Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pink and Sparkly

kate's princess dressYou might remember the pink & brown princess dress that I made for my niece Kate for Halloween two years ago. She wore it for dress up quite a bit, and so it got a good amount of wear for a costume. Good thing, since it literally took hours to make it up! It doesn't fit her anymore, but she wanted to dress up as a princess again for Halloween this year. She found a really beautiful pink and silver princess dress costume with a white and pink fur cape in a kids clothing catalog that her mom got. The kid is clearly well trained, because instead of asking her mom to buy it for her, she asked me to sew her another princess dress just like the one in the catalog. With the white fur cape, please! You know where this is going, right? ;) Good thing Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

Here's a picture of the dress she wanted, from the Chasing Fireflies catalog.

Chasing Fireflies princess dress

First Kate and I went to the fabric store and bought some sparkly pink polyester costume material. I generally refuse to sew with anything poly, but this was only a costume. I have to say, it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it could have been although it did fray like crazy. I ended up ironing woven interfacing to all the bodice pieces and underlining the silvery bits in silk organza (I know. Really.) to sort of keep things kind of under control.

This weekend it was construction time! I looked through old BWOFs over breakfast because I remembered one of them had a girl's cape pattern.


Pattern and material all ready to start


Yes, go ahead and laugh at my pattern weights. I knew what pain I was in for, sewing icky costume poly into a complicated dress!


Here is the bodice, which took a LONG time to make. I started the costume at 10 AM, and this photo was taken just before 4 PM. So the glittery trim is from MJ Trim in the city and cost more than the whole rest of the dress put together. However, I only bought a yard of it and it really does help make the whole thing a little fancier.

halloween costume for Kate

I did have a few tea breaks during the construction process.

The skirt went much faster in comparison. I machine basted the organza to silvery stuff and stitched the whole thing together, then gathered and attached to the bodice. The best part? I talked my mom into hemming this behemouth. ;) yay!

halloween costume for Kate

And the cape was even easier - 45 minutes from pulling the pattern sheets out of the magazine to hand sewing the opening at the neck where I flipped the cape right side out after stitching it up. It's BWOF 10-2008-138.

halloween costume for Kate

Kate's mom marked the hem and made a few adjustments. The pattern ended up being REALLY low cut, but she'll have a turtleneck on under it... so it should be OK.

halloween costume try on

And here we are, 8 hours of work later, a 7 year old fairy princess with a serious couture habit who knows how to talk her aunt into making fancy dresses to her exact specifications. ;)

halloween costume try on

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dress Sewing

peonies2There haven't been many wedding dress muslins around here lately because the plan for the dress has settled down to taking a week of in February to do the bulk of the sewing, and then have it completed by April or March timeframe. Our wedding photographer will take some pictures the nieces & I in our wedding outfits so that we don't have to stress about Ana on the day of the wedding. (As background for new readers of my blog, she's only 4 and she's handicapped, so the wedding day could be very exhausting for her.) I'm really looking forward to hanging a great picture of the three of us in our schmancy dresses in my sewing room, so this seems to be the best way to accomplish that. As a bonus, it forces me to finish all our outfits well before June. I still need to figure out which pattern I'll use by February, but that seems like plenty of time at the moment. ;)

Over the last few weeks I've been helping an old friend plan and make her wedding dress, which has kept me plenty busy with wedding sewing. While we were laying out the skirt pieces on the silk last night we had a few hours to chat about sewing, fabric layouts, grainlines, work (we used to be officemates years ago & have worked at the same companies over the years), wedding nonsense, programming, being oncall for a job, wedding bouquets, old friends, seam allowance sizes, website engineering, and more wedding nonsense. After fiddling with grainlines and layouts on the material for a few hours I left her late last night to mark the stitching lines and cut the fabric. It's been wonderful to see a dress come together, and it's so relaxing to sit around a table and work together. Her wedding is in just a few weeks so she's way ahead of me on the wedding planning and I've been making notes of everything I need to remember when it gets this close to our wedding. Her style is totally different from mine, so her dress is nothing like mine will be. We've had some good laughs over our personal styles affecting the dresses we're making & everything else about the weddings.

Anyway, as if I don't already have enough empire waist gown patterns to select from, I bought two more on etsy recently.

Isn't this one from 1967 just so beautiful? I love the square neckline and the back bow. I've been looking more closely at empire gowns with no gathering where the skirt attaches to the bodice, and this fits that.


Simplicity 7117

And another option:


McCall 9126 (reviews on patternreview)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

blue morning light

Hello from pike place market, Seattle! I flew out for just a few days to see my best friend, who is going to be my "man of honor" in my wedding this summer.

I woke up insanely early this morning craving a real latte, so I walked myself down to the market with my camera to get some coffee. The flower vendors were just setting up:



I know it's such an over-photographed, iconic sign, but it says "home" to me.

Pike Place market

The city is really beautiful before sunrise. I just meandered around taking lots of photos without really being awake.


I've been so homesick recently that it's good to come back even for just a short visit. It was great to see my friend and catch up and talk about wedding stuff and work. We both work for the same company, just on different coasts, so we had lots to go over and gossip about. On the wedding front, I've been lobbying for the boys to wear this sailboat patterened bow tie, but it's getting veto'd by him & my sailor so far. Apparently I need to work on being a bossy bride because I appear to have caved in and the current menswear on groom + the best man + my best friend will be tuxes with plain black bowties. ;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Look 6802, take 2

In October I made up New Look 6802 & really liked how it came out. I promptly pulled out another another knit to make it in, and then ended up packing it away in a box with the pattern. This morning I was looking for a quick dress to make to wear to my grandma's 90th birthday party & stumbled over the pattern & fabric.


Viola, new party dress! Just as easy to make as last time. :-) This is "French Dressing Knit - Grays/Pink" from

Anyway, My grandma's party was lots of fun. She's still in great health and as sassy as always. Here she is with my sister & Ana.

Grandma's 90th birthday party

When she was growing up she actually lived very close to where I live now so we talked a lot about Jersey City in the 1930s vs today. It's growing on me... I still miss Seattle quite a bit, but we do have nice sunrises here. I took this yesterday morning on a walk around block.


That's a view of the World Financial Center and Battery Park from the Morris Canal inlet in the Paulus Hook part of Jersey City. The interesting morning clouds were about all of the hurricane that we really ended up getting!