Thursday, April 6, 2017

Celebrating Spring With A New Dress

A new dress, featuring a new pattern!  Finally, I tore myself away from my Simplicity pattern and tried Butterick B6448.


The fabric is Michael Miller's "Bed of Roses, Lily of the Valley" ~ a rich gray background with pretty white flowers.  The gray is deeper than how it is showing up in my photo.

With an empire waist and an 8 paneled skirt, there's plenty of swing to this dress.  I love the way it looks and feels.  Very sweet and flirty.  :o) 

Construction of the dress is interesting, and I must admit that I made some changes.

1)  It calls for the upper body to be lined.  I didn't bother and just created a neckline facing.  With the V-neck, the facing was a little tricky for me as a beginner.  Getting everything to lie nice at the bottom of that V has been some effort.

2)  The sleeve doesn't go completely around the arm hole.  If you don't do the lining, you have to do something about the exposed seams under your arm.  I discovered that as I was pinning my first sleeve.  :oD  Whoops!

3)  The order of the construction has you put the bodice together first, and the skirt second, joining at the waist.  I'm guessing that may have something to do with the bodice being lined, but since I didn't do that, I can't say for sure.

I really like being able to save my side seams as my final two major seams to sew.  That way, I can adjust the fit pretty easily...take it in a little or let it out a little.  I don't think it would be quite that easy if I created that major join at the waist.

Sewing a size 14, the pattern took up most of my 3 yards.

Even with the unruly facing and the slight sleeve hiccup, I love this dress and look forward to making more.  I have mystery fabric I found at our local resale shop up next.  I'm a tad suspicious that it's fabric that was originally purchased to become a tablecloth.  But the drape and feel are so nice, I have to try making it into a dress.

The photo shoot with the teenager was especially fun today!  It was cold, windy, and dreary.  She was not thrilled about being outside with me.  Plus we had some distractions, including neighborly noise that caught my attention.  Of course, that shot ended up being the best photo of the dress.  So here it is ~ a better view of this pattern from the front with a bonus, "WTF was that?!" look from me.



And with that, I leave you with some photo shoot outtakes.  The ones I'm willing to post, anyway.

Windy.


Really windy.


No wind ~ just a bad model.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

You Never Know What's Coming For You




That line from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has always stuck with me.  And I for one never thought I'd enjoy taking pencil to paper.  I can't draw.  I've never taken a single class.  I can barely make a smiley face.  Yet here I am, looking forward to those quiet mornings and evenings when I can sit with my pad of paper and practice sketching different designs that will hopefully become hand stitched embroidery.

 

Don't get me wrong ~ these are simple, simple drawings.  But they are mine, and I can bring them to life with needle and thread.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Week In Four Photos

My first hand designed and embroidered project

Great Grandma's tea cup from the 1940s

A path taken in the woods.

The sighting of Union boys

Hope your week went well.  :o)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ep. 20, Part 2: Union Blue

An 1861 embroidery pattern

Click here for the video.  :o)

In Part 2, I offer two sewing projects ~ my Union Blue dress and fabulous flannel pajama pants.  Apparently if you pick the right fabric, flannel jammies can indeed be fabulous.

I also introduce my personal 1 Year of Stitches embroidery project, where I include some Civil War era embroidery patterns.

Sewing
Simplicity 1537 dress
Windham Fabrics Threads of Time
Yarn Dyed Flannel Plaid at Fabric.com

Embroidery
Sublime Stitching
Godey's Lady's Book

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Ep. 20, Part 1: The Trouble With Chocolate & Wine

Calorie free chocolate & wine!






Click here for the video.  :o)

♪  We have a winner for the January giveaway!  ♫

I'm also trying a slightly new format, breaking the yarn and fabric into two separate uploads.  Let's see if we like it.

Yarn Dyeing
I had two yarn dyeing experiments go wrong for me.  Ugh.  The yarn is still pretty though.

Fortunately, I also tried dyeing my first skein of speckled yarn, and that little cutie worked out.

Knitting
Still working on my Miette cardigan.  If you're thinking of skipping the shaping in this cardigan like I did, heed my warning and make sure your stitch count works with the lace pattern.

I finally finished knitting up my first skein of self striping sock yarn.  Sheesh, dyeing sock yarn is a pill.

I'm knitting a pair of toe-up, heel flap and gusset socks.  The pattern is from Chrissy Gardiner's book, Toe Up!




Saturday, March 4, 2017

Union Blue ~ My Windham Fabrics Dress

♪ The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah! ♫

Still on the hunt for great quilting cottons that can be used as dress fabric, I did some searching on the net.  I found a couple of conversations among those who, like me, can't resist the call of these beautiful prints.  The general consensus:  Both Michael Miller and Windham Fabrics had decent enough drape to kinda sorta get away with being made into dresses.

Okay, that's not a firm, "Yes, this brand is practically apparel fabric!", but I don't think anyone is expecting that at this point.  Not from me anyway.  I'm still trying to figure out how to sew a nice hem.

The Conclusion:  Not a huge difference.  This dress feels a lot like my other quilting cotton dresses.  So still pretty.  Still wearable.  Still not even close to apparel fabric.

Some Details:

I have both Windham and Michael Miller in stash, and I chose to work with Windham first.  The design is from the Threads of Time collection, unceremoniously named "Blue 39731-4".  I'm calling my dress "Union Blue" because of reproduction fabric look, and because the little Vs remind me of the chevrons worn on the sleeves of Civil War soldiers to identify rank.  Also, my great great grandfather was a Union soldier.  :o)

Though I still love this dress pattern (Simplicity 1537), I wanted to see if I could modify the neckline.  This was a team effort because though the modification was my idea, my husband is the one responsible for drawing it nicely.  I needed a perfect curve but couldn't draw one to save my life.  He's a woodworker and quite good at curves.  I figured asking him would be the right thing to do, and sure enough, within seconds he had drawn the perfect neckline.

We did this first on tracing paper, then on muslin, so I now have an alternative neckline bodice pattern piece for this particular dress.

Another first:  I chose to hand sew my zipper.

I have to say ~ I think I like hand sewing zippers!  Maybe it's because I was a quilter first and did much of my work by hand, but I loved taking my time and stitching it in place.  I felt like I had more control over the process, I could get into small areas easily, and the fact that the dress is nearly done by this point reminded me of that great feeling of sewing on a quilt binding.  It's the last step of a long job well done.

The zipper isn't really my last step, but it's close!  And the feeling is still good.  :o)



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Episode 19: Cute As A Button

I wanna make buttons!


Click here for the video.  :o)

This episode includes knitting, sewing, two giveaways, and the results of my wool wash experiment.

Thank you to Lynne of the Sunshine and Bubblegum podcast for the prize I won in her Ravelry group!

Giveaway threads on our Ravelry group:
For January ~ Alpaca Cloud Fingering from Knit Picks in "Cora"
For February ~ Preciosa Tonal Worsted from Knit Picks in "Panther", "Duchess", and "Boysenberry"

My Wool Wash Experiment
The Summary:  I tested 7 different detergents with my own hand dyed, very dark red, yarn.  Only one
had some color bleed.  After additional testing, I was able to get that bleeding to stop by adding a certain amount of vinegar to the bath.

pH test strips at Amazon.

Knitting
My Miette cardigan by Andi Satterlund is in progress.
I made my little fabric strawberry buttons with this Dritz Cover Button Kit.

Sewing
Another Simplicity 1537 dress in Telio Denim Floral from Fabric.com.
Making yoga/jammy pants with Simplicity 4429 (an old pattern that I think is out of print but may be available elsewhere on the net).  I used French Terry Knit.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Episode 18: Experiments & Goals


Let the yarn dyeing experiments begin!



Click here for the video.  :o)

I'm getting a tad nerdy about the yarn dyeing process.  My first experiment will be to test swatches of my newly dyed, very red, skein of yarn in different wool washes.  Let's see if I get any bleeders.  And if I do, let's see if I can fix it.

Knitting
Diving In shawl by Mam'zelle Flo

Sewing
Simplicity 1537
Riley Blake fabric at Fabric.com





Friday, January 20, 2017

Episode 17: Meet Lucy

My co-host steals the show.


Click here for the video.  :o)

I chat about yarn dyeing, sewing, and I introduce the newest member of our family:  Lucy!

Oh, and I forgot to mention a January Giveaway:  600 yards of Alpaca Cloud, 100% Superfine Alpaca fingering weight, in the "Cora" colorway.  Join our Boston Mama Knits group on Ravelry and reply once here to enter.  Please note that you must be a member of the group.  Fortunately, joining requires a simple click of a button, and that's pretty much it.  ;o)

Alpaca Cloud in "Cora"
As for the rest of the episode...

Yarn
Knit Picks for bare bases and Greener Shades dye
Dharma Trading Co for dye and citric acid

Sewing
Simplicity Jiffy Shift Dress #8253