Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pants In The Jar

Hey, January Stashbusters! We switched things up on you! Head on over to Cation Designs and post a link to your projects this month. We decided to try Cindy hosting a link party of everyone's projects and I'll do a little round up of my favorites so no one gets left out. In the interest of no one getting left out and preserving our sanity, we are also going to change the Stashbusting Headquarters board to only Cindy and my stashbusting posts so it will stay uncluttered and you all will easily be able to find out what is going on. So please link up to your projects and join us for our first Challenge!



While I am using fabric from my stash and I even used up some itty bits for the pocket bags today I'm going to be talking about my 2013 Sewlution and Pocket construction.

This is actually two goals for 2013 in one. I wanted to participate more with the online sewing community so when I saw Karen's, from Did You Make That?, challenge I decided to comment. What could comment hurt? I wasn't even sure I made it in time to meet the deadline. Her successive posts made me realize I had committed to something much bigger than I expected and if I fail public shame will be my lot!

So what did I put as my 2013 Sewlution? To not buy any pants/trousers this year but to make them all! I have 5 fabrics already earmarked as pants or shorts and one pattern pretested so I figured this was a reasonable goal and the push I needed since pants still fill me with trepidation and a bit of confusion. Apparently I was not alone in this goal either as it came in as one of the top 5 sewlutions.

Which brings me to today's post. I cut my first sewlution pair of pants out, it will be the second real pair I have made. The first time around I was confused by the 4 different pieces I had to cut for the pockets so I decided to share what I learned and show the funness you can add when you know what they are for!
This is the line drawing for the pockets on my pants.
Here's all 4 pocket pieces. 

The pocket facing and the front yoke need to be cut from
the fashion fabric because they are the bits that will be visible.
The insides which form the pocket bag can be whatever fun
fabric you choose since they will not be seen. I chose to
use some fun wax print remnants I had been given.

You layer and topstitch the fashion fabric to the pocket bags.

The inside bag or "pocket lining" that gets sewn to your
pants front looks like this.

I really like these two together. I love a bit
of surprise where it is unexpected.

This is what they look like layered together inside your
pants. All the fun print is covered so it will not show
on the right side.

I don't know if that helps you or not, call me silly, it confused me ( plus I was being a whiny baby about making pants). So what do you think of my fun pockets? Do you ever add elements of surprise to your garments?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Itty Bitty Worlds

I have a kid trip coming up in April and when we decided January was Itty Bits month I decided to not be a procrastinator and try out my magnificent idea.
Color coded worlds

Growing up I loved Polly Pockets, back when they were the size of of child's thumb, and all things tiny. Maybe I inherited my mother's love of miniatures or maybe I am like any kid who loves tiny things I can hold in my hands.

For these I traced a teapot lid, sewed two circles together and raided my double sided fusible scraps. I used up a lot of little pieces and odds and ends but unfortunately they were so Itty Bitty I was still left with fabric. I'm going to have to come up with some bigger projects or my stash isn't going to disappear very quickly.

I also had to make myself one. I
decided to be educational and play
with fruit and counting.
My stashbusting hasn't been all horsing around though, I managed to use up some lovely scraps in making a wild scarf and I also used a "London Wax Print" as the pockets on my new pants.
I wore it all day yesterday but didn't take time for photos.
I have a few more projects planned but we'll have to see how the week goes. How's your stashbusting going? Are you finding uses for your little bits? Let me know in the comments below and if you wrote a blog post about it, leave me a link too!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Little Bit of This & That

Little itty bits for you, fill your pockets wishing to
Make the messes disappear, bringing presents of good cheer. 
Hello Fellow Stashbusters!
 First, a confession. Cation Designs and I came up with a blogging schedule so at least once a week you would get a stashbusting project post. We each post every other week so we have a week off to prepare or do other things. I was the one who wrote the schedule but do you think I could read it!?! Noooo that would be too easy. I seem to be struggling with dates this month. Anyone else struggling to get into the groove of this new year?
All this to say I was in a panic trying to get some projects done, when I realized my SCHEDULED post is next week! MUAHAHAHA, you have to wait until Monday now to see what I've concocted from my itty bits.
Don't despair though, Cindy was not confused about the schedule and has put out two amazing and fun posts: Itty Bits and Mountain Majesties.

You can also browse through the amazing Flickr pool and see all the great projects being made by all of you! Remember Cation Designs and I will be doing roundup posts at the end of each month and all you need to do to be included is post your picture there too!

A sub group was also started on Flickr for those of you interested in swapping unwanted patterns and fabric. I think this is a great way to get around buying new fabric and get things moved out too.

The flickr pool has become my bedtime reading and I'm very inspired to see how you all have jumped and ran with this idea. Anyone who has linked their blog post to their photos, I am pinning to our Stashbusting Headquarters board that way you can read about everyone's doings in one place. If you blog your makes, and want to be included on the pinboard leave the link to your post in the comments here or in Flickr so I can find you!

Oh, just to clarify, you don't have to follow the monthly plans to join the Stashbusting. You can pick and choose to follow and participate in any of the themes or challenges you want. We are certainly sewing other things as well. Nor do you have to pledge not to buy any more fabric. Our goal with this was to provide us all with a kick in the pants to use what we already have. Plus it's more fun to do it together than alone!
UPDATE: Stash: anything you sew with that is in your house about the time you signed up for the sewalong. If it's fabric you're using it is part of your stash.

So what have I been sewing if not my itty bits?
This terribly photographed. queen sized monster is finally getting quilted. It's a quilt I told my brother I'd make him for Christmas. The top was done by then but it took me until today to figure out a quilting plan and actually get started on it. (Word to the wise, don't make a specific quilt pattern without the pattern.) I cleaned off the table in our kitchen/living room and am quilting it up there since I have more room to swing it around. The men folk moaned and worried I am taking over the whole house with my sewing. Do you ever have those troubles?

PS. If you have any more questions about the sewalong, please ask them below and I'll do my best to get them answered! Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Award and The Successive Gushy Speech

Wow! I was nominated for my first blog award! Tee from Dressed2ATee nominated me for the Stashbusting Sewalong! I was so amazed that it took me a couple of days to realize I had actually been given such a thing. I also want to thank everyone who has joined the Stashbusting Sewalong. It is very satisfying to see a small idea grow into something people are so enthusiastic about. Some great projects have been made so far and I can't wait to see how much we have accomplished by the end of the year!

Which leads me to the first person I want to pass this award onto,
Cindy, The Cationess, for having such a fun blog and deciding to help me run the sewalong! I wouldn't have had the confidence to do it if she hadn't thought it was a great idea and designed such an amazing button! ( I just want to add, I enjoy the irony of me being loud, and socially awkward and Cindy, being a self described introvert, getting together over our blogs. If we had met in person I probably would have scared her to death but because of sewing I think we are becoming friends.)

The rest of the lovelies are in no particular order.
I know she just received it, but Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn has also inspired me with her superb sewing execution and all the fascinating Japanese books she drafts from. ( I really think I need to get some of those Pattern Magic books...)
So Zoe.. cause she was the first sewing blog ever!!! So many ways to turn duds into treasures, her sewing sustainably is something that will infect your mind!! If that doesn't work her sailor inspired outfits will!
Steph from 3 Hours Past is so amazing and inspiring in so many ways! I am really enjoying reading her journey into building her own pattern company. I appreciate her stand against women's negative mindset towards their bodies and her revolutionary but very sensible approach to pattern design and sizing.
WeSewRetro is a collective blog that I enjoyed so much, I decided to start my own blog so I could blab about all the things I was making and not just the retro stuff. Its community is so welcoming and fun to participate in.
Disparate Disciplines is an always interesting little blog. Mari's posts on Foundation Garments and Clothing Affecting Our Moods really came at the right time for me and helped me think about what I was sewing. 
Last but not Least! To totally switch gears on you my last inspiring blog award goes to Simon and Martina from EatYourKimchi! Other countries and cultures have always fascinated me and when they came up in the search results on Korean Bathhouses they had me hooked from the get go! Their amazing marriage is an inspiration and they manage to be informative and silly at the same time. Great job guys! You always bring a smile to my face!

Award Rules
(Hopefully I've managed to follow them correctly, but I don't think there are blogger police out there waiting to get me if I didn't)

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add the The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers that inspire you.
5. Include the rules.
6. Inform your nominees. (I'll be doing that later today)

So that's it for today. Stashbusters, don't worry I haven't forgotten you. Friday a post is coming JUST FOR YOU!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tiramisu Sleeve Hack

Whoo hoo! I finished my first sewalong and it was AMAZING!!! Thank you Steph!! I really enjoyed interacting with everyone on Flickr and seeing you all persevere to get a good fit, which also pushed me to get beyond "ok fit" to much "better fit". The next Tira I will shoot for BEST FIT!
Anyways, we are here to make sleeves!
Beautiful Poofy sleeves!!
First their provenance, somewhere online I ran into Elizabeth's T-shirt Project. On her pinterest board I fell in love with this top on Etsy.
I decided they would be perfect sleeves to use on my fall Tiramisu, since the solid red is a lightweight cottonish fabric. I wanted it to be long sleeved and figured the cuffs would add a double layer of fabric warmth plus being tight around my wrist to keep those cold winds out.

Now without more ado, directions for the hack!
1. You will have already chosen your size and made all other alterations needed, (bust, bicep, etc). 
2. Find the spot where your arm connects to your shoulder. You can do this by lifting your arm and marking the crease that forms. 
3. Measure from that shoulder point to a couple of inches below your elbow. This will be measurement A. ( I was about 13 inches)

4. On Bodice Front piece, line your ruler's short edge on the pattern's grain line and the long edge on the shoulder mark of the pattern. Draw a straight line out the length of measurement A.

5. Position your ruler in the bottom of the armpit curve and slanting away from the pattern sleeve. Draw a long line out. Our goal is to add lots of fullness.
The shape we are going for on bodice front.
6. Square your ruler at measurement A with the shoulder line and draw a straight line down intersecting with the armpit line. Mark this measurement (sleeve line) for the next step.
7. Repeat with the back pattern piece. Measure the sleeve opening and draw the straight sleeve line before drawing the armpit line. 

Bodice back sleeve.
8. Finish dress according to instructions omitting the sleeve binding steps. Once you have sewn your side seams continue with the hack.

9. Measure your wrist and the largest part of your arm you want the cuff to come to. Make sure the fabric will stretch to your bicep. This will give you your cuff's width. (My wrist was 6 inches and the largest part of my arm was 10 inches. I cut my cuff at 7 inches wide.)

10. Put your dress on and measure where the full sleeve hits your arm to where you want the cuff to end. The higher the cuff the bigger the poof drape. (I wanted a cuff 6 inches long) Double this measurement and add an inch for seam allowance and sleeve growth. This is your cuff length. (Mine was 13 inches)

11. Cut a long rectangle with the stretch running the WIDTH of your piece. (Mine was a 7 x 13 inch rectangle with the stretch running the same direction as the 7 inches)

Note: (Now you basically put the cuff together just as you would add a cuff or band to any knit garment, Renfrew is the perfect example.)

12. Sew or serge up the long side of the cuffs, right sides together. You will have two long skinny tubes double the length you want.

13. Fold the cuffs WRONG sides together and pin mark it in fourths.

14. Baste around the long sleeve opening gathering it to fit to the cuff. Right sides together, sew the gathered sleeve to cuff, stretching cuff slightly. (My knit is not super stretchy).

Voila! You now have poofy cuffed sleeves that wrap tight and cozy around your little wrists so no cold air will come in and bite you! Plus they are super pretty!

I apologize for the lack of photos. This is my first tutorial and I'm still figuring things out. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Please send me a link if you end up making them so I can see how they turn out with different fabrics. Will a heaver knit make the poof larger or totally deflate it?
I hope this adds lots of fun to your wardrobe and a new look so you can make yet another version of Tiramisu!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Dress

I thought I take a break from the stashbusting madness and share a post on a surprise project, it just happened to fit in perfectly with January's theme of one yard or less. :)

Surprise! It's your birthday!
Wild Thing, not-niece number three, is turning two on Sunday. I had forgotten all about this. To top it off, she informed me on Tuesday that her favorite color is ORANGE. (yes, she has a large vocabulary for someone almost 2) Now, orange is not my favorite color and I live too far from the fabric store to get there and back and made before her birthday party. Thankfully I was able to scrounge around and find a few things.
Wild Thing likes to tear around the house, dressing up in
whatever takes her fancy. This was during her "shoe phase"

McCall's 7226 was a great little swing dress pattern with the simple silhouette I was looking for. It also had lining pieces that fit on my bright orange fat quarter.
I love linings and how they allow you to dispense with all those fiddly facings. For this dress I wanted the orange to look like the bodice so I flipped the "lining" piece to the outside of the dress after grading seams and clipping the curves.
Grading: to trim your seam allowance two different heights.
The "outer" fabric is always the longer one. 
Clipping Tip: clip the seams DIAGONALLY to the seam allowance
instead of straight down. Clip the seam allowance opposite directions 

Result: The fabrics overlap when pulled around the curve and eliminate
those dips or "witch's teeth" Just try it! You will be amazed at the results!

I stitched the pink corduroy 1/4 inch seam lining it up along the edge of the orange bodice. After I had sewn, hemmed and gathered all three of my skirt ruffles I pinned them to the white lining. The top skirt ruffle went under the corduroy. The succeeding ruffles were carefully [note to self: measure next time instead of just eyeballing it!] pinned down with the 1/4 in. gathered line under the hemline of preceeding ruffle. I topstitched them down with some peachy orange ribbon.
After sewing the center back seam and inserting the zipper; voila! I had a perfect orange birthday present! I made it long and a bit wider so she can wear it now with a turtleneck underneath and this summer.

For you stashbusters, I used 4 stash pieces of fabric and one ribbon. The pink corduroy was from one of my first skirts, the bright orange was from college and the ruffle fabric was from one of my first attempts at making things to sell. The lining was given to me by someone cleaning out their stash; so, for not trying to fulfill a stash project I certainly managed well!

I'm just tickled that my idea turned out, mostly, the way I imagined it would! Plus I got Wild Thing's present done in plenty of time!

Have you ever felt the joy of a project turned out just right? How's the stashbusting going? There's lots of amazingness on Flickr! Keep up the inspiration, guys!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Personal StashBusting Plans

Hello Fellow Stashbusters!
 I'm so glad I get to say that! There were some nerve wracking moments after Cindy and I posted the Stashbusting Sewalong. What if no one joined? You all didn't fail us though and eagerly stepped up to the challenge. There are already some great projects and stash collection confessions on Flickr. 
  I just wanted to clarify, you can join in the Stashbusting even if you don't participate in our themes or challenges. They are just a way to add some fun and possible direction for those that need or want it. We all have our own personal plans for our fabric and here's mine!

Stashbusting Pledge
"I, Emily, commit to using my stash fabric in 2013 to make: 
  • 27 garments 
  • 10 baby or bridal shower gifts
  • Many other assorted projects. (there's nothing like being vague when you are trying to accomplish your goals)
 I also commit to not buying any new fabric or notions except for what is absolutely necessary to finish something I have already started; until I can fit all my fabric on the shelves with no more piles on the floor.
I'm really tired of piles as much as I love my fabric. I didn't even bother to fold it nicely like Cindy did.

Tada! My main stash hidden in my closet/sewing room

My knit stash. There is a whole row behind that pile
on my floor.
Here's a closeup of my handwritten list of personal projects and a few photos of fabric I have definite plans for!
A pink summer Tira,
A burgundy and stripe fall Tira
A mystery, Emily goes crazy, blue and white vintage Tira.
(we'll see about the last one)

Shirts. From the bottom up, winter to summer,
all being long enough for my arms and torso.

More shirts! The grey for my Dad
The green and yellow for my "baby" brother.

The white dress in the pattern.

Pants! For winter, summer and in between. This was also the
Sewalution I put In The Jar!

A list of my personal sewing which has already changed
and grown.
Let's see your stash, my friends! Post photos in the flickr pool or if you blog leave a link to your post in the comments below.
If you need ideas for our January theme check out Pinterest for fun and quick projects Cindy and I collected for you.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about or want to get a peek of what's ahead check out this page.

Monday, January 14, 2013


  While I'm new to the blogging scene I've been enjoying sewing for years. I was delighted to find so many people who shared my interests and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all through your blogs. 
  As I read all the year end posts and goals for 2013 I noticed a trend or theme in a lot of them. Yep! You guessed it! Stashbusting! I too, was feeling the weight a large stash leaves on one's mind and storage space so I plucked up my courage and approached Cindy of Cation Designs with an idea. She responded enthusiastically and together we have dreamed up a superb plan to share with you all!

Wait, what's this all about?

The 2013 Stashbusting Sewalong is a casual sewalong whose goal is to encourage us to reduce the size of our stashes. If you've got more fabric than you know what to do with, join Cindy and me as we  systematically purge our stashes by sewing items to fit a series of themes. We've got a whole schedule that you can follow if you need that kind of structure, or you can just join us in pledging to destash in your own way; it doesn't matter if you want to follow our themes, as long as you use up that stash fabric. Either way, we know we're in it together, and we know that others will be cheering us on as we go. There's nothing like working together to bust a stash!

Here's how you can join us!
  • Leave a comment here or on Cindy's blog with your pledge: "I, _______,commit to using ____ pieces of stash fabric in 2013. Additional option: I also commit to not buying any new fabric/patterns/ notions except for _______ until ______." Please include your blog if you have one.
  • Post on your blog (if you have one) about your commitment! There's nothing like accountability and public shaming to get us to use up fabric that's been lingering in our stashes. Please share the link back to this post so others can join in if they want.
  • Join our Flickr group! Whether you have a blog or not, this is where you can post photos of your stash, your plans, and (hopefully!) your finished projects. We can encourage each other and gush over the reduced piles together at the end of the year. 
  • In one of those above options, tell us about what pieces you would like to use up this year: 
    • how much there is
    • how long it's been in your stash
    • what your original intentions were when you bought each piece 
    • what you would like to make from it this year. 
  • Be reasonable and kind to yourself, though -- as tempting as it would be to list everything, the point of this challenge isn't to make us feel guilty at the end of the year about our failed plans. Choose pieces that you could conceivably sew up this year; don't choose everything. If you've got a gorgeous piece in your stash that doesn't match your current lifestyle or sewing skill level, feel free to leave it in the stash to wait a little longer. Its day will come! It's just not this day, and that is okay. 

So what's this about themes and challenges I hear?

Every month we'll have a theme for our stashbusting, e.g. knits, accessories, scraps, etc. We'll take turns posting on our blogs with our stashbusting projects in case you need the inspiration, and we'll also have Pinterest boards going for ideas that go along with the theme. You can follow along with us if the structure helps you, or just do your own thing...the goal here is to use fabric in any way possible! Here's a list of the first six themes, which covers the first half of the year.
  1. January: Itty Bits! Sew up those remnants left over from another project, use up some of those tiny scraps that you've been long as it's less than a yard of fabric, it counts!
  2. February: THE LOVE CHALLENGE. 
  3. March: Impending Seasonal Change. Regardless of your hemispherical location, the weather will be changing soon...what will you make? Something fun for the coming spring, or something cozy for fall?
  6. June: Containment! Get ready for those long car trips, summer outings or some good old fashioned cleaning and organizing! We're thinking bags, boxes, totes, purses, pouches, you name it; this month is all about making things to put other things in.
We will be posting the rest of the themes/challenges later in the year, so as not to overwhelm and add some surprise. You'll also notice that some of the months are challenges. This means that if you sew along with our theme, you can enter your finished project in a contest! We'll choose our favorite and you'll get bragging rights. And we promise that the prizes aren't just pieces from our stashes that we want to get rid of ;) We'll give you more detailed information about the rules and how to enter before the February challenge.

Okay, I think I'm in! I made my pledge and joined the Flickr group, now what?

Start sewing up those scraps for January! It's up to you if you want to post every month about your project, but we encourage you to interact with your fellow stashbusters, whether it's through Flickr or blog comments. Besides documenting our own projects, Cindy and I will also post round-ups each month of your makes so you can see all of your fellow stashbusters' projects gathered into one place.

You can get links to all of our posts and follow our progress on this page.
You can also follow our Pinterest StashBusting Headquarters board to see new posts from all involved.

Lastly, if you want to proudly proclaim to the world (or just to the people that you share a living space with!) that you are Finally. Doing. Something. about that stash, you can grab this amazing button for your blog's sidebar: (doesn't it make you feel fierce and ready to tackle the stash!) The button features a Sewasaurus Rex tackling a piece of stash fabric in a rather, uhh...extreme manner. It was done by one of Cindy's former chemistry students; you can check out more of Jen's amazing artwork here.

Stashbusting Sewalong
Thanks for participating with us and here's to a great year of sewing! On Wednesday, I'll be posting my pledge and stash confession pictures. I look forward to sewing and supporting you all as we accomplish our goals and get StashBusting!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Slices of Thankfulness 2

Issue two of the Thankful Posts 
  Last week I mentioned I wanted to take the time to remember all the things and blessings I do have instead of getting caught up in what I don't have. Every day this year I am writing down one thing I am thankful for on that day. Sometimes I immediately know, sometimes it takes a bit of thought.  Here's this weeks list.

January 6th- a glimpse of the big picture, "the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."(Isa.9:7)

January 7th- watching the first episode of the season of Downton Abbey with Mom.

January 8th- lovely fabrics to make things with

January 9th- getting to spend time with my young sewing friend

January 10th- getting to take it easy when I feel blah.

January 11th- got my brother's quilt pinned together.

So what are you thankful for this week?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tiramisu Adventures with My Musings Throw In

Hi Ya' All! 
 That's my Momma's hillbilly roots coming out in print... So hopefully this will makes some sense cause there's alot going on in my head right now! You are forewarned!
  First! Gushing!! How amazing is it that we have an amazing lady like StephC who takes the time to come up with an amazing pattern idea, makes the amazing pattern, then TEACHES us how to sew it! Pretty Amazing right?!! (ok I'm done with amazing now)
If you hadn't figured it out I'm talking about Tiramisu and the wonderful sew-a-long that's going on over at the Sewing Cake website. I can't decide if I like the 30 mins. a day since there's less pressure to get things done or if I'm going nuts cause I just want a dress already! One thing I have decided is I love the minute detail Steph goes into explaining each step and I'm loving all the amazingness in our Flickr group! Hurrah for all the new Tiramisu's! (and all the new fabric websites, like I need more fabric shopping options)
   So without more ado here's my muslin. I knew I wanted to make several of these so I took the time to make a muslin first since Steph has revolutionized the pattern making process.

Top Photo: My first try. I thought the binding was too loose and the bottom was bagging out. Someone mentioned overlapping the front bodices a bit more so without thinking that is what I did. 
Bottom Photo: Still baggy and now I have a pucker/pleat in my midriff band. I set it aside for the night and came back to it the next day.
Large Photo: The "girls" were a perfect fit in the bodice front I cut so I knew I didn't need to go down another size. I ripped the front apart again, reattached the binding and resewed the front. When I pinned the skirt I got the fit I was looking for!
One of the great things about the Tira pattern is the front binding is attached when the seams are open so you can control how much you stretch the binding. With this old knit I stretched that sucker and ended up taking off 4-5 inches. This fixed my problem.
Since this was my muslin I just wanted to see what the finished product would look like so I whipped the skirt on. Putting the whole thing together really helped me figure this out and I feel confident to cut into my good fabric and make myself some really amazing dresses.
A couple of tips or revelations I had while making this:
1. It all depends on the knit. Some knits stretch more than others so the fit will change depending on the knit I use. Some neck bindings will need more stretching than others.
2. The V-neck gets smaller with the weight of the skirt attached. While I was working on the fit of the top I was worried because the V was pretty deep and it was showing a bit more than I wanted. As soon as I attached the skirt it swung the front into alignment. It also helps tighten things up so there is no gaposis.
3. I'm 5'10" in shoes and was expecting this to be a tunic top. I cut the skirt waistband at 30 and the shortest hemline. As you can see it hits me right above the knee, unhemmed. Hurrah! Now I know to trace the longest size to make a winter skirt.

Well that's all I can think of at the moment. This little "gem" is off to my friend for a maternity top and I'm off to cut something lovely for myself.
In the words of Tigger, "TTFN, Ta Ta for now!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Dress that Wasn't For Christmas

I started this beauty at the beginning of December intending it to be my Christmas dress, and it got promptly shelved in all the Christmas creativity/mayhem that ensued. Thankfully things calmed down after Christmas and when I wasn't feeling terrible from being sick from that strange bug going around and the bonus high blood sugars that went with it I was able to get some UFOs done. This little corduroy jumper was on the list!

Butterick 7434 is a gem!

This was originally going to be part of Mari's Foundation Garment Challenge since it was a warm basic that would allow me to integrate, don't roll your eyes, some beautiful jewelry I never get to wear.
See I have this an another beautiful double strand blue necklace.
My handmade earrings also went perfectly with this ensemble,
which was not even dreamed about when I made them.
So back to the pattern! Butterick7434 is a great 50s wiggle dress with some unique construction. There is only one piece for the front and the back. You cut two and sew up a center front and back seam. All the shaping is done with darts! This is a great idea, especially when you don't have a lot of fabric. It also makes the dress easy to adjust to our more modern shapes since you can sew the darts a little less in some spaces and a little more in others.
Two open vertical darts and two bust darts on the front.
The vertical darts add some fun to the front.

Four vertical darts add shaping to the back.
The zipper hides in one of the long side dart. 

I made this a one piece pattern by omitting the facings
and finishing the neckline and armholes with bias binding.
I made sure to trim off the extra seam allowance first.
  This pattern leaves lots of room for adjusting to your shape but after wearing it for a day I did notice the bust darts need a little bit of work. Since I don't wear a bullet bra, (shocker, I know) the bust darts could come in and down just a scooch more. I think it will be easy to fix since I'm just working around the tip.
   I put in a one inch hem which hits me just below the knee. Its a good length since the skirt is fitted all the way down.
  The corduroy was a dream to work with. I did all my pressing on the wool side of my pressing ham or on a towel so I wouldn't smoosh the fabric's nap. I think I'm in love with corduroy and want to make one of those amazing 50s or 60s skirts with buttons and funky pockets next.
  Have you ever sewn a wiggle dress or worked with corduroy???

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Right Brain Organizes

In 2012 I got a book that has helped me tremendously! Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl & Dolores Cotter Lamping. The subtitle summarizes it nicely, "Right-brain styles for conquering clutter, mastering time, and reaching your goals".
I've been giving myself a refresher and want to talk about how it has helped me with organizing my stuff. One thing they mentioned was that some people (right-brain dominant) need to see things to use them. This is why I leave my clothes on the chair and prefer them hanging in the closet instead of in drawers. Growing up I was taught to make a place for everything and everything in its' place. With the help of this book I realized if I want to use "everything" I need to SEE it.
So I sorted my fabric and stacked it on shelves so I can see it. I took all my beautiful ribbons and laces that I wanted to use and wasn't and wound them on a frame, and around cards instead of having them all tossed into a drawer. Easy access and ease of use.

Another thing the book talked about was breaking down tasks, especially distasteful ones, into chunks of time and only working on that project for so long. It keeps you focused and prevents burnout. This revolutionized the way I clean. It's amazing what you can get done in 15 to 30 minutes!

My mailing office and card making pile?
Notice the new hanging basket so I can SEE
Thrift store finds for me and inventory for my Etsy shop
15 minutes into it, fabric is on the couch, papers
are piled and you can begin to see the floor.
30 minutes later the job is done!

I can walk to the desk now!
I'd been dreading this job for weeks, walking over stuff and shuffling through the pile to get what I needed. But with only thirty minutes of my time I was able to clean it up and make it a more comfortable and sane working space.
How about you? Do you have any tips or tricks for cleaning or organizing spaces? I've started a Pinterest board full of Right Brain Organizing ideas! I'd love to see yours!