Monday, April 30, 2012

Me Made May 2012

So I've watched from a distance as many fellow bloggers have participated in events like Me Made May and Self Stitched September.  I always thought that there was no way I could participate - I just don't have enough me-made items.  Well this time around I just figured what the heck, I'm going to try it.

I'm still well aware of the fact that I simply do not have a lot of handmade items, but I figured this challenge will be a good learning experience for me.  This will help me to get a better idea of the clothing that I wear more often and want to wear more often.  I also want to get a better idea of the gaps in my handmade wardrobe - to help me determine what things I should add to my sewing queue.  Without further a-do I give you my pledge:

Almost all of my me-made items!
"I, Annabelle of Annabellebumps, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to try my best to wear a handmade item each day for the duration of May 2012."

Notice how I will "try my best," that's my loophole.  My pledge is to wear something me-made each day, but since I don't have a lot to work with, I'm sure I will have to let the challenge slide from time to time.  

Shortly after signing up, I learned that the first week of the challenge is actually casual week at work.  I have not sewn a single casual item!  It's mostly skirts, dresses, blouses (and lingerie).  This is going to make the challenge even more difficult, but I am not about to back down now.  Dear readers, I would also love any of your feedback at the end of this challenge.  Feel free to let me know what items worked, what didn't and what items you think I need in my handmade wardrobe.

Live in this moment and love life!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Colette Spring Palette Challenge

Remember last fall when I attempted Colette's Fall Palette Challenge?  I came up with three garments and finished two of them.  Well, I am going to try again this spring, and I am already a week late to the challenge but here is my mood board:

I am inspired first of all by flowers.  I want to add bright, bold colors of all kinds into my spring and summer wardrobe.  Prints that contain flowers will be a must.  I'm hoping to make several dresses inspired by my mood board, and dresses will actually be quite practical for my life.  They are great to wear to work (or at least casual Fridays) and my weekends will be filled with bridal showers and weddings - so several new dresses are just what I need.

Silhouettes that are currently inspiring me are the 50's and 60's.  Yes, I am late to the game and only just started watching Mad Men.  A friend is lending me her DVD series and I am quite enjoying the fashion eye candy.  Betty Draper's late 50's style certainly catching my eye.  That also explains why the above Grace Kelly picture caught my eye when I saw it on Brittany's blog a few weeks ago.  For a modern twist, Tasia's Vogue 1161 has also been on my mind since I first saw it on her blog.

I'm going to keep digging through my pattern stash and fabric stash and hope to have some more solid plans in place next week.  Also recently, hubby and I have been working hard preparing to put our house on the market.  My time will now be filled with keeping our house in showroom condition while also doing a bit of house hunting.  This will be the biggest obstacle to my sewing, by I will do my very best.

And once I have completed this palette challenge I will move towards working on my Summer Holiday  Challenge as hosted by the lovely Jennifer.  I've got plenty of inspiration.

Live in this moment and love life!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Floral Tea Blouse

Blouse: made by me, Vogue 6726
Skirt: Lady Danburry Career Skirt (won from her blog giveaway)
Shoes: Via Spiga - you see them all the time because they are my favorite

This post has been a long time coming!  I actually finished my blouse sometime last month, but hubby and I have been so busy that it has been difficult to find some time to take pictures.  Since we were short on time, I was going to just take the pictures in our front yard.  Unfortunately a few of the guys in the neighborhood were chatting in our neighbor's driveway, and it just felt really awkward to pose for some photos with them so close by.  Our back yard is looking dull and boring as spring has not taken full effect yet.  I was able to convince hubby to drive to the park, on the way there he suggested we take pictures by this gazebo that was in the middle of a cul-de-sac that we drove past.  Hope you enjoy these photos, which were still a but awkward because we didn't know anyone who lived in the cul-de-sac.

The first time I wore this blouse was out to tea with one of my dear friends and some of her family members.  As I was driving to the tea shop, I felt a sudden chill and looked down at my blouse.  All six of those little buttons had wiggled their way out of the fabric loops, and I suddenly looked as if I had literally thrown this blouse on and run out the door.  Now, I am the kind of person who is frequently rushing out the door praying for all green lights so I can get to my destination in time, but I am not the kind of lady who forgets to button her blouse - ever!

This people, is why we make wearable muslins, and why I am so thankful that this is exactly what this blouse is.  My reason for making a wearable muslin was to make sure I achieved the right fit after grading this down to my size, it's only a bonus that I also accomplished preventing future over exposure from a lack of staying power.   To solve the problem for this blouse, I just sewed a few snap fasteners to the inside of the placket.  When I get around to making this for the second time (in a gorgeous blue silk) I will make sure the button loops are much smaller.

One of the things that I really love about this blouse is that there are no exposed raw edges.  I try to do this with most of my sewing, but the directions for completing this blouse just made it easy.  All of the hems on the button placket, sleeves and bottom were done by hand.  I found the process to be relaxing and I rather enjoyed the process.  I'm looking forward to repeating these steps for my silk version.

Here are some pictures of the blouse inside-out on my dress form - see the neat and clean finishes?  Oh, how it makes me happy.

I feel like my hair is rather blah in the photos.  When it comes to creating photos for my blog I always struggle with what to do with my hair.  For most of my days I wear my hair down after it has been blow-dried.  No curls, victory rolls, or fancy updo.  But I usually try to at least put my hair up for blog pictures, it's usually not period appropriate with my vintage sewing, but it does seem to work more than my straight hair.  Any suggestions on what to do with my hair - I can be super low maintenance, but don't mind trying something new.

Live in this moment and love life!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Taking my Own Advice . . .

Lately it seems that there are quite a few fellow bloggers who have expressed some frustrations about a particular project of theirs not turning out as expected, or taking many, many more frustrating hours than planned.  As I've read each of these posts and done my best to leave a cheery comment (because I believe in you all and know that you can overcome your sewing woes), I've also let these positive thoughts reside with my fellow bloggers but not myself.

Recently I started working a cute dress that I had high hopes would be my Easter dress.  Minnesota had been experiencing some gorgeous, warm weather, so I choose a little sundress thinking that it would be a quick sew.  (No armscye, boning, or tailoring to worry about!).  I set to work making my muslin and soon realized that this would take a bit longer to sew than I had originally anticipated, but I wasn't about to let that put a stop to my sewing.

It wasn't long before I realized that I wasn't loving the way this dress was turning out.  The straps were far to wide-set for my narrow shoulders.  I didn't like the way the gathered and pleated skirt was laying against my body.  The pattern in my fabric was doing strange things to the proportion of my chest - making my already tiny girls look lopsided and even smaller (any ideas on how to make this the next IT look?).

No, this is not a problem with matching plaids, there are
like a millions darts, tucks and folds in the bodice of this dress.
Suffice to say, I did not feel like a knock-out in this dress.  Actually, I remember proclaiming to my husband that I was a failure at life.  You can tell, I'm very level headed and never act like a drama queen.  I mean seriously, a failure at life?  I don't know about you, but I've never had the success of my entire life riding on one garment that I've sewn up - so I probably over reacted a bit.  I even threatened (to myself) that I would give up sewing forever.

I sometimes wonder where my (ir)-rationality comes from.  Thankfully, after the prodding of my hubby, I tried the dress on again.  He told me that he really liked the dress!  He liked the fabric because it was different (not sure what that exactly means, but coming from him this was a compliment).  He also thought that it looked nice on me.  I decided that with a few tweaks I would be able to have a wearable dress that I liked too.

Now these tweaks didn't make it in time for Easter - the partially seam-ripped dress is still on my dress form - but I am feeling tons better about this dress.  Actually, I'm even feeling like I might be pretty good at sewing.  Gosh darnit, I can make some lovely things.  Hopefully I can carry this perspective to my next situation where I've failed to match stripes by 1 millimeter and therefore declare that the world is going to end.  (Really, I haven't done that, but I also haven't sewn stripes yet).

I'm not going to ask about projects that you've screwed up on, rather I want to know - what gives you perspective?  When something isn't going well, how do you tell yourself that you're not a failure and everything will be fine?  If you are not a perfectionist of sorts, and therefore never have even remotely similar feelings of failure, how do you do it - seriously, I want to know!

Live in the moment and love life!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Happened to the German Pattern Experiment?

It has been quite some time since I had my last German Pattern Experiment post, and some of you may be wondering what happened to this series.  After all, it showed up out of no where like a thief in the night and as quickly as it came, it was gone.

So what happened?  Life got in the way a bit.  I love the idea of sewing everything out of my German pattern magazines, but I found myself at a point where there were a few more practical things that I wanted to make for myself.  In addition, there were some fantastic sew alongs that I just had to participate in.  Since you already know that I am pretty slow when it comes to sewing, it is easy to see how this project of mine quickly fell to the back burner.

My first solution was to ask my hubby if it could quit my job for just one year.  That way I could sew like crazy and just get it all out of my system.  He gave me this look like I had just asked if he thought I was capable of solving world hunger . . . today.  (In case you can't picture it, he somehow got his face to say "you've absolutely got to be kidding" and "definitely not happening" all at once).  I tried, and I was thinking of all of you - truly.

If you are interested in the future of my German Pattern Experiment, rest assured that it is not over!  I will dabble in it a bit more this year and I will be converting more of the patterns into free patterns for you fabulous readers.  It's not a priority right now, but I will do more with it this year.

Thanks for your patience with this!  Many of you who speak German have left comments saying you are willing to help with translating instructions if I need it, so I may be asking for your help.

Live in this moment and love life!