digital patterns.  I love getting the email each month and checking out their new patterns (2 each month for only $6).  As soon as I saw last months Layton Romper I knew I had to make one.  Rompers are all over the place now and although I had no idea if this style would actually be wearable on me I had to try it out.  The ease of a dress and the comfort of shorts=win.  Well, in theory at least!  I can’t tell if I absolutely love this on me or totally hate it.  I really can’t decide.  Part of me is proud of the confidence I feel when I have it on, the other part feels embarassed to leave the house.  This is a problem.

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There were numerous problems in the execution of this pattern as well.  I made up an XL as per my usual sizing in Seamwork patterns but lengthened the shorts by 2 inches for fear of them being too short.  I also eliminated the slits in front.  Problem is it came out HUGE.  HUGE.  As in I had to make several alterations- cutting open the shoulder seams and shortening the straps by 2 inches or so, and hacking into the side seams to narrow the bodice and the shorts by a few inches as well.  Unfortunately this wasn’t the only problem..the torso is too short on me as well.  The top is really meant to blouse over and it doesn’t.  The rise on the shorts is too long, and the torso is too short in my opinion.  ugh.  Is it wearable though- sure.  Hopefully.  Here are a few shots of the side and back for blog purposes only- I don’t think I will ever show this view to the public- not without a cardigan to cover it up!

Once I realized this wasn’t working I immediately hacked up the pattern and cut the size Large and sewed up a version in a printed fabric.  I lengthened the bodice piece by a few inches, and kept the shorts as is.  It is not going to be photographed- not a good look!  I am not sure if it is the slimmer size, or the print of the fabric but I feel like a am wearing pajamas…and not in a good way.  I am determined to make this pattern work and will lenghten the bodice a few more inches (again) and try it in a solid again and see how it works!  For now I will wear this with a cardigan and wedges and “think” I look stylish.  Maybe.

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*Kudos to my 6 year old for snapping these pics on my cell phone after school today- not too bad!

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

Remember that song.  Yikes, total flashback.  Weather around here has been crazy hot the last few days, today it is over 90 degrees…which for Buffalo is really friggin’ hot!  This heat makes everyone miserable, tired and on edge.  Since our house does not have air conditioning, and my sewing room is in the attic I haven’t been doing much of any sewing that is for sure…but I’ve been dying to so I finally sucked it up and headed upstairs this morning.

IMG_4492I bought this fabric about a month ago from Joann’s (shocker!) and I meant to make a maxi dress for my trip to Charleston but never had a chance.  Then I told myself I’d make one before we headed to Montreal (post coming soon), but that never happened either.  So when I realized I had a few hours to myself this morning I decided to suffer through a few hours of heat misery and got to work.  Nothing like sewing in your bra while sweat drips down your back.  Isn’t that a visual?  Gross.  This was quite a challenging sew when it should’ve been really simple and straightforward.  I guess it is hard to concentrate when you are so uncomfortable!  In the end I love how it turned out, even though it took twice as long to make because I made a few mistakes and the fabric was a bit of a nightmare to keep straight and even.  It is a light slub knit, and it kept slipping and was very, very hard to cut on the fold without the bottom layer totally shifting.  Ugh.  Nightmare. I am completely in love with this print though so I was determined to make it work!

IMG_4486I used a new pattern for me:Simplicity 1358, view A.  A simple scoop neck maxi dress.  Unusual for me in that it does not have any sort of gathering, or elastic…just a simple pull over style with no defined waist.  I love it!  A few months ago I would have never had the confidence to wear this body skimming style but I am so glad I gave it a shot.  My body has been changing these days, between my weight loss and running so I think its about time for some of my clothing styles to change too.  I think this dress will work well as I continue to lose weight, and looks great belted as well.

IMG_4500For now it fits well, is loose enough to be comfortable but hopefully avoids looking too tent like.  I made the XL size, with no modifications other than I chose not to hem the bottom.  This is probably out of sheer sweatiness or laziness, but also I prefer the look and didn’t want to worry about a wonky hem or to spend any more time in the attic!

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Charleston, SC

I really feel like this summer is flying by!  I guess it is due to the crazy fun we’ve been having with our vacations, parties and get togethers.  That’s what summer is all about though right?  Because of all of this fun, I have been neglecting my sewing machine a bit to get outside and enjoy myself.

We just returned from a weeklong trip to visit friends in Charleston, SC.  What an amazingly beautiful city.  Some of the highlights of the trip included a day at Isle of Palms beach, a carriage ride through historic Charleston, a visit to the tea plantation and a morning at the Magnolia Plantation.  Absolutely breathtaking.  This post will be mainly pictures as they really speak for themselves.

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We also ate at some really cool places- including Taco Boy restaurant, and Barsa- a spanish tapas bar/restaurant with the most delicious paella.  The girls got into it by eating octopus and calamari.  I couldn’t help but take a few pics.

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It was the most perfect vacation; a blend of relaxing with friends and seeing the sights of the city.  I can’t wait to go back again!

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ART PARTY!

The day after we got back from Charleston was my little’s birthday!  To celebrate we hosted an ART PARTY for her and her friends.  What a blast.  I completely got sucked into Pinterest in planning this one…so much fun.  We made art portfolios for each of the girls, and put out markers, paints, stickers and pens for them to decorate them while we prepared for the main activity.  They loved it and the portfolios were super simple to make and served as a great way for the girls to transport all of their masterpieces home when the party ended.  I picked up poster board from the Dollar store, and folded it in half, using decorative duct tape I sealed up the sides.  By folding the duct tape in half into itself I made handles and simply taped them on…the most difficult part was trying not to get the tape stuck to anything else while doing this!  We made an assortment of colors and styles for the girls to choose from.

For our main activity we did Suminagashi- Japanese marbling.  I purchased this kit on Amazon, and we used inexpensive marker paper from Target.  A few roasting trays from the Dollar store worked great to fill with water.  This is an easy and impressive craft to do with kids, it was a huge hit.  You can view a great video tutorial on it here.  I have a feeling we’ll be doing this alot more, but next time I will invest in the paper recommended in the video.  But for our purposes the cheap paper worked well. We only used a tiny bit of the paint for the party- even though we made around 25 prints so this is really economical and even some of the parents jumped in and couldn’t resist making a few of their own.

The girls also did spin art using a thrifted salad spinner I picked up.  I cut small squares of watercolor paper and the girls squirted liquid watercolors on top of their paper after placing it into the salad spinner.  They put the top on and started spinning as fast as they could.  They then took the top off to reveal their painting.  We had an area with clothesline and clothespins to hang their art to dry.

The best part?  The rainbow cake and paintbrush rice krispy treats.  The face painting and snow cones were a hit too!  My iPad is making posting difficult so all my pics are below!

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Summer Style

I’ve come to realize that up until now my summer style has been way too predictable.  Capri leggings with tunics or dresses.  That’s it!  I told myself this had to change.  While comfortable, I needed to branch out of loungewear and wear some real clothes.  Or, as my husband used to call it- daywear into evening wear into sleepwear.  In other words I was wearing clothes that sometimes transitioned into pajamas!  Yikes.  First step in changing this is replacing the leggings with skirts.  Easy.  Using this tutorial from MADE I whipped up a pattern according to my measurements to make a simple knit pencil skirt.  While I’ve attempted to do this myself in the past for some reason I never thought to slice off inches from the top and bottom of the skirt to give it some shape.  What a difference it makes!

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This is made using a navy floral ponte de roma from Girl Charlee.  I had originally purchased 3 yards with the idea of making a dress, but when I washed and went to cut the fabric I noticed horizontal runs through most of the yardage!  What I was able to salvage was not enough to make a dress at all…so this skirt was born.  I’ve already worn it countless times and have recieved many compliments.  Once my attic sewing room cools off a bit I may whip up a few more for when I return to work in the fall.  They are ridiculously easy and quick to make and make me feel put together with virtually no effort.  Just as easy as the capri leggings but much more stylish!

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Modified Moneta

I’ve been in a bit of a sewing slump lately.  Feeling frustrated with my serger that just refuses to work, fabric I have on hand in quantities less than what I need to actually make anything in my size, and patterns that just aren’t working out!  I have made a few versions of a vintage pattern I own and have been trying to get the fit right, using fabric I am really not in love with.  To get myself out of this rut I went fabric shopping!  I went to Joanns for some knit fabric because I haven’t had the best luck buying knits online and unfortunately they are the only local store that carries them.  Booo!!  Anyways, armed with my coupons and a free hour I made a quick run there, came home and washed the fabric and a few hours later ended up with this!

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This is why I love tried and true patterns…so quick and painless.  Although I love the challenge and excitement of trying new patterns, there is something so satisfying as sewing something you KNOW you are going to fit into and love.  I did modify the pattern this time though so it was a bit of a gamble.  The Moneta often makes me feel like I am all boob- know what I mean?  The bodice is so short on it, I feel like I have boobs and then a super gathered waist right below them!  I wanted to try to lengthen the bodice to avoid the look of having boobs at my waist.  So, for this version I lengthened the bodice about 2 inches, and I removed a great deal of the gathers to make do with the 2 yards of this fabric I purchased.  I actually really like how it turned out, and I love that I only needed 2 yards!  I did fully line the bodice in the same fabric and added the pockets as well.

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Not bad for under $20!  Due to my serger being on the fritz I sewed this baby up using the stretch stitch on my machine- works just as well as the serger but it takes forever in comparison.  Oh well, I must try to be more patient.  Overall I am in love with this dress, I may even prefer the less gathered skirt although this more body skimming look may take some getting used to!

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I decided to wear it to my little girl’s Kindergarten Celebration (I’ll be blogging about her dress next!).  Don’t we look smashing in our homemade frocks?

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Another Polly

I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired (or lazy?) in terms of sewing lately.  Maybe I am preoccupied by other things? Running, Orange is the New Black, avoiding housework.   Hmm…or maybe sometimes I just need a simple project to get me back into the groove.  I decided I needed to beef up my summer wardrobe a bit and thought whipping up a few tanks would be perfect.  One of my favorite free patterns is the Polly top by  By Hand London.  I made it last year too.  My favorite part?  No darts.  Not that darts are really that intimidating- but having to often worry about the placement of them when you’ve got a big chest can be a pain.  The Polly top is super simple to put together, simply by easing in the front center panel alleviates the need for darts and offers up a really nice and quick top.  With its pull on design and opportunity to do a contrasting fabric it is super quick and gives you a chance to use smaller bits of fabric for the accent.

IMG_2863I picked up this sweet retro floral quilting fabric a week or so ago and paired it with a light denim to make this top. The neckline and armholes are done with a store bought bias tape. I used the largest size (same as my version last year), but given that I’ve lost about 10lbs recently I think I need to cut a size down next time- I can really see it billowing out in a few of these pics and I think it would be more flattering if it were more fitted.   My measurements don’t really indicate that I should use a smaller size by their measures…but this seems to have a great deal of ease.

IMG_2891IMG_2865For now though, it is comfortable, effortless and keeps me cool in the horribly humid weather we’ve been having these days!  Not aiming for perfection I had my 8 year old shoot these from the least becoming angle possible from down below…oh well!

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Amy Butler Staple Dress

Well, since I promised another blog post on the Staple dress (and I was wearing it today!) here goes…

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This is actually the second staple dress I made, my first was a midweight denim fabric I scored at a yard sale for $5.  In other words; fabric I wouldn’t be upset about wasting on a muslin.  I may or may not ever wear it- but it worked for testing out the pattern and size before cutting in the fabric I really wanted to use…this beautiful Amy Butler voile (Josephine’s Bouquet in Ink).  I had been eyeing this fabric online for over a year and finally gave in and ordered it from fabric.com when it went on sale.  Sadly they don’t seem to have it anymore.  I only had 2 yards but since it is a generous 54inches wide I was able to squeak out a Staple Dress out of it.  Or maybe a Staple tunic if you consider it is way too short to wear without pants.  Or my choice: leggings.  My all time favorite staple in my wardrobe!  The leggings I mean…and I guess this Staple dress now as well!  I have worn this at least once a week since I made it last month.  Love it!IMG_20140807_125050

These pics were taken outside the girls swim lessons today, not the most flattering angle being taken from the height of a seven year old…but it was all I could accomplish today and I am still pretty impressed by her photography skills!  Please ignore the wrinkles, sitting outside in the grass watching kids swim isn’t a very glamorous affair therefore I did not iron it.  Not that I ever do.  Ever.  Hmm…maybe keeping my hands in the pockets will hide it.  I love these pockets and don’t know how I never sewed in seams pockets until I bought this pattern and gave it a try.  Funny that both this and my other new pattern for the the Moneta dress both have these same pockets.  Love, love.  IMG_20140807_123145

I am excited that given this shorter length I will be able to wear this into fall and winter with skinny jeans, boots and a cardigan.  I actually think that the shorter lenght works better for my (apple) body shape- showing a little leg is much more flattering for me.  Maybe the cheapness on my part in only buying two yards worked in my favor and will help redeem this pattern for me after all!

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Jersey Staple Dress

Ok, so I picked up a print pattern copy of the Staple Dress by April Rhodes on a recent trip to Toronto…from The Workroom (love that store!)  I had been thinking about this pattern for a long time after seeing so many versions of it in the blogosphere since it was released.  So even though I may be late on the bandwagon I finally gave in and picked up a copy.

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I really prefer purchasing print patterns rather than downloading the pdf but given the lack of any real great independent fabric shop in the Buffalo area I usually have to download- unless I visit a major city- boo.  Anyways, the pattern was purchased and since then I have made 4 versions- yikes.  Each time I attempted a different fabric choice to see what works best for me.  I kept wanting to try again to make me love it- but not sure if I still do.  I guess I will see once the weather changes and I can style them with boots and cardigans.  I am sure they will be great when I go back to work in the fall, just not sure if they are the greatest silhouette for my body as is.

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So, here is actually my fourth version…but my first to blog about.  Using less than 2 yards of leftover Blue Denim Heather Jersey from Girlcharlee.com I sewed this up last night.  I used a light blue store bought bias tape, and made the pockets out of a scrap of mustard/cream fabric.  I have never used a woven bias tape on a knit fabric before but I think it worked out great and provided some stability to the neckline and armholes.  Unfortunately I did not adjust for the stretch of the jersey and should have sized down a size in the pattern for this fabric.  This is particularly a problem for the armholes- I apologize for the glimpses of my bra in some of these pictures- the armholes are HUGE!  Not sure I will be wearing this much until I can throw on a cardigan.  Or just don’t raise up my arms.  That’s practical right?  I am thinking I might do a post in a few months on how I style all of these summer dresses when the season changes- I am already excited about it!

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I love how this is paired with a wide belt, the ruching on the waist doesn’t really provide enough structure or definition for me but it is super comfy.  I chose to make the drop hem version, and simply serged the hemline.  This is my favorite finish on a light jersey like this, plus I really hate hemming knits so it is a win-win.  Easy and fast as long as you have a matching thread color!

 

 

I really want to love this pattern, it fits well, is super comfortable and easy but not the best for flattering my shape.  I’ve tried it in a heavier denim fabric, a lighweight printed linen/cotton, a voile and now a jersey.  My favorite version by far is the shortened voile version I made…I’ll try to blog it soon!

 

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My Moneta

I was on the verge of abandoning this blog.  I questioned my motives- why even blog at all?  Why spend hours sewing for the girls now that much of what I was making ended up unworn in their closets now that they have their own ideas of fashion!  Their changing ideals, and my concerns over cyber saftey and honestly the lack of energy to force them to pose for the pictures left me feeling tired and just “over it” with blogging.  Altough I plan on posting the occasional “small” sewn item here, I have decided to ressurect this blog and feature items I have sewn for myself.  yay!  I have decided to conquer my self doubt, body issues and feeling like an idiot posting for photographs.  Yikes.  But really, I like blogging.  I love sewing.  I love connecting with others with the same passion for it and I have been missing it these past few months.  Inspired by the new site Curvy Sewing Collective and some recently acquired patterns (with extended sizes!) I have discovered I love sewing my own clothes.  While I miss being able to whip up a kids dress in under an hour with 1 yard of fabric, I love being able to tell people the clothes I am wearing I made myself- even at my 20 year High School Reunion.  So cool.  So- for my first post about my selfish sewing….Here we go!

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What feels better than wearing your pajamas?  Wearing a hot red dress that makes you appear put together and bold but feels like you are wearing your favorite nightgown!  My new favorite pattern- Collette’s Moneta dress.  When I started thinking about what to wear for my upcoming Reunion (it was this past weekend- so fun!) I knew I wanted to be comfortable, classic and modest enough that I felt good about myself and my figure.  Taking a risk by sewing up a pattern I have never tried before I dove right in ordering the pdf version of the Moneta dress online and spending hours the next night cutting and taping together the pattern pieces.  What a pain.  I really hate pdf patterns for this reason but nothing beats the instant gratification of not having to wait days for a pattern to be shipped right?  Anyways, one night spent taping and cutting, another night spent cutting the fabric pieces and the following afternoon sewing up the dress and voila!  I chose to make the sleevless version pictured with the lined bodice and collar.  My all time favorite dress EVER!

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I find that the first time I use a pattern I am super duper slow at putting it together…this took around 3 hours of sewing time- but I am confident that the next one I make will take far less since I won’t be so nervous about making a mistake.  For the fabric I purchased 3 yards of a red jersey fabric from Joann’s (on sale)- unfortunatley the only fabric store in town with a selection of knit fabric.  It worked out perfectly- had great stretch and drape and lightweight enough for a summer event.  I even purchased matching thread and serger thread- I didn’t cheapen out and try to use what I have at home- what a difference.  The clear elastic used I found at Tuesday morning- it is 3/8 inch instead of the 1/4 inch noted in the pattern but it worked out well and was surprisingly easy to use…I think I have found  a new method to gather skirts from now on.  The only change I made was to simply serged the hem rather than spending time figuring out how to use my twin needle.  It wasn’t noticable since I matched the thread and the skirt is so swingy and full but I plan on doing it the right way next time for sure.  The fit of this dress was pretty spot on- except for the armhole area which I have heard is a common problem.  Gaping arms- ugh.  I think I am going to have to alter the pattern a bit if I make another sleeveless version to avoid having to constantly do a bra check.  I already can’t wait to whip up another one and am eagerly awaiting a shipment of ponte fabric from girlcharlee.com.  Next up- a 3/4 sleeve version.  Seriously I might end up with an entire wardrobe of these.

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