Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's a Girl to Do: Swing Dress Fabric Delema

I have a love-hate relationship with fabric shopping.  I love going and seeing all of the potential and dreaming of all the wonderful things I can make.  But, when I go with a specific project in mind, I can roam for hours never seaming to find exactly what I'm looking for.  Sure, plenty of fabrics that would never work for the project in mind draw my attention and focus - but I always have trouble with the task at hand.

When it came to choosing fabric for the Swing Dress Sew Along, I decided that I wanted something in a bright fun color, maybe a little whimsy.  After pacing the fabric store for a while (which is a large warehouse!) I settled on this lovely coral rayon with the perfect whimsical flowers printed on it.

I could picture myself wearing a lovely swing dress and camel colored T-strap heals (that would match the color of the flowers).  It would be a great ensemble for work.  I might even wear out for a date.

The day dream in my head was going just wonderfully. . . and then I washed my fabric.


After washing a small swatch of my fabric to see what it would look like, I no longer loved my fabric choice.  You see, there are some slight wrinkles that the fabric was made with.  They seamed slight and none bothersome, but after washing, it was evident that this wouldn't give me what I was looking for.

Have you ever heard of an iron? you might say.  Well yes, but that is part of the problem.  The lady at the store told me that this fabric doesn't take well to ironing and the fabric is suppose to have a wrinkle in it.

So I decided to go shopping again.  This time I came out with a completely different (and slightly more expensive vision)  I found a lovely navy wool.  This time I could see a very polished look to take to work - perhaps with the same camel colored T-strap heals from the first vision.  (Seriously, I don't know where this shoe vision is coming from, I don't own them and I haven't seen anyone wearing them, but it is oh so real in my head).

Here is a picture of my navy wool, I had some difficulty capturing the true color  picture form.
With the use of a flash, you can see the stripe detail better, but the color is very washed out.
So now I have this lovely wool that could work, but the first vision still dances in my head.  Casey also added in one of her recent posts that she will include how to add a lining in her tutorial.  So if I go with the wool, do I buy some lining?  It is a really soft wool, and not irritating to my skin, so it could go unlined.  But, pretty much all of my work dresses and suits are lined.

Oh too much confusion in my head.  So I will cry out for help.  Please let me know your thoughts.  Do I go with the original fabric and hope that I can see past the wrinkles?  Do I use this lovely wool, with or without a lining?  Has anyone seen the shoes that I see in my head, where do I get them?

Your thoughts and opinions would make my day on this one!

Live the moment, love life!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Little Black Dress

Lately some of the posts that I have enjoyed have been outfit posts - or people sharing their closets with their readers.  Since today was one of those days were I just felt cute, I decided it would be appropriate for me write an outfit post.

Dress: J.Crew
Sweater: Banana Republic
Boots: Via Spiga
Tights: Hanes

I know what you are thinking, with name brands like those, of course I feel extra cute.  Okay, perhaps you are right, some of my favorite wardrobe items carry a higher end name.  But these are items that become staples and I wear them forever.  Most of these items have been in my closet for several years.

The black dress is truly a staple in my wardrobe.  Just this past winter I have gone to it for a wedding, funeral, work and church.  

Oh, and since I wore this to work today - I thought you might like to see how well it goes with my newest accessory - the work ID badge!  Isn't that fancy hanging from the corner of my sweater?

I hope to have more posts like this from time to time - as it would be a great reminder of what I have to work with on those "I have nothing to wear" days.  I would also love it, if someday instead of labels it would say "made by me!"

How about you, do you have the perfect little black dress that you can wear to anything?  Are there any staples in your closet that you always go to?

Live the moment, love life!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pattern PDF's

After being without internet for four years I am so enjoying the internet and all it has to offer - especially in the realm of craft patterns.  With much success, I have enjoyed downloading free  knitting patterns from ravelry and ordering Jane Richmond patterns from Magpie.  Knitting patterns are easy to order as a PDF since they require no assembly and generally can be printed in the same manner as when purchasing from the store - but sewing patterns are a whole difference cookie.

As part of Casey's Swing Dress Sew Along, I decided to order the PDF version of the pattern (because I am cheap and wanted to get the pattern right away).  After printing out all of the pages it seemed a little intimidating and I wasn't sure if I had made the right decision.  My printer was giving me some issues which added to the fear factor.  However, once it was all printed out, it was quite easy.

I figure I would offer a few of my tips on how to put a PDF pattern together to help ease the mind of anyone facing this task.

After printing out all of the pages, I placed them on my table (which is a little too small for this, but it worked out okay).  Here is what this looked like for Sheet 2 of the Swing Dress pattern:

All the pieces are laid out in the way I want to tape them together.

Next I find a good place to cut the pattern in half or thirds.  The purpose of this is to reduce the size of the pieces as you tape them together.  (Mostly because my sliding glass door isn't that large)
For this part of the dress, I chose to divide the pattern between the skirt back and the rest of the pattern.  To do this, I took my scissors and just separated the two sections of the paper.

I then start piecing the skirt back together.  I started from the bottom of the pattern and taped all five pieces together.  I taped the first sheet to my sliding glass door on a sunny day to make sure the lines connected correctly.
Here are the first seven pieces.

Next, the second half of the pattern is put together.  I started by taping each column of three sheets together.  The first three were no problem, as there were plenty of lines to match up.  The fourth column I left alone.  The last column I was only able to connect the bottom two pieces.

I also decided that dividing the pattern one more time would be beneficial here.  I decided to separate the sleeve from the other two pieces.  Next I taped together the bodice & sash and sleeve piece.

Once all of the pieces were connected as they should be, I made sure to trace the lines where the overlap covered up part of the pattern.

Yeah, the pattern is now ready to cut out and size for you muslin!

What are your experiences in working with PDF patterns?  Do you prefer buying the original pattern?

Live the moment, love life!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sew Along Swing Dress

I am going to be part of Casey's Swing Dress Sew Along!  I am new to the blogging world, new to sewing and new to vintage style - but I think this is great way dive in and motivate myself to make a dress like so many that I have been admiring lately.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Annabelle's Ruffles

So sorry that it has been forever since my last post.  The month of December was spent preparing to host Christmas Eve at my house.  It was the first time I had ever hosted a holiday (or just about anything) and the first time I made some of the Ukrainian dishes without my Baba in the kitchen.  Needless to say, it was a ton of work, but a success.  I enjoyed it and hope to host more holidays in the future!

Remember my first few posts about the sweater I was knitting that I hoped to finish by Thanksgiving?   Well,  I've turned out to not be the knitter I had hoped to be :(  Don't worry, I still plan on finishing it up (as I should since all of the pieces are done, it just needs to be blocked, stitched together, have the collar made) I just needed a little break from the brown yarn.  I believe in wearing neutrals, as they are ever-so-practical, but I love color!  It just makes a girl happy.  So I needed to put the brown yarn away for a while and switch things up.

While taking a small break from the Brown-I'll-be-Knitting-you-Forever-Sweater, I found this adorable pattern for knitted wristwarmers.  They are not the most practical, and I'm not sure how often I will wear them, but they are a completed project.

In order for you to share un my joy of a finished project I attempted to create a magazine worthy photo shoot.  Since my husband wouldn't wear the ruffles and let me take the pictures, I had to tell him what I wanted him to capture on film.  There is room for improvement . . .

Lovely completed wristwarmers, with brown sweater still on my needles.

A little mood lighting from a tea light.

Camera effects make the tea light flame look so much bigger.

I also have a few pictures without the mood lighting that show some of the details.

It was so much fun to share my completed project with my Tuesday Night Knitting Group.  They all want the pattern!  (Plus it felt good to prove that I can finish a project)

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions - plus we are already a week into the new year - but I have decided that I want to find more time for knitting and sewing.  Not only do I look forward to spending my time this way; I will now have more material for my blog!

How have you been crafty in the new year?