Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Take a class with me! AKA Sewaholic Head to Toe

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Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that there are some new classes posted on The Fabric Studio's website, so if you're in the Nashville area I'd love to see you in one of them.

I'll be teaching the adorable Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse class on Sept 17th and 24th from 6-9pm. This is a really good project if you've sewn before but have never made a garment [or even if you have!]

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I made the class sample out of a Kokka lawn, and I mean LOOK AT IT.

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I know there is still some of it left in the shop. And if you're not local you can get some from Nancy's etsy shop!

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My other new class is the Sewaholic Rae Skirt. This is a really great project for beginners - even if you've never really made anything before! [You do need to know how to generally thread your machine.]

The sample I made is out of the dreamy, much-pined-after Robert Kaufman chambray. It's so soft and luscious. This is View C, the longer one, which is a little longer than I usually like but I wanted to make it straight out of the envelope. Also Pinterest told me this morning that "'Audrey-Hepburn-length' skirts are being sighted on the streets of New York," so I think that means it's ok.

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Also that belt... I thought I liked it but looking at the pictures it's no bueno. Clearly I should have worn my red belt again.

I'm also teaching the much beloved Washi Dress pattern again, as well as a session of the Sewing 101 class. So visit The Fabric Studio's website to sign up, and let me know if you have any questions!

And just because, here's one more picture of that lawn:

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Polka Dot Moneta Dress

Colette Moneta Dress

This dress ain't nothin new in the blogosphere, it's another Colette Moneta and I made it a few months ago as part of the sewalong. But oh hey, yesterday was the first time I actually wore it in real life.

Colette Moneta Dress

I was originally a teensy bit turned off by the fabric - I ordered it online and it's a little stiff and unstretchy, and also printed off grain. It's the same fabric as my Moneta Peplum Top detailed in this post. But after wearing it for a day it's really not so bad.

No real pattern notes here, except things I've said before - I really think the Moneta is both super cute and very comfortable. Also I love the lower neckline in the back.

Colette Moneta Dress

I cut according to the grain for this one, and as a result the polka dots are all kind of slanty and falling off to one side. Which really doesn't matter because no one will notice, but if I were to do it again I would cut according to the polka dot rows. After all, appearances are more important than integrity. [Ok, maybe not in EVERY circumstance, but definitely when making polka dot dresses.]

Colette Moneta Dress

So to help me feel better about my polkas askew, I wore a belt. And this red belt is not just any old belt, let me tell you.

Colette Moneta Dress

Bear with me while I launch into a tale - when I was a kid, I showed Quarter Horses. Horses are not in my life any more, so when I have the opportunity to experience something horsey, I take full advantage.

Several years ago, there was a big convention called The Equine Affaire in Pomona, CA, which is just outside LA. I dragged my then-boyfriend to a full day of seminars, demonstrations and vendor shopping all geared towards the horse person. As we were in a giant building browsing through the many booths of the vendors, I came upon one filled with show clothes from a company I remembered  from my youth in Ohio. They had a rack of second hand clothes so I absently started flipping through.

One of the first things was a bright red ultrasuede belt. I flipped it over.

IT HAD MY NAME ON IT.

I do not exaggerate when I say that there was a rush of blood to my head and everything around me went dim. It was a belt that I had shown in when I was twelve years old, over two thousand miles away and more than a decade past. And it was just randomly right there in front of me, in my hand.

Colette Moneta Dress

I took the belt up to the vendor and told her I was going to buy it, because, um, it used to be mine? When I was a little kid? And I explained.

And she said, you don't have to buy it, you should just have it. Take it with you.

Colette Moneta Dress

So I took the belt home, and it's mine again. Whoever wore it in between, I'll never know. But I'm sure it witnessed as much of their blood, sweat and tears as it did mine.

Colette Moneta Dress

And just for some photographic evidence, here I am in 1998, age 12, wearing said belt [with a different buckle]. I'm sitting on Gilligan, a handsome bay gelding whose many talents including knowing how to take a bow [but only if you had a carrot]. His registered name was Island Fever. Get it?

Gordyville Feb 98

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Diamonds Mini Quilt

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Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend here in the states! Everywhere else, I hope you enjoyed your Mondays immensely!

I chose to partake in the leisurely activity of making a mini quilt over my holiday. It's been a long while since I've made a quilt, and it felt deliciously frivolous. [Not that quilting is frivolous, necessarily - this project just felt frivolous.] I had actually been wanting to try foundation paper piecing for a while now, and looked online at least an hour for a pattern that was not too involved but also cool.

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My search was fruitless until I was mindlessly swiping through my instagram feed and I saw a paper pieced gemstone block from one of my followees, the lovely legs_benedict. She had even so generously posted a link to the pattern she had come up with. I knew right then and there what the rest of my night was going to be.

Let me say that I'm not at all a "diamonds are a girl's best friend" type of person. In fact I mostly hate that expression, minus the very small part of me that secretly wants to be Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But I love the graphic shape of a gemstone. I think it would be totally awesome to do a whole quilt of these in different colors on a neutral background, kind of like a mineral chart or rock collection poster. I'd be totally into that. Would you, Marilyn?

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a mineral chart?

For this lil baby, I used some recent scraps that were leftovers from a few different projects. It's hard to see, but the center white fabric in each diamond actually has pearly metallic dots printed on it, which adds to the gemstone luster.

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For the quilting, I could see no excuse for doing my usual boring free motion squiggles, given the small size. So I again drew from from Maggie's instagram inspiration and quilted lines out from each diamond. It was kind of tedious and took a little while, but again it's such a tiny quilt, so come on Devon don't be so lazy.

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The effect of the quilting was to actually make each diamond a little puffy, which I love. It's hard to see in the pictures but you'll just have to trust me on this one.

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Speaking of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it made me think of Sarai's recent post on the Coletterie about movie sewing inspiration. The wardrobe is pretty spectacular. It's on Netflix instant so you can watch it all in its full glory, but here are some choice examples:

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

There are no seams in this bodice except for the center back. WHAT.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

This purple number, plus LOOK at that gingham swing coat, under which she is wearing a choice black jumpsuit.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Again with the purple, because, waistband.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

What do YOU wear on a boat?

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

More swing jacket.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Blue velvet genie pants are a must on any transatlantic voyage.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

COLLAR.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I love the ridiculously colored, sweeping, over the top dance numbers from 1950's musicals.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

So this is not what I originally bought this fabric for.

I used to work in a fairly, um, trendy [read: hipster] neighborhood in LA, Atwater Village. It wasn't THE center of the hipster universe, but it was a little like hipster suburbia. It was where all the hipsters lived when they grew up and had families. The babies were dressed impeccably - I once saw a little toddler dude with a fauxhawk wearing skinny jeans and a man-tank than said "Brooklyn" on it. I also met a baby named Otis that wore bow ties.

Don't misunderstand, it was actually my favorite neighborhood I lived in in LA. I could walk to work and there was a weekly farmer's market at the end of my street. The little two blocks of the main drag was mostly rad small businesses. There was an organic market, a top notch bakery, a perfect boutique, a dance exercise studio, a fabric store AND a yarn store, a wine store with an underground tasting room, and multiple other good bars and restaurants. It was a good place.

Anyway, me and my coworker Haley would often see outfits/people that would require a small discussion, and one repeated sighting was Incredibly Unflattering Pants. They were always some sort of billowy, crazy printed fabric that was just shirred in around the top and then went to skinny at the ankles, and no matter the size of the wearer they always created a giant marshmallow butt.

We would wonder - to ourselves of course - how can you wear those pants that are so unflattering? How can you stand there so calmly with your iced coffee and cold pressed juice, while the folds of fabric around your hips and thighs billow in the LA traffic wind? And, why do I kind of also want a pair of these pants so I can look cool too?

We decided that we each wanted our own pair, since they would be super easy to make. So I bought some of this beautiful olive green rayon from Sew LA.

And then it sat in a box of a year.

I never did make myself a pair of Incredibly Unflattering Pants, which I can say with absolute certainty is a good thing, because without the supporting cast of fancy juice, well placed tattoos, and mild apathy, I don't think I could pull it off.

Instead, I found myself wanting to make a new nice-ish skirt for a little something special. I saw the Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt on a few different blogs, and thought it would be the perfect pattern. I've been rambling on lately about wanting to sew more neutrals, so I was looking at all my printed rayons and hesitating and then I remembered the olive green unflattering pants yardage. Bam!

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Let me start by saying that I love the final result. It feels so floaty and twirly and forest-nymph-like. The baby hem gives the edge such a nice ripply look. My waist and hips are 27-38 and I cut a small.

After reading other people's experiences, I knew I was probably going to shorten it a bit in the back. It is crazy long. But I ended up shortening this mofo three separate times. I started with the pattern pieces by taking 6" off the center back, to 3" at the side seams, to 1" at the front. [This also helped me squeeze it out of less than 2 yards.] Then after it was cut I took another couple inches off the back and side. The pattern is a pretty dramatic hi-lo, which was a little too much for me. Then after I hemmed it and tried it on, there were two weird lobes of fabric to either side of the center front that were too long - and yes, you should feel uncomfortable by the word 'lobe' because my skirt was uncomfortable to look at - so I unpicked part of the hem, trimmed them, and then rehemmed.

The final result was that somehow it's slightly shorter in the center back than at the sides of the back, which is definitely not how it was originally. But it's evenly too short, and since the whole thing is different lengths and flouncy I'm totally ok with it.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

I might have gone online and ordered a rolled hem foot in the middle of doing THE LONGEST BABY HEM IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. Or maybe that was just part of my mid-hem hallucinations. The part of the hem that ripped out and redid does not look the greatest at the beginning and end, but only other sewers will notice if they look closely. So when I wear it around the seamster types I'll just have to stay in a constant state of motion.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

I wanted to do the waistband ties but I didn't have enough fabric, so I did the button version. Which is probably more versatile in the end.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Word of caution - in the wind, the front of this skirt totally blows open. So I will probably hand tack it shut right where the two sides overlap to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

As for the t-shirt - this awesome buffalo check jersey is from Wanderlust Fabrics. It was lovely to work with and feels great and is printed on grain. This might be my most favorite t-shirt I've ever had. It's part of a very special thing I've been working on that I will be talking about soon!

And thanks to Nancy from The Fabric Studio Nashville for taking the pictures! No remote for once!

Megan Nielsen Cascade Skirt

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kitten Head Camera Bag

Kitten Head Camera Bag

Why are bags for electronics so depressing? Laptops, cameras, 'pads and 'phones. It seems like 90% of them are solid black. Why?? Ok I understand, it doesn't show dirt, it's neutral, etc, etc. BUT YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING INSIDE OF IT. What about all the other solid neutral colors that aren't black? What about those?

Frustrated with the camera bag choices on the market, I took matters into my own hands, leapt well past neutral into the realm of Kitten Head.

Kitten Head Camera Bag

This pattern is this one from an Etsy shop called Watermelon Wishes. I literally was searching for "camera bag pdf" and it led me to this. As it says, it's more of a tutorial than pattern - there are just cutting dimensions and then instructions - but it was exactly what I was looking for.

I like that it's smaller than a normal camera bag. It's the perfect size for my camera, charger and spare battery, and remote. So great for whenever I just want my camera and not my extra lenses and other accessories.

Plus did I mention it isn't black?

From every angle there is a fragment of a kitten face staring out at you. It's weird and I like it. Look at these eyes.

Kitten Head Camera Bag

There is an elasticized pocket on one side, although thus far I've been a little worried to put anything in it for fear of falling out.

Kitten Head Camera Bag

The much more usable pocket is a zippered one under the main flap. It's a more than ample space for the charger, battery and remote.

UPDATE: The zipper is something that I added myself. It's not part of the pattern but was easy to install!

Kitten Head Camera Bag

There are snaps on the sides that give the bag its triangular shape [also look at all the kitten eyes SO WEIRD].

Kitten Head Camera Bag

But when they are unsnapped, it gets very roomy!

Kitten Head Camera Bag

There's literally room for my DSLR camera and nothing else in the main compartment. But that's all you need!

Kitten Head Camera Bag

When I snap the sides around the camera, it is so snug and cozy in there, and it feels very protected. Each side and bottom panel has eight - EIGHT - layers of batting AND a layer of peltex sewn into it. The pattern called for foam, which I didn't have, but I DID have batting and peltex, and I was being thrifty.

Kitten Head Camera Bag

And look at this little guy on the bottom!

Kitten Head Camera Bag

I actually made this a while ago, and it's only now making it to the blog. The fabric is an ultimate favorite of mine. It's a Japanese linen/cotton blend that I bought at the now-closed Urban Craft Center have tried desperately to find online, but have failed. The selvage says "project by cotton japan". If any of you find it online I will give you my firstborn kitten.

I have to be honest, I feel a little ridiculous carrying this around.

But at least it isn't black.

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