Monday, March 26, 2012

Cartwheelin' Minoru!

I realize this is a somewhat strange photo, but figured you wanted to see it.

Oh my, it has been a while since I last posted.  I've been spending my time enjoying some gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather here in Minnesota as well as running around visiting family and friends.  While doing all of this, my minoru jacket has been sitting completed on my dress form just waiting for a photo opportunity.

Well, I actually did have a few chances to wear it before taking photos on Sunday night, but I just didn't have a photographer available.  Luckily, hubby came through for me and we were able to take some pictures before running to the grocery store (don't you just love hearing about the fun and exciting things I do?).

So I am pretty much loving this jacket!  When I went to the fabric store, I had a kelly green cotton twill in mind, however no such fabric was to be found.  I settled on this bright pink cotton twill since the color really popped, and the fabric was quite soft to the touch.  It's lined with some quilting fabric that is green and pink.

One of the neat things about the zipper I chose is that it has two zips on it, so when it is all zipped up, you can still unzip the bottom portion.  I'm not sure how often I'll use that feature, but at least I can say that it is there :)

Another neat surprise about my jacket is that I embroidered my name on the hanging loop.  My name just fit from end to end - so I had to take two pictures to show it all - see, it says Annabelle!  What this means, is that no matter how much you like my coat and want it for yourself, you cannot have it.  My name is on it and it is mine.

Because everyone likes outtakes, here are a few pictures taken while trying to get the perfect cartwheel shot.  No, my form is not great as I never was a gymnast, just a kid who likes to have fun:

Live in this moment and live life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ooh La La - The Sunday School Teacher!

I finally finished my corset for Anna's sew along!  First of all, I think this project of mine really helps to dispel the myth that cotton simply cannot be sexy.  (Trust me, I was in the same camp and thought there was no way that cotton could make anything with a bit of va-va voom).  Well, in case you are still in disbelief, I give you exhibit A:

Do you recognize the cotton fabric?  Yes, it is leftover from this project.  My initial plan was to make this up in some lovely green silk from my stash that I bought specifically for this project, but while making my muslin I discovered that I do not have the figure of a 1950's french pin-up girl.  After getting over my disappointment that I am shaped more like a stack of thin mints than an hour glass, I decided it was best to make a super fabulous wearable muslin before using my precious silk fabric.  So I rummaged through my scraps and found some suitable fabric.  Since this is a really lightweight fabric, I stabilized it with some bamboo cotton (one of my favorite fabrics).

As I played around with this corset, I first made it so that it fit nicely like a pair of high-waisted pants. Then I thought to myself that if if fits like this, it will actually add bulk underneath my dresses and this simply will not do!  So I redid a few seams and pulled everything in about an inch.  Ooh wee!  (This is my favorite expression instead of four letter words).  I know I just told you that I am shaped more like a stack of thin mints than an hour glass, but with this corset on - no one knows the better.  It just pulled my waist right in, and there is no way this thing will be sliding down - meaning my stockings will be staying up all day (not like my earlier experience).

Maybe some of you are wondering about the title of this post?  Well, yes, I am a Sunday School teacher (in my free time) and was originally planning for the first outing of this corset to be at Sunday School - with plenty of other clothing on as well.  Unfortunately lesson planning got in the way of sewing, so I've taken some pictures today for my post, but will surely be wearing this next Sunday.

This was such a fun project to work on.  Do you ever have any projects where with each step you get more and more excited to see the final product?  This was really one of those projects for me.  I had no idea that it would all come together an make me sew excited to sew another.  (I think I need one for every outfit I own).

Pretty much the only detail I skipped was adding the rosettes.  While I really liked what they did for Anna's corset, I thought they would compete too much with the print of the fabric.  I opted instead to just add some bows near the garter clips.  These garter clips are actually from my hubby's grandma, so I feel a little strange wearing them but they are quite vintage.

If you haven't had enough, there are a few more photos on my flicker.

Live in this moment and love life ;)

P.S. I leave you with a terribly scandalous photo:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Washing Wool Fabric

A glimpse into my wool stash
Earlier this year I posted about washing silk fabric and received such a wonderful response from everyone that I thought I would share about another fabric (fiber) that I love working with.  Wool.  This is a wonderful fiber and for so many reasons.  Some of my favorites include the fact that it instantly turns an ensemble from a casual look to a classy and sophisticated look.  (Made a lovely cotton shift dress lately?  Try making it up in a light weight wool suiting and you've got a perfect dress for the office or an evening out).  Secondly, I love the warmth that wool provides.  Despite the unusually warm weather we are currently experiencing this winter, a wool dress or skirt is still the perfect choice when getting dressed on a winter morning.

We've all heard that wool can shrink quite a bit when washed, and that it is best to always dry clean it.  This can scare many of us away from using wool for our sewing projects.  Boy do I have a secret for you . . . okay, it's not really a secret just something I know that you might not.  You can pre wash your wool fabric at home instead of bringing it to the dry cleaners!

I have been using wool since I first started sewing, and I have used this method of pre washing every time.  Even though I consider this a tried-and-true method, I still do a test swatch EVERY SINGLE TIME, and I recommend you do the same :)

A snapshot of my test square and a pattern I'm considering using with it
The first step is to do a zig-zag stitch over the raw edges of your fabric to prevent any unnecessary unraveling.  

Next, run some hot water over two towels, I use two towels for 3-4 yards of wool fabric.  (Think your thick bath towels).  I like to really ring them out so they are not dripping as I transfer them to my dryer.  If you see water droplets while transporting the towels, just ring them out a bit more.

Place the wet towels in your dryer with your wool fabric.  Set the dryer on high and tumble dry for 30 - 40 minutes.

I like to run my test square with a bit of clean laundry, since they need to be dried anyway.
(Don't look too closely for any unmentionables, I tried to hide them with t-shirts anyhow).
Here is my lovely wool with a yellow and purple bath towel just before turning on the dryer.
Take the fabric out of the dryer and lay flat to cool.  Now you are done.

I like to let my fabric cool while laying across my bed (we don't have that much floor space).

How easy was that?  Believe me, you saved a lot of money over taking your fabric to the dry cleaners!  Again, please do a swatch test before you wash your entire yardage of wool.

A fantastic thing about wool is that it is antimicrobial.  Which according to Wikipedia, means that it kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi or protozoans.  So your wool garments do not need to be washed as often as your other clothing.  In fact, wool is less likely to retain odors and can be freshened up just by airing out.  For a slew of other great and fascinating facts about wool, check out this website.

What do you think?  Are you less afraid to work with wool now?  Do you have any other tips to share on working with wool?

Live in this moment and love life!