Monday, June 27, 2011

Farbenmix Tini

I have a goal. It is one I take very seriously. My goal is to use, in my lifetime, every single Farbenmix pattern that I own. For the purposes of this blog post, I just counted how many I have, and even I am a little astonished. I own 50. Plus the book. Plus the 3 that I just ordered from Farbenmix yesterday. Yes, I realize I tend to go a little overboard when it comes to Farbenmix, but I figure if I sew them up, I can justify it, right?

With that in mind, I pulled out the Tini pattern. I've had this one for at least a year, probably more, and had never sewn it up.  As usual, I checked out Flickr for inspiration, and I absolutely fell in love with this one. Seriously, does a dress get any prettier? There is also this example, and another. Absolute sewing perfection.

Well, I didn't do anything that elaborate, but I did mange to turn this out:

Fabric: Michael Miller Gypsy Bandana

I found the dress to run a little wide, so I added a sash, as many of the people on Flickr have done. I also could not believe that I had a ribbon that matched this exactly. Did they come out with a ribbon line for this fabric, or did I just get incredibly lucky? I bought that particular ribbon at a tiny little boutique sewing store in Carmel, California, many months before the fabric purchase. Anyway, it was meant to be, obviously!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sewing Fail

Every seamstress has gone through this (and if you haven't, don't tell me because I like to think that I'm not alone here). You have a piece of fabric that you adore and know that you will never find again, so you hang onto it, scared to cut into it for fear of ruining it. Finally, the day comes when you can no longer ignore the beckoning of your beloved fabric, and you decide to sew it up. You very carefully pick out the right pattern (usually after spending several days contemplating the matter) and then, with hands shaking, you cut out the fabric.

You congratulate yourself for getting this far without screwing anything up. And then you start sewing.

For me, this fabric was a piece of embroidered border print that I picked up last year sometime. It wasn't particularly expensive, but I LOVED it. Adored it. Everytime I looked at it, I got goosebumps. I decided to use a pattern that I'd made before and really liked, Simplicity 2642 (the view in the middle). I sewed the entire thing up, tried it on, and .... was crestfallen beyond belief. The fabric is a little stiff due to all that embroidery, and the sleeves stuck up in a very silly, shoulder-pads-on-steroids kind of way. It looked terrible. I couldn't just take the sleeves off, because the sleeves and the bodice were all one piece. Well, what to do now?

After much agonizing (and some cussing), I just cut the offending bodice off and slapped a yoga waist on the thing, making it a skirt. Definitely not the look I was going for, but I sort of salvaged it. The problem is that the skirt portion of the dress does not make for a fantastic drape when in standalone skirt form. I'm soooo bummed, though. So bummed.

Onto happier sewing news. I also sewed up some of my mosaic floral rayon jersey that I stock in Bamblue Fabrics. This has to be one of the most comfortable dresses I've ever worn. The fabric itself is buttery soft - it feels so wonderful against the skin! I just love how this one turned out.

Very nice pattern, no surprises or anything like that. The twist is quite easy to do, and I love the effect. And I didn't have to hack the dress apart and reinvent it, which is always nice.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yellow Resolve

I had yellow in my serger from the Baby Love outfit in my last post. I was determined not to change serger thread. It's such a pain, and I really think my serger is on its last legs because everytime I have to change something, it throws a hissy fit. The worst is getting it to go from serging to rolled hem and back to serging - it insists on breaking the thread and, on a few occasions, a needle. I think it's gotten lazy in its old age, and just can't be bothered.

Anyway, back to yellow. Not being one of my favorite colors, I just don't have a lot of yellow fabric, but I was still resolutely against the idea of changing to a more practical thread color. So, I dug around in my stash and eventually came up with a striped men's t-shirt, purchased at Goodwill for 50 cents in yellow, grey and blue. Perfect.

When I began to cut the shirt apart for reclaiming, however, I realized a) why it was at Goodwill and b) why it was 50 cents. The sewing was appalling! One side seam was a little bit to the front of the shirt, and one side seam was a little to the back, and both were sewn at a slight diagonal to the stripes. I probably could not mess up a shirt that badly if I tried. This made cutting it out very difficult, and I had to take some liberties with the pattern's width. I would certainly have expected more from the OP brand, but whatever. I made it work.

As for embroidery, I HAD to use this new design from Urban Threads. It's totally perfect for my video-game obsessed 8 year old. But then little Skoober saw the finished product and said, "Is that shirt.... kinda like mine?" I had to break it to him gently that it was not, in fact, a shirt for him, but he could wear this one when he's older!

Pattern: Ottobre 2/03
Embroidery: Urban Threads

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baby Love Part 2

I finally got around to making the second Ottobre baby set that was on my ever-expanding "to sew" list. This one is for another friend of mine who needs a baby shower present. I love how it turned out!

My original idea for this set was to have a blue knit skirt instead of using the matching floral fabric (Baby Nay, by the way). Miracle of miracles, I even had a blue that matched perfectly. However, after staring at the 3 fabrics together for about 15 minutes, I thought it would look a little.....patriotic. Patriotism is a good thing, of course, but I didn't want this to be pigeonholed into a 4th of July outfit. So, I went with the floral skirt and striped waistband, and I think that was the right choice!

Pattern: Ottobre 5/06
Crocheted Flowers: AnnieDesign on Etsy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Embroidery for me

I rarely embroider on my own clothing. Why? I have no idea. There are plenty of designs out there I love. Maybe it's because I embroider so much for the kids, it is kind of a relief just to sew something up quickly without fussing with hoops, stabilizer, thread changes, etc. etc..

But I saw a mom in my son's preschool class wearing an amazing embroidered dress the other day. It was a really simple jersey dress, but it had embroidery all down the hip and on the back. It looked very expensive, but as I was studying it, I realized it would be really simple to replicate. And then I had to stop staring at it, because the woman was probably getting the wrong idea!

The dress in question was actually a wintry dress, and so I decided to do something more summery (although, lord knows, summery weather has not made much of an appearance here yet). I modified the Jalie dress pattern so that it has an underskirt, and used some of my bamboo jersey.

I was so happy with the end result until I put it on and had my husband take pictures. Ugh! I'm so lumpy! Well, I may have to give this dress away to someone who has not had three children, but overall I do like it. And the bamboo is so soft and divine - it is a supremely comfortable dress, if nothing else!

Pattern: Jalie 3024 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Baby love!

There is nothing *not* to like about sewing baby clothes. They are just adorably tiny, their fabric requirements are miniscule, and most of the time, they come together so quickly and easily. Hands down, my favorite baby girl outfit is the Ottobre 5/06 skirty pants and onesie combination. I love it because it's practical AND cute and girly at the same time. It's also simple and comfy. I just wish I could have made one for my own baby girl, but alas, she was 2.5 when I started sewing and well out of the pattern size. Sigh.

But luckily I have a friend who needed a baby present, so I got to indulge in a little baby lust. My friend was interested in seeing my stash and how I put fabrics together, so I gave her a few options and let her choose - but from the comfort of my living room, rather than my garage. I think if I had shown her the bins upon bins of fabric stacked haphazardly in the garage, all of them totally overflowing with fabric, she would have been overwhelmed. I'M overwhelmed.

Here is the result - I hope she likes it.

Pattern: Ottobre 5/06
Hat Pattern: NCBE
Crocheted Flowers: Annie Design on Etsy

In other sewing related matters, Urban Threads was having a "coloring contest" - they gave away a free design and had people stitch it out colorfully. The winner will receive a UT gift certificate. I had grand plans for this contest, I really did. But somehow, I just didn't get around to starting until the contest deadline, by which time I just wanted to have it DONE and move on! So I kind of hurried through it, and the result is an applique that got stretched too hard so that the stabilizer forms a ridge on one side of the design. Oh, that is just lovely! Well, I wasn't about to do it over, so I entered it as is.

Ugh. I look at this and all I see is that ridge. Grrrr.....

Pattern: Farbenmix Gitta
Embroidery: Urban Threads