Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Crafts: Halloween Divided Basket

I love Halloween! Young kids in costume, trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, kid-made decorations, and candy corn make me happy.

Cole's class is having a Halloween snack exchange. No candy or costumes are allowed, but healthful snacks and classroom-friendly treats in cute packaging are okay!

I teamed Noodlehead's Divided Basket pattern with Lizzy House's Guising fabric. The basket is perfect for carting twenty stamped paper sacks (each with fruit leather, stickers, and a plastic trinket) to school, and for passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. I know we'll use it every year.

Look at those ghosts! And candy corn! I can't get enough of those jack-o-lanterns either...

Have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crafts: Kelly Skirt

I made another Megan Nielsen pattern, the Kelly Skirt, and I love it!

It has a distinctly vintage vibe, but I don't mind. The high-waist, A-line shape is incredibly flattering, and the button-front and pleats add interest.

I used Robert Kaufman's Yarn-Dyed Essex Linen in Denim, variegated thread, and old U.S. Navy dress blues uniform buttons. It's a versatile piece, and I know it'll get a lot of wear.

I cut a size S (and added an inch to the XL hemline), and it fits well. The waistband is a little loose, but not terribly. I just need to tuck in my shirt.

I'd love one in brown corduroy and black flannel.

Crafts: Perfect Pajama Pants

These are Amy Butler's In Stitches Lounge Pants and Made by Rae's Parsley Pants.

Both are easy to sew, as I imagine most pajama/basic pants are. What makes the lounge pants unique is the ultra-wide leg, and the Parsley has only one pattern piece.

I made no pattern adjustments for the Parsley, and Cole loves the fit. He's rocking those pajama pants...

I did modify the lounge pants, as I find the pattern sizing too generous (I could pinch 3 inches of excess fabric on each hip using my recommended size, M). There's 3/4" difference between S and M and M and L, so I made an XS and the fit is just right. I also added 1/2" elastic to the drawstring casing. One other adjustment I'd like to make is lowering the waistline by 2 inches, and then this will be my perfect pajama pant pattern.

Cole's pajamas are made from quilting cotton, and mine are flannel (from Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi line).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crafts: Briar Rose Tee

I have a queue of things to post, but here's a top I made today. I do realize strawberries are out of season, but it still feels like summer here.

I used Megan Nielsen's Briar pattern and Heather Ross's Briar Rose cotton jersey. That's two briars!

Per my usual, the front is smaller than the back. The back, sleeves, and armholes are a S, but the front side seams are an XS. I also shortened the back, middle hemline by two inches and redrafted the curve.

I love the fit. It's not too tight or too loose, and the hemline adds visual interest. I also love the strawberry print, and how easy the fabric and pattern are to sew.

I think I'll make 10 more Briar tees in stripes and solids, some with 3/4-length sleeves. I just ordered Sewaholic's Renfrew pattern, and I'm anxious to make the cowl version when Fall finally arrives.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Crafts: Date Night Dress and Simple Slip

I bought this pattern with my ten-year wedding anniversary dinner in mind. The flutter sleeves and fabric seemed like the perfect pairing.

But this is no love story. I had issues with the pattern.

It calls for quarter-inch seams throughout, and my machine wants to eat fashion fabric with seams less than 3/8 inch. So I had to sew the dress with larger seam allowances. The pattern has enough ease that this didn't affect the fit across my back or bust, but it did alter the shoulders, neckline, and made closing the sleeves/side seams a trial. As a result, the shoulders and neckline don't lie right, and the side seams didn't come together easily or neatly.

The Simple Slip was easy enough to sew, but the voile I used didn't fit close enough to the body to give a complimentary side view. It looked a bit sloppy, really. So I've opted for a form-hugging tank/camisole, and am wearing a half-slip I already owned. The Simple Slip will be re-made into something else, later on.

The dress is pretty shapeless, so a belt and/or shirring is required. Here I'm wearing only a belt, but I want to add a row of shirring to make the gathers and blousing more uniform. It's a bit of work getting the gathers and blousing right, and then you have to adjust them each time you stand up or make exaggerated movements (notice the uneven blousing in the pictures).

I made the belt from a lovely indigo linen-chambray I had, using a belt my mom made as the pattern. A ready-made belt would require new shoes, and an $18 pattern + $62.75 of fabric = more than enough already spent.

Short lengths and dramatic hi-lo hems don't suit me, so I added an inch to the front XL hemline and kept the L hemline for the back. There's a three-inch difference between the front and center back, but you really can't tell.

I won't make the dress again, but I may try it as a top. I'll just add a quarter-inch seam allowance to the pattern and wear a matching tank/camisole.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Crafts: Anna Tunic

I bought this pattern by Amy Butler a couple of years ago, and I finally made it last week. I love the details: full lining, unique and flattering collar, and buttoned back closure.

The pattern directions and diagrams are well-drawn, and the finishing techniques employed for each step ensure a professional end product.

The only issue I had with the pattern is the sizing of the armholes. I found them far too small! I had to go back and lower them a full inch so I could move my arms. My measurements register as a small, but I needed a size large armhole.

This beautiful fabric is also by Amy Butler, part of her Alchemy voile collection. The lining is a matching voile solid. As an added bonus, the fabric pairs perfectly with my necklace (a birthday gift from my son) and green flats.