Oct. 7th, 2013


I finished a dress this weekend!  Pics and blah blah blah as usual...


Sep. 6th, 2013


Not really sewing related. I found a vintage magazine, and it pissed me off. 

Aug. 30th, 2013


I made a dress! And did no fitting adjustments! And it fit better than anything I've made so far!

Lots of pictures and pattern info. I am very happy with it :)

Jun. 25th, 2013


new post being snarky about the photos of one of the newly released McCall's patterns. 

May. 15th, 2013

Lots of pictures.
I finally finished last night!  I want to live in there now...

May. 8th, 2013


Just a little bit more about fabric shopping in New Orleans and a few pictures of what I picked up. 


Apr. 17th, 2013


new post over there. I guess I'm neglecting LJ because I'm busy exploring other social media formats. I still read here, and comment when the mood hits, but I haven't felt motivated to post here lately. There's not much new or exciting this past week to update about anyway. 

Mar. 15th, 2013


2 days in a row of sewing blog posts!
Not much sewing in this one, either. A little bit about my trip to Philadelphia last summer and figuring out what to do with my favorite fabric I got there.

Feb. 21st, 2013


It's been a month since I finished something to post about! I finally finished this dress I've been working on.

Jan. 24th, 2013

Ahhh! Zooey Deschanel, you are officially my fashion nemesis.
Did anyone catch her wearing the matryoshka dress on New Girl last night? The dress I'm planning as my next sewing project? Damn you Zooey for being so adorable and perfect! :P

Jan. 16th, 2013

New post at www.missparayim.com
A little about the dress I'm working on, and another dress I'm starting to plan.

Aprons post


This one got kind of long, but I had 7 aprons to talk about. Lots of pictures, at least.


#12 Avery's Thanksgiving dress

It's been quite a while since I sewed something for Avery. This is mostly because between her sister's hand me downs, impulse purchases, and gifts, the kid has at least 2 kids worth of clothes. Recently, she's been asking about every project "is that a dress for me?", and she hasn't been upset to hear it hasn't been, but the Mom guilt was starting to get to me. Also, there are so many cute patterns for kids her age.
I've had Simplicity 1793 in my pattern stash for a while, and Thanksgiving seemed a good opportunity to try it out. 

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She was happy to model it.:) She wore the turtleneck with her school uniform today, but she has a lime green shirt to wear underneath on Thanksgiving.
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The straps cross and then pull through button holes.
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First thing we have to do is test out the twirl.
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She likes it!!!

The dress construction was fairly simple. The zipper (at the side seam) was the worst thing. I apparently fail at installing the conventional zipper. I eventually gave up and went with an invisible zipper.
I used 3 rows of basting stitches for gathering. Normally, I just use 2, but since this is kind of a special occasion dress, I wanted really even gathers, and the 3rd row makes that a lot easier. One of the rows landed outside the seam allowance, but once the gathered piece is attached to whatever piece it needs to be sewn to, it's OK to take out any visible basting stitches.

I'm pretty darn proud of how this looks from the inside too.
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I got the ribbon for this purpose, but I didn't think I had time to get it sewn on. Then I remembered I had a roll of 1/4" steam a seam, and I ironed that sucker in place. I'll go back after the holiday and reinforce with needle and thread, but this seemed like a quick and cute way to cover the ugly, thicker seams of 3 or more layers of fabric, and it will prevent shedding from the raw edges from following Avery around like pigpen from Peanuts.
I do still need to learn to use my serger. I want to see how well this holds up in the wash too since I think covering thick edges this way is a lot more fun.

I like this dress. It was pretty quick to put together it took maybe 8 hours, but probably should have been more like 6 if I weren't zipper incompetent. It turned out super cute and can be worn in any season. The pattern also comes with a size for an American Girl size doll, which I'd like to make sometime from scraps.

#11 Effie!

I started thinking about this costume in March, and spent most of September straightening out the pattern changes.
It was a lot of work, and I tweaked the design more than anything else I've made, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

This is the inspiration for the outfit:
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App (Effie is the one on the left)
And here I am in my finished costume:

Pattern notes and more pictures behind the cutCollapse )

#10 Effie preview/ knit top

New look 6150 (view c)
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Finished the top to go under the suit. My first time working with a knits pattern, and my 2nd time working with knits at all (the green fabric on Catherine's ren fest dress was the first).
It sewed up well, but I either did it wrong or think I expected more forgiveness in terms of figure flattery (hence the extreme camera angle in photo #2). Is Reese's pumpkin season over yet? Yay for spanx.

I have been avoiding working with knits. The book I started learning to sew from had a "don't bother. This is really difficult" attitude about knits, but I needed a fairly form fitting shirt in a hurry, and this was only 3 pieces (4 if you count the arm facings, which I didn't bother with), no darts, and no zipper. I picked a Jersey knit from Joann with 50% stretch (4" stretched to 6"). The pattern has a guide on the envelope to help you pick a fabric with the right amount of stretch (I didn't realize this until after I got home. I just eyeballed it and picked something that looked similar in weight and texture to what the model on the envelope was wearing).
I used a size 80/12 Jersey needle and my machine's stretch stitch (looks like an italics zig-zag). Maybe I'm just lucky. It was FINE. My sewing machine didn't explode, and the sewing gods didn't come down and laugh that I would dare to even think about knits.
The shirt isn't perfect, but it's totally wearable for a Halloween costume, and maybe even for work.
I have ordered myself some cute knit fabric, and I won't be skipping that section of the pattern catalogs any more!

#9 baby gift!!

It's been a while since I posted a real sewing project. It's not because I'm not working on anything, it's because the things I'm working on are more important to me than another "just for fun" dress for myself, and it's taking time to get things right.

But a woman at work is very pregnant with her 3rd, and her baby shower is tomorrow, so I put my big project aside this week to focus on her baby gift:

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I sewed on all the embellishments really securely, so baby won't gnaw any of the buttons off.  I just wanted to add a little bit of extra texture and interest.

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The "tags" are attached to the elephant/horse page. Just extra pieces from my stash.

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close up of the black satin buttons I used on the barbells.
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The acrobat is my favorite page.

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I've pressed out the wrinkles throughout the book.  They weren't as bad as the photo seems.
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The kind of hazy look and that white crease happened after I pre-washed it.  Probably my fabric softener :\
Hopefully she will like it enough to forgive the imperfections (which I think look worse in these pictures than in real life- I'm no photographer).  I think it's pretty cute despite all that.

This was my first time making a cloth book.  It was made from a fat quarter from spoonflower.com.  Start to finish was probably about 6 hours- spread out over 4 evenings.
I put fusible batting on 1 side of each 4 page "sandwich".  I added the tags to 1 sandwich and ric-rac to 2 sandwiches, then I sewed up 3 sides of each sandwich, flipped it rightside out, folded in the open end. and topstitched it all the way around.  I put the buttons and other embellishments on after the batting, but before sewing the sandwich together.  I thought it would be easier, but I think I should have done it last- some of the buttons were tricky to sew around.
It was a trickier project than I expected.  I am REALLY not good at measuring and cutting to measurement (probably why I like patterns so much), and it's a good thing I bought extra batting because I cut it an inch too short.  Remeasured, recut, still an inch too short.  I did this like 3 times :\
I like how it turned out, and deciding on the embellishments was fun.  I'm really glad that I can give something handmade for the babyshower- those things always seem to be the best. 
It was a nice little project, and a good quick break from my Halloween costume.  I think I'd like to do something like this again once the holidays are over.

#8 bias tape

A whole entry on bias tape? That's a stretch (har har har...). No, it really isn't. Because my feelings about the stuff have probably undergone the most radical shift since I started this sewing journey 7ish months ago.

Bias tape is basically a strip of folded fabric that is cut on a 45 degree angle. It's used for trims and edge finishing- things like hems, arm holes, etc. It's easier to work around a circle because of the stretch. A woven fabric not on the bias looks like this: #. If you pull it straight vertical or horizontal, there's not nearly as much give as when you pull it from the corners.

My first experience with bias tape was not positive. It was a pain in the ass to install on Avery's robot dress, and I wound up doing it by hand- which I hate. I never used it for the next 6 months. If a pattern called for it, I did something else (usually a rolled hem), which was easier and didn't sacrifice anything stylistically. Then I found out the way I had tried to attach it before was wrong. The correct way turned out to be a lot easier, but the packets only come in a limited selection of colors, and the fabric they use isn't really nice. I've used it once or twice, but I wouldn't seek out reasons to use it.
Turns out, making it yourself is not too difficult. Sure it takes a little more time than buying, but I think it's worth it just for all the options in color and pattern.
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Now this is something I'd actually look for excuses to use.
A fat quarter of fabric yielded about 3-5 yards of 1" bias tape, which is way more than I expected, and about what you get from a pack.
I used the method described here: http://pir8.freeservers.com/quilting/CBT/. Although I dont realy get her strip width chart... For 1" bias tape (both of those are, but the orange is folded in half) I used 1.75" strips for the purple per my bias tape maker instructions, and got about 5 yards. For the orange, I used 2" strips per my sewing class instructions and got about 3 yards.
It took maybe an hour to bias tape up each one of my fat quarters, but that probably gets better with practice.
I was able to find the metal bias tape doohickey in the quilting notions section of Joann. The regular sewing section had a machine that does the pulling and ironing part for you, but at over $100 for the machine and $10+ for each size bias tape attachment the cost/benefit doesn't make sense to me at this point.

Anyway- I am super excited to start putting my own bias tape on my projects. I think a solid color skirt or dress with a patterned bias tape could be really fun.

Sep. 13th, 2012

I was talking to my sewing teacher last night about machines. I'm toying with the idea of upgrading. My Brother CS6000i has been really great, and I think it's pretty much perfect for a starter machine. I have no qualms about passing it down and having it be Catherine's and Avery's. Catherine says she wants to learn to use it, and I think that would be awesome, but only 1 person can be on it at a time, and I don't want to share.
My teacher said all the teachers at the shop loved Janome, and I need to get one. I know no brand loyalty, and that sounds good to me since I already have a couple of Janome feet.
I went to their website to look around and see my options, and when I click on this link the clouds parted, birds started to sing, and everything felt right with the world:

A google search led me to find out it could be mine for only twelve thousand dollars!!!!
I wish I did not see that. All the other machines look like turds now.


Sep. 6th, 2012

I spent a good part of today on my Effie costume. I am almost done with the muslin mock up and pattern tweaks, and I'm pretty happy with it so far, but there's a few things I want to try out in muslin before I cut into real fabric. I'm thinking about buying different fabric for it. I went to a new (to me) fabric store today, and I left feeling like the fabric I was planning to use is too drab to do the costume justice.
The costume is inspired by/loosely based on her reaping day costume. It's definitely not an anal retentive cosplay replica, but I'm pretty excited about the design I'm using. I'm going to try to convince Sean to dress up as reaping day Katniss:
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#7 Kati Cupcake dress for Catherine

I started this dress on Friday afternoon, and finished it today. It was fun to make, not too difficult, and I did a couple of things I've never done before.

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Pattern is "Peggy Sue" by Kati Cupcake. I'm not crazy about the fabrics here, but Catherine picked them out.
Catherine says it's her favorite of the dresses I've made for her.
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