Friday, May 25, 2012

A Plant Post + Awesome Mascara Tip!

I've hardly had time to sew this week.  On the upside, we finally did some planting outside!  We've been up to our eyeballs in plants we started from seed back in April.  Scott and I have been transporting six or more flats full of veggies in 4" pots outside every day so they can get some sun.  That's over 60 plants, and we had more seedlings under the grow light.  Crazy!  

Chinese peppers and basil plants yet to be planted.

On Monday, we decided it was warm enough at night to do some planting.  I planted some of the tomatoes, peppers (three kinds!) and basil in the front bed.  I took our cucumber, yellow squash and zucchini seedlings in biodegradable pots and planted them directly in the ground.  I can't wait to see them grow.  The next day, Scott planted the rest of the tomatoes and some peppers in the garden out back.  

Columbine and Red Bell Peppers
 On Wednesday, we had a torrential rainstorm and the temperature dropped below 45 degrees (oh no!) so I had to cover our 'babies'.  I cut apart milk jugs we've been saving for months and put one over each plant.  If you like the smell of rotten milk, feel free to come by and take over for me next time.  It was not pretty.  I was on my way to the garden out back with the jugs, when I slipped on a wet step and slid down the stairs.  I was pretty psyched that I didn't fall on my knees but I've still got to ice and stay off my feet for a few days. ;>(  Stupid patellar tendonitis always comes back to bite me.  

Our little zucchini squash seedling.  His true leaves have just emerged!
We spent some time with Scott's family at the zoo yesterday and were also able to take the boys up to the creek near our house.  They got a kick out of watching the kayakers go down a steep drop off.  They stayed in the cold water a surprisingly long time.

Hopefully I will get up the courage to work on my swimsuit top this weekend.  I made a hybrid of two patterns, which means I have to figure out the elastic to armhole/ neckline ratio.  Math should only be attempted when one is fully awake and attentive.  I wish there was a sewing fairy to do the hard stuff.

I wanted to share with you a sweet tip I found on Pinterest last night, just after I had bought a new tube of mascara....

Bethany explains why here.  So glad I didn't open my new bottle!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vogue 8379 - The Perfect Wrap Dress

I have been searching for months for an easy wrap dress pattern and finally scored with Vogue 8379, on sale for $3.99.   I don't remember ever using a Vogue pattern before, so I was glad to see that it's one of Vogue's 'Very Easy Dresses'.  I love this style, and from the looks of it on, dozens of other people had success with it.

For my first attempt, a usable muslin, I used this lovely jersey:

Poly/Spandex Jersey, Denver Fabrics, $3.97/yd

This fabric is really smooth and has nice drape.  My husband thinks the print looks like something his grandma would wear.  Thanks hun!  (I guess he's used to me wanting his brutally honest opinion.  This is something I don't want to hear after 2 nights of sewing a garment that is almost finished.)  Although I don't know the exact fabric content, I do know it is a 2-way stretch knit.

I cut out a 8 in the shoulders, a 6 at the armholes (The pattern didn't come in a 6, so I shaved off a bit) and tapered out to a 14 at the waist.

I had to do a Small Bust Adjustment to the bodice.  Surplice bodices make me nervous because I don't have a lot of experience altering them.  I used The Slapdash Sewist's SBA method here.  This is what the pattern looks like with the SBA alteration:

The pattern has pleats so I first put it up to my body with the pleats to check for fullness at the bust.  I squared up the line from neck to the waist before cutting out.  I made up the bodice and was so pleased to find that with the SBA, the bodice fit perfectly over my bust.  Gotta love jersey!  The rest of the pattern was easy as cake to construct.

A lot of sewers also mentioned taking out some of the fullness out of the skirt.  I took their advice and removed about 4" of fullness.

Sewer Beware: The waistline on this pattern is pretty high.  I usually shorten the torso but it seemed short enough this time.  If you have an average or long torso, you'll need to add at least an inch to the bodice front and back. 

I opted to finish the neckline by turning the edge over 1/2" and finishing with my twin needle.  Many reviewers complained that the facing was too bulky and kept folding out weird.  This change was quick and turned out really well.  If anything, the neckline rolls in.

Finishing Touches:

 Instead of easing in the sleeve caps I sewed them using my serger and just stretched and eased the sleeves in.  It looks great.  I cut 2" off the bottom of the sleeves, folded them over 5/8" and used my twin needle to finish them off.  I removed 3 3/4" from the bottom edge of the skirt so it would end at the knee.  I left the bottom edge unfinished because it lays flatter than a hem finished with my twin needle. 

I highly recommend this pattern, especially with the alterations I've recommended.  I don't have a lot of experience sewing with knits so I was even more pleased with the outcome.  I'm definitely going to make another wrap dress.  I'd like to try it in a cotton spandex blend, something that would breathe better for summer.  I'd also like to try to convert this pattern into a wrap top. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shoulder Bag from The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

So a while back I bought The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, which is chalked full of neat projects and sweet sewing inspiration.  You can read my book review of it here.  I decided to make the bag with some remnants I had in my stash.  I know, way to sew into my mountain of fabric, right?

Here is a picture of the original bag, designed by BurdaStyle’s Creative Director Alison:

The book contains the instructions for this project.  The pattern pieces are located inside the back flap, so all I had to do was re-trace them.  

I used a medium-weight denim for the outside and a red and white cotton stripe for the lining.  The pattern  instructions are pretty straight forward.  I had a little trouble putting in the elastic, but that could have been remedied if I had read the instructions more closely. 

 I opted not to use two thin shoulder straps.  Instead I drafted a strap 1 1/4 inches wide and attached it at the D-rings.

It turned out pretty well.  It's nice to make accessories that I don't have to fit to my body.  No fit alterations for this bag, baby!  I'd highly recommend this pattern.  If you have the book, or want to get it, you should check out the variations of this pattern on pages 178-195 and let your creativity run wild!                    

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Simplicity 2609 - Rayon Challis Skirt

 Thanks for all of your comments concerning my rayon challis skirt.  I decided to finish it and I'm glad I did!  All I had to do was to put in the elastic casing and finish the edge. 

Don't you just love spring skirts?  And spring?  Yes!  It is the greatest thing ever!

Now I have a new skirt!  It's not perfect, but oh-so-comfortable.  I love the print.  It would have been a shame to not finish this project.  Next time I will cut out the pieces a little more carefully so it looks like the pattern envelope.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Awesome Spring Deals

I've been cleaning out my closet the last few weeks and scouring the Denver area for deals.  I didn't realize until I got started how many things I had that just simply didn't fit.  I bagged it up and was able to sell a few things but most of it got donated.  Here are just a few of the awesome deals I found:

I found this skirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago 50% off making it an even $2.  It started off as a mid-calve skirt:

This would have been a great style for me 5 years ago when I wore mid-calve skirts every day of the week....but those days are over.  And thankfully, I was able to shorten the skirt!  

I've been looking for the perfect black cardigan for months and this XS from Banana put a smile on my face without taking everything in my pocket.  It was 40% off.

I probably won't wear the tights until fall, but it is soooo hard to find pattered tights on sale.  I got another pair with a vine pattern. 

Totally love these!  

I have been looking for the perfect cream colored cardigan for years.  Stark white looks too harsh on my skin.  A warm cream is better.  This is the first v-neck cardigan I have owned that fits!  Usually the plunge meets somewhere around my belly button, thanks to my shortness.  I'm so happy I was able to find a petite size but seriously, Banana, your prices are discriminatory!  You gave the normal-sized cardigans away at 70% off but offered me only 40% off??  If I didn't look so great in this cardigan I would find 10 three year olds to stick their tongues out at you!

I love red and I love flowers and I love this headband for $3.  I found the next two pieces at a used clothing stores for teens.  The short-sleeved tee is perfect for summer and the sweatshirt is super super comfortable.  If I had sheets made out of this fabric I would fall asleep before I finished typing this blog post.  The sleeves are a little long; maybe I will fix that.  Maybe I will not because I love covering my entire hand when it's chilly.

Yes, it has embroidered flowers on the back.  Score!  Are you seeing a trend here?  I am a third generation flower addict.  BTW, I found the shorts at Target last fall in the little girls' section.  I will wear blinged out shorts for half the price as the ones in the ladies' department.

And finally, we have these super comfortable Merrells that I looked so hard to find.  Some people don't see the sense in paying a lot for shoes.  I think shoes are the objects that help you move through out the world.  I have a bad back, bad knees, and plantar fascitis (spelling?) in my feet so cheap shoes are NOT an option.  These shoes breathe, are very supportive (especially with orthortics), and can be worn without socks.  They are the perfect alternative to sandals, which I cannot wear without support for long periods of time.  I think they're sporty and cute.  (If you don't think they're stylish I'll have you know I save my sexy shoes for three hours of bliss on Sunday.)

I've just got to find a few more tee shirts and I'll be all set for summer!


P.S. ~ Thanks to all of you who commented about my peasant skirt last week!  I'm gonna finish it this week ;)