Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm ready, I'm ready...

Aside from a dentist appointment and lunch date, this week is pretty darn clear. I'll finally have some time to sew, and will have to put my money where my mouth is! I got a little cocky, and did some trash talking...

Dawn has always amazed me with her high productivity. Quantity and Quality... I don't know how she does it with 3 little kids and all the extra work that comes with teaching! So, now that school is out for the summer and I have some free time, I told her that I would beat her in completing the first BWOF garment from the July issue. Usually Dawn has her review posted within the first 3 days of the month (like just this top and this vest and this top (which was done 3/31 from the April issue!!!), so I've got my work cut out for me!

Please understand: This is totally a personal challenge I've issued for myself! I do NOT think I can do it better than Dawn (not in million years) or even faster than her. I'm trying to prove to myself that it's possible for me to accomplish, and I need to stop wasting so much time at home (ever heard of Facebook?).

I did some homework and checked out the July issue online at the BWOF website. It's a great issue, so I've got lots of options.

1. Love this halter! Got super sunburned yesterday during DD's birthday (pool) party, and I now have a lovely vertical stripe of white skin between my shoulder blades. Any top not involving traditional bra straps is looking fabulous to my sore shoulders right now!
2. Also love this dress! It fits into my "sewing for fall/winter" plan, but super fast... nope.
3. I could cheat and make this dress for my daughter, using the fabrics she just picked out from my last post.
4. What do I really need? Shorts, in a very bad way. So these would be perfect (and fast)!
I was actually watching for the mail delivery today, ready to sprint to the mailbox and have the patterns spread out and traced by dinner. Then, I realized it was Sunday... I need to get a life.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What a week!

My house is a mess and my feet hurt. Guesses, anyone?

The messy house is the result of preparing for (and returning from) our latest family camping adventure. We spent 4 days in East Tawas, Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron (about 3 hours drive from home). You may not be aware that I live in the "Great Lakes State", which is comprised of 2 peninsulas (the lower is shaped like a mitten) surrounded by 5 fresh water "great" lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Tawas is short for Ottawas, the Indian tribe that inhabited this area long, long ago. Here are my kids enjoying Lake Huron...
The area is beautiful, scenic, and relaxing (except for the train that rumbled along 100 ft from our camper each night at 10:30pm and 12:00am!) We had one day of rain, and the rest of the time was spent at the beach, at the playground, and checking out the local shops. The quilt shop had nothing special, but DD picked out the following selections from the Ben Franklin store. The flowers will be the main piece for a sundress, with the other pieces and the ribbon for ruffles or embellishment.
We had a great time, and would've stayed an extra couple days except for my sister's wedding today (and the reason for my aching feet!). She looked beautiful and happy, and it was a wonderful day spent with my entire family. I'm one of those people at a wedding who is always dancing (with my kids, with my sisters, with my nieces...), and my feet are killing me right now. The red silk dress was a hit, and my sister was very touched to see all of us sporting some shade of red! I forgot my camera, but will post a picture of all of us as soon as I get one!

This week will be no less crazy than the last! I have to spend 4 days in "summer school" with other high school teachers, learning how to teach AP Statistics next year. Then, Saturday is DD's 6th birthday party in the backyard with friends and family. I'm pretty sure no sewing will take place this week (sadly)! As for my summer sewing plan, it's off to a slow start... it'll be July before I'm able to touch my machine! As I finished the school year, I noticed that my closet is filled with cute skirts and warm weather wear, but in the fall/winter, I have nothing to wear (that I've made). My plan for this summer is to work on pieces for myself (mostly pants and shirts) for the fall and winter months. When I go to New York for my 4-day sewing workshop, I'm thinking my project will be a suit jacket and coordinating pair of dress slacks. Catch up with you next week (keep your fingers crossed for my sanity, please)!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lady in Red

May 2009 Burda World of Fashion, #122
Way back in May, I asked you all to help me choose the perfect dress for my sister's wedding. Now that the school year is over (yay!), I've finally found time to finish the dress! Just a few things about this project (then my review is below)...

1. Can you say, "Pleating Nightmare"? 52 (yes, fifty-two) pleats, most of which were in the sleeves. I assumed the bubble sleeve was formed by gathering (never having made a bubble sleeve before) but, each sleeve actually had 6 pleats at the hem, 6 more on the lining hem, and 7 at the cap where it attaches to the bodice. If I had known, I probably wouldn't have chosen this pattern, but seeing it through was a good skill builder (and confidence booster)! Below is the interior of the sleeve and you can hopefully see all the pleats on the lining and sleeve itself.
2. When will I learn that making a muslin is a helpful step? I'm too impatient, and while it fits in the waist, it is a tad bit snug. In the very least, I should've measured the flat pattern to be sure. Just extra incentive to lose 10 pounds (and not eat too much at the wedding)!

3. I really, really like this dress. I'll be able to wear it to lots of different events, and throw a jacket on over it in cooler weather. I say it again in my review, but the little (headache) details make all the difference in this dress!

Pattern Description: Tr├Ęs chic! When wearing this feminine summer dress in washed silk with short balloon sleeves you’ll feel like you‘re in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.

Pattern Sizing:36-44. I made the 42, but it was a little more snug than usual.*I strongly recommend making a muslin to check the waist and bust!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Absolutely!

Were the instructions easy to follow?2 dots, BWOF? Uh uh, I don't think so...Pleats: 24 (sleeve hem & sleeve lining hem) + 14 (sleeve caps) + 6 (shoulders) + 8 (waist box pleats bodice & skirt) = 52 pleats. I had no idea when I chose this pattern (thought the bubble sleeves were gathered), but it's really a "happy accident" because...1. It looks well made (i.e. expensive, high end, designer) and 2. Completing such a daunting task gave me kajillions of sewing self-confidence. Baby stepping is the key to climbing a mountain!
The instructions were decent and all the pieces made sense, so I can't complain.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?I needed a dress for a Sunday afternoon wedding, and this pattern fit the fabric I wanted to use. Now that I've made it and can see it up close (magazine pictures don't show everything!) I love all the pleating on the shoulders and sleeves. I will be able to wear this to many other events, and work too!

Fabric Used:"Baby Silk" from Jo-anns (poly blend). I know, I know... but here's the deal: This is probably the nicest piece of fabric I've ever purchased there. It's ridiculously soft (like a sueded silk) and didn't fray at all. It didn't slither all over and pressed nicely. So, say what you will... with my coupon this dress cost about $20! (below is the shoulder and sleeve cap)
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:None. If I make it again, I'll sew the next size up (or hopefully lose 10 pounds this summer and not have to worry about it!)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Yes, I would make it again, it's a very wearable design and wasn't so bad. Recommend it to others: yes, but mark your pleats carefully and take your time. It's well worth it!

Conclusion: Remember that movie from the 80's "The Woman in Red"? I feel like Kelly LeBrock in this dress. It's got an understated sexiness to it, and all the little details (yes, enough of the pleats already!) make it look anything but "homemade"! Below is another view of the back where you can see the invisible zipper and how the box pleats on the bodice and skirt join at the waist seam (to be hidden by self fabric belt!).

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Coming Up Next Week: My summer sewing plan! (It's a doozie...)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2 more days!!!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! 2 more days of school, then it's
SUMMER VACATION!!!

My BWOF red silk dress has been waiting ever so patiently! I think I'm gonna tear into that sucker and finish it quick to make up for my sewing absence! I have so many projects in mind for this summer, but that's a whole 'nother blog post for another day...

Michelle at Cheap and Picky ROCKS! Not only does she make incredibly well made (inside and out) garments, she gave me an award!!!

Apparently, I have a "Lovely Blog"! Wooo hooo! Amazing, considering that my last post had DH's nasty hand injury pictures! I thought for sure I'd see readership plummet after that post...
Regardless, here are my 5 nominations...

Sharon at Sharon Sews. She has a wonderful sense of humor (and style).
DJ at We Love to Sew for being a genius and designing a sewing blog that self-updates with all of our sewing blogs. Thanks for introducing me to bloggers I never knew existed!
Weekend Designer for FREE (priceless) instruction!
Angie at Quality Time for the most beautiful photography.
Bunny at La Sewista for making gorgeous heirloom garments that I could only dream up.
Here are the rules for passing this gift on:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award on to 5 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
(I admit, I broke rule #2. Angie and Bunny are not "new blogs" for me, but when it comes to "Lovely", how can I not nominate them? Ya know???)
So, thanks to all you awesome people for hanging in there! I promise there will be a new garment pictured in within the next 7 days!!! Actually, there may be two... (Oh, and Dawn? I will beat you out of the gate on the July BWOF!) If I do anything this summer it will be to prove to myself that I can be that productive!!! Okay, you can stop laughing at me now. Please. Get off the floor...