Wildcats!

DSC03458Hey everybody, it’s been a while ūüôā sorryi’mnotsorry. The gorgeous summer has left us and I’m feeling a little blue about the next 9 months of rain. Oregon weather is such a tease (9 months of shit in exchange for the most beautiful/perfect summers you’ve ever seen). Enough talking about the weather, let’s talk about my latest dress.

This is version one billion of Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress Pattern. It is such a good versatile basic. The fabric is a cozy leopard print sweater knit I picked up at Joann’s recently. I bought the last of the bolt so I only 1.35 yards to work with. It wasn’t a challenge to fit this in with the limited yardage. I cut the fronts and backs on the fold, and then had to lay it out as a single layer to fit in the sleeves. This fabric went from flat yardage to a completed dress in 2 and a half hours. Is there a sewing equivalent to fast fashion? That’s about as close to instant gratification as a trip to Target.

I modified the bodice by keeping the 3 inches in length that I added last time. The sleeves were narrowed about 2 inches to be a closer fit than the pattern is drafted. I think I will narrow the shoulder seam the next time I make this dress. I’ve sewn a few things since I last posted. I made a blouse for my sister a cute lacy pair of the Iris shorts by Colette, some more funny underpants, and a wool cap. For the most part I’ve felt underwhelmed. I’m going to try to make something a little more challenging to pique my interest in sewing again.

xx, Cynthia

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Ballet Dress Redux

DSC03296This is my second version of Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress Pattern¬†(here¬†is my first). I used some really luxe feeling fabric I found in the jersey table in the flat fold annex (ie the cheap stuff) at Mill End. Usually the jersey they have is of the not very stretchy, tissue thin, pilly variety. This jersey feels quite spongy to the touch and is very soft and stretchy. I think this must be some sort of rayon/ lycra blend.

DSC03273I added 3 inches to the bodice length. This now fits me at my natural waist and doesn’t have an empire waist look to it. I also cut a small instead of a medium and it fits just right now. On a side note Dixie, changed her pattern recently to be 2 inches longer in the waist. I made this one sleeveless (summer summer summertime, yo), and my favorite modification is the lace neckline.

DSC03271This lace came from a *very* loved t-shirt I bought at Urban Outfitter about 4 or 5 years ago. It had definitely seen better days. It had yellow underarms and holesРthe works. It was time to say goodbye. I carefully cut it off of that grody old t-shirt and edge stitched it on using a normal straight stitch. Then I used my small embroidery scissors to cut the  jersey away from the lace on the wrong side. There is a little bit of skin peak-a-boo through the lace. This would be a very easy way to fancy up any simple tee or dress.

DSC03290I constructed the entire dress (except for the lace) on my serger. This was the first time I was able to do that. Man was that fast and easy! ¬†The tension was never right and it would pull apart, so I only used it to finish seams before. I took it to Modern Domestic¬†to be serviced and she purrs like a kitten now. I highly recommend them, they even let you use their fancy pants machines in their studio while yours is being serviced. Since this was my first time using my serger to construct I went a little too fast and my waist seams don’t quite match. I decided to make a long sash/ belt to tie around my waist to hide it. Design flaw or design feature?

DSC03287My stripes match in the bodice, but I didn’t have enough fabric to make them match in the skirt as well. I was able to match the first group of stripe in the skirt, but that was it. Whatevs, NBD… amirite?!?!?

DSC03297Byeeeeeeeeeeee!!! xx, Cynthia

 

Brave

3B25F4AD-4D67-45F0-89C7-E8A5C28F10C3-12201-000009FDA7911A8F I wasn’t sure about taking photos in my homemade bathing suit, that I posted a photo¬†of about a month ago. I knew I was over-due to post a pattern review and details, but I decided to be brave and post photos in the suit as well. You can’t really tell what something looks like, when it’s not on a body. I’m even going to show you the backside (yikes!) Ladies, we’ve got ¬†to start loving the skin we’re in… amirite?

This was made using Kwik Sew 3875. Ya’ll, I think I’m hooked on making my own swimwear from now on. You can pick whatever fabrics you want, you use so little it’s super economical (this only required 3/4 yard), you get to make your dream suit, and it’s actually pretty easy. Who knew? I already have the fabric bought to make another bikini, and I’m totally going to make the Bombshell Suit. Hmmm…. I also want a bikini with a high-waisted bottom and halter-top. I’m getting excited. I’m sure you’ve noticed the river in the background of my blog photos recently. It’s out my back door, is this ¬†real life? After work today, my husband and I hopped into our inner tubes and floated while drinking beers. This summer is gonna be my jam, and I need MOAR bathing suits! Squeeee.

D28AD219-2A9F-4B20-B0D6-45FB94A60028-12201-000009FDF7C4FF74Now that I got that out if the way, I can talk about this swimsuit. Since this is my first attempt there are¬†definitely¬†a few things I would like to do differently next time, but I’m pretty pleased with the final outcome. I found this fabric locally. The metallic blue wasn’t actually with the swimwear fabric. I think it’s intended for “dance” costumes (hopefully that doesn’t bring all of the google creeps to my blog… shudder). It has the right amount of stretch, but it’s already starting to lose it’s shine on high stress areas (mainly my booty). I also found this white fabric with a thin gold stripe (I wish I had bought more, because they’ve sold out of it and I really love it). I really liked the way they looked together.¬†My grandpa was in the Navy, so I think it’s in my DNA to like nautical fashion.

1449C1B9-C0E8-43A0-9C35-5CB16E399DD5-12201-000009FD907A9C92Besides the swimwear fabric, making this suit required a few different supplies than I normally use. It is lined with a flesh colored spandex lining, it used 3/4 inch “cotton elastic”, and there are two pieces of boning along the sides of the bust for support. I wish I added bra cups. I might add a halter strap still.

I had to experiment, but I found using my walking foot to be invaluable in helping this sticky/grabby fabric feed through my sewing machine. I used two different types of stretch stitches. I used a triple straight stitch for all of the seams and any top-stitching. I also used a triple zig-zag stitch to attach the elastic to the suit. You should of course experiment on your machine, but I found those two stitches to have the most elasticity to them.

22C2722D-FF69-45F4-AFAD-37F6AD9B7426-12201-000009FFE4BB021DThe pattern directions that came with the pattern were excellent, and I also found the swimsuit sew-a-long posts from Dixie DIY (I’m starting to sound like a weird fan girl over here) to be very helpful. I made a size small on the top and bottom, but I will make a medium bottom in the future. As is, this bikini does the dreaded muffin top bulge over (note how my hand is on my hip in these photos artfully hiding that part). I was pleasantly surprised by the low cut bottom, so many sewing patterns come out a bit matronly.

This suit has already been in hot springs, a hot tub, a ¬†pool and the river and has held up fine with no wardrobe malfunctions. I have had concerns about the top not being supportive enough, ¬†just the nature of bandeau tops. I can happily report that the top received it’s greatest test yet when the mister pushed me in when we were done taking picture. Everything stayed where it was supposed to! No nip slips… YAY!

B5FBE0D7-5FC5-4DF3-8877-F28D1FB2A031-12201-00000A014915E331I also wanted to show you the new sandals I got today. Saltwater’s, I think they’re cute even if they’re baby shoes. They’ll be perfect for my vacation I’m going on next week. Also, Bacon let me bury him in the sand last week. He’s too funny, I love that ugly mug so much! Also, I broke my serger (#sadface). Hopefully it can be fixed, I dropped it off at Modern Domestic. Sorry if this post is a bit manic, I’m over-caffeinated¬†and under-fed at the moment. A dangerous combo

xx, Cynthia

 

Dixie DIY: Ballet Dress

DSC03112Wow guys… two makes in one weekend. I think that’s a record for me. I’ve been so busy having fun every weekend that I really wanted to chill out and spend some QT with my sewing machine. I made this sweet little knit dress using the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress Pattern. I really love this dress. It’s comfortable, skims the body enough to show you’re a lady, and easy to make.

I was going to add a skirt to my Maria Denmark t-shirt pattern, but then felt lazy. Dixie already did the work for me, it’s only $4, and (this is really why I didn’t buy this pattern sooner) Etsy now allows *instant* PDF downloads. Also I wanted to help a sistah out.

DSC03115I cut a size medium, but ended up taking the side seams quite a bit. Next time (and there will be a next time), I’m going to start with a size small and go from there. I didn’t make an changes to the pattern, other than shortening the sleeves. I really wanted to see how this was going to fit and wear before I started going crazy with the one billion hacks and variations I’ve got swimming in my brain.

I need to add about one inch to the front bodice piece. It pulls up on account of my bosom. It almost feels like an empire waist dress. Marie¬†had the same issue when she made the dress, so I’m going to assume this would be a needed adjustment for somebody with a full C-D cup bra size. Also the sleeves are pretty loosey goosey. When I make ¬†a long sleeved ¬†version I’m going to slim them down quite a bit.

DSC03121I love the drape of the skirt. It flares out in the most flattering way and moves and swishes with you as you walk. This photo isn’t the greatest but it shows how it skims, but doesn’t cling to my figure problem area, known¬†affectionately¬†in my house as my pizza pouch. I eat the shit out of pizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaa.

DSC03123I changed the order of construction, because I like to work flat with knits as much as possible. I work in a production studio for a knitwear line so I can do this in my sleep. If you’re interested here is my usual order of construction:

(1) Sew shoulder seams, apply twill tape for stability. (2) Sew sleeves to shoulders. (3) Attach elastic to the top edge of the skirt pieces on the wrong side. Be careful to not stretch out the elastic. I used my walking foot. (4) Sew skirt pieces to both the bodice front and back (5) Sew the side seam in one long continuous seam, matching the underarms and waist. I like to start at the sleeve hems because I get to the match points sooner. (6) Apply the neck band (7) Hem, I used my twin needle for this.

xx, Cynthia

 

 

Aztec T-Shirt Mini Dress

DSC03072This was a super quick and easy T-shirt dress made with a funky aztec/ ikat jersey found in the remnant pile at my local fabric store. Do you find that you want to make something easier after a more involved project? I used the *free* ( holla!)¬†T-shirt mini dress¬†pattern by the adorable Dixie as the basis of this make. This is so comfy it feels like pajamas, in fact *cough cough* I’ve already slept in this.

DSC03063I wear the heck out of a hoodie dress I bought from American Apparel a couple of years ago and I was looking for a summertime alternative. With the addition of tights and my grandpa’s old Levi’s jacket, this dress can take me through three seasons.

DSC03046I made the size small, and finished the hem and sleeves with bands. I feel they give me  a neater finish. You can hardly tell though, because this pattern is so busy. I drafted a kangaroo pouch based off of the pocket on my original hoodie.

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Hahahaha… this last photo is what spring really looks like in Portland. #allergies

xx, Cynthia