Monday, February 25, 2013

 So it's Prom time!  We are super excited about the dress we're doing this year.  The bar was set really high last year with that red number, but we're up to the challenge.  

This year we chose to use Simplicity 3673 for the base of the dress.  We'll be making some pretty big changes that will really make the final dress stand out in the Prom crowd.  But to start with, I decided to make the dress straight from the pattern just to get a feel for the construction, shape, and fit.  We chose a polyester plaid with a bit of stretch and a nice heavy drape.  This is View B with the belt loops and the shorter length.

She had that awesome belt already.  I love it with this dress.  For the fit changes, next time I'll make it a size smaller.  Simplicity has this annoying habit of adding 2-3 inches more ease in the size recommendation than the finished garment should actually have.   This is a close fitting dress and Simplicity sizing would make it have 3 1/2" of ease on the hip and 2 1/2" in the bust.  Insane and completely wrong! (and also very, very common with the Big Three.  Check the finished garment measurements on the pattern before you choose your size.) I had to guess the proper ease (close fitting but with enough room to sit) and ended up guessing a size too big.  We took it in quite a bit in the side seams.  We'll also be shortening the bodice by half an inch in the final dress.  My girl is a shorty with a high chest.  We often have to make that change.    We'll also be dropping the front center seam, because it's so unnecessary and distracting.  I wish I had done it on this one.

I'm also super proud of the zipper on this.  It actually looks decent.   It's an invisible zipper and I was able to sew close enough to the teeth for it to be truly invisible.  There are a few things that could have been better, but zippers are hard, so I take my victories where I can get them.

Then there are the design changes.  You don't get to see those until we get to the final number.  That should be in the next few weeks or so.

Making the first muslin out of real fabric in a real wearable dress was a great way to get a feel for the dress as a wearable garment.   As you can see, my girl is really happy with this jumper.  She loves it and it looks great on her.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A 25 cent skirt

So I went to a children's clothing resale clearance sale with my sisters a couple of months ago.  About four times a year this store has a huge clearance.  They rent another retail space for the weekend, set up banquet tables and throw all the unsellable clothes out in huge piles.  The public gets to dig through and try and find the gems. Every item of clothing sells for a quarter, so it's often worth your time if  you have young kids.  My kids are all too old to find much at these sales.  My sister was shopping for a new baby on the way, and I was helping her find the cute girly stuff.  We found several large bags of things for her and this for my middle girl: 
 It's a cute dress, no stains and in a fun border print.   She wore it once as is but decided it was too little girl for her.  She's 12 now and the style just wasn't grown up enough,  however, she loved the skirt part and the ruffle at the waist.   So I did this to it:
I cut off the bodice about 2" above the waistline all the way around.  Since it was a lined bodice, I was able to turn the top edge in 1/4" and sew it together.  The back buttoned together, so I left the last button at the new waist.  I also slipped elastic into the new waistband on the backside and left the sash.  Then I sewed it a simple cotton slip because that sucker was way too translucent.   (Rectangle 3 inches bigger than hips and 3 inches longer than desired length.  Sew the side seam. Hem it.  Sew a casing at the top for elastic.  Bam.  15 minute slip.)  It wasn't a huge change, but the jumper to skirt change was just what this piece needed to go from little girl to big girl without veering into "trying to hard to be a teenager" territory.  This Sunday she wore it with a white t-shirt and a cropped jean jacket; she was quite stylin'.

Turning a dress into a skirt is a super simple switch.  Most of the time you can retain the existing zipper or closure mechanism and a simple piece of elastic or tightening up the side seams will bring the waist in.  It's a quick change that makes it easy to freshen up an old piece.

(I've turned an old dress into a skirt before with even better results.  Check it out here:  Old dress makeover)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Just one more . . . .

I know.  They are just so easy to make.  I've wanted this one over our bed for a year now, though, so I'm too excited to not show it off.  The phrase is my own.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cameo fun times

So I've spent quite a bit of time playing with my Cameo, but I promise this blog isn't going to become all Cameo all the time.  I did want to show off the present I made for my husband, though.   I cut a 12x24 rectangle out of 1/4" plywood.  Personally, if I had to do it over again, I'd use either 3/8" or 1/2".  The 1/4" is inexpensive, but it just doesn't quite have the heft of the thicker sheets.  1/4" is what my husband brought me home for another project and 1/4" is what I had leftover in the lumber pile.  (What?  You don't have a lumber pile?)

Anyway, for a couple of years now I've been telling my sweetie "You're my favorite."  He often teases me and says "Favorite what?"  So I made him an answer:

Not bad for a budget Valentine's Day gift, huh?  I think he's going to love it.  And just so we don't embarrass any unsuspecting, naive family members, this will be hanging in our bedroom.  Unsuspecting, naive family members shouldn't be looking in there anyway.

In other vinyl news, I needed a wedding present recently for one of our former babysitters.  (I can't believe how old I'm getting.  When I met this girl she wasn't even old enough to babysit yet and now she's married. sigh.)  I totally forgot about it and had to run out at the last minute to pick something up.  I found this picture frame and it was just calling for some custom vinyl.  I wanted something simple and unique without going overboard.  I thought using the infinity symbol was the perfect custom touch without being all cutesy.  BTW, I haven't the slightest clue where to find an infinity symbol, so I just turned an italicized number 8 on it's side and stretched the dimensions until I liked it.  Easy.

So that's part of what I've been up to.  I've also been doing some sewing.  I'll show off that soon, including my daughter's 25 cent skirt.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What does a geek family do with a Cameo?


That's a Rebel Alliance flag (Star Wars) made with heat transfer cut on my Cameo machine.  I used the SVG file I  found on Wikipedia.  (A quick Google image search brings up lots of options if that one is not your cup of tea.) I did lengthen the black stripes a bit and enlarge the entire image to fit how I wanted it to look on my husband's shirt.  My whole family is clamoring for one of their own, but daddy gets the first one, because he bought me the new toy for Christmas.  Now I need to order more black heat transfer vinyl so I can do everyone else's.  

I have really enjoyed my Cameo.  My favorite part has been converting files from my Dover Pictura books I bought many years ago when I designed scrapbook paper.  (Just one line from a very small company. But it was really fun while it lasted.)  I have several books and many of them have files that convert beautifully to cut files.  I still need to work on print and cut  and sketch files for a few others.  It's the main reason I wanted a Cameo:  freedom to design for myself.  Love that so much. 

I've done other stuff that I've been wanting to post, but I'm really thinking through this whole blogging thing.  What I want from it.  How I want to do it.  What is it's purpose, etc.  I may write a long, thoughtful post or I may just jump back in posting when I can and let you figure out what I decided.  Depends on whether I can make my thoughts interesting.