Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday

Coming in a close second in the competition to be the oldest project in my queue, at approximately 10 months old, is this dress...

in this fabric...

Normally I would have picked view B, with the scooped neck. However, during my individual fashion consultation with Cynthia Guffey at this year's Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Tampa, Florida, she strongly recommended that people with angular facial features select patterns with angular features around the face. So, I think I'll try view A instead.

Frankly, I'm not sure she would approve of the pink, flowery print on me, but I LOVE it, so let's go with: Baby steps, Cynthia, baby steps... ;)

I can't wait to have a new summery dress!

When am I going to make it? I don't know... But don't worry, I'll get to it eventually. It's in the queue... ;)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Project Sunday: Baby Boy Blue Buntings

There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins.
Josh Billings

Yes, friends of mine are expecting twin baby boys, and so this weekend I made two pairs of matching baby buntings from this Simplicity pattern.

It's an extremely easy pattern and a TNT (tried and true) favorite of mine for baby shower gifts. There are only five pattern pieces: a back, a front, a back sleeve, and two pieces that make up the front sleeve and the "mitten".

I used my sewing machine to insert the zipper, finish the top edge of the mitten and the bottom edge of the front sleeve, and attach the bias tape around the neckline. I used my serger for the major construction - attaching sleeves to the body and sewing the front to the back.
Here are close-ups of the two flannel prints selected by the parents-to-be: Sports and Nursery Rhymes.

And here is a not-very-good shot of two of the buntings:

I haven't been doing well getting any pictures of people actually wearing the things that I make for them to show you, but I will do my best to get a picture of the twins in these buntings after they are born... :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Confessions

Music to Sew By

I listen to CDs while I sew - mostly female artists like The Wailin' Jennys, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Dido, Anna Nalick, Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morisette - although a few male artists like James Taylor and Paul Simon join in from time to time... ;)

How about you? Who serenades your sewing?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In the Queue Wednesday

And the winner for the project that has been in my queue the longest amount of time goes to this Hawaiian shirt for my husband:

To be made in this fabric:

It has been in my project queue for almost a year! Not only that, but it has been CUT OUT for almost a year! In other words, only about 2 hours of sewing stand between him and a new shirt...

Before you feel too sorry for my husband, I have, during the five years that I've been sewing, made him 17 Hawaiian shirts. Here is just a sampling:

He likes travel themes...

music, baseball and retro robots...

and lighthouses! ;)

I WILL make his new lighthouse shirt. It's in the queue... ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Project Sunday: Assembly Line Aprons

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."

Henry Ford, often credited as being the
"father" of the assembly line production process

Yup, I've spent my last two Sundays working, assembly line style, on these aprons for the kitchen staff in Ani's restaurant.

There are a ton of cute apron patterns out there - the Emmeline is one of my favorites. I would have loved to have tried a vintage apron pattern, but Ani wanted a simple and professional style. So, we ended up with this one:

She also wanted all of the aprons to be bright orange - her favorite color.

I was able to talk her into finding fabric that included orange, but also included some of the favorite colors of her kitchen staff - you know, the folks who would be wearing the aprons! ;)

She picked light weight cotton prints for the front and so we decided to use a second layer of cotton (in a solid color) to give the aprons a little bit more body, and it was a short hop, skip & jump from there to decide to make them reversible. I knew that, if I was going to sew 2 large pieces of fabric together, I'd need to (a) pay attention to the grain of each fabric and (b) quilt them so that they laundered well.

The pattern didn't come with quilting lines, so I used long pieces of yarn to find an arrangement that I liked.

Here's a shot of both sides of the blue version:

For the quilting, I took advantage of this opportunity to use some beautiful variegated thread.

I'll try to get some pictures next weekend of the kitchen staff wearing the aprons. :)
I hope your weekend included some sewing time!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Wedding Dress?!?!?!

No, don't worry, I haven't gone crazy... ;)
For Christmas each year, I take my nieces and nephews to their local Joann's and let them each pick out a pattern and some fabric. Then, after my husband and I return home, I sew up the outfits and mail them to the kids. This year, my youngest niece (7 years old) must have heard all of the grown-ups talk about the wedding dress I was making for Susan, and she decided that SHE wanted a wedding dress too! ;)

Here's the pattern that she picked:

While I generally try to let them make all of the choices (which has resulted in some very interesting fabric combinations!), I do periodically lower the "sorry, that's too difficult for me" boom. In this case, after some negotiation, we agreed on view C (lower right).

From there, she picked a white satin with sparkles for the dress and a netting dotted with small white ribbon rosebuds for the overskirt. And then, she waited...

and waited...

and waited...

Finally, over the last two weekends, 3 months after Christmas, I found the time to make her dress for her. Here is a shot of the completed dress:

As you can see, I deviated from the pattern a bit and took it upon myself to decorate the dress with a small bouquet of three red rosebuds at waist level, instead of 7 white rosebuds spread along the base of the overskirt and at one shoulder. Hopefully she'll like it. Here's a close-up of the bouquet:

This was my first attempt at making fabric rosebuds, and it went better than I expected. The pattern piece was shaped kind of like a sword blade (except coming to a point at each end) and I folded it in half, basted the raw edges and then gathered this combined edge until it reached the prescribed length. I did find that this was one of those times when it was quite important to do the basting slowly and carefully and keep the 2 rows of stitches evenly spaced and close to the raw edges of the fabric.
The instructions somewhat sketchily advised that, as you rolled the piece of fabric into a bud, you should "tack it". I played with several different methods of tacking, and eventually settled on adding a stitch parallel to the bottom edge with each successive roll. (Between this and the lesson about the basting stitches, you begin to see why I only put 3 rosebuds on the dress, not 7.)
I also had a bit of an awkward time adding the bouquet to the dress. I ended up stitching all the way through the sash and the bodice fabric and the lining (I had foolishly closed up the bodice lining already). It's not very pretty on the inside, but, after all, it IS a play dress. Plus, if she doesn't like the bouquet, it'll be easy enough to remove it.

In general, I followed the instructions and found the pattern to be reasonable. Even though it is a play dress, I did line the bodice, because that was the way that the pattern finished the armholes and neck. But I didn't bother to line the skirt. On the rare occasions that I've made outfits with overskirts, I usually have trouble inserting the zipper cleanly, and this was no exception. I tried basting the zipper in by hand first, for a change, and that helped quite a bit.

I'll be posting a complete review on PR soon.

When we were visiting in December, I did inquire as to the name of the lucky groom - at that point in time, she hadn't decided. But this is a young woman who knows her mind, so I don't forsee her selected groom having much say in the whole affair... ;)

Hopefully her Mom will send me some pictures of her in the dress. If so, I'll be sure to post them.