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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simplicity 1787 from 1956 in red gingham and the dreaded term TWEEN

My daughter is at a new school this year.
They do wear uniforms but being Halloween today, they let the kids come in free dress.
But not their Halloween costumes.
Here is what Lily chose to wear for her day of freedom dressing:

Simplicity 1787 from 1956
Sewn in a vintage red gingham.
Trimmed with white crochet.
Worn without a petticoat.
I love that Lily is at an age where kids want to fit in by dressing like their peers, yet she still has her own style.
 She is becoming what the media now calls a tween, a new demographic between 9 and 13 and the target of a lot of age inappropriate advertising. Lame shops at the mall with clothing full of sparkles, dumb sayings on the butt of pants, and peace signs all over them cater to this age group.

I don't know about you, but instead of calling my 9 year old a tween, I like to refer to her as a little girl.

Yes, she might decide it's dorky to wear her mom's handmade clothing at some point, but I hope not.
Peer pressure is hard to deal with though, especially in middle school.

The pattern I used for this dress was part of a collection of vintage patterns, and a 1948 Kenmore I call Mabel, I bought through Craigslist.
Mabel, my 1948 Kenmore.
Runs like a tank.
But very noisy.

I have an extensive collection of vintage patterns from estate sales and flea markets.
I should probably sell a few I can't bear to part with them!
 Fully lined, with bodice darts and a separate midriff piece.
This dress buttons up the back, so she needs help putting it on.
I also love the view with the 3/4 cuffed sleeves and the Peter Pan collar.
These dresses were made to be worn with petticoats but that is a bit much for most little girls to deal with nowadays.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My grey dolman sleeved sweatshirt Simplicity 4020

Simplicity 4020 from 2007, View A

 I made a grey sweatshirt!
Adding to my repertoire of basics I could probably just buy at any inexpensive shop.
Sewing basics that look store bought is actually quite a challenge.
It really makes me look at my store bought basics to figure out how clothing is mass produced.
I followed the directions on the pattern and doubled the fabric for the waistband and wrist cuffs which probably wasn't the best idea, considering how bulky the sweatsuit fabric feels at the waist because it's doubled.
If this top was mass produced it would have had matching grey ribbing at the cuffs and waist, making it less bulky.
Knit ribbed fabric is a great fabric to have in your stash if you sew with knits. You can use it for waistbands, neck bindings, and cuffs.
If I had used on the neck on my sweatshirt, it wouldn't look a little stretched out. I didn't have any rib knit in grey.
Knit ribbing is sometimes hard to find in fabric stores. I buy in the garment district where it's sold by fabric wholesalers.
An example of rib knit

The good news is you can always buy a ribbed knit top at the thrift shop, and use that for ribbing.

See how thick my sweater is? It's very warm!
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wine Country Weekend

I took a break from my usual making this weekend to spend some time with friends up in Paso Robles,  the wine country of the central coast of California.
The terrain is very similar to the Rhone area of France, so those types of French Rhone grape varietals are grown and made into wine there. Paso Robles is becoming almost as popular as the Napa Valley in Northern California. 
We visited some small, intimate wineries, met some fun people up there and were the guests at a privately owned thoroughbred yearling training farm called Windfall farms. There were 775 acres of paddocks, barns, horses, sheep, cattle, and there was even a giant horse racing track. It was pretty cool to say the least! 
And my camera battery died so I didn't get any photos of it....
It sure was nice to take a couple of days off from my responsibilities. 
And I got an excuse to wear my colorful cowboy boots!
I brought my big camera and was so looking forward to taking some great photos.
But when I got my camera out of my bag I realized that it didn't have the battery in it!
So Instagram it was...
 Me at the Howling Coyote Vineyard, Paso Robles, California.
The Stacked Stone Winery on peach canyon in Paso. This was my favorite place of all.
 The view from Howling Coyote. It looked just like Italy. It was such a gorgeous day.
 Me with the girls and Ted, one of the owners of Cass Winery.
He was such a fun guy and gave us a private tour of the winery and some barrel tastings.
It was a pleasure to meet someone who loves what they do so passionately.
My husband. I don't think I have ever posted a photo of him on my blog in two years!
He's the silver fox.

Sometimes I spend so much time involved with the kids, the blog, and all of my projects that my head gets stuck in the sand.
I have been making an effort to be more social lately and get out with my husband and friends more often.
Life has a way of passing by very quickly if we don't take time for friends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sew & Tell Saturday 10/27/2012

Welcome to Sew & tell Saturday!

I always consider the time between my birthday in late September and Christmas a really hectic, but fun time for our family.
Two of my kids have birthdays, we always host Thanksgiving, and of course, there is Christmas and all of the crafting and preparations to go with that.
Every Halloween I always end up making at least two costumes even though I always say, 
"Next year we are just going to throw together something from the thrift shop and not make a big deal about it."
But somehow the week before Halloween comes and there goes grumpy me getting ready to sew more costumes again. But as soon as I start sewing them I always get into it and end up enjoying it.
I often become obsessed with making the perfect costume even though the thing will only be worn for trick or treating and maybe to a party or two.
Making memories for my kids I guess.
So I was busy making this black leather like ninja assassin type looking jumpsuit with a hood and mask  I had to get  done tonight for a party Lily is going to this weekend. I just finished it and she looks like one fierce character in it.... pictures yet to come.
 I'm going to wine country tomorrow with my husband and some friends so it was imperative I finish and yay!! 
We made it.

So what have you been up to this week?
Any Halloween costume making drama in your lives or do you just pass that holiday by?
Or maybe you live in a country that doesn't become obsessed by Halloween for a month and spend close to its national debt on decorations, costumes, and candy?

Maybe you were lucky enough to make yourself, say, a fabulous pink dress?
I'd love to see!
 Here are the featured creations from last week:

 I think this pink dress by See Love Make is just so pretty. That beach is lovely, too.

Vanessa's jeggings at Designs By Sessa are a cute basic. I should probably make more basics, too. If you stop by her blog you can see her doing a cartwheel in them. Pretty cool.

Here is the outfit that won Project Run & Play last week. Congratulations Haley from Come To The Mouse House! She hand embroidered this adorable outfit. Her photography is so beautiful . They were all a nice group of ladies to compete with, even though of course, I was sad to be voted off before I got to do my signature look...

Designing With Teens: Sweatskirt & Dolman Tee

Lately my girls have been getting involved with designing outfits.
Next step: Making their own clothing.
Yeah, right...
Not when you have you own personal seamstress who happens to be your mom.

 I made this outfit based on a sketch Isabelle gave me.
Which was promptly scribbled all over by her little sister.
Then lost so I can't take a photo of it....

Fabric :
Sweat fleece for skirt, stretch lycra poly with small metallic dots for top
Self drafted. 
The skirt I draped on my dress form and the top was made by tracing one of her tees.

Maybe sweat suit fabric is a little too bulky for a skirt like this? 
The top was a little tight. I traced the pattern from a more stretchy fabric than this purple fabric which only has a little stretch in it. 

The stretchiness of fabric is definitely something to consider when you are designing a pattern.

This was a good learning experience . I learned fabric suitability to design is really important to consider when working with knits. I think I will try this skirt in a thinner fabric.  I like the  yoke and pockets.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Famous Frocks: A Sneak Peek

While I can't call this a review yet, because I haven't actually sewn up any of the patterns in my new sewing book, Famous Frocks, I just had to share some of the dresses in this book!

I went to downtown LA yesterday to poke around at the Textile Show there when I came across the most fabulous fashion book store I have EVER BEEN TO!
If you ever find yourself in the garment district of Los Angeles you must pop into the lobby of the California Mart on 9th Street. There you will find the aptly named,  Fashion Book Store.
There are books on fashion design, fashion history, pattern making, illustrating, clip art, dozens of international fashion magazines and books on almost every aspect of fashion. I would have taken a photo but the security guard asked me not to.

Anyway, there is a section there with some deeply discounted books, where I found the aforementioned book, Famous Frocks, on sale no less. Isabelle and I could have stayed there for hours browsing but Gigi was being a serious style cramper. Funny how some of those fashion types always look so surprised to see a child.

The book contains ten patterns inspired by photos of the original ten dresses worn by the movie stars who made them famous. These iconic dresses are considered timeless classics and the original designers are mentioned, although briefly. The adapted styles are a bit updated from the originals and simplified for the modern sewist, and because after all, this is a book, and it can't get that complicated. This pleased me because although I love vintage patterns, I'm not really a purist when it comes to vintage styles. I like to update them so I look current. I have made up some vintage patterns in the past that I just felt too costumish in and they languish in my closet.

So if you are a purist, you might not like the patterns in this book, as they are simplified and many of the patterns are designed for stretch knits which didn't exist when most of these styles originally came out. I however, love the ease of stretch knits and am really excited about trying some of these styles!

Read on to see some of the looks in the book that come with patterns.

One other thing I noticed about this book that might kill it for some of you: The largest size for the patterns in the book is a 37 bust, 30 1/2 inch waist, and 40 1/2 inch hip which is about a size 8 US or 40 European I think. Like many sewing project books, the patterns are all included in an attached envelope.

All ten styles come with variations. The first is similar to the original that inspired it, and the second is a little more modern.

The Audrey Hepburn

 The Betty Davis
 The Rita Hayworth, which is designed for stretch knit.
 A variation on The Rita Hayworth
 The Marilyn Monroe
 The Jackie O
 The variation for the Audrey Hepburn
 The Twiggy
 The Diana Ross
 The variation for the Farrah Fawcett
 The Stevie Nicks
 The Stevie Nicks variation
 The Madonna variation.
 And the more stereotypical Madonna.
Cute instruction pages!
So what do you think?
I think this book has some great styles!
Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on how the styles in this book will sew up!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Japanese Brown Gingham Frock, One Yard Wonders

 I bought this brown gingham cotton on my trip to Tokyo back in March.
There is something about the feel of Japanese cottons that just feels different...
softer, somehow.
Anyway, I love it!
I wanted to make something with a casual,Japanese look. I love those little smock dresses the little girls wear. I was going to use one of my Japanese pattern books and then I just decided to use one of the projects from my favorite sewing project book'
One Yard Wonders, Even More Fabrics
I love this book and it is so worth the money!
There are over one hundred projects and most have included patterns.
This is my second go at the Playday Frock pattern from the book.
This time I added an elastic waistband and a second skirt under the first since the fabric is a little lightweight.
The playday frock pattern.

Above are just a few of the projects in the book with included patterns. There are also tons of bags, home stuff, and accessories. You could sew out of this book for years probably!
Here are two of my projects I have made from the book in the past....

 Overalls made out of dishtowel fabric.
 This was my first playdate dress, made in Japanese fabric. Sadly, this dress mysteriously disappeared soon after I made and and I haven't found it since. I keep hoping I will find it in the bottom of one of the hampers because I loved it!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Semi Exposed Miniskirt Tutorial: Forever 21 Knockoff

My teen daughter has a skirt from Forever 21 that zips up the front.
Her sister wanted one too so I made one.
Here's how I did it.
I would say this as a good project for a beginner.
The zipper is a little bit of a challenge, maybe.
But it gives the skirt that little extra something that every hand sewn garment needs!
Just a note.....
This skirt tutorial can be made for adults or kids, too!

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