Friday, March 30, 2012

Go-to Black Dress

I have yet another thing to show you from what I finished a month ago on spring break (yea, I took advantage of the extra time to sew). This time it is another dress, McCall's 6201, to be exact.

I made mine out of some suiting fabric that I picked up at Hancock Fabrics.  The dress is meant to be fully lined, but I didn't do it, I just wanted to try the pattern out quickly to see if I liked it.  Since I did not line the dress, I used self-made bias tape to finish the neck and bottom half of the arm holes.  The good news is that I like the dress as a whole. 

I made the dress in a size 10, my normal, even though my measurements suggest that I make a 12.  I did have to take the dress in on the side seams from the hips down. 

The other problem that I noticed is that the bust darts are just a tad high... not so much that I felt like I needed to unpick and resew, but enough to make me want to change them for next time. 

I tried out the sleeves from view A, but they did not work for me... too pointy.  I ended up removing the original ones and replacing the sleeves with some cute cap sleeves from Butterick 5317.  I need to have this dress for teaching, otherwise I would have left off sleeves completely.  I don't like having to wear a jacket or cardigan over this dress all day, even if it gets warm, just because it is sleeveless.  These cap sleeves will definitely be seeing many more sleeveless dress patterns.

I may raise the neckline by about 3/4 to 1 inch next time I make this, since I don't want to take a chance of it gaping with it being somewhat of a low scoop neck.

I added used an invisible zipper on this dress instead of the regular zipper that they suggested.

Here is a close up of the bodice:

The dress was  very quick and easy to sew.  The most annoying thing about making it was marking the 6 darts (two vertical ones on the front, two vertical ones on the back, and the two horizontal bust darts).

Overall, it is a great dress and is very versatile.  I have already worn it for a performance, last Saturday with a bright blue cardigan.  I am also thinking of wearing it with a bright belt (red or hot pink) with it, as well.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two new skirts!

I have two skirts that I want to show you all today.  They were both just made with rectangles of fabric... no pattern needed!  They are skirts that I made months ago before I started this blog, but I still want to share them.

The first one was destined to become the bottom part of a dress that failed terribly.  I was not quite ready to tackle it at the time.  I still have the bodice, and hope to try again someday.  Oh well, at least I have a cool, mint skirt. 

Do you recognize that top? Its is the lace accent Sorbetto that I posted about a few days ago.  I think it works with this skirt with a tied brown woven belt.

The fabric is just some broadcloth from JoAnn's that caught my eye because of the color.  The amount of fabric that I had after attempting to make the dress was just barely enough to squeeze two large rectangles for the panels and a smaller one for the waist.  I used some iron on interfacing in the waist, as well. The zipper is just one that I picked up a thrift store for $0.10.  Overall, this skirt probably cost me about $3.50... not bad for a cute summer skirt.

The next one is an elastic waist skirt that I made after seeing this skirt on Sewing in No Mans Land.  I just loved the bright yellow color and the sash.  For my version, I decided to do an elastic waistband with 1 inch elastic and leave a little bit of fabric ruffling out at the top like paper bag skirts.  The sash is just to hide the elastic casing.

Here is a close up of the waist and sash. I also added three belt loops, two on the sides and one at the back.  I decided to do a wide (3 inch) hem for this skirt.  The fabric is just some more cheap broadcloth from Joann's.

There you have it. Two super quick and easy summer skirts that do not even need a pattern!

What do you think? Do you like making skirts from patterns or just winging it?


Monday, March 26, 2012

Modcloth Inspired Dress

This is my favorite dress that I have made so far! It is perfect for in the classroom or on the weekends/breaks.
A while back I had pinned this dress
Source: Modcloth via Casey on Pinterest
So after picking up some great teal fabric for really cheap (which I blogged about here), I couldn't decide what to make with it.  No problem, just look on pinterest.  While looking through my boards I was amazed to see the above dress that I had pinned months ago.  It was basically the same color as my fabric and I had just picked up McCalls' 6503 just a few days prior.

I decided that I would go with the full, pleated skirt that was included in the pattern because honestly, I was tired of sewing fitted skirts and dresses when I made this.  It worked out perfectly because I realized that I really like this type of skirt on me.
My measurements suggest that should cut a 12, but I cut an 8 for the bodice and a 10 for the waist and skirt.  Next time I will be shortening the bodice by 3/4 in.

I really love this neckline.  Instead of a regular zipper, I inserted an invisible zipper.  I also did not make the button placket functional.  I just slip-stitched it closed and added the two buttons.  This was mainly because I did not have three of the correct size buttons on hand that matched the dress.  These two that I had looked really good, but wouldn't hold the front shut on their own without gaping.

As you can see above, the waist seam is not enclosed like the pattern has you sew it.  This is perfect for altering it as you sew, or later on.  I also did not sew the waist facing to the dress like the instructions say to.  I pressed the top and bottom edge under 5/8 in. and pinned it, wrong sides together to the corresponding waist section... use lots of pins (on the outside of the dress) to keep the folds in the right spot.  I then top stitched the waist band, this attaches the waist facing without any slip stitching and adds nice looking top stitching details.

I also constructed this dress using the flat method.  I sewed all of the front pieces together, bodice front, waist band front, and skirt front.  I did the same with all of the back pieces.  Then I sewed the front to the back, inserted the zipper, then the sleeves, and hemmed it.  This method works even better if the dress has a back zipper.  It allows you to make easy alterations on the side seams.  This is how I construct many of my dresses.

What do you think?  Do you like the inspiration dress with its slim skirt or the fuller skirt version?  Have you ever used the flat method to construct dresses (or anything else)?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Two in One

Tonight was my last band concert while at college.  I was playing percussion in both the wind ensemble and symphony band.  In less than a week, I will be having my senior recital!  I just can't wait to find out where I will be interning.

Anyways, on to my outfit.  Today I get to show you two things that I have made.  The skirt is McCall's 6038. The top is the other Colette Sorbetto top that I made over spring break.
I took in the skirt on the sides quite a bit and also tapered the skirt in towards the bottom.  I made view C, but still had to hem it higher since I am short.  The skirt was made from some fabric that I got from the thrift store for $0.25 for about 1 1/2 yards.

Next time I make this skirt, I will extend the slit up about an 1 1/2 more.  I will also change the slit into a vent or an inverted pleat.
The Sorbetto top is actually made from an 90's long sleeve blouse that I picked up from a thrift store for $2 since I knew I could re-purpose it.  I didn't think to take a picture of it until after I had already unpicked most of the seams.  For the sleeves, I made three pleats at the top, which really work well with this type of material.  The neckline is finished with some self-made bias tape.
Fabric: $2.25
Zipper and Thread: $2.50
Overall cost for the skirt and blouse: $4.75

Overall, I really like this outfit.  Both pieces were quick and easy to sew.  Looking at the pictures, I wished that I had put on a black skinny belt. 

I will definitely be making more skirts using this pattern (or another similar one... I need to find out which one is my favorite), particularly a black one and tons of other bright colors... Teal, pink, bright blue, purple, who knows what else.  Any suggestions?

{nifty button}

Sew Chatty

Monday, March 19, 2012

My First Sorbetto

A couple of weeks ago during spring break, I completed my first Colette Sorbetto Top.  If you haven't heard of if yet, I highly recommend it... plus its free!  There have been some great versions of this top that I have seen.  For mine, I used a white sheet and lace from a valence, both from a thrift store.  The top goes great with jeans or a cute summer skirt.  Take a look.
I made a size 0 and used the length from size 18.  The sleeve pattern can be found here.

I made a muslin to check the fit after I saw that some people thought that the darts were too high.  That was a great decision because I realized that they actually did fall too high on me and were more horizontal than I wanted.  From the muslin, I also decided to put a center back seam in to take out excess fabric.  The side seams were only taken in minimally.  I also made the sleeve just a bit more narrow for this version.

Here are what the pattern pieces looked like after my alterations.  Excuse the glass pebbles, the patterns were rolled up and these were in a vase right were I was taking the pictures... they are great little weights to hold the pattern flat.

The pattern paper is actually Gift wrapping paper that I got on sale after Christmas, the grid lines are great for lining up grain lines and measuring
You can see that the dart is lower and is angled differently than the original size 0 dart.
The side seam was taken in slightly.  The new center back seam was mainly to take it in more at the waist.  Because of this the center back at the top is wider than the original to include a seam allowance.

You can see that I folded the center in on either side about 1 centimeter.  That is my normal amount for this sleeve.  For this top, I folded it again, about 1 cm, and folded the edges as well, another 1 cm.  This was the most that could have been take in, otherwise it would be too small to attach to the arm hole.
The center lace panel was cut as long as the shirt was and 3 1/2 inches wide.  I basted it down along the pleat lines and just sewed the pleat as usual, just adding top stitching down the length of the pleat.  The sleeves were made by basting the lace overlay on the sleeve just inside the seam line, then sewing them as usual.  The neckline is finished with self-made bias tape.

I will definitely be making more of this particular variation of the sorbetto.  All in all, this top only cost about 75 cents to make... probably even less since I used the same sheet as the lining to my pink jacket and still have more left over!

This is a great pattern and I can't wait to show you all another version of it that I made from a thrifted 90's blouse.

I think that I will make the neckline just a little less wide next time and extend the top of the shoulders out slightly since it seems bit narrow there.  What do you think?


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inspiration: Oxford Pumps

I had been on the fence about whether or not this type of shoe would work for me. 
Source: Grosgrain via Casey on Pinterest

Well, after seeing this post I couldn't stop wondering if I should buy some.  I just happened to stop by Payless on day and found a black pair in 7 1/2, which was just a tad to small.  The saleswoman told me that they only get one of each size and they fly right off the shelves and that no one else had them in stock.  I couldn't pass them up and they were not too tight that they could not be worn. 
Source: Payless Predictions Interest Oxford via

Then I was able to win this Etienne Aigner pair from eBay, which I really hope will fit.

Here are some of the outfit ideas that I have been collecting on what to wear with these shoes.

I really need to make a green jacket like that.
Source: Fashion Bananas via Casey on Pinterest
Source: Shabby Apple via Casey on Pinterest
Source: Fashion Gone Rogue via Casey on Pinterest

And my favorite.... I will be making that skirt soon.
Source: Shabby Apple via Casey on Pinterest
So far I have just worn mine with jeans and a grey pencil skirt. I think that these will be great go-to shoes for when I begin teaching.

What do you think of these outfits?  Have you seen any other cute things to pair with oxford heels? 


Great Finds

A local church hosts two shopping bazaars each year. They held their spring bazaar a few Saturdays ago. While there, I found some cute fabric, bias tape, The Vogue Sewing Book, a pattern and an invisible zipper foot. The great thing about all of it, was that I got everything half off the already cheap prices since they were getting ready to end the bazaar.

Everything cost me about $3.75, which was great.

Here is a look at what I bought:

I have already made a dress with the teal fabric that I will be showing you all soon.  There was about 2 1/2 yards of it.  The pink fabric is probably going to be used to make a skirt.  I absolutely love the invisible zipper foot!  I had been putting invisible zippers into things using a regular zipper foot and an all-purpose foot, this makes it so much faster and easier.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Look Ahead

In the next few weeks, I will be posting my what I sewed over spring break. It will include some sorbetto tops, McCalls 6503, some skirts, a scarf that I never got to wear since we had such a warm winter, and much more!

The M6503 dress is based off of of a dress from Modcloth and I am very excited with how it turned out and can't wait to show you.

McCall's 6503 - View D
From: Modcloth - Student Senator Dress
Lately I have been busy preparing for my percussion senior recital, which is in less than two weeks! It is really exciting now but I know that when it gets closer I will begin to get more nervous about playing 40 minutes of music all by myself in front of everyone. 

I have also gotten into jewelry making again lately and I wanted to show you what I recently ordered. While on pinterest, I have been seeing so many cute necklaces like these:
From: - Hopeless Romantic Indie Necklace
From: - Victorian Bow Indie Necklace

So, like always, I don't actually buy them, but decide to make something similar.  After searching around on eBay, I came across a shop that has some very similar, if not identical, charms.  The shop is Doubleangel Jewelry Supply and they have really cheap prices and combine shipping from Canada.

Here is a peek at what I bought:
Antique Bronze Leaf Connectors

Antique Bronze Bowknot Connectors
Silver Finish Two Bird Copper Connector

So now I have sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, and jewelry making on top of my school work and practicing.   The school work and practicing are a bit more important at this point... I wish there was more time in the day to do all the crafty things I have planned.  How about you, do you just keep adding projects onto a never ending list, too?