A Site Devoted to Creative Clothesmaking and Homemade Housewears

Here's to reviving the (somewhat) forgotten craft of sewing.

October 30, 2011

My Sewing Psychology: Anxiety Riddled - Impatient - Uncontrolled Moodiness - Obsessive yet Procrastinator Sewing

I have two yards of this fabric. And I have this cute Burda 7309 pattern.

I'm thinking now as I'm writing this, it's not going to work. I need a heavier fabric for this dress. And it needs to be solid, or subtly patterned.
And, to be honest, I think I've passed that stage in sewing life where cute pattern quilting fabric is going to cut it for fashion sewing. Now I think... "perhaps if I lined the fabric with a flannel-like fusible interfacing, it could work?"  Perhaps not. As you can see, part of me is hanging on to the cutesy quilting fabric idea. The other, more practical and grown up part of me is trying hard not to cringe.

Enough with the BS.

It didn't take too long for me to see the err of my ways. To be fair, I feel like I've always chosen fabrics that are at least cool to look at. Like this:

I still think it's quite cute. Unfortunately, this was my first try at a dress. I didn't prewash the fabric, I didn't make a muslin,  didn't pay attention to my stitch length, and basted all the seams at a 4 instead of going with the standard 2.5 straight stitch. When I did end up washing the dress, a whole lot of it came apart. *Sad Face.*

I learn by making mistakes. Unfortunately, this method is not conducive to learning quickly, saving money, and it also adds to emotional strife and wasted time and energy, not just for myself, either. If you've been in my presence shortly after making ANY kind of mistake, you know just how unpleasant it can be for the both of us.

Now, I'm trying to learn by following instructions, studying, practicing on muslins, making ANOTHER muslin to be sure. I have to practice patience, self compassion, and be honest with myself about my measurements.  I also need to be honest with myself about my inability to do basic arithmetic, an essential part of altering patterns to fit my once slender, now "curvy", body. (Damn you, past age 25 metabolism! - Wait! Remember to practice compassion, put effort into things that you don't like, and take responsibility.)

So, basically, I am bananas. Hopefully it will work out for the better, and I'm really trying. I hope my honesty will inspire others who struggle with the same kinds of things to be less hard on themselves and to know that they aren't alone. Even if what their focus isn't on sewing. Some of you may have picked up on this already, but this is a rather PG way of expressing something a lot deeper and more complicated than sewing.

October 27, 2011

My finished, piped, olive Rooibos

I actually finished this last Friday and I have yet to photograph the completed dress. Of course the bodice didn't fit over my chest, (at least with a cheap invisible zipper, which promptly broke) even though I measured twice and cut once for the full bust adjustment. I can pull it on with ease. I can take it off with the help of my boyfriend... wait, that sounded a little TMI. I mean, I don't have the strength or flexibility to actually remove the dress (because it gets stuck at my chest area!) alone, so I need to plan ahead and make sure someone (probably Dave) who is allowed to see me struggling whilst halfway out of an inside-out dress. Actually, now that I think about it, Dave would definitely have to be present and available when I remove the dress. Until I lose 5 lbs. Which probably won't happen anytime soon. Because I just love steamed dumplings so much. More than installing a zipper. And having more self-esteem. And relieving my boyfriend of his garment-removal duties.

We all love you, but an open seam allowance? Plus ranting...

It's not even pressed!!! FOREAL LANVIN? $700 for an open seam allowance? Not even finished!!??
They even serged the seams back in the late 80s/early 90s for those inside out sweatshirts...

Perhaps this is one of those trends that I will never understand... like these pants:
 Oh yes I did. These pants suck. They have always sucked and make even the most gorgeous woman look like she just jumped out of the waterbed that leaks onto the shag carpet of her single-wide mobile home - which was built manufactured in 1972. Go get some Marb Reds, some Boone's Farm and meet the girls at the slot machines. Its all about you tonight. And you want to be cumftahball.

You can go ahead and ask me how I that description came to me so easily. I don't keep secrets.

October 18, 2011

I made a new bodice, all is well. (ish)

I had to tailor the bodice for a larger bust. I followed the instructions on the Rooibos Sew-along on the Colette blog. It definitely gave me more room, but i did find the instructions confusing and some of the photos looked to be incorrect. I guessed what to do and consulted my pattern alterations book.

I thought I'd share my photo of the pattern layout. My cat, Orchid, thinks she's a pattern weight. I don't have the heart to tell her she's not helping. I used trinkets that I have on display from my friends, myself and my great grandmother.


Here, you can see that my iron is starting to gunk up my fabric. Time for a cleaning and a new pressing cloth. It isn't so bad that I am willing to make another bodice, however. I'll just deal with metallic breasts. It's close to Halloween now, anyway.


Look at what i just did! ARRRAAAHHH!!! I'm going to throw something! Now I have to make the bodice all over again! AAAAHHHH! I hate making darts and I have to add 2 extras due to my size! That's 8 NEW darts!

October 10, 2011

Apron for Nan

I mentioned before, that I call my grandmother "Nan" or "Nanny." I prefer Nan because its less confusing (after all, what 28 year old needs a nanny?) and I think it's more endearing.

Anyway, I was browsing some sale fabrics and saw this lovely, more "Americana" style tulip fabric. I wasn't quite sure what the weight would be, turns out it is like a fine linen.

Tulips are Nan's favorite flowers, so I immediately thought, "what can I make for Nan with this fabric?" Nan is a hard-working, well spoken, tall (maybe 5'11"?) and young grandmother. She's got great spirit and is very thoughtful and considerate. Basically, she's the best grandmother anyone could have. She very rarely wears dresses, which are obviously my crafts/outfits of choice. I did not think that this fabric would make nice pants, and I'm a beginner at making blouses.  I wanted to make something a little more challenging than a tote bag, but nothing so hard that I may ruin the project.

Then the idea hit me: an apron! Its like half a dress and she doesn't have to feel obligated to wear it all the time! Plus, I've been really into the idea of trying out scalloping. I ran the idea by Nan, whom I believe very much liked the idea.

Her mother, my great-grandmother, just passed away last November. Before she died, she gave me bags and bags of scrap fabric and unfinished quilts. I thought it would be a nice surprise to use some of that fabric for pockets and/or applique. Maybe it will look a little too arts and craftsy, but its not like she's going out to a formal dinner in it.

So far, I've gotten the top designed and sewn. I'm going to gather the waist just a little. For the bottom hem, I'm going to try scalloping.  I'm lining it with a simple bleached muslin. Nothing too fancy, as it's probably going to get all covered in baking ingredients anyway.  I hope she'll love it. I'm sure she will, because she's the best grandmother ever.

Rooibos Muslin

 So I've cut out the pattern pieces, which I must say were thoughtfully layered in 4 manageable-sized sheets instead of being in one or two giant sheets. It must be the bane of all sewists to deal with such gigantic pieces of tissue paper... I swear!

I also did as the instructions requested and weighted my patterns instead of pinning to the fabric layout.  Somewhere in the middle of weighting the bodice on the fold, one of my cats decided it would be the FUNNEST to play with the weights (empty metal bobbins and quarters) and run and skid across the whole project.

Fast forward 15 minutes later... cat is locked in the office, and pattern pieces are weighted in place again.

Then I traced the pieces as accurately as possible, added dressmaker's pins in the dart markings on the front bodice (6 darts total: I hate making darts, love the way they look, though.)

This morning I pinned the muslin pieces to the dressform. I have to admit, this dressform has a much thinner waist than I do (it's so old that the metal fixtures inside are rusty and falling apart and/or stuck in place - Hey, it was $25 at Goodwill!)  However, the hips are actually a bit larger than mine, and the skirt section has a WHOLE lot of extra fabric. I'm wondering if I overestimated my size here. If so, I'm going to be psyched! Less Hips = Pleased Cassandra.
(No, I haven't actually gone to the gym yet...)


October 9, 2011

Rooibos Dress - Olive Twill

Hello! I started my muslin for the Colette Rooibos dress! I heard it was really tricky so I actually decided to make a muslin this time. I know, I know... I should make a muslin EVERY time, but I usually fit pretty well in the standard vintage patterns of a certain size (which shall not be given!!)

I ordered my fabric and notions online from a store that will remain unnamed - due to not including the piping I ordered and paid for in the delivery box! I called customer service - it was a fax number. So I emailed customer service and got a generic message giving a vague apology which wasn't really fessing up to anything. That was 8 hours later.
Hoping that piping comes soon because I plan on wearing the Rooibos next weekend. I can always go to Joann's and get some but I don't want to drive 30 minutes each way. Every place I can get notions takes at least 30 minutes it seems. A busy, working professional like me has few 30 minute chunks to spare for transporting myself to a sewing supply store.

Here is a photo of the fabric I ordered, so at least you'll get the gist of how the dress will look!

October 8, 2011

The Jacket - Coming along

I'm making this herringbone jacket for fall and spring. It's from the Burdastyle website. I know it's last year's pattern but in my opinion, it's still super cute and fashion forward. It's lined with turquoise "satin" (satin-like fabric) from Joann's. When I bought the herringbone wool, it smelled really musty. Its been two months of airing out now and it's still stinky. I broke down and fabreezed it. Now it's musty AND has a horrible fake baby powder smell. I can't win. Hope the smell eventually goes away.

Obviously the sleeve and sides aren't sewn yet, so it's looking a little ragged and lumpy. I'm sure it will end up being lovely, though.
I have NO IDEA how to make a lining, I'm basically winging it. Its not so bad looking, and I have a serger. If anything goes wrong, I can still make the inside look semi- professional.

If anyone has any lining tips, I would surely appreciate them!


My great grandmother gifted me this old sheet which was included with a lot of fabric scraps. I just rediscovered it and I'm excited to make a dress out of it. I'll need to find a pattern that suits large print, as these flowers are 4-5 inches across.