another wedding shower gift

The shower was over the weekend, so I can finally show the related sewing projects!

As I said before, these were for my friend Nicole–she’s the one real life friend I have who occasionally sews, so I knew she’d appreciate it! Though we probably won’t be sewing together again, since she moved to Boston to be closer to her fiance and will be staying there after her wedding. I’ll miss her, but I am happy for her!

IMG_0710I like to run with a small theme for wedding gifts, even when I’m buying straight off the registry, and this one was no exception. She’d asked for Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and the cover was so pretty, I couldn’t resist! And I already knew I wanted to make her an apron, since one of our last fun sewing adventures together was making Anthropologie-inspired aprons. The apron she made for that was actually a wedding gift for one of her friends, and I thought she should have one herself. So I went with the same apron inspiration she’d chosen, the Tea & Crumpets apron. (Since this one’s on sale, I doubt I saved any money–but I’ve always felt that white is very impractical for an apron that one wears while actually cooking, unless you’re a professional chef who isn’t as sloppy with the tomato sauce! Plus I was guessing at what colors she might actually have in her kitchen, based on her registry and Pinterest boards.) This cute bee fabric jumped out at me immediately, but it was really hard to find something that matches it! I’m really grateful that my quilter mom went along to help me out.

IMG_0711I drafted most of the pattern myself, based on an apron that I’d been given at my own shower. But I did borrow the pocket from the Cake Pavlova skirt, because it looked like a perfect match!  And since I have one or two of these skirts in mind for some stashbusting, it was good to have a chance to practice the pattern a bit.

IMG_0713The other thing I made was this set of placemats. To continue the French theme, we found this fabric with French lettering on it. But the one I really fell in love with was the bicycle fabric, because it just seemed so perfect for her. And it really did end up being perfect, because her grand entrance to her shower, which we held outside, was riding in on her bicycle! I will admit that my mom did help me finish these up, since I was running out of time and needed to do one side of the binding by hand. I will also admit that the corners are not nearly as nice as the ones that my mom usually makes, because I completely forgot her instructions for them. I guess I’ll have to consult with her on that later, because I’m sure I’ll be making some more placemats at some point, if only so we have another set. (Mom made me some for my own bridal shower.)

She was really excited about it, as were most of the people at the shower–I got a lot of compliments on my sewing skills! (Especially once someone asked me if I’d made the dress I was wearing, too.) I’m not quite done sewing for her yet, as this week’s project is altering her wedding dress! Which, thankfully, will be a relatively easy job. The dress fits her perfectly in the bodice, so all I have to do is hem it. Of course, it’s also 3 layers, the inner lining is silk charmeuse, and the outer layer is silk chiffon! My plan is to just do a narrow machine hem on the charmeuse and the outer lining. I may hand-stitch the chiffon, though, since it’s a little crinkly and I don’t want it to go all lettuce-y on me.

I’m also pretty close to finishing my Sewcial Bee dress. I’d like to reinforce the midriff, since the serged stitches were pulling a bit when I put it on Donna to let the hem hang. I also need to figure out exactly how I want to hem it–I don’t want to just leave it raw, because it’s a pretty thin jersey and I suspect it might develop some runs if I do that. But if all goes well, I’ll have both of these dresses done in time for Pantsapalooza!

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I may have created a sewalong monster

If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile, you know I’ve been talking about making pants for awhile. Lots of pants. As in, “I need to replace almost all that I own” pants. (It’s not my fault that all of my RTW pants are just barely too short and look stupid with my boots. Which I wear all the time in the fall.) As much as I’d love to spend my autumn sewing cute dresses to wear with tights and cardigans and the like, I know the reality of my life is that I get way too cold to wear them in the winter, and basically live in pants for those 3-ish months. So it’s a necessity. (Stupid wool allergy that won’t let me wear warmer tights…oh well.) Anyway, in my head, I’ve been calling it “pantsapalooza”. It’s kind of a running joke between my brother’s wife and myself that whenever we get together to bake things in excess, it’s automatically a “palooza”. As in, “Applepalooza” when we get together to bake a gazillion single-serving apple tarts in the fall, or “cookiepalooza” when it gets closer to Christmas.

Well, I let my little made-up word slip on Twitter the other day while a group of us were speculating about eventual Sew Bossy participation, and this may have happened….

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And then it kind of went on from there. To the point where it got its own hashtag, and a lot of chatter over the next day or so. Long story short, it looks like I just might be hosting a sewalong!

My thoughts so far are to start it in early September (around the 6th), and let it run until sometime in October. I’d personally like to get this wrapped up before the Doctor Who sewalong that Tempest is hosting, since I’ve been plotting for that one all summer! I’m thinking 4-6 weeks, though I’m leaning more towards 6 since we all know pants aren’t the easiest thing to fit. My own personal plan is to stick with the Thurlow trousers, since they’ve been on my list since the second I found out that Tasia was releasing that pattern, make a wearable muslin pair of shorts to check the fit, and then crank out as many pairs of pants as possible! But since there’s already been a Thurlow-specific sewalong, and paloozas should always have more than one thing going on, you could go with whatever pattern you want! I’m envisioning just a thing where we can all help each other with our fitting problems (because you know I’m no expert), encourage each other, and all have awesome pants to wear at the end.

So, since I’m a complete sewalong hosting newbie, here’s where I’d love some feedback from you more experienced sewcialists! Is 6 weeks too long? Any advice for keeping things running smoothly, other than Flickr groups? And most importantly, is this something that people would like to sew along with me on? (I could also use some advice on how to make those nifty html buttons, since my photoshop skills are pretty much limited to basic photo tweaks and that banner at the top of the page here.)

Sewcial Bee!

I didn’t think that I’d be able to participate in the Sewcial Bee this month, because it just happened to be the same weekend as my extended family’s annual hangout at the beach. Doug and I were only planning on going down for the Saturday, but Sundays are usually also pretty busy with church activities. When he requested that we stay home for the afternoon/evening so he could relax, though, I jumped right in!
My project is not done yet, though I’ve only technically used 4 1/2 of the allotted 7 hours. I just haven’t picked it up since my sewing binge on Sunday, since I either haven’t been home to sew or I’ve been working on finishing the gift sewing. (Deadline is next weekend, but I’m down to hand-sewing. Which I hope to get a lot of done today, since two of my friends are coming over for crafting, which means they’ll crochet and I’ll do this.) But since I haven’t been able to post what I’ve been making otherwise, I hope you don’t mind a little sneak peek!

The theme was “garment inspired by food”. And this was not an easy thing for me to come up with, because my stash doesn’t exactly scream edibles at me! My first thought was one of the many green pieces in my stash and say it’s vegetables, but I wasn’t feeling it. Then I saw some cherry-print cotton left over from this apron that I made for a friend years ago. There was only maybe enough for pockets, but I could almost hear Nina Garcia yelling at me that it was too literal.

Then I saw this paisley knit stuff that my mom gave me for Christmas a few years ago, and it finally clicked. Because it reminds me of Reeses’ Pieces. I didn’t think I had enough to make the entire pattern that I had in mind (a Cake pattern, what else would fit a food challenge?), so I added some chocolate brown knit, and I had a plan!
The first step, of course, was to trace out the pattern. I had a little debate about what size to trace, because I was pretty much right on the sizing line between a 30 and a 35. After some quick advice on Twitter about how the cup sizes work, I decided to try the 35 and take in as needed. This process took about 45 minutes.

Cutting took me longer than I’d anticipated. The print wasn’t quite 1-way, but it wasn’t quite not, and I ended up doing a lot of flipping and turning and attempting to get the pattern to match up as best as I could while cutting single-layer. As you can see, I still pretty much botched it up, but hopefully it’ll turn out ok when the skirt is actually sewn together.

This is where things stood at the end of the 4 1/2 hours, when my husband was up and about again and it was late enough that dinner was becoming a necessity. (He ordered pizza so I could sew as long as possible– I definitely got a keeper!) The front band being shorter than the back band isn’t an accident–when I sewed it as is, the front was very gappy and saggy. I’m sure this will mean some kind of alteration for whenever I use this pattern again, but for this one, I basically just pulled the overlap so that the notches lined up where the gathering stopped, and that pretty much made it perfect! So I trimmed down the front band to match, so I wouldn’t lose the sleeve shaping. My waistband pieces traced out very oddly anyway, with a very sharp curve, so that’s something that needed to be fixed.

I’m pleased with how this is turning out so far, and I think the addition of the solid was a good move, because this print as an entire dress would probably be way too much! (The skirt will be the print as well, and the sleeves will also be trimmed in the brown.) Steph’s instructions are stellar, and I’m having no trouble with adapting instructions for the serger where needed. So even though I didn’t finish within the timeframe of the Sewcial Bee, I think that this will be a very sweet dress to take me into the fall!

Still gift-crafting…

The good news is that I am completely done with project 1 of 2 for my one soon-to-be-married friend, and have made some decent progress on the second. I’m hoping that I can finish machine sewing on that by the end of the week, and then save the hand-sewing bits for tv-watching time with the hubby.

Gift knitting has been set aside momentarily, as my carpal tunnel is mysteriously flaring up again, and knitting is way harder on my wrists than sewing. So I need to let them rest and recover a bit first.

I did take a momentary break from the gift projects on Saturday in order to trace out my Reglisse pattern. I’m having a bit of a debate on how to handle the top, because the fabric that I bought for bias tape, thinking it was the tie and sleeve, is actually just for bias tape, and I don’t have enough to cut those particular pieces. So my options are a) leave the tie off altogether and cut the sleeves from the print fabric, b) see if the more local but smaller Joann’s has the same color of cotton, since I have to go there this week anyway to meet a fellow bridesmaid for shower crafting, or c) see if I can squeeze both the ties and the sleeves from the print. Which I’m not sure will look right. Also, I’m not sure if I have enough fabric to do so–I’ve seen several reports around the blogs about this dress being rather short, so for my own comfort, I traced the skirt to the length of the largest size, even though my own size fell right about in the middle. (I hope I have enough fabric for that, too!) I’d love to get this done by the end of the month, so I can at least wear it once this summer.

And, just so this isn’t a totally picture-less post, I also made this on Saturday:

I did taste the end piece,and it was delicious. (And turned out much better than my first attempt!) Bread counts as crafting too, right?