Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kate's blue dress

Here is Kate's dress, from Simplicity 7667- almost done, except for the sleeve hem. I made this pattern for her last month, in black & pink. This is a pretty easy pattern to put together, even with the ric rac in the collars and the piping at the front of the bodice. I remembered to put the back zip in before sewing the front to the back, so it went much easier than Ana's dress!

kate's dress

Here's a closeup of the bodice with the brown piping:

kate's dress

The trim on Kate's dress is vintage (except for the bottom lace), from my grandmother.
vintage ric rac trimvintage ric rac trim


If you click through and look at the largest size photo of the back of the blue ric rac package, you can read the Wright's "Does your child sew?" offer on the package. ;-) The hem is lace from MJ Trim, and is a very pale blue despite look white below.

kate's dress

ric rac collars

Vintage children's outfits- and modern ones that are vintage inspired- often have ric rac sewn into the collar seam of peter pan collars so that the points poke out. Here is a Papa d'Anjo dress with a collar like that.

Now, I have no idea what the correct way to do a collar like this is, so here's how I do it. First I cut the collar shape and baste around the edges on the bottom piece- I was using 3/8th seam allowance, so I stitched in 3/8ths from the edge.

Then I lay some ric rac down on the collar, with the center right over the stitching, and baste it in place. Finally, pin the collar top on, and stitch again at 3/8ths. I go over the original 3/8ths line so that I'll get exactly the center of the ric rac in place. If you have a sharp corner, don't forget to clip it before turning. You could also trim or clip the curved seam


Now turn it right side out and iron, and you have little bits of ric rac poking out the edges!


The reason why I'm making up teensy peter pan collars is that... I made one of the easter dresses. This is Ana's version. It needs a back zip and sleeve and skirt hems, but here it is. I used BWOF November 2007 #136. Sadly it's hard to photograph the bunny print on the skirt, it just looks washed out here.

bwof 11-2007-136

I will probably also put some ric rac over the skirt seam where the band meets the bunny print, but I want to figure out the end length first.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


We're having a fantastic lightening storm right now- tons of thunder and lightening, lots of rain. I made a batch of espresso chocolate shortbread cookies this evening, so Declan and I are camped out on the sofa in the loft with the cookies, watching the lightening show. The mountain I live on is mostly granite, and lots of iron ore (there are Revolutionary War era mines all over out here), and the lake is just a half mile away, so we get stupdendous lightening shows all summer. I love just sitting up here and watching it. It's a bit of a local obsession, really, since the iron ore in our mountain really draws the lightening. Declan really doesn't like it- he lived in Seattle for the first seven years of his life, where there is no lightening. I can remember exactly two lightening storms out there in all those years, and one of them made the front page of the Seattle Times.

What else... we had another fun sewing meetup in NYC this afternoon, and I bought a bunch of nice fabric and some trim at MJ. I'll take pictures tomorrow, but all the cottons are washed and ironed and ready to be put on the shelf.

People often say that nothing in the garment district is open on Sundays which actually isn't true. Just on W 39th, Ayazmoon, A&M Fabrics, Daytop Fabrics and Chic Fabrics were all open. On 8th Ave, Ebad's was open, and there were about 4 stores open on W 35th. MJ Trim was open, as was The City Quilter down in Chelsea. Further downtown by Canal, P&S is also open.

Easter dress progress: I refolded the easter fabric. Really thinking about using the bubble dress pattern now, with peter pan collar, white sashes, and little sleeves. I might jump in and just make them tomorrow.

Notre Dame from the left bank Jezebel posted a great article on Zara's runway ripoffs (or inspirations or whatever) this season. I LOVE that store- when I was in Paris last Feb, I made a beeline to the one by the Opera Garnier to buy myself a "parisian zara" trench coat. You know, identical to the ones in the NYC stores, and about 30% more, but french! The picture is me in it, by Notre Dame.

And finally, my nephew Tom has been playing with an old Easter Bunny I made when I was 10, so I took a picture of it the other day. I remember sitting in my grandma's craft room cutting out the fake fur to make this little guy, and marking all the darts on him. Surprising that he's still in such good shape 20 years later!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Knipmode pattern

Kate and I sat on the floor and looked at the easter fabrics some more today, but I still haven't decided what to do. I'm kind of leaning towards high yoke dresses... Hmmm.

Since that was hurting my brain, I finished up a new Knipmode dress for her. I bought this fabric a few weeks ago to make a sundress, and so here we are, all set for summer and 90F days and backyard BBQs! I think this will be adorable with little white sandals.

The pattern is "Jurkje 24" (dress #24) from Knipmode May 2008. Fully lined, with a back zip, so it was easy to put together.

Knipmode 05-2008-24

Knipmode 05-2008-24

Knipmode 05-2008-24

Friday, March 27, 2009

Knipmode Vest

This is a vest for my mom that's sort of a very, very delayed Christmas present.

Knipmode 11-2008-17

I bought the red brocade material in December to make a skirt for her, but she said she doesn't really wear many skirts in the winter, so it's been sitting around while I tried to figure out what else to make with it. It's a bit stiff for a jacket, and I only had a little over a yard of it. Finally I stumbled over the fur lined vest in the November 2008 issue of Knipmode and realized it would be perfect. This is vest (they call it a bodywarmer) #17 from the 11/2008 issue.

Knipmode 11-2008-17

I bought some velboa fake fur which is wonderful to sew with- no shedding, very easy to cut, and just slightly stretchy. And super soft!

Here is the lining (inside out for a lining) on my dressform:
Knipmode 11-2008-17

The pattern has princess seams and a big collar. It's supposed to zip up, but my mom wanted it with no zipper or pockets so I left them off. Here's a back view:
Knipmode 11-2008-17

Side view

Knipmode 11-2008-17

Inside Out

Knipmode 11-2008-17

Here's a view of the instruction sheet. I don't read a word of Dutch, but the pattern pieces were pretty straightforward to figure out. The layout definitely helped.

Knipmode 11-2008-17

I assembled the inside front and back and attached the front facing to the front lining, then assembled the outside front and back. Then I made the upper collar, which has a bit of the fashion fabric sewn to the outer edges. I attached the upper collar to the lining and the lower collar to the outside. Then I pinned the lining to the outer pieces with right sides together, and stitched up the center front, around the outer edge of the collar, and down the center front again. Next I stitched up the arm holes, and pulled the fronts out through the back at the shoulders. Next I stitched up the sideseams, and then hemmed it. Marji has great details on sewing a lined sleeveless garment with this technique - this is my favorite method of attaching a lining because it's so easy to sew.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fixing up a giveaway tote

Yesterday afternoon, Topshop was giving away promotional totebags over by Washington Square Park. I was walking past with some friends on our way to lunch, so of course I grabbed one. I love the adorable cartoon on one side of the bag.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Unfortunately, the bag is really flimsy and just a very simple sewn up rectangle. I prefer totes with a squared off bottom, so that it's easier to load things like apples from the farmers market, or library books, or my nieces iceskates and extra socks into it. Fortunately... I own a sewing machine. ;-) So here's how to reinforce & otherwise spiff up a cheap giveaway tote. It took me about 40 minutes to do this. None of the sewing is super complicated, so it's not a bad project for beginning seamstresses.

By the way, I noticed that the bag had a tag in it noting it was made with Fair Trade cotton. Kudos Topshop!

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Refashioning a topshop totebag First off, I had coincidently stopped in a Joyce Trim at W 38th & 6th Ave early that morning, and bought some nice blue trim with the general idea of using them as totebag handles someday. They turned out to be exactly the right width to cover this tote's handles. I love when something wonderful like that happens! So I had my handle reinforcement ready, and I just needed to get something for a lining. There was some brown striped homedec weight cotton in my stash left over from a christmas present, so I used that.

Put the totebag down flat on top of the lining fabric. You'll want to cut around it, adding seam allowances as you go. I use a rotary cutter with a guide arm to do this. It's exactly the same as adding seam allowances on a BWOF pattern.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Stitch the side seams and the bottom seam of the lining fabric together to get a basic tote shape. Iron the seam open.

Next, mark a line about 3 inches up from the bottom of your tote- on the inside- using chalk. Mark both sides. You'll use this to box out the bottom of the bag. You want to do the same thing to the lining.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Box out your two corners on the totebag and on the lining. If you don't know how to do this, it's the same way that the corners are squared off in the box bag tutorial over here. Essentially you fold out a corner triangle and stitch straight across the chalk line you marked. This gives the bag a square bottom when you flip it back right side out.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Now sew your trim over the handles. This isn't strictly necessary, but it makes the bag look nice and gives it a bit more strength to hold heavy library books. I just folded the ends underneath and stitched across them to hold them under. If you were going to sew some ribbon around the top edge as decoration, you could leave the raw edges exposed and cover them with ribbon.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Next, position your liner inside the bag. With this method the tops of the lining are exposed- I used a selvage edge on one side, and zigzagged over the raw edge on the other side. Pin the bags together with the top edges lined up. Use extra pins near the handles, since the fabric might shift there where it's bulky. Make sure you match up your side seams.

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Now stitch along the top edge to hold the liner to the bag. I used a decorative stitch on my machine, but you could use just a straight stitch or anything else. If you want to, now you can also embellish the bag-- stitch on a ribbon around the top opening, or anything else!

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Notice that when I boxed out the bottom, it hid the last 3 inches of the sides on the new bottom. That hides the "Topshop/Broadway & Broome" text and so now my side says "Everybody Loves" instead. I kind of like it that way. ;-)

Here's my new totebag!

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Refashioning a topshop totebag

Sunday, March 22, 2009

easter dilemma

I made up Ana's coordinating version of Butterick 4117. It's the same pattern, and both have a floral top and eyelet skirts, but hers is all blue, and with a rickrack waist trim instead of a fabric sash. Her top print is from the Katie Jump Rope line by Denyse Schmidt. The rick rack is from my grandma's sewing room- she had the perfect shade of navy in this large size.

ana's dress

So next up is easter outfits. I want to make a dress for each girl, with peter pan collars, and a shorts-with-attached-top outfit for Tom. This engineer stripe fabric is going to be the shorts for Tom:

And I have a few choices of fabric for the shirt for Tom and for the dresses, which might have contrast bodices & skirts. I still have the eyelet I used for Ana's skirt, as well, so that could also be used. I need to figure out what fabric I'll use for what...

This one looks like rickrack with stitches over it:

A blue plaid:

REALLY love this bunny toile. It's adorable... might make nice skirts.

I'm almost thinking of using the rickrack print for one bodice and the blue plaid for the other bodice, with the peter pan collars from the other on each. Or with the other print as a border on the bottom of the skirts, and the collars out of eyelet? There are way too many options!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

new spring decorating!

Or at least new pillows for my 10 year old sofa! Made out of a few remnants from JoAnns:

This is the front, from a floralish homedec weight remnant.

new pillows

And the backs are different. One is a coordinating homedec weight remanant, and the other is some white quilted stuff that was also a remanant. The backs overlap for easy in/out to wash off dog hair and spilled coffee and things.
new pillows

Butterick 4117

Butterick 4117 is one of the patterns I'd bought on Wednesday at Jonathan, and I made it up for Kate using one of the rose fabrics I'd bought in Seattle. Kate really loved it- I knew when I saw the roses that the print was very much her style- so she had fun running around in it after it was done. The sweetheart neckline was really cute, and very easy to sew. I clipped into each of the corners and trimmed the seam allowance carefully, and it pressed pretty nicely although I did almost singe my fingers a few times. Ooops. ;-) The bodice lining is just some purple ambiance lining I had a scrap of- it worked well since it's so lightweight.

On a hanger:

Butterick 4117

Butterick 4117

On Kate

Butterick 4117

Action shot of the back
tom and kate

If you look closely, you'll see she had the dress on over some flannel winnie the pooh PJ pants I'd made her.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BWOF 04-2009-110

April needs to get here ASAP so that I can make this fantastic tshirt:

gathered front tshirt, BWOF 04-2009-110

Also, check out the neat seamlines on dress 04-2009-115 - interesting. Doubt I'll make it, but I really love the line drawing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

macarons and patterns

Reading Lindsay's blog can be dangerous sometimes. Today is my first day back in NYC, and I opened up my feed reader this morning to find her post about the pattern sale at Jonathan Embroidery. And I remembered her earlier post about Macaron cafe on W 36th at 7th. The sun is out, it's warm out, so I took on off at lunchtime. I ended up stopping there and picking up a small box of macarons to bring back to office to share with folks, and one of my friends told me about her favorite place for macarons in NYC- Kee's Chocolates in Soho. I've never been, but I think I need to make the trip in a few days.

At Jonatahan I grabbed two patterns. Butterick 4117, which is a kids dress with a nice sweetheart neckline and Vogue 2923- a DKNY pattern with a nice ruffled collar jacket. No idea when I'll sew either one, but I enjoyed poking through the pattern drawers. They have tons of vogue designer patterns at 70% off to flip through.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Seattle

Map Quilts on display at the quilting store in Pike Place Market:

Pike Place Market Quilt store

This is a quilt of a topo map of Mt Rainier:

Pike Place Market Quilt store

And some fabric I bought there:

new fabric

new fabric

new fabric

And who knew the Seafair pirates were irish?? They were in the St Patricks Day parade:
seafair pirates

There was a question in a comment the other day about whether I was out here to take my CISSP exam. Nope... that's well off in the future. Just out on a last minute jaunt to visit with my friends, who I missed to pieces. Here is my best friend with his wife:

josalyn & brian

And here is him again, with his college roommate & HIS wife:

brian, russell & lia

We've all known each other for 10 years now... they're almost family to me now. It was wonderful to see everyone and eat dinner together and catch up.