Sunday, September 21, 2014

DIY Flower Girl Dress

Months ago, my cousin, who is getting married next month, asked if I would make her daughter's flower girl dress.  Of course I said yes and was so excited to do it...until she showed me what she wanted.  This is the inspiration dress:
To say that I was intimidated would be an understatement.  I had serious misgivings, but my cousin was confident I could do it.  As the months passed, I looked at several patterns to figure out how I was going to make this in a 2T and I googled how to make cascading ruffles.  My biggest concern was how to enclose the raw edge of the chiffon on the side that would be attached to the skirt.  I finally found this blog that provided the inspiration for the solution to my problem.  I bought several patterns, but finally settled on these three:
Butterick 3350 for the base of the dress (I did view F for a sweetheart neckline)

Simplicity 1507 for the sash


Butterick 4967 for the ruffle (I used a trimmed down pattern piece 10)

I started with making the skirt.  For the the ruffles, I narrow hemmed the ends:

then I used satin bias tape to enclose the outside raw edges.  Next, I made markings about an inch from the back edge of the skirt and I pinned the raw edge of the ruffle to the markings on the skirt, stretching as I pinned:
After sewing the ruffle in place, I folded the ruffle over the stitch, pinned it in place, and sewed it again, making sure the raw edge was now enclosed:
I then measured 2 3/4 inches from the sewn ruffle to make markings for the next ruffle and repeated the process.  I did this until the skirt was covered in ruffles.  26 in total!!  However, not every row was 2 3/4 inches apart.  I varied from 2-3 inches.  

If I were ever going to make this again (which is extremely doubtful), I think I could get away with making them 4 inches apart because the skirt is gathered.  Gathering the skirt was very difficult because of the bulk and because I used a heavy stretch satin.  My gathering stitches kept popping which was extremely annoying!  Anyway, all the hard work paid off as the dress came together rather nicely:

(You can't really see that it's a sweetheart neckline here)

I decided to fully line the skirt.  (I think you can see the sweetheart neckline a little better inside out)

 I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take me to make this.  Cutting out the dress, not including the lining or the sash, plus making 5 ruffles took me the better part of one day.  Another day, I enlisted the help of another cousin to cut out the lining, sash, and more ruffles and to help me pin the satin binding to the edges.  I worked on this several evenings after work, then one Friday evening from about 8pm until 7am the next day, plus an additional couple of hours the next day to put in the zipper and hem the dress.  If you attempt this, I suggest giving yourself a month (unless you don't work full time).

I mailed the dress to my cousin as soon as I finished so we could see if it fits (given the timing, there is no time for a plan b).  She loves it, but it does need altering.  The flower girl is big for her age so I made a 2T as requested although she's only 15 mos old.  The dress is a little snug in the stomach and a little too big up top.  This should be easy enough to fix and I'll update the photos once it's done...after the wedding.  In the meantime, this is what it looks like now:

My cousins grandmother added pleats under the arms to make the dress more fitted.  Also, my cousin added extra bling from her wedding dress to the sash:

She is just too cute!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vogue 8755

I purchased this pattern a long time ago and have just been waiting for the right fabric/occasion to make it.  When I got my ticket for a white Memorial Day Play Date (game night + concert for adults), I decided I would make this in white denim.  

My version:

(It looks really good with this necklace)

(I forgot to take pics at the event, but I wore it to work.)

This very easy straightforward dress ended up taking me over 12 hours to make.  First, I must not have been paying attention when I purchased the fabric because I did not have enough.  I was making this dress the day before the event so I did not want to waste time going back to the fabric store.  Luckily, I had just enough eyelet scraps to make it work.  

Then when I was constructing the skirt, I noticed I cut the skirt too close to the edge of the fabric.  The ridges of the edge were visible and too wide to be hidden in the seam allowance.  To hide it, I ran black binding underneath the zipper extending all the way down to the hem of the dress.  If I had a long enough zipper in stock, I would've done that instead, but I had to work with what I had.

I really wanted to add pockets, but since I was running low on time, I didn't do it.  Next time, I will add pockets and make a size smaller...the bodice bunches in the chest area.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Last year a friend of mine told me that all she wanted was a colorful summer dress, but that she was having a hard time finding one.  Well a year later, I decided to make her one.  So for her 30th birthday/thank you for being so awesome gift, I decided to make her Simplicity 2250:

Here's my version:

This is by far the most difficult project I've done.  I was very surprised because it looks like such a simple dress...well, looks were definitely deceiving!  This took me a few days to complete...I thought it would take 1, at most 1 1/2.  The bodice alone took me like 2/3 of a day to complete.  This is because I did mess up the pleats and had to rip stitches probably twice.  Also, I was originally going to make spaghetti straps.  After spending 2 1/2 hours trying to turn one strap right side out and still only getting it halfway done, I gave up.  Luckily, I still had enough fabric to make the larger straps.  All the pleats were a bit confusing, but all in all not too bad.  I think it would've been much easier if I picked a fabric I could actually see my markings on!!

She loves it!!:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My First Pants!

The past couple of weeks have been so cold (wind chill below zero), I decided it was finally time I tried to make some pants in order to stay warm.  I wanted an easy pattern for my first attempt so I went with Vogue 2923:
I had some brown suiting in my stash for a long time so I got to work.  The pattern was very quick and easy. My only qualm, is that the pattern is really just for coca cola bottle shaped women.  After I cut out the pieces I realized the pants were not going to fit my waist.  I couldn't re-cut the pieces b/c I barely had enough fabric to cut it the first time, and I don't know how to alter waists (I really need to take a course on pattern alterations).  I ended up just sewing it with as little seam allowance as I could and they just fit!  The effect - which may in part be attributable to the fabric - is a tummy control pant, which I love!  To be fair, the package does say that this pattern is not for boxy shapes...

...but I thought that only applied to the jacket.  I was wrong.  All in all, I am happy with the pants.  I did make one mistake...I ironed the pleats on the wrong side!  lol...oh well

(I still have to put a hook and eye in them.  I know I have a lot, but I can't find them and I refuse to buy more!)

I like the wide leg look.  But, now I know I have to be careful wearing these.  I wore them last week and was running up the escalator at the metro when my foot got stuck in the pant leg and I fell!  Luckily, no serious injuries and my pants are unharmed!  :)

I will probably make these again...just in a bigger size.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fleece Navidad

This year, I decided to give everyone in the fam a gift and to make things easier on myself, I decided to make fleeces.  

For the little kids, I made McCall's 6222:
(pattern reviewed here)

For the teenagers, I made McCall's 5538 view A:

(pattern reviewed here)

... and McCall's 6252 view A with the pocket from view C:

(pattern reviewed here)

And for the adults, I made McCall's 5538 view B:

(pattern reviewed here)

I don't want to touch fleece ever again....  :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ladybug Rug

After seeing the bear playmat I made for a coworker using McCall's 6719, a colleague asked if I could make her a ladybug.  I knew the pattern had a ladybug option, but also knew the ladybug from the pattern looks nothing like a ladybug.  see exhibit A:

I agreed to make her a ladybug knowing I would have to do some modifications to the pattern, but thought it wouldn't be that difficult.

I used the head, body, face, and antennae from the pattern (view A).  I also used the heart applique from the bear.  I made the wings using the body pattern piece, but cutting it into a full circle and then cutting the circle in half.  I spent some time searching everywhere for my protractor to make perfect circles and after I found it and cut out all my circles, I realized the size I chose was the exact size as the cheeks, so if I ever make this again, I'll just trace the cheeks on webbing.  I added jumbo rick rack along the edges to give it a little something extra.  I drafted my own legs on parchment paper:

and made ruby slippers with some left over red sparkly fabric I had and some ribbon:

I also decided to make a bow for the antenna.  

I think it came out great!!  It was a lot of work (took me over 24 hours), but it's so cute!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mini Wardrobe Contest 2013

So I decided to enter this contest again, and again my wardrobe is for work.  This time, I'm lightening up the color scheme.

PIECE 1:  Simplicity 1658 view A

Front view
(For some reason, the picture looks like there's a spot on the front, but I don't see the spot in person.)

Back view

This dress was a lot more work than it looks.  From the pictures on the envelope, I could not tell that the front overlay is open on the sides.  I also assumed that the overlay on view A was really just the dress such that there weren't multiple layers, but not so.  For all views, the bodice actually has 3 layers!  I completely wasn't paying attention to that when I bought the pattern, so I ended up having to go back to the fabric store to purchase lining...and then I had to go back again for the right size zipper.

This style of dress is my favorite...I love drop-waisted blousy dresses because they hide everything, but I think this one isn't particularly flattering because the overlay is open on the sides.  I just feel really big in football player big.  If I ever make this again, I'll sew the sides of the overlay closed.  I think I'll end up tacking under the arms so that it's at least a little more fitted in the bust.  Sadly, just as I was finishing up the dress trimming frayed edges, I accidentally cut a hole in the front!  It's small so I sewed it closed, but it's still visible.  I think once I tack under the arms, the hole will be under the arm so it won't be a complete disaster.

Anyway, piece one is done.  I also plan on making a suit and another top to complete my wardrobe.  I'll update this page as I complete my pieces.
Wore this today: