Saturday, April 30, 2011

muslin muslin muslin

Hello wedding dress saga followers! ;)

Today has been bodice fit day. Tweak the neck, take in the shoulders, tweak the neck, take in the sides, re-draw neckline, tweak the armhole, etc. My original plan was to use the original dress bodice of the vintage simplicity and have the vogue lace overlay be removable... but that doesn't work, since it won't stay in place even with a sash over it. Also, the shape of the simplicity tank-top style bodice under the high neckline of the vogue looks a bit wonky. So now I'm planning to attach the vogue dress bodice directly to the skirt of the Simplicity, and line the bodice front and back with light white silk habatoi, instead of just underlining in organza. This is why you do practice runs, I suppose!


I made all the adjustments just to one side, and it really looks SO much nicer on that side now, which is a very gratifying return for the hours with a seam ripper.

And the pleats. Once they're sewn, the pleats do give a gorgeous tulip shape to the dress. But marking them, and sewing them, is.... aRgH! They are three deep, sewn at angles, and all kinds of fun. Here's a little peak at the instruction sheet for them:

instruction sheet

Yeah. going to be fun marking these on white silk- I think that tailor's tacks in various colored threads (white, ivory, light tan, etc) is going to have to be the way to differentiate the A,B,C, and so forth pleat lines. Do you feel my joy thinking about marking and sewing these? ;)

You can see the deep pleats (in the orignal version with the simplicity bodice) here:

Simplicity 5343 Muslin

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding dresses!

Did you all wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the royal wedding? I LOVED her dress. It's such a pretty, updated variation on Grace Kelley's classic dress.

from the Globe & Mail

Here is Grace Kelly's dress:

Of course I LOVE that she chose this style since I'm kind of echoing Grace Kelly's bodice style in my dress as well. ;) It's a really flattering look for a lot of body shapes, I think, since you get some coverage but it still looks very elegant and fancy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

thread basting

This is only a practice dress, not the real thing.

thread tracing


I've cut the bodice pieces out of lace and silk organza, thread traced the darts, and basted the layers together. Next up, assembly.

The munchkins wore their easter outfits today, although they were so wiggly I didn't get great shots of the dresses. Here's my sister with her family:


Kate's dress is from Sewn with Love book and Ana's dress is the Oliver + S playdate dress. Both are made with Lisette for Joann fabric.


And here is Tommy in his cute little overalls. These are the Oliver + S tea party overalls.

and the girls in their dresses:
kate & ana

Happy easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Well, I received three sewing magazines this week in my mailbox, which was SO wonderful given that wedding + work + life in general have been crazy. I was not super impressed with this month's BWOF. That deeply saddens me, because circa 2008 I was head over heels in love with tons of outfits in every issue. However, I also received issues of Ottobre- one womens and one kids. I've just flipped through so far, but it seems pretty nice. Hmm... my BWOF is up for renewal this summer, and I may change to Ottobre or Knipmode instead. I know they are more expensive, but if I'm not making anything from BWOF, it's not worth saving money on patterns I won't really use.

In other news, our wedding invites are *mailed*. Finally. I had a whole adventure creating and shipping them. I ended up letterpressing the invite and RSVP card by myself at a letterpress studio over in Williamsburg. They came out SO beautiful. Here's a sneak peek at the card, with the amazing texture inbetween the ship's rigging in the ship in the bottle.


Was I crazy for letterpressing them? Yes. Was I crazy for chosing a square shape, which meant we paid extra postage? Yes. Did I end up at Staples at 9 AM on Sunday morning, buying a paper cutter to trim 1/8" inch off the invites because they wouldn't quite fit in the envelopes? Yes. Did I stamp all my rsvp postcards, only to find out that the postage rate was going up 1 cent on Monday? Yes. So. They are mailed though, and guests are beginning to tell us that they're appearing in their mailboxes, which is the important part!

For the curious, our paper was Crane Lettra 110, and I printed my plates at Boxcar Press. I wrote about my letterpress class back in November in a quiet weekend.

I was at my doctor's office the other day, and he gave me some advice I'm going to be taking to heart in the coming weeks. I haven't talked much about it, but I've suffered from migraines since I was in first grade. They kind of come and go, and the last three years have been particularly bad. I try to stay grounded, but dealing with severe migraines, with a fiance who is away on his ship most of the time, and wedding planning, plus my job has been... interesting. I've been cycling through various medications over the last year, and my current doctor has been godsend because he agrees with me that medication should not be your front line preventive care.

He was just married last year and so at this visit we were again talking about avoiding migraines on the big day. He said, "You have to ration out your emotional reaction and your glucose intake that week." Which cracked me up, but it's so true. (Yes, as you can tell from that, plummeting blood sugar is a big trigger for me). But especially when you get invested in projects like "Let's letterpress the invites!" or "Let's sew a wedding dress!" it can be hard not to let the projects ups and downs keep you from an even keel.

What do you think, when you put a lot of effort into a huge handmade project, do you feel that setbacks effect you deeply? Is the awesome result in the end worth putting weeks into one complicated project, or do you like smaller ones?

So how is that wedding dress sewing going here? I'm coming along on fitting, and I hope I'll have some great trial version photos to show here this weekend. As a reminder, this what the lace top will look like:

Vogue 2979

and here is the skirt & under-the-lace-top bodice:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

easter sewing

Easter outfits are all sewn up!

Here are the cute Oliver + S overalls for Tom. The cotton on the top is a little bunnies-in-squares print.

tom's easter outfit

Since I hadn't made this pattern for him in a few years, we did a sizing check. Yes, it fits, even over his sweatshirt. He was not so sure about this outfit- his comment was "my knees are cold." Ah, Thomas, stop growing up! Can I keep you a smidgen little guy forever? This might be the last Easter we can dress you like this!!


And here are sneak peeks of the girls dresses. Ana's is the Oliver + S playdate dress pattern.
playdate dress

Kate's uses the bodice of the Sewn With Love tulip dress and some bunny ribbon I found in my stash.

easter trim

I used some Lisette fabric I'd found at Joann's for each, since it seemed like coordinating-but-not-matching would be a nice change from the matchy dresses we've done for easter in earlier years. It just didn't seem like a frilly lace kind of easter this year. Maybe I'm getting lace overload from the wedding dress.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

another market blouse

I used some Little Folks voile by Anna Maria Horner to make up another Market blouse (simplicity 2211). No buttons on the placket yet, but I will likely sew some on at some point.

Market Blouse

Market Blouse

You can see the pattern on the Lisette site over here. I've been planning to make up the skirt, as well.

Market Blouse

Market Blouse

This is a really nice blouse to whip up since it has no buttonholes, zippers, or anything else, but is not too boxy and frumpy looking when it's done.

I also bought some really gorgeous lace for my wedding dress top...

dress lace

Dress lace

I'm a bit worried about goofing so I bought 2 yards even though I could easily get away with only 1. I'd rather not find myself worrying about finding more!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Market Blouse

The Market Blouse by Lisette is Simplicity 2211. It's a really simple top with a fake placket and outside facing at the neck. I made up a version in a very lightweight silk/cotton border print voile I'd bought at Mood a year ago, and wore it to our family's memorial lunch for my grandparents today.

Here I am with a whole bunch of my cousins:

And here's a closeup, with my sailor. This was his first introduction to much of my extended family. Thankfully he survived, and he seems to think we're somewhat normal despite my warning him that he's marrying into a crazy family. ;) Well, he'll learn soon enough!


We had a VERY long day, since so many people had traveled pretty far but it was wonderful to see everyone and share silly stories of growing up over at the farm. Do you remember my run-in with the rat snake 2 years ago? That story got repeated a bit. We reminisced about the geese and chickens that used to run all over the farm... the fig and quince trees and making jelly from them... all the crazy things we used to get into all summer long.

So the pattern for this shirt was very easy to put together and went together in just about 2 hours, even accounting for how wiggly the fabric was. The placket and "collar" are interfaced with a lightweight woven interfacing from Pacific Trim, which worked pretty well.

I just ended up making two small alterations... lengthening the bodice and making the arm band a little wider. It's a very easy wearing shirt, and I can see myself making up a few more of these to wear to work.